[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)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Reasonable and Gracious Comment by a True Gentleman, Nevertheless Deleted by Lou Martuneac

by GOE, or Gary
[This is a comment that was posted on Lou Martuneac's blog, yet was deleted for its penetrating content. I reproduce it here with very little change except for some formatting to make it easier to read]

Thanks for not deleting my question Lou, and thanks to those who took the time to respond. Lou, there's no need for concern about my intentions. It would be rude of me to come in your house looking for a fight. I'm not here for that, I assure you.

We are all brothers in Christ here, and you know what our Lord says about that. I have been curious to learn what is going on in this current dispute. I only recently learned about it, because other than a conference I attended in 1996, I never have any personal contact with anyone from GES. When I learned of the rift that had occurred, I searched for some blogs to find out more. I have to say, I am truly grieved by what has happened. I know our Lord must be as well.

I find myself in an interesting position on this matter. On the one hand, as you mentioned above, my deliverance from the bondage of Lordship Salvation is one of the most wonderful and liberating things that has ever happened to me, and the Lord did that for me thru the ministry of Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin. I will forever be grateful to them. On the other hand, I belong to a church where only a handful of people have even heard of GES. My pastor is a dear and lifelong friend, and while he reads some of their material occasionally, he does not fully agree with all they teach. He would not, however, consider their teaching to be a "false" or "crossless" gospel because he knows that is not a fair characterization of what they are doing.. He attended Dallas Theological Seminary and his theology has pretty much been shaped by men such as Lewis Sperry Chafer, Charles Ryrie, D L Moody, etc. I admire and respect those men as well. So you see, there is no need for me to seek out a FGA church as you suggested above.

Aside from the fact that they do not charge GES with teaching a false gospel, I think you would like my pastor and my church. But you are correct, I have been heavily influenced by the teaching of GES. But that does not affect my love, respect and fellowship with those in my church who disagree, nor their fellowship with me. There has never been a man who had a perfect and complete understanding of God's Word, and anyone who has ever tried to write about profound theological matters knows what painstaking precision of expression it requires. No matter how skilled one is, it is inevitable that unguarded statements will be made which can easily be used to make a person appear to be a "heretic" as you say . "For we ALL stumble in MANY ways. If any man does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man..."

With all due respect Lou, I have read some of your material and there are quite a few things you write that could easily be used to destroy your credibility as well. I am honestly astonished by some of it. Does that make you a false teacher or bad person? No. It only makes you human Lou. These can be highly emotional issues because they are so important to all of us. Sometimes, like Peter, we can take up the sword and cut someones ear off in a misguided attempt to defend our Lord and the "truth".

When I read some of your statements about Zane and Bob, I am aghast at the caricature you create of them. Zane and Bob believe in the deity and substitutionary atonement just as you do. They believe we should proclaim those truths to unbelievers. There is not one single truth in the Bible that they don't believe should be proclaimed to unbelievers if it brings them to faith in Christ for eternal life. I think the sermons in Acts clearly demonstrate that principle. The last two verses in Acts say that for 2 years Paul "received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence... Do you include the kingdom of God in your list of essentials that a believer must understand? Do you include other other things they preached that concern Christ other than His deity, death and resurrection? Do you include a survey of the Old Testament like Stephen preached in your Gospel?

Jonathan says that I "obviously have a misunderstanding of Paul's glorious gospel". In what way Jonathan? The point of my question was not to deny that Paul preached the good news of Christ's finished work, but to point out the obvious: that for Paul and all the Apostles, the "gospel" they preached was not limited to His death and resurrection, but included any and every truth about Jesus Christ, even going back into the Old Testament itself. According to Gal.3:8, Paul says his gospel was even preached to Abraham. If Paul's concept of the gospel was the same as you seem to think, he and the rest of the Apostles would have just traveled around reading and handing out gospel tracts containing the checklist of steps or things that must be believed for salvation. I think that makes the absurdity of that concept of the "Gospel" compared to their concept rather obvious.

In Gal. 3:15-29 Paul refers to the "promise" 8 times. In Rom. 4:13-22 he refers to the "promise" 5 times directly and 1 other time indirectly. His point in each passage is that Abraham was justified by believing a PROMISE and that we are justified the same way as him---by believing a PROMISE. The death and resurrection of Christ, though of infinite importance as the basis for our salvation, does not contain a promise [editor's note: true that! emphasis mine]. It is just the fact of what Christ has done for us. He died for the sins of the whole world. Believing that does not not tell me that I have eternal life [emphasis mine] and so His death is meaningless for me. The sins of the whole world have been taken away. The justiice of God as been satisfied so that "He can be just and the justifier of the one who believes in Jesus". His finished work is an objective fact and is good news even if no one ever believes it. But when I do believe, the purpose of His Death is fulfilled and it's meaning realized in my life.

All "Christian" cults believe Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead. Many believe in His deity as well as many other things about Him--yet they are not saved and do not have eternal life. So what is the life giving truth that must be believed? It is the Promise, just as the Gospel of John tells us and Paul confirms in his epistles. There is no conflict between John and Paul. They both preached the same good news. WE should do as the apostles did and preach anything and everything, especially the death and resurrection of Christ. But if we leave out the life giving promise, we have left out the most important part [emphasis mine]. We must tell them what Paul told the jailor. We must tell them about the promises of Jesus. We then leave the results to the conviction, drawing and teaching of the Holy Spirit. Jn. 6:43-45. How much does a person absolutely have to understand in order to be saved? How much was Paul consciously understanding and believing when he was dazed, blinded and knocked to the ground on the road to Damascus? Did Jesus say: "Wait a minute Paul, you can't be saved until you are consciously aware of, understand and believe my finished work!" One thing I'm sure he believed was that Jesus is the Christ! 1 Jn 5:1 says that "whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God." Jn 20:31 Jn 11:25-27 explains that believing that Jesus is the Christ entails believing in Him for eternal life.

Zane and Bob might not agree with everything I've said here, I don't know, but I say all that to say this---they have tried to clarify what has long been much neglected and distorted in the preaching of the Gospel--simple faith in the Jesus' promise of eternal life. They have also emphasized it because it lies at the heart of Lordship Salvation heresy. In their desire emphasis and clarify on this they are sometimes misunderstood. In my opinion the scriptures support their belief that the promise of God is and always has been the specific object of saving faith. When we believe the promise, we are believing (or trusting) the One making the promise.

Since Jonathan said in response to a simple question about Acts that I " obviously did not not understand the glorious gospel of Paul" I feel he should at least be given the opportunity to actually hear what my view is, and that I should be able to tell him.

I plan on reading some of your articles and hear your side of things as well.

Lou, I appeal to you in the name of Christ--be reconciled to your brothers in the Lord. The Lord Jesus loves you and He loves them. One day we will all be together forever. Until then, He wants to use us all according to His purpose.

Your brother in Christ,
Heb. 13:20-22


  • Yeah, that is good.

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Friday, September 26, 2008 1:05:00 AM  

  • I "feel" goe. Amen. His heart is where mine is at as well.

    Hey Antonio, do you know goe? Did he email this comment to you or did someone else email it to you - a third party?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Friday, September 26, 2008 12:05:00 PM  

  • Hi all,

    There was plenty of time for anyone to copy and paste it before Lou removed it. It didn't get taken down quickly from what I noticed.

    I don't want to be repetitive, here, and even more so I don't want to say things that anyone finds unpleasant. But I have been thinking and researching more about the fundamentalist mindset. It is a preoccupation with purity. Does this make sense? You've heard many talk about the "post-modern" worldview or many other kinds of filters of thinking layed over and through Christianity and its truths.

    Purity over doctrine, purity over fellowship, purity in behavior; there are many kinds of fundamentalism. Quests for purity are a lack of balance and therefore semi-blindness for the inherent error and imperfections of the basic human nature: in society, also in self.

    You might say "what you mean is basically a pharisee." Not really, a fundamentalist that is Christian may understand grace in many different realms of the Christian life, practice them, receive and extend them, but, in select issues only they see need for separation and can't accept the grace and resolution God truly calls us to a members of one body.

    What this also therefore means, is that there truly wouldn't be anything deficient in the personal character of such people. Knowing that these people are brothers and sisters in Christ goes a long way to trust that they are truly honorable and compassionate according to the ways God prescribes; that the Lord allows for those on the other side to operate with a clear conscience, just goes to show that this has so little to do with an actual character lapse and so much more with the filter through which the Christian life is interpreted to be carried out.

    Now, it is of course possible that any one person may have an uncommonly high number of blind-spots or, whatever you want to call those unnourished areas of consciousness.

    It'd be so great in this discussion if someone might do a little study on how to think about how we think about being Christians. I'm sure this kind of material must be out there somewhere. In the meantime I don't think it is good to think that there is deficiencies of character just because they have a very starkly different modus operandi.

    I will try and produce something acutally documentable on this sort of stuff.


    By Blogger Sanctification, at Friday, September 26, 2008 4:21:00 PM  

  • Hi all,

    Please forgive me, I don't mean to be arrogant.

    In the last several years I learned that most of the problem existing between evangelicals and LDS are the values and priorities of the two groups. Not a lot of work has been done out there on translating between the cultures and languages. But MaioCampo (Barry) and I can testify that with a lot of time and effort most of the conflict that is going on is completely unnecessary, once you learn how to speak and act according to the values of the other side. I've grown to fall in love with translating and so I want to try and see if some of that can be done here.

    I just want to give some of the more obvious and more helpful examples right away.

    This side places a high priority on unity. Therefore the skills and the attempts to reason with the scriptures are coveted.

    That side over there places a high priority on using resources to promote truth and diffuse error. As a result, reasoning with scriptures takes a much lower priority.

    In the real-time interactions, we notice people who are interested in unity like goe, me, others, go over and actually end up offending and violating in their ears, but defending righteousness and reason in the ears of this side.

    Does this sound right? I may not grasp everything, let alone translate things right, but, it's a start. I am sure you all have been aware of these differences for some time but I'm not sure if anyone has done any work on communicating it? Perhaps the readers here might make contributions of their perspectives and experiences so that we can really get a good working translation for terms like:

    "political gamemanship"

    and others.

    Thank you for letting me suggest this,

    By Blogger Sanctification, at Friday, September 26, 2008 5:07:00 PM  

  • Michelle,
    You really think "outside the box." :~)

    I would say that the use of the word political gamesmanship is used meaning "you're not being sincere or honest" or "you're just trying to trick me into showing that I have an inconsistency which isn't a right thing to do."

    I don't know what you're getting at. How's that?

    BTW, I found out that "Gary" did not email this comment to Antonio - a third party did.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, September 29, 2008 4:49:00 AM  

  • Rose,

    Thank you for verifying this fact. There was no "collusion" whatsoever involving Antonio or anyone else.


    By Blogger goe, at Monday, September 29, 2008 9:01:00 AM  

  • Gary,
    I thought your comment was heart-rending and very sincere. It amazes me that sincere people can be read so wrong based on where you stand in regards to this line in the sand that has been drawn.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, September 29, 2008 9:17:00 AM  

  • Rose,

    That's an excellent start. I can tell you're putting effort into it. Your blog post is kind of on the same concept?

    When I had been reading the long list of comments where that term was being used, I noticed a something that I would add to your definition.

    I get the impression that Lou thinks (and perhaps others I would assume) that it is belittling to the importance of doctrines, when anyone tries to give doctrinal reasons by which they might straddle the space between here and there.

    There's something else about the conduct itself, though, that Lou finds disagreeable. I can't put that part into words yet.

    See, he excuses you from fault, because he sees you as swayed, deceived. He doesn't see anyone else in this category from what I understand. Goe is on a whole other plane of trying to be coy... or something.

    I'm just trying to figure this out. Hope I didn't offend anyone.


    By Blogger Sanctification, at Monday, September 29, 2008 3:53:00 PM  

  • Gary,
    You blessed my heart AGAIN. Thank you for what you wrote.

    By Blogger Diane, at Tuesday, September 30, 2008 10:09:00 PM  

  • To all,

    While I am grateful to Antonio for posting my comment in light of how it was handled on Lou's blog, it was never my intent nor expectation that it be posted on any blog, including Lou's. Having said that, I am grateful to all for your gracious comments.


    By Blogger goe, at Wednesday, October 01, 2008 8:58:00 AM  

  • You're welcome, Gary.
    Just to clarify, when you say that you didn't mean for it to be 'posted' on Lou's blog, I presume that you mean you didn't intend for it to become a blogpost (like in what universe would that ever happen? haha) Or... are you saying that you didn't mean for it to be 'posted' as a comment? From my undersatdning you posted it as a comment so you did intend that, right? - but then it was erased. Am I getting that right? (Bear with me, here) :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Wednesday, October 01, 2008 1:46:00 PM  

  • Michele,
    Yeah, my blogpost on my personal blog RR was a convenient place to use the words "political gamesmanship." The post wasn't inspired by that phrase mentioned here, but by my eight year old son. It did describe quite well the methods of them Pharisees.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Wednesday, October 01, 2008 1:49:00 PM  

  • Rose,

    Good question Rose. First let me explain that last week was my first time to venture into the blogosphere--ever. Blog culture, protocal, procedures, etc. are something I have absolutely no prior experience with--until last week. When I heard about the current so-called "crossless" gospel controversy, I spent a few days searching some blogs, mostly to try and get up to speed on this dispute. When I was at Lou's blog, I decided to pose a question to him and his colleagues and perhaps interact with them some on this issue. I quickly realized that was not going to be either practical nor profitable. Because of that, I decided to just cut to the chase and try and be as straightforward with Lou as I could be about how I felt concerning this issue. I was hoping that he might then respond in like manner. Since he had already removed the question I had previously asked for review before posting, I knew he would certainly do likewise with my more "lengthy" comment. I respect his right to exercise control over his space. My only intention, at that point, was to simply interact with him directly and privately if he so chose. That was also my intention yesterday with Dave when I saw he had posted a comment on my understanding of Paul's conversion and was publicly accusing me of deception and "attacking" the cross. If any one can read my comments to Lou and find anything that can even be remotely interpreted as an attack on the cross, please speak up! I think this one fact speaks volumes about the disingenuous nature of this entire dispute. I expressly told Dave from the start that I wanted our exchange to be done privately. Apparently, he feels otherwise, so here we are. This past week has been quite an education for me, not only on blog culture, but on those who attack their brothers and sisters in Christ as being "heretics" deserving of hellfire. They then cry foul when you attempt to engage them with reason and some semblance of coherent discussion. All I can say at this point is that have I no regrets whatsoever about what I said to Lou. I only wish he would listen.

    Does this help?


    By Blogger goe, at Wednesday, October 01, 2008 6:33:00 PM  

  • I want to add one further thing that might further clarify what I say above. I am accustomed to communicating with people via e-mail. The transition to the public realm of the blogosphere is something that I have still not adjusted to, so I tend to continue thinking in terms of the private realm of e-mail when interacting with others.

    By Blogger goe, at Wednesday, October 01, 2008 9:07:00 PM  

  • Hi Gary,

    You are such a joy to read. I'm glad you found these blogs.

    I just wanted to recommend that you read all of Zane Hodges' books if you get the chance. They're so scriptural and helpful!!!
    I just finished posting a comment at Antonio's blog under "The Unconditional Gift of God" dated Oct. 1, 9:26PM in answer to Mark's question. I tell there how I feel about Zane Hodges.

    Something Alvin said a long time ago helped clarify for me this whole discussion on the so-called "crossless gospel" debate. He used the words "bulls eye."
    Nobody is saved unless they hit the bulls eye. That bulls eye is this.... Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.
    Whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

    By Blogger Diane, at Wednesday, October 01, 2008 10:05:00 PM  

  • Gary,
    I think I get it now. When I first read your comment I got a different idea of what you were trying to say - I was thinking you were commenting on the fact that we "posted" it here on this blog as an article in and of itself. But what you are trying to say - if I understand you right - is that you did not mean the comment itself to become a touchstone for conversation among others outside of Lou's blog.

    There are ways to see what was posted at blogs even if the person deletes it right away.

    Either that is what happened, or it was seen pretty quickly by someone who was visiting Lou's blog - was snapped up before Lou deleted it - and then sent on to Antonio.

    Well, we apologize for if you feel your comment was misused. It did bring a tear to my eye because you express just how I feel about a lot of this.

    One thing you will learn is that these blogs are very public. Nothing is private at all.

    The only private way to communicate is email and that is assuming the person keeps your email to themself. Did you try to email Dave? I have found him to be quite a reasonable person via email.

    God bless you Gary.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, October 02, 2008 6:41:00 AM  

  • Now you've got it Rose. The last thing on my mind when I wrote to Lou was that is would end up being a "touchstone for conversation among others outside of Lou's blog". See how naive I am about the blogosphere? I was really surprised when I discovered it had been posted elsewhere. But , as I said before, in light of how Lou responded by extracting a couple of sentences out of contest and misrepresenting my comment, I have no problem with Antonio posting it. Maybe it was due time for Lou, because going back and reading past threads on his blog, I started to see a pattern of how he deals with everyone. On the other hand, I can also see why he might misjudge my motives since he has no way of knowing how ignorant and naive I was ( and still am) about blogs.

    As for Dave, I don't know his e-mail address. But you are right, my impression of him was the same as you say. I've read some of his past articles and I thought they were quite good. That's why I was so disappointed to see his position in this dispute. It also hurt to see that he had singled out something I said in my comment to Lou and accused me of deception and attacking the cross. That was a real blow. I truly wish him the best with all of God's blessings. I'm sure he and I could be great friends and brothers in the Lord. That's the TRUE "tragedy"(as Tom Stegall says) of this "crossless gospel" dispute. As I tried to tell Dave, it is all so absurd and unnecessary. I personally feel that Dave just isn't seeing the real issues very clearly. I'm sure he is a great guy. The same goes for Lou. That's really all I was trying to say to both Lou and Dave. All of this is really starting to wear on me---and I have only been involved for one week. On the one hand, I feel drawn into this because it is an attack on people I love whom God has used to bless my life . On the other hand, I can think of so many better things to do with my time. Don't you agree? I'm thinking that maybe I should just return to the real world again, the old one I knew a a week ago. I miss it.

    By Blogger goe, at Thursday, October 02, 2008 9:33:00 AM  

  • Gary,

    You are not being honest. You specifically said to me:

    "Give your readers those Scriptures, and tell them what Jesus' FIRST-question was, instead of hiding it as you just did. There is no need to fear the truth, Dave."

    Your comment here in this blog, "I expressly told Dave from the start that I wanted our exchange to be done privately" is a terrible lie Gary.

    I did and I kept your name private until now since you are making public things about me and are resorting to slander you accused me of. I can post your comments if you like and you can try explaining where in the world you ever requested a private discussion??? Maybe people should be aware that you are lying. What would you like me to do?

    By Blogger Dave, at Thursday, October 02, 2008 1:18:00 PM  

  • Gary,

    The Lord is so gracious!!! He did it again for me..... opened another truth for me to see, and this time He used you.

    I very carefully went back and read your letter that was posted on LM's blog and then later taken off and now posted here. God is using that letter in my life to sharpen me even more in the truth of His grace.

    I looked up those passages that you pointed out in Gal 3 and Rom 4 where Paul refers to the "promise." Another confirmation from God~!!! I tell you, His Word is alive and powerful, and we can stand on it!!! Like I have mentioned before (either on this site or Antonio's).... one truth leads to another truth, and on and on it goes. God's Word can't be exhausted. Every new truth I'm learning just confirms again that God's gift is free by just simply believing in Jesus for eternal life. I just wanted you to know that God used your letter for good. I praise Him for it!!!

    Please don't be disheartened by some of the accusations that are being thrown at you. Just stay positive for Jesus and He will do the rest. I personally wouldn't even answer anyone who talked that way, but of course that is your decision.

    Thanking God for you,

    By Blogger Diane, at Thursday, October 02, 2008 2:09:00 PM  

  • Diane,

    Thank you so much for your encouragement to me at this difficult time. I read your comments everywhere I can find them, and they are always so rich in truth and full of grace. You have been such a blessing in this, my first week in the blogworld.


    Hello brother. It's good to have you here. You are welcome anytime. I hope you have noticed that on our blog, we allow people to actually post without review or editing. It's a great idea, you might try it sometime. One sided discussions just don't make for good dialogue.

    What would I like you to do? Glad you asked. What I want you to do is post my comments to you yesterday on both your site AND my site? Sound fair enough to you? You have my permission to post all my comments if you choose, but it's my very first comment to you that I think will be of special interest. Make sure you post every word of it without exception, agreed? If there is even one word left out or any added, I will post it correctly. While you're at it , check the spelling-- I hate typos.

    There's one more thing I want you do. You accused me yesterday of attacking the cross. You made this accusation on the sole basis of my letter to Lou. Now I want you to show me and the readers where I did this. I want you to quote it to me and to them. Agreed?

    Did I not tell you yesterday that I wanted to avoid doing this? But since you insist, start posting Dave.

    I also look forward to discussing Paul's conversion with you if you are interested. We can do that much better on this blog, where both parties are allowed to speak without censorship.

    It might be tomorrow before I can get back with you, but I'm hoping we can talk all this out. If you got to know me better, you might even discover that I am not such a "heretic" and "liar" after all. We might even be friends. The Lord has a way of doing beautiful things like that you know.


    By Blogger goe, at Thursday, October 02, 2008 3:55:00 PM  

  • Thanks Gary, this will be my last visit here. Thanks also for not answering your own quotation I supplied. I have posted your ENTIRE comments and they are up for all to see at my blog. I still waiting for an explanation of slander??? I quoted your article there as well as your comments to me. You show me where I was slandering and I will apologize. You show me from your entire comment how you were looking for a private exchange?? I did exactly what you wanted and that was to give those verses and comments to my readers and that I did unless you are now claiming that you didn't want me to post them?? Remember, I was afraid of the truth you said but it appears that you are actually afraid of the answers I gave.

    Now to give you a complete understanding of why I did not allow comments in my blog under that topic and it should be easy to understand. When I asked simple questions before (4 actually) under the topic about Lou and his comments about the CG that was posted a few weeks back, I had certain people that refused to answer those questions. I had one guy that didn't want to answer it openly and supplied me his phone number. My blog turned into "he said" and "she said" type of bickering. I have saved all 80 comments and it rarely addressed the issues by the CG camp and my comments were ignored by some. It at times turned into a mud-slinging group and this seems to be common practice. You have a blog Gary and you are free to take all of my post and refute it all you like and I wouldn't call that slander as long as you post honest quotes and not partials. Everyone can now see that I have commented honestly on your comments with no exaggerations or misquotes. You now have Acts 9 blog that you can refute so instead of trying to convince others that you were trying to have a "private debate" with me which is a "lie" try now dealing with my response to those verses and statements of Jesus to Paul that YOU asked me to post???

    If you really wanted a private debate then I think anyone reading your comments would have saw that you were bothered that I made it public when you supposedly asked to keep it private and clearly they can see you wanted your refutations posted and it was. Stop the game playing as you are only fooling yourself.

    If you are claiming that your comments were edited then you are a full blown liar. Your comments were listed from beginning to end and this lying is really starting to bother me as to why you would do that??

    I will allow you to comment about Paul's conversion at my site on Acts 9 and will engage you only in this debate. Stick to the topic please!

    By Blogger Dave, at Friday, October 03, 2008 4:22:00 AM  

  • On 9/30/08 at 11:21 AM I visited Dave's blog ,"Free Grace Believer", to read his newly posted article "What Gospel Do You Preach?". The first thing I noticed was that Dave had posted one comment. In it, he had referenced the comment I made to Lou Martuneac on 9/25/08. Allow me to reproduce it here in total and without editing:

    "I read elsewhere in a blog that Paul was saved on Damascus road without believing that a Jesus died
    for him??? Paul wasn't saved there my friend but later:

    Read Acts 22:16, (Ananias speaking to Saul) "And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized
    and wash your sins away, calling on he name of the Lord."

    Compare that to 1st Corinthians 15:3 where Paul claimed that the message that he received was how
    Jesus died according to the Scriptures and now he preached to them as of "first importance."

    This blogger also stated that a believe Jesus only can be found in John 6 but clearly ignored the verses
    prior about Jesus flesh that he preached that one must eat (believe) in order to partake of that life.

    Did Paul get saved the moment Jesus blinded him? No, but someone out there in blogland wanted his
    hearers to think so. The cross is under attack and we must defend it! The cross is truly an offense."

    After reading this comment, I began reading Dave's article: "What Gospel Do You Preach?" In the fourth paragraph of his article I noted what appeared to be an inconsistency in Dave's logic and decided to
    submit a comment. Since Dave had stated that he would not be posting comments, I intended it only as a private comment made to him alone ( yes, I say it again Dave). It was my first comment to Dave and the one I specifically asked him yesterday to post on both my blog and his blog. He has yet to post it on either one, yet he states:

    "If you are claiming that your comments were edited then you are a full blown liar. Your comments
    were listed from beginning to end and this is really starting to bother me as to why you would do that."

    And this: "I am waiting for an explanation of slander??? I quoted your article there as well as your comments to me.
    You show me where I was slandering and I will apologize. You show me from your entire comment how you were looking
    for a private exchange??"

    Well said Dave. I feel your pain. Please allow me then to explain it to you by here reproducing in total without any changes my first comment to you--the one you have refused to post:


    I rejoice to hear that we are "friends". That is good to hear, so let me take this opportunity to reciprocate by helping you
    out a little. You say that Paul was saved in Acts 22:16. But I see a minor problem. Allow me to quote you: "The problem
    of isolating verses is that if I were approached by another man who asked me to read Mark 16:16: 'He that believeth and
    is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned,' and was not allowed to look at Scripture as a whole,
    then I MUST CONCLUDE THAT BAPTISM SAVES. He might even go further and read Acts 2:38 that says: "Then Peter said unto
    them, 'Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive
    the gift of the Holy Ghost" to further his argument." But Dave, isn't that precisely what you have tried to do with Acts 22:16?
    If Paul was saved at that time, as you say, is it not also true that YOU MUST CONCLUDE THAT BAPTISM SAVES. You then
    might even be falsely charged with teaching a "false gospel", and we wouldn't want that to happen would we? It really hurts
    when a brother in Christ hurls that word ANATHEMA at you, as some brothers are wont to do, and I want to spare you. I also
    would not want to embarrass you, so I decided to send this privately rather than post somewhere else for my own advantage.
    You know, there are some people out there who spend all their time looking for any statements by others whereby they can
    ridicule or accuse others of being "heretics" and "false teachers". Must be a miserable existence.

    No Dave, Paul did not get saved in Acts 22:16, "but someone out there in blogland wanted his hearers to think so", and
    many are deceived thereby." How true! And how sad.

    This one was on me, because I want us to be "friends".

    I'll be be looking forward to your revision when you figure out when Paul was saved. I also look forward to reading
    the rest of your article!

    Send my regards to Lou.

    Gary (goe)

    P. S. I think you made a wise decision in not posting disagreements! If you must, try taking a few sentences out of
    context here and there and twist em around a little bit---that usually works.

    Dave, in case you missed it, I said: "I decided to send this privately rather than post somewhere else for my own advantage." I trust you will not be "bothered" any longer.

    The thing that troubles me the most about all of this is something I believe is quite significant. It is this: Why does Dave have such a strong aversion to acknowledging that Paul was saved on the road to Damascus? Answer: it would prove that the object of saving faith is not the cross , but Jesus Christ Himself. Is it not clear that Paul was saved before he had the cross either preached to him or had it as a conscious object of faith? The instant Saul heard these words: "I
    AM JESUS , WHOM YOU ARE PERSECUTING..", he was instantly and forever convinced of the most wonderful truth known to mankind: JESUS IS THE CHRIST! To be convinced of something is the same as to believe something, as it is written: "and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was able also to perform. And therefore, it was accounted to him for righteousness." Rom. 4:21,22. On the road to Damascus, Saul of Tarsus suddenly found himself face to face with the promised Seed of Abraham," as it is written: "Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, 'And to seeds," as of many, but as one, 'And to your Seed,' who is CHRIST." Gal. 3:16. Saul now knew Who this Seed was---it was JESUS! From that moment on, he knew that JESUS IS THE CHRIST and that he belonged to Him---"And if you are Christ's, then you are heirs according to the promise." Gal. 3:29. To be an heir of God means to HAVE ETERNAL LIFE. When Jesus of Nazareth set His face toward Jerusalem, He had one purpose in mind and that was to pay the price
    that was necessary for the fulfilment of the promise made to Abraham (and to Adam and Eve!). The promise made to Abraham entailed the giving of eternal life to every believer. The payment required for the fulfillment of that promise was something of infinite value--the blood of Jesus the Christ. Having paid that price, eternal life can be freely given to everyone who, like both Abraham and Paul, believe in the Promise which is Jesus Christ himself. Jn. 11:25-27.

    Does any of this mean that we should not preach the cross. Of course not! Paul preached it everywhere, to both unbelievers AND believers. He gloried in the cross. He understood that the free gift of eternal life would never have been possible apart from what Jesus had done on the cross. He spent much time instructing even those who were already saved about the importance and meaning of what Jesus had done on the cross. But did he himself understand these things at the very moment of his own conversion? No, the first thing Paul had believed was that JESUS IS THE CHRIST! I would hate to be in the position of trying to defend a theological position that contradicts the experience of even the great Apostle himself!

    Are we saved any differently than the Apostle Paul? Clearly, Paul never forgot his experience on that Damascus road where he "first saw the light." Let us hear him: "But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the LIGHT of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should SHINE on them. for we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus sake. For it is God who commanded LIGHT TO SHINE out of darkness, who has SHONE IN OUR HEARTS, to give the LIGHT of the knowledge of the glory of God in the FACE OF JESUS THE CHRIST."


    By Blogger goe, at Friday, October 03, 2008 5:31:00 PM  

  • Gary,

    Thanks for sharing that with us here. Men and women can come to their own conclusions concerning the finger pointing and assaults. You have gone a long way to clear yourself of any wrong doing.

    If you stand up for the truth, you will be persecuted. Welcome to the blogosphere.

    Your new friend and advocate,

    Antonio da Rosa

    By Blogger Antonio, at Friday, October 03, 2008 7:09:00 PM  

  • Hi Gary,

    I spent much time REreading your recent post here. Oh, Gary, there's so much good stuff here. If only people would take the time to digest it, what a blessing that would be to them. GOD'S WORD CAN BE UNDERSTOOD!!! We never exhaust it, and there's always learning to be done, but when we diligently seek truth, God reveals it to us. What you said here regarding Paul's teachings and what he believed to have eternal life is all part of the puzzle pieces that fit the whole. You pointed out to me more of those pieces. How exciting that is everytime it happens!!! I have such a desire for our free grace friends to stop fighting and start digging. It's there!!! What you said is supported in scripture!!! It's there friends. Take another careful look!!!

    Also....... along with taking another look at Gary's teaching on Paul, read Zane Hodges' book.....
    ****Harmony with God!****
    It cleared up so many problems....... like those verses on being baptized, repenting, laying on of hands....... TO BE SAVED!!! Lots of puzzle pieces found in that book.
    Alvin pointed out some of those truths in a recent comment he made, and he was so right in what he said. But you have to dig and study to see it. Once you see it, things open up and it all makes perfect sense!!! I promise you, it will get you excited once you start seeing it for yourself.

    I understand that it's not easy to see something that's not been part of our theology, especially since the teaching we've received has come from teachers we love and respect. BUT those teachers have also been part of the puzzle pieces to help us learn truth. I'm grateful to my teachers in past years. Some of them have never been exposed to the things we're talking about now. But some of them have, and they have stopped moving forword in their knowledge of the Word. They've closed the box (so to speak) on their theology, and won't open it up again for consideration. Friends...... open up your theological box!!!! Don't get stuck not growing in the Word of God. He has so much to teach us all. You needn't fear because you have God's Word to lean on for the answers... and only God's Word!!! He will protect you from error. If it can't be shown clearly that the pieces fit, then reject it. But you first have to search it out and see if what is said is so!!! It's either true or false. It's either important or unimportant.

    This is the reason I've so enjoyed blogging here at some of these sites..... because I'm learning...... AND meeting good friends along the way.

    Today in church the pastor presented a wonderful message. I was blessed. At the end he said something like this to the congregation....
    "If there's someone here who hasn't yet trusted in Jesus Christ as his Savior, put your confidence in the finished work of Christ on the cross."
    I knew what he meant. The cross is the greatest reason to believe in Jesus Christ for eternal life. But the confidence is in Jesus Christ to save. It's true that people get saved hearing it the way the pastor said it. But just for clarification..... saving faith comes by believing in Jesus Christ Himself. The cross is how He provided for our salvation. None of us are fighting against the cross. We're just seeing things clearer because of the light that God has shined on His Word. REMEMBER...... learning this truth will open up other areas in the Bible for understanding. All the pieces fit together or something is wrong. If you refuse to see this truth, then you're not going to see other truths that are there.

    I hope my free grace friends who are against what Gary said in his post will give it another look. Study it. Pray for understanding, and see if what is taught here is true. We're all in the same family if our faith is in Jesus alone to save us. So let's dig and see what God is saying.

    Thank you dear friends.

    A friend because of Jesus,

    By Blogger Diane, at Sunday, October 05, 2008 3:18:00 PM  

  • Diane,

    Thank you so much for your kind words, Diane. As I've told you before, I search for your comments everywhere, because you have such a clear understanding of the importance of believing the PROMISE Christ makes to "whosoever". I really enjoyed reading in another place about how God opened up your understanding of 1 John---that's it's about fellowship. I loved hearing how God did it for you-great story! Thanks again.


    Thank you as well Antonio! It's good to have a brother like you!

    To all,

    Dave wants to have a debate about Acts 9! And I accept! First, I have tried to tie up a few loose ends related to my previous post. You can read about it at my personal blog EASYGOER. Just click on the below link "goe". Please excuse the formatting. I haven't quite figured that out yet. I'm still a "rookie" at blogging!

    By Blogger goe, at Sunday, October 05, 2008 5:29:00 PM  

  • OK Gary, I will leave my blog up where I challenged you to an open debate and will wait for you to comment. You already have my views on Acts 9 already given there and I wait for your comments.

    By Blogger Dave, at Tuesday, October 07, 2008 3:51:00 AM  

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