December 6, 2007

The Simple Natural Meaning of the Terms

Dear Guests:

In recent days I have spent a great deal of time interacting with several advocates of the “Crossless” gospel at another blog: Rose's Reasonings.

That blog is, in my opinion, somewhat neutral on the doctrinal controversy, but supportive and protective of the advocates of the “Crossless” gospel. My fear is that continued close interaction and cooperative efforts with the advocates of the “Crossless” gospel increases the likelihood of adopting a personal belief in, and an unqualified endorsement of the “Crossless” gospel as an acceptable interpretation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That would be tragic!

In a thread at Rose's blog Antonio da Rosa directed this question to her (Rose), the blog's administrator and host,

In what way must the lost man believe that Jesus died for his sins and rose from the dead for the reception of eternal life?”
He was replying to Rose's answer to the question that defines whether or not someone has adopted the teaching of the “Crossless” gospel. To remind others, the defining question is:

In this dispensation, speaking exclusively of the “norm,” and excluding the “exceptional” cases, must that lost man believe Jesus died for his sins and rose from the dead for the reception of eternal life (salvation)?

Rose's reply was a simple, unvarnished, “Yes.” Antonio is on record taking the negative view. He questions Rose because her affirmative answer presently put her on record in opposition to the interpretation of the Gospel that Antonio and the Grace Evangelical Society (GES) hold to.

The simple answer to Antonio’s question to Rose is: “The Bible way,” which is provided below. Antonio also answers his own question within his question itself. He does not, however, recognize the answer within his question because he does not define the terms (or apply them) “in the simple natural meaning of the terms employed.”

May I remind my guests that Antonio da Rosa, representative of the teaching of Zane Hodges, has written that the lost man can not only be unaware of, but can consciously object/reject the deity, death and resurrection of Christ and still be born again. According to Hodges, who originated “Crossless” gospel theology, the lost man can be saved apart from any understanding of or belief in whom Jesus is and what He did to provide salvation. (See JOTGES 14:1, Spring 01; How to Lead People to Christ, Part 1 & 2.) In addition to Antonio, others who hold to the teachings of Hodges include Bob Wilkin, Jeremy Myers and a number of lesser known persons who participate in or contribute to the “Crossless” gospel blogs.

In regard to Hodges’ teaching on the Gospel Brother George Zeller wrote,
This teaching is serious and cuts to the very heart of the gospel (1 Cor. 15:3-4). There are those even within the free grace group who are very concerned about Hodges' teaching on the gospel….
Visit The Teachings of Zane Hodges Here you will find some teachings by Hodges that have a number of pastors/teachers concerned.

The system of thinking, which has come to be known as the “Crossless” gospel is antithetical to many clear Scriptures that teach otherwise. Passages such as the following answer the question Antonio posed to Rose:
“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).

In da Rosa's ’s latest article on his interpretation of the Judgment Seat of Christ he included this from *G. H. Lang,
It is a fairly sure sign that a line of exposition is correct when it enables numerous passages to be taken in the simple natural meaning of the terms employed...”
The answer to Antonio’s question is answered with a single, biblically defined word. The word is, “believe.” The answer appears within Antonio’s question, and is properly defined and applied in the inspired, inerrant, Word of God.

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,” (Rom. 10:9).

If the advocates of the “Crossless” gospel had taken the “simple natural meaning of the terms employed” in the Bible passages above, especially the word “believe,” those men would not have so quickly fallen into the trap of Zane Hodges’ “Crossless/Deityless” reductionist, non-saving interpretation of the Gospel.


LM


*G. H. Lang stated out-of-balance views on a “punitive” Judgment Seat of Christ that were taken to great extremes by modern day writers. It will be worth watching to see if Antonio articulates these modern day views as his own.

27 comments:

  1. Hi Lou,

    It has been some time since I have posted a comment here on your blog. I suppose I don't have a lot to add to your post but I do believe that “the simple natural meaning of the terms employed” is the correct way to interpret a passage but actually putting that into action is not so easy. The pastor of my youth always used to emphasize that the Bible must be interpreted in the time in which it was written which is a statement everyone on this blog should agree with. With that statement in mind, we are not looking for the plain and simple meaning to a 21st century American Christian but the plain and simple meaning to a 1st century Jewish/Greek/Roman Christian. These are two completely different things.

    One reason I mention this is that Antonio has often said that a person only needs to believe on the name of Jesus in order to be saved. In this day and age a name does not mean what it did two millennia ago. Do you remember why men built the tower of Babel? It was to make a name for themselves. The first chapter of John's gospel develops what the name of Jesus means yet that is often missed to our great detriment.

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  2. Glenn, yup the Historical Grammatical hermeneutic is very very very important to the proper understanding of Scripture. Plainly said the plain reading of the Text is the Truth. Scripture was written in Koine Greek which was the "common" language of the day. It's an exacting language, but it was common.

    Lou,

    This might seem silly, but someone not familiar with the subject and the usual suspects (*smile*) might confuse "da Rosa" with our Sister Rose in a quick reading.

    Kev

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  3. Hi Glenn:

    Good to have you back for a visit.

    You wrote, “...Antonio has often said that a person only needs to believe on the name of Jesus in order to be saved. In this day and age a name does not mean what it did two millennia ago.”

    He has frequently repeated that statement.

    His name “Jesus” means less-and-less to more-and-more people in this day and age. Secular Humanism and various other assaults on Bible Christianity have seen to that.

    That aside, according to Antonio and “Crossless” advocates, the lost do not have to understand or believe in who Jesus is/was and what He did to provide salvation.

    This is getting to be redundant, but it must be repeated. Antonio allows for any lost man to openly reject and deny His deity and finished work on the cross and still Antonio insists that man can be born again.

    Many people in these discussions do not realize that Antonio’s position is actually the most extreme among the advocates of the “Crossless” gospel. There are men in the “Crossless” camp that absolutely maintain the stance that a lost man cannot be born again apart from believing in the deity of Christ. Jon Lee, who has posted here, is one of these.

    A participant in the FGA panel discussion, Brother Ken Wilson, is another. While Wilson was of the opinion a lost man does not have to believe in the finished work of Christ for salvation, he was adamant that the lost must believe in His deity.

    So, there is a rift in the “Crossless” camp. We’ll see if it ever boils over among them. IMO, men who maintain the Deity as necessity for salvation position should be appalled at Hodges, Wilkin Myers and da Rosa’s dismissal of this vital truth.


    LM

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  4. Hi Kevl:

    You wrote, “This might seem silly, but someone not familiar with the subject and the usual suspects (*smile*) might confuse ‘da Rosa’ with our Sister Rose in a quick reading.”

    Yeah, I get it. This week Rose went on record rejecting Antonio’s position that the lost can be saved apart from belief in the cross and resurrection of Christ.

    The confusion and appearance of agreement with “Crossless” theology by Rose comes in because she is a staunch proponent of tolerance for “Crossless” theology, and its advocates.

    In private correspondence some people in the debate (and lurkers) have noted she is especially defensive when it comes to criticism of Antonio's theology.


    LM

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  5. Lou,

    I appreciated your list of Bible verses that bear on this subject of the refined/crossless gospel. Romans 10:9-10 was especially meaningful, due to it's clarity - when correctly understood - as it clearly commands belief in Jesus' resurrection from the dead. Romans 10:10 clarifies the correct order of 10:9. One cannot confess with his mouth what he has not first believed in his heart! Paul's command to believe in Jesus' resurrection from the dead in Romans 10:9 is consistent with Jesus' command of the same in John 20:26-29!

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  6. Jon:

    Thanks for the note.

    When one look at those verses they have a clear meaning. The “Crossless” gospel advocates, however, come to those passages with their strange presuppositions on the Gospel in mind. With those “Crossless” presuppositions they proceed to force into, wrench out of, or redefine these verse to suit their new Hodges’ view of the Gospel.

    Here is da Rosa in his latest article on the Judgment Seat of Christ, “When one finds a consistent line of exposition and interpretation that allows him to take the words of Scripture at their face value, in other words, for what they literally say, without the inclusion of secondary assumptions and gratuitous importation, he has found exegetical gold.”

    He expresses the very thing “Crossless” advocates should do. Instead, when they come to the Scriptures they abuse and twist what the verses, such as those I cited in the article, “literally say.”

    Hodgism” has become the final authority for faith and practice for the GES and men like Wilkin, Myers and da Rosa.


    LM

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  7. Lou,

    You said: "'Hodgism' has become the final authority for faith and practice for the GES and men like Wilkin, Myers and da Rosa."

    Unfortunately, you are absolutely correct. The men listed above, and especially Antonio da Rosa, quote Zane Hodges like he's the apostle Paul! For these men, the question is not: "What saith the Scriptures?" (Rom. 4:3; Gal. 4:30), but instead: "What saith Zane Hodges?"

    This is just one tragedy of the crossless gospel!

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  8. Jon:

    Not long ago I was told by a man who at the conference where the following happened.

    Hodges and Wilkin were doing some kind of open panel discussion. Wilkin made a point, Hodges disagreed with Wilkin. Wilkin replied, "Then I guess I am going to have to change my position."

    Right on stage Wilkin changed his position because Hodges disagreed with him.

    That is what I told from a first hand witness. If its wrong then my source was wrong.


    LM

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  9. Wilkin made a point, Hodges disagreed with Wilkin. Wilkin replied, "Then I guess I am going to have to change my position."

    Don't people see this for what it is? As blind as I am.. I just don't get how people can be so easily led astray and by such obviously wave tossed ships...

    It breaks my heart.. and leaves me in awe.

    Kev

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  10. Kevl:

    Personality and reputation can have a strange attraction.

    False doctrine can have a strange appeal. Just as with any false teaching or religion the error is mixed in and set along side genuine truth. This way it is not so easily detected.

    Both LS and the "Crossless" systems are presented along side orthodoxy, familiar terms are used. But when you set out to get clear definitions from the men for the terms they use, one finds that they have twisted the meanings.

    You, and I'm sure most everyone have noted, how Wilkin, Myers, da Rosa and Johnson are very reluctant to answer any questions. Wilkin and Myers have of course withdrawn entirely.


    LM

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  11. Jon/All:

    I had another thought of about the influence of Hodges on Wilkin, Myers and da Rosa, not to mention the others we have dealt with.

    With Antonio especially there is this fixation on all things Hodges. In July 2006 Antonio was caught plagiarizing Hodges’ The Gospel Under Siege, pp. 43-44. That was the second time he had used plagiarism in his comments.

    Antonio, of course, felt there was nothing wrong with posting Hodges verbatim as if it was his own (Antonio's) writing. He was totally non-repentant over it. The men who discovered da Rosa's plagiarism asked him, “At accredited institutions, students are expelled for plagiarizing. Do (Would) you accept your unethical behavior from your students when they write?”

    In his mind he may actually believe it is his own work because he is so thoroughly immersed in Hodges' theology.

    It is sad to see how da Rosa and so many others in the extreme left of the FG community seem to filter the Scriptures through Hodges' theology books like Absolutely Free, The Gospel Under Siege, (Antonio plagiarized) Harmony With God and other books/journals.


    LM

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  12. BTW,

    This is how Antonio dismissed his plagiarism of Hodges.

    That this isn't a classroom is apparant (sic) to me. Zane Hodges puts it into words better than I could in a more precise way.

 Yet, let us not so hastily detract from the points that have been made.”


    LM

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  13. Antonio apologized for his plagiarism of Hodges.

    This only after the admin of the blog where Antonio plagiarized asked for proof from Antonio that he had apologized.

    This evening JM posted the following to Antonio after he (Antonio) said he had apologized

    Antonio, would you please give the link for where you apologized for plagiarizing? Thanks.
    By Jonathan Moorhead, at 12/09/2007 8:59 PM


    Here is Antonio's apology. (I did not edit out the vitriol that is commonplace from him.)

    Jonathan,

    I cannot find the link right now. I have been looking. I am certain that I did.

    Nevertheless:

    To ALL:

    I had used Zane Hodges words in a comment thread on Jonathan Moorhead's blog without giving him credit. To any and all that I may have offended, I apologize. I meant no ill with it, no disrespect to Zane, and my conscious is clear before God that I did not do so malisciously.

    I have not failed to give credit to those whom it is due since that time.

    Lou may choose to bring this up at many more junctures in the future and on many more threads if he so chooses. That is his prerogative, and by choice he has brought my name into contempt at every opportunity.

    It just goes to show that he would rather character assasinate all over the blogosphere than discuss the particulars of his fundamentalist, kitchen sink soteriology.

    Again, I am sorry that I quoted Zane C. Hodges without crediting him on an informal and non-scholastic blog. I had to learn the hard way that when people just don't like what you are saying, and wish to bring you into disrepute, they will find any ammunition they can to achieve their aims.

    I own up to my mistake. It will not happen again. (But I get the distinct impression that it will be brought up as long as I post on blogs.)

    I might even call Zane and apologize to him ;)

    Antonio
    By Antonio, at 12/09/2007 11:11 PM

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  14. Lou,

    I just discovered your blog. It looks good. I'll be back.

    Earl

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  15. Earl:

    Thanks for stopping by. Glad to hear first look is a good one.

    There is much here on both Lordship Salvation and the "Crossless" gospel.

    Feel free to interact as often as you like.


    Lou

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  16. Interested Spectator12/10/2007 4:35 PM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  17. Hi:

    I'm sure it will be juicy.


    LM

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  18. IS:

    For policy reasons I did delete your link to the article.

    I'm not in the habit of linking to sites that teach and promte the doctrinal error of the "Crossless" gospel.

    Thanks for letting me know anyway.


    LM

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  19. Interested Spectator12/10/2007 7:03 PM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  20. IS:

    To document the errors of "Crossless" teaching footnoting with a link if necessary is appropriate and needed.

    Unqualified, open-ended linking to sites that promote heretical views of Scripture I do not allow for.

    It would be tragic for some unsuspecting person to be caught up in the teaching of Hodges because a link from my blog directed him/her to a "Crossless" blog.

    Thats all.


    LM

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  21. Interested Spectator12/11/2007 12:11 PM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  22. Interested Spectator:

    OK, you're done!

    I'll put up with disagreement, but when you cross the line with fabrications and vitriol, as you did in the comment I just deleted, we are through.

    Especially when you use an alias.


    LM

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  23. Lou -

    To be fair to "Hodgites" - is there anything you disagree with Stegall and Rokser on?

    In Christ,

    JL

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  24. Jon:

    I do not understand the purpose of your question

    How does whether or not I disagree with Stegall and Rokser on some point, have any bearing on the teaching of and being "fair" to the advocates of the "Crossless" gospel?


    LM

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  25. Lou -

    You said:

    “Hodgism” has become the final authority for faith and practice for the GES and men like Wilkin, Myers and da Rosa.

    They simply have come to the same point of understanding that you, Dennis and Tom have. Would you prefer to be labeled a "Rokserite" or a "Stegallitarian"?

    In Christ,

    JL

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  26. Jon:

    I appreciate your concern.

    Hodgism” is a term I used on that one occasion to encompass the unique interpretations of doctrines such as the Gospel, Repentance and the Judgment Seat of Christ coming from Zane Hodges.

    Many of his views, to my knowledge, are unique to him and his followers and have seldom been found outside his circle of influence. This is especially true of the “Crossless” gospel.

    Now, if we are reading it correctly, it appears that Hodges and the GES view forgiveness as not being part of salvation. The appearances of these radical views coming from Hodges seem to have no end in sight.

    Maybe 50 years from now his views will likely have some sort of designation, maybe “Hodgism.” The mounting number of aberrant doctrinal views coming from Hodges may very well lead to the “Hodgism” label at some point.

    For now, if for no other reason than to distinguish his interpretation of the Gospel from those in Free Grace circles who utterly reject his theology, we use the “Crossless” gospel.


    LM

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  27. Jon:

    Is that you in the avatar?

    If so, you've been eating your Wheaties!


    Lou

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