The Gospel According to Paul or MacArthur?

John MacArthur has written a book titled The Gospel According to Paul. A friend of mine was good enough to send me a copy and so I have examined it and found 12 telling quotes from the book. The premise appears to be an attempt to find out what gospel Paul shared and to some degree MacArthur does discuss the content of the message of 1 Cor 15 however in many ways he undoes the truth revealed through adding in his own theological reformed leaning bent. Doing so muddies and even changes the gospel.

12 telling quotes:

p xxii “Two of my best-known books on the gospel are in-depth critiques of the preposterous notion that repentance, self-denial, the cost of discipleship, and the lordship of Christ are all truths unnecessary for salvation and thus best left out of our gospel proclamation.”

(Here MacArthur admits that he thinks that salvation is not received by what I would call faith alone. No place does the Bible state that things such as self-denial, commitments to discipleship, or submission to Christ’s lordship are required for reception of eternal life.)

p xxvii “Some influential voices in the evangelical movement today still teach that obedience to Christ is an optional and unnecessary adjunct to “accepting Him” as Savior. Some still would deny that the gospel calls sinners to repentance or instructs them to follow Christ.”

(The gospel instructs them to follow Christ? No the gospel is the good news that Christ died for us, was buried, and rose again. We must obey the gospel. How? By believing it as true. That is what it means to trust Christ as Savior. It is placing our faith in Him to save. Remember for MacArthur repentance does not mean to change one’s mind but to turn from sin.)

P 14 “So how could God ever justify the ungodly without compromising His own righteousness? The answer is that Christ willingly died in place of those whom He saves. He is their Substitutue…”

(This is couched in verbiage of one who holds to a limited view of the atonement. Many Calvinists believe that Christ only died for the elect and not the whole world.)

p 22 “…Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures… He was buried … He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and … He was seen.” That is the whole gospel. The rest is explanation.”

(Right, but how should one explain it? As in yeah, that is the good news but oh by the way Christ only died for the few chosen ones? Is that really good news to anyone? It is not really even good news to any supposed pre-chosen ones because even in the end of the day you cannot, like MacArthur, even know 100 percent that you are one of the chosen ones because in this system one must persevere to the end. There is always in that system the chance of failure. Plus this says nothing about counting the cost of discipleship or turning from sins. So where does that enter the explanation?)

p 23 “So many people spurn the good news because they can’t get past the starting point, which requires us to confess our sin.”

(No, that is a false gospel. The reason so many reject the gospel, just as the Pharisees did, is that they can’t in their humans minds and pride accept something by grace that is undeserved and unearned. I am convinced that the easiest lie for the devil to sell is that one needs to do something to help earn salvation.)

p 24 “… all false religions are systems of human achievement.”

(How ironic because reformed theology and Calvinism fit this statement. They are works oriented systems masquerading as grace. In the end once the varnish is stripped off, it is just as much works oriented as any other religious system. It is as much works for salvation as even the Catholicism from which it came.)

p 54 “This righteousness is imputed (credited to the account of) to every sinner who renounces sin and trusts Christ as Savior.”

(Once again MacArthur fails to understand the means of the prescribed method of receiving the gift of eternal life by faith. And in doing so he begins to directly contradict his own context.)

p 92-93 double-talk, Spurgeon “That God predestines, and yet that man is responsible, are two facts that few can see clearly. They are believed to be inconsistent and contradictory to each other….”

(MacArthur apparently felt that he needed to quote some of Spurgeon’s philosophy and double speak concerning election. To be clear here God does not in any way pre-select who will believe. He predestines that those that do believe will be adopted as sons and receive the inheritance. Eph 1:5, 13)

p 104 “God’s grace is the originating cause of regeneration; the sinner’s faith is the immediate effect.”

(The obvious problem is that the scripture itself does not say this. Regeneration can in no way precede the first time a person believes the gospel. Regeneration follows reception of the free gift through faith. Paul made this quite clear. So it is misleading for MacArthur to suggest otherwise.)

p 104-105 “If the sinner’s own free-will choice rather than God’s electing grace were the determining factor in salvation, no one would ever be saved.”

(This is also false. MacArthur is assuming no one would choose to believe but remember for MacArthur the idea of faith includes any number of things such as turning from sins, making Christ the Lord of your life, commitments to discipleship etc. And apparently he has forgotten that the gospel itself is the power of God unto salvation. The gospel is the light that the Holy Spirit uses to illuminate the blinded. 2 Cor 4 mentions that the god of this world has blinded the minds of the lost. This is something the devil has done, not God. Men may choose to continue to believe any lie or may repent (change their mind) and receive salvation based on the specific revelation of the truth. They already have God’s general revelation to know they are without excuse. Rom 1. The fact is that if our gospel is hid, even such as in MacArthur’s loaded lordship version, it is hid to those who are lost and already blinded by the devil. What a shame. So many like MacArthur appear to desire that people live Christian lives but the way to get there is not to front or back load the gospel with works or extra qualifications that are meant for ongoing obedience in the Christian walk in sanctification.)

p 105 “Again, every aspect of salvation – beginning with regeneration, including the sinner’s faith and good works – all of it – is purely by grace. It is done for us freely.

(No it is not done for us. Christ paid the penalty of sin for us. we must receive it by faith. Otherwise the gift goes unappropriated. It is there for any who will receive it and all may receive it.)

P 107 “Faith adds nothing meritorious to salvation; it is simply the channel through which the blessing is received. But some measure of practical righteousness is the inevitable fruit of saving faith.”

(Here is an illustration how some like MacArthur begin to have the right idea on paper yet mess it up by adding in that last line about “inevitable” fruit. Practical righteousness is not inevitable otherwise, as I have said before, the New Testament could have been much shorter without having to have so much instruction about how to live the Christian life.  You could take out all of the rebukes to the Galatians, Romans, Corinthians, Hebrews, the believers that James wrote to  and on and on.

Remember the Reformed concept of “faith” is that it is a gift from God and that it must behave and perform as a certain special kind that is only available to a few pre-selected chosen few. Good works then become vital to even begin to know if one is truly saved. However the Bible states that we can know our standing based on whom we have believed. Our salvation is a sure a Christ is God and the gospel is true. Works have nothing to do with it because our salvation was not by works of the law but was offered by grace because Christ did the work. Reformed theology goes far beyond this making puppets out of men and making an ogre out of God. God in that system is change from the one Paul describes to a God that pre-chooses most people to have no chance but to damned eternally.  Please do not let people like MacArthur fool people into thinking Paul taught any such thing.)

In summary we can see that MacArthur has not really explained what Paul said very well but instead has taken the opportunity to try to inject Calvinism and Reformed style theology back into various texts. In doing so he actually created some paradoxes and made what should be straight forward, confusing. Let’s not confuse people as to what the gospel is or how people can receive it.

Posted in Calvinism, Lordship Salvation, Reformed Theology | 2 Comments

Introducing the James 2 Explained page

Greetings all,

For your consideration i have added as stand alone page that explains my view of James 2. I pray that it is a benefit to all.

Any comments for it can be added here as I will not allow comment on the page itself.

In Christ

Jim Floyd

https://standforthefaith.com/james-2-explained/

Posted in Free Grace, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Beware of The Shack

Beware of the Shack

The book The Shack by William P. Young is a bestseller and has now been made into a movie. However much this is hyped or praised, please do not allow yourself to be deceived by it. There are those that say that this is just fiction or this is just using a fictional story to explain truths to children. But does this book really explain Biblical truths concerning Christ? I will highlight 12 big errors and some other red flags of concern.

1) God is stripped of His fatherly persona.

He is reduced to a genderless Spirit that merely shows himself as whatever He wishes at the time.
(This is not the Biblical representation of God. Consider: I Cor 8:6, John 1:14, John 10:30 (both Jesus and the Father are male ie one God), Lk 1:35, Mt 28:19, John 14:16-17, I Pet 1:2, Eph 4:4-6, Col 1:15-17, John 10:30-36, and there are more… but the Bible is clear on it.

2) Christ is said to have been 100 percent veiled only doing miracles by God living through Him as he was obedient.

(This places Christ too far onto man’s level. It is a sure unbiblical extreme and one that ends up denying Bible truth concerning Christ. Consider: Heb 13:8, John 1:1, John 6:38, (limiting His use of divine attributes to only His Father’s will is not at all the same as never using them. Remember, Christ could have survived the cross but chose to die for us instead as servant to God’s will.)

3) God is said to be love and will not punish sin but only cure it.

This is 100 percent unbiblical and denies God’s Holiness, justice, and a whole multitude of verses. Consider: Romans 1:8 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth., Eph 5:6, Rom 2:5, Rom 5:9, Rev 14:10-11, John 3:36, Heb 10,Deut 9:8, Ex 15:7, Ex 32:10-11, Jer 32:29, Num 32:13, 2 Kings 13:3, Mat 21:12-13, Isa 13:9, (and to sum it up: For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.)

4) It is said that all who love can come to God by various means.

(To me this is a start toward universalism. It is at least unbiblical. The way to God is very specific.)

Consider: John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved., I Tim 2:5, John 3:16, John 3:18, John 3:36, John 8:24, John 10:9, I John 5:11-12, Rom 10:14-17.

5) It is said that it doesn’t matter what we do as long as we do it with the right heart.

(The book has one of the god characters listening to funk music and teaching contrary to scriptures. Consider:Rom 12:1, Eph 5:8-10, 2 Cor 5:9, I John 3:22, Lev 1-7. God does have standards that please him and those that do not. The verses are too numerous to list.

6) The author insists that there is no hierarchy with God as in no authority or structure.

(This is then applied to marriage, the church, and human governments. The accusation is that these things are merely human constructs and therefore suspect.) However consider: Rom 13:1-7, Gen 1:1, Dan 4:35, Rom 9:19-21, Gen 2:22-24, Eph 5:22-33, Mat 19:4-6, I Cor 7:1-16, Col 3:18-19, John 17:1-5

7) It is said that man’s main problem is independence and the solution is to return to dependence.

Consider: Rom 6:6, Rom 8:8, Rom 5:12, John 3:6-7, Ps 51:5, Rom 3:23, Rom 6:23, Eph 2:1, Rom 3, Rom 8:6-7, I Cor 2:14, Rev 20:14-15.

8) The author fixates on the sickness of the earth.

(But the problem is not the curse on the earth through Adam but the curse on Adam and the rest of mankind through Adam.

Consider: Gen 3:16-19, Rom 5:12-14

9) The author mention fractals.

(Fractal theory is a big red flag and touches on new age and other eastern religions along with the occult. It is not a Biblical theory.)

10) The author states that God the Father also died on the cross through Jesus.

(This is a gigantic heresy. The Bible is very clear on this.)

Consider: I Peter 3:18, I Jn 3:16, John 10:17-18,  John 3:16, Eph 1:7, Acts 2:24-36, 2 Cor 5:21, Lk 24:39-43, Gal 2:16, I Peter 2:24.

11) The author cautions against careful Bible study and places of higher learning that teach theology etc.

Consider: 2 Tim 2:15, Psalm 1, Psalm 119:105, Tit 1:9, I Pet 3:15, 2 Tim 3:16-17, Joshua 1:8, Ps 119:11, Prov 3:1-2, Acts 17:11, Heb 4:12, 2 Pet 3:18,

12) The author teaches that God veils himself of foreknowledge to the degree that it is as if He is learning though He technically is not.

(This is also a heresy that is not supported in scripture.) Consider: Ps 147:5, I John 3:20, Is 40:28, Romans 11:33-36, Heb 4:13, Isa 40:13-14.

Other concerns and flags:

13) The author mentions Gandalf and makes allusions to Star Wars.

(Ironically the Lord of the Rings and Star Wars books and movies are largely based off of Eastern and new age philosophy including Taoism etc.)

14) The author is irreverent, sacrilegious, and mocks God.

(I won’t quote the examples here but there are some throughout the book.)

15) The use of fiction is especially deceptive because it puts peoples guard down making the error more acceptable and less noticeable.

(In reality the god presented in this book, movie is more a concoction of new age philosophy and man’s reasoning. It is pretty much what you do end up with when careful Bible study is abandoned.)

The bottom line is that this book is to be avoided. It isn’t worth any entertainment factor either, even if you know it is false going in. Why bother? All it will do is desensitize people to error for the sake of a story. We have enough of that with most books and movies so why do that with something that purports to be representative of what God wants us to know about Him? For that, look to the Word itself. You don’t need someone like this author to mess it up for you. It is not even a good paraphrase of reality, but just an altogether alternate reality. The best advice I can give is to mark and avoid this book and share these warnings with others.

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Does Fruit Inspection Prove Salvation?

From time to time I hear people talking about considering a persons “fruit” to try to determine if they are an eternally saved believer in Christ. I even had a deacon tell me once that he believed that God had called him to be a “fruit” inspector. However is this something believers ought to do? Or is it a twisting of scripture? I have my  belief on the matter and have stated it in various places. Recently though I saw post from a friend on Facebook that I thought really encapsulated well the answer to this question and also provided a few worthwhile examples to consider.

I agreed with what my friend posted. He has permitted me to share it on this blog. Please consider this for yourself and share with others.

From Ben Vogt:

“One of the most subtly damaging and widely misused phrases thrown around in Christendom is “ye shall know them by their fruits,” which is found in Matthew 7:16. This verse is often used to justify conduct-based “fruit inspection” of another Christian’s life to determine whether or not he or she is “truly saved.” That is NOT the intended purpose of this verse. As the saying goes, “a text out of context is a pretext,” so it is with Matthew 7:16. Now, let’s break it all down. Who will we know by their fruits? What are the “fruits” NOT referring to? What are the real “fruits” spoken of in this context? And is observable conduct an infallible indicator of whether or not a person is saved? What should we do instead of judging Christians as saved or unsaved by their outward conduct? Let’s find out.

It is crucial to look at Matthew 7:16 in its proper context, because its prior verse, Matthew 7:15, says, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” So here you have it. Who will we know by their fruits? FALSE PROPHETS! This is NOT referring to Christians in general, but to FALSE PROPHETS. Those are the ones who we will “know by their fruits.” Why do we have to beware? Because if you read on to Matthew 7:21-23, it is clear that they will be bringing in damnable heresies. In other words, they will bring in false gospels that not only lead the lost to Hell, but can also severely damage those who are saved and cause them to doubt their salvation.

With that all being said, let’s start with what “fruits” are not. Many Christians think that the “fruits” mentioned in Matthew 7:16 are outward conduct. With this conclusion in mind, they go around and shoot off their mouths about other people saying, “Oh, this person isn’t living like a Christian (based on a given standard), so he/she must not be saved.” This idea is COMPLETETLY wrong for a number of reasons. One, consider Jesus’ sayings at the beginning of the chapter, “judge not lest ye be judged” and “take the beam out of thine one eye; and then thou shalt see clearly to take the speck out of thy brother’s eye.” Two, the false prophets spoken of in Matthew 7:15 are said to appear as “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” On the outside, they’re going to look good. They’re going to look like sheep. They’re going to appear as agents of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:10-14). Many Christians would look at them and say, “Oh, look at the life this person lives, he/she must be a true man/woman of God.” But appearances can be deceiving. They may preach things that sound good to man, but in the long run cause great turmoil and distress in many spiritual lives. I will speak more in depth about this in the next paragraph.

So what “fruit” are we to judge false prophets by? Look at Matthew 12:33-34 “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” There you have it, we are to judge false prophets by their teachings. Of course, no Bible teacher is immune to error, but remember, the gospel they preach is the clincher. A true test of whether or not they are a biblical messenger of God. If the gospel they preach does not line up with scripture, and causes you to focus more on your works rather than on Christ, then it is a false gospel and they are a false messenger. Do NOT listen to them! They are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Their teachings will destroy you. They will cause you to doubt your salvation, doubt God’s love for you, make you feel guilty and insecure with God, make you feel like it’s all on YOUR shoulders to make God happy, fill you up with pride and cause you to become bitter and judging toward other people. One example is a doctrine commonly known as “Lordship Salvation,” which demands an upfront commitment to forsake all known sin and adhere to all the demands of discipleship, in addition to faith in Christ, in order to be saved. As a result of this theology; many people doubt their salvation, live in profuse guilt over their sins and failures, are tempted to walk away from the faith, become prideful and judging of others who do not live up to their standards, contemplate suicide, fear the idea of “having a license to sin” when the real Gospel of Grace (solely being saved through faith in Christ based on His sacrifice on our behalf) is preached to them, and a whole plethora of other problems. Therefore, we are to judge false prophets by their teachings, especially on salvation, because their teachings are damaging.

So is looking at outward appearances a good way to judge whether or not somebody is saved? Again, appearances can be deceiving. There is one verse, 1 Samuel 16:7, which says, “man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” This is how a lot of Christians tend to think: “Oh look at Pedro, he claims to be a Christian but he never wants to go to church. Sally’s the real deal, she’s always involved in church ministry and feeding the poor. Wendy says she accepted Christ at four years old, and now she has a kid out of wedlock. Nick lives such a pure life and preaches against sexual immorality, so he must be a real Christian. Frank says all you have to do is believe on Jesus to be saved, yet he cusses like a sailor. Dexter has such a clean mouth and always says godly and encouraging things, so he is a man of God.” But we only see these people from the outside, yet we never stop to consider what they might be going through on the inside. Maybe Pedro sincerely loves the Lord and worships and prays to Him at home, but he avoids church because of people IN the church who have emotionally hurt him in the past. Sally may look good on the outside, but what if on the inside she is prideful in herself, for all the big charitable deeds she does, and looks down on others who aren’t as committed as she is. If Wendy truly saw her need for Christ and trusted Him as her Savior, then she IS truly saved, but maybe she was never discipled properly and was never warned to avoid premarital sex. Perhaps she realized the error of her decision, and that it wasn’t God’s will for her, but now she is raising her kid because she feels that it is the right thing to do. Nick may look pure and set against sexual immorality on the outside, but on the inside, he might be sexually coveting the girlfriend of another Christian who disagrees with his theology. Consider that Frank might be a new believer in Christ, with some emotional baggage from his past, and thus frequently swears in anger and frustration but doesn’t understand why he shouldn’t do that. Dexter may say godly and encouraging things to his friends, but at home he may verbally batter and belittle his homosexual brother and tell him that he is going to Hell. You honestly never know.

What if it is all like this? Pedro, Wendy, and Frank are all truly saved because they saw their need for Christ, knowing of His sacrifice for them, and trusted in Him to forgive their sin and reconcile them to the Father. Sally, Nick, and Dexter are NOT saved because they have trusted in their own religious conduct and commitment to make them right with God while subconsciously mocking Christ’s finished work as “cheap grace,” “easy-believism,” or “fire insurance.” Sally, Nick, and Dexter need to be confronted with their error on the Gospel and led to trust in Christ alone, apart from their works. As for Johnny, Wendy, and Frank, the best thing we can do, according to Galatians 6:1, is to “restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” If saved people like them come to terms with what they did wrong and have changed their attitude about it, then we should give them spiritual comfort. If not, then we should gently say to them something like, “Hey brother/sister, you shouldn’t do this and it’s not God’s will for you because (fill-in-the-blank). As children of God, and ambassadors for Christ, here’s what we should do instead.” Nowhere are in scripture are we told to judge another Christian as saved or unsaved based on outward conduct, because appearances can be deceiving.

Remember, we must always rightly divide the Word of God and keep everything in its rightful context. Pulling a random verse out of its context, and making it say what we want it to say, can be VERY damaging to the Body of Christ. Just think. What if somebody thought YOU weren’t committed enough and judged YOU as unsaved? How would that make you feel? What if they didn’t know what you were going through in your private spiritual life? With that all being said, it is important that we reserve judgment until we see someone for who they really are. Someone who we may think of as a holy servant of God may turn out to be a deceiving servant of Satan. On the other hand, someone who may claim to be a Christian but not act like it may be internally struggling to do the right thing, or they may be in need of godly guidance and mentorship from other believers. In essence, Matthew 7:16 tells us that we will know false prophets by their teachings and the deadly, wounding spiritual effects that they have on their followers. It is all rooted in the gospel they preach. Listen to it thoroughly and ask yourself: does it lead me to focus more on what I have to do or what Christ has done for me, and does it give me peace and assurance or fear and doubt? This is how you can tell true prophets and false prophets apart.

God bless and maranatha!”

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Voting and Faith

Weighing heavily on my mind has been the topic of voting and how it relates to faith. I will give some principles from my American and christian perspective. Not all countries have even have the right to vote but there are still principles that can apply.

Never before has it seemed that voting on election day is as daunting a task for Christians as now.  Amidst the seemingly constant stream of mud slinging, there often seems to be no clear cut likeable candidate that personally holds Christian values. So should Christians stay home and not vote? God forbid.

We as Americans happen to live in a nation were men have fought and died to give the freedom and privilege to vote to its citizens. No matter how we feel personally toward any of the candidates, we still can take a look at the issues at hand and decide which is most conducive to a Biblical worldview and Biblical principles. So let’s consider some key issues and ask ourselves which candidate best fit what we desire.

Supreme Court – Which candidate will be more likely to appoint justices that will uphold the constitution and not legislate from the bench for political pet causes? Which is more likely to appoint conservative minded judges?

Abortion – Which candidate is more likely to support life? Which will put life below the concerns of women?

National Security – Which candidate will offer the best chance to secure our borders and enforce our laws? Which will send undesirables out and which will draw them in?

Economy – Which person will be most conducive to wise handling of money nationally? Which one will treat money as an abstract concept in theory?

Foreign Policy – Which one will provide leadership around the world? Which one will build a strong military for our protection? Which one will continue current policy?

Veterans – Which one will be more likely to take care of our veterans?

Party Platform – Which party platform has the policies that you would rather see implemented?

Faith – Which one will take less offense to those that stand for the Christian faith?

I believe that these are sufficient for any American believer to consider and decide whom to vote for at the upcoming election. There is no need to spend hours debating, listening to gossip, conspiracy theories, past dirty rags, media spin, and so forth. Elections are primarily always about the issues. The dilemma many face is that the top candidates, especially this year, don’t have the “good guy” facade. I don’t personally know if any President has actually been a believer while in office but we shouldn’t be surprised when we find ourselves with unsaved leadership. Vote for the one that will make policy decisions that will be more in line with Biblical principles than the other candidates.

Common Misconceptions:

1) It is better to not vote at all.
(Try telling this to a person in a country where they are not allowed. Try telling this to a survivor of someone who lost a loved one in the line of service for your country. God has given us the opportunity as believers in America to vote for our representation. Why not use that opportunity as good steward of that gift?)

2) The election is rigged so I shouldn’t bother.
(All people eligible should use the opportunity to vote.)

3) My candidate is going to win overall so my vote is not needed.
(All vote are needed.)

4) My candidate is going to lose in my state anyway.
(We don’t know who  will win. Vote anyway.)

5) I’m to busy to vote.
(There are no excuses. Plenty of people could have made excuses when it came to defending our freedom to vote but are you glad they didn’t.)

6) I want a Pastor in chief.
(This is not the Biblical idea.

7) I can’t vote for someone if they have ever done or said anything awful.

8) I can’t vote for a non-Christian.

9) We are in the last days so just let the unsaved decide for us.

10) If we keep picking the lesser of two evils then we will continually get more of the same.

 

 

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No Real Scriptural Support for Calvinism – Sovereignty and Unconditional Election

Many people ask “What is Calvinism”, and “Is it taught in the Bible?” To help answer these questions, let’s first consider the acronym T.U.L.I.P. Calvinism is not solely contained 100% within TULIP but the overall teaching is summarized very well by its five most popularized main points.  So to examine the supposed scriptural support I have decided to take the list given from Monergism.com and evaluate all relevant verses and passages to see where this teaching is really coming from and if there really is Biblical precedent for this view.

In going with their given order let’s first consider their verses given on God’s “Sovereignty” and Unconditional Election (the U in TULIP).

So the following verses are listed as support for God’s “Sovereignty”. We must note that, for what it is worth, this word is not used in the King James Bible. This will also be part of a longer series on Calvinism. Because so many verses are used, it will be beneficial to consider all of them to some degree or another.

I will follow their given outline and follow up with my commentary as to whether or not the verse supports Calvinism.

Election God is Sovereign

Exo 15:18 – no direct implication – shall reign forever

1Chr 29:11-12 – no direct implication – exalted head, king

2Chr 20:6; – no direct implication – rules over all kingdoms

Psa 22:28 – no direct implication –kingdom is the Lord’s

  1. He exercises that sovereignty in actively ordaining everything

Deu 32:39 – no, not in the context – I kill, I make alive, I wound, I heal etc

1Sam 2:6-8 – no, lord killeth, make alive, bringeth down, lifteth up

Job 9:12 – no direct implication – who can hinder him or question him

Job 12:6-10 n0 – the Lord involved in creation

Psa 33:11 no – the Lord’s counsel stands forever

Psa 115:3 no – done whatever He had pleased, they try to tie this back to a supposed choosing of who will believe, however it was a corporate choosing

Psa 135:6 – same as above

Isa 14:24 – I have thought- it will come to pass, I have purposed it will stand, (still no tie to election, this has to do specifically with His judgement on Babylon)

Isa 45:7 – no, creator of light and dark, make peace and evil (calamity) context of God the maker –this is spoken in rebuke to Cyrus

Act 15:18 – God knows the Lord’s works from eternity- no correlation to election

Eph 1:11 – the inheritance for believers is foreordained – (not those who will believe are foreordained to believe)

    • Including matters of “chance”

Pro 16:33 the verdict is the Lord’s – (this does not really support the view)

1Ki 22:20 (this is really unrelated)

34 same

37 same

    • The wicked actions of men

Gen45:5 God provided their deliverance through Joseph – (nothing to do with election of individuals, has to do with national Israel – God allowed them to sell Joseph. Gen50:20 Exo 4:21 – God knew that Pharaoh’s heart would be hardened, Calvinists try to reason then that God will harden unbelievers (non-elect) to reject the gospel)

Jdg 14:1-4 – (nothing to do with election – a great stretch)

Psa 76:10 – (nothing to do with election)

Pro 16:4 – made the wicked for the day of calamity , (calvinists try to use this verse to say that God makes wicked people to be destroyed. Sounds different in Young’s literal: Pro 16:4  All things hath Jehovah wrought for Himself, And also the wicked worketh for a day of evil.)

Isa 44:28 (nothing to do with election – has to do with Jerusalem)

Amos 3:6 evil – affliction, calamity, adversity

Act 2:22-23 – (It was God’s plan that Christ was to be the sacrifice. This does not mean though that God wills sin as in the sinful actions of those that killed the Savior! This means that He would allow them to do so. There is a difference.)

Act 4:27-28 – same

    • The actions of evil spirits

1Sam 16:14-16; 1Ki 22:19-23; 1Chr 21:1/2Sam 24:1 (not relevant to election)

    • The good actions of men

John 15:16 – (This was choosing the disciples, not some for salvation)

Eph 2:10 – created unto good works – we should walk in them –(This is nothing to do with electing people to believe or reject.)

Phi 2:12-13 – (This is dealing with sanctification.)

    • The actions of good angels

Psa 103:20 – they obey – (nothing to do with election)

Psa 104:4 – (nothing relevant to the issue here – He made the angels)

    • The actions of animals

Num 22:28 – (a special circumstance)

1Ki 17:4 – same

Psa 29:9 (not relevant)

Jer 8:7; (doesn’t even fit)

Eze 32:4 – (directed to in judgement – nothing to do with election)

Dan 6:22 (the angel did it)

    • The operations of all creation

Gen 8:22; Psa 104:5-10; Psa 104:13-14; Psa 104:19-20; Mark 4:39 – (not relevant)

  1. Man is not permitted to question his sovereign acts

Job 33:12-13; Isa 29:16; Isa 45:9-10; Mat 20:1-16; (nothing to do with this topic but this parable is interesting)

Rom 9:19-24 – (has to do with national Israel)

(We have no right to question God’s choices. This is exactly why we should not question that God chose to save those who would trust Christ as their Savior. God never decided for people if they would or wouldn’t believe the gospel.)

So far there have been no verses supporting the actual Calvinistic idea of unconditional election.

Part 2
God elects [i.e. chooses, predestines, foreordains]

  1. His angels

1Tim 5:21 – (refers to elect angels, angels that were chosen for a purpose, has to do with angels and their purposes not men)

  1. His peculiar people, Israel

Exo 6:7; Deu 7:6-8; Deu 10:14-15; Psa 33:12; Isa 43:20-21 – (It is not disputed that God chose national Israel as His people. This is not the same as choosing who will or won’t believe. Not even all of his chosen Israel believed.)

  1. Individuals to salvation

Psa 65:4 – (This isn’t talking about choosing some to believe the gospel, specifically vs 4 is not talking about receiving eternal life – it has more of the idea of abiding)

Mat 24:24 – (This verse merely mentions the elect. It says nothing about what they were chosen for or what criteria was used. This particular verse also has to do with end times post rapture.)

John 6:37 – (Who are the ones that God gives to Christ(God)… those that believe – look back up to verse 35. This is repeated in verse 40. This passage also mentions eternal security as opposed to Calvinism’s perseverance.)

John 15:16 – (This is speaking specifically of the 12 disciples and not in context of choosing them for salvation but of service. This chapter starts out talking about abiding then verse 8 is in context of abiding in the Christian walk. John 15:8  Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. – These verses further prove it was about the disciples in terms of their service and future calling to witness. – John 15:26  But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: John 15:27  And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.)

Act 13:48 – (Look back a verse. Act 13:47  For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. It had been confirmed that salvation was available to Gentiles. Those who wanted it believed. Act 13:48  And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. (The gentiles here receive the news that the gospel is available to them and they believe (receive it by faith) because they were disposed to or determined in their own mind to receive it should it be confirmed that it is possible for them. This is why they were glad in the first part of the verse. They had been exposed to some preaching earlier and wanted to hear more. See verse 42. Act 13:42  And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.)

Rom 8:28-30 – (verse 28 is talking about those that love God and are called, verse 29 Foreknow means to know beforehand. Period. So God knows who will believe the gospel. Those who do are predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son. VS 30 These same believers were called, justified (positionally) and glorified (positionally). We don’t receive our glorified bodies till we reach heaven.)

Rom 9:10-24 (This is talking not about individuals to salvation but it is speaking of the choosing of national Israel through Jacob and not through Esau. Also consider verses 30 through 32. How did the gentiles receive salvation? By faith. How did Israel reject? By choosing the law as opposed to receiving salvation by faith. No where does it say that God made his chosen national people not believe. Why would God make someone do something He does not want them to do? He is not divided against himself!)

Rom 11:5-7 – Mentions the “election of grace”. This is in context to chosen national Israel by in large rejecting  but a remnant decided to believe. This election of or choosing of grace as the method is further explained in verse 6. So to clarify it is by grace (unmerited favor) therefore it is not of works otherwise grace ceases to be grace. This is another reason why Calvinism cannot be true. More on that later in future posts once we get to perseverance of the saints.)

Verse 7 Rom 11:7  What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded . (God has allowed them by their own choice to be blinded. Why? For two reasons: through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles and because of this to provoke them to jealousy. See verse 11 Rom 11:11  I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.)

Eph 1:3-6 (Verse 3 talks about spiritual blessings chosen for those that are believers. Vs 4 Chosen us in him. God knew who would believe and be in Him. These were chosen then for certain benefits and for certain general types of service. Nothing here actually says God chose some to believe in Him. That is not how the verse reads but that is what Calvinists read into the verse. And what specifically were we chosen for in him? That we should be holy and blameless before him in love. I see this both as a blessing and a calling to service/fellowship. Vers 5 speaks of another benefit namely of the adoption of believers as sons of God, this adoption is to the  good pleasure of His will. This adoption does not happen before we believe. This all shows the glory of His grace. Because God gracious to provide salvation to all men and indeed some believed and thise will receive the adoption of sons.)

Eph 1:11-12 (This is not choosing some to believe but rather continuing the earlier thought. Those of us who have believed have obtained a future inheritance. This inheritance is predestinated according to God. This is a statement affirming security of the believer. Why? V12 That we should be to the praise of His glory who what? First trusted in Christ. Not who were first made to trust Christ. See then verse 13 (Calvinists like to skip this one.) So we hear the truth of the gospel of our salvation, believe, and were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. This sealing then is the earnest  of the future inheritance. It is assured 100 percent that the inheritance will take place. This also refutes perseverance of the saints.)

1Thes 1:4 – (This election is the same as in the sense in Ephesians, not choosing some to believe but benefits for those who believe.)

1Thes 5:9 – (This speaking in contextof the end times and is simply confirming that believers are not appointed to wrath.)

2Thes 2:13-14  – (This is the only one that I think comes the closest to at least sounding on the surface like Calvinistic election but it does not support it once examined closely.  For one thing this is talking in context of the future tribulation time. We need to start back at verse 12. This is talking about damnation for those after the rapture that did not believe. Verse 13. Notice hear that this is clarifying the method of salvation. Which is through our belief of ther truth not through God pre-selecting us. Vs 14 We were called through the gospel. Men must receive the gospel by faith in order to receive eternal life. We in this age of grace now have the opportunity to receive the gospel by faith. It will not be the same for many after the rapture. The time to make the choice is now.)

  1. Individuals to condemnation

(Not all Calvinists claim this position but logically speaking it would be included.)

Exo 4:21 – (The hardening was in relation to not letting the people go and not in relation to salvation. Pharaoh made his own choices and God allowed them.)

Rom 9:13 – (This had to do with choosing Jacob and rejecting Esau – not for eternal life but for national Israel.)

Rom 9:17-18 -(This has to do with God allowing Pharaoh’s rise for his own purposes of displaying His power and name. It has nothing to do with some type of choosing that Pharaoh could not possibly believe the truth.)

Rom 9:21-22 – (This is still in relation to people like Pharaoh and Esau who were allowed by God to make the choices they made. God showed longsuffering to Pharaoh that his power could be displayed. This chapter is not about reception of eternal life until verse 30. And it affirms salvation is by faith not by pre-selection done by God.)

1Pet 2:8 – (This is similar to end of Romans 9.)

His motivation in election

  1. His own good pleasure

Eph 1:5 – (this is in reference to predestination unto the adoption of sons – this is a benefit of salvation. It pleases God to adopt all believers as sons.)

2. The display of his glory

Isa 43:6-7; Rom 9:22-24; 1Cor 1:27-31; Eph 2:4-7; Pro 16:4
(The first two are not talking about electing someone to believe. 1 Cor 1:31 does mention glorying in the Lord but this passage is not about God electing some to believe. Eph 2:4-7 is also consistent with my view of election. These verses do not advocate unconditional election. Pro 16:4 – Made the wicked for what, the day of evil – not to have no choice but to not believe.)

3. His special love

Deu 7:6-8; 2The 2:13
(Deut 7:6-8 is talking about Israel. 2 Thes 2:13 sounds like unconditional election at first glance but is actually talking about God choosing the method of salvation. The next verse mentions they were called by the gospel and we know that they believed the truth.)

4. His foreknowledge

Rom 8:29; 1Pet 1:2
(God knew who would believe and he predestinated that all who believe would be conformed to the image of His Son. This is not saying God chose who would believe. Yes we are elect according to the foreknowledge but what does it mean to be elect? This verse does not define the Calvinist sense of election.)

    • Which means his special love

Jer 1:5; Amos 3:2; Mat 7:22-23; 1Cor 8:3; 2Tim 2:19; 1Pet 1:20
(Jer 1:5 does not mention love. This is choosing for a calling in life, not for salvation. Amos3:2 talks about judgement for Israel, Mat 7:22-23 – judgement for those that did not believe, 1Cor 8:3 – has to do with us loving God – not election, 2Tim 2:19 – all this says is that God knows those who are his and that those that are his should depart from iniquity – this is not anything to do with unconditional election – God can know who  have believed and are born again. He can know who will believe without having to pre-plan that they will. physically make them do so. 1Pet 1:20 – Yes, Christ was foreordained from time past to be the Savior but this was for all people, not s select few. It actually destroys unconditional election because Christ died for the whole world. John 3:16 )

    • But not:

Any good [nobility, wisdom, power, choice, seeking] he foresees in anyone Deu 7:7; Rom 9:11-13; Rom 9:16; Rom 10:20; 1Cor 1:27-29; 1Cor 4:7; 2Tim 1:9
(Some of these are talking about Israel, Rom 10:2o is not in reference to election, 1Cor 1:27-29 – not relevant to this, I Cor 4:7 – not about election itself, 2Tim 1:9 -look at the very next verse, how were they saved? through believing the gospel.

No where in all of this does God actually say that He chooses people to believe or makes people believe.

“Unconditional election” as shown has nothing to stand on. It should instead be rejected as unbiblical. It becomes even more clear when you start looking at verses that actually refute it. With none of the ones given supporting it, there would be no defense. Please don’t be intimidated by or confused by it any longer. Reject it as the creation of men that it is.

Jim Floyd

Posted in Calvinism, Heresy | Tagged , , , | 28 Comments

Beware of the “Crossless” Gospel

A few months back I encountered a fellow on Facebook that claimed to be of a grace position but advocated a view of the  gospel that is content to leave out certain key facts including the atonement and resurrection of Christ. It was apparent to me that this person followed after the teaching of the late Zane Hodges. Bob Wilkin is also a known supporter of this view. I would like to draw attention to this because, though a small faction advocates this, there are those out there pretending to be grace oriented and solid doctrinally that are still deceiving people from the truth.

To illustrate this issue here, I would like to draw your attention to some excerpts from an article written by the late Zane Hodges titled How to Lead a Person to Christ Part 1 The Content of our Message.

Hodges starts off with a scenario so read this and think about the answer to his question:

“Let me begin with a strange scenario. Try to imagine an unsaved person marooned on a tiny, uninhabited island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. He has never heard about Christianity in his life. One day a wave washes a fragment of paper up onto the beach. It is wet but still partly readable.

On that paper are the words of John 6:43-47. But the only readable portions are: “Jesus therefore answered and said to them” (v 43) and “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life” (v 47).

Now suppose that our unsaved man somehow becomes convinced that this person called Jesus can guarantee his eternal future, since He promises everlasting life. In other words, he believes Jesus’ words in John 6:47. Is he saved?”

This was Hodges scenario and question so what do you think? I say no for a few reasons.  Based on this alone he wouldn’t know Jesus from anyone else named Jesus or who He actually is. He wouldn’t necessarily know that everlasting life means anything different than living physically forever.

Please allow me to give some more of Hodges’ quotes and my reaction.

“If we believe that Jesus is the One who guarantees our eternal destiny, we have believed all we absolutely have to believe in order to be saved”

(This is the “cross-less” or “promise only”gospel view in a nutshell and don’t be fooled by it. So by this logic all I would have to do is print up a flyer or put up a billboard with this message and people would be saved by believing someone named Jesus guarantees their eternal destiny… Think about that for a second.)

“That’s why the man on the deserted island can get saved with only the barest minimum of information. When he believes John 6:47 he is believing in Jesus as the Christ.”

(How so?)

“However, some people today would say, “But it’s different now that the cross is behind us. Now we have to believe in that as well.” Do we? Where does this idea come from? Certainly not from the Gospel of John.”

(I would be one of the first people to point this out. Of course it is not from John. John however does allude to the cross and mentions that Jesus is the Savior of the world. Anyone familiar with the OT sacrificial system knew what was required to cover sin. Yes, John was pre-cross but Paul preached Christ and Christ crucified.)

“If by the time of the writing of John’s Gospel, it was actually necessary to believe this (the substitutionary atonement), then it would have been not only simple, but essential, to say so.”

(There are a couple things to note here. First, John gave an account of things from His perspective as they happened. It would be like if I took notes on everything that took place around me for a year then later released a book about it. Second, this still doesn’t explain why Paul says the cross and resurrection are so important. The Bible is not in contradiction of itself. It is simply that in John’s time they needed to specifically understand who their Messiah was. Christ even Himself gave Nicodemus a hint that He would be lifted up just as the serpent in the wilderness. This is reference to the idea of the cross. John the Baptist referred to him as the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. A lamb that has to be spotless and slain. So already in John itself there was more than just the idea that Jesus guarantees eternal life.)

“The simple fact is that the whole Fourth Gospel is designed to show that its readers can get saved in the same way as the people who got saved in John’s narrative. To say anything other than this is to accept a fallacy. It is to mistakenly suppose that the Fourth Gospel presents the terms of salvation incompletely and inadequately. I sincerely hope no grace person would want to be stuck with a position like that.”

(Salvation is always obtained through faith. I’ve already shown how in John itself there is more that what these cross-less advocates claim. Also, due to progressive revelation the content can become clarified. All grace people other than the cross-less gospel fringe have this view.  The simple fact remains is that you go by the latest revelation that you have which in this case is the completed picture. It is now an established fact that Jesus Christ the Son of God came in human flesh being fully God and lived a sinless life, died shedding His blood as an atonement for our sin, and not only that but was buried and rose again according to the scriptures that had foretold of it. We celebrate Christ’s birth and that fulfillment of prophecy so why not celebrate His completion of what He came to do? Why stop at a time pre-cross that only points to something Christ would yet do? Just to try to find a minimal boiled down point of the least amount of content one needs to believe?? That is the wrong type of premise to begin with.)

Hodges says he wanted people to understand the cross but this is more important: “Very simply it is this: We want people to believe that Jesus guarantees their eternal destiny. Of course, we would like them to believe a lot more than this, but this at least must be believed. Our failure to clearly define our goal in evangelism can have a negative or impeding effect on our efforts to lead people to simple faith in Christ.”

(The problem is that Hodges omits the “why and how”.  It is rather that a shying away from crucial aspects of the  good news for today lead to what Hodges is stating that he wants to avoid. His man on the desert island would not know much at all.)

Hodges talks about adding to the gospel. “But in our own circles, there is a tendency to add theological information to our message of faith. Some people even regard belief in the virgin birth as essential to salvation, and in the absence of such belief they would not admit that a person is saved. They do this despite the fact that the Gospel of John makes no effort to present this doctrine.”

(Put it this way. If you don’t believe that Jesus was virgin born then you do not believe He is sinless and you have no Savior. A person may not think about this before being saved but they can’t hold denial of the view because it essential denies Christ as God. It would be like saying a Bhuddist can believe Jesus was just a man but yet still be saved by believing Jesus provides him eternal life. Really? Think about that.)

Hodges makes this most ignorant and illogical claim: “All forms of the gospel that require greater content to faith in Christ than the Gospel of John requires, are flawed.”

(Really? So then Paul’s message was flawed? Let us consider what message Paul taught concerning his gospel of Christ.

1Co 15:1  Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, (So this is the content) which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand (they received and stood in this truth meaning it was important);
1Co 15:2  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. (Paul explains this later in the chapter)
1Co 15:3  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
1Co 15:4  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:(This in essence was the good news: that it is finished. Christ had paid it all and lives as a risen Savior ready to forgive all who will receive that salvation through faith alone in Christ alone. This is all based on what He has accomplished.)

“Evangelism based on such premises will also be flawed, because we will be tempted to test professions of faith in terms of the doctrines we think must be believed. Instead we should be focusing on whether an individual believes that Jesus has given him eternal life.”

(Well Paul’s gospel message was the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believed. I don’t see flaws in that. Sure a person needs to know that God has given him eternal life meaning he must believe that he has actually received it. But that refutes a promise only model.)

“Evangelism, therefore, is intended to bring men and women to the place where they believe that Jesus guarantees their eternal destiny. If a person does this and we insist on more than that, we will be guilty of seeking to invalidate the simple exercise of faith that really does bring salvation.”

(Sadly Hodges fails to realize that there is content involved. Try witnessing to a Catholic without telling them that Christ paid it all. They already have that sort of teaching. They need to specifically know that Christ has paid everything and that there is nothing left for them to do.)

“The name of Jesus therefore is a mighty and exalted name, compared to which all other names in our age or in any other age are inferior and weak. No one has ever trusted in that name for his or her eternal well-being who has not been saved by doing so. And this is true no matter how little they might have known about the One whom that name represents.”

(It is not just the written or spoken name itself that has power. It is the person referred to by the name. Also as others have pointed out. To be consistent you would have to go with the Jewish pronunciation and written name which is not “Jesus” as we have it in English.)

“But the flip side of the coin is this: Everyone who believes in that name for eternal salvation is saved, regardless of the blank spots or the flaws in their theology in other respects. Another way of saying the same thing is this: No one has ever trusted that name and been disappointed.”

(This is categorically not true as I illustrated earlier. Everyone that believes in that name as meaning Christ the son of God is saved based on the good news of what HE has done. But doctrinal error concerning who He is and what He has done can nullify the reception of the free gift. So can adding in elements of human merit or works. Say my theology was flawed in that I thought that Jesus died and went to hell and was tormented there as a sinner. Am I still believing in Christ for salvation? No, not the Christ of the Bible who became sin for us yet was sinless. Doctrine can matter if is surrounds who  Christ is, what He did to atone for us, or what we must do to receive eternal salvation. By this logic displayed by Hodges you could get real ecumenical real fast.)

“In other words, God does not say to people, “You trusted my Son’s name, but you didn’t believe in His virgin birth, or His substitutionary atonement, or His bodily resurrection, so your faith is not valid.” We say that, but God’s Word does not.”

(This is not correct. See I Cor 15. Paul explained there the exact problem of believing that Christ did not rise or of believing in general that there is no resurrection for anyone! If there isn’t then your faith is vain and you have no Savior! If Christ is not God then you have no Savior. If Christ is not the perfect and accepted sacrifice then you have no Savior.)

Hodges uses the example: “Suppose I am in some deep financial trouble and a stranger named Sam, let us say, tells me he will get me out of my trouble if I will just trust him to do it. Perhaps Sam strikes me as a reliable and honest type person and I am convinced that he can and will do what he says. So I leave the matter in his hands and sure enough, he comes through and saves me from my financial problem with a generous infusion of cash. Did I believe in him? Sure.

But suppose after trusting him, I find out that he is a corporate CEO and a multi-millionaire. Would he later come back to me and say, well you didn’t know enough about me when you trusted me, so I’m afraid I can’t help you? Our deal is cancelled.”

(This still doesn’t deal with the reality that Christ’s atonement and resurrection is past tense and complete. That is the point. That is the good news that we share like Paul did.)

Hodges ends this section with this heretical statement: “In the final analysis, therefore, salvation is the result of believing in Jesus to provide it. Salvation is not the result of assenting to a detailed creed. Salvation does not even require an understanding of how it was provided for or made possible. All it requires is that the sinner understand the sufficiency of the name of Jesus to guarantee the eternal well-being of every believer

(So basically the gospel to Hodges is indeed cross-less. No need to ever mention the cross and finished atoning work of Christ. The apostle Paul and Peter and others preaching post cross were then in error. Let’s think about the following words of Peter in Acts:

Act 2:22  Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
Act 2:23  Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
Act 2:24  Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

And these words from Paul:

1Co 1:17  For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
1Co 1:18  For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. )

In the fourth section Hodges talks about the cross.

“In the light of what we have just said, should we preach the cross of Christ? The answer to that is emphatically yes. And the most obvious reason for doing so is that this is what Paul and the other Apostles did.

According to Paul’s own statement, when he came to Corinth to preach, he was “determined not to know anything among [them] except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2). Later in the epistle, Paul describes his gospel as one that declared “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (15:3).”

(Hmm, imagine that. Yet Hodges seems to not understand the importance. What? So Paul’s good news (gospel) has slightly more content than John mentioned being that thisis now post-cross? )

“Are you ready for this? John never uses either word in his gospel. Why? Because, as I have already suggested, John makes the Person of Jesus, not a set of doctrines, the object of the faith that brings eternal life. Fundamentally he is trying to get people to believe in Jesus for their eternal salvation.”

(Paul didn’t make anything other than Jesus Christ the object of our faith. We trust Him for it based on the good news of who He is and what therefor He accomplished for us who  could not save ourselves. For us this is the good news. The good news that IT is fininshed. )

Notice more of Hodges’ flip flop:

“But this is precisely where preaching the cross becomes so important. Why should men trust Christ for eternal life? The gospel gives us the wonderful answer. They should do so because Jesus has bought their salvation at the cost of His own precious blood. And God has placed His seal on the work of the cross by raising Jesus from the dead. As Paul states: He “was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification” (Rom 4:25).

(Exactly my point. …)    

            “The preaching of the cross greatly facilitates the process of bringing men to faith in God’s Son.” (This sums up the point of basically all grace believers that oppose Hodges and his error. Why should men trust Christ? To not give people this reason is unconscionable. If Hodges had this as his only paragraph then his article would be Biblical. This is exactly the gospel we share with people now in this age of grace post cross.

In the final section Hodges says: “To be sure, trust in Christ can occur without a knowledge of the cross, but more often than not it doesn’t. The message of the cross clarifies God’s way of salvation.” (He makes my point pretty well for me. The question is trust Christ for what? The answer is related to what He did for us on the cross.)
Hodges further makes my point and nullifies his own position. “On a very practical level, when I am dealing with an unsaved person, I find that if I simply tell him he only needs to believe in Christ, this usually doesn’t make sense to him. Why should it be so easy? Why are not works required? To the unregenerate American mind, it doesn’t sound reasonable.”

(Exactly. This is why Paul preached the gospel the way he did. To the Greeks foolishness and the Jews a stumbling block. This means it goes against our sin nature to understand it. We must receive it by faith. The god of this world has blinded the minds of them that don’t believe. 2 Cor 4. This is why we need the good news of Christ’s death burial and resurrection. Not just some unspecific guarantee from a person named Jesus.)

“I say to people, “Jesus paid it all” and there is nothing left for you to do or to pay. All you have to do is believe in Him for the free gift of everlasting life.”

(Amen, this is closer to what you need to be telling people. Go with this starting point and forget that other mindless drivel about desert islands.)

I pray that any reading this consider prayerfully the truth of the important of the cross in our gospel presentations. Also warn others using scripture against this cross-less error in love.

Jim F

Posted in Heresy, Salvation | 198 Comments