[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)

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Deplorable Folly of Lou Martuneac

Lou Martuneac has been a busybody. He has been circuiting blogs that have memorialized and honored Zane Hodges and has been spreading his hatred and lies. He is the bulldog of the Duluthian Antagonists, who joyfully sanction his sinful and debased operations. May the Lord repay him for his willful folly.

On one such blog post speaking praise about Zane in memoriam, Lou Martuneac proceeded to inject his venomous language and vitriol. WJC responded to him thus:

LM is a prime example of someone who seems to enjoy tossing around pejorative terms and assaulting Godly men like Zane Hodges - who's handling of God's word dwarfs their feeble attempts to establish a distorted view of God's free and simple grace. His speech of utter disrespect says much about his own character and what animates his obsessive attacks - certainly not the Spirit of our Lord Jesus! Such attacks are characteristic of self aggrandizing men that are afflicted with EDD - Exegetical Deficit Disorder. Their pathetic attacks will ultimately be relegated to the dustbin of errant doctrinal history. In the mean time they do serve a purpose - to show the stark contrast between Zane's thoughtful, consistent and solidly biblical views and the utter chaos that characterizes the ramblings of his detractors (such as LM). Thanks in part to God's provision of gifted men like Zane, ultimately God's light will burn through the perpetual fog thrown up by the likes of LM and those who like to parade and perpetuate his erroneous views.

Any and every impartial and/or godly observer of Lou Martuneac on the World Wide Web will immediately be struck with his uncouth and fleshly behavior. The man brings shame and dishonor to the Lord Jesus Christ, Whom he says he serves. He brings disrepute upon his ministry and the theological positions to which he espouses. He is an irresponsible man who finds himself accountable to noone, and in whom resides a spirit of malice and deception.

I have found men like Kevl, ExPreacherman, David Wyatt, and Jonathan Perrault to be gracious and honorable. My advice for them is to flee associations with Lou Martuneac, for it will be of no benefit whatsoever to be identified with that man.


  • No sooner than the last bit of earth is shoveled upon Zane Hodges grave Lou Martuneac is about trashing this man's memory on peoples websites who are honoring Zane. It is as if Lou is dancing upon his grave and spitting on it. The man has no scruples.

    Dave Anderson, Fred Lybrand, and Charlie Bing were all at the funeral of Zane Hodges to honor the man. Dave Anderson was even on the stage to eulogize him (but was prevented due to time contraints). Furthermore, the minister asked the audience that if any wished that there were time for them to come eulogize and honor Zane to stand up and both Charlie Bing and Fred Lybrand stood up.

    The disparity between the likes of Lou Martuneac and some of the others who disagree with the GES is stark and arresting. The more noble came and honored Zane Hodges at his death, speaking good words about him, and remembering him for the tremendous benefits he gave to the Free Grace Theology movement. They realized how much poorer our movement would be without the seminal scholarship and Christian statesmanship of Professor Zane C. Hodges. They understand the wealth of unrivaled exegetical and expositional material left for us by this man taken before his time.

    Lou Martuneac would not even know. He has been on record to not even reading one book fully through of Zane Hodges.

    If my theology were in some way against the GES, I would never, ever, associate myself with the likes of Lou Martuneac. Why would would anyone wish to be identified with such an ungracious and disreputable man?

    By Blogger Antonio, at Tuesday, December 30, 2008 3:40:00 AM  

  • Actually, Antonio, it started even before ZH's funeral on at least one blog that I saw.

    It is disspointing and mind-boggling to see how far this is being carried.

    As to the question you end your comment with: it escapes my mind that anyone would, unless it was to minister to him in hopes of helping him to overcome this obsession. I do pray that for him.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, December 30, 2008 7:01:00 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Tuesday, December 30, 2008 10:08:00 AM  

  • Antonio,

    I'd like to point out something that keeps me awake at night.

    Lou Martuneac said:
    Certain individuals who are “challenged to maintain the gracious tone we value” have repeatedly questioned whether or not I identify with or even want to be considered Free Grace in my theology. I have and will continue to ignore these comments. I will, however, say,
    I never desired to and never want to be identified with the egregious errors of the Grace Evangelical Society’s “ReDefined” Free Grace theology commonly known as the “Crossless” interpretation of the Gospel.

    It is my hope and prayer that I will have some small part is helping the Free Grace Alliance achieve the potential I believe it has to impact the world for the cause of Christ.

    From his own pen, in the post titled, Free Grace Alliance Membership

    He comes out here, saying in my understanding, that his whole condition on being able to join the FGA with a clear conscience, is through successfully witnessing/helping splitting it in two.

    Maybe someone else will read it differently than I.

    Even worse, is this. I don't know how someone who treats the bible in a fundamentalist manner (practicing a strict form of biblical separatist doctrine), can allow himself to rest with a clear conscience until the entire FGA doctrine is in no way or portion distinct from the doctrines of the Independent Fundamentalist Baptists, to which he identifies himself for some previously twenty years in length.

    How can he stop until it is made over in his own doctrinal image? His beliefs... don't permit anything less? I could be totally off. But, it certainly keeps me on edge. I look forward to Lou explaining his beliefs and intentions, a little more fully.

    I'll tell you what though. I will stand alongside him no matter what; he doesn't have to do or say anything to earn my loyalty, friendship, or honor. I do this because of how I am convicted I should behave toward a brother let alone a fellow man.

    I risk being annoyingly, sickeningly sweet, though I stopped caring about my reputation... a long time ago I suppose. I don't even do a good enough job of seeing him, through the eyes of my LORD, but, I will keep trying according to the grace of God. I hope whatever I manage to do will be sufficient for the day.

    Thanks for letting me disagree & agree,

    By Blogger Sanctification, at Tuesday, December 30, 2008 1:03:00 PM  

  • Antonio,

    I should probably add that I've had a period in my life when I was no better than Lou. See? I told you, I have so little focus to see him in a non-judgmental manner, the way I myself wish to be treated.

    (I wrote about that at my blog today.)

    Romans 2:1
    You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.



    By Blogger Sanctification, at Tuesday, December 30, 2008 1:26:00 PM  

  • It is apparent to me that KEVL does not wish to be included in my list of those who I have found honorable.

    It is unfortunate.

    Kevl and I were once very conversant. And even when we discovered our differences, we were able to dialogue.

    But then along came Lou Martuneac and provided Kevl with unbalanced ideas. The last I actually corresponded with Kevl, I went to his blog and found some beneficial and encouraging things. I wrote a very brief word of appreciation for his post.

    Later on in the day, I came back and saw that Kevl thanked me for my response to his post.

    Yet later on that same day, I came back to Kevl's blog and saw that my comments had been deleted by Kevl and there in the comments section was Lou Martuneac praising Kevl for deleting my post.

    Surely this is very unbalanced and unChristian.

    Unfortunately, Kevl has considered me an enemy and desires no gracious dialogues.

    He seems to now be on track with Lou Martuneac and of the same mind: to throw rocks and sling mud and separate himself from any dialogue whatsoever.

    Is the Bible now known perfectly by Lou Martuneac and Kevl? Is their understandings the infallible benchmark for Christian truth?

    Or could they humble themselves and think for a moment that there could be understandings very similar to theirs, yet a bit more clear and precise, and desire to flesh things out in a God honoring way?

    It is unfortunate that Kevl has closed himself off from discussion on these topics and taken the unbalanced route that Lou Martuneac has been blazing.

    I consider Kevl a brother in Christ and would like to afford him grace, patience, time, and attention. I wish he would separate himself from the divisive and ungodly operations of the likes of Lou Martuneac.

    There was once a guy who was travelling around the blogosphere for a while, I can't remember his name. He took the side of the GES. He posted a few comments on my blog and had a blog for a while. Yet his blog posts were reprehensible and sinful. I did not want to associate myself or identify myself with that man. Even though he held beliefs that were parallel to mine, I did not want my message to be discounted by association with him, so I purposefully distanced myself from him. It could do me no good to identify with a contentious, quarrelsome, and ungodly man such as that. It would only bring me to his level.

    Thus this post. I would that anyone who has thoughts and beliefs similar to Lou Martuneac's to separate from him because of his ungodly behavior. Why would you want to be associates with a man of that persuasion? Why would you want your message to be associated with the base tactics and ungodly practices emanating from that man?

    So you have differences with me. I will respect that you do. But let me tell you, no impartial observer will respect your message if you would identify yourself with and condone the tactics and methods of Lou Martuneac.

    Lou is rabidly persuing divisions in the body of Christ, lacking patience, fortitude, humility, and grace.

    Titus 3:10-11 "Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned."

    I have come to appreciate the grace and humility before the word of God by Jonathan Perreault. I would that everyone who has convictions that parallels his to emulate him.

    As long as we tolerate and countenance the sinful methods, operations, and behaviors of Lou Martuneac, on both sides of the aisle, the more debased and low this debate will rage.

    We are all brothers in Christ and share a rich theological heritage, and a belief in the freeness of the grace of God. We should not allow Lou Martuneac to set the tenor of what should be civil, gracious and meaningful dialogue.

    Antonio da Rosa

    By Blogger Antonio, at Tuesday, December 30, 2008 2:28:00 PM  

  • There is some confusion on Kevl's part, where he thinks that I am intending to reference him when I said this:

    The more noble came and honored Zane Hodges at his death, speaking good words about him, and remembering him for the tremendous benefits he gave to the Free Grace Theology movement.

    Actually I was talking about, in the context, Charlie Bing, Fred Lybrand, and Dave Anderson. They are all people who have benefitted tremendously from Zane Hodges. They honored and respected him by coming to his funeral, and also desired to eulogize him. Yet these free grace men disagreed with Zane on some doctrinal issues. These were the more noble and honorable Christians who disagree with portions of the GES.

    I was not talking about Kevl.

    By Blogger Antonio, at Tuesday, December 30, 2008 2:32:00 PM  

  • Hi Michele,

    You said:

    "I'll tell you what though. I will stand alongside him no matter what; he doesn't have to do or say anything to earn my loyalty, friendship, or honor. I do this because of how I am convicted I should behave toward a brother let alone a fellow man.

    I risk being annoyingly, sickeningly sweet, though I stopped caring about my reputation... a long time ago I suppose. I don't even do a good enough job of seeing him, through the eyes of my LORD, but, I will keep trying according to the grace of God. I hope whatever I manage to do will be sufficient for the day."

    The Apostle Paul said:1 Corinthians 5:9-13 (NASB)

    9 I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people;
    10 I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world.
    11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one.
    12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church?
    13 But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.

    And in writing to the Thessalonians Paul also says:

    2 Thessalonians 3:6-7 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep aloof from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us.7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you,

    Paul appealed to his readers to be imitators of him and of Christ (1 Cor. 4:16; 11:1; Eph. 5:1). The writer of Hebrews, warning about the dangers of falling away, for those who have reached a mature level of knowledge and experience in Christ (Heb. 6:1-8), follows with the exhortation to show diligence in realizing the “…full assurance of hope until the end,” by being “…imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (Heb. 6:11-12).

    In our day, we seem all too ready to over-emphasize God’s grace and ignore what the Apostle Paul says about judging those who are in the church when dealing with "spiritual leaders" to the virtual exclusion of passages like these (and the following) where the emphasis is on perseverance and purity of conduct which is “beyond” or “above reproach”:

    Philippians 2:15 that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,

    1 Timothy 3:2,7,10 An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,
    7 And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he may not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
    10 And let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach.

    1 Timothy 6:14 that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,

    Titus 1:6-7 namely, if any man be above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.7 For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain,

    Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,

    Listen to the apostle Paul, after speaking about running in the race to win the “imperishable prize”, where he says:

    1 Corinthians 9:26-27 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air;27 but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.

    What Paul is expressing here, I believe is a very important principle. As the foregoing passages (and many others) amply demonstrate, one of the key characteristics of Paul’s leadership role was that he was an example. He had faithfully “preached to others” about Godly character and held himself out as an example to be followed. All of this brought an acute awareness of his responsibility to discipline himself to stay the coarse and avoid the disaster of disqualification. He was determined not to be one who violated the very things he had preached to others about.

    Immediately following the passage in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 where he speaks of running the race in such a way so as not to be disqualified, Paul makes reference to the Israelites who came out of Egypt under Moses (1 Corinthians 10:1-13). He makes reference to their wilderness experience in order to show that theirs is an example of failure and disqualification from the race. Paul repeatedly warns us not to follow their example. A couple of observations are important in examining the example of the Israelites:

    • When the Lord pronounced judgement upon them for their rebellion and disbelief concerning the report of the spies and the land of Canaan (Number 14:26-35), the next morning, the Israelites repented and declared that they had sinned but the Lord did not retract his judgement (14:39-45).

    • Moses, who was faithful and obedient through so much, was disqualified from leading Israel into the land of Canaan for only one act of disobedience (Numbers 20:8-12).

    Two points that we cam glean from this:
    1) There are serious consequences to disobedience and rebellion by believers against the Lord even in spite of repentance. God removed the offenders from the role He had intended for them and bestowed it on others. This correlates nicely with what Paul says about disqualification.
    2) There is a much higher standard by which God judges those in positions of spiritual leadership. I think that in this passage (Numbers 20:8-12), the Lord even indicates to us why He is more severe with Moses. Notice the words “…Because you have not believed me, to treat me as Holy in the sight of the sons of Israel,…” (Numbers 20:12). This statement goes to the heart of the issue of exemplary behavior before the congregation of God’s chosen ones and correlates to Paul’s determination to avoid at any cost preaching to others, and then being disqualified by his actions (1Cor. 9:27).

    By way of application, we need a return in our day to a properly balanced view of the requirements and responsibilities of those in positions of spiritual leadership. In a case such as this, where the behavior of a spiritual leader brings reproach upon himself and the cause of Christ, we must recognize that such a one is in serious danger. And even though God is always gracious in waiting for a restoration of fellowship on the “vertical” plane, there are “horizontal” consequences which will necessarily follow - and those consequences can be permanent.

    Our actions, which all too often reflect a desire to erase the consequences, and restore a fallen brother to ministry, in fact serve to damage the body of Christ as well as the fallen brother. This is true particularly in the absence of proper repentance and submission to the appropriate church body for discipline. Such actions give the appearance of legitimacy where there is none and may serve to reinforce a lack of genuine humility as well as evasive and deceptive behavior on the part of the offender.

    In summary, what I'm getting at, is that there is a line which those in positions of leadership in the body of Christ can cross. Once crossed, the scriptural requirement that calls for an exemplary life, a good reputation – beyond reproach, ceases to be true. Those in positions of leadership have a responsibility to use spiritual discernment to judge such a brother according to the guidelines laid out in scripture – some of which we have reviewed here. To do any less is to fail in our responsibility of protecting the flock from potential harm.
    Jesus said:

    Luke 12:48 but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. And from everyone who has been given much shall much be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.

    The apostle James said:

    James 3:1-2 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment.

    Dare we be accomplices in lowering the standard and settling for illegitimate and diluted leadership from those who aspire or purport to shepherd the flock - men who do not follow the Godly example of Christ and of Paul and whose behavior falls far short of being exemplary and beyond reproach? I pray not and hope that we can stand firm and united against a rising tide of pseudo-doctrine and pop-Christian culture which threatens to sweep us into the widening sea of spiritual insignificance.

    By Blogger wjc, at Tuesday, December 30, 2008 6:30:00 PM  

  • Michele, - My apologies for such a lengthy post... Just wanted to lend a little biblical perspective to some of the deplorable statements and activities of those who are casting stones upon the memory of a beloved friend to so many and a faithful servant of God. They do so to their great peril...

    God bless you richly in the New Year!

    By Blogger wjc, at Tuesday, December 30, 2008 8:40:00 PM  

  • WJC,

    I am always grateful to receive biblical correction. May I ask for your responses to this explanation of mine?

    There is little disagreement over the appearance and affect of his approach; in fact, I agreed and then upped the ante by mentioning greater concerns than just his behavior regarding the passing of someone whose honor I have been diligent to defend myself both directly and through another who is just as great as he.

    There is a difference worth mentioning between condoning his methods and beliefs, and loving him unconditionally. Though I fail at practically extending brotherly affection as we are called to do for those who go astray so starkly, today, I feel quite defeated myself; Lou told me privately he never wants to talk to me again because of the way in which I have spoken of him. This is not an easy task, to know and extend to him, unconditional love in a manner he reads.

    I have said it in times passed and I will say it again: take the fundamentalist out of Lou, and so goes all that we find reprehensible. I will defend this, to the end. I am absolutely sure I have seen a sterling character, underneath this religious layer.

    I just returned home from having another meeting with two persons from my church, who for a decade or more were IFB, the same as Lou. One day, they woke up and realized that the doctrine of biblical separation kept them from attending effectively to the Spiritually and doctrinally lost. It is a beautiful story of transformation that ended with them finding their way to Oregon to attend a free grace seminary to not only know grace but practice it as it should be done. One day I hope to share these testimonies on my blog. Pray, that if the LORD wills it, it would be done.

    I have every reason to discard him. But I will include him because of Christ. Consider the exclusionary nature of this very post. Is this not the same measure of social exclusion meted back? Should we say that free grace is for everyone... except the IFBs? How can sectarianism end if we just keep doing to others what they have inappropriately done to us?

    Lou is a victim of his paradigm. A very dangerous one, but a victim.


    By Blogger Sanctification, at Tuesday, December 30, 2008 9:29:00 PM  

  • I think when we should be respectful of anyone's passing, especially a 'brothers'. It should not be used as a platform or springboard to further one's own theological agenda; and with this, Antonio, I agree with you.

    But I also would want to add, that Lou reminds me of someone else I know---you. At least in his prolific, and zealous method of forwarding a particular theological perspective---in fact all you talk about, for the most part, is soteriology, which is fine. But how would you differentiate Lou's approach contra yours (other than the obvious points of disagreement, theologically)? Do you believe that Lou engages in slander, and not theological critique?

    By Blogger Bobby Grow, at Wednesday, December 31, 2008 5:46:00 PM  

  • Bobby--your opinion is bias and prejudice!


    By Blogger alvin, at Thursday, January 01, 2009 7:53:00 AM  

  • What do you mean, Alvin?

    My question to Antonio, wasn't meant as a slam; I'm genuinely curious how Antonio sees himself, differently from Lou, other than the content of their theology---and of course, other than grand-standing on someone's death (Lou).

    By Blogger Bobby Grow, at Thursday, January 01, 2009 12:50:00 PM  

  • Bobby, I see Lou as very mean spirited.


    By Blogger alvin, at Thursday, January 01, 2009 3:23:00 PM  

  • Yes, but Alvin,

    what did you mean by saying that I am biased and prejudiced? Without some context this might be perceived, by me, as "mean spirited".

    I am not an associate of Lou, whatsoever . . . I don't endorse his theology, and to be honest, I haven't read him to know what exactly his theology is; other than he believes that Antonio, and you all, are heretics.

    By Blogger Bobby Grow, at Thursday, January 01, 2009 5:06:00 PM  

  • Bobby
    For you to even put forth a question like this tells me your bias and prejudice!

    Do you believe that Lou engages in slander, and not theological critique?

    Or either you don't have a clue, and I don't buy that.


    By Blogger alvin, at Friday, January 02, 2009 8:03:00 AM  

  • Michele,

    I wrote the following today. I think I understand what you are talking about. Although I didn't before.


    By Blogger Kris, at Friday, January 02, 2009 10:29:00 AM  

  • Alvin,

    what's up with you? So now it's okay for your 'side' to post things like Antonio has, and not have to give any kind of 'defense' or answer for the fact that we are all indeed 'sinners'.

    The reality is, Alvin, we are all biased and prejudiced; thus your presumption with me so illustrates. So the issue isn't if people aren't biased or prejudiced, I think what you probably should've said to me, is that you think I am being disingenuous; I digress, we all are biased, the issue is do our particular biases serve the gospel and its ethic, or deflect from it? At the moment, Alvin, I would say your attitude towards me reflects the latter.

    The whole point of my question to Antonio was to relativise this post a bit; and ask Antonio to be as self-critical of himself, as he apparently is being of Lou. The fact that this whole Free Grace on Free Grace 'violence' has resulted in ad hominen and personal attacks is certainly sad.

    Why don't you guys just ignore Lou? You've already done the scriptural thing, from your perspective, by denouncing him, based on his apparent aberrant theology (based on your own standards). This is what is revealing to me about posts like this, they want to sensationalize this issue, i.e. create unnecessary drama, instead of positively articulating your own unique brand of theological engagement (which of course I disagree with, for the most part, at least methodologically and somewhat materially).

    Anyway Alvin, chill!

    By Blogger Bobby Grow, at Friday, January 02, 2009 1:10:00 PM  

  • Bobby,

    Antonio allows me and others to openly disagree here either on theology or on methodology, and when anyone disagrees with him it as an opportunity to challenge himself and challenge others, and there is communication. He may disagree often, he may even be heavy-handed and slow to see his own faults perhaps similarly to Lou, but he listens and eventually there is a resolution and things move on.

    I hope this helps....


    By Blogger Sanctification, at Friday, January 02, 2009 3:08:00 PM  

  • Kris,

    I appreciated your discernment concerning fundamentalism, it was helpful. I am looking for solutions to include them (long-term goal), however.

    Antonio may or may not agree with me on that, and this is his blog, but regardless thanks for the comment.


    By Blogger Sanctification, at Friday, January 02, 2009 3:11:00 PM  

  • Bobby said:

    Why don't you guys just ignore Lou?

    I think this is sound advice. I can't see the value of spending so much time complaining about someone who is apparently not ready to come around.
    2 Th. 3:6 - "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep aloof from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us."

    "Aloof" is the word, brothers! If a brother cannot engage in civil and gracious discourse, ignore him and move on. We've so much more important and wonderful things to discuss.

    By Blogger Steve Dehner, at Friday, January 02, 2009 5:25:00 PM  

  • Antonio,

    I appreciate your humble intercourse of late with those who have been relentless. Praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of Christ! I know that you love the LORD with all your heart and it unconsciously shines through in your words and deeds!

    You are a godly man and I am truly proud to call you my brother.


    By Blogger Sanctification, at Friday, January 02, 2009 9:34:00 PM  

  • Michele,

    thank you. Yeah, me Antonio go way back (probably almost 3 yrs ago); we used to have more in common, theologically (well kind of, at least at first [superficially]) --- but we've kind of moved on. I know Antonio is passionate, passionately wrong ;-) . . . and his zeal is commendable. Actually my first comment here was kind of drawing on our shared past, and was kind of in jest, and kind of serious --- then Alvin had to come in and ruin it :-) --- but in the end all I am trying to highlight is that we all have our 'pet' heresies, not trying to trivialize, but just bring some perspective.

    At the bottom of all this, we are indeed all believers in Christ; we all believe the only way someone can be saved is through faith in Christ. All the debate, whether on Calvinism, Arminianism, Augustinianism, Free Grace, Lordship, etc., etc., is debate about the mechanics of salvation (e.g. 'what' of appropriating salvation, and not the 'how' --- 'faith in Christ alone'). I think the mechanics are very important, but not, ultimately, the end all . . . I believe they impact the spirituality and applied side of salvation, but not actual salvation itself (i.e. if someone is a staunch hyper-Calvinist I still believe they're saved, just not experiencing the 'joy' of salvation as they should).

    Furthermore, I think there needs to be some levity injected into these discussions every now and then . . . WE are ALL prone to take ourselves way too seriously, at points (I scream at self ;-).

    Anyway thanks for the clarification, Michele!

    By Blogger Bobby Grow, at Saturday, January 03, 2009 2:51:00 AM  

  • Extremely well-said, bro. Bobby, most especially the part about the mechanics of salvation! But you know, my mechanical skills are below zero!

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at Saturday, January 03, 2009 10:48:00 AM  

  • Bobby, I couldn't disagree with you more! What you call mechanics REALLY makes it another gospel. Anytime you add works to what you call faith alone it's injecting poison into the pot and can save NO one! Just as the Galatians even though they had believed in Christ alone and were saved because they had believed the true gospel,they had fallen from grace by adding works (what you would call just mechanics)so that brought them under a curse. So the gospel they were beleiving in now could NOT save anyone because of the NEW mechanics!



    By Blogger alvin, at Saturday, January 03, 2009 11:28:00 AM  

  • Alvin,

    Thanks for keeping your cool in the conversation. I admire your priorities.


    By Blogger Sanctification, at Saturday, January 03, 2009 12:50:00 PM  

  • Bobby,

    Anything for a fellow Oregonian!


    By Blogger Sanctification, at Saturday, January 03, 2009 12:54:00 PM  

  • Hi David, thanks . . .

    I think you don't give your mechanics enough credit :-).


    So are you saying the Galatians weren't saved? 1.) Are you saying the Galatians lost their salvation, 2.) or were never truly saved to begin with? 3.) Or are you saying that they were just confused on their mechanics, until Paul corrected them, and thus not experiencing the complete joy of their 'Free' salvation?

    If #3, which an FG'r must say ;-), then I think instead of 'completely disagreeing' with my point on mechanics, you in fact, agree . . . just in a round about way --- at least this is what the FG logic must dictate at this point.

    Beyond that, I never said that the 'mechanics' could never impinge on the Gospel so much, that they couldn't distort the Gospel into a hybrid; instead, that all orthodox/historic Christians have always asserted that the only way to be 'saved' is by faith alone in Christ alone by God's grace alone. The role of 'works', for example, even in Galatia, were being back-loaded into justification (i.e. confusing sanctification for justification); and thus causing the Galatians to look at their works (flesh) instead of Christ as the basis of their salvation. Again, all I want to press is the assumption of all Christians, that they are saved by faith in Christ (the how of salvation); how that is fleshed out 'after' appropriation of salvation (the 'what' mechanics) can have dire consequences on a person's walk, but not a damning one. Hope that clarifies.

    By Blogger Bobby Grow, at Saturday, January 03, 2009 12:55:00 PM  

  • Bro. Bobby,

    I will let bro. Alvin speak for himself, & I trust I am not making it more unclear, but I believe he is saying that yes, the Galatians were saved & at one time enjoying their salvation, but when Judaizers came, they fell from the sphere in grace-living to the low-level of law-living & at that point lost their joy. Just my 2.118 cents worth.

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at Saturday, January 03, 2009 1:06:00 PM  

  • David,

    absolutely, I think that's what Alvin wants to say . . . but if he does, he's not disagreeing with my point on 'mechanics'; he's implicitly agreeing.

    By Blogger Bobby Grow, at Saturday, January 03, 2009 1:27:00 PM  

  • Wow, this post has come to take on legs of itself.

    Bobby, their are fundamental differences in many things between me and Lou. If you were to suggest to me that you cannot clearly see them, then:

    1) I would wonder if you read his stuff on his blog and everywhere else
    2) I would ask if you are being impartial

    To equate my MO with Lou's is to make an error of inestimable proportions.


    By Blogger Antonio, at Saturday, January 03, 2009 1:38:00 PM  

  • Please note these posts and threads of Jonathan Perreault that Lou came on and provided his schmorgasborg of methods this post speaks against.

    The Duluthian Antagonists have Gone Too Far

    Remembering Zane Hodges

    By Blogger Antonio, at Saturday, January 03, 2009 2:12:00 PM  

  • Antonio,

    to be honest I have not followed you guys, in depth. I have not appreciated at all, Lou's approach with Zane's death.

    As far as zeal, for respective positions, this is where I see commonality between you and Lou. And you (as all of us at points) have sunk into methods (pseudonymous commenting) of communicating that are not 'holy'. There certainly is a way to argue w/o sinning (again I'm looking at myself when I say this Antonio); and that's all I'm calling attention to (I'm not trying to say that I'm 'holier than thou').

    But hey, Like Paul in Galatia, with Peter, you believe Lou is in error, and vice versa, thus you're calling out of each other by 'name'. I'm just calling for it to be done in a way that assumes that Jesus is right here with us, in the middle of the conversation.

    Okay, I'm done . . . peace and out.

    By Blogger Bobby Grow, at Saturday, January 03, 2009 2:49:00 PM  

  • Bobby,

    I agree with you, brother. We must take the conversation much higher than it has been. Yet my most fleshly zeal cannot be compared to Lou's incendiary, invective, and viscious methods and language.

    Please read the posts and comments I link to in my last comment.

    I have been for some time taking this conversation higher while Lou has been reaching new depths.


    By Blogger Antonio, at Saturday, January 03, 2009 3:26:00 PM  

  • Bobby you start with a FALSE premise that ALL the beliefs you mention believe by faith alone in Christ alone. FG as a negative is against both forms of perseverance, whether Arminianism or Calvinism LS. Both attache works as something that MUST happen, therefore neither has ASSURANCE which is of the essence of saving faith. Part of the offer Jesus makes is that the moment of faith you know you will NEVER perish and you have eternal life. Also you will NEVER come into a judgment that will determine your eternal destiny because you have passed from death to life. (John 3:16; 5:24) If one has NEVER known these promises, then one is YET to believe Jesus promise. It is IMPOSSIBLE for the beliefs you have mentioned to KNOW until they have endured to the end because they have attached WORKS to the proposition Jesus offers.
    I used the Galatians as an example of how the true gospel once ADDED to, in their case (keeping the law) made it then a FALSE gospel that could not save for initial salvation. The message at first would be faith alone in Christ alone. Then once added too would be Faith + works gives initial salvation. Faith + works for initial salvation will not save because it’s not by grace. Faith + works for progressive sanctification brings the Galatians who were saved under the law, and they have fallen from grace. The Galatians were born again but walking by the law which is according to the flesh NOT the Spirit.


    By Blogger alvin, at Saturday, January 03, 2009 5:59:00 PM  

  • Antonio,

    I'll have to check it all out further.


    I disagree.

    Thanks for the conversation. I'm done here :-)

    By Blogger Bobby Grow, at Sunday, January 04, 2009 1:46:00 AM  

  • I’ll try to explain by putting skin on it. First a situation like the Galatians:

    Steve is told about the free gift of eternal life that Jesus offers. He is told that Jesus paid for all Steve’s sins on the cross that is why Jesus is able to give Steve this free gift. Steve believes Jesus offer and is all excited because he knows he has eternal life and will never perish.
    Steve wants to share his excitement so he tells his friend Bob about what has happened. Bob is a Calvinist, a real one, all five-points. After hearing Steve tell him what had happened Bob tells Steve “but if your faith doesn’t have works then your faith isn’t even real Steve.” Steve is starting to lose his excitement because he thought it was a done deal he was going to heaven based solely on Jesus promise.
    If Steve doesn’t have anyone to tell him the difference between the gift of eternal life and the process of sanctification Steve will move from the solid ground of grace into a works-salvation mindset. Is Steve still saved? Yes because at the moment he believed Jesus promise to give him eternal life Steve passed from death to life. But now because of false teaching has lost the joy of his salvation by buying into faith and work proposition to get to heaven which is something Jesus doesn’t offer.
    The Galatians were told something like “yes it’s true you’re saved by simply believing in Jesus for His gift of eternal life, BUT if you don’t have WORKS of the law you WONT GET TO HEAVEN.”

    Now here is Steve on works. Steve is raised up in a Calvinist home and is taught that if his faith doesn’t have works then its not real faith. So in his mind he sees salvation as this thing that MUST have works in order to be REALLY true faith. Steve starts to struggle with his faith and begins to get introspective and think maybe my faith isn’t real because I’m having such a difficult time with this sin. Maybe I’m really not a child of God after all?!?!? But then Steve is reassured by his pastor that these feelings are normal, but that God will see Steve through all the way to the end. This helps Steve get back on track and rededicate his life to Christ. Steve tells his friend Bob about his struggle and doubts. Bob is a card carrying GES member and for some reason has alot of joy. Steve cant figure him out why he has all this joy. Bob explains to Steve that the gift of eternal life that Jesus offers is really a free gift. Bob asks Steve “did you ever know for sure you would go to heaven simply by believing Jesus promise to you, or did you think you MUST have a faith that WORKS for it to be true? Steve says, come to think about it I never really saw the difference I thought it was all part of God’s plan?!?! Bob tells Steve “Steve you’ve believed something that God does not give. You have believed an untruth, God doesn’t base His gift upon whether you work for Him or not but says that you can take the living water freely. Steve tells Bob, I’ll have to pray about this Bob, and you’ve given me much to think about. Bob if what you say is true, that would be nice to know that my eternal destiny has NOTHING to do with my works or performance. I’ll pray about it! Bob says that’s good buddy because the joy of your salvation is KNOWING that you’re his child forever and the only way you can know that is if it really is a gift you can take freely!


    By Blogger alvin, at Sunday, January 04, 2009 3:16:00 AM  

  • Mat 5:21-22

    21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.

    I see you removed the notice of the link to this post from my blog. So I post this directly here.


    By Blogger Kevl, at Sunday, January 04, 2009 1:59:00 PM  

  • Alvin,

    one more quick point, your illustration engages a category mistake. You conflate the objective side and the subjective sides of salvation --- the objective side being Christ's work, and the subjective being 'our' appropriation of that work.

    Ironically you end up emphasizing the same thing you are trying to defeat --- a salvation that depends more on the 'knower' than the 'object' of salvation (Jesus). So that what salvation ultimately pivots on, at least our knowledge of it, is 'us'. This makes salvation, fundamentally, anthropocentric, or man-centered . . . the same result Lordship Calvinists get with their emphasis on 'perseverance'.

    There is a way around this, and I've been talking about it at my blog.

    The problem for FG is that you're trying to argue 'from' the same framework (classical theism), that Lordship (Westminster) Calvinism talks from --- you'll just keep spinning the wheels.

    Methodologically, salvation cannot start with 'us' (for the FG'r it is emphasis on our epistemology, how we know . . . and the LS'r it is the same, nuanced differently through their view of election and limited atonement); it must start with Christ, and work to us --- which is why the incarnation is so important.

    Anyway, I won't try to develop this here, I've been working on that, at my blog.

    By Blogger Bobby Grow, at Monday, January 05, 2009 2:19:00 PM  

  • Kev,

    I cannot detect either by experience or structure, Lou yielding to the community of Christ. But I confess I perhaps don't know him that well.


    By Blogger Sanctification, at Tuesday, January 06, 2009 11:07:00 AM  

  • Hi Bobby

    I've never been accused of "conflating" before.. .Ha!ha!

    Conflation: to blow together, a combing of two variant readings into a single text.

    You said: Ironically you end up emphasizing the same thing you are trying to defeat --- a salvation that depends more on the 'knower' than the 'object' of salvation (Jesus).
    This is a false charge, I’m simply stating what Jesus clearly said.

    Two points: Provision and reponsibility for everyone to believe.

    1st point:

    What did Jesus say?
    “For God so LOVED the WORLD that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16; cf john 1:12; 2 Cor 5:19; 1John 2:2)

    Objective: He provided salvation for the world.
    Subjective: Believe

    2nd point:

    What did Jesus say?:
    Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, AND who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” (John 4:10:cf Rev 22:17)

    Objective: The women might have living water.
    Subjective: She needed to KNOW what the gift of God was AND who Jesus was.

    That was pretty simple!

    It’s clear from the clear reading of these Scriptures that God has made the provision so that He is able to offer eternal salvation to everyone who believes. And that is the subjective and objective sum of it!


    By Blogger alvin, at Wednesday, January 07, 2009 7:46:00 PM  

  • There are ones who would like us to believe that Jesus only provided for a select group, and therefore only really wants that select group to believe. This belief would make Jesus offer not sincere in providing a provision for the gift He offers to everyone!

    They would put forth this Scripture to prove no one would believe anyway:

    There is none who seeks after God. (Rom 3:11b)

    We must qualify this verse because we know that Cornelius in Acts 10 was seeking God. And we know that believers seek God. We know that no one left to themselves will seek God, but God has not left us to ourselves. God is not playing hide-n-seek with His creation but has came to reconcile the world to Himself and therefore COMMANDS EVERYONE to be reconciled to Him by believing in His Son. The provision has been provided that is why He is not counting the worlds sin against them but has simply made the offer to take of the water of life freely. (2 Cor 5:19;Rev 22:17)

    And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings.
    “SO THAT they should SEEK the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and FIND HIM, though He is not far from each one of us;
    “ for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said,
    ‘For we are also His offspring.’
    Acts 17:26-28 emphasis mine
    My friend God wants to be found by His offspring! And that is why when He came into the world the angels said: I bring you tidings of GREAT JOY WHICH WILL BE TO ALL PEOPLE! Luke 2:10
    The Father has provided a way through His Son FOR everyone!
    Whoever desires take of the water of life FREELY!

    Now that’s GOODNEWS (gospel)!!!!


    By Blogger alvin, at Wednesday, January 07, 2009 8:24:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Angela, at Thursday, January 08, 2009 2:36:00 AM  

  • Alvin,

    I don't think you really got the significance of what I was asserting on objective/subjective . . . but I'll take the blame for that (I didn't really develop it too much). And, because of time constraints (and the fact that I have developed what I am saying here over at my site, through various posts), I'm not going to try and clarify further at this point --- we simply disagree, and I don't think your points are as simple as you might want them to be.

    As far as Limited Atonement, I'm afraid you are assuming that I am an advocate --- simply because I've stated that I'm Reformed --- and if you are assuming this, then you are clearly mistaken. There is way more nuance, historically, to Reformation theology than most recognize (i.e. the Calvinist/Arminian thing is just one wrinkle in that history).

    Ironically, Alvin, Free Grace stands squarely rooted within the same stream as both Calvinism and Arminianism; relative to Theology Proper ["study of God's nature/life"] (historically this has been called 'classical theism') --- ironically, many prominent Free Grace advocates, which Antonio I'm sure would, and has recognized, are Calvinists (at least in re. to the "order of salvation" [regeneration preceding faith], and even in re. to the extent of the atonement [limited]) --- Joseph Dillow comes to mind [his book: Reign of the Servant Kings], Charles Ryrie [see his systematic theology, "Basic Theology"], and if memory serves, Lewis Sperry Chafer [see his Systematic Theology].

    My point, Alvin, is that none of our beliefs come from a vacuum; instead we all have theological thoughts that have come to us through the history of ideas (whether that comes through our readings, our church culture, culture at large, etc.). We all have "interpretive traditions," and the framework from whence FG comes just will not do. The way we view God, will impact, directly, the way we think about salvation.

    This is all very vague, Alvin, I mean what I am saying here; but I just don't want you to think that it's just you and your bible (or other FG'rs and your bibles). I'm not denying that the bible isn't clear, or that salvation isn't simple (at its core, believe in Christ and you will be saved---this gets back to my mechanics point); but instead, we bring frameworks and presuppositions to the bible that can undercut that clarity --- and this is what I am getting at with the broader theological framework that is informing FG engagement of the scriptures. Until you recognize that you/we have interpretive tradition, throwing scripture back and forth will be just that.

    Okay, let me stop :-).

    By Blogger Bobby Grow, at Thursday, January 08, 2009 2:38:00 AM  

  • That just won’t do Bobby!
    It doesn’t matter how many Calvinist you mention are FG or what structure they brought from their traditions. If they got saved it was in spite of their Calvinistic beliefs. The true believer has CERTAINTY concerning his or her eternal salvation based SOLELY on Jesus promise to give eternal life. And that is in direct opposition to perseverance theology. And I don’t know how anyone could put their confidence in a Savior who hates the majority of humanity and planned for their reprobation. God would have to prove to me all the time that I’m really one of the ones He loved because I would question that kind of love. The Calvinistic system is man-made and all five-points fit together starting with the depravity of man. That is why many believe that regeneration has to precede faith And God would have to determine which ones He wanted to save since they are all the same. So then of course God is only going to die for the ones He wants to save. He wouldn’t die for the sins of the reprobate He is sending to hell because that would be double payment. And since they are dead like a corpse God must bring them to Himself irresistibly. And since He went to all the trouble to do all that the faith that He has given them as a gift will see them through to the end, if not it wasn't true faith. See it all flows from one point to the next but the way leads to death.
    If one calls themselves a Calvinist and has divorced any of these points their just not a consistent Calvinist.
    John Calvin himself if he was saved was saved in spite of his Calvinism that he got mostly from Augustine teachings. They both held to Catholic beliefs of the sacraments and baptism also living by the law. So if these men were saved it was in spite of what they believed that contradicted a gift you can take freely.

    Biblical language saves no one. Biblical truth is what saves! God is not obligated to untruths no matter how sincere. Everyone is saved the same way a little child is through childlike faith in Jesus promise to give them life. They may get to that point differently but unless they have certainty that Jesus has saved them they have yet to believe because assurance is part of His offer.
    Just think of a child Bobby and what it takes for them to be saved and there goes ALL your tradition paradigm mechanics out the window. Man’s traditions are what usually stand in the way of believing that eternal life is really a free gift anyone can take. And like Bob Wilkins has said the more Degrees one has the deeper one has to sort through to get to the truth.


    By Blogger alvin, at Thursday, January 08, 2009 4:43:00 AM  

  • Alvin,

    that's fine.

    I'm not sure "what won't do," the fact that you're unwilling to recognize any value or even the impact and reality that the history of interpretation has on all of us illustrates to me the depth of your "anti-intellectualism" and the typical SELF-assuredness (which is contra a concept of Free Grace by the way)that typifies American Evangelicalism, in general.

    I'm sorry to say, that the way you have caricatured the history of theology is reductionistic (fallacious), and just plain ignorant and naive --- that's fine, your entitled to live and think the way you want --- but we will all be held accountable, in the end. The irony that you would appeal to a PhD (Bob Wilkin) to assert that learning and 'degrees' necessarily present hindrances to the Gospel . . . well, is just plain ironic.

    Again you have misunderstood, I'm not challenging the simplicity of appropriating the gospel . . . nor am I endorsing limited atonement, or an election that would be its corollary (limited) --- the implications of the incarnation won't allow for such a view.

    You're un-teachable Alvin, again evinced by your spite for anyone with "degrees" (unless they agree with you, i.e. Bob Wilkin, Zane Hodges, et al). Your 'bull-dog' approach is commendable, insofar that it reflects a zealousness for what you believe to be the truth, but 'zeal without a desire to be informed by knowledge' reflects an attitude that just isn't Christian.

    I've been around for awhile, before you (at least with many of the FG'rs here), and I think many of them know that I am in favor of the general thesis forwarded by FG (that my works [behavior] have no role whatsoever in providing "assurance" of salvation) . . . I just get there differently.

    The fact that you are willing to spit on the history of interpretation, is just plain despicable, Alvin [and sad]. The fact that you want to diminish the value of biblical languages, is either disingenuous or really really naive --- since your favorite FG'rs are biblical language experts, and I know would admonish you strongly for what you've said in this re. (even Antonio constantly appeals to the languages --- so my guess is that you're being disingenuous; which makes me not really want to dialogue with you any further (so consider this my last one with you). Insecurity cannot be squashed by yelling louder, or repeating certain mantras over and again; and this appears to be what you're engaging in relative to your particular salvation view. Don't let that insecurity cause you to say things about Calvin, Augustine and others that you have no place in saying (relative to their personal salvation).

    Anyway, Alvin, I'll be praying for you --- seriously --- that you'll see the importance of the work the LORD has done through his people, through the centuries, and how some of it is edifying, and some not . . . but at least you won't discount the fact that the LORD is always working (in the past, the present, and into the future), and even if you don't like how He has worked, you at least will recognize that He has worked (and everything you believe about Christ, and the shape that you think about the trinity in, and the grammar you use to spite the "Doctors of the church" with comes from those same doctors).

    Good day, Alvin.

    By Blogger Bobby Grow, at Thursday, January 08, 2009 12:56:00 PM  

  • WOW Bobby – BOOM-BANG!!!

    First you dazzle me with your intelect then you Zap me with knowledge.


    anti-intellectualism"and the typical SELF-assuredness (which is contra a concept of Free Grace by the way)that typifies American Evangelicalism, in general.

    FACT: George Barna who recently did a poll that showed that about 70% of all EVANGELICALS believe that faith AND works are necessary for salvation.

    NOTE: Calvinist who believe in Regeneration preceding faith don't have to be concerned about such polls because they know a person could be under a tree when they get struck!

    I'm sorry to say, that the way you have caricatured the history of theology is reductionistic (fallacious), and just plain ignorant and naive
    un-teachable-bull-dog-attitude that just isn't Christian-spit on the history of interpretation, is just plain despicable, Alvin [and sad]. disingenuous or really really naive-you're being disingenuous-Insecurity cannot be squashed by yelling louder, or repeating certain mantras over and again
    Ouch that hurst!*#?!%

    My ears are still stinging and I'm almost without words, and I’m still looking up some of those BIG words. I think I need a hug I feel so insecure!?!?

    By Blogger alvin, at Thursday, January 08, 2009 6:32:00 PM  

  • This comment thread is closed. It has gone way off the topic and graciousness is not being thoroughly applied to the dialogue.

    Please join in on commenting in the other threads and please look for new posts to come.

    We are the heralders of God's grace. Let us have our behavior match our message.

    I include myself in this admonition. You all are my friends and brothers in Christ.


    By Blogger Antonio, at Thursday, January 08, 2009 7:10:00 PM  

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