Hyper Hyper Grace

‘Hyper Grace’ and ‘Hyper-Hyper Grace’?

Yesterday, I bought the Kindle E-book “The Jonah Complex: Rediscovering the Outrageous Grace of God” by Greg Haslam, senior pastor of Westminster Chapel, where previous pastors include Dr George Campbell-Morgan, Dr Martin Lloyd-Jones and Dr R.T. KendalI. Further browsing led me to another notable minister from Westminster – Dr Michael Eaton, a leading theologian, author (>60 books & commentaries) and teacher. Notable among his books is Living Under Grace: Preaching Through Romans 6-7.  A 50,000 word exposition of Romans 6-7.  This is part of a 400,000 word manuscript on Romans.  Originally produced by Nelson Word, 1994.

And from his “Notes and Scribbles” page, I chanced upon his view on Grace, and the current movement which is stirring up much consideration and consternation in the evangelical world.  I am reproducing his entire appraisal below:



I have spent much of my life trying to get people to trust in the amazing grace of God and discover their eternal security in Christ.  There was a time a few years back when some of us spent a lot of time trying to convince Christians of their eternal security in the Lord Jesus Christ.  We criticised ‘Once Saved, Maybe Lost’ teaching and insisted on eternal security rather than eternal insecurity.  We preached a lot of Romans 6-8 in some detail.  It was a great time and I for one enjoyed preaching the gospel.

There were many who discovered grace!  It was wonderful.  This is what the gospel is all about – the grace of God.  We are saved by grace.  We have a position in grace.  We stand in grace.  We are guarded by grace.  God’s grace is sufficient for us.  All of these statements may be found in Scripture.

Is it possible to exaggerate grace?  No, not really.  But it is possible to twist it.  It is possible to forget that ‘we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith’ (Romans 1:5).  It is possible to forget that grace reigns through righteousness (Romans 5:21), that it does not abound so that we may continue in sin (Romans 6:1), that sin does not have dominion us because God’s grace prevents it (Romans 6:14), that Christians behave in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity … by the grace of God (2 Cor. 1:12), that God’s grace has appeared ‘training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives’ (Titus 2:11-13).


Then there came a time when we seemed to have won a victory and large numbers were rejoicing in the grace of God.  But then just at the point when we were rejoicing in a new grace-movement and were happy that legalism and eternal insecurity were being put down, suddenly we began to hear of people who seemed to be emphasizing grace in an imbalanced way, and moving from the frying-pan to the fire — a legalistic frying-pan to a licentious fire.  We did not need ever to confess sin (so was the rumour).  It was said that covenant-blessings are so automatic that we do not need to walk before God and be blameless (despite Genesis 17:1-2) to get the blessings.  I began to call it hyper-grace and felt the balance was going too far and that grace was being twisted.


But now it is getting worse still and I have invented a new term — ‘hyper-hyper-grace’ or ‘doubly-hyper grace’.  Recently I have come across four versions of it, and I think I’ll tell you about them.

Number one, I experienced in Australia.  In October 2010 I visited a church in Australia which called itself a ‘Grace’ church [the word was in its name].  I was on a few days’ holiday with my daughter and her family and on the Sunday went to the nearest charismatic church I could find.  There the word ‘grace’ dominated everything.  Every song was about God’s accepting us.  ‘God you accept me’.  ‘It does not matter what I do you take me as I am’.  ‘Lord, you love me so much, you give me a sloppy wet kiss’ — one song actually said that!  But not once was the name of Jesus mentioned!  Apparently – in the view of the worship-leader – God accepts us without Jesus, certainly without any mention of faith in a God who insists on sanctifying us practically as well as positionally.  It seemed that in the view of the worship-leader nothing has to be believed except that God takes us as we are — whether we are saved or not!  This was the dominant note of the worship throughout.  The preacher, a lady-elder of some kind, did not expound any Scripture; she mentioned the name of Jesus once or twice but there was no mention of Jesus doing anything except accept us as we are.  Any unsaved person would have got the impression that there was nothing to do in salvation except know that God receives us without our doing anything in our lives at all, and who encourages us to live however we wish in the assurance that nothing we ever did could possibly be disapproved by God.  We don’t need to call ourselves sinners.  We don’t need atonement.  I call this ‘hyper-hyper-grace’; it is false teaching.  It is a false gospel far worse than the old legalism!

Number two I have heard of in South Africa.  The idea seems to be going around that unsaved people may taken part in the Lord’s Supper.  Anyone who reads their bible knows how false this is.  The Lord’s Supper is for believers – any of them, all of them, but only them!  They are also to be invited to examine themselves and see that they come to the Lord’s Table with faith, and readiness to be restored.

You may remember what a battle Jonathan Edwards had over this very point.  His grandfather Solomon Stoddard began to be troubled at the question as to whether unsaved adult children of Christians may come to the Lord’s Supper.  He invented the idea of ‘the half-way covenant’ (as he called it) by which the unsaved adult children were welcomed and it was hoped that the Lord’s Supper might lead to their conversion.

Jonathan Edwards grew up with this system, pioneered by his grandfather.  But he came to see that it was wrong and destructive in the life of the churches.  It tended to produce dozens of nominal ‘church members’ with no experience of salvation.  So he changed his mind and in his exposition of Scripture began to publicly disagree with his late grandfather’s teaching.  But there were powerful nominal Christians in Northampton who were offended, and in the end Edwards was thrown out of the church in which he had been the main preacher in the most powerful revival the world had known.  It seems we might have to go through this conflict again – but Edwards was right and Stoddard was wrong.

*Number three, I learnt about while in USA.  It seems that there are now ‘grace movements’ which teach that everyone will be saved.  The early church discussed three possible views of hell: eternal tormenting (Tertullian, Augustine), punishment for as long as was needed followed by destruction (Justin, Athanasius, Arnobius) and universal salvation – with even the devil getting saved (Origen, Clement of Alexandia).  The first option won and Augustine’s teaching became orthodoxy within the medieval church and the Reformers maintained the same view.  The 2nd option was always believed by a few and many evangelicals have gone that direction (John Stott, John Wenham, P.E.Hughes, many evangelical Anglicans – and Michael Eaton!).  I used to hear it said a few years back that if ‘Augustinians’ kept on insisting that evil and torment lasts for ever, it would lead to a back-lash and people would start turning to ‘evangelical universalism’.  Now it seems to be happening.  Of the three options, universal salvation has been universally condemned by bible-believing Christians as unscriptural.

   Number four goes like this.  It is said ‘We must not put guilt on people; we should not be given instructions; this makes people feel guilty’.  I think in a sense some of these comments are half-right.  We are not ourselves the judge of other people.  It is the Holy Spirit who convicts of sin.  Nor should we be dictatorial about matters where we are given a lot of freedom.  Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? — as Paul said referring to small matters involving different opinions (vegetarianism, holy days, wine-drinking).   We preachers need to be careful of the method by which we challenge and confront both the saved and the lost.

But the idea is being pushed much too far!!  It is true that we never need tell people who are clearly Christians that they might be rejected by God and lose salvation.  We have an unlosable position in grace.  OK, but does this mean that no one should ever be told that they are doing something wrong?   Is no word of warning ever to be given about anything?   Should we preachers throw out our doctrine of chastening.  Should we never say to Christians‘Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience … Do not associate with them’.  If we are never allowed to speak about something that is wrong to a fellow Christians, then we shall have to throw away half of our New Testament.  What are all these epistle about if not trying to correct Christians who are making mistakes?  It is true we should not make people feel rejected and ejected without remedy.  But are we never to be ashamed of anything we might have done?  1 John 2:28 says that John’s little children are to abide in Jesus, so that when he appears they may not shrink back in shame.  Rejection?  No!  Shame?  Maybe!

When Paul asks the ‘Shall we sin that grace may abound?’ he gives the answer ‘No’.  We surely have to be careful that our message of grace does not give the impression that the answer is ‘Yes’.  Grace people are sometimes slandered as if they are antinomians.  It is inevitable that we should be misunderstood in this way, just as Paul was!  I have no sympathy with the slanderers — but we do have to be sure that the accusation is not true!  It is wonderful to discover grace but we do need to keep in mind that ‘grace trains us to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives’.

Are there no commands in the New Testament?  Of course there are!  They may not be Mosaic commands but there are still commands!   We do all things that the risen Lord Jesus Christ tells us to do.  It is all in faith but it will be the obedience of faith.

Can we never displease God?  Of course we can!  Whether we are expecting to be alive or dead when Jesus comes we make it our aim to please him.  We have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.  We ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to live and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more.  No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him (2 Cor. 5:9; 1 Thes. 2:4; 4:1; 2 Tim. 2:4)..

I am dubious about my hyper-grace friends, and horrified at doubly hyper-grace.  Let’s get back to balanced grace, biblical grace, the grace that is obviously there for us to save us and heal our wickedness, the grace we discover as in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ we read and read and re-read our bibles.  This is the secret.  Let’s just expound Scripture and take it as it comes.  The bible is a balanced book!    we must not be mesmerised by our teachers – not by Michael Eaton, not by anyone.  Read the bible for yourself in large chunks– and see for yourself what impression you get.   (i) Do you get the impression of a God that will throw you out of his salvation if you are not careful?  Only if you read ‘salvation’ into every warning you find!   (ii) Do you get the impression of a God that will not throw you out of his salvation but still gives you warnings that there is much that could be lost?  Well, you tell me!  (iii) Do you get the impression that grace is so accepting that the way you live is unimportant and you can sin and let grace abound?  I rather think not!  But find out for yourself.  The bible is a balanced book.



Just recalled that Jacob Prasch has a 3-part series on “What is Midrash” on the online video channel


Within the website’s menu, there are several other topics e.g The Feasts of Israel, Spiritual Deception, Apologetics, End Times etc etc.  I will definitely re-visit this from time to time to refresh, remind myself of my need to be instructed in the truth.

The video teachings are good foundational studies by sound teachers, and worth exploring.

The Forgotten HOLOCAUST

In Rememberance of those who died in “The Rape of Nanking”, and

In Honor and Tribute to Iris Chang, and Minnie Vautrim, who were deeply affected by what happened to the Chinese people and subsequently committed suicide.


Ms Vautrim was a missionary from Illinois who sacrificially served the Chinese people in Nanking, committed suicide “haunted by the images she saw, and feeling responsible of not being able to save more lives….”   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minnie_Vautrin

Yesterday, I watched a couple of episodes on China TV documenting the atrocities of the Rape of Nanking.

After church, I watched online the documentary Nanking (Chinese: 南京) is a 2007 film about the 1937 Nanking Massacre committed by the Japanese army in the former capital city NanjingChina. The film draws on letters and diaries from the era as well as archive footage and interviews with surviving victims and perpetrators of the massacre. This  film was conceptualized and funded by AOL Vice-Chairman Ted Leonsis.

The Associated Press (AP) reported that Xi and other Chinese leaders attended a ceremony on the 77th anniversary of the Nanking Massacre to preserve memories of Japan’s brutal invasion.

Addressing soldiers, students and survivors of the December 1937 killings carried out by occupying Japanese troops, Xi slammed Japanese ultra-nationalists who seek to deny the massacre, AP noted.

Invading Japanese troops captured Nanjing, then China’s capital, on Dec 13, 1937, and started a 40-odd-day slaughter. More than 300,000 Chinese civilians and unarmed soldiers were murdered and about 20,000 women were raped.

“Anyone who tries to deny the massacre will not be allowed by history, the souls of the 300,000 deceased victims, the 1.3 billion Chinese people, and all people who love peace and justice in the world,” Xi said.

“Only if everyone cherishes and safeguards peace, and only if everyone remembers the bitter lessons of war, can there be hope for peace,” he said.

“Yes, Lord Jesus, we can only have peace when You our Prince of Peace rules and reign. Lord, have mercy on the Chinese people, who have suffered much in the past, in the hands of many world powers, just like the Jews.  Lord Jesus, give the Chinese your Spirit of wisdom and revelation that they may know Jesus, and only then, will our hearts be enlightened, and know the hope that is in You and in us.”

I look forward to the day when the Chinese will understand how there are no images in the Altar of Heaven in Beijing, and there are only sculptures of lambs placed before a tablet inscribed with the words “TO THE GOD ABOVE”  (http://www.faithofourfathersbooks.com/)



Earlier in the week, my wife informed me that she would fetch her nieces (visiting from Perth) for NCC’s third service instead of going for the first service at 8.30am.

This morning, I ate breakfast alone, leaving my wife to sleep late. The Ipad1 kept on crashing, so I did not manage to meditate the Joseph Prince devotions for today, nor complete the 2nd plan from the YouVersion Bible Plan. So I surfed a bit to find out how to do a reset for the obsolute Ipad1, intending to do so after I returned from church. I bathed, changed and left for the StarPac, where New Creation Church is located.

There was hardly any crowd – only a couple of straddlers –  when I went into the building.

Hei, where’s the family? (church slogan is Hei, we’re family).

Hei, where’s everybody? Hei, I’m being left behind? How can it be, my wife is still around, in bed.

Then I realised that today is not Sunday! I messaged my wife “Ooh, the Star is empty! Today is Saturday!” She message back “So funny, ha ha ha.”

And this verse flashed in my mind, with the thought “am I really so eager for church? For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.” (Ps 84:10)

So I decided to go to Chinatown for another breakfast of steamed glutinous rice with peanuts, mushrooms, and shallots, to assuage my moment of folly and futility.

Somehow, the writings of Howard Snyder came back to mind, (Community of the King, Problem of Wineskins). The family of believers is the community of the King, not the StarPac building nor the organisational structure of NCC, rather the called out community worshipping at the StarPac. (see earlier blog on Consumer, Customer or Community)


What would have happened to the StarPac building (the NCC owns the 3rd to the 11th floors, built at a cost of about US 500M) after the Harpazo or rapture? Who would be occupying and using the building, the facilities, the world class sound and light fixtures. Would another religion move in, and “inherit” the auditorium and the auxiliary halls. Likewise for all the believers and churches of Jehovah God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in this world!

On a personal level, who would be taking over my apartment, the car, my bank accounts, my assets etc. My family members would also have been raptured, and there wouldn’t be anyone to inherit or claim the assets here on earth.

The Israelites took with them the treasures of Egypt – the precious metal, stones, skins etc and subsequently used them for the construction of the Tabernacle – and within this mobile and living Tent God dwelt and related to His people (cf ‘The Problem of Wineskins”). That was the time they crossed the Red Sea and before they crossed the Jordan. Over the Jordan, it was a land of milk and honey, and God would tabernacle within His people .

With the Harpazo, the Rapture, we will not (or rather cannot) be taking anything with us. What would happen to all the assets and wealth accumulated, I wondered.

Would the enemy say – ‘huh, you plundered Egypt (type of the world), this time round, it’s payback time. It will be for the world’s picking. You Christians have named and claimed prosperity in faith, – your houses, your church buildings, your nice clothings, your cars, your investments; and it is all to be left behind. Very few of you learnt the lesson, that after Egypt, you embark on a journey as a pilgrim to the Promise Land. This world is not your home, you are just passing through.” (Am reading Pilgrim’s Progress for now – not easy reading as it was written long lo o o n n ng ago.)

P/S My wife wondered how this could have happened – going off to an empty church? I said “Maybe God wants me to write this blog”

The Boiling Pot and the Poisonous Stew

The Boiling Pot and the Poisonous Stew

2 Kings 4

38 When Elisha returned to Gilgal, there was a famine in the land. [t]As the sons of the prophets were sitting before him, he said to his servant, “Put on the large pot and boil stew for the sons of the prophets.” 39 Then one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine and gathered from it his lap full of wild gourds, and came and sliced them into the pot of stew, for they did not know what they were40 So they poured it out for the men to eat. And as they were eating of the stew, they cried out and said, “O man of God, there is death in the pot.” And they were unable to eat. 41 But he said, “Now bring meal.” He threw it into the pot and said, “Pour it out for the people that they may eat.” Then there was no harm in the pot.

“In the days of Elisha there was the toxic stew, there was poison in the pot (2 Ki. 4:38-41). Elisha was able to throw grain into the poison stew. He was able to put grain into the poison pot and the grain was able to absorb the toxins. Right doctrine will clean up false doctrine. Grain can be put into the poison stew—right doctrine will correct wrong doctrine.” (Sermon by Jacob Prasch)

Anyone listening to Jacob Prasch would not come away without being impacted by his passion to exhort believers of the need to discern the truth.  Either one love the man or is turned away by his brashness.

I have learnt much from him, and have collected and consumed his articles, sermons and books.  Appended below is a sampling of his meditations-

The Boiling Pot and Poisonous Stew



The Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of Error

The Plastic Bible


The Bible and Faulty Interpretations

And my pastor also spoke on this on the 30th November.

Turning to the global audience, and addressing pastors, he conceded, cautioned and coached that sermons out of the pulpit are not perfect …. never.  He persuaded pastors to make sure we have the Lord Jesus in our sermons, in our midst.  Jesus is the flour, the fine flour (the Hebrew term can mean meal or flour).  As errors are inevitable, at least He will purify the rest of the unclean elements in the sermons. In every sermon there is a human working, in every sermon there is a tradition … in every sermon there is a ignorance being manifested… but when we put the Lord Jesus in it, He will purify …..

Wow, pastor, preach it, proclaim it!  Yes, we have to let Christ be in the center of it all.  Let Him interpret His own words.  And ask God for  Spirit of wisdom and revelation, that we may know Him and place our hope in Him, and then our hearts will be enlightened, and illuminated, grasping the legacy and inheritance in Christ, and the power of His resurrection.

Yes, the truth will set us free.

Exegesis – Inductive explicit truth against conclusions and opinions that are deduced or speculated (Eisegesis).  We have to be very careful of being overly dogmatic with teachings that are derived from devotional meditations, “sanctified” imaginations, presumptions, preferences, personal conclusions or even speculations and guesses without any explicit clear teaching.  Guard against Eisegesis.  Wonder whether the American culture of positivity and rhetoric led to the pervasiveness and prevalence of the pulpit and politics to draw others with fluency and eloquence. Nothing wrong, but what matters more is truth.  Clever politicians can easily talk their way out. It goes with the calling and craft, as the pulpit has to appear to be scholarly, sound and authoritative.   The job hazard for the pulpit is the tendency to project confidence and competence, to be credible, not to be ashamed or to display vacillation or uncertainty (2Tim 2:15).  Tendency to exaggerate, to embellish.

Subjective impressions or even subjective convictions should not be imparted as truth.  Explicit teachings of scripture must be the plumbline. I am not sure about the value of the pulpit claiming that God spoke or showed them.  Of course dropping names (especially God as the source) would lend weight to whatever is spoken. Why say that God spoke to me or showed me (only) when we can proclaim that He has revealed completely and finally in the scriptures to all. (I do submit that there are gifts of knowledge and prophecy to lead His people, but probably not to specific people to prop up certain interpretations and teachings not revealed to the Church). Why use ambiguous passages to put forward and support an alternative idea when scriptures are clear about the teaching on the subject. That is why Jacob Prasch is a good teacher, passionate to the core. But an uncompromising stand that can sometimes alienate sensitive pastors and fellow preachers.  When scriptures are not explicit, Prasch would clearly claim uncertainty – “my guess is … ”; “It could be …”, “my personal understanding is …”.

When one begins to interpret scriptures in a inventive and imaginative manner, opinions and speculations can indeed sound reasonable (2Tim 4:3,4), especially when listeners are oblivious and ignorant.  Asserting that God has shown the teacher (especially suggestions and submissions that are not explicit in scriptures) can border on Gnosticism.  It is a gullible congregation who would accept that the early church escaped to Petra (fact: it is Pella) before Jerusalem was razed in AD70 when the pulpit teaches it in a compelling and convincing manner. I know this is very trivial, I am just trying to show how a poised and confident pulpit can greatly influence and impact a gullible trusting congregation who can just lap it up and drink it in.

I remember years ago, a family group member commented and marvelled that our pastor is so anointed with revelations to perceive and interpret the prophecies in the chapter numbers of Psalms.  So I said that the content of the sermon was taken from J.R. Church.  (My pastor does his due diligence in research and reading more than most other pastors.  That is why there is never a dull moment in NCC). I could sense that the family group reacting with scepticism and disbelief at my statement.  A couple of weeks later, the group leader asked for verification of my allusion to J.R. Church’s teachings.  Such is the high regard and respect a pastor is accorded. (P/S 10 Dec. Wonder whose IP right would it be when the CD messages are sold, NCC, pastor, or the estate of JR Church)

So let’s continue to pray for our pastor, as he nourish, nurture and nurse the flock. Let’s protect the pulpit.  To keep the message, motives and the methods pure. 1 Thessalonians 2:3-12

P/S. 10 Dec. I suppose the pulpit should realize and accept that there might be others, Bereans from the universal church or closer at hand, members of the congregation who would “throw fine fluour or grain” into the teachings from the pulpit.


Occasionally I had referred to Midrash in my postings.

Anyone who wish to know more about Midrash should read Geoff Toole’s “A Beginner’s Look at Midrash” in  http://www.midrashim.org/

Geoff is a tentmaker now living and serving in Japan, and is using the Midrash approach just as the early Apostles did to interpret the Old Testament.

Though the early Brethren discovered Typology which is incorporated into the grammatical and historical approach of current hermeneutics, the Brethren did not have the total legacy of having the original languages and moreso, the Hebraic mind-set and world view.

I have been greatly refreshed, challenged and enlightened by the Hebraic legacy of our faith.

I am appending the links to  a few sermons by Jacob Prasch, a gifted messianic Jew who sought to introduce and initiate the church into the Hebraic approach to unlock the deeper truths = patterns, types, typology, shadows, etc.

Midrash is best appreciated when we see how it is used – as in the following sermon transcripts

1)  The Book of Ruth – the typology and teaching on the Gentile Bride of Christ


2)  The Future History of the Church – how the sufferings of Christ is a pattern for the Church


3)  Jesus in the Garden –  how the fall of man in the garden of Eden was reversed in the garden of Gethsemane



Harpazo – the Intra-Seal Rapture of the Church

Jacob Prasch’s latest book on the Rapture, or rather Harpazo is finally out.  I managed to read most of the book (650 pages) on Kindle and consider it a must-read for pastors, church leaders, and all believers who look forward to our glorification.

Even the Overview of the book by Danny Isom is indeed illuminating – found here


Reading this book is also another delightful learning journey into ‘Midrash’, and Typology.  While upholding the Jewish approach to understanding the Old Testament and the Jewish pattern of prophecies, Jacob has been very careful, in his own words –

 …. due theological diligence.

….. carefully examine and understand all of the scriptural evidence.

…..Typology as a Hermeneutic As always, we preface our application of typology with the usual caveat that a type or shadow itself cannot be the basis of a doctrinal conclusion.

….. however, we do hold to the scriptural uses of typology as God-given devices to illuminate our understanding of doctrine and to give an in-depth comprehension of the antitype being foreshadowed.

…. those who build doctrine on typology have entered the door of Gnosticism but are too ignorant to know it.

Jacob was keenly fair and even-handed to warn against presumptions and reading in into the scriptures –

…. cannot be substantiated from Scripture with anything even remotely approaching firm proof.

…. speculations as devoid of foundation.

The author rejects those speculations as devoid of foundation. We see this often prevailing in popular contemporary eschatologies which people glean from singing choruses rather than from systematic exegesis. One example would be a popular Christian chorus whose lyrics open with , “These are the days of Elijah” where some ministry in the character of Elijah is imposed on the latter day Church. Such concepts are almost ethereal in dimension and seem to appeal to those who succumb to the errors of Dominion Theology or who are otherwise oblivious to the doctrinal implications of what they are singing.

“Harpazo” is a great companion to Jacob’s other book “Shadows of the Beast”.  There are few who would dive into such ‘lengthy’ books.  Most gave them 5 star ratings in Amazon.  I am looking forward to his next book on “Herod” whom Jacob thinks is the type of the coming antiChrist.