May 22, 2008

Heresy of the “Crossless” Gospel: Verified and Affirmed!

Dear Guests:

This week there has been an enlightening discussion under way at a blog I occasionally visit. The blog is known as Head of the Moor administered by Jonathan M. He is Reformed in his theology, and an advocate of Lordship Salvation (LS). Jonathan and I have discussed LS; we disagree sharply, but charitably. Jonathan has also debated the Crossless gospel with some of its advocates.

Late last week Jonathan sent me an e-mail to advise me of some comments Antonio da Rosa (aka- Sock Puppet: fg me) had posted at Head of the Moor. I briefly dealt with Antonio’s propagating the serious misnomer that the Grace Evangelical Society’s (GES) ReDefined Free Grace Theology is representative of the general body of Free Grace pastors/teachers. For details see- Is “REDEFINED” Free Grace Theology- Free Grace Theology?

This week Jonathan opened a new article titled, Is This Heresy? He asked the question based on two of the most extreme and infamous statements from Antonio da Rosa on his Crossless/Deityless interpretation of the Gospel. Those statements by Antonio are:

If a JW hears me speak of Christ’s deity and asks me about it, I will say, ‘Let us agree to disagree about this subject.’

At the moment that a JW or a Mormon is convinced that Jesus Christ has given to them unrevokable (sic) eternal life when they believed on Him for it, I would consider such a one saved, REGARDLESS of their varied misconcetions (sic) and beliefs about Jesus.

I would never say you don’t have to believe that Jesus is the Son of God. This has the import of the gospel proposition which makes it salvific! If someone asks me point blank, do I beleive that one must believe that Jesus is God in order to go to heaven, I would say ‘NO!’
(Believe Christ’s Promise and You are Saved No Matter What Misconception You Hold, May 2006.)

If I were talking to a Jew, he may very well ask me about the deity and humanity of Jesus. I would certainly entertain his questions and answer them to the best of my ability. But if such a one continued to express doubts or objections to this, I would say politely, ‘Let us for the time being put this issue on the back-burner. Can I show you from the Jewish Scriptures that the advent of Jesus Christ fulfills many prophecies?’

Objections and denials of things pertaining to Jesus can surely preclude one from faith in Him for eternal life. If this Jew can put aside for the moment the discussion of Christ’s deity, and Christ’s voluntary consent to die, and look in a considerate way at the prophecies concerning Christ’s advent in the Old Testament, His miracles, His teachings, His compassionate acts, His righteous and holy acts, and through consideration of these things, become persuaded that Jesus guarantees his eternal destiny through faith, why would anyone consider him unsaved
(How I Might Do Evangelism With a Jewish Man, Sept. 2007)
If I had ample time I would do a series of articles on what transpired in the thread that followed these remarks by da Rosa. Once you complete this overview, I highly recommend you visit Head of the Moor by clicking on the link to that article below. It is well worth a complete read. You will come away either finally or fully convinced that the views being expressed by Antonio da Rosa (which are drawn from and representative of the teachings of Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin) are antithetical to Scripture.

Rose, of *Rose’s Reasonings, entered the thread briefly. She tried to sanitize Antonio’s statements above. She also attempted to sidestep and redirect the discussion away from the disturbing implications of da Rosa’s statements, because this is where the extremist theology of the Crossless/Deityless gospel are fully exposed.

Here are samples of how various men reacted to Antonio’s lengthy attempts to explain his heretical statements. Blog partner, Stephen Stark, had this summarizing remark,
Antonio, I’m glad you’re posting for yourself. I wouldn’t prefer it any other way. Despite your claim that you have been substantially misrepresented, misquoted, and mischaracterized, it turns out that your own words, understood correctly, are proving exactly the crux of what we’ve claimed all along... unless you’ve seriously changed your views lately and didn’t bother to tell any of us. I doubt that has happened but, hey, I have prayed for you so anything’s possible. Jonathan, you’ve done a commendable job cutting through Antonio’s maze of pseudo-orthodox haze.”
Another blogger wrote,
I agree that Antonio’s statements are highly contradictory, unorthodox, unbiblical, and yes, heretical. Hodges truly preaches a non-contextual, non-historical, hypothetical, heretical, ‘promise-only’ and ‘crossless’ gospel when when he rips John 6:47 from God's Word and builds a doctrine on this ‘imagined’ and ‘hypothetical’ strange scenario of this Scripture washing ashore on a remote desert island.”
The most concise interpretation of Antonio’s Crossless/Deityless statements was made by a so-called Jazzy Cat, who wrote, a Jesus of the imagination does not save.”
Jonathan wrote,
Antonio, I still do not see how your explanations have remedied any of the problems. You still seem to posit that someone can be saved while believing in the Mormon Jesus, or the Jesus of Islam, the JWs or Hindus for that matter - just as long as they believe in him for eternal life with no works.”

“Antonio, in our day and age we must be able to explain our theology in precision. This thread should stand as a model of why you are misunderstood. You comments are not clear and you have contradicted yourself in several statements
He goes on to detail several of Antonio’s contradictions.

Amidst Antonio’s contradictions, ambiguity and evasiveness there is an item he wrote that makes his view very clear. Jonathan asked him, Are you now prepared to say that belief in the deity of Christ is necessary for salvation, or His humanity, or His resurrection?”

Antonio replied,
I do not believe that one must understand, assent to, or be aware of the historical Jesus of Nazareth’s deity in order to simply be justified and receive eternal life. However, I do believe that one must understand the deity of Christ if he is to grow into Christian maturity and merit a future superlative glorification.”
In that single clear, unvarnished statement- Antonio verifies and affirms that he (representing the Crossless interpretation of the Gospel) takes the position we have always addressed as the crux of doctrinal controversy!

Antonio affrims, as we have contended, GES’s Crossless & Deityless theology insists the lost do not have to understand or believe in the deity of Christ (or His finished work) but can still be born again. Furthermore, as I also described, and he verifies in the same quote, the Crossless advocates view these truths as matters left for discipleship.

Until now, I have been reluctant to claim that he and most (not all) Crossless advocates insist the lost man can be saved even if he does not even “know” or is not “aware of” of the Lord’s deity. I feel no further restraint because Antonio clearly stated that he believes the unsaved do not even need to be “aware” of the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, but can still be born again.

Therefore, there is no room for any doubt about the heresy of the views expressed by da Rosa. He insists, just as he wrote in the statements at the beginning of the article, a lost man can be saved no matter what misconceptions or unbelief he has about the Lord, including being unaware of and/or consciously rejecting His deity.
The Crossless gospel controversy is NOT over what these men personally believe about the deity, death and resurrection of Christ.

The controversy is NOT over preaching the deity, death and resurrection of Christ. The controversy IS over Hodges, Wilkin and da Rosa’s insistence that the lost man does not have to know, understand or believe any of these truths, but can, according to GES’s “ReDefined” Free Grace theology, still be born again.
Antonio’s involvement in the Is This Heresy thread was actually quite beneficial for those who reject his “ReDefined” Free Grace Theology. This effect I am sure Antonio did not intend, but what he has done is:
1) Verify and affirm what we have all along maintained are the heretical views of Crossless gospel advocates. Views which have fueled the the doctrinal controversy.

2) Provide another opportunity for readers to understand why the GES is a shrinking cell of extremists within the broader Free Grace community, and that GES does NOT speak for the entirety of the Free Grace movement.
Finally, it is not enough to “criticize” heretical statements such as Antonio has made, they should be condemned! Any man who makes and/or defends statements such as those must be “marked” and “avoided” as a teacher of “contrary” doctrine (Rom. 16:17-18). To give teachers of the Crossless gospel a pass, as if their view may be an acceptable interpretation of God’s redemptive plan, is dangerous and irresponsible.

Now, please visit Head of the Moor and read the thread under, Is This Heresy?


*Rose’s Reasonings is a blog that is sympathetic to and strongly supportive of the “Crossless” interpretation of the Gospel and its advocates.

UPDATE (April 2009): Antonio da Rosa has been a featured speaker at GES regional and national conferences. He has articulated some of the most extreme and anti-biblical views stemming from the Zane Hodges inspired Crossless gospel. He has, furthermore, behaved in some of the most unethical ways one could imagine finding in Christian circles. In April 2008 at Fred Lybrand’s (President, FGA) blog when asked, da Rosa stated,
…that one could deny the death and resurrection of Christ and still at that moment place His sole faith and reliance upon Jesus to guarantee his eternal destiny?”

Additional examples of da Rosa’s reductionist doctrine include:

Believing the Gospel, “May Indeed Frustrate God’s Grace

The Mormon Jesus and Evangelical Jesus are, “One and the Same.”


  1. Lou, I think you have summarized the thread accurately. As I showed in one of my final comments, he contradicts himself on a number of fronts in the thread - further complicating the issue. I don't see how he can castigate us for not understanding him while his writing is so obfuscated. I hope he takes up my challenge to draw up a statement of faith.

  2. Jon P./Stephen:

    Note of thanks to you men for your input at Sharper Iron last week, and this week at Head of the Moor.

    At Head of the Moor the egregious errors of the Crossless gospel, articulated by Antonio da Rosa (aka- Sock Puppet: fg me) were fully exposed by his own comments.

    I trust our efforts will further isolate and contain this teaching and protect unsuspecting believers from falling into the trap of the Crossless/Deityless gospel of the GES.

    Kind regards,


  3. Jonathan:

    He can castigate all he wants, and it does not bother me in the least. We have had his extremist views pegged for a year and he doesn’t like it.

    Frankly, I’m not sure I could endure reading a doctrinal statement from him. Plowing through his long, convoluted, disjointed thread comments is hard enough. I read so much from him that is so disconcerting from a theological stand point; a major work from him would be just too much, IMO.

    Since we already have plenty on record from him that clearly confirms his heretical views, a major work from him is IMO unnecessary.

    Thanks again for the thread and for the visit. Feel free to surf my blog.


  4. Lou:

    Both you and Jonathan Moorhead have done a wonderful job "contending for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3) against Antonio's false gospel.

    In light of Antonio's egregious heresies, I feel we need to petition the Free Grace Alliance (FGA) to revoke Antonio's membership. It is quite "obvious" that he does not agree with the FGA doctrinal affirmations, particularly this one:

    FGA Affirmation #2:

    "The sole means of receiving the free gift of eternal life is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, whose substitutionary death on the cross fully satisfied the requirement for our justification." (italics added)

    Antonio da Rosa Heresy #2:

    "If someone asks me point blank, do I believe that one must believe that Jesus is God in order to go to heaven, I would say ‘NO!’” (Believe Christ’s Promise and You are Saved No Matter What Misconception You Hold, May 2006)

    This is a matter of no small consequence! Even Lordship salvation proponents like Jonathan Moorhead feel Antonio is preaching heresy! Since Antonio is a member of the FGA, this highly discredits the FGA.


  5. Lou,

    I was just reading a comment left on "Head of the Moor" that illustrates Antonio's discrediting influence. Notice this statement by msc:

    "It occured to me as I read thru the questions posed to Antonio and his evasive responses as well as his apparently reductionistic view of Jesus that he sounds very much like those within the emergent/ emerging camp. Giving content to who Jesus actually is and what Jesus accomplished in tantamount to Modernist/ Enlightenment mistakes. Belief in Jesus must be stripped of doctrinal musings. He can be re-imagined in any form that suits the believer and his own personal context. IOW, Jesus is free to be radically contextualized. It matters not what your personal persuasion is about who he is. He does not require that we pin down who he is or what he has done. Propositions are distracting and ultimately destructive to faith. Faith, however one defines it, in Jesus, however one defines him, is all that is important to be a follower of [or believer in] Jesus. FG is sounding an aweful lot like EC." (bold added)


  6. Jon:

    For the reasons you mention above it is crucial we keep others informed that Antonio does NOT speak for any one but himself and the heretical views of GES.

    He is not just remaining in the FGA outside of good conscience; he is outright dishonest when he claims to assent to the obvious meaning of FGA's covenant.

    If it is within the guidelines of FGA's rules, the leadership should dismiss him from membership. Antonio's writing and behavior is a blight and an open sore on the membership roles of the FGA.

    IMO, one of the only reasons Antonio and Stephen R. Lewis remain in FGA, when they clearly are at odds with the covenant, is to infiltrate FGA for the purpose of taking it over or taking it down to protect GES. They are playing politics for the sake of their Crossless heresy and its chief advocates: Hodges and Wilkin.

    In time, however: Antonio first will go the way of plagiarist Jim Johnson and resign, or be forcibly removed from FGA's membership.

    I know that is blunt but a fact. His conscience has been seared by his heresy, and his poor behavior, which he is infamous for, further exasperates the problem.


  7. Men:

    Antonio has posted again at Head of the Moor. I am going to return to deal with his heresy.

    I invite the Defense team to join me.


  8. BTW:

    John MacArthur uses the label, “No-Lordship” in regard to those who reject the Lordship Salvation view of the Gospel. (Not busting or derailing the thread.)

    For the record, I reject the “surrender, submission and commitment” for the reception of eternal life aspect of LS. What should be the natural result of a genuine conversion, YES; for the reception of salvation, No.

    I propose, however, that “No-Lordship” is a fair and accurate label, if it is being used in reference to the extremist faction of the FG movement, that of the GES and its Crossless/Deityless advocates, such as Antonio da Rosa.


  9. JP, I appreciate your observations of how Antonio and his distortion of FG discredits the FGA. I am not personally surprised how he can claim agreement with item #2 of the FGA covenant as it seems he views everything after "The sole means of receiving the free gift of eternal life is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ..." as nothing more than a list of "unique identifiers". To Antonio, #2 may just as well say "The sole means of receiving the free gift of eternal life is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who walked on water, raised Lazarus from the dead, and healed a blind man through spreading spit and mud in his eye."

    FGA Cov #3 seems much more problematic for him. #3 says "Faith is a personal response, apart from our works, whereby we are persuaded that the finished work of Jesus Christ has delivered us from condemnation and guaranteed our eternal life." Antonio claims he can agree to this but I think he'd really have to dodge the "obvious meaning". In light that #3 clarifies #2, your observation on #2 is contextually dead on.


  10. Jazzy Cat at Head of the Moor first posted the following. I believe it further substantiates the gross heresy of the Crossless gospel as articulated by Antonio da Rosa.

    On July 18, 2007 Jeremy Myers published an article at his Till He Comes blog titled, You be the Judge (not really!)

    Once you read this there is no way Antonio can claim in good conscience agreement with the “obvious meaning” of the FGA’s Covenant.

    Myers asked if a person believing the following list were really saved:
    1. Jesus is God…i.e., He is fully divine.
    2. Jesus is fully human, yet without sin. (Also, He was born of a virgin).
    3. Jesus died on the cross and rose again from the dead three days later.
    4. She is a sinner and needed Jesus to pay for her sin through His death on the cross so that she could gain His righteousness.
    5. Simply by faith in Jesus, she has everlasting life which can never be lost.

    So far so good, but she also believed the following

    6. Humans are “divine like Jesus, but to a lesser degree” because we sin.
    7. God is Allah, the same god the Muslims worship.
    8. The Trinity is fiction…there is only one God.
    9. The Koran is inspired by God and is on equal footing with the Bible. Since the two are in conflict on some teachings, neither can be taken literally.

    Antonio answered as follows:


    If she in fact believes #5 then she has done all that is theologically required for eternal life.

    There can be so many differenct variations of misconceptions about religious belief. If we insist in our evangelism that the hearers subscribe to all our orthodox doctrines and in the full understanding that we subjectively assert must be understood for salvation, we can invalidate for the potential convert the simple act of faith which does bring eternal life.

    Such practice is an endless regress and slippery slope that can in fact lead to innumberable conditions for eternal life, for it is not enough to assent to the doctrine, one must also have a detailed full understanding of various concepts that need to be defined, and these definitions often need further clarification and qualification, and on and on and on.

    When one believes on Christ for eternal life, they receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. In time, through His ministry and the Word, and proper guidance from one that is spiritual, this woman can move on to real spiritual growth and maturity. She can be lead to the truth and these misconceptions can be corrected.

    My thoughts!


  11. Lou:

    Thanks for this information. This would be unbelievable except for the fact that Antonio has already shipwrecked his faith and seared his conscience. In contrast to Antonio's affirmation, such a woman described above is definately not saved because she has believed in Allah (who goes by the name "Jesus"), not Christ. Such a false deity is "another Jesus" (2 Cor. 11:3-4) and such preaching is "another gospel" (Gal. 1:6-9).


  12. Please visit Jon Perreault's blog Free Grace, Free Speech for his article, The Heretic in Antonio


  13. It is true that I am LS/Calvinist, however I wish to join with you in an effortm to isolate and strangle the GES influence in the blosphere. I have linked to Moorhead's post on my blog as a sort of solidarity.


  14. Hi Mark:

    I saw your article and link to Moorhead. I appreciate your weighing in to help thwart the extremist heresy of the GES faction of the FG community.

    I posted a note at your blog as well about the distinction between the extreme FG of GES and those who reject their aberrant views.

    I would like nothing more than to see GES and its advocates isolated and become irrelevant, which is happening as we speak.

    Take care,


  15. Amen brethren. As a FG believer with calvanistic leanings I recognize the importance of what you and Mark realize here as well and in spite of differances in some areas with Mark I am heartened that he is placing truth above interpersonal relations and coming out boldly on this side of the cross realizing that this heresy should not be given even the remotest attention. Praise the Lord.

    Grace upon grace,


  16. All:

    When reformed theology and free grace theology unite against extreme free grace (GES), it gives a clue to how extreme they really are! Lord willing, it won't be long before they are extremely isolated.


  17. Jon/All:

    One of my primary goals of late is to do all I can to make sure a broad cross section of evangelcials understand that there are two factions in the Free Grace community.

    I've have had a great deal of success helping various men and groups come to understand that GES speaks only for its shrinking cell of members.

    Those of us who have not fallen into the trap of the Hodges, Wilkin, GES Crossless gospel do NOT want to be perceived as one and the same with the GES extremist faction.

    Especially in the discussons about Lordship Salvation, if we are thought to becomng to the debate with the ReDefined FG theology presuppositions of GES we have our doctrinal legs cut out from under us before we get started.


  18. true Lou. Very well said.

    Grace upon grace,


  19. Lou,

    I agree. A strong stand for the Glorious Gospel requires a strong stand against a gutted gospel.