How I Feel About Things
I wanted to let it all hang out a little over here about the recent emphasis on this blog. I am not able to currently back up my feelings by exegeting all the passages concerned (although I have seen others do it over these last weeks), but I am going to express my concern and disagreement. Here goes:
I am very uncomfortable with a lot of what Antonio has been posting. I love brother Antonio, but I find myself at odds with much of what he is promoting of these most controversial teachings of Zane Hodges. (To be sure, I really appreciated the book Absolutely Free! and I agree with many of the articles by Hodges that I have been exposed to.)
I finally got around to reading all of the recent posts here and at Antonio’s personal blog and honestly, I find myself in agreement with much of what Lou Martuneac has said! I read the article The Tragedy Of the Crossless Gospel by Tom Stegall and I felt myself cheering amen and amen in my spirit.
Why do I feel the need to post this? Well, let me say for sure that the purpose of this post is not to begin debating over this that has been debated ad nausium over the last month. But … I helped start this blog ... and I figure it would be good for those who may pop in here to know that not all of us here are of the same opinion:
I don’t feel that it is “Checklist Evangelism” to take someone through important points about the Lord and His salvation that we seek to explain … and to make sure they understand it. Antonio has got me to thinking, and I do appreciate that, but in the end, I don’t see it the same way as he does.
As a dispensationalist, I also think it is important to remember the age we are in. The comforter has come and we have the completed Word of Truth. To refer to encounters from early in the ministry of Christ and minimize the importance of subsequently-emphasized biblical truth as unnecessary to modern day encounters ... because it was omitted in these earlier encounters ... doesn’t seem to apply the principle of progressive revelation. IMHO!
I read with interest the comments in the previous post by David Wyatt. (By the way, I appreciate David’s post and am very glad he is on board. Thank you, David!)
A commenter named “grace” says:
People do get upset when they THINK you're down playing the cross of Christ. (WHICH GES is NOT DOING!!!). But some THINK they are.
She is right! This is truly how it comes across. It makes me cringe. I do see the shades of grey in the actual position, but I am most uncomfortable with what seems like consistent arguments for a downplaying of the Lord’s deity … and now His cross … by insisting that converts need not see it. I hear ya, brother, that you preach it, but that you don’t think it is required understanding for a convert. I hear ya. I just am very uncomfortable with your drumbeat.
Nowhere do we run into in the Bible this proposition:
1. The one who believes he has eternal life through Jesus' Death and Resurrection alone has it.
But we do run into this one many times:
2. The one who believes he has irrevocable eternal life through Jesus in His promise has has it.
Zane would admit that men and woman have been saved through number 1.
I find the distinction between #1 and #2 ridiculous! I can’t describe the feeling I got when I read that Zane Hodges “admitted” that some COULD be saved by “[believing] he has eternal life through Jesus' Death and Resurrection alone….”
I don’t appreciate separating the name of Christ from the attributes and work of Christ.
I have been uncomfortable from the get-go with calling myself a Free-Gracer. I felt even more uncomfortable after the arguments (many months ago) about the deity of Christ and the proposition that the Mormon Jesus or the JW Jesus can deliver eternal life (I know, I know, there is only one Jesus – I am just using shorthand - you know what I mean, right?)… but after having read some of these things and seeing that there are Free-Gracers like Tom Stegall, I guess I am comfortable to take the label. I am a Free-Gracer, because I am absolutely opposed to Lordship Salvation. I believe that Christ dispenses eternal life as an absolutely free gift to the one who entrusts his eternal future to Him.
However, my eye focuses on the word HIM in the previous sentence. I think it is a loaded and rich name which must be unwrapped and digested. Jesus Christ is the object of faith, not just His name. I don’t agree with the minimalist teachings of Zane Hodges when it comes to the exclusion of the attributes and work of Christ as part of saving faith. I am for preaching faith alone in *Christ alone, but I think *the Person who makes the promise and why He can fulfill it is essential. Oh, and, I am not embarrassed by that. one. bit.
I really apprecaite Antonio, Matthew, and Jodie who are good with this particular teaching of Hodges … but … I had to come out and express the fact that I am not good with it. Now I hope we will get back to the other, original, emphases of this blog.