Dear Guests of IDOTG:
In The FGA Announces Open Break with the GES one of our contributors JanH responded to a comment posted by another friend of IDOTG, Jason. Jason posted the following (excerpted) comment in the FGA Breaks with the GES thread.
“God bless, first and foremost.Jan posted a reply to Jason that I feel is very helpful and deserves exposure as a stand alone article. What follows is Jan’s reaction, to what Bob Wilkin stated to Jason. This, in no way, should be considered critical toward Jason, for it is not.
Lou, just to be clear, I spoke with Wilkin not long ago, and asked this question about some nameless person or some random person named Jesus promising eternal life...He (Wilkin) told me personally, ‘No Jason, You must believe that it is Jesus Christ, for nobody else has the authority to offer eternal life.’
I’m not sure what’s been published, but I specifically brought this issue to light with Bob, and he made clear that the unsaved must believe the promise of Jesus Christ.”
I don’t believe I have had the pleasure of interacting with you yet. I am kind of new around here.
Regarding what Wilkin said to you:
“He told me personally, ‘No Jason, You must believe that it is Jesus Christ, for nobody else has the authority to offer eternal life’.”What Lou said is correct, (which was):
“Much of what you noted from Wilkin is GES mantra speak. Please note what you attributed to Wilkin, “…he made clear that the unsaved must believe the promise of Jesus Christ.” It is the promise of eternal life that is the object of faith for the GES camp. Notice that he does not insist the lost know and believe that Jesus Christ is deity. That is by design and with purpose.”Some time ago Lou posted an article on the change in the GES doctrinal statement. I don’t know how to post a link, but the article is on November 28, 2008 and called Grace Evangelical Society’s Reductionist Affirmation of Belief. By comparing the original version with the revised version you can see that many orthodox doctrines have become casualties of the GES reductionist heresy.
Lou begins with this:
Until August 2005 the official Grace Evangelical Society (GES) Affirmation of Beliefs on the doctrine of salvation was stated as follows (*abbreviated form):Affirmations of Belief are not like furnished rooms that are redecorated just ‘cause. One would only change it if a need was seen to do so, such as a doctrinal change that had occurred within the group that the existing Affirmation no longer reflected. This is what happened here. There was nothing wrong with the original Affirmation. They have changed their views. So they took a perfectly good statement and revised it to better reflect their new position, notably removing this clear orthodox statement “Jesus Christ, God incarnate paid the full penalty for man’s sin when He died on the cross of Calvary,” and not even replacing it. And notably changing this clear orthodox statement “The sole condition for receiving eternal salvation from hell...” and replacing it with “The sole condition for receiving everlasting life...” (thereby removing the consequences of not trusting Christ.)
“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.
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).”
That previous statement was revised. Following is the current version of the GES Affirmation of Beliefs.
“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).
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).”
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. (End Quote)
What they have done is cause their AoB to emphasize the promise of eternal life more than anything else, even to making the death of Christ on the cross secondary to faith in the person of Christ, removing reference to the consequences of not trusting Christ and greatly diminishing the understanding of Jesus Christ's deity (they did leave “Lord” in there.) There is no good reason to do this.
On February 3rd and 9th Lou posted an article of mine If Anyone Eats of This Bread, where I took up the issue of Wilkin saying that some FG adherents,
“...limit the essentials about the Person and work of Christ-arbitrarily-to three points: Jesus’ deity, His death on the cross for our sins, and His bodily resurrection from the dead.”He (Wilkin) said this in the November/December 2008 issue of Grace in Focus.
My article was about the need for preaching Christ crucified, but the point here is that Wilkin called the cross, the resurrection and the deity of Christ “arbitrary” points in the gospel.
So with all this stuff in print, along with Antonio da Rosa (who is given a platform to speak at the GES conference even with his Mormon Jesus comment) I would say Wilkin’s verbal answer to you was blowing smoke.
There are many doctrinal casualties in the changed GES position. One of them is indeed the deity of Christ.