Dear Friends of IDOTG:
Until August 2005 the official Grace Evangelical Society (GES) Affirmation of Beliefs on the doctrine of salvation was stated as follows (*abbreviated form):
“Jesus Christ, God incarnate, paid the full penalty for man’s sin when He died on the cross of Calvary. Any person who, in simple faith, trusts in the risen Christ as his or her only hope of heaven, refusing to trust in anything else, receives the gift of eternal life, which once granted, can never be lost.That previous statement was revised. Following is the current version of the GES Affirmation of Belief.
The sole condition for receiving eternal salvation from hell is faith (trust) in the Lord Jesus Christ, Who died a substitutionary death on the cross for man's sin and rose from the dead (John 3:16-18; 6:47; Acts 16:31).”
“The sole condition for receiving everlasting life is faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ, who died a substitutionary death on the cross for man’s sin and rose bodily from the dead (John 3:16-18; 6:47; Acts 16:31).In the former Affirmation, “Jesus Christ” is identified as deity by use of the term, “God incarnate.” This reference to the Lord’s deity has been deleted from the current Affirmation.
Faith is the conviction that something is true. To believe in Jesus (‘he who believes in Me has everlasting life’) is to be convinced that He guarantees everlasting life to all who simply believe in Him for it (John 4:14; 5:24; 6:47 ; 11:26 ; 1 Tim 1:16 ).”
Furthermore, the previous statement included, “any person who, in simple faith, trusts in the risen Christ... .” That simple statement summarizes Christ’s deity, incarnation, death and resurrection. As it appeared then, the statement was perfectly consistent with Romans 10:9-10 in regards to trust (believing) in the resurrected Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The statement also includes the word “trust.”
The revisions to the GES Affirmation were made with purpose. In the new version, the relative clause is parenthetical. When the GES says, “faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ who died...” they do NOT mean that the lost person needs to understand and believe Jesus died and rose again. They simply mean a lost man must believe in the name “Jesus” as the Giver of eternal life.
GES spells out their contents of belief in very next sentence, “To believe in Jesus...is to be convinced that He guarantees everlasting life to all who simply believe in Him for it.” This is not a paraphrase or roundabout way of stating their position. This is literally the GES definition of the only necessary content of faith for the reception of eternal life. According to the GES, understanding and/or believing the cross, His resurrection and deity are not necessary for salvation. These are the doctrinal truths that Zane Hodges (1932-2008) referred to as “excess baggage” in an encounter with the unsaved.
You can note the phrase “faith…in the risen Christ” has been eliminated from the current affirmation. Because Bob Wilkin and GES view the Lord’s resurrection as “excess baggage,” they will no longer use descriptive phrases such as that. You will also notice also that the word “trusts” has been removed.
The GES continues to drift far from a balanced biblical position on the Gospel. The revisions of the GES Affirmation of Belief on salvation affirms and verifies Bob Wilkin personally and, on behalf of GES, officially adopted the late Zane Hodges’s legacy, which was his unbiblical and reductionist interpretation of the content of saving faith, commonly known as the Crossless Gospel.
*There is a third paragraph that is not germane to our discussion. You may visit the GES web site to view that third paragraph. It is my policy to avoid linking guest to sites that propagate heretical views on major doctrines. Because of its Crossless/Deityless interpretation of the Gospel, GES is such a site.
This article is a revised version of a thread comment first posted by Greg Schliesmann.