The Main Danger of the 'Hyper-Grace' Message: Error Through Overemphasis

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conviction and fear
The teaching of grace can build up or tear down the church. (George Hodan)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the great German pastor and theologian, was asked in 1943 how it was possible for the church to sit back and let Hitler and the Nazis seize absolute power. Bonhoeffer's reply: "It was the teaching of cheap grace."

His firm answer fits the modern day and can greatly aid the Church in narrowing the broad way of destruction, which similar winds of doctrine are paving today. Apparently what he was saying was that the teaching of cheap grace resulted in passivity within the church that greatly diminished human responsibility, and allowed the enemy to move in.

What can the Western Church learn from this?

Isn't it interesting that now in our day there are winds of doctrine blowing again which are producing this same type of passive and irresponsible behavior?

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With courage and conviction I must tell you that if a certain course correction is not made in regards to some of these winds of doctrine, it could shipwreck the faith of many professing believers and contribute to the death knell of vibrant Christianity in the West.

The ministry gifts that Jesus gave to the church (Eph. 4:11) bear the primary responsibility of equipping the saints for works of service so that the body of Christ may reach maturity and will no longer be children tossed to and fro by "every wind of doctrine."

"Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won't be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth" (Eph. 4:14, NLT).

Winds of doctrine are clever and tricky because there is often truth attached to it. Winds of doctrine are very common when a particular truth is taken out of context or twisted until it actually becomes a lie, or is overemphasized at the expense of other equally important truths.

Avoiding the Ditches

Someone once said that if an aircraft leaves New York City with a destination marked for Alaska and the flight course is off by a few degrees upon departure; if not corrected at the offset it could wind up in Los Angeles. This is the effect that winds of doctrine produce. It is not the 95 percent truth that will take the body of Christ off course, but the 5 percent error that will potentially run some into the ditch.

One wise old maestro repeatedly warned his students: "When it comes to doctrine, stay in the middle of the road and you will avoid the ditches. Avoid extremes, excesses and abuses of doctrine."

This is what I've witnessed in regards to what many refer to as the "hyper-grace" message—many truths overemphasized at the expense of other equally important truths. These so-called "new" truths are not new nor are they "revolutionary" as some say. They come around about every 20-25 years or once every generation.

The message of what Bonhoeffer called "cheap" grace was around in the 1930s and '40s. Finis Dake called it ultra-grace. Today it's called "hyper-grace." These winds of doctrine toss immature believers to and fro through overemphasis or clever lies that sound like the truth. Sadly, even preachers sometimes get caught up in these winds. It is a characteristic of immaturity.

Here's an example from a book of one of the leading proponents of "hyper-grace."

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