Free Grace theology refers to a distinct view of Christian topics, such as faith, repentance, assurance of salvation, and perseverance, that is tied to dispensationalism. Two organizations that promote it are the Grace Evangelical Society (GES), and the Free Grace Alliance (FGA). GES and FGA
In spite of areas of disagreement, the core of "Free Grace" is the view that the Christian concept of eternal salvation is bestowed on anyone who believes in Jesus irrespective of the subsequent behavior of the recipient of eternal salvation. Its historical antecedents are considered to be Anne Hutchinson, Robert Sandeman, John Cotton, John Nelson Darby, and Lewis Sperry Chafer. Both in its historical antecedents and in its contemporary expressions such as GES and FGA, Free Grace theology is a critical response to the view of Calvinism's Lordship Salvation, Catholicism, and Arminianism that final salvation from the penalty of sin requires not only belief in Jesus Christ, but also a commitment to and perseverance in good works. Free Grace theology was initially found among dispensationalists, but has since found acceptance in other groups as well.
Yet within the Free Grace world, there are two views on assurance. The first is that, although assurance of salvation should be the experience of every Christian, Christian individuals may or may not immediately experience this. The realization of one's possession of eternal life may come at a later time, as a result of further study of the Gospel.
A second view is that assurance is of the essence of saving faith. This view holds that faith is a "conviction that what Jesus promises is true." If a person does not believe in his own "saved-ness", then it is posited that he does not believe in Christ.
Free Grace theology approaches the doctrine of repentance in a different way compared to the most other Christian traditions. God's "irresistable grace," necessary to impart "faith" to man's fallen will (the bondage of the will), shall, by its very nature, advance the new convert to a state of holiness and Christ likeness. Without the infusion of this mystical "grace," the lost sinner cannot efficaciously believe, nor can he hope to attain to a state of holiness and Christ likeness.
As the reformation began, Erasmus' cry "ad fontes" (from the sources) was applied to terms like "justification," wherein the biblical and extra-biblical Greek literature were examined to establish the meaning of the term "dikaio" (justify). However, other theological beliefs, such as the need to "repent of one'sins" for eternal salvation, remained unexamined within the mainstream denominations. A return to the sources (Scripture and extant Greek literature) for a serious examination of words such as "metanoia" would not be widely observed within the church for several hundred more years.
Some of the earliest developments relating to the doctrine of repentance appeared in Harry A. Ironside ("Except Ye Repent", American Tract Society, 1937) and the Systematic Theology of Lewis Sperry Chafer (completed 1947), returned to consider the fundamental meaning of the Greek word "metanoia" (repentance), which simply means "to change one's mind." In biblical passages commonly understood to be directed to eternal salvation, the object of repentance was often seen simply as Jesus Christ, making repentance equivalent to faith in Christ. Passages identifying a more specific object of repentance were understood to focus on man's need to change his mind from a system of self-justification by works to a trusting in Christ alone for salvation, or a change in mind from polytheism to a belief in Jesus Christ as the true living God. Further exposition came from various Free Grace authors, and Robert N. Wilkin undertook a detailed examination in his doctoral thesis at Dallas Theological Seminary (1985), which he simplified for a more popular audience in the Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society from Autumn 1988 to Autumn 1990.
The Free Grace view has historically been that saving faith is believing in that Jesus, the eternal Son of God, died four our sins and rose from the dead, and offers justification and eternal life to whoever believes on Him alone for their eternal life. In a departure from the historic free grace position, a splinter movement within the Free Grace movement has a adopted a deconstructionist or existentialist view of Jesus, commonly known as "The Crossless Gospel." This belief asserts that there is no specific content to one's faith about the person and work of "Jesus." Only the pronouncation of the word "Jesus" is important, and the belief that this undefined existential entity offers eternal life to whoever believes on him. This deconstructionistic movement, however, has not found any traction in countries outside of the United States, where foreign lands have many different pronouncations for the Son of God, or Jesus, such as "Yeshua," "Joshua," "Isa," "Issiat," "Yesus," "Messie," "Son of Sweaty Bog," the "Son of Dumnezeu." Outside the United States, the crossless gospel appears to be a naive American phenomena that focuses on pronouncation of Jesus' name, rather than His character as defined by his eternal character, and his sacrifice for man's sins.