A RULING ON “COMMON GRACE”
BY GTC ELDERS
At GraceTruth Church, we reject common grace and the well-meant offer and believe they are heretical doctrines. As a disclaimer, please see the references below, as we gathered our understanding from a variety of sources and authors on every possible side of the argument.
Common Grace has been defined as God’s “…universal non-saving grace” (see Muller, Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms, 1995). According to the Bible, the noun heresies is defined as works of the flesh (Galatians 5:20), divisive doctrine, and damnable beliefs (2 Peter 2:1) which are at odds with the biblical or historical essentials of the true gospel. Because common grace is defined as a divisive doctrine, we disavow it as heresy for the following reasons:
The doctrine of divine simplicity means God’s grace reflects His immutable character or essence in that grace is not an attribute of God, but God IS grace. While some may argue that God acts graciously with all men, biblically, God’s grace reflects the eternal essence of God in salvation and is not common to all humanity.
God’s grace is salvific in its character and application and is only applied to the elect. The Bible teaches that the elect are saved by God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8-10), and the apostle Paul says that God’s grace is sufficient for him (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Faith that is given by God to His people rests upon the divine knowledge of God’s grace (effectual unmerited redemption) being their salvation.
God’s grace in the Hebrew [noun חֵן (ḥēn); verb חָנַן (ḥānan)] and Greek New Testament [noun χάρις (charis); verb χαρίζομαι (charizomai)] is exclusively given to the elect, and never to the reprobate. Therefore, when the context of Scripture refers to God’s grace, it always applies to the elect, and never applies to the reprobate.
The Bible does say “Let your speech be always with grace…” (Colossians 4:6), and “…that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29). This sentiment and commandment can be supposed that grace can be non-salvific or common. However, this teaching is not referring to God’s grace, but to the type of speech Christians must possess when communicating and relating with others.
In summary, the Bible teaches that God’s grace is particular and effectual, not common or universal. Grace attributed to God in Scripture only refers to His revealed love and redemptive work toward His elect people in Jesus alone.
As a sovereign grace body of believers, we deny the historical doctrine of common grace and reserve the use of grace attributed to God as special, effectual, and loving toward His elect people resulting in their salvation in Jesus Christ. Scripture exposes common grace as a false gospel and heresy that leads to prominent theological and practical errors such as the well-meant offer, decisional regeneration, and other Arminian or “free-will” theology. God’s love and grace are reserved exclusively for the elect, and Christ died for the sheep alone effectuating their eternal life.
- The following gives further thoughts related to this issue: According to Scripture, God does not desire or offer to save those whom He has not ordained to save.
- God’s love, according to Scripture, is revealed authoritatively for His people alone in and through the death of Jesus Christ on their behalf.
- The idea of God ‘loving’ everyone is contrary to the revealed knowledge of Scripture in that His love is revealed only in the effectual death of Christ.
- Scripture does not express God having a desire to save anyone He never ordained for salvation. Likewise, Jesus did not offer grace to Judas and had no desire to deliver nor offered to save Judas.
- God’s grace, according to Scripture, is not applied to all men without exception, but only toward the elect in Jesus Christ.
- God actively reprobated the wicked, and thus hates them. Also, God does not provide a well-meant offer to all men.
- God the Spirit seals the elect of God and infallibly secured their salvation.
- Christians are mandated to proclaim the gospel of Christ to all men without exception.
In summary, as a sovereign grace fellowship, we believe Arminianism is a false gospel, common grace is heresy, and the well-meant offer is a wicked doctrine.
Further information and resources on this matter can be provided upon request. A more thorough examination of these doctrines is forthcoming.
For His Glory,
The Elder Brothers of GraceTruth
References & Resources:
Dennis E. Johnson, “Spiritual Antithesis: Common Grace, and Practical Theology, “Westminster Theological Journal 64, no. 1 (Spring 2002)
“The Myth of Common Grace” by Scott Price (YouTube): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t16kBoz5y58
“The Well-Meant Offer Heresy” by Scott Price (YouTube):
Hernandez, Sonny, “A Rebuttal of Common Grace and The Well-Meant Offer” (Lexington, KY, 2021)
“Common Grace,” trans. Raymond C. Van Leewen, Calvin Theological Journal 24, no. 1 (April 1989)
“Abraham Kuyper, Lectures on Calvinism” (Grand Rapids, Mich. Eerdmans, 1953)
“Mouw on Common Grace,” Christian Renewal 20, no. 9 (Jan 28, 2002)
David J. Engelsma, “The Reformed Worldview: 3. The Failure of Common Grace,” Standard Bearer 74, no. 20 (Sept 1, 1998)