[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, June 14, 2008

Extreme Free Grace Theology

by Antonio da Rosa

The central tenet of Free Grace Theology is faith alone in Christ alone apart from works of any kind. It has always been this way!

I have posed this scenario and question to those who are opposed so bitterly to Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin, and the Grace Evangelical Society:

Let us say that a man was reading the book of John and came across and meditated upon John 1:12; 3:15-16; 4:10-14; 5:24; 6:35-40, 47; 11:25-26. In the process of reading these verses, this man placed all of his faith and trust and hope and certainty into Jesus as his Savior. In other words, this man entrusted his eternal well-being to Jesus. This man, by an act of faith, placed all of his reliance upon Jesus alone for eternal life. And before the man was able to reach the end of the gospel of John, before the passion and resurrection narratives, he died.

Question: Would this man be in heaven or hell?

This is where the balanced people are separated from the extremists. You see, those who have created discord in the Free Grace community with their heresy hunting and factionism, MUST answer that this man is now in hell, and in fact, I have several of them on record stating such.

But even people who do not identify with the Grace Evangelical Society positions would say that this man is in heaven. Why? This man exercised faith alone into Christ alone!

The Duluthian Antagonists wish to paint the GES as extreme. But there is no greater extreme statement than to contend that Christ would throw somebody into hell who nevertheless trusted fully in Him for eternal life and salvation!

The extremists from Duluth must picture Jesus in this way judging the man from the aforementioned scenario:

{Jesus} You believed Me when I said that whoever believes in Me has everlasting life. You entrusted your eternal destiny and well-being into My hands by believing in Me. You trusted me alone for the gift I stated was received by faith in Me. You rested your certain hope of eternal life to my truthfulness and authority.


Since you did not add to that faith assent to my substitutionary death for sins, and bodily resurrection from the dead (I know you died before you were able to read about it), I must throw you into hell.

Imagine the extreme scenario of someone who fully and completely trusted in Christ for eternal life, yet nevertheless is thrown into hell because of historical and doctrinal stipulations!

It is not extreme to propose that Jesus Christ is truthful when He states that simple faith in Him receives everlasting life! It is not extreme to propose that child-like trust in Him as one's Savior is sufficient to be reckoned righteous.

It is extreme to suggest that faith alone in Christ alone is insufficient to save! It is extreme to propose stipulations greater than personal trust in Christ for salvation!

And it is in this way that the schismatics identified with Duluth Bible Church have moved to the extreme edge of Free Grace theology.


  • A very important point that needs to be made again and again.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Sunday, June 15, 2008 12:43:00 AM  

  • Antonio:

    by the time this man gets to your first reference, John 1:12)he has already learned that Christ is God. By the time, he gets to your second reference (John 3:15-16) he has already learned that Christ is the sin bearing Lamb of God and One who would die and rise again. By your last reference (John 11:25-26) many other great truths have been learned as well. Dying before reaching the passion and resurrection narratives in your scenario does not mean dying before learning the passion and resurrection truth.

    It would seem that accortding to your way of thinking that John almost clouded the matter by telling too much about the Lord Jesus. Your cutting carefully around the great cardinal truths remind me of the ladies in the fellowship who used to spend hours cutting round the flannelgraph Bible figures for the children's meetings. Surely in his meditating upon John 1:12, he would have read what went before and likewise in John 3:15-16 etc., Why not have him meditating upon John 3:14-16 so at least that the Christ who gives eternal life is the same Christ who was typified by Moses lifting up the serpent?

    "Splendid isolationism" as once thought to be a politcial worldview. Now, it is more apt for a theological position. Alas, it allows and even encourages false teachers (e.g. JW's, Mormons etc.,) to set forth their false christs and demand a hearing. If I were a Mormon apologist seeking, as they currently are, to get acceptance among Evangelicals as a main stram Christian, I would point my detractors this direction and say, "There you go. Here's one rather focal Evangelical who accepts my right to say that my Jesus guarantees eternal life etc.,"


    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Sunday, June 15, 2008 8:27:00 AM  

  • Oops: Should read "vocal" not "focal" although you could argue the other way as well ... but only if you were a Mormon apologist


    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Sunday, June 15, 2008 8:45:00 AM  

  • I had just got finished typing a very long response to you Colin, to every point you make, and was making the finishing touches.

    My wife came home with the children and we opened up presents. She then came into the computer room and changed web-pages even though a warning indicated that if she was to navigate away from the page that she would lose all the information. She did it anyway. And needless to say, I lost all my work. I was very disappointed to say the least!

    I took a very long time responding and typing, about an hour. I don't have the will or desire to try to hit all the points I did.

    It will have to suffice with these few points:

    1) the average reader of John 1-11 will not come to any clear understanding of the creedal statements that the extremist Duluthian faction places on the reception of eternal life. The Word "is God", "ye are gods", "right to become children of God", "I am the Son of God", "I and the Father are One"... huh? There is no speak of "sin bearing" at all in John 1-11, and remember that the Duluthians require that one not only believe that Jesus died, but that he died on a cross, and that he died on a cross substitutionally and vicariously, and that He died on the cross substitutionally and vicariously for sins, and that He died on the cross substitutionally and vicariously for personal sin. There is no speak of such things in John 1-11. "Lamb of God," what? Someone without an Old Testament understanding would not have any light come on about the term "Lamb of God".

    You have attributed much understanding to the man in the illustration that the average Joe would never comprehend with what is found in John 1-11.

    2) What would be understood by the average Joe, being crystal clear, is that:

    whoever believes in Jesus has everlasting life, will not perish, will not come into condemnation.

    Therefore, in spite of his confusion and ignorance of the doctrines and nuances you find in John 1-11 with your mature and studied understanding, this man placed his faith in Jesus Christ as his Savior, entrusting his eternal well-being and destiny into His hands, trusting in Him for the gift He freely offers, believing Christ in His testimony whereby He states, "Most assuredly I say to you, whoever believes in Me has everlasting life" and thus, trusting in the veracity of Christ's words, understands that he presently has eternal life and can never perish upon the testimony of Jesus Christ.

    3) What is extreme theology, is contending that someone unapprised of orthodox doctrine but sincerely trusting in Jesus Christ nevertheless will go to hell.

    Tell me Colin, so we can have you on the record too:

    The average man who read John 1-11, unaware of the nuanced and studied understanding of some of the discussion in this material, who nevertheless reckoned and was convinced that Jesus Christ was able, qualified, and willing to give Him eternal life by faith alone, places His simple faith in Jesus Christ as His sure and certain Savior, trusting solely in Jesus Christ for the gift of eternal life that He states is possessed by faith in Him, and were to immediately die, would this man be in heaven or hell?

    4) The bottom line is this:

    Those from Duluth are an EXTREME FREE GRACE schismatic faction in the Free Grace world.

    The Duluthian antagonists matter--of-factly state that it is possible for someone who has completely relied upon Jesus Christ, entrusting his destiny to Christ, believing Christ's promise, placing His sole faith in Jesus Christ for eternal life, can nevertheless go to hell. In other words, it is possible that someone can believe in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life and perish.

    This is extreme fundamentalist theology. This makes Jesus a liar.

    The bottom line isn't "MOST ASSUREDLY I say to you, whoever believes in Me has everlasting life" in the Extreme Free Grace theology of the Duluthian Antagonists. The bottom line is "Whoever believes in" Jesus and believes this and that and this and that, and these other fundamental orthodox creedal statements, has everlasting life.

    The Duluthian faction's position is an Extremist position that in essence makes Jesus Christ a liar. Jesus has the words of everlasting life. Jesus' words are spirit and they are life. Jesus promises that anyone who takes Him at His word in His promise has everlasting life. The Duluthian Antagonist's position precludes Christ's words that are spirit and life, whereby He has the words of everlasting life.

    In essence, the Duluthian people deem that THEY have the words of everlasting life, for they have, by their doctrine, usurped the authority of Jesus Christ and added to His words.

    Those from Duluth and those associated with them, such as J.B. Hixson, have an extreme theology, that would throw a child in hell who believes in Jesus yet nevertheless remains ignorant of their orthodox doctrine.

    This is shameful

    and yes

    It is Extreme Free Grace theology.


    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, June 15, 2008 12:10:00 PM  

  • Antonio:

    I appreciate you taking the time to answer me and indeed, going the extra mile when all your typing was lost.

    You will doubtless appreciate that my interest in what you wrote has absolutely nothing to do with the internal war within the FG movement. I came at you on this one purely on doctrinal grounds without any attempt to keep up with “Who’s who” in the other matter, and who said what and why.

    If you reread what I wrote, I said that by your first reference your imaginary man will have learned that Christ is God. I did not indicate that in John 1:1-11 there was any reference to the Cross. There is, however, in John 1:29 and reference to His death and resurrection in John 2:19-22 and again in John 3:14 (just before you decided that he should start meditating on John 3:15-16)

    It seems to me that you are severely limiting the power of the Spirit of God to enlighten the eyes of the one who is reading the Gospel of John. Not denying it altogether, for you seem to allow that the reader has the spiritual wherewithal to see what the true meaning of key words like “believe” – “eternal life” etc., but yet, for some strange reason, he fails to get any further. If we were both to play your game, we would be left wondering what does the average Joe Soap (as you call him) know about sin or condemnation etc. There seems to be a little bit of picking and choosing going on here on your part.

    Would this man be saved with his limited knowledge as you challenge me to declare? The information you give is so limited and almost far fetched. He meditates upon verses but (according to the picture which you are trying to paint) he misses so much round about them. They have been airbrushed out of the story. Has he missed them Does he reject them? From what you are telling us, Jesus to this man might well be a political leader or a half mad religious guru who, in his madness, says some nice things; so much so that our friend – who could be a pot smoking hippy for all you or I know – thinks they sound nice and so he wants to embrace them along with half a dozen other things as well.

    What if our imaginary friend here consciously rejects John 1:1-3 and particularly scorns John 1:14? Where does that leave you?

    In these “died before” scenarios of yours, ultimately it doesn’t matter what we think. The Lord knows those who are his. The man in question has died. My words can neither hinder or encourage him, or if needs be, warn him.


    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Monday, June 16, 2008 2:57:00 AM  

  • The scenario isn't the point, Colin, and I am sorry that you do not feel compelled to answer the question.

    I am afraid that it seems impossible for you to grasp my point.

    Very simply, Extreme Free Grace Theology from those of Duluth and associates believe that someone can truly place his faith alone in Christ alone, entrusting his eternal destiny to Him alone, trusting in Him for eternal life, and still go to hell.

    However you want to throw up red herrings to this fact does not take away from its magnitude.

    Extreme Free Grace theology states that unless one adheres to their creeds down to their minutia, they can't be saved. They would preclude someone from heaven who is ignorant of their theology, yet nevertheless has a child-like, simple and certain faith in Jesus of Nazareth as one's Savior.

    This is Extreme Free Grace Theology!

    Imagine Christ throwing people in hell because they weren't apprised of certain historical and doctrinal points, yet nevertheless trusted completely in Him according to His gratuitous promise!

    Such a thing is extreme and unimaginable. They have a conception of Jesus that if the i's aren't dotted and the t's aren't crossed that He will send them to hell even though they trust in Him only for their eternal well-being.

    Extreme and incredible.

    Again, imagine Christ throwing someone in Hell who believed Jesus, trusted Him, and certainly and only relied upon Him for everlasting life.

    This is the extreme Free Grace Theology of the Duluthian Antagonists and company.


    By Blogger Antonio, at Monday, June 16, 2008 2:24:00 PM  

  • Antonio:

    I am sorry that you feel to have to dismiss my objections as “red herrings” when I am seriously and sincerely seeking to examine your teaching and subject it to the scrutiny of Scripture. I would have thought that someone coming in from the outside of the whole FG family (as you define it) would bring a welcome in house-politics-free viewpoint. It is a very convenient way to try and cover up the gaping holes in your teaching.

    It is you that created the scenario in the first place, imagining a man not only reading but studying and meditating upon certain portions of John’s Gospel (seemingly to the exclusion of the surrounding context) and then conveniently dying before he not only reads, but is even aware of the truth of the last three chapters. Once we put the spotlight on this scenario, you then dismiss it (i.e. the scenario) as not being the point.

    If I read you right, then I can see that you are against the idea that people need to be theologians to be saved. Fair enough, they don’t. But you have gone to the other extreme and have someone who believes in some guy called Jesus of whom he either knows nothing about or (worse) about a guy called Jesus who made certain weird and unbelievable claims or had some weird and wonderful claims attributed to him. (I speak from this uninstructed or truth rejecting person’s viewpoint) He picks out the things that sound good i.e. faith without works and the guarantee of eternal life and snubs the rest as mere speculation or worse.

    Those who are set free are set free through the truth. While faith alone brings eternal life (no one doubts this) yet it is faith in the Biblical Christ that justifies and not some in some guy called Jesus who has effectively been created, remoulded and pared down to suit the carnal thinking, even of the interested sinner.


    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Tuesday, June 17, 2008 5:56:00 AM  

  • oh my goodness, this website ate my comment!

    The scenario is part of the point, Colin. It is totally possible that this man could be confused and not understanding your issues that you state are necessary to faith, but be impressed by the clear and simple statements whereby Christ declares anyone who trusts in Him to have eternal life.

    You state:
    But you have gone to the other extreme and have someone who believes in some guy called Jesus of whom he either knows nothing about or (worse) about a guy called Jesus who made certain weird and unbelievable claims or had some weird and wonderful claims attributed to him.
    This is a misrepresentation!

    This guy in the scenario believes that Jesus is authorized by God, being granted the authority by God, to dispense everlasting life to the one who believes in Him for it.

    John 5:19-30
    "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. 20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. 22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, 23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

    24 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. 25 Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, 27 and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.... 30 I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.

    Would you would have a man, as in this scenario, who believed that Jesus had the authority granted to Him by God to dispense everlasting life, and believed in this Jesus as his Savior, believed in Him for eternal life, go to hell because he does not assent, understand, or know about your essential creedal statements?

    If you would answer that this man is in hell, you would in essence be calling Jesus a liar. It is in this way that the theology of the Duluthians and associates is extreme. They would have a man, who trusted in Jesus, who is authorized by God to give life and judge, for eternal life yet go to hell. They placed their faith (the right thing) in Jesus (the right Person) but are going to hell because of doctrinal and historical ignorance.

    This is tragic and this is extreme, and I would like to know if you would identify yourself with these extremists.


    By Blogger Antonio, at Tuesday, June 17, 2008 3:02:00 PM  

  • Antonio:

    At last we are seeing you here acknowledging that there is a context to the verses that this imaginary man has meditated upon. You do a wonderful job on John 5:19-30 highlighting those verses which make faith in Jesus Christ as being able to guarantee salvation to those who trust Him for it.

    Let’s go right into the heart of your chosen passage here and look at (say) v21 where the Father is said to raise the dead and the Son is said to give life to whosoever He will or v22 where we read that the Father has committed all judgement unto the Son. Is there any thing in here, which according to you, this man can dispel and yet you reckon him to be saved? For example, what if this man denies that there is a judgement altogether? What if he rejects the idea of a stern angry Judge and almost laughs at the thought of all the nations of the earth from time began being ushered into the presence of an angry Jehovah to hear Him say to them: “Depart from me, ye cursed?” Must he believe these details in order to exercise saving faith in Jesus Christ?”

    Lets take your first verse (John 1:12) For the sake of space, I will forbear giving putting John 1:1-14 here, but I would certainly highlight John 1:1-3 on the Deity of Christ and v14 where the Deity became flesh and dwelt among us. What if our imaginary friend openly scoffed at the thought that Christ is God? (I would argue that only Christ as God can guarantee eternal life)

    Re: your little war with the people at Duluth, I think (as a rank outsider) that they are not denying that a man who has saving faith in the Christ of the Bible will be lost. What (if I read it right) is that one who puts faith in the Christ of his imagination – a Christ denuded of His Deity, sent by a god who bears little or no relation to the God the Bible – is not saved and that it is scandalous to suggest that he is. If I read the situation right, then they are not extreme at all, but exercising the same caution that the Evangelical Church has always maintained.


    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Wednesday, June 18, 2008 2:33:00 AM  

  • Antonio you proved your point even if he doesn't get it! Just got to remember the "ZAP" has everything included! That is if it's the right "ZAP" if it's the wrong "zap" it won't last!?!? They just don't know it until it's to late.

    By Blogger alvin, at Friday, June 20, 2008 7:30:00 PM  

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