Fatherless Fiction

Hansel and Gretel by James E. McConnell

I have four children under the age of ten so I read a lot of children’s books. Sometimes I even read them to my kids! A recurring theme I have noticed in children’s literature is this: Moms and dads are usually absent. And if the parents are mentioned, they are often negligent kill-joys who hinder and sometimes even harm their children. As a parent, I can’t help but wonder what message this sends to our children. I first noticed the absence of parents thirty-odd years ago reading the Famous Five stories. Each story would typically begin with Mom and Dad going overseas and dumping … [Read more...]

“The Romance of Grace” by Jim McNeely

romance-of-grace

Reviewed for E2R by Steve Hackman. As the message of grace spreads through the church it goes without saying that grace authors face an increasingly difficult challenge; distinguishing their grace book from the plethora of others that have recently hit the market. In The Romance of Grace Jim McNeely does just that. His Romance transcends the feeling of intimacy a grace book naturally generates and takes it to the next level... God doesn’t just love you. No indeed. God is in love with you! McNeely sets the tone for this passion at the beginning of The Romance Of Grace by invoking … [Read more...]

Does the Hyper-Grace Gospel Promote Lawlessness? A Response to Daniel Norris

Nee on Law

Yet another article has come out in Charisma News maligning the hyper-grace gospel and those of us who preach it. In it, Daniel Norris worries that preaching grace without the law leads to the sort of lawlessness that Jesus said “would abound in the last days” (Matt. 24:12). The implication is that those of us who preach this message are causing the love of many to grow cold. As others have claimed, our heretical teachings may be responsible for a last day’s apostasy sends millions to hell. The punchline of this latest article is that we would delight in the old covenant law, as David did, … [Read more...]

Myth 2: Hyper-Grace Preachers are Against Confession

confession-youfirst

“Hyper-grace preachers say it’s wrong to confess sins. They say confession is a form of unbelief.” Actually, every hyper-grace preacher believes in the power of confession. We say things like, “confession is good for you,” and “confession is healthy.” But what is confession? Like the word repentance, confession is a word that has been mangled in the machinery of manmade religion. Instead of bringing healing to the hurting and life to the dead, confession is seen as the cost of admission into the house of grace. “You wanna be clean? Then ‘fess up you miserable sinner! Tell God your dirty … [Read more...]

How Do We Live at Peace in a Hostile World?

Spock_peace

Our world is marred by violence, greed, and all the fruits of sin. What this world desperately needs is a revelation of Jesus and his peaceable kingdom. But how do we live at peace in a world of hostile Herods and Pharisees? Jesus said, “When you go someplace to reveal the good news of heaven, let your peace rest on that place” (Matt. 10:12). This seems an odd thing to say, but it makes perfect sense if you grew up watching Star Trek. In the Star Trek universe, visitors from faraway places would arrive with unknown intentions. If they said, “We come in peace,” you knew all would be well. … [Read more...]

If We’re Holy, Why Does God Call Us to Be Holy?

be holy

Here's a question grace preachers hear a lot: “If we are already holy, then why does God call us to be holy?” Answer: He’s calling us to be who we truly are. He is saying, “You are my sanctified children. Act like it. Be who I made you to be.” As D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said: Holiness is not something we are called upon to do in order that we may become something; it is something we are to do because of what we already are… “Paul, I’m still confused. It seems there are a lot of scriptures exhorting us to become holy. How do we reconcile those with other scriptures that say that we are … [Read more...]

Myth 1: Hyper-Grace Preachers are Against Repentance

repentance bear

“Hyper-grace preachers say there’s no need for repentance. They dismiss repentance as unbelief.” Actually, hyper-grace preachers are for repentance, not against it. We say things like “repentance is essential” and “repentance is to be our lifestyle.” We are for repentance, for without it no one can receive the grace of God. But what is repentance? Repentance is one of those words that means different things to different people. Those with a performance-oriented mindset typically interpret repentance as turning from sin. It’s something you do (turn) as a result of something you’ve done … [Read more...]

The Hyper-Grace Quiz

THG_Nehorai

In the past few months, there has been an aggressive backlash against the gospel of grace. This backlash has been seen in the Christian media, the blogosphere, and in the publication of books by respected Bible teachers. I have come across articles with titles like “Confronting the error of hyper-grace,” “The deception of hyper-grace,” and the oddly-titled, “What’s wrong with grace?” The authors of these articles typically describe the gospel of grace as a “dangerous teaching,” a “false message,” and “a hyped-up, watered-down, seeker-friendly gospel.” Those who preach it are branded “false … [Read more...]

Grace Bumper Stickers

grace stickers_sq

Recently someone wrote to ask me if they could put EscapeToReality.org on the back of their truck along with a short grace slogan. I was honored to be asked. But their request got me thinking about grace slogans. In short, can the message of grace be reduced to a bumper sticker? The gospel is simple. You don’t need a degree to get it. Nor do you need to read Hebrew or Greek to understand it. So theoretically, there should be no reason why the message of grace can’t be reduced to a sound-bite. But grace itself is HUGE. Paul wrote of God’s hyper-grace (Rom 5:20) and Peter wrote of God’s … [Read more...]

Three Books on Parenting

Grace-Based Parenting Tim Kimmel

Recently, I have read three books on parenting. One of them was good, one was not so good, and the third was a surprise. Let’s start with the good one. Grace-Based Parenting, by Tim Kimmel Dr. Kimmel observes that many parents are motivated by fear rather than faith when it comes to raising their children. This fear manifests in both legalistic and permissive parenting styles that stifle potential and discourage healthy development. A better approach is to treat our kids the same way God treats us; with unconditional love, bucket loads of forgiveness, and steadfast … [Read more...]

Conversations about Hell

hell_harp_n_accordion

[The following are extracts from conversations I’ve had in the past month.] Paul, you’re opposed to inclusionism and you're skeptical about universalism. Why do you want to condemn people to hell? Me: Huh? I’ve come to embrace inclusionism (or universalism) because I cannot conceive of a good God torturing people for eternity. Neither can I, but what has that to do with inclusionism, universalism, or any -ism? Uni/inclusionism says God loves his enemies… Actually, the Bible says that – it’s Romans 5:10. It’s the gospel of grace. But the traditional church view is that God … [Read more...]

What about Those Who Never Hear the Gospel?

Palestinian kids

Everybody responds to God’s love and grace, one way or another. But what about those who die before they get a chance to respond? To pick an extreme example, what about those Palestinian children who perished last week and who presumably never heard the gospel, never heard that God loves them, and never heard about Jesus? What about Israeli children who have been killed by suicide bombers? And what about the children caught up in the conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan? What happens to them? In my last post I asked the question, “What happens to babies who die?” It should be a … [Read more...]