Lou Martuneac's Misrepresentations of Zane Hodges and Misunderstandings of Free Grace Theology
Lou Martuneac has written a critical piece about Zane Hodges on his blog. Please read this very short article before continuing with this rejoinder to him.
Here is the link:
Teachings of Zane Hodges
Have you ever read one of Zane Hodges books?
You refer to three of them in your article and I guess, therefore, in your book. Have you read those three from cover to cover?
Have you read Zane's book on repentance? It is called "Harmony with God: A Fresh Look at Repentance"
Hodges contends that repentance is merely a mental acknowledgement, and not necessarily a change of mind.
Do you back this up with substantiation, with a quote from Zane?
Zane Hodges understands repentance to be a change of mind concerning sin that should be expressed in a turning from sin and the production of works in line with that repentance.
You bring James 2 up. Have you done any exegetical work there? James 2 says anything but "good works are an inevitable result of true saving faith." James 2 is an exhortation to SAVED PEOPLE to be careful to add works to their faith.
Lou, you write:
Hodges also leads one to believe that saving faith is mere mental assent to the facts about Christ
Please refer us to any works from Zane Hodges that would substantiate this baseless claim about his theology.
You are taking your understanding of Zane Hodges from the footnotes of John MacArthur's "The Gospel According to Jesus"!!!
Zane has never taught that saving faith is "mere mental assent to the facts about Christ".
Zane Hodges teaches that saving faith is 100% entrusting one's eternal destiny to the Lord Jesus Christ. Zane teaches that saving faith is complete confidence in the ability of Christ to impart eternal life to the believer. Zane Hodges teaches that saving faith is certainty in the promises of Jesus Christ as expressed in passages such as John 3:16; 5:24; 6:35-40, 47; 11:25-26, etc.
Lou, you write:
[Zane teaches] that a man can be saved and never reveal any fruit.
Let's represent Zane fairly. Here is Zane in Zane's own words.
Zane Hodges writes:
"Of course, there is every reason to believe that there will be good works in the life of each believer in Christ. The idea that one may believe in Him and live for years totally unaffected by the amazing miracle of regeneration, or by the instruction and/or discipline of God his heavenly Father, is a fantastic notion—even bizarre. We reject it categorically." (Zane Hodges: We Believe in Assurance Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society) (Emphasis mine).
Zane further writes:
"Finally, we must add that there is no need to quarrel with the Reformers' view that where there is justifying faith, works will undoubtedly exist too. This is a reasonable assumption for any Christian unless he has been converted on his death bed!" (Absolutely Free, pg 215).
Lou, you say that you do not like the label "no-lordship" or "cheap grace". I would wager that you do not use those labels for yourself. Have you ever heard Zane Hodges use the designation "mental assent only" in reference to his theology? It is a pejorative term and would not be a designation he would choose to use. He uses the term "Free Grace Theology". Please refrain from perpetuating myths concerning Free Grace theology.
You next refer to Zane as "Dr. Zane Hodges". This makes me wonder about you, Lou. You are willing to stick your neck out and critique this man, but you do not know that he does not hold a doctorate. Have you read any of his books from front to back?
I get the impression from many different considerations, that you do not know that which you attack. You are not careful to represent Zane as you claim to represent John MacArthur. You ought to get your stuff down before you engage in this type of criticism that will now go into a book.
Let me ask you a question.
Let us say that Srinivas has no knowledge of Jesus WHATSOEVER. He lives in INDIA and has never heard the name of Jesus before.
Someone gives him the gospel of John. As he reads the gospel of John, he starts to read about Jesus. When he gets to John 3:16, he puts his trust, his faith in this Jesus for eternal life. He has not yet got to the part where Jesus died on the cross or rose again from the dead. Yet he has entrusted his eternal destiny to Jesus! Why is Srinivas not saved!?
He has faith alone in Christ alone, believes Christ's promise of eternal life!
It is abundantly absurd to relegate such a person to hell because, although he believes Jesus' promise to give eternal life to all who merely believe Him for it, he is lacking in knowledge of some historical facts concerning Jesus.
Are you gonna say that Srinivas is going to hell even though he has put his trust and committed his eternal well-being to Jesus Christ as told in John 3:16? Is his unacquantence with the death and resurrection and the deity of Christ precluding him from salvation even though he believes in Jesus for eternal life?
Let me also share another thing, Lou. When I was a Catholic in my younger years, I believed that Jesus was God, that He died on the cross for my sins, and that He rose bodily from the dead. Yet I remained unsaved. Do you know why?
I did not believe Christ in His promise whereby He guarantees eternal life to the believer in Him for it. I did not entrust my eternal destiny to Him.
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ paid for the gift that Jesus Christ now offers, namely, eternal life, eternal security. It was necessary for Christ to die on the cross for our sins and to rise from the dead. Both Zane and I exalt this message and preach it every time we present Jesus as the Guarantor of eternal life to the believer in Him for it. Yet we do not employ an orthodox doctrinal checklist on any potential convert that if he assents to each, we would then consider him saved!
If someone expresses that they believe that Jesus gave them eternal life by faith in Him, we consider that person saved, regardless of the blind spots in their theology! While alive on this earth, we will only have a rudimentary understanding of Christology, and we grow in this knowledge as we pursue sanctification. But to require men, women, and children to be as theologically savvy as you are, Lou, would be requiring more than Jesus Christ did.
Once a Christian, we are to grow in the faith and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is sufficient for one to receive eternal life if they believe Christ's promise to guarantee the present possession of eternal life to the one who takes Him at His word for that gift.
The gospel of John is the only book in the whole of the Bible that has as its purpose that of evangelism (John 20:30-31). Can you point to me once verse in the whole of the gospel that plainly declares one must have as the conscious content of saving faith the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in addition to believing Christ's promise to impart eternal life to the believer in Him for it?
Antonio da Rosa