One of My Favorite Quotes from Zane Hodges
I have defended Free Grace Theology for a number of years now, and have read a variety of books on the subject. Out of the great abundance of available soundbites, the following quote from Zane Hodges rises to a position of prominence in my mind. In it is distilled for us, in a memorable way, the utter and obvious senselessness of the Lordship Salvation view. Commenting on Mark 8:34-35 and its parallels in Matthew 16:24-25; Luke 9:23-24; and allusion in John 12:25, Zane C. Hodges writes:
It would be a mistake to think here of heaven or hell. [This invitation]... is a call to self-denial and bearing one's cross. It is a call to follow Jesus, that is, a call to discipleship.
Of course, there are many who equate such a call with conversion, but by so doing they either explicitly or implicitly deny the freeness of the gospel. By no stretch of the imagination is the demand for self-denial and self-sacrifice an invitation to receive a free gift. The attempt to harmonize these polarities always ends either in hopeless absurdity or in theological sophistry.
In this respect the man on the street is often more perceptive than the theologian. If someone were to offer him a gift in return for self-denying obedience, he would readily recognize that offer as grotesquely misrepresented! [Zane C. Hodges, Grace in Eclipse, 2nd Edition, p 29]
Has not this assessment been proven correct time and again in the writings of Lordship Salvation advocates? How often has our reason been assaulted as we have been subjected to the "hopeless absurdity" and "theological sophistry" of Lordship Salvation articulation? How else are we to evaluate statements such as, "Salvation is a gift that will cost you everything"?