Saturday, March 10, 2012

Is Tom Stegall's Gospel the Traditional Free Grace Gospel?

Tom Stegall, author of the book The Gospel of The Christ (Duluth: Grace Gospel Press, 2009), would like us to believe that he's traditional/classical Free Grace in his theology. His publishing company "Grace Gospel Press" is even printing a new book titled Freely By His Grace: Classical Free Grace Theology. But in regards to the gospel - an issue "of first importance" (1 Cor. 15:3), Stegall is a wolf in sheep's clothing (Matt. 7:15; Acts 20:29-30).1 He may advocate many tenets of traditional Free Grace theology, but his groundless interpretation of the gospel (that the burial of Christ is not really part of the gospel) is not the traditional Free Grace gospel. His own words verify this truth.

The Traditional Free Grace Interpretation of Acts 13:16-41

Stegall is on record as affirming that "the traditional Free Grace interpretation of the gospel can accept the prima facie [i.e. first sight or face value] reading of the text of Acts 13:16-41".2 I find this statement quite interesting because Acts 13:16-41 includes the burial of Christ in the good news (Acts 13:29) - a fact that Stegall contends is not part of the gospel. The passage in Acts 13 also includes the resurrection appearances of Christ in the good news (Acts 13:31), another fact that Stegall contends is not part of the gospel.

The truth is that Stegall's interpretation of the gospel simply does not accept the prima facie or face value reading of the text of Acts 13:16-41 - he explains away Christ's burial and resurrection appearances as somehow not part of the gospel even though both are included in the text as part of "the message of this salvation" (Acts 13:26) - "the good news" (Acts 13:32)!

Let's take a closer look.

Stegall's Non-Prima Facie Reading of Acts 13:16-41

Stegall says that Acts 13:23-41 is the gospel:
  • "It is imperative to understand, for the purpose of determining the content of the gospel, that from Acts 13:23 onward Paul is preaching 'the gospel' of Christ."3
  • "we may safely conclude that Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus Christ as Savior starting at Acts 13:23."4
  • "the actual content of the gospel itself [is] (13:23-41)."5

Stegall says that Acts 13:29 and Acts 13:31 are not part of the gospel:
  • "It is enough to note that the additional elements of Christ's burial in a tomb, His post-resurrection appearances to the apostles...These extra details [!] in Acts 13...offer proofs of the gospel but are technically not the gospel. For example, in Acts 13, the mention of Christ's burial 'in a tomb' (13:29) gives proof to the fact that He really did die. The fact that Christ was 'seen' by many 'witnesses' following His resurrection (13:31) provides evidence that He really did rise from the dead."6
  • "the burial and post-resurrection appearances of Christ are not technically part of the gospel"7
  • "the cross and resurrection are elements of the gospel in distinction to the burial and appearances"8

Tom Stegall's interpretation of the gospel does not accept the prima facie or face value reading of the text of Acts 13:16-41 and therefore cannot be called "the traditional Free Grace interpretation of the gospel". Stegall's view is not traditional Free Grace, nor is it biblical.


1 See the article "Beware of the Wolves Within Free Grace". It's very revealing that Stegall used a pagan symbol to redefine the gospel! See the article "The Strange Beliefs of Stegall's System".

2 Stegall, "The Tragedy of the Crossless Gospel, Pt. 9," The Grace Family Journal (Special Edition 2008): p. 18, italics his.

3 Ibid., p. 8.

4 Ibid.

5 Ibid., p. 9, italics his. Several pages later in his article Stegall references the same passage, referring to it as "that first Galatian gospel presentation in Acts 13:23-41". (Ibid., p. 18.)

6 Ibid., p. 21.

7 Stegall, The Gospel of the Christ (Milwaukee: Grace Gospel Press, 2009), p. 578.

8 Ibid., p. 579.

1 comment:

Antonio said...

Hey Jonathan,

Antonio here. I did another post on forgiveness of sins. Please come read and comment. I am interested in your comments, questions, and objections. I really want your objections and criticism most of all. I value it! I wish to be sharpened.

Please come!

Antonio da Rosa