We live in a day of confusion and deception over the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel is under assault today just as it has been since the first century. It is, therefore, crucial that men of God, called by God to the ministry, declare God’s Word and resist assaults on the truth of God’s Word.
Within the evangelical community there are two extremes that corrupt and undermine the Gospel. The two polar extremes are known as Lordship Salvation and the Crossless Gospel. The Crossless gospel has been a serious concern of mine for about two years. I saw it as a small, but potentially serious threat to the broader evangelical community. It has been my hope and prayer that the Crossless gospel never gains the kind of traction and momentum that Lordship Salvation has.
Fidelity to Truth: The Greatest Expression of Love!
It is foolish to dismiss the serious doctrinal deviation of the Crossless gospel as if it is a very subtle difference in interpretation of the Gospel. It is foolish to dismiss the serious doctrinal deviation of the Crossless gospel simply because its source is a previously trusted friend, fellowship, or institution. It is, in fact, a radical reductionist interpretation of the Gospel message that must be preached and believed for the reception of eternal life.
The debate over the Crossless interpretation of the Gospel is not in regard to what a man personally believes and/or preaches about the Lord’s deity or finished work. The heresy of the Crossless gospel is that Crossless advocates insist the lost man does not have to know, understand or believe in the deity or finished work of Christ, but can still be born again. That is the sole focal point of controversy! It is this specific aspect of their theology that Crossless advocates do not want to discuss because it is their soft underbelly in the debate.
The teaching of the Crossless gospel cannot be ignored or dismissed as an acceptable interpretation of God’s redemptive plan for mankind. Even for those of us who have personal friendships at stake, fidelity to the Word of God must take precedence.
The Psalmist wrote, “I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts,” (Psalm 119:63).
The Apostle Paul wrote, “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,” (2 Thessalonians 3:14).
The Bible plainly teaches that we are not to keep company with those who do not keep the Word of God!
Over the last 12 months, through various series at this and cooperating blogs, it has been irrefutably proven from the Bible that the Crossless/Deityless interpretation of the Gospel is heresy. There is no way to overestimate or neutralize the genuine danger and assault this heresy has on the Person and finished work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Crossless gospel is as heretical an interpretation of the Gospel from its reductionist teaching as Lordship Salvation is in its addition to the Gospel of grace.
Zane Hodges originated and introduced the Crossless gospel. Consequently, Bob Wilkin of the Grace Evangelical Society (GES) embraced and adopted the Crossless gospel as GES’s official interpretation of the biblical plan of salvation.
In recent months most advocates of the Crossless heresy have confined themselves and their writing to within the shrinking cell of GES extremists. Appeals have been made for unity with the advocates of the Crossless gospel.
“We have been asked to join in certain projects in which there are some heretics. I am not interested in being joined with anyone who has views that are in opposition to the Word of God. God tells us here (Titus 3:10) to be separate from heretics. Just let them alone; reject them.” (J. Vernon McGee: Thru the Bible Radio, Vol. V., p. 494.)Those who seek fellowship with the teachers of known and vital errors do so at the expense of fidelity to the biblical mandates that forbid such an alliance. The Apostle Paul wrote,
“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).
To “mark” means to identify. Volumes of material from Crossless gospel advocates exist that have given us the responsibility to “mark” them as teachers of a false, reductionist interpretation of the Gospel message that must be believed for the reception of eternal life.
Paul admonishes believers to “avoid,” those who have been marked. We are commanded by God to “avoid” persons who have been marked! Thayer’s lexicon lists several possible translations for the word, but indicates that in this text, it is best translated “to shun.” We are to shun those who create scandal through their false teaching.
Compromising the fundamentals of our faith in order to be accepted by and retain fellowship with our peers is wrong. In his day, *Charles H. Spurgeon valiantly fought against false teaching and the compromise of major fundamental doctrines in order to maintain unity. Many believe that this struggle led to his premature death. Although the majority of Spurgeon’s Baptist contemporaries agreed with his doctrinal stand, “They preferred unity above the maintenance of doctrinal purity. He (Spurgeon) attacked the position by saying, ‘first pure, then peaceable; if only one is attainable, choose the former. Fellowship with known and vital error is participation in sin. . . . To pursue union at the price of truth is treason to the Lord Jesus’.” (Adapted from In Defense of the Gospel, E. Wayne Thompson, This Day in Baptist History, p. 529.)Some Crossless gospel advocates will maintain a pervasive presence on the Internet and continue to have a negative impact on the reputation of the Free Grace movement. The greater danger, however, is the potential tragedy of the Crossless gospel gaining any more ground or foothold in evangelical circles.
We must continue to do all we can to refute the teaching of the Crossless gospel. We must identify the advocates of this extremist, heretical interpretation of a Free Grace Gospel so that not one more unsuspecting believer is caught up in their egregious errors.
What If You Have Been Wrong?
You may be an individual who has already adopted the teaching of the Crossless gospel. You may be on the fence about the issue. Is it possible you may feel that you made a mistake, or are about to make a mistake in regard to the Crossless interpretation of the Gospel?
It is my hope and prayer that you are having Heaven sent reservations about the Crossless gospel. If you are having doubts about what you have been exposed to, will you take it before the Lord and search the Scriptures once again.
Can a gospel message that eliminates the need for a lost man to know, understand or believe in the finished work of Christ be the Gospel? Can a gospel message that strips the Lord’s titles (“the Christ” & “Son of God”) of their deity be the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
*For more see- What About Spurgeon’s Stand for Doctrinal Purity?
The opening of this article is adapted from a previous article I wrote titled, Should Doctrinal Deviations be Dismissed?