[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)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Cowardice, Cultishness, and Childishness of Lou Martuneac and the Duluthian Antagonists, Not to mention Lou's Flip-Flopping and Duplicity

by Antonio da Rosa

A guest writer for my blog, who by the way agrees WITH Lou against the GES, has written a piece revealing Lou Martunuac's lack of integrity and good form here: Free Grace Theology Blog: Commentary on Lou Martuneac and the Duluthians in the Matter of this Public Debate This article was written by the friend of a member of Tom Stegall's church whom Lou Martuneac publicly shamed and charged in an ill and unfounded manner. He also touches on the method that a Christian debate should follow.

Dennis Rokser and Tom Stegall have publicly shamed and misrepresented the Grace Evangelical Society, Bob Wilkin and Zane Hodges in writing. They had at one time stated that they desired public interaction on issues that they disagreed with. What they really wanted is for the GES to step in line behind them and their cult-like practice of excommunicating anyone who does not agree with every jot and tittle of their doctrine. They want their little peice of the lime-light and are envious of the national support of the GES.

Bob Wilkin was only too happy to interact with these antagonists. Yet after it was apparant that Bob was not going to get on their bandwagon, Dennis Rokser and Tom Stegall resorted to pejoratives, name calling, misrepresentations, and shady debate tactics and ploys in their written journal. Bob Wilkin called them on this and publically challenged both men to a debate. Apparantly these two men have given up their desire to personally interact with Bob Wilkin on these subjects, for they both, without given reason, have refused to debate.

This is nothing but rank cowardice. How is it that they are so bold to print misrepresentations and pejoratives, shaming godly men, yet when push has come to shove, they shrink back into reclusion? They have forfeited any credibility and respectability that they may have had, leaving us all wondering how we are to take such men seriously when they feel no moral compunction to stand their ground and defend their attacks against those whom they shame.

Enter Lou Martuneac. After posting these happenings on my blog, Lou came up with every reason in the book why there should not be a public debate on these things. He, in essence, was defending the cowardice of the men who show themselves bold in writing and to their flocks, but who remain safely tucked away in the confines of their cultish assemblies. Lou stated that he was morally and biblically against a public debate.

For instance, Lou wrote:

It is IMO foolish and dangerous to intentionally expose believers to known error. The debate you suggest is allowing trhe [sic] teacher of false doctrine to teach and instruct within the confines of a debate. Some believers, who may be suseptible to buying into error, could well be lead astray, and that is a serious issue.

IMO, the best place to hammer out doctrinal discussions is in the written forum. This way men can carefully reason through the Scriptures.

If I were asked to host a debate such as is being suggested; No Thanks!

I would never agree to host a debate/open forum on the interpretation of the Gospel being debated in recent months.

Lou Martuneac has been emotionally affected because I have discussed a debate and the Duluthian Antagonist's cowardly refusal to stand up like men and defend their shameless attacks against godly teachers. I get the idea that Lou felt the shame of his heroes in the faith as they dastardly refused to show themselves reputable by standing their ground in an open square. Since Tom and Dennis refused to debate, I asked Lou himself if he would. He didn't even answer. We have seen his grasp of the issues and how he has conducted himself on the blogs. He has been quick to point the finger, and charge the GES with heresy, but he himself cannot put two sentences together which equate to some form of biblical argument against the GES. He merely balked, asserted, and proof-texted.

Lou Martuneac's heroes wouldn't debate, being scared to death of such a consideration, so he came up with excuses why it would be unwise and unbiblical to debate. He can't do it, for how can someone who only can charge error to his opponents and proof-text be effective? He is on record that he would never agree to sponser a public debate in an open forum on this specific subject of evangelism, soteriology, and the 'gospel'.

Like I said, I suggested that Lou debate Bob. When I did so, Lou responded this way:

Question to Antonio:

Does Bob Wilkin know you are trying to encourage and arrange a debate/open forum for him?

Do you have his permission and blessing to be speaking on his behalf?


But Lou has now shown a forked tongue, his duplicity, and has flip-flopped. Since the shame of Lou's refusal to debate and his heroes' refusal to debate has been so weighty on Lou, seeing it shows their weak position and character, he has changed his mind on the morals and biblical considerations of a public debate. He has since tried to find a any opponent willing to debate Bob Wilkin. He has said this in an entry on his blog, speaking about an email he sent Bob Wilkin:

I expanded my proposal to help him realize the open forum/debate he has been calling for on the [GES position]. I asked if he is still eager to go ahead with a debate if a man from the opposing view can be found who would agree to publicly debate him...

I trust Bob is willing to go ahead when and if a man will agree to meet him in this open debate format he is pressing for.

So I have a question for Lou Martuneac, the same he asked me, "Does Bob Wilkin know you are trying to encourage and arrange a debate/open forum for him? Do you have his permission and blessing to be speaking on his behalf?" LOL!

How is it that Lou charged me with what he has now done? How is it that Lou has changed his mind on a debate? It is duplicity, and rather humorous as well. Lou has stated that he would "never agree" to sponser a debate on this particular 'gospel' issue, but this is what he has been attempting to do now. Is this not the tell-tale sign of hypocrisy?

It wasn't his morals or biblical compunction that made him state categorically that he "would never agree to host a debate/open forum on the interpretation of the Gospel being debated in recent months". It was the refusal of the Duluthian antagonists to debate Bob, and his own cowardice to do so.

The most vocal antagonists of the GES's position have declined a debate. They obviously didn't want their names to be disreputed by their mouths being shut in a public forum. What could Lou do? He has pounded the pavement, desperately, to find someone who has the constitution to debate Bob Wilkin. Noone who has made a name for themselves in writing against the GES could be found, so Lou has had to find someone in obscurity.

Lou has indeed found someone. The person he found has a few good credentials. His name is Ron Shea. I want to reserve judgment on this fellow. I have done a little research on him and found out some things that may not make him the best candidate to debate. Furthermore, this man has not even put one thing out concerning this issue with GES, not written a single peice, or gone on record about it. When you can't get the 'biggies' to debate, because they are scared, just go fishing and find anyone willing to. But I sure would like to see a debate, and if the details can be ironed out, and places to debate can be found, I would be for it.

But what about Lou? His lack of character has shown forth in his own commentaries. Let me leave you with this last statement from Lou, which I received today in an email, and decide if this is a man who you would be pleased to associate with:


I have informed a wide circle of interested persons that you are now being considered irrelevant to any discussion of the [pejorative] gospel by any of us who are in the debate. You can post anything you want at your site or any site that you have not been banned from [Ed. Note: and which ones are those again, Lou?], but be assured you will not be recognized, acknowledged or interacted with at any level.

You are effectively out-of-the-loop of relevant discussion. You, your site, your articles, comments and behavior are irrelevant. As far as we are concerned you are a non-entity in the discussions and will be accordingly ignored.


PS: Now we'll see if Bob Wilkin wants to have his debate, won't we?

Who is this Lou, and where does he get such presumption? He says, "As far as we are concerned..." Who is the 'we'? Lastly, who cares!? What utter childishness! I ask again, who is this LOU!?

As far as I am concerned, not a single thing that comes from the keyboard, pen, or mouth of Lou has any credibility whatsoever. Back to the carlot for him.


  • Antonio you hit the nail right on the head, you called it like it is concerning Lou! Between his personal attacks and his misquotes he is not an honerable man,,,,alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Wednesday, September 05, 2007 8:13:00 PM  

  • Mr. Da Rosa,
    Are you claiming that these pastors excommunicated members of thier own churches because these members agreed with GES? That seems pretty serious. Can you document this? If it isn't true, it is slander of the worst kind.
    Steve J.

    By Anonymous SteveJohnson, at Wednesday, September 05, 2007 8:20:00 PM  

  • Alvin's comment that has been obstructed by my enormous title is as follows:

    Antonio you hit the nail right on the head, you called it like it is concerning Lou! Between his personal attacks and his misquotes he is not an honerable man,,,,alvin

    By Blogger Antonio, at Wednesday, September 05, 2007 8:43:00 PM  

  • Mr. Da Rosa,
    I was mistaken, the legal term for what you've done is not "slander" but "libel", unless of course you can verify your claims.

    By Anonymous Steve J., at Wednesday, September 05, 2007 8:56:00 PM  

  • Antonio I think these guys came out of the same mold! It seems to me I heard Lou saying the same thing about someone having grounds for a suit. It kinda shocked me at the time, christians talking like that. They must take what they want from scripture and forget the rest,,,,,,blessings alvin
    PS. I was thinking the same as you, who does this guy think he is? He's got a spirit of self importance! Like he is supreme voice of the internet! You got to just laugh at it I guess!

    By Blogger alvin, at Wednesday, September 05, 2007 9:23:00 PM  

  • "A spirit of self importance"

    Boy, do you have that right.

    Thanks for your visit.

    Steve Johnson,

    Thanks for your visit too.


    By Blogger Antonio, at Wednesday, September 05, 2007 9:26:00 PM  

  • This title is very long, Antonio.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, September 06, 2007 5:31:00 AM  

  • The article I just read and the comments shocked me by a lack of love and Christian charity. I almost cried to see how Christians fight with one another. Jesus Christ is never mentioned in it. The Lord and a humble spirit are completely missing.

    Antonio, as a Christian brother I appeal to you in a spirit of grace to consider this Scripture:

    "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice." (Ephesians 4:29-31)

    Also, one more, "Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind." (1 Peter 2:1)

    Your sister in Christ,

    By Anonymous Kim, at Thursday, September 06, 2007 6:36:00 AM  

  • Kim, have you put that message to Lou Martuneac as well?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Thursday, September 06, 2007 7:58:00 AM  

  • What I believe to be the truth?

    I understand. I have my feelings hurt too. Lou put A da R on the persona non grata list over at his blog and the Rosa went ballistic. Who will believe that he says about the “Duluthian Antagonist” when he vents such?

    Just wish that he would use some common courteously and not put his dirty socks on everyone’s desktops. It’s great to give an opinion. He has a right to that but to dust your apron off on the floor and not in the trashcan is infantile.

    A few lines might have been sufficient but this tirade? Wow. Hope I never get on his bad side.


    By Blogger Naz, at Thursday, September 06, 2007 8:53:00 AM  

  • Hi Antonio,
    I think the thing that brings out the flesh in me quicker then anything is driving,,,LOL I don't know what pulls your string, but I think we all have something. Antonio I've read enough of your post that I believe I know your heart. We both want to see people get saved. So when people make that harder it bothers us. I'm sure what I've come up against is nothing compared to what you have. What pulls my string is when your trying to have an honest debate in the right Spirit, and people can't defend their belief so they start making personal attacks. Both John and Lou were doing this and I warned them against it, but it seemed like they even got worse. They finally had to kick John off, on the one thing about a women not being able to teach. These off-color remarks you can only take so much of. These people were very antagonistic from the get-go! When Lou started quoting me and putting it into his own words and saying I said it, it was time for me to leave. Maybe Antonio this has really pulled your string to and we both need to back away. I know your going to India pretty quick so you have alot on your plate.
    Just thought I would get alittle off my chest. I'll be praying for your missionary trip,,,,your brother and friend in Christ,,,alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Thursday, September 06, 2007 9:02:00 AM  

  • Antonio,

    Hang in there, good sir. It seems as if you're making progress.

    I'm always amazed at prissy believers who demand a sanitized battlefield: no blood, no guts, not hurt feelings, no tempers, no passion, punches, no kicks, no scrapes, no anger, no death, no wounds, and no name-calling.

    What they want is a Romper Room defense of the gospel.

    But it ain't possible.

    There is a concept of "WAR NORMAL," which is how I see your defense of the gospel in the current context. Don't listen to those fainthearted creampuffs who couldn't muster a holy grunt much less a defense of the gospel. Besides, if these NANC-type Christians had their way, they would've had Paul and Jesus on the couch confessing their pride, anger, and bitter spirits.

    But consider:

    1. Paul and Barnabas' s hair-puller in Acts 15 with the believing Pharisees. Here we have a typical Baptist business meeting and yet no one complained about attitude, "tone," anger, and pride. There were no womanized males calling for "love."

    2. Paul and Barnabas' contentious knockdown, drag 'em out in Acts 15. And there isn't even a whiff of the Spirit's rebuke in all this. It appears good men can become quite animated about serious issues and yet not suffer the petty cavilings of the brethren.

    3. Jesus' tuning up the Pharisees in Mt. 15 and 23.

    4. Paul's publicly dressing down Peter in Gal. 2.

    The battle for the gospel is NOT for sissies, to be sure. And, yes, it can be a messy ordeal, even within the church.

    Carry on in free grace.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thursday, September 06, 2007 10:52:00 AM  

  • I think I may be a creampuff or a sissy. I'm not sure which.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, September 06, 2007 11:17:00 AM  

  • TJP, yes, we must fight for the Gospel. And I have the utmost admiration for Antonio in his striving to do so.

    But pardon me if I try to be as polite as possible to those I must oppose.

    God Bless


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Thursday, September 06, 2007 12:29:00 PM  

  • TJP, you may be mistaken. Antonio is not trying to fight for the gospel. He is trying to argue the lost do not need to believe "the gospel" in order to be saved. Instead, he is arguing you only need to believe the "saving proposition" which does not include Christ's death for sins, resurrection, deity, or humanit. And, if you would notice, Antonio is the one decrying the earnest contention for the gospel. Antonio is the one decrying the accurate label of his position as the "crossless gospel" as name calling.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thursday, September 06, 2007 12:42:00 PM  

  • Sorry Antiono, but the title of your post prevented me from reading one word.

    By Blogger Jonathan Moorhead, at Thursday, September 06, 2007 4:10:00 PM  

  • Antonio, I agree with you and GES close to 98% of the time, although I am a skeptic of systematic theology. I think God is alive and "ain't" in no systematic box.

    I am 'unashamed of grace' but the title of this post is shameful, and specifically you and Lou publicly bickering is shameful. I think a chilling out would be good, Christ did die for both you and Lou.

    By Blogger Kris, at Thursday, September 06, 2007 4:54:00 PM  

  • Rose,

    The post name is long.

    Each statement describing Lou Martuneac hits the mark. Are they strong? Yes. Did Paul show himself strong toward Peter about the truth of the gospel? Yes.

    This post is full of emotion, yes. I can't believe I got sucked into discourses with this man. Yes. I blew off some steam. It needed to be done.

    Are there some elements of this post that I may regret? Probably. The essence of what I said needed to be said, though.


    By Blogger Antonio, at Thursday, September 06, 2007 5:20:00 PM  

  • Kim,

    Thank you for your sincere thoughts on the matter. I appreciate that there are many Christians out there who wish to keep me accountable.

    I am thankful that you have made it over to this blog. Your prayers for me would be wonderful. I need them.

    What I said was said. I can't take it back even if I were so inclined to do so, which at this time I am not. It is interesting that Paul can adhere to what he wrote, which you quoted, and still publicly charge Peter with his hypocrisy.

    Thank you again for your sentiments. If I were to write it all over again, I would re-word somethings. Otherwise, I still would write this post. It is needed.


    By Blogger Antonio, at Thursday, September 06, 2007 5:27:00 PM  

  • BNaz,

    I could not care less that Lou has banned me from his blog. The very day before he did so, I wrote him an email telling him that one more infraction on either of my blogs that he would be banned. I guess he wanted to beat me to the punch.

    I have written less than a half-dozen comments on his blog.

    You are welcome to participate on this blog. It is your decision to do so, and is completely voluntary. I appreciate your visit and your comments.


    By Blogger Antonio, at Thursday, September 06, 2007 5:32:00 PM  

  • Alvin,

    Thank you for your comments. I truthfully have not experienced anything like John or Lou in my life, and I hope I never will again.


    By Blogger Antonio, at Thursday, September 06, 2007 5:33:00 PM  

  • Tracy,

    Thanks for the support and comments. When someone has acted as dishonorably as Lou has, he must be called to account. Private conversations have not worked, and so I have made it as public as his shenanigans have been.


    By Blogger Antonio, at Thursday, September 06, 2007 5:39:00 PM  

  • Matt,

    you said,

    "But pardon me if I try to be as polite as possible to those I must oppose."

    Do you think that was on the mind of Paul when he confronted Peter "to his face"?


    By Blogger Antonio, at Thursday, September 06, 2007 5:40:00 PM  

  • I once heard a man say, "The trouble with a mud fight is that you always end up with mud on your hands."

    I also heard someone once tell me the other problem with a mud fight is that you lose more ground.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Thursday, September 06, 2007 6:24:00 PM  

  • Rose I love your sense of humor it's great,,,,alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Thursday, September 06, 2007 7:01:00 PM  

  • Antonio,

    I love reading what you have to say. I'm glad you're out there. I'm learning a lot. I've gotten to the place that I just ignor Lou. But I'm not ignoring you. I'm thankful for you.

    Praying for you tonight,

    By Blogger Diane, at Thursday, September 06, 2007 9:34:00 PM  

  • Antonio,

    You still have not answered my question.

    You opened your post with a few paragraphs slamming the reputation of some pastors, and I couldn't get past your incredible allegations against them. So I'm going to ask you again about your claims that these pastors have excommunicated people for disagreeing over this whole gospel/cross dispute. What are you basing your charges on that these pastors have a "cult-like practice of excommunicating anyone who does not agree with every jot and tittle of their doctrine"?

    Is this really the TRUTH or just a flat out LIE on your part designed to smear the reputation of men who disagree with your doctrines?????

    You wrote to Kim, "What I said was said. I can't take it back even if I were inclined to do so, which at this time I am not. It is interesting that Paul can adhere to what he wrote, which you quoted, and still publicly charge Peter with hypocrisy."

    Huge difference Antonio-Paul wasn't inventing fallacious stories to smear Peter with, stories which had no basis in fact and reality. Peter was acting hypocritically in front of many people and everyone knew it. So where did you come up with this nice juicy bit of internet gossip that these pastors have a cult-like "practice" of excommunicating people?

    You said, "I can't take it back, even if I were inclined to do so, which at this time I am not." Wrong sir! It is never to late to tell the truth in God's eyes.

    Your comments to Kim are very callous, saying you're not inclined at this time to "take it back."

    If it isn't true, why won't you take it back, especially when what you've done is illegal??? Yes, I said "illegal". It's called LIBEL!

    And Alvin, you're just as callous as Antonio. Both of you should be ashamed of yourselves. You write, "It kinda shocked me at the time, Christians talking like that. They must take what they want from scripture and forget the rest."

    Oh really? Did you and Antonio forget this one, "Therefore, putting away lying,let each of you speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another." (Eph. 4:25).

    You may not care about laws in this country, but you also demonstrate flagrant disregard for God's laws about truth-telling versus bearing false witness. You guys are a bad advertisement for "Free Grace". You're the very kind of people that make others want to go Calvinist and Reformed.

    May God have mercy on you "Free Grace" men.

    By Anonymous Steve, at Thursday, September 06, 2007 11:17:00 PM  

  • Steve,

    To clarify and prevent further erroneous concepts about the law, libel may be grounds for a private civil action (private law suit) but it is not illegal in California or any other state that I currently know of.

    The police and district attorneys do not arrest and prosecute individuals for libel. Individuals who commit libel may lose monetary damages to another, but currently no one is subject to a criminal conviction or prison time for libel.


    By Blogger Mike, at Friday, September 07, 2007 1:19:00 PM  

  • Steve who are you? And who says I can't substantiate my claims of the cultishness of these assemblies?

    I don't answer to you. Charge me with falsehood all you want. I am not going to budge. These men are like cult-leaders, and I have first-hand witnesses to such activity coming from some who have attended their church.

    Steve, all I can say is "Sue me!" Laugh out loud!

    My statements will stand as they are, whether you like it or not.

    Steve, who are you, and how would you even know if my statements were false or true? Unless you are privy to all the "pastoral" activites of Stegall and company, you could not tell me such is untrue.

    I absolutely deny anythin that I have said is untrue.

    I especially stand by my comments that Tom Stegall is a coward, a blatant and purposeful misrepresenter, and cultish.


    By Blogger Antonio, at Friday, September 07, 2007 3:36:00 PM  

  • Steve your making an accusation by saying I lied, therefore insinuating Lou didn't lie! Anyone can go to the GES site and read the post. I accused Lou of making personal attacks, which he denied. Then I gave the evidence showing that he lied! Then he accused me of not being able to use the name "The Lord Jesus Christ" when bringing up the women at the well. When in fact she didn't use the name the Lord Jesus Christ there! But simply stated "I know Messiah is coming' (who is called Christ). Then in verse 29 "could this be the Christ? I have no problem using the name "The Lord Jesus Christ" as anyone could see in my post. But I will not add to scripture when quoting scripture! Then he used my name as an example that I believed that a person could be born again simply by UTTERING A PHRASE that he believes in the name Jesus(who ever I think Jesus is-deity or not deity) and can be born again. Which I have NEVER said!!! "These things might not seem much to you, but this is how he twist things and is dishonest in so doing. So Steve you better get your facts straight before you go accusing someone. Go to the GES blog, see for yourself. You should be ashamed of yourself for not getting your facts straight before you start pointing the finger,,,,,,alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Friday, September 07, 2007 5:10:00 PM  

  • To Those who deny cultish behavior in assemblies:
    Do not be blinded by what you only see. Why have so many long term attendies in Duluth and it's affiliates left? What has been told to you to explain them away? Authority problems?
    Cultic is a strong word but since the main charateristic is a strong and controlling leader the doctrine is one that can be explained with Scripture. Leadership in a rightly lead church is completely opposite of what our human nature would think...that is how God works...opposite our human reasoning.
    Ask the Lord to open your eyes if this is truely going on in your assembly. Do not believe everything you hear from your leaders. You would suprised what lies you may be believing. Maybe it is not about this gospel issue but is it about another jot of Scripture that may implicate the leaders to have erred? When assemblies do not allow checks and balances from outside or in to seek the truth in a matter, but instead the leaders themselves determine the truth, this is cultic behavior.
    Jesus Christ should be the ONLY preeminent one...the ONLY Head of the body. Anyone else acting in that place is overstepping his role and appointing himself to a place God does not intend. This takes away from the roles of each part of the Trinity in the body.
    To Those who seek to point out the error:
    It (the sin)is grievous but we should not act out in our own ager toward the sinner. Kim had very good points. So the sin must be exposed IN LOVE since it affects Christ's members.

    A Question for us all:

    Do we want reconciliation or do we want to be right? DO we want to REALLY know the truth in the Church we all say we stand for? Or will we turn a blind eye to what may be the truth since it would cost us our church (small c)? We should seek peace with all men in God's way.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wednesday, October 03, 2007 7:38:00 PM  

  • I am wondering what could be done to make the Duluthians accountable for wrong doing. Here they have misrepresented GES and right in Duluth they misrepresent their own flock.

    I loved what you said about how anyone could believe the allegations against Duluth when the way one delievers their point of view is so harsh. Truth in a loving way is Christlike and is the only way to present anything.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Friday, October 05, 2007 12:09:00 PM  

  • But if you are in favor of accountability, surely your posts should not be anonymous....

    Robert Lillegard

    By Blogger Robert, at Saturday, November 17, 2007 3:32:00 PM  

  • Robert Lillegard
    Not so true. Accountability for wrong doing is quite another scenario. Not revealing your name to prevent even more problems with "brothers" in Christ is another. Sometimes hiding from this is a wise and godly action.
    Surely if YOU believe in accountability, you should look through an old church directory and there you will find many old names of people who are no longer a part of DBC.......hopefully you want to know my name to help and understand? If this is so look me up. If not, I think it wise to remain anonymous.

    By Blogger InChrist, at Friday, November 23, 2007 6:35:00 PM  

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