November 27, 2007

Perverse Things Draw Away Disciples

False teaching can and does come from men within the body of Christ, His church. In the Book of Acts, Paul warns the elders of Ephesus that false teaching will come from both without and within the church:

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).
Zane Hodges is a modern day example of what the Apostle Paul, “with tears,” warned believers to “take heed” and be wary of. Over the years, from within the body of Christ, Hodges has risen and drifted into increasingly deeper and more extreme doctrinal errors. His views on repentance, the Gospel, and the Judgment Seat of Christ are striking examples of a radical departure from orthodoxy. Hodges has been teaching “perverse things” (diastrepho- distorts, twists) and consequently his teaching has drawn away disciples to him. Among the disciples who have been drawn away are: Bob Wilkin, Jeremy Myers, Joseph Dillow and Antonio da Rosa.

The distortion, twisting, redefining or dismissal of numerous clear passages of Scripture has been the hallmark of Hodges’ “
Crossless” gospel. His errors on the Gospel, repentance and the Judgment Seat of Christ are organized in such a way that they undermine the Word of God and arrest the development of young believers. Young men have been enticed and deceived by the teaching of Zane Hodges.
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive,” (Eph. 4:14).
Men like Tim Nichols, Jim Reitman, Jim Johnson, Jeremy Myers and Antonio da Rosa were at one time feeding and growing on the milk of the Word of God. Somewhere along the way, however, elements from the teaching of Zane Hodges were introduced, and the milk was soured. Regrettably, it appears no one took these men aside, like Aquila and Priscilla took Apollos aside and, “expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly” (Acts 18:24-28). Instead Bob Wilkin, who also succumbed to the teaching of Zane Hodges, hastened the slide of these men into error.

Doctrinal growth was checked, sidetracked and redirected toward the egregious errors of Hodges’ Crossless gospel. Today, we are witnessing the devastating effects that the teaching of Hodges has had on these men. These are the ones we know who have been drawn away, but there may be many more.

What we have been witnessing in recent months should serve as a wake up call to men in the Free Grace community. How many more of our young men have to be deceived and fall into the errors of Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin before you will follow the biblical mandate to “
contend for the faith once delivered” (Jude 3)? While many stand idly by Hodges and Wilkin are doing all they can to introduce the “Crossless” gospel to unsuspecting believers in the Free Grace community.
In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth,” (2 Timothy 2:25).
I am grateful for men like George Zeller, Tom Stegall, Dennis Rokser and Greg Schliesmann who have defended the faith and body of Christ against the “perverse” teachings of Zane Hodges. There are others who are doing what they can from blogs and other venues to refute and rebuke the teachings of Zane Hodges.

The teaching of Zane Hodges has not only drawn away some of our younger men, it has crippled and marginalized the Free Grace movement. Make no mistake about it, the Free Grace movement is moving, but is, in my opinion, come to rest at the cross roads. If good men, who know the issue, what is at stake and have the answer, but do nothing, the Free Grace movement will begin to move once again. That move will, however, be in the direction of the trap and pitfalls of the teachings of Zane Hodges.
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple,” (Rom. 16:17-18).

Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers,” (Titus 1:9).

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. . . . And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother,” (2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15).

I’ll close with the same question I asked in the previous challenge to men in the Free Grace Alliance and Free Grace community at large.

Where does your first loyalty lie, to God and His Word, or to your friends and fellowships?


For a thorough review of the "perverse” teachings of Zane Hodges, please visit George Zeller's The Troubling Teachings of Zane Hodges, Joseph Dillow and Robert Wilkin (GES)

Also read Watch & Remember…


  1. Lou,

    Thanks for these Biblical truths and for posting a link on my blog.

    Fight the good fight,
    Jonathan Perreault

    "Lord make me dangerous with the truth." -Jim Elliot

  2. Jon:

    There are other things I'd rather do than "contend" with the teaching of these men. You find out, in short order, that this is no way to win a personality contest.

    The "Crossless" advocates have departed from the faith, deceived the unsuspecting, remain unrepentant, and they are bent on spreading the "Crossless" gospel far and wide.

    I am not going to stand by and let them have their way with this.


  3. Thoroughly encouraging Lou.


  4. Hi Todd:

    Glad this has encouraged you.

    We are not going to surrender doctrinal purity to the teaching and advocates of the "Crossless" gospel.


  5. Lou,

    Good to talk with you earlier today. I would encourage you with this:

    "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart" (Gal. 6:9).

  6. Jon:

    I also enjoyed speaking to you this afternoon. Thanks for the encouragement then, and with the passage above.


  7. Lou,

    You mentioned Joseph Dillow as one who is in theological error along with the other "Crossless Gospel" advocates. Could you please clarify what exactly it is and where you think Joseph Dillow has erred in this theology? What doctrines do you feel he is teaching that are false?


  8. Hi Liam:

    The link I set up to George Zeller's site has some of the documentation. See the link at the bottom of the article.

    Plus he wrote The Reign of the Servant King. It is that book where the "punitive" Judgment Seat of Christ appears.


  9. Liam:

    You will find more of this teaching on a "punitive" Judgment Seat of Christ (JSC) from...

    J. Faust The Rod: Will God Spare It?

    M. Cauley Outer Datkness This is going to be 2,400 page document published by Schoettle.

    My understanding is that Faust and Cauley have taken what Dillow wrote and went to greater extremes with it.

    This error on the JSC can be traced back to to the 1800's by men such as Pember, Govett and G. H. Lang.

    Incidentally, Antonio promised a new study on the "punitive" JSC.

    In his mention of that proposed study he cites Lang, Dillow and Hodges as his sources.

    He wrote, "In the near future, I want to take a break from this internal debate. I would like to touch on some topics that Erich Sauer and G.H. Lang bring up in the books I read of them. In some of the writings I have read of Traditional Free Grace advocates, they disparage the idea of punitive aspects of the Bema. George Zeller and others have taken a strong stance against the writings of Zane Hodges and Joseph Dillow when it comes to some aspects of Bema Judgment. It would be good to flesh out some of these things, as I believe that the punitive aspects of the Judgment Seat of Christ are strong deterrents to carnal living."

    It seems pretty obvious that da Rosa has also adopted this extremism on the JSC as well.

    What one man does in moderation (Dillow) others (Faust, Cauley, da Rosa) will take to extremes.


  10. Lou,

    I have personally studied prophetic issues relating to the Judgement Seat of Christ. I have even written articles on these issues. What you are saying is true. Before anyone shares the writings of these men with others they should place a sticker on the cover: "Warning, this teaching may be damaging to your spiritual health!" Thank you for sharing these names as you have. People need to be warned of this false teaching as it utterly subverts the Christian's glorious position in Christ and the matchless grace of God!

  11. Jon:

    These teachings just about give me a headache. How men can fall into these traps is difficult to comprehend.

    I can understand younger men like Antonio da Rosa being swayed into these strange teachings, but the mature men just defy explanation.

    It appears that there will be an unending stream of these strange teachings coming from men in the Hodges/Wilkin/GES camp.


  12. Yes, in some recent Grace Family Journal articles Tom Stegall has begun to document the "domino effect" of false teaching coming from their direction.

  13. 1 Timothy 4:1-2 is certainly being fulfilled with the "crossless" gospel:

    1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

    1 Timothy 4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

  14. Jon:

    I have not formally cataloged the “domino effect,” but clearly there has been a spiraling downward and further from a balanced biblical position on several theological fronts.

    Most of it originates with Zane Hodges.


  15. Dear Guests:

    I want to share a brief exchange I had with Antonio da Rosa at the Free Grace Free Speech blog.

    Antonio sent the following reply to a note I directed to him, which I reiterate below. Here is Antonio’s reply to my first, and it will be followed by my follow-up to him.

    In all reality, you are going to have to come to grips with the idea that you may be the one who has it all wrong.

    Heed the words of Gamaliel: “...if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it -- lest you even be found to fight against God.” (Acts 5:39)

    November 28, 2007 5:05 PM

    This is my follow-up to Antonio:

    If you showed the least sign of being open to instruction and correction you would find me willing to help you recover from what Hodges and Wilkin have done to take you so far out of balance. It is the opinion of several pastors and FG men who have read your articles, but especially how you have reacted over the past few month to those with whom you disagree, your conscience has been seared.

    Your tacit support of the crosslessgospel blog removed any doubt in the minds of the undecided that you also support an agenda for the character assassination and/or personal destruction of those who have taken up a defense of the gospel against the Hodges’ “Crossless” interpretation of the Gospel.

    Wilkins’s posting of private e-mails from Ron Shea coupled with the published personal attack on Ron Shea by a so-called Mr. Truth Detector is another example of what men on your side of the debate have resorted to.

    In any event, I am yet hopeful that through the ministry of the Holy Spirit you will one day be recovered to a healthy, balanced, biblical position on the Gospel.

    While I am teachable, I know enough about this “contrary” teaching of the “Crossless” gospel to know that it is a radical departure from the Scriptures.

    To reiterate from above…

    My chief concern is with your “Crossless” interpretation of the Gospel and its corrupting/corrosive influence.

    I will continue to encourage FG leaders to obey the biblical mandate to “contend for the faith,” plus “mark” and “avoid” men like you who through the Hodges reductionist version of the Gospel have brought “division” and “offences” (Rom. 16:17) into FG churches.

    The men in your camp (Jim Johnson the latest) are bent on portraying fidelity to these mandates as though they are personal attacks, but that is what the Bible mandates when confronted with the teachers of a false (“Crossless”) Gospel and I intend to obey the Word of God.


  16. Hello Guests:

    During the day I am checking the comments in the various threads here at my blog. I have also been active at other blogs this week.

    I am leaving this article up for a few days because it, and those that precede it, are IMO very important.

    It is my hope that those who read these recent articles are sensitive to and will respond to what the Word of God says is the mandated course of action in regard to the “contrary” doctrine and teachers of the “Crossless” gospel.