Some say the hyper-grace movement is a new reformation bringing Christians new hope and clarity. Others say it’s a perversion of the Gospel, leading to backsliding and compromise.
The movement was thrust into the limelight when one of its leading voices, Tullian Tchividjian, former pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, admitted an affair and filed for divorce. Some saw this as a natural consequence of a movement that allegedly overemphasizes grace and neglects holiness. And, they say that not only do hyper-grace teachers fall into sin; so do their followers.
Yet, supporters say these criticisms are based on unfair caricatures of the movement. Hyper-grace teachers are not soft on sin, they’re just “extremely big on Jesus.” And, most followers are not enmeshed in sin. They’re simply being liberated from judgmental churches that rely on human effort, and neglect the sufficient work of Christ.
We’ll discuss the movement in depth on Up for Debate this Saturday at 11 a.m. CST. Joining me will be hyper-grace critic, Dr. Michael Brown of the FIRE School of Ministry – and supporter, Kevin Labby, Executive Board member of Liberate and Key Life. Until then, here’s more about this movement – both support and criticism.
What is Hyper-grace?
The term hyper-grace was coined by critics of a recent movement in Christianity that places an extreme emphasis on the role of grace. Hyper-grace teaches that God forgives one’s future sins the same way he forgives one’s past sins. Some even say that repentance and confession of sin are not necessary since Christians are eternally forgiven. Sin, according to some with a hyper-grace viewpoint, is bad only because it can be harmful to one’s life, and the only way to truly disappoint God is by not trusting his grace. The idea of progressive sanctification — that believers, with the help of the Holy Spirit, go through a process that gradually separates them from the evil of the world to be more and more like Christ — is dismissed by hyper-grace teachers as legalism. Instead, they believe that a holy life will be a byproduct of God’s grace.
Criticisms of the Hyper-grace Movement
“In their zeal to exalt God’s grace, hyper-grace teachers often make extreme statements that lead believers to think that they are not responsible for their sins.”
Defenses of the Hyper-grace Movement
“No legitimate grace-preacher that I am aware of minimizes the reality that sin is evil, wrong, bad, unproductive and unfitting for a new creation in Christ.”
Articles about the hyper-grace movement:
- “Why I am Hyper-Grace: Answering Five Common Objections” by Jeremy White
- “8 Signs of ‘Hypergrace’ Churches” by Joseph Mattera
- “9 Errors Christians Make About Hyper-Grace” by D.R. Silva
- “Defending the Faith, or Sowing Discord,” by Eddie Snipes
- “Abusing Grace” by Jeremiah Johnson & Wayne de Villiers
- “Hyper-Grace Horror Stories” by Dr. Michael Brown
- “Dr. Paul Ellis Underscores the Errors of Hyper-Grace” by Dr. Michael Brown