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Added: July 4, 2019
8 SIGNS OF HYPER GRACE CHURCHES
By Kevin Chabogo
I have seen a dramatic decline in doctrinal and biblical preaching. We have gone from theology to therapy in the pulpits. In the past decade, we went from therapy to motivational speaking instead of preaching.
In addition to this, whole churches and movements have oriented themselves to a distorted understanding of the gospel by espousing a “hypergrace” approach that trickles down to not only what they preach but who they allow to minister and teach.
The following are signs of a hypergrace church:
- The preachers never speak against sin.
If you are in a church like this, you will notice that the word sin is usually only mentioned in the context of forgiveness of sins in Christ but hardly ever in the context of taking a stand against sin, except of course when they condemn the sin of “legalists” and “Pharisees” who are the ministers they denigrate for preaching against sin.
- The lead pastor never takes a cultural stand for righteousness.
When issues like abortion come up, these pastors will shy away from mentioning it because they are afraid of offending new people. I can understand this to a point. But I counter that we as ministers of Christ are obligated to at least mention our positions publicly so that we use it as a teaching moment for the sheep following us. Not saying anything about an issue like abortion is another way of condoning it!
- The Old Testament is almost totally ignored.
In these churches, the Old Testament is treated as only types and shadows for sermon illustrations but has no real value regarding our standard of living today. As I show in this article, my position is that the New Testament and Old Testament are organically connected, with the New building upon the Old, not eradicating it altogether!
- People who live immoral lives are allowed to teach and lead ministries.
One pastor was telling me that sexual immorality and drunkenness is rampant in many evangelical churches—even amongst small group leaders and other leaders in local churches! This is because there is very little accountability.
- The lead pastor speaks often against the institutional church.
Many hypergrace pastors constantly denounce churches that are conservative in their values because they believe those churches represent the “old school” that is no longer relevant to today’s culture.
- The lead pastor preaches against tithing.
Although I believe tithing carried over into the New Testament, I believe it is more of a biblical principle that preceded the Law of Moses (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all tithed before Moses gave the Law), was taught by Jesus (Matt. 23) and was mentioned in other passages, like Hebrews 7.
These pastors denounce tithing as a law that was done away with in Christ. (For more on this, read my position paper entitled “Is Tithing in the New Testament?”)
- The lead pastor only preaches positive motivational messages.
Those attending hypergrace churches only hear positive messages on health, wealth, prosperity, God’s love, God’s forgiveness and how to succeed in life. Although I also agree with and teach on these topics, we have to be careful to include in our preaching the whole counsel of God so that we feed the flock a balanced diet instead of just the sweetness of feel-good messages. We must do this so we are free from the blood of all men (Acts 20:26-27).
- Key members of the church are regularly living sinful lives with impunity.
Those attending a hypergrace church will most likely find that, because of the strong emphasis on grace—with no teaching against sin or on repentance, judgment or hell—there is an atmosphere of loose living, with many involved in sexual immorality and drunkenness as well as other physical vices.
The reason for this is “the law is our schoolmaster that leads us to Christ” (Gal. 3:24) because through the (moral) law comes the knowledge of sin (Rom. 3:20). If the moral law of the Ten Commandments is not preached or alluded to, then in ignorance the people will live foolish lives and will be like the blind leading to blind because “where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law” (Prov. 28:18).
In conclusion, there are many other things I could mention regarding hypergrace churches and their preaching, like how it is one step away from universalism (the belief that all people will eventually be saved, whether they believe the gospel or not, e.g. Love Wins by Rob Bell) and liberalism, because an increasing amount of Scripture is eviscerated because it is culturally offensive (like husbands being the head of the house, views on homosexuality, etc.).
I believe antinomianism is a dangerous trend in evangelicalism and is something we need to lovingly take a stand against with our brothers and sisters who espouse it.
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