A Free Grace Testimony

     Hello, my name is Jonathan Perreault. My wife and I live in Florida in the Tampa Bay area. I'm an evangelical Christian and advocate of Free Grace theology. I started the FREE GRACE FREE SPEECH blog in 2007 as a way to publish my thoughts on theology and defend the biblical Gospel. I hope you enjoy the website. Thanks for visiting!
   Some years ago I learned a wonderful truth of the Bible that Christians are trophies of grace (Eph. 2:7). I'd like to tell you just briefly about God's grace in my life. Let me start by sharing how I became a Christian. I was saved by the grace of God through faith in the Good News of Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:16-17; 1 Cor. 15:1-5; Eph. 2:8-9) about thirty years ago. Before my salvation I never really had peace about my eternal destiny. I went to AWANA's, memorized Bible verses, and prayed to receive Christ whenever I heard an invitation - even if it was on the radio! But something was missing. I had a hope-so salvation, not a know-so salvation. Then one Sunday morning when I was about ten years old all that changed. I was sitting in church and the pastor was illustrating the Gospel story on a dry erase board behind him. He sketched out the cross and the empty tomb. He explained how Christ died for our sins and rose from the grave (see Acts 2:22-32, 1 Cor. 15:3ff). It was like someone turned on a light in my mind and I realized something for the first time (2 Cor. 4:6). Although I was familiar with the Gospel story (the basic historical facts of Christ's death, burial, resurrection, and appearances) - and I believed it, I came to realize that Christ died for me - for my sins! He shed His blood to save me (Eph. 1:7). As the saying goes: "Believing Christ died - that's history; believing He died for me - that's salvation!" Now I know I'm saved because it's not based on what I do (Isa. 64:6; Rom. 4:4-5; Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5); salvation is based on what Jesus has done: Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (that's the key point),  and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to many witnesses (see 1 Corinthians 15:3-5). This is the Gospel message of what Jesus has done! It's the Good News of salvation; and as someone has said, it's simply deep. It's so simple and yet so deep with meaning and significance.
     My family and I have a long history with traditional Free Grace theology going back to 1932 when my great-grandfather William G. Storz (1893-1986) was a student at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. Needless to say, I've been an advocate of classic Free Grace all my life - ever since I got saved at least. I remember as a kid going out witnessing with my church on the sidewalks of downtown Milwaukee near the campus of Marquette University (a private Jesuit university), sharing the Good News of salvation by grace. I remember how the college students from the university would sometimes mock me and laugh at me as they walked past. "What can a 10 year old teach us about God?!" they scoffed. (But Jesus says in Matthew 18:3 that unless you enter the kingdom of heaven like a little child, you will not enter it at all!) The churches that I've attended for the majority of my Christian life have been influenced by graduates of Dallas Theological Seminary in the grace teachings of Lewis Sperry Chafer, the founder and first president of that school.
     After I graduated from Heritage Christian School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I attended New Tribes Bible Institute (now Ethnos360 Bible Institute), in Waukesha, Wisconsin. This school is part of the training program of Ethnos360 (founded in 1942 as New Tribes Mission) and claims Lance Latham, a well-known Free Grace advocate, as one of its original founders. It was at New Tribes Bible Institute that I became acquainted with the writings of Miles J. Stanford and other dispensational, grace-oriented Bible expositors. I also attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago where I immersed myself in the writings of D. L. Moody, C. I. Scofield, William R. Newell, Charles Ryrie and others. I have been blessed to stand on the shoulders of giants. Yet I am, as the song says,

"Only a sinner saved by grace!
Only a sinner saved by grace!
This is my story, to God be the glory,
I'm only a sinner saved by grace!"

     Although I have shared a little bit about myself, this blog is not "About Me" (Psa. 115:1; 1 Cor. 1:31). This blog is about the FREE GRACE of God and the truth of the Gospel. That's what I will be focusing on and speaking freely about - that's where the FREE SPEECH comes in. I like what the Lord Jesus said to the apostle Paul in this regard: "Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you" (Acts 18:9-10). Similarly, to the Bible-believing church in Revelation chapter 3 the Lord Jesus says: "See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut" (Rev. 3:8). By God's grace, I'm going to use this little blog to get the gospel out to the world! Praise the Lord!

________________________________________________________

"Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."

(Romans 3:24)

18 comments:

gary said...

Hello jonathon, enjoyed the readings. I agree with the gospel as presented in 1cor.15:3-5 and not cutting it off early. however, the gospel presented is not complete without the facts of the eternal god/man jesus christ. making these facts clear is also essential and not easily believed. i have been a follower of evangelical grace society for several years early in my christian life(even used their doctrinal statement as my own till they took the word hell out of their statement)the wrath of god is not a popular topic today.

Jonathan Perreault said...

Hi Gary,

Thanks for your good thoughts!

I agree that the deity of Jesus is essential to believe for salvation. I see the deity of Jesus set forth in the 1 Corinthians 15 passage in at least three ways:

1. In the TITLE "the Christ" (1 Cor. 15:3) - In 1 Corinthians 15:3 the apostle Paul uses Jesus' divine title as a name, saying: "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures...." (1 Cor. 15:3). The appellation "the Christ" (or "Christ") is Jesus' divine title (see Matt. 16:16; John 20:31) and indicates His deity.

2. In the TESTIMONY "that He was raised" (1 Cor. 15:4) - In 1 Corinthians 15:4 the apostle Paul goes on to say that Christ "was buried, and that He was raised...." - that is, raised from the dead. In the book of Romans, Paul further explains that Jesus "was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead" (Rom. 1:4).

3. In the TIME ELEMENT "on the third day" (1 Cor. 15:4) - In 1 Corinthians 15:4 the apostle Paul further states that Christ "was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures...." (1 Cor. 15:4). The reference to the resurrection specifically "on the third day" is an indication of Jesus' deity because it fulfills Jesus' own statement that "something greater than Jonah is here" (Matt. 12:41). Similarly, Jesus' resurrection on the third day indicates that "something greater than the temple is here" (Matt. 12:6; cf. Jn. 2:19-22). In other words, Jesus is more than a man - He is the Messiah, the promised Messiah of the Old Testament Scriptures!

And so we see that 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 is the gospel in a nutshell, and the deity of Jesus is set forth in Paul's gospel in several ways. These are kernels of truth to be sure, but the truth is set forth nonetheless.

For more information please see my article: In Defense of the Gospel, Part 4.

Unknown said...

Hey Bud,

Saw your blog. Give me a buzz on my e-mail. jarosbros@gmail.com this is Josh from when we went to New Tribes. Just thought we might catch up.

Josh Jaros

CHRISTENSEN FAMILY said...

Great site. I've been similarly expose (1st church was EV Free - Chuck Swindoll). But current church is heavily influenced by John Mac & Piper. So I go and search the scriptures and eee what others have to say.

In Christ
Brian Christensen

Anonymous said...

Blessings! Be encouraged!

It looks like you have done your homework!

I look forward to receiving your blog!

If this means anything I guess I am
an elect generalist knowledge worker interested
in Biblical bi-literacy!

More simple B.I.B.L.E be instructed before
leaving earth! Homesick for heaven!

Gerald Landis aka Jerry Landis
Apopka, Florida
brogerald@gmail.com

SydBrown said...

Hello! I wanted to thank you for your posts refuting Calvinism.
My husband and I have been attending a church for the past three years and recently we have come to the realization that they believe in Calvinism. I’m not sure how it wasn’t apparent to us sooner that they believed in such, but upon learning of it and the teachings they were supporting we became concerned. As such we turned to the Bible, prayer, and listening to sermons and reading articles on the subject, seeking counsel from trusted believers. I’ve lost sleep for six weeks over the subject. I’ve been deeply uncomfortable and burdened by the thought that the believers we fellowship with believe that God created people for the very purpose of damning to Hell. At the same time I’ve also been burdened by not quite knowing how to discern certain scriptures that Calvinist’s hang onto like Eph. 1:1-6, Matt. 22:14, Romans 9, etc. I found your blog and upon such have felt a wave of comfort. I understand, finally. The Lord has shown me truth in His word and I now can earnestly say I know exactly what I believe on the subject! I feel so comforted and had to thank you. Your blog posts really helped me understand and I appreciate it so much.

In Christ, Sydney

Jonathan Perreault said...

Hello Sydney,

Thank you for that wonderful testimony!

I praise the Lord and I'm glad the blog posts were helpful to you and a comfort to you.

You're right, sometimes Calvinism can be difficult to spot and it may be hard to know at first if a church is Calvinistic. I have a certain church in mind actually that my wife visited where that was exactly the case. Some things I personally look for to spot Calvinism in a church is to see if the church is Reformed in their theology. I have found that usually signals Calvinism. Another thing I look for is to notice what books and what authors does the pastor quote from the pulpit? If the pastor is often talking favorably about and quoting John MacArthur, John Piper, and R.C. Sproul for example, it's a pretty good indication that the church is probably Calvinistic. (Related to this is to see what books the church sells in its bookstore if it has one.) Also, I look at what other churches and ministries the church is linked to and in fellowship with. That's a good indication too because churches fellowship with like-minded churches. That's how I found out that the church I mentioned above is actually Calvinistic (even though some members were denying it and telling my wife the church didn't believe in Calvinism) - the church is in fellowship with and in agreement with other FIRE churches: Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals. (I found this out on the church's website.) So that's a big red flag right there to stay away from that church.

I just want to share one last thing related to what you said, "I've been deeply uncomfortable and burdened by the thought that the believers we fellowship with believe that God created people for the very purpose of damning to Hell." I jotted down a short three-point sermon which I titled "Calvinism Refuted by the Bible":

1.) God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. (Ezekiel 18:23, 33:11; 2 Peter 3:9)

2.) God does not show favoritism or partiality. (Acts 10:34; James 2:9)

3.) God created Hell for the devil and his angels, not for unsaved people. (Matthew 25:41)

Jeff said...

http://www.yashanet.com/studies/matstudy/mat3b.htm
This concerns me. they claim an understanding of Hebrew culture is needed to understand scripture, and that we must follow the Law. It convinced me that we're still under Law, but i feel bad now that i've tried to make a commitment to it. I thought for certain we were still under it. could you help please?

Jonathan Perreault said...

Hi Jeff,

I would recommend you read and reread the book of Galatians. The apostle Paul makes it clear that we are no longer under the law.

Jonathan Perreault said...

I would also recommend you read and meditate on Romans chapters 6-8. God bless

Jeff said...

i've recently gone onto "Messianic" sites(not Hebrew Roots or Messianic Jewish, i mean Messianic as in going back to the so-called"Jewish roots of the faith", not necicarily as part of the HR or MJ movement), they say we need to keep the food laws, Sabbath, and all the other non-sacrificial laws to stay saved. most of them say if your'e not supremely careful, you can "fall away" and forever lose any chance of salvation. they preach repentance as abbandoning all self desire and turning towards all the known laws of the Torah. these ministries don't gather under any banner, vary widely in doctrine(although all saying the Law is still in effect, and is binding on all mankind, and that it always existed from creation), and it scares me. they seem to be completely irrefutable! i've been trying to follow them for a bit, but realizing i can't meet their standard for staying saved or even being saved to begin with.
this is the one that really bothers me
https://biblethingsinbibleways.wordpress.com/

and here's the articles on their sites that i'm worried about

https://biblethingsinbibleways.wordpress.com/2015/10/09/examining-pauls-letter-to-the-galatians/

https://biblethingsinbibleways.wordpress.com/2014/04/26/is-gods-law-a-curse/

https://biblethingsinbibleways.wordpress.com/2017/08/05/does-peters-vision-prove-we-can-eat-anything-the-difference-between-common-unclean/

https://biblethingsinbibleways.wordpress.com/2017/02/25/was-the-law-changed-misunderstandings-regarding-hebrews-712/

https://biblethingsinbibleways.wordpress.com/2015/12/26/was-gods-law-blotted-out-and-nailed-to-the-cross-misunderstandings-regarding-col-211-17/

Shalom....i guess....

Jonathan Perreault said...

Grace and Peace to you,

Did you happen to read the book of Galatians recently? That's where I would start if I were you. The theme of Galatians is freedom in Christ, freedom from the law, freedom from legalism. Galatians 5:1 is a key verse, and it says, "It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery [like the Mosaic Law]." Elsewhere the apostle Paul says, "Let God be true and every man a liar". No offense to any of the ministries you mentioned, but there's a lot of people out there saying a lot of things, and we need to compare everything with the Word of God and see how it measures up to what the Bible teaches. If any particular teaching doesn't square with the Bible or agree with the Bible, then of course we need to stick with the Bible.

God bless you

Jeff said...

But did you read the articles I gave the adresses for?
They seem to explain really well why the reasoning for "the Law is done away with" is false. and it scares me because if being saved involves enduring to the end in keeping all the Laws, i'm never getting into Heaven.
Please read them and if there's anything they get wrong, tell me please.

Jonathan Perreault said...

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for sending me the articles, but from what you've told me I think I'll stick with what my Bible says. There's so much false teaching out there and I don't want to get distracted by it. The book of Galatians is pretty clear in teaching that Christians are not under the law, so right away I know there's something wrong with the teaching that you're presenting from the articles. To put it another way, I know what the Bible says and when you know what the genuine looks like it's easy to spot the counterfeit.

The Bible says that we are saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9), and it also says we live the Christian life the same way we got saved, by faith (Col. 2:6). If you want to try to keep the law to get saved or stay saved or live the Christian life, its a pretty good way to ensure that you always feel discouraged and defeated because the Bible says that the law only condemns (2 Cor. 3:6-7), it does not give life (Gal. 3:21).

God bless

Jeff said...

I know we're not "under the Law", but these people say "under the Law" means under the death penalty, and being freed from it doesn'nt mean you're not obliged to keep it.
They also try to reason from the Greek that these verses used to say the Law is no longer in effect actully mean it is, even that it's an obligation for believers.
and that's what scares me. There seems to be no refuting their points on anthing, escpecialy this guy at Bible things in Bible ways.

Jonathan Perreault said...

I'm not surprised that those who teach we are still under the law have to reinterpret the Bible since it clearly says in Romans 6:14 that we are "not under law but under grace."

If the Bible no longer means what it says then we're in real trouble.

There's an old hymn that I'd like to share with you, written by P. P. Bliss, an associate of D. L. Moody. The lyrics of the hymn are as follows, and I trust it will encourage your heart in the Lord:

FREE from the law, oh, happy condition!
Jesus hath bled, and there is remission;
Cursed by the law and bruised by the fall,
Grace hath redeemed us once for all.

Once for all, oh, sinner, receive it;
Once for all, oh, brother believe it:
Cling to the cross, the burden will fall;
Christ hath redeemed us, once for all.

Now we are free, there’s no condemnation;
Jesus provides a perfect salvation,
“Come unto Me,” oh, hear His sweet call,
Come, and He saves us, once for all.

"Children of God!" oh, glorious calling!
Surely His grace shall keep us from falling,
Passing from death to life at His call,
Blessed salvation, once for all.

Jeff said...

I have soemthing to confess....
i haven't gone to church in at least a couple of months. Why?
because....the church my family goes to teaches agregious false doctrine(Lorship Salvation, conditional security, ect.), being an Arminian church. Even my "Free Grace" mother is brainwahsed into beleiving CS because of years of attending Arminian churches. I don't know how to respond to this. I know we're not supposed to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, but..... false teaching is a deadly poison, and i'm torn between obeying that command and holding fast to sound doctrine. what do i do?

Jonathan Perreault said...

I don't know if you have addressed your concerns with the church leadership or if you plan to? Are you a member of that church?

Maybe start visiting other churches in your area and see if you can find a church that teaches sound doctrine, i.e. not Lordship Salvation, not Calvinism, and not Arminianism.

Maybe until you find a church that teaches sound doctrine you could stream the Sunday morning service online. I know that Pastor Andy Woods from Sugar Land Bible Church in Texas streams his services live, and so does Pastor Ralph "Yankee" Arnold from Calvary Community Church in Tampa, Florida.

Also, you might want to check out the links to Free Grace churches in your area which are available on the Grace Evangelical Society website. It's called "The Free Grace Church and Bible Study Tracker". I would suggest that if you find a Free Grace church in your area, just make sure it doesn't promote the "crossless" gospel or the "groundless" gospel.