Doctrine Directory logo Doctrine Directory

Easy Believism

The doctrine explained on this page is generally considered heretical by Christians. Its inclusion as a doctrine is not an endorsement of its truthfulness. There are many false doctrines. 2 Peter 2:1–3

This page not only explains the doctrine, but hopefully why it is widely known to be false. It is good to be aware and ready to give an answer to false doctrines. 2 Timothy 4:2–5

“Easy believism” is an admittedly derogatory name for those who hold to an extreme view of sola fide that denies that repentance is a part of salvation. Followers of this viewpoint believe that faith is all that is needed for salvation, yet they hold to a very shallow definition of faith. Another, also derogatory, name for this false doctrine is “cheap grace” since they believe God does not require even repentance for His saving grace. They know that “with the mouth confession is made unto salvation”, as Romans 10:10 says, so they believe that if you pray a prayer saying that Christ is Lord, then you are saved, end of story. It doesn’t matter if there is any evidence of transformation—you can go on sinning and still be saved. However they are missing the nature of true faith and inadvertently denying the power of the Holy Spirit.

The most plain rebuttal to this false doctrine is James 2, which seems to be written in direct contradiction to this line of thinking:

James 2:14–26

14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Salvation doesn’t depend on good works, but true faith—the kind required for salvation—will lead to good works. This is the only outward clue as to someone’s salvation.

Matthew 7:16a You will know them by their fruits.

Furthermore, while good works are a future action flowing out of salvation, repentance must be done before salvation. Acts 3:19 This is forsaking our own ways and returning to God’s plan for our lives. Isaiah 55:7 How can those who are dead to sin continue to live therein? Romans 6:1–2

Matthew 16:24–25 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

Another problem with this line of thinking is that it denies the power of the Holy Spirit. Salvation is justification in God’s eyes, but it’s also a spiritual rebirth for us.

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Romans 6:3–4 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Romans 8:28 says “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” God will use all things in believers’ lives to make them better and more like Christ. Philippians 1:6 says that we can be “confident … that he which hath begun a good work in [us] will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” If someone claims to be a Christian yet has no good works following thereafter, there is good reason to doubt that that person is really saved. Not only does easy believism hurt Christianity by showing the world people who claim to be Christians yet continue to live ungodly lives. It also risks condemning people who trust in a prayer they prayed without any repentance instead of truly trusting in Christ. This is why Paul says, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.” 2 Corinthians 13:5a