Interesting discussions ongoing at Veritas Redux about the (misnamed) “Free Grace” movement. Typified by orgs like the Grace Evangelical Society, these anti-Lordship folks attack the Reformational understanding that we are saved by grace through faith alone, but not a faith that is alone. The Free Gracers believe that once you decide for Christ, that’s it. You’re a card-carrying Christian no matter what you do. You can deny Christ for your entire life and still be a Christian. Presumably, this adds ex-seminarians like Josef Stalin and Karl Marx to the ranks of the elect.
“Praying the prayer” is so often the Evangelical version of indulgences, an emergency card you can flash at the pearly gates to show that you have your Heaven’s Club membership. While most of the people who believe this seem to be sincere Christ-followers themselves, they teach a doctrine that has boundless potential to deceive. The Reformers correctly believed that faith is a free gift of God (Eph 2:8-9, John 6, John 10), and that gift always produces good works (Matt 3:8, 3:10, Matt 7:17-19, Matt 12:33, Mark 4:20, John 15:8, Romans 8, 1 Cor 6:10, James 2:14-18, etc). Sanctification always follows justification. What God starts, God finishes, using warnings and encouragement as a means to keep His elect on the right road.
A “faith” that fails to produce a Christ-follower isn’t faith.