January 17, 2008

Can the Biblical Jesus & Mormon Jesus be “One and the Same?”

Dear Guests:

In the Chafer thread at Unashamed of Grace, Kevl of On My Walk, is discussing *Antonio da Rosa’s article in which he (Antonio) claims Dr. L. S. Chafer would support the GES “Crossless” gospel.

Early in the thread Kevin wrote,

There are many Jesus’ There are many gods. There are many religions. There is only one Christ Jesus who died on a cross for my sins, was buried, and rose from the dead three days later. Just one. No problem of confusion. It’s not all that hard to understand, but it sure separates the difference between professing faith and having it.
Matthew replied,
Yes. But the Gospels refer to only one Jesus. And only one Jesus offers eternal life.”
Now, I want to post a comment made by Antonio about the Lord Jesus Christ. Rose (**Rose’s Reasonings) wrote an article titled, Is Christ’s Deity Essential? In the thread that followed (6/15/2007 @ 7:08 PM) Antonio wrote,

The Mormon Jesus and the Evangelical Jesus are one and the same.”

This is among the most egregious and dangerous statements to date coming from Antonio da Rosa or any advocate of the “Crossless” gospel. The Mormon Jesus is believed to be a spirit (or half) brother of the Devil. To equate the Mormon view of Jesus with the biblical Jesus is as abominable a heresy as can possibly be uttered about Him.

When Matthew wrote, …the Gospels refer to only one Jesus,” he is correct because there is no other like unto Him. And there is no doubt that the Gospels do not infer or suggest that the Mormon Jesus is, “one and the same.” Yet, Antonio believes they, are one and the same.” Can anyone document where Dr. Chafer would support da Rosa’s view of the biblical Jesus being no different than the Mormon Jesus?

Wasn’t it enough that Zane Hodges and the GES trampled the Lord’s deity out of His titles, “the Christ” and “Son of God?” (See The Christ Under Siege, Part 1 & Part 2) Apparently not, for now da Rosa has assaulted our Lord and Savior’s person and character by equating Him to Mormonism’s false Christ.

When I read statements like the above from Antonio I am reminded that we can never relax and never allow for this kind of heretical mind set to gain any new ground in the hearts and minds of believers or the lost.

Those who through false teaching cause divisions are to be marked. It is biblical to personally identify false teachers and point them out so that others may avoid them. In Romans 16:17 Paul uses the word “cause” (poieo), meaning produce, construct, form, or fashion in reference to those who are the authors of division through their false teaching.

For the sake of those whom he is leading astray or who might be led astray by him if not properly warned from the Scripture, a faithful minister of Christ must warn against that man even though he pretends to, and perhaps to an extent does, preach the gospel. At best, this is a situation in which a disobedient Christian is behaving like a false teacher. . . . But when some man is the prime instigator, promoter, and advocate of an unbiblical position, we must expose that man as we denounce the sin he is promoting.” (Dr. Mark Sidwell, The Dividing Line: Understanding and Applying Biblical Separation, p. 65.)
There can be no lingering doubt that Antonio da Rosa is a “prime instigator, promoter and advocate of an (increasingly) unbiblical position” on the Gospel.

If we are going to live for and please God, we must obey His Word even on the difficult matter of separation from disobedient brethren. The Bible says,
And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you. And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ. Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us… And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother,” (2 Thessalonians 3:4-6; 14-15).

Antonio is the blogospheres most vocal advocate for the false “Crossless” interpretation of the Gospel. He has refused instruction and correction. He is determined to see the Hodges’ GES view of the Gospel flourish and penetrate a wide circle of evangelical churches. The Bible mandates what every believer’s course of action must be, and that is to “withdraw” from him. We do not view him as a personal “enemy,” but a “brother” who has gone astray and we are to continue to “admonish him.”

Those of you who are “contending for the faith once delivered,” the “common salvation,” (Jude 3) don’t quit! The advocates of the “Crossless” gospel are determined to sow the seeds of their doctrinal errors far and wide. It would be tragic if even one more unsuspecting believer was swallowed up in this departure from the biblical Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


LM

*See comment thread.

**Rose’s Reasonings is a blog that is highly sympathetic to the Crossless gospel and its advocates, especially Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin and Antonio da Rosa.

Addendum: August 23, 2008

Antonio da Rosa recently made a visit to another discussion board. Predictably he tried to infuse the egregious errors of the GES/Hodges Crossless gospel into the threads. Fortunately, I was participating at this board and was able to expose his heretical views for all objective readers.

Antonio’s extremism was drawn out with his statement that the “Mormon Jesus and Evangelical Jesus are one and the same.” I dealt with this and I invited Rachel to address him because he used her name in his comments.

This was one of Antonio’s remarks about his view of the Mormon Jesus,
The Mormons and the Evangelicals refer to the same New Testament Jesus. Yes, they have widely divergent conceptions of the Historical New Testament Jesus. All of this talk about ‘ontology’ is a red herring.”
Following is Rachel’s reply to that remark by da Rosa
Did everyone catch that? Antonio dismisses discussion of Jesus’ very NATURE (ontology) with a hand-wave and considers it a “red herring”! How can Jesus’ nature be irrelevant to discussions of saving faith? Antonio’s remark is beyond unbiblical, and is in fact anti-biblical.

His example about identifying Lou falls way short, as all of his analogies have. A person’s occupation or hometown is not part of that person’s nature.

Antonio is not ontologically different than Lou, even if he lives in a different state and has a different occupation. It’s true that someone could still receive a copy of the book no matter what they thought Lou did for a living. But that’s not comparing apples to apples.

Let’s say someone sends an email to Lou Martuneac the bookshelf, asking the bookshelf for a book. When asked to clarify, the person says, “you know, Lou, that bookshelf who has a blog at (correct blog address) and lives in (correct city).” Clearly the person is referring to the same “historical” Lou that the rest of us are, but the fact is that Lou is NOT a bookshelf, and no bookshelf can send someone a book. The person may be thinking of the correct Lou, but the person’s “misconceptions” about Lou are of an ontological nature, therefore he really does not have the correct Lou and will never get a book.

“Crossless” advocates, such as Antonio, like to say that what matters is who Jesus is, not who you believe Jesus is. They say that Jesus is God whether someone believes him to be or not. Of course this is true, but the issue is that God has conditioned eternal life upon what we believe about Jesus.

Antonio said, When one trusts into the Jesus Christ of Nazareth from the New Testament (the KJV or otherwise) for eternal life he becomes regenerate.”

Notice that Antonio finds Jesus’ hometown more important to be believed for eternal life than the very nature of Jesus, his deity! This is preposterous. I guess in Antonio’s theology, believing that Jesus hailed from Galilee is a more serious error than believing that Jesus is a created being.

Finally, notice that Antonio claims yet again that we’ve taken his comment out of context, yet spends his entire post defending the very thing we say his comment means. The problem is that Antonio believes it possible for a person (such as a Mormon) to be born again even while being ignorant of or actively denying the deity of Jesus. Antonio’s statement that Lou referenced earlier summarizes such a view. If Antonio disagrees with this view, let him say so now.* Otherwise, the claims of “taking out of context” are simply false.

As I make it a general policy to not interact with Antonio, this will be my last comment here. If anyone doubts the veracity of what I’ve said, they should simply follow the link to Lou’s blog where we discussed this with Antonio (when he masqueraded as the Sock Puppet: fg me in that particular thread) and the links from there- Antonio’s own words bear these things out.


Rachel

*It was at this point that Antonio disappeared from the discussion board. The morning Rachel’s comment was posted he was on line, but he has not been back since. Why? Rachel called on him to confirm or deny how his view was portrayed, which was done so accurately by Rachel. Faced with the proposition of confirming what is universally believed to be heresy, Antonio checked out.

10 comments:

  1. *At time of posting this article Antonio is not responding to Kevin’s comments and questions. Instead, Matthew [Dyspraxic Fundamentalist] appears to be speaking for and in defense of Antonio’s article.


    LM

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  2. It was my initial intention to post this article as a comment in the thread that follows my Consistently “Refined” article. I felt, however, that this needed a more full exposure because of the seriousness of the matter.


    LM

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  3. Some of us arent quitting....its just that we believe like you, but have too much baggage from the past to get into these debates and ride this ruthless tiger without getting too emotional over it. My heart continues to break as I pray for Jeremy and I greive over the path that seems to be tempting him....I pray he turns from this before he gets hurt. In essence in my opinion I see Antonios blog and Unashamed providing a forum for men and women to learn to start doubting the very basic elements of the gospel. It is unfortunate, but I don't wish to dialogue much with them as they are just to clever about it anymore. It seems to me that men like you and Kevin seem to be able to pinpoint and isolate certain things very well and are doing a good job. I continue to encourage you and to also always remember to consider yourselves lest you be tempted toward the same skepticism about our Saviour that is occuring and to keep yourselves in the love of God.

    For everyone out there...Dont be a doubting Thomas and trust fully on His promise:-)

    The cross was a stumbling block to Thomas, dont let it be to you. He had an excuse because God winked back then before all was fullfilled. WE today...dont.

    Love in Christ and grace upon grace,

    Brian

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  4. Brian:

    Thanks for the note of concern about Jeremy. None of us knows how this will pan out with him, but everyone is concerned that he is likely headed in the wrong direction. Several posted very helpful comments to him. I have wondered if he has a pastor who has been trying to help him with these struggles.

    He is being befriended by those who have forsaken Christ, and he appears to becoming more like them. Some feel he may be trying to become more agreeable to the de-Conversion crowd, but that means he has to become more like them, which demands compromise. I sent him an e-mail about two weeks to caution him. I told him:

    1) If you get interested in what they are interested in, they will get interested in you.
    2) You are getting in over your head.

    You wrote, “In essence in my opinion I see Antonio’s blog and Unashamed providing a forum for men and women to learn to start doubting the very basic elements of the gospel.”

    You raise an important point. IMO, Jeremy’s new direction began, and is due in large part to his having adopted the heretical “Crossless” gospel of Zane Hodges. That view, like any false interpretation of the Gospel. When a man goes off on the Gospel, which is the bed rock of our faith, he will always go in to more error.

    Look at Antonio, for example, he now equates the Lord Jesus Christ to the Mormon Jesus. I appreciate the concern over Jeremy’s direction, but where is the concern over Antonio’s slide into some of the most extreme heresy in evangelical circles. Where is the outrage over Antonio’s trampling the Lord’s titles and now His person?

    You wrote, “It seems to me that men like you and Kevin seem to be able to pinpoint and isolate certain things very well and are doing a good job.”

    Thanks for those encouraging remarks.


    LM

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  5. Good points Lou. I left Jeremy some comments and tried to encourage him to hope in the cross and all the Jesus has done for him. It would break my heart to see him join the de conversion crowd.

    Keep fighting the good fight and always remember 1 corinthians 13 while you do it. We all stumble here and so I think it helpful to always slowly read the chapter and meditate on it daily, but in some areas God has helped us.

    Stay on course brother,

    Brian

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  6. To All:

    Dave Wyatt is a contributor at the Unashamed of Grace (UoG) blog. Another UoG contributor Rose posted a scenario on “Receiving Christ” for comment. In response to Rose’s scenario Dave made an observation that has a direct correlation to the theme of Antonio da Rosa’s assault on the Deity of Jesus Christ.

    Antonio equates the biblical Christ to the Mormon “cultic” Christ.

    Below is an excerpt from Dave Wyatt’s comment at UoG. He expresses his personal concern with the dangerous “direction” the advocates of “Crossless” gospel, like da Rosa, have taken on the Deity of Jesus Christ

    I have a real problem with “Refined Free Grace” as I understand it. My problem is that we are beginning, I fear, to go to the point of not really believing in the Christ of Scripture. Yes, we can go too far into “checklists” without actually trusting Christ Himself possibly, but I don't believe this is as likely as going too far the other way & not really believing in the Biblical Christ but a cultic one, if that makes sense. Doctrine, & I refer to Bible doctrine, especially concerning Who the genuine Biblical Christ is, is extremely important, IMHO, not only for initial salvation, but progressive sanctification as well. Why not know as much as possible about the Biblical Christ right off the bat? This greatly concerns me. I know myself too well. I am way too easily led in the wrong direction, & to know all I can about my wonderful Savior is important to start me off right & keep me right.

    I appreciated Dave’s recognizing the extreme importance of the, “believing in the biblical Christ.”

    I trust Dave’s thoughts will resonate with any who may have come under the destructive influences on the Deity of Christ we are reading from certain “Crossless” advocates.


    LM

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  7. Brian,

    Thanks for the reminder! It's easy to get caught up and find yourself in a fault, even the same fault that we argue against. Very easy.

    Lou, I hope Dave's concern does resonate through that community. He doesn't seem to have the level of concern that outsiders looking in do. But let's agree to pray that this seed of concern will grow and that he'll be so concerned about leading people astray from the True Christ of the Scriptures that it would become his primary focus to keep only Him in view.

    Kev

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  8. Kev:

    I think Dave has a great deal of concern, but he is expressing himself very carefully.

    Dave is a team member of the Unashamed blog; Antonio is the head man there.

    Antonio wrote the terrible remarks about the Jesus we read of in the Gospel being “one and the same” as the “cultic” Mormon Jesus. IMO, it is that kind of abuse of the Lord’s deity that Dave is objecting to.

    If Dave were to be blunt, Antonio would not stand for it. I am quite sure there are a great deal of e-mails (behind the scenes) going to and from Antonio from some of those Unashamed folks over his and Hodges reckless statements.

    Keep watching these things. Antonio’s radical views are becoming clearer to the members of Unashamed.


    Lou

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  9. Yes those were good thoughts by David and dead on. I know he stands for the truth and I am praying that the Unashamed blog does not succeed in dragging him down into compromising with their unbelief. I know he stands strong. At one time I began to see many of Antonios points as he would exalt taking God at His word and truly it is where we all need to settle and trust the Lord, but soon he began to take these detours into whittling away at what taking God at His word meant and soon I began to realize that I was being deceived. It is one reason why I do not comment on the site right now. I do not want to contribute and expand the seeds of this skepticism any further. It is unfortunate that Antonio persists in wanting to be right about something so wrong in reducing the call from the cross at all costs, that he is now dragging his mates into his vortex and does not care at all about where they stand. It is not fair to them.

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  10. Hi Brian:

    Thanks for the note. I'll get to it tomorrow.


    Lou

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