A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

“Three Free Sins: God’s Not Mad At You” — we’re asking for feedback on this book

Please, may I have help? I don’t know where else to post this, but it is on behalf of another abused wife who is afraid to come here and voice the query herself.

Yesterday she discovered that someone within her husband’s circle; a friend, a family member, someone from church — she doesn’t know — gave her husband Steve Brown’s book, “Three Free Sins; God’s Not Mad At You.” We are not familiar with the book’s content nor context beyond what we could read of it on Amazon, and she is disheartened to think that her husband will, yet again, have more fodder for his perspective that his distinct and wholly disfunctional behavior towards her is not abuse, and that he is “fine.”

Do you Barbara and or Jeff have any insight into this book of Steve Brown’s, and whether her fears of it further damaging her in the hands of her husband are founded? Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

 

This question was posted in yesterday’s thread by one of our readers (ceekayellemm) and I’ve decided to make it a stand-alone post today, since Tues (US time) is a usually a ‘post free day’ so we had a spot available.

It’s a great question, ceekayellemm! And good for you for helping your friend this way 🙂

I (Barb) have not read Steve Brown’s book, “Three Free Sins; God’s Not Mad At You,”  and the only feedback I’ve heard about it is pretty much what you and your friend think: that the Title in itself is enabling to abusers, and therefore the whole book is sus.

Maybe some of our readers have feedback for you and your friend.

17 Comments

  1. ceekayellemm

    Thank you so much! we appreciate any help that can be offered.

    • REM

      God bless you for believing in her intuition, and reaching out on behalf of your friend!!!

  2. Scarlett

    Here’s one review online.http://verticallivingministries.com/2012/02/08/book-review-three-free-sins-gods-not-mad-at-you-by-steve-brown/. It doesn’t sound as bad as we may have feared.
    There may be other reviews as well. It’s also on Kindle.
    Of course, we are all aware that a “Christian” abuser is very skillful in bending, folding and mutilating scripture beyond recognition to suit his purposes.

    I’m thankful to Christ that you love and care for your friend to try and help her.

  3. Not Too Late

    This is from a one star review:

    (Page 70) `Now some good news. If you have run to Jesus, mercy has come running to you! You have, in light of what I’ve just taught you, unlimited free sins. I don’t care where you’ve been or where you are, what you’ve done or what you’re doing, what you’re smoking or drinking, who you’re sleeping with or demeaning, who you’ve offended or who you’ve hurt or where the bodies are buried… You’re forgiven!’

    Yikes. That’s exactly what the abuser needs to hear. Not.
    Isn’t this the sort of teaching that has enabled abusers to continue in the church, sometimes for years? There is no accountability for perpetrators! Just offers of forgiveness and unconditional love. That’s just what they want to hear. And if they don’t get it from the victim, they demand it and accuse the victim of not being in line with the gospel.

    • Not Too Late, that is a very telling quote from the book that you found!

      One would need to see it within its context in the book, but it sounds to me like it’s cutting close to the wind of sound doctrine, if it’s not outright wrong.

      The whole idea of ‘free sins’ is sub-biblical, as others have pointed out in this thread. Whenever people coin new phrases to explain or encapsulate doctrine, we need to be suspicious, in case that new phrase conveys a concept that has not come from right division of the Word of Truth. No reputable theologians in the last 2000 years of church history have ever use the term ‘free sins’, so we need to suspect that term.

      Another bit that troubles me is the present tense verbs in this section (I’m showing them in bold font):

      I don’t care where you’ve been or where you are, what you’ve done or what you’re doing, what you’re smoking or drinking, who you’re sleeping with or demeaning, who you’ve offended or who you’ve hurt or where the bodies are buried… You’re forgiven!

      We only need to remember Jesus’ words to the woman caught in adultery to see where this is out of balance. He did not say “I don’t care what you’ve done, you’re forgiven.”
      He said:

      “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” John 8:11

      So while He forgave her sin, He told her to not continue in it.

      Conversion requires repentance.

      Even if that book talks about repentance, the slogan ‘free sins’ is going to be like fertilizer to the abuser’s mentality. It will be a great weapon for him to add to his aresenal of excuses and his repertoire of resonsibility-evasion tactics.

      • tess

        AMEN!!!!

  4. tess

    I have read some reviews of this book, and unfortunately it seems its more of the hyper grace deception being preached all over america. This false doctrine promotes a sort of ‘resting in your sins’ because you were forgiven for them all at the time of salvation. Even the sins you haven’t committed yet. They preach God’s grace in a false way. Some hyper grace pastors even teach that once you are born again, you no longer have to ask God’s forgiveness for any sin.
    Grace in the bible is described as power given to the Christian to walk a holy life. These hyper grace people teach that grace is the gift God gives that let’s you relax and not bother with being obedient or striving towards holiness. But any Christian who is grounded in the word of God, knows that Jesus gave a constant call to obedience. The hyper grace teachers are definitely equipping abusers, by saying they don’t have to change to get to heaven.

    • G’day tess, welcome to the blog and thanks for being here 🙂

      • tess

        Thank you Barbara, it’s nice to be here ,Sister!

  5. IamMyBeloved's

    Well that sounds like one doozy of a heretical book! It may benefit your friend to do some reading from the lists on ACFJ, if she has not already. I hope she has a pastor that is on her side and aiding her. Perhaps she should ask her pastor to read the book and give his opinion on it, letting him know that someone gave it to her abuser to read.

  6. Some Goodreads reader reviews I read match up with what Tess describes. It sounds like Indulgences! I used to get really worried and stressed about my ‘husband’ getting hold of books and picking bits out that suited him to use at me like darts. I had a really helpful counselor who taught me an important lesson about this. He said its good to keep an open mind to comments of genuine constructive criticism, but if after analysing it i’m sure that the comment is really only bullying and destructive, I don’t have to put value on that comment. It claims to be concerned for my well-being but is not. Initially it was really hard for me to change the perspective, but with practice it gets easier and I find it really helpful.

    • That was and is some excellent counsel! Thank you for sharing it!

  7. thepersistentwidow

    Lutherans have a doctrine called Simul Justus et Peccator which means that the Christian is simultaneously justified (righteous) because of Christ’s work and sinful due to our human nature. This is taught in Romans 7 with our sinful nature summed up here in verse 19, “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” Although I have not read the book, this is what it may be about.

    This doctrine is for Christians NOT abusers. As Jeff has taught many times, serial abusers and those who walk in habitual sins as in 1 Tim 3, do not have saving faith. They are not justified, so this doctrine is not for them.

    It sounds to me that your friend is “walking on eggshells” around her husband. I suggest that she read the material that we have available at the resources tab and consult with a counselor on her own. The counselor does not need to be a Christian counselor. I spoke with the local abuse shelter and they gave me the validation that I needed to see that I was living in abuse.

    As Scarlett said, abusers will twist anything to their advantage. Regardless of what books he reads, she needs to be looking out for her own safety and she has a right to not be abused.

  8. ceekayellemm

    I have made it known to my friend that God is providing her with wisdom and encouragement through everyone’s responses here, and I believe she is reading them. Thank y’all so much!

  9. wbgl0

    If we have truly been forgiven in Christ, then our sins are “free” in the sense that we won’t be punished for them. But the truth is that sin is always costly. It hurts us. Some sins (like abuse) hurt others. And I believe sin hurts God even if He does forgive us. So this book is probably wrong.

    • tess

      Yes, i believe doctrine like this can send people to hell. The bible is full of verses telling us to die to self, put away the flesh, work out your salvation with fear and trembling. God says ” Be ye holy for i am Holy.”
      This doctrine of free sins makes people feel good, like they don’t have to concern themselves with sanctification. One need only look in Revelation chapters 2 & 3 to see the rebuke of the sins in churches. Jesus doles out punishment and rebuke to them. But the flesh loves a a sin without concern doctrine. But its dangerous,

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