Presidential Updates

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

Member Update - August 2014

FromthePresidentGood news... and a headache or two!

Good news #1: The Free Grace message seems to be gaining some momentum. I think this in part because we are getting some "push back." For example, one of the sessions at the next Evangelical Theological Society is called "Salvation without Repentance from Sin? A Critique of the 'Free Grace' Gospel." Why do I consider this good news? Because a prominent, globally known reformed theologian thinks the Free Grace message is worth critiquing at the ETS meeting, and thus sees it as more than just an inconsequential viewpoint! I'll say a bit more about this workshop below.

Good news #2: We see the message going around the globe. I recently returned from Ghana, where we  trained church leaders, focusing on a strong emphasis on grace. I know of a number of other "free gracers" who have traveled or will soon travel. And I know of many around the globe, such as a friend of mine in Nepal, who receives grace-based theological training via the internet. Incidentally, in most of the places I've been outside the U.S., the predominant issue has not been reformed theology but rather eternal security.

Good news #3: "The mission of the Free Grace Alliance is to connect, encourage, equip and lead the body of Christ to advance the grace message throughout the world." In order to better connect with one another, we will soon be unveiling a "members only" page on our website. One link on this site goes to a new database we are using that will allow up-to-the-minute access to other members of the FGA. It will function like a "live" version of a member directory. And, there are some helpful tools for individual members. More information will be coming soon.

Good news #4: The 2014 Annual Conference is shaping up well! Don't forget to enroll by September 10 and receive a free coffee cup. As an avid coffee drinker, I am thinking about enrolling twice!

Good news #5: This year marks the tenth anniversary of the FGA!

Of course good news does not preclude a headache or two. It is no surprise that the Free Grace movement in general and the Free Grace Alliance in particular has its detractors. Recently, a well known reformed theologian publicly criticized both in two separate settings. And, as mentioned above, he is scheduled to critique the "problem" of Free Grace Theology at the Evangelical Theological Society Annual Meeting in November. Unfortunately, some of his critique misrepresented Free Grace thinking. And he's not alone - others have also criticized us while painting an inaccurate picture of our position. Equally unfortunately, ETS declined an FGA member the opportunity to present a workshop defining and defending Free Grace theology. Of course this theologian is free to disagree with Free Grace thinking. But we hope that he would critique an accurate picture of Free Grace theology, not a caricature of it. We wrote a paper which we sent him (and also made available to FGA members) to clarify and explain our position. Only time will tell whether he represents a more accurate picture of Free Grace in the ETS session.

While our primary focus should be teaching and promoting grace positively, we sometimes do need to address our critics. When we do so, we need to do so graciously and accurately.  And in all we do, let's "share grace graciously!"

Walking with you in grace,
Roger Fankhauser, D.Min. FGA President

President's Update - June 2013

 

Greetings,
The arrival of June means that it is officially Summer. For some of us that means summer school has started, for others it is vacation time or time with family. Hopefully it includes a change of pace for ministry and a chance to work on some special projects.

FGA has been busy this spring. We have had three very successful Regional Conferences. In March we had one in Phoenix. In April we held a conference in Salem, Oregon. In May we had our first Regional Conference in Tampa, Florida and we're looking forward to one more Regional Conference this month in Charlotte, North Carolina with Dr. Norm Geisler and Dr. Charlie Bing speaking. If you are close to the area I encourage you to attend. I invite you to look at some of the write ups and the photos of these conferences that we have posted on our website.

 

I also want to encourage you to save the date for the National FGA Conference in Irving, Texas October 14-16. Our theme this year is Grace for Saints and Sinners: 1 Corinthians and our speakers will include Dr. Ron Allen, Professor of Old Testament from Dallas Seminary, Dr. Charlie Bing, Dr Roger Fankhauser, Dr. Jody Dillow, Dr. Ken Wilson, Dr. Sukhwant Bhatia and me. We also will have a full slate of workshop speakers, including a special workshop for the women taught by Linda Dillow; along with ministry booths, and of course plenty of books to peruse and purchase.

 

One of the ministries of FGA is providing resources that help in theological education and ministry opportunities. I would like to point you toward a new research paper that will be helpful regarding the interpretation of James 2:14-26. Much has been written on this key text regarding Free Grace Theology; but not much has been done on James 2:1-13 and the context. I encourage you to read a paper on our website titled: JAMES 2:1-QUESTION or COMMAND? An Examination of the Grammatical Ambiguity in Translating James 2:1, the Exegetical Significance of Each Translation Option, and the Context of the Passage as the Determining Factor in Translation by J.L. Phillips. Now that is a mouthful, but it is a great description. And what is more important is the significance this has for a Free Grace interpretation to James 2:14-26. I encourage you to take a look at this new article. Jeff is a new member to FGA, a superb exegete, and will be able to contribute at many levels in the Free Grace movement.

The strength of FGA is you! As pastors, teachers, writers, speakers, evangelists and leaders, you influence our country and our world in a variety of ways with the message of the grace of God. FGA is simply all of us, as we use our gifts and opportunities to serve the Lord Jesus and tell a lost and dying world about His free gift of the glorious grace of God.

Serving Him with you Until He comes for us, Dr. Fred Chay President, FGA