Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14)

Saturday, May 05, 2012

H.K. Flynn Rides Again! [Reformed and FG Theologies Contrasted]

The following provides a few comments from our esteemed Free Grace Sister, Jodie Sawyer, aka H.K. Flynn. Jodie is responding to a Lordship and Reformed Salvation proponent on the doctrine of Repentance. Her points are very potent. Jodie contrasts Lordship and Free Grace in a way that I had never fully looked at it up until I read her comments. Enjoy!

[Lordship Proponent:] As you can imagine, it appears to us that you are attempting to find a way out of the dilemma you are facing with “repentance.”

[Jodie Responds:]

Nice try.

It appears to us that you'd rather take this [i.e. repentance, Editor’s note] off the agenda.

[Editor’s Note: Instead of wanting to deeply discuss repentance, the Lordship proponents simply wanted to use emotionally charged, yet superficial, charges against Free Grace Theology to blast its positions out of the water. Essentially, their argument was “See how many times repentance is used in Luke and Acts in evangelistic settings! It has to be a condition of eternal life! How can you say it is not!?”]

Both Daniel and Jonathan seem to me to be saying that since your paradigm conflicts with ours it is wrong. And I very much agree with Daniel that if we are wrong it is tragic and I would add abusive. I'll gladly email Antonio and say sorry I think this whole Free Grace thing has problems and it's not really what the Bible teaches...

But for now I think your paradigm gets astronomically high marks for being internally consistent. But when it is lined up with Scripture you need to define words very paradoxically to make it fit.

Repentant faith
faith works

You're so used to all that paradox you can't perceive its significance.

It will take a huge leap of intellectual curiosity to fully grasp the FG paradigm & then to realize how very simply it aligns with the NT!

Simple and parse beats voluminous and paradoxical.

[Editor’s Note: Jodie hits this one out of the park! Free Grace Theology harmonizes what texts simply convey with the rest of Scripture. Its interpretations are very simple. Free Grace Theology takes the Bible at its face value (prima facie). What the Bible says, it means. Although the interpretations are very simple, they are supported with very technical and precise means, which harmonize them with the other affirmations of the Bible (also simply interpreted). Reformed Theology, on the other hand, offers interpretations of texts that notably contradict the very texts they propose to interpret! They offer lengthy and wordy interpretations of the texts that rely on the “paradox” motif. “Simple and parse beats voluminous and paradoxical”!! Great one-liner, Jodie!]

[Jodie continued…] Jonathan and Daniel,

I'm not intending to say that you don't use Scripture to make your points, but that you stop interacting on the passages when Antonio seems to show that the contexts support his interpretations with more simplicity.

I also continue to insist that our two paradigms have more common ground (God's Holiness, God's Accountability, His wrath) than is usually recognized.

Warmly despite our disagreement,
H.K Flynn

[continuing…] Hi Daniel!

Thanks for your taking time to comment on this topic again.

You say:

So it is with the gospel. Antonio has isolated a portion of the gospel to the detriment of the whole, and regardless of how simple or sparse an incomplete gospel may be - it is nevertheless insufficient.

I think that's a very clear way of describing the issue. My problem with it is very simple. John's Gospel asks to be isolated, not as the only NT message or as the only good news resulting from the Incarnation, but the one and only exhaustive book on how to receive eternal life. (Jn 20:31)

What would motivate John, late in the game in terms of the writing of the NT, to leave out repentance if he knew it was the necessary precursor to faith? Would you do that? Even though he himself was a disciple of John the Baptist, he even chose to mention John's baptism without using the word ‘repentance’.

Is it possible that the obstacle to seeing this, that John taught a profoundly free gift of eternal life, really is your own conscience? Are you possibly using your own conscience as your real authority, and not letting the Word of God break through that barrier? It's hard for me to see how anyone can understand that idea, that John speaks authoritatively only on that one core topic of eternal life, and honestly fail to see the incredible power of distinguishing John from Luke, who speaks on repentance. [Editor’s note: Bold is mine]

What power? The power of
(A) the simple beauty of God's generosity in wanting people to avoid torment. But also
(B) the power of leaving the stern and majestic call to repentance unhindered!

Why tame that message [the call to repentance] by framing it as the humble doormat to belief? [Editor’s Note: Italics mine] Yes it makes your interpretation of the NT neater but at what cost? Why picture repentance as not important enough to be mentioned [in John] but still invariably present like the quietest of all maidens? When I read Revelation, I notice that that's not how John (the Son of Thunder) treats the theme of repentance. John is not, as you know, the fay man of DaVinci [!!], he is the one trusted with the stunning letters to the churches:

I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

That is, if you don't stop sinning it will cost you, soon, right here on planet earth, not in eternity. Repentance is never treated as a necessary precursor to faith[!!] It is treated as the fearful warning of God's temporal wrath on sin.

I don't mean to just argue. But it seems to me that your conscience may not be allowing you to be sensitive to the dramatic contrasts in God's Word.

Lord bless you!
[End Jodie Sawyer]

There you have it folks! Some general and specific contrasts between Reformed Theology and Free Grace theology. Excellent job, Jodie! We all want you to come back and write posts again!