If you don’t like “hyper-grace” then…

Oh_no_hypergraceI recently read a post by Paul Ellis where he was talking about a book by D.R. Silva called “Hyper Grace: The Dangerous Doctrine of a Happy God.”

Silva’s book is partly a response to the current fear-mongering and demonization going on against preachers of the  grace movement that they’ve given derogatory labels like “hyper-grace.” I’ve also talked about this in other posts like, “Is it “hyper-grace” or just God’s radical grace?”

So, of course, after reading Ellis’s post, I had to get the book. It’s inexpensive electronically, an easy read, and definitely worth getting if you want to know more about what this grace teaching is all about.

There was one part of the book that I thought was particularly good at illuminating the absurdity of the accusations so I thought I would have some fun with this too.

HyperGrace_SilvaIn a section titled, “Is “Hyper-Grace Logical” (loc.313), Silva makes the point that the word “hyper” means “extremely active.” Therefore the warnings against hyper grace would actually be warnings against “the errors of extremely active grace.”

And to take the fun a step further, Silva compiles a list of synonyms for “hyper” to show other ways to explain this grace:

Alive-Grace
Bold-Grace
Busy-Grace
Determined-Grace
Diligent-Grace
Dynamic-Grace
Eager-Grace
Energetic-Grace
Engaged-Grace
Enthusiastic-Grace
Intense-Grace
Lively-Grace
Ready-Grace
Daring-Grace
Purposeful-Grace
Zealous-Grace

Of course, the antonyms of “hyper” are equally enlightening:

Afraid-Grace
Apathetic-Grace
Cowardly-Grace
Dull-Grace
Idle-Grace
Ignorant-Grace
Inactive-Grace
Lazy-Grace
Lifeless-Grace
Stupid-Grace
Uneducated-Grace
Unenthusiastic-Grace
Weak-Grace
Dormant-Grace
Immobile-Grace

So, which kind of grace would you prefer to have operating in your life?

On a more serious note, Silva also points out the fact that no one who preaches the so-called “hyper grace” message is promoting any idea that remotely gives one license to sin. This is nothing more than an irresponsible straw-man argument meant to scare the faithful away from ever actually understanding the real freedom of living on this side of the Cross.

As I have said, it’s about real freedom from sin, not freedom to sin.

It’s being managed by the Spirit instead of behavior modification and sin-management…or worse, manipulation.

Now, in their defense, I’m sure they believe they are doing the right thing. It’s more a lack of understanding than doing anything malicious.

I just think it would be nice if we evangelicals stopped acting like a bunch of scared little bunnies whenever our assumptions and traditions are challenged and took the time to find out if what these people are saying is actually found in the Bible.

That we teachers would start teaching people how to think for themselves instead of making sure they think what we think.

We all might just learn something…

Somebody might just get free…

just saying…

Something that has always amazed me, in an ironic way, is that it seems Paul actually taught what these people are calling hyper grace. He told the Galatians they were “bewitched” and preaching “another gospel” for mixing any part of the Law with grace,  for trying to mix the old covenant with the new (Gal.1:6-9:3:1-5).

Later, Paul said that when we try live by rules instead of the Spirit by faith, we’ve actually fallen from grace (Gal.5:4).

Anyway, Silva’s book is a good read on the subject. In the meantime, look at the lists above and decide what kind of grace you would like operating in your life.

For me, just like my coffee, I’ll take the bold-intense grace, thank you very much. 🙂

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About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 36 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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16 Responses to If you don’t like “hyper-grace” then…

  1. jodiwoody says:

    Well said. Hyper, or whatever they want to call it. I am thankful for it! He does things in a big way!

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks, and amen! The same God who made hundreds of billions of stars and galaxies can make His grace “super-abound” toward us (Rom.5:20 AMP). What’s interesting about “super-abound,” or “much more abound” in other translations, is that it’s the Greek Word transliterated, huperperisseuo. “Huper” in this compound word is where we get the English word, “hyper.” So, you could say that God’s grace “hyper-abounds” toward us. Imagine that. 🙂

  2. TK says:

    “I just think it would be nice if we evangelicals stopped acting like a bunch of scared little bunnies whenever our assumptions and traditions are challenged…”

    “That we teachers would start teaching people how to think for themselves instead of making sure they think what we think.”

    These two statements stood out to me while reading this. There are many different forms of Christianity out there. I choose to look at them as nothing more than different ways to worship the same God. Just because one person feels closer to God through a different kind of Christianity that another’s does not mean those two should condemn each other.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Amen. I couldn’t agree more. Diversity is good, division is bad. We’re all on the same team, part of the same body. As Paul said to the Galatians, we’re to walk in the Spirit and thus fulfill the Law by loving one another, instead of biting and devouring one another (Gal.5:14-16). James also said we should be swift to listen, slow to speak, slow to wrath (James 1:19-20). Let’s try that for a change. 🙂

  3. Most churches seem to be somewhat legalistic with an, “if you don’t share my beliefs then you are deceived,” mindset. Stepping away from that feels very much like walking on water, surprisingly enough. I keep expecting the ground to open up and swallow me for the “follower of false doctrine” person I’m becoming. Every step, though, brings a greater sense of freedom. I’ve seen what love can do – the transformation that occurs over the last couple of months…lasting *transformation* – not temporary *conformation.* Wild horses couldn’t drag me back.

    It is a beautiful thing to be loved as you are, and encouraged to grow closer to Jesus. What an effective approach.

    We may live in different parts of the “house,” but we’re all one family. Face it, one doesn’t carry on the same activity in the bathroom as one does in the kitchen. 🙂 I, for one, am thankful that no one is bathing children in my kitchen! Perhaps one day we’ll figure this out.

    Have a blessed week!

    \o/

    • Mel Wild says:

      “It is a beautiful thing to be loved as you are, and encouraged to grow closer to Jesus. What an effective approach.” Amen. This goes with what I was saying my post, “Sovereignty through Love.” God holds us by His love, not by fear, coercion or manipulation. Love means free will.

      I also like what you said about going from walking on water to feeling like the ground swallowing you up but, nonetheless, feeling the freedom. How true! Andrew Farley said it best, “We’re suckers for religion.” So, anything that looks like “walking on water” is judged as heresy, false doctrine, false you-name-it.

      And I agree, I do think we will eventually figure it out by God’s grace once we figure out that we’re totally affirmed and beloved sons and daughters in our Father’s house. This will answer Jesus’ prayer in John 17:21-26. Again, the Father’s love breaks down all our orphan-hearted walls of division.

      Thanks for chiming in with some great insights. You be blessed too.

  4. Lisa says:

    The more I hear about this hyper-grace stuff, the more I realize that I’m probably a hyper-grace girl at heart. I wasn’t always. I used to float down the evangelical mainstream, and could never understand why I couldn’t get a grasp on a really abundant life. Then I got a higher thought.

    So I’ll take the risk. Because if I’m going to err, let me err on the side of preaching a God who is too loving, too forgiving, too merciful, too patient, too kind, too interested in His kids’ welfare, too faithful, too, too, too…

    • Mel Wild says:

      Amen, I hear you about not always being this way. Same here. I shared some of my journey in “Don’t give your life to Jesus and then lose your soul.” But I, too, found that the more I had encounters with the Father’s love, the more “hyper grace” at heart I became. 🙂 And the irony I discovered was, this was the very grace Paul taught! What we’ve called grace, like repentance, was a mixture of works and faith that never brings the freedom promised in Scripture. And Paul called trying to mix the Old Covenant with the New, no matter how subtle the form, “another gospel.” So I’m glad about the GOOD news that actually brings great joy!

      And I remember that John Wimber used to say, “Faith is spelled, R-I-S-K,” so, yes, let’s risk on the side of love. Paul also tells us the only thing that really matters is love in the end. We will never be perfect in our doctrine, but we can certainly love others with the love we’ve received.

      Thanks for your comments here. Blessings.

      • Lisa says:

        That is one of my favorite Wimber quotes. And one of the most challenging, if you take it to heart.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Yes! It’s actually very scary, not comfortable at all, not ordered, usually confusing, sometimes like diving off of a cliff in the dark, but exhilarating and full of life! And, looking back, those are the adventures we remember most fondly. 🙂

  5. Jen says:

    It’s not a straw man argument. It’s the ideas that people get. That is why you can’t encourage most Christians to be holy. They mistakenly believe that they have the “freedom in Christ” to look just like the world and how dare you judge them because judge not! Now excuse us while we go watch filthy shows on TV and let our kids listen to foul music. We are mature enough in our faith to swim in filth. I don’t mean to come off as harsh, but time is short and it’s time to get ourselves together.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thank you for your comments, Jen. The straw man argument I was talking about is coming from those who teach against it, like Dr. Brown. They are demonizing this message by pointing out those who DON’T understand the grace message (who think that it’s license to sin, walk in whatever garbage they want, etc.) when this is not what these grace teachers are teaching at all. They are taking bad reactions to it and portraying it as that this is what the grace preachers are teaching. When it isn’t. Pure grace is the empowerment over sin, not the license to sin. These so-called “hyper-grace” teachers are teaching that we aren’t managed by the Law anymore but by the Spirit. And holiness is our identity as sons of our Father, not our behavior. In fact, obedience to the Law never made anyone righteous or holy. Paul points this out in several places.

      I covered the bad reactions to grace in another post “Grace in the balance of the prodigal and elder brother response.” My point was, only sons can understand the message of pure grace. If you look at the story of the two sons in Luke 15, the Prodigal was a rebellious orphan and the elder brother was a religious orphan. Neither one was wanting life with their father. So, if we’re still living like orphans–on either side–we will not understand this grace revolution in its proper light. For orphans cannot handle the pure message of grace. They will either abuse it or criticize anyone who tries to walk in it. For it’s meant for fully affirmed sons living life from the Father’s embrace. If you like, you can read the other post for more clarification.

      The point is, we need to see what the pure grace message is and not point to bad examples to dismiss it. I hope that makes sense. Your comments are appreciated. Blessings.

      • gahihgi says:

        Jen
        My friend (a strong Christian) had a problem with me listening to the type of music I used to listen to. Then I stopped but it wasn’t because I wanted to stop listening. I stopped watching boxing because someone else (another strong Christian) didn’t think it was a good idea. I would go into the living room just to get away from my grandparents watching “trash” on tv in the kitchen. I just figured with all those commercials or anything coming up during a show (like a basketball game or a sitcom) that was sin that it would be better if I didn’t see any at all so I ate away from them. I was headed toward being a hermit to get away from anything that was sinful. Then on top of all that I tried to pass this joyless life onto my friends that they needed to be a Christian like me. So my question is do you think this is what God wanted me to do when my heart was not even in it or use wisdom and follow the Spirit?
        Peace

  6. bullroarin says:

    Hi Mel…I just read your article on hyper grace. I’ve been on the grace train for a few years now and after 30 years of religion am free of the law of sin and death. Grace is more than a blessing at dinner (as I’ve found out) and is indeed a lifestyle of walking in the knowledge and truth and freedom that Christ purchased on the cross…without condemnation.
    Its always refreshing to see when others are walking the same path. Hope you don’t mind if I follow along. ~ Dave

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks, Dave. Yes, we’re finally walking into freedom and tapping into the pure grace that Jesus paid for. My blog focuses on this and what it means to be a son in the Father’s embrace. And this includes taking a fresh look at our religious assumptions with regard to all of these things. You’re more than welcome to come along. And your input in the conversation is welcomed and appreciated. Blessings.

  7. Pingback: Making sense of the current grace debate | In My Father's House

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