[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer uses Refined (Consistent) Free Grace Theology phraseology Part 3

by Antonio da Rosa

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.

11 Comments:

  • Antonio,

    I have a CD with some real player recordings of Dr. Chafer teaching on the spiritual life to a Class at Dallas seminary. I can put them up on the website for you to down load.

    P.S. I believe Dr. Steve just came up with many more questions for Carlie and the board.

    On to the topic at hand. I get frustrated when Lordship or hyper reformed theologians bash Dr. Chafer, or C.I. Schofield as having errors in their writings. This is as if they have no errors in their own writings. No teacher, pastor, theologian, or linguist is uninfluenced by bias.

    That is why many of us in FG have our published writings screened and peer reviewed.

    I have read the 8 volume set back in the late 70s when they came out...my first exposure to free grace teaching.

    Interested to see what the others think of the assertion made here?

    Your brother,

    Jim

    By Blogger Jim, at Wednesday, February 13, 2008 9:18:00 PM  

  • [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.)]

    Hi Antonio,
    What do you say about this verse?

    Luke 18:9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

    We are not told that we are justified by repentance or humility or prayer for that matter, but these things are always present wherever there is true saving faith.

    Jesus said:
    Luke 5:32
    I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”


    Bringing up the "sin issue" is part of the gospel. Jesus when speaking to the woman at the well brought up that very uncomfortable fact that the man she was living with was NOT her husband, and that she had had five husbands. His teaching to her is rich in content, not only does he speak of living water but He speaks to her about true worship, that it must be done in spirit and in truth. Worship is not to be focused on mere externals. He informed her that he Samaritans worshiped what they did not know and salvation is of the Jews, then he identifies Himself to her as the Messiah.


    Paul preached the whole counsel of God which is the very same message all the other apostles all preached.

    Acts 20:18“You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, 19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; 20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, 21 testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ...26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, 27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.

    The whole counsel of God includes repentance and the fact that sinners are separated from God and need to be reconciled.

    Isaiah 59:1 Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save,
    or his ear dull, that it cannot hear;
    2 but your iniquities have made a separation
    between you and your God,
    and your sins have hidden his face from you
    so that he does not hear.
    3 For your hands are defiled with blood
    and your fingers with iniquity;
    your lips have spoken lies;
    your tongue mutters wickedness.

    Ephesians 5 plainly warns us that God's wrath is on the "sons of disobedience" because of their sins.
    Ephesians 5:3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

    Something the Lord used to awaken me to my danger when I was about 21 was this passage from a book my inlaws gave me to read.

    Rescued from Darkness
    Paul also views the work of Christ in its effect on the principalities and powers of darkness. "He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins" (Col. 1:13-14). We think of Satanists and occult practicers and those involved in explicitly demonic activities as belonging to Satan's kingdom, but we tend to see the rest of mankind, including ourselves before we were Christians in a neutral position hovering between the two kingdoms However, the New Testament teaches that there are only two possibilities: either we have fellowship with God and through faith in Christ are in his kingdom or we belong to Satan. There is no neutral ground. Jesus called Satan the prince of this world, the world to which we belong. So every individual who is not a believer is a member of his kingdom. Satan is even called the god of this world by Paul. Humanity lives in enemy-occupied territory, and we are all subjects of its king.
    From Being Human: The Nature of Spiritual Experience by Ranald Macaulay and Jerram Barrs P.76

    By Blogger VA ~Susan, at Wednesday, February 13, 2008 9:39:00 PM  

  • A good Quote from J. C. Ryle:
    Luke 3: 1-6
    1 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, 2 during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 4 As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,
    "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
    5 Every valley shall be filled,
    and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways,
    6 and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'"


    Let us notice, lastly, in this passage, the close connection between true repentance and forgiveness. We are told that John the Baptist came "preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins." The plain meaning of this expression is, that John preached the necessity of being baptized, in token of repentance, and that he told his hearers that except they repented of sin, their sins would not be forgiven.

    We must carefully bear in mind that no repentance can make atonement for sin. The blood of Christ, and nothing else, can wash away sin from man's soul. No quantity of repentance can ever justify us in the sight of God. "We are accounted righteous before God, only for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, by faith, and not for our own works or deservings." It is of the utmost importance to understand this clearly. The trouble that men bring upon their souls, by misunderstanding this subject, is more than can be expressed.

    But while we say all this, we must carefully remember that without repentance no soul was ever yet saved. We must know our sins, mourn over them, forsake them, abhor them, or else we shall never enter the kingdom of heaven. There is nothing meritorious in this. It forms no part whatever of the price of our redemption. Our salvation is all of grace, from first to last. But the great fact still remains, that saved souls are always penitent souls, and that saving faith in Christ, and true repentance toward God, are never found asunder. This is a mighty truth, and one that ought never to be forgotten.

    Do we ourselves repent? This, after all, is the question which most nearly concerns us. Have we been convinced of sin by the Holy Spirit? Have we fled to Jesus for deliverance from the wrath to come? Do we know anything of a broken and contrite heart, and a thorough hatred of sin? Can we say, "I repent," as well as "I believe?" If not, let us not delude our minds with the idea that our sins are yet forgiven. It is written, "Except you repent, you shall all likewise perish." (Luke 13:3.)

    Expoitory Thoughts on Luke by J. C. Ryle

    By Blogger VA ~Susan, at Wednesday, February 13, 2008 9:57:00 PM  

  • Jim, thanks for the update. I would love to dl those teachings. Please do put them on your site.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Thursday, February 14, 2008 6:43:00 PM  

  • Susan,

    Thanks for your contribution. You have written quite alot. I do have much already written about repentance over at http://free-grace.blogspot.com

    You may check the table of contents to peruse some of my articles.

    I really don't want to spend alot of time on this thread correcting all the misconceptions I feel you have of these passages and of the doctrine of eternal salvation. There would be need for a huge paradigm shift in your thinking on these subject. The traditional way you think about these things, I am convinced, is in great error. Now I didn't come to this understanding overnight and would not expect you to do so. But as with any important endeavor, the wise man takes into consideration all things and then draws conclusions based upon fair hearings of the evidence.

    I would be more than willing to discuss with you your strongest passage which you feel shows that either, in the issue of God's acceptance of the lost, that sin is an issue, or the idea that repentance is required as a condition for everlasting life, eternal salvation, and/or justification before God.

    Again, for your reading pleasure, and consideration, I would ask you to take a look at Free Grace Theology Table of Contents under the heading of repentance, and give my position a hearing.

    Thanks again for your participation,

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Thursday, February 14, 2008 7:20:00 PM  

  • Hi Antonio
    I like your wall analogy. Allot of the young men I work with just came back from Iraq. I'm still refining my invitation. But I usually ask them how about if they had died over there would they have went to heaven? Their answer usually gives me what they are trusting in to get them there. If it's their own righteousness I usually tell them what Jesus said in Matt 5 if you look upon a women to lust after her you've done the same as commit adultery. From there I usually tell them how Jesus paid for all their sin on the cross from the day they were born until the day they die, it was all paid for. Then I go for the target Jesus promise of eternal life to the one who simply believes Him. Once I share with them I leave it to God to work. I have a Mormon on the one shift and on the last day of our 10-week night shift together; he came to me with questions. This Mormon wants to be accepted as a Christian. When I first shared with him I basically went over what I said up above, he said he believed it was a gift. I now think he was telling me just what he thought I wanted to hear. The last time his questions had to do with levels of heaven, rewards. He seemed to be real happy I believed in rewards. He went on to explain to me everyone having eternal life. So I had to explain to him what eternal life was and Who eternal life is. And of course the alternative to eternal life is eternal death in the lake of fire. Any way the door was still open for more seed to be sown.

    blesings alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Friday, February 15, 2008 10:39:00 AM  

  • Alvin,

    I just wanted to tell you that reading you around the blogosphere is a real blessing. I am glad that you are out there living your faith and sharing it. Thanks for the comments.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Friday, February 15, 2008 4:22:00 PM  

  • Antonio,
    A good and thoughtful post. I want to understand what I think you are NOT saying. Am I correct that you are NOT saying:
    When doing evangelism, discussing sin and how it has seperated us from God is NOT useful?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, February 19, 2008 5:45:00 AM  

  • Rose,

    there is nothing wrong with discussing sin. as a matter of fact, sin is a great intro to discuss Jesus, as He, Himself, is the propitiation for the sins of the world.

    Sin has separated us from God in the sense that experiential sinning (whether saved or unsaved) keeps us from fellowship with God.

    But sin is not what separates us from God in the sense of His acceptance. Sin is not an issue between God and man in the limited aspect of personal, eternal salvation. The only issue between God and man, from God's point of view, is one of life.

    Only those who are born again can enter the kingdom of God, and those whose names are not written in the book of life are cast into the lake of fire.

    Let me know if these answers suffice or you need to follow up.

    regards!

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Thursday, February 21, 2008 7:22:00 PM  

  • [I would be more than willing to discuss with you your strongest passage which you feel shows that either, in the issue of God's acceptance of the lost, that sin is an issue, or the idea that repentance is required as a condition for everlasting life, eternal salvation, and/or justification before God.]

    Hi Antonio,
    Thanks for your kind reply. I wasn't going to pursue this further with you, but then I came across this verse which does show that forgiveness is directly connected to the sinner believing in Christ, so I thought I would use this opportunity to ask for your comments.

    Acts 10:42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

    [I really don't want to spend alot of time on this thread correcting all the misconceptions I feel you have of these passages and of the doctrine of eternal salvation. There would be need for a huge paradigm shift in your thinking on these subject. The traditional way you think about these things, I am convinced, is in great error. Now I didn't come to this understanding overnight and would not expect you to do so. But as with any important endeavor, the wise man takes into consideration all things and then draws conclusions based upon fair hearings of the evidence.]

    I'm sure you have given this a great deal of study and thought, but I would caution you about embracing this "new paradigm".


    Jeremiah 6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.

    ~Susan

    By Blogger VA ~Susan, at Monday, February 25, 2008 2:39:00 PM  

  • Rose asked me this on her blog on the "How do you spell Repentance thread.


    Susan,
    Now that it seems I can think a little, since the air is clearer in here,
    I was looking at this passage that you brought up to Antonio:

    Acts 10:42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

    What exactly was the point you were making? I am interested in discussing it with you. I hope we can keep comments somewhat breif so that we can actually discuss things one thing at a time. That is, if you want to discuss it. I am very curious as to your point about this verse.

    Thanks!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/06/2008

    Maybe I was not clear enough in the post to Antonio before.
    Here was my reply to Rose:

    [43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”]
    Rose,
    Sorry, I do not have the email notification turned on, so I did not see your last comment until now. I know you have a lot else going on now, but I wanted to answer this. My point is that forgiveness of sins is connected to having saving faith in Christ. I was refuting the idea that Christ took everyone's sins out of the way no matter if they have faith in Christ or not so that sin is no longer an issue between the sinner and God, that only spiritual life is needed. It is clear here that the benefits of the atonement are only applied to those who have faith. Rachel made the point which Lou quoted to me previously that both the limited atonement folks and the Unlimited atonement folks of the Old Time Evangelical variety are all united on this fact. Rachel also posted the verse that ties propitiation to faith.
    Romans 3:25 says of Jesus, "God presented Him as a propitiation through faith in His blood, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His restraint God passed over the sins previously committed..." (HCSB)

    That is why it is unbiblical to say sin is no longer the issue in evangelism. Unless the sinner repents, he remains a slave of sin and unless he repents, will surely perish in his sins in hell under God's wrath and curse.

    By Blogger VA ~Susan, at 3/11/2008 12:25 PM


    I thought I should post it here in case my point to Antonio was not obvious to others.
    ~Susan

    By Blogger VA ~Susan, at Wednesday, March 12, 2008 10:55:00 AM  

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