Don't Underestimate the Impact of Free Grace Teaching!
by Roger Lamfers
Many years ago in a Sunday school class I realized that I had a deep desire to learn more about God. After the class ended I went up to the teacher and tried to explain what it was I was feeling inside. Instead of taking the opportunity to talk to me more and even tell me about spiritual salvation, the Sunday school teacher simply said, "Well, maybe you should become a preacher."
I didn't go on to become a preacher, but I did begin to learn about salvation, thanks to my wife and Tabernacle Baptist Church in George, IA. I didn't quite understand the message I was hearing, but I went through the process of "accepting Christ as my Savior." Even through my confusion and doubt during this period, God honored my desire for more knowledge of Him by bringing Dan Hauge to our church as the Pastor. Dan began to teach grace, and what it means to believe. I remember him teaching on the passage in John 4 about the woman at the well and all of Dan's teachings on Free Grace began to trickle into my heart and mind—just a little bit at first, then a little bit more.
After a few years Dan introduced me to Zane Hodges and his writings. Zane came to our church for a Bible conference and during that time I was able to meet and talk with Zane and Dan. After meeting Zane, I had the privilege of being able to call him with questions during my studies. By trade I'm a hog farmer, not a theologian, yet he was gracious enough to take the time to talk to me and answer my questions.
Even though my whole church had access to Zane during that time, I was one of the few who took advantage of the opportunity to sit and discuss the Bible with him. Seeing my interest in what Zane had to say, Dan invited me to attend the GES Grace Conference with him in 2002, and of course I went. That conference is how I began to meet many Free Grace people from around the U.S. and Canada. I've come to know a lot of people on a first-name basis— and for that I'm very thankful.
My point is this: When you teach the Free Grace message, you never know precisely who your teaching is going to impact. Free Grace teaching impacted my life.
I've taught a Sunday school class for twenty-something years and I teach Free Grace. The things I learn at the annual GES Conference I take back to my class and share with all of them. This past year I have had the opportunity to begin mentoring two men who attend my church. I took them through the Gospel of John and we discussed several of the key passages. One of the men, Ed, grew up Catholic and struggled with many of the concepts of Free Grace. Ed is a man of God and truly desires to serve Him, but he was burdened with the bondage of works. It took about eight weeks, but Ed and I kept working through things until he got to the point that he understood. The day it finally sank in was a special day. Ed and I were talking:
"Do you know what it is that God is offering you?" I asked.
"I don't know," Ed said.
"Well, what do you receive if you accept what Jesus is offering you?"
"I would have everlasting life," Ed responded.
"Do you believe that?"
"Well, yeah. That's what it says."
"So then what do you have?" I asked.
"I have eternal life." Then Ed put his head down on his arms on the table.
If I never live to see another spectacular thing, it won't matter after having a part in Ed's discovery of the free gift of everlasting life. To see the Word of God move a man from death to life is an amazing thing.
I could go on and on but the point is this: Don't think your words are falling on deaf ears—they're not.