September 14, 2007

Bob Wilkin Posts (and then Deletes) His Refusal to Go Through With the Debate He Has Been Calling For

Update 9/16/07

I came to mind that it is entirely possible that Wilkin will not repost his refusal to debate Ron Shea. There had to have been a significant amount of damage and loss of credibilty resulting from the posting and sudden deletion of Wilkins's article on Friday at the GES blog.

Wilkin did not post a simple statement declining to debate Shea, he attached two private e-mails between him and Shea. There is little doubt the e-mails were added by Wilkin in an attempt to discredit Shea and insulate him (Wilkin) from questions as to why he chose to back out of the debate he had been calling for since early this summer.

Wilkin may just drop out of sight on the "Crossless" gospel debate issue entirely. Maybe today (Monday) we will have something from Wilkin at the GES blog.


Update 7:20PM:
It appears that for today Bob Wilkin will not be reposting his article in which he declined the opportunity to debate the “Crossless” gospel with Ron Shea.

I think someone friendly to Wilkin saw what he posted earlier , including the private e-mails, and told him to get it off his blog immediately.

We can likely count on seeing another Wilkin attempt to pass on having the debate he has been calling for. The next one will surely reflect some heavy revisions.

If Wilkin wants to recover what integrity he sacrificed with the first article he might consider an admission to having used poor judgment and express his regret and apologies for having done it. If he were to repost and leave it as though his posting of the private e-mails never happened his integrity and reputation would IMO remain damaged and suspect.

We have all done things we are not proud of. We have all had a time or two when we had to tighten our belt an extra notch and do the right thing. If we confess these things and make them right with the offended party (or parties) the issue is settled. If, however, no genuine acknowledgement of or personal responsibility for the offense is taken, the offense remains.

Bob: Do the right thing!


URGENT UPDATE (1:30PM):
Inexplicably the GES just took down Wilkin’s post in which he declined to debate Ron Shea. Earlier I saw and read the article in its entirety. I reported on that below.

In it Wilkin posted two private e-mail exchanges between himself and Ron Shea. I have those documents in my possession. IMO, Wilkin pulled the article because he (Wilkin) by publicly disclosing these e-mails compromised a trust. Wilkin disclosed e-mails that contained private, personal information. This is a serious breach of trust and confidentiality.

Wilkin noted that his board approved the public disclosure of his article including the private e-mails. I have a gut feeling we will see Bob’s refusal to debate announcement again, but the e-mails will have been deleted.

Wilkin might seriously consider drafting a well thought out, and heartfelt public apology for disclosing those e-mails.


10:07AM: This morning Bob Wilkin posted his (not unexpected) decision to back out of the debate over the "Crossless" interpretation of the Gospel that he had been calling for since early this summer.

This came as no surpise. His desire for a debate was answered by Ron Shea who has the credentials to meet Bob.

In the opinion of some close to these men Wilkin lost his enthusiasm for an open debate as soon as he found that a man of Shea's caliber agreed to meet him. Wilkin's refusal to meet Ron had been expected from the time Shea posted his Open Challenge. The method and means of Wilkin's refusal was the only question.

How Ironic: On August 22, at the GES site, an article appeared titled, Bob Wilkin Offers to Debate GES Critic and is Turned Down

The follow up could now be titled, Bob Wilkin's Offer to Debate is Accepted and Bob Turns It Down



LM

35 comments:

  1. Sorry had some typos…

    I read and recoiled at Bob Wilkin’s post.

    Lou,

    I read every word of that blog and man, they can only hope they did not cross some legal line there. The ugliness of what they posted was shocking.

    I believe that what was said could easily be considered “libel” in a court of law. To think that all of that came from an organization that starts with the word “Grace” (GES).

    I wonder why they didn’t just say, “after due consideration we have voted not to proceed with the debate”. Instead, the post was as close to or maybe even over the line toward defamation of character as you can come.

    Well, God knows.

    Bret

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  2. Bret:

    I was not as blunt at the GES site, but I am sure they realized, maybe someone told them they “crossed a line.”

    Obviously it was not enough to simply say, “after due consideration we have voted not to proceed with the debate.”

    They went further to discredit Wilkins’s opponent as well. IMO, they did this because they knew that Bob would be discredited for having clamored for a debate since early summer and then balk when he got the challenge from Shea, a very formidable opponent.

    Actually it was like dirty politics, Chicago style. Wilkin had some glowing things to say about Ron. Which now I find hard to take as though they were sincere comments. Then Wilkin posted the e-mails to theoretically and publicly drop Ron in the deep fryer.

    I was a recipient of those e-mails and am holding them.

    We must also remember that Wilkin said the entire article was posted with the knowledge and consent of his board. They knew what they were doing and why.


    Lou

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  3. Lou,

    This is seriously distressing to me. GES was the group that led me back to grace out of LS. I just can't believe this. Also, a question for you. What is your view on the gospel of John being sufficient for bringing a person to faith in Christ? Afterall, if a person is convinced that Jesus is God their savior and that by faith in Him they have eternal life, would they not be saved? Thanks for the help.

    Tom

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  4. Lou, I really expect to see the whole GES blog to go down. Their gospel is out of the bag and it is running wild. The last time things got hot they just said we are not accepting entries any longer. I expect the same thing to happen now.

    Imagine not being able to say: “Yes, the death of Jesus for our sins and His resurrection from the dead IS THE “SAVING MESSAGE” to be proclaimed to the lost and is the SAVING MESSAGE.”

    They cannot, because they don’t believe that.

    They believe that you can get saved without ever even knowing that Jesus died for you?! Their gospel denies his deity. I haven’t said this yet but I will: Their gospel is “anti-Christ” because the word “Christ” to them doesn’t even describe deity.

    Bret

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  5. Lou and Greg:

    I have posted my reworked paper on my blog. Let me know what you think.

    Tom <><

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  6. Tom, you said:

    "This is seriously distressing to me. GES was the group that led me back to grace out of LS. I just can't believe this. Also, a question for you. What is your view on the gospel of John being sufficient for bringing a person to faith in Christ? Afterall, if a person is convinced that Jesus is God their savior and that by faith in Him they have eternal life, would they not be saved? Thanks for the help."

    I hope you don't mind if I reply. I shared the same experience as you. This reminds of the verse, "For the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul." (Deut. 13:3). Even as we appreciate these men for their efforts that have meant so much to our lives, our hearts must be loyal to the Lord and His Word above everything else.

    As your question about the Gospel of John, I have a couple thoughts. I am aware of the various arguments employed by GES proponents to suggest a person must only believe "Jesus is the name of the guarantor of eternal life by faith alone in Him alone." But the Gospel teaches something more concrete than that. This book is consistent with the rest of the Bible: we must believe in Jesus as the incarnate Son of God who died for our sins and rose again to reconcile us to God through faith in Him.

    First of all, there are several passages where the contents of saving belief are illustrated or described. For example, John 3:13-18; 6:47-58; 8:23-24, 28; 12:32; 20:25-31. Secondly, let me ask a penetrating question. Where does the author ever directly appeal to the reader of the Gospel to believe? The first is John 19:35 which speaks of Christ's crucifixion and the second is 20:25-31 which encapsulates Christ's humanity, Deity, death, and resurrection along with the promise of life.

    Regarding the first point, we could look at these passages one by one if you would like. I am aware of the crossless gospel objections. Basically, there are two main objections to my point supported by these verses. The first objection is that people believed in Jesus during His earthly ministry without believing these things. The second is that during the discourses and encounters of John 3, 6, 8, 12, ect., people did not know what He was talking about.

    I do have an answer to that. It is true that people did not know what Jesus was talking about, for example, in John 6:47-58 or 8:23-24, 28. If the words in 3:13-18 were a quote from Jesus rather than inserted by John (who does not say Jesus spoke them), that would be another example. In any case, crossless gospel advocates think this is an important point. It is. But it actually proves my point.

    GES proponents have basically claimed by understanding of John 6:47-58 is historicall anachronistic. Well, in a sense, it is. That's the way Christ gave it! In this passage, Jesus gave an evangelistic appeal that nobody could understand at the time He spoke it. Not even His disciples understood it. But it was still an evangelistic appeal. What's the point? The point is that it was to be understood and believed after He died and rose. Only in light of His death and resurrection, as John explains in the Gospel, can this discourse be understood. In fact, it is only after He died that a person could "eat My flesh and drink my blood". Does that mean Jesus spoke these words only for us, people living 2,000 years after the cross? No, not at all. He was going to die a year later. These people, generally speaking, would live through the historical realities that made Christ's evangelistic appeal possible to understand and believe. And please note, there is a reason John includes it in his Gospel. Don't you think he expects us to understand and believe it?

    If somebody claims it is implausible that Christ gave an evangelistic appeal that was to be understood a year later, just look:

    John 8:23-24, 8 And He said to them, "You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins." ...Then Jesus said to them, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.

    John 12:32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself."

    Lastly, I'd like to repeat a comment about John 3:14-18:

    John 3:13-18:
    "And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

    Christ was not yet lifted up during the encounter with Nicodemus. Whether the words of vv.13ff were spoken by Christ or added by the author, they were clearly given to be understood after He was "lifted up". Just as the Israelites were saved by looking to the particular serpent Moses lifted after he lifted it, so are were people saved by looking to Christ lifted up after He was lifted (John 3:14-15; 12:32). It is totally wrong to quote this verse and pretend that we aren't required to know anything about Christ being "lifted up".

    In 3:14, Jesus talks about the example in Numbers 21:

    Numbers 21:6-9:
    "And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. 7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. 8 And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. 9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived."

    Notice that the Israelites were not saved by looking to any serpent slithering around on the ground -- only the one lifted up. So too, we must look to the Son of God lifted up, Christ crucified.

    Whatever our conclusions about the Gospel of John, they should agree with the rest of the equally-inspired Word of God.

    I hope that helps.

    -- Greg

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  7. Tom:

    I have been busy doing that thing that pays the bills.

    In answer to your question... “Uhhh, What he (Greg) said.”

    When I read comments like that from Greg it makes me feel like the Barney Fife of the blogger’s theology department. It might take me 3 days to do what he does in 30 minutes.

    Anyway, I pretty much had some thoughts along these lines in mind before Greg posted his excellent remarks.

    First of all, there are several passages where the contents of saving belief are illustrated or described. For example, John 3:13-18; 6:47-58; 8:23-24, 28; 12:32; 20:25-31. Secondly, let me ask a penetrating question. Where does the author ever directly appeal to the reader of the Gospel to believe? The first is John 19:35 which speaks of Christ's crucifixion and the second is 20:25-31 which encapsulates Christ's humanity, Deity, death, and resurrection along with the promise of life.”


    LM

    PS: Later I will visit your blog and see about linking to it.

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  8. To All:

    Tom just opened a new blog site.
    Under Greg’s article The “Christ” Under Siege, Tom made this comment, “I wrote a paper in college about how faith in Jesus' divinity was not necessary based on Hodges claim, since I simply assumed that he had gotten it through historical research… I'm reworking it to show how Jesus' claim to be the resurrection and the life is a claim to deity and not just as the one who is able to guarantee it.”

    That paper is ready and has been posted at Tom’s blog.

    Please take moment to visit Free Grace Guy and give it a read.


    LM

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  9. Greg, (and Lou)

    Of course I don't mind if you respond. And I'm thankful for it. I see now what you're saying about John being a narrative. When Jesus says in 6:47 that everyone who believes in Him has eternal life, he's NOT giving all the information necessary - i.e. the content of saving faith, right? He's simply stating the condition of receiving life.

    However, doesn't 20:31 simply require us to believe that He is God our Savior? There doesn't seem to be a mention of the necessity to believe the cross per se. I mean, if John never comes out and says what it is we need to believe specifically beyond what I've just mentioned, then can one argue that it (the cross) is necessary content? In other words, aren't the signs in John (I include the resurrection as one) meant to lead one to believe that Jesus is God our Savior?

    Here's my struggle: If you have a child who believes they are a sinner, yet don't totally understand the cross, but they believe Jesus is their savior, would they not still be saved if in believing that He is Savior that He was God's son? And furthermore, I had a conversation with a woman one time who believed Jesus was her savior, but did not think He was God, but only the Son of God! She's looking at it the way the aforementioned child would look at it - How can Jesus be both God and God's Son at the same time. Of course we understand they're the same essence, just different persons, but if a person has to understand that, then wouldn't it bring in having to understand the trinity in order to be saved? I hope not, because most people don't get that concept. I could use some help thinking through these things, guys, thanks.

    Tom <><

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  10. Tom,

    I agree the saving message is in the Gospel of John, but sometimes when we're locked in a certain paradigm, we need to take a step back.

    Let's come outside the Gospel of John for a minute. Let me ask you a question: do you believe the lost must believe "the gospel" to be saved? Dozens of passages are totally clear that the answer is "yes". For example, see Acts 15:7-9; 20:24; Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 1:17-21; 4:15; 15:1, 2-3; 2 Cor. 4:3-4; Gal. 1:6-9; Eph. 1:13; Col. 1:5; 2Thes. 1:8-9. The last verse there indicates all those who do not believe "the gospel" will go to hell. Well, what is the gospel? There is no way from Scripture you can argue that "the gospel" is just "Jesus is the guarantor of eternal life to all believers". Paul calls interchanges the terms "the gospel" and "the message of the cross" (1Cor. 1:17-18) and indicates that it is by this message of the cross it "pleased God to save those who believe" (1Cor. 1:21). He clearly defines Christ's death for our sins and resurrection as the center and essence of the gospel (compare 1Cor. 1:17-23; 15:1, 3-4). If you say Christ's death and resurrection are not essential, then you are left to argue a) the lost do not need to believe "the gospel" to be saved or b) "the gospel" does not essentially include Christ's death and ressurection. But, Tom, in light of these clear passages, you would never do that unless you had a pre-established theological burden that influenced you to blunt the clear meaning of the Word.

    Why should we try to interpret the Gospel of John in a way that puts it at odds with the rest of Scripture? We shouldn't. The Gospel of John does show Christ's death and resurrection are essential to believe.

    On your blog forum, you mentioned that the Jewish mind often conveys things in word pictures. You said, "[John] shows through the word pictures that correlate with Jewish understandings of Jehovah God in the Old Testament that Jesus of Nazareth is God Almighty in human flesh."

    Tom, what do you think Christ was illustrating in John 3:14-16?

    The provision of the bronze serpent was given because the children of Israel sinned. Recognizing their sin, they looked up to this one particular serpent lifted up on Moses's pole for healing. Don't you think that is significant that they needed to look to the particular serpent that was lifted up? It was not enough to know "Bronze serpent is the one who secures physical healing." They needed to the particular bronze serpent lifted up. Christ said, "Likewise, the Son of Man must be lifted up, that whosoever should believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." Notice the parallels to the bronze serpent. We are sinners. We must look to Him lifted up as the provision for our sin. Our faith must not rest on our own faith. Our faith must look upon the Son of Man lifted up. Unless it is essential to see Him, by faith, as our crucified provision for sin, Christ's own comparison breaks down.

    On your blog, you used a similar word picture: "[A]nytime you doubt whether or not you are going to be with Him in Heaven, just go back to the Cross and remember that eternal life is promised to the one who simply believes."

    By "go back to the cross..." you are telling the reader to think about what Christ accomplished through His death and resurection. You are telling the reader to look outward to the Savior who died for their sins. You are telling the reader that the content of faith involves Christ's death. That is exactly what John does in 3:14-15.

    You said:

    "When Jesus says in 6:47 that everyone who believes in Him has eternal life, he's NOT giving all the information necessary - i.e. the content of saving faith, right? He's simply stating the condition of receiving life.

    Well, 6:47 by itself obviously does not give all the necessary information. Even in the GES view, it does not give all the necessary information, i.e., His name or exactly what is to be believed.

    But I would go a step beyond this. I would say this is a passage, when taken in context, like John 3:13-18, descriptively illustrates what it means for us to believe in Jesus. For a moment, ignore the verse enumerations. John 6:47 was not spoken by itself. Notice that Jesus did not say, "he who believes in Me has everlasting life (My name is Jesus)". He said, "he who believes in Me has everlasting life (I am the bread of life)". Jesus then goes on to illustrate what it means to believe in Him as the bread of life. I already commented on this verse for you. Notice this parallel:

    "...he who believes in Me has everlasting life." (v. 47)

    "...Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life." (v. 54)

    Tom, this word picture is given to illustrate for us what it means to believe in Him. The idea of eating His flesh and drinking His blood which He gave for the life of the world illustrates the personal appropriation of His substitutionary death. It illustrates the same truth we saw in relationship to 3:14-15, that our faith must involve belief upon what this "Living Bread" accomplished for us up on that cross.

    This isn't an optional way of coming to faith. This is absolutely essential:

    "...Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you." (v. 53)

    Tom, this message fits exactly with "the message of the cross" which is the message the lost need to believe to be saved (1Cor. 1:17-23).

    I am aware of the objections crossless gospel advocates will raise, and I already addressed them above in my earlier post.

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  11. Tom, you said:

    In other words, aren't the signs in John (I include the resurrection as one) meant to lead one to believe that Jesus is God our Savior?"

    Crossless gospel advocates have claimed any one of the signs are sufficient to lead a person to Christ. Well, that is simply rediculous. I'll tell you what. Go out on a missions trip to some unreached tribe. Pick one sign. That's all you can preach. You can't preach the truths of the gospel. If the sign itself is sufficient, you shouldn't even have to tell people to believe on Him for everlasting life. In fact, nothing about "everlasting life" is recorded in any of the narratives about the signs except one or two of them. Go and tell people, "Jesus turned water to wine, Jesus turned water to wine, Jesus turned water to wine, Jesus turned water to wine." See how many people get saved. See how many people even "believe in this Jesus for everlasting life". Also, see how many people "eat His flesh and drink His blood".

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  12. Tom,

    I will address the rest of your comments:

    You said:

    However, doesn't 20:31 simply require us to believe that He is God our Savior? There doesn't seem to be a mention of the necessity to believe the cross per se. I mean, if John never comes out and says what it is we need to believe specifically beyond what I've just mentioned, then can one argue that it (the cross) is necessary content?

    Tom, I think that verse does simply require us to believe Jesus is our Savior, but let me ask you a question. Let's say that you hear a pastor or an evangelist give a really clear gospel presentation. He presents Jesus as the incarnate Son of God. He talks about Christ's death for our sins. He talks about Christ's resurrection. He talks about eternal security and the promise of everlasting life for all who believe in Christ. At the end, he says, "I appeal to you to believe in Jesus as your Savior, and you will receive the gift of everlasting life." Does that appeal mean that it is not necessary to believe Jesus is the incarnate Son of God, that He died, and rose? Of course not. That is a summary of his presentation. He is calling you to believe in the Jesus he just preached to you.

    Look at the verse in context:

    John 20:25-31
    The other disciples therefore said to him, "We have seen the Lord." So he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe." 26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace to you!" 27 Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing." 28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" 29 Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." 30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

    I'd like to make a few points about this passage.

    1. It encapsulates Christ's death, resurrection, humanity, Deity, and the promise of everlasting life. John is illustrating the object of faith.

    2. This is only the second passage where John directly appealed to the reader to believe (v. 29, 31). The only other one is John 19:35 which speaks of His death. Can you name any other passages where John directly appeals to the reader to believe the sign or to believe in Jesus in light of the sign?

    3. In light of the fact that John already appealed to the reader to believe Jesus died (19:35) and now presented His resurrection, would it be fair to say that John necessarily expects the reader to know that "Jesus" in 20:31 is this one who died and rose again? I think so.

    4. Not only did John appeal to the reader to believe, but so did Jesus. He said, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." Can you name any other passages where Jesus calls those who have "not seen" to believe His sign?

    5. The word "believe" or "unbelieving" is used four times in vv. 27-29. This involves belief in His resurrection (v. 29). It also conncected with His Deity (v. 28). If the word "believe" is used four times in reference to His resurrection, isn't it incredulous to say that "believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God" just two verses later does not involve belief in His resurrection?

    Allow me to illustrate from two other passages, outside the Gospel of John, that confirm this point about believing in "Jesus" as "the Christ". I believe the reference to "Jesus" necessarily assumes belief in this historical man who died. To say He is "the Christ, the Son of God" involves believing He also rose and His death accomplished something.

    In 1John 4:2-3, John says: "...Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist..."

    Do you think in John 20:31, that John has already identified "Jesus" as one who came in the flesh and assumes you know this? I do. In light of this verse, how can you argue that a person can get saved through faith in a "Jesus" they do not realize has come in the flesh?

    Secondly, notice this passage:

    Acts 17:2-3
    "Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, "This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ."

    In light of the fact "this Jesus" came in the flesh and died, it is essential to know the Christ as the one who died and rose from the dead. This is not merely helpful. God does not accept faith in some Jesus whose bones are still in a grave.

    You said:

    Here's my struggle: If you have a child who believes they are a sinner, yet don't totally understand the cross, but they believe Jesus is their savior, would they not still be saved if in believing that He is Savior that He was God's son?

    Tom, let's build our beliefs from the Bible, not from our desires to make salvation easier for children. On your own blog site you said, "I was taught that all one needed to do to make heaven their home was to believe that Jesus died on the Cross for their sins and that He rose from the dead. This was simple enough and I believed it." This is simple. Let's not pretend like it's too complicated.

    I read a transcript where Zane Hodges brings up this point about children as sweet-sounding appeal to gut the gospel. He essentially says that if a child believes Jesus will bring him to heaven, the child is saved. Even if it sounds crass, nobody is saved simply believing "Jesus will take me to heaven". Universalists believe that. They believe He's taking everyone to heaven. That's not salvation.

    Don't forget the Holy Spirit in all this. Jesus said, "and when He [the Holy Spirit] has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment." Tom, are you saying the Holy Spirit is able to convict a child of his sin but not the provision for that sin?

    Lastly, you said:

    And furthermore, I had a conversation with a woman one time who believed Jesus was her savior, but did not think He was God, but only the Son of God! She's looking at it the way the aforementioned child would look at it - How can Jesus be both God and God's Son at the same time. Of course we understand they're the same essence, just different persons, but if a person has to understand that, then wouldn't it bring in having to understand the trinity in order to be saved?

    Jesus said, "Unless you believe I AM, you will die in your sins."

    Let's stick to the Word rather than personal sentiments.

    According to John 3:18-19, the reason people do not come to believe the true meaning of Jesus as the only Son of God is not because they are simply honestly tripped up with intellectual facts. It is because they love darkness rather than light. It's hard for us to see that, it's hard for us to understand that, but it's true.

    You do not need to believe in the Trinity to get saved. Scripture never points to the Holy Spirit as part of the object of faith. The solution to the problem you described is as simple as John 1:1. Jesus is the eternal son of God.

    Tom, the message of salvation is simple. The thing that's tripping you up isn't the complexity of the gospel. It's the arguments of crossless gospel advocates. My appeal to you is to stick to the word rather than trying to sort out various personal scenarios.

    I hope this helps.

    -- Greg

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  13. Tom,

    Another thought I remembered is this: if a person is convicted of their sin and supposedly believes in Jesus as "Savior" without believing His provision, what are they believing in?

    Let's say someone believes the GES gospel but does not know Jesus died for our sins. Well, what does he believe in then? He'd say, "I'm going to heaven because I believe in Jesus."

    Well, what's the true payment for our sins? Our belief or Christ's death? What's the true object of faith? Our belief or Christ's death? If you supposedly believe in Jesus for everlasting life while not believing His death, you're believing in your own faith.

    In my earlier article on this site, "False Paradigms of the Crossless Gospel, Pt. 1" I showed that even people before the cross believed in God to provide propitiation for their sin on account of His righteousness. Doesn't it near blasphemy to say someone can get saved today believing "Jesus will take me to heaven because I believe He will" without believing His propitiation of our sins?

    -- Greg

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  14. I just tried to post a commit on the GES' blog and it didn't allow me to post it.

    GES has posted a commit (which is to long to post here), but I will give the last statement from it and my commit.

    Grace evangelical society says, "...Please act like Christians or go somewhere else.
    Thank you."

    Here are the questions I tried to asked on the GES blog:

    Does this applied to Dr. Wilkin who put a new blog on here yesterday and then took it off, after the damage was done?

    Does it applied to the person in your group that goes by, "Truth Detector" - that was mention in the information that was posted in the blog (now missing blog)?

    or,

    Does Dr. Wilkin and the GES' Board think the above are "Christ-like" actions?

    ---

    If, I was able to post on the GES blog, --- I am sure Dr. Wilkin would not answer my questions.

    Mike

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi Mike:

    What they did at GES is enable comment moderation.

    This means someone (who did not name himself) at GES will be able to read a post before it shows in the thread. Then decide to either post as is, edit and post it or delete it. It is not uncommon, but IMO this is an indication that they have gone to damage control mode. This is what you might call, “Circling the Wagons.”

    You saw how they shut down the first article's thread. This time they are going to intercept any and all comments and delete them if they in any way bring attention to their egregious errors. If it had not been for some one (Naz, I think) predicting they would shut the current thread down, just like the previous one, I believe they would have.

    I don’t think anyone wants to see these men disgrace themselves, but the GES is experiencing a meltdown:

    1) The debacle with Wilkins’s announcement that he would not debate Shea, his posting private e-mails, and then its sudden disappearance is a prime example.

    2) The men at GES will not answer direct, unambiguous questions in unvarnished terms, or refuse to acknowledge questions. Recently a pastor told me that about two years ago Wilkin stayed in his home for a few days. The pastor wanted to ask Wilkin about his (Wilkins’s) interpretation of the Gospel, but Wilkin REFUSED TO DISCUSS IT with him.

    3) The GES warns those who disagree not to “belittle, insult, harass.” To, “Say what you have to say in a polite, biblical, concise, Christ-like way or you will be gone.” What Myers and Wilkin allow for, however is for one of the pro-GES men to refer to those who reject the “Crossless” gospel as “Gestapo.”

    4) The regular misdirects away from the crux of the debate to avoid the issues.

    The biggest problem the GES faces, however, is that there has been pretty much a full disclosure made of what the men at GES truly believe the Gospel to be. Greg Schliesmann has, with a surgeon’s precision, laid bare many of the errors of the “Crossless/Deityless” gospel. They have the unenviable task of trying to defend a doctrinal position that is antithetical to Scripture.

    Most FG people were probably not aware of just far from orthodoxy these men have drifted. IMO, their assault on the titles of the Lord Jesus Christ significantly intensifies and illustrates that they have, without any doubt, departed from the faith once delivered (Jude 3).


    Lou

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  16. I find it disturbing that after GES posted their comment on “policing all new commentary.” That several of us have submitted entries and only those favorable to GES have been allowed to be posted. My post, for sure, was not in any way negative but it did not make it through the grid. I could say that this is the weekend but they let others through and it was weekend. Is GES so desperate as an organization that they won’t let non-offensive yet differing views to their posting be discussed? I’m fearful that they will not be seen as an honest, truth-seeking Para-Church organization. That borders on being cult like.

    Naz

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  17. Greg,

    Just got back from a trip with the youth and I am wiped.

    Thanks so much for giving me some in depth answers, but I have to admit that I'm still struggling. If we say that a person must understand the cross, then you must hold to the position that a person can genuinely believe that Jesus saves them from Hell or, as you put it, takes me to heaven when I die, and yet not be saved!

    I have a real problem with that. They still have faith in Jesus as God their Savior, but is God really going to send them to hell because they don't necessarily put two and two together as to HOW exactly he does it. If a person has placed their trust entirely in the divine Son of God to rescue them from Hell, yet does not understand that the cross was what did it, He still believes in the person, while He may not understand his work.

    For example, a child may trust his father to provide for his need for food, even if that child does not understand what his father does for a living to provide it. No one would ever believe that the child didn't trust in his father for the provision of food. How then can God reject that simple childlike faith in Jesus for the provision of eternal life simply because they do not understand the cross, or, how he provides for it? And to say that they aren't believing (trusting) in Him for salvation because they don't know the how, doesn't hold water.

    Please understand that I am not trying to argue with you or be antagonistic, but it is difficult to swallow that the content of faith changes over time. There is no question that people in John who did not understand that Jesus had to die and rise again believed He was their Savior from sins, even if they didn't understand HOW it was that he saved them. I agree, the Jews did know that there was to be a propitiation for sin, but that doesn't mean that they understood the cross and its meaning BEFORE he died and rose again. Not even the disciples believed it and they were clearly saved. How can all of a sudden the content of faith just change. To me, the issue is IN WHOM is your trust to save you or ON WHOM are you relying to save you from Hell and bring you into an eternal heaven, not HOW they did it. It seems to me that the necessity of preaching the cross and resurrection is to convince people that since He died for their sins, He can save them if they trust in Him. However, it is clear that people can trust in Him without understanding HOW he did it. If we hold to your position, we would have people genuinely trusting in Jesus Christ for forgiveness and salvation who would be on their way to Hell! Does that not sound absurd to you?

    Now, listen, if I am wrong and I am missing something here, please show me and as I was with the deity issue I will repent. Thanks for engaging in this discussion with me.

    Tom <><

    ReplyDelete
  18. Naz/All:



    IMO, the GES will no longer interact with those who reject their “Crossless/Deityless” gospel. Anything that may require a transparent answer from Wilkin or Myers is going to be kept off their blog.



    They have revealed so much about what they believe that I can imagine they are receiving quite a few contacts at their office about it. Either contacts with questions, or a significant drop in contacts from those who are no longer going to align themselves with the GES because their egregious doctrinal errors have come to light.


    
I have been wondering about Zane Hodges, because this teaching that GES holds to originates with him.

I have directed several articles in his direction. You can be sure Hodges is behind the scenes discussing all of this with Wilkin.



    IMO, the only way concerned FG people are going to have a chance to get questions answered from Wilkin and Hodges is to approach them at the conferences they speak at.



    That said, now that their belief system has been fully exposed, there are very likely scores of FG people who will no longer go to the GES conferences. Those who do will be sympathetic to the “Crossless” gospel and that is a shame that there are some who have been deceived. I am praying that many of those well-meaning folks will be able to look past the personalties and see that the GES staff and Hodges have checked out on Scripture and departed from the faith once delivered (Jude 3).



    To any of you who understand and/or have concerns with what Wilkin/Hodges/Myers are teaching, go to them, and in person ask the questions.

I think I will formulate some questions and post them here. Questions that get to the heart of the matter.

    Although, if their pattern holds, they will dodge questions that get to the heart of their doctrinal stand. Remember, both Myers and Wilkin refused to address the Deity of Christ.





    Lou

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  19. Brothers, and Sisters. While I'm glad to see God move. I am reminded that we should be weeping for the GES today.

    We need to offer praises to God that what was hidden has been exposed for the protection of the sheep. But let us offer as much intercession for these people as is required.

    Let's not forget to call out to the Lord for Bill and Zane today.

    Kev

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  20. To All:

    As Naz pointed out GES is deleting any and all comments at the GES blog that are not fully supportive of the "Crossless" gospel.

    One minute ago, I posted this to Jeremy at the GES blog:

    Naz directed this question to you.

    "(Jeremy) Could you say this?... 'Yes, the death of Jesus for our sins and His resurrection from the dead IS THE “SAVING MESSAGE” to be proclaimed to the lost and is the SAVING MESSAGE.'"

    Do you plan to acknowledge it?


    I'll give benefit of the doubt for now, but IMO, it will never appear at the GES blog.

    As Kevl noted, we should, "offer as much intercession for these people as is required."

    For those who have been drawn to accept the errors being propagated by Hodges, Wilkin, Myers and Niemela- we pray for deliverance from error.

    For Hodges, Wlikin, Myers, Niemela pray for repentance and while we pray, "Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith."


    LM

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  21. I recently noticed that Tom (free grace guy) made a post at the GES forum supportive of the crossless gospel (though he believes the Deity of Christ is required). That means a person can be saved by believing "God's name is Jesus and He will take me to heaven." That's not the gospel.

    The gospel is the "message of the cross" (1Cor. 1:17-18, 21), the message of "Christ crucified" (1Cor. 1:13), the message of His death for our sins and resurrection (1Cor. 15:1, 2-3).

    Unless you believe in the Son of God who penetrated human history by becoming a man, dying for our sins, and rising again, you do not believe in the same Jesus that both Tom and I believe in. You believe in "another Jesus" (2Cor. 11:4; 1John 4:2-3). It's sad that Tom is now advocating the view that someone who believes in a non-incarnate, non-crucified Christ is saved.

    Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

    -- Greg

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  22. Good news!

    GES allowed Naz's question to post at the GES blog. A little prompting was I am sure helpful.

    Now, Jeremy has a second chance to "acknowledge" and answer the question.


    Lou

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  23. Greg,

    I've posted a response to your response to me on this comments section. Please read it and, if you'd like, respond.

    Tom <><

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  24. Tom,

    I did not see your question before my prior post. Please read my reply patiently.

    You said:

    "...If we say that a person must understand the cross, then you must hold to the position that a person can genuinely believe that Jesus saves them from Hell or, as you put it, takes me to heaven when I die, and yet not be saved!

    I have a real problem with that. They still have faith in Jesus as God their Savior, but is God really going to send them to hell because they don't necessarily put two and two together as to HOW exactly he does it. If a person has placed their trust entirely in the divine Son of God to rescue them from Hell, yet does not understand that the cross was what did it, He still believes in the person, while He may not understand his work.


    Tom, I have a real problem with not following the Word of God.
    If a person does not need to believe Jesus came and died for our sins and rose again, he may believe "Jesus" is just the name of the Son of God who never came to earth. The Apostles preached a Jesus who had died and risen. They preached "Christ crucified" (1Cor. 1:23) which was part of "the gospel" aka. "the message of the cross" which is the one message by which is pleases God to save those who believe.

    You said:

    For example, a child may trust his father to provide for his need for food, even if that child does not understand what his father does for a living to provide it. No one would ever believe that the child didn't trust in his father for the provision of food. How then can God reject that simple childlike faith in Jesus for the provision of eternal life simply because they do not understand the cross, or, how he provides for it? And to say that they aren't believing (trusting) in Him for salvation because they don't know the how, doesn't hold water.

    This is a just a man-made analogy that has no bearing upon or likeness to Scripture. I addressed this in the "False Paradigms of the Crossles Gospel, Pt. 2".

    You said:

    Please understand that I am not trying to argue with you or be antagonistic, but it is difficult to swallow that the content of faith changes over time.

    Well, it did change. I addressed this in "False Paradigms of the Crossless Gospel, Pt. 1"

    Never before was anybody commissioned to preach "the gospel" of Christ's death and resurrection, nor belief in this "gospel" ever mandated for salvation from hell. It certainly is now (1Cor. 1:17-21; 2Thes. 1:8-9).

    Furthermore, your own view has the content of faith changing. In prior dispensations, people neither had to believe in "Jesus" nor "the Son of God" as part of the content of faith. In your own view, the content of faith has changed.

    You said:

    There is no question that people in John who did not understand that Jesus had to die and rise again believed He was their Savior from sins, even if they didn't understand HOW it was that he saved them. I agree, the Jews did know that there was to be a propitiation for sin, but that doesn't mean that they understood the cross and its meaning BEFORE he died and rose again. Not even the disciples believed it and they were clearly saved. How can all of a sudden the content of faith just change.

    You are talking about incidents from the Gospel of John prior to the cross. How can the content of faith change? Well, the earth-shattering event of Christ's death and resurrection occured. Our salvation is entirely based upon this event which is what "the good news" of "the gospel" is all about.

    If you agree OT saints prior to the cross believed in God to provide propitiation for their sins, and the content of faith has not changed, then the content of faith today involves believing in God to somehow provide propitiation for our sins. But He already has!! So your "faith" in Him today to somehow provide propitiation would actually be "unbelief" in the propiation He provided once for all.

    If your view is that the content of faith has not changed, why even say we must believe specifically in "Jesus"? In fact, why not say that a tribal person in a distant land could get saved, just like an OT saint, by believing in God to provide propitiation? That simply doesn't make sense.

    Not only is my view Biblical, but it also makes sense. We must believe in "Jesus" today because that name essentially signifies the redemptive-historical fact of the incarnation, death, and resurrection of the Son of God. We must believe in "Jesus" because He became a man (essential grounds of our redemption), died for our sins (essential grounds of our redemption), and rose again (essential grounds of our redemption).

    Now, if you say we must believe in "Jesus" today because He was incarnated, then you are either saying: a) we only need to believe in one of these grounds (His incarnation) or b) we do not even need to believe in His incarnation, in which case it does not even make sense to say we must believe in "Jesus".

    Think about it. If it is "a" and the redemptive-historical facts of His incarnation changed the content of faith (even in your view), why would not the more concrete redemptive-historical facts of His death and resurrection change the content of faith? And what would it mean to believe in an incarnate "Jesus" who is yet to die--is He some guy living on earth today who is yet to die?

    If it is "b" then you have several problems. First, you already have a huge difference from what people in the Gospel of John believed--the "difference" you were trying to avoid all along. Everybody in the Gospel of John who believed in Him believed He was the incarnate Son of God. They didn't believe that "Jesus" was just the same of the Son of God yet to come. Second, you would be saying people could get saved by putting their faith in a "Jesus" that John says is from the spirit of Antichrist (1John 4:2-3). Third, why not go back to the OT content of faith altogether? Fourth, either one of your positions is contradicted by plenty of Scripture.

    I have to go but I'll leave you with this verse:

    John 12:32
    And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.

    There are two locative prepositions in this verse.

    1) Lifted "up from" the earth
    2) Draw all peoples "to Myself"

    The cross is not just an "instrument" of the drawing but the DESTINATION (cf. John 3:14-15).

    Even as you said, "go back to the Cross and remember that eternal life is promised to the one who simply believes".

    I am praying you will change your mind.

    Sincerely,
    Greg

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  25. Greg/Tom:

    May I suggest a phone call between you men?

    That has been a helpful way for me to sort things out with some men.

    One man, in my IFB circle, had a sharp disagreement with me over Lordship Salvation. In less than a year he has come to be a good friend.

    We initially wrote back-and-forth, but finally I decided to phone him. We spoke on the phone, over time a better understanding was gained and he came to some helpful realizations.

    Written is good for debates, but sometimes a call is better and gets more accomplished. Think it over.


    Lou

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  26. Greg,

    That was a great response. Give me some time to think about it. Also, please address my analogy with the father and child. You can deny it all you want by claiming it is a man-made analogy, but that analogy comes right out of God's creation and is a valid question. I'll get back to you after I digest this stuff a little more. Thanks for being patient with me.

    Tom <><

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  27. Lou,

    I just saw your post after I posted. I'd be willing to do it. I want nothing more than to be faithful to the message and so now is the time to get it right. It's totally up to Greg. BTW, why can't I get to his site?

    Tom

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  28. Tom:

    I don't think Greg has a site, just an ID to log in and use blogger. That is what I think anyway.

    If you want to speak to Greg on the phone both of you e-mail me and let me know. I have Greg's number and if you send me yours I'll hook you men up if both of you are agreeable.

    It's up to you men, not mandatory, just a suggestion.


    Lou

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  29. In reply to a person at the GES blog, who enthusiastically endorses Hodges' view of repentance in his book “Harmony with God,” I wrote…


    I have Hodges’s Harmony With God.

    He writes, “Thank God there is only one answer to the question, ‘What must I do to be saved?’...Repentance is not part of that answer. It never has been and never will be. But we should keep firmly in mind the lovely truth that repentance is always the first step when we need to come home again!”

    Hodges has taken what is already a message void of vital truths, and goes further into error with his definition of repentance. According to Hodges biblical (not LS) repentance is no longer necessary for conversion, but is only for the redeemed.

    This should be expected since knowledge of and/or belief in Christ’s death, the resurrection, Christ's deity have all been removed from the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and, therefore, just like repentance, according to Hodges/GES are, “not part of that answer.”

    ...all the pieces come together.” In one sense that is a valid statement.

    What is coming together is just how many pieces of the biblical plan of salvation have been eradicated by the teachings of Zane Hodges.


    LM

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  30. Hey Lou,

    Did you notice that the GES blog is gone? I don't mean out of existence, but the posts that had all those responses have been raptured.

    Tom

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  31. Tom:

    Yes I did, and this was fully expected. The only surprise is that they did not destroy the on line evidence of what they truly believe long before today.

    This is another indication that these men do not want to disclose or discuss their doctrine.

    First they would not answer questions on the deity of Christ, the closed comment threads, then moderating threads to eliminate any rejection of their theology. Now POOF!!!

    This has become a credibility and integrity issue for Wilkin, Myers, the GES and its board

    Later I am posting some thoughts about the disappearance of the articles and Wilkins's article in which he published private e-mails with the GES board approval.

    Afterward, we are going back to dealing with the egregious errors of the “Crossless” gospel.


    LM

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  32. Naz, you said:
    Their gospel is out of the bag and it is running wild.

    I am interested in your summary of the most vital elements of their gospel that you believe are now "out of the bag". I've read a lot in the weeks past and a summary might help me organize my thoghts as I prepare for a meeting with church leadership soon. In light of the recently deleted topic from the GES blog, which I had not read all of, I'd like to know if some of what you refer to was part of what is now deleted. Thank you.

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  33. Hi Stark:

    Naz is away for about two weeks.

    If you read the articles by Greg you will have plenty to draw from.

    I highly recommend Greg's article, The "Christ" Under Siege.

    Greg is also preparing a Red Flags of the Crossless Gospel article.

    That will catalog some of the most disturbing aspects of what is coming from Hodges, Wilkin, Myers and the GES.


    Lou

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  34. Thanks, I have skimmed those and much more. I mostly wondered if he was referring to anything in particular of what has been recently deleted from the GES blog. Based on your experience with the deleted Ron Shea debate messages I saved a copy of the-saving-message thread before it was deleted and have it to reference. The last message I have was from Diane at 10:23.

    I haven't actually read all of the posts on that thread but will complete that and a thorough reading of Greg's articles tonight.

    ReplyDelete