July 27, 2007

Grace Conference: Day 2

This was the second and final day of the Grace Conference. I’ll give a quick synopsis.

Over the two days I heard challenging messages from Dr. Robert Lightner, Dr. Charles Ryrie, Dr. James Scudder and Dr. Larry Moyer.

This afternoon Dr. Larry Moyer brought a message from Romans 1:13-17 and focused on the three “I am’s” of Paul.

I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ…”

The debtor is obligated, he is ready “eager,” and not ashamed because the gospel is a message of deliverance.

Moyer warned that,
“We are in danger of becoming known for defining the Gospel. The Gospel is defined. While we are busy defining the Gospel people are going to Hell. Declare the Gospel and people are saved.”

I conducted two workshops on the Lordship Salvation controversy. I was able to answer many excellent questions from the audience both days. Today I was able to irrefutably demonstrate, by comparing Scripture with how men like John MacArthur define their interpretation of the Gospel, that Lordship Salvation does indeed frustrate the grace of God (Gal. 2:21).

The closing banquet was a first class an event that I have ever been to. Mouth-watering menu and a dessert bar that, from 6 feet away, added inches to my waistline. I foraged the dessert bar three times, once before the main course and twice afterward. I did get my daily serving of fruit in the form of chocolate covered strawberries.

I would encourage anyone who cherishes the doctrine of grace, wants to be among like-minded believers, wants to be challenged and encouraged from the Word o God to consider attending next year’s Grace Conference. I will post update in advance of the 2008 conference.


July 26, 2007

Grace Conference Update: Day 1


It is late, and I have to be up early for Day 2 of the conference. More detail to follow, but for now...

I have thoroughly enjoyed the conference thus far. For the first time I met Dr. Robert Lightner and Dr. Charlie Bing. Dr. Ryrie’s flight was canceled so he will be at the conference on Friday. I quote each of these men liberally in my book. Each has made valuable contributions to the refutation of Lordship theology.

I asked Dr. Lightner to sign my copy of Sin, the Savior and Salvation. He did so, and I really appreciated it. He brought the opening keynote sermon, and it as on the Lordship of Christ. I intend to post key elements of this fine sermon.

It was quite humorous how I met Dr. Bing. I was in the first five minutes of my workshop and I was showing some of the books both for and against Lordship Salvation. So, I showed some of MacArthur’s Lordship books, then I showed Ryrie’s So Great Salvation and Lightner’s Sin, the Savior & Salvation.

Then I lifted Dr. Bing’s dissertation, Lordship Salvation: A Biblical Evaluation & Response. I was remarking on my appreciation for his book and how it helped me get off the ground in 1997 while I was in South Africa. All of a sudden I notice a member of the audience to my left getting my attention and pointing to his left, my right.

So, I look in that direction, and sitting right in front of me, two rows back, is Dr. Bing. My jaw dropped! I think I did a Ralph Cramdon (Jackie Gleason: Honeymooners) “hamana, hamana, hamana.”

Dr. Bing and I have corresponded via e-mail for 10 years and spoke on the phone once. I had no idea he was coming to the conference. I greeted, and recognized him for the audience. It took me several minutes to recover and get back on track. He and I were able to visit later.

Incidentally, I also met and spent a good deal of time with Pastor Dennis Rokser and Pastor Tom Stegall. At the conference there has been some unofficial discussion of Hodge’s “Crossless” gospel making the rounds. Several men asked me about it having read some of the details here at my blog and having read Brother Stegall’s first two articles in his series.

More to follow…


July 19, 2007

No Laughing Matter!


Yesterday one of my guests directed me to a site that has posted a review of an article in which Rick Warren (Pastor of the Saddleback Church and founder of the Purpose Driven [Seeker] movement) recently committed another serious abuse of the Bible.

The article where this is detailed is located at Extreme Theology. The article is titled; Warren’s Use of Scripture is No Laughing Matter.

What you will read is not a new revelation of Rick Warren’s misuse of the Scriptures. It is just another example of his consistent pattern of abusing and twisting the Word of God to suit his pragmatic needs.

The source of Warren’s most recent abuse of the Bible is found at The Christian Post. There is a comment thread that follows the article. It is this article that Extreme Theology refers to and its contents reviewed.

I also come across this article and recommend its reading.

In the Style over substance article this excerpt appears,

One of the most disappointing aspects of Warren’s ‘Purpose Driven’ teachings is his heavy reliance on the paraphrased Bible by Eugene Peterson called The Message. Though promoted as a ‘reading Bible’ instead of a ‘study Bible’, The Message is a very flawed interpretation of God’s Word no matter how one uses it.”
Finally for today I want to recommend a book I have in my personal library and is listed in my Recommended Books section to the left. Redefining Christianity: Understanding the Purpose Driven Movement.

If anyone wants a thorough understanding of just how far askew of the Bible that Rick Warren’s philosophy and methods are he/she should read DeWaay’s book.

On the back cover is this comment,
Bob DeWaay clearly demonstrates that Rick Warren strips the faith of key doctrines, accessorizes it with human wisdom, turns it into a journey of self discovery, and sells it to the unsuspecting world as ‘Christianity.’”
DeWaay’s book is as penetrating and powerful an exposure of the gross errors in Warren’s Purpose Driven philosophy and methods as The Godmakers was in exposing the Mormon Church.

Kind regards,


NOTE: When I link to various sites please keep in mind that a link does not necessarily mean I endorse and/or support every facet and doctrine represented at that site. It is inevitable that I will link to sites that are operated by men or organizations that I may not be in complete agreement with on any number of issues.

I will link to sites that help bolster a position I take and want to discuss. I may link to sites that stand for issues I strongly disagree with, but link there so that my notes and comments on what is under discussion can be verified right from the source with which I have a disagreement. This way there is no possibility of my having misrepresented another person’s or organization's position.

July 12, 2007

Refining & Defining the "Crossless" Gospel Debate


In recent days I have posted a number of comments at Till He Comes. This is Jeremy Meyer's site. Jeremy is on staff at the Grace Evangelical Society .

Jeremy has visited and posted some comments under my article Tragedy of the "Crossless" Gospel, Part 2. I felt the following notes, which is the first I posted to Jeremey at his site, would be a good read for all concerned in the current debate. There are more, but this one helps define the areas of debate.


It really does boil down to what you wrote here, "So rather than 'What is the gospel?' the real question is 'How much of the gospel does a person need to believe in order to be born again?'"."


1) You mention Bethlehem, post-resurrection appearances, etc. That is not something anyone on either side of the debate is calling on a lost man to believe or even present to him in a soul winning situation. So, I don’t believe it is right to infer that any one is inferring/calling for a lost man to believe those, "40 other things as well." It goes for any number of the doctrinal truths about God, Jesus, and the Hoy Spirit, such as God’s natural attributes, that He is the Creator, etc. There are, however, some points that must be acknowledged and believed.

2) The reason I have used the term “reductionist” is based on two primary concerns.

a) Hodges has reduced what must be believed for salvation to one element: Believing Jesus is the Giver of eternal life (paraphrased). Nothing more and that lost man is born again.

b) Hodges has removed what I consider a key element from what a lost man must believe in order to be born again. 1 Cor. 15:3-4, which defines the Gospel, and Romans 10:9-10, which is very clear, demands a lost man, “…and believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead.” I don’t see how this can be divorced from what a lost man must believe and not be a “Crossless” gospel.

Again, I’m not talking about presentation; rather what the Bible says must be believed for the reception of eternal life.

I don’t know if you have ever read my book, but I have one chapter devoted to a discussion of Romans 10:9. Thirteen pages on that single verse, not that length makes it right. I expose and unravel Lordship’s misuse of the verse, and lay out its importance to the Gospel. IMO, based on what the verse says, it is indispensable that the death of Christ for the sins of man and His resurrection must be not only presented, but also acknowledged and believed by a lost man for the reception of eternal life.

3) It appears to me Hodges has invested himself so deeply into John’s Gospel that he has come to the opinion it trumps the rest of the NT on soteriology. This is especially true when I read Antonio da Rosa who, I am sorry to say, is a difficult read.

4) I commend you men for your rejection of LS and defense of the Gospel against that work based, man-centered false gospel. The problem is that, IMO; Hodges has bounced too far off LS into a position at the other end of the theological pendulum swing.

5) You mention, “Shock value” in some of Hodges’ statements. If that was his intention he did a good job of it, because I find some of those statements “shocking.” I do not believe it is wise to do that, because how is one to know he is going for shock value?

6) A friendly observation. Some of you men are, at times, getting a little too emotionally charged. I appreciate your love and respect for Hodges, but I think it is allowing for some emotion and loss of objectivity to enter the discussion. Some MacArthur fans get extremely wound up and think my book is a personal attack on MacArthur himself, which is not the case there, nor in this debate over what Hodges is teaching. Like I wrote in my book,

None of my work should be taken as a personal attack on any advocate of the Lordship position. I have treated the Lordship advocates with dignity and respect. The debate is focused on the doctrine of the gospel. Personality is not the issue!”

Let’s talk some more.


July 11, 2007

Rick Warren’s Foray Into the United Nations

To All:

I am returning to a discussion of an issue in the ministry of Rick Warren who is Senior Pastor of the Saddleback Church and founder of the Purpose Driven movement.

A few days ago, former Saddleback staff member and Rick Warren apologist, John Brown, decided to address/defend the various concerns many have raised with the ministry and methods of Rick Warren.

You can view the list Warren’s errors and offences, which I posted in my blog. Read Purpose Driven’s Compromise of Scripture.

John Brown, as his first choice, opted to defend #6 on the list, which is:

Warren redefines ministry in terms of social activism. Alan Wolfe of the Wall Street Journal says, "Historians are likely to pinpoint Mr. Warren's trip to Rwanda as the moment when conservative evangelical Protestantism made questions of social justice central to its concerns."

Warren's Global Peace Plan for "Purpose Driven Nations" includes involving himself with the UN, Council on Foreign Relations, etc. in order to rid the world of "poverty, disease, and illiteracy" by forming entangling alliances between churches, secular businesses, and governments. This is an agenda completely foreign to the Great Commission and the NT church as laid out in Acts and the Pauline Epistles
Brown’s opening attempt at justifying Warren’s egregious error and methodology can be read at another blog site in a thread I titled, The Gospel According to Warren. You will need to go to and read Brown's post #263.

I found it ironic that Brown wrote,
And consider what Warren says himself in an interview in October 06 and decide for yourself if what he says is practical and Biblical or not.”
Brown asks you to consider whether Warren’s method "is practical and Biblical or not." Biblical? In Brown’s post of the Warren interview there is not even a single passage of Scripture cited! Nor in Brown's follow-up comments does any reference to Scripture appear.

Warren and Brown take a low view of Scripture and when they do use Scripture it is often twisted to fit their pragmatic needs. [Later, and only after my encouraging Brown to cite some Scriptural justification for Warren's foray into the UN, does he cite passages that he believes justifies coopperative efforts with the UN as if this is an acceptable substitute for carrying out the Great Commission as it is defined in the Bible.]

Brown misses the thrust of my reaction to Warren’s involvement with the United Nations, governments, etc. And this should come, as little surprise because the main thrust of my concern is a biblically based concern. Because Brown takes a low view of Scripture he prefers argumentation from reason and logic whether or not it is biblically based. This is consistent with Warren's pragmatic methods and misuse of Scripture.

It is no wonder Brown avoided any discussion or citation of Biblical principle, because there is none that justifies Warren’s social gospel. Since neither Warren or Brown offer any Biblical basis for what Warren does with the UN, lets look again at my note on Warren’s foray into the UN’s approach to meeting the world’s needs:

Warren's Global Peace Plan for ‘Purpose Driven Nations’ includes involving himself with the UN, Council on Foreign Relations, etc. in order to rid the world of ‘poverty, disease, and illiteracy’ by forming entangling alliances between churches, secular businesses, and governments. This is an agenda completely foreign to the Great Commission and the New Testament church as laid out in Acts and the Pauline Epistles.”

The Lord Jesus Christ gives us the Great Commission, for example,

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen,” (Matthew 28:19-20).

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth,” (Acts 1:8).
As a missionary in South Africa I did what I could to meet the physical needs of individuals as I had opportunity, but that is not the purpose for which God called me to Africa. That is not what I was sent to do or the thrust of my ministry in South Africa.

It is no secret the UN engineers, promotes and funds programs that are antithetical to the Bible (see below). There is nothing inherently wrong with building hospitals and providing for the physical needs of mankind, but that is NOT the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), and certainly does not replace and is no substitute for the Great Commission.

The thrust of my concern is that Warren’s method may be misinterpreted as though this is a model and example of how we are to fulfill the Bible’s Great Commission.

Warren aligns himself, speaks to, and cooperates with these UN based organizations.

Warren aligns himself and cooperates with the UN that seeks to “rid the world of ‘poverty, disease, and illiteracy’.” It must also be noted, however, that through his cooperative efforts, Warren aligns himself with the same UN that seeks to rid the world” of unborn infants through their murder while still in the womb.

Brown’s answer to whether or not there is justification for cooperating with the UN, in spite of their pro-abortion agenda was related to another person this way,
There are many organizations that we all deal with daily, perhaps unwittingly, that do things that are not good, even immoral. But if we can enlist those organizations to do good should we avoid them?”
Just as Rick Warren does, Brown takes a low view of Scripture. He considers the biblical mandates for separation from unbelievers and apostasy (2 Cor. 6:14-17) an obstacle to be sidestepped for the sake of cooperation with organizations like the United Nations to “do good.” This, of course, means one must agree to disagree over the problem of abortion to work together. An agreement Rick Warren wholeheartedly enters into with John Brown’s enthusiastic support.


Comments OFF for this article. Your comments can be sent to me via e-mail. Thanks.

July 5, 2007

Tragedy of the "Crossless" Gospel, Pt. 2


The latest in the series The Tragedy of the Crossless Gospel has just been posted at the Duluth Bible Church web site.

This is the second in the series in which the major change and shift in teaching on the Gospel by Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin is being examined. In this edition Brother Tom Stegall makes this observation,

I am convinced the magnitude of deviation from God’s Word is much greater than most Free Grace people have realized. As a result of the Crossless gospel, entirely new unscriptural doctrines are being spawned, either as a consequence of the shifting gospel or simply in conjunction with it.
Brother Stegall goes on to detail The Domino Effect(s) of the new Crossless gospel.

Doctrines such as: Faith, Repentance and God’s Wrath have been redefined by Hodges in the domino effect fallout of his new Crossless gospel doctrine. Here at my site I have already touched on how Hodges has erred on the doctrine of repentance. See my article, The Teaching of Zane Hodges.

Go to: Duluth Bible Church. Click on the article titled, The Tragedy of the Crossless Gospel, Pt. 2 You will find this article under the SUMMER heading.

Finally, I believe it is time I provide a caution in regard to one of the more outspoken, but little known, advocates of the "Crossless" gospel in the blogosphere. His name is Antonio da Rosa. He has his own blog site Free Grace Theology and is a contributor at Unashamed of Grace both of which I have visited and commented at.

Antonio’s articles are often difficult to wade through, and many of them of late are an almost exact parrot of the Crossless gospel teaching by Zane Hodges. A quick perusal will demonstrate that Antonio’s position is on the extreme edge of the doctrine of salvation just as Hodges is.

I have begun to learn that the position of Hodges is no longer representative of what most men in the Free Grace movement would consider their personal position on the Gospel.


July 2, 2007

Free Grace: Fractured by the “Crossless” Gospel

Greetings to All:

For the last 30+ days I have been focused almost solely on what I have come to conclude are the doctrinal errors of Zane Hodges. I do, however, want to reiterate that where Lordship Salvation is concerned I am convinced that it is a false, works based, man-centered interpretation of the Gospel. John MacArthur is as far off-center on the Gospel at his extreme end of the theological pendulum swing as Zane Hodges is with his interpretation in the opposite direction.

During the month long series I have devoted to the teachings of Zane Hodges I have received a number of private contacts as well as comments in various threads. The most significant contact I received was from Pastor Dennis Rokser of the Duluth Bible Church. Pastor Rokser sent me an e-mail directing my attention to an article that addresses one of the major concerns I have noted and touched on with the teaching of Zane Hodges on the Gospel.

The article I have been and will direct you to is titled, THE TRAGEDY OF A CROSSLESS GOSPEL (Pt. 1) It is written by Pastor Tom Stegall from the Word of Grace Bible Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Pastor Tom Stegall would consider himself a member of what is known as the Free Grace movement.

In the opening paragraph of his article he states,

‘Houston, we have a problem.’ Free Grace movement, we have a MAJOR problem!!! Let’s be honest: in the last few years things have changed doctrinally. The content of the saving Gospel has been tampered with.” (bold added)
And a major problem it is! I had slowly been coming to the conclusions that Pastor Stegall articulates in his article. Stegall has done his homework and thoroughly documents the excesses, and extremes that have been adopted by key men in the Free Grace movement.

Later Pastor Stegall writes,
There was once virtual unanimity among us in the Free Grace position that in order for a lost sinner to receive eternal life, he must believe that Jesus Christ is God-incarnate who dies for his sins and rose again to save him forever. However, today there are a growing number in our camp who no longer believe these are essential as part of the saving Gospel that is necessary to be believed for eternal salvation. That old Gospel is now considered ‘flawed.’ It is something that some Free Grace advocates now consider to be ‘adding to the gospel’ and something which makes them “shutter” and feel ‘extremely uncomfortable…’ I am deeply disturbed by such sentiments and by the shocking sentiments coming from leading representatives of the Free Grace movement these days.” (bold added)
The leading representatives of the Free Grace movement Stegall is referring to are none other than Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin founders of the Grace Evangelical Society (GES). Stegall goes on to expose the Straw Man arguments of the men who advocate the, “New and improved gospel.”

Brother Stegall also adds,
In a…book by Wilkin, “Secure and Sure,” he states no less than 113 times throughout the book in almost mantra-like fashion that a person receives eternal life simply by believing in Jesus for it…
Stegall goes on to quote several Free Grace men who have adopted the new and improved “Crossless” gospel, such as: Hodges, Wilkin, Jeremy Myers, and John F. Hart. He then makes this observation,
After reading these shocking statements as to what constitutes the Gospel and the contents of faith required for salvation, can we question any longer whether a significant change has occurred…? This is a radical departure from the one, true, saving Gospel of Christ described in the Scriptures and historically held by grace-oriented brethren.”
Through my own study I must concur with Pastor Stegall that Hodges and Wilkin have indeed made “a radical departure from the one, true, saving Gospel of Christ.”

Incidentally, Stegall is careful to point out that most men in the Free Grace movement do not share the new “Crossless” gospel position of Hodges and Wilkin. They are deeply concerned and I believe there may be radical consequences and changes for their movement if the leadership cannot be recovered to an orthodox position on the Gospel.

Pastor Stegall’s new article The Tragedy of the Crossless Gospel is in my opinion, a must read for believers on both sides of the Lordship Salvation/Free Grace debate.

Go to: Duluth Bible Church. Click on the article titled, The Tragedy of the Crossless Gospel.

No matter where you are in the Lordship/Free Grace debate this article is a MUST READ for believers across of wide spectrum of Evangelical Christianity.

Yours faithfully,


July 1, 2007

Important Update on the "Crossless" Gospel

To All:

As early as Monday, July 2 I will have a new article that is devoted to a brief discussion of the "Crossless" gospel of Zane Hodges.

The most significant feature will be a link to an article that documents the extremes to which Zane Hodges has gone in defining what he believes constitutes the gospel of Jesus Christ.