May 29, 2008

Unity at the Price of Truth is Treason!

We live in a day of confusion and deception over the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel is under assault today just as it has been since the first century. It is, therefore, crucial that men of God, called by God to the ministry, declare God’s Word and resist assaults on the truth of God’s Word.

Within the evangelical community there are two extremes that corrupt and undermine the Gospel. The two polar extremes are known as Lordship Salvation and the Crossless Gospel. The Crossless gospel has been a serious concern of mine for about two years. I saw it as a small, but potentially serious threat to the broader evangelical community. It has been my hope and prayer that the Crossless gospel never gains the kind of traction and momentum that Lordship Salvation has.

Fidelity to Truth: The Greatest Expression of Love!
It is foolish to dismiss the serious doctrinal deviation of the Crossless gospel as if it is a very subtle difference in interpretation of the Gospel. It is foolish to dismiss the serious doctrinal deviation of the Crossless gospel simply because its source is a previously trusted friend, fellowship, or institution. It is, in fact, a radical reductionist interpretation of the Gospel message that must be preached and believed for the reception of eternal life.

The debate over the Crossless interpretation of the Gospel is not in regard to what a man personally believes and/or preaches about the Lord’s deity or finished work. The heresy of the Crossless gospel is that Crossless advocates insist the lost man does not have to know, understand or believe in the deity or finished work of Christ, but can still be born again. That is the sole focal point of controversy! It is this specific aspect of their theology that Crossless advocates do not want to discuss because it is their soft underbelly in the debate.

The teaching of the Crossless gospel cannot be ignored or dismissed as an acceptable interpretation of God’s redemptive plan for mankind. Even for those of us who have personal friendships at stake, fidelity to the Word of God must take precedence.

The Psalmist wrote, I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts,” (Psalm 119:63).

The Apostle Paul wrote, And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed,” (2 Thessalonians 3:14).

The Bible plainly teaches that we are not to keep company with those who do not keep the Word of God!

Over the last 12 months, through various series at this and cooperating blogs, it has been irrefutably proven from the Bible that the Crossless/Deityless interpretation of the Gospel is heresy. There is no way to overestimate or neutralize the genuine danger and assault this heresy has on the Person and finished work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Crossless gospel is as heretical an interpretation of the Gospel from its reductionist teaching as Lordship Salvation is in its addition to the Gospel of grace.

Zane Hodges originated and introduced the Crossless gospel. Consequently, Bob Wilkin of the Grace Evangelical Society (GES) embraced and adopted the Crossless gospel as GES’s official interpretation of the biblical plan of salvation.

In recent months most advocates of the Crossless heresy have confined themselves and their writing to within the shrinking cell of GES extremists. Appeals have been made for unity with the advocates of the Crossless gospel.
We have been asked to join in certain projects in which there are some heretics. I am not interested in being joined with anyone who has views that are in opposition to the Word of God. God tells us here (Titus 3:10) to be separate from heretics. Just let them alone; reject them.” (J. Vernon McGee: Thru the Bible Radio, Vol. V., p. 494.)
Those who seek fellowship with the teachers of known and vital errors do so at the expense of fidelity to the biblical mandates that forbid such an alliance. The Apostle Paul wrote,
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple,” (Rom. 16:17-18).

To “mark” means to identify. Volumes of material from Crossless gospel advocates exist that have given us the responsibility to “mark” them as teachers of a false, reductionist interpretation of the Gospel message that must be believed for the reception of eternal life.

Paul admonishes believers to “avoid,” those who have been marked. We are commanded by God to “avoid” persons who have been marked! Thayer’s lexicon lists several possible translations for the word, but indicates that in this text, it is best translated “to shun.” We are to shun those who create scandal through their false teaching.

Compromising the fundamentals of our faith in order to be accepted by and retain fellowship with our peers is wrong. In his day, *Charles H. Spurgeon valiantly fought against false teaching and the compromise of major fundamental doctrines in order to maintain unity. Many believe that this struggle led to his premature death. Although the majority of Spurgeon’s Baptist contemporaries agreed with his doctrinal stand, “They preferred unity above the maintenance of doctrinal purity. He (Spurgeon) attacked the position by saying, ‘first pure, then peaceable; if only one is attainable, choose the former. Fellowship with known and vital error is participation in sin. . . . To pursue union at the price of truth is treason to the Lord Jesus’.” (Adapted from In Defense of the Gospel, E. Wayne Thompson, This Day in Baptist History, p. 529.)
Some Crossless gospel advocates will maintain a pervasive presence on the Internet and continue to have a negative impact on the reputation of the Free Grace movement. The greater danger, however, is the potential tragedy of the Crossless gospel gaining any more ground or foothold in evangelical circles.

We must continue to do all we can to refute the teaching of the Crossless gospel. We must identify the advocates of this extremist, heretical interpretation of a Free Grace Gospel so that not one more unsuspecting believer is caught up in their egregious errors.

What If You Have Been Wrong?
You may be an individual who has already adopted the teaching of the Crossless gospel. You may be on the fence about the issue. Is it possible you may feel that you made a mistake, or are about to make a mistake in regard to the Crossless interpretation of the Gospel?

It is my hope and prayer that you are having Heaven sent reservations about the Crossless gospel. If you are having doubts about what you have been exposed to, will you take it before the Lord and search the Scriptures once again.

Can a gospel message that eliminates the need for a lost man to know, understand or believe in the finished work of Christ be the Gospel? Can a gospel message that strips the Lord’s titles (“the Christ” & “Son of God”) of their deity be the Gospel of Jesus Christ?


*For more see- What About Spurgeon’s Stand for Doctrinal Purity?

The opening of this article is adapted from a previous article I wrote titled, Should Doctrinal Deviations be Dismissed?


  1. To All:

    I retitled this article to make it more compatible with the quote from Spurgeon. It also better reflects the grieveous mistake of unity with the known and vital errors coming from the advoactes of the Crossless gospel.


  2. At his blog, Free Grace Free Speech, Jon Perreault, just published a thoroughly documented proof that the only thing “consistent” about the Grace Evangelical Society’s “ReDefined” Free Grace theology of the Crossless gospel is that it is “consistently” wrong and a radical departure from the biblical plan of salvation.

    The title, Consistent Free Grace Evangelism?

    Attempts are being made to legitimize the Crossless interpretation of the Gospel as an acceptable “nuance of doctrine.” The egregious errors of the new interpretation of the Gospel by Zane Hodges are so numerous it is preposterous to suggest that the Crossless gospel is anything other than a radical departure from the biblical plan of salvation.

    The teaching of Hodges, which insists the lost man does not need to know, understand or believe in the Person and /or finished work of Jesus Christ is heresy of the first order. Sadly, some have been deceived and have gone on to perpetuate these heretical views.

    The deity and finished work of Jesus Christ, according to some GES men must be “put on the back burner” in an evangelistic setting if the lost man objects to any of these truths. This is a practical denial of the truths Crossless advocates claim to hold dear and insist they preach consistently.

    Another friend wrote, “What do you have left with all of this removed from the ‘kerugma’ of the Gospel? Practically nothing!”

    The refining process of the GES has been “consistent,” in that it has consistently “ReDefined” the Gospel down to a Crossless & Deityless, non-saving proposition.

    Calls for unity around the heresy of the Crossless gospel can only be accepted at the expense of treason against the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word, which forbids such unholy alliances.


  3. Lou:

    Thanks for providing a link to my article. Readers can also link to your article from mine.

    Your statements are absolutely correct. The sad reality is that the evangelism of the GES and it's advocates is categorically inconsistent with and contrary to the evangelism of Jesus and His apostles.


  4. JP:

    Thanks for stopping by.

    The sad reality is that we are have this false teaching to "contend" with (Jude 3), but I will happily do so.

    It is indredible that any one would seriously heed calls to unify with the teahers of these egregious errors.

    Unity with the heresy of the Crossless/GES men can only be done at the expense of tramplng the biblical mandates that forbid such alliances (Rom. 16:17-18; 2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15).


  5. This morning Dr. Lance Ketchum of Disciplemaker Ministries (which I link to) posted an enlightening historical perspective to JP at Free Grace, Free Speech. I want to share his comment, which follows

    I remember debating this issue with a Professor of Evangelism from Dallas Theological Seminary back in the early 1980's at a Bible Conference. This was at the beginning of their introduction of Soteriological Reductionism known then as Only Believism. I believed then that their position was theological reactionism to Lordship salvation (and still do).

    This beginning has led many evangelicals into this broad soteriological inclusivism we see that you are addressing in this article.

    You are doing a good job in addressing and exposing this heresy.

    Your servant in Christ's service,
    Dr. Lance T. Ketchum

    (bold added)

  6. Lou/All:

    As Lordship salvation has erred by addition, GES extremism has erred by subtraction. Daniel Wilson, one of my readers who is not even Free Grace, made the following comment on the GES Heresy of "broad soteriological inclusivism":

    "I can scarcely think of a more unbiblical position this side of pantheism."

    This is the sad reality of GES soteriology.


  7. JP:

    He has it pretty well pegged.

    Others, including myself, see the Crossless gospel as being about a half-step away from full-blown Universalism.

    Again, more for resisting the calls for unity with such heretical views.


  8. Dear Guests:

    At Free Grace, Free Speech Dr. Lance Ketchum offered his book FAITH to our blog guests at a substantial savings. You can order the book at his web site, which I linked to below.

    Here is Dr. Ketchum's generous offer:

    In 2004 I wrote a book entitled FAITH intended to deal with the issues of Soteriological Reductionism. It is 24 chapters and 224 pages.

    I will send a copy to anyone requesting from your blog or Lou's blog for $4.00 plus $2.50 Postage & Handling. (This is below cost.)

  9. Lou,

    Earlier today I was running some errands and just thinking about the current issues in the Free Grace community. I realized that I am very thankful for a man like yourself who is willing to take a stand In Defense of the Gospel. Your website is a great resource to those who are concerned about these issues. I know it is not an easy ministry, and I'm thankful for your faithfulness. I know from experience that often it is not easy to be on the alert and warn not only of false teaching, but also of false teachers (Acts 20:29-31). Thank you for taking Paul's death-bed charge seriously and preaching the Word (2 Tim. 4:1-5).


  10. JP:

    That is a very encouraging note and I appreciate your sharing it with me.

    In regard to both Lordship Salvation and the Crossless gospel I can sincerely tell anyone who asks that it was not by my choice or desire that I tackled these twin assaults on the Gospel. In both cases, the Lord directed my steps and attention toward these. I was called upon by concerned believers to look at and address these issues. That is the very short version of God’s using others to draw me into the debates.

    Knowing faithfulness to the Lord and His Word is my only motivation gives me great resiliency. I can tell you that I got plenty of hot-lead coming my way from both directions, but none of it discourages or frustrates me in the least.

    For reasons only known to the Lord- He has directed me to follow His Word in regard to how believers must address LS and the Crossless gospel, both of which are contrary to God’s redemptive plan for mankind. It is this teaching, coming from genuinely born again Christians, that I have been most concerned with because the errors are not easily detected. (Acts 20:28-31; Rom. 16:17-18; 2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15)

    I never envisioned a book or a blog. I just did what I believed the Lord would have me do. IMO, they have both become, as you say, “a great resource” for concerned believers. If that is all they ever become that is enough for me. I simply have a willingness to obey the Lord no matter what the cost.

    I want to end by expressing my appreciation to you for joining with me in these important discussions. I was literally without any help at all in my debates with the advocates of Lordship Salvation.

    It is a blessing to have you and several others in our group working in a cooperative effort for the cause of Christ and in defense of the Gospel.

    Thanks again for the encouragement.

    Yours faithfully,


  11. Lou:

    You're not only a great resourse but a great "defense" as well!

    I was just thinking about Daniel's comment I quoted earlier where he said:

    "I can scarcely think of a more unbiblical position this side of pantheism."

    I had wondered why Daniel said "pantheism" instead of universalism. Then I remembered the context of the quote. Daniel was responding to my article The Heretic In Antonio. This is where I quoted Antonio affirming that a muslim woman who believes "humans are divine like Jesus, but to a lesser degree" is actually saved as long as she believes in Allah (who goes by the name "Jesus") for eternal life! Now I understand why Daniel thought of Pantheism. Daniel's comment is very insightful because it exposes the fact that the GES Heresy is a half-step away from universalism AND a half-step away from Pantheism.


  12. I haven't read all these comments, and I don't think this changes anything, but Allah is the name for God in Arabic. Some people argue that it has paganistic roots, but so does the word "God" in English and the word for God in just about every language. "Allah" is the term Arabic Christians use for God.

  13. Greg:

    This is a good insight. In the context of Antonio's comments which I quoted in my article "The Heretic In Antonio", Jeremy Myer's had clarified that:
    "God is Allah, the same god the Muslims worship." That's all I was saying.


  14. JP, I think this brings up an interesting question about whether someone coming from an Arabic or Islamic background would need to conclude that Jesus is Allah, but that Allah is a different Allah than that of Islam. This seems to be what Jeremy and Antonio were getting at, and I think it would be a trap to say that such a person could not be saved unless he made that determination.

    Before responding or quoting me on that, let me add the necessary details to what I'm saying.

    If a Muslim were to accept that Jesus is the eternal Son of Allah, he would have, by nature of that decision, dramatically changed his mind in regards to the nature of God revealed in the Koran. Therefore, he would at least implicitly believe that statements made about Allah in the Koran are untrue without necessarily coming to the conscious conclusion that the true Allah is a different Allah than that of Islam.

    This is difficult to think about as an English speaking American, so let me give you an analogy: For a Mormon to be saved, he would need to accept that Jesus is the one Son of God, Jehovah (cf. John 8:24), among other aspects of the gospel. If he accepted that, he would have changed his mind in regards to the nature of God taught in the Book of Mormon and by Mormon interpretation of the Bible. But does that mean he would need to conclude that "God" is a different being that worshiped by Mormons? I don't think so. In most cases, the new believer would simply think his prior religion made false statements about God. I think it's the same with someone coming from an Islamic background.

    -- Greg

  15. 2 Cor 11:3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

    Check the Greek. Paul is explaining that we can not depart from the simplicity of the doctrine of Christ.

    Paul calls this simplicity of doctrine "milk" and so does Peter, and so does the Author of Hebrews.

    Milk is for the unsaved, for the newborn, for all those who's minds are still carnal. We also know from Scripture that he who stays only with milk is "unskilled" in the Word.

    The Apostle's "milk", the "simplicity that is in Christ" is not higher learning for the believer.. it is not doctrine to support the person's walk to lift them up and edify them.. it is the very first thing one must be fed or you will die. Just like a mother feeds her newborn milk. Milk brings life.

    As we grow mature and become more skilled we can never depart from the simplicity of the milk though. For it is what we received, and it is what saved us. As we read in 1 Cor 15.

    Milk, the simplicity that is in Christ, the Gospel found in 1 Cor 15:1-11 is the very foundation that is laid in a believer that no other doctrine can replace or depart from.

    So Brethren, Beloved of Christ. Let us not agree with men that they can go this way or that. Let us remain faithful, and in fellowship, that we agree that consensus is false. Instead let us let God be True and every man a liar.

    God Bless,

  16. Kev,

    I appreciate your strong stand for "the Gospel found in 1 Cor 15:1-11".


  17. Greg,

    That is definately something to think about in a context of it's own. In my post "The Heretic In Antonio" I was critiquing Antonio's comment in the context of Jeremy's nine points that I listed. Besides affirming that: "7. God is Allah, the same god the Muslims worship", the muslim woman also affirmed that: "8. The Trinity is fiction…there is only one God."

    You definately bring up an interesting point wondering: "If a Muslim were to accept that Jesus is the eternal Son of Allah..." However, in the context of Jeremy's nine points the muslim woman that Antonio affirmed to be saved could not believe in god in the Biblical sense while affirming Jeremy's nine points. That's all I was saying.


  18. Greg,

    I probably should have capitalized "god" when I said: "god in the Biblical sense".


  19. Gentlemen:

    I appreciate each of your comments. Had a special family event over-the-weekend. Looking forward to what the morning brngs and sharing some thoughts with you.