October 12, 2008

ReDux on Rose’s, “We Just Can’t Know?”

Dear Guests:

Last week I asked Rachel to weigh in on the discussion her husband Stephen initiated in his article KnetKnight’s Reasoning on Rose: We Just Can’t Know?

I asked Rachel for her input because she has spent considerable time in personal interaction with Rose over issues related to the GES’s Crossless gospel and its most extreme advocates. Rachel has posted her comments in the original thread, KnetKnight’s Reasoning on Rose: We Just Can’t Know? Don't miss Rachel's note on how Bob Wilkin would witness to a Jehovah's Witness (JW) especially what is conspicuous by its absence.

Because of the importance of this issue, Rose’s compromised rather than balanced stance in regard to the reductionist extremes of Zane Hodges’s “REDEFINED” Free Grace Theology and Rachel’s special insight I have reprinted her (Rachel’s) extend comment here for your consideration.

I know this is a late comment on this thread, but Lou mentioned in an earlier comment that he wanted me to comment on this topic.

I did interact with Rose fairly extensively sometime ago on the subject of the “
Crossless Gospel.” I found that Rose treated my points essentially the same way she treats Antonio’s points - effectively silence. My opinion (and that’s all it is, just an opinion), is that Rose simply cannot answer either side’s points, for whatever reason. It seems to me that when she reads Antonio, she can’t think of a solid response, yet when she reads those on our side, she also can’t think of a response. So she has decided that since everyone (supposedly) preaches the same truths to the lost anyway, and that therefore the lost will believe those same truths anyway, that it doesn’t really make any difference, so why fight over it.

I think that the biggest issue for Rose is in the “
exceptions.” I think she feels she simply cannot be dogmatic about saying that the cross and resurrection are absolutely necessary, because, what about a child, what about a mentally disabled person, what about some rare, weird scenario of someone dying halfway through the Jesus story, etc. I think these “exceptions” combined with the CG folks’ constant refrains of “we always preach the cross” have allowed her to adopt this apathetic position.

The problem is that this issue actually
does make a significant difference. I noted this at Rose's blog in a thread from about a year ago where Rose was asking for help in coming to a decision on this issue. Here’s what I said regarding whether or not the content of the gospel matters:
This discussion is not by any means a ‘moot point’'. Not when we have Jeremy Myers thinking his daughter was saved at the age of 2 (!) simply because she (supposedly) believed Jesus could take her to heaven. Not when we have Bob Wilkin telling a JW’s mother that she only needs to be concerned about getting her JW son to believe that Jesus can give him eternal life apart from his works,* and she need not ‘get into all that [erroneous JW doctrines]’.
(Note: I personally witnessed, and have access to a recording of the interaction of Wilkin and the JW’s mom at our church - the mom attends our church.)

Oddly enough, even Antonio agrees with us that this issue is important, rather than “
moot” or unnecessary. He has, of course, tried to backpedal on that, but his words are written in public for all to see, and I actually agree (at least in principle) with what he has said regarding the importance of this.

I don’t normally have any reason to quote Antonio, but in this case I think his words illustrate two good reasons why this issue matters so much,
even through his errors. On another forum a few years ago, someone named “Tyler” said the exact thing Rose is now saying, that it doesn’t really matter because all our gospel presentations include the cross and resurrection anyway, etc. Here is part of Antonio’s response:
Hi Tyler,

I humbly disagree with you concerning it being ‘moot’ and only interesting theologically for I can enumerate several factors why it is important:

1) Child evangelism is one practical ramification. How much does a child have to understand about ‘substitutionary’ atonement, Jesus being God, or the son of God, etc... What exactly must be known, what exact contents to the object must be exactly known, that will be the difference between eternal life, and almost knowing enough?

Simple faith in Jesus is the key! Believe in Jesus and you will live forever with Him.

‘Unless you become like children...’

2) Another is the issue of evangelizing ‘Christian’ cults. Biblical Christianity is the only religion in the world where works do not in some way contribute to ultimate salvation. In most Christian cults, they refer to the Bible for their doctrine (among other places). They refer to the same Jesus as we do but with misconceptions few or many. The primary purpose of evangelism is to get the individual born into God’s family, thus starting a relationship with God, and starting a true knowledge of Him. The primary aim in evangelism is to get the potential convert to the place where he entrusts his/her eternal well-being to Jesus. At that moment the individual is saved and those dozen or more concommitant gifts (indwelling, sealing, every spiritual blessing in Christ, etc) are imparted to the new convert.

If this new convert is determinate to seek out God and His knowledge and puts forth the effort, he WILL grow in his understanding. The Word will open up to him in a new way, and through time and growth, many of the old misconceptions will be cleared up.

We need to get them saved then encourage them in proper theology. We need to get them saved and then disciple them. Once the Holy Spirit is in their hearts, He can do His job through time and the Word.
Of course I disagree with Antonio’s points, but it clearly illustrates the significant difference our views make in how we approach such people. It is one thing to wonder about “exceptions.” But children and members of groups such as JW’s and Mormons can hardly be labeled “exceptions.”

So Rose’s contention that this is a “doctrinal nuance” is simply indefensible! Yet for some reason(s) Rose is unwilling to explore the issue any further at this point. Perhaps she is the type of person who, when confronted or forced into a corner, has a tendency to push back merely for the sake of pushing back as a sort of defensive posture. But when given time to dwell on it on her own, without pressure, she may be more willing to come to a particular conclusion.

I do think there is a point where there is only so much that can be said and done, and a person must be left in God’s hands. We must do our best, but we cannot change every mind and convince every person. There is only so much that can be done, and for me personally, I feel that Rose is at that point. She began to refuse to interact with me on the issue or to answer my questions, so I cannot force her to answer. If she is done, then she is done, and there’s not much more I can do about it. If she wants answers, she knows where to find them.


*Is there any doubt that Wilkin and Hodges have stripped the deity, death and resurrection from the content of saving faith. I also note that Wilkin did not tell the JW’s mother to present the cross, resurrection or deity of Christ to her unsaved son. Why? I believe Antonio da Rosa (Sock Puppet: fg me) best speaks the answer for the GES’s Crossless & Deityless gospel: “Believe Christ’s Promise and You are Saved, No Matter What Misconceptions You Hold.”
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.” I will discuss with him Jesus’ ability to impart eternal life by faith alone apart from works. This is where I want to zero in with the JW or the Mormon. They believe that salvation comes by faith AND works, and LOTS of works (not unsimilar to the Traditionalist religion).

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.
From Antonio’s How I Might Do Evangelism With a Jewish Man,
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 (Christ’s deity) on the back-burner. Can I show you from the Jewish Scriptures that the advent of Jesus Christ fulfills many prophecies?’”
And finally Antonio’s astonishing statement, “The Mormon Jesus and Evangelical Jesus are One and the Same.”

Please Note: Because of the importance of Rachel’s input on Rose and the Crossless gospel I have rescheduled Greg Schliesmann’s critique of Zane Hodges’s Hydra’s Head article to begin on Wednesday morning.


  1. Rachel:

    You wrote, “So Rose’s contention that this is a ‘doctrinal nuance’ is simply indefensible! Yet for some reason(s) Rose is unwilling to explore the issue any further at this point.”

    I agree with your notes above, but I think this goes deeper with Rose.

    She has gone further than stating the Crossless gospel is a “doctrinal nuance.” She has said it (the CG) is a mere “theory.” More concerning than these is that her most recent expression is the Crossless gospel is a, “difference of opinion that is acceptable.”

    Stating that the CG is “acceptable” indicates IMO far more than simple indecision.

    I think her use of “doctrinal nuance” may be a smoke screen to cover that she may have already embraced the reductionist heresy from Zane Hodges and his extremist followers, her blog partners. “Doctrinal nuance” is another way of saying, “we all believe essentially the same thing, so let’s not worry about whether or not the Gospel is under siege.” This is the ecumenical sprit of compromise that Rose has shown for months.

    She has been calling for cooperation and fellowship with the teachers of the Crossless/Deityless gospel at the expense of compromise with their assault on the Gospel. The only way this is not ecumenism is if she has embraced the CG and is unwilling to come out openly for it.

    In any event, Rose is a potential danger to any one who she crosses paths with in the blogs. Rose frequently invites new acquaintances to visit her blog and Unashamed. What happens, unfortunately, is that this then puts people right at the door step of her Crossless gospel blog partners. These GES extremists at her blogs she cooperates with will then try to induce "through good words and fair speeches" (Rom. 16:17-18) and possibly “deceive” these visitors to accept their reductionist heresy.

    When we have Rose claiming Hodges’s heresy is, “a difference of opinion that is acceptable,” you can be sure she will happily encourage them to accept the teaching of Hodges and thereby some who may be deceived will have been doctrinally ruined.

    That is a tragedy of the Crossless gospel and a tragedy of the ecumenical spirit I am seeing in Rose’s interactions in regard to the teaching of Hodges, Wilkin, the GES and what’s left of its shrinking extremist membership.


  2. To All:

    Rose has posted some comment at Kev's blog On My Walk. I posted a note to her at Kev's blog that was prompted by what I read she had just written to the most extreme of the Crossless gospel apologists. What follows is my note to Rose, which I wanted to have on record here as well.


    In a Bible college chapel I heard a preacher say to the students, “You show me your friends and I’ll show you what you are now, or what you soon will be.

    When you were first exposed to the Crossless gospel (CG) and Antonio da Rosa in particular you were challenging and questioning his egregious teachings. Over time, however, you grew increasingly silent in your objections and concerns. You came to the point of not just becoming a friend of this teacher of doctrinal errors, you joined him in a cooperative effort in your group blogs. Of course, da Rosa was delighted that you provided a new venue for him (and his partners) to sow the Internet with seeds of the Crossless gospel’s assaults on the Person and work of Jesus Christ.

    Then we began to read your suggesting the CG is mere, “theory…nuance of doctrine and a difference opinion that is acceptable.” Over time you have strengthened your resolve to sympathize with, support and defend the heresy of the CG and the behavior of its most extreme apologists.

    When you first encountered these reductionist heresies you would have done better to follow the biblical mandates to “avoid” these teachers of “contrary” doctrine who introduce “divisions and offences” (Rom. 16:17) wherever they take their Crossless gospel, which thankfully they are finding fewer venues to spread their reductionist heresies.

    Dr. Ernest Pickering wrote: “It is not a mark of graciousness to allow false teaching to be propagated.” By allowing CG apologists space and your protection at your blog you allow false teaching to be propagated.

    My fear has been, and I have shared this with you in public and private. If you kept this fellowship and cooperation with them up long enough you would eventually go beyond the tragic fall you have already suffered by believing and supporting the CG’s reductionist teaching as if it is a mere “difference of opinion that is acceptable,” and crash land into accepting their errors as if they are a genuinely biblical position on the content of saving faith. Well, this weekend Rose you publicly disclosed that you have taken another giant step in that direction.

    IMO, Rose you are on the brink of fully embracing the teachings of GES on the Gospel. Below is your on-line comment to Antonio that you posted this weekend. I will let it speak for you.

    ***BEGIN***Antonio, I finally had a moment to think and contemplate...and therefore I read your post very carefully. You have communicated the track that your understanding of this issue comes down quite well, my brother! I must admit, previous to all these discussions, I had not analyzed very thoroughly what I thought the “content of saving faith” was at all and this has all forced me to do that. This is a good thing! The more I think about all of this, the more I do not believe this should be such a troublesome issue. You are really not all that controversial. BUT: I know others have a different opinion than me on that. You make your case very well. I think if I remember correctly, I had a difficulty agreeing with you on what it means to believe that Jesus is the Christ. You had a very simple explanation -if my memory serves me- and my explanation for what it means is a little less “defined” shall we say.***END***

    That is very revealing and a sad indication of what has happened to you, which is continuing to succumb to the reductionism of advocates of the CG whom you choose to befriended, defend and cooperate with.

    Rose, you surely remember JP’s warning (before he began to tread the trail you have trod toward fellowship with the advocates of the Crossless heresy) to you in the thread under, Is This Heresy?

    By defending da Rosa, you (Rose) are defending ‘doctrines of demons’, ‘myths’, and heresy. As the apostle Paul pleaded with the Galatian Christians concerning their acceptance of a perverted gospel, I plead with you: ‘O foolish Christian, who has bewitched you’?”

    Stephen Stark wrote an article that was IMO a very helpful read on your ecumenical approach to what is obviously the most extreme form of reduction heresy against the Gospel ever introduced to the NT church by one of its own, namely Zane Hodges and the GES. His article is titled, Reasoning on Rose: “We Just Can't Know?”

    In conclusion Rose, you are a stark example of what becomes of the person who chooses ecumenical compromise with believers who are the prime instigators of extreme doctrinal errors. Unity at expense of Scripture. The Word of God forbids such an unholy alliance and should never be dismissed for the sake of friendship.

    Remember the chapel message, “You show me your friends and I’ll show you what you are now, or what you soon will be.

    Tragically, you are a stark illustration of that telling statement. You either have already become or are very close to becoming in doctrine exactly what your CG friends are: heretics of the first order. If you have not already embraced the CG you are teetering on the precipice of falling into the trap of the CG.

    Please, turn back before you are lost to Hodges’s assault on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.