[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)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Let's Take Caution...

by David Wyatt

I so appreciate the Free Grace Community, I want to say that right up front. I have been helped very much in my spiritual life by some things I have learned especially through GES. I am thankful for them, especially bro. Zane & Bro. Wilkin. But I also appreciate other free grace communities, such as Duluth Bible Church & some others. Having said this , I also freely admit that I am a lightweight, who is not good at articulating my position & I also admit I don't like controversy. Having said THAT I must say that I sense the need for caution regarding a certain area. I personally, & this is my personal belief, certainly not an "official" position of any ministry. I personally do not like the idea of concentrating on a "bare minimum" of what a person must believe. That said, I appreciate the brothers that stand for this, but it bothers me that it seems to me to lead to an unbiblical extreme that can cause us to become unbalanced. The main caution that I am sounding here is that of Paul's warning in 1 Corinthians 3:3-9. I know my own propensity toward carnality, especially in the area of following men. The Free Grace "Camp" has been blessed with some of the finest men & women in the Christian Faith & I appreciate them all. But I sense that there may be a slight rift beginining among brethren concerning this very issue of the "bare minimum." I so very much do not want to see a split over it unless it becomes absolutely necessary as with Paul & Barnabas over John Mark. It would be exceedingly easy to begin to follow certain teachers that we resonate with, & to say, I am of Zane, or I am of Duluth Bible, or whatever. And those that would try to caution against it can easily fall into the trap of becoming prideful & with our noses in the air, say, Well! I'm far too spiritual to fall into this trap! I don't follow men at all, I am of Christ!! So anyway, I've rambled on enough! Bro. Antonio may be right now wishing he'd never invited me on! God Bless you all!

22 Comments:

  • Glad to see you as a contributing member, David.

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Saturday, July 21, 2007 6:41:00 PM  

  • Thank you bro. Bobby. I certainly agree with Rose's assessment of you as a reasonable blogger! I really appreciate the welcome. May the Lord bless you.

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at Saturday, July 21, 2007 6:48:00 PM  

  • Good words Dave. This shouldn't even be an issue. Jesus' Death and Resurrection can indeed be the object of saving faith as long as the person understands that they have irrevocable eternal life because of Him alone.

    Rather than seeing three different objects of faith (Jesus Himself, Death, Resurrection), these three things can be one object. Since faith is passive acceptance of a proposition, a person isn't actively trying to accept three different propositions. They can easily believe one simple proposition that involves all three elements.

    Here' two propositions to which a person can passively assent and be saved:

    1. I have irrevocable eternal life through Jesus' Death and Resurrection alone.

    2. I have irrevocable eternal life through Jesus.

    Believing the first proposition doesn't mean the person is agonizing making sure they've checked off a list of doctrine. They passively accept that they have irrevocable eternal life through Jesus' Death and Resurrection. So Jesus' Death and Resurrection can be the object of saving faith, as long as the person understands that they have irrevocable eternal life. And that ain't hard.

    By Anonymous danny, at Saturday, July 21, 2007 6:54:00 PM  

  • Thank you for your words bro. Danny. Belief of that 1st proposition brought me eternal salvation many years ago! My faith has surely wsaxed & waned many many times since, & still does, though not as much all glory to Jesus! Yet, I have been eternally secure all that time, & since it is eternal life that I have all glory to Jesus again, it will always be that way! May the Lord bless you all.

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at Saturday, July 21, 2007 7:11:00 PM  

  • Thanks Dave. You're a kind-hearted guy, and I love that. Our fellow Free Gracers are making a big stink out of nothing.

    For anyone else who's reading, believing either of the two propositions I listed is saving faith. A person can believe that they have irrevocable eternal life through Jesus' Death and Resurrection. Or they can believe that they have irrevocable eternal life through Jesus. Believing the first proposition doesn't involve three different objects. It's simply passive assent to a proposition that contains all three elements.

    Since Jesus gives eternal life through His Death and Resurrection, then it's obviously a fine (not to mention normal!) object of saving faith, as long as the person understands that they have irrevocable eternal life because of it.

    By Anonymous danny, at Saturday, July 21, 2007 7:24:00 PM  

  • David I've always enjoyed reading your post, and believe you contibute much to what ever conversation you take part in.
    As far as what (Zane,Bob W,Bob B,John,Rene,Antonio,Jeremy) have been defending I think they are right on! It seems to me that the difference is one side want's to make believing the death and resurrection something you MUST believe in order to be saved. But not only that they have a list to believe and then a prayer inviting Jesus into your heart. Antonio has shown a person can believe all of this and say the prayer but still be lost.
    And the other side is saying Jesus and His promise is only necessary. John Nemilia has pointed out the eigth sign in the Gospel of John that being the death and resurrection. And that anyone of the eight signs can bring saving faith in Jesus as the Christ the one who guarentee's your eternal destiny.
    Why the core needs to be the target as Antonio has shown is for people like myself who believed in the whole list of things to check off plus the majic prayer. I believed I was already with Christ as Eph says (died together, buried together, raised together). I taught eternal security. But it wasn't untill I read Zane's book "Absolutely Free" that I first realized just how free the gift was. To me it was to good to be true. I had always thought that I had to "follow Christ" I thought that was just part of it. So I never did really believe it was totally free. God was working in my life without a dought. But I would not stake my eternal destiny on that check list, and even believing that Jesus had saved me forever (eternal security)it probably was the Baptist type of eternal security. If your really saved you will do good works. This is why Jesus and His promise must be the target. Because it's the hardest thing to really believe, and it's what you MUST believe,,,,,alvin

    By Anonymous alvin fen, at Saturday, July 21, 2007 10:40:00 PM  

  • I’ll go into it a little deeper because I believe what Antonio is fighting for is so important. David you remember reading all those true stories on the GES chat site “One night in a small Montana town.” That all happened before I read Zane’s book. God led me to people who were dying or about to die. I was involved in jail ministry, youth ministry, care center ministry, and I preached street Church and care center. I was convinced I was saved forever. David I’m still sorting through a lot of this, it might not make a lot of sense. At 12 years old I new I was a sinner and needed a Savior. But I thought I had to walk an isle to get saved. After I walked that isle I felt relieved. I thought I was saved. It wasn’t until I was married and we had our daughter that I started thinking about God again. Started going to Church and got baptized. Then I realized I couldn’t live the Christian life, I couldn’t win over my thoughts. I was asked to give my testimony, but quit going. I wasn’t going to tell people something I didn’t believe worked. I turned to cars and drinking, almost OD twice. We lost two children and my wife almost died. I had to take her to a mental ward and commit her. Then in 1987 I came to the end of the road. I was unhappy with my life and was asking God to help me. I couldn’t go on the way I was going. My Dad was calling me just about every Sunday asking me if I had taken my family to Church. So I thought I would do the next best thing and watch TV preachers. I was watching Kenneth Copeland and he was telling a story about when he was on the road. He stayed in this motel and in the middle of the night he got up to go to the bathroom and smacked right into the wall. He said the room was pitch black, and at home when he got up the bathroom was right there. He said it took him a little bit to get his bearings, then he noticed a little sliver of light under the door. He said maybe that’s how you feel like you just have a little sliver of light “hold onto that light, hold onto that light until the day dawns and the mourning star rises in your heart.” That’s what I felt like, I had a little sliver of light. I went back into the back bedroom and found my Bible. And I found that verse in 2 Peter 1:19 and then I cried out to God and took all my sin to the cross. That night I went to bed relieved, and woke up the next mourning aware of God’s presence with me. It wasn’t like before when I would try to work up God. At that time I was on a work shut down for two weeks. At work I was dirty talking and flirting with the women. I went back to work after this with a new desire to please God. People noticed something different with me. I tried to tell them about a light shining in a dark place “Jesus Christ.” They thought I had gotten religion. I told them I had tried that but it didn’t work. My life was completely turned around. I looked at even the world around me in new way. I gave up the love of my life (running) it was my god. That’s all I talked about before running and racing all about ME. I knew I needed to put it down if God wanted me to. I went back to that Baptist Church that I wouldn’t give my testimony and got up and told them what had happened. After awhile I had a faith struggle, I hadn’t learned how to walk by faith yet. I remember going out in the woods and sitting on a log, I was in turmoil. I decided I’m just going to trust you God. Later on I was trying to figure out when I was saved, at 12 or 1987. I told my Pastor that I probably needed to be rebaptised. I was going to give my testimony again and I wanted to tell them about going out and sitting on that log. But I couldn’t remember the name of the road, so I went out there in the middle of the night. And on the way back I went around this sharp curve. I suddenly was being convicted of something I had done their years ago. I new all my sins were forgiven, I asked God why He was convicting me. It popped into my head “Hosea.” When I got home I took out my Bible and read Hosea about four times. Then it struck me “God was telling me I had been unfaithful to Him but He had always been faithful to me. The next day I told my Pastor about it, and told him I didn’t need to be baptized. I came to the conclusion I was saved at 12 yrs old.
    I told my wife “if you’re truly saved you’ll want to do things for God.” She told me “I cant do anything” if God wants me to do anything He has to do it in me. See folks when your mind has been broken, you’re never the same. I kept telling my wife we needed to live for the Lord. And I was expecting her to pull herself up by her bootstraps and start doing it, because that is what I was doing. She kept telling me she couldn’t do anything. But, if you’re really saved you can, my mind kept telling me!!! I asked God this question “ I know that it is a free gift, but the Bible makes it sound like it cost everything.” God I’m never going to figure this out unless you show me. Then Zane’s book came along, and it was to good to believe. I was amazed reading it. It really is free! But I thought I had to live the Christian life (discipleship). You might say after reading those true stories on how God worked in my life “YOU WERE SAVED!” But I would not trust my eternal destiny to any of that. Only when I read Zane’s book did I realize it’s totally free, I believed!!! This is why the target has to be Jesus and His promise. I know there is people out there like me who believed the entire list, and even would say I was saved forever. But really didn’t believe it was really free. I think many of these people who believe in the list of things you have to believe don’t really believe it’s totally free,,alvin

    By Anonymous alvin fen, at Sunday, July 22, 2007 1:15:00 AM  

  • It is good to get slightly different perspective here.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Sunday, July 22, 2007 7:50:00 AM  

  • Bro. David,

    You bring up a good point.

    Too often we of the Free Grace persuasion fail to understand and rely upon God's Holy Spirit to do His part. We are responsible to present God's message of Salvation with the "simplicity that is in Christ." Yet we do not become so simple that we leave out the components of the precious Gospel, the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. These are the Biblical elements and reasons why we can trust and "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ" to be saved. We never know how much a person to whom we witness has understood or received. We ask them, the best they know how with the knowledge they have, to trust Jesus as their Savior. Let us remember, the Holy Spirit will convict, guide, teach and enable. John 14:26 (teach and bring to remembrance), John 16:13 (guide and show).

    At age 7-8 in a Presbyterian church, I was "christened" into that church and told to say something like "I believe in Jesus." I had no idea what that was supposed to mean, I was not "saved" and I rebelled against what I thought was Christianity because I did not know true Christianity. Then, when, at age 36, I finally understood that Jesus died for me, was buried and arose from the grave as He promised (proving He is God), I trusted Jesus Christ to be my Savior, understanding the Who, What and Why of Jesus. Without that understanding, I was lost.

    A checklist? No! But presenting the Gospel clearly for the understanding of the lost and simply asking them to trust Jesus, YES!

    In Christ eternally,

    ExP(Jack)

    By Anonymous ExPreacherMan, at Sunday, July 22, 2007 7:51:00 AM  

  • David,

    I appreciate your stand for unity.

    Since the beginning of systematized Free Grace theology, able theologians have been refining and developing its doctrine.

    What happens is that issues arise and men put their minds to it seeking the literal and plain testimony of scripture to address them. After the issues have been resolved, new issues spring forth which need attention.

    There is nothing inherently wrong with refinement or development. It is actually a needed thing when such is informed by a considerate interpretation of scripture.

    The new emphasis from GES (which is not new, actually, Zane read his two-part paper at the 2000 GES conference and they appeared in an abridged form in the Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society in 2000) is a refinement and a development for a specific purpose.

    Have you read Zane two-part paper, David?

    The purpose has to do with the invitation to believe given in evangelism. It is a challenge to FGers everywhere to be clear and concise when making the invititation.

    I have heard FGers invitations, they are not the bastion of clarity. Larry Moyer has them pray a prayer at the end, for instance. I could go on with the chair illustation, the two-step, the checklist, etc.

    Clarity is of an essential matter. People need to know precisely what the term(s) of eternal salvation are.

    GES's emphasis is biblical language. Let us use it when we get to the invitation part of our message.

    You and Danny may have been saved with that proposition that adds the cross and resurrection, but it usually is at the end of a two-step. 1) Believe the facts of the gospel. 2)Trust them for your eternal salvation.

    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. But it is not a biblical invitation, biblical wording, and in usually at the end of a doctrinal checklist or a two-step which makes it less than clear.

    Let us not be scared of refinement or development when it entails biblical support. Let us use the language of the Bible when we come to the invitation part of our gospel presentation. Let us make every effort to not stand in the way of clarity to the mind of the potential convert who is considering our claims in our gospel messages.

    When Jesus got to the invitation of His evangelistic messages, He concentrated on the "bare minimum".

    It is a false dillemma to state that there is a "full gospel message" and "the bare minimum". GES advocates such as myself lift Jesus up in a full gospel message. But when we get to the invitation, like Jesus, we concentrate on the "bare minimum", because that is the real issue between lost men and God.

    "Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me has eternal life" (John 6:47)

    Jesus gives irrevocable eternal life to the one who simply takes Him at His word for it. Do you believe this?

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, July 22, 2007 7:54:00 AM  

  • I tell you, brothers & sisters, I am looking forward to meeting every one of you in Heaven & enjoying unbroken fellowship for zillions of years, after, of course, I take a few quadzillion years just to thank my Savior for His saving me & making it possible for me to be there. This is an excellent foretaste of that.
    Bro. Alvin, thank you for sharing your story, or at least parts of it. I do remember your sharing those excerpts on GES chat forum. I could hardly wait for the next installment. I think I see your point. I must say that I have struggled with the same issue that you did, as to when I was saved, and so forth. I like your conclusion about trusting the free promise of Christ.
    Bro. Jack (Ex-Preacherman) you are always a blessing & I appreciate your words. You have a gift for putting things into a neat understandable way.
    Bro. Matthew, Thank you for stopping in. I have grown to appreciate you more & more.
    Bro. Antonio, you have blessed my heart for years now through GES, & continue to do so. I think I see what you have been saying. And, yes I believe I read bro. Zane's paper, is it not the 2-part article in the GES News about "How To Lead A Person To Christ"? If I understand correctly this doctrine, it is saying that BECAUSE Jesus is who He claims to be & that He died & rose again as the Scriptures said He would & He Himself prophesied, then He is able then to simply call anyone that will to believe His promise, backed up by His Person & Work. But it is not required, of course, that everyone understand all these things when believing in Him for eternal life. Then, yes, I believe this!

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at Sunday, July 22, 2007 12:48:00 PM  

  • Let us set a scenario:

    I meet Jimmy on the street, introduce myself and say, "Believe in the ExPreacherMan and thou shalt be saved."

    Ridiculous! ExPreacherMan has no power to save, no credentials, no history. ExPreacherMan is just a man.

    So I walk up to the same Jimmy and say, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." He has no "religious" background and doesn't know the credentials -- the Who, What or Why of Jesus. Without Jimmy knowing the credentials (briefly: the death and what it means, the burial and what it means and the meaning and power of the resurrection), why would he put his belief or faith in Jesus? Without knowing who Jesus is, Jimmy would consider Him just another man. And why not? He gets browbeat and indoctrinated from the media, atheists, liberals and educators..

    Jimmy must be told, convinced or be aware of the Who, What and Why of Jesus before he can make a rational decision. Then, even if he says "Yes, I will believe in Jesus." only he and the Lord know for sure whether he has made such a decision to trust Jesus. We encourage him to grow in grace so as to reinforce his faith and his decision:
    2 Peter 3:18
    "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen."

    How can one grow in grace?

    1 Peter 2:2
    "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:"

    ExP(Jack)

    By Anonymous ExPreacherMan, at Sunday, July 22, 2007 5:58:00 PM  

  • Forgive me, I did not finish posting my comment:

    Continued:

    Antonio said:
    "GES advocates such as myself lift Jesus up in a full gospel message. But when we get to the invitation, like Jesus, we concentrate on the "bare minimum", because that is the real issue between lost men and God."

    Yes! Absolutely! We do not give an invitation without some explanation or an assumption (dangerous assumption) that they understand in Whom they are believing. And then the invitation is given clearly -- as Antonio says, "Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me has eternal life" (John 6:47)

    ExP(Jack)

    By Anonymous ExPreacherMan, at Sunday, July 22, 2007 6:05:00 PM  

  • Amen bro. Jack! Like Jesus Himself said to the woman at the well, "If you knew the gift of God & WHO IT IS that said to you, Give Me a drink, you would have asked of Him & He would have given you living water! Rev.22:17! Now we know that none of us in this life is going to know all of Who Jesus is! That will take all of eternity to plumb the depths of His glorious person! But when we know enough to belive His promise, we have eternal life! Glory to His name!
    And bro. Antonio, your clarification regarding lifting up Jesus in the full Gospel message, but bringing to bear the "bare minimum" (no pun intended!) at the invitation was beautiful! So, in conclusion, & summary, unless I misunderstand, this is the Gospel message of FG! Knowing enough about the Biblical Jesus to believe His promise of eternal life & one has ETERNAL life!

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at Sunday, July 22, 2007 6:51:00 PM  

  • Hi David,

    I'm enjoying reading your comments. I, too, have learned so much from GES (Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin, and more recently Jeremy Myers). I'm not following these men (like you said). I'm following Christ. But these men have been so helpful in taking me step by step through the Bible so that I am able to SEE how all the pieces fit together. I understand what they are saying. My eyes have been open to SEE for myself these truths that they are teaching. It's not that I'm just accepting their teaching blindly. No! One truth fits perfectly with other truths without compromising the freeness of God's gift of eternal life. No contradictions. THAT'S WHAT GES HAS HELPED ME WITH!

    Regarding your concern about emphasizing the "minimum" that must be believed.....
    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. That hurts GES. People are getting bent out of shape over this one.

    Maybe rather than using the words "mere minimum" to be believed, we should say something like this.....
    Here is the ONLY TRUTH that must be believed to receive eternal life! (Believe in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life and you will have it.) All other TRUTH about Jesus does NOT save. Other truths gets one to the PLACE where they believe the PARTICULAR TRUTH that does save.

    The cross work of Christ and His resurrection is probably thee most precious truth that brings most people to the place where they believe in the PARTICULAR truth that does save. But only believing in Jesus Christ for eternal life produces the new birth.

    "Mere minimum" sounds like you get saved by believing lots more info, but you have to AT LEAST believe the mere minimum. But actually that's incorrect. The mere minimum is the ONLY truth that must be believed that brings eternal salvation. Nobody passes from death to life until they believe THAT PARTICULAR TRUTH.

    So the well meaning people who are calling Zane and others heretics for preaching a "crossless gospel" don't understand the above truth. ONLY BELIEVING WHAT WE CALL "THE MERE MINIMUM" BRINGS A PERSON FROM DEATH TO LIFE. BELIEVING ANY OTHER TRUTH IS NOT WHAT BRINGS ETERNAL SALVATION, although other truth LEADS to the PLACE where a person believes the PARTICULAR truth that saves.

    So this is my suggestion.....
    Use the term "Particular truth" to be believed rather than "mere minimum."

    Boy, talk about being wordy!!! SORRY!
    :-)

    Thanks again for the opportunity to participate in a really great discussion.

    By Anonymous Grace, at Sunday, July 22, 2007 10:21:00 PM  

  • What Grace said is worth repeating, I agree completely. That truth being Jesus and His promise. And also what Antonio touched on earlier (one step) when you believe that Jesus is the Christ your believing in the One who guarentees your eternal destiny. Just as Jesus asks Martha in John 11:25,26 (Do you believe this?) To believe THIS is what John in his Gospel is pointing to that we MUST believe. And that is where Zane and GES has put the focus.

    Grace said:

    "Mere minimum" sounds like you get saved by believing lots more info, but you have to AT LEAST believe the mere minimum. But actually that's incorrect. The mere minimum is the ONLY truth that must be believed that brings eternal salvation. Nobody passes from death to life until they believe THAT PARTICULAR TRUTH.

    Amen

    By Anonymous alvin, at Monday, July 23, 2007 1:27:00 AM  

  • Grace! So glad to have you in this discussion! You are certainly aptly named! You have excellent thoughts. You surely are right, the cross & resurrection of oour wonderful Savior certainly got my attention many years ago, & the blessed Holy Spirit brought me to my wonderful Savior through that cross. All of y'all are such a blessing to me, & to this "community" at large! Bro. Alvin, thanks again for your input. God Bless.

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at Monday, July 23, 2007 10:12:00 AM  

  • David,
    Good words. I also appreciate the comments here.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, July 23, 2007 10:57:00 AM  

  • Hi David,

    Just wanted you to know that "Grace" is my "blog name." Actually it is not my 'real' name. I'm not trying to hide my identy. It's just that when I signed up to enter into the discussion, I was asked for a name. I love God's grace, so I chose that name. Hope that's OK. I just wanted to be honest with everyone. Isn't learning the Bible fun. I think it is!!!
    :-)

    By Anonymous Grace, at Monday, July 23, 2007 3:29:00 PM  

  • Rose & Grace, thank you for the kindness. Rose, especially, I want you to know how I appreciate your words in your latest post here. You have hit on some things that (shame on me) I also strongly believe, but have been silent on. Praise our wonderful Lord Jesus for His matchless grace!

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at Monday, July 23, 2007 5:04:00 PM  

  • David, I want to apologize to everyone for making the comment: that I believe many of the people who believe in a list don't really believe that it is really free. I was wrong in saying that, only God knows who's saved and who's not. I need to think things through more before I just say something,,,please forgive me,,,,,,alvin

    By Anonymous alvin, at Monday, July 23, 2007 9:03:00 PM  

  • Bro. Alvin,

    You are certainly forgiven, if there was a need to forgive. I am glad that you said this, because I also need to say something here. Though I agree with Rose here, I also want to make it crystal clear that I appreciate bro. Antonio as well as the others of his conviction. Truly from all the interaction I have had with him & the others, I have seen only the highest of kindness & Christlikeness. I am thankful to call him brother. The same genuinely goes to all that love our Lord Jesus.

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at Tuesday, July 24, 2007 6:01:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home