I received a lot of replies to my blog post on four levels of Free Grace Theology. I realize that I need to answer some of the follow-up comments and questions.
J. H. writes,
I am Free Grace and agree with you on the first level. I disagree with you on plenty of the rest you listed. I just think the second, third and fourth as being the issues that make it comfortable or uncomfortable to listen to teaching, fellowship or hang out with others. We want a more stress-free walk with the Lord, and that is why we choose to spend time with those we agree with on more doctrines than with those we don’t. I know that when we get to heaven, we will be straightened out on all of our errors of beliefs. God bless you and your ministry.
Tim similarly comments,
Thanks for your blog on November 30 about different tiers of doctrine in Free Grace. Deciding what doctrines are essential for unity and which ones are ok to disagree on has been a topic I have been dwelling on for the last couple years. I hope you could follow up on this and discuss the different levels of Christian doctrines in the Church and its practical application. Also, I was surprised you had inerrancy as a 2nd level doctrine and not as a 1st level. I would separate from a church that believes the Scriptures have errors. Thanks again for your blogs. I read them every day.”
Clarification #1. I was talking about levels of Free Grace Theology (FGT), not levels of orthodoxy.
Clarification #2. I was not talking about how you decide what church to attend. I was talking about how you decide if a person you are talking with is FG or not.
Clarification #3. I, too, would not attend a church that rejected inerrancy or that was not simpatico with most of the elements on levels one through three.
It is not only most comfortable to be a part of church that agrees with your views on most major doctrines, but also vital to your growth. Of course, this presupposes that you have been well taught up till now. Assuming you have, you do not need anyone to correct your understanding of the major doctrines of the faith.
Clarification #4. I was not writing about the issue of unity and deciding whether you need to separate from people with a certain theology. A person might be solidly FG (that is, he might agree on all level-one issues) and yet might be so flawed in other aspects of his theology that there could be no overall unity.
Examples might be someone who believed that the Bible was full of errors or someone who believed that Jesus could have died by any method and that the shedding of blood figuratively refers to death, not literally death by the shedding of blood.
Clarification #5. I was implying—though I did not directly indicate this—that if someone is off on level-one issues, then we should not support his ministry, nor work with him, nor seek to help him in his ministry. Some readers understood that I was implying this. At least one reader felt that there is too much division in Christianity already, and that division in FG circles is a bad thing. While I too dislike division in FG circles, it does exist. The fact that someone identifies himself as FG does not mean that he is FG. Only if his beliefs match up with FGT is he FG.
In light of Gal 1:8-9, we should separate from people, even if they identify as FG, if they hold erroneous level-one views. I think we should also pray for them to see the light and come to (or come back to) the truth.