October 24, 2007

Watch & Remember: I Ceased Not To Warn…

Dear Guests:

In the Tom Stegall…FGA thread Kevl made this observation,

At any other time in Church History movements and changes like this would likely go un-noticed by the rank and file Christians who would only ever feel the results of it after the fact years later from the men standing at pulpits giving messages based on what they had been trained in.”

Over the centuries the doctrinal and practical instruction has and should come from the pulpit every time the man of God stands in it and opens the Word of God. If you were to stand in the pulpit at the church I attend you would notice a small plaque that was inset in the upper right hand corner, so that only the preacher can see it while he preaches. This is the inscription on that plaque,

Sir, we would see Jesus.”

Preachers, the folks God has given you to shepherd need and deserve to see the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ.

We live in the information age. The Internet has brought new trials and temptations, but it has also brought help and blessing. During the week Christians are surfing the Internet and it is there that many of them are having their theology shaped. In a typical week Christian men and women may hear one or more sermons from the pastor of their church. During the year they may attend special evangelistic meetings, or Missions and Bible conferences. There is a definite lopsided balance in favor of the Internet.

In the theological realm the Internet has given Christians access to many tools and references, which may aid them in their study and walk with God. Conversely, it can open avenues to error and heresy that they might otherwise never have been exposed to. If we are realistic many in our churches likely spend at least twice as much time on the Internet reading about and interacting with primarily strangers on any number of doctrinal topics than they do in their local church. I am always concerned that some Christians who expose themselves to error, more out of curiosity than anything else, may wind up adopting the error as their own position.

Through the Internet literally thousands of concerned believers are being advised of and forewarned about the unscriptural doctrine known as the “Crossless” gospel. If it were not for the Internet method of instantaneous communication we would not be hearing of these disconcerting doctrines coming from Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin and the Grace Evangelical Society (GES) with the speed we do today. In regard to the current discussion and debate over what is known at the “Crossless” gospel the Internet has been very effective and helpful in exposing and refuting this error on the Gospel.

Thanks to the good articles by Tom Stegall, Dennis Rokser and Greg Schliesmann, Christians will not be so na├»ve or unsuspecting when they are faced with what Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin have been teaching, for the most part, with impunity until recent months. Believers will no longer be easily caught off guard. They will hear and be able to recognize the warning signs from the men to teach and promote the “Crossless” gospel. And that goes for Lordship Salvation too!

In the one year my blog has been up there have been over 28,000 hits (45,000+ May 2008).Many have written in the threads, and at least as many have sent private e-mails expressing appreciation for having been informed and warned of the inherent dangers in the “Crossless” gospel and Lordship Salvation. Both are wrong, both are departures from a balanced biblical position on the Gospel. Lordship Salvation and the “Crossless” gospel are as far to the left and right of the biblical plan of salvation as they respectively can be.
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears,” (Acts 20:28-31).
From the historical perspective, to learn what can happen if we let our guard down, one has only to look at Lordship Salvation. The Lordship interpretation of the Gospel has been with us longer than the “Crossless” gospel. Initially it did not have the broad base of support it enjoys today. Lordship Salvation, however, was given a great deal more impetus when, in 1988, it was presented by arguably one of the best known and most influential evangelicals in that day, Dr. John MacArthur. There were 4,000 at the 2007 Shepherd’s Conference. That indicates the spread of Lordship Salvation has been essentially unchecked. It also shows us that we must not ignore or give up on writing to counteract the errors of the works-based message of the Lordship advocates.

On the other hand, at the recent GES conference in Washington State reports from an attendee are there were only about 20* delegates in attendance. It is an encouraging sign that the GES’s departure from orthodoxy is being recognized and its advocates avoided by discerning pastors and leaders. This does not mean we can let our guard down or feel like the job is done. The Apostle Paul warned the pastors and leaders of his day to “watch” the horizon for error lest it creep in among the believers under their care.

Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin and the GES are determined to continue the spread of their “Crossless/Deityless” interpretation of the Gospel. Blogs that are sympathetic to the GES are vehicles through which the false teaching is being delivered. If men like Pastor Tom Stegall decided that enough has been done to counteract the assault on the Gospel and Deity of Christ he might have discontinued his series at the Grace Family Journal with just one entry. I believe that would allow for the “Crossless” gospel to over time regain momentum and cause more Christians to fall into the trap of their egregious errors.

If we do not “watch” and take care to keep this “Crossless” teaching identified and exposed it could one day gain great momentum and thereby deceive many unsuspecting Christians. What a tragedy it would be for the “Crossless” interpretation of the Gospel grow to the point where its leadership were to host 4,000 delegates at a convention.


LM

*One individual suggested there were as many as 60 at this GES conference.

11 comments:

  1. Hey Lou, thanks for visiting my blog. I had to do a search for "What is Lordship Salvation" because I had not heard the term, but upon reading the explanation I have to say that I completely agree with you that it is clearly wrong to say that one must completely submit every "room" of their life to Christ in order to be saved.

    It sounds quite bizarre to think that anyone would teach such a thing. It seems that anyone with even a small amount of wisdom and spiritual maturity of any kind would see that NO ONE is completely submitted to Christ. It is by faith alone/God's choosing.

    Thanks for all your hard work to teach "faith alone." We need more of it. I'm sure I am completely oversimplifying the issue (or even getting it wrong!) considering I've only just learned of the technical term, but we can't know everything all at once!

    Thanks,

    Dave

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  2. Hi Dave:

    Thanks for the visit.

    Lordship Salvation (LS) is a faith plus work interpretation of the Gospel. If you go to this series of articles you'll get a good idea of just how far from orthodoxy LS is.

    On the other hand, I am sure you noticed that I and others have been dealing with what has come to be known as the Crossless gospel. That is the position of most of the folks you find in the Grace Evangelical Society. Men such as Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin, Jeremy Myers and Antonio da Rosa hold to a "Crossless" gospel. That position is as wrong in its own right as LS is in its.

    You can read much here about how the "Crossless" advocates believe a lost man does not need to know, understand or believe he is a sinner, does not need to know who Jesus is and what He did to provide salvation, can deny the Deity of Christ and still, according to the "Crossless" men, be born again. Those things, according to da Rosa are to be viewed as "misconceptions" and to be put on the "back burner."

    Thanks again for the visit.


    LM

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  3. Flavio:

    I deleted both of your comments because I am not going to have my motives and character impugned by any one at my blog.

    In regard to the number who attended the Washington State GES conference: My source, who was there, estimated 20. Your source says 60. OK, someone got it wrong.

    Nevertheless, I am grateful the numbers are low. It would be most unfortunate if the GES “Crossless” theology spread significantly.

    The teachings of “Crossless Gospel” advocates (Hodges, Wilkin, Myers) is antithetical to Scripture, it is the “contrary doctrine” and reason for the “divisions and offenses” (Rom. 16:17) in the FG community.


    LM

    ReplyDelete
  4. Flavio:

    How is the weather in Irving?

    You raised concern about a head count at the Washington GES conference. If you'll look closely I did note that there is a possible discrepancy in the actual number of attendees.

    If you can provide clear documentation of the actual number of attendees, discerning between actual guests who registered for the conference who were not already members of the host church, I'd be happy to post that in his thread.

    IMO, Bob's claiming a doctrinal position for persons without documentation is far more grievous than missing a head count.


    LM

    BTW, the GES blog right back to deleting comments and questions. You are close to the GES; why do you think they fear and evade sincere questions?

    ReplyDelete
  5. BTW, I deleted your post not over head count.

    You recall I deleted it for the link you had to a blog that you recommended. That blog, as you are aware, has notes that come from a mind that is consumed with filth.


    LM

    ReplyDelete
  6. Lou,
    The weather in Irving is fine, thanks for asking. A good day for flying. My point was that you posted a challenging and somewhat disrespectful comment on the GES blog and you have remarked before, to me, that you won't have people write things like that on your blog. Misquoting a head count for the purpose of trying to show that a ministry is failing is just as serious as not posting the names of pastors who have a twelve-step program for salvation. You used the number to try and show that the GES was not doing well. That was more than a numerical error.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Flavio:

    There is nothing disrespectful about asking Bob to document statements (he) Bob claims is held by men who reject his “Crossless” theology. He is erecting a “Straw Man,” if he can’t or won’t cite sources that hold to the position he claims some hold to.

    We are never going to know because Bob is back in the habit of deleting comments at the new GES blog.

    Mine was no misquoting of a head count. It came from an attendee. If it is wrong then he got I wrong. You did see I noted that there might have been 60; didn’t you? If I can have some verifiable report of the number, I’ll publish it.

    If the GES is NOT doing well I am happy to know and report that.

    It would be a blessing if the GES were put out of effective ministry entirely. The usefulness that the GES once brought to the table has long since past.

    The strange teachings coming from the GES that originates with Hodges, and propagated by Wilkin, Myers (Nichols, Niemela, and da Rosa) has negated any good the GES once accomplished and has made them a liability and irrelevant for the future.


    LM

    ReplyDelete
  8. Flavio:

    The cg blog you tried to link to is so evil in its content I had to wonder what that man's wife would think if she knew just how vile and filthy the mind and thought life of her husband is.


    LM

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  9. Flavio:

    This thought as well.

    Can you imagine what his wife might think and fear about having that man in the home alone with her children.

    Anyone who can write such vile articles might very possibly be considered a potential threat to children in the home; don't you think?

    In this day and age, I am grateful for certain groups and organizations that will intercede in homes that have an element that may be a potential danger to children; aren't you?


    LM

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  10. That cg blog is terrible. I'm not sure who that guy thinks he's helping but it looks he's not winning points with either side at this time.

    You anf Flavio were debating over how many were at the GES conference, is there an official headcount available somewhere or some other way to know? Any idea how this year's attendance compares with years past? Just curious.

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  11. Hi Khan:

    If Flavio can get some kind of official head count I'd be happy to make a correction.

    I don't know what the previous attendance figures might have been either.

    The content of the cg blog is from below. That is the best I can say for it.


    LM

    ReplyDelete