[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Friday, April 07, 2006

A Study in Contrasts

by Antonio da Rosa

Hi, ya'll

thanks for your kindness and good wishes.

I have been perusing some of the anti-FG stuff out there. Not much of it is worth even addressing. The superficiality of both the attacks and their so-called exposition speaks volumes.

Jonathan Moorheads blog seems to only get traffic when he stirs up the FG pot with his sophomoric paragraph long posts. They have no content and fail to distinguish himself as a doctoral student at DTS; and his involvement in the threads that they produce add nothing to an honest debate, but are merely formulated to be provocative. He is always insisting that someone else do his homework.

The others who wish to be more in-depth contend against that which they do not understand, nor have taken the time to study. Don't read their material with an open flame -- unless you want a mushroom cloud in the place of your video monitor; the straw men in these blogs are piled higher than the toys in my children's room.

Free Grace theology is a very real threat to the fratenal order of Traditionalism. Truth exposes their skin-deep theology for what it is. They are fighting tooth and nail defending their turf; often times it is humorous, other times it is scandalous.

We are the heralders of grace, they are the imposers of self-rightousness.

"Sola Fide" accurately describes our position, while they proclaim that faith apart from works does not save.

We represent Christ's gift of eternal life as Absolutely Free! while they traffic in the sophistry of contradiction which offers a gift that will cost a man everything.

Our message says "come as you are, you have nothing to offer"; their version advertises "submit all that you have and give all you got or you can't be saved".

We invite "whosover desires"; they stroke their pride with "whoever was chosen".

Our right given by the authority of the objective Word of God is to complete and certain assurance of salvation; their race is to persue perseverance, in order for final salvation, without it (certain assurance).

The eyes of our souls are fixed on Jesus as our certain hope; while their sights are filled with the inspection of "fruits".

To us, Christ is God's love to the world; To them, Christ's death is meaningless to most.

Our passions lie in evangelism of the lost; they seem rather content to proseltyze the saved.

The bottom line:

Free Grace Theology teaches that Christ offers eternal life by faith alone in Him for it.

Traditionalism teaches multiple conditions: submitting, repenting, cost of the whole life, perseverance until the end, etc.

Which one sounds like a gift to you?
Which one sounds like a highly stipulated contract?

Cheap Grace? No. Expensive to Christ, FREE to us.

Antonio

23 Comments:

  • Whoah!!!

    Now that is what I call throwing down the gauntlet.

    Nice to hear from again Antonio.

    Jim

    By Blogger Jim, at Friday, April 07, 2006 8:07:00 PM  

  • I have a substantial response to the Free-Grace position posted over at my site--it's a re-post, but I felt it was timely ;).

    Antonio, I still have overlapping sympathies or commonalities with some of what your arguing for, just not the whole cake. Have you ever stood back, and tried to honestly see if there are in fact any weaknesses with your position, Antonio?

    In Christ,

    Bobby

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Friday, April 07, 2006 9:08:00 PM  

  • Here's a link to the article I've written in critique of Free-Grace theology, click Here.

    This link is not meant to be self-serving, but to offer a response to some of Antonio's assertions, in this article :-). By offering a differing response, does not by default align my perspective on soteriology with people like Moorhead, just to clarify ;).

    In Christ,

    Bobby

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Friday, April 07, 2006 11:54:00 PM  

  • Talk about straw men. You construct at least six or so in this shallow attempt to attack traditional orthodox Christianity. You either have no clue about reformed theology or intentionally attempt to mischaracterize it to make your position more palatable.

    Tim, in the previous post, offered compelling proof of the reformed position and you totally ignored the debate. Instead you do this hit piece. Bobby, in a real nice way is trying to send you message. I would suggest you listen to his counsel.

    I could offer scriptural proof after proof to refute the absurd charges and claims in this post, but quite frankly I have more to do than debate folly.

    Jazzycat

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Saturday, April 08, 2006 7:03:00 AM  

  • >Antonio, I still have overlapping sympathies or commonalities with some of what your arguing for, just not the whole cake.<

    I kinda echo that Antonio, though I do thank you for waking me out of a sleep of self-righteousness as I drifted deeper into following itrospective philosophies that yeilded no peace.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Saturday, April 08, 2006 3:48:00 PM  

  • Antonio;

    Right on!

    Most of the stuff out there is cr*p, and it's not worth the time or effort to respond.

    As I've said before, I'm not interested in arguing with the LS or Calvinists. It's a waste of time. We would be better served to get the FG message out to the rest of the world before the LS and Calvinists get to them. If we get there first they'll never go over to the dark side!

    By Anonymous Bud Brown, at Saturday, April 08, 2006 4:38:00 PM  

  • Wow, I sure am challenged and edified!

    “OUR RULES:
    We must at all times show Christian character even with those with whom we vehemently oppose

    No name calling or backhanded insulting

    No ad hominem attacks

    No theological cuss-words”

    By Blogger Jonathan Moorhead, at Sunday, April 09, 2006 3:17:00 PM  

  • Antonio,

    I do agree with your sentiment about Grace Theology v Traditionalism in this post. You and Bud see it through the Galatians-lens and you're right to do that.

    But, com'on, brother, the Moorhead is popular for a reason. Its short posts get the discussion rolling and the way Jonathan (provocatively) moderates the discusions speak for itself. I think it has been an excellent venue for explaining Free Grace Theology. Maybe your complaint is more with me?...

    You know how Hannity and Combs interview people? I sometimes think Sean is much better at drawing out people he's hostile to while when he agrees with people he is less engaged and seems to hardly listen to their answers. My point is that there is an iron sharpening iron thing happening at Jonathan's blog that few blogs manage to pull off as well.

    (I think I'm still learning to do that, never having had a real high traffic blog myself!)

    Plus I'm glad he's not PhD-ing us to death. That he doesn't wear it on his sleeve is not a negatinve to me.

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Sunday, April 09, 2006 7:14:00 PM  

  • Thank you, Jodie.

    By Blogger Jonathan Moorhead, at Sunday, April 09, 2006 7:39:00 PM  

  • Bobby.

    You err in many ways with your post.

    1) There is a major difference between the relationships between the lost and the Judge and the saved, the sons and daughters of God and their Father.

    The LS make the initial relationship between God and man based upon merit, based upon a contract. This is works-righteousness.

    The FG see that the relationship changes when a man beleives on Christ for eternal life. God now, in a very perfect and real way, is the FATHER of the saved. They now have a filial relationship.

    As with all filial relationships, there is responsibility and privilege. The rewards (Greek = MISTHOS, WAGE!!) are for those who heed to their responsibilities. Those who do what is expected of them within their relationship will reap the wages of those deeds, i.e., misthos, and privilege in the kingdom.

    To compare the LS's works righteousness that deals with the unsaved reprobate and the Judge, with FG's rewards based privilege familial system between a man and His God is to commit illegetimate comparisons.

    I, personally, am surprised that you would leave yourself open to such novice estimations.

    2) Dillow's use of the Pentateuch is based upon the author of Hebrew's assessments of "rest" along with his myriad other comparisons, types, etc.

    It is the author of Hebrews that you would have issue with and not Moses nor Dillow.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, April 09, 2006 8:32:00 PM  

  • Jonathan Moorhead.

    Please show me specifically where I broke any of those rules.

    I did not.

    Was it ad hominem to describe your posts as sophomoric? They are.

    How about as paragraph long?

    they are.

    or your responses in the threads the produce, are they substantial or content filled?

    they are not.

    They do not represent the work of a person who is a doctoral student at DTS.

    Also, are you to deny that you asked Steve Hays and crew to deal with me and my theology yet you have not done an ounce of exegetical work to refute it?

    I see that those at Triabologue and Matt Weymeyer doing all the things that you yourself do not do

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, April 09, 2006 8:40:00 PM  

  • Jodie,

    the moorhead is popular for a reason because it is hype and no content.

    It is like a fraternity party over there.

    Are you giving him points because of his hosting of topics only?

    Show me where he has done any scholorly or biblical work to refute the FG position!

    Where has he provided anything but a proof text and an assertion?

    You write in a personal email to me:

    "I felt you really did insult Jonathan."

    Convince me of sin. I merely stated it like it is. Where is the ad hominem? Where is the untruthfulness? Where IS the INSULT?

    You play the game by their rules... it results in nothing but their disdain and open ridicule of our beloved understanding of God, the Scriptures, and of Christ.

    Even when you are sincerely cordial (as you are in your every comment, post, and blogospherical exercise), it results in the mocking of our very beloved biblical worldview. I don't know what kind of points you are trying to score.

    That is your prerogative, Jodie.

    Unless a house stands united, it will fall. If you have your legitimate issues with me, Jodie, make sure they amount to something before you publicly place me in a uncontested form of contempt.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, April 09, 2006 8:51:00 PM  

  • Bud Brown,

    I have seen your comments on this blog and have been highly impressed by your wisdom.

    I am so glad that you frequent this blog and even happier that you leave your comments.

    Thank you for your input. I am very pleased.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, April 09, 2006 8:54:00 PM  

  • Antonio,

    I'm not sure why my seeing it as an insult when you don't is such a big deal.

    Sorry I just don't think that's disunity. I think disagreeing on election and matters of style like that is healthy.

    I don't think people's opinion and scoffing of Free Grace means much when it is built on a bunch of total nonsense. I don't think my being cordial affects that one way or another. Do you really think it does? Jonathan and others know my cordiality is as much from my desire for FG to get a hearing as being a perfectly nice, nice person...

    I think you, Antonio, can stand in Paul's place (per Galatians) in a way that I can't and don't want to as a woman.

    (I can't get away with the latina stuff that I'm sure your wife does!!)

    Don't you think Bobby Grow's post on FG is healthy? I think his public disagreement, because it is based on reality not a made up straw man, is healthy. The truth is better than unity about all the details. His critique shows the staw man no-Lordship stuff for what it is, a bunch of total nonsense.

    You and Bud Brown are cut from the same cloth. Did you see what he said on Kris's blog about the whole assurance issue? Very clear thinker and writer. But not cordial !! :(

    I'm going to have to lecture that Vette-guy!

    Glad we're on the same team,
    and under the same Wing,

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Sunday, April 09, 2006 9:26:00 PM  

  • his comments are here

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Sunday, April 09, 2006 9:32:00 PM  

  • Antonio copy and pasted his response to me here over at my site--I responded to him over there first, and now here's my copy and paste of my response to Antonio:

    Hey Antonio, good to hear from you! Thank you for your perspective on my analysis here ;); I especially like this part, "I, personally, am surprised that you would leave yourself open to such novice estimations." :)

    On your 2nd point, first. No actually it's Dillow I have issues with. Actually, from my perspective, there is an artificial linkage between "possesor" "inheritor" and "heir" and "co-heir" that Dillow makes. Let me quote Dillow again, in regards to this distinction, he says:

    "“This passage, in agreement with Gal. 4:7, says we are all heirs of God by virtue of the fact that we are His children. But it says something else. It says we are also co-heirs with Christ ‘if indeed we share in His sufferings.’ The second heirship mentioned in this verse is conditional upon our joining with Him in His sufferings. Being an heir of God is unconditional, but being a joint heir of the kingdom is conditioned upon our spiritual perseverance. . . . ” (Joseph Dillow, “Reign of the Servant Kings,” 86-7)

    How does Dillow develop this dichotomy, heir/coheir, in the book of Hebrews, and tie this into the "possesor/inheritor" motif found in the Pentateuch. I don't see any justification in the epistle of Hebrews, or Romans for such a distinction, Antonio. I see this as artificial.

    On your first point, I would have to know how FG'rs develop their Theology Proper. My assumption is that FG follows the typical Western traditional view of God vs. a more Eastern understanding (which emphasizes threeness and relationality). The Western view traditionally has emphasized God's oneness, and has viewed God through a more "monadic" "inward-focused" understanding. This lends itself toward viewing God as a bit removed, who offers "contracts" (covenants) with man. Ryrie exemplifies this view of God (i.e. the typical Federal Theological understanding of God)--and I hadn't noticed in reading Dillow, or Zane, that they had elucidated a different understanding of God, i.e. different than the typical understanding in the Western tradition I described above (this would undercut the familial understanding, from my view).

    When you say this Antonio, ". . .The LS make the initial relationship between God and man based upon merit, based upon a contract. This is works-righteousness. . . ." Whose merit would they assert they base this on? Are you saying that they see justification as based upon merit, or sanctification as meritorious (which is actually your view, relative to rewards, right)?

    And just to clarify, you're arguing that FG'rs don't have a framework that finds reference in something like the TULIP? It appears to me that some FG'rs, I guess not you, just shift the intent of the warning passages from finding referent in sanctification and not in glorification as the Calvinist does. What I was arguing is that at a theological level FG abandoned the material content of Calvinism, but kept the same basic structure, with ideas of "Perseverance" as exemplified by Dillow in the quote above, offered by Calvinism. This would go with my discussion on Theology Proper above, as well, Antonio.

    The familial relationship doesn't seem to be an natural emphasis of FG either--as you say it is. Can you point to a resource that might discuss this aspect of FG theology in general, and FG Theology proper in particular?

    Antonio I joked with you about the novice statement above, but why is it that every time some one disagrees with you they either are un-informed on what FG theology "really" teaches; or some sort of "novice" in regards to FG. Is FG so esoteric that only a few elite really are able to understand it? I might call this the "elitist fallacy".

    P.S. in regards to Dillow's quote above, as I read it again, he says co-heirship is conditional, which would seem to put us back under the conditional Mosaic Cov, relative to rewards and sanctification; and he says heirship is unconditional--which I'm assuming he's tying this into the Gen 15:6--17 and the Abrahamic Cov. This poses another problem for me, I believe salvation is soleley based upon Gen 15:6 and the foreign righteousness of Christ (New Cov), who indeed is the end of Law (Rom 10:4) unto righteousness for all who believe. So this is also a problematic artificial distinction I see Dillow making--but maybe you don't?

    In Christ,

    Bobby

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Sunday, April 09, 2006 11:54:00 PM  

  • Antonio said to HK:

    "Convince me of sin. I merely stated it like it is. Where is the ad hominem? Where is the untruthfulness? Where IS the INSULT?"

    HK didn't really respond to this point, so I will . . . the "attitude" you communicate "truth" in can also be sinful, Antonio (MT 23 for example). I don't know the motives of your heart here, but you don't come across sounding controlled or in fact seeking a brother.

    In your estimation, I know you believe Jonathan is not a brother in Christ, and I strongly disagree with that; but if you believe this why wouldn't you want to woo him with the love of Christ, and speach with grace seasoned with salt (Gal 4:6). You're only repelling a whole group of people who need to hear the "true gospel", aren't you?

    Who cares if they disdain FG, it's not your gospel, it's Christ, that's not your concern, or HK's (read I Cor 6 in regards to getting taken advantage of for the sake of the gospel and I Cor 9).

    Bobby

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Monday, April 10, 2006 12:09:00 AM  

  • Absolutely right, Antonio.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Monday, April 10, 2006 5:19:00 AM  

  • Bobby,

    I appreciate your holding our team to Biblical (Francis Schaeffer like) standards...

    BUT!

    just for the record,

    :D

    you said:

    why is it that every time some one disagrees with you they either are un-informed on what FG theology "really" teaches...
    Is FG so esoteric that only a few elite really are able to understand it? ...
    I might call this the "elitist fallacy"


    Are you kidding?

    I'll affirm Antonio's point totally. The criticism of FG is very, very uninformed.

    This is because of twenty years of straw man arguing on behalf of the men who have published on FG.

    They isolate a few parts of what FG is saying, distort that and argue against that. Actually its worse than that they often add a third layer, not even intended to undermine our arguments, they argue against their own imaginings of what FG is saying.

    I see that constantly, and am surprised you don't.

    The twenty years of straw man is why the Wilkin debates are so one sided. Gilliard and White went into them expecting a different set of arguments. And in my opinion that's why they were so routed.

    And also, Bobby, about Dillow and Hebrews. Remember, I said I don't think his specific arguments are very convincing? Though I love his book, I stand by that. But that doesn't go for Hodges argument about Hebrews which is what "Reign of the Servant Kings" is really based on. The Hebrews argument rises and falls based on the careful contextual arguments Hodges makes.

    I just argued this on Centuri0n's blog. Hebrews is heavily eschatalogical. Read the first chapter and look for how the writer is talking about Christ reigning in the future. Then look in Chapter two how he equates that reign with our delverance/salvation.

    Salvation in Hebrews = deliverance into the future reign

    Chapter 11 and 12 are showing how the heroes of the faith strained forward to God and His future time and future place (a city) so they endured things for that sake just like Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before Him. The cloud of witnesses is the future audience banked around us as we hope not to be humiliated at the judgment seat of Christ.

    Bobby, all this comes from careful arguments about the text. I hope you consider reading Hodges' commentaries, especially

    Hebrews (from the DTS 2 volume Bible Knowledge set)

    &

    the book length Epistles of John

    I'm happy with your critique, Bobby, and I do think it is based on the facts but I hope you give their detailed arguments about the Scriptures a shake, which I know you already said you were going to.

    God bless,

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Monday, April 10, 2006 6:23:00 AM  

  • Jodie, my response to Antonio was primarily about what he said to me, novice.

    I've read Hodges on Hebrews, we used it for my Heb-Rev class in bible college. We talked in depth on his interpretation and all of its eschatological implications. He still does not establish a link between possesor/inheritor heir/coheir in my read--it's system driven.

    Why do you assume that I haven't taken the time to understand your position . . . I have, I've read much of Hodges, I've had a FG professor at Multnomah, who linguistically is as astute if not more than knowledgable than Hodges. I kind of get tired of this idea, that now you too are forwarding, that apparently if I disagree with your position, its primarily that I'm naive to its fundamental tenents--I don't think I am!

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Monday, April 10, 2006 9:09:00 AM  

  • Actually, Bobby, I only said that because I thought that is what you were saying. I thought you saw your post as an initial framework based on Absolutely Free and Dillow and that you wanted to continue to read more to determine if it bears out.

    But, that said, there is nothing I can think of that you are distorting about FG, fact wise. You have obviously taken the time to understand what you disagree with!

    So when I talk about distortions I'm talking not at all about your critique but about others critiques.

    I didn't know you were familiar with his Hebrews interpretaion. I'm glad, maybe we can talk more about that later.

    About Antonio's comments, I really never understood him to be referring to you like you were a novice, but more that he was saying that your post would leave yourself vulnerable to novice understandings or something.

    I should have just thanked you for your support instead of piling on!

    Sorry about my serious hamhandedness!

    I appreciate your forthrightness on this thread.

    God bless :)

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Monday, April 10, 2006 12:53:00 PM  

  • As you all might imagine, it is very disheartening to be spoken of the way I have been by Antonio. I appreciate those of you that, despite our differences in theology, have defended me publicly and privately against Antonio. It really does mean a lot.

    By Blogger Jonathan Moorhead, at Monday, April 10, 2006 1:45:00 PM  

  • Antonio,

    If I were to say you were a man of one idea, it would be true, but it would still be ad hominem. Do you see how this works? Step back, take a deep breath, and realize that when even your supporters (hk especially) think you've gone too far, you've probably gone too far.

    By Blogger Jeremy Felden, at Wednesday, April 12, 2006 8:00:00 AM  

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