December 11, 2007

Is the “Crossless” Label the Right Label?

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

On going concerns have been raised by men in the Hodges/GES camp about the use of the label “Crossless” gospel. I am going to post a few notes to help my guests understand why the Zane Hodges interpretation of the Gospel has come to be known as the “Crossless” gospel.

Since the early days of the debate over the new interpretation of the Gospel that originated with Zane Hodges, the advocates of the so-called “Crossless” gospel have bristled over use of that label for their position. They often refer to the label as a pejorative. Pejorative defined means, “having a disparaging, derogatory, or belittling effect or force.”

Is the “Crossless” labeling a pejorative? Or is the “Crossless” label an appropriate choice that accurately defines the Hodges' interpretation of the Gospel?

Pastor Tom Stegall has been writing a series of articles under the title The Tragedy of the Crossless Gospel. This series appears in the Grace Family Journal (GFJ). Pastor Stegall recently dedicated several pages to a discussion of why the “Crossless” gospel is the appropriate label for the interpretation of the Gospel coming from Zane Hodges and the Grace Evangelical Society. At the GFJ site scroll down to the Special Edition of The Tragedy of the Crossless Gospel.  Download Part 4, and direct your attention to pp. 10-ff.

Pastor Bret Nazworth read Stegall’s Special Edition, Part 4. This was his reaction, which he posted under the Special Edition of the Grace Family Journal.

Just got finished with Pastor Stegall’s first article in the special edition of the GFJ and it is a slam dunk. Once again he proves that GES is indeed preaching a crossless gospel. The fact that they preach a crossless gospel is not new information but the proof he presents is mouth-gapingly astonishing.

Terrifyingly, they are aggressively using their writing and speaking to delete the CROSS and RESURRECTION from being Gospel CONTENT wherever they can. The best that they can concede is that the cross may be helpful information but they are equally quick to add that it is “not the Gospel.”

Tragically, the deity of Christ, the cross and resurrection are superfluous details to the non-believer. Use it if you want, but never present it as part of the saving message that must be believed!

By their definition and distinctions we who preach Christ crucified for sins and resurrected as THE Gospel to be preached and believed upon by the sinner are preaching “ANOTHER GOSPEL.” Yes, no matter which way you dice it up, when our messages are juxtaposed, one of us has and preaches “another gospel”.

One of our messages has to bring “anathema” by biblical standards. There is no biblical squirm-room on this matter because they are undeniably different messages.

The GES has left us no room for doubting which one they would believe deserves anathema (as being “another gospel”). To my knowledge they have not said this, but by all implications, this has to be true. Think about this carefully. The message that contains, faith in Our Precious and Exalted God and Savior, Jesus Christ’s death for our sins and His glorious resurrection is the message, that by their definition of the gospel produces ANATHEMA. This message is totally different from their message.

Unimaginably, the message that exalts Jesus Christ and His Finished Work on Calvary is the message that by their definition of the gospel has to bring anathema. Can you stomach that?
In the same thread Rachel made an important contribution in reply to Bret’s note,

Actually, Bob Wilkin has stated more than once that his version of the gospel is the only one, and all others are false (either that or his is false, but of course he doesn't think his is false). Wilkin debated Dr. Darrell Bock (Dallas Seminary professor) several years ago, here is the transcript.

On page 30 a questioner from the audience specifically asks him if “his gospel” is “the exclusive gospel.” He responds in the affirmative. The person presses him further, asking, “So therefore any one who is not adhering to the free grace gospel, in your opinion, would fall under the anathema of Galatians 1?” Now, obviously this person is asking about “free grace” in general, but in context he is referring to whatever Wilkin believes is “the gospel.” In Wilkins’s opening statement of this debate he indicated that the statement “faith alone saves but the faith that saves is not alone” is not the gospel. So this question references Wilkins's specific take on “the gospel.”

Wilkins’s answer:Yes. In terms of the anathema of Galatians 1, my view is, any one who is proclaiming a false gospel … a person hypothetically could believe a false gospel and not proclaim it. But if they’re proclaiming a false gospel, they fall under the curse, which I take it is the curse of God which falls upon the life of someone here and now. It’s not like the NIV translates it, ‘let him be eternally condemned.’ That’s not a translation; that’s an interpretation. It simply says anathema -- let him be under the curse of God. And so I take it what that means is if I know someone that’s proclaiming a false gospel, I don’t send money into their ministry, I don’t pray for God to bless their ministry. Instead I pray for God to bring them back to the true gospel.”

Also, the following statement from a journal article written by Wilkin is pretty clear: “Jesus made it clear that the only condition [for salvation] is being convinced that He guarantees eternal life to all who believe in Him. Add anything to that and you have a different gospel.”
(See JOTGES Autumn 1998.)
From the writing of Zane Hodges, Pastor Stegall demonstrates why his (Hodges’) position is appropriately labeled a “Crossless” gospel. Ps. Stegall writes,
After reading all that Hodges has written…one is baffled as to how the preaching of the cross can seriously be considered ‘essential’.”
Here is an example from Hodges,
I have heard people say this: ‘In order to be saved you must believe that Jesus died on the cross.’ . . . . usually implied is the idea that Christ's work on the cross is sufficient to provide for our salvation... Let me be honest, I don’t like this way of presenting a gospel invitation.” (JOTGES 14:1, Spring 01, p. 11)
Hodges, Wilkin, Meyers and da Rosa are on record claiming that a lost man can be saved apart from any knowledge, understanding or belief in the deity, cross or resurrection of Christ. Throughout the debate the Grace Evangelical Society’s most vocal apologist Antonio da Rosa has written some of the most extreme statements that reveal the true nature of the GES’s reductionist assault on the content of saving faith. For example:
...my position that the cross and resurrection are not the conscious and necessary objects/content to saving faith, and my position that a man may be born again apart from an understanding of Christ’s death for sin.”

“Theologically speaking, ‘explicit belief in Jesus’ death and resurrection’ is not soteriologically necessary for the reception of eternal life.”

If a JW hears me speak of Christ’s deity and asks me about it, I will say, ‘Let us agree to disagree about this subject.’ At the moment that a JW or a Mormon is convinced that Jesus Christ has given to them unrevokable [sic] eternal life when they believed on Him for it, I would consider such a one saved, REGARDLESS of their varied misconcetions [sic] and beliefs about Jesus.

I would never say you don’t have to believe that Jesus is the Son of God. This has the import of the gospel proposition which makes it salvific! If someone asks me point blank, do I believe that one must believe that Jesus is God in order to go to heaven, I would say ‘NO!

If I were talking to a Jew, he may very well ask me about the deity and humanity of Jesus. I would certainly entertain his questions and answer them to the best of my ability. But if such a one continued to express doubts or objections to this, I would say politely, ‘Let us for the time being put this issue on the back-burner. Can I show you from the Jewish Scriptures that the advent of Jesus Christ fulfills many prophecies?’ . . . Objections and denials of things pertaining to Jesus can surely preclude one from faith in Him for eternal life. If this Jew can put aside...the discussion of Christ’s deity, and Christ’s voluntary consent to die, and look in a considerate way at the prophecies concerning Christ’s advent in the Old Testament, His miracles, His teachings, His compassionate acts, His righteous and holy acts, and through consideration of these things, become persuaded that Jesus guarantees his eternal destiny through faith, why would anyone consider him unsaved?”

I do not believe that one must understand, assent to, or be aware of the historical Jesus of Nazareth’s deity in order to simply be justified and receive eternal life.

The Mormon Jesus and Evangelical Jesus are One and the Same.

For the “Crossless” advocates the finished work of Christ and His deity are stumbling blocks to their methodology of personal evangelism. They do not hesitate to jettison (“
put on the back-burner,” according to da Rosa) these truths from the evangelistic message. They essentially agree to deny the cross, His bodily resurrection and deity on a practical level, if those truths are offensive to the lost man they are witnessing to.

No amount of complaining by any advocate of the “Crossless” gospel, can change the fact that their interpretation removes the finished work of Christ on the cross from what a lost man must know and believe for salvation. The “Crossless” gospel advocates repeatedly claim the label “Crossless” is a misrepresentation. You will read comments such as: 

Since I share the Gospel with the Cross and Resurrection it is a dishonest label.”
 
Since the gospel I share includes the Cross, crossless gospel is gross misrepresentation.”

Those of us who use the label “Crossless” have always conceded that these men believe in and would share the cross in an evangelistic setting. The crux of debate and controversy, however, is that they also believe a lost man does not have to know, understand or believe in the finished work of Christ to be born again. Because they dismiss the cross, His resurrection and deity from the Gospel to be believed for salvation, their system has been properly labeled a “Crossless” gospel.

In his Special Edition, Part 4 (p. 10) Pastor Stegall offers this note of acknowledgment
I recognize that labeling the gospel message of certain men within the Free Grace camp as a “crossless” gospel is a provocative statement. Some have already claimed it is a misrepresentation of their actual position, since these men still believe very passionately that Jesus Christ is truly God who became incarnate to die for all our sins and who rose gloriously from the dead. And in addition, not only do they personally believe these cardinal doctrines to be true, they often preach these truths with the utmost conviction as being the absolutely necessary basis of our salvation. For that I am truly grateful. I have been very careful to this point specifically not to claim that they never preach Christ’s person and work, or that they deny His deity, death for sin, and resurrection as the essential grounds upon which God can even provide the gift of salvation to mankind. What I have specifically objected to as unscriptural is their denial that these truths are essential for the unregenerate to believe as part of the gospel to the lost. In this, they cannot claim I have misrepresented their position; for in fact, their position is now well documented through their many published writings and recorded public teachings.

So how should we view their gospel preaching? First of all, we should admit that “while they” adamantly deny that the lost must believe in Christ’s deity, substitutionary death, and resurrection to receive the gift of eternal life, they also insist that these truths should still be proclaimed to the lost.
Pastor Stegall then proceeds to document “their many published writings.”  I join Pastor Stegall and do not question the “Crossless” advocates personal belief in the finished work of Christ. I believe they will speak of the finished work of Christ to a lost man. The crux of controversy and the reason for the “Crossless” label is simply because they believe and insist a lost man can be born again apart from any understanding or belief in the finished work of Christ.

In my book
In Defense of the Gospel I noted how in the early days of the Lordship controversy (1988-ff.), John MacArthur bristled at the label, “Lordship Salvation” when it was attached to his view of the Gospel. In The Gospel According to Jesus, MacArthur wrote,
I don't like the term ‘lordship salvation.’ It was coined by those who want to eliminate the idea of submission to Christ from the call of saving faith, and it implies that Jesus’ lordship is a false addition to the gospel.”
MacArthur has since those early days embraced the term. Does any one recall Hodges, Wilkin, Ryrie or any other Free Grace leader claiming we need to respect MacArthur’s wishes and use some other more agreeable label of MacArthur’s choosing? No one did that I am aware of! Yet there are some in the Free Grace community who want to concede to the “Crossless” gospel advocates demands to refer to their peculiar theology the way they insist it should be.

Based on the overwhelming evidence from their own writing the Hodges, Wilkin, GES aberrant interpretation of the Gospel will always, and only be referred to as the “Crossless” gospel by those of us who will not surrender the pure doctrinal high ground for the sake of unity. Whether those men like it or not, they need to get used to their theology being known and referred to as a “Crossless” gospel. In reference to the Hodges/GES interpretation of the Gospel the “Crossless” label is going to be used permanently and without apology.

If the teaching of Hodges, Wilkin and the GES on what a sinner must believe for salvation included belief in the finished work of Christ then the label “Crossless” gospel would be a pejorative. Since, however, it is on record that the GES teaches that lost men can be saved apart from believing in the finished work of Christ, the label “Crossless” is indeed appropriate and accurate term for their reductionist interpretation of the Gospel, and is going to be used permanently without apology.



LM


83 comments:

  1. Lou,

    This article is well done. I think one of the most important points is while there is liberty in what term one chooses to employ, it is essential to acknowledge that the crossless gospel of GES and elements of Chafer Theological Seminary is a false gospel, and those who teach it, no matter how dear to our hearts, are to be "accursed" (Gal. 1:6-9).

    -- Greg

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  2. "Crossless" is an appropriate term for their "gospel". No one is saying their theology is "crossless", or that their personal beliefs are "crossless". But when we define "the gospel" as "that which must be believed to be born again" (which Greg so excellently pointed out as valid from Scripture on Jeremy's blog awhile back), then by definition their gospel is in fact "crossless".

    And actually, I don't know why the label bothers them. If they truly believe they are correct (that the cross does NOT need to be believed for eternal life), and are so proud that their gospel is so much "simpler" than having to believe in the cross, I would think they would WANT such a label as "crossless" gospel. I would think they would embrace it, that they would want everyone to know that people are free of the necessity of belief in the cross and all its supposed complications. Rather than shunning the label, they should embrace it and proclaim it, if they truly believe their position is correct.

    In another thread on this blog, Greg pointed out that Hodges' book The Gospel Under Siege would have an odd meaning if we interpret "the gospel" the way they are trying to do now. Would crossless adovcates have us believe that Hodges wrote about how ALL biblical "good news" is under siege? Perhaps they would say that they've changed their mind now. If so, then perhaps they could provide the Scriptural proof, indeed the Scriptural counters to Greg's Scriptural proof.

    Btw, has Hodges changed his mind on the definition of "the gospel"? Maybe he should put out a revised version of his book; perhaps it could be, The Saving Proposition Under Siege.

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  3. Hello Greg:

    Thanks for stopping by and your comments.

    My goal was to lay out in an unemotional, objective way that the "Crossless" label is indeed an appropriate, befitting label.

    The Hodges, Wilkin, GES interpretation is a corruption of the biblical plan of/for salvation.

    Although the source of the GES view of the Gospel are brothers in Christ, they have departed from the faith once delivered (Jude 3). The Bible mandates what are response is to be: "contend, mark and avoid."


    Lou

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  4. Hi Rachel:

    You wrote, “‘Crossless’ is an appropriate term for their ‘gospel’. No one is saying their theology is ‘crossless’, or that their personal beliefs are ‘crossless.’ But when we define ‘the gospel’ as ‘that which must be believed to be born again’… then by definition their gospel is in fact ‘crossless’.”

    And actually, I don't know why the label bothers them. If they truly believe they are correct (that the cross does NOT need to be believed for eternal life), and are so proud that their gospel is so much ‘simpler’ than having to believe in the cross, I would think they would WANT such a label as ‘crossless’ gospel. I would think they would embrace it, that they would want everyone to know that people are free of the necessity of belief in the cross and all its supposed complications. Rather than shunning the label, they should embrace it and proclaim it, if they truly believe their position is correct.

    That pretty much sums up my feeling as well. Why do they bristle at a label that accurately defines what they believe? MacArthur eventually embraced the “Lordship Salvation” label because it was accurate.

    They have been able to propagate their “Crossless” gospel under the radar for a number of years. Once their teaching was exposed and shown to be false when seen in light of the whole of Scripture, they have become very sensitive to any scrutiny or criticism.


    LM

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. Dwight Schroot12/12/2007 5:10 PM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  7. To My Guests:

    Today there have been several postings in this thread that have been less than cordial, to put it mildly.

    This sort of immaturity has been an all too common trait among some in the “Crossless” camp. Bad behavior is often times a by-product of bad doctrine.

    I will need to enable comment moderation for the time being. I will look in often to post your comments.

    Sorry for the inconvenience.


    LM

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  8. Hello Lou,
    I agree that "crossless" is a fitting label for the message of teachers claiming that the preaching of the cross is non-essential in communicating how to be saved. Apparently, this label hits a nerve, probably I think, because those who teach this idea realize being referred to as "crossless" paints their message unfavorably in the eyes of people they would like to sway.
    Personally, I feel betrayed by these people, for in time past I have encouraged believers in places where I've preached to get and use GES materials and to be supportive. And now what! The blessed truth of our Savior's shed blood is reduced by these teachers to something optional where the preaching of salvation is concerned. This grieves me so deeply I don't have words to express it. My guess is that many others probably feel this same way and haven't said so publicly as yet. Additionally, insults are thrown at those of us who do believe the knowledge of the cross is essential to be saved. My view is that crossless teaching is shameful and that we are living right now at a very sad time in the history of the Chuch, the Body of Christ.
    Art

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  9. Art:

    What you just wrote is shared by a growing number of concerned believers, and not just in the FG community.

    You wrote, "My guess is that many others probably feel this same way and haven't said so publicly as yet."

    Judging from the e-mails I get there are quite few that have come to realize how far from the Scriptures Hodges, Wilkin and the GES have strayed. Some of these would rather not get shot at and insulted the way they've seen others have from the "Crossless" advocates.

    Still others are not willing to stand idly by when the Bible commands believers to "contend for the faith once delivered, (Jude 3). I appreciate your voice in the debate.

    It still amazes me that these men are fighting against the cross, bodily resurrection and Deity of Christ, but actually believe they are serving the Lord.

    The teaching of Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin has introduced "division" and "offences" into the body of Christ . They have, therefore, been biblically marked so that they may be avoided. (Rom. 16:17)


    LM

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  10. To All:

    On Friday I will be announcing a new series scheduled to begin on Monday morning.

    This new series has been prepared by a contributor in the debate over the "Crossless gospel.

    I am hopeful that especially those who have adopted the GES view of the Gospel will read the series with a open heart and mind.


    LM

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  11. I will try to be nice.

    "It still amazes me that these men are fighting against the cross, bodily resurrection and Deity of Christ, but actually believe they are serving the Lord."

    If somebody preaches the cross, the resurrection and the deity of Christ and urges people to believe those doctrines, in what meaningful sense is he fighting against them?

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  12. Hello Matthew:

    This is going to be to the point, but please do not receive this as though I am being harsh. OK?

    I am going to repeat this as often as necessary. No one that I am aware of, who rejects the “Crossless” gospel says you men do not personally believe in or would refuse to preach the cross, His resurrection or Deity. I would even concede that you may urge the lost man to believe these things.

    It is, however, an irrefutable fact that most (*not all) “Crossless” advocates do not hesitate to dismiss these three vital truths from a Gospel message if they are in any way offensive to or rejected by the lost man.

    Crossless” teaching, which I have cited from Hodges, insists that a lost man can be saved apart from any knowledge, understanding or belief in the finished work of Christ and/or His deity.

    Antonio is even more empathic on this point which I have cited numerous times. He views a conscious rejection of Christ’s deity as a mere “misconception” to be, “put on the back burner.”

    We have shown from the Scriptures that the “Crossless” gospel, which removes the necessity of belief in the finished work of Christ for salvation, is a departure from the faith once delivered (Jude 3).

    That is how I can further clarify and say with 100% certainty that “Crossless” advocates fight against BELIEF in these things for the reception of eternal life.


    LM

    * “Not all” has to do with the split in the “Crossless” camp on the deity question. All “Crossless” advocates believe lost men can be saved without belief in the finished work of Christ. There is, however, an element that insists unbelief in His deity is a hindrance to receiving eternal life.

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  13. Dwight???:

    You asked why I did not post your comment.

    Your comment/question was not removed for being immature or non-cordial. Frankly, your handle is one that I found hard to take seriously.

    IMO, your question has a motive behind it that I can recognize and I am not going to play along. You may be innocent of any planned motive, but I know what the purpose of questions like yours is.

    If I misunderstand your intent, then you have my apology, but I am not going to entertain the question you asked in its present form


    LM

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  14. Dwight,

    You said that you haven't seen your question asked or answered anywhere. But someone named Trent asked a similar question on another blog (called "Rose's Reasonings"), and I answered him. Look for the post on the thread "Believe in Jesus for Everlasting Life" that is about 15-20 up from the bottom, a post by Rachel on 12/10/2007 at 3:14pm.

    I hope that helps. If you have more questions, feel free to interact with me there, or on my group blog.

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  15. Dwight:

    I wrote Rachel and it turns out your question is very similar to one asked at another blog.

    In the above comment Rachel is going to direct you there.


    LM

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  16. I think you that is a somewhat unconventional understanding of the word 'fighting.'

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  17. Matthew:

    I don't have a particular problem witn the term, "fighting."

    I could interchange that with "resist", "undermine", "negate" or "thwart."


    LM

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  18. They dont really seem appropriate.

    If somebody believed in the Pre-Trib rapture and preached it from the pulpit, but was opposed to making it a part of a church's doctrinal statemen, you would surely not say he was 'resisting', 'negating' or 'undermining' that doctrine?

    Likewise I do not think it is accurate to say that consistent Free Gracers negate the glorious truths of our Lord's deity and atoning sacrifice when they deny that conscious knowledge of them is a condition of receiving eternal life.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

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  19. Matthew:

    A church doctrinal statement should be taken seriously and it needs to be doctrinally sound.

    IMO, there is a huge difference between what appears on a church doctrinal statement and the message that, based on the lost man’s response, will determine his eternal destiny.

    As for accuracy issues: There is nothing “consistent” about the Hodges, Wilkin GES interpretation of the Gospel. They are the men who have moved, who have departed from the faith once delivered (Jude 3) to an out-of-balance position on the Gospel. It is in print how Hodges and Wilkin have changed their position.

    Even the “Refined” label that some in the “Crossless” camp seek to attach to their peculiar theology indicates that they have changed by removing what they consider impurities or “excess baggage ”from the Gospel message that must be believed for salvation.

    Furthermore, their “Crossless” theology no longer represents the majority who consider themselves in the FG community.

    I think you are also aware that this goes way beyond “conscious knowledge.” The “Crossless” gospel allows for conscious rejection of the finished work of Christ and His deity and still insist that man can be born again.


    LM

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  20. You may not agree with the Hodges-Wilkin system, but I think you would it find hard to show it to be inconsisten. I think consistency is the great strengh of the Hodges-Wilkin model of saving faith.

    Consisten Free Gracers hold that while a person may be born-again despite a conscious rejection of some fundamental truths, this is not necessarilly very likely.

    Rejection of the deity of Christ, like belief in Evolution is an obstacle to faith.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

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  21. Matthew:

    Hodges and Wilkin may have become “consistent” in their “Crossless” theology, but only in recent years. They have changed and radically.

    We need look no further than what Hodges wrote in his How to Lead People to Christ two part series.

    For example he wrote, “In recent years I have become aware of a way of presenting the gospel invitation that troubles me. I believe I have heard it from my earliest years, and I admit it didn’t really bother me for a long time. Now it does… Whenever I hear that nowadays, I get extremely uncomfortable..”

    He was speaking of telling the lost they must believe that Jesus died on the cross. It didn’t bother him, but now it does bother and make him very uncomfortable. Why? He changed!

    Wilkin has been following the lead of Hodges. Wilkins’s dissertation was on repentance. Since then he has shifted his position on repentance as far as one could from what he wrote in his dissertation. Wilkin has adopted the Hodges view of repentance, which is as isolated a view of repentance as I have seen in evangelical circles.

    Oh, they have changed! They have been less than consistent. Furthermore, I am telling people to keep watching because these strange twists in theology will lead to more changes. Do you know Wilkin this year alone publicly announced another change in his position on the Gospel? The series next week will, in part, review that change.

    To reiterate, it is my opinion, that based on the track record of Hodges and Wilkin “consistent Free Gracers” is a misnomer for the advocates of the “Crossless” gospel.

    Who moved?

    Kind regards,


    LM

    PS: I'll have more later on your statement, “...a person may be born-again despite a conscious rejection of some fundamental truths, this is not necessarilly very likely.”

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  22. Lou -

    I don't think the term "Crossless Gospel" is accurate, here's why:

    I accept that the finished work of Christ on the cross is, at least in part, the gospel.

    My contention is that the gospel need not be believed to have eternal life. The gospel speaks of God's grace - that by which we are saved. Our faith is that through which we are saved. God's grace toward man is corporate while faith is individual. No one is saved without the cross - which is true whether you believe it or not.

    The faith one must have is the belief that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. You can import the work of the cross into these terms but I do not. However, I see the cross as essential - it is the gospel but it need not be believed to have eternal life because the work is finished - your belief adds nothing to what the cross accomplished.

    That being said - I accept your label - I've been called far worse and rightfully so...

    In Christ,

    JL

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  23. Matthew:

    You wrote, “...a person may be born-again despite a conscious rejection of some fundamental truths, this is not necessarilly very likely.”

    Earlier this year I asked a question. The question was: Can a lost man be born again while consciously denying the Deity of Jesus Christ if he believes in Jesus for eternal life?

    You were among the first and very few “Crossless” advocates to answer with out evasive double-speak, and your answer was, "Yes."

    Furthermore, the personal evangelism style and statements of “Crossless” advocate Antonio da Rosa are emphatic on the allowance for open, conscious rejection of Christ's deity.

    He has written articles on how, for example, while witnessing to a Jewish man, if that man objects to the deity of Christ, Antonio would press ahead and seek to gain a statement of belief in the promise of eternal life. He would be seeking that promise from a man who rejects Christ’s deity. If Antonio got that belief statement out of him, he (Antonio) would declare him to be born again by believing in a promise from what that lost man thinks, believes and/or rejects about the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, the object of faith is NOT the LORD Jesus Christ, but instead a promise of eternal life from whomever the lost man thinks may be guaranteeing eternal life.

    Antonio wrote this as well, Believe Christ’s Promise and You are Saved, No Matter What Misconceptions You Hold

    Clearly, he allows for a lost man to utterly reject the deity of Christ, views it as a mere “misconception” and tells that lost man he is saved if he believes a promise from who he (the lost man) believes to be a non-deity Jesus.

    Antonio clearly articulates one of the absurd conclusions of the Zane Hodges interpretation of the Gospel.

    You wrote, “...a person may be born-again despite a conscious rejection of some fundamental truths, this is not necessarilly very likely.”

    Whether you believe it is not necessarilly very likely or not, you men will proceed as if unbelief or open rejection of any vital truth about Jesus or the Gospel does not matter in the first place.

    THIS IS BECOMING ALL THE MORE CLEAR: You men are teaching the possibility of eternal salvation through unbelief!

    According to what you men are teaching: Unbelief in His Person, and what He did to provide salvation is an acceptable way to receive the gift of eternal life.

    The interpretation you MEN hold is antithetical to many clear Scriptures such as:

    “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also,” (1 John 2:22-23).

    “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God,” (2 John 9).

    “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent,” (John 17:1-3).

    “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).

    “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name,” (John 20:30-31).

    “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation,” (Romans 10:9-10).

    “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures,” (1 Cor. 15:1-4).



    LM

    PS: Take a good read of Rose’s opening comment in the Believe Christ's Promise thread above. (The one that appears right after her first that was deleted by Antonio). Also see her follow up at 11:43am.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Just out of interest, Lou, have you read Zane Hodges' commentary on the epistles of John? He handles some of those texts rather differently.

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  25. Hello JL:

    Thanks for the note. I have only a few moments for a few quick observations I will expand on later.

    1) “Crossless” is accurate based on the reasons I have given above. The cross may be presented, but it is NOT necessary to be known, understood or believed by the lost man.

    2) You wrote, “My contention is that the gospel need not be believed to have eternal life.” That is an important discussion. because the advocates of “Crossless” theology articulate a very peculiar view of the Gospel. I will have much more on that later.

    3) You wrote, “No one is saved without the cross.” I understand you mean that without His finished work on the cross no one could ever be saved. But, you also believe lost men can be saved even while they are in conscious unbelief in His Person and finished work on the cross.

    4) You wrote, “The faith one must have is the belief that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” That opens the dialogue to what we have already learned about the Hodges/ Wilkin/Myers/da Rosa view of the Lord’s titles. You, I trust, are well aware that according to Hodges the titles, “the Christ” and “Son of God” are non-deity in meaning or intent.

    Greg Schliesmann devastated that teaching in The Christ Under Siege series.


    LM

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  26. Matthew:

    No, I have not read it in its entirety. I have read brief reviews. It would not surprise me that Hodges takes a different, and again unusual view of John's gospel. I have seen how his followers view John's gospel as if it trumps and negates the rest of the NT whenever it touches on the Gospel and God’s redemptive plan for mankind.

    I will provided this link to George Zeller's article, The Unusual and Strange Teachings of Zane Hodges, and

    The Troubling Teachings of Hodges, Dillow, Wilkin and the GES

    I would appreciate your reaction to my previous comment to you.

    Back later,


    LM

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  27. Lou, I am really not sure what I am supposed to say in reply to that comment.

    You accuse us of teaching salvation through unbelief. However, at the heart of this is a disagreement about the nature and content of saving faith.

    God Bless

    Matthew

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  28. Matthew:

    Would you agree that under your system a man could be saved even though he does not believe in the finished work of Christ and/or His deity?

    IMO, an affirmative answer is a message of salvation through or in spite of unbelief.


    LM

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  29. I answer yes.

    I deny this is salvation through unbelief.

    To believe that Jesus is the guarantor of eternal life is to affirm that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.

    To affirm that Jesus is the guarantor of eternal life is to affirm that God's ultimate purpose in salvation is founded on Jesus, even if one has major misconceptions about the nature and history of our Lord.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

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  30. Rose:

    In your opinion: Does the term “the gospel” ever have a technical usage for the message the lost must believe to be saved?


    LM

    [Matthew & Jon Lee feel free to reply to this question.]

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  31. Rose:

    The “behaving badly” part is exactly what I meant. Your LP comment once was enough, but you also posted three more times in quick succession, which I of course did not allow to post.

    Plus you previously berated me with the “broken record” comment at your site. So, your claim to have been “kidding” is IMO, insincere.

    As for my turning on “comment moderation,” that was not for you specifically. There were two others trying to post things I felt were not helpful.

    That is all that needs to be said on this subject.


    LM

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  32. Rose, did you see my link to Greg's post about the subject of how to define "the gospel"? I've also been discussing it with Trent at your blog. In addition, Lou recently announced a new series at his blog beginning Monday. I think you will find it very interesting and helpful.

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  33. Hi Matthew:

    You answered “Yes” to this question: Would you agree that under your system a man could be saved even though he does not believe in the finished work of Christ and/or His deity?

    Thanks for the transparency.

    You wrote that a lost man can be saved, “…even if one has major misconceptions about the nature and history of our Lord.”

    The Hodges view that you are taking just does not stand the test of Scripture in the NT such as I posted earlier.

    Your use of “major misconception” is not very clear on just how far you are willing to let the lost man go in his belief or unbelief about Jesus Christ. According to the “Crossless” view that the lost man can consciously reject the Deity of Jesus Christ. He can cling to belief in the most obscene heresies about Jesus that are found in cults such as Mormanism and the JW. The gross teachings of Hinduism are no barrier either. Yet, these are dismissed as “misconceptions” to be put on the “back burner.”

    At this juncture I would direct readers to my short series on William Carey. A team of Crossless” gospel advocates were just in India. I wrote two articles to address the Tragedy of the “Crossless” Gospel in William Carey’s Gold Mine of Souls

    When you use the phrase “nature and history of our Lord” I feel that the terms I highlighted in bold sanitize what we are talking about. IMO, the more appropriate phrase would be “deity and finished work of our Lord,” because that is really what is at stake here; isn’t it?

    I believe it is best to deal in clear, precise terminology. This way there is no misunderstanding of position.


    LM

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  34. A man may believe obscene heresies and yet be saved.

    It is a salvation by grace.

    We are not saved by the pleasentness of our beliefs, but by our trust in Jesus Christ for His gift of eternal life.

    God Bless

    Matthew

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  35. Matthew:

    Yes, but it is a salvation by grace through faith. (Eph. 2:8-9)

    If that faith is misplaced, say faith in a non-deity Jesus, then it is not the faith that saves because his obeject of faith is not the biblical Jesus.


    LM

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  36. There is only one Jesus who can secure eternal life.

    If you belive that Jesus, that man spoken of in Scripture is the guarantor of eternal life, you have believed in the true Jesus.

    God Bless

    Matthew

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  37. "In your opinion: Does the term “the gospel” ever have a technical usage for the message the lost must believe to be saved?"

    No. It is the gospel message that draws/calls the lost to Him in whom they must believe.

    ReplyDelete
  38. "If that faith is misplaced, say faith in a non-deity Jesus, then it is not the faith that saves because his obeject of faith is not the biblical Jesus."

    Exactly!

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  39. Matthew:

    You wrote, “There is only one Jesus who can secure eternal life. If you believe that Jesus, that man spoken of in Scripture is the guarantor of eternal life, you have believed in the true Jesus.”

    Just a moment ago, however, you answered “Yes” to this question: Would you agree that under your system a man could be saved even though he does not believe in the finished work of Christ and/or His deity?

    You are stating that the lost can be born again even if he has “major misconceptions” about the Lord’s Deity, including a conscious rejection of His deity and His finished work on the cross.

    So, now it appears your position is that a lost man can be saved by believing in the “true Jesus” of the Bible, who is God incarnate/Deity, or be saved by rejecting the Deity of this same “true Jesus”?

    You appear to be claiming that salvation comes by either belief or unbelief in the “true Jesus” of the Bible. Are you postulating that both lead to eternal life?

    How do you reconcile this?


    LM

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  40. Jon:

    You wrote, "Greg Schliesmann exposes the GES misunderstandings and distortions of this verse with such clarity and strength that it left Jeremy Myers running for the nearest exit!"

    Yes, I remember that. It was the last time Jeremy participated in any of these discussions.


    Lou

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  41. Jon:

    Thanks for the reply. I'll have more on that later but not tonight.


    Lou

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  42. Rachel:

    You said, "Exactly" to this statement I made earlier,

    "If that faith is misplaced, say faith in a non-deity Jesus, then it is not the faith that saves because his obeject of faith is not the biblical Jesus."

    I don't know how to put it any more clearly.


    Lou

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  43. Jesus is God whether you believe He is or He is'nt.

    His deity is not dependant on our confessing it.

    If you believe in that Jesus has given you eternal life, you believe in the real Jesus regardless of whether or not you believe in His deity.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

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  44. Matthew:

    I’ll take each in succession.

    You wrote, “Jesus is God whether you believe He is or He is'nt.”

    Yes, and we all agree to and accept this. BTW, that comment reminded of a LS mantra, “You don’t make Jesus Lord; He is Lord.” Stating the obvious, which is not the crux of debate.

    You wrote, “His deity is not dependant on our confessing it.”
    Ditto, see above.

    You wrote, “If you believe in that Jesus has given you eternal life, you believe in the real Jesus regardless of whether or not you believe in His deity.”

    I must refer you once again to my earlier reaction, “If that faith is misplaced, say faith in a non-deity Jesus, then it is not the faith that saves because his object of faith is not the biblical Jesus.”

    What the lost man chooses to believe or reject makes all the difference. The Bible says so in passages such as Romans 10:9-10.

    I have to remind you again that you are teaching a salvation through belief or unbelief. Your system allows the lost to have it either way (in his mind) on who Jesus is and what He did for salvation, but the end result is the same. Your idea of salvation is that is can be obtained either through faith in the God incarnate, Jesus Christ, or a less than God, man named Jesus.

    I stated earlier that you are arguing for salvation either through belief in, or unbelief. You called that an accusation, but it very clearly is what you are arguing for.


    LM

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  45. To All:

    In Rose’s blog Trent replied to my question on belief in the finished work of Jesus this way, “I believe that anyone who puts their faith in the Jesus Christ of the Bible for eternal life will have it. That means they can have misconceptions, lack of knowledge, but if they are convinced of the truth of his promise, then he gives them it.”

    Trent provides another example of “Crossless” teaching. For them the object of faith is NOT the Lord Jesus Christ, but is instead a promise.

    Believe in the biblical Jesus or don’t believe in Him. For “Crossless” advocates it does not make any difference one way or the other. Believe in a promise, however, and you are saved no matter he thinks or believes about the Lord.


    LM

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  46. Matthew,

    Your theology of evangelizing seems to be that as long as the evangelist has the correct Jesus in mind, as long as the evangelist talks about the correct Jesus, then the lost person can be born again despite whatever inaccuracies he personally has about the Jesus he believes in. However, the Bible is clear that it is what the lost person believes that saves, NOT what the evangelist believes. If the lost person does not believe in the biblical Jesus, if he has such severe "misconceptions" about Jesus that he cannot identify the biblical Jesus, then he cannot be born again, no matter what the evangelist believes.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Rachel:

    You wrote, “However, the Bible is clear that it is what the lost person believes that saves, NOT what the evangelist believes. If the lost person does not believe in the biblical Jesus, if he has such severe ‘misconceptions’ about Jesus that he cannot identify the biblical Jesus, then he cannot be born again, no matter what the evangelist believes.”

    This was well stated. I think a good illustration might be Philip the Evangelist and the Ethiopian Eunuch.

    Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God,” (Acts 8:35-38).

    In the passage what Philip believed was not the issue. He proclaimed Christ from the Scriptues, but the Eunuch had to express personal belief in who Jesus was, i.e. His Deity.


    LM

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  48. Lou, you asked me:

    In your opinion: Does the term “the gospel” ever have a technical usage for the message the lost must believe to be saved?

    I don't think so. I am reminded of sermons in Acts where people are told "repent and believe the gospel" but the context of those is not eternal salvation from what I remember. I will have to check it out again. When thinking on doctrinal teaching on these things from the epistles, I would say no.

    You ask the question but I don't see your answer to it.

    As I said before:
    you need to establish that the word "gospel" refers to "what the unsaved must believe to be saved." I am not convinced that this is what it means. I think it means what God has done to obtain salvation. In order to stipulate to your label of "crossless gospel" [advocates] for my friends, I would need to be convinced that "gospel" means what you say it means and not what I think it means. I think it means "what God has done", not "what one *believes* God has done."

    Did you get hit by the storm in Chicago? All our churches have cancelled due to blizzard-like conditions.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Rose:

    Thanks for answering the question. The series that begins tomorrow will provide the notes you need to, “check it out again.”

    You are going to find more evidence of the heretical teaching of the “Crossless” advocates you call “friends.” They may be your friends on a personal level, but they are no friends to the body of Christ or the Word of God. They have introduced “division” and “offences” into the body of Christ through their “contrary” doctrine (Rom. 16:17) and egregious errors.

    In this thread we are seeing from Matthew that they believe a lost man can be saved through belief or unbelief in who ever he (the lost man) thinks Jesus is. It is very clear that they do not care what the lost man thinks of Jesus.

    The ONLY thing that matters for them in personal evangelism is this: Did the lost man say he believes in the promise of eternal life? If he did they don’t care if he absolutely believes Jesus is the half-brother of the Devil, they will declare him born again. That is absurd and who ever holds to that kind of thinking has had his conscience seared.

    The Bible mandates (Rom. 16:17) that these men, who have departed from the faith, be “marked and avoided” lest they bring this corruption of God’s redemptive plan and their trampling of His deity into any more circlers of influence.

    Lord willing, the FGA leadership will root these teachers of heresy out, or depart the FGA and leave it to them to do with it whatever they want. The FGA board is already split on this issue. Stephen Lewis is a hardened advocate of Hodges’ “Crossless” theology.

    Did you notice the FGA sponsored academic meeting to sort this issue out was postponed? I’ve shared this with others: IMO, it was cancelled because the “Crossless” advocates, like Lewis, want no part of this kind of meeting. The cover story from the “Crossless” men was that they need more time to study. These men have advanced degrees, but they claim to need more time to study a position (their own position) on the Gospel they have advocated for several years. That is a facade!

    I’ll make a prediction: the academic meeting is never going to happen. IMO, the “Crossless” camp will do whatever it has to do to keep this FGA academic meeting from ever taking place. They do not want to be put on record and possibly find themselves at odds with the FGA doctrinal statement. For them it is either take out, or take control of the FGA. [One caveat: if the “crossless” men ever get majority control of the FGA board, then they will have their meeting.]

    If the FGA goes fully over to the “Crossless” men, it won’t mean much, because the power and blessing of God will never be on the FGA as long as it tolerates this corruption of the Lord’s Gospel that already exists in its ranks.

    As for the Grace Evangelical Society (GES): It has long since lost its theological moorings. Hodges and Wilkin have gone into such inexplicable extremes they can’t be taken seriously.

    In my opinion, and based on the biblical mandates for separation, any man who knows and rejects the “Crossless” gospel, cannot be right with God if he remains a member of and/or support the GES in any way.

    I am thankful to see that many have made the difficult, but biblical decision to separate from and avoid the GES.

    That is more than I planned on, but error is error and the teachers of the “Crossless” gospel are the propagators of this heretical system that is antithetical to the whole of Scripture.


    LM

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  50. Rose,

    Did you see my comment to you above? On your blog I have repeatedly linked to Greg's post on Jeremy's blog where Greg explains many places in Scripture where "the gospel" specifically refers to "what the lost must believe to be born again". I think you will find it very helpful. But also, beginning tomorrow, Lou will be posting some articles by Greg that deal with this issue. I strongly recommend that you read them.

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  51. Rachel, if a person was under the misconception that Jesus was a Gentile, would they believe in a different Jesus, even if they believed that He is God and the saviour of those who put their trust in His atoning sacrifice?

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  52. Matthew:

    If you can find in the Bible whether or not the necessity of understanding Jesus was a Jew or a Gentile is part of the Gospel to be believed for the reception of eternal life then your previous comment would be an important discussion point.

    As it stands, we are discussing the necessity of belief in His Deity and finished work on the cross.


    LM

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  53. Lou,

    It was refreshing to read this sort of conviction in your comments to Rose:

    You are going to find more evidence of the heretical teaching of the “Crossless” advocates you call “friends.” They may be your friends on a personal level, but they are no friends to the body of Christ or the Word of God. They have introduced “division” and “offences” into the body of Christ through their “contrary” doctrine (Rom. 16:17) and egregious errors.

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  54. Matthew,

    If someone believed that Jesus is a Gentile and not a Jew, yet they believed the other things you mentioned, yes, they would believe in a "different" Jesus. However, it would not be "different" enough so as to be a non-saving Jesus. A "Jesus" who is not God, who didn't die on the cross for our sins, and/or who didn't rise from the dead is a non-saving Jesus. Being a Jew is not unique. Being God in human form, dying on the cross for the sins of the world, and rising from the dead... pretty unique. And, as Lou said, I see nothing in Scripture that connects our salvation to the fact that Jesus was a Jew.

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  55. Hello Greg:

    I don't know how I could put it any more succinctly than that.

    Believers are faced with one of two choices in regard to the teaching and advocates of the “Crossless” gospel:

    1) Obey the biblical mandates to “contend for the faith once delivered; mark and avoid; have no company with them that they may be ashamed (Jude 3; Rom. 16:17; 2 Thess. 3:14-15.)

    2) Take the New Evangelical approach: Compromise with the teachers of known and egregious error for the sake of unity.

    I am going to cite Spurgeon yet again, “Fellowship with known and vital error is participation in sin. . . . To pursue union at the price of truth is treason to the Lord Jesus.”


    Lou

    PS: I am looking forward to how the Lord will use your new series beginnng tomorrow morning.

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  56. Rachel, so you believe that some "different Jesus" can save. I have never read anybody express that idea before.

    I agree that if Jesus was not God He could not save anybody. However, why must a person understand this to receive eternal life?

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  57. Lou

    "If you can find in the Bible whether or not the necessity of understanding Jesus was a Jew or a Gentile is part of the Gospel to be believed for the reception of eternal life then your previous comment would be an important discussion point."

    I cannot find anything in the Bible that indicates that believing in the deity of our Lord is required to be believed in order to receive eteranal life.

    The reason I asked Rachel the question is that I do not accept the idea that having misconceptions about the nature and history of our Lord entails that one necessarilly believes in an ontologically different Jesus.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

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  58. Matthew:

    From your note above I trust you concede your comment about whether one believe Jesus to be a Jew or Gentile is irrelevant for the reception of eternal life.

    As for your comment about “I cannot find anything in the Bible that indicates that believing in the deity of our Lord is required to be believed in order to receive eternal life.”

    Two notes:

    1) The “Crossless” gospel of Zane Hodges goes way beyond believing in the deity of Jesus. You have yourself acknowledge that the lost can utterly reject and deny the Deity of Christ and still be born again if his object of faith is in a guarantee of eternal life, no matter who he (the lost man) believes Jesus is.

    Antonio da Rosa views any open rejection of the Jesus of the Bible as a mere “misconception” that should be put on the “back burner.”

    2) The Bible is clear on belief in the Deity of Christ question.

    The problem for you men, who have been deceived by the teaching of Zane Hodges, is that he has trampled the Lord’s titles “the Christ” and “Son of God” into non-deity titles.

    Greg Schliesmann dealt with Hodges' assumptions that lead him to these aberrant views of the Lord’s titles. See The Christ Under Siege

    I was just doing a study of Philip’s encounter with the Ethiopian Eunuch. Read Acts 8:35-38.

    “And Philip said, If thou believest with all then heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God,” (Acts 8:37).

    This passage is thoroughly consistent with Rom. 10:9-10.

    Did Philip preach some non-deity Jesus unto him? Did Philip ask him if he believes with all his heart that Jesus was anything less than Deity?

    Ask yourself: In this passage, who is the “Son of God,” and what does that title infer?


    LM

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  59. Lou

    "From your note above I trust you concede your comment about whether one believe Jesus to be a Jew or Gentile is irrelevant for the reception of eternal life."

    The example is one that needs to be discussed if the opponent of the 'crossless gospel' uses the "different Jesus" argument. This holds that to deny the deity of Christ entails believing in an ontologically distinct person and therefore such a faith must a priori be non-salvific. This argument I reject.

    "Ask yourself: In this passage, who is the “Son of God,” and what does that title infer?"

    We must not confuse the title Son of God with our Lord's eternal existence as the Son, His relation to the Father as a member of the Trinity.

    I would argue that Son of God is an human office that our Lord entered into through His incarnation. The Son of God is the chosen messiah, the man who acts as a representative of redeemed humanity in replacement of Adam. It is Christ's office as man and entered into through incarnation.

    To believe that Jesus is the guarantor of eternal life is to affirm the essential aspect of Christ's role as Son of God and therefore to believe it.

    It is not therefore essential to believe that Jesus Christ is God to believe that He is Son of God.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

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  60. Matthew:

    You have it reversed. It is the “Crossless” advocate who argues and allows for salvation through a “different Jesus” or better put, “another Jesus,” and “another Gospel.

    We have maintained the necessity of belief in His deity and finished work. You (Hodges, Wilkin, Myers, da Rosa) maintain lost men can be saved in spite of unbelief (i.e., conscious rejection of who He is and what He did to provide salvation) in the Jesus of the Bible.

    The crux of the debate is that the advocates of the “Crossless” gospel have reduced and redefined the biblical plan of salvation down to a non-saving message.

    It is, IMO, the worst sort of departure from Truth I have seen coming from as far from the opposite end of the theological pendulum swing as Lordship Salvation is at their end.


    Lou

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  61. Matthew,

    First, if His title as "the Son" only refers to His human office of Messiahship, why did the Pharisees refuse to acknowledge that the Messiah (whoever he is) would be the Son of God? And why did Christ challenge them on this point?

    Matthew 22:41-45:
    While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, "What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?" They said to Him, "The Son of David." He said to them, "How then does David in the Spirit call Him 'LORD,' saying: 'THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, "SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, TILL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES YOUR FOOTSTOOL" '? If David then calls Him 'LORD,' how is He his Son?"

    Secondly, why does Jesus Himself identify His Sonship by referring to His Deity as Lord (Ps. 110).

    Thirdly, why do both Matthew and John indicate this is a title that invokes worship?

    Matthew 14:33
    Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, "Truly You are the Son of God."

    John 9:35-38
    Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, "Do you believe in the Son of God?" He answered and said, "Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?" And Jesus said to him, "You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you." Then he said, "Lord, I believe!" And he worshiped Him.

    This title is also connected to angels worshiping Him (Heb. 1:5-6).

    Biblical and Jewish theology strictly teaches only God is to be worshiped (not to mention only God is to be believed upon as Savior). If the Gospel narrators indicate His title as the Son of God properly invokes worship, how can you separate that from His Deity?

    Fifth, the Apostle John clearly uses His title as the Son of God, not just in functional terms of His office, but in ontological terms of His Deity:

    John 1:18
    No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

    This speaks of His nature in three ways - He has seen the fullness of the Father. As the Father is infinite in His attributes, it would take omniscience to fully see God. Secondly, it describes Him as "o monogenes". The term "genes" refer to the genetic connection between a Father and a Son. This clearly points to His unique ontological nature.

    John clearly has the idea of "monogenes" in mind when he describes Him as the Son of God in salvation verses:

    John 3:14-18:
    And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten (monogenes) Son (huios), that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son (huios) into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 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 (monogenes) Son (huios) of God.

    When the Bible speaks about one's "name", it speaks about the essential character and identity of a person. Clearly, monogenes huios is inherent to this essential identity of Jesus Christ that one must believe upon.

    In any case, you already admitted one must believe in Him as "the Son of God". These verses show that "the Son of God" refers to His ontological nature as Deity, not just to a human office of Messiahship (which requires Deity to begin with).

    Sixth, the need to believe in His Deity as a matter of salvation is clearly taught as well in other terms (e.g. John 8:24).

    I do not really think you care about truth to begin with Matthew. You will go to any length to avoid clear teachings that contradict your heretical view points. I post these comments for the consideration of others who do care.

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  62. Matthew,

    If someone believes that Jesus is a Gentile and not a Jew, that is "different" than what the Bible teaches. But as I said, it is not different enough to make Him non-saving. It certainly isn't ontologically "different" as even you noted.

    For instance, a Charismatic believes that Jesus taught that his followers would do even greater, bigger miracles than he did. Is that a "different" Jesus than what the Bible teaches? Yes. But that's not an ontological difference, and it certainly isn't so different that it creates a non-saving Jesus.

    A Jesus who is Satan's half-brother is ontologically "different" than what the Bible teaches and is a non-saving Jesus. A Jesus who is not God is ontologically "different" than what the Bible teaches and is a non-saving Jesus.

    Matthew, you said,

    "The example is one that needs to be discussed if the opponent of the 'crossless gospel' uses the "different Jesus" argument. This holds that to deny the deity of Christ entails believing in an ontologically distinct person and therefore such a faith must a priori be non-salvific. This argument I reject."

    Yes, that's exactly what I believe. "[T]o deny the deity of Christ entails believing in an ontologically distinct person and therefore such a faith must a priori be non-salvific." Exactly. So please explain WHY you reject that argument. Why is it an invalid argument worthy of rejection?

    You said,

    "I would argue that Son of God is an human office that our Lord entered into through His incarnation. The Son of God is the chosen messiah, the man who acts as a representative of redeemed humanity in replacement of Adam. It is Christ's office as man and entered into through incarnation."

    Please do share your reasons for arguing this. What is your Scriptural backing for such an argument, and how do you counter the opposing view that Greg detailed above?

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  63. Greg

    "I do not really think you care about truth to begin with Matthew."

    I do not appreciate it when people who have never met me, know little about me and have never prayed with me se themselves up to be the judges of my conscience.

    I think most people would agree you are making a big presumption with this comment.

    Matthew 22

    The Pharisees have not denied in this passage that the messiah is Son of God. The title was accepted in Jewish literature as bein a messianic title (though it was not viewed as a divine title).

    Our Lord does demonstrate the prophesied divinity of the messiah. However, this does not demonstrate that the title 'Son of God' corresponds to the Son's eternal relation with the Father.

    Matthew 14:33
    Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, "Truly You are the Son of God."

    John 9:35-38
    Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, "Do you believe in the Son of God?" He answered and said, "Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?" And Jesus said to him, "You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you." Then he said, "Lord, I believe!" And he worshiped Him.

    These texts tell us that our Lord was worshipped. They may rightly or wrongly be used as a proof text of His divinity.

    However, they do not bring any clarity as to the exact meaning of the term Son of God.

    Hebrews 5:1-6

    Verse 6 appears to refer to the entrance of Christ into the new position that He entered into through the incarnation. The worship here is given after the first begotten has entered into the world.

    John 1:18
    No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

    Son of God is not used as a title here but refers to the Son's eternal relationship to the Father.

    Superficially the two terms are similar, but they should not be confused.

    The Son was not the Christ prior to the incarnation, neither is it proper to call Him the Son of God in the sense of posessing the messianic title (as opposed to His being the Son).

    "In any case, you already admitted one must believe in Him as "the Son of God". These verses show that "the Son of God" refers to His ontological nature as Deity, not just to a human office of Messiahship (which requires Deity to begin with)."

    When a person has a proper understanding of the messiah, they will see that He must be God. However, if they believe that Jesus is the guarantor of eternal life, they believe He is Christ, messiah and Son of God, even if they do not have a full understanding of all that those titles involve.

    A child may know that Elizabeth II of Windsor is Queen of Great Britain, but she may well be ignorant that this means that she is Chief of State, Head of the Commonwealth, Queen of Canada and Australia and the Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

    John 8:24 is not at all clear.

    I do not see for certain that 'die in your sins' means 'go to hell' as opposed to physical death. I am open to persuasion.

    If it does, it need not be implied that this refers any others than those to whom it is spoken. These Jews were rejecting the messiah, His office and His deity. If they continued to reject the His deity, they would harden their heartd further.

    John 8:24 does not state the conditions of receiving eternal life. Nowhere in John where the offer of eternal life is stated is believing in Christ's deity put forth. John is an evangelistic book. It makes very clear all that needs to be believed to receive eternal life.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

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  64. Rachel, I do not understand your reasoning.

    How do you make a distinction between those misconceptions about our Lord that equal an ontologically distinct Jesus and those that do not?

    What about when John F MacArthur denied the eternal Sonship of Christ? Did that equate to believing in an ontologically distinct Jesus? If not, why not?

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  65. Matthew,

    Your comments on Matthew 22 are interesting. The verse states:

    Matthew 22:41-45:
    While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, "What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?" They said to Him, "The Son of David." He said to them, "How then does David in the Spirit call Him 'LORD,' saying: 'THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, "SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, TILL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES YOUR FOOTSTOOL" '? If David then calls Him 'LORD,' how is He his Son?"

    You said:

    The Pharisees have not denied in this passage that the messiah is Son of God. The title was accepted in Jewish literature as bein a messianic title (though it was not viewed as a divine title).

    Whatever your anachronistic views on the "Son of God" in Jewish literature may be, the passage refutes your point. Those Pharisees did refuse to admit the Messiah was the Son of God. If these particular Pharisees already adopted "the Son of God" as a Messianic title, they would have had no problem agreeing "He is the Son of God" when Christ challenged them on this very point.

    Whatever evidence there is for Jewish usage of "the Son of God" is extrabiblical literature is irrelevant to this point about Matthew 22:41-45 because this passage itself clearly shows that those particular Pharisees would not admit the Messiah was the Son of God.

    If there is any relationship between this passage and extra Biblical literature, this passage would seem to contradict the viewpoint that "Son of God" was a widely accepted term for the Messiah before the time of Christ.

    Even aside from this passage and anything else the Bible teaches about the title "the Son of God", your contention that "the Son of God" was a widely accepted Messianic term before the time of Christ is unsubstantiated. In another article, I noted:

    It is notable that the term “the Son of God” was not specifically applied to the Messiah in rabbinical literature prior to the time of Christ. Oscar Cullman noted, “The difficulty lies in the fact that no known ancient text definitely calls the Messiah ‘Son of God’.” [8]

    Here is the footnote:

    [8] Oscar Cullmann, The Christology of the New Testament, trans. Shirley Guthrie and Charles Hall, rev. ed. (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1963), 274. He also notes, “The passages in II (4) Esd. (7:28f., 13:32; 37–52; 14:9) can hardly be considered as examples, because they point to the pais in the sense of the ebed Yahweh and do not refer directly to the sonship.” Cited by Kenneth W. Wilson, “Is Belief in Christ’s Deity Required for Eternal Life in John’s Gospel?” Chafer Theological Journal (Fall, 2006).

    Matthew, you then stated:

    Our Lord does demonstrate the prophesied divinity of the messiah. However, this does not demonstrate that the title 'Son of God' corresponds to the Son's eternal relation with the Father.

    If I understand you correctly, this is some fuzzy logic. You are saying that in Matthew 22:41-45 that Jesus did speak of the Divinity of the Messiah. He did this by asking "whose Son is He?". When the Pharisees refused to admit He was "the Son of God", he preceded to prove "whose Son" he is by referring to His Deity, which you admit. This clearly shows that:

    a) the Pharisees would not admit the Messiah was "the Son of God"
    b) that Christ defined His identity as "the Son of God" by reference to His Deity
    c) If the "the Son God" only referred to His Messiahship, the Pharisees would have had no problem agreeing that the Messiah is the Son of God.

    Nothing you said addresses or blunts a single one of these points.

    -- Greg

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  66. Matthew:

    On the "eternal sonship" flap with MacArthur...

    He was ultimately convinced he was in error. MacArthur published a retraction for his earlier views on that.


    LM

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  67. Matthew,

    Your comments on Matthew 14:33 and John 9:35-38 are also interesting.

    John 9:35-28 states:

    Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, "Do you believe in the Son of God?" He answered and said, "Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?" And Jesus said to him, "You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you." Then he said, "Lord, I believe!" And he worshiped Him.

    You replied:

    These texts tell us that our Lord was worshipped. They may rightly or wrongly be used as a proof text of His divinity.

    This comment is amazing. You admit that "the Son of God" invokes worship, but that does not necessarily infer Deity? So what you are saying is the Biblical authors could present something other than God as the rightful object of worship? Clearly the passages present "worship" as the proper response to Christ's identity as "the Son of God". Jesus accepts the worship in John 9:35-38. Surely, John and Matthew write about these incidents to convey the meaning of "the Son of God".

    Next, you stated:

    However, they do not bring any clarity as to the exact meaning of the term Son of God.

    Sure they do. You just do not want to see it because you are hardened against the truth. The mere identification of Jesus as "the Son of God" in John 9:35-38 invokes worship. In neither Jewish nor Biblical theology can the rightful object of worship be separated from Deity because the only one to be worshiped is God. The identification of Jesus as the Son of God clearly means that He is to be worshiped. It clearly means that He is God.

    You can say these passages simply don't convey His Deity or that they don't have any bearing on the title "the Son of God". But I think when most people look at these passages and your responses, they will see my comments about your unwillingness to accept truth are true.

    -- Greg

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  68. Lou, of course. I am well aware of that he changed his mind.

    I am asking Rachel if he believed in a different Jesus when he held that view. If not, why not?

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  69. Greg, very well argued.

    However, I dont think that text can be made central to defining the essence of the term Son of God. In fact our Lord does not even mention the term in that text.

    While your three conclusions are possible inferences from the text, I do not think they are certain.

    God Bless

    Matthew

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  70. Matthew:

    My post about JM backing off the "eternal sonship" position was primarily for general consumption, and I wanted to be fair to JM since he got right on that issue.


    Lou

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  71. Greg

    "This comment is amazing. You admit that "the Son of God" invokes worship, but that does not necessarily infer Deity? So what you are saying is the Biblical authors could present something other than God as the rightful object of worship? Clearly the passages present "worship" as the proper response to Christ's identity as "the Son of God". Jesus accepts the worship in John 9:35-38. Surely, John and Matthew write about these incidents to convey the meaning of "the Son of God"."

    Possibly. Unless this means the reverance that is accorded to a king rather than divine worship.

    You may be right here.

    They may or may not have been aware of His divinity. But they also address Him as Son of God, His messianic title.

    "But I think when most people look at these passages and your responses, they will see my comments about your unwillingness to accept truth are true."

    Most people are used to the Christian use of the term Son of God as a member of the Trinity. They are unaware of scholarly disagreement as to first century use of the term.

    I have not seen a use of the term Son of God where it is applied to the preincarnate state of our Lord.

    Maybe you can correct me on this.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

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  72. Matthew,

    You stated:

    "However, I dont think that text can be made central to defining the essence of the term Son of God. In fact our Lord does not even mention the term in that text."

    Matthew, what was the correct answer when Jesus asked, "What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?"

    The answer is: "the Son of God".

    The absence of those exact words from the text is only due to the reluctance of the Pharisees to admit that very point! However, Christ proves that is the answer by referring to the prophesied Deity of the Messiah.

    Furthermore, I think this passage is very significant because of the connection of the terms "Christ" and "Son".

    In "The Christ Under Siege, Pt. 2" I addressed this point:

    -----

    The Lord Jesus’ explanation of Christ’s Deity by the quotation of Psalm 110:1 is appositional to the question, "whose Son is He" which is appositional to the first question, "what think ye of Christ?" The only true conclusion one can reach, given the Lord’s premise, is that “the Christ” is “the Son” of God and that this specifically speaks of His Deity.

    It is no wonder that He put together the questions, “What think ye of the Christ? Whose Son is He?” This appositional relationship of "Son" to “the Christ” does not only appear in the question form of this passage. The title "the Son of God" is appositional to "the Christ" throughout Scripture including the salvation text of John 20:31:

    “...You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:18)

    “…I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!” (Matthew 26:63)

    The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. (Mark 1:1)

    Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” (Mark 14:61)

    And demons also came out of many, crying out and saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of God!” (Luke 4:41)

    “Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 6:69)

    “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” (John 11:27)

    “...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.” (John 20:31)

    We could go on (e.g. Acts 8:37; 9:20; 2Cor. 1:19; Gal. 2:20; Heb. 3:6; 5:5; 1John 2:22; 5:20; 2John 3, 9).

    Dozens of passages describe Him as “the Christ, the Son of God” or interchange the terms “Christ” and “Son.” Several passages indicate the lost must believe on “the Son” or “the only begotten Son of God” (See John 3:15, 16, 18, 36, 5:23-25; Acts 13:33-39; Rom. 1:4, 16; 1John 4:14; 5:5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 20).

    The relationship between these terms is further reflected in 1John 5:1 and 5:5. in 1John 5:1, we read: “whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God....” while in 5:5 we read: “Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” It is not as though the content of v.1 one summarizes one message to salvation while v. 5 summarizes a different route. As we have already seen, believing that Jesus is “the Christ” (v. 1) necessarily involves believing He is “the Son of God” (v. 5).

    This title certainly emphasizes His Deity, just as Christ did when He used Psalm 110:1 to explain “whose Son” He is. The Apostle John wrote, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:31).

    The Lord Jesus showed the true concept of “the Christ” involves Deity. Though the Pharisees could not argue with the Lord’s premise, they still refused to reach the same conclusion in Matthew 22:41-46.

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  73. Greg, that passage demonstrates the Lord's deity and His divine sonship.

    That does not negate the fact that the term Son of God is used alternately with the term Chrsit and His messianic connotations.

    "The Lord Jesus showed the true concept of “the Christ” involves Deity."

    A right understanding of who the messiah is will involve belief in His deity.

    However, simply being God is not all that s involved in the office.

    The Roman Catholics acknowledge our Lord's deity, but they deny that He is the guarantor of eternal life. Thus, they deny that He is the Son of God.

    Amillennialists also deny aspects of our Lord's messiahship in that they deny that He will establish His millennial reign. This does not mean that they are necessarilly lost. If they affirm that Jesus is the guarantor of eternal life they have believed that He is the Christ, the Son of God.

    There are many aspects to the office of Son of God, but what is central to them is God's purpose in granting eternal life to those who believe on Him.

    One may deny that the Christ needs to be God and one may deny that He is the saviour of Israel as a nation, but what is essential for redemption is trust in Jesus for eternal life. This is the fundamenal fact of our Lord's messiahship.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

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  74. Matthew,

    You stated: "I have not seen a use of the term Son of God where it is applied to the preincarnate state of our Lord."

    While this is an important issue, it is not the essential issue of our discussion to this point. The essential issue is whether the term "the Son of God" conveys His Deity. If so, it is irrelevant to our discussion whether it was only applied after His incarnation.

    In any case, here is a helpful study by George Zeller on whether He was the Son of God before His incarnation:

    http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/sonship/sonsh06.htm

    -- Greg

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  75. Matthew,

    Christ Himself explained that "the Son of God" is a Divine title.

    Now you're saying that does not matter because others believe Christ is Divine.

    Roman Catholics also believe that the Savior is named "Jesus". So what?

    -- Greg

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  76. To All:

    I want to refocus readers on the core issue and crux of controversy over the deity of Christ in the “Crossless” gospel of Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin.

    Matthew, who is speaking for the “Crossless” position wrote, “If you believe in that Jesus has given you eternal life, you believe in the real Jesus regardless of whether or not you believe in His deity.”

    Matthew has also stated that the lost can be born again even if he has “major misconceptions” about the Lord’s Deity, including a conscious rejection of His deity and His finished work on the cross.

    Following are some excerpts from comments I posted earlier in the thread in reply to Matthew’s comments:

    I must refer you once again to my earlier reaction, “If that faith is misplaced, say faith in a non-deity Jesus, then it is not the faith that saves because his object of faith is not the biblical Jesus.”

    What the lost man chooses to believe or reject makes all the difference. The Bible says so in passages such as Romans 10:9-10.

    I have to remind you again that you are teaching a salvation through belief or unbelief. Your system allows the lost to have it either way (in his mind) on who Jesus is and what He did for salvation, but the end result is the same. Your idea of salvation is that is can be obtained either through faith in the God incarnate, Jesus Christ, or a less than God, man named Jesus.

    I stated earlier that you are arguing for salvation either through belief in, or unbelief. You called that an accusation, but it very clearly is what you are arguing for.


    I also added this:

    In this thread we are seeing from Matthew that the “Crossless” gospel advocates believe a lost man can be saved through belief or unbelief in who ever he (the lost man) thinks Jesus is. It is very clear that they do not care what the lost man thinks of Jesus.

    The ONLY thing that matters for the “Crossless” men in personal evangelism is this: Did the lost man say he believes in the promise of eternal life? If he did they don’t care if he absolutely believes Jesus is the half-brother of the Devil, they will declare him born again. That is absurd and who ever holds to that kind of thinking has had his conscience seared.

    The Bible mandates (Rom. 16:17) that these men, who have departed from the faith, be “marked and avoided” lest they bring this corruption of God’s redemptive plan and their trampling of His deity into any more circles of influence.


    Finally, Your (Matthew’s) use of “major misconception” is not very clear on just how far you are willing to let the lost man go in his belief or unbelief about Jesus Christ. According to the “Crossless” view that the lost man can consciously reject the Deity of Jesus Christ. He can cling to belief in the most obscene heresies about Jesus that are found in cults such as Mormonism and the JW. The gross teachings of Hinduism are no barrier either. Yet, these are dismissed as “misconceptions” to be put on the “back burner.”

    (The “misconceptions” and “back burner” comments originated with Antonio da Rosa.)


    LM

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  77. One thing I've wondered lately regarding whether or not it is necessary to acknowledge Jesus' deity is this -- If he's not deity, what are we left with? That he's a non-divine human? Doesn't that violate orthodox Christianity at it's core? That is, that no human can merit Everlasting Life on their own? i.e. If I allow for the lost to receive Everlasting Life through faith in a non-divine/human Jesus then not only am I implicitly teaching that a human Jesus merited Everlasting Life on his own, but that a human can merit Everlasting Life on behalf of others as well. If a 0div/human Jesus could do it then why not me or someone else? It follows then that allowing one to receive Everlasting Life from a 0div/human Jesus is a direct violation of even their own accepted doctrine - that no human can merit Everlasting Life on their own. This isn't about a logical/psychological issue, as Antonio likes to put it, but rather violates even one of their own most basic THEOlogical claims (one we agree on) -- that we need Jesus for Everlasting Life precisely because NO human can do it. That doctrine doesn't make any sense at all if they turn around and allow for a lost man to believe that Jesus is a 0div human who can give people Everlasting Life. It's self-defeating.

    I've been mostly on the ropes the last few weeks, hopefully I'll be more regular again.

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  78. Matthew,

    You said,

    "How do you make a distinction between those misconceptions about our Lord that equal an ontologically distinct Jesus and those that do not?"

    Well, any misconception that is ontological would equal an ontologically distinct Jesus. If the misconception is related to the unique nature of Jesus, then the person with such a misconception would be believing in an ontologically different Jesus, i.e. a non-saving Jesus.

    Regarding John Mac, I have no idea what he affirms or denies. I don't see how it matters anyway. We're talking about what the lost must believe at the moment of salvation, not what a Christian may or may not end up believing later on - that is a separate discussion.

    Beyond this, it will be a few days before I can get back to any posts here. I need to take a break from blogging to get everything done. Between Christmas preparations and our youngest's first birthday on New Year's Eve, there's a lot to do. Feel free to respond, just know that I won't be back for a few days.

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  79. Matthew:

    Earlier you wrote in regard to MacArthur, "Yes, we must be fair to the man."

    I trust that was not a smug remark. He was wrong on his interpretation of the “eternal sonship” of Christ. He came to realize he was wrong and did the right thing, which was to publicly acknowledge and repent of it.

    It is fair to acknowledge that; wouldn’t you agree?

    It is my hope and prayer that men like you, who have been deceived by the teachings of Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin, which you are posting here, will one day be recovered from those errors, just as JM was recovered from his. {We must, however, continue to work toward recovering JM from his LS interpretation of the Gospel.}

    When, and as we pray the day comes that, you Jeremy or Antonio are completely recovered from and repent of the egregious errors, of Zane Hodges' teaching and influence on you, we will likewise be fair to you.


    LM

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  80. I hope you think that I have been fair and reasonable in my discussions on this post.

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  81. Matthew:

    We disagree sharply with you on these matters, but I do appreciate the tone with which you participated.


    LM

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  82. To All:

    While we hope, pray and work toward the recovery of men who have been deceived by the teachings of Zane Hodges we will:

    1) Identify, define, expose and biblically refute these many errors coming from Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin and the GES.

    2) Continue to “contend for the faith once delivered,” (Jude 3).

    3) “Mark” and sound the alarm so that more will “avoid” those of you who continue to propagate the heresies of Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin and the GES (Rom. 16:17-18).

    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).

    Pastors and Christian leaders, you must keep a sharp eye out for false teaching. You must always be on guard to protect those whom God have given you the oversight of.

    In Paul's day, the Judaizers and Gnostics were making their influence felt in the new church, both in doctrine and practice. Today, they are many attacks on the body of Christ. The various assaults on the Gospel of Jesus Christ are almost too numerous to mention.

    Lordship Salvation and the “Crossless” gospel are the “contrary” doctrines that have been among the greatest contributors to “division” and “offences” in evangelical churches.

    Determine to obey the biblical mandates to resist and refute these twin assaults on your local church.

    LM

    *Special thanks to Greg and Rachel for their helpful notes and comments. You folks have been instrumental in exposing the errors (including the diversionary- “Jesus: Jew or Gentile” argumentation) of the “Crossless” gospel.


    *THREAD CLOSED*

    Please visit Greg’s Schliesmann’s new series, The Technical Meaning of the Term, “THE GOSPEL.”

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