Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer uses Refined (Consistent) Free Grace Theology phraseology Part 3
At the foundation of Consistent Free Grace theology, we have great men of God who provided for us gems of theological precision and consistency in embryonic form. Lewis Sperry Chafer, founder and first president of Dallas Theological Seminary, was a profound Christian writer who provided the groundwork for todays Free Grace theology.
Many in Christendom wish to state that the issue between God and man in evangelism is sin. Therefore they stipulate that one must understand and assent to the fact that they are sinners liable to be thrown into the lake of fire for the just cause of condemnation due to their transgressions, or else they cannot be saved. This is yet another stipulation that is added to their individual checklists for evangelism.
L.S. Chafer was quoted last time (Dr. Chafer uses Consistent Free Grace Theology phraseology Part 2) saying these things:
"...when the Spirit is said to approach the unsaved to convince them of sin, He is not said to make them conscious or ashamed of their personal transgressions."
"That men are not now condemned primarily because of the sins which Christ has borne is finally stated in 2 Corinthians 5:14, 19 R.V.: 'We thus judge, that if one died for all, therefore all died'; 'God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not reckoning unto them their trespasses.'"
"[The] evidence recorded against them at that judgment seat: their names are not written in the Lamb's book of life."
Sin is not the issue between God and man. Why? Jesus died for the sins of the world in their entirety! He, Himself, is the propitiation for the sins of the world. He is the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world. Sin has been taken out of the way.
Imagine you were my neighbor; we have houses neighboring each other. But between our houses is a wall a mile high and a thousand miles long and 50 yards thick. Me, being the benevolent fellow that I am, wish, with great desire, to have you over to my house for fellowship and participation. But I cannot have you over because of the wall! Therefore, at great expense I have the entire wall removed, every single piece of rubble, ever pebble, until the way is clearly and openly smoothed out. What is left for you to do to have fellowship with me in my house? You must respond to my invitation. Since the wall has been down I have been doing my best to woo you to come to my house. But because the wall has come down does not mean you automatically are at my house! The wall was the barrier between me and you and there no longer remains a barrier to my unconditional acceptance of you. All that remains is responding to the invitation.
The lost are sinners. Yes they are. Yet their sin does not keep them from God. What is keeping them from God?
John has said "Unless you are born again you cannot enter the kingdom of God" and "Those whose names are not written in the book of life were cast into the lake of fire."
The lost do not have life! The word of God states that one must have life to be in God's kingdom, and this life is received by faith in Jesus, who is able to perform that which He promises, as an absolutely free gift.
So. In the limited aspect of the acceptance of the lost, sin is not an issue between man and God. Therefore, it is inconsistent to require that men and women repent as a condition for everlasting life. Why? Sin is not an issue regarding one's eternal destiny. LIFE is. (Let alone the fact that there is not even one verse in the whole of the bible that conditions the reception of everlasting life, eternal salvation, or justification upon one's repentance.)
L.S. Chafer is one of the most important progenitors of the Free Grace theology movement. Let us listen to Chafer on the subject of repentance:
It is an error to require repentance as a preliminary act preceding and separate from believing...
In presenting the gospel to [people in this age] there are one hundred and fifteen passages at least wherein the word "believe" is used alone and apart from every other condition as the only way of salvation. In addition to this there are upwards of thirty-five passages wherein its synonym "faith" is used....
That repentance is not saving is evidenced in the case of Judas, who repented and yet went to perdition.
The good news of the Gospel does not invite men to any sorrow whatsoever, or works of repentance... it invites them to find immediate "joy and peace in believing."
Repentance... should not now be required, as a separate act, apart from saving faith.
Moreover, no Scripture requires confession of sin as a condition of salvation in this age... The unsaved must come to God by faith.
Salvation: God's Marvelous Work of Grace, by Lewis Sperry Chafer
These portions of scripture [passages that condition eternal life solely on believing, faith] totaling about 150 in all, include practically all that the New Testament declares on the matter of the human responsiblity in salvation; yet each one of these texts omits any reference to repentance as a separate act. This fact, easily verified, cannot but bear enormous weight with any candid mind. In like manner, the Gospel by John, which is written to present Christ as the object of faith unto eternal life, does not once employ the word repentance... When the Apostle Paul and his companion, Silas, made reply to the jailer concerning what he should do to be saved, they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31). This reply, it is evident, fails to recognize the necessity of repentance in addition to believing. From this overwhelming mass of irrefutable evidence, it is clear that the New Testament does not impose repentance upon the unsaved as a condition for salvation. The gospel of John with its direct words from the lips of Christ, the Epistle to the Romans with its exhaustive treatment of the theme in question, the Apostle Paul, and the whole array of 150 New Testament passages which are the total of the divine instruction, are incomplete and misleading if repentance must be accorded a place [along with] believing. No thoughtful person would attempt to defend such a notion against such odds, and those who have thus undertaken doubtless have done so without weighing the evidence or considering the untenable position which thy assume.
Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, Vol. 3
In all fairness, Chafer believes that repentance, when he believes it may be in a soteriological passage, is nothing more than a synonym for belief. He would regard it as a change of mind from unbelief in Jesus to belief in Jesus for everlasting life, nothing more.
But as you see, many, including some who have ties to Free Grace theology (such as Lou Martuneac) make a huge deal out of "repentance" being necessary for eternal life. They view it as a concommitant condition along with faith, required for the reception of everlasting life. For them it is a separate condition, with a significantly different definition than that from Chafer.
Chafer was well on his way to developing Consistent Free Grace Theology. He did not regard repentance as a condition for everlasting life, unless one viewed it as a simple synonym for faith, nothing more. He shows from the available evidence that repentance is not a condition for everlasting life in addition to faith, that faith alone is the only condition.
And as such, he was a man well beyond his time. I thank the Lord for such men as L.S. Chafer.
Antonio da Rosa
PS: I do not want to give the impression that sin is never the issue between God and man. It surely is an issue between them, just never in the sense of one's acceptance by God. Sin is an issue between God and the unbeliever and God and the believer in the sense that these people are subject to God's temporal wrath for their sin. The remedy for this is repentance.