So, what is “hyper-grace”? The term was coined by Dr. Michael Brown in a February 2013 in which he warned of the errors of the modern grace message.1 Brown has written a book called Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message2 in which he laboriously and very thoroughly confronts the errors of the hyper-grace teachers.
Who are the hyper-grace teachers? There are many, to be sure, but the names gurgling up to the top are Joseph Prince, Clark Whitten, Rob Rufus, John Crowder, Steve McVey, Andre van der Merwe, and Andrew Womack to name a few.
At the heart of hyper-grace is exactly that: an emphasis on grace that removes any need for confession of sins or repentance. In hyper-grace, the Holy Spirit does not convict the believer of sins. He doesn’t have to because at the cross Jesus forgave all of our sins—past, present, and future. In fact, at salvation, the believer is 100% sanctified, with no further need for sanctification or striving to live a holy life. Further, there is no need to worry about trying to please God because He is always pleased with the believer, He is always “in a good mood,” and no effort is needed to live the Christian life.
Clark Whitten makes nine statements at the beginning of his book, Pure Grace. Number nine is a doozy!
Christians are truly free. We are free to laugh or cry, read a novel or the Bible, eat meat offered to idols or avoid it, drink wine or water, smoke or chew, get fat or fit, attend church or stay at home, tithe or give nothing—all without condemnation from God. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (see Rom. 8:1) doesn’t mean no consequences or loss, but does mean no condemnation.3
Does hyper-grace embrace universalism? D. R. Silva makes a curious statement in his defense of hyper-grace when he says,
The only difference between us and our accusers is that we don’t only limit that grace to those in our own “camp,” we believe it applies to the whole world (not just in theory, but in practice).4
Earlier in his book Silva tries to weave together a view of forgiveness that at once says that the whole world is already forgiven of their sins—and therefore God is no longer holding their sins against them—and yet because they have not received this forgiveness, neither have they experienced the benefits of forgiveness.5 On one hand, Silva makes a distinction between the hyper-grace camp and its extension of grace to the whole world in a seemingly effectual way and the rest of us who he says limit grace to those in our own “camp.” I assume that by “camp” he means Christians. So, I have to ask, if grace extends to the whole world in some effectual, practical way different than the traditional grace message that says to the world, “Jesus died for you, confess your sins, repent and be saved,” what does that “practice” of grace look like?
2 Michael Brown, Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message, (Lake Mary: Charisma House, 2014).
3 Clark Whitten, Pure Grace: The Life Changing Power of Uncontaminated Grace, (Shippensburg: Destiny Image, 2012), 20.
4 D. R. Silva, Hyper-Grace: The Dangerous Doctrine of a Happy God, (Montana: UpArrow Publishing, 2014), 62.
5 Ibid., 37.