'Free Grace' Theology: 5 Ways It Diminishes the Gospel



About 'Free Grace' Theology

Must the gospel message include a call for people to repent of their sins? “No,” say Free Grace advocates. Is evidence of a changed life an important indication of whether a person is truly born again? “No, again,” these advocates say.

But in this book, Wayne Grudem shows how the Bible answers “Yes” to both of these questions, arguing that the Free Grace movement contradicts both historic Protestant teaching and the New Testament itself.

This important book explains the true nature of the Christian gospel and answers the question asked by so many people: “How can I know that I’m saved?”


Wayne Grudem (PhD, University of Cambridge; DD, Westminster Theological Seminary) is research professor of theology and biblical studies at Phoenix Seminary, having previously taught for 20 years at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Grudem earned his undergraduate degree at Harvard University, as well as an MDiv from Westminster Seminary. He is the former president of the Evangelical Theological Society, a cofounder and past president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, a member of the Translation Oversight Committee for the English Standard Version of the Bible, the general editor of the ESV Study Bible, and has published over 20 books, including Systematic Theology, Evangelical Feminism, Politics—According to the Bible, and Business for the Glory of God.


“Credence without commitment and assurance without action are the hallmarks of the so-called Free Grace version of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is, however, unbiblical, anti-evangelical, and sub-Christian, as Grudem’s patient and well-informed analysis clearly shows.”
J. I. Packer, Board of Governors' Professor of Theology, Regent College

“The so-called ‘lordship controversy’ has been simmering for several decades now. I’m thankful for several fresh resources that deal with these matters accurately and succinctly. Wayne Grudem’s book in particular is an excellent and very useful digest of the main doctrinal and biblical issues under debate. He answers the questions with uncommon clarity and skill, always from Scripture.”
John MacArthur, Pastor, Grace Community Church, Sun Valley, California; President, The Master's College and Seminary

“Within evangelicalism, there is a kind of presentation of the Bible’s teaching on grace that actually diminishes what the Bible teaches about grace, while purporting to elaborate and emphasize it. Wayne Grudem carefully, charitably, wisely, and pastorally takes on that kind of teaching in this book. This is an issue that especially pastors and those preparing to be pastors need to think through clearly, because confusion in our teaching and preaching on this will harm the sheep and our witness.”
J. Ligon Duncan III, Chancellor and CEO, Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, Mississippi

“Ever so fair and irenic, New Testament scholar and trusted theologian Wayne Grudem gives no quarter to the purveyors of the so-called Free Grace gospel as he exposes their troubling pattern of selective reading of the standard Greek lexicons, as well as of famed theologians, to effect the illusion of support for their position. Grudem does more than demolish a house of cards as he pastorally lays out what the New Testament says about the nature of the gospel, repentance, faith, and assurance. Grudem’s critique is a gift of love to the church universal, and especially to those under the unfortunate thrall of errant teaching.”
R. Kent Hughes, Visiting Professor of Practical Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary

“With grace, patience, pastoral tenderness, and honesty, Wayne Grudem takes a careful look at biblical teaching on the gospel and evangelism as he critically examines the teaching of what is called ‘Free Grace.’ As well intentioned as this position is, Grudem argues it falls short in five areas. He is fair, citing Free Grace materials in full and engaging biblical texts with care. I commend this book as one who has had similar discussions on these topics with people who hold this position, people whom I also respect as Grudem does.”
Darrell L. Bock, Executive Director of Cultural Engagement, Howard G. Hendricks Center, and Senior Research Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary    

“This book is charitable yet rock-solid in its penetrating insights regarding the Free Grace movement. The soteriology of this movement is thoroughly consistent—and deeply flawed. Grudem has addressed a number of the key issues and texts in a gracious and gentle manner. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in the Free Grace movement and its implications for the gospel.”
Daniel B. Wallace, Senior Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

“Wayne Grudem’s book on Free Grace is the best I have read on the subject, and I commend it with enthusiasm for several reasons. First, it is biblically saturated, showing us again and again what the Scriptures say. Second, Grudem’s explanations are so clear that virtually any Christian can read and understand this book. Third, the book is amazingly kind, generous, and charitable. Grudem isn’t on the attack. He loves those with whom he disagrees, and that love shines through the book. Fourth, Grudem recognizes the issue is massively important since it has to do with the nature of the gospel we preach and proclaim. He argues convincingly that works are a necessary fruit of salvation, which doesn’t threaten free grace but upholds what the great Reformers taught about salvation.”
Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Associate Dean of the School of Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“This excellent and insightful book is much needed in the church today, especially in view of ever-increasing focus on the nature of the gospel. His analysis of the ill-named Free Grace movement is clear, thoroughly biblical, and entirely persuasive. He deals forthrightly yet charitably with the views of those who advocate this mistaken conception of the gospel of God’s grace in Jesus Christ. All Christians will benefit greatly from reading Grudem’s analysis. I cannot recommend this book too highly.”
Sam Storms, Lead Pastor for Preaching and Vision, Bridgeway Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

“With care and weighty biblical and historical argumentation, Grudem applies his clear-headed reasoning to show where the Free Grace view has gone wrong. Because this disagreement has to do with the very nature of the gospel, saving faith, and the basis of assurance, it is critical that Christians understand rightly what Scripture teaches on these matters. “Free Grace” Theology provides an excellent guide to understanding why the traditional Protestant and Reformed view of these matters accurately expresses biblical teaching and where the Free Grace view misleads. Every Christian can benefit from reading this book, to grow in clarity and conviction of understanding of what salvation by faith alone truly means.”
Bruce A. Ware, T. Rupert and Lucille Coleman Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Table of Contents


  1. Not the 'Faith Alone' of the Reformation
  2. No Call to Repent of Sins
  3. False Assurance
  4. Underemphasis on Trust in the Person of Christ
  5. Unlikely Interpretations

General Index
Scripture Index


Category: Academic
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 160
ISBN-10: 1-4335-5114-4
ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-5114-7
Size: 5.5 in x 8.5 in
Weight: 8.16 ounces
Published: July 31, 2016

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