Letter from the President

A Request and a Prayer For 2015 and Beyond

Dear Friend of the Gospel,

As you consider year end giving, would you consider helping the Free Grace Alliance? I'm prayerfully asking God to give us $25,000 or more. Would you help?

The FGA turned 10 this year. And the need to "connect, encourage, and equip" is greater than ever! 2014 was a good year. We heard great speakers at the annual conference in October. Dr. Charlie Bing, one of the founding members of the FGA presented a excellent workshop about our history some of the misunderstandings about the Free Grace Movement. You can read his manuscript on our website (http://freegracealliance.com/). We held several regional conferences throughout the year. Many FGA members travelled around the world, helping to connect with, encourage, and equip church leaders who might otherwise not receive much grace-friendly training. As I was typing this appeal, a man who was one of my students in Ghana called me and thanked me (again) for the training we brought. All around the world, we find church leaders who want to learn more about God's amazing grace! We want to explore ways to help those around the world who hold to Free Grace but have limited resources and opportunities to interact face-to-face with us.

But battles are also erupting against Free Grace. One well known reformed theologian chose to publicly critique the Free Grace Movement and the FGA. At one of the national meetings where he spoke, we were denied the opportunity to present a defense of Free Grace. But in a way, his presentation is good news! It means this man thinks the Free Grace message is dangerous enough (from his perspective) to warrant this kind of attention! We provided a lengthy response to this individual and we and made this response available to our members.

The coming year looks exciting. Of course, we will meet again in October for our national conference and we will hold regional conferences around the country. Right now, we are working on one in Salem, Oregon and in Houston, Texas. If you are interested in hosting a regional, contact us and we will be happy to help you. We are also working with the publishing arm of Grace School of Theology to provide opportunities for publishing high quality Free Grace books. We are redesigning our website in general and specifically our church and job opportunity listings.  We are working on a paper for members summarizing grace-friendly views on an often misunderstood concept, repentance and hope to have that available to you mid-year. And of course, in all of this our main thrust continues to be "sharing grace graciously" as we strive to expand awareness the grace gospel and living by grace.

And that gets me back to the original request. Our membership dues are pretty low ($25 per person) and do not cover the cost of running the organization. They certainly do not allow us to expand our scope. That's where we need your help. I am trusting God will provide our needs. In fact, between the time I started writing this letter and the time I finished it, someone handed me a check for $1,000 for the FGA (I'm not making this stuff up!). So, $1,000 down. $24,000 to go. Would you help us? You can give directly on-line (http://freegracealliance.com/support.htm) or you can mail a check to the address below.

Thank you in advanced for your help. I am looking forward to seeing what God does this coming year!

In His grace,

Roger Fankhauser
FGA President

President's Update July 2014

FromthePresidentAfter having great intentions of writing something each month, I find I am behind a month or two. Please forgive my tardiness! I have lots of excuses that I won't bore you with, but some of them are legitimate!
I want to briefly address four ideas this month.
First, how is the Free Grace message getting spread? I am leaving for Ghana two days after writing this and I know others of you travel to other countries. We'd like to know where youare going! Our mission is to "connect, encourage, and equip," and hearing about what God is doing through your work is a great way to encourage and be encouraged.  I know of trips either "on the books" or recently completed to Ghana, Finland, Burundi, Ukraine, Nepal, Philippines, India, Honduras, and Papua New Guinea. I'm sure there are others. Drop a note on Facebook and/or send a short write-up to our blog master, John Correia (pastorjohn@westgreenway.com), and we'll post it on the blog! Let us know, too, if you are involved in a church plant or other work. We need more Free Grace churches on our own soil! A couple in my church is being transferred to another city in which no Free Grace churches exist (well, to be honest, no Free Grace churches I that I can find). And if you have published something promoting Free Grace, let us know about that as well. In other words, let us know anything you are doing to promote Free Grace!
Second, mark out Oct 13th - 15th for our annual National Conference. This year's theme - "What's God Got to Do With It? - The Divine Side of Salvation" promises to provide fascinating sessions and discussion after the sessions. Dr. Norm Geisler will be our special guest this year. Come if you can! And if you cannot, think about attending a regional conference - or even better, hosting one. Contact us and we'll send you the information you need to set up a conference.
Third, we have had a lot of "behind the scenes" activities going on. We recently sent out a first draft of our directory to everyone who is an active member. If you did not receive the information, has your membership lapsed? Join (or rejoin!) us (https://www.freegracealliance.com/join.htm). In the months ahead, we hope to improve our ability to connect with one another. We have some other activities in the works but which we can't yet comment on. Pray for us as we move ahead on these.
Fourth, even though our overall goal is to positively promote the Free Grace message, sometimes we have to get involved in "fire fights." Some of these we choose not to participate in; others we choose to. Recently, as many of you know, a well-known reformed theologian chose to point out publicly the errors he perceives in the Free Grace message and in the FGA in particular. Some of what he said is based on a misunderstanding of Free Grace theology. We are crafting a response for him to help point out those misunderstandings, without attacking him or his theology. We know many disagree with the Free Grace message we promote, but we want to help them understand our position.  We tentatively plan to send this response to all FGA members for their awareness and for them to use as they see fit.
 
The more work I do related to promoting the simple message of Free Grace, the more I am in awe of the God of grace and the incredible message of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Thanks for all you do to promote this incredible message. Keep on connecting, encouraging, and equipping!
In His grace, Roger Fankhauser, President
[author] [author_image timthumb='on']https://www.freegracealliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/RogerFankhauser2013.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Roger and Debbie Fankhauser met and were married in Puyallup, Washington (south of Seattle). They married in 1974 and have five children (counting the daughters-in-law!) and four grandchildren. Matt, his wife Christina, and daughter Lily live in Phoenix, as does their daughter Emily. Joel, his wife Alice, and their four children, Silas, Micah, Liza, and Ryan live in Bentonville, Arkansas.[/author_info] [/author]

Fight Fair!

 FromthePresidentFight Fair!

"Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment,so that it will give grace to those who hear." (Eph. 4:29, NASB)
2“But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” (Romans 12:20, NASB95)
In any theological debate - whether face-to-face, in writing (journals or books) or even on Facebook, the debaters can easily slide into "the ways of the world" in their approach. This last week, I read or heard two different attacks against free grace in general and, included in the attacks, each criticized the Free Grace Alliance. Such attacks are nothing new. And, like most attacks, the attackers did not "fight fair". Both attacks made incorrect statements about free grace theology, both employed emotional arguments to make their position sound stronger, both used weak logic in some of their arguments.
What they said isn't important here, we address that elsewhere. What I do want to address is, how do we fight the fight? We will face theological challenges, some significant, some less so. But no matter how serious the issue, I hope this principle rises to the top:
Practice grace when talking about grace (or any other topic, for that matter).
I know when I am attacked my initial response is to fight back. The trick is learning to respond differently; to "give grace to those who hear."  I'm not saying harsh words are never necessary, but usually I jump to such words far too quickly. How can we "give grace" and "heap burning coals on their head?
  1. Know your opponents viewpoint. Too often I am too busy defending my view without understanding the other's view. I get irritated when they misrepresent me; it is no longer a "fair fight" if I misrepresent them. If you are really brave, summarize to the other person what you understand their view to be. You might be surprised by their response!
  2. Avoid pejorative terms. In the Lordship / Free Grace debates, those we call "lordship" often refer to our position as "no Lordship" or "cheap grace".  Some labeled the position of Zane Hodge's, et al, as "the crossless gospel". Such terms do not promote discussion; they denigrate both the position and the person who holds it. Granted, the position may be untenable, but we still need to avoid pejoratives!
  3. Avoid bad logic! I've had people say, "If you hold the FGA position, then you believe x, y, z". They then knock down x, y, and z. The problem with their conclusion?  I don't believe x, y, or z! For example,  "If you hold the FGA position, then you believe you can do anything you want"! That's only partially true - I do believe I can do anything I want without fear of hell, but I do not believe I can do anything I want with no consequences, perhaps including severe discipline from God (Heb. 12). Be careful to avoid bad logic when debating someone else's view.
I hope those outside the FGA, will see us differently. I want us to be known as people who believe in free grace (whether or not the person agrees with that view) and practice grace when addressing people and issues. I've heard far too many people shy away from the Free Grace Movement because they perceive too much in-fighting. Let's not be legalistic about grace; let's practice what we preach. We do need to take a stand on certain issues; we need to takes such stands graciously.

"Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a wordas is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear."

"Just make sure it's your ideas that offend and not you, that your beliefs cause the dispute and not your behavior." (Gregory Koukl, "Tactics"). *

Walking with you in grace, Roger Fankhauser, D.Min. President, FGA
* I highly recommend this book to challenge our thinking about how we address those with whom we disagree, Christian and non-Christian alike. Greg Koukl, Tactics, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009).

 

Letter from the President-April 1, 2013

                                                                                                                       Dear FGA,

The celebration of Easter Sunday has come and gone but the importance and impact is forever.

As Faulkner put it; “And so in the end we live not in the darkened shadow of Good Friday but on ground that has been illuminated by the dawn of Easter Sunday.” This is the life giving truth that we have the privilege of proclaiming to a lost and dying world, a gift of God’s Grace. So simple and so wonderful!

 

One of the great proclaimers and defenders of that gracious message went home to be with the Lord this past month. Dr. Roy Zuck, Senior Professor of Biblical Exposition at Dallas Theological Seminary and editor of Bib Sac, was a faithful and gracious man who had been part of FGA from its inception. Roy was also awarded the Trophy of Grace Award this past year at the FGA National Conference in Dallas. Roy was a skilled expositor, educator, and editor and had a way of always remembering his students’ names. His kind demeanor and unassuming presence always manifested the grace of God in his life.

We also lost another defender of the grace message two months ago, Dr. Howard (Howie) Hendricks. Many of us felt the life changing impact of “Prof” as he was affectionately known, either in the classroom or at a conference.   His commitment to the distinction between discipleship and the reception of eternal life paved the way for many who are part of the FGA.

 

May both Roy and “Prof” have an abundant entrance into the eternal kingdom of their Lord and Savior who they served so loyally.

 

The passing of both these men reminds us that we are watching a changing of the guard. There are many great leaders, both men and women, who are coming to the end of their time of service for the Lord. This is true of the evangelical church in America as a whole, but it is also particularly true of those who are part of the Free Grace movement. It is ever true: The Lord buries his workmen but His work continues. I hope this motivates you to be sure to pass the torch. I pray that the words of the Apostle Paul to Timothy are guiding your time and stay upon the earth;

 

“You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also. (2Timothy 2:1-2)

 

As “Prof” once told me, as I am sure he told others; “Fred, when I come to see you the first question I will have for you is, “Where are your men?”. He did come and visit me and he did ask. And I was able to point him to one of my men. Jesus will be asking as well. So, count the days and make the days count.

 

Let me encourage you to take a look at the FGA website. We have new resources available. You can now download and listen to previous FGA national conference sessions. Let me also encourage you to view the FGA blog and perhaps even contribute a ministry update or a theological consideration. Finally, let me remind you to look at the information concerning the upcoming FGA Regional Conferences (Salem, Oregon on April 20th ,   Tampa, Florida, May 18th and Charlotte, North Carolina, June 22nd) These conferences are a great way to be personally encouraged and participate in gaining some pastoral and professional education and equipping.

 

If we can serve you and your ministry please let us know. If you have an idea of how we can serve you better, please share it with us.

 

Serving Him with You Until He comes for us,

 

Fred Chay President, FGA