Who invented the word hypergrace?

Who was the first person to coin the word hypergrace? It wasn’t the Apostle Paul. Sure, he described God’s grace as hyper-super-abounding, but he was writing in Greek. Who was the first to say it in English?

Hypergrace. Who said it first?

It wasn’t me. Not even close. So who was it? Seriously, I would like to know.

As I mentioned in a recent article, I’m pushing to get hypergrace into the dictionary. Why? Because hypergrace is a unique word that describes “the extreme favor of God that extends over, beyond, and above what you can conceive or imagine.”

It’s a beautiful word and there’s no other word like it.

To get a word into a dictionary you have to think about the origins of the word. So lately I have been asking, where did hypergrace come from?

I’ve done some research and as far as I can tell, the word first appeared as a Twitter hashtag in mid-2009. Which makes hypergrace about the same age as Escape to Reality.

Coincidence?

Before hypergrace, people used to talk about radical grace. That is a common phrase, but it’s not extreme enough for some people. hence the emergence of super-grace, ultra-grace, and finally hypergrace.

Interestingly, the first people to use this word did so in a pejorative way. Hypergrace, they said, was bad grace. Greasy grace. It was something to mock and belittle.

But a small number of people, myself included, recognized that hypergrace is an absolutely spot on translation of what Paul speaks about in Romans 5 when he talks about the huper grace of God. The Greek word huper literally means hyper. And Paul was just one of several New Testament writers who used extreme language when describing God’s great grace.

Hypergrace milestones

As part of my dictionary research, I tracked down the first mentions of the word hypergrace in different media. This is what I have found so far:

  • first hypergrace blog post (Nov 12, 2009)
  • first hypergrace podcast (May 15, 2012)
  • first hypergrace magazine article (Feb 28, 2013)
  • first hypergrace video (Sep 17, 2013)
  • first hypergrace book (Jan 7, 2014)
  • first song (no idea)
  • first major motion picture starring Denzel Washington (still in pre-pre-production)

These are not certified Guinness Records, just placeholders. If you know of blog posts or podcasts that predate those in my list above, let me know and I will revise my list. And if you can prove that someone used the word hypergrace prior to 2009 in any form, let me know that too. It would be good to give credit where credit’s due.

Did you invent the word hypergrace? Got proof you said it before 2009? Let me know.

The hostile history of hypergrace

The word seems to have first appeared in 2009, but the hypergrace wagon did not really get rolling until 2013. That was the year CharismaNews decided to publish a series of articles attacking hypergrace. That was also the year I wrote my first article defending hypergrace.

The following year no less than five hypergrace books were published. The first was Michael Brown’s book Hypergrace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message; the second was D.R. Silva’s book Hypergrace: The Dangerous Doctrine of a Happy God, and the third was my book The Hyper-Grace Gospel.

In his book, Michael Brown named and shamed a number of hypergrace preachers, including me. In my response, I pointed out that most of the criticisms made by Brown et al. were based on a dozen or so oft-repeated myths.

Sidebar: People sometimes ask me why I don’t engage in more debates with hypergrace critics. When invited to “discuss” hypergrace on radio shows and podcasts, I usually say no. I have learned the hard way that when certain people say they are reaching out, they’re doing it to make themselves look good. They’re not actually interested in dialogue. When you point out that you never said all the awful things they say you said, they don’t apologize or change their tune. In this age of fake news, the facts don’t matter. The main thing is to keep feeding the monster of social media. Slandering grace preachers may be a great way to generate social media buzz, but it’s appalling behavior, embarrassing to Jesus, and I don’t want to feed the trolls.

I try to avoid hypergrace debates, but I LOVE talking about the hypergrace of King Jesus. If we can get the word into the dictionary I will celebrate!

Hypergrace: Let us continue to write about it, talk about it, and sing about it. Let us paint it, rap it, draw it, and celebrate it any way we can. Let us use whatever means we can to let people know about the extreme love and favor of our heavenly Father.

In the meantime, let’s dig a little and see if we can’t find the person who said it first. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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16 Comments on Who invented the word hypergrace?

  1. Terry Benischek // February 27, 2020 at 3:52 am // Reply

    I love your article and position on hypergrace, however, embedded in your message is a You Tube video entitled “Victory in Times of Battle–the deception of hypergrace” Micheal Bickle. I cannot delete it since I don’t know how. I tried deleting your message but the link did not go with it and is still on my message board. You may wish to investigate who may have embedded this link in your message. I didn’t listen to the whole thing because I don’t want to taint my mind with the lies of the anti-grace movement. What is done in darkness will be revealed in the light…

    • In my desire to be historically accurate, I put the link there. It is the first video to mention hypergrace. (And it should be just a link, not an embedded video.) The best way to get rid of it is to send me a link to an older video.

  2. Hello Dr Paul, i have a comment on your article. Firstly I would say thank you for opening my eyes and heart to the grace of God. Thank you for pulling me out of the money sucking churches that demand payment and works to receive the free amazing gift of the Lord. My opinion on going to the extremes of labeling it as “hypergrace” is wrong. I have learnt that God answers prayer…99.9% of the time …not in the way you wanted. Hyper grace would imply super answers. In my experience, the prayer is answered, and you have to deal with the pain and suffering of the result. time will heal the pain, but there is a huge difference between what you ask for and what you get. Prayer is answered, just not the way you wanted, almost all the time it’s in a way that sorts your needs, not your wants. As in the Lords Prayer …give today my daily needs…I think “hypergrace” is gonna send out the wrong message. The Lord gives Grace. He gave His Son. So we need not to suffer under Sin. Grace is sufficient. It is done.

  3. Thanks, Paul. This was actually helpful for my dissertation on defining and systematizing hyper grace theology; I’d not seen the earliest two uses of the word. I’ve mostly focused on Michael Brown’s article and then book as the source of the term’s popularization. I included your work in the thesis as well.

    Andrew Nelson

  4. Carol Friend // February 27, 2020 at 6:12 am // Reply

    Exactly! It’s crazy! There is no such thing as hyper grace, like it’s a bad thing.
    There is only grace or license. So it’s simple. It’s very sad that someone started this twisting of The Gospel. You cannot mix law and grace, and I think that those who have embraced this hyper grace belief, just do not have revelation of law versus grace. It’s impossible to mix them. How very sad that Michael Brown has even written a book promoting this fallacy. Grace cannot become tainted to become partly of license! ABBA must be shaking his head.🤦‍♂️ I am 😳

  5. The operative word is Manifoldgrace. I could care less about the Hypergrace Grave of stiff necks. Why waste time on what matters not? Who said it first? ANYONE could claim they did. There is no way to prove it. Why try getting proof of where this pile of dung came from? IT’S AN EXERCISE IN FUTILITY. You seem to be hyper obsessed with this. You have better things to do. JUST PREACH GRACE AND LET IT DO IT’S OWN SUPERNATURAL WORK.

  6. Mark Marshall // February 27, 2020 at 11:49 am // Reply

    Spurgeon used the term “infinite sovereignty of grace”. The prefix hyper obviously not part of language in Spurgeon’s time. I wonder if any of the critics of hyper grace have ever read any of Spurgeon’s sermons?

  7. “Those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” – I want this.

  8. yes I agree paul that the word hypergrace is technically a spot on translation and the word hyper agrees with the Greek word huper but because of the negative connotation that I think most people associate with this word including myself for that reason I don’t like hearing it to describe our gospel of grace

    • If the word Paul used in the Bible to describe grace has a negative connotation, wouldn’t you say it’s a red flag that our beliefs have gotten off track?

  9. Earl Hendricks // February 28, 2020 at 12:03 pm // Reply

    I am so amazed how negative people who say they be!ieve in grace can be. Keep on doing what you are doing Paul. I am so glad that you don’t seem to be the least bit deterred by other people’s negativity.

  10. Ambangira Edson // February 28, 2020 at 5:40 pm // Reply

    Hallelujah. Love this. Interestingly, I got more understanding of Hyper Grace when I read your book in 2017. Thanks. To Dr Brown and the colleagues, we are not to answer them. I know inside them-they know the Truth. (Never Answer Critics) Truth is absolute, it’s not relative.

  11. This reminds me of the word "trinity', which I have heard Christians denounce but is a word identical b

  12. Hi, Paul! It looks like my earlier comment didn’t post on Thursday. So here it is again with editing and changes : ) I’m reading this where I go for Cardiac Rehab. I had disagreements with Michael Brown even before I knew you. I can’t help but wonder if the negative comments on this post are coming from links to Michael’s site. This article is spot on in my not so humble opinion : ) Thanks for posting these references about the origins of hypergrace. I hope the people who have made negative comments on here will reconsider their viewpoints and actually read what you have written. Between your articles, books, and personal notes and Andrew Farley and his sermons and book and radio programs( you introduced me to Andrew) I have experienced a freedom and true biblically based understanding of grace. Keep doing what you’re doing and with the flair, humor, and grace that so many of us enjoy!

  13. Johnson king // March 2, 2020 at 8:05 pm // Reply

    GLORY TO JESUS FOR HIS HYPERGRACE,BROTHER PAUL I SINCERELY AGREE WITH YOU, THE GRACE OF GOD IS INDESCRIBABLE, NO AMOUNT OF WORDS CAN DESCRIBE IT,WE SHOULD EVEN SEARCH FOR WORDS THAT MIGHT BE HIGHER OR BIGGER OR DEEPER THAN HYPER IF BY ANY MEAN WE CAN MAKE PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THIS GRACE OF OUR GREAT GOD,

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