September 2, 2008

The Necessity of Forbidden Fellowship

I want to express my thanks to Dr. Hixson for publishing his new book, and especially for the brief footnote section that addresses the Grace Evangelical Society’s “Crossless” interpretation of the Gospel. He has demonstrated that the Crossless gospel is not consistent with the Scriptures.

I am looking forward to the Free Grace Seminary’s
New Book on the Doctrine of Salvation titled, Free Grace Theology: A Primer on Traditional Dispensational Soteriology.

The GES interpretation of the Gospel is “
contrary to the doctrine (we) have learned” (Rom. 16:17). It is antithetical to the biblical plan of salvation. This reductionist view that originated with Zane Hodges, which is being perpetuated by the Grace Evangelical Society (GES) is the source of and reason for the necessary action of marking its advocates so that they will be avoided, especially by the unsuspecting (Rom. 16:17-18).

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.
An expanded literal translation of v. 17 could read, “Now brethren, I am admonishing and begging you to continually scrutinize the ones causing divisions and offences.” That is, we are to take note of, and point out for others, those referred to in Romans 16: 17-20 as the ones who “cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned.” Dr. Mark Minnick said,
What is this paragraph talking about? If you would look at verse 17 you will see that it is a paragraph dealing with people who are teaching contrary doctrine. . . . These are people who are teaching as truth doctrine that actually is alongside orthodoxy. They are teaching what is a contradiction to, what is the opposite of, what is antithetical to, the doctrines that are taught in the Scripture.1
Those who through false teaching cause divisions are to be marked. It is biblical to personally identify false teachers and point them out so that others may avoid them. Paul uses the word cause (poieo), meaning produce, construct, form, or fashion in reference to those who are the authors of division through their false teaching. Minnick also said,

For the sake of those whom he is leading astray or who might be led astray by him if not properly warned from the Scripture, a faithful minister of Christ must warn against that man even though he pretends to, and perhaps to an extent does, preach the gospel. At best, this is a situation in which a disobedient Christian is behaving like a false teacher. . . . But when some man is the prime instigator, promoter, and advocate of an unbiblical position, we must expose that man as we denounce the sin he is promoting.2
It would be a genuine tragedy of the Crossless gospel if even one more unsuspecting believer were to swept into these egregious errors. It would be equally tragic if any one, who understands that this is a gross departure from the Scriptures on a major doctrine, were to encourage or seek out fellowship with its prime instigators. Unity at the Price of Truth is Treason!

Until recent months the spread of the
Crossless gospel had been promoted largely unchecked. The Crossless gospel has been fully exposed and the teachers of this reductionist error identified. It is, therefore, far less likely that the GES will have many new opportunities or success spreading their interpretation of the Gospel into churches and fellowships.

I want to remind guests that the
“REDEFINED” Free Grace Theology of Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin is NOT the Gospel of Jesus Christ! The GES has consistently slid into ever increasing errors that have isolated it as an extremist fringe element in the Free Grace community.

I am grateful the obvious meaning of the Free Grace Alliance covenant has been clarified. (
Dr. Charlie Bing Affirms the FGA Covenant) Any advocate of the Crossless gospel, who is willing to be honest about his views, cannot be in agreement with the FGA covenant now that its meaning has been unmistakably clarified.

If the Free Grace community is to ever become an effective voice for the one true Gospel of Jesus Christ and effectively resist the errors of
Lordship Salvation it must cease any cooperation with and withdraw fellowship from the advocates of the Grace Evangelical Society’s Crossless gospel.
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses 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,” (Romans 16:17-18).

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. . . . 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. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother,” (2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15).
If we are to live in obedience to the Lord we must follow the biblical mandates (Rom. 16:17-18; 2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15) that forbid fellowship and cooperation with brethren who are the instigators of egregious doctrinal error. The advocates of the GES’s “Crossless” gospel are without any question “prime instigators” of reductionist error on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Where does your first loyalty lie; to friends and fellowships, or to the Lord?


1. The Scriptural Response To Teachers of Doctrinal Error, a sermon recorded November, 1997 at the Mid-America Conference on Preaching.
2. Ibid.


  1. Lou,

    Yes, our first loyalty is to the Word of God, not friends and fellowships. We must faithfully "mark and avoid" (Rom. 16:17) those who have redefined the glorious gospel of salvation.


  2. JP:

    Thanks for the reiteration of my notes.

    It is nothing new, but a sad fact that there are many who, for reasons of friendship and past fellowship, will NOT obey the biblical mandates when the need to is obvious and warranted.


  3. Dear Guests:

    I appreciate and understand how difficult a decision it can be to withdraw from a fellow believer. I have written a brief addendum to this article and I will post it on Sunday morning.


  4. Dear Guests:

    I was trying not to go with what is to follow, but I have been reading what is an on-going and obvious attempt to redefine and/or reinterpret a passage of Scripture from its clear and obvious meaning. This is taking place at the pro-Crossless gospel blog, Rose’s Reasonings* and it is Rose who is attempting to redefine Romans 16:17.

    Rose is highly sympathetic toward the Crossless gospel and very defensive when it comes to scrutiny of the teaching of Crossless gospel advocates, especially her blog partners.

    In her article Rose raised a question about the nature of Romans 16:17. She proposes two possible interpretations of the passage. That obvious meaning of Rom. 16:17 has been defined by theologically balanced commentators for centuries. I have reiterated that nearly universal interpretation of Rom. 16:17 in this brief article. I gave this a full treatment in my Heart to Heart series.

    In the thread at Rose’s blog I appreciated the comments by two men who made sincere attempts to show Rose what is the meaning of the passage and its application. Following is an abbreviated example from one of those men, which I believe is most faithful to the Inspired text.

    From a grammatical perspective, I am coming to believe that ‘contrary’ can only be referring to ‘divisions and offenses.’ If it were referring to the ‘them,’ there would be a being verb between ‘which’ and ‘contrary.’ This does not appear in either the Greek or the English.

    I believe the interpretation that is truest to the text must be that we are to mark those whose ‘divisions and offences’ are ‘beside’ (and thus outside the scope of and contrary) to the doctrine that the believers had learned from Paul. In my opinion, we would have to grammatically and theologically skew the interpretation to make it say otherwise.

    The GES’s Gospel is “contrary to the doctrine that the believers had learned from Paul.” It is antithetical to the biblical plan of salvation.

    I am hopeful Rose will accept the obvious meaning of Romans 16:17 and make the application to those men who through teaching the “contrary” doctrine of the Crossless gospel has been the cause of “divisions and offences” in the body of Christ.

    To date, however, Rose insists that the teaching of a Crossless gospel is mere “theory,” and/or an acceptable “doctrinal nuance.” This view is of course wrong, but I am hopeful she will one day be recovered from accepting and defending the GES’s reductionist assault on the Gospel and Person of Jesus Christ.

    If we are going to be loyal to the Word of God first and put Him ahead of our blog partners, friends and fellowships the meaning of the Rom. 16:17 is clear. I make the application of the biblical mandate in Rom. 16:17 to Lordship Salvation and the Crossless Gospel.

    It is never right to disarm a passage of it obvious meaning to avoid obeying the biblical mandate that is there!


    *I typically do not link to blogs/sites that are supportive of and/or present heretical views of the Gospel. This is my way of protecting the unsuspecting from error. Rose’s Reasonings is highly supportive of the heretical Crossless gospel and its advocates. I may convert this to a lead article.

  5. Why everyone continues to take the bait and go over there has to do with impulse. Everyone needs to learn to let it go. She will continue to do this as long as she gets these responses out of everyone. She knows how to pull the chain boo and it is best to move on. These kind of tactics at the expense of scripture. Not gonna fall for it. Not going over there.

    Grace upon grace,


  6. Brian:

    Thanks and I appreciate your concern.

    Our group does not interact with the advocates of the Crossless heresy. This issue provided an object lesson of what NOT to do with the Scriptures, especially when friends are involved. That is why I referenced it.


  7. Thanks Lou. I understand, but they continue to do this with other scriptures....yet I understand why this specifically would disturb you.

    2 Peter 3:15-16

    Grace upon grace,


  8. Lou, why is it that you quote from Rose's blog and yet refuse to allow her to comment here in defense?

  9. Missy:

    Thanks for asking, but you should have asked privately so that I could have kept this off the thread.

    Rose is on record at her blog in defense of the Crossless gospel, its advocates, including sympathy toward the gross ethical lapses of certain persons in the Crossless camp.

    I am not welcome at her blog and the restriction is mutual. If she has something to say about my articles or person she is more than welcome to do so from her own blog. She has been doing it all along, but does not disclose names.

    The reductionist teaching of Hodges has corrupted the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To lend that teaching and/or those who teach it any support is IMO a violation of the biblical mandates to mark, avoid and withdraw from such who through their “contrary doctrine” sow “divisions and offences” in the body of Christ.

    I am hopeful and praying that Rose will be recovered from the unfortunate results of her close support of and friendship with the Crossless gospel advocates.