August 27, 2008

Ron Shea: Comment From Pakistan

Dear Guests:

Ron Shea is out of the country. Today, he was able to look in, but only through a dial-up. He asked me to post the following, which I also posted in both threads of his two part series. You may react to the note below in either of the threads or in this. Brother Shea also mentioned that he will participate in the discussion threads upon his return in September.

I am gratified to learn that Zane continues to teach the concept of saving repentance, even if he no longer uses the word in that sense. I am not hung up on words, but the meaning we ascribe to them. And if Zane still teaches a man must renounces all confidence in his dead works to embrace Christ in a saving way, then I have no quarrel with Zane on that level.

I am currently in Pakistan, and have spent yesterday and today going through every verse in Scripture on repentance. (We have a few to go, but are almost done.) Today was dedicated to saving repentance. There were 32 of them. No personal axe to grind. Just taking the most likely interpretation of each verse based on the language and contextual markers. All were over the 50% mark, or I would not have thrown them in that bin. Some were weak, and just barely over 50%, and some were about as clearly dealing with eternal salvation as one could imagine.

I remember one of the free grace arguments is that about 180 times in Scripture, faith is presented as the sole requirement for salvation, and that to refute the free grace position, someone would need to successfully address all of those verses. The same argument is used for unlimited atonement.

Well, the same argument must be considered for saving repentance. 32 verses (ranging from 51% to 99.9%) must be explained in some other fashion.

But, either way, glad to hear that Zane still holds to a clear teaching on the requirement for saving repentance, even if not as related to the word “repent.”



  1. Lou -- wow!

    People are communicating, even if behind the scenes. Yay! This is so great, and also so sad both at the same time! How many times might this happen again? One person in one direction and another person toward another; I mean here is Dr. Shea with this latest obvious commitment to study it afresh-what more could one ask for? Is it possible that there are other miscommunications happening between the two sides? I think it is highly possible. And the love and gratitude will flow toward our brother once more. Delight will abound when we find out what truly separated us... the "oops!" of just being human.

    We should be desperate to let the other guy say for himself what he is saying. It works wonders in marriage, too! :)

    I cannot wait for a free grace forum, where the communication will be full, passionate, honest, and foremost above all, obeying the command to love, which in part says:

    "love hopes all things"


  2. Michele:

    There have been multiple attempts to get Hodges and Wilkin to openly discuss their views and they REFUSE. They have been approached by FGA leadership and refused to participate in an academic panel to iron the controversy out.

    Wilkin deleted two major articles with discussion threads at his own GES blog to cover up the doctrinal controversy.

    Wilkin was clamoring through summer 2007 for an open debate. Ps. Stegall and Rokser decline, but when Ron Shea accepted the challenge Wilkin lost his nerve for the debate. At his GES blog he posted his expected refusal to meet Ron. Within two hours Wilkin deleted his public refusal because it was filled with libelous and defamatory remarks against Ron. Similar remarks were first posted at my blog by a fairly well-known GES sympathizer using an alias. Those remarks with date, time stamp and the professionally verified identity of that man is on file.

    Read the three Open Debate articles.

    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 has been pressed for all along. 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?

    As I mentioned above the FGA arranged for the academic panel to take place and no one in the Crossless camp would agree to participate. So, any lack of communication has been on the part of the GES faction of the Free Grace movement.

    There is no misunderstanding of what the heresy of the Hodges, Wilkin GES “Crossless” gospel is. That has been fully defined and biblically refuted. The Crossless gospel is a reductionist assault on the Gospel and Person of Christ.

    Why don’t you write Hodges and Wilkin and ask if they will agree to meet with the FGA men to discuss the GES interpretation of the Gospel. Ask if they will do so in a private environment with men like Fred Lybrand, J. B. Hixson, Dennis Rokser and Tom Stegall. Ask the if they will agree to discuss the issue under these terms:

    “In the present dispensation, what is the content of saving faith?” and/or 
“In the present dispensation, is a belief in Jesus’ divinity, His atoning death, and/or His resurrection necessary for faith in Jesus to constitute saving faith?”

    When and if they reply I’d be happy to let you report back here with their agreement or refusal. Please, ask them if they will agree to meet and openly discuss their views of the Gospel with the men I suggested.


    PS: I want to give you fair warning: Do not suggest, in any future comment, there has been a lack of honesty in the debates from those of us who reject the Crossless gospel.

  3. BTW, aside from an open discussion/debate there are many, many examples from the pen of Hodges, Wilkin and GES that verify their view of the Gospel. It is from these public records that any objective reader who has not yet been deceived by the teachings of Hodges that the Crossless gospel is a radical departure from biblical orthodoxy.

    The Hodges followers actually believe that the NT church never a right understanding of the Gospel until Hodges clarified it for everyone else with his reductionism.

    May I suggest you go to the Grace Family Journal.

    Click on the series The Tragedy of the “Crossless” Gospel to download the PDF files. There are scores of quotes from Hodges, Wilkin, etc that demonstrating their Crossless/Deityless message is heretical.


  4. Lou,

    Thank you for the reply.

    A good place to start is here: what are the expectations? That men be sinless? That's not likely to happen. That men wouldn't make any mistakes? That's not likely either. I know you tried. I can tell. I just want to know if either you or they keep recounting efforts in the past will it prevent a chance for improvement tomorrow?

    Honesty, I have never and will never deride. There is no way in my mind any man could have attained a place of fellowship and teaching without having known and walked with the LORD for many years. I see you as the LORD sees you. Dr. Shea has impressed me by his willingness to share. That's the kind of stuff, that turns heads. That's the kind of stuff that makes me want to follow.

    Walking with the LORD does not preclude imperfection. And that is where there is room for gain.

    Thanks, Michele

    P.S., I've read all those articles given me on the fractured dialogue....

  5. Michele:

    While I appreciate your participation you have made clear that you have no intention of answering the question I posed to you earlier. At least not a clear, unvarnished answer to a simple unambiguous question.

    My question was, “Do you believe a cultist, who openly rejects the deity of Christ, who believes that Jesus is the half-brother of Satan, can be born again no matter what misconceptions and beliefs he has about Jesus?”

    Looker was able to answer with “no,” answer. You, on the other hand, run rabbit trails around and away from it much like the Crossless advocates do when faced with a question that exposes their views for the theological errors that they represent.

    I tell you how Hodges and Wilkin dodged opportunities to meet with the men who reject their Crossless gospel, encouraged you to ask them if they would be willing to meet men like Hixson and Lybrand, and you run a whole new rabbit trail in your latest post.

    I quote Hodges proving his interpretation of the Gospel is, in fact, “Crossless.” You ignore this.

    I think the time has come for you to carry on a discussion elsewhere. I can’t abide trying to interact with someone who dodges a simple question, talks around or away from the crux of the doctrinal controversy and ignores the evidence of a Crossless gospel form its own advocates.

    I am hopeful you will not become another casualty of the GES’s “Crossless” gospel.