Here is an email I received:
Is there a reason why Dr. Norman Geisler is featured and lionized in the latest Grace in Focus Magazine?
In my exchanges with him, he opposed GES soteriology.
His website clearly articulates a repentance view.
Lots more could be said.
Perhaps I’m not understanding something here?
While our ministry promotes the free gift of everlasting by faith in Christ, apart from works, we do more than that. We also promote discipleship. We call believers to follow Christ so that they might gain eternal rewards. In order to achieve those two goals, we promote the Word of God as inspired and without error of any kind.
Dr. Geisler defended the Bible during his entire ministry. He was known as a champion for a very strong view of inerrancy. He opposed the liberal trends that have been creeping into Evangelicalism through liberal philosophies.
I’m not sure how well the correspondent knew Dr. Geisler. I had him for one class during seminary. So, I heard him speak about 45 hours that semester. I also heard him speak at many conferences over the years, including speaking on eschatology at a GES regional conference in San Antonio and on inerrancy and hermeneutics at a GES Charlotte regional. I never once heard him oppose Free Grace theology. Besides, why would he speak at our conferences if he opposed what we teach?
Dr. Geisler in print once indicated that he did not identify with either the Free Grace position or the Lordship Salvation position. In what I read and heard from him, I think he was a soft Free Grace guy.
I never heard him say that repentance is a condition for everlasting life. I realize that is in some doctrinal statement associated with him. But I never heard that.
But here is the main point. We can praise someone for a lifetime of defending the Bible even if that person was not crystal clear on Free Grace issues.
I would go a step further. We can praise someone for a lifetime of defending the Bible even if the person was promoting Lordship Salvation (which Dr. Geisler was not).
GES does not exist solely for the purpose of promoting the promise of everlasting life (John 3:14-18; 5:24; Acts 16:31; Eph 2:8-9; Rev 22:17). We also promote the doctrine of eternal rewards (Luke 19:16-26; 1 Cor 9:24-27; 2 Cor 5:9-10; 2 Tim 2:12; Rev 2:26). And to do both, we promote the absolute truthfulness of God’s Word (Ps 119:105; Isa 40:8; John 17:17; 2 Tim 3:16-17; 1 Pet 1:23-25).
I sent this blog post to a pastor friend who knew Dr. Geisler well. He agreed with what I wrote and said, “Few see [Free Grace Theology] as indispensable to understanding and teaching the whole counsel of God. We desperately need Free Grace Sunday School materials, Vacation Bible School curricula (I am so tired of having to rewrite large chunks of the VBS materials we use), youth ministry teaching materials, and other materials for men’s and women’s studies. The list of needs for Free Grace materials is a long one. What you and Shawn (and others) are doing is important in beginning to move these things in the right direction. Thank you!”
We realize that some of our readers may be confused or even offended if we praise someone who is not known as a champion of the Free Grace position. I hope we are secure enough in our beliefs to be able to recognize the fact that God mightily used someone who did not say everything exactly as we do.