Some of you may have noticed that the advocates of the “Crossless” gospel have been floating new labels to identify their reductionist interpretation of the Gospel.
In 2007 the Grace Evangelical Society (GES) and its supporters were attempting to portray the GES as though it was the voice of the broader Free Grace (FG) community. That attempt fizzled when various men, such as Pastor Tom Stegall, irrefutably demonstrated that Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin have devised a message that is a departure from the biblical plan of salvation. The GES interpretation of the Gospel came to be appropriately identified as a “Crossless” gospel.
In 2008 the attempts to portray the GES as if it is the voice of the FG community have continued. Many, however, have come to see that the GES has reduced itself to and become an isolated off-shoot in the FG camp. The GES has positioned itself to the far left of a balanced Free Grace theological center.
Once the deep differences in beliefs in the Free Grace community about the true nature of the “Crossless” gospel were revealed the GES initiated attempts to redefine what they want their system to be identified as. They have, therefore, invented the label(s), “Refined”or “Consistent” Free Grace Theology.
On January 16, 2007 Antonio da Rosa (aka- Sock Puppet: fg me), posted an article at the pro-Crossless group blog Unashamed of Grace. The full title of his article is, Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer uses Refined (Consistent) Free Grace Theology phraseology.
The article itself has several problems, some of which Kevin at On My Walk has addressed. Kevin’s article is titled, Chafer Was a Proponent of the “Crossless” Gospel? IMO, Antonio is forcing out of context what Chafer wrote to declare Chafer would support his own “Crossless” theology. Even if Chafer took a “Crossless” view of the gospel, this would not make it any more biblical.
In the title da Rosa refers to the Hodges/Wilkin “Crossless” view of the Gospel as “Refined (Consistent) Free Grace Theology.” When you ponder “refined” and “consistent” in light of what we know the “Crossless” gospel to be you quickly see that the title of Antonio’s latest article at Unashamed of Grace is an oxymoron. The title is, “an incongruous, seemingly self-contradictory statement.”
By definition consistent means, “constantly adhering to the same principles.” Maybe Antonio uses “consistent” because he is under the impression the “Crossless” gospel is “consistent” with Scripture. This analogy has repeatedly been shown to be quite the opposite. Hodges has forced into or wrenched out of numerous passages whatever he must to produce his “Crossless” interpretation of the Gospel.
“Refined” means, “to bring to a fine or a pure state; free from impurities.” The refining process is used to eliminate impurities. What are those “impurities” that Zane Hodges and “Crossless” advocates have sifted out of the Gospel to arrive at a “Refined” Gospel? Those “impurities” are the Lord’s death, His resurrection and His deity.
Once Hodges refined the Gospel to the “Crossless” interpretation it has become, the GES teaches that the lost man does not need to know, understand or believe that he is a sinner, nor does he need to know who Jesus is and what He did to provide salvation. Antonio da Rosa insists that a lost man can consciously reject and deny the deity of Christ and still be born again. We have learned from Jeremy Myers and da Rosa that belief in the finished work of Christ is not a condition for salvation.
While these men personally believe in the finished work and deity of Jesus Christ, in their evangelistic presentation they will practically deny these truths, if they become a stumbling block for the lost man. In the GES approach to personal evangelism, belief in the death, resurrection and deity of Christ have been “refined” out of what must be believed by the lost man for the reception of eternal life. Hodges views the truths about our Lord and Savior as “excess baggage that we bring into our encounter with unsaved sinners....” Hodges has sifted his “excess baggage” out of the Gospel.
Why does da Rosa title his view of the Gospel “consistent,” when it has been “refined” over and over by Hodges and Wilkin? A friend wrote, which is appropriate at this time,
“What do you have left with all of this removed from the ‘kerugma’ of the Gospel? Practically nothing!”The refining process of the GES has been “consistent,” in that it has consistently “refined” the Gospel down to a Crossless & Deityless, non-saving proposition.
The “Crossless” gospel is simply being repackaged by its advocates under a “Refined/Consistent” banner. They hope it will be widely accepted. The new label in no way negates the reductionism of their belief system that truly identifies it as a “Crossless” gospel.
For an important companion article, please read, Is REDEFINED Free Grace Theology- Free Grace Theology?