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Scripture Reading:  1 John 1:5-10

Part 1

Grace-Fellowship Heresy (2)


1.  Review Part 1.

2.  Grace-fellowship heresy establishes a false framework for salvation and fellowship. Its non-controversial approach is appealing to those who do not have the faith (stomach) for contending for the faith, consequently, they have assisted in turning His grace into lasciviousness by accommodating error and immorality, Jude 3-4.

3.  Grace-fellowship has at its core a denial of the Biblical doctrines about sin, salvation and the fellowship of Christians with one another in Christ.



  A.  Neo-Calvinism (See “The Grace-Fellowship Theory”, W. Partain).

    1.  Born with a Sinful Nature (modification of total depravity).

      a.  Allows for man’s ignorance and weakness to be the reason to say all brethren are in error, ignorant of many of God’s requirements and too weak to do all He says for us to do.

      b.  Be alert to expressions like “man, because he is man, sins”; “man has to sin”; “we’re only human”.

      c.   Don’t be deceived by: “Do you know it all?” “Do you do everything perfectly?” Tries to pull the faithful down to the level of the ignorant and the unfaithful! Eph 3:3-4

      d.   Be alert to: “We’re all ignorant of some things”, Eph 5:17 (1 Ths 4:13). What are we ignorant of? Tell us and we will correct and grow!

    2.  Imputation of the Righteousness of Christ.

      a.  Since man is said to have a corrupt nature, Christ’s personal righteousness (His obeying, doing, law-keeping) is said to be imputed or reckoned to our account. (Illus. "My Hope is Built", #378: “Dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.”)

      b.  This false doctrine assumes God can only accept perfect law-keepers, and since we all sin, Christ is our substitute re. law-keeping. (Which law did Christ keep for us?)

      c.  In fact: Christ is our substitution in punishment, 1 Pet 3:18.

      d.  Faith is reckoned for righteousness, Rom 4:3, 5, 9; Heb 11:7.

    3.  Grace, Faith and Works.

      a.  Overemphasizes grace to the minimizing of obedient faith.

      b.  G-F confuses the basis with the condition of salvation:

        1)  Salvation provided on based of grace (Christ, cross, blood, etc.), Titus 2:9; Eph 2:8-9.

        2)  Accepting salvation is conditional (obedience), Matt 7:21.

  B.  G-F Heresy Broadens Fellowship Beyond the Doctrine of Christ, 2 Jno 9-11.

    1.  Defines and Distinguishes Levels of Fellowship.

      a.  Illus. Five distinct categories of fellowship (F. LaGard Smith, Who Is My Brother?, 77-79):

        1)  Universal fellowship: The family of man.

        2)  Faith fellowship: Like family.

        3)  Christian fellowship: The extended family.

        4)  Conscience fellowship: Close family.

        5)  Congregational fellowship: Immediate family.

      b.  This is denominational to the core!

      c.   Bible: Fellowship with God, then with His people, 1 Jno 1:7.

    2.  G-F says Fellowship does not Imply Endorsement (Leroy Garrett, Restoration Review, 30:08, Aug 1988).

      a.   Seeing this today among brethren re. all kinds of doctrine.

      b.   Gal 2:9: Fellowship does imply endorsement! 2 Jno 10-11

    3.  G-F Uses Romans 14 to Condone Fellowship in Spite of Doctrinal Disagreement.

      a.  Rom 14 addresses unity in the realm of liberties (opinions).

      b.  Beware those who put doctrinal/moral issues into Rom 14!

      c.  Instrumental music in worship; Premillennialism, church-sponsored institutions, societies, social programs, homosexuality, adulterous remarriages.

  C.  Errors about Sin. (Misuse of 2 Cor 5:19 among others)

    1.  Continuous Cleansing: Automatic forgiveness of sins of weakness and ignorance. Cf. 1 Jno 1:8-9

      a.  Sins of weakness and ignorance are automatically forgiven or continuously cleansed as soon as they are committed and therefore, are not charged against us. (Windshield wiper illus)

      b.  Perverts Rom 4:8 (“will not reckon sin” = forgiveness, 4:5-8).

    2.  Classification of Sins: Minor, inadvertent, incidental, non-alienating (automatically cleansed) are set in contrast with willful, rebellious (require repentance).

      a.  Those who sin in ignorance are condemned and must meet the conditions of forgiveness, Lev 5:17-19; Acts 3:17-19; 1 Tim 1:13-16 (Acts 22:16).

      b.  Walk in the light, 1 Jno 1:7 (practice truth, 1:6; keep commands, 2:3; keep His word, 2:5).

      c.  Christian when he sins, 1 Jno 1:8-9; 2:1-2; Rom 6:1-2.



1.  We are saved “by grace, through faith” (Eph 2:8); We have peace with God and His people in one body (church), Eph 2:14-22.

2.  Grace is dispensed according to the gospel/word of His grace (Acts 20:24, 32), not according to the grace-fellowship heresy.





Garrett, Leroy, Restoration Review (30:08), August 1988

Partain, Wayne, “The Grace-Fellowship Theory” (1) and (2), Guardian of Truth XXX: 14, July 17, 1986 (433-434) and XXX: 15, August 7, 1986 (456-457, 466-467)

Smith, F. LaGard, Who Is My Brother?, page 77-79

Willis, Mike, “The Grace-Unity Movement Is Not Dead”, Guardian of Truth XXX: 7, 193, 214-215