A few years ago J. B. Hixson gave a message at a 2013 Pastor’s Conference entitled, “Why I Am No Longer Free Grace.” In the message he indicated that his theology had not changed, but that other people who call themselves Free Grace had changed their theology. That’s why Hixson no longer calls himself Free Grace.
Yesterday I received a surprising email from a reader. The Free Grace Alliance is considering changing its name to the Grace Alliance because of branding. The leadership of the FGA feels that Free Grace now has negative connotations for some people and thus they feel a need to consider a change of name. Now it may become the GA. I suppose people from Georgia will like the change.
Frankly, I was shocked four years ago when I saw Hixson’s talk online and I’m shocked all over again today that the FGA may drop the word Free from its name.
Last year Wayne Grudem came out with a book criticizing Free Grace Theology: Free Grace Theology: 5 Ways It Diminishes the Gospel. In that book he criticizes both the FGA and GES, though he mentions the FGA about twice as much as he mentions GES (see Subject Index, p. 153). I personally think that now more than ever we need to defend Free Grace Theology and the label Free Grace.
The expression Grace Theology doesn’t mean much today since every flavor of Christianity claims to believe in grace: Catholic, Orthodox, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Churches of Christ, Calvinists, Arminians, Lordship Salvationists, etc.
I think the label Free Grace is a great one, even though that exact expression is not found in the Bible. The closest we get is Rom 5:15 which speaks of “the free gift.” However, there are lots of references to the free gift of everlasting life (e.g., John 4:10; Eph 2:8-9; Rev 22:17) and there are lots of references to grace in salvation (e.g., Acts 15:11; Rom 3:24; 4:4-5; 11:6; Gal 1:21; 2:21; Eph 2:8-9).
Free grace is a wonderful title. It is descriptive. It is an accurate summary of what the Bible teaches.
The FGA will vote on the proposed name change at its October annual conference. I hope they decide not to change their name. I hope those of us who believe in everlasting life as a free gift which is received by faith alone in Christ alone will continue to use the expression Free Grace to identify our position.
Is the Label “Free Grace” Negative?