February 29, 2008

I’ve Been Promoted: New Adjunct Contributor

Dear Guests:

I have some exciting news! Antonio da Rosa (aka Sock Puppet: fg me) posted one of my recent e-mails to him at Unashamed of Grace.* I’ll drop a copy in the thread below.

Here is the exciting part, In his article Antonio made this PROMISE in regard to any e-mail I would send him, I will post every one he sends me from this day forward.” He promised to, with any e-mail I send him, publish it at his group blog Unashamed. I'm delighted to report that he immediately published the first of what I anticipate being many more to follow.

Since Antonio is going to be posting my e-mails I want to express my personal thanks to him for adding me as a new adjunct contributor at Unashamed of Grace. Antonio will, of course, be making some space for my personal biography, photo and link to my blog, later today I will send these to him. Well, maybe not the photo, I may not be the most edifying spectacle.

Last night I sent him one of my first e-mails where I tried to help him get past his Sock Puppet episode at my blog. He has not posted it yet, but I trust he will shortly. I trust Unashamed readers will appreciate the time, tone and biblical approach I took to help him. If the delay in posting is due my e-mail needing some minor edits for style or grammar, I informed Antonio I’d be happy to do so for him.

In the meantime, I will prepare some articles that discuss The Tragedy of the Zane Hodges Crossless Gospel for posting at Unashamed.

Exciting days ahead!**


LM


*Unashamed of Grace is a group blog where each of its five contributors are dedicated to the propagation of the Crossless gospel.

With the recent departure of David Wyatt from Unashamed, there remains just four contributing members who are propagating the Crossless gospel. They are Antonio da Rosa (aka Sock Puppet: fg me), Rose (of Rose’s Reasonings), Matthew and HK Flynn.


**This was fun!

February 24, 2008

Evaluation & Response to “Crossless” Theology, Part #6

Dear Guests:

I am nearing completion of the current Evaluation & Response series.

We have been looking at how Antonio da Rosa (aka, fg me), an advocate and apologist for the Zane Hodges’ Crossless interpretation of the Gospel, views presenting the deity of Christ in a personal evangelism setting. This is part of a continuing series of revised and expanded comments I posted in a thread at Rose’s Reasonings.*

This particular view held by Antonio came to the forefront of debate and controversy, even among Crossless advocates, when Antonio wrote, “The Mormon Jesus and Evangelical Jesus are one and the same.” That statement touched off a protracted exchange and debate on the deity of Christ in the evangelistic setting at several blogs including my own. See- Can the Mormon Jesus & Biblical Jesus be “One and the Same?”

The following paragraph by da Rosa, which appeared in a lengthy thread at Rose’s Reasonings, reveals more of this peculiar position.

When a Mormon believes the saving message of Christ, it will be encumbent upon the discipler of him to lead the individual into the evangelical faith through the convincing testimony of the Scriptures (the King James version will do just fine) in conjunction with the Holy Spirit (who now indwells this Mormon). Serious temporal and eternal consequences may result for the saved Mormon who shuns the faith delivered to the saints.” (2/02/2008 6:34 PM)
Before I address the paragraph above I need to include another statement da Rosa made in the same thread. Antonio wrote,
I believe Mormonism is a cult which teaches damnable heresies concerning Jesus.” (2/2 @ 4:01PM)

What I would like to do from this point is split up Antonio’s opening paragraph and address it in segments.

In the opening paragraph Antonio verifies and reiterates his view that a Mormon, who believes what Antonio says are“damnable heresies concerning Jesus” can be born again. This is Antonio’s salvation no matter what “misconception,” including conscience denial of the deity of Christ, open rejection or unbelief the lost man has in his heart and mind about the Lord Jesus Christ. Belief in a promise of eternal life from any kind of Jesus the lost man wants to believe in, and according to most Crossless advocates, he has been born into the family of God.

Antonio insists a lost man who believes in a Mormon non-deity, false Christ, half-brother of Satan can be born again in spite of these “damnable heresies” he clings to. Antonio’s position is that a Mormon who believes in a completely different Jesus, a non-biblical Jesus can be saved by faith in a promise from this false-Christ.

Now, I will address Antonio’s statement step-by-step:

When a Mormon believes the saving message of Christ…


When a Mormon believes the saving message of Christ,” he is NOT believing in the saving message of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is because he does not believe there is a Lord Jesus Christ that is identified in the Bible as the only begotten Son of God. Antonio assumes belief in a promise of eternal life from a false, non-deity person named Jesus results in receiving the gift of eternal life. In the first sentence of his paragraph Antonio makes that very clear because he makes it the responsibility of teaching the Mormon as though he has been born again and should be in a discipleship class setting for new believers.

…it will be encumbent upon the discipler of him to lead the individual into the evangelical faith through the convincing testimony of the Scriptures (the King James version will do just fine) in conjunction with the Holy Spirit (who now indwells this Mormon)…


You can see why Antonio thinks rejection of the deity of Christ is something to be, “put on the back burner” and left there. He views any “misconception” including open reject of the Lord’s deity as a matter to be addressed in discipleship. In May 2006 Antonio, speaking of the woman at the well, wrote, “When she is convinced she has eternal life by faith in Christ, she will never thirst again, regardless of her blindspots or misconceptions about Christology.” The obvious problem with Antonio's approach to discipleship, in this situation, it that he would be trying to disciple a man who was never saved in the first place. Antonio would view and allow that lost man to go forward under the false impression that his faith in the promise of eternal life, from a false Christ, has resulted in his having been born again.

What does Antonio mean by “evangelical faith?” He can’t mean the faith that saves because he is under the impression the Mormon has been saved already. He must mean that he wants the Mormon to be brought to an evangelical/biblical faith in the deity of Jesus Christ. And what if, after having been discipled, the Mormon still rejects the Lord’s deity? Matthew, for Crossless advocates provides the answer. He wrote,
If he persisted in that heresy after being taught the truth, there would come a point where I would need to separate from him. But it would first be necessary to treat him as a babe in Christ.” [1]

The latter portion of Antonio’s statement above further substantiates that Antonio believes a Mormon can and has been saved who consciously rejects the deity of Jesus Christ. He believes that man, who consciously denies the deity of Christ, has been indwelt by the Holy Spirit. [2]

Antonio’s remarks concludes with,
Serious temporal and eternal consequences may result for the saved Mormon who shuns the faith delivered to the saints.”

This final portion of Antonio’s statement takes us to another one of the extremist positions he, and others in the GES faction of the Free Grace community, have adopted that largely originates in the teachings of Zane Hodges.

Antonio believes Christians will appears at a “punitive” Judgment Seat of Christ (JSC). In his statement above da Rosa is suggesting temporary and “eternal” consequences await born again Christians when they appear at the JSC. Having grown up in the Roman Catholic Church (RCC), the first thing that came to my mind when I read Antonio’s statement was the RCC’s heretical teaching on Purgatory.

Some advocates of the punitive JSC believe that there will be some Christians who lose more than just rewards, but will be cast into outer darkness. This article is not the place, nor is this the time to fully develop and address this absurd teaching on the Judgment Seat of Christ, but one day I will.

The teachings of the GES (Hodges, Wilkin, Niemla, Lewis, Johnson and da Rosa) are egregious errors that corrupt and assault the Person and finished work of Jesus Christ.

The Hodges/GES reductionist version of the biblical plan of salvation must be exposed and biblically resisted so that not one more unsuspecting Christian or lost person is drawn into the trap of the Crossless gospel.


LM

[1] Evaluation & Response, Part 4. (See 2/11/08 @ 3:10PM)

[2] At his India Mission Journal 2007 blog Antonio made this statement,
I beseech you, brethren, to make supplications and requests for this strategic missions endeavor to God our Father. Please pray that the Holy Spirit prepare the hearts of those whom He is directing our ministry to, through dreams, visions, and other circumstances.
Since the close of the cannon of Scripture when has the Holy Spirit been speaking through, “dreams and visions?” This statement by Antonio suggests a Charismatic leaning in his view of the role of the Holy Sprit in this dispensation.

The next comment by Antonio might explain his Charismatic “dreams and visions” statement,
I like to consider myself a charismatic in training. I do not ever want to be accused of putting God in a box. I want to see the supernatural, and I believe that God is still in that business.” Eternal Security is Christ’s Guarantee… (See Antonio’s thread comment on Nov. 16, 2005 @ 5:54PM)

*Rose’s Reasonings is a blog that is largely supportive of and sympathetic to the teaching and advocates of the Crossless gospel.

February 15, 2008

Evaluation & Response to “Crossless” Theology, Part #5

Dear Guests:

This is a continuation of the series that looks at how advocates of the Crossless gospel view presenting the deity of Christ in personal evangelism. This is part of a continuing series of revised comments I posted in a thread at *Rose’s Reasonings.

Antonio da Rosa (aka, fg me) wrote,

If this Mormon believes in the Jesus of the New Testament for eternal life, according to passages like John 3:16 and 6:47, he has everlasting life.

Antonio is speaking of an unsaved Mormon, in a soul-winning scenario. Mormons view and believe Jesus Christ is the spirit-brother of Satan. This is NOT the Jesus of the New Testament! This is NOT the Jesus of John’s Gospel.

The Mormon may say he believes in Jesus, but which Christ is he believing in? Does he believe in the Mormon Jesus or the Biblical Jesus? If he is believing in a false-Christ, NOT the Lord Jesus Christ, he has a misplaced faith in a false-Christ. His faith, therefore, is non-saving and he is still on his way to Hell.

Antonio has confused this distinction with his statement, “The Mormon Jesus and the Evangelical Jesus are one and the same.”

Antonio has made it clear that if the Mormon were to object to his (Antonio’s) trying to convince him that Jesus of the New Testament is God, Antonio would say, “let’s agree to disagree about that.” Antonio would drop it, or as he says, put the deity of Christ, “on the back burner,” and he would leave it there. Antonio would not have any problem if this Mormon were to remain in open rejection of the Lord’s deity.

If, however, the Mormon were to understand and believe, “in the Jesus of the New Testament” that He is God, who died and rose from the dead, “according to passages like John 3:16 and 6:47, he has everlasting life.

Unless the Mormon understands that the Lord Jesus Christ in John’s Gospel is deity, he remains lost and dead in his sins. The Mormon is no different than any other who does not believe and/or rejects the deity of Jesus Christ. “…If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins,” (John 8:24).

Hodges believes presenting the deity or finished work of Christ in a witnessing situation is to present “excess baggage.” And so it is with Antonio. He views a Mormon’s unchanged belief in a false-Christ and open rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ as no hindrance whatsoever to being born again.

If the Mormon rejects the deity of Christ Antonio insists the Mormon can be saved by believing in the promise of eternal life in spite of his rejecting the deity of the One who made payment for and secured the promise.

This is a false, non-saving message. That is one example of the Crossless gospel approach to personal evangelism as expressed by Antonio da Rosa.


LM

*Rose’s Reasonings is a blog that is largely supportive of and sympathetic to the teaching and advocates of the Crossless gospel.

February 13, 2008

Sock Puppet: Antonio da Rosa

Dear Guests:

Since the inception of this blog my efforts In Defense of the Gospel have been focused solely on the doctrinal errors of both Lordship Salvation and the Crossless Gospel. It is not with great pleasure that, for the first time, I must turn my attention to a personal matter.

Antonio da Rosa made this statement, “The Mormon Jesus and Evangelical Jesus are One and the Same.” That statement touched of great deal of discussion and consternation even among those who are sympathetic to the heretical Crossless interpretation gospel. I began a multi-part series under the heading Evaluation & Repsonse to “Crossless” Theology.

On Tuesday, February 5 (in Part 4 of the series) Antonio began posting a series of comments at my blog under an assumed handle, fg me. I knew from the first comment he posted that it was Antonio posting as fg me.

In the thread I gave Antonio several opportunities to post comments under his own name. My desire was to give him the opportunity to post his comments under his own name and drop the deceptive fg me handle he was posting under.

I sent Antonio an e-mail inviting him to post in the thread under his own name. In the thread I lifted my ban on him so that he could post freely under his own name. He did not reply to any of my invitations, but he kept up the deception of posting as fg me.

Antonio pretended to be a totally separate individual who was neutral in the debate. As this separate individual he happened to decide that Mr. da Rosa’s, (his own) arguments were more persuasive than Rachel’s or mine. What Antonio did is called using a “sock-puppet.” In Christian or secular circles, and I operate in both, that is considered highly unethical.

I was not thrilled with allowing Antonio to carry on, not only with his disingenuous method of debate as fg me, but especially with his “sock-puppet” charade, for five days. However, I felt another record of his egregious doctrinal errors and posting them as though he were someone else would further substantiate the issues that many have with his doctrine, debate tactics, character and behavior.

You can view Antonio’s sock puppet (fg me) in the thread under my article, Evaluation & Response, Part 4. You might begin with my comment on Feb. 13 @ 10:38am. From there you can scroll down and then back up the thread at your discretion.

Antonio has an opportunity to acknowledge and apologize for this issue. I have notified him of this in the thread and via e-mail.


UPDATE (2/18/08)
On Friday (2/15) I sent Antonio another heart felt, non-inflammatory appeal (via e-mail) to get this matter cleared up. He still refuses to acknowledge or respond to my appeals.

The following is the first and last statement Antonio made in the longer comment he posted at the beginning of the thread. The full content of his comments were, as I noted in the attached thread, deleted. I show his opening and closing statement to demonstrate that he has insisted, contrary to the documented evidence, that he never posted as fg me in my Evaluation, Part 4 thread.

I did notice fg me. I believe that he did a good job over at your blog… I have admitted to no such practice, nor will I.”
Antonio's refusal to deal with this, is, IMO, going cause this issue to follow him until such time he confesses and repents.

On February 13, 2008 Rachel The Land of Reason posted a must read rebuke for Antonio da Rosa, the Sock Puppet: fg me. Following is an excerpt:
I challenge you to post the truth about what happened here. Admit to being FG Me and admit to trying to hide that fact. Acknowledge your deception and apologize for it, no excuses. Stop acting childish and do the mature thing - own up to what you've done. This is the only right thing to do.
I am hopeful time, and the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit, will bring him to genuinely repent. Until such time he regards iniquity (sin) in his heart, and his prayers are hindered (Psalm 66:18).

IMORTANT UPDATE: (12/30/08)
Today, at another blog, Antonio finally confessed to being the Sock Puppet: fg me. In reality his full apology, which is filled with vitriol and personal ad hominen attacks cannot be posted in its entirety. What it shows, however, is that he was primarily sorry only for having been caught. That is false repentance. Nevertheless, here is the only portion of da Rosa’s apology that is suitable for publication.
“I indeed was the fg me on Lou’s blog. 

I have long since confessed my sins concerning that (and many others along the way) and forsaken them. It is a sad thing when the urges of the flesh to pride and superiority show their ugly, and evil heads so as to bring others low and cut them down.

 It isn’t an unheard of thing...To those (including Lou Martuneac, Stephen, Rachel, and any others) who were hurt or offended by my few day stint as fg me, I apologize and ask for your forgiveness.”



LM



*With some reluctance I will leave this comment thread open for the time being. If, however, any one launches any kind of personal attack on any person or questions motive, I’ll delete that comment immediately.

February 10, 2008

Personal Thoughts & Scriptural Mandates for Your Consideration

Dear Guests:

An abbreviated version of what follows was originally intended to appear in the thread under my article, Evaluation of “Crossless” Theology, Part 3. It was directed to Matthew and an anonymous individual who goes by the handle FG Me. As I expanded my thoughts I decided to post them as a home page article. Those thoughts are here for your consideration.


Antonio da Rosa and various other advocates of the “Crossless” gospel are bit players in the over-all doctrinal controversy. For that matter, so am I.

The danger men like Antonio, Matthew, Alvin, Jeremy Myers and Jim Johnson pose is primarily to lurkers in the blogosphere. Those who are unsuspecting and unsure of the egregious errors that these men are propagating are most at risk.

It is primarily the teaching of Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin, through the Grace Evangelical Society, that poses the greatest threat to Bible believing Christians, churches and the lost. These men are well known and have venues from which to spread the “Crossless” gospel.

Thankfully as the most disconcerting beliefs of Hodges and Wilkin are revealed and understood there is a shrinking number of opportunities being given the GES to spread their false interpretation of the Gospel. I’ve made no secret of my hope and prayer that the GES will one day soon cease to exist. This would effectively end its threat to the body of Christ expect for the relatively small cell of followers who have unfortunately been deceived.

Antonio happens to be the most vocal and vitriolic apologist for the teaching of Hodges, Wilkin and the GES. His beliefs rest on the far edge of the already extreme GES faction of the Free Grace community.

IMO, Antonio’s greatest contribution in the debate is his demonstrating just how deep the radical extremes are one can wind up in who has been deceived by and succumbs to the teaching of the “Crossless” gospel. His views serve as a warning and reminder as to what can happen theologically to anyone who adopts the teachings of Hodges and Wilkin on the Gospel.

This does not make me happy. It is a sad day when men like Antonio, who have been embraced the teachings of Zane Hodges’ “Crossless” gospel, drift even further into more radical doctrinal and practical errors than the men who mentored them in those directions may hold to themselves. Former GES staff member Jeremy Myers is another case in point.

Pastor Tom Stegall titled his series, The Tragedy of the “Crossless” Gospel. This is an appropriate theme for what we see in the theological positions and direction of Antonio da Rosa. A truly tragic scene!

There are Scriptural principles at work here.

Romans 16:17-18 & 2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15 are mandated courses of action for every believer, without exception, when faced with the teaching and advocates of major doctrinal error, which the “Crossless” gospel, without any question, is.

Through the Inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul admonished believers: 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).

The Bible says, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord” (2 Cor. 6:17). “From such turn away” (2 Tim. 3:5). “Withdraw yourselves” (2 Thess. 3:6). “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Eph. 5:11). “Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good” (Rom. 12:9). “Prove all things; hold fast that which good” (1 Thess. 5:21).


Some of the above refer to unbelievers; I do, however, consider Antonio (and the others I have referred to in this article) born again, but erring and disobedient brothers.

My desire at In Defense of the Gospel is to offer a forum where contributors and I provide resources for the concerned readers who might be susceptible to the errors of John MacArthur's Lordship Salvation as well as Zane Hodges’ “Crossless” gospel.

I encourage all guests to search the Archive and Label sections of my blog. There are many articles and resources that will better equip believers across a broad spectrum of Evangelical Christianity to recognize, refute and warn others of the inherent dangers of Lordship Salvation and the “Crossless” gospel.


LM

February 8, 2008

Evaluation & Response to “Crossless” Theology, Part 4

Dear Guests:

The following was a reply to woman named Susan

Hello Susan, you wrote,

Instead of trying to decide the question about whether some person with minimal information about Jesus Christ can be saved or not, we should instead concern ourselves with whether we will be found faithful ambassadors for Christ.”

I agree that we should all be concerned with the Bible mandate that every believer is an ambassador for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20). We are compelled to and have the privilege to preach the Gospel to every creature.

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,” (Mark 16:15).

If we are going to be faithful ambassadors for Jesus Christ we had better be preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The eternal destiny of every living soul depends on a proper understanding, and clear presentation of the Gospel to the unsaved. The Hodges “Crossless Gospel” (CG) is not the biblical plan of salvation. Zane Hodges (Wilkin, da Rosa, Myers) has reduced, minimalized and trivialized the Gospel of Jesus Christ down to a non-saving message that saves no one.

Are you aware that Hodges, Wilkin and Antonio da Rosa, (aka, fg me), insist a lost man can be saved apart from understanding or believing in who Jesus was, what He did to provide salvation and His deity? The problem with the CG does not stop with lack of knowledge.

Antonio believes a lost man can be saved even if he (the lost man) consciously rejects the Lord’s deity. In a witnessing situation Antonio says “any misconception” the lost have about Jesus should be “put on the back burner.” When Antonio says “any misconception” should be “put on the back burner,” he means put there and left there.

The focus of “Crossless Gospel” evangelism appears to be trying to get the lost person to say he/she believes in the promise of eternal life. Bob Wilkin wrote,
The object of faith, which results in eternal life, is the promise of God to the believer.”
No mention of the Lord Jesus being the object of faith, only the promise. Do “Crossless” gospel advocates require belief in Jesus Christ and His promise as the object of faith, or do they allow for faith ONLY in the promise as sufficient for the reception of eternal life? The GES and da Rosa view is that the lost man does not have to understand or believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, and can be born again in spite of his unbelief and/or open rejection of the Lord’s deity. I also want to reiterate to each of you that when Hodges, Wilkin and da Rosa use the titles of our Lord, “the Christ” and the “Son of God” they consider those titles as though they do not mean or infer the Lord’s deity. See Greg Schliesmann’s two part series,

The “Christ” Under Siege

The “Christ” Under Siege: The New Assault from the Grace Evangelical Society

Recently, Jon Lee questioned da Rosa for creating the perception that the promise of eternal life is the object of faith instead of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jon wrote to Antonio, Nowhere is there a stipulation that I must believe in Him FOR the promise that He makes. This places the object of faith on the promise and away from Him.” Jon Lee makes an excellent point, the latter sentence especially, which I have been stressing for months.
(See Jon’s comment at Unashamed of Grace, Jan. 28 @ 8am)

Antonio’s now infamous statement, The Mormon Jesus and Evangelical Jesus are one and the same,” is just one example of the extremes to which advocates of the CG have corrupted and “refined” the Gospel and Person of Jesus Christ. I have been reading several people, who are sympathetic to the CG, questioning Antonio over his equating the Mormon half-brother of Satan and the Jesus we read of in the Bible as “one and the same.”

Hodges, Wilkin and da Rosa are propagating a system that has so minimalized the Gospel that virtually no content is left that one might recognize as the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The “Crossless Gospel” is not just a “minimal information” approach to evangelism. There is virtually no information about the Person and finished work of Jesus Christ that needs to be understood or believed by the lost man for the reception of eternal life.

Rachel posted the following at my blog, which focuses on and sums up the area of concern many of us have in these discussions.
What we are concerned with is NOT what they personally believe, NOT what they would probably share when witnessing, and NOT what they think was necessary to make it possible for people to be born again. We ARE concerned with what Hodges/Wilkin think is necessary for the lost person to believe to be born again. This is what we are discussing, and their view on this specifically is what we are rejecting.”

Hope this has been helpful.


LM

*Appeared 1/29/2008 4:51 PM at Rose’s Reasonings

February 7, 2008

Evaluation of “Crossless” Theology, Part 3

Dear Guests:

Phillip M. Evans is a guest contributor and author of The Hollow “Gospel” of the Grace Evangelical Society. Phillip was a participant in the discussions at Rose’s Reasonings in regard to the “Crossless” theology and especially the peculiar statements made there by Antonio da Rosa. On Wednesday morning (2/6) Rose closed down the thread at her blog. Deep in that lengthy thread under her article, A “Crossless” Call an initial comment was posted by Phillip. His follow-up to a response by da Rosa never made it on to Rose’s thread because of its sudden closure.

Partly for continuity purposes I was asked by Phillip if I would be willing to publish his two remarks here at In Defense of the Gospel. I agreed to do so, and his notes follow.


At Rose’s Reasonings Blog in the thread under A “Crossless” Call, I posted the following:

All, the discussion of Mormonism seems very appropriate alongside the discussion of the crossless gospel issue.

Mormonism was started by Joseph Smith when he supposedly looked at the various Christian denominations and wondered which was right, and was supposedly then told by a “personage” or “personages” that none of them were. He then set about to “restore” the true Gospel that was preached by Jesus and the Apostles as if the preaching of the Gospel had been lost for centuries.

Just how long has the Gospel (I Cor. 15:2) been preached now?

Now, within the last few years up pop reductionist teachers which “refine” or “restore” what the true teaching of the Gospel really is, as though its teaching had been lost to us.[1]

Just like Mormonism, this is sheer arrogance and the folly of vain men.

They make the charge against traditional evangelicals of “checklist” evangelism. Then charge the Apostle Paul guilty as well, for he wrote, “By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain,” (I Cor. 15:2).

They offer the empty argument, “Does one have to believe these things too?” They go on to list items that true teachers of the Gospel have never said were part of the Gospel message.

When they label someone’s denial of Christ’s Deity, His death on the cross for our sins, or His resurrection as “misconceptions” or “misunderstandings,” and then hold that a person can still be saved while maintaining these “misconceptions” they are trampling on and profaning Christ’s sacrifice for us!

They have a “form of godliness” but are “denying its power,” (II Timothy 3:5).

When they maintain that the titles “Christ” and “Son of God” do not denote Deity, they trample on His identity as God in the flesh! When one does this he is an antichrist!

By stripping the Gospel of its saving message, they no longer have the Gospel and are preaching a false gospel. Therefore, they are enemies of the Gospel.

Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)” (Philippians 3:17-19)
Paul was weeping, because the enemies of the cross of Christ he is referring to here are Christians! It is a grievous thing for people who have been saved by the power of the preaching of the cross, to then turn around and teach that one can be saved while denying its power!

My brothers and sisters in Christ, do not be ashamed of the cross! Do not be ashamed to boldly proclaim that the message of the cross MUST be believed in order for one to be saved! In the precious name of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ I have written this truth. If His Spirit within me confirms that this is the truth (and I do not write this lightly), then what spirit is Hodges, Wilkin, and da Rosa listening to? Would they dare be so bold as to claim the same authority for what they teach? Namely, would they claim that their doctrine is approved by the Holy Spirit in confirmation with their spirit as I do for what I teach is the message of the Gospel?

Here is the true teaching of the Gospel: Believe that the Lord Jesus Christ paid your sin debt by His death on the cross. Believe that He rose from the dead. Trust Him alone as your Savior for the forgiveness of sins and the receiving of the free gift of eternal life.

Hodges, Wilkin, and da Rosa’s position is that those who hold to the doctrine above is adding to the Gospel. In effect they are saying that this teaching is a false gospel, thereby proving from their own mouths that they are ones teaching a false gospel.

They would do well to heed Galatians 1:8: But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.”

Don’t let anyone think that I’m teaching that they can lose their salvation and end up in hell. I personally believe that all three of these men are saved, and expect to see them in Heaven one day, for the Scriptures clearly teach the doctrine of eternal security for all those who are born again. However, even saints are not immune to that immutable law: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap,” (Galatians 6:7).

Antonio da Rosa replied to me as follows:

Phillip, I am content in articulating the ONE condition for eternal life the same as Jesus did: “Most assuredly I say to you, whoever believes in Me has everlasting life” (John 6:47). Simple faith in Jesus brings everlasting life. Call me a heretic for believing the Savior’s words and preaching them.”
The following was to be my reply to him, but Rose shut the thread down the same day I wrote and attempted to post it:

Antonio, I noticed in one of your earlier posts that you used the term “gospel” to refer Christ’s death and resurrection, but I know that you used it only in the general sense of “good news,” not in the technical sense of what is usually understood by Christians as to what the saving message actually is. Whenever I use the term “Gospel” in reference to Christ’s Deity, death and resurrection, I always use it to mean the message that eternally saves. In other words, that one must believe who He claimed to be, and that He died for us and rose from the dead, for this is the essence of believing in Him in order to receive eternal life.

Don’t you understand what’s happening here? Taking a single verse and using it to develop a teaching that flies in the face of a great deal of other Scripture is what the cults do.

Jesus did not speak those words in John 6:47 for the purpose of excluding the necessary content of what we must believe when we believe in Him, namely, His claim to be the Son of God, and His fulfilled prophesies of His death on the cross as our ransom, and resurrection. These things directly relate to His ability to give us the free gift of eternal life. So when Jesus said, “He that hears my word” in John 5:24, the “word” He is referring to must include these words which He spoke that directly relate to His offer of eternal life. To state otherwise would be to impose a reductionist view on His words in John 6:47 that cannot be justified. This reductionist view by definition means that a lost person can be saved while simultaneously calling Jesus a false prophet!

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life,” (John 5:24).
Would anyone accuse Jesus of adding to the Gospel in John 5:24 because he gives two conditions there for eternal life that are not specifically mentioned in 6:47, namely, hearing His word and believing on the One who sent Him?

In Luke 16, the rich man in hell asked that Lazarus be raised from the dead in order to warn his brothers so they wouldn’t end up where he was. Abraham answered, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.” In other words, let them believe the prophets! Jesus said:

For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” (John 5:46-47)
Jesus Christ is the greatest prophet. His testimony concerning who He is, as well as His fulfilled prophesies of His death and resurrection could never be rightfully said to be non-essential beliefs if one is to be saved. Abraham could very well say, “If a lost person wishes to be saved, let him hear the greatest prophet, or let him remain lost.”

If a person denies the Deity of Christ, His sacrificial death on the cross, or His resurrection, it would be doing dishonor to the Son, and therefore would be dishonoring to the Father. How can it be said that a person is believing on the One (the Father) who sent Jesus if they also are dishonoring the Father? Remember, according to Jesus, one must believe on the One who sent Him in order to have eternal life. If you do not honor the Son, then you do not honor the Father.

That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him,” (John 5:23).
To teach that a lost person can dishonor the Son by denying His Deity, sacrificial death, or resurrection, and still be saved while maintaining this denial is to say that a person can honor the Father while dishonoring the Son. God forbid!

It is honoring to the Father to teach that a lost person must believe in the Deity, sacrificial death, and resurrection of His Son in order to be saved. It is dishonoring to Him to teach otherwise. The Grace Evangelical Society’s “gospel” dishonors both the Son and the Father. I’ve written this truth to all of you, and God knows that I lie not.

My brothers and sisters in Christ who are caught up in the error of the so-called “refined” Grace Evangelical Society “Crossless Gospel,” I call on you to soften your hearts now and repent before God. The GES heresy has caused division (Rom. 16:17-18) [2] and harm to the body of Christ, and is a doctrine that will have lost people believing they are saved when they are not. Those of you who are saved will suffer loss at the Judgment Seat of Christ for promoting their doctrine. How great this loss will be, I don’t know. Perhaps it will be related to how great and precious the Gospel message is. You now have no excuse for ignorance, as the issue has been clearly stated.

For those of you who are on the side of the Gospel, don’t try to ride the fence just because you want to remain friends with those who promote the GES heresy. Be a bold defender of the Gospel that saved you!


Phillip M. Evans

[1] The analogy is in regard to Zane Hodges, God has always raised up individuals and used them to reveal the truths necessary for a particular time…God raised up Enoch as a testimony to God's judgment on a wicked world. God raised up Moses to reveal Himself to the Hebrews in captivity. God raised up Daniel to reveal God's plans for the time of Gentile dominance. God raised up the apostle Paul to reveal the distinctive truth of the Church as the Body of Christ. God raised up John to reveal the closure of this dispensation and what should follow it. It should hardly be a surprise that God is using Zane Hodges to bring a right understanding of the nature of saving faith. This is the vital truth for this age. This is needed truth for the last days.” Does the writer equate the “refined” theology of Zane Hodges with the likes of Moses, Daniel and the Apostle Paul’s contributions to our understanding of the Word of God? See- I am Proud to be One of Zane Hodges’ Godchildren

[2] 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).


February 6, 2008

It’s Not the Men; It’s the Doctrine

Dear Guests:

I want to take a moment to point out that none of my articles in the current series should be viewed as a personal attack on Antonio da Rosa himself. I am focusing my comments and analysis on the doctrine that Antonio is espousing at Rose’s blog and other blogs, including his own.

I am not calling into question Antonio’s character or motives. I am not questioning whether or not he is genuinely born again. I am dealing with and discussing doctrinal issues coming from a man who represents just how far askew of the biblical plan of salvation the Zane Hodges/Bob Wilkin “Crossless” gospel can lead unsuspecting believers.

Antonio’s growing number of extremes is a reminder of what can happen to any one of us who lose our theological balance on any major doctrine, especially the Gospel. A short time ago we saw Jeremy Myers dismissed from the Grace Evangelical Society because of the dangerous turns in thinking he took. If Antonio were on staff at a Bible-believing church or ministry I would have to imagine that he too would be dismissed, especially over his latest remarks on Mormonism.

I refer to these things simply to demonstrate what is happening to men in the Free Grace community that were deceived by the teaching of Zane Hodges; where it has and continues to take them in their personal theology.

There are biblical mandates that guide what our reaction must be to the teaching we are seeing from Antonio da Rosa and others in the Free Grace community who are advocates of the “Crossless” gospel. We must decide where our first loyalty lies: To the Word of God or to our friends and fellowships.

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them,” (Rom. 16:17).

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).

The things Antonio is saying are representative of a great many in the Grace Evangelical Society’s, “Crossless” faction of the Free Grace community.

Pray for the recovery from doctrinal error of those who have fallen into the trap of the “Crossless” gospel.

Pray for one another and the unsuspecting that not one more believer will be swept into the extreme doctrinal errors that have their origin in the teachings of Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin.


LM

Evaluation & Response to “Crossless” Theology, Part 2

Dear Guests:

Following is another example from Antonio da Rosa 

He wrote, I believe Mormonism is a cult which teaches damnable heresies concerning Jesus.”

Then he writes,

We can evangelize them using their own bible: the King James Bible, showing them that Jesus of Nazareth says that whoever doesn't believe in Him will be condemned, and all who entrust their eternal well-beings to Him will never perish and have everlasting life. If they trust in the Jesus of the King James Bible to save them from condemnation and give them eternal life whereby they can never perish, why aren't they saved? They have the right thing in the right person.”

Antonio is correct in that the Mormon holds to, damnable heresies concerning Jesus.” In a witnessing situation, however, Antonio says he will dismiss their “damnable heresies about Jesus” as mere “misconceptions” to be dealt with later.

Antonio is saying that the Mormon, who steadfastly believes, damnable heresies concerning Jesus,” can still be born again if he believes in the Jesus of the KJV. When did the Jesus of the KJV become the spirit brother of Satan; which is who the Mormon thinks Jesus is?

Antonio says that if the Mormon will entrust his eternal well-being to who he believes is a false-Christ that is enough to be born again.

For example he wrote, Mormons, believing what they are taught, are lost, on their way to the lake of fire.”

Antonio’s position is that the Mormon can be saved even while he/she clings to and believes the same heresies (what they were taught) about Jesus that Antonio says, in that quote, make them lost, on their way to hell.”

Antonio, speaking for the “Crossless” gospel is teaching that the object of faith does NOT need to be the Lord Jesus Christ whom we know as Deity. According to Antonio as long as the lost (Mormon or any lost man) believes in a promise of eternal life, no matter whom they think Jesus is, they are born again.

Yesterday (2/5/08) Antonio continued to explain his personal beliefs in regard to Mormon teaching on the deity of Christ. I’ll preface his latest statement with a question Rachel (Pursuit of Truth) posted to him. Rachel wrote, “I think we/you have confirmed in many ways that you believe a Mormon (or anyone) can be born again while still actively denying the deity of Jesus, as long as such a person was trusting in Jesus alone for eternal life. If this is not true of your position, please say so now.”

This was Antonio’s reply,
A Mormon is not going to deny the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. He everywhere confirms it. The Mormon definitely believes in the deity of Jesus.”

This was Rachel’s response,
You are splitting hairs again, and you know it. Mormons teach that Jesus became God by following God’s commands. They also teach that Jesus was a created being and that he is the spirit brother of Lucifer. Both of these are false teachings and cannot be accurately described as ‘believ[ing] in the deity of Jesus’. Believing that some person named Jesus finally ascended to godhood is NOT the same as believing that Jesus IS God, especially when they teach that we all have that very same potential. If you’re going to expand belief in the ‘deity’ of Jesus to include mere attaining of godhood (as if that were even possible, even Matthew I think would agree that we cannot be ‘God’ as God is), then it essentially loses its meaning. Mormons teach that Jesus is a created being. Such teaching is inherently opposed to the orthodox teaching of Jesus’ deity, for ‘God’ cannot be created. Thus your comment that the Mormon will believe in the ‘deity’ of Jesus is disingenuous.”

I can’t be sure if Antonio's statement is “disingenuous,” or he actually believes what he is saying about Mormonism and the deity of Christ. Based on the mounting number of extremist statements coming from him, I think it may be the latter.

Once you adopt the egregious errors of a false Gospel, which the Zane Hodges "Crossless" gospel is, you will slide into more false teaching, such as we are witnessing with Antonio da Rosa’s latest affinity for Mormon doctrine on the Lord’s deity.

The kind of radical departure from Scripture is exactly what must be exposed to protect unsuspecting believers from being swept into this error. The “Crossless” gospel must be refuted and its advocates “marked” and “avoided” (Rom. 16:17-18) to protect Bible-believing churches from any more of this kind of egregious error.


LM

*Antonio's comments appeared on 1/23/2008 9:22am & 2/05/2008 5:04pm respectively at Rose's Reasonings

February 5, 2008

Evaluation & Response to “Crossless” Theology, Part 1

Dear Guests:

Early in the “Crossless” thread Antonio wrote,

What misconceptions are fatal and what are trivial, Glenn, and who would be the arbiter of such considerations?”

Antonio, it has been widely noted you believe that a lost man can be saved no matter what misconceptions he may hold. You said any misconception should be put on the back burner.”

That statement is all inclusive. We know from the numerous notes by you, Matthew and *Jeremy Myers that this includes not just misconceptions, but open, conscience rejection of the deity of Christ.

Your stating, The Mormon Jesus and the Evangelical Jesus are one and the same,” clearly shows the lengths you have gone to negate the Deity of Jesus Christ for the purpose of upholding the reductionist teachings of Zane Hodges on the “Crossless” gospel.

My new contributor, Phil Evans in his article, The Hollow Gospel of the GES, documents that Hodges considers the cross, resurrection and even the deity of Christ “excess baggage” in a Gospel presentation.

These teachings are fatal to the Gospel and reduce your “Crossless/Deityless” message to a non-saving proposition to the detriment of the lost.

The judge (arbiter) of these egregious errors you have adopted and seek to spread is the Bible and the Lord Jesus Christ whose Person and Gospel the Hodges message has assaulted. Your interpretation of the Gospel has been “consistent;” consistently wrong!

The Grace Evangelical Society’s (GES) reinterpretation and twisting of many clear passages of Scripture are on record and clearly evidence the departure from a balanced biblical theology that the “Crossless” faction of the Free Grace movement have gone.

You ask what is “trivial?” The teachings of Zane Hodges have trivialized the Lord’s finished work on the cross. Trivialized the Lord Jesus Christ by the redefining of His titles, “the Christ” & “Son of God,” to non-deity appellations. You personally trivialized the Lord by equating Him to, as David Wyatt noted, a “cultic” Mormon Jesus.

The Hodges/GES “Crossless” gospel has been trivialized down to a “fatal” message for the lost, in that it does NOT save.


LM

*Appeared 1/23/2008 9:22 AM at Rose's Reasonings

*Grace Evangelical Society Dismisses Jeremy Myers

February 4, 2008

An Evaluation and Response to “Crossless” Theology: Introduction

Dear Guests:

For several days I have been engaged in a discussion at a blog called Rose’s Reasonings. This blog is somewhat sympathetic to the “Crossless” gospel and its advocates.

In an article titled, A “Crossless” Call I have been addressing several views of the Gospel as Antonio da Rosa articulates them. In that thread Antonio has posted numerous comments in support of and that expand on his now infamous statement, “The Mormon Jesus and the Evangelical Jesus are one and the same”

The bulk of my analysis and comments appear in the latter portions of the thread. As I kept dealing with Antonio’s views as they relate to the “Crossless” gospel I felt as thought my notes should not be buried deep in a long thread. Therefore, I am going to post a series of these comments for your review.

Some of the original comments will be edited slightly for relevance, and to avoid remarks that have little or no bearing on the major issue, which is the Gospel. In fairness I want my guests to know that Antonio believes he is being misrepresented. However, this is an unfounded charge because my comments are based on specific statements he has made in recent and past articles, none of which he has retracted.

Both Rachel of Pursuit of Truth and Kevl of On My Walk have verified that my remarks are clear, accurate and in no way misrepresent Antonio’s view as he has stated them.

Furthermore, Antonio will not be able to participate in any discussion threads. Late last year I was forced to ban Antonio from my blog for a number of poor, intolerable behavior choices on his part. Antonio is well aware of the ban, and the behavior issues that lead to the ban. These are behavior choices for which he is well known throughout the blogosphere.

This is an important series because it will alert unsuspecting believers as to just how far askew the Scriptures advocates of the “Crossless” gospel can, and in Antonio's case, have drifted. The series will, furthermore, equip readers to more quickly recognize the “Crossless” gospel when at first glance it may not be readily apparent.

The series, which begins on Tuesday, February 5th is titled, An Evaluation and Response to “Crossless” Theology.


LM

February 1, 2008

Revised Defense of the Gospel

Dear Guests:

This afternoon I received a phone call from a pastor on the East Coast. He was asking when I anticipate finishing the revised and expanded edition of In Defense of the Gospel: Biblical Answers to Lordship Salvation. He told me he appreciates my defending the Gospel of grace against the errors of Zane Hodges and the “Crossless” advocates. He also expressed his hope that I had not lost sight of the need to continue with the revision of my book and the necessity of continuing to expose and refute Lordship Salvation. I assured him that I had not lost my fervency or zeal to address the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel.

It has been quite a few months since I began doing the work of revision on my book and it has been near completion for some time. Had it not been for my discovery of the equally disturbing “Crossless” interpretation of the Gospel the revision would have been long since completed.

IMO, it was providential that I learned of and engaged the “Crossless” gospel. From what I have learned from “Crossless” gospel advocates I am now able to incorporate portions into my revised book. I have added several small sections and an appendix to expose the egregious errors of the Zane Hodges “Crossless” gospel. This way a broad cross section of evangelical Christianity will be warned of Hodges’ teaching that is antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

My hope and prayer is that the egregious errors of the advocates of the “Crossless” gospel will never gain the kind of attention and traction that Lordship Salvation has enjoyed. The Grace Evangelical Society (GES) has lost membership and financial support because of the radical views on the Gospel by Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin. Lord willing, the day will come and soon when the GES ceases to exist and the teachers of this heretical view of the Gospel will be relegated to their blogs and thankfully small cells of extremists.

It is imperative that those of us who recognize the dangers of the Hodges, Wilkin, GES assault on the Lord and His Gospel be consistently, fervently and biblically resisted. It would be a tragedy if the “Crossless” gospel made any where near the level of inroads into evangelical circles that MacArthur’s Lordship Salvation has made.

What’s Next?
Late last year I was asked to write an article for a new web site that is widely recognized in Fundamental Baptist circles. They asked me to write an article to expose the errors and danger of the “Crossless” gospel. Once that article is complete I intend to bury myself in the revision work and complete it within 30 days.

It grieves me every time I hear of a Bible college graduate who, some time after graduation, falls into the trap of Lordship Salvation. This may appear totally self-serving, but my goal is for In Defense of the Gospel to find its way into every Bible college doctrines curriculum. I am convinced that if Bible college students were to have read my book it would equip them to know, understand, recognize and refute the dangers of Lordship Salvation.

I am energized to finish the revised and expanded version of my book, send it back to the publisher and do all I can to get it into the hands Bible College young people.

While I engage the errors of “Crossless” theology, and complete my book I do not want my guests to lose sight of the fact that Lordship Salvation is a works based, man-centered interpretation of the Gospel that frustrates grace (Gal. 2:21). Those who understand the inherent danger of Lordship Salvation’s theology, must never lose sight of the urgency with which we, “should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered,” (Jude 3).

Following are links to some of the articles from my archives on Lordship Salvation. Please take a moment to peruse the following or more of the many related articles on Lordship Salvation.

John MacArthur’s Costly Salvation

Lordship Salvation’s “Barter” System

The Relationship Between God’s Grace & Lordship Legalism

Is the Sermon on the Mount “Pure Gospel?”

Is This an “Invitation to Salvation?”


LM

See the Labels section for links to additonal articles on Lordship Salvation.