20 August, 2016

FAQ – Why all this discussion on common grace?


Q. 1. “What is the ultimate purpose in creating a page, blog or Facebook group specifically for common grace?”

To discuss and promote the truth of God! Any Christian can promote a page on any doctrine of the faith: eschatology, providence, the effectual call, the development of the Trinity in the early church, etc.
We have a special interest in this topic and other people are interested too. The blog and discussion group involves studying Scripture, analyzing theologians, relating doctrines, etc.

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Q. 2. “How can such a website be for personal edification and spiritual needs?”

God edifies us by His truth as Christ says (John 17:17) not by lies and errors. The glory of God is seen in His almighty, saving grace in Jesus Christ and by His Spirit; His purposeful providence, involving both elect and reprobate; His beautiful simplicity in all His attributes. Do not people have a spiritual need to grasp the pure truth of God's Word? Aren't we called earnestly to contend for the biblical faith and to search the Scriptures to see if doctrine that is widely taught is true? This truth helps us grasp the meaning of many passages in the Bible and honour the non-contradictory God of the Bible. BTW, it takes prayer for illumination to grapple with the issues and get beyond the popular compromise position which makes for a lot easier ecclesiastical life, for if one simply accepts the CG position many other churches view one more highly and one can get on easier with Arminians too, for both groups hold to CG, as do Rome, Eastern Orthodoxy and the liberals.

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Q. 3. “How is studying common grace helping you to love God and love your neighbour more?”

I love God by believing, confessing and defending His truth: particular, uncommon grace. I love my neighbour as I help Him understand that there is no weak, ineffectual love in God. I love my unbelieving neighbour in that, by God's grace, I may be used to show him that there is no love of God outside Jesus Christ so that he may grasp his terrible situation and so repent and be saved.

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Q. 4. “What is your main concern regarding the idea of a common grace?”

Our biggest concern is that we do not believe the Bible teaches it. Our argument against common grace concerns the holiness of God's name. Also this initial error of a love of God for the reprobate is being used by many (including professed Calvinists) to erode the antithesis (Gen. 3:15), to soften total depravity, to compromise particular atonement, to preach a desire of God to save the reprobate, to silence and (then) deny unconditional reprobation and election, to refuse to condemn Arminianism and its teachers, and to enable fellowship with unbelievers. (Rev. Angus Stewart)

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Q. 5. “Does not all this controversy and discussion over one very specific doctrinal issue seem to go against the admonition in Titus 3:9 to ‘avoid foolish controversies’ and the admonition of II Timothy 2:14-16 to ‘strive not about words to no profit’ and ‘shun profane and vain babblings’?”

This controversy isn't “foolish controversies” or “vain babbling”it is concerned with God, providence, the headship of Christ, the purpose of the Word, etc. (Rev. Angus Stewart)

One's view of common grace/free offer of the Gospel drastically affects one's theology. We ought not to consider in-depth discussion about such an important topic a “foolish controversy” or “vain babbling.” Entire denominations have been torn apart over this very issue. It would seem foolish *not* to devote time and energy plumbing the depths of this issue. (Rev. Jason Boothe)

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Q. 6. “Does not theological precision such as this topic produce pride in people?”

This question can work both ways. One can find pride also in his ability to shy away from theological discussion just as easily as he can be proud of his theological debating skills. It can lead such a person to say, "I'm glad I'm not like those grouchy and puffed-up debating Calvinists who are always trying to prove their point! I'm humble because I keep myself unspotted from the discussion groups!" It would seem either position (to debate or not to debate) can lead a believer to the same place of pride if abused. (Rev. Jason Boothe)

What about the theological precision the church holds regarding the Trinity, or the person and natures of Christ (e.g., as in the Chalcedonian Creed) or even the truth of justification by faith alone? (Sheer pride!) Maybe we should shelve *all* theological precision to prove how humble we are, so that we are a bunch of really humble heretics.

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Q. 7. “Is not all this degree of focus on the topic unhealthy?”

This is a page or blog specially devoted to that subject. Someone can have a page or website devoted to Amillennialism or Adoption or Nuclear Disarmament without saying any of these things are the most important subjects in all the world. If you read Athanasius his focus was the Deity of Christ. Herman Hoeksema was very covenant-centred.

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Q. 8. “Why all this obsession over ‘common grace’? Why all this discussion on it?”

Anybody can promote a website or discussion group on any doctrine of the faith: eschatology, providence, the effectual call, the development of the Trinity in the early church, etc. We have a special interest in this topic and other people are interested too. The discussions on this topic involve studying Scripture, analyzing theologians, relating doctrines, etc.
Many people do not understand this subject and that is why this site exists. People need to be warned of this destructive traitor within the church. But they must see it as a traitor first. Common grace is the bridge that brings the world into the church and the church into the world.
Common grace is the basis for teaching the doctrine of the free offer of the gospel. Without common grace, Arminianism, Amyraldianism and all other Hypo-Calvinistic ideologies have no basis for their teaching. Common grace is pivotal in these errors.

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Q. 9. “But I’ve hardly ever heard the term ‘common grace’ in all the sermons I’ve listened to. What’s all the fuss?”

In actuality, we do hear "common grace" being preached more often than we think, although it's never given that exact name or explicit title when it's coming from many a pulpit.
Consider that the majority of evangelicals in the world preach an Arminian-esque and semi-Pelagian type of "gospel" message: that is, that the ultimate and final component in the work of salvation rests upon man making a decision or taking action. Common grace falsely tells a mixed crowd of unbelievers that God loves all of them, head for head, and He expresses this love to them by providing certain things for them to sustain life and even enjoy certain luxuries. While Common grace proponents will say this is not meant to be salvific, these things are still intended by God to point the unbeliever to repentance and faith in God since they should somehow recognize they are undeserving of this "favor" and daily blessing by God that simply keeps them alive and thriving in their communities.
Meanwhile the preacher in many of our churches will also make the same claim to his audience—that God loves absolutely all sinners and wants to show all of them mercy, if only they'll just "ask Jesus into their heart" or "make a decision for Christ" to walk down the aisle and "get saved." So Common grace is conceptually tied into the God-dishonouring "gospel" we sometimes hear in churches that tells us God loves all men and all sinners, and that He shows this to them on a daily basis by making sure they are sustained in earthly life.

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Q. 10. “Surely all this discussion doesn't matter because God saves all the elect anyway? Aren’t you forgetting… God is God. He is sovereign and in control of all things.”

There is a vast difference to believing in the sovereignty of God and the error of Fatalism. We are called to live as wise and not go blindly on without caring as do the Muslims who believe in fate. When we are called to depart from error and are warned against error (as we are in James 1:16) then we do that. Our argument against common grace is the holiness of God's name. “Fatalism” comes into being when men think God has and does do it all and therefore we don't need to oppose error because it can't change God's decrees. I agree we can't, but we still must be up and doing. God has not called us to a life of nothing.


Just because God does sovereignly preserve all of His people in faith through all sorts of situations, does not mean that "mindless Christianity" is a good thing. It certainly does not justify someone despising the Word of God.


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Q. 11. “Can one of the elect believe in common grace during his sanctification process? Is believing in common grace going to keep one of God's elect out of heaven? Are you going to break fellowship with a believer because he is still in the common grace camp? The Holy Spirit gets all of us where we need to be, but at different times and sometimes on different schedules. I’m sure there was a time in your life that you perhaps thought differently on certain theological questions than you do today. I just get concerned that sometimes issues like this turn into the main thing when it’s not the main thing.”

What is your difficulty with encouraging people to believe in the right way of things? Should we not correct error? II Timothy 3:16-17 states… “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
Scripture is profitable for “correction.”

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Q. 12. “I agree we should correct error, but sometimes we can become the doctrine police… Doctrine didn't seem to matter so much when Jesus told the thief on the cross "today you shall be with me in paradise." I guess I’m stuck on “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified” (Romans 8:29-30 ESV). To me, that is all God. He is doing it all. Not man. Not me. But I'm hearing a role of man to correct the doctrine of the “common gracers” so they can then save themselves.”

The doctrine of common grace (especially the well-meant offer) lends itself to the understanding of people that they, in some way, do save themselves. It is this and other things we are correcting. Words have meaning, and no matter what artificial man-made distinctions may be concocted, the real inherent meanings of those words will inevitably assert themselves. Of course no one can add or diminish to or from the elect, but that does not mean we do not fight vociferously for the truth, and against the lie. After all, that is the nature of the antithesis.
Man does have a role to play and a big role at that. Not in regeneration or election, but in the preaching of the gospel. To deny all of man's role, would you stop that and say “God will save all of the elect anyway”?

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Q. 13. “... the order and severity of the decretals between what I believe and you believe won't matter at the end of the day.”

This is blasphemy. Who is any man to play with God’s truth and to tell us that things don't actually matter and make no real difference? (Rev. Angus Stewart)

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