[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)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Escalation and Rhetoric

Some thoughts on "The Hydra's Other Head" by Rose (updated)

On Antonio’s Free Grace Theology blog, Danny said:
I now believe a person must believe the Promise in light of the Death and Resurrection to be saved. Yet at the same time, I do NOT consider you or Zane to be heretics. I still see you guys as friends. We're all Free Grace advocates, and this issue over a hypothetical is not enough to separate me from you guys. If you guys actually rejected the Finished Work, then of course I would withdraw from you. But you don't. Plus you guys don't believe the hypothetical is that likely. We disagree on whether Jesus' Death and Resurrection is an object of faith, but you guys still preach it, so we're good.

To me, that is a voice of reason out of the discussion regarding the content of saving faith. It seems Danny sees this disagreement the same way I do, as a difference of opinion that is acceptable.

Unfortunately, I don't believe Zane Hodges does. Yesterday, I read his current article, The Hydra's Other Head, in the GES newsletter. I was quite disappointed.
Q. Why was I disappointed?
A. Because of what He said.
He is now calling those who view the cross and resurrection to be a part of the content of saving faith "theological legalists." I wish he wouldn't have coined or employed this phrase.

"Theological legalists."

Theology is just another word for our beliefs and teachings about God and Christ. So to employ the word ‘legalism’ which has to do with what you do or how you look and dress and where you go and then attach it to what is taught about the content of faith is like saying that the color green smells bad. It doesn't jibe for me. I grew up with what Zane refers to in the first part of his article (which part I thought was very good, BTW) as "ecclesiastical legalism." The church: its rules and sacraments were the way to heaven. The language of "legalism" doesn't belong in the debate that Zane is currently has swirling around him IMO. But here he describes Theological Legalism:

It is not enough to simply believe that Jesus Christ gives us eternal life when we believe in Him for that. We must also believe certain orthodox doctrines that go along with such belief. But these doctrines are not in themselves identical with believing in Jesus Christ for eternal life. Instead these beliefs form a kind of checklist that measures the validity of one’s faith. I call this form of legalism theological legalism. Basically it is salvation for the orthodox!
Faith is something that follows facts. One must have information to engage in faith. Not all who have the correct doctrine are saved, but certainly, the church is in the business of teaching about Christ, sharing the facts, as we evangelize... to make faith possible. So this statement seems unnecessary. Zane says :

"Instead these beliefs form a kind of checklist that measures the validity of one’s faith."
I must ask: when does this ever happen? Bob Wilkin said in a very fine article in the very same newsletter : "I've never met a single person who was born again who didn't also believe that they were a sinner, that Jesus is God, and that Jesus died on the cross for his sins and rose bodily from the dead." What Bob Wilkin says essentially expels the probability of such a "mesurement" or "validity of faith test" even being an issue.

So salvation is for the orthodox… in all practical terms.

Hodges continues:

Theological legalism seeks to co-opt Free Grace theology. Indeed, it masquerades as this kind of theology. But this claim is false. Grace is not given freely to the sinner who believes in Jesus for eternal life... Instead, grace is denied to that sinner unless he subscribes to the relevant theological propositions.
I wish he wouldn't have said that. For me personally, I do not see this issue of the content of saving faith the way Hodges does... and yet I consider myself a Free-Gracer. I finally took the label of Free-Gracer and declared, “I am a Free-Gracer” about a year ago ...and now Zane Hodges wants to take it away from me. :~) This tact is not good for Hodges to take - he is alienating more people... people with whom he has much in common. He is escalating the controversy.

On a more positive note, I do think he makes a good point about 1 Cor 15:1-8:

Paul is obviously not giving a list of “core essentials” that must be believed in order to be eternally saved. Many of us, however, have been conditioned to think that the term “gospel” defines what a person must believe to have eternal life. But 1 Cor 15:1-8 shows this is false. Clearly, for Paul, the term “gospel” is broader than the essential content of saving faith. In 1 Cor 15:1-8 Paul is giving the informational content of his gospel. On the basis of this vitally important content, he would have expected the Corinthians to believe in Jesus Christ for eternal life. But since they had already done this, he does not mention it here specifically.
Paul doesn't mention eternal life, or justification, in that passage, so I do get his point. If that passage were the be-all-end-all to what "must be believed by the lost" then you would expect to find something about eternal life and trusting Jesus for this all-important provision of everlasting life. Actually, if that list in 1 Cor 15 is the be-all-end all, then I have Catholic relatives who are saved, even though they don't believe they possess eternal life without keeping the sacraments. Then again, I suppose it could be argued that the true meaning of “died for our sins” cancels out the Catholic “understanding.”

Hodges says that his opponents' view is "at war with the Gospel of John." I think this is wrong to say. To view the gospel of John as a whole explanation of who Christ is and why He can be trusted for eternal life... is not being at war with it. The Gospel of John contains the facts of the gospel that Paul mentions.

Hodges says of the things mentioned in In 1 Cor 15:1-8:
"Beyond question, all of these truths are of infinite importance."
Amen and Amen! He goes on:

"Believing all these truths is not the same as believing in Jesus for eternal life."
Also agreed. But these are part of who Jesus has revealed Himself to be. We needn’t disengage these things about Christ with His Promise; we shant. Thankfully, brothers, no FGers are suggesting that we do. (This is important to remember in this debate)

Believing in Him for eternal life has an emphasis on HIM. Who is this Person? Certainly we shouldn't even need to have this discussion.

The marvelous truth of free grace is this: A guilty sinner with far from adequate knowledge about the Person and work of our Lord can come to Him and believe that Jesus will give him eternal life.
When I read that paragraph I asked "far from adequate" for what?

He continues...
And the moment he does believe, he will have that life. This is true, in fact, even if a few moments later he encounters some theological legalists who inform him he doesn’t know enough to be saved!
When would this ever happen? This is an unnecessary scenario which seems to be only for the purpose of "piling it on" to his detractors. I can't imagine any evangelistically-minded person coming to a new convert and telling them, "You don't know enough to be saved." It reminds me of some of the scenarios that Hodges' opponents in this debate have brought up – e.g. someone denying the deity of Christ or denying the cross and resurrection and yet becoming saved they say: 'according to Zane Hodges.' I think he would have served his cause better by avoiding that kind of rhetoric. This is the most unfortunate portion of the article, IMHO.

This article The Hydra's Other Head starts on an informative note, but ends in what seems to me to be more of a reaction to his detractors. I don't think it was well-balanced at all and I didn't appreciate it. I have plenty thoughts on the psychology behind this, but will have to save them for another time.

Everyone in Free-Grace needs to tone down the rhetoric, please.

You can find The Hydra's Other Head here. (You could yesterday)

82 Comments:

  • Rose,

    This review is sober and objective. Thank you!

    I appreciated Danny's explanation and agree with why there is sanctioned room for differences:

    We disagree on whether Jesus' Death and Resurrection is an object of faith, but you guys still preach it, so we're good.

    Thank you too!

    Rose said:
    He is now calling those who view the cross and resurrection to be a part of the content of saving faith "theological legalists." I wish he wouldn't have coined or employed this phrase.

    I had heard too that he was holding free grace doctrine of salvation "hostage." Whether or not they or I understand it, I also disagree as he says that it must only be the "minimum" gospel. It can be more. Heck, that's in scripture, too, where evangelism included a message of deity and the cross.

    Though, I do approve of the general concept of "theological legalism."

    Legalism, to my ears in scripture is this:

    "Circumcision has value if you keep the law. ... For a man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly. No - a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly." rom 2:25, 28, 29

    Or, this:

    "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." Rom 8:1

    As you said, it takes the Word of God in order to generate faith.

    Once that faith is borne, can that man be inadequate in the eyes of God? I don't think so. Now, walking by faith, he will probably be led to follow Christ and seek fellow believers to encourage and share his joy. In that context, discipleship (learning doctrine) is fulfilled.

    More scripture can be legalistic; meaning not accepting of the righteousness that comes by faith alone. But if Zane is saying it always is, I don't think that is true either. Some people are ready and hungry for the Word, and joyful to walk by faith being a disciple. Regardless, if being convicted of more doctrine is done because of faith, then it is righteous. Not as an obligation... but out of love.

    It is because I believe that salvation takes different amounts of truth at the individual level, that I also am of the opinion that free grace theology has a very important distinctive for evangelical Christianity... but also a messy one, because it will not be entirely nailed down.

    If we can just point to the sufficiency of the Spirit, the sufficiency of faith.... Then we are truly glorifying God.

    Zane said:
    "This is true, in fact, even if a few moments later he encounters some theological legalists who inform him he doesn’t know enough to be saved!When would this ever happen? This is an unnecessary scenario which seems to be only for the purpose of "piling it on" to his detractors. I can't imagine any evangelistically-minded person coming to a new convert and telling them, "You don't know enough to be saved."

    Oh, this happens all the time!

    Sometimes I bring my one year old into the two year olds in sunday school. The 2 year olds are obsessed with correcting every "mistake" he makes. They follow him around. They smother him. They'll even do wrong things like grab things out of his hands, and make him cry, just because he hasn't yet learned all the things about how to use a toy, that the older ones have.

    Over-devotion to frown at theological weakness is very commonplace in the same way. It's human nature.

    IMHO, Michele

    By Blogger Sanctification, at Tuesday, September 23, 2008 11:47:00 AM  

  • Amen, Rose. I agree whole-(even more, if possible!)heartedly with your "toning down" remark. More, likely later. God Bless.

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at Tuesday, September 23, 2008 12:13:00 PM  

  • Michelle,
    Thank you for your thoughts. I read your example about your 2 year old. I certainly hope that an evangelist would not model that behaviour. I can't conceive of it.

    David,
    Thank you for your comment! You are a blessing, brother. I am looking forward to anything else you have to say.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, September 23, 2008 1:35:00 PM  

  • As a footnote:
    I read where someone was describing FGers and I think he was attempting to comment on this controversy and he said:

    those Free Gracers that reject the cross itself...well some of them anyway

    I want to say that someone who would say that has no idea what this controversy is even about and should make no such comments. No one in these discussions has rejected the cross.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, September 23, 2008 1:47:00 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    I just read your review of Zane Hodges' most recent article in the "Grace in Focus" newsletter.
    I appreciate your sensitive heart, but I didn't see this article the same way you did. Here's just a few of my personal thoughts. I'm actually writing this quickly because I have an appointment but wanted to comment while my thoughts were fresh. Hopefully not offensive because I don't mean them that way.

    First of all, Zane Hodges has not been among those who are making comments on blogs (like myself and others) and going after people like those who went after him in a public way... writing articles accusing him of heresy and teaching a "crossless gospel." He has been quiet and studious in his work of writing, praying, and being about the Lord's work. He is a theologian. God has called him (and all of us) to be faithful. That's what he's doing. His calling is to accurately and clearly point out truth in the Bible that has been so mudied by bad teaching. His heart is to set the biblical account in an accurate light. So his article was for that purpose... to be clear and to the point on the most important of all subjects... what exactly is required to be believed to be eternally saved. God has written that truth in His Word. Many of us have never really thought about the issues that are now being discussed. But God must have a reason for revealing this truth now. I think it's because He wants to bring us back to where He intends us to be. Getting the saving message accurate. Zane sees that by making the death and resurrection a requirement to be believed to be saved, then the intended message is compromised. It's not what God intended. You may wonder.... HOW? After all, Christ did have to die for our sins and raise from the grave. YES He did. And we all agree to that. BUT it changes the meaning of the 4th gospel if we make His death and resurrection a requirement to be believed to have His free gift of eternal life. I think I'm more sensitive to this because my assurance verse has always been John 3:16. That verse can not be my assurance verse any longer if what the others are saying is true. It makes John totally misunderstood for the purpose God meant it to be. I realize that I'm raddling on now and not making my point very well. Maybe I'll try to do better at a later time on Antonio's blog. I realize that many disagree with me and difinitely with Zane. Christians can and do disagree with one another. I also realize that you are uncomfortable with what you see as probably name calling. I don't believe Zane is name calling at all. He is pointing out what is true as he sees it from the Bible. He sees it as a very serious error. I see it now also, but I've got a long way to go in my understanding of scripture. I love you all. I know that you love the Lord and so do the others on the other side. I'm not questioning anyones motives. I just wanted to share my thoughts on how I saw Zane's article. Thank you for giving me that opportunity. You are a very kind and caring person, and truthful in the way you see it.

    May God continue to use you for His glory.

    In Jesus' love,
    Diane

    By Blogger Diane, at Tuesday, September 23, 2008 3:35:00 PM  

  • Rose,

    God has spoken in His word what He requires of men and women to do in order to receive the free gift of everlasting life. In His wisdom, He has determined to require men and women to trust in Jesus Christ for that gift.

    At anytime men and women add requirements to the one and only God-ordained condition of simple faith/trust in Jesus for the gift, they are imposing a form of:

    LEGALISM

    When men and women add requirements of various doctrinal assents to the one requirement that God has given to men (faith alone in Christ alone) they are engaged in legalism.

    The Bible never, ever asks the sinner to assent to doctrines in order to be saved. God simply asks men and women to trust His Son.

    I stipulate and have always stipulated that men and women will have to assent to various things in order to be persuaded that Jesus guarantees their eternal well-being by faith. But there could potentially be infinitely different scenarios and variations of information that could get people to that point of faith in Christ. These considerations are the responsibility of the lost. Jesus says, "Strive to enter the narrow gate". Obviously, in our evangelism, we have certain facts which are of 'first importance', that are the strongest testimonies unto the saving ability of Christ.

    But we must not confuse these things with the Biblically stated condition of faith alone in Christ alone.

    All legalism is bad, but not all legalism is fatal to the gospel message, Rose.

    If the Bible states that God has only required simple faith in Jesus for eternal life

    THEN

    anything added to that requirement will be LEGALISM.

    But like I said, not all legalism is fatal, but it should always be:

    AVOIDED!

    I have stipulated, and so does and has Zane that through the ministry of the Checklist Evangelists associated with the Free Grace movement people can and do get saved.

    Nevertheless, this does not negate the fact that they are legalists in the sense that:

    IF SOMEONE DOES NOT ASSENT TO THEIR LAUNDRY LIST OF DOCTRINES, THEY CANNOT BE SAVED

    EVEN

    IF THESE PEOPLE TRULY ENTRUST THEIR ETERNAL DESTINIES INTO THE HANDS OF JESUS CHRIST.

    This is just one of the problems that Theological Legalism can produce (not to mention problems with assurance and other thing).

    So, Rose,

    You would have to AGREE that anything added to what God requires man to do to receive everlasting life is LEGALISM.

    You would also HAVE to agree that if it can be shown that God does not require (AS A GOD-MANDATED REQUIREMENT) the assent to sundry doctrines for the reception of eternal life that ANY INSISTING OF SUCH

    WOULD

    BE

    LEGALISM

    There are things for you to do, now Rose:

    1) Prove from the Bible that God requires the assent to sundry and various doctrines before He will grant salvation IN ADDITION to simply trusting in Jesus, being certain that what He has promised He will do

    if you can't do this than

    2) You must give up your aversion to Zane Hodges using the label

    THEOLOGICAL LEGALISM

    Conclusion:

    If God has only mandated that men and women ONLY believe in Jesus for eternal life (and ultimately leaves the individual responsible on how he can get to that point)

    and

    Man adds any FURTHER REQUIREMENTS as if they were from the MOUTH OF GOD

    THEN

    Such IS LEGALISM

    Your fg friend,

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Tuesday, September 23, 2008 4:47:00 PM  

  • Diane,

    You are a blessing to me. Ooops! Lemme back up & say Howdy there Rose!

    OK, Back to Diane! I do appreciate you & your spirit, though I must disagree on some points, I agree with you on bro. Hodges & his Christian character. I have never spoke against it & I never plan to because what I've seen of him is unassailable on that point. Obviously I know he's not perfect, but as I believe I said earlier to bro. Antonio, I never plan to jump on the "trash Zane" bandwagon. I appreciate it that no one here is doing that. That is also why I resonated or maybe I should say that this article resonated with me so well. I do not agree that only the Gospel of John is where we get the "saving message" but I certainly have no quarrel with those of you who do. None here are heretics the way I see it. Rose, I am so glad you included that ridiculous quote accusing some FG'ers of rejecting the cross. Unfortunately things get distorted, but no FG'er I know of worth his or her salt (Mt.5:13!!) would ever do or espouse such a thing. One who did WOULD be a heretic, no doubt.
    Anyway, I continue to appreciate bro. Hodges, though since his 2000 2-part article I have not appreciated his posiition nearly as much as I once did, still I appreciate him as a Christian brother who is far closer in his walk with Christ than I am, & that is the truth. I feel about him as Wesley was supposed to have said about his "enemy" Whitefield. He was asked if he expected to see Whitefield in Heaven & he answered "NO!" When asked if he really believed Whitefield was not saved, his shocked reply was, "Of course he's saved! I just mean that he'll be so much closer to the Throne than me, that I'll probably not even be able to see him!" That's how I feel about bro. Zane. God Bless you all!

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at Tuesday, September 23, 2008 4:49:00 PM  

  • Rose writes:
    ----------
    So salvation is for the orthodox… in all practical terms.
    ----------

    Rose:

    Go have some discussions with your children as to the nature of Christ being fully God and fully man. Go ask them as to substitutionary atonement. (Indeed go ask them on any number of doctrines)

    Let us see how orthodox they are on these points. Maybe you will find that salvation can be for the UNORTHODOX too!


    ---


    It has been granted time and time again that a variety of things about Jesus will HAVE to be understood and assented to in order to bring one to the point of resting his eternal destiny upon Jesus by faith.

    But this is different than saying that such things are REQUIRED as if from the MOUTH OF GOD.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Tuesday, September 23, 2008 4:56:00 PM  

  • Asking about something Zane said, Rose asks:
    ----------
    When I read that paragraph I asked "far from adequate" for what?
    ----------

    Far from adequate from what men and women ought to have. Far from the maturity of understanding that comes from growing in the faith.

    My children are saved, Rose. They trust in Jesus and Jesus alone for His gift of eternal life.

    But their understanding about doctrines is "far from adequate" in the sense that Zane is using it in his article.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Tuesday, September 23, 2008 5:04:00 PM  

  • Rose,

    I didn't tell you that I thought your post was very fair with how you are thinking and shows that you are reasonable and thinking good.

    I don't want to give you any other impression, although I may have with my comments already.

    I have to say that I am pleased that you take the tone and understanding of what Danny thinks rather than that of what the others (who we all know their names) do.

    You have to think about this from the perspective of Zane, Rose. Look at it logically from this syllogism:

    1) Zane believes (according to the Bible) that the only God-mandated requirement for the reception of everlasting life is simple faith in Jesus Christ for it
    2) Everyone believes that anything added to the God-mandated requirement(s) for the reception of everlasting life is legalism
    3) Checklist Evangelists add doctrinal requirements in ADDITION to faith alone in Christ alone

    -----

    therefore

    4) Zane believes (I believe correctly) that the checklist evangelists are guilty of LEGALISM


    Correct me if I am wrong, but you seem to think that Zane thinks of such as a 'deal breaker', or in other words, fatal legalism. He does not. Yet he believes, correctly so, that it is legalism none-the-less.

    You seem to think that it is ratcheting it up to call their position: theological legalism.

    Given the syllogism above, it is accurate!

    Furthermore, you take issue that he states that they masquerade as free gracers.

    Listen, Free Grace theology revolves around the fact that eternal life is ONLY RECEIVED as a free gift. Trusting in Christ receives the gift. It is a beggar having his hand out and a benefactor graciously imparting sustenance.

    The activities of the checklist evangelists have the POTENTIAL to frustrate grace. It can be easily imagined that in scenarios of checklist evangelism the lost are asked to pass a pop-quiz before they are allowed to take the gift freely.

    Can you see the difference between these two things:

    1) Someone giving out a gift, period. Just ask and you have it.

    2) Someone giving out a gift but requiring that you pass a test before you can ask and then have.

    Free Grace theology is built around #1. Checklist evangelism can be guilty of #2.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Tuesday, September 23, 2008 5:27:00 PM  

  • David,

    You are always so kind even when you disagree. Thank you for that.

    I wanted to correct something that you said that we're saying. You said...
    *I do not agree that only the Gospel of John is where we get the "saving message" but I certainly have no quarrel with those of you who do.*

    We do not say that John is the only place where we get the saving message. But it's the only book with the STATED PURPOSE of being evangelistic. The saving message can be found elsewhere. For example:
    Acts 16:31

    Everyone would really benefit by hearing Bob Bryant's message from the GES Conference 2008.... "The Saving Message Outside The Gospel Of John!" (The title is something like that?) It's a very compelling message.

    Antonio,
    You did it again. You helped me understand better about legalism. Thanks so much for that. I thought you had EXCELLENT POINTS!

    Rose,
    I appreciate your honesty and giving us the opportunity to respond to your post. Thanks so much.

    A free grace friend,
    Diane
    :-)

    By Blogger Diane, at Tuesday, September 23, 2008 5:59:00 PM  

  • Diane,

    Thank you for your kind respone & correction! I appreciate it. That makes sense. God Bless you!

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at Tuesday, September 23, 2008 6:08:00 PM  

  • David,

    I really appreciate your comments. You are a man of rare character, diplomacy, and integrity. We have been online pals for about 8 years now, no? Allow me please to ask you a question.

    Feeling the way that you do concering Zane Hodges, about his integrity, godliness, and feeling as you do that he is no heretic, how is it that you can associate with men such as Lou Martuneac, who degrades Zane and brings him into disrepute? I am sure that you have honorable and good reasons. Lou seems to not even have a fraction of the integrity that you attribute to Zane, as shown in his online shenanigans. He has shown himself offensive to many people, including Rose.

    Although Danny does not agree with me or Zane on the same things that you don't, he has a very well reasoned attitude and assessment about Zane, that he does not preach heresy. I am reading you the same way. I just can't understand fellowship with someone such as Lou.

    When I think of Lou this verse comes to mind:

    John 16:2
    They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service.
    NKJV

    Lou thinks that he offers God service in his relentless attacks of godly, Christ honoring (and preaching) people.

    Lou reminds me of the Pharisees that Gamaliel gives this advice to:

    Acts 5:38-39
    "...if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; 39 but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it -- lest you even be found to fight against God."
    NKJV

    I do not attribute any bad motives to you for fellowshipping with Lou. I just don't see it consistent with your attitudes about things.

    your long time free grace brother,

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Tuesday, September 23, 2008 7:48:00 PM  

  • Rose,

    I have read and re-read your article.

    I just wanted to say that you are a bright and well-intentioned sister, who has a heart of gold. In the way that you understand the issues, you have presented a fair and balanced case.

    I have written what I have written in this comment meta to try to inform your understanding with another perspective.

    I am glad that you are my sister in Christ and I am glad that we are blog partners.

    your fg brother,

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Tuesday, September 23, 2008 8:10:00 PM  

  • Rose,
    I appreciate the courage you have demonstrated in sharing your thoughts on this article.

    I still do not see the separation between the "gospel" in I Cor. 15 and the content of saving faith. When compared to Romans 1:16 the "gospel" is the "power of God unto salvation". This thought seems to be repeated in I Cor. 1:18.

    Furthermore, Romans 10:8-10, describes the "word of faith" clearly teaching that belief in the resurrection is within the content of saving faith.

    I would be interested to know your thoughts on this.

    God bless.

    By Blogger Gordon, at Tuesday, September 23, 2008 10:12:00 PM  

  • Antonio,

    As always, and once again I can tell that your doctrine has been deeply etched by the Word of God.

    Thank you for affirming Rose. I am glad you support her thinking for herself, yet your corrections were thought provoking, even for me. That legalism exists, doesn't end all hope, just causes a deal of unnecessary suffering. You established a new (for me) way of thinking about legalism with the many angles and posts you made.

    As for Lou, he may have a message of gold but it gets lost for a lot of people because he rarely answers questions of, or requests to change, his approach.

    I want to bring attention to one thing: Long before he became involved in the crossless debates, he was and probably has always been, a fundamentalist. This is why he handles the word of God in the way he does. That's why he makes, for any cause, an excellent clarion (not a negative descriptor). Take the fundamentalist out of Lou, and we have no divisiveness left (though unchanged plenty of disagreement and perhaps separation too). End of discussion.

    Thanks, Michele

    By Blogger Sanctification, at Tuesday, September 23, 2008 10:34:00 PM  

  • Antonio,

    As you are I think aware I am trying to see through to the good in Lou. I feel the impasse you (and renewedly Rose) have been at with him for some time. Those scriptures above you quoted about persecuting believers in the name of God? Sick & accurate. I never had the space to mention this till after I was kicked off his blog, but, methodology like his is something I have been standing firmly against long before he innocently involved me at his blog. I wish I had someone else there who encouraged me to reach for understanding bigger than my own opinions, because when I listen to him often it's blinding. It took a deal of concentration. Everyone knows it's not easy just as me.

    Last week I tore into him, for two days at Dave's Free Grace Believer blog. He made no counter attack nor did anything to defend himself. I'm inclined to think there's demonstrable greatness of character on his part.

    Is it at all possible he might.... Well, nevermind. Oh, I hate to say this, because I don't mean to have you budge your declarations of him; he deserves no more positive attentions. But, is it just slightly possible that he could... oh, [sigh] be growing?

    Time will tell.

    Feel free to ignore or get on my case even. I'm glad you've always let me say my piece. I know resolution is not on your radar, for extensive and consistent back-history. Someone needs to say the things which should be a wake-up call for everyone, and you're brave enough to get that done. Your posts are always a joy. :D

    Thanks,
    Michele

    By Blogger Sanctification, at Wednesday, September 24, 2008 12:14:00 AM  

  • (note: I am going to foray into the discussion about Lou but then I don't want to spend another minute today thinking about him)

    Michelle,
    I have to say this before any time goes by, even though I don't have time right at the moment to answer the other comments. The idea that the way Lou acts is because he is a 'fundamentalist' is mis-stating things a bit. Let me explain: My husband calls himself a "fighting fundamentalist" (meaning that he is willing to plea for sound doctrine with the brethren) but even he, as a 'fighting fundamentalist', does not do what Lou does. I consider myself to be a 'fundamentalist' and would never take the appraoch that you see from Lou. Arguing for doctrine can be done in a gracious manner, as it should be, according to the NT writers.

    fundamentalist: 1 often capitalized : a movement in 20th century Protestantism emphasizing the literally interpreted Bible as fundamental to Christian life and teaching b: the beliefs of this movement c: adherence to such beliefs

    Do not equate his militant approach as stemming from being a 'fundamentalist'. I have seen Reformed people act the selfsame way... and even those liberal in theology. This is a personal choice on their part regarding how to conduct themselves in disputes... and not something that has to do with being a 'fundamentalist.'

    :~) Thanks, Michelle.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Wednesday, September 24, 2008 5:04:00 AM  

  • Rose,

    I submit that the term "fundamentalist" is used in two ways.

    One which you have described and people willingly take it on as a label.

    The other is pejoratively used for men and women who are set in stone concerning a wide range of doctrines and activities, and no manner of biblical, rational, and reasonable communications will dislodge them from their positions. Examples would be being against dancing, playing cards, use of alcohol, etc, not to mention their expanded list of doctrines (which includes the normal 5 but goes further).

    An interesting comparison I once heard states the difference between evangelicals and fundamentalists (in the second way it was used here) is that although they believe roughly the same things, the evangelicals actually know why they believe as they do and can actually defend it biblically.

    The fundamentalism of those such as Lou perpetrate barbaric assaults upon those people and ideas which do not jive with their understanding on WIDE variety of things. They are obstinate, prideful, arrogant, and sanction any means to reach their ends.

    Fundamentalism associated with places such as Bob Jones U. is a different genus than that which you or your husband would consider yourselves.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Wednesday, September 24, 2008 12:46:00 PM  

  • Thank you Rose,

    For aiding my terminology.

    I too mean not your husband's fundamentalism, because the "fundamentals of the faith" are all our heritage too. What I mean is what you mean. You said "militant," those who use intelligent design to take over public schools, who get loud outside of abortion clinics... those who more closely embrace some "theocratic," or "dominionism," aspirations that in my opinion, have gone too far.

    I lack a sufficient term for the militant "fundamentalist evangelical."

    I put a terrible strain on your conscience by saying the things I do, and I regret causing you any more grief. Thank you for letting me clear my own conscience while associating here....

    Blessings,
    Michele

    By Blogger Sanctification, at Wednesday, September 24, 2008 12:52:00 PM  

  • Bro. Antonio,

    Yes, we have been online brethren for quite awhile now, & I have certainly appreciated your friendship every bit of that time. You said some extremely kind things about me, that I sincerely do not deserve, but I do genuinely thank you. If there is anything that seems honorable in my life I truly know that the Lord has graciously worked it out & I give Him all the credit. I certainly do not see myself that way.
    OK, enough on that. I know that bro. Lou will see this, but it is the truth, so I have nothing to hide. If there is any fellowship between he & me, it is only to the degree that I agree with him on certain issues. I consider myself a fundamentalist as well, though not of the same spirit as he. I do not have anything against him personally, though I don't believe I would be comfortable around him because our personalities are so different.
    You hit the nail on the head on how I feel about bro. Hodges. He has been & continues to be accused of lashing out & I just don't see it. I do not agree with Zane on certain issues, one being his 2000 2-part article, but I have seen enough of his articles & read enough of him to believe that he is no heretic. His graciousness through all this still speaks volumes regarding his Christian walk. OK, I will stop at this point. Thank you for your continued friendship in the Gospel. God Bless.

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at Wednesday, September 24, 2008 6:08:00 PM  

  • Gordon,

    concerning Romans 1:16, here is an article from this very blog:

    Preaching the gospel... to the saved?

    Concerning Romans 10:9,10 here is something also that I wrote:

    Does Romans 10:9, 10 Teach that One Must Understand the Resurrection IN ADDITION to Simple Faith In Christ for Eternal Life?

    For your consideration,

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Wednesday, September 24, 2008 7:02:00 PM  

  • David,

    You are a beautifully shrewd man. And a blessing.

    May your tribe increase!

    (and may more be just like you!)

    your partner in grace,

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Wednesday, September 24, 2008 7:04:00 PM  

  • And David, I meant "shrewd" in the positive way (I know there is a negative way). The positive way is defined this way:

    1. Characterized by keen awareness, sharp intelligence, and often a sense of the practical.

    2. Astute or sharp in practical matters

    This is you!

    By Blogger Antonio, at Wednesday, September 24, 2008 7:06:00 PM  

  • Rose, - I always enjoy reading your thoughts and perspectives as they are incisive and usually help focus the discussion. I was nevertheless disappointed with your reaction to Zane’s article. In contrast I found it to be excellent and focused on exactly what the issues are with those who have attacked him and GES and leveled all sorts of accusations and pejorative labels like the “crossless gospel”. This despite clear statements by Zane and GES that the cross and the resurrection should always be a part of our proclamation to the lost in our efforts to persuade and point them to Christ. By contrast Zane (to his credit) employs terms that we are quite familiar with and which accurately describe the position of his opponents – “theological legalism”. In my reading and study of Zane’s writings I have always found him to bring a rare clarity and focus to scripture as well as its relevance to current issues in theology and evangelicalism in general and this current controversy is no exception…

    When you state that Zane is “escalating the controversy” because he says that there are those who are masquerading as FGers when in reality they have denied that grace is freely given to the sinner that believes in Jesus for eternal life - it must be pointed out that he is defending his position and doing so by accurately assessing the position of those who are opposed to this view. How else would he describe it? They clearly do deny that anyone can be saved without understanding and believing a list of additional propositions beyond simple faith in Jesus for the gift of eternal life – propositions such as the crucifixion, the resurrection etc..

    Sadly, the position of those that oppose him seems to be characterized by what I consider to be a rather arrogant presumption that essentially defines God’s role in grace by a set of theological prerequisites. Prerequisites which go beyond simple faith in Jesus and which set the parameters by which God must act – despite the fact that He has acted in many cases where there was an absence of those prerequisites. This seems to be the classic tendency of men to erroneously distort and define the box within which God must stay and restrict His actions. Is it such a stretch to believe that God is free to bestow His gift of grace upon any and all who simply believe in His Son for it – even if they were unfortunate enough to lack knowledge of His cross and resurrection? It seems far more likely that we have a God who is free to act (and does) in accord with the precedence of His previous actions and in accord with some of the most beautiful, loving and simple dialogues recorded in the scriptures.

    When it comes to believing in His Son for eternal life I am convinced that God is no legalist – He is a gracious and merciful giver of a GIFT - living water to all who will simply stretch out their hand and receive it (to borrow the metaphor Jesus used) or look in faith to His Son...

    This is a serious issue and if defining the problem is “escalating the controversy” then I say so be it – it needs to be escalated. But may I remind you that I think it is the manipulative actions (surrounding the endorsements for his new book) and outright attacks of the president of the FGA and some of those who have bought into the same view who have done the “escalating” in this discussion. This despite what Antonio has pointed out about the charter of the FGA which describes its mission as one of “bridge building”.

    You’ve no doubt heard of the bridge to nowhere – well as far as Free Grace is concerned, what the FGA president has done is the ultimate bridge to nowhere. In fact it is “bridge destruction” as well as destructive to the ministry and influence of men who are amongst Gods best gifts to his church in this age (IMHO). It needs to be opposed vigorously by those who are brave enough soldiers (like Antonio) in the cause of Christ to earnestly contend for the faith by sticking their necks out and saying what needs to be said. It may not be pleasant, and it may not “tickle our ears” – but it is necessary to preserve a proper and right understanding of God’s profoundly simple and exquisite grace.

    God’s very best to you Rose,
    - Jon

    By Blogger wjc, at Wednesday, September 24, 2008 7:57:00 PM  

  • Antonio, - I thoroughly enjoyed your response - most instructive and superbly argued...

    Diane, - Your comments are so refreshing and clear. I enjoy every post of yours! You must never stop!

    Rose, - Even though we apparently disagree, thank you for your loving attitude and always insightful thoughts and comments. Your attitude is exemplary.

    Thank the Lord for this Blog!!!

    By Blogger wjc, at Wednesday, September 24, 2008 8:13:00 PM  

  • Antonio
    "An interesting comparison I once heard states the difference between evangelicals and fundamentalists (in the second way it was used here) is that although they believe roughly the same things, the evangelicals actually know why they believe as they do and can actually defend it biblically."

    Maybe this is a US/ UK difference but most people who call themselves 'Evangelical' that I have met are pretty biblically illiterate and theologically ignorant. They also have little concern for biblical separation and are naieve when it comes to liberal and sacramentalist theology.

    My dislike of contemporary Evangelicalism is partly why I prefer 'fundamentalist' as a label.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Thursday, September 25, 2008 12:59:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    I was rereading your post. I really appreciate the way you carefully consider an issue and honestly communicate your thoughts for all of us to consider. We all can learn by doing it that way. Thank you for that.

    Regarding Zane's comment which is.....

    "And the moment he does believe, he will have that life. This is true, in fact, even if a few moments later he encounters some theological legalists who inform him he doesn’t know enough to be saved!"

    Your question and comments were the following.....

    -------------------------
    "WHEN WOULD THIS EVER HAPPEN? (emphasis mine) This is an unnecessary scenario which seems to be only for the purpose of 'piling it on' to his detractors. I can't imagine any evangelistically-minded person coming to a new convert and telling them, 'You don't know enough to be saved.' It reminds me of some of the scenarios that Hodges' opponents in this debate have brought up – e.g. someone denying the deity of Christ or denying the cross and resurrection and yet becoming saved they say: 'according to Zane Hodges.' I think he would have served his cause better by avoiding that kind of rhetoric. This is the most unfortunate portion of the article, IMHO."
    ------------------------

    Rose, you would be correct if your question was answered with... *NEVER.* The problem is (as I see it), that kind of thing does happen all the time. We're telling someone who has put his faith in Jesus that he must not really be saved because he doesn't yet believe this or that.
    I remember Zane Hodges' telling the story of when he was a student at DTS. Another student (who was working as a janitor at the school) told him... "I never realized that Jesus was God until I came to seminary. I knew He was sent from God and was my Savior." Many would conclude that he wasn't saved until he believed that Jesus was God.
    What about a child who believes that Jesus is her Savior..... the only way to heaven (where God lives). One of the moms in my discipleship class has a 3 year old who she believes is already born again. Her little girl has complete confidence that Jesus is the only way to go to heaven and live with God. When someone in our church recently died she knew that he wasn't living in his body anymore. He went to live with Jesus because he believed in Jesus as the only way to heaven. Her faith is so strong. Yet her mother didn't dwell on the blood that was shed for her because she felt she was too little to take that all in. Many may disagree with her doing it that way, but that's the way she handled it with her child. That little girl is very smart for her age, and she is always concerned that people believe in Jesus so that they can go to heaven and live with Him when they die. Many would conclude that she can't be saved yet. She's not old enough to understand the crosswork of Jesus Christ. It's that kind of thing that happens all the time.

    Thank you again for your very thoughtful and careful review of Zane's article. I have much respect for you.

    In Jesus' love,
    Diane
    :-)

    By Blogger Diane, at Thursday, September 25, 2008 8:47:00 AM  

  • To everyone who has commented to me:
    I have been busy with work (I have a part-time job) for the last two days, chasing my 20 month old around, besides my other three kids when they get home from school, and the precious little time I have for commenting has been spent in the archives of another blog where someone followed me and started commenting to me. I hope I am done with that time-consuming exercise now.

    Meanwhile, I have been trying to get my work done and have been looking up some things and reading up a bit on 1 Cor. 15 so I could process Gordon's comment better.

    I hope y'all will be patient until I can get back to this.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, September 25, 2008 10:05:00 AM  

  • Gordon, I see that you did not refer to me, but I trust my articles were helpful?

    By Blogger Antonio, at Thursday, September 25, 2008 5:57:00 PM  

  • Antonio, I am sorry I haven't responded sooner, it's been a busy day.

    I appreciate the links you shared. Having read them, I would have to respectfully disagree with you that these epistles do not impact our message to the lost.

    While it is certain that they were written to believers, I do not see where that changes the message of the gospel. Granted, a believer's ability to grasp the finer points of the gospel will improve after they are saved, but I still believe that belief in the crucifixion and resurrection are essential to salvation.

    By Blogger Gordon, at Thursday, September 25, 2008 9:39:00 PM  

  • Gordon,
    1 Corinthians 15
    1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
    3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
    9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 11 Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

    12 Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!


    He goes on and says that if only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. I was reading some commentary on this passage. Interestingly, no one mentions whether or not this is what must be believed to be saved. What they do mention is that if it is not true to you, then why do you think yourself to be saved.

    I like what Dr. J Vernon McGee has to say about it: "I am tired of men talking about being Christians and denying the facts of the gospel. You are not a Christian if you deny the death, burial and ressurection of Christ. You have a perfect right to deny these things if you wish, but you have no right to call yourself a Christian."

    I agree with him. Liberal theology likes to say that "Jesus rose in our hearts." They don't want to believe in anything supernatural so they apply a different meaning to things that have obvious literal meaning, like the phrase "raised from the dead." I am thankful that I don't have any liberal commentaries on this passage because I am certain they would make me sick.

    Is that passage a prescription for evangelism? Yes, I do believe it could be, as well as John 3:16. Paul says it is what he preached and it is what they believed. So I think it is safe to say that, as Christians, this is what we should preach. 'duh' comes to mind. (no disprespect towards anyone) There is no crossless gospel and no one I know is suggesting that we PREACH a crossless gospel.

    To me the argument is one of the most ridiculous cases of hair splitting I have seen.

    You are asking me if this describes the specific content of saving faith? Well, what it does tell us is that if it were NOT FOR THE CROSS, there would be no salvation. Of course, no one is arguing for that and that is not what you are asking.

    But your question to me, I think is: can I infer from this text dogmatically that it is saying that if a person doesn't hear the cross and grasp the substitutionary atonement, then they don't know what it is to believe in Jesus?

    The thing is, I don't see why we have to even wonder about this.

    Diane brings up the little children. That makes me think. A Calvinist at my church told me once that young children should never be allowed to be abptized because they do not have the capacity to understand the 'euanglion'. I rejected that. I forget about that aspect of this discussion until someone brings it up. I always assume an "American adult" in my mind when I get into these discussions about the content of saving faith. What do you tink about the young child she describes in her comment?

    Romans 10:8-10 8But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: 9That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

    Do you think that someone has to confess with their mouth in order to be saved? I always thought of this verse in the way you are using it, but then someone asked me that question, pointing out that sometimes confessing with the mouth can really bring about persecution and is more than faith. That gave me pause and it is something I have not re-visited, but always meant to.

    At this point, though, I will say that I still believe Roamns 9 to be the content of saving faith. It is believing in Jesus for everlasting life. In parentheses next to the name of Jesus is (the death and ressurection - the HOW of Him saving us) and more importantly in my understanding, (the WHO of Jesus: the maker of all people and things).

    Sorry if this seems jumbled but I am so busy and got distracted in a conversation with someone else for the last couple of days (sigh)

    Please ask me anything else and answer my questions in this comment if you have the inclination to. Thanks for your gracious participation, Gordon.

    I hope that was clear enough.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Friday, September 26, 2008 8:24:00 AM  

  • On the Lighter Side!!! :-)

    Rose, you brightened my day by just mentioning Dr. McGee. He had a big part in my spiritual growth through his radio ministry. Whenever I would hear his voice I felt right at home. In later years I've come to see some passages differently than he saw them, but that doesn't change the fact that God used him greatly in my life. I always joke with my friends and tell them that I'm going to live on Glory Boulevard in heaven right next to Dr. McGee.
    :-)
    Hope its OK to go down Memory Lane here. If not, feel free to delete. My feelings will not be hurt.

    After Dr. McGee died, I felt sad. I sat in my room and wrote a silly little chorus and sent it to Mrs. McGee. They had me sing that little chorus at the "Thru The Bible Rally" in Kansas City that year. Here are the words...

    Lord I thank you for my teacher,
    Lord I thank you for his love,
    For teaching me the Bible,
    the truths from God above.
    He taught me of my Savior,
    the precious Lamb of God
    Who came to earth to save me
    from His heavenly home above.

    (different rhythm begins here...)
    We got on the bus at the bus stop.
    We started to move right away.
    Beginning at Genesis one one
    down Re-ve-la-tion Way.
    I learned much about my Redeemer,
    especially the cross work of Christ.
    God took our driver to heaven,
    but left the Spirit to drive.

    I want to see my dear teacher
    who now is seated with Christ.
    I want to thank him in heaven
    for taking me on that ride.

    I love you Doctor McGee.
    You're very special to me.
    I know you are happy in heaven
    where soon we Christians will be.
    THE END!!!

    If I may be so bold as to write another little chorus that came from the teachings of Dr. McGee. A lot of my songs came from his teaching.

    When you're in the will of God you're in a wonderful place,
    a wonderful glorious place.
    When trials come and burdens grow
    and days get tougher as they go, trust God,
    you're in a wonderful place.

    Matters not HOW you are,
    Matters not WHERE you are
    When God's in control of your life.

    When you're in the will of God you're in a wonderful place,
    a wonderful glorious place.

    CHORUS...
    Thank you Lord, thank you Father for your care over me.
    Thank you Lord, thank you Father for your love gift to me.

    Rejoice evermore in the love of the Lord
    Praise God, you're in a wonderful place.
    He leads us thru the troubled times,
    gives peace and joy that's so divine.
    Praise God, you're in a wonderful place.

    (CODA)
    You're in a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful,
    wonderful, glorious place!
    THE END!!!

    Thank you dear friends for letting me share the lighter side (and a happy one) of my life.

    Because of Jesus' great love,
    Diane
    :-)

    By Blogger Diane, at Friday, September 26, 2008 9:15:00 AM  

  • Oh thank you so much Diane! Good ol' Doc McGee is one of my very favorite Bible teachers of all time. If I had time I'd share some about him as well. Suffice it to say for now that God used him earlier in my life when I was away from the Lord to draw me back into fellowship with Him. Of course it was the Spirit who did it, but He used good ol' Doctor J!

    Howdy-do, Rose. God Bless.

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at Friday, September 26, 2008 10:35:00 AM  

  • Hi, Rose. Thanks for your gracious and thoughtful response.

    I still have some concerns regarding I Cor. 15. If we compare this text with Paul's description of his preaching in I Cor. 1, it seems to designate this as part of the presentation of the Gospel. I posted about this here (The Heart of the Gospel )so I will not reiterate everything here.

    I suppose my concern is this, I know of no one involved in this discussion who is advocating abandoning the preaching of the cross, yet there are those who are essentially saying, "I preach the cross, but I do not believe that one must be aware of it in order to be saved." If one takes this thought to its logical conclusion, they are then adding unnecessary baggage to the Gospel message. Why would they feel to preach it if it is not a vital part of the Gospel?

    I would agree with you that no Christian can deny these truths. If we assume, for the moment, that what Hodges says in his article is true, what then would be the state of one who believes in Jesus for the promise of eternal life (apart from knowing about the death and resurrection of Christ) and then, when presented with this additional doctrine denies it? We would be forced to conclude that either (1) their belief in the promise was insufficient or (2) they lost their salvation (which I think we can both agree is not really an option).

    Concerning Romans 10, I would ask this, if confession with the mouth is not to be taken literally, here, what then does it meant?

    If this is only a figure of speech then we would have to consider the reference to the Lordship of Christ and the resurrection to be figures of speech as well in order to be hermeneutically consistent. There is nothing in the text (or context), of either language, that I can see that would give us legitimate basis for allegorizing this.

    I appreciate you taking the time to respond as you did to my first comment. I am sorry that this one is so long.

    God bless.

    By Blogger Gordon, at Friday, September 26, 2008 12:08:00 PM  

  • Hi Gordon,
    The person that posed that question to me about whether or not one actually had to confess with one's mouth (I had never thought about it before as being an 'addition' to faith - it never occurred to me) but maybe that person could answer you - or someone who shares their view.

    They did *not* try to say that it was figurative language. That is not how they dealt with the text. I think their view was something to the effect that that passage of the book of Romans was written to tell the Jews living at that time what they could do to be "saved" from the coming destruction that was facing their nation... "saved" in that sense. I never looked into this view or gave it any time, although I thought it was interesting. I may even be mis-stating it.

    I still look at it the way you do, but I wonder about the challenge given to me about the "confess with your mouth" being an *addition* to simple faith. What do you think? I can see how someone could say it is, but I am not sure it is necessarily true to say that just speaking your faith is a 'work', even though in some countries it could get you killed. What do you think about that aspect of "confessing with your mouth"?

    I will check your link.

    BTW, thank you for allowing me to discuss this with you. I do like to think through these challenges soberly. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Friday, September 26, 2008 12:49:00 PM  

  • I would be interested to hear the opinion of the person to whom you are referring concerning Romans 10. Given that the point of faith is described as "believing unto righteousness," I wonder how they get around it referring to actual salvation.

    ...I am not sure it is necessarily true to say that just speaking your faith is a 'work', even though in some countries it could get you killed.

    I would agree with you. This "confession" is simply an outward expression of what is in the heart.

    I appreciate the time and effort you are giving this discussion.

    By Blogger Gordon, at Friday, September 26, 2008 3:26:00 PM  

  • Hi Gordon,

    Do you mind? I saw your comment and I wanted to answer your concern...

    You said:
    "I suppose my concern is this, I know of no one involved in this discussion who is advocating abandoning the preaching of the cross, yet there are those who are essentially saying, "I preach the cross, but I do not believe that one must be aware of it in order to be saved." If one takes this thought to its logical conclusion, they are then adding unnecessary baggage to the Gospel message. Why would they feel to preach it if it is not a vital part of the Gospel? "

    Most Christians who are interested in evangelism to reach the lost, are those who walk by faith with Jesus Christ. Most of those said people involved in evangelism, have a good grasp on the bulk teachings of the bible in order to be capable of "convincing" others, about how to be saved.

    You ask, isn't the logical conclusion of a crossless gospel that the cross and deity of Jesus Christ becomes excess "baggage"? You ask, "Why preach the cross if it's only baggage?"

    Well, what more can be said to the lost about God, man, or salvation without foraying into the facets of Jesus' identity and His accomplishment?

    How long does a verbal call to salvation last, toward a listening lost person, if the message begins and ends saying, "believe and be saved?" It's pretty short. If it is going to be expanded, the essentials are the material that is next in line.

    The only other alternative for content, to be shared with the lost after asserting that Jesus gives eternal life to all who give it, is to lie or distort or ignore Jesus Christ's identity and work. To avoid talking about who He is and what He's done. But no evangelical does this.

    And the churches that do, for instance the JWs and the Mormons, certainly do not start off their gospel presentation by saying, "Did you know that Jesus Christ promises to give eternal life to everyone who believes in Him for it?"

    Do you get my points here? What does this make you think?

    Thanks, Michele

    By Blogger Sanctification, at Friday, September 26, 2008 3:56:00 PM  

  • Hi Friends,

    "FAITH HAPPENS!"
    When?
    Before a person even has a chance to say a word, or a prayer.
    One moment we're in darkness. The next moment we're in the light.
    HOW?
    God's light broke through at the moment we realized that JESUS SAVED US ETERNALLY.
    Whatever it took to get us to believe THAT TRUTH is what the Holy Spirit used to bring us from death to life.
    Not even our own will contributed to that.

    James 1:18a... "Of HIS own will He brought us forth by the word of truth..."

    God is drawing ALL to Himself... Acts 17:26-27; John 12:32
    If we seek Him we will find Him... Prov. 8:17

    Isn't that marvelous!!!! One act of faith and we're His forever!!!
    FAITH HAPPENS!!!
    AMEN!

    Diane
    :-)

    By Blogger Diane, at Friday, September 26, 2008 4:50:00 PM  

  • Michele, in all honesty, I'm not sure what to think about your comment. In some ways you seem to be taking a different point of view than me, yet in another you underscore the point I am trying to make.

    I don't think my concern in this matter can be answered. It was more of a statement than a question, even though I may have posed a portion of it in a rhetorical query.

    I will say this in response to your comment. It is the cross that defines salvation. It identifies the sinfulness of man, the righteousness of Christ as well as the means of forgiveness. Actually, when you think about it, the cross is the simplest form of the Gospel we can present.

    By Blogger Gordon, at Friday, September 26, 2008 5:47:00 PM  

  • Gordon said:
    It is the cross that defines salvation. It identifies the sinfulness of man, the righteousness of Christ as well as the means of forgiveness. Actually, when you think about it, the cross is the simplest form of the Gospel we can present.


    Yes, it is more logical and makes since!
    But,
    To a little child who is not a great sinner.
    A gift from Jesus is much easier to understand.
    By, simply believing Jesus promise of eternal life one can go to heaven!

    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Saturday, September 27, 2008 1:42:00 AM  

  • Recently, someone told me:
    “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?”

    Strangely, the speaker was a New Ager and he was describing his Enlightened Master! ( And he was drawing quite a large following for his leader ).

    There seems to be 3 categories of people populating this world:

    The dead:

    NASB Luke 9
    60 But He said to him, "Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God."

    The quickened:

    King James Bible Romans 8
    11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

    And the possessed:

    NASB Acts 16
    17 Following after Paul and us, she kept crying out, saying, “These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.”

    There are many parallels that can be made between the "gospel" of these deceivers and that of the Kingdom of God: but one of the many important things they lack:

    NASB Luke 11
    20 "But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

    NASB Exodus 8
    19 Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, "This is the finger of God." But Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.


    Eternal living is living with permanent results, consequences. Temporal living is living with futile, un-remarkable, fading outcomes.

    Quote
    Hence, we come face to face with the eschatological question of the gospel of John. What does Jesus bring? What is the nature of the new age/order/era that Jesus brings? He brings the eschatological dimension; he brings the eternal into the present; he brings the heavenlies to us. This Christocentric gospel is eschatological. Because of who he is, Jesus reveals the dimension which he inhabits—the above in the below. As we read this gospel, we ask not only "Who is Jesus?" but "What does he bring?" The Son of God brings to us the age to come.
    link

    By Blogger anton, at Saturday, September 27, 2008 2:05:00 AM  

  • Hi Gordon,
    You said:

    I would be interested to hear the opinion of the person to whom you are referring concerning Romans 10. Given that the point of faith is described as "believing unto righteousness," I wonder how they get around it referring to actual salvation.

    I’m not the person, but the salvation that is spoken of in Romans 10:9 has two conditions. The prerequisite, one must be a believer before they can confess with their mouth and experience this type of salvation which is for believers who call upon the Lord for deliverance from the power of sin.

    The gift of eternal life only has one condition, and that is believe.
    In John 3:16,17 perish and eternal life in 16 are parallel with condemn and saved in 17.
    John 5:34 and John 10:9
    Also we see ones who were silent believers in the gospel of John who did not confess Christ.
    John 12:42;19:38
    Gordon to give a example for the word save which can mean more then just the gift of eternal life I would use Mark 16:16 as an example. Jesus gives two conditions for the type of salvation He is speaking of there.
    I hope this helps concerning Romans, and keeps in harmony that there is only one condition for the gift of eternal life, and that is to simple believe (John 1:12;3:16;5:24;6:47).
    Gordon here is a good article on the subject:
    www.faithalone.org/news/y1987/87sep1.html - 5k -

    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Saturday, September 27, 2008 2:36:00 AM  

  • It's amazing to see how far this issue has progressed. It seems like the bologna has been sliced so thin, that there is not much actual meat left.

    Zane has taken his thinking to its logical conclusion (ie. no conditions for salvation), and it is being shown for what it is, bankrupt! It is good to see that there are some critical thinking FGr's out there who are calling Zane and ilk to the mat--it truly is the loving thing to do. When a brother goes over the edge we need to pull him back over.

    It's unfortunate that so much energy is being used over this, when there are so many other pressing issues facing the church. Anyway keep up the fight, and keep your eye on the prize!

    By Blogger Bobby Grow, at Saturday, September 27, 2008 2:45:00 AM  

  • But no one has answered Antonio's hypothethical:

    What is the fate of the simple soul who simply believes in Jesus for eternal life?

    By Blogger anton, at Saturday, September 27, 2008 2:58:00 AM  

  • Well Bobby it slices like this:

    Is eternal life a gift that one can take freely?

    Jesus says yes!
    Zane agrees!

    Their in the same boat!
    Where are you?

    By Blogger alvin, at Saturday, September 27, 2008 3:55:00 AM  

  • Diane,
    Thank you for visiting this blog. I know that ZH isn't a blogger. I agree that he has been treated in an unseemly way by those his brothers in their articles. It is all very unpleasant. I had appreciated the way he didn't seem to fight back. I just got the feeling in this article like he was coining his own perjorative phrase; that is how it came off to me.

    I don't think that John 3:16 is robbed from us if we view the cross as a part of saving faith. Antonio and I disagreed on this when he wrote his article on this blog about John 3:16. :~)

    Now, as to JVMcGee. He was a lifeline to me when I first was saved. I had no church to speak of for the first 5 years I was a Christian and the Bible Bus was so important to me! I read through (and still refer to) the 5 volume set of his edited messages. That is where I got that quote. I love the songs you posted! How talented you are and how the Lord inspires your love of the brethren.

    Thanks again for your comments. Sorry it took me so long to respond. Oh and thanks for bringing up the small child issue. That always throws a curve to my thinking and challenges me.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, September 27, 2008 6:15:00 AM  

  • However you slice it, the understanding is plain:

    Question
    Is eternal life a gift that one can take freely?

    Answer
    YES.

    I was wrong in my held views: eating humble pie isn't easy, but dogmatism must give way to reason. I'm no Fundy.

    The reasoning is based on interpretation of the text AND the practical outworkings of that interpretation.

    Did Dr Hodges escalate the issue? I used to think this was un-biblical, but Scripture records several instances of the use of the method.

    So wrong on two counts. I suppose the lesson is that what God's Word says is more important than what we think and feel. My 0.02 anyway. Oops, based on my record, more like 0.00!

    By Blogger anton, at Saturday, September 27, 2008 6:25:00 AM  

  • Antonio,
    You said:
    ____________
    2) You must give up your aversion to Zane Hodges using the label

    THEOLOGICAL LEGALISM

    _____________

    But I don't want to! I still don't like it. I think it is a "pejorative term."

    :~) I thank you for your comments. I really enjoyed reading them. The first one was so long and filled with capital letters. I smiled as I read it. Then the second.. and third.. and fourth. The way you progressed in your comments to me: from trying to explain why my criticism was wrong... to backing up and telling me that you appreciated my post in the fourth comment. We have known eachother for a few years now and I was not surprised as I read through those comments how they came out like that. :~)

    Now for a couple of ideas on what you said:

    1.
    You said: It has been granted time and time again that a variety of things about Jesus will HAVE to be understood and assented to in order to bring one to the point of resting his eternal destiny upon Jesus by faith.

    Yes. You have said that over and over again. Some may not hear you, but I have... and I appreciate that you are NOT promoting that someone can just believe in Christ in a complete vaccuuum of understadning.

    You go on: But this is different than saying that such things are REQUIRED as if from the MOUTH OF GOD.

    I am so glad that I have never seen anyone make a person they are evangelizing agree to a list of doctrines, as though to check them off on a list (like taking a test, because they are REQUIRED to do so from the MOUTH OF GOD) makes them saved. I actually think most of the evangelism programs I know of ask people if they understand the truth about Christ because they are trying to make sure that there isn't something more the person may need so that they can understand what is being told to them. This is a good thing and I am sure you agree.

    2.
    I am glad you answered my "far from adequate" question. I wondered about that, sincerely.

    3.
    Antonio, in the way that you understand the issues, I appreciate everything that you have said in your comments. ;~)

    4.
    You said: I am glad that you are my sister in Christ and I am glad that we are blog partners.

    I am also blessed to have you as a brother... glad to know you... and glad to be a part of this blog. :~)

    Thank you for your comments!

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, September 27, 2008 6:45:00 AM  

  • Diane,
    I wanted to also share this quote from JV McGee. I was looking into 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15 a couple of weeks ago I came across this note in his edited messages:

    People in the church ought to withdraw from troublemakers in the church. However, many people more or less court their favor, because they don't want those people to talk about them, knowing they have vicious tongues. ~J. Vernon McGee

    I posted that on my blog.

    I have a funny story about my former pastor, Dr. Ernest Pickering... and my husband... and JV McGee. I just want to share it. This happened about 17 years ago.

    My husband loved Dr. Pickering, having been under his ministry for about 7 years (sometime before we met).

    I loved J. Vernon McGee as I explained; he was like a pastor to me when I was unchurched.

    Well, right after we got married, we moved to MPLS where Pickering was a pastor. This was the first I had known Pickering. My husband and I were still getting to know eachother, having gotten married sort of early in our relationship because he was moving to MPLS and wanted me to go with him.

    I had not been a "churched" person for very long, even though I had been saved 5 years. I had not read a lot of the same books my husband had read. Well, Dr. Pickering had written a book called "Biblical Separation" that was about not compromising with organizations that embrace liberal theology, explaining away the Bible. He also expanded in other publications about "New Evangelicals" which are such people who compromise.

    OK so that is the background for my story.

    So we are sitting in church and Dr. Pickering mentions JV McGee in his sermon, favorably referring to a quote from McGee. Well, this perked my ears because during weeks just before this, my husband had said that he thought JVM was a "New Evangelical" and had gotten my dander up. (Remember, I loved McGee) I didn't even know what a New Evangleical was at the time, but I could tell from the way my husband said the word that it was not a compliment. And he went on to explain what it was and I was sure he was wrong to call JVM that.

    So after the service I walked right up to Dr. Pickering (which surprised my husband in and of itself because Pickering was thought by many to be austere and unapproachable). But I just walked right up to him, not knowing him well enough to be nervous, and said: "Dr. Pickering, is J Vernon McGee a New Evangelical?" Dr. Pickering chuckled and asked me how I would ever come up with such an idea. I just turned and looked at John. Pickering went on to explain that no, he wouldn't use that term to describe McGee at all. We talked for a while and enjoyed some conversation about what "New Evangelicals" really are.

    It was fun! teehee :~) My husband and I still recall that day with such fond memories. It was one of those moments that you can both laugh about years later.

    Anyways, sorry for rambling, but I really wanted to share that story.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, September 27, 2008 7:12:00 AM  

  • WJC,
    Thank you so mcu for your comment. I agree that with some of things we are seeing, there is a bridge to nowhere being built. Just because I criticized the article in no way means I approve of scewering the brethren.

    God bless and have a wonderful weekend in the Lord.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, September 27, 2008 7:19:00 AM  

  • Antonio,
    Regarding the term "fundamentalist."

    You said:
    Fundamentalism associated with places such as Bob Jones U. is a different genus than that which you or your husband would consider yourselves.

    Yes and I have enjoyed sharing some emails with a graduate of BJU this week and see how very awful that kind of legalism can be right from the mouth of one who has lived through it.

    Ya know - it all has to do with where your battles are fought. My husband grew up in a liberal Presbyterian home. These folks deny the ressurection (Jesus rose in our hearts) and think God could be a woman etc... So he had thought of himself as a "fighting fundamentalist" when he took up the battle with that "theology". Some people who have grown up and spent their lives in circles where people take the Bible literaly are more "skilled" at fighting with the brethren (who believe closely to the way they do)... and about a lot of incidental things, BTW... like hair length, beat in music, and all kinds of external items.

    The real fundamentalist fight is with liberal theology.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, September 27, 2008 7:26:00 AM  

  • Bobby,
    You said:

    It's unfortunate that so much energy is being used over this, when there are so many other pressing issues facing the church.

    As I said somewhere else this week, this is the most ridiculous case of hair splitting I have ever seen.

    Thanks for visiting.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, September 27, 2008 7:29:00 AM  

  • Alvin and Anton,

    Good to see you around. God bless.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, September 27, 2008 7:30:00 AM  

  • Hi, Alvin. I would like to respond to your comment to me.

    You said: I’m not the person, but the salvation that is spoken of in Romans 10:9 has two conditions. The prerequisite, one must be a believer before they can confess with their mouth and experience this type of salvation which is for believers who call upon the Lord for deliverance from the power of sin.

    One has to pull this verse completely out of context to derive "deliverance from sins" from its meaning. The verses before and after are referring to salvation. The Greek sodezo used here is consistently used throughout the NT for salvation.

    OTOH, if we examine Romans 7:24, where Paul is clearly speaking of deliverance from sins, we find "deliver" being translated from rhuomai, which means "rescue".

    As for Mark 16:16, it need not necessarily mean something different. Again, this is in the context of the Gospel. Remember, the baptism of the Holy Spirit was coming in just a few days.

    On another note, several commentors have attempted to use the hypothetical argument of a small child when it comes to the understanding of the cross. Let me just say that I, my two sons and my nephew were all saved at the age of four years old. My brother was saved when he was three. Each of us had a clear understanding of what the cross meant. We may not have understood the big words, but we knew that we were sinners, knew that Jesus died to forgive our sins and we knew He rose from the grave.

    So let's lay that little straw man to rest, shall we? I would suggest that if a child is having difficulty understanding it, then they simply aren't yet old enough to be saved and are protected under the grace of God.

    Was that helpful?

    By Blogger Gordon, at Saturday, September 27, 2008 8:00:00 AM  

  • Rose, I loved your story about Dr. McGee, your husband, and Dr. Pickering. It did make me smile!
    :-)

    At the "Thru The Bible Radio" Rally in KC just a few weeks after he died, they showed a video of Dr. McGee. He was preaching and very feeble. It was next to the last sermon he ever preached. His body was frail, but his humor was as sharp as ever. In that sermon he comes out and says that Lordship Salvation is heresy. I was surprised because he was so strong about it. I had friends with me that night who were not pleased about that.

    Rose, I appreciate you and your blog.

    God's best to you,
    Diane
    :-)

    By Blogger Diane, at Saturday, September 27, 2008 9:40:00 AM  

  • Diane,
    Do you have any idea how I could view such a sermon? Do you remember what it was called or anything inforamtional like that? I had heard about somehting similar and have always been wanting to know about it.

    Gordon,
    Ya know, I was htinking about your statement regarding the children believing in the cross... and the quote from Bob Wilkin in this month's GES newsletter came to mind:

    "I've never met a single person who was born again who didn't also believe that they were a sinner, that Jesus is God, and that Jesus died on the cross for his sins and rose bodily from the dead." ~Bob Wilkin, GES

    Why do we even have to wonder about this? is the question I keep asking.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, September 27, 2008 10:12:00 AM  

  • sorry about all my typos!!!

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, September 27, 2008 10:13:00 AM  

  • Rose, I have that video.
    The name....
    "What Can Believers Do In Days Of Apostasy?"
    by Dr. J. Vernon McGee
    June 1988

    I would just contact "Thru The Bible Radio" and see if they still have it.
    If not, let me know. I could always try to have it copied and mailed to you. Thanks.

    Diane
    :-)

    By Blogger Diane, at Saturday, September 27, 2008 10:57:00 AM  

  • Diane!
    I actually have that video. I watched it a long time ago - like 20 years ago. I see it from time to time (along with a Founder's Day Banquet video from TTB) when I am arranging all the gazillions of videos that we have, mostly kid vids. I just never have taken the time to watch it again in all these years. Back then I didn't even know what Lordship Salvation was, really.

    Guess what I am going to watch tonight? :~)

    Thank you for alerting me to that!

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, September 27, 2008 11:16:00 AM  

  • Rose, that's a good question. Each person involved in this discussion (on either side) should consider that.

    Another one that I would ask is this: if we believe in the cross, preach the cross and have never met a believer who didn't understand the cross, why would we even posit the possibility that one could be saved without the knowledge of it?

    By Blogger Gordon, at Saturday, September 27, 2008 11:21:00 AM  

  • Friends,

    Regarding Bob Wilkin's statement...

    "I've never met a single person who was born again who didn't also believe that they were a sinner, that Jesus is God, and that Jesus died on the cross for his sins and rose bodily from the dead." ~Bob Wilkin, GES

    Bob probably wasn't thinking in terms of children either when he said that. There are millions of people in the world living in all different cultures. Who's to say that God doesn't reach one of them with the knowledge that He is the Christ, the Son of God, the giver of eternal life.... just like He's done in the past.

    Here's one reason why it's important to understand EVERYTHING that God reveals to us in His Word.
    **It opens up the rest of the Bible for understanding.**

    In John, realizing what the saving message is, realizing what the 8 signs are for, opens up the meaning of the rest of the book. Understanding the saving content opens up the entire Bible for understanding. It opens up our understanding to Paul's teachings. It opens up understanding in a multitude of ways. This isn't just one little issue.

    For example...
    When I learned about the meaning of repentance, it opened up to me the book of Acts in a way that I never saw before. It was exciting!
    Learning any truth opens up other truths in the Bible. My favorite phrase..... "The pieces fit."

    My friends, it's fun to learn. It's so satisfying. And when God reveals a truth to us that may be "new" (only to us.... not new in His Word), it's because He's going to open up other truths. His Word is inexhaustible. We never get to where we know it all.

    What Zane Hodges is teaching is not harming the free grace message. It's enlightening it. It's opening it up to see other great truths in His Word. It's showing us just how free His gift is!!!! It is so free!!!!

    Again I have to publicly thank Zane Hodges for the way he has helped open up the truths of the Bible to me. One truth has led to me seeing other truths. I thank God for him. He's been faithful!

    Thank you again for letting me vent! I appreciate it.

    All because of His wonderful grace,
    Diane
    :-)

    By Blogger Diane, at Saturday, September 27, 2008 1:12:00 PM  

  • Bobby Grow, I have responded to something you said in a post on my blog:

    The Unconditional Gift of God

    By Blogger Antonio, at Saturday, September 27, 2008 2:02:00 PM  

  • Rose,

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing that account of JVM & Dr. Pick. I appreciate both those men more than I can say. If I had a few pages I might be able to beging telling how the Lord used Dr. Mac to help me back to Him when I was away from Him. I would love more than I could say to see that video. I may contact TTB & see if it is available. I am looking forward to seeing good ol' Dr. McGee in Heaven!
    Anyway, the reason I'm writing this is to say I agree with Gordon & you about this. I wish I could express the dismay & just the confusion all this has caused in my mind. Earlier GES article really blessed me & helped me, but these later ones are just tangling me up inside. I know I am simple-minded & I just don't think like most folk, but I am seriously thinking, & am just at the point of saying, ENOUGH!! I am ready to move away from it awhile. Thank you all here. I rwally appreciate each of you. Bro. Antonio has said some very kind & generous (too much so!) things that I greatly appreciate & so have others. This is nothing against anyone here. I just need to move away from this debate for awhile. Y'all really are a blessing. Maybe I'll return later. Y'all are more than welcome at my simple blog, "Hallelujah! 'Tis Done" anytime. Please come by. God Bless!

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at Saturday, September 27, 2008 4:24:00 PM  

  • Alvin,

    I would identify myself as 'Scottish Reformed' soteriologically--which means I don't adhere to Westminster and the 5 points. I think the Scot's Confession is much more to my liking (I realize this requires more development which I won't do now).

    Antonio,

    thanks for clarifying 'the way' of salvation for me over at your site, but I'm afraid you're mistaken on your understanding of the gratuitous nature of grace--i.e. ordo salutis (order of salvation).

    But beyond that my position always has been that the only way an free offer of salvation can be truly offered is if the one making the offer is indeed, divine. I think you create a false dichotomy and engage in category mistakes, when you place a wedge between the 'objective' reality of salvation---i.e.that GOD alone can offer 'free' salvation---and the 'subjective' reality of salvation---i.e. that man's 'response' to salvation is typified by Jesus' response on the cross . . . "Father into thy hands I commit my spirit . . . ,".

    Your false dichotomy comes in when you seem to divide the objective from the subjective, when the subjective is presupposed by the objective. The objective is the 'ontological' base from which the subjective--epistemological--side of salvation springs.

    Your category mistake seems to be rooted in a confusion between these two inter-related realities. So that sometimes you want to emphasize the objective side (when responding to your detractors--i.e. to 'prove your orthodoxy'); and other times you want to emphasize the subjective side, and unconditionality of salvation (e.g. to assert your 'novel' and 'pure' view of salvation). Which brings us full circle, and back to my first comment on this thread.

    Salvation is a holistic reality, and you seem to want to talk about it 'Nestorianly' or schizophrenically. That's why I think this whole issue is really a non-starter, because it 'starts' on 'un-sound' premises---as I just tried to highlight above.

    You know that I disagree with Westminster Calvinism, but there are other streams of 'Reformed soteriology' (as I allude above @ Alvin) that emphasize the gratuitous nature and free offer of salvation; and I think much more consistently than Zane's 'Free Grace'.

    The irony to me, Antonio, is that your view of grace and the'order of salvation' is mutually excluded and thus incompatible with your assertion and version of 'Free Grace salvation.

    peace

    By Blogger Bobby Grow, at Saturday, September 27, 2008 4:58:00 PM  

  • Hi Gordon

    Gordon and Everyone be Bereans and study this out and see if it's true. Look up all the verses, don't just go by your tradition, please. This can really open Scripture up.


    First off we know the book of Romans is not written for the purpose one might receive the gift of eternal life, but is written to believers. And being the gospel of John makes clear the only condition for eternal life is to believe, that should send up a red flag. Below is an explanation by Zane Hodges concerning the word “saved” and it’s transitional meaning. Please take the time and be a Berean, and study this out, and you will find that it harmonizes beautifully.

    I think this is well worth quoting from Zane Hodges:
    We should keep in mind that the key word in John’s doctrine of eternal salvation is “life,” specifically “eternal life.” For Paul, the key word is “justification.” Neither writer ever associates his basic idea with anything other than faith. For John, baptism plays no role in obtaining “life.” For Paul, it plays no role in “justification.” In fact, there is no New Testament writer who associates baptism with either of these issues. (page 116,117 of The Gospel Under Siege)
    This leads to a further important observation. In Luke’s writings, and also Paul’s the term “salvation,” or “saved” (in reference to converts to Christianity) is reserved for those who have received not only eternal life and justification, but also the gift of the Holy Spirit.
    Thus the word “saved” is used of Cornelius’s experience in direct connection with the gift of the Spirit (Acts 11:14-18). It is applied to the first converts in Acts only when they have been baptized and incorporated into the Church through the bestowal of the Spirit (Acts 2:41,47). It is the baptism of the Spirit, not new birth alone, that introduces men into the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). Neither Luke nor Paul ever used the term “saved” of those not yet baptised with the Holy Spirit. In Titus 3:4-7, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is a prominent part of Paul’s description of how God “saved” us.
    By contrast, John apparently can refer the term “saved” to those who have simply received eternal life. His use of the expression “saved” is rare, but the examples seem sufficient to prove the point just stated (John 3:17; 5:34; 10:9). It must be kept in mind that those who believed in Jesus during the course of His earthly life received only eternal life. The gift of the Spirit awaited the post-ascension situation (John 7:39).
    It follows from this that, in the Johannine sense, the converts of Acts 2 were “saved” before they were baptized. That is, they received eternal life the moment they believed in Jesus Christ. But in the Pauline and Lucan sense, they were not “saved” until after they were baptized, since only then did they receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
    Even in Paul and Luke’s sense of the word, however, all but the first century Palestinians received this “salvation” on the basis of faith alone. But everyone, in all times and places, has received this “salvation” on the basis of faith alone. But everyone, in all times and places, has received eternal life (and been “saved” in John’s sense of the word) by faith and faith alone.
    If the distinctions are kept in mind, the significance of Mark 16:16 can be properly analyzed.
    In Mark 16:16 Jesus states:
    “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”
    Here the Lord Jesus anticipates Luke and Paul’s use of the term “saved.” The bestowal of the Spirit, with His accompanying gifts, is clearly in His mind as is proved by verses 17,18. Thus our Lord speaks here of a “salvation” that involves not only eternal life, but also the gift of the Spirit.
    Naturally His statement is a summary statement. It is designed to cover all the post-Pentecostal cases of “salvation.” And as exceptional as the situation of Acts 2, 8 and 19 are, they need to be covered by His declaration. So He announces that everyone who takes the two steps specified (faith and baptism) will experince the “salvation” He is speaking of.
    Yet it has often been noticed that the condemnation in Mark 16:16 rests simply on the failure to believe. This is what we would expect. Eternal life is granted to faith alone (John 3:16; 5:24; etc.), and anyone who has it can never go to hell, whether they are baptized or not. But today, of course, the Holy Spirit is given to every believer, before baptism, at the moment of faith in Christ. (page 122,123)

    By Blogger alvin, at Saturday, September 27, 2008 10:26:00 PM  

  • Rose, - Diane mentioned little children and mentioned the 3 year old of one of the moms in her bible study who the mom thinks is already saved because she believes in Jesus and knows that she will live with Him for ever in heaven. You mentioned that this makes you think...

    I have a passage for you to savor and enjoy:

    In Matthew 18 Jesus is with His disciples and He has just asked them who is the greatest in the kingdom. He then calls a little child to Him and sets him before the disciples and says:

    3“Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
    4 “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
    5 “And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me;

    Beautiful and revealing words concerning entrance and rank in the kingdom. But I would ask you to focus and ponder what He then says in verse 6:

    ...but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

    (Emphasis mine)

    There is a treasure trove of significance in this lovely picture that captures the simplicity of the gospel - so simple that a little child can believe in Him. It isn't some theoretical discussion either. Without even a question for the little one He called him and then He placed that little child in front of them and stated "one of these little ones who believe in me". This is such a staggering revelation set in contrast to the complex nature of Israel's religious system and the cultural stature of it's religious leaders!

    There are several significant lessons in this passage but it is for me one of the loveliest "visuals" of the simplicity, childlike and uncomplicated nature of belief in Jesus.

    By Blogger wjc, at Sunday, September 28, 2008 8:51:00 PM  

  • And numbered among those who cause the little ones to stumble are (in recent chronological order):

    the RCC, the LDS, the JW, in fact any group that tags on additional requirements to simple belief.

    At some point of time, someone will have to pipe up and reiterate, that on belief, it is JESUS who protects believers:

    International Standard Version (©2008)
    Jude 1 From: Jude, a servant of Jesus the Messiah, and yet a brother of James. To: Those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept safe by Jesus, the Messiah.

    (NASB ©1995)
    John 17:12 “While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.

    1 Peter 1:5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

    And it is JESUS who perfects them:

    (NASB ©1995)
    Ephesians 1:22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

    Ephesians 5:26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.

    John 13:14 “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.

    2 Timothy 2:7 Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

    If you like, Jesus is saying, "This is what Eternal Life looks like:"

    John 4:17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband;
    this you have said truly.”

    Omiscience.

    And here's how it's done:

    (NASB ©1995)
    Luke 22:42 saying, "Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done."

    John 6:38 "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

    IOW, eternal living is an OBSERVABLE, DIFFERENT way of living. The starting point is a simple belief in Jesus on our part: all the rest is from JESUS.

    No wonder He comes down hard on those who cause "stumbling". The stakes are that high. The early Church, as recorded by both secular and Christian writings, majored on the "miraculous works of the Christ" (His manifesting of the life that was in the Father) and preached it at every gathering. John was written to pass on the legacy.

    By Blogger anton, at Monday, September 29, 2008 2:11:00 AM  

  • David,
    I understand and I also have had it up to here with the entire thing. I wish other people would stop bringing it up and continuing it. God bless you brother; we love you.

    wjc,
    Thank you for your comment. That should make us all think.
    On the other hand, ya know, I think in a lot of ways it is helpful to leave some of these things in the hands of God. We should all do our best as witnesses to the truth about Christ (as all are claiming to do and that is not the issue) and leave the results to God. If someone in Bora Bora doesn't get the whole idea of the cross but yet "trusts Jesus for eternal life" - and someone here declares that such a one cannot be saved - what of it? What real difference does it make? As long as everyone is true to the messgae of the cross, (which the critics admit to) then who cares what one theorizes and what anotuher theorizes about the actual minumal content of saving faith? Leave it in the hands of God, everyone. Be faithful to the truth about Christ and let God decide if person A or person B is saved.

    My simple approach!

    Hey, thanks for visiting.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, September 29, 2008 5:41:00 AM  

  • Michelle,
    BTW, re the Fundamentyalism comments, I want you to know I was not offended or bothered, just wanted to clarify. You also helped to clarify it in my mind. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, September 29, 2008 5:43:00 AM  

  • Gordon,
    I remembered who it was who told me about the Romans 10 view re the Jews. It was HK Flynn aka Jodie. SHe is a memeber of this blog who never blogs anymore. A great lady who debated Frank Turk on the book of James (did you ever read any of that on his debate blog?)

    Anyways, I also remembered that ZH did talk about it in a more vanilla way (leaving out the specific view about the Jews) in his excellent book "absolutely Free" which is non-controversial in Free-Grace circles, recognized as a great response to John MacArthur's "TGATJ" from 1989. You can read it right here: Romans 10:9-10

    What do you think? It made sense to me when I read it and it seemed to deal with my objection over "confessing with the mouth" being an addition to faith.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, September 29, 2008 5:56:00 AM  

  • the link in the first comment didn't work so I re-did it.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, September 29, 2008 5:57:00 AM  

  • Rose,

    It's great that you're making the effort to think these issues through. I really respect that. However, I'm sure Zane would not consider you a "theological legalist". That is directed only at those who coined the misleading and disingenuous label "crossless gospel", accuse Zane of teaching a false Gospel, and are demanding that he repent and conform to their beliefs.. You do not do that, so Zane would have absolutely no problem having fellowship with you even though you disagree with him on some things.

    I checked your blog out. You are a gifted and thoughtful person.

    God bless.
    Gary

    By Blogger goe, at Monday, September 29, 2008 7:52:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose, I appreciate the link and found it interesting.

    I must say that I find Hodges' interpretation lacking in a few areas.

    1. One does not have to ignore the NT concept of believers calling on the Lord in order to interpret this text as being evangelistic. There are many texts in the NT that encourage believers to pray. He appears to be creating a bit of a false dichotomy here.

    2. The context of this chapter is clearly evangelistic. Throughout this epistle he has been discussing righteousness and justification coming by faith. He begins this chapter with an expression of his desire that Israel would be saved. There is nothing to indicate that this is from a particular wrath or judgment other than what is normally reserved for unbelievers.

    3. An additional point concerning context is this, in verse 12, he uses the coupling, "The Jew and the Greek", this is the same phrase he uses in I Corinthians 1 where he is clearly talking about the issue of believing for salvation.

    4. I will reiterate what I stated to Alvin earlier concerning the meaning of salvation.

    One has to pull this verse completely out of context to derive "deliverance from sins" from its meaning. The verses before and after are referring to salvation. The Greek sodezo used here is consistently used throughout the NT for salvation.

    OTOH, if we examine Romans 7:24, where Paul is clearly speaking of deliverance from sins, we find "deliver" being translated from rhuomai, which means "rescue".


    5. Finally, if one follows Hodges' logic to its conclusion, they must believe that it is possible for one to be saved and yet unable to call upon the Lord for help if no one has ever told them how. His rearrangement of the order of steps to believing seem to indicate that a believer cannot call upon God until after they have heard from the preacher. I fail to see the meaning he is deriving from this.

    I do not believe that it is necessary for us to consider "confession" to be a work that is added to faith. The Bible teaches there are different types of faith that impact our behavior in different ways. It would seem that this text is calling for the type of faith that results in an open confession of what is believed.

    Thanks again for your willingness to discuss this.

    By Blogger Gordon, at Monday, September 29, 2008 7:57:00 AM  

  • Goe,
    That is very nice of you, thanks. There are a handful of people who like to gossip about me, make fun of me for my understandings, and even call me "dangerous," but I am really not that controversial a person. (I tell you that because I just wouldn't want you to be afraid of me) :~)

    As you say, I am sure my husband and I could get along with ZH and would be honored to ever talk to him. I am certain that I could have delightful fellowship even with the people who defame me around the "campus" if I ever met them face to face. The internet is such a sterile environment. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, September 29, 2008 9:43:00 AM  

  • Gordon,
    Thank you for your thoughts about the passage and the link.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, September 29, 2008 9:44:00 AM  

  • I was just reading some stuff by a ThM named Tim Nichols. He wrote an open letter to the FreeGrace community calling for civility and love which was so encouraging. He also has a link to his postition paper. In it he writes:

    Many more of the controversies in which we are presently distracted would simply
    become unimportant, because if we are evangelizing according to John’s pattern, it makes little difference what we believe the bare minimum message might be; we’ll be seeking to include all that John does, which surely should be enough to satisfy anybody.


    I agree with him. He says it much better than I.

    If you want to see this stuff, here is a page with a link to his letter and other links. I am only on the second link now.

    Tim Nichols' Page

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, September 29, 2008 10:34:00 AM  

  • Anton,

    You said:
    And numbered among those who cause the little ones to stumble are (in recent chronological order):

    the RCC, the LDS, the JW, in fact any group that tags on additional requirements to simple belief.


    I agree, in fact I said something similar around here recently.

    Rose,

    Thank you for reading the comments about fundamentalism, did you read my blog post on it?

    Goe,

    Rose shouldn't have to speak for herself alone. I can tell you that she has been very compassionate and kind and welcoming to me since we began talking. She is one of the first people to reach out to me since joining the free grace arena.

    Michele

    By Blogger Sanctification, at Monday, September 29, 2008 4:08:00 PM  

  • Michele,

    I spent some time at your blog a couple of days ago Michele. I carefully read your testimony and was impressed with your genuineness in seeking God and your introduction to Free Grace theology thru Dr. Radmacher. I'm jealous that you know him and I don't! Just kidding. I was also very impressed with your love for the Mormons and your earnest desire to serve them in sacrificial love and earn the right to be heard by them. You are way beyond me in spiritual maturity. I also watched the Jesus of Nazareth video where Peter confesses that Jesus is the Christ. I've never seen that before and it had a powerful emotional impact on me. Very well done. By the way, I'm not trying to be coy, just pressed for time right now. I am a little puzzled as to why you think I'm straddling the fence though. I thought I was quite straightforward with Lou and told him exactly where I stand.

    God bless you,

    Gary

    God bless you,
    Gary

    By Blogger goe, at Monday, September 29, 2008 6:03:00 PM  

  • Gary,

    Oh, I don't think you're straddling the fence, or coy, at all! When you went to his blog I saw a "mini me." Though I must not be the first, and you probably aren't the last. Those who stumble on this debate and have any background for believing in refined free grace are going to be highly concerned about Lou's message. You went there and gave him all your honesty.

    I was only trying to think (in another thread, I lose track) about how Lou thinks about it. Much different than what I see you having intended. Trying to undo the puzzle of the difference in culture and language (in my opinion, every group operates according to different values, I call that culture).

    I thought you were completely fair and putting your faith and hope in God while in his space.

    BTW, you telling me that I'm more mature, actually means you're the more mature one.

    FYI ;)

    :D

    Michele

    By Blogger Sanctification, at Monday, September 29, 2008 7:46:00 PM  

  • Hi Gordon

    Sorry I was so slow to respond, and that you didn’t receive any help from Zanes writings.
    I believe in what’s called “the analogy of faith” which goes like this. Scripture never contradicts Scripture, and you always go by the clear passages to shed light on the more difficult ones and not the other way around. So when you come to a more difficult passage like Romans 10:9-10 you know that it is not saying the same thing as John 3:16. In fact eternal life is not mentioned in Romans 10:9-10, and the condition there for the salvation that is offered is not only to believe but to confess with your mouth. Also the object of your belief there is that God rose Jesus from the dead. So we know that Paul here is not saying the same thing as in John’s gospel. I believe that 99 times in the gospel of John the only condition is to believe. Also save is used there I think only three times with the only condition of believing in Jesus. Also I showed you where there was ones who had believed but had not confessed Christ. (John 12:42)
    I know with my own personal experience I was raised up in the Baptist church, and was led to believe in order to go to heaven you must confess Christ by walking an isle. Which as a young boy I was terrified to go up in front of so many people. And then when I finally did, what I was trusting in was the fact that I had went forward. That, that act had saved me! What I have learnt since than is that one does not conform Scripture to fit you’re experience, but if experience does not match Scripture you better get rid of it. My brother being a Baptist Pastor believed he was saved against his will, which led him to buy into Calvinism. But what he should have done is chucked the experience for the truth.
    I also know that the gospel of John is written for the purpose one might have life, but Romans is written to those who already have life. I believe in Romans the salvation spoken of there is a full orbed salvation which takes in more than just eternal life but a salvation (deliverance) from the power of sin. Zane has pointed out: We should keep in mind that the key word in John’s doctrine of eternal salvation is “life,” specifically “eternal life.” For Paul, the key word is “justification.” Neither writer ever associates his basic idea with anything other than faith.
    I believe the salvation in Romans that Paul is sharing with the believers is being saved from the wrath of God by His life. It’s when we reckon ourselves dead with Christ and alive unto God that we experience this deliverance (salvation). Romans 5:1 (having been justified) speaks of the believer’s justification which is by faith alone but yet in Romans 5:10-11 “we shall be saved from wrath through Him” and “we shall be saved by His life.”

    Gordon, I’m convinced that in Romans 10:9-10 that it is not saying the same thing as John 3:16 or John 4:10, but the salvation spoken there is a much broader deliverance.
    I believe we have reached an impasse, because I know Scripture does not contradict Scripture, so I know what Romans 10:9-10 is not saying.
    And may God bless you in your journey for truth.
    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Wednesday, October 01, 2008 10:21:00 PM  

  • Thank you Rose. I have been away with the BBN Share-a-thon. What a blessing to hear the testimonies of God's people of how He has used the BBN ministry to help them through some hard times in their lives.
    Thank you for your encouragement. God Blesss you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at Saturday, October 04, 2008 1:31:00 PM  

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