Just before I post my series on, The Tragedy of a “Crossless” Gospel in the Gold Mine of Souls I want to touch on a related issue.
In recent weeks there has been much written about repentance from the advocates of the “Crossless/Deityless” gospel. For the most part the writing has consisted primarily of inflammatory and harsh rhetoric. The casual reader may not be aware of the “Crossless” (Hodges, Wilkin, Myers, Grace Evangelical Society) position on repentance.
Both sides in the Lordship/Free Grace debate agree repentance has a role in salvation. They disagree sharply on the role and definition of repentance, but agree repentance is involved with the salvation experience.
The “Crossless” gospel advocates, however, are a glaring exception to this general consensus on repentance. The teaching of the Grace Evangelical Society, (which no longer represents the majority of those in the Free Grace community) and GES apologists entirely eliminates repentance toward God from salvation and conversion. They believe repentance is not a condition of salvation. Therefore, they do not believe a lost man needs to have any kind of “change of mind” toward God. Furthermore, Zane Hodges rejects the, “change of mind” definition of repentance. This teaching can be found in Zane Hodges’ books Absolutely Free and Harmony With God.
This is one reason why advocates of the “Crossless” gospel will allow for a lost man to consciously reject the Deity of Christ and still insist he can be born again by believing a promise of eternal life.
Hodges, Wilkin, Myers and the GES apologists insist the titles, “Christ” and “Son of God” do not infer or imply the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. They personally believe in the Deity of Christ, but when they deal with lost men, they personally assume a position of practical deniability of the Lord’s Deity in their approach to the evangelistic setting.
They consider a lost man’s rejection of Christ’s Deity a simple, “misconception,” that should be put on the “back burner,” and addressed only if and after the lost man becomes a believer.
Becomes a Believer? Believer in what; believer in whom? The “Crossless” gospel does not encourage the lost man to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Instead he is told to believe in a promise from any kind of Jesus, that in his mind will give him eternal life.
Jesus said, “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins,” (John 8:24).
Is there such a thing as repentance in the “Crossless” gospel? Zane Hodges for the GES answers the question.
“Thank God there is only one answer to the question, ‘What must I do to be saved?’ That, of course, is the answer not only of Paul and all the apostles, but of Jesus Himself. The answer is: ‘believe!’ Repentance is not part of that answer. It never has been and never will be…” (Harmony With God)Bob Wilkin wrote,
“In order to proclaim the gospel clearly we must be exceedingly careful what we say, if anything, about repentance. The simplest course would be to say nothing about repentance.” (“Preaching and Teaching About Repentance,” Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society, 4/1 [Spring, 1991]).