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.
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.
*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.