Dear Guests of IDOTG:
Earlier this month I had the privilege of introducing the new book by Pastor Tom Stegall, The Gospel of the Christ: A Biblical response to the Crossless Gospel Regarding the Contents of Saving Faith.
In Tom Stegall’s introduction of his book he noted:
“My objective in writing the book was to provide a biblical response to the controversy within the Free Grace community over the subject of the ‘crossless gospel’ and the contents of saving faith. Part I of the book lays the groundwork by introducing the problem of the crossless/promise-only/Grace Evangelical Society (GES) gospel and its associated doctrines. The remainder of the book still interacts with the new GES theology but it is primarily an exegetical synthesis of dozens of key passages involving the terms ‘gospel’ and ‘Christ’.”
Let’s continue with the eighth in the series of excerpts from Tom Stegall’s book.
Should We Continue Using the Phrase “Crossless Gospel?”
In spite of the ample documentation demonstrating the accuracy of the phrase, “crossless gospel,” some advocates of this view still insist it is an inappropriate and misleading description of their position. Though the phrase “crossless gospel” is certainly not needed in order to defend the biblical veracity of the “traditional” Free Grace gospel that is espoused in this book, a word of clarification about the legitimacy of its use is in order here due to the vehement protests of some crossless proponents that this phrase should be stricken from use.
It must be recognized that the leaders of the new gospel have not given their doctrine their own self-descriptive title or label. They prefer to continue bearing the mantle, “Free Grace,” believing that their view represents the embodiment of the most biblically consistent and accurate doctrine of salvation among Free Grace people. Some vocal proponents of the crossless position, who are not necessarily the leading teachers and formulators of it, have begun using the designations, “Consistent Free Grace” and “Refined Free Grace” to distinguish their position. They are convinced that their position is more biblically consistent and thus a refinement rather than an abandonment of the Free Grace position. They prefer to call the position defended in this book the “Traditional Free Grace” view, portraying the current controversy as a choice between either biblical refinement or theological “tradition.” Which sounds more appealing to you? Of course, we all want to be more biblically consistent and not follow “the tradition of men” (Col. 2:8).
But are such designations truly accurate and appropriate? Should Grace people begin using this kind of phraseology? Should the Free Grace community even use the expressions “crossless” or “crossless gospel” to designate this new form of the saving message? What designations or labels should we use, if any, now that a major doctrinal shift has taken place within our own theological camp?
Let’s face it; few of us like the labels that are assigned by those who oppose our beliefs. We would much prefer to create our own designations in order to present our beliefs in the most favorable and acceptable light. But the real question with any label is not whether people like it, but whether it is accurate, appropriate, and able to be used honestly in the sight of God. I am convinced that the phrase “crossless gospel” meets each of these criteria. It is biblically accurate and can be applied with integrity to the current controversy, even while admitting the possibility that other theological labels may be used for the new, aberrant Free Grace position that may prove more fitting and may eventually replace the phrase “crossless gospel.”
Please continue to- Is the Gospel Still the “Saving Message?”
For a companion article see- Is the “Crossless” Label the Right Label?
Editor’s Note: The Crossless Gospel was originated by the late Zane Hodges. This is the most egregious form of reductionist soteriology ever introduced to the New Testament church by one of its own. No one in Christian circles outside the membership and friends of the Grace Evangelical Society (Bob Wilkin, Executive Director) believes in and/or advocates this reductionist assault on the Gospel, i.e. the necessary content of saving faith. For related reading and discussion see these articles.
The Gospel Under Siege by the Very Man Who Wrote the Book On It
GES Reductionist Affirmation of Faith
The Hollow “Gospel” of the Grace Evangelical Society
Zane Hodges: Drifting Far Off the Marker
Is “RE-DEFINED” Free Grace Theology- Free Grace Theology?
Free Grace Theology: What Every Advocate of Lordship Salvation Should Know