October 17, 2008

Zane Hodges, “Legalism is Not a Very Nice Word.” (Part 2)

Dear Guests:

We continue with Greg Schliesmann’s second installment from his series critiquing Zane Hodges’s The Hydra’s Other Head: Theological Legalism.

Lack of Exegetical Evidence to Date
In the Spring of 2007, the Grace Family Journal published an article by Tom Stegall titled The Tragedy of the “Crossless” Gospel that sounded the alarm against Hodges’s new message of salvation. The article introduced the issue that Hodges teaches a message of salvation that does not deem the cross or Deity of Christ as essential. The article demonstrated the novelty of Hodges teaching in light of the historical Free Grace position. Supporters of Hodges responded with indignation that a criticism was leveled prior to extensive exegesis.

The only exegetical attempt Hodges has made to support his “Crossless gospel” view was published by the Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society in his articles How to Lead a Person to Christ, parts 1 and 2.

Hodges argued that a person could indeed receive eternal life through faith in Jesus without believing that Jesus is “the Son of God.” His foundational exegetical argument was based on the conversion of the Samaritans in John 4. His argument was exposed as negligent in my articles The Christ Under Siege, parts 1 and 2.

Ironically, Hodges and his followers who vehemently protested the label “Crossless gospel” given to their position before, they claimed, sufficient exegesis was provided by opponents of their position. It is hard not to notice Hodges’s hypocrisy.

More importantly, Hodges's article is full of incredible, sweeping claims about Scripture with absolutely no exegesis or serious biblical support or consideration of any kind. We will examine some of these claims later in this article.

How Do You Know the Content of Saving Faith?
Hodges raises the epistemological question, “how do you know?” in regards to what constitutes the content of saving faith. Hodges argues, “who determines which theological doctrines are necessary for eternal salvation? The Bible, we are told. Who then determines what the definitive list contains? The answer, of course, boils down to this: the theological legalist himself!”

Interestingly, Hodges uses the exact same epistemological argument often made by Roman Catholics against Protestants who uphold the sufficiency and ultimate authority of Scripture.[8] Catholics apologists use the argument in regards to knowing the canon of Scripture, interpretation of passages, and doctrines. And just like the Roman Catholics, Hodges raises a question he really cannot solve himself. In fact, as we will see, Hodges unwittingly exalts himself as a sort of authority apart from whom the Church would have never discovered the saving message!

The very premise that “all Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for doctrine” warrants the consideration of “all Scripture” when examining any spiritual question. Paul wrote to Timothy:

“...that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” 2Timothy 3:15-17

Whatever view we hold should be harmonious with the sum of Scripture. If it does not, we must be willing to allow Scripture to correct our view.

In fact, few Biblical doctrines could be substantiated or entirely defined if we were confined to defining them based solely upon a “single space” in Scripture. Does that mean all such doctrines run into the same epistemological problem? Does Hodges also believe we cannot “know” the doctrine of the Trinity because it is not defined in a single space? I am not claiming the doctrine of the Trinity is necessary for salvation; but why would there be an epistemological difference in defining a Biblical doctrine that is not necessary for salvation from one that is?

Furthermore, where does the Bible state that the contents of saving faith must be specifically enumerated in a single space? If it does not state that, how do we know such a standard exists? For that matter, where do we find Hodges’s view enumerated in a single space? We are told John 6:47 or 11:25-27, for example.[9] However, both of these verses describe the result of believing in Christ, but neither of them in themselves describe the necessary content of believing in Christ. In fact, John 6:47 does not even mention the name “Jesus,” which Crossless gospel advocates actually insist is a necessary component. Nor does John 6:47 by itself prove “everlasting life” defines the content of belief in Christ rather than simply the result.[10] The Crossless gospel advocate then resorts to the very procedure he condemns: combining verses, or worse yet, giving further explanation to a verse.

Hodges’s contention that the contents of saving faith must be fully defined in a single space imposes an extra-Biblical standard. That’s actually legalism. At the very least, Hodges is condemned by the same standard he imposes on others. The Bible does not tell us the contents of saving faith must be detailed in a single space nor does it tell us what space that is. So how does Hodges know what space that is? The answer boils down to this: Hodges himself! As a matter of fact, Hodges may very well be the very first person in Church history to conclude: 1) the content of saving faith is completely detailed in a single verse; or 2) that verse is John 6:47. If the legitimacy of Hodges’s epistemological approach is so self-evident, then why is Hodges the first person in 1900 years of Church history to reach this conclusion?

When Hodges claims to have found the saving message detailed in a single space, he actually ignores multitudes of verses both inside and outside the Gospel of John.

For example, Paul claims he was commissioned to preach “the gospel” (1Cor. 1:17), which is “the message of the cross” (1Cor. 1:18), which is the same message the lost must believe in order to be saved (1Cor. 1:18, 21).

It is difficult to see how this single passage, as one example, does not contradict everything Hodges has argued. It should raise a red flag that perhaps his underlying assumptions are wrong.

We do not solve the epistemological question by casting off dozens of verses that clearly state the lost must believe “the Gospel” to be saved (see my article on The Technical Meaning of the term, “THE GOSPEL.”)

When one notices descriptions of “the Gospel” (e.g. 1Cor. 1:17-23; 15:1-4; 2Cor. 4:3-4; Gal. 1:6-9; 2:16, 21; Rom. 1:1-4, 16; 10:16); statements that identify the true object of faith (1John 4:3; 5:5-6) as opposed to a false Jesus Christ (cf. 2Cor. 11:6;) and statements about what the lost must believe to be saved (e.g. John 6:53; 8:24; Acts 13:40; 1Corinthians 1:17-23; Rom. 4:4-5; 24-25; 10:9; 2Thes. 1:8), he will notice the consistency on the fact that the message of salvation centers on the Person of Jesus Christ--namely His identity as the “Son of God” incarnate--and the accomplishment of Jesus Christ on the cross--namely that He died for our sins and rose again so that salvation is guaranteed through faith in Him alone.

Many Scriptural points could be added that confirm this same message. The fact of the Bible’s consistency on this matter and the way in which these verses harmonize with each other happens to reflect itself in the general unity throughout history among the normal Free Grace position and historical grace-oriented position about what constitutes the Gospel.

Believers can take heart. The Bible is not an endless maze. It is a fixed revelation, which God limited to the exact truth He wanted us to know (Deuteronomy 29:29). To suggest a truth cannot be known unless it is limited to a “single space” within Scripture is truly a faithless position.

Greg Schliesmann

[8] For an example of the same epistemological argument used by a Catholic apologist, see “The Practical Problems of Sola Scriptura

[9] Hodges, “
How to Lead a Person to Christ, Part 1: The Content of our Message,” JOTGES (Autumn 2000):

[10] John 6:47 states “
He who believes in Me has everlasting life.” “Everlasting life” is the result of believing in Jesus, but it cannot be logically proven that this verse makes it part of the content of saving faith. The same logical reasoning, which confuses the result with the condition, would then require “rivers of living water” (i.e. “The Holy Spirit”) to be essential to the content of saving faith in John 7:37-39 and not abiding in darkness essential to the content of saving faith in John 12:46. If everlasting life is part of the essential content of saving faith, it must be shown in combination with other verses.

Greg Schliesmann’s critique of Hodges’s polarizing Hydra’s Head article continues in Part 3 of his series.



  1. That was a very good article. Many good facts presented!

  2. Excellent. I appreciate bro. Schliesmann's work. This makes it very clear, especially regarding the issue of content & result. God Bless.

  3. Greg,

    Your article makes some very salient points, especially regarding the old "one passage" canard. Many of us have also pointed out this ridiculous claim by Hodges and others. This idea that the content of the gospel MUST be contained within one verse or passage was invented and is held solely by Hodges and his group. No other Bible teacher/student or scholar would place such an unnecessary restriction on any view. As you said, "In fact, few Biblical doctrines could be substantiated or entirely defined if we were confined to defining them based solely upon a 'single space' in Scripture."

    Additionally, you make a good point that I also made in my review, that Hodges' view doesn't even pass his own test. I have pointed this out to several CG advocates, and none of them have been able to answer it. There simply is NO one verse or passage that explicitly gives the content of the crossless gospel. There is no verse or passage that says, "believe that Jesus can give you eternal life that can never be lost and you will have it". CG advocates constantly confuse the promise with the content of belief required to receive that promise. I heartily agree with this statement of yours, "However, both of these verses describe the result of believing in Christ, but neither of them in themselves describe the necessary content of believing in Christ."

    Finally, you said,

    "As a matter of fact, Hodges may very well be the very first person in Church history to conclude: 1) the content of saving faith is completely detailed in a single verse; or 2) that verse is John 6:47. If the legitimacy of Hodges’s epistemological approach is so self-evident, then why is Hodges the first person in 1900 years of Church history to reach this conclusion?"

    I completely agree. While novel interpretations are not necessarily wrong just because they are novel, the fact of their novelty certainly casts a large shadow of doubt on their veracity right from the start. The novel view-holder (in this case, Hodges) must provide even stronger evidence than normal to get past this obstacle. In addition, a person with a novel view like Hodges must explain why no other scholar throughout Christian history has seen it his way.

    It's quite ironic then, isn't it, that Hodges tried to present HIS view as "normal" FG, and the historic FG position as "co-opt[ing]" FG.

  4. Dave, David, and Rachel, thanks for each of your comments. One thing I'm thankful for is this controversy has driven us to seek and reexamine what Scripture teaches about the gospel of salvation. As result, we're better able to defend the truth. People have found Scriptural answers to most of the questions raised by crossless gospel advocates, and I hope these truths will spread and help other believers in the body of Christ.

  5. To All:

    The absurdity of the Crossless gospel and the advocates of it claiming to be the voice of FG theology has never been more stark until this article by Hodges.

    Thankfully this reductionist heresy from Hodges has been contained and isolated to within the shrinking cell of theological extremists in the GES.

    This is the second of Greg's five part critique of the article by Zane Hodges. Part 3 will be published on Monday morning.


  6. Greg,

    Kudos and you said>One thing I'm thankful for is this controversy has driven us to seek and reexamine what Scripture teaches about the gospel of salvation. As result, we're better able to defend the truth.<

    Amen! It is that old timeless truth of knowing what Satan, the world and the flesh means for evil, God will use for good.

    Hallelujah for the cross upon which we stand and have fully known the mystery and grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    Grace upon grace,


  7. I once asked Antonio for a single verse that supports his view and he gave me 1 Tim 1:16.

    1 Tim 1:16 "It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life."

    First, it's outside of John. This isn't a problem for "us" but it violates Redefined FG's position that there is not a single expression outside of the gospel of John that gives the saving message (2008 GES Conference 2008, plenary session 11).

    Second, even if they concede this point, their interpretation violates the immediate context which reveals that the call to believe is based on Jesus' patient demonstration of mercy to Paul to save him, a sinner. Such a demonstration would be meaningless to those not aware that a) they are sinners like Paul and b) that sin is what separates them from having everlasting life in the first place.

  8. I am also thankful that more men such as JB Hixson and Charlie Bing have taken a stand against the crossless gospel.

  9. Greg,

    I have enjoyed reading these articles. They are an excellent summation and critique of the logical and unbiblical fallacy of GES and Hodges. You raised some key points.

    Furthermore, Hodges and crew would have to say then that the church has had the gospel wrong for all these centuries and have been theological legalists. Amazing how Hodges and Wilkin believe that they have finally gotten the message of the correct content of saving faith right after nearly 2,000 years of church history!

  10. Liam:

    You noted, "Furthermore, Hodges and crew would have to say then that the church has had the gospel wrong for all these centuries and have been theological legalists. Amazing how Hodges and Wilkin believe that they have finally gotten the message of the correct content of saving faith right after nearly 2,000 years of church history!"

    The extremists followers of Hodges do in fact believe that until Hodges came along with his reductionism that the NT church did not have a proper understanding of the Gospel.

    I'll link you to an article by one of them later.


  11. Here is the article I was thinking of.



  12. Liam, thank you for the comments. I agree that it is problematic for GES to promote a "saving message" that nobody else identified for the past 1900 years of Church history.

    Stephen, good points about 1Tim 1:16. That verse could be describing the purpose or result of believing (depending on how you translate "eis"), but it does not specify the content. If it describes the result, it may be translated like this:

    "who would believe on him and receive eternal life" (NIV)

    "believe on him unto eternal life" (ASV)

    "believe on him to life eternal" (Darby)

    "believe to him into everlasting life" (Wycliffe)

    The word variously translated "into", "to", "unto", or "for" is the Greek word "eis" which is a very common preposition in the NT used hundreds of times. If you studied the word, you would find that it normally means "into" and in a context like this, it could describe the direction of the faith in sense of purpose or the result.

    If it describes the purpose, that is not a problem for us. You or me could very well say the same thing--we believed in Jesus Christ for eternal life. Saying that does not in any way imply that we believed in the word "Jesus" apart from knowledge of His person and work. Similarly, Paul described purpose when he said "even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law" (Gal. 2:16).

    With our view, the verse could be understood either way. If a crossless proponent claims this verse defines the content of saving faith, he could only understand "eis" in the sense of purpose and not result. I would not be comfortable hinging my view on a verse where another translation is equally legitimate, nor on the assumption that a statement of purpose (for what he believed) fully describes content (what he believed). Even if one starts out with those assumptions, hopefully he would soon realize they were wrong once he found his view was contradicted by Scriptures which identify the saving message as "the message of the cross" (1Cor. 1:17).

    -- Greg

  13. Reading this has reminded me all over again that a passionate few in the Free Grace community hold and treat Hodges like a Catholic Pope.

  14. Hello Gojira:

    Good to see you passing through. The "passionate few" you refer to are among the most doctrinally out-of-balance and extreme you will find in any Christian circles.

    As for Hodges it is nearly worship of the man that IMO drives their vitriol toward any who openly object to what Hodges is teaching.

    BTW, Greg's series has three more installments coming up this week.

    Good to see you again.


  15. David:

    You wrote, "Excellent. I appreciate bro. Schliesmann's work. This makes it very clear, especially regarding the issue of content & result. God Bless."

    I appreciate your willingness to acknowledge what is going in with the teaching of Hodges that Greg and others have been addressing of late.


  16. Stephen, it's really neat that you got Antonio to give you that verse.

    I have a couple of thoughts -

    They say one need not know or agree with the fact that Christ is God - yet 1 Tim 1:16 states that Jesus "came into this world" with a purpose. He is not of this world and came in with His purpose. God.

    They say that one need not know what Christ did or Who He is. Yet this verse also identifies Him as the Christ, God's Annointed for the purpose of redemption.

    Unfortunately I can't tell from the Greek what the actual best translation is for the word "eis" in this instance, but the idea that it is "believe Him for Eternal Life" seems like an awful stretch considering this phrase happens nowhere else and Paul constantly speaks of believing unto salvation. http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1519&t=KJV

    I will also note that Darby, the best English translation I know of, uses the phrase "believe on Him to Eternal Life"


  17. Hi Lou,

    I would have to say that "out of balance" is putting it way too mildly! LOL I very much agree with you though. And yes, they are very cultish in their loyality to Hodges and Wilkins. That is very frightening to see of those who claim Christ. What is far more frightening, if not terribly sad are those who foster a poor idea of fellowship in tolerance of such satanic ideals as presented by the popish leadership of GES and their desciples. You are to be commended for reaching out as you do, Lou.

  18. Hey Greg and Kevl,

    I read this on a blog by Antonio da Rosa and I agree with it:

    According to Daniel B. Wallace, in Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, the preposition, "eis" when used with the accusative (which it is in this case!), as it is here, can have the "basic use" of "purpose" with the translations of "for, in order to" and even "to", which would be a rough translation in English in this situation, yet still denotes purpose.

    Even more peculiar, and telling, is that in his list of 8 basic uses of the prepoposition "eis", the translation "to" ONLY is listed under "purpose" along with "for"! It is not listed under any other usage of that preoposition (see pg 369).

    In interpretation, context is king, right? Well in the context of 1 Timothy 1:16, we note that Paul states something that is worthy of all acceptance, that Jesus Christ came to save sinners, of whom PAUL WAS CHEIF. Paul believed that Jesus came to save him, Paul! Paul entrusted Jesus with the salvation that He came into the world to provide. Thus, Paul believed in Jesus for the purpose of receiving eternal life! And as such, he has become a pattern for those who will ALSO believe in Jesus for the purpose of receiving everlasting life.

    The purpose of the faith is to receive everlasting life. These main English translations take it as purpose. (And, any translations that use "to" would also take it as purpose, seeing that the translation "to" of the Greek "eis" only denotes purpose with the accusative (as shown in Wallace above).

    NASB: "believe in Him for eternal life"

    NKJV: "believe on Him for everlasting life"

    ESV: "believe in him for eternal life"

    RSV: "believe in him for eternal life"

    If you like Darby, you must admit that he uses "to" which, according to Wallace, is only used for "purpose", contra Greg's insistence "to" is for purpose.

    It cannot be escaped that the purpose of the faith edescribed by Paul was to receive eternal life from the perspective of Paul. They put their trust in Jesus (in other words, "believed in Him") because He claims to guarantee eternal life to all who simply entrust their eternal destiny into His able hands.

    The search to find the content of saving faith is ridiculous. When trust is applied to someone, it always has a purpose. Trust is faith in the reliability of an object or person that can be expressed in propositinal form. Thus one may trust in a car for the purpose of getting him to the beach; one may trust in a doctor to make the correct diagnosis. These statements of trust may be put into propositional form such as:

    I believe that the car is in adequate running condition and will get me to the beach.

    I believe that the doctor is well qualified and will make the correct diagnosis.

    Saving faith can be expressed in several different ways:

    I believe (or trust) in Jesus for eternal life.

    I believe that Jesus is qualified and able and will give me eternal life through faith.

    Saving faith is trusting in Jesus Christ for eternal life. It is the entrusting of one's eternal destiny to Jesus. And Paul makes that clear in 1 Tim 1:16.


  19. contra Greg's insistence "to" is for purpose.

    meant to say contra Greg's insistence "to" is for result.

  20. Marty Cauley,

    Either way, it would appear that the GES position has nothing to stand on, since for the Apostle Paul, who and what Jesus did is central to his teachings, as well as being heavily defined. It would be a huge blunder for one to gut who Jesus is and what he has done from this passage just because it isn't spelled out in this one verse, which is a general overview of what Christ came to do (1 - Christ came to save sinners and 2 show His patience in doing so, of which Paul presents himself an example of, to all who would believe in Him for that eternal life). In ending, I personally do not disagree with your conclusion. For me, though, the conlusion isn't the question. The question for me is who Jesus is and what He has done, and if a basic knowledge of those facts are required to entrust one's self to Him.

  21. Hey Gojira,

    Many doctrines are central to Paul's teaching. Many facets of Jesus' essential nature are central and fundamental to the Person of Christ. This alone does not make them essential for saving faith.

    As far as I know, the GES and Zane Hodges preach who Jesus is and what He has done. Bob Wilkin does not know of one person he believes is saved, or ever heard of such a person, who has not come to trust in Jesus for everlasting life through being persuaded that Jesus is able to do so precisely because He died on the cross for sins and rose bodily from the dead.

    So I would agree with you, and so would Zane and Bob:

    a basic knowledge of the facts of who Jesus is and what He has done is universally required in order to be persauded to entrust one's self to Him.

    We must be quite honest here, and come to the conclusion on a few facts.

    In the majority of evangelistic cases where those who advocate the position taken by the GES, you people ought not to have a single problem with.

    They preach the deity, death and resurrection of Christ! And in the greatest majority (I would dare say virtually 100%!) of cases the potential converts to Christianity come to believe in Jesus through assent to the deity, death and resurrection! How would this then be heresy in your estimation? Let us be fair and honest with the facts.

    So we have Bob Wilkin stating that invariably all people come to faith in Jesus for everlasting life through finding Jesus able and willing to dispense it by faith by acknowledging the death for sins and the resurrection.

    And if the very slight possibility that one does not assent to the deity of Christ right away, those of the GES persuasion will indeed strive to bring them to the fuller knowledge of Christ's person through prayer and discipleship, and plugging them into an orthodox, evangelical (dare I say fundamental?) church.

    There are various charges of "heresy" being leveled. I think that we ought to take a breath and step back. As stated above, you guys would not have ANY problems with the evangelism of GES advocates in over 99% of the time. The rest of the instances, they will endeavor to disciple them so that they will accept the deity of Christ, and thus you would consider such a one saved at that time.

    It is a stretch to call someone a heretic whose evangelistic practices would be 100% acceptable to you over 99% of the time.

    This is my last post here. My prayer is that understanding and grace will permeate further discussions on this topic.


  22. Marty:

    I am going to get right to the point: Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin are heretics of the first order.

    They have assaulted the deity and finished work of Christ through their reductionist heresy toward the content of saving faith.

    In your comment you acknowledge that Hodges/Wilkin will allow for a man to be unaware of and/or reject the deity of Christ and still think he can be born again.

    You like the extremist followers of Hodgism think “any misconception” about whom Jesus is and what He did to provide salvation in no way hinders the lost man from being born again. You think his rejection of the Lord's deity can be dealt with in discipleship.

    And then what do you do with the man who does not respond to your discipleship on the deity of Christ? You still believe he was saved in spite of unbelief in the Lord's deity and has simply become a brother in Christ who is in error that you might separate from.

    No one in NT times ever taught these absurdities until Hodges came along.

    If you want to be honest then admit to the known fact that Hodges and Wilkin teach that the lost man can be saved apart from knowing, understanding or believing in whom Jesus is and what He did to provide salvation. That is the crux of the controversy.

    The Bible mandates what are response must be to teachers of Hodges's reductionist heresy.

    A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself,” (Titus 3:10-11).

    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).

    Those of us who understand the danger of what Hodges has introduced into evangelical circles will never rest as long as his heretical views are given voice through the GES or any one of its shrinking cell of theological extremists. We will stand in defense of the Gospel against the GES and/or their sympathizers who encourage the flock to embrace their heresies as if they are acceptable differences of opinion on the content of saving faith.


  23. Marty:

    You must have missed this in Greg's Part 3.

    With another sweeping claim Hodges says, “in offering eternal life, Jesus Himself never invited anyone at all to believe in...” Hodges then lists eight truths, none of which are part of the saving message according to Hodges. Those truths include “His death on the cross for our sins” and “His bodily resurrection.”

    Do you still want to stand by your stating, "So we have Bob Wilkin stating that invariably all people come to faith in Jesus for everlasting life through finding Jesus able and willing to dispense it by faith by acknowledging the death for sins and the resurrection."

    BTW, your drive by posting followed by running away to avoid interacting on or defending your comments is becoming quite typical of the Crossless gospel advocates.

    Sad, but understandable in light of critiques like Greg's that has once again devastated the teaching of Hodges and Wilkin.


  24. In regards to Greek argument in Marty Cauley's post:

    As I stated in my post about 1Tim. 1:16, the normal Free Grace position can accept either translation. However, I want to make a fairly detailed post -- not because the translation of this verse is crucial to our position -- but because Cauley and da Rosa's comments are misleading. These men are "trying to pull a fast one" by appealing to a Greek authority while deliberately withholding information just so they can support their argument.

    They referred to Wallace's note on the preposition eis. However, their reference was very selective and misleading, so here is the whole note:

    A. Basic Uses (with Accusative only)

    1. Spatial: into, toward, in
    2. Temporal: for, throughout
    3. Purpose: for, in order, to
    4. Result: so that, with result that
    5. Reference/Respect: with respect to, with reference to
    6. Advantage: for
    7. Disadvantage: against
    8. In the place of en (with its various nuances).

    First of all, in a pure prepositional phrase, eis does not have various meanings depending on the case because it is always used in the accusative ("accusative only" in Wallace's note).

    Second, da Rosa commented: "the translation 'to' ONLY is listed under 'purpose' along with 'for'! It is not listed under any other usage of that preoposition." Cauley then claimed, "you must admit that he [Darby] uses 'to' which, according to Wallace, is only used for 'purpose'".

    I hope most readers will now understand the absurdity of these statements by da Rosa and especially Marty Cauley. They are misleading because Wallace is not attempting to explain English translations! Rather, Wallace is commenting/giving explanation on his own categories of the Greek word. It is completely arbitrary and gratuitous to say that since Wallace uses the word "to" to describe the idea of purpose, that he is stating the English word "to" is "only used for 'purpose'". That was not Wallace's point at all! As English speakers, we all know there are various meanings of the word "to" and, as an English word, it could actually fit into several of Wallaces categories including spatial and result.

    Third, even if the point were to interpret English translations (!), why would Cauley pick out one (Darby) and not deal with the others including NIV ("and receive eternal life"), ASV ("unto everlasting life"), and Wycliffe ("into everlasting life").

    Fourth, the point of appealing to a Greek authority should be to comment on what the word means in GREEK. I gave examples of some English translations just to reflect that the word can be translated in a Spatial/Result sense. In appealing to this Greek authority, why do Cauley and da Rosa NOT comment on the fact Wallace gives at least three categories of meaning (Spatial, Result, Purpose) that could apply to this instance of eis?

    In fact, the most common meaning is Spatial. In a case like 1Tim. 1:16, the Spatial meaning ("into everlasting") heavily overlaps and is somewhat indistinguisable from the Result meaning ("with the result of receiving everlasting life"). In my original comments, I was not thinking specifically of Wallace's categories. My own comments blended the Spatial and Result meanings because, in a case like this, they mean essentially the same thing. In other words, "believe on Him and receive eternal life" (NIV) and "believe to Him into everlasting life" (Wycliffe) both mean essentially the same thing. Therefore, to interpet the verse in the spatial/result sense is not a special pleading but actually the most common meaning of the preposition.

    Furthermore, let's look at some examples of "eis" used in similar situations.

    The most common use of "eis" with "believe" is "believe in (eis) Christ". It describes the direction of the belief in Christ. When it is not part of that construction, it is used in the sense that da Rosa and Cauley argue against. For example:

    Heb. 10:39 "...we are those who believe to the saving of the soul" (temporal salvation)

    Rom. 10:10 "...with the heart one believes unto righteousness" (eternal)

    As part of the prepositional phrase "unto everlasting life" or an equivalent, it is often used in the sense that Cauley and da Rosa argue against! It is hardly (if ever) used in the sense they argue for in 1Tim. 1:16. For example:

    Mat 25:46 And these will go away into (eis) everlasting punishment, but the righteous into (eis) eternal life."

    John 4:36 ..."gather fruit eis (for/into/unto) everlasting life" (I think "into" everlasting life)

    John 6:27 "...the food that endures to/unto (eis) eternal life"

    Acts 11:17 "...repentance unto (eis) life"

    Acts 13:48 "...as man as had been appointed unto/to (eis) eternal life believed"

    1Tim. 6:12 "...eternal life, unto (eis) which you were called"

    1Pet. 5:10 "...called us into/unto (eis) His eternal glory"

    2Pet. 1:11 "...entrance..into (eis) the everlasting kingdom"

    Nothing that Wallace says supports da Rosa/Cauley. They refer to him completely arbitrarily to fake some support for their interpretation. If you read Wallace's comments and/or Scripture's actual use of "eis", even in conjunction with "believe" or the prepositional phrase "into/for/unto eternal life", you will see their comments about Greek are erroneous and gratuitous.

  25. Marty Cauley claimed:

    "The search to find the content of saving faith is ridiculous."

    Maybe that attitude is why he has not discovered multiple statements that give necessary content to believing in Jesus Christ for eternal life. The necessary content involves believing that Jesus Christ is the unique God-man who died for our sins/rose again and provides reconciliation to God through faith in Him alone.

    Scripture warns against believing in "another Jesus". The true Jesus Christ is not identified merely by the letters J-E-S-U-S. Scripture teaches one must believe in Christ's Deity to be saved both with positive (e.g. John 3:16; 20:31; 1John 5:5) and negative statements (e.g. John 3:18; 8:24). It teaches one must believe in Christ's death for our sins/resurrection with both positive (e.g. John 6:51, 54; 1Cor. 1:18b, 21; 15:3-4; Rom. 4:24-25; 10:9) and negative statements (e.g. John 6:53; Acts 13:41; 1Cor. 1:23; 15:14). It teaches one must accept God's gift of salvation by faith rather than works in both positive (e.g. Gal. 2:16; Rom. 4:5) and negative statements (e.g. Gal. 1:6-9; 2:21; Rom. 4:4). It teaches one must believe in Christ incarnate in both positive (e.g. John 1:10-12; 3:14-18; 6:47-51; 20:31; Acts 13:38; 1John 5:5-6) and negative statements (e.g. John 6:53; 1John 4:2-3).

    It is ridiculous to claim that it is not essential for the lost to believe in Christ's death for our sins when the Bible says:

    1Co 1:17-23 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. (18) For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (19) For it is written: "I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND BRING TO NOTHING THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE PRUDENT." (20) Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? (21) For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. (22) For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; (23) but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness...

    It is ridiculous to claim that it is not essential for the lost to believe the gospel when the Bible says:

    2Co 4:3-4 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, (4) whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

    2Th 1:8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    It is ridiculous to claim that it is not essential for the lost to believe that Jesus is the unique God-man when the Bible says:

    Joh 8:24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins."

    1Jn 5:5-6 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (6) This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.

    -- Greg

    P.S. It is also ridiculous to argue there is no practical difference between Hodges's position and the normal Free Grace position when Hodges himself has written an article denouncing the normal Free Grace position over the practical differences and ramifications of our position.

  26. Marty Cauley,

    I was somewhat saddened by you drive by antics. I would have expected more from you. I am sure you have your reasons, though. Be that as it may...

    Marty Cauley:
    "Many doctrines are central to Paul's teaching."

    But that wasn't the point I was talking about, now is it?It would be hard for me to imagine a person of your intellect missing that from my post. Then again, your reply ***was*** of the highly dishonest sort. Yes, many doctrines are, but what is under discussion is not the many. Is there any particular reason for this blunder on your part? If there is, perhaps I could help you out.

    Marty Cauley:
    "a basic knowledge of the facts of who Jesus is and what He has done is universally required in order to be persauded to entrust one's self to Him."

    A requirement that in the eyes of GES is NOT required. Marty, your position is akin to someone approaching a starving child with a cheeseburger and then snatching it away from him because you don't think the nutrients are explicitly needful from the point of view of the hamburger maker. It is great that GES preaches those things, as at least the yare trying to do something right, but the issue isn't do they preach them. The issue is are those things necessary and part of the Gospel. Again, I would that thought you would have known this. Is there some reason why you do not? Once more Marty Cauley, the issue isn't are these things preached, but if those things are explicite to the gospel, making up the gospel. And of course, the answer to that, is that no, GES doesn't teach those things as necessary. Under the GES system, a person can entrust themselves to some vague entity with the name title of Jesus and then that person can spend the remainder of his/her life proclaiming there is no such thing as a true and holy God, that He did not become a man, and that he did not die fr anyone's sins, and did not raise again, and in the system of GES be a saved person. The position of GES is as bankrupt as your drive by post, Marty Cauley. Both of you should be ashamed.

  27. Greg/Kevl, thanks so much for your comments and observations regarding 1 Tim 1:[15]-16. I didn't mean it to become the focus of so much discussion but I've gained additional insight from your interactions with it it here.

    As Greg said, the translation of "eis" doesn't hurt the historic FG position one way or the other, but redfined FG can ONLY interpret it one way, if they consent to use the verse at all as Antonio did.

    Kev, I like your insight on "came into this world". One of the primary definitions of "came" (erchomai) is "to come from one place to another" which supports your understanding in this context.

    I meant to reply earlier but my "leisure" activities have been somewhat limited of late. I was on a business trip all last week which frequently held events that extended into the evening hours and am now back to work catching up on a small backlog of matters. We also developed a bit of a plumbing problem at home over the weekend such that our Laundry room and garage occasionally pool with water... not good. We have a plumber on it but suspect it's a problem caused by the city who happen to have done a large digging job literally right at the end of our driveway last week. This has nothing to do with the topic at hand but just explaining why I may be slow interacting here, or elsewhere.

  28. Problems within IFB churches

    The Independent Fundamental Baptist movement is a small group within true Christianity, but it's devastating and often times damaging effects are large. Although they claim to be solely bible based and many are, their main focus often times is Pharisaical and legalistic to the point of hurting many new believers, turning unbelievers off, or just hurting the name of Christ as a whole.A good example of this can be found on Pastor Andrew Teesdale's of Everett Washington ... Fighting Fundamental Forum and his Baptist Board forum. It seems the only people who can control these forums, are those who are related or friends in some way or form to Andrew Teesdale.

    If an outsider comes in who actually knows the bible or takes a stand on the IFB legalistic ways and how they have hurt many under these types of pastors leadership, they are immediately attacked and called names and basically ridiculed off the board if not banned. Not for name calling or attacking the messenger, but for their own views on doctrines other than their own. That can be fine and dandy if it were not for the fact that the ones who attack (often times pastors themselves) are FOUL MOUTHED, slanderous, lie about the poster, personally attack the messenger and not the message, (because they know they cannot) sarcastic, or just don't know the bible....bottom line is the forum owner plays favorites while innocent well meaning good Christians get hurt....much like what goes on within their churches. Their tactics in the church and off are the same.

    Some of their legalistic teachings are King James Only bibles, women MUST wear dresses or they are not godly, no mixed swimming, no dancing, no drinking, women must not have their own opinions, that is the husbands job, or men in general. Basically the outward determines your right standing with God not your heart, and your own walk with him. With so much focus on the outward and not the heart (out of the heart spews ones true self and is evident on these forums) it is no wonder so few attend IFB churches.

  29. Romans:

    I am going to give you benefit of the doubt, but I am not happy with your tone and harsh rhetoric. Seems to me you are dishing it out as harshly as you accuse the whole of the IFB movement.

    As for FFF and the Baptist Board, please understand that those boards are NOT and do NOT represent the kind of godly, gracious and caring IFB men I know. IMO, many at FFF are not even born again. I think you may have gotten bludgeoned by the blog thugs at FFF and are reacting to it here. Believe you me, I have been on the receiving end of their vitriol and it is all I can do to restrain myself in the face of serious provocation.

    Anyway, if you are going to post again I want you to ratchet down the rhetoric; OK?

    If you want to post again on the IFB movement, you ought open a new thread at FFF or BB. Then check your ego and emotions at the door.

    This thread is not really the place for what you had to say.

    Please note Colossians 4:6 at the top banner of my blog.

    Kind regards,