January 26, 2010

Best of 2009: Lordship Salvation and/or Crossless Gospel

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

Today I am offering several more articles from 2009 that are among the best. These will address either Lordship Salvation, the Crossless Gospel or elements of each.

The Free Grace Fracture: What Every Advocate of Lordship Salvation Should Know

There are sharp differences between the views of Drs. Lightner/Ryrie and Dr. MacArthur on the necessary content of saving faith. However, everyone in on or viewing the debate must understand that Hodges, Wilkin and GES have drifted far outside the main stream of Free Grace theology with their reductionist assaults on the content of saving faith. The teaching of Hodges, Wilkin and the GES is commonly known as the “Crossless” or “Promise-ONLY” gospel…. Myth: Free grace theology began in the 1980’s as a response to John MacArthur’s book The Gospel According to Jesus.

Lordship Salvation and the Crossless Gospel: “Joined at the Hip”

This article by Tim VanderPloeg examines a common denominator between Lordship Salvation and the Crossless Gospel. And introduction is provided by Jan Hawthorne. The article is followed by an extended editor’s note that I added after a private discussion with a friend whom I appreciate.

The Gospel of the Christ: The “No Lordship” Counter Claim

This is just one article from a series of excerpts I posted from Pastor Tom Stegall’s new book, The Gospel of the Christ.

When Lordship Salvation proponents refer to the Free Grace position as the “no-lordship” view, they are specifically referring to the subject of eternal salvation, not sanctification in the Christian life per se. They are referring to our view as the “no-lordship salvation” view. As this applies to the Free Grace movement historically, “no-lordship salvation” would not be an accurate or appropriate designation since Free Grace advocates have traditionally viewed belief in the Lord Jesus Christ as a requirement for eternal salvation or justification, just as Acts 16:30-31 and Romans 10:9-10 teach.

Men Consistently Saw the Light of Zane Hodges’s Reasoning

This multi-art series by Ron Shea opens by attempting to answer the question: What turned Hodges to this profound Deconstructionist Error? The series then turns to a discussion of why men such as Bob Wilkin of the Grace Evangelical Society would swallow whole virtually every aberrant doctrinal view that came from Hodges through his passing in 2008.

I have noticed that those who have embraced the Crossless gospel were not theologians and Christians punctuating the evangelical landscape, who read the work of some unknown theologian (Zane) on the web or in print, and found the arguments compelling. NO! The “inner circle” consisted of those men…who had been embraced by Zane as a friend, and/or fellow theologian. They had an emotional stake in Zane’s friendship. Or more importantly, because Zane was a respected theologian of the first order, they had a vested emotional stake in Zane’s validation of them as theologians. To a man, people like Bob Wilkin and John Niemela somehow “saw the logic” of all of Zane Hodges’s defections.

Believing the Gospel, “May Indeed Frustrate God’s Grace

This article through numerous examples documents some of the most extreme manifestations of the reductionist heresy of the Crossless gospel originated by Zane Hodges are documented and many are answered by a variety of contributors.

To those of you who have any level of God-given influence as pastors, teachers, or through a Christian service ministry, you would do well to caution and warn those whom the Lord has placed in your sphere of influence. You can protect your people from the GES reductionist assault on the Gospel, i.e. the content of saving faith, by equipping them to recognize what it is at first sight. It would be a genuine tragedy of the Crossless gospel if even one of your acquaintances were to be caught up in these obvious and extreme errors.

Evangelism With the Jehovah’s Witness at My Door

In January 2009 two JW’s came to my home and I did speak to them.

I told them as long as they reject that Jesus Christ is one and the same as the Father, the Bible says they are dead in their sins and on the way to Hell. They maintained that Jesus was “a god,” but NOT equal with the Father. I sent them on their way with another (biblical) admonition that as long as the reject the Lord’s deity they are dead in their sins and on the way to Hell.

The direction of this article is to demonstrate how the advocates of the GES Crossless gospel: “...would consider such a one saved, REGARDLESS of their varied misconcetions [sic] and beliefs about Jesus.”

January 20, 2010

The Best of 2009: Peter Masters, “The Ministry of Warning is Killed Off

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

If I had to choose just three articles and/or series from 2009 as the standouts today’s offering would be among those Top 3. In June 2009 I contacted Dr. Peter Masters to ask for and I received his permission to reproduce his article, The Merger of Calvinism with Worldliness.

The truth and potency of Dr. Peter Master’s Merger of Calvinism with Worldliness was not well appreciated by the Calvinists in the so-called “conservative” evangelical camp, where the heart of the controversy which he addresses lies. His article was also under-appreciated by Calvinists in the Fundamentalist community. Many in both camps elected to negate, ignore or dismiss his polemic.

The truth is that the “new” Calvinism is, as Masters noted, becoming increasingly indifferent toward, “authentic spiritual faithfulness, worship and piety.” The “new Calvinists,” furthermore, do not want or accept legitimate criticism nor do they want to be confronted with what they are becoming even when it comes from one of their own whose reputation is highly regarded. Doctrines and/or practices under assault by the “new Calvinists” include:

  • Personal Sanctification
  • God-Honoring Worship Music
  • Young Earth Creationism
  • Cessation of the Charismatic Sign Gifts
  • Biblical Separation
Masters wrote:

The new Calvinism is not a resurgence but an entirely novel formula which strips the doctrine of its historic practice, and unites it with the world.

Why have the leading preachers servicing this movement compromised so readily? They have not been threatened by a Soviet regime. No one has held a gun to their heads. This is a shameful capitulation, and we must earnestly pray that what they have encouraged will not take over Calvinism and ruin a generation of reachable Christian young people.

A final sad spectacle reported with enthusiasm in the book is the Together for the Gospel conference, running from 2006. A more adult affair convened by respected Calvinists, this nevertheless brings together cessationists and non-cessationists, traditional and contemporary worship exponents, and while maintaining sound preaching, it conditions all who attend to relax on these controversial matters, and learn to accept every point of view. In other words, the ministry of warning is killed off, so that every error of the new scene may race ahead unchecked. These are tragic days for authentic spiritual faithfulness, worship and piety.

The “new Calvinism” through its star personalities (Piper, MacArthur, Driscoll, Mahaney, Duncan, Mohler, Dever, Lawson) and their conferences (T4G, Gospel Coalition, Resolved, Passion, Desiring God) is moving believers in a direction away from authentic fidelity to the Scriptures on several levels, which Masters details. Masters is blunt on these things.

Please proceed to The Merger of Calvinism with Worldliness for Dr. Peter Masters complete “ministry of warning.”


Editor’s Notes:
Exiled Preacher blog host Guy Davies published an interview with Phil Johnson (senior editor to John MacArthur). I posted a comment the the discussion thread in recation to a statement made by Johnson. Phil’s comment was ironically similar to a portion of the excerpt from Masters’s article above. Please continue to the thread below or this link for my commentary at the Exiled Preacher blog.

Later this year I will reproduce Masters’s article in its entirety once we get closer to the prime instigators of the “new Calvinism” annual event, namely- Together for the Gospel (T4G).

You may view Dr. Masters original article at The Sword & Trowel

January 19, 2010

The Best of 2009- Is Christ’s Resurrection Part of the Saving Message?

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

Over the past 2+ years I have documented any number of egregious reductionist heresies coming from the Grace Evangelical Society. Most of them were originated by the late Zane Hodges. Although the Grace Evangelical Society has become an isolated cell of theological extremists they do, however, perpetuate the legacy and reductionist soteriology of Zane Hodges.

The two part series from 2009 by Phillip Evans considers how Bob Wilkin, Executive Director of Grace Evangelical Society, representing the Crossless Gospel strips belief in the resurrection from the saving message. For example,

Wilkin’s fourth reason for apologizing for his prior Statement of Faith is the most troubling for those who hold to the truth of the Gospel. He writes: “Fourth, the term ‘risen Christ,’ though accurate, has caused some to wonder if we are saying that to be born again a person must believe that Jesus rose from the dead.”

Let there be no misunderstanding. Wilkin does not consider belief in Christ’s resurrection to be necessary in order to be saved! With seeming relief, in reference to the resurrection he writes, “The statement doesn’t say one must believe that to be born again.”
For a compete expose of this Hodges inspired error please continue to-

Is Christ’s Resurrection Part of the Saving Message? (Parts 1 & 2 )


January 15, 2010

The Best of 2009- “Final Salvation

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

This latest category from the Best of 2009 is on Lordship Salvation’s theme of “final salvation.” I published a series of five articles on this subject. The following links and excerpts are from and to that series.

The Gospel and Separation: Is the Term “Final Salvation” Necessarily Wrong

I would say the term “final salvation” in itself is not necessarily wrong, but I have been noticing a tendency of Calvinist/Lordship Salvationists using this term in such a way that raises a red flag. John Piper used it in his book What Jesus Demands From the World, in such a way that disturbing implications are evident. (See article for Piper’s statement.)

An analogy to “final salvation” might be the term “full gospel.” While “full gospel” may be a valid concept in that nothing should be detracted from the gospel, that term has found a common usage among Pentecostals who claim their version of “tongues” and “spiritual gifts” should be included in the preaching of the gospel. In the same way “full gospel” raises a red flag, so may the term “final salvation.”

Does “Final Salvation” Serve as Cover for Works Salvation?

Isn’t this usage of ‘final salvation’ by Lordship Salvationists just the ‘escape clause for closet Catholicism’?!” I would say, technically “No,” but practically “Yes!”

As one who was saved out of Catholicism and who was definitely trusting in his own works and righteousness before being born again by God’s grace, I will tell you it sure hits me as diluted Catholicism when I read the Lordship Salvation statements of leaders like John Piper, John MacArthur... .

Final Salvation” is Dependent on Christ’s Life

Reading the comments of the Lordship Salvation men about their understanding of the requirements for salvation, one seriously has to wonder if they would have us put our ultimate confidence for salvation in our commitment to be crucified with Christ than just solely in Christ’s death. Likewise, according to this passage “final salvation” is dependent upon “Christ’s life” not mine! Can they not understand what it says, “we shall be saved from wrath through him” and “we shall be saved by his life?”

Sadly, these Lordship Salvation men would have us to be consumed with minding our Christian life, our obedience, and our faithfulness in order to have confidence rather than relying on Christ’s life. From beginning to end salvation is all of Christ.

January 13, 2010

The Best of 2009- Charles Spurgeon

Lordship Salvation: Charles Spurgeon’s Personal Testimony Speaks Against It

I saw at once the way of salvation. I know not what else he said—I did not take much notice of it—I was so possessed with that one thought . . . . I had been waiting to do fifty things, but when I heard that word, “Look!” what a charming word it seemed to me. Oh! I looked until I could almost have looked my eyes away…. Between half-past ten o’clock, when I entered that chapel, and half-past twelve o’clock, when I was back again at home, what a change had taken place in me! Simply by looking to Jesus I had been delivered from despair, and I was brought into such a joyous state of mind that, when they saw me at home, they said to me, “Something wonderful has happened to you,” and I was eager to tell them all about it. Oh! there was joy in the household that day, when all heard that the eldest son had found the Saviour and knew himself to be forgiven.

Lordship Salvation: Charles Spurgeon Speaks (more than once) Against It

Then, dear Friends, remember, if we begin to preach to sinners that they must have a certain sense of sin and a certain measure of conviction, such teaching would turn the sinner away from God in Christ to himself. The man begins at once to say, “Have I a broken heart? Do I feel the burden of sin?” This is only another form of looking to self. Man must not look to himself to find reasons for God’s Grace. The remedy does not lie in the seat of the disease—it lies in the Physician’s hands.

January 11, 2010

The Best of 2009 by Category

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

With 2009 having come and gone my blog IDOTG has begun its fourth year in defense of the gospel.

Ordinarily I posted a *Best of… series in December for each of the past three years. For 2009, however, because of its ecumenism, threat to the Gospel and biblical separatism my series on The Manhattan Declaration took precedence for December.

In 2009 there were 78 articles posted by various contributors, which made selecting the following for inclusion especially difficult. A brief comment and/or excerpt will be included; a tease for the main article as it were.

In each of the previous Best of… series I would post all of my choices for the year in a single article. This time, however, I am going to post my selections in successive steps by category. My purpose is to give readers an opportunity to click on and review various articles from abbreviated lists rather than wade through one extended listing. Once I close the Best of 2009 series I will then tie them all back together into one Best of 2009 article.

On Wednesday morning we will begin with the first category from: The Best of 2009.

Kind regards,

Lou Martuneac

*Following are links to IDOTG’s Best of series from each of the past three years.

The Best of 2006

The Best of 2007

The Best of 2008

January 2, 2010

Snow-Covered, High Velocity Research

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

The time has come to make my annual pilgrimage to the snow capped peaks of some far away mountain range. I’d like to present this pilgrimage to you as a scientific experiment with an educational value.

I have a passion for testing the velocity capability of two man-made laminated planks on a snow-covered, sharp angle descent when boarded by yours truly. Maximum velocity is achieved by creating as little friction as possible during the descent. This means a great deal of angling the planks on to their steel coated edges.

The occasional misfire generally results in my getting a very close look at the snow-covered descent, otherwise known as the “face-plant,” superbly demonstrated to the right.

To the left- Yours truly at 23. Yes, kids we did dress that way for Spring skiing and it was a very “cool” look then. Check out the “groovy” wind shirt and “far out” Foster Grant shades.

After I return, with all my parts in the right places Lord willing, I’ll begin publishing again. Until then…

Yours faithfully,

Lou Martuneac

*I’ll be looking in as time and Internet connectivity permit.