Is the Hyper-Grace Movement Based in Law?

In trying to better understand the Hyper-grace (HG) movement, I came across the following article from Paul Ellis, an HG teacher. I posted a response on his blog essentially pointing out to him that his article can be interpreted as a list of rules (laws), which seems to contradict the position of the HG movement.

Though I resonate with some of what Ellis writes here (we both love grace and consider it scandalously amazing), I think the self-contradiction of dismissing law by creating new laws doesn’t work and is devastating for the HG movement as a whole. My response is also reprinted here below Ellis’ article. Continue reading “Is the Hyper-Grace Movement Based in Law?”

Does Mustard Seed Faith Move Mountains?

Jesus taught that if people only had the faith of a mustard seed, they could move mountains (Matthew 17:20). He also taught that some people can have such a great faith that they could command a mulberry tree to be uprooted and throw into the sea (Luke 17:6).

These passages have often been misunderstood and abused. Many prosperity preachers have even used them to manipulate and damage people. However, if we take the time to dig into the actual and contextual meaning of these passages, we will be deeply encouraged and less likely to fall prey to beliefs and practices that run contrary to Scripture.

Tom Schreiner is a seminary professor of New Testament interpretation. He has provided an article (Why Doesn’t Our Faith Move Mountains) to help us understand the meaning of Matthew 17:20 and Luke 17:6. Did Jesus mean that our faith could literally pick up a mountain and move it? Did he mean that the goal of building our faith is so that we can perform miracles in the world? In his article Dr. Schreiner answers these and several other important questions related to these passages.

Some of his quotes:

“We’re prone to think if we just had more faith, then God could do amazing things through us. But Jesus tells us something quite astonishing. The issue isn’t whether we are full of faith but whether we have any faith.”

“Why is it true that mustard seed faith can move mountains and uproot mulberry trees? Jesus plainly tells us. It isn’t because of the quantity of our faith but the object of our faith.”

“Faith isn’t abstract; we put our faith in the promises of God, in the truth he has revealed. Scripture never promises believers they will be healthy or wealthy.”

“Mountain-moving faith, then, must be based on God’s promises—on what is revealed in his Word—not on what we wish will happen or even fervently believe will happen.”

“Love, joy, peace, and patience are mountains that can only be climbed by faith; faith, after all, expresses itself in love.”

“Mustard seed faith believes the gospel will go the ends of the earth and triumph over the gates of hell. And the clearest evidence of mustard seed faith is whether you love God and your neighbor.”

The classic sermon from
Jonathan Edwards
Updated for today’s readers


The Need to Read: Tony Reinke’s Top 16 Books of 2016

People can grow spiritually in a number of ways: Spending ample time in prayer, listening to a weekly (meaty) sermon, discussing doctrine with friends, acts of service, and many others. But I’m convinced that reading is at the top of the list.

Reading the Bible and other Christian books has the following advantages when it comes to spiritual growth:

  • Reading promotes meditation, and meditation is really where heart-level change happens. When reading, most people are intently focused on the words and what they mean.
  • Reading allows us to take in more information than we receive from most sermons, lectures, and discussions. The written form allows an author to present an argument in its entirety, and thus the nitty-gritty details of a particular topic can be considered by the reader.
  • Reading is an amazing way to spend extra time. It is so much better than watching movies, TV, or sports, and it can be just as entertaining as these. Plus, when people use their extra time reading, they will not be using that time to engage in sinful activities.

Since I believe so strongly in reading as a major method of growing in the Lord, I am happy to see Tony Reinke, a staff writer at Desiring God, providing the world with his list of the top 16 books of 2016. Reinke says:

“Reading opens our lives to benefit from a range of content, and prepares us to serve others by linking helpful books to the needs and interests of those around us.”

I haven’t been able to read most of the books on Reinke’s list, but I am currently reading one of them, A Peculiar Glory by John Piper, which I highly recommend. I do hope to tackle more over the next weeks and months. I hope you will pick one or two of these and join me!

You may also be interested in one of my books called Drowning Swine. Though this one won’t make anyone’s list of top books, I am grateful to hear that it has helped a number of folks in their walk with the Lord. That’s what its all about!

Five Guidelines for Managing Money to the Glory of God

Money issues make people anxious. But when Jesus taught on treasures and anxiety in the Sermon on the Mount, he made it clear that when we handle resources God’s way, it should actually alleviate stress and anxiety. Following biblical principles of financial stewardship is not burdensome, but actually takes the pressure off of us:

Matthew 6:25 Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

I read about a man who was cheating on his income tax. After hearing a sermon about lying and deceit, he wrote the IRS: “I’m having trouble sleeping at night because I’ve cheated on my taxes. Enclosed is a check for $150. If I still can’t sleep, I’ll send the rest.” Continue reading “Five Guidelines for Managing Money to the Glory of God”

What the Hyper-Grace Movement Gets Wrong

The grace of God really is a “hyper” type of thing. It is overwhelmingly amazing, it washes away all sin from a person’s life and heart, it is given freely at no cost to the sinner (but at high cost to Christ), and it alone can change a person’s heart.

Jeremy White, a self-identified hyper-grace preacher, answered several of the objections often raised against the so-called hyper-grace gospel in his article Why I am Hyper-Grace (written in 2014). He did a good job clarifying and explaining exactly what proponents in this stream of doctrine are teaching and believing. I appreciate his honesty and candor, and I consider him a brother in Christ.

Grace and Law Are Friends

For someone like me, there is great difficulty in critiquing the hyper-grace movement because I love and need the grace of God so much. Plus, Scripture is abundantly clear that God’s grace alone can save and sanctify the human soul. The last thing I ever want to do is minimize God’s grace, which is my only hope for eternal life. Continue reading “What the Hyper-Grace Movement Gets Wrong”

How to Pray for Your Children

Earlier today I spent time praying for my kids. As I got into naming them before the Lord and asking God to meet various needs in their lives, I immediately noticed that I had not prayed for them deeply in awhile. Sure, I always mention them to the Lord, but I don’t always pray for them deeply and from the heart.

Every Christian parent probably feels the same. Continue reading “How to Pray for Your Children”