By Jack Weaver
This is a wonderfully encouraging note from Kim who, with her husband, was trapped in Calvinism and Lordship “salvation” for over 22 years, She proclaims they are both now Joyously Free From the Burden, Oppression and Depression of Lordship “Salvation” and Calvinism. This is her story.
I’ve been ‘lurking’ on your ExPreacherMan site for a couple of months now, and I can happily say that my eyes have been opened and my life and faith have been changed completely because of the wonderful words of Truth contained on your site, which God has so graciously used to ‘change my mind’.
My husband and I had been swallowing the false Calvinism and Lordship Salvation teachings of R.C. Sproul and John MacArthur for 22 years, and me for 11 years before that, not realizing that they offered only false gospels.
In recent years, however, I found myself having more and more ‘trouble’ with the Calvinism teachings and emphases. So the Holy Spirit had been preparing me, I believe, for the day I came across your web site and discovered how truly disgraceful the teachings of Calvinism and Lordship Salvation are — false teachings offering false gospels, we now clearly see.
In searching for information on the book “A Hole in Our Gospel“ by Richard Stearns, [Reviewed by Bruce Bauer] I got a hit on your site, and then came across the post “You May Be a Lordship Salvationist If:” [By John] and began reading. I not only gained the information I needed to refute the unbiblical ‘social gospel’ message of Stearns’ book, which I knew to be error, but quickly saw the Truth of Free Grace as I read more and more of your posts and comments.
Now my husband and I are 100% Free Gracers, and are experiencing that wonderful feeling of a giant burden lifted! The oppression and depression of years of works and behavior focus are gone, and we’re finally enjoying and appreciating the wonder and joy of salvation by God’s Grace alone through Faith alone in Christ alone. So Thank You so much for your wonderful ministry at ExPreacherMan. We will keep reading!
Now we are looking for a Free Grace church in our area! Can you tell me, please, whether you recommend churches that are associated with the Evangelical Free Church of America organization? I know Chuck Swindoll was pastor of an EFCA church in Fullerton, California for years, but now has his own church in Frisco, TX that is not EFCA affiliated. In our search for DTS (Dallas Theological Seminary) churches, we found a couple near us that identify themselves as EFCA churches. By the way, unfortunately it was Calvinistic teachings which had infiltrated a DTS church that I landed in shortly after college that initially led me astray. And we are finding that LS teaching seems to be everywhere.
Thank you so much,
Kim, thanks for your encouraging note. We are excited to read your email about how you and your husband have come to a clear understanding of Salvation by Grace alone through Faith alone in Jesus alone. We are blessed by your note!!! This will be a Thanksgiving in which we will give thanks to the Lord for you and with you.
About your question on EFC churches. My understanding is that they are a loose affiliation of churches with no real “set-in-concrete” Statement of Faith. Some of them may be OK but others wander all over the theological landscape — some are Calvinist and some LS.
I am sure our readers will rejoice with you and some may have suggestions for churches — but regrettably, we find good Free Grace churches are very few. If you wish to disclose your approximate general location, some of our readers may be able to help you with suggesting a church.
For your friend William. She needs Christian fellowship, prayed for her too, that she will build up her shield of faith by the hearing of His Word. That she will remember to put on her armor daily, we all forget. That she will consider writing her family personal letters about Christ, which will keep her from as much personal interaction, yet it can still be personal. And that others might come alongside her and help.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
So then death worketh in us, but life in you.
We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.
For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Cor 4:7-18
John, Preston, and Jackie and to all who are praying,
Please continue to pray for “crazyhorses”. I have encouraged her to visit this website and to have fellowship with other free grace Christians. We all suffer in one way or another as Christians and we need each other’s prayer support.
1 Peter 3:14-15 14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; 15 but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
1 Peter 4:16 – Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
Praying for your friend. Our God is surely a God of deliverance. Praise Him! 🙂
my prayers as well.
William, I have prayed for “Crazayhorses,” and his/her family.
chapter 1 in a book. John, can you give him a copy?
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the faith,
Please pray for a person that I have been chatting with on YouTube. The person’s screen name is “crazyhorses”. This person is the only believer in Christ in his/her family, but unfortunately this person has family members that are Satanists. This person has been experiencing Satanic oppression and suffering for years because of his/her faith and the last comment that this person posted really worries me. Even though I don’t personally know this person, I feel sympathy for him/her.
With this person’s permission I am posting the comment that he/she sent me this morning. Please pray for “crazyhorses” that he/she be set free from the Satanic oppression and suffering and please pray that this person’s family members that are Satanists will turn from their worship of Satan and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. Below is the comment:
“I definitely know that Satan is behind every evil deed, especially when a Christian is harmed. I know how much he hates us and we know we are not his equal. I know I need to trust and depend on God, and like you, when nothing seems to be happening, I get frustrated and want a quick fix; I want to do something in my own strength, to get ahead of God. Of all the times I have done this before, I have experienced miserable failure and fell back into sin. Then anxiety and depression usually sets in. Almost always the situation is made worse, not better and its almost as if I can hear Satan laughing at me, and I know he does everytime I ‘fall for it’. I have fallen into a sinful lifestyle but have since repented. I will suffer the consequences of that for the rest of my life because I ruined my testimony but that’s not what I’m crying out to God about. I have been attacked in my body by Satan (Satan controlled individual) and it is causing me to lose my ability to take care of myself. This attack was not because of my sin, but because there are Satanists in my family. I’ve been suffering for many years like this and am very tired of the constant struggle. I’m trying to hang on but it’s hard. I keep hoping for the signs of the end to become more evident because I want it to come. If I should pass on soon, I know I will be with the Lord, but I wanted so much to make up for lost time, lost chances that I blew. That is really the only reason that I want to live longer, and because I want to keep talking to my family; they don’t know Jesus. I want badly for them to go to heaven and it tears me up inside when I think of the eternal consequences they will suffer if they remain lost. I am more afraid for them than for myself and I am helpless at this point. It’s like mental torture for me. God help me. Thanks for sharing. I’ll see you in glory. God bless you.”
Ben, if you haven’t already read it, you might be interested in the article linked below:
It is truly wonderful to see that the Lord is awakening many Christians to the errors of Lordship Salvation. I am surprised at how many people came out of that theology, giving testimonies of the damage it did to their faith. This is truly a beautiful thing to see.
I may be doing an expose on Lordship Salvation sometime in the near future, either by YouTube video or by a written blog. In my video or blog (whatever I choose to do) I would like to include personal testimonies of former adherents of Lordship Salvation. Just to reveal its pervasive, damaging effects on Christians.
I see that many of you have come out of Lordship Salvation. Would any of you be willing to give a brief testimony of your LS experiences in reply to my comment? This would be very helpful. No pressure though.
Thank you for the feedback, instruction and encouragement. As always, it’s MUCH appreciated.
“Finally, a little over a decade ago I told a friend of mine (a believer) that I thought “most of the books one finds in a Christian book store are garbage.” That statement sort of haunted me for years because I wondered if it was a bit extreme and arrogant. But after reading this thread I now believe I was right and that the problem’s worse than it’s ever been.”
It was not an extreme statement. It was an accurate one. I used to work in a “Christian bookstore”. The books I remember were things like the typical LS MacArthur, Piper, and so on. Then the official biography of the triumphs of Drew Brees (is he even a believer? I don’t have the foggiest). Then there was the catholic section complete with rosaries. And then the “charismatic” section with the usual word/faith magicianship. Just a total mess. Not one free grace text in the whole store, if I am remembering correctly.
Fryingpan, I think John 3:18 sums it up pretty well – either one believes Jesus is his Savior, or he does not.
A passage that describes religious non-believers, including people who insist on adding their own conditions to the Gospel, is John 5:39-40:
“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.”
I just finished reading this thread. It was very helpful and informative. I especially appreciate the comments made by John, caifgracer, Abe, and Pearl on 11/22/12 about how one remains an unbeliever if they don’t accept the free gift of salvation as just that–a gift. (I hope I’m not distorting it or putting words into anyone’s mouth, so to speak.)
Lately I find myself constantly coming back to finding that the crux of the matter is that one either accepts and obeys John 3:18: “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (NKJV)
This “either/or” understanding of the gospel seems well summed up in how one’s beliefs line up with this one verse of scripture. Am I oversimplifying things?
Also, the other day I ordered Tom Cucuzza’s SECURE FOREVER! and Charlie Bing’s LORDSHIP SALVATION off of Amazon. I should have both in my hands any day now. I’ll probably start whichever I get first as they were shipped separately
And now that it’s a new month, I’m going to read Ron Shea’s Clear Gospel Campaign booklet about the gospel for a second time and will do so once a month until I’ve read it at least as many times as he recommends.
Finally, a little over a decade ago I told a friend of mine (a believer) that I thought “most of the books one finds in a Christian book store are garbage.” That statement sort of haunted me for years because I wondered if it was a bit extreme and arrogant. But after reading this thread I now believe I was right and that the problem’s worse than it’s ever been.
Thank you all.
Thank God for wise professors, wherever they be!
Talk about a double whammy! How much you wanna bet that the lil’ church has a cute lil’ labyrinth painted on the gym floor?
One more thought:
I recently discovered that the church that I attended in my youth and early married years (General Baptist) now has a full time female pastor of “spiritual formation.” God help us.
Thanks for your great comments today!
You said, “The common denominator is always contemplative, which comes from not being content with the word of God.”
That is a significant statement, one which I had not really pondered. But it makes a great deal of sense to me as it seems like contemplative influence has pretty much penetrated most of the theological spectrum. Years ago, one of my professors in seminary warned us young Bible students that well-known pastors, writers and teachers would often introduce some kind of, what he dubbed, a novel approach to theological and biblical interpretation. Why do they resort to that? Because they want the notoriety among their peers of forging new theological ground and, frankly, it sells books! This all goes along with your statement about their not being content with the word of God.
One student asked the professor, “Then why is it that, when these men are confronted with the facts of the Bible, they almost never back down from their spurious positions?” The professor answered to the effect, “Once a man gets into print, it’s nearly impossible to convince him to break free from or to repudiate his stated position, even if is is provably false.”
Yes, He certainly is..
I feel the same way, Kim. Jack, Bruce, John, JimF and others who’ve contributed here have been instrumental in healing my spiritual scoliosis – helping me to walk on the straight and narrow. This place is truly one in a million. God is good, isn’t He?
Thanks, Pearl. That’s pretty much the conclusion I was coming to regarding the Christian bookstores, along with most churches. It’s pretty shocking how far away from the Truth so many have moved, and how prevalent that corruption has become. Chuck (my husband) and I got our new KJV bibles just last month, and got rid of our NKJV ‘Geneva Study Bibles’ (Sproul’s)! I just can’t say enough about how thankful I am for this blog and all the great info on it. I had been uncomfortable about so much of what Sproul, MacArthur, Beth Moore, and so many others were teaching for so long, and finally God graciously brought me to this site and it’s been a wonderfully uplifting and freeing experience. Thanks again for the info and encouragement! And I didn’t realize Chuck Swindoll had gone so far off track. He graduated from the same high school that I graduated from – a few years later, though. I had never heard of Greg Laurie or Dave Ramsey. But I used to listen to Chuck Swindoll on the radio on the way to work in the 80’s and 90’s.
You nailed it, Kim. Contemplative Prayer also known as the silence, spiritual formation, spiritual disciplines, meditation (as in “enter the stillness” through meditation). Beth Moore ought to be avoided at all costs (and the list of names goes on and on and on…). It’s just best to stay out of the Christian bookstore altogether.
It’s amazing to me how some discernment ministries (Dave Hunt’s “Berean Call”) are all over the dangers of contemplative prayer, yet defend the classics like A.W. Tozer who called the very ones who introduced years ago these practices into the contemporary church “Great men of God” (but in truth, they were Catholic monks).
Just keep your KJ bible close to you, steer clear of extracurricular Christian reading and you’ll be fine.
Pearl and Jack,
Is the contemplative you’re referring to related to contemplative prayer that I’ve read a little about regarding Beth Moore? I’m not super familiar with that, and have never cared for Beth Moore myself, but have friends and family who are devoted to her… Thanks for any info and comments you wish to share!
And that’s precisely what facinates me so, that people who really do know the difference between the LS message vs. the grace message (based on their books and blogs – Swindoll and one other come quickly to mind) have joined up with those who are very clearly LS (never the other way around). But they don’t connect with the stiffs like John Mac. No, they join up with those who’re way more subtle; their message is always love and acceptance; they totally relate to the everyday man (i.e. Dave Ramsey). How does it happen? The common denominator is always contemplative, which comes from not being content with the word of God, but needing to get “fed” through authors and classical writings because they have a way with communicating God’s Word which makes me feel so much better!!
“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”
Not too much of a surprise.. It is my understanding that Chuck has been leaning Contemplative for many years. What surprises me is that he is enamored with that abomination called “The Message.”
Many years ago (back when I could read type on paper) I read one of Swindoll’s “help” books (don’t recall the name). Throughout the pages he had many recommendations for a “better life” but I do not recall finding any reference to the Gospel or the Savior, Jesus Christ. Pure psychology.. You are right — he is a shame.
In Jesus eternally, Jack
This is very old news, but I just got wind of it moments ago as I was searching for something online:
Did anyone here know that Chuck Swindoll and Greg Laurie collaborated on an Evangelism book back in 2006? That’s gotta be a head-scratcher of a read. I wonder what seduced Swindoll to compromise? My guess is that it began long ago with his accepting the “deeper” writings of “Great men of God”, followed by his extensive reading/preaching from “The Message”.
What a shame.
Hi Faith! Good to “see” you!
So good to hear from you again. We have missed you and your wise thoughts.
It is never too late to thank The Lord for His Goodness. Enjoy the blessings of our Savior regardless of the season.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Hi Faith, great to hear from you.
Thanks to you too, Levi.
Happy late Thanksgiving to you Jack and the rest of the bunch!
Thanking the Lord for His goodness to us!
Thanks for your comment. This should encourage all of us. Immediately below is a list of countries from which ExPreacherMan has had visitors in the last two days, in alphabetical order:
• New Zealand,
• South Africa,
• United Kingdom,
• United States,
And here are some in addition to those regulars in random order from two days in the middle of October:
• Saudi Arabia,
• Republic of Korea,
• Dominican Republic,
• Russian Federation,
Every day we are provided a list of 15 to 20 countries, some repeats and some new. We praise the Lord for those who have visited and, though we know some may be spammers, we pray they may get a clear understanding of God’s love for them, His provision and gift to them of eternal life.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
On a happier note this Thanksgiving Day, I am so profoundly thankful for you all, today and every day. Just when I thought I knew it all, you guys go and learn me something new! 😉
Hoping everyone here, whether American, Canadian, Australian (etc), realizes their riches in Christ Jesus. In spite of this world, we have much to be thankful for every single day.
That a way to break it down, Bruce and Abe. Powerful indeed.
I remember reading a Charlie Bing article a year or so ago on Matthew 7:21-23 through which my eyes became wide-open to the realization of just how many are indeed lost, yet believing they are saved. A terrible day awaits these doomed people.
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matt. 7:21-23
“Here’s what we know about the subjects of the passage:
* “They are evidently related to the false prophets of 7:15-20 (see GraceNotes no. 51, Fruits and False Prophets – Matthew 7:15-20) who would lead people away from Jesus as the narrow gate (7:13-14). The “Not everyone who says” in verse 21 links to the “them” in 7:20, as does the “you” of verse 23. Jesus could also be speaking of those deceived by the false prophets. Outwardly this group displays good works (they look like sheep; 7:15), but their true beliefs are revealed ultimately in what they say.
* “They have a correct theology in that they confess that Jesus is Lord. The title “Lord” is a title of respect, but also of deity when used of Jesus Christ. Its repetition here indicates an emphasis on who Christ is.
* “They are submitted to Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives. By their emphatic address (“Lord, Lord”) and boast of miracles done in His name (v. 22), we could even say that these professors are ultra-lordship.
* “There is no indication they err in their concept of who Christ is, nor is there any indication that they are not totally submitted to him in their ethical conduct. Indeed, they are very enthusiastic about following and serving Jesus Christ.
* “They have many good works—actually, great works. They have preached and spoken as prophets, performed exorcisms, and done many supernatural signs.
* “They are trusting in their works to merit eternal life. Their plea to Christ reveals an attempt to justify their entrance into the kingdom of heaven based on their magnificent performances. Their pride in their deeds reveals an attitude of self-righteousness. In their plea, they do not say, “Have we not believed in You alone?”
* “They are “many” in number (v. 22), not rare exceptions. Sadly, the nature of this self-deception is widespread. This is not surprising, since Jesus previously indicated that most people would miss the way to eternal life (7:13-14).
* “They are practicing lawlessness (v. 23). But what does this mean? There is no hint of conduct contrary to the Mosaic Law or of blatant immorality. The meaning of “lawlessness” must be connected to doing “the will of the Father” that Jesus mentions in verse 21. They are not doing God’s will in relation to Jesus Christ, because they are misinterpreting the law as the Scribes and Pharisees did (5:21-7:6), using it to establish their own righteousness instead of looking to the exceeding righteousness of Christ (5:20).“
Thanks. Great points.
You alluded to Calvinism and Lordship salvation with your words, “a gift that is just mysteriously forced upon me whereby I would have to maintain good works to see if I had been given it or not.” I understand that completely — having left my Calvinist roots for atheism at about age 16-17. I still have close relatives who, sadly, languish in the Reformed teaching.
We can indeed be thankful for when Jesus said, “It is finished” He meant it. When we believe by Grace alone through Faith alone in Christ alone, He secures our eternity right then, forever. Period!!
In Jesus eternally, Jack
I pray we will all have a blessed time of thanksgiving from today through all eternity.
I appreciate the wisdom, brilliance and scholarship in Ron Shea’s Clear Gospel Campaign analysis. As did Bruce, I read it several times and it is profound.
Looking back to the night I heard and believed the Gospel, I was a fairly intelligent and educated individual. My friends were college professors, teachers, Pastors and “churched-up folks” as John put it. Many of my colleagues were successful business people and there were a few bums. But, alas, I was an atheist, unsaved. I wonder if I would have responded with a decision to trust Christ as my Savior if I had been told I was required to “mirror the offerer’s [God’s] thoughts” to believe in Christ? I would have thought, “How do I do that?”
Thankfully, the wise comments and conclusions from John, Bruce and Abe hold the solution — the simplicity that is in Christ Jesus. And then, all important, in 2 Corinthians 3:12 “Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:”
The man from whom I heard the Gospel that night explained it to me plainly and simply. Afterwards he kindly questioned me whether I understood — and if “Yes,” he asked me to trust in Jesus Christ as my eternal Savior. That night I did believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior and was saved, passing from atheist to a Child of God, from certain death to Eternal Life.
I am so thankful for all of you and everyone who reads and comments here at ExPreacherMan. Our plea is that every visitor will believe in the Lord Jesus Christ when they come or before they leave. And as believers we will all share our faith in Jesus — clearly and often.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
I am certainly thankful that my salvation is not by works. It is by the grace of God that it can be offered to us by faith. (By grace through faith.) I am also thankful that salvation is not a gift that is just mysteriously forced upon me whereby I would have to maintain good works to see if I had been given it or not.
Praise the Lord for His blessing given to us in Christ.
Have a happy Thanksgiving!
You’re exactly right.
Happy Thanksgiving, to you Abe, and to all of our Expreacherman.com friends!
califgracer wrote: “In simple terms, regarding salvation, if a person rejects God’s gracious free offer of salvation (by grace alone through faith alone in Christ Jesus alone) and tries to offer to God another way of becoming saved, the person remains an unbeliever.”
It’s funny because I just said this to someone the other day. I was talking with someone about another person that says Jesus, says Bible, says church, says all the right words. But doesn’t believe the Gospel. They will say, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. But I told that someone, the person we were discussing, is an unbeliever. An unbeliever is a person that doesn’t believe the Gospel. They might say Jesus, Bible, church, etc. But if they don’t believe the Gospel, they’re an unbeliever.
I read your quotation twice. It is brief, but it is powerful!
It caused me to analyze things from a bit of a different angle.
This line says it in a nutshell: “and this requires believing [that] the offer is true.”
So, as I read this, when those, such as Lordship Faith advocates, add extra requirements to God’s offer of the free, no-strings-attached gift of salvation (by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone—Ephesians 2:8-9), the following may be seen as implicit ramifications:
1. They are disbelieving that God’s unilateral no-strings offer is real or true.
2. They are, in effect, declaring that God is either a liar or that he is simply not capable of fulfulling his promise. Either way, this is a tremendous insult to God.
3. They are rejecting the promises of God in Scripture; thereby, they are disbelieving God and the Bible.
4. They are attempting to change the terms of God’s gracious offer by adding their own terms to the original offer.
5. #4, then, means that they have rejected God’s offer and have, in effect, made a second or revised proposal or offer to God (a counter-offer); they are attempting to supercede or negate the first offer (God’s) by adding extra provisions of their own making (namely, “works”).
6. The following verses declare that God will reject their counter-offer: Romans 4:5, Titus 3:5, and Ephesians 2:8-9.
7. In legal contractural terminology, the offer of the first party was rejected by the second party and the counter-offer is rejected by the first party; hence, there was never a valid contract to begin with.
8. In simple terms, regarding salvation, if a person rejects God’s gracious free offer of salvation (by grace alone through faith alone in Christ Jesus alone) and tries to offer to God another way of becoming saved, the person remains an unbeliever.
There’s a great article written by Jack, with input from John, which details the fallacy of Lordship “Salvation’s” attempt to formulate a “Bilateral contract with God.” See:
The common thread to LS is that its proponents think that Grace comes with strings attached. There are no strings attached to receiving Grace through faith in Christ. None.
LS proponents always condition eternal life on something in addition to belief in the person and work of Christ.
Following is a summary of the topic of Grace from Clear Gospel Campaign:
“When we mirror in our mind the motives of God to offer eternal life freely, we are believing Him on His Word. Receiving a gift requires mirroring the offerer’s thoughts, and this requires believing the offer is true. This is why faith is not contrary to grace, but rather, is an essential part of grace.”
“Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace.”
Jon, I found a post that I made a while back that has some short excerpts from one of Tom’s sermons that is particularly well-suited to those who have been beguiled by religion. See link below:
Thanks John, I will give that sermon a listen. I recently sent a link to the ‘Eternal life for you’ section from this site to a friend from work. I felt he had been presented a false gospel in the past and I wanted him to know the Truth. I asked him weeks later if he had gotten a chance to read it and he said he hadn’t read all of it but was going back to it occasionally. I didn’t think there was that much to read, but I hope it helps him.
Thanks very much Bruce for your efforts, I wish I could say I was surprised by your results. I haven’t really considered the online studies but I will certainly give it some thought.
Hi again Jon,
After reading your last comment, I performed an extensive online search of churches in your area, looking at statements of belief, affiliations, and other emphases. I am sorry to report that after examining about twenty churches, I could not find one church to recommend to you; I confirmed everything that you already reported.
Here’s another thought for you: have you considered becoming involved in online Bible College studies with a grace emphasis? One such institution is:
Jon, I really liked the most recent sermon from Tom (11/11). Sometimes I transcribe excerpts and send them to people, along with a link.
I have tried to get some “churched up” people to listen, but when I ask them if they have, I usually get a “not yet” or “I’ve been meaning to.”
Thanks Bruce, Jack and everyone else for the ideas and suggestions. I checked the link for the FGA registry but all those churches are in the U.S. and we are located in Steinbach,Manitoba,Canada. I have felt for some time now that I’d like to share some of Tom’s messages with certain family members. I’m not sure how they would receive it but I guess it’s worth a try.
We are surrounded by Mennonite(Arminian) churches here and others that are definitely LS. Others are either prosperity gospel or mysticism, emerging church garbage. Maybe Canada is in even worse shape than the U.S.A, certainly no better.
To Behind-the-scenes questioner from Bollingbrook, IL:
If you are looking for an excellent grace-oriented church in your area, I can personally and heartily recommend Quentin Road Bible Baptist Church, Dr. James Scudder, Sr. Pastor, 60 Quentin Road, Lake Zurich, IL 60047. It’s about forty miles from your location.
Here’s their web site address:
Good warnings to everyone on church choosing. As you point out, even the FGA list, or any list, for that matter, may not be without problems. So people really need to check things out and pray about the situation as well. Good advice, Jack!
When my wife and I moved to our current town twelve years ago we both thought that we had found just the perfect Baptist church to attend in our area—impressive new buildings, big choir and orchestra, decent-sounding preaching. But after attending four times and then meeting with an assistant pastor and praying about the matter, my wife and I both had major misgivings about the legalistic emphasis that we discovered. We continued our search to check out about seven other churches. Finally, we discovered one that was a good fit and preached the gospel of grace. We’ve been there, quite involved, ever since. We were right not to settle on the first or second place that we visited.
Great idea.. but that almost presents a quandary on the horns of a dilemma.
Some of us may recommend a church but others might disagree. We would need sufficient disclaimers for any list. I know of an FGA church who (until I warned him) was a supporter and advertiser of Charles Spurgeon and his foul teaching. I know of a great Grace preacher in the Miami area who allows extreme contemporary “Christian” rock-type music in his church instead of hymns. That would discourage me and I would feel uneasy about recommending that church. That might require a healthy disclaimer. That may also require some legal language, Matt. 😎
We have a pretty good start with Dr. Tom Cucuzza’s Northland Bible Baptist Church in St. Cloud, MN; Dennis Rokser’s Duluth Bible Church in Duluth, MN; Dr. Jim Scudder’s Quentin Road Bible Baptist Church (Victory in Grace) in Lake Zurich, IL (just north of Chicago). I know these folks personally and can recommend them, yet someone may find an issue with one or the other.
I suppose it is similar to recommending a church because it is “Baptist” or as Kim and Chuck discovered the problems they found with an Evangelical Free Church or churches who are members of the Calvary Chapel group. Some may be great Grace churches — but unless we personally know specifics, recommendation may be difficult.
Believe me, I’m not trying to throw cold water on the Grace fire — just trying to explore how to address and solve the issues. We must be careful not to be ecumenical in our recommendations. (I have been accused of being “narrow-minded.”) 😎
Suggestions or ideas are welcome.
In Jesus eternally, Jack
Hi Jim, Matt and Jack,
Good advice there on church finding and/or planting. I agree that using Tom Cucuzza’s sermon audio recordings would be a great tool to get a Bible study started. Also, Matt, you were correct that the Brooklyn church was more of a lead rather than a confident referral, as I don’t know the pastor personally.
Perhaps the following link would be a helpful tool from FGA. This list is of churches which have joined FGA and have identified themselves as “Free Grace” in emphasis. Obviously, there are certainly more grace churches which have simply not joined the FGA registry. Anyway, here’s the link to the FGA registry. I hope that it is helpful.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!
Ideas: This blog could produce a list a free grace oriented churches organized geographically (with a due diligence admonition). Further, this blog could produce links to other lists, for example, the FGA list. Moreover, other creative ideas could make such list more useful and interactive.
Some referrals such as Duluth are solid referrals. Others like the Brooklyn church mentioned above may be more of a lead rather than a confident referral. Such distinction could be presented in the list.
But finding free grace churches is a major dilemma for many all over the USA. Therefore, such a list would be a beneficial help provided by this ministry.
Finding time is a problem for so many.
Bruce may have some good ideas on study materials from Free Grace Alliance.
Suggestion: One could get a copy of Tom Cucuzza’s Book “Secure Forever” and a Bible. Then, group-study one or a half of a chapter per meeting. Contact Tom at his web site (side bar) for study suggestions.
Tom is also an Adjunct Professor at DaySpring Bible College (Chicago, Dr. Jim Scudder, Sr.). Maybe Tom will know a graduate who is interested in planting a Grace church from scratch in your area. It is a big job but rewarding. The Lord can do it.
An in-house Bible study is the way to start (the way I started my church — in my home prior to and after graduation from Bible College — at age 41).
In Christ eternally, Jack
The grace Bible study thing sounds interesting to me. My only other possibility is driving 40 min away. It is just hard to be involved in as much as you would want to be involved in, Especially with work schedules and all. Maybe you could send me info on it sometime. I know for one thing that there is a great need for free grace type church planters / pastors.
Great question.. “how to avoid being a Christian at large.”
It may not be possible to avoid that. But like Glenroy found out (his comment above) with Bruce’s help he discovered a sound Grace church in Brooklyn, NY, of all most unlikely places.
Have you made a church search through Free Grace Alliance (link in our side-bar) for a church closer to your area. If you don’t mind divulging your approximate location, (and since we have readers all over the world), ExP may have a reader who can help you in some way.
If all searches fail it is always possible for you to start a Grace Bible study among your friends and family.. leading some to Christ and then building them up and encouraging other believers. Remember, as Believers in Christ, Jesus Himself said:
Several of us here can recommend clear Grace scripture and other teaching material should you desire to do that. Or have a Bible study where you plat Tom Cucuzza’s messages.
And maybe you are one who could be “crying in the wilderness” as was John the Baptist, sharing your faith with whomever will listen. We will certainly be praying for you, Jon.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Hi Jon, good to hear from you.
Would you like for anyone here to research your region a bit?
Yes, grace churches are indeed rare, but it sure is nice to have the in-person fellowship with other like-minded believers.
God bless you in your quest.
With all this talk about finding a grace oriented church, I wanted to ask a question. How does one avoid being a ‘Christian at Large’, as Tom Cucuzza puts it, if there are no grace oriented churches in your area? I have found one possibility but it is a 2 hour drive from where we live. I feel very discouraged in this area.
Jack and Jim F.,
Thanks, y’all. Knowing that God is faithful to complete the good work He began in us (Philippians 1:6) is very comforting. Thanks for y’all’s faithfulness and devotion to the truth, for helping folks be transformed by the renewing of their minds (Romans 12:2).
God bless y’all,
Jim F, (Kim)
Jim you are absolutely right — Kim’s is a sensational testimony. Such is true any time anyone sees, understands and believes the Truth and trusts Jesus Christ as Savior. That is a major thing.
Exciting to see how the Holy Spirit was convicting Kim and Chuck to seek and find true Bible doctrine. The Lord is Faithful — but He depends upon us to respond to his guidance. Kim and Chuck obviously did.
In Jesus eternally, Jack
Hi again Glenroy.
Thank you for giving to all of us a good report regarding your church search. That is very encouraging to all of us here. I hope that you continue to read and share with our “grace” family here at Expreacherman.com.
God bless you.
You said, “The simple true gospel of trusting in Jesus’ death on the cross for my sins and His resurrection 3 days later was all that was presented, and I believed. I do not have a sensational testimony in the typical sense.”
I think I know what you mean by “typical sense” but I’d says that your testimony is indeed sensational. You were presented the gospel and believed. That in of itself is sensational. It really is all that makes any testimony a good thing and causes glory to be given to God. You also give a good testimony of how the Holy Spirit continues to guide believer’s as far as the truth of God’s Word. God’s Word and Spirit always correct any error espoused by man.
I was glad to hear how God worked and I’ll be praying for your physical health and that you find the church that will the best for you.
I had missed your comment above when I made my last reply. Thank you very much for the resources. While I have looked at a few things on Dr. Cucuzza’s Northland Bible Baptist Church site, and have listened to one of his sermons, which I enjoyed immensely, I was not familiar with the other 2 resources. I read quickly through them, but want to read them more closely still. They are obviously really excellent, though, and I am excited to have them to draw from in talking to my family members. A huge thank you for your prayers and encouragement on that. It’s a bit of a scary proposition to me because of the personality of one of the people. The paragraph you quoted from Clear Gospel Campaign is a sobering one, and describes, I believe, very accurately the situation involving some of these folks. And timing is of the essence in one particular case.
Thank you again, John.
Thank you for writing “You may be a Lordship Salvationist If:”. it was very helpful to me. I’m sorry I had missed that it was you who wrote it.
Thank you for pointing that out to me. And I’m so glad you are in remission from your cancer. It’s definitely been a challenging experience for me.
Thank you for allowing me to share my experience,
Thanks for your explanations and experiences.
Just FYI, John, who wrote that comment to you above about trusting Jesus as his Savior two years ago is the same “John” who wrote the article you read, “You may be a Lordship Salvationist IF:”
The Lord has blessed us with some wonderful, discerning Grace believers who read, comment and write for ExP. We appreciate all of you.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Kim, thanks for your kind words of encouragement.
I am thankful that you are looking for opportunities to talk with people that seem to have fallen for LS teaching. I have prayed for you in those conversations. Whether someone who has fallen under a false gospel is saved or not can be difficult to discern, as long as they hold onto the error. You are wise to not assume that they are saved.
I have found that people who are very active in LS churches – particularly those who have raised their children in such environments – are often extremely threatened by the truth. It can be scary to abandon a faulty belief system in which one has invested time, talent and treasure.
There is a quote from Clear Gospel Campaign that really drives home how teaching a corrupted gospel message can be counterproductive:
“We believe that the more ardently and regularly a pastor or teacher holds forth any of the above perversions of the gospel of grace as a necessity for salvation, the more firmly a pre-existing grid of salvation-by-works is fabricated in the hearts and minds of the congregants, progressively shackling the lost sinner more hopelessly behind a veil of deception, making it less and less likely that any forthcoming profession of faith has meaningfully grasped the message of salvation.”
See a more complete discussion in the attached link:
You may already be familiar with these resources, but if not, I heartily recommend the following:
“The Gospel” by Ron Shea (including the Grace Chart at the end)
“Am I Going to Heaven”
Audio sermons – Northland Bible Baptist Church
Thank you. I am so glad you found clarification and now place your faith in Jesus alone instead of in your ability or faithfulness to submit to Jesus’ lordship. Yes, I was fortunate to hear the Gospel as a child, before I was exposed to LS teaching, so that I never really doubted my salvation for that reason, though I certainly experienced Satan himself whispering doubt in my ear whenever I grieved the Holy Spirit through fleshly failures. But the Spirit always bore witness with my spirit that I was and am His. I know that, having brought you out of that confusion, God will sustain you in your clarity on the source and object of your faith and salvation.
Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. God definitely used your blog to cement for me the source and object of my faith and salvation. Thankfully, we can (contrary to what John MacArthur claims) be born again as children, but then we most certainly can become confused by teachers who are not rightly dividing the Word of Truth. And that confusion can make us unproductive or ineffective as witnesses, rob us of our assurance, steal our joy, among other things. But the Word is powerful! God Himself by Himself can lead us out of error if we spend time in His Word rather than in the books of men. And he can lead us to those who are rightly dividing the Word of Truth such as yourself and Bruce here on your blog. Oh, I meant to have an exclamation mark rather than a question mark after the ‘Maybe you’re one of the elect’ statement. It may seem strange that I spent so long under Calvinism before seeing the errors in it, but we weren’t continuously in Calvinistic teaching churches, and even while we were, we weren’t constantly mentally addressing the points of Calvinism. At least in the churches we were in, the 5 points of Calvinism were only discussed occasionally. The rest of the teaching time was spent in the various broader areas of practical application of our faith, so I wasn’t continually thinking, “I’m elect! I couldn’t resist God’s grace! Jesus only died for me and my fellow elect!, etc…” It was more the case that, as a young believer, I was falsely taught that the faith I had exercised had actually been given to me by God. At that time my thoughts in response to that teaching were, “Well, that’s weird, but okay.” The teaching so appeals to the new believer who is becoming fully aware of their sinfulness and of God’s greatness by comparison, so without any sound teaching behind me to refute it, I just accepted it. The trouble I began having with Sproul specifically, when I would hear him, were frustrations with his heavy reliance on what I called ‘the logic of man’, his seeming lack of joy, his lack of focus on Jesus and the amazing grace of God in His gift of His precious only Son for our sins, etc. And my frustrations with Calvinism were, when I would think of a dear young person in my family who is not saved, that he or she simply may not be one of the elect, and well, if not, that’s just too bad for them. I just couldn’t accept that God would really be that way. These things had been bothering me for years, so we hadn’t been in a Calvinistic church for years. Therefore we were ripe fruit to be picked from false teaching and returned to the joy and simplicity and purity of the gospel of free grace. Thankfully, my and our only real experience with Lordship Salvation was as victims of judgment (fruit inspection — a clever phrase!) by some family members who have embraced the LS view. Now that I am fully aware of this teaching, its pervasiveness, and its insidious diversion of would-be believers from faith in Jesus’ work for their salvation in favor of faith in their own work, I am worried that these family members may not ever have trusted Jesus. So we will be praying for opportunities and preparation by the Holy Spirit for us and for them to talk to them about how we’ve been set straight. I’ve begun that conversation a little bit with one family member, and am praying for more opportunities to talk soon. ….Sorry this is so long…. Thank you again!
Grace and Peace!
First, please be assured we will be praying for you and Chuck and full remission of your cancer. I am also a survivor of cancer (prostate) and find my experience with cancer gives me an open door to share the Gospel with many. The Lord is so merciful and gracious! As a believer in Christ I enjoyed His Peace that passes all understanding.
Your testimony is so encouraging. Obviously God’s Holy Spirit (indwelling you when you believed in Jesus at 9 years old) was continually working in and guiding you, leading you to the Truth of God’s Grace.
Your description of the errors of Pink, Stearns and Sproul is graphic. We are pleased that y’all, with the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit, were able to find Truth. What a relief!!
It is also amazing that you were able to discern the subtle errors of Calvinism/LS and are able express your thoughts so well. I especially like your analysis of the Calvinist false doctrine of “election”: — “What are they going to say, after all? ‘Maybe you’re one of the elect? Try believing and let’s find out!‘”? That vividly illustrates Calvinism’s absurd elitism.
We appreciate you and Chuck. We will continue to pray that you find a good Grace church in the Houston area.
In Jesus eternally, Jack
Kim, thanks for your testimony. I am happy that you heard and believed the Gospel before being exposed to religion.
My story is a little different. I grew up in Southern Baptists churches, but never quite understood that salvation was a gift until a couple of years ago. I tried to “be a Christian” after hearing and believing the false LS gospel, but it was a dead-end.
If you are interested, part of my story is contained in the link below:
Jim F and Jack,
I trusted Jesus alone when I was 9 years old and in a Baptist church at Vacation Bible School (VBS). At that time (Summer of 1967), there was no teaching by our pastor or by our VBS or Sunday School teachers that we should repent and believe, make Jesus Lord of our life, make a commitment, etc., at all. The simple true gospel of trusting in Jesus’ death on the cross for my sins and His resurrection 3 days later was all that was presented, and I believed. I do not have a sensational testimony in the typical sense. I stayed in church throughout childhood, went away to college and attended church there, didn’t get into trouble, moved back home with my parents and took a job across town after college, and then moved out into my own apartment near my job a few months later. A coworker who became a friend suggested I check out an independent Bible church nearby that he attended. The church had Presbyterian in its name because it had broken away from the Presbyterian denomination (before the split that formed PCA vs PCUSA). The pastor/teacher there was a Dallas Theological Seminary graduate, and that was the first I heard of expository, exegetical teaching, which I soaked up like a sponge because I had always been in Baptist churches that hadn’t gone real deep in their teaching, and which tended to have topical sermons, leaving most of the Bible untaught. At this new Bible church, at the singles Bible study, there were church members allowed to teach ‘The Sovereignty of God’ by A.W. Pink, and that’s where the exposure to Calvinism began. As a baby believer in the sense of not having had a lot of really good teaching prior to this time, I just accepted what they were teaching as truth. It was also intellectually appealing, seeming ‘high minded’ for those who were serious about God and His truths. During my single years and early married years, I and we were in various churches, some Calvinistic, some not. In recent years, however, through listening to R. C. Sproul and reading his books, we became more exposed to it. But through these same years, as I did more of my own study and gained my own experience of God working in my life, feeling His lovingkindness, learning to rest in Him, feeling His mercy and undeserved favor in my life, knowing full well that I could only come to Him under the shed blood of Christ, I began to have serious problems with the mindset and tenets of Calvinism and the effect of encouraging self-righteousness and judgmental legalism towards others that it has. Meanwhile, some family members began moving in the opposite direction from myself towards more of a social gospel, though they attend a church whose pastor is a DTS graduate. They recommended the book “The Hole in Our Gospel” by Richard Stearns of World Vision. I purchased the Nook book and began reading it. I could hardly read it, it rang so wrong in its focus. Then I became distracted from pursuing that further by my diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer beginning in January of this year. I finished radiation at the end of July and finally could make a business trip with my husband in September. That’s when I felt good enough and got away from the house enough to focus my attention again on researching that book. I hit upon Jack’s site, related blogs and comments, and the rest is history. I believe God had been preparing me for years to leave Calvinism behind. I have always (since I was saved) loved His truth, just didn’t know I’d been lied to by pastors and teachers I had trusted.
Here are some things about Calvinism that quickly come to mind, which together ultimately convinced me that it is false teaching/false gospel, though I have to stop for now and will continue with more later on my experience with Calvinism and also with Lordship Salvation and what convinced me they were false teachings. Chuck trusted in Jesus alone for salvation when he was thirty after his first wife left him for another man. Unfortunately and to my great regret, it was I who exposed him to Calvinism, which then affected us off and on during our 22 years together, as I stated above. So here are those first few things about Calvinism — their
1. Little to no focus on Jesus in their teaching and writings;
2. No real presentation of the gospel (what are they going to say, after all? “Maybe you’re one of the elect? Try believing and let’s find out!”?);
3. Teaching believers that we should focus on the holiness of God, and fearing God, rather than on God’s love for us, His mercy, His grace, His longsuffering lovingkindness, His running after us; or on loving God, resting in Him, calling him “Abba, Father”, drawing near to Him, casting all our burdens on Him, taking our needs and petitions to Him, etc.;
4. Use of philosophy (e.g., Aristotle, Plato, Socrates) and man’s logic to teach about God’s nature, His character, how He works in the world, and His relationship to/with man, instead of scripture which is God’s revelation of Himself;
5. View of man as totally depraved results in man’s inability to respond to God in his unsaved state, but scripture clearly expects man to respond to God and exercise his own faith while still an unbeliever, and clearly calls him a believer and declares him saved once he exercises faith;
More later, if that’s okay.
Thanks, all —
We praise the Lord along with you for your new-found church fellowship. I know Bruce will be pleased.
We are also happy to have you here sharing your blessings with us. Please keep us posted on your progress… and that your first impression of that church is a lasting one. Your input is encouraging to us.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Thanks Jim F for your wonderful encouragement to Kim and her husband.
You bring up an interesting point. Kim says she and her husband struggled in the false religion of Calvinism and Lordship “salvation” for over twenty years.
It would be interesting for our discussion to know when you and your husband finally and definitely understood and decided to personally believe your Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
It seems that too often I may incorrectly assume that a person who was taught in the false “gospel” of a Calvinist/LS church (like I was as a child) has trusted Jesus alone as Savior.. and is therefore living the Christian life whether good or bad. One cannot live the Christian life until he is a Christian, i.e. by definition — has believed the Gospel and trusted Jesus Christ alone as Savior, without conditions or strings attached.
Kim, if you don’t mind telling us, when did you and your husband actually trust Jesus Christ alone as your Savior (along with that the assurance it brings)? Was it through studying here at ExP or at an earlier time?
Kim, we here at ExP are indeed happy and thankful for you and your husband’s new found faith, your excitement and joy accompanying your salvation in Christ by God’s Grace.
In Jesus eternally, Jack
Following is an excerpt from Tom Cucuzza’s sermon entitled “The Most Important Race of All.”
This excerpt includes a clear gospel presentation and invitation. It differentiates between salvation and religion, by identifying much of the error that you will find in places posing as Christian churches. It is worth the time to read it. A link to the sermon is provided at the end.
From minutes 5:52 – 9:25:
“We are sinners. To get to heaven we have to be perfect. We’re not. God says our sin must be paid for. If we do it, we’ll be lost forever in hell. You might say ‘well then what’s the answer to that?’
Well, religion comes along and says well ‘do good deeds, be good, go to church every week, give money, be sincere’. You know, ‘put Christ on the throne of your life’ – all these kind of terms. ‘Invite Him into your life, commit your life to Christ, reform your life, forsake your sin, repent of your sin,’ you know, you name it. ‘Keep the commandments’. I mean, you name it – ‘the ordinances, the sacraments’, whatever it may be.
It’s all man, trying to take care of the sin problem on his own. That’s what it is. The scriptures are very clear though. In Ephesians chapter 2, verses 8 and 9 it says this.
It says: ‘For by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God”. Not of works, lest any man should boast’.
You see, it’s not of me working, trying, running even, trying to live like a Christian. That will not get rid of the sin. A death payment must be made.
Here’s the good news. God, so loving us, He did something for us that we in no way qualified for or deserved. He sent, His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, God in the flesh. And we’ll let my right hand represent Him. And when Jesus died on the cross, He came to us, and He took our sin upon Himself. And when He died on the cross, He paid for our sins. Taking our sin upon Himself. He made the payment for us. For us. Leaving us nothing to pay for.
He died, came back from the dead three days later and He says if you will believe – put your faith – for by grace are ye saved through faith. If you will believe that He did that for you, the moment you do, He says, He promises, you will not perish – go to hell – but, you have everlasting life. The moment you believe. Everlasting life. You know what that is? Lasting ever life. Everlasting. It’s forever and ever and ever.
All you need do is put your trust in Jesus Christ. You’re putting your trust in Him and what He did for you. And when you do, that moment, He forgives you of all your sins, He cleanses you of unrighteousness, and He gives you eternal life as a gift.
What a great, great truth. You notice it’s by grace – unmerited kindness – are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is not something you can earn. It is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.
In John chapter 3, I told you I was going to do this. Verse 16. Watch. ‘For God so loved the world (that’s us) that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life’. But you notice in verse 36, it says this: ‘He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life, but he that believeth not the Son,’ look here, ‘he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.’
God’s wrath will be poured out on the one who rejects the payment Jesus made, who trusts in themselves instead. God’s wrath will be poured out on them.
Why not trust Christ as your Savior? Because when you trust Christ as your Savior, you see when Jesus died on the cross, God’s wrath was poured out on Him. But, the payment He’s made is not good for your until you trust in Christ as your Savior. When you believe Jesus took your punishment, when you believe He paid for your sins, God gives you everlasting life. “
[audio src="http://northlandchurch.com/2011/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/VOA-MP3-Message0276-Hebrews30.mp3" /]
In my above post I said:
“Often, the errant beliefs of long-term members of a church are a true reflection of the church’s beliefs than you might ever discern from the church’s statement of faith.”
I meant to say:
“Often, the errant beliefs of long-term members of a church are a truer reflection of the church’s beliefs than you might ever discern from the church’s statement of faith.”
Kim, I wish you well with your search for a church home. Churches that are clear on the Gospel are very rare in some parts of the country, particularly in some of the hotbeds of Lordship “salvation”.
While there is no such thing as a perfect church, I would recommend running – not walking – away from any that either implicitly or explicitly introduce works (including turning from sin) into the question of salvation.
There are a lot of churches that claim that they believe in salvation by Grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, yet attempt to bring works in through the back door. This is often in the form of fruit inspection – recommended either for oneself or others. Often, the errant beliefs of long-term members of a church are a true reflection of the church’s beliefs than you might ever discern from the church’s statement of faith.
For example, I was in a Bible study with some men from work. Two of them were long-time members of a mega-church that has a fairly innocuous statement of faith. However, both of them thought there was a difference between head faith and heart faith. One was in a “small group” studying “A Hole in the Gospel” and recommended it to us. I went to their pastor’s blog and found a number of disturbing “social gospel” and Calvinist leanings that I never would have detected from the church’s statement of faith.
Many people do not know what a clear gospel presentation sounds like, because they have never heard one. Many don’t want to know, because they must then face the fact that they are yoked with unbelievers.
My next post will provide an excerpt of a clear gospel presentation, along with a link to the entire sermon.
Thank you again for your recommendation. I attended the service today. It was very warm and spiritually filling. I have been to so many churches that added in and we’re filled with so much false teaching doctrine, Ls, and prosperity gospel, and etc this was so much clearer message it was amazing, I hope that I will learn that my first impression is the correct one. I thank you once again. If only that that there is hope for true fellowship and that our sticking to the true gospel is not in vain.
Ps I am thankful to this site for phrasing the objections that I’ve had in such a succinct and clear statements
I was thrilled to hear your story. I am glad that you were able to see the truth. You said, “Now my husband and I are 100% Free Gracers, and are experiencing that wonderful feeling of a giant burden lifted!” Praise the Lord for His goodness.
I thank God often for His mercy. Christ has satisfied God’s wrath toward my sin and I know I can live truly free in Christ. I think that it is in this freedom that we are able to properly walk in the Spirit and excel in our growth in the Christian life. It is Lordship style bondage that can often burden people in the Christian life and steal away the joy that should otherwise be there. I’ll also be praying for you and others mentioned above that you can find a good doctrinally pure church.
Also, feel free to share sometime what some of the things were that helped you see the truth. I often talk with friends about these issues and I am always interested in what worked with people as far as helping them see the error of Lordship and Calvinism.
Thank you very much Bruce. I will check it out. I have been searching most of this year. It is very pervasive in most churches along with other errors.
I appreciate your help.
Thank you very much. We couldn’t be happier to be here, and also look forward to participating and encouraging each other.
Thank you all,
We are blessed, pleased and honored to have you and your husband as part of our “fellowship” here. We look forward to your participation as you encourage us.
We pray you will find a good Free Grace church soon.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Thank you so much to everyone for the warm welcome, and to Levi for the support in prayer. And I hope you also find a great free grace church, Glenroy.
Regarding your question, there are no churches in your area which are listed on the church registry at Free Grace Alliance. I did, however, perform an online search for you and I came up with one church possibility for you to check into further. I’ll give you a link here:
Their statement of faith comes from Acts 16:31 and does not add any LS garbage. Also, I listened to one complete sermon on Genesis 15 that sounded fine theologically. Their pastor, Jim Bickel, is a graduate of Bob Jones University and is a former church planter. That’s about all that I know. Please research it further if you are interested in doing so.
Also, Glenroy, just because a church has the name “Grace” somewhere in its title, DO NOT ASSUME that it is Free Grace in orientation. For example, in your area, one “grace” church was Episcopal; another was Reformed Calvinist; another was “missional,” which is a code word for radical Neo-Calvinist.
I hope that the information was helpful.
Blessings in your quest.
I love reading this post. It is good for the soul. Kim…you and your family are in my prayers.
Trust in Jesus
Thank you,John. I’m glad, too! And thank you, also, Pearl. Oh, I’m right there with you – LS is such a subtle shift that it’s easy to miss. And Calvinism is just plain twisted. I can’t believe it took us so long to figure out that it’s a lie.
Wonderfully encouraging post, Jack!
Kim, I’m so glad you contacted Jack. It was a real pleasure to read through your testimony beginning with your questioning “The Hole in the Gospel” and the Lord directing you accordingly. Awesome! And it’s even more of a blessing to learn that you and your husband are of the same mind. Sadly, that doesn’t always happen.
As you continue learning to recognize LS subtleties, you will find that it’s present just about everywhere and not the sole property of Calvinism. It’s an ancient foe which has metastasized throughout the Body of Christ. (Be patient with me; I’m the pessimistic one of the bunch).
It looks like you’ve been given some good church options, and I hope you find one free of compromise.
No doubt your painful experience can be used to help many others.
Kim, great to have you on the ExP site. It is great to hear that the articles and blogs have been helpful to you.
Thank you so much, Bruce and Abe, for that great information. Also, Bruce, I did go to http://www.qrbbc.org and wrote a request for any Houston area churches where graduates of their college/seminary may be pastoring. We are excited to have some churches to try already! Thank you both very much.
Thanks Abe for that info. for Kim.
Here are a couple more churches (from the FGA list) in the region (I don’t know how far away they are):
Baytown Community Church
915 E. Ceader Bayou-Lynchburg Rd.
Baytown, TX 77521
281 421- 4869
Faith Bible Church
5505 Research Forest Drive
The Woodlands, TX 77381
I would like help locating a church as well. I’m located in Brooklyn new york. Thanks for any help.
And it’s heartwarming to hear this story.
An excellent free grace Bible church in Houston is West Houston Bible Church with pastor Robert Dean. The church site is: http://www.westhoustonbiblechurch.org/
He is 100% free grace. It might be a bit of a drive, but it is worth it. He also might know of other free grace churches in the greater Houston area.
Thank you for posting my email, Jack. Yes, we live south of Houston, TX in what’s known as ‘the Clear Lake area’ close to Clear Lake and Galveston Bay. It’s a big area, and we’re willing to drive a ways for a good Free Grace church. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Thank you, Jack, for this wonderful post. And thank you, Kim, for sharing your testimony of breaking free from the chains of LS. You have blessed me today tremendously!
Regarding church searching, Jack is correct. It is difficult to find a grace-oriented local church. But they are out there. I attended an Evangelical Free Church years ago in Southern California before I got a job transfer that took my family out of that region. The pastor there did preach a “grace” message. But Jack is right that the EFCA churches are not consistent in that approach. If, as Jack said, you would be willing to give your approximate location, I will do a search for you in the Free Grace Alliance listings. Also, I would recommend that you contact Dr. James Scudder’s Church (free grace emphasis): Quentin Road Bible Baptist Church, near Chicago, IL. They have a college which is sending out solidly free grace young pastors around the nation. They could probably point you to a grace church in your area. Here’s their web site:
Thank you again for your most encouraging letter and please let us know if we can be of assistance to you in the future.