February 15, 2008

Evaluation & Response to “Crossless” Theology, Part #5

Dear Guests:

This is a continuation of the series that looks at how advocates of the Crossless gospel view presenting the deity of Christ in personal evangelism. This is part of a continuing series of revised comments I posted in a thread at *Rose’s Reasonings.

Antonio da Rosa (aka, fg me) wrote,

If this Mormon believes in the Jesus of the New Testament for eternal life, according to passages like John 3:16 and 6:47, he has everlasting life.

Antonio is speaking of an unsaved Mormon, in a soul-winning scenario. Mormons view and believe Jesus Christ is the spirit-brother of Satan. This is NOT the Jesus of the New Testament! This is NOT the Jesus of John’s Gospel.

The Mormon may say he believes in Jesus, but which Christ is he believing in? Does he believe in the Mormon Jesus or the Biblical Jesus? If he is believing in a false-Christ, NOT the Lord Jesus Christ, he has a misplaced faith in a false-Christ. His faith, therefore, is non-saving and he is still on his way to Hell.

Antonio has confused this distinction with his statement, “The Mormon Jesus and the Evangelical Jesus are one and the same.”

Antonio has made it clear that if the Mormon were to object to his (Antonio’s) trying to convince him that Jesus of the New Testament is God, Antonio would say, “let’s agree to disagree about that.” Antonio would drop it, or as he says, put the deity of Christ, “on the back burner,” and he would leave it there. Antonio would not have any problem if this Mormon were to remain in open rejection of the Lord’s deity.

If, however, the Mormon were to understand and believe, “in the Jesus of the New Testament” that He is God, who died and rose from the dead, “according to passages like John 3:16 and 6:47, he has everlasting life.

Unless the Mormon understands that the Lord Jesus Christ in John’s Gospel is deity, he remains lost and dead in his sins. The Mormon is no different than any other who does not believe and/or rejects the deity of Jesus Christ. “…If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins,” (John 8:24).

Hodges believes presenting the deity or finished work of Christ in a witnessing situation is to present “excess baggage.” And so it is with Antonio. He views a Mormon’s unchanged belief in a false-Christ and open rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ as no hindrance whatsoever to being born again.

If the Mormon rejects the deity of Christ Antonio insists the Mormon can be saved by believing in the promise of eternal life in spite of his rejecting the deity of the One who made payment for and secured the promise.

This is a false, non-saving message. That is one example of the Crossless gospel approach to personal evangelism as expressed by Antonio da Rosa.


LM

*Rose’s Reasonings is a blog that is largely supportive of and sympathetic to the teaching and advocates of the Crossless gospel.

89 comments:

  1. Lou, are there any errors about the person of Christ that a person could believe and still believe in the true Jesus?

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  2. Matthew:

    We were in a discussion earlier this week, and I asked you two questions in another thread. I know you wanted to answer, but Antonio’s behavior forced closure of that thread.

    Later, Rose wrote to say that these are great questions would like to have your answer to each of them.

    1) Matthew, 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 you are trying to win to Christ?

    2) 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?


    Please answer each separately.

    They are closed ended questions, a “Yes” or “No” is enough, but you can expand on your reasons for a “Yes” or “No” answer to each.

    Afterward, I'll address your question above.

    Thanks,


    LM

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  3. 1) I would not want to say anything to encourage a lost man that he can reject the deity of Christ.

    This question is kind of vague. I would preach the deity of Christ to the lost.

    I dont believe that affirming the deity of Christ is necessary to receiving eternal life, but I would be very cautitous about saying anything that suggested that believing in our Lord's deity was optional.

    2)"In your personal evangelism would it be enough for you to tell the lost that he must “believe in the gift of eternal life,”"

    It is not a good idea to tell people about Christ's offer of eternal life without supplying some information about the person and work of our Lord.

    Not because believing facts about Christ is necessary to redemption, but because a person is less likely to put their trust in one they know nothing about.

    "if he says he believes in the gift, would he, in your opinion, have been born
    again?"

    The wording of this question is interesting.

    Beliving in the gift is no good. One must believe that Jesus Christ gives that gift.

    One must trust in Jesus Christ to supply eternal life.

    If a person believes that Jesus has given her eternal life, she posesses eternal life.

    If somebody professes that they have believed in Jesus for eternal life I would want to make sure that they really have done so. Many Jehovah's Witnesses will tell you they have eternal life, but what they mean is that they hope they will survive Armageddon or if they die, they hope their body will be resurrected. Professing to have eternal life does not mean that one has it.

    So my answers to your peculiarly worded questions are:

    1) Qualified NO

    2) Qualified NO

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

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  4. Matthew:

    Let me try to de-peculiarize my questions one at a time.

    In regard to Question #2 you wrote, “It is not a good idea to tell people about Christ's offer of eternal life without supplying some information about the person and work of our Lord.”

    Only because of the oft-repeated, “I would preach the deity of Christ to the lost,” we, once again, understand and concede this. That settled…

    Let’s assume you told the lost man about the finished work and deity of Jesus Christ. The lost person hears what you have to say about the Lord’s deity and openly rejects His deity.

    So, the discussion gets down to his saying, “Matthew, I do believe in the gift of eternal life, but there is no way I believe that Jesus was or is God; can I still be saved?”

    Is it fair to assume you would tell him something like, “It is not necessary to believe that Jesus is God to be born again. If you ‘believe in the gift of eternal life,’ that is enough for now. We’ll sort out the deity question once you are saved.”

    And to further clarify, I am not talking about a lengthy list of facts about Jesus, just the one simple truth that Jesus Christ is God.

    If the lost man said he believes in the gift of eternal life, while consciously rejecting the Lord’s deity would you view him as born again and tell him so?


    LM

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  5. Have you not already asked me that question before and got a straight answer from me? An answer to which you showed open disgust.

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  6. Matthew:

    I am sorry you are offended. Apart from my family and work issues. I read through many articles, journals and blogs. I do recall a similar discussion.

    This particular approach IMO is more specific to what you would tell a lost man while witnessing to him. I think before we were talking on a different plane. I’m not trying to beat a dead horse, I just did not know this horse had been beaten.

    I'll have to come back to this later, sorry.


    LM

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  7. Matthew:
    Instead of your opinion of whether a lost man who rejects Christ’s deity is saved I am trying another approach.

    I am trying to ascertain your response to the lost man in a soul-winning situation, who tells you he rejects the deity of Christ after your best effort to convince him of this truth.

    Anyway if the lost man says to you, “Matthew, I believe that Jesus guarantees eternal life to those who believe in Him, but there is no way I believe that Jesus was or is God. Can I still be saved?”

    Is it fair to assume you would tell him something like, “It is not necessary to believe that Jesus is God to be born again, but if you ‘believe Jesus guarantees eternal life,’ that is enough for now. We’ll sort out the deity question once you are saved.”

    That is what I am trying to understand; OK?

    Your reply...


    LM

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  8. Hi Lou,
    I am puzzled how these folks are able to think it makes sense to believe on a man who lived 2000 years ago to do something for you. Here they are, saying you don't have to acknowledge that Jesus is God or that he came back from the dead, just believe he will give you eternal life. How can anybody think somebody dead for 2000 years can do anything for anybody? Thank you, Lou, for keeping on with your important work in these vital matters.

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  9. Hello Brother Art:

    Good to see you back for a visit.

    Not much time for a well thought reply to your notes other than to share your puzzlement.

    I'll come back later this weekend or on Monday.

    I also appreciate the encouragement.


    Lou

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  10. Lou, you asked me in a previous post:

    "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?"

    I replied:

    "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."

    I do not how the latest question expands on what I have already said.

    Now you are going to accuse me of heresy and holding in contempt the deity of our Lord.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

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  11. Perhaps if you think you have re-phrased your questions to me sufficently you might like to answer my question above.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Art:

    You raised one of the disconcerting teachings held to by advocates of the Crossless gospel.

    I thought I would list each of the peculiar doctrines these men hold to. All of these have their origin in the teachings of Zane Hodges, and are essentially official positions of Bob Wilkin and the GES.

    1) Repentance is not a condition of salvation.
    2) There is no sin barrier/problem between God and man.
    3) There is no technical meaning for the Gospel.
    4) The lost can be saved apart from understanding the finished work of Christ and that He is God. (Of course, they allow for the lost to openly reject the Lord’s deity and still insist he can be saved).
    5) The Lord’s titles, “the Christ” & “Son of God” are NON-deity appellations.
    6) A punitive Judgment Seat of Christ. If that were so I’d be very concerned for believers who have: Reduced the Lord’s Gospel to a non-saving message that saves no one who had the misfortune to have been exposed it, and erroneously lead to believe they have been saved and…Assaulted His Person through the dumbing down of His titles.

    I may be missing one or more, but these are the six I am aware of.

    It is sad and very unfortunate that some have been deceived by the teaching of Hodges/Wilkin/Dillow/Niemela/Lewis/Faust and adopted these egregious errors. What I struggle to understand is how men in the FG community who know these things are wrong will not speak up and openly to say so.

    There are men in various leadership roles in the FG camp who are very disturbed with the teachings of Zane Hodges, but will not say so publicly because they still hold him in high regard for some past blessing he may have been.

    That is, IMO, a betrayal of fidelity to God and His Word in regard to the biblical mandates on how to address the teaching and teachers of false doctrine. The Bible is very clear and tells how to deal with not just the unbelievers, skeptics and infidels on the outside of the body of Christ, but the termites on the inside, i.e., disobedient brethren.
    2 Cor:6:14-ff; Rom. 16:17-18; 2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15


    LM

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  13. Matthew:

    Thanks for reminding me of that earlier exchange. I had forgotten it. Which thread is that in?

    I have been trying to formulate a question not just for you, but any Crossless gospel advocate that would, in his opinion be based on a fair representation of his beliefs. I think I finally have it in my two part scenario that I posted on 2/16 @ 4:28pm.

    Earlier you gave me a “qualified” answer, and that is why I went back to the drawing board, so that we can have a straight up or down, without qualification, answer and understanding. I think that is the right way to deal with these things, don’t you?

    Like I said earlier, I want to ascertain your response to the lost man in a soul-winning situation, who tells you he rejects the deity of Christ after your best effort to convince him of this truth.

    So, if the lost man says to you, “Matthew, I believe that Jesus guarantees eternal life to those who believe in Him, but there is no way I believe that Jesus was or is God. Can I still be saved?”



    Is it fair to assume you would tell him, “It is not necessary to believe that Jesus is God to be born again, but if you ‘believe Jesus guarantees eternal life,’ that is enough for now. We’ll sort out the deity question once you are saved.”

    If you can give me a straight up “Yes” or “No” on that I’d be happy to entertain your opening question.

    Thanks,


    Lou

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  14. Lou, asking somebody for a straight yes or no is a good way of trapping them. You know very well that some questions cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. You hear t.v. journalists do this to politicians all the time. They know that whatever the man says, they can make him look bad.

    You are asking me for this and I will give you a Yes.

    But I want you to know that you will be answereable to God for how you quote my answer. You can take my answer out of context and ignore everything I said to you in an attempt to make me look bad, but there are consequences.

    If you quote my answer without any reference to the other things I say, it will be remembered at the judgement seat of Christ.

    I have to say, I am sure you did not really need to ask me whether my answer was yes or no. Otherwise you would not be so confident in your attacks on my position.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

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  15. Lou,
    What was wrong with Matthew's 2/15/2008 1:23 PM answers? I thought they were good and I was satisfied with them. Love hopes all things, believes all things, and bears all things. I suppose I would give Matthew the benefit of the doubt on this, having read many of his sermons on his blogs. His preaching is very orthodox. I am sure that he would never find himself in the position that you are placing him in in your hypothetical. I think he is more cautious than that.

    I wonder if you are really interested in knowing that he would not do that which you find reprehensible. I pray that you hope that.

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  16. I am glad you turned off comment moderation.

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  17. Matthew:

    Thanks for the transparent answer. That is all I was asking for.

    You have acknowledged that in an actual soul-winning situation, with a lost man, who tells you he rejects the deity of Christ, that you would tell him it is NOT necessary to understand or believe that Jesus is God, but insist he can still be saved.

    Thanks again,


    LM

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  18. Rose:

    I will have something for your attention a little later on your first comment.

    As for the comment moderation issue: I would not need to enable comment moderation if Antonio and select other anonymous persons would behave.


    LM

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  19. "You have acknowledged that in an actual soul-winning situation, with a lost man, who tells you he rejects the deity of Christ, that you would tell him it is NOT necessary to understand or believe that Jesus is God, but insist he can still be saved."

    I have acknowledged that I MIGHT tell such a man such a thing.

    I would be very wary of saying such a thing.

    I have never been involved in conversation where I needed to say such a thing and I hope that such a situation would never arise.

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  20. I am not retracting my YES, I am merely asserting that my answer needs to be viewed in the context of my whole approach to evangelism and the caution I have expressed.

    I do not think you are doing me justice with this approach.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Matthew:

    First, I am going to expand on this to Rose in the next comment. If and when you find yourself in that real situation you will, “say such a thing.”

    Second, I have been very careful with the wording of my question(s) so that there is no chance that I have willfully or accidentally misrepresented you. I gave you a clear-cut, unambiguous question; you replied with a clear answer.

    I have years of experience with the Lordship Salvation crowd and elements in the Crossless camp to know that they are very quick to cry, “misrepresentation.” This is why I am very careful to cite advocates from their own comments and articles. I let them, as I did for you, speak for themselves.

    What I appreciate is that you were honest and transparent. I can’t say that for all who hold to the positions you do.

    There has been no “in justice” done here. You were asked a question(s) you answered, and that is all that happened.


    LM

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  22. Rose:

    You wrote, “I am sure that he (Matthew) would never find himself in the position that you are placing him in in your hypothetical.”

    First of all, it is very real to be “in the position” in which a lost person will say he/she does not believe that Jesus is God. There are millions that would tell this to you or me if we spoke to them of His deity. To suggest that any of us, “would never find himself in the position,” is non-sense. I have been in that real situation myself with Mormon missionaries.

    Second, it is important we look at whether we are dealing with a so-called “hypothetical” or reality. My question to Matthew was clearly stated to indicate I wanted to know what his response would be to a lost man who openly rejects the Lord’s deity in a real soul-winning situation. We’ll come back to that.

    In June 2007 you wrote the following to Antonio, “Would you go on a streetcorner and tell passers by: "Hear! Hear! You don't need to believe that Jesus is the Son of God ... or that He rose from the dead - just believe on Him for eternal life"? If that is what you were advocating in your articles, then I would think you are very very wrong and would separate from you.” (See- Is Christ's Deity Essential?)

    In my discussion above with Matthew we find that in a soul-winning situation, a real situation, NOT hypothetical, he will tell the lost person, who rejects the deity of Jesus:

    1) He does not have to believe that Jesus is Deity, (“the Son of God”),
    2) Just “believe on Him for eternal life.”

    Antonio is on record stating that in a real personal evangelism setting any “misconceptions” including rejection of the Lord’s deity, should be, “put on the back burner.”

    Now, back to your note to Antonio in June 2007, you stated emphatically that this approach, which these men have verified they would use in a real situation, would be “very, very wrong and would separate from” him over it.

    Please do not not shift the reality of what we are seeing here by claiming, Matthew and Antonio would not, “go on a streetcorner and tell passers by… .” Whether they might shout that from the “streetcorner,” is beside the point. It is irrefutable that this is exactly what they will tell a lost man in a real personal evangelism setting.

    I brought this very same issue to your attention at your blog, but you did not acknowledge or respond to it all there. I am hopeful you will now.

    In light of Matthew revealing that he would tell a lost man exactly what you have stated would be “very, very wrong,” why then do you hesitate to tell him publicly that he is, “very, very wrong and separate from him”?


    LM

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  23. Perhaps not. But I hope that if you quote my YES, you will refer to some of the qualifications I have put on it in these comments.

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  24. Matthew:

    I'd like for you to summarize in brief bullet points your "qualifications."

    I will save them along side your answer(s) above for my records.


    LM

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  25. 1. I think the situation is unlikely (though not necessarilly impossible). Rejecting Christ's deity presents an intellectual obstacle to believing in Him for eternal life.

    2. If given the opportunity, I would defend the deity of Christ to a person who rejected it.

    3. I would be cautitous to ascertain what the man really meant by believing in Christ for eternal life.

    4. I would be wary of saying anything that might lead a person to think that believing in Christ's deity was an option.

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  26. Matthew:

    I am going to take each of your four qualifiers in turn. As a preface I want to remind us and my guests what question you answered with a “Yes.”

    If the lost man says to you, “Matthew, I believe that Jesus guarantees eternal life to those who believe in Him, but there is no way I believe that Jesus was or is God. Can I still be saved?”

    Is it fair to assume you would tell him, “It is not necessary to believe that Jesus is God to be born again, but if you ‘believe Jesus guarantees eternal life,’ that is enough for now. We’ll sort out the deity question once you are saved.”

    Now, I will address each of your qualifiers in separate comments.


    LM

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  27. Matthew:

    For qualifier #1 you wrote, “I think the situation is unlikely (though not necessarily impossible). Rejecting Christ’s deity presents an intellectual obstacle to believing in Him for eternal life.”

    One thing I appreciate is that you are dispelling Rose’s oft-repeated suggestion that this could only be a hypothetical situation. She is unwilling to concede the fact that this is not a hypothetical, doctrinal lab experiment.

    There are millions who profess some sort of Christian-like beliefs; I refer primarily to the various mainline cults. They believe they have some form of eternal life, in part through their view of Jesus.

    Sticking with a Mormon scenario (and I have witnessed to Mormon missionaries) the believe Jesus is the spirit or half-brother of the Devil. You know at the outset of trying to win them to the one true Christ that they reject the biblical Jesus, specifically His deity. Therefore, you are obligated to deal with this issue.

    What we find from your interaction here is that if you are unsuccessful in helping him/her to understand and believe in the deity of the biblical Jesus you would find that no “obstacle” to being born again. Of course, I reject this as a reductionist, non-saving approach to personal evangelism.


    LM

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  28. Matthew:

    For qualifier #2 you wrote, “If given the opportunity, I would defend the deity of Christ to a person who rejected it.”

    I understand that you would, but if the lost man remained in unbelief and/or open denial you find it no-obstacle to being born again. You would, as Antonio says, “Put it on the back burner,” and leave it there.


    LM

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  29. Matthew:

    For qualifier #3 you wrote, “I would be cautious to ascertain what the man really meant by believing in Christ for eternal life.”

    This is a moot point if and when the lost man has made it clear that he rejects the deity of Christ. If he is trusting/believing in a false-Christ, his faith is misplaced and a non-saving faith.

    In any event, you have already made it clear that even if your best efforts fail to convince him he is trusting a false Christ, you find this no “obstacle” to receiving eternal life.

    Furthermore, I need to remind my guests that when you use the title, “the Christ” you are using that title as if it is a NON-deity title.

    Please read, The Christ Under Siege: Part 1 & Part 2


    LM

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  30. Matthew:

    For qualifier #4 you wrote, “I would be wary of saying anything that might lead a person to think that believing in Christ’s deity was an option.”

    Again, I appreciate that, but at the end of the day, in your Crossless system, “believing in Christ’s deityIS an option.”

    In the Hodges/Wilkin interpretation of the Gospel it does not matter if the lost man does not believe or even rejects the deity of Christ.


    LM

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  31. Matthew: 



    To summarize- 



    In your Crossless system, belief in the deity of Christ by the lost man is optional. Even if the lost man is found to openly reject the deity of Christ this in no way hinders him from being born again in the Crossless gospel approach to personal evangelism. 



    You, just like Antonio, would view conscious denial of the Lord’s deity as a mere, “misconception.”



    I want to go a little deeper into this.

    Let’s move past the witnessing scene, and we engage the lost man, who is mistakenly under the impression he has been saved. He expressed belief in a promise of eternal life, but his belief was in a false-Christ.

    You have already made it clear that in your system, if you discovered that this professing (uncoverted) Christian never did, and still does not accept the Lord’s deity, you would try to disciple him. If you were unsuccessful you treat him as though he is saved and separate from him. 



    What I find especially troubling about that is that you do not deal with him like a lost man, when in fact he is, “dead in his sins” (John 8:24).


    LM

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  32. Lou, just a couple of points.

    "There are millions who profess some sort of Christian-like beliefs; I refer primarily to the various mainline cults. They believe they have some form of eternal life, in part through their view of Jesus."

    Professing to believe one has eternal life and believing one posseses eternal life are two different things.

    The followers of cults always deny the doctrine of eternal security, as do Roman Catholics and Arminians.

    Thus, while they may claim to have eternal life, what they really mean is that they hope to earn eternal life if they continue in the teachings of their wicked cults.

    "Again, I appreciate that, but at the end of the day, in your Crossless system, “believing in Christ’s deity” IS “an option.” "

    I do not think you are correct here.

    You would hold that a lost man need not give up smoking to be born again, however, you would surely not say that giving up smoking is an option in the Christian life. Would you?

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

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  33. Matthew:

    I may only have time for this one you wrote, “Professing to believe one has eternal life and believing one posseses eternal life are two different things.”

    My point is that there are those who have not been born again, but profess to be Christians.

    Believing one has eternal life must be based on what the Bible says. And the Bible says,

    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).

    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… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved,” (Rom. 10:9-10, 13).

    No lost man who openly rejects the deity of Christ can be born again! No matter what he believes, if he views Jesus as some lesser god, no god at all, he has not been born again.

    No matter what kind of promise for eternal life he believes that is from a non-deity Christ is not going to bring him the gift of God, which is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord (Rom. 6:23).

    BTW, eternal security is an important doctrine. There is no eternal life and no eternal security from misplaced faith in a false-Christ that can save nobody.


    LM

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  34. Rose:

    I am coming to conclude you are, for the second time, going to dodge this vital discussion about your statement from June 2007.

    In this thread (2/18 @ 2:31pm) is posted your statement and asked for your reaction. You have had ample opportunity to reply, and have posted several comments at various other blogs.

    In June 2007 you wrote the following to Antonio, “Would you go on a streetcorner and tell passers by: "Hear! Hear! You don't need to believe that Jesus is the Son of God ... or that He rose from the dead - just believe on Him for eternal life"? If that is what you were advocating in your articles, then I would think you are very very wrong and would separate from you.”

    In my discussion above with Matthew we find that in a soul-winning situation, a real situation, NOT hypothetical, he will tell the lost person, who rejects the deity of Jesus:

1) He does not have to believe that Jesus is Deity, (“the Son of God”), 
2) Just “believe on Him for eternal life.”


    Antonio is on record stating that in a real personal evangelism setting any “misconceptions” including rejection of the Lord’s deity, should be, “put on the back burner.” 



    In your note to Antonio in June 2007, you stated emphatically that this approach, which these men have verified they would use in a real situation, would be “very, very wrong and would separate from” him over it.

    It is irrefutable that this is exactly what they will tell a lost man in a real personal evangelism setting.

    In light of Matthew revealing that he would tell a lost man exactly what you have stated publicly would be “very, very wrong,” why then do you hesitate to tell him publicly that he is, “very, very wrong and separate from him”?

    Have you come to accept that this NON-hypothetical Crossless/Deityless method of personal evangelism is acceptable?


    LM

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  35. Lou,
    I did answer that. I told you that they are not doing that which I said I would separate from them for. I said: "that would be very very wrong and I would separate from [them]" if they were standing on a streetcorner and proclaiming to people:

    "Hear! Hear! You don't need to believe that Jesus is the Son of God ... or that He rose from the dead - just believe on Him for eternal life."

    Now Lou, if you cannot see the difference between Matthew wanting to shout something from the streetcorner... and reluctantly tellimg someone this in this unlikely scenario - a scenario that he has just told you he would really try to avoid... I cannot help it.

    Here is what Matthew said about his feelings about saying such a thing to an unsaved person:

    I have acknowledged that I MIGHT tell such a man such a thing.
    I would be very wary of saying such a thing.
    I have never been involved in conversation where I needed to say such a thing and I hope that such a situation would never arise.


    I certainly hope that anyone else reading these things can see how you are handling people's words here. It could give you a problem with credibility.

    Hope for better, Lou. Believe better. Trust more.

    Blessings to you In Christ

    (BTW, why are you so concerned about what I do in regards to any of this?)

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  36. I am coming to conclude you are, for the second time, going to dodge this vital discussion about your statement from June 2007.

    I hope you will not again accuse me of dodging a subject that I have answered. I will pray that Matthew will never be in that situation as he has said that he is not comfortable about it. Perhaps, based on his reluctance about it, he might handle it differently than he postulates... when push comes to shove. Also - we shouldn't forget the working of the Holy Spirit in these situations.

    BTW, Lou, I realized this week that while I have actually publicly disagreed with Matthew and Antonio about doctrine several times publicly, I have never once done so with you. What could it mean? :~)

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  37. BTW, I did miss that comment of 2-18 2:31 - having never seen the email notification of it. I just now read it. John may have deleted it before I saw it. We share an inbox.

    Have a nice evening :~)

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  38. Rosa:

    I have handled Matthew’s interaction and statements here very carefully and respectfully. He said that he would tell the lost man that he does not need to believe Jesus is the Son of God if the issue did arise. IMO, you are trying to negate what is clearly become a problem for you.

    Crossless gospel advocates, such as Matthew and Antonio, will in reality tell a lost man that he does not need to believe Jesus is the Son of God. Matthew has confirmed this in his own words. Antonio has confirmed this in his own words. No one twisted their arms or words, they said it and now you have a problem with your personal commitment to separate from men who would do what they will do in their personal evangelism.

    Seriously, it is hard to take seriously your suggesting that if they “shouted from the streetcorner” what they have confirmed they will tell the lost in a real soul-winning situation you would then separate from them. I’m at a loss as to how you can dismiss either real life scenario.

    I’ll admit I can’t and do not see the difference between proclaiming from a street corner and telling the lost man in a one-on-one situation that he does not need to believe Jesus is the Son of God.

    Please tell me what is the difference between proclaiming from a street corner and telling the lost man in a one-on-one situation that they/he does not need to believe Jesus is the Son of God?

    MOre tomorrow.


    LM

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  39. Rose (and for all to consider):

    The reason Matthew and Antonio would tell a lost man he does not need to believe in the Son of God to be born again is because they believe it is unnecessary for the lost to understand or believe in the Son of God (His deity) to be saved.

    For them, and the vast majority of GES/Crossless advocates, if the lost man believes a man named Jesus guarantees eternal life, even a false-Jesus, that lost man is, in their opinion, born again.

    So, what is the difference between proclaiming from a street corner and telling the lost man in a one-on-one situation that they/he does not need to believe Jesus is the Son of God?


    LM

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  40. Hi Lou. Sure is chilly around these parts, eh?

    I can't keep going over and over this, but let me just say, if you do not see the difference between what Matthew has said he might reluctantly say and something that one might shout from the streetcorner, I would like to offer a small illustration.

    Here are two messages regarding school that I might tell my 4th grade daughter (who has difficulty with school):

    1. Honey, if you do your best and study consistently every day, you will get decent grades.

    2. When I was a student, I never studied... and rarely did homework and I always got by with a B average.

    #1 will direct her in the best way ... in the way that she should go. I could shout that on the streetcorner to every child that is waiting at the bus. It is the sure-fire way to do well in school.

    #2 may work, but it may not help her or any of the other students I could run into, in fact, it is not really what I want to students. If they do like I do, they will under-acheive. I would reluctantly tell a student how I got by in school. It would cause my daughter trouble and not be good for her to hear. It might give her the wrong idea.

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  41. Lou,
    Matthew asked this at the top of this comment thread and I was hoping to see your answer... or anyone else's answer. I thought it might be helpful personally.

    Lou, are there any errors about the person of Christ that a person could believe and still believe in the true Jesus?

    ReplyDelete
  42. Rose:

    I am at work and exceedingly busy right now. Just happened to look in.

    Whether Matthew or Antonio tell lost people from the street corner or in their living room that they, “don’t need to believe that Jesus is the Son of God ... or that He rose from the dead - just believe on Him for eternal life,” there is NO DIFFERENCE and this is wrong!

    They both believe it is unnecessary for the lost to understand or believe who Jesus is and what He did to provide salvation. (That is from Hodges) That is their belief and if they think a lost man is stumbling over any of it they will tell him it is not necessary to understand or believe any of those truths. They think those are mere “misconceptions” can go on, and stay on “the back burner” and be dealt with as a discipleship issue.

    Very, very wrong”! And I do not hesitate to obey the Scriptural mandates to “mark, admonish and separate” from disobedient brethren such as these. (Rom. 16:17-18; 2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15)

    I have to be short on the comment above with the 4th grade daughter analogy.

    I am never comfortable with and do not interact on analogies. These seem to be very popular in the blogs. As I say I am not comfortable with them, and I do not put much weight into them. IMO, it is not wrong to use analogies, but I’m not confident that we should be trying to define and understand the infinite from the finite.

    If we are going to discuss the Gospel, then our terms and definitions should come from what the Bible says.

    More later on your other note, once things settle down here, or possibly tomorrow.


    LM

    PS: I am trying to finish a major article on the Crossless gospel (I was asked to write) for publication at an IFB web site. It will post next month. I want IFB circles to be forewarned of what is coming from Hodges, Wilkin and GES so that none in my camp are deceived and fall into the trap of the Crossless gospel.

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  43. Rose, you asked for an answer to Matthew's question:

    Lou, are there any errors about the person of Christ that a person could believe and still believe in the true Jesus?

    I've addressed this with Matthew here at Lou's blog before. It depends on what he means by "person of Christ". As I told him previously, errors regarding the nature of Jesus are deal-breakers, because they would then have a "false Jesus", i.e. a different Jesus. I haven't thought through every possible error, but one that Matthew mentioned to me earlier was, "what if someone thought Jesus was born in Galilee?" or something similar. I answered that such an error would not prevent that person from having saving faith, because it is not ontological.

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  44. Rachel,
    Ontology is today with existence.

    The Jesus born in Bethlehem exists.

    It is a fact of our Lord's space-time existence that He was born in Bethlehem, not Gallilee.

    How is it not ontological to make a mistake about our Lord's birth?

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  45. Rose/Matthew:

    The central issue with the “person of Christ” for salvation is in this regard: His nature, i.e. WHO He is!

    Jesus is the “Son of God.” He is, “the Christ.” He is God! (John 1:1; 8:24, 58; 20:30-31; Col. 2:9; Heb. 1:8)

    If any lost man rejects this truth about the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ he has made an eternally fatal error.

    If he does NOT “believe in the true Jesus,” he cannot be born again.


    LM

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  46. Matthew,

    I acknowledge that perhaps I have misunderstood the meaning of "ontological". I looked up the word in the dictionary. The first definition was "of or relating to ontology" (always helpful). The second definition was: "Of or relating to essence or the nature of being".

    The "nature" or "essence" of Jesus is what I am talking about. The definition above of "ontological" fits with this. And even if I am wrong about the use of the word, I think my post was pretty clear that I was referring to those things that make up the very nature or essence of Jesus. Jesus' birthplace is not a part of his nature or essence. His deity, OTOH, most certainly is.

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  47. Rachel, is our Lord's humanity not part of the essence of His being?

    ReplyDelete
  48. Lou, a person who has just been converted may not have a right understanding of the incarnation.

    Is it not likely that many new Christians may assume such errors as denying that Christ had an human soul, holding the deity and humanity of Christ were mixed in one nature or holding that the Father and the Son are the same person?

    Surely a Christian only a few days from their conversion who held any such errors would in your view be believing in a false christ.

    Yet how many evangelists as part of their Gospel presentation explain exactly what the incarnation and the doctrine of the Trinity mean.

    If your view is correct, most Christians are not born-again until after somebody has explained to them some very serious theological concepts.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

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  49. Matthew:

    My greatest concern here is not with post-conversion doctrinal issues. A genuinely born again Christian, if in a Bible based discipleship program will, “…grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,” (2 Peter 3:18).

    What is of greatest concern is the non-saving, reductionist teaching of the Zane Hodges’ Crossless gospel. The lost man who rejects the deity of Christ, has NOT “been converted,” did not become a “new Christian,” has NOT had even so much as enjoyed, “a few days from their conversion” in the first place.

    Under your method of personal evangelism: Any misunderstanding, any “misconception about who Jesus is and what He did to provide salvation, does not hinder him from being saved.

    I don’t know which Evangelists you have heard preaching a salvation message to the lost, but I have never heard an Evangelist trying to teach the lost, “exactly what the incarnation and the doctrine of the Trinity mean” as if their being born again depended on understanding, “exactly what the incarnation and the doctrine of the Trinity mean.”

    You wrote, “If your view is correct, most Christians are not born-again until after somebody has explained to them some very serious theological concepts.”

    Really? C’mon, Matthew. Angling for a “grocery list,” aren’t we?

    Let’s remind my guests what your position, the Crossless method of personal evangelism, allows for. If you are faced with a man who consciously rejects the deity of Christ, you would be willing to tell him that It is not necessary to believe that Jesus is God to be born again, but if you ‘believe Jesus guarantees eternal life,’ that is enough for you be born again.

    If the Lord's deity becomes an issue in a personal evangelism setting, you will say that to the lost man because you believe it is NOT necessary to know, understand or believe that Jesus is the “Son of God,” i.e. Deity. You will allow for open, conscience rejection of the Lord's deity and treat it, as Antonio does, like a mere “misconception” to be put on and left on the “back burner.”

    These extremes that you, Jeremy Myers (who has a whole new set of issues) Antonio, Alvin, Jim Johnson have suffered, are the result of having been deceived by the egregious errors of Zane Hodges. These errors exemplify the genuine tragedy and fall-out from Hodges’ teachings on the Crossless gospel.

    I am truly hopeful the GES’s days of influence are nearing an end. Lord willing, not one more Christian or lost man will come under the destructive influence of Hodges, Wilkin and those of you who have been deceived and doctrinally shipwrecked by them.


    LM

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  50. Lou
    You wrote: "I don’t know which Evangelists you have heard preaching a salvation message to the lost, but I have never heard an Evangelist trying to teach the lost, “exactly what the incarnation and the doctrine of the Trinity mean” as if their being born again depended on understanding, “exactly what the incarnation and the doctrine of the Trinity mean.”"

    I am afraid your view make it necessary to understand exactly what the doctrines of the incarnation and the Trinity mean.

    You cannot allow them to be post-conversion issues under your system.

    Let us look at what you said:

    "If any lost man rejects this truth about the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ he has made an eternally fatal error."

    If a person believes a wrong doctrine about the person of Christ, she has made an "eternally fatal error."

    If she confuses the Father and the Son (as many professing Evangelical Christians who are lacking in knowledge do) she has believed in a false Christ.

    If she fails to see that Christ's two natures are distinct and not mixed, she has believed in a false Christ.

    If she believes that the Trinune God is not one indivisble essence eternally existing in three persons, she has believed in a false Christ.

    If you want to be consistent, you are going to have to hold that a person is not born again until she understands fully the right doctrine on the Trinity and Christology.

    God Bless

    Matthew

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  51. Lou, to make it easier for you next time you do evangelism, let me give you the Athanasian creed.

    These are the things you are going to need to explain, so you can make sure your converts have believed in a true and not a false Christ.

    1. Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith;

    2. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.

    3. And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;

    4. Neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance.

    5. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit.

    6. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.

    7. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit.

    8. The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated.

    9. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible.

    10. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal.

    11. And yet they are not three eternals but one eternal.

    12. As also there are not three uncreated nor three incomprehensible, but one uncreated and one incomprehensible.

    13. So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Spirit almighty.

    14. And yet they are not three almighties, but one almighty.

    15. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God;

    16. And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.

    17. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord;

    18. And yet they are not three Lords but one Lord.

    19. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord;

    20. So are we forbidden by the catholic religion to say; There are three Gods or three Lords.

    21. The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten.

    22. The Son is of the Father alone; not made nor created, but begotten.

    23. The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.

    24. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits.

    25. And in this Trinity none is afore or after another; none is greater or less than another.

    26. But the whole three persons are coeternal, and coequal.

    27. So that in all things, as aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.

    28. He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.

    29. Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    30. For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man.

    31. God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and man of substance of His mother, born in the world.

    32. Perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.

    33. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood.

    34. Who, although He is God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ.

    35. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of that manhood into God.

    36. One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person.

    37. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ;

    38. Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead;

    39. He ascended into heaven, He sits on the right hand of the Father, God, Almighty;

    40. From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

    41. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies;

    42. and shall give account of their own works.

    43. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.

    44. This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully he cannot be saved.

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  52. Matthew:

    That is an impressive list. Thanks for posting it.


    LM

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  53. Well make sure your converts are clear on every point. You dont want them to make an eternally fatal error.

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  54. Matthew:

    Thanks for sharing, but you'll have to cast bait for the "checklist" you seek in another pond.

    No guppies here.


    LM

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  55. Hey Lou,

    I want to encourage you brother in your steadfast spirit and patience with unwillingness to compromise on this blessed truth of the cross. You stand on the right side brother, because being saved and coming to the knowledge of the truth come forth from the work of the Holy Spirit that points us to our need at the cross. From there we grow in our understanding. The theif on the cross in his short time in the milei and confusion of what was going on while Christ was being crucified cleary understood that Jesus was God when he stopped mocking and then looked at the other theif and asked, "Don't you fear God?"

    You are working from a construct built upon the Rock and a clear understanding of Scripture. Matthew and Antonio continue to work from a point of where truth is sifted and how much can be sifted and one still be saved. We must remember that Satan always works at sifting truth, not calling men to being saved and comming to the knowlegde of the truth. He is a truth sifter and a very subtle one at that. We must get alone with God and ask Him to help keep us from being deceived in our efforts to reach the lost. Your arguments are clear headed and sound and in accordance with the Word of God and the Person of Christ who is the living Word. You have done well to isolate the host of a virus so to speak here in talking with Matthew. Well done.

    It seems that Rose is endorsing your postion as well, but cleary showing that she is on Matthew and Antonios side with a desire to be loving and reasonable, which is a good desire to have, but one that must be guided by truth as well. It takes time for all of us to see things I think that are in our rearview or sideview mirrors that are sometimes hard to see. It appears that she continues to have personal issues with you, but has endorsed your correct postion and is rejecting theirs while trying to remain friends and encourage them in spite of their divided message. Only the Rock will stand...all other ground is sinking sand. Mankind cannot be trusted...only God can be in the end. We must however continue to try to love people as well as fellow believers who are confused. This is one reason I do not think that team blogs are a healthy thing. It is good to wait and see if someone is solidly resting in the gospel before you yoke up. It took me a long time to wade through all of this confusion out here in blogdom, but thankfully in spite of my getting confused in the past because of these divided messsages, I am learning ever more to be careful before I endorse or agree with anyone. Gangrene spreads viciously in a subtle way and often times without us knowing. Jesus prayed for Peter in His confusion, so we must continuely and patiently pray for them and consider ourselves lest we also be tempted.
    I continue to pray that your solid stand will also give others heart and courage to stand in the midst of the fiery darts of Satan as we must all needs keep that helmet of salvation on without any wrongful willingness to take it of and start considering seemingly reasonable but wiley arguments.

    Grace upon grace,

    Brian

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  56. I dont know what a guppie is. Not an English word to my knowledge.

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  57. Matthew,

    I pray God rebuke this deception that Satan is leading both you and Antonio to consider. May He do away with this terrible temptation in the blessed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and awaken both of you in a loving way to how wiley even our own flesh can be at times.

    Oh Lord Jesus I pray this in your blessed and Holy name.

    Amen

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  58. Brian:

    Only a, moment, more later.

    Thanks for the encouragement.

    You wrote, “You are working from a construct built upon the Rock and a clear understanding of Scripture. Matthew and Antonio continue to work from a point of where truth is sifted and how much can be sifted and one still be saved.”

    Sifted” is similar to“refined” I note how CG men like to refer to their position as “Refined” theology.

    The refining process eliminates impurities. Hodges and Wilkin have “refined” out of the Gospel, what they view as impurities, such as the Lord’s deity and His finished work on the cross. Not much left to refine.


    Lou

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  59. To All:

    I briefly posted and brought back to pending status Part 6 of the series earler this morning. I decided to keep Part 5 at top of my home page while the comment thread remains active.

    I'll bring back Part 6 of the series later today.


    LM

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  60. Matthew,

    You asked,

    Rachel, is our Lord's humanity not part of the essence of His being?

    Yes, his humanity is part of His being. I never said it wasn't. But when we teach that Jesus lived, died, and rose again, his humanity is implicit.

    Are you saying that you think a person could reject Jesus' humanity and still receive eternal life? Can a person believe Jesus is an animal and still be born again? If so, then we have other issues. If not, then you also require belief in his humanity, so this would seem to be a non-issue.

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  61. Brian/Rachel/All:

    I have made this observation before...

    Combining the reductionist (Refined) position of the Crossless gospel with the total elimination of repentance as a condition of salvation: Hodges, Wilkin, da Rosa, Matthew and GES are very, very close to full blown universalism.


    LM

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  62. Lou, I think it is difficult to imagine how an universalist could believe in the lake of fire as most of us FGers do.

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  63. Rachel
    "Can a person believe Jesus is an animal and still be born again?"

    It is difficult to conceive of such a thing.

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  64. Rose:

    You made this comment earlier in the thread,

    "BTW, Lou, I realized this week that while I have actually publicly disagreed with Matthew and Antonio about doctrine several times publicly, I have never once done so with you. What could it mean?"

    Two thoughts:

    1) Would you please link me and my guests to any lead article you wrote and posted at your blog or Unashamed of Grace where you publicly disagreed with Antonio and Matthew? I am referring to any article where you identified a specific area of doctrine on the Gospel that Antonio/Matthew hold to, and you publicly named them as the men whose doctrine you disagreed with in the article.

    I have read articles you wrote that publicly take on and name the errors and advocates of Calvinism and Lordship Salvation. I am unfamiliar with any article you have written that does the same with the Crossless gospel and its advocates. Please link me to an example.

    2) I had been thinking that second part over. I do not recall you publicly disagreeing with me on the doctrine of the Gospel.

    What I trust this shows, in regard to the Crossless gospel, is that you share my concerns with the egregious errors, and view these errors the same way I do: as a false interpretation of the Gospel.

    You do recognize the Zane Hodges Crossless interpretation of the Gospel is a false Gospel; don’t you?


    LM

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  65. Matthew:

    You wrote, "I think it is difficult to imagine how an universalist could believe in the lake of fire as most of us FGers do."

    I imagine the GES faction might possibly conceive of a believer at the "punitive" Judgment Seat of Christ headed for the Lake of Fire.


    LM

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  66. Lou, GES holds that believers posess eternal life. Going to the Lake of Fire is not compatible with posessing eternal life.

    Joe D Faust of Kingdom Baptist Church, an individual unconnected with GES holds that believers may be in hell or Hades during the Millennium, but not the Lake of Fire. However, his views are not shared by Bob Wilkin, Zane Hodges or Joseph Dillow.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

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  67. Yes Matthew, I trust GES has some balance on the Lake of Fire. I was somewhat tongue-in-cheek on that one. I am also aware of and shocked by the absurd extremes coming from Faust.

    Can you provide a link to writings from Hodges and Wilkin where they categorically reject Faust’s teaching on this? I have not researched this too deeply or read anything from either of them that refutes Faust.

    Until I read a flat out rejection of Faust I am giving benefit of the doubt, but the jury is still out on whether not Hodges and Wilkin do not share in or are sympathetic to Faust’s position.

    So, send me some documentation, if you please.

    Thanks,


    LM

    Guppies

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  68. Dear Guests:

    I noted earlier how Matthew is fishing for a “checklist”. This afternoon I came across the follow from Greg Schliesmann’s article, False Paradigms of the Crossless Gospel, Part 2.


    Antonio da Rosa confuses essentials truths about Jesus as individual objects of faith. He says, “The ‘Majority’ position states that one must believe A, B, C, D, E, and F to be saved…The majority position requires that these things be believed. If they are believed, they are objects of faith. And if they are required, then they become co-conditions to ‘believing in Christ’.”

    It is not clear how da Rosa avoids his own accusation.

    In his book Secure and Sure, Bob Wilkin has a section titled “Three Essentials.” He says Jesus “routinely communicated three things. We, too, must share those three elements. They are: 1. believing 2. in Jesus 3. for eternal life.”

    Notice how Wilkin enumerates these three essentials exactly as da Rosa enumerated the essentials of our view. If we have five objects of faith, then by his own definition, da Rosa has three objects of faith.

    Da Rosa may argue his three essentials can be put into one sentence or one proposition, but so what? So can ours.

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  69. Lou, I happened to surf on by and scroll down to the bottom and see you quoted me above.

    In respect to that issue, we should also point out that many sub-points are also required in the crossless gospel view. For example, what is eternal life? I've used this phrase with several individuals of various cultures who wondered what it meant.

    Some people might think it means that you'll live forever in the normal sense of the word. Some people might think it means you'll become morphed into the universe. Some people think it means you live on through your children. Do you receive "eternal life" if you believe "Jesus" guarantees any of these things?

    Some crossless advocates have rephrased it to "eternal well-being". What does that mean? Does that mean "eternal bliss?" If so, I haven't received it yet. There are days that I am not "well".

    So In what sense do I have eternal well-being? Well, I have a permanently reconciled relationship to God in Christ. That is how John uses the phrase "eternal life" in the Gospel of John. So if crossless advocates believe a person must believe in Jesus for "eternal life" in the sense John uses it, this point requires subpoints--the same sort of subpoints of our position CLG proponents criticize.

    I also noticed in the conversations that Matthew (dyspraxic fundamentalist) and Antonio have made a mockery out of 2Cor. 11:4--"For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached...

    Their argument in regards to this verse blatantly amounts to a denial of the verse. Their argument is essentially that there is no such thing as "another Jesus".

    The only argument they have really proposed, as far as I have seen, is that there are many identifying features of Jesus Christ---so how do we know which falsities would amount to "another Jesus"?

    All the arguments Matthew has raised would only be legitimate if one of two things were true: 1) Paul was talking about different literal, historical people name "Jesus" walking around, or 2) by "another Jesus", Paul simply meant a concept of "Jesus" which does not involve the guarantee of eternal life. But is anybody so deceived to argue that by "another Jesus" in 2Cor. 11:4, Paul simply referred to either of these two things?

    If not, Matthew's arguments are a simply a smoke screen. Maybe it's true--this verse raises some difficult questions. Which features are essential in identifying the true Jesus? If this question is a difficulty of our position (as crossless proponents argue), it's a legitimate difficulty raised by this verse.

    Whether or not it's difficult, the crossless arguments don't even attempt to answer them or explain this verse in any meaningful way. The verse still clearly teaches that there are essential features that identify the true Jesus--and if these features are neglected or falsified you have "another Jesus".

    Crossless advocates don't want to explain this verse--they only want to scare us from using it because it disproves their whole heresy.

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  70. Hello Greg:

    Thanks for stopping by and posting your succinct and penetrating comment.

    I will always draw from your many articles and comments that appear at my blog to deal with the Crossless interpretation of the Gospel.

    You have a God-given gift that has been a helpful and valuable resource in not just exposing, but biblically answering the heretical, egregious errors and faulty arguments coming from the advocates of theCrossless interpretation of the Gospel.

    Please come again. I’ll have more tomorrow


    Lou

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  71. Lou, Bob Wilkin and Zane Hodges have not responded to Faust.

    GES did publish a review of 'The Rod: Will God spare it?' by Laurence Vance.

    Review of The Rod: Will God spare it? by Laurence Vance

    According to the Kingdom Baptist church website, Bob Wilkin refuses to allow Faust's book to be sold at GES conferences along with books that hold the Partial Rapture view. Faust claims he requested Bob Wilkin to debate him, but received no answer.

    ROBERT WILKIN (G.E.S.) IGNORES REPEATED REQUESTS FOR DEBATE

    If you take the trouble to read Dillow, Wilkin and Hodges, it will be clear that there teaching differs on the subject from Faust. They hold that the outer darkness and references to fire in connection with the judgment seat are metaphorical.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

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  72. Matthew:

    Thanks for the links.

    I have not studied their views enough to say a great deal, but I will say this: Wilkin has a pattern of ducking debates and not responding to legitimate inquiries.

    We’ll never forget Wilkins’s clamoring for a debate on the Crossless gospel, but once Ron Shea accepted the challenge, Wilkin lost his nerve and at the same time very unwisely posted a statement that was very offensive toward Brother Shea. Within two hours of that posting, at the old GES blog, it was suddenly deleted without explanation.

    I have several first hand reports of Wilkin refusing to respond to inquiries from FG pastors/teachers, from those men themselves. One venue cancelled a GES conference because Wilkin would NOT reply to some doctrinal questions the organizers had.

    In a recent thread one friend of Wilkin said Bob is frustrated about the Crossless debates and that no one is talking to him (paraphrasing the comment). Truth is- he will not respond to or interact on the Crossless gospel. Wilkin is going to have another opportunity to meet privately to discuss his interpretation of the Gospel. IMO, based on his track record, he will refuse, but I hope to be wrong.

    The FGA proposed a private academic meeting for 10 men, 5 from each of the opposing views to participate. The goal was to at least come to a better understanding. Wilkin was invited and he flat out refused to participate. Matter of fact, no one, including Hodges, would agree to attend.

    Last thing, if Wilkin is against Faust’s position why doesn’t he say so?


    LM

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  73. Very well said Greg on the point about eternal life. Buddhists believe that they have eternal life as well as New Agers in and through Jesus who is also manifested in other incarnations and Gods. Even Madonna is quoted as saying Jesus is exclusive, but holds the Kabbala view in Neo-Orthodox Judaism of a new age spirit from her Catholic past. They hinge greatly on the tree of life and draw the pagan views together that were spawned from the Garden of Eden and see oneness with the Father as they become the spirit of I Am and Jesus as well, but reject the veiw that he exclusivly came in the flesh as Jesus Christ alone and one and for all died on the cross to bring life through the cross alone.

    These are very dangerous sympathies that Matthew and Antonio are considering and that Rose is wanting to open up creedence to, but not clearly coming out and defying it and pointing out the danger as she does in the Lordship camp.

    The importance of this cannot be overestimated in my view as we see the day approaching and the falling away occuring right before our very eyes.

    The buddhists and new agers believe that the Karmic debt will stop when the final incarnation meets with the tree of life and stops the continuation that you see in their yoga posture as they hold their fingers together in a circle of oneness.

    The cross is a sword that must also peirce any sympathies that humanity can be reconciled to God through any other means. It is an offense to all of false religion as well as the sympathies that Matthew and Antonio are considering. Antonio once stated that his mother taught him that people can believe in other gods yet still believe that Jesus is the author of eternal life. When we have friends and family members that espouse views then because of the law of proximity we begin to entertain them and then the dangerous gangrene is given more spread.

    Grace upon grace,

    Brian

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  74. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  75. >They hold that the outer darkness and references to fire in connection with the judgment seat are metaphorical.<

    What a dangerous passage to encourage men to consider a metaphore. How tragic this is and how it puts the righteousness robe of Christ aside and exalts the unrighteous rags of man. How truly tragic that Hodges and Wilkin are misleading men in this area. Thankfully other free gracers like Charles Ryrie have not been beguiled here as Hodges and Wilkin have as they as well are sifting away at the sting in Scripture that God is using to grab mens attention so that they will be delivered from the lies of Satan and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. How truly unloving and un-nice Hodges and Wilkin are being.

    Ryrie's comment on Matthew 22:13:
    "Outer darkness- away from the lights of the wedding festivities. weeping and gnashing of teeth indicate extreme torment, as will be true in hell"
    Ryrie Study Bible

    To teach people otherwise is to hate them.

    Grace upon grace,

    Brian

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  76. "Last thing, if Wilkin is against Faust’s position why doesn’t he say so?"

    Faust? How many people have heard of him?

    He is a pretty small fish in the theological ocean.

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  77. Matthew:

    Name recognition should not matter. Wrong is wrong!

    Small fish can grow to become large predatory fish in the theological pond, just like Hodges and Wilkin grew to be with their Crossless gospel.

    You and Antonio were sadly swallowed up by their teaching. Thankfully, the dangers of their teaching has been fully exposed and they are not going to be able to lead very many more astray as they once did.

    Faust’s position is not totally unlike Hodges/Wilkin.

    Believers need to be warned of this dangerous doctrine. One would think Wilkin would personally through his GES channels warn people in his sphere of influence if he (Wilkin) truly rejected Faust’s position.

    I think Hodges/Wilkin would eagerly and publicly express their rejection of how far Faust has gone with the same foundational teaching on the Judgment Seat of Christ. Don't you?

    I am probably going to look into this a little further.


    LM

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  78. Lou
    "I am probably going to look into this a little further."

    I will be interested to read your thoughts.

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  79. Matthew:

    Maybe I wasn't clear. I am going to look into whether or not Wilkin actually opposes Faust's views. Faust seems to think that they are not to very different. We'll see. That Wilkin appears unwilling to go on record against Faust's position is curious.

    BTW, I'd be interested in your reaction to Greg Schliesmann's comment above. See 2/22 @ 10:52pm.


    LM

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  80. To All:

    Can anyone verify whether or not Wilkin has ever categorically rejected Faust's position?


    LM

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  81. Lou, I can categorically verify that Wilkin does not hold Faust's position.

    Faust holds that believers who have fallen away will be cast into Gehenna during the Millennium and will be let out later.

    Wilkin holds that all believers will be raptured and will be with the Lord during the Millennium, though believers who have fallen away will be denied inheritance and privilege in the kingdom.

    The two positions are manifestly different.

    God Bless

    Matthew

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  82. Brian:

    You wrote, "These are very dangerous sympathies that Matthew and Antonio are considering and that Rose is wanting to open up credence to, but not clearly coming out and defying it and pointing out the danger as she does in the Lordship camp."



    The teachings of Hodges, which men like and Antonio and Matthew have adopted, are dangerous.

    As for Rose, she has obviously chosen loyalty to friendship with Antonio and Matthew above fidelity to the Word of God when it comes to the difficult decision, but Bible mandate, to separate from these disobedient brethren who teach of a false Gospel. 



    She claims to have problems with the Crossless gospel. However, when it comes to taking an open, uncompromising stand against the egregious errors and its advocates, she is unwilling to do so.

    IMO, although she claims to have concerns with the CG, they are for her minor and she views it as an acceptable interpretation of the Gospel.



    LM

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  83. Rose:

    I asked you earlier if you recognize the Zane Hodges Crossless interpretation of the Gospel as a false Gospel?

    Will you state one way or the other if the Hodges, Wilkin, da Rosa, Matthew interpretation of the gospel is, in your opinion, an acceptbale interpretation of the Gospel?


    LM

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  84. Man I heard an excellent message by J Vernon McGee on BBN radio today about the offensive message of the cross that causes division. There is no doubt in my mind that Antonio and Matthew are teaching a false gospel by saying it is unessasary to make God known in dying for us there at the cross. God died for us. Greater love has no man than this. I strongly reject Matthew and Antonios subtle teachings that are going to send many people to hell. It is unfortunate that others will pay for the sin of believers who compromise the truth. Antonio and Matthew will be saved, but in teaching a false gospel they will lose so much in the fires of the judgment seat of Christ. What a tragic thing to sift away at the gospel message.

    Grace upon grace,

    Brian

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  85. Rose:

    At your blog you promised an answer to this question. However, you have for several days been unwilling to answer it at your blog.

    At your blog I invited you to answer it here. This removes any reason for not be willing to address this question. The way is now clear for you to reply to my question.

    Do you consider the Zane Hodges (Wilkin, da Rosa, Matthew) interpretation of the Gospel, (including Antonio viewing a lost man’s unbelief about the deity of Jesus and His finished work as mere “misconceptions” to be “put on the back burner” and left there) an acceptable interpretation of the Gospel?

    Will you state one way or the other if the Hodges, Wilkin, da Rosa, Matthew interpretation of the gospel is, in your opinion, an acceptbale interpretation of the Gospel?


    LM

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  86. Hi Lou.
    Here is my answer. I will also post this answer on my blog in the comments after you clarify what you mean about "disobedient." I really hope you will do that and not avoid giving me the clarification that I really want on that one point. I want to understand how you are using that word "disobedient".

    ________________________

    Do I consider Antonio's and Matthew's position an “acceptable interpretation of the Gospel?”

    Yes, with qualifications. I accept that they have provided Scripture to back up their position. They are not arguing from tradition or psychology, but they provide examples in the Bible of believers who had not experienced the knowledge of the cross and resurrection and yet these people were provided with Christ's gift. I have called this 'dispensational confusion' before and it may well be, but must I conclude that their insistence 'unacceptable interpretation of the gospel’? I was reminded, when I was thinking about this yesterday of the word 'gospel' that is also used by the angels to the Shepherds upon the incarnation: "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you [good tidings] of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."

    Just the message of His birth was the 'gospel' to those who did not know about the cross yet - or even any of the miracles. Jesus Christ is good news! Matthew and Antonio are saying that someone may believe in Jesus Christ without understanding what He did to obtain the eternal life that He offers. They also allow for gaps in understanding Who He is.

    I once told you in a very long questioning by you at my blog that I believed a person who was reading through the gospel of John and never got to the passion narrative but believed the Lord for his own salvation would be saved. You asked me if I thought that this was the 'normative' way people are saved these days... and I said no, but it is an exception. So yes, in that respect, I suppose that I would say the "crossless" idea that someone may be saved without hearing of the cross/ress could be saved by placing his faith in Jesus. I already said this, if you remember.

    Clarification: If someone was teaching that we should avoid talking about the cross when trying to bring people to faith in Jesus, because people may not understand it, then I would not find that acceptable. If they were saying that someone who DENIES that the cross and ressurection ever took place should be told that they can still trust in the One who died on the cross, then I think I have made it clear that I do not find that acceptable.

    You yourself have acknowledged that these brothers you call "crossless" are not avoiding talking about the cross and that they are not considering those who deny the cross or resurrection (at their times of visitation) converts.

    The deity issue - do I think Matthew and Antonio have an acceptable interpretation of the gospel in regards to the deity of Christ? If I ask myself is it possible that one could trust Christ without acknowledging that He is God, I have been looking at the sermons in ACTS. I notice that Peter talks about Jesus as a man when he calls on people to believe in Him, never saying that Christ is God. The apostles use language like "God has made this man, Jesus, both Lord and Christ." Antonio finds this as a model that when speaking to people, he may use similar language as the apostles. I am not convinced that this is the best way, but I have to recognize that he is using a biblical argument and therefore, he may have an acceptable (your word) approach here.

    I have been convinced that no one WILL believe in Christ for anything eternal if they don't understand that He is eternal. I still hold to this. Does this mean that someone who doesn't hold to this because of his own look at the Bible is "unacceptable"?

    Furthermore, as I have said again and again, this is theory. We are not talking about what they do in evangelism, as you have also said. They tell the lost the same thing I do. We are talking about what they "believe the lost must believe" (your words) So if they differ from me in what they theorize the lost must believe about what we are both telling the lost, does this mean I can charge them with an 'unacceptable' understanding of the gospel? Not.

    That doesn't mean that their views are the same as mine, but are they 'acceptable' you ask? I have to consider that they may very well be.

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  87. Rose:

    Your response above confirms that you have indeed come to accept the Zane Hodges Crossless interpretation of the Gospel.

    That is all I wanted to know.

    This does much to explain your passionate support for and defense of the teaching and especially the advocates of the Crossless gospel.

    Thank you,


    LM

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  88. Dear Guests:

    A man named Gordon has been interacting with me at Rose's blog. I never met him until today. I think the following fits here and so I include it.


    Dear Gordon:

    You wrote, “To try to connect this to New Evangelicalism is a bit of a reach in my opinion.”

    Compromise with known and vital error is compromise of the biblical mandates that forbid it. That is the New Evangelical mindset.

    I have not interacted with you much, but with Rose many, many times in the blogs and in e-mails. Until recently, I was under the impression that she rejected the Crossless gospel. Today, with her acknowledging she finds the Crossless gospel teaching of Hodges acceptable, I am no longer under that impression.

    Now I have to rethink this.

    Rose has embraced Hodges’ view as an acceptable interpretation of the Gospel. So, she is (and has been acting for months as) more of an advocate for (at the very least a sympathizer with) the egregious errors, than a believer who recognizes it as a false gospel, but will not separate from its advocates.


    LM

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