I am noting a trend that is being perpetuated by Don Reiher of the Grace Evangelical Society (GES). Don Reiher has posted comments at a pro-Crossless gospel blog. IMO, he is laying ground work for the erroneous idea that there is really very little difference in doctrinal positions between the GES/ Crossless interpretation of the Gospel with the rest of the Free Grace community that has rejected the GES Gospel.
Reiher suggests that the doctrinal controversy is over nothing more than a misunderstanding and/or miscommunication of what Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin are teaching. He goes on to suggest that the problem may simply be a problem with the teaching style of Zane Hodges.
Reiher wrote that people should be, “…having private conversations with Bob and Zane. It takes more than an hour conversation to clear things up.”
First, Hodges and Wilkin have already refused to meet with FG leaders for “private conversations.” In October 2007 the Free Grace Alliance (FGA) proposed a private academic meeting so that the differing doctrinal views of the Gospel could be discussed. Hodges, Wilkin, and Stephen Lewis were invited. All three refused to participate! While, from the opposing view, Pastors Stegall and Rokser were more than happy to accept the invitation and make a commitment to participate. The FGA’s proposed roundtable discussion was canceled due to lack of interest on the part of any GES gospel representative to attend.
Second, if it is true that it takes, “more than an hour conversation to clear things up,” then Hodges and Wilkin are either incredibly poor communicators of their interpretation of the Gospel, or what they are communicating is unthinkable.
Reiher has also claimed that he is going to transcribe Zane Hodges’ 1999 two part series How to Lead to Men to Christ. Why is Reiher going to the trouble of transcribing Hodges’s teaching on this subject that is already available in print? (See- How To Lead People to Christ, Part 1 & 2 at the JOTGES). Why does he need to analyze the message and the style of Hodges’s teaching? Has the teaching of Hodges been beyond the ability of Free Grace pastors and teachers to comprehend and/or understand? Does Hodges teach in such a way that his views cannot be properly understood unless they are reinterpreted by a reviewer who is sympathetic to Hodges and employed by the GES?
IMO the problem Reiher is up against is that in the eyes of those with allegiance to Hodges and Wilkin, they (Hodges/Wilkin) CANNOT possibly mean what they mean, because that would be wrong. Therefore, we will see Reiher attempt to redefine and reposition the GES Gospel to give it the appearance of orthodoxy.
Let me caution every reader not to give these assertions by Reiher any credibility whatsoever. These are veiled attempts to find some way to reposition the GES and its egregious errors on the Gospel as if they never departed the mainstream of Free Grace Theology.
The GES Gospel of Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin has been exposed through their own writing and thoroughly refuted from the Scriptures. The advocates of the GES Gospel have no answers to the biblical refutation of their views. Pastor Dennis Rokser’s series The Issue of Incongruity has removed any lingering doubt about the untenable teaching of the Crossless gospel. The Crossless gospel is a reductionist, non-saving view that is wholly antithetical to the Scriptures.
Hodges invented and Wilkin has perpetuated a heretical view of the Gospel. It must be rejected and its advocates marked and avoided. That is the biblically mandated course of action (Rom. 16:17-18; 2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15).
There are several articles I have written that demonstrate the biblical cautions and mandates that forbid tolerance for and acceptance of teaching that is antithetical to Scripture. For your review I suggest these articles…
Perverse Things Draw Away Disciples
How Do I Address False Teaching From The Brethren?
Unity at the Price of Truth is Treason!
I am going to close with exactly what Hodges and Wilkin are “REALLY saying,” which is the crux of the doctrinal controversy. Hodges and Wilkin insist that the lost man does not have to be aware of, know, understand or believe in the deity and/or death and resurrection of Christ, but can still be born again. Anyone who say this is not what they are teaching is either patently dishonest, perpetrating a cover up or delusional.
There is no “communication breakdown” among the major figures in the debate. In his new book Getting the Gospel Wrong, J. B. Hixson got it exactly right.
In recent years, some theologians have departed from the biblical view of the gospel by suggesting that one can believe in Jesus for eternal life without explicit knowledge that He died and rose again for one’s sins. For these theologians, knowledge of Christ’s death and resurrection as a payment for one’s sins is optional as part of the content of saving faith.Has there been a “communication breakdown” in regard to the teaching of a Crossless gospel from Hodges and/or Wilkin? No! These men are on public record with the views that are easily understood to mean the lost can be saved apart from knowing understanding or believing in the deity, death or resurrection of Christ.
The view that one can believe in Jesus for eternal life without knowing that He died and rose again has been variously termed the “crossless gospel,” the “promise-only gospel,” the “contentless gospel,” the “minimalist gospel,” and the “refined gospel.” This view is being propagated primarily by the Grace Evangelical Society (www.faithalone.org) and such notable theological scholars as Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin and John Niemela (www.mol316.com), to name a few. Their self-labeled view of the gospel is termed the “refined view,” indicating that the accepted view of the gospel throughout two thousand years of church history has been incorrect and that they have now provided a long-overdue corrective. Hodges refers to the traditional view of the gospel, as including the death and resurrection of Christ, as “flawed.” Cf. Zane C. Hodges, “How to Lead People to Christ, Pt.2,” Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society 14 (Spring 2001): 9–18. Hodges elsewhere states, “The simple truth is that Jesus can be believed for eternal salvation apart from any detailed knowledge of what He did to provide it.” Ibid., p. 12. See also Zane C. Hodges, “How to Lead People to Christ, Pt.1,” Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society 13 (Autumn 2000): 3–12, emphasis added. (Getting the Gospel Wrong, pp. 152-153.)