I just finished reading “The Hyper Grace Gospel: A Response to Michael Brown and Those Opposed the the Modern Grace Message” by Paul Ellis. The title says it all. Dr. Ellis’ book came out this April in response to Dr. Michael Brown’s book that came out in January, “Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message.”
Previously, I mentioned another book by D.R. Silva titled, “Hyper-Grace: the Dangerous Doctrine of a Happy God” here…
In case you haven’t noticed, there’s been a grace revolution going on in our midst as leaders have been taking a fresh look at just how amazing God’s grace really is. Of course, as we’ve seen in church history, often the first reaction to a fresh perspective about our life in Christ is to reject it. This modern grace movement is no different.
But instead of just hearing things second-hand and writing off something unfamiliar to our theological ears, we should be “good Bereans” and see if these things are so, as we see in Acts 17:11 (bold-text added)…
“These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”
Unfortunately, many often apply “being a good Berean”, not by being fair-minded, but by trying to use Scripture to disprove something they already disagree with. This is operating in the opposite spirit.
For me personally, being from the Pentecostal/Charismatic stream of the body of Christ, this new grace movement been quite controversial. There have been high-profile Charismatic leaders that I greatly respect, like Michael Brown, Mike Bickle, among others, that have been very vocal about criticizing this message. Some, like Dr. Brown, have attempted to demean it by labeling it with the derogatory term, “Hyper-Grace.”
So, if you walk in the same circles as I do, you’ve probably heard the same from several leaders, telling us to stay away from this “new doctrine.” Some have even gone so far as to condemned it as a doctrine from hell and have demonized its proponents. I will say here, this extreme is a baseless knee-jerk reaction.
Dr. Brown is not one of those people demonizing it, and I believe his treatment of this subject was intended to be fair and honorable, although I don’t think he fully understands it (which is why books like “Hyper Grace Gospel” are needed). And I believe it’s even healthy for leaders to be able to disagree and remain respectful and honor those they may even vehemently disagree with while we wrestle with these weighty matters. We’re all much beloved brothers and sisters in Christ at the end of the day.
Hopefully, we will all end up growing in our understanding of the depths God’s scandalous grace. And I believe all sides understand that no one has perfect knowledge and so it’s wisdom to be “quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger” (James 1:19)
And I don’t think it’s helpful to us, if we’re going to advance with the Kingdom, to avoid new teachings that may provoke us and upset our current deeply-held assumptions.
For this reason, I have spent a lot of time over the last few years researching this for myself. Not only have I found these accusations to be unfounded, but I have had quite the opposite experience. I have written about this many times on this blog.
Actually, this is not a “new doctrine” at all, but a very ancient one–the good news that’s actually GOOD news! Proclaiming the freedom from empty religion that Christ paid for (Gal.5:1; Col.2:20-23). A message that I personally feel untangles the confusing mixture of grace and law that we have assumed was grace and has caused so much needless guilt and condemnation.
So I suggest you research this yourself, pray about it with an open heart and make up your own mind about it. I would also suggest reading both books mentioned above.
I have found Paul Ellis’ book well written and easy to follow. The book is written in three parts. The first is an overview of the so-called “Hyper-Grace” gospel; the second part covers 12 commons myths about this movement; and the third part is a chapter-by-chapter rebuttal of Dr.Brown’s book. For this reason, I personally believe this to be the definitive book on the current grace debate so far.
And if you’re interested in an comment exchange between Paul Ellis and Michael Brown on Ellis’ blog that took place about a year before both books came out, you can go here…
I will close with some humor from Paul Ellis. This video was from his post on May 4th It’s hilarious. You really need to see all six clips. In this one (Hyper Grace – Episode 3) you’ll see listed the 12 myths about the modern grace movement that he exposes in his book.
May the Grace be with you!