February 1, 2008

Revised Defense of the Gospel

Dear Guests:

This afternoon I received a phone call from a pastor on the East Coast. He was asking when I anticipate finishing the revised and expanded edition of In Defense of the Gospel: Biblical Answers to Lordship Salvation. He told me he appreciates my defending the Gospel of grace against the errors of Zane Hodges and the “Crossless” advocates. He also expressed his hope that I had not lost sight of the need to continue with the revision of my book and the necessity of continuing to expose and refute Lordship Salvation. I assured him that I had not lost my fervency or zeal to address the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel.

It has been quite a few months since I began doing the work of revision on my book and it has been near completion for some time. Had it not been for my discovery of the equally disturbing “Crossless” interpretation of the Gospel the revision would have been long since completed.

IMO, it was providential that I learned of and engaged the “Crossless” gospel. From what I have learned from “Crossless” gospel advocates I am now able to incorporate portions into my revised book. I have added several small sections and an appendix to expose the egregious errors of the Zane Hodges “Crossless” gospel. This way a broad cross section of evangelical Christianity will be warned of Hodges’ teaching that is antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

My hope and prayer is that the egregious errors of the advocates of the “Crossless” gospel will never gain the kind of attention and traction that Lordship Salvation has enjoyed. The Grace Evangelical Society (GES) has lost membership and financial support because of the radical views on the Gospel by Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin. Lord willing, the day will come and soon when the GES ceases to exist and the teachers of this heretical view of the Gospel will be relegated to their blogs and thankfully small cells of extremists.

It is imperative that those of us who recognize the dangers of the Hodges, Wilkin, GES assault on the Lord and His Gospel be consistently, fervently and biblically resisted. It would be a tragedy if the “Crossless” gospel made any where near the level of inroads into evangelical circles that MacArthur’s Lordship Salvation has made.

What’s Next?
Late last year I was asked to write an article for a new web site that is widely recognized in Fundamental Baptist circles. They asked me to write an article to expose the errors and danger of the “Crossless” gospel. Once that article is complete I intend to bury myself in the revision work and complete it within 30 days.

It grieves me every time I hear of a Bible college graduate who, some time after graduation, falls into the trap of Lordship Salvation. This may appear totally self-serving, but my goal is for In Defense of the Gospel to find its way into every Bible college doctrines curriculum. I am convinced that if Bible college students were to have read my book it would equip them to know, understand, recognize and refute the dangers of Lordship Salvation.

I am energized to finish the revised and expanded version of my book, send it back to the publisher and do all I can to get it into the hands Bible College young people.

While I engage the errors of “Crossless” theology, and complete my book I do not want my guests to lose sight of the fact that Lordship Salvation is a works based, man-centered interpretation of the Gospel that frustrates grace (Gal. 2:21). Those who understand the inherent danger of Lordship Salvation’s theology, must never lose sight of the urgency with which we, “should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered,” (Jude 3).

Following are links to some of the articles from my archives on Lordship Salvation. Please take a moment to peruse the following or more of the many related articles on Lordship Salvation.

John MacArthur’s Costly Salvation

Lordship Salvation’s “Barter” System

The Relationship Between God’s Grace & Lordship Legalism

Is the Sermon on the Mount “Pure Gospel?”

Is This an “Invitation to Salvation?”


See the Labels section for links to additonal articles on Lordship Salvation.


  1. By the way, I have been encouraged to write another book to deal specifically with the "Crossless" gospel.

    If it is of the Lord, I'll certainly have at it.


  2. Hi Lou.
    I am saddened by the recent division amongst men I consider leaders of the free grace movement.
    I think it's a shame, and probably not glorifying to God, to have such serious public arguments over semantics within a group that agrees there is a very serious problem at hand on the other side of the fence (Faith plus works salvationists).
    I know Bob Wilkin and Zane Hodges personally, and while I don't agree with everything that they say, I certainly wouldn't call them heretics nor lead less knowledgable people to believe that they do not believe that Jesus is God and that he DID die on the cross to attone for our every sin; past, present, and future.
    I'm not 100% sure, given the hypothetical situation, that a person couldn't be saved while not fully understanding about the Trinity, the Cross, or the Resurrection, if in fact said person did hear and believe the promise of Jesus Christ that "He that believes in Me has eternal life".
    Of course, it is ludicrous to think that one would believe this promise without understanding that the guarantor has the authority to make good on it, but we are speaking hypothetically!

    I do believe that Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin, and others in the GES "camp" have done tremendous work for the future Kingdom, and a recent disagreement over the simplicity of the Gospel message shouldn't discount the work of the Lord through them in its entirety.

    Just because I didn't like the most recent book by Dean Koontz doesn't mean that all of his other books are sour as well...
    Just a thought.

    I am prayerfully considering these current issues, and I mean no disrespect to fellow believers. It's okay if we disagree as a family, but should we really do so on the front lawn, yelling and calling each other names?

    God bless you in your ministry.


  3. Dear Brother JH:

    I sincerely appreciate your notes and heart felt concern. I want to give you a proper reply that your note deserves, but I have little time for this evening.

    May I say for now that I too am saddened by the division. Anyone who likes division or controversy should have their head examined. There are, however, biblical principles that mandate the course of action when “contrary” doctrine is found in Christian circles. The division in the Free Grace (FG) camp is the result of the “contrary” doctrine that has found its way into in the FG community.

    I am not a leader in any movement, but I do know several of the leaders in the FG community. Since long before I was even aware of the doctrinal divide that has lead to division these men were trying to sort this out behind closed doors.

    Many could not come to a resolution, and subsequently resigned from the GES over the doctrinal divide. IMO, the Free Grace Alliance (FGA) came into existence, in part, to become a home for men who could no longer in good conscience fellowship with and/or work in a cooperative effort with Hodges and Wilkin.

    Are you aware of the academic panel discussion that Dr. Bing and Hixson of the (FGA) proposed late last year? It was announced in the FGA newsletter. They proposed a private meeting for ten men, five from each side of the debate to meet privately to discuss and sort through the doctrinal divide. Hodges and Wilkin were invited, but it is my understanding, they refused to participate.

    No one in the so-called “Crossless” camp was willing to participate. One man, Jim Johnson, said he would participate, but only after he spent time in prayer and study. The proposed academic meeting, has, to my knowledge, been canceled because no one from the Hodges/Wilkin view would agree to participate.

    It would seem reasonable to me that men who claim the Bible as their sole authority should meet together and discuss their doctrinal positions, which the FGA had pressed for. This at least allows for a better mutual understanding, if not reconciliation.

    The Bible teaches that doctrine is the basis for all unity and practice. How then can men call for unity while simultaneously being unwilling to openly discuss their doctrinal positions?

    I’ll be back with more later.


  4. Thanks for your reply, Lou.

    I believe that Charlie Bing is a very gracious man who is being used by the Lord in a large way. I'm familiar with him and his work, as well as the FGA. As with GES, I don't necessarily agree with each and every thing that Charlie says, but that doesn't mean that I don't believe he is a man of faith being used tremendously by God.
    I am not in the loop so to speak regarding the panel discussion, but I did mention to some who support GES that I think Godly men such as Wilkin, Hodges, Bing, Radmacher, Anderson, etc...should be able to come together and UNITE FOR the Kingdom rather than argue for all to see (and possibly be turned off of Free Grace in general due to the appearance, or misconception, of hypocracy).
    I would truly love to see a panel discussion or meeting between the two sides happen...I think the answer to this issue lies in whole-heartedly, prayerfully, and openly considering the TEXT and what God has to say. I believe that if we humbly seek the truth, God will allow us to come together.

    I am not a biblical "scholar" nor a theologian, but I do have a heart for the pure and simple gospel message. What is more important than reaching people with the Good news of Jesus Christ and his Promise to all believers in Him?

    How come men who so earnestly seek God's wisdom cannot come together to also seek His guidance and approval in this area of their ministry?

    I don't have all the answers, Lou. One day we who believe in Jesus for our eternal life will get all these hard answers, but that day seems so far away at times.


  5. JH:

    Let's keep in dialogue here, its late and I will come back to your original note in the morning.

    David: Glad to see you checked in.


  6. JH:

    It will have to wait until Wednesday, OK. Sorry, but very busy today.

    If you'd like I'd be happy to chat with you on the phone. Send me an e-mail through the e-mail link under my book cover on the home page.

    I'd call you if you prefer.

    Let me know.

    Yours in Him,


  7. Hi Lou,
    I've been out and about most of the day. I appreciate your willingness to discuss. I am perfectly fine with chatting over the internet...and honestly, I wasn't fishing for an argument here (it seems there are plenty who come here for that reason). Of course, your views are appreciated and will not be cast aside by any means, I just don't want you to feel obligated in any way to answer my every sentence.
    Should we feel the need to converse over the phone, I'm certainly open to that as well, though we'd have to find an agreeable time.

    God bless,