February 8, 2008

Evaluation & Response to “Crossless” Theology, Part 4

Dear Guests:

The following was a reply to woman named Susan

Hello Susan, you wrote,

Instead of trying to decide the question about whether some person with minimal information about Jesus Christ can be saved or not, we should instead concern ourselves with whether we will be found faithful ambassadors for Christ.”

I agree that we should all be concerned with the Bible mandate that every believer is an ambassador for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20). We are compelled to and have the privilege to preach the Gospel to every creature.

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,” (Mark 16:15).

If we are going to be faithful ambassadors for Jesus Christ we had better be preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The eternal destiny of every living soul depends on a proper understanding, and clear presentation of the Gospel to the unsaved. The Hodges “Crossless Gospel” (CG) is not the biblical plan of salvation. Zane Hodges (Wilkin, da Rosa, Myers) has reduced, minimalized and trivialized the Gospel of Jesus Christ down to a non-saving message that saves no one.

Are you aware that Hodges, Wilkin and Antonio da Rosa, (aka, fg me), insist a lost man can be saved apart from understanding or believing in who Jesus was, what He did to provide salvation and His deity? The problem with the CG does not stop with lack of knowledge.

Antonio believes a lost man can be saved even if he (the lost man) consciously rejects the Lord’s deity. In a witnessing situation Antonio says “any misconception” the lost have about Jesus should be “put on the back burner.” When Antonio says “any misconception” should be “put on the back burner,” he means put there and left there.

The focus of “Crossless Gospel” evangelism appears to be trying to get the lost person to say he/she believes in the promise of eternal life. Bob Wilkin wrote,
The object of faith, which results in eternal life, is the promise of God to the believer.”
No mention of the Lord Jesus being the object of faith, only the promise. Do “Crossless” gospel advocates require belief in Jesus Christ and His promise as the object of faith, or do they allow for faith ONLY in the promise as sufficient for the reception of eternal life? The GES and da Rosa view is that the lost man does not have to understand or believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, and can be born again in spite of his unbelief and/or open rejection of the Lord’s deity. I also want to reiterate to each of you that when Hodges, Wilkin and da Rosa use the titles of our Lord, “the Christ” and the “Son of God” they consider those titles as though they do not mean or infer the Lord’s deity. See Greg Schliesmann’s two part series,

The “Christ” Under Siege

The “Christ” Under Siege: The New Assault from the Grace Evangelical Society

Recently, Jon Lee questioned da Rosa for creating the perception that the promise of eternal life is the object of faith instead of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jon wrote to Antonio, Nowhere is there a stipulation that I must believe in Him FOR the promise that He makes. This places the object of faith on the promise and away from Him.” Jon Lee makes an excellent point, the latter sentence especially, which I have been stressing for months.
(See Jon’s comment at Unashamed of Grace, Jan. 28 @ 8am)

Antonio’s now infamous statement, The Mormon Jesus and Evangelical Jesus are one and the same,” is just one example of the extremes to which advocates of the CG have corrupted and “refined” the Gospel and Person of Jesus Christ. I have been reading several people, who are sympathetic to the CG, questioning Antonio over his equating the Mormon half-brother of Satan and the Jesus we read of in the Bible as “one and the same.”

Hodges, Wilkin and da Rosa are propagating a system that has so minimalized the Gospel that virtually no content is left that one might recognize as the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The “Crossless Gospel” is not just a “minimal information” approach to evangelism. There is virtually no information about the Person and finished work of Jesus Christ that needs to be understood or believed by the lost man for the reception of eternal life.

Rachel posted the following at my blog, which focuses on and sums up the area of concern many of us have in these discussions.
What we are concerned with is NOT what they personally believe, NOT what they would probably share when witnessing, and NOT what they think was necessary to make it possible for people to be born again. We ARE concerned with what Hodges/Wilkin think is necessary for the lost person to believe to be born again. This is what we are discussing, and their view on this specifically is what we are rejecting.”

Hope this has been helpful.


LM

*Appeared 1/29/2008 4:51 PM at Rose’s Reasonings

53 comments:

  1. Lou,

    your instistence that "Antonio... sees no difference between the “cultic” Mormon Jesus and the Jesus of the Gospels" is a misrepresentation of the truth.

    He believes that the Mormons identify Jesus of Nazareth from their King James Bibles. But he recognizes that they differ greatly in their understandings of precious details about Him.

    Was it not Rachel, whom you quote in your opening post, who said this in Rose's Reasonings:

    "We know they are referring to the same historical person we are."

    Do you agree with Rachel here, Lou?

    FG Me

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  2. FG Me:

    Thank you for drawing this to my attention.

    I have revised that portion of the article. I intended to quote Antonio’s statement, “The Mormon Jesus and Evangelical Jesus are one and the same.”

    This statement has been very disconcerting to a great many, even some who have been sympathetic to the “Crossless” gospel.


    LM

    ReplyDelete
  3. FG:

    You also wrote, “But he (Antonio) recognizes that they differ greatly in their understandings of precious details about Him.”

    Yes, but the Mormon’s misunderstanding of Him is over the most important “of precious details about Him”: His Deity.

    In Antonio’s opinion their misunderstanding, their unbelief and open rejection of the Lord’s deity is no hindrance to the reception of eternal. That is Antonio’s position; wouldn’t you agree?


    LM

    ReplyDelete
  4. FG:

    Following is the entire comment from Rachel, which you referred to above.


    Antonio,

    You asked, “Is it possible to have major misconceptions about the right person? If not, why is it impossible?”

    You ask a generic question, so the generic answer is "yes, it's possible". But from a generic standpoint, who is the "right person"? Let's get more specific then. Is it "possible" to have misconceptions about Jesus? Um... yes. The better question is, is it possible for someone to be born again while still holding to those misconceptions? Then my answer becomes, it depends on the misconceptions. As I stated earlier, Jesus has conditioned eternal life upon correct belief in Him. Therefore, while certain misconceptions are minor and would not prevent one from going to heaven, other misconceptions (namely, the ontological ones) are so significant that they prevent the individual from correct (i.e. saving) belief in Jesus.

    Again, you are splitting hairs and trying to make your "Mormon Jesus" statement sound reasonable. Yes, in a historical sense the Mormons are referring to the same Jesus that orthodox Christians are. But their Jesus is NOT our Jesus because their Jesus, being a created being and non-deity, cannot and does not save. Thus, it is accurate when speaking in salvific terms, to say that the Mormon Jesus is a "different" Jesus. However, since your view is that a person can receive eternal life even if they think the giver of that eternal life is not God, then of course you would think that the Mormon Jesus is the same Jesus as the orthodox Christian Jesus. No one is saying that the Mormons are thinking of, say, Moses when they speak of Jesus. That is a straw man. We know they are referring to the same historical person we are. The point being made with the statement that "the Mormons believe in a different Jesus" is, again, that their "Jesus" is so ontologically different (namely, that he is not God) that he cannot save.

    I've had this same discussion with Matthew on Lou's blog. The logical end of your arguments is that as long as the evangelist is speaking of the correct Jesus, then the lost person can have all kinds of misconceptions about Jesus (except that he is the giver of eternal life) and he will still be believing in the right Jesus. It is as if, as long as the evangelist has the right Jesus in mind, the lost person will be believing in the right person. This makes no sense. The lost person must himself understand and believe in the right Jesus in order to be born again.
    (Appeared on 2/05/2008 @ 12:18 AM)


    You cited this portion, “We know they are referring to the same historical person we are.” I agree with the entirety of her comments above, including the portion you lifted out. I put in bold that statement and the ones just before and after for contextualization.


    LM

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  5. Lou,

    To get you straight, it is your admission that both Evangelicals and Mormons refer to the same historical person, Jesus of Nazareth?

    FG Me

    ReplyDelete
  6. FG Me,

    You seem unnecessarily focused on one sentence of my post. This is like what Antonio did, he focused on this one sentence, rather than deal with the arguments I made in my entire comment about the ontological differences that make the Mormon Jesus effectively different than the biblical Jesus, since no one but God can give eternal life.

    Since he did not address my arguments, perhaps you would be willing to?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Rachel,

    Isn't Jesus of Nazareth the one true God whether someone apprehends such or not?

    So it seems to me that the designation "mormon Jesus" is baseless since you have already claimed that the evangelical Jesus and the mormon Jesus is one and the same historical person. More accurately would be the "Mormon conception of Jesus of Nazareth," since again, you stated that they are one and the same person.

    What seems odd for me is that it seems that Lou has objected to a statement by Mr. da Rosa for something Lou himself seems to be stipulating, as he has written that he agrees to everything you have said. And here is a bit of what you have said:

    "We know they are referring to the same historical person we are."

    It seems to me that in da Rosa's argument that this is all that he is stating: the Mormons identify Jesus of Nazareth from their KJV bibles, thus referring to the same Person as the Evangelicals do. As far as I know, he has not said that the conceptions of this Jesus by the Mormons is identical to that of evangelicals. From what I have read, he would deny that the conceptions are the same, saying that they are seriously divergent.

    Put these two statements together:

    da Rosa:
    "The Mormon Jesus and Evangelical Jesus are one and the same [person]."

    Rachel:
    "We know they [the Mormons and the Evangelicals] are referring to the same historical person we are."

    Please correct me if I am wrong, but it seems to me that only a sophisticated argument could assert that there is a difference in these two quotes.

    Lou,

    I appreciate your comments. Would it be presumptious to state that you agree with Rachel when she says:

    "We know they are referring to the same historical person we are."

    God bless you both,

    FG Me

    ReplyDelete
  8. FG:

    Earlier I quoted Rachel’s comment in its entirety.

    I affirmed my agreement with the whole thought, rather than the one quote you extracted from it.

    Feel free to go back and read that post.


    LM

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  9. FG:

    Mormons believe in a non-deity Jesus who can’t save anybody.

    The Mormons view Him as less than God, the half brother of the Devil. It is that anti-Christ historical person named Jesus that Antonio says the lost can believe in and still be saved. This is why Antonio writes and will not retract, “The Mormon Jesus and Evangelical Jesus are one and the same.”

    Antonio’s view is a lost man can be born again even if he believes in a non-deity Jesus is. Antonio believes the lost can be saved even if he openly rejects the deity of Jesus.

    In a personal evangelism setting Antonio will put a “misconception” as serious as this on the ?back burner? and leave it there. Antonio’s well-documented position is that a lost man can be born again, “no matter what misconceptions he holds.”

    Now, a question for you:

    Does Antonio da Rosa believe a lost man can be saved even if he (the lost man) believes Jesus is not God; but instead trusts in a promise of eternal life from Mormonism’s non-deity, half-brother of Satan view of Jesus?


    LM

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  10. FG:

    I just remembered I already asked you a question that you have either missed or ignored. Why don’t you take a moment to answer this question that I directed to you earlier in this thread as well as the question immediately above.

    In Antonio’s opinion their (Mormon) misunderstanding, their unbelief and open rejection of the Lord’s deity is no hindrance to the reception of eternal. That is Antonio’s position; wouldn’t you agree?


    LM

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  11. FG Me,

    You said,

    "Please correct me if I am wrong"

    Okay, I will. :-)


    You said,

    "Isn't Jesus of Nazareth the one true God whether someone apprehends such or not?"

    Indeed he is, yet Jesus has conditioned his spiritual benefits upon belief in his person and salvific work. You and Antonio keep bringing up my statement that Mormons refer to the same historical person as we do as if it's somehow a difference-maker in this discussion. Antonio seemed to think it was some major concession I had made. As I've said before, when Antonio says (my paraphrase) "the Mormons have the same Jesus we do", he is meaning that their non-deity version of Jesus will perform the same saving functions for Mormons as He does for orthodox Christians. This is not only false, but vastly different than me saying that they simply refer to the same historical person that we do. Both you and Antonio seem to be trying to make it sound like you are the saying the same thing I am, when clearly you are not.

    Perhaps I am understanding Rose's frustration now, because it seems that neither you nor Antonio are listening or trying to understand what we are saying here. Since neither of you have actually addressed my arguments about this, I'll paste in my previous post so you can find my arguments easier.

    I said this to Antonio:

    "As I stated earlier, Jesus has conditioned eternal life upon correct belief in Him. Therefore, while certain misconceptions are minor and would not prevent one from going to heaven, other misconceptions (namely, the ontological ones) are so significant that they prevent the individual from correct (i.e. saving) belief in Jesus.

    Again, you are splitting hairs and trying to make your "Mormon Jesus" statement sound reasonable. Yes, in a historical sense the Mormons are referring to the same Jesus that orthodox Christians are. But their Jesus is NOT our Jesus because their Jesus, being a created being and non-deity, cannot and does not save. Thus, it is accurate when speaking in salvific terms, to say that the Mormon Jesus is a "different" Jesus. However, since your view is that a person can receive eternal life even if they think the giver of that eternal life is not God, then of course you would think that the Mormon Jesus is the same Jesus as the orthodox Christian Jesus. No one is saying that the Mormons are thinking of, say, Moses when they speak of Jesus. That is a straw man. We know they are referring to the same historical person we are. The point being made with the statement that "the Mormons believe in a different Jesus" is, again, that their "Jesus" is so ontologically different (namely, that he is not God) that he cannot save."


    The fact that Jesus is God does not mean he confers his spiritual benefits upon anyone who happens to call out the name "Jesus". The NT clearly requires certain beliefs to be in place. Other beliefs are important but not essential to salvation, so could theoretically be erroneous without keeping the person with such beliefs out of heaven. But a belief about Jesus that renders him less God than he truly is is impossible to reconcile with saving faith, not only psychologically, but biblically.

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  12. And FG,

    Are you defending your own position or Antonio's? On Rose's blog, when I defended certain statements made by Lou, Antonio thought I was defending Lou and insisted that Lou should defend himself. So are you defending Antonio's statements because you happen to agree with him, or are you simply defending Antonio?

    Antonio, I know you're reading this. Why do you not defend your own statements?

    ReplyDelete
  13. FG Me:

    Antonio has little time or inclination to defend his own arguments, or address the arguments of others, even at the best of times.

    I think "Mr. da Rosa" is going to be a little extra-busy trying to refute Rose at Unashamed of Grace over her Is Receiving Christ Passive article; don't you?


    LM

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  14. Lou,

    you stated, "Mormons believe in a non-deity Jesus who can’t save anybody."

    But you have stipulated that the Mormons refer to the historical Jesus (precisely the same as what it seems Mr. Da Rosa has done in the small cut and paste you did of his writings, which seems to be a favorite of yours).

    This Jesus whom the refer to CAN save, right? Cannot and does not Jesus of Nazareth, whom you say that the Mormons refer to, save all those who trust in Him alone for their salvation?

    FG me

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  15. Lou, here is your question:

    Does Antonio da Rosa believe a lost man can be saved even if he (the lost man) believes Jesus is not God; but instead trusts in a promise of eternal life from Mormonism’s non-deity, half-brother of Satan view of Jesus?

    In reading Da Rosa's arguments, trying to do so with impartiality, i would say that he would think that if someone trusts in the historical Jesus of Nazareth, even if he understands Jesus of Nazareth to be Satan's half brother, he is saved.

    To Antonio, it seems that if a mormon entrusts his eternal life into the hands of the one he reads about in the KJ version of the Bible, Jesus of Nazareth, that he has fulfilled the condition that this Jesus has given for the reception of eternal life: faith (trust) in Jesus of Nazareth as Savior.

    The main issue it would seem for Da Rosa is faith alone in Christ alone.

    This seems odd to me that you don't take the same approach as he. It is logical. You already seem half-way there in your stipulation that the Mormon Jesus and the Evangelical Jesus is one and the same.

    da Rosa:
    "The Mormon Jesus and Evangelical Jesus are one and the same [person]."

    Rachel:
    "We know they [the Mormons and the Evangelicals] are referring to the same historical person we are."

    These are for your consideration. You have already stated that you agree with Rachel.

    Rachel and Antonio are saying the same thing:

    Mormons and Evangelicals refer to the same historical person: Jesus of Nazareth.

    If Jesus says that eternal life is received by believing in Him, right? You agree to that don't you?

    If it is the right thing in the right historical person, why do you have a problem with it? Seems to me, from reading your stuff, that you place more emphasis on doctrine than you do for the condition for eternal life: faith alone in Christ alone.

    I hope you have a good day. I will come back and answer the rest of your questions. I am going to my mother-in-laws house for dinner.

    fg me

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  16. FG,

    In your comment above you told Lou that you would be back to answer the rest of his questions. Hopefully you meant you would also be answering my questions. And if you do answer my post, please do more than just repeat your same arguments. It is getting tiresome. You keep saying that Antonio and I are saying the same thing, yet I have explained several times why we are NOT saying the same thing.

    FG, again I ask, are you defending your own position, or are you defending Antonio?

    Antonio (since I know you're reading this), do you plan to defend your statements here, or just let FG do all the leg work?

    ...Or maybe you're missing a sock? ...

    ReplyDelete
  17. FG:

    You answered, "In reading Da Rosa's arguments, trying to do so with impartiality, i would say that he would think that if someone trusts in the historical Jesus of Nazareth, even if he understands Jesus of Nazareth to be Satan's half brother, he is saved."

    Then your answer is, "Yes." That is all I was asking for: Yes or No.

    Antonio, as he has made very plain, insists that the lost can be saved by belief in nothing more than a promise of eternal life from a false-Christ.

    For Antonio the object of faith is NOT the Lord Jesus Christ of the Bible. The object of saving faith in Antonio's teaching is a promise. Antonio tells the lost that he can be saved by belief in a promise.

    Antonio does NOT teach the lost that his faith and belief must be in the biblical Jesus who paid the price for and guarantees eternal life to all who believe, put their trust and faith, in HIM, the ONLY begotten Son of God, the Person of Jesus Christ.

    In personal evangelism Antonio puts the Deity of our Lord and Savior on the "back burner" and leaves it there.

    His reductionist (to the absurd and heretical) view of the Gospel and personal assaults on the Lord's Person and Deity is a sad commentary of what can happen to the man who is deceived by the egregious teachings of Hodges and Wilkin.


    LM

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  18. Antonio:

    Rachel asked you, "Antonio (since I know you're reading this), do you plan to defend your statements here, or just let FG do all the leg work?"

    I am giving you permission to engage Rachel here in this thread only.

    Will you address her arguments?


    LM

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  19. FG:

    What I am reading by you is pretty much a dead-on repeat of what Antonio writes at various blogs, even some of the nuances. You are parroting Antonio.

    Rachel and I have laid out our views on the Mormon/Evangelical Jesus statement by Antonio. We have shown that we are NOT saying the same things that da Rosa is saying. IMO, it is not that you are not listening; you just do not want to settle for heat we are saying.

    You are angling for something that you are not going to get from either one of us. You are trying to force into or extract from Rachel and me what you want to hear from us. You might just as well “cut-bait.”

    I gave Antonio permission to post comments in this thread so that he can defend his own position and engage Rachel’s arguments, which he dodged at Rose’s blog.

    I know Antonio reads this blog, and I have e-mailed him persmission to come to this thread to engage Rachel.

    Now, you are free to speak for yourself, articulate and defend your own views.


    LM

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  20. Matthew:

    There is nothing good about repetitive comments that come from someone who acts as though they have not been addressed.

    Not to mention, they are nearly verbatim repeats of Antonio's position, which has been effectively refuted and dismissed.

    Do you think Antonio will defend his own position? He has been invited to do so. Or will he dodge Rachel's arguments like he did at Rose's blog.


    LM

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  21. fg me said This seems odd to me that you don't take the same approach as he. It is logical. You already seem half-way there in your stipulation that the Mormon Jesus and the Evangelical Jesus is one and the same.

    This might not sound very edifying but... How creepy is that?

    Lou didn't say that the Mormon Jesus and the Evangelical Jesus is "one and the same." He said they are both describing the same historical person. HUGE difference!

    Further, look at what could be encouragement to go farther down this dangerous road. "You're half-way there"

    I'm reasonably sure that fg me didn't think that Lou would be encouraged to go farther by his statement. The English used almost certainly shows that fg me did not. BUT, it's the attitude. The nonchalance. It's no big deal....

    Look at the mess in Brother Jeremy's life right now and ask him if it's no big deal.

    Talk about cutting bait I see Jeremy as a victim (willingly so or not) of this attitude. Proverbs is pretty clear that you become like those you hang around with.

    Sit in the shade and you'll get used to having to use someone's flashlight to see what they're talking about. Sit in the Light and you'll be able to see what He is talking about.

    Blessings,
    Kev

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  22. On more comment about that statement by fg me You already seem half-way there in your stipulation that the Mormon Jesus and the Evangelical Jesus is one and the same.

    Am I the only one that wants to call shenanigans? If a person can't interpret normal writing why should anyone believe what they are saying about the Scriptures?

    Kev

    I don't mean to be rude.. really I don't.

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  23. Antonio, Matthew & FG:

    Let’s assume you are witnessing to a lost person, and he says he does not believe that Jesus Christ was God, he openly rejects the deity of Christ.

    If the issue was pressed, would you tell him that he does not have to believe in the deity of Christ, but still can receive the gift of eternal life?

    Please advise.


    LM

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  24. Lou
    Antonio will do as he sees best, I am sure.

    I sometimes wonder that he does not reply to some comments, but I know that he is a busy man with a family to care for.

    "If the issue was pressed, would you tell him that he does not have to believe in the deity of Christ, but still can receive the gift of eternal life?"

    Thanks for the question.

    If I had time, I would want to challenge his denial of our Lord's deity.

    It is likely that his denial of our Lord's deity COULD be a stumbling block for his believing on Christ for eternal life.

    I would be wary of telling him that it was not necessary for him to believe in our Lord's deity as I would not want to encourage him in false and dangerous beliefs.

    However, I would be keen to tell him of the offer of eternal life in Christ.

    If he then professed to believe in Christ for eternal life, I would be careful to ensure that what he belived was the truth and not some other error. However, if it seemed that he genuinely trusted in Christ for eternal life, I would regard him as a believer even if he had not yet come to accept the doctrine of Christ's deity.

    If he persisted in that heresy after being taught the truth, there would come a point where I would need to seperate from him. But it would first be necessary to treat him as a babe in Christ.

    I hope you find this helpful and re-assuring.

    God Bless

    Matthew

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  25. Matthew:

    I appreciate your answer. While I find it “helpful” it not “re-assuring” in a positive sense.

    You answer does reconfirm for me that you view a conscience rejection of the Lord’s deity as no hindrance to being born again. I do recall you have confirmed that before.

    Let me boil it down to the Mormon who does NOT believe that Jesus is deity. The Mormon who views Jesus as the half-brother of Satan.

    You are witnessing to him, you did, “challenge his denial of our Lord's deity,” but his position is unchanged.

    This Mormon (or any lost man) persists in his rejection of Christ’s deity, but he says he does believe in the offer of eternal life from this non-deity Jesus he believes in.

    While you are still witnessing to him, would you say to him, that although he does not believe in the deity of Christ, if he will believe in “the offer of eternal life” he will be born again?


    LM

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  26. Kevl:

    You wrote, "If a person can't interpret normal writing why should anyone believe what they are saying about the Scriptures?"

    He knows and understands what we are writing. His problem is that we are not writing what he wants us to write.


    Lou

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  27. Lou has asked this question: "In Antonio’s opinion their (Mormon) misunderstanding, their unbelief and open rejection of the Lord’s deity is no hindrance to the reception of eternal. That is Antonio’s position; wouldn’t you agree?"

    Now I am going strictly by what I see and perceive in my truly impartial reading of you and Rachel and Da Rosa. I could be miles away. But here is my assessment, how I read this guy.

    I am not speaking for Antonio, but merely giving him the benefit of the doubt that there is some consistency in his position. I hope that he takes you up on your gracious offer to allow him to post on your blog (if you will allow him to post here, why is it you will not allow him to post in any of the other postings? You have at least 15 posts that have his name as a label for them?).

    Your question asks if the Mormons understanding of the deity of Jesus, their unbelief in the deity of Jesus and/or their open rejection of the Lord's deity is a hindrance to their reception of eternal [life].

    I have done a little study myself on Mormonism, and they claim that Jesus is God, deity. I recall seeing Da Rosa give a definition of "deity" on Rose's Reasonings. So in a very legitimate sense it can be said that Mormons believe in the deity of Jesus.

    But I know where you are going. They deny your 'orthodox' doctrines about God. They deny the Trinty and your conception of the All-Powerful One-and-Only Deity, the triune God.

    So the question becomes, will the rejection of your conception of God hinder the reception of everlasting life.

    I assume that you think it would. I wonder what grounds you would use.

    A - Belief in the trinity, and the one-ness conception of the Almighty is required to believe in order for one to be saved.
    or
    B - It is impossible to be convinced that Jesus of Nazareth can save apart from understanding these considerations
    or
    C - To believe such things as they do about THE historical Jesus makes this Jesus a false christ.

    I think that your only logical answer could be #1.

    If Jesus of Nazareth is the true Christ (as I am sure you would stipulate), it would be manifestly foolish to consider Him the false Christ because of one's [errant] conception of Him. If they believe the testimony of the King James version whereby Jesus of Nazareth is presented as the Christ of God, it could not be argued that someone who believes this is referring to a false christ when indeed Jesus of Nazareth is the true Christ of God.

    If through the testimony of the Scriptures which speak as to the authority of Jesus of Nazareth one becomes convinced that this Jesus has been endued with the authority to guarantee one's eternal destiny by faith in Him, his misconceptions and denials and open rejections of orthodox doctrine would not hinder him from receiving everlasting life. I think that it is Da Rosa's contention that it is precisely reliance and trust in Jesus of Nazareth, whom he regards as the true Christ of God, that brings everlasting life.

    On the other hand, if someone rejects that the bible is telling the truth, but assents to the fact that the bible states that Jesus is God, that there is a trinity, and that God is a Tri-une God, this would virtually preclude him from coming to the conclusion that this Jesus of Nazareth, who the bible speaks about, has the authority and power to guarantee one's eternal destiny by faith. So in this respect, a denial of the orthodox doctrines would indeed hinder a man from eternal [life].

    If on one hand someone is inclined to believe the Bible but is not persuaded that it states that Jesus is God from the sheer number of times the New Testament distinguishes God from the man Jesus, and from how hard the Old Testament emphasizes the oneness of God, but considers Jesus to be the servant of God, ordained by God with power and the Holy Spirit, made Lord and Christ by God, and through this belief becomes convinced that this Jesus, who was annointed to be the Christ of God, is his personal savior, committing his eternal destiny into his hands, believing what He has promised He is also able to perform, I wonder why you would consider this man on his way to hell. He has believed in the Christ of God as his savior and only hope of eternal salvation.

    Yet on the other hand, someone disbelieves the bible, but understands it to say that Jesus is God, and in this fashion openly rejecting the word of God, I would find it difficult to believe that Antonio would consider that such a one can come to faith in Jesus for everlasting life, seeing he spurns the testimony concerning Him.

    I hope that this wasn't too shotty. I am willing to entertain any follow ups.

    fg me

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  28. Rachel, you wrote, "As I've said before, when Antonio says (my paraphrase) 'the Mormons have the same Jesus we do', he is meaning that their non-deity version of Jesus will perform the same saving functions for Mormons as He does for orthodox Christians. This is not only false, but vastly different than me saying that they simply refer to the same historical person that we do. Both you and Antonio seem to be trying to make it sound like you are the saying the same thing I am, when clearly you are not."

    Why do you say "non-deity version"?

    If one is talking about the same historical person, and one in the simplicity of faith entrusts his eternal destiny into this historical person's hands, I find it hard to believe that his conception of him will negate the trust made into that historical person.

    Let me ask a pertinent question.

    Will you stipulate that it is possible for the Mormon to truly exercise faith in Jesus of Nazareth as his own personal savior, whereby he entrusts himself to the authority of this person for his eternal destiny, relying upon him solely for eternal salvation, apart from his works, and only by faith?

    Will you at least stipulate that it is possible for a Mormon, reading his King James version of the bible, to come to the conclusion that Jesus of Nazareth alone guarantees his eternal life?

    I suppose that you would consider such a one unsaved, even though Mormons believe that Jesus died on the cross for sins and rose again bodily from the dead.

    I suppose that he needed one more belief to make his saving faith complete: assent to the orthodox conception of Jesus, the Father, the Trinity, and the unity in three.

    When Jesus said, "Most assuredly I say to you, whoever believes in Me has everlasting life" (John 6:47 NKJV) did what He meant by "believes in Me" mean the same thing that you believe it to mean?

    I thought it was a very strong argument on Da Rosa's part that if a person would say "yes" to the above question posed by me, and still consider this mormon unsaved, that in a real sense, would have to be putting into question Jesus' authoratative statement "most assuredly I say to you" that the one believing in Him (as He meant it) has everlasting life.

    Jesus emphatically and solemnly asserts that the one who trusts in Him has everlasting life. That is how I see it anyway.

    I hope you are having a bearable monday. They aren't my favorites.

    Blessings to you, Rachel.

    fg me

    ReplyDelete
  29. Rachel, you asked, "FG, again I ask, are you defending your own position, or are you defending Antonio?"

    I am trying to ascertain the strengths of all the arguments. It is true, that I am defending what I consider as misunderstandings of the position of Da Rosa. But as I continue to plumb the depths of all the articles here on Lou's blog, and elsewhere, I am finding the consistency of what Antonio is saying intriguing, even if I may not be fully persuaded either way. I do have to say that some of what he has written rings true to me.

    I have respect and have a great admiration for Lou's tireless efforts to defend the faith. Yet I think that some of them are misdirected.

    I see Antonio preaching faith alone in the historical Jesus of the New Testament alone, showing that this Jesus has the power and authority to perform that which He has promised.

    fg me

    ReplyDelete
  30. fg:

    1) Why do you continually dodge Rachel's question? This is so similar to Antonio's dodging questions.

    She asked you, "are you defending your own position, or are you defending Antonio?""


    LM

    ReplyDelete
  31. FG:

    Here is my follow-up for you to entertain. You did not answer my question.

    My question does not need to be reinterpreted, revised and reworded by you so that you can dodge the question I asked. How can anyone take you seriously when you ask yourself the questions you want to answer?

    Here is my question, and it meant for Antonio’s reply as well.

    Let’s assume you are witnessing to a lost person, and he says he does not believe that Jesus Christ was God, he openly rejects the deity of Christ.

    

If the issue was pressed, would you tell him that he does not have to believe in the deity of Christ, but still can receive the gift of eternal life?


    Please advise.


    LM

    PS: I have just one more question to follow.

    ReplyDelete
  32. FG Me,

    Before we go any further, I believe the following question is most appropriate:

    Are you actually Antonio da Rosa, and/or have any of your posts in this thread been authored by Antonio da Rosa?

    ReplyDelete
  33. "While you are still witnessing to him, would you say to him, that although he does not believe in the deity of Christ, if he will believe in “the offer of eternal life” he will be born again?"

    If I was really certain that he did have faith in Christ for eternal life, then yes.

    And I would expect that the Holy Spirit would convict him of his errors.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Matthew:

    You wrote, "If I was really certain that he did have faith in Christ for eternal life, then yes."

    First, readers need to understand that for you (Hodges, Wilkin and da Rosa) His title, "the Christ" does not mean or infer His deity.

    Second, the lost man is believing in a non-deity, false-Christ yet you say faith in a false-Christ brings eternal life.

    I can't do anything, but shake my head in amazement at just how deep into heresy you have plunged. I mean that sincerely.

    It is truly shocking and sad that men who personally believe in the deity of Christ will trample His name and person the way you men do in your approach to personal evangelism.

    You and men like Antonio were set upon a road by, and have been theologically ruined through the teaching of Zane Hodges.

    Very sad!

    No more questions, expect for da Rosa who is evading again.


    LM

    ReplyDelete
  35. FG:

    My efforts In Defense of he Gospel are "directed" in sharp focus on the two most egregious errors in evangelical circles, they are:

    Lordship Salvation & the Crossless Gospel.

    Coming from the opposite (extreme) ends of the theological pendulum swing, they are both false, non saving messages, and their advocates preachers of a false gospel.

    I will make no excuse for addressing and naming both the doctrine and teachers of these false interpretations of the Gospel.

    LS & CG is responsible for giving the lost, who are deceived by these teachings, a false sense of salvation.


    LM

    ReplyDelete
  36. FG Me,

    I am going to reiterate the following from Rachel, that was directed to you above...

    Before we go any further, I believe the following question is most appropriate:

    Are you actually Antonio da Rosa, and/or have any of your posts in this thread been authored by Antonio da Rosa?

    ReplyDelete
  37. How is it trampling on the deity of Christ to hold that a person may be born again without believing in His deity?

    Does His deity depend upon our acknowledging it?

    ReplyDelete
  38. Matthew:

    Please try to be transparent when you discuss the deity of Christ in regard to your interpretation of the Gospel, the Lord’s Deity and soul winning.

    1) Crossless gospel advocates such as your self teach that the Lord's titles, "the Christ" & "Son of God" do not mean or infer His Deity. So, when you talk about believe in "the Christ" you are using a title for Him that according to Hodges, Wilkin, you and da Rosa does not denote that He is God. Isn’t that right?

    2) You go way beyond telling a lost man that he does not need to acknowledge, understand or believe in the Deity of Christ…

    3) You men will tell the lost man who openly rejects the Deity of Christ, that this is NOT important and can still be saved, if he will believe in a promise of eternal life. Isn’t that right?

    If I am a lost man and I tell you that I believe that Jesus was not and never would be God, you would tell me that I could still be saved if I will just trust in the promise of eternal life from whomever I think Jesus is for eternal life. Isn’t that right?

    Then you’d hope I might come around later on the Deity question. Isn’t that right?


    LM

    ReplyDelete
  39. FG Me,

    I am going to reiterate the following from Rachel, that was directed to you above...

    Before we go any further, I believe the following question is most appropriate:

    Are you actually Antonio da Rosa, and/or have any of your posts in this thread been authored by Antonio da Rosa?

    ReplyDelete
  40. Men and women, the thoughts as articulated here are my own and not of anyone else. Da Rosa's are his very own. My comments have relied upon my readings of his writings and the writings of Rachel and Lou.

    fg me

    ReplyDelete
  41. Lou has asked: "Let’s assume you are witnessing to a lost person, and he says he does not believe that Jesus Christ was God, he openly rejects the deity of Christ.

    If the issue was pressed, would you tell him that he does not have to believe in the deity of Christ, but still can receive the gift of eternal life?"

    Lou, from what I read of Da Rosa, it seems to me that at no time would he state that a belief that Jesus was God (as you define God in its many subpoints) is a requirement for the acquisition of the life of God.

    So to answer your question, I just don't see that situation as ever having a chance to happen.

    I don't believe that the lost person would ever get the mistaken idea that assent to the deity of Jesus is required to be right with God. You see, from what I read of da rosa, he preaches only one condition, and does so clearly: trust in Jesus as one's savior.

    fg me

    ReplyDelete
  42. Lou, please allow me to ask a question that you have overlooked:

    you stated, "Mormons believe in a non-deity Jesus who can’t save anybody."

    But you have stipulated that the Mormons refer to the historical Jesus (precisely the same as what it seems Mr. Da Rosa has done in the small cut and paste you did of his writings, which seems to be a favorite of yours).

    This Jesus whom the refer to CAN save, right? Cannot and does not Jesus of Nazareth, whom you say that the Mormons refer to, save all those who trust in Him alone for their salvation?

    ReplyDelete
  43. Matthew:

    I am really trying to get at this.

    This approach to personal evangelism, where you tell the lost man he does not need to believe in and can reject the deity of Christ and still be saved: Is it just a theory you are promoting, or is this in fact how you in reality would speak to a lost man.

    In your personal evangelism would it be enough for you to tell the lost that he must “believe in the gift of eternal life,” leave it at that, and if he says he believes in the gift, would he, in your opinion, have been born again?

    Thanks,


    Lou

    ReplyDelete
  44. All, i am trying to answer each one of your questions. If I have skipped over any, please bring them to my attention.

    Here is one that is addressed to Lou and Rachel:

    Let me ask a pertinent question.

    Will you stipulate that it is possible for the Mormon to truly exercise faith in Jesus of Nazareth as his own personal savior, whereby he entrusts himself to the authority of this person for his eternal destiny, relying upon him solely for eternal salvation, apart from his works, and only by faith?

    Will you at least stipulate that it is possible for a Mormon, reading his King James version of the bible, to come to the conclusion that Jesus of Nazareth alone guarantees his eternal life?

    I suppose that you would consider such a one unsaved, even though Mormons believe that Jesus died on the cross for sins and rose again bodily from the dead.

    I suppose that he needed one more belief to make his saving faith complete: assent to the orthodox conception of Jesus, the Father, the Trinity, and the unity in three.

    When Jesus said, "Most assuredly I say to you, whoever believes in Me has everlasting life" (John 6:47 NKJV) did what He meant by "believes in Me" mean the same thing that you believe it to mean?

    I thought it was a very strong argument on Da Rosa's part that if a person would say "yes" to the above question posed by me, and still consider this mormon unsaved, that in a real sense, would have to be putting into question Jesus' authoratative statement "most assuredly I say to you" that the one believing in Him (as He meant it) has everlasting life.

    Jesus emphatically and solemnly asserts that the one who trusts in Him has everlasting life. That is how I see it anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Lou,

    your quote: "believe in the gift of eternal life" as an expression of what Da Rosa teaches as the requirement of eternal life I believe is misinformed.

    "believe in" the gift is never used by Antonio. He uses "believe in" Jesus, which is defined as trusting in Him as one's savior. One does not trust the promise, one is to trust Jesus who made the promise. One is to be "fully persuaded" that what Jesus has promised He is able to perform.

    fg me

    ReplyDelete
  46. FG Me:

    I am asking you point blank, are you Antonio da Rosa, or has Antonio been posting any of the comments under the handle FG Me?

    Yes or No?


    LM

    ReplyDelete
  47. FG Me,

    Please do answer Lou's question above.

    In addition, I have addressed your comments several times already. I also have a new article up at my blog that deals with this issue to an extent. Feel free to discuss it with me there.

    Briefly, I will say this. The salvation of the lost is dependent on two things: who Jesus is, and who the lost believe Jesus is. Jesus cannot save anyone without being deity and dying and rising again. This covers the first requirement of "who Jesus is". However, Jesus has conditioned our eternal salvation upon our belief. Jesus is God and died for our sins, therefore he has the ability to save everyone. If someone denies the deity of Jesus, it does not change Jesus' actual deity, but it does keep Jesus from imparting spiritual benefits (i.e. salvation) to that person. Jesus' ability to save never changes. What each person believes about Jesus is what makes all the difference.

    Again I say though, your answer to Lou's question above is of highest priority.

    ReplyDelete
  48. All,

    I don't believe this is going anywhere. I have been cordial and straightforward.

    In all reality, it really doesn't seem like Lou is very concerned about fairly representing the remarks of da Rosa. I think in all fairness, as brothers in Christ, that we should all strive to fairly characterize each other's positions.

    This is me bowing out and leaving it into the hands of the Savior.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Antonio, you were cordial perhaps, but it's hardly "straightforward" to masquerade as an "objective bystander" and then bow out just because your sock-puppet was caught. Lou, I encourage you to keep this chain of messages posted precisely to document and demonstrate Antonio's LACK of "straightforward"-ness.

    Stephen

    ReplyDelete
  50. Dear Guests:

    In the thread above you will note an Anonymous guest, using fg me as a handle, posted a number of comments. I want to draw three items to your attention:

    1) He refused to accept that Rachel and I had laid out our position and distinction on the radical statement by Antonio that the, “Mormon Jesus and Evangelical Jesus are one and the same.” Instead he repeatedly tried to portray our position in a way that he could use later as a point of attack. He twisted and redefined the issue into something he could use to push the heresy of the Crossless gospel at my blog.

    2) Several times Rachel and I asked FG Me if he was Antonio da Rosa posting under the FG Me handle. FG’s first attempt at an answer was vague.

    I reiterated the question by asking him point blank if he is Antonio da Rosa. It was at that point that FG ME dropped out with a personal attack on my motives.

    3) I want my guests to know that FG Me was, in fact, Antonio da Rosa. I have known this from the time Antonio posted the first comment at the beginning of this thread with the FG Me alias.

    Before I continue, I want to acknowledge that some time last year I used an alias at Antonio’s blog. I was asking him to answer a question from Greg Schliesmann, which, he (Antonio, as is his custom) refused to answer. I pressed him for an answer to Greg’s question, and he replied with vitriol and personal attacks. In any event, I wish I had not visited his blog in the first place, and used an alias in the second place. It was wrong and I’m not proud of it.

    As for Antonio’s action in this thread I just chalk it up to the repetitive kind of bad behavior that gets him banned and/or reprimanded at various blogs.

    I was considering deleting most, if not all, of his comments, and save copies for future reference. Stephen, I read your note, and I will save this as a permanent record of who FG Me is and the deceptive way in which Antonio interacted here.

    To my guests, I am sorry that I had to allow Antonio to carry on with this deception, for so many days. I felt another record of his egregious doctrinal errors and posting them as though he were someone else would further substantiate the issues that many have with his doctrine, debate tactics, character and behavior.

    Antonio, you have been and are still FORBIDDEN to post at my blog, under any handle.

    I am locking down this thread for further comment. My concern is that Antonio will return to either destroy the evidence of what he did, or post more vitriol.

    If any wish to add to this thread, send me an e-mail and I will post it for you. Or I can temporily unlock it for you to post a comment yourself.


    LM

    PS: I may have a few more thoughts to add at a later date.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Antonio,

    You should be ashamed. Your behavior in this thread is inexcusable. You make up an alias in order to post at a blog you've been banned from, then you assume a completely different identity. You pretend to be a totally separate individual who is "impartial" and neutral and just happens to find your arguments more persuasive and "strong" than ours. That is called using a sockpuppet, and is considered reproachable by everyone, Christian and nonChristian alike. Even when we asked if FG Me was you and gave you the chance to come clean, you dodged and avoided the question, using vague terms that gave the appearance of denial that you were FG Me, but didn't really answer the question. Then when Lou asked you directly, you played the coward and ran away.

    Quit playing games, Antonio. If your view is correct and you are defending it accurately, then let that stand on its own merit. There is no need to drum up support from phantom people. Who really cares how many people agree with you anyway? Truth is not determined by the number of people who believe it. If you have a point to make, then make it. But don't hide behind a fake identity to give yourself the appearance of additional support.

    I challenge you to post the truth about what happened here. Admit to being FG Me and admit to trying to hide that fact. Acknowledge your deception and apologize for it, no excuses. Stop acting childish and do the mature thing - own up to what you've done. This is the only right thing to do.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Antonio:

    If, and I hope you will acknowledge and apologize for your actions in this thread, I will post that apology here.

    You will need to send it to me in an e-mail.


    LM

    ReplyDelete