Freely by His Grace, edited by J.B. Hixson, Rick Whitmire and Roy B. Zuck is the best text on the market on Free Grace Theology. It should be a seminary text for every student of God’s Word. It objectively analyzes the subject matter, God’s Word and arguments made regarding God’s grace from Dispensational and Reformed Theologies. This text should be examined closely so students of God’s word don’t fall into gospel confusion, works righteousness or eisegesis in interpretation.
Each of the 17 chapters define specific issues related to Free Grace Theology. Each chapter secures linchpins for Free Grace Theology. For example, the first chapter, “What is Free Grace Theology?” written by Michael Halsey, outlines a clear, but succinct presentation of Arminianism, Lordship Salvation and Free Grace Theology. The term Lordship Salvation is used, because Reformed Theology holds to the Lordship Salvation position. Lordship emphasizes “entire surrender” of every area of life to the Lordship of Jesus with the requirement of “works of righteousness” to ensure salvation. The challenge presented in this article and the rest of the articles is that the Lordship position is not supported by Scripture. It is a practical reaction to the failure of many Christians who say they are Christians, yet do not grow spiritually in sanctification. Instead they continue living in sin. As Halsey concludes, “Salvation is not by maintenance; salvation is not by performance.” (14) It is solely by the finished work of Jesus.
The second chapter is a reprint of chapter one from L.S. Chafer’s book on “Grace.” In summary, “God saves by grace,” “God keeps through grace those who are saved,” and “God teaches in grace those who are saved and kept how they should live.” (27) Yet, Chafer cautions, “The eternal relationship between the Father and His child can never be set aside. The Father may correct and chasten His erring child (1 Cor. 11:31-32; Heb. 12:3-15)…” (25)
J.B. Hixson focuses on “What is the Gospel?” to define this essential truth. The Gospel is good news, but what are the human requirements at the point of salvation or after salvation? Hixson wisely outlines if something must be done or added to life after salvation, then it is no longer grace, but works. Interestingly in the endnotes, he takes issue with other Free Grace theologians who while they do hold to the finished work completed on the cross, that information is not necessary to be understood for salvation. This some have referred to as a “crossless” gospel. I completely agree with Hixson. (59)
George Meisinger addresses the content of the gospel from 1 Corinthians 15 in chapter four. Meisinger delineates the basic essentials of the Gospel and then well defines six end results of understanding Christ’s death and resurrection. Each result helps define why Free Grace must be held if Scripture is rightly divided. (90-93)
Each of the writers record fine scholarship to remove cloudiness in thinking and restore objectivity for future discussions. The rest of the chapters include: 5) What about Lordship Salvation?; 6) The Distinction between Salvation and Discipleship; 7) The Nature of Saving Faith; 8) Repentance and the Free Grace of God; 9) Regeneration and the Order of Salvation; 10) Is Salvation Forever or Can it be Lost?; 11) Can you know for Sure You are Saved Forever?; 12) Sin and Classical Free Grace Theology; 13) Sanctification by God’s Free Grace; 14) Rewards and the Judgment Seat of Christ; 15) What is Traditional Dispensationalism?; 16) The Link between Dispensationalism and Free Grace; and 17) God’s Grace in Missions, Evangelism, and Disciple-Making. I found each chapter well documented by God’s word and other authors.
The Gospel and the Christian way of life are far too important in which to muddle. In our desire for clarity, it is important to stand with Christian charity, but without compromise. Let no one take away from the sovereign work of God in Christ Jesus and let no one reduce the immensity of the grace of God by adding human works of righteousness.
Bryan,Thanks for the great review of FREELY BY HIS GRACE!I contributed two chapters to the book, so I may be biased, but I really do think it is an excellent book in setting forth the multifaceted glory and consistency of God's grace. And it presents a clear contrast with the works-based righteousness of Lordship Salvation/Reformed theology.Just one clarification though regarding JB Hixson's chapter on the Gospel. You noted that he takes issue with other Free Grace theologians who do not hold to the finished work of Christ, but they do not hold to the finished work of Christ ONLY as part of the content of saving faith. The theologians Hixson cites all personally believe in Christ's finished work on the cross but do not teach that a lost person must know about it or believe it to receive eternal life. Hence, they have a gospel or saving message that is "crossless." I thought this should be clarified in all fairness to them, even though we as classical Free Grace adherents strongly disagree with them.This is the first time I've been to your website, and I'm thrilled to read that you also hold to the Free Grace position. May our tribe increase!In the riches of His grace,Tom Stegall
Thanks for your clarification of my misunderstanding. I have edited that paragraph to be more accurate.
Pastor Bryan,Would you consider posting your excellent review of this book on Amazon so more people can read it?In Christ,TS