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