A few months back I encountered a fellow on Facebook that claimed to be of a grace position but he 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.”
“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? Why do that just to try to find a minimalistic 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 that 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 leads 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 essentially 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 how 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 (a sin offering) 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 this is 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.
Because the cross-less gospel really ends up being very ecumenical. Especially if one is allowed to fill in their own blanks about who Jesus is and what he has done.
I have not had enough contact with them to know, but I have been getting the GES magazine for years (I thought I canceled it and basically ignore it when it comes…it’s doctrinally weak at best). However, in the newest issue Wilkin did make a comment that the DBR (death, burial and resurrection) would “naturally” come up in an evangelistic presentation out of John…and I thought, “Really? Then why isn’t the DBR mentioned in your booklets?” Will ask the pastor about this, if we’re able to make it tomorrow.
If you are correct in your above observations, then I have to say that anyone who does not believe in the DBR for their sin and justification…because some crossless evangelist did not tell them…cannot be saved. Paul said that specific content IS the saving Good News, IF one believes it.
And if all it takes is to “believe in Jesus for eternal life,” then the cross-less folks have no business telling Catholics, Mormons, etc (all of whom “believe in Jesus for eternal life”) that they are not saved. For all I know, maybe they don’t tell them.
Thanks for stopping by. I believe that from what I have seen, those supporting the crossless view can be inconsistent. They tend to say a person only needs to trust the name Jesus for eternal life, then on the other hand say that they will share more than that with people as able. If pushed on it they will usually say that it can be boiled down to only having to trust Christ’s name only not knowing anything more than that. For many it is promise only.
Last week we visited a church that, it turned out, is affiliated with GES. I know about Wilkin and the crossless gospel, but this church’s website has a sound presentation of the true saving Gospel, focusing on the death of Christ for our sin, His burial, and His resurrection or our justification (and no “repent of your sins” works righteousness) as well as correct doctrine about the believer’s identity and position in Christ.
However, the lobby of the church has two free booklets by Wilkin, both of which contain only an admonition from the gospel of John to trust Christ for eternal life…but say nothing about what Paul said in 1 Cor 15:1-4 is the saving content to be believed if one is to be saved.
Had I known the church preaches GES’ crossless gospel, I’d have never went. But I still don’t know that they do. I intend to ask the pastor why there is a definite disconnect between the sound presentation he has on the webpage and the Wilkin giveaways in his lobby…because they are NOT the same salvation message and they give two VERY different answers to the question, “What must I do to be saved?”
The Old Testament believers were not Christian’s. They Believed God and it was Faith in what God said that counted as Righteousness . They did not have Holy Spirit indwelling them but Holy Spirit came upon them.
In the same way Christians are placed in Christ by Grace through faith believing appropriating the death Burial and Resurrection of Christ Jesus and are permanently sealed and indwelt by Holy Spirit.
Those who get saved are the ones that get saved by grace through faith.
Yes, there are far too many modern day Pharisees. Far too many teaching have no business doing so but this is nothing new.
Both Rahab and the thief on the cross were saved through faith. To be clear, salvation (eternal life) is received the same way in all dispensations … through faith, though there was a progression of revelation.
As for the crossless advocates, they have oversimplified the gospel to the point meaninglessness.
One of the most important things people need to realize is they have no say in who gets saved…. Yet somehow they actually think they do (even though they may even say otherwise)
Christianity is Jam packed with Pharisees, know it alls , and a couple hundred thousand Paul’s parading about as if they are apostles. Paul said Don’t go beyond what is Written but men, especially men, would much rather pick apart scripture all the live long day, data mining every possible verse– instead of actually DOING what scripture Says ! Ha…it’s the bane of Christianity.
I’ll serve God by data mining the Bible and then make bold proclamations to all… correcting the world will be my job. After all, feeding the poor is just sooooo 1st century.
The thief on the cross was saved cause Christ gets to say who is saved not us. Rahab was saved and she didn’t know of the cross. This dispensation is Christ and him crucified. Scripture is plain as day. Fads, people seeking to make new denominations out of novel, niche, beliefs are like salesman pitching why their cereal is better cause it’s got no gluten.
The simplicity of Christ just seems to be too little for some. But again, we don’t actually want to do what scripture says…we only want to study it.
I think you just need to come to terms with the truth. Who’s job is it to share the gospel? God’s or ours? If people don’t hear is it God fault or ours? If God chooses to save those unable to comprehend is that compatible with grace?
Jim, I have a new thought on the so called “Crossless Gospel.” (I don’t know how it can be a Gospel without the cross anyway) but… You said people like the Natives would just be left out, but that children and mentally handicapped would get a pass.
Now, this is how much sense that makes. The children and the mentally handicapped in Native America would go to heaven, but the only difference between them and the others all doomed to hell in Native America is the fact that they didn’t “grow up” or were “blessed” with being mentally handicapped. None of them had the verbal cross gospel preached to them. This thought just affirms more to me the true meaning behind John 3:16. All humans will have either an alternate choice for receiving Christ supernaturally or like Yankee Arnold says all humans will have the verbal cross Gospel preached to them “Somehow.” These two can be the only scenarios.
I’m not trying to be rude, but the other is just nonsense. I think this scripture below deals specifically with assurance of salvation and is to be taken from a general human standpoint, but God works supernaturally like in Paul’s case. I don’t think it was meant to be interpreted in a legalistic way.
“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”
I see this verse as possibly having to do with cognitive belief not possible spiritual belief through things revealed supernaturally. Can there be a receiving of the Holy Spirit without hearing the Gospel verbally? I’m leaning that way, but I don’t want to go outside of the word of God. However, I believe it is at the very least the way Yankee Arnold believes that all humans will get the Gospel preached to them “Somehow” as he says. But, for somebody’s only difference to be that they grew up or were “blessed” with being mentally handicapped is absurd. Again, not trying to be rude. I just don’t get your thought on this.
God is sovereign. He knows who would and wouldn’t believe the message of the cross if it was simply presented to them. He doesn’t leave them out to dry… The church is human, and God knew the church would not perfectly spread the Gospel. That doesn’t mean we just quit though because God will possibly pick up the slack. We must spread the Gospel of the cross. It is His command.
I don’t think Swindoll is as clear as he could be judging by his church’s doctrinal statement. Wikipedia won’t likely give you the details on “free grace”. So often that phrase become too inclusive.
Jim, what do you know about Chuck Swindoll? I’ve thought about his church as well. Here is what wikipedia said about him…
“Free Grace” became the popular term for the opposing camp in the Lordship salvation debate, and for the ideas against Lordship salvation by authors such as Charles Ryrie, Chuck Swindoll, Charles Stanley, Norman Geisler, and Bill Bright. While free grace was traditionally largely affirmed in Protestantism, and the “Free Grace view” affirms good works are a proper response to salvation, the Free Grace view argues they should not be taken as the only or sine qua non evidence of one’s salvation or righteous standing before God.
For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
“According to the scriptures” as in 1 Cor 15:4 does not mean according to an idiom. It was a literal thing.
Sure there is Thursday morning (our Wednesday evening) to Sunday morning (our Saturday evening). We the ladies arrived in the early daylight hours he would have been already risen… And was
Yes, but if you look at a literal 3 days and three nights, then there is no way He arose on the “Third Day.” It could only be the fourth day that he arose regardless of when their day started. So what do you look at? Literally the third day or literally three days and three nights? Jonah’s three days and three nights were possibly an idiom as well.
there is a biblical reason . but forget lol
. will need to review
Their day though I think started at our evening. So Saturday night to us would be Sunday morning to them in a sense. I believe the three days are actual days. Similar to Jonah.
Off subject, but I think I was wrong that Jesus actually died on Wednesday and rose on Saturday. Apparently, “Three days and three nights” was a idiom for three days that touch together. The Wednesday-Saturday sequence wouldn’t make sense, because He would have arose on the “4th day” if He was 3 full days and 3 full nights in the earth. There are more than enough scriptures that say He arose “on” the third day. It had to be a idiom. So Easter Sunday is correct!
Matthew 16:21 …and on the third day be raised.
Matthew 17:32 …and on the third day he will be raised.
Luke 9:22 …and on the third day be raised.
Luke 18:33 …and on the third day he will rise again.
Acts 10:40 …but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear
1 Corinthians 15:4 …and that he was raised on the third day
I don’t like most of the GES stuff, but some I can deal with.
This is how I should have responded to the other Pastor…
You have to go back to what you changed your mind about… For salvation, you change your mind about the fact that sin has separated you from God and that Christ is Savior by His death, burial, and resurrection. There is no way a “Changed life” proves you changed your mind on those truths. Now, if you changed your mind that you need to clean up your act for salvation and then you cleaned up you act, then a “Changed life” would be proof that you changed your mind on that (depending on what you believe a changed life is). But, that change of mind is not what is required for salvation. Only that you are a sinner and that Christ is Savior. That is repentance/faith for salvation. No works to promise for it, no works to receive it, no works to prove it.
I have heard that before but don’t agree with his explanation. Yes, salvation itself is the gift, but let’s not lump on the way it is received as also being the gift.
Also so you are aware, the GES tends heavily toward the crossless gospel. I would not personally recommend them. Some of them may or may not hold the outer- darkness view but in my estimation the crossless gospel is plenty bad enough.
Ok I think this new pastor that I met at Subway is not bad at all. He said I should subscribe to the GES magazine, but he did say he disagreed with them on outer darkness and the definition of repent like I do. So, he’s pretty solid I believe. He does believe that faith is part of the gift in Eph 2:8 in addition to salvation by grace, but that all men have that faith to believe. That’s the only slight disagreement we seem to have so far. I’m ok with that. I’ll probably go to his service Easter Sunday. Here is what I said and his response:
(But, to be even more specific on faith Pastor, what do you believe the word “This” is referring to in Eph 2:8? I can see where somebody might say that the birth given ability to place their faith in Christ (for salvation) or in a chair to hold you up for example could be a gift. But, that’s kind of a stretch. So, when you say faith is a gift (your attachment), what do you mean by that? Do you mean a specific gift only given to certain people or simply a gift from birth that God gives to all mankind? If it’s the latter, then I’m ok with that; it just seems like a stretch that I don’t think Paul really meant as the gift.)
“Briefly, as I am very pressed, faith as a gift is true. Many passages teach that and your summation is valid. As for Ephesians 2:8, the “this” or “and that” is (και τουτο [kai touto]). It’s neuter, not feminine ταυτη [tautē], and so it probably does not refer to πιστις [pistis] (faith, which is feminine in the text) or to χαρις [charis] (grace, feminine also). It’s most likely antecedent is thus the whole idea of being saved by grace through faith. While grace through faith is God’s gift, faith is also a human response – something you note is available to all humans.”
Yes, there can be a lot of pride in Pastors. It’s funny their church motto is “No perfect people allowed,” but the proof of salvation would be perfection. So, their motto really is perfect people only.
He probably doesn’t want to admit you make a good point
His response was to this that I had written him below:
“I was thinking about what you said about “All living things grow,” and yes that is true. However, unsaved people are living and growing as well, but they are heading to hell. They too can show “Fruit,” or a “Changed life,” but their fruit is futile, and it definitely doesn’t show they are saved. There are a lot of cleaned up drunks in AA going to hell without the gospel. Again, to say a believer “Will” have a changed life after they are saved is just a slick way of preachers saying works are required for salvation. Some people may even get worse on their way to heaven in regards to sin. That doesn’t negate their salvation.”
It does seem like he’s back tracking a bit and the fact that he doesn’t want to pursue the conversation further tells me he might be realizing he is backtracking…
Here is his exact reply:
“I’ve always defined repent as “change one’s mind.” I’ve also always believed that the proof of repentance is a changed life – as John the Baptist said, “Bring forth fruit worthy of your repentance”, I E, that proves you actually had a change of mind. I do not see that as a “Slick way” of teaching works-theology. When I say that every living thing grows, I am referring to the seed of the Gospel in a person’s heart. Ideally, it should grow. The Holy Spirit wants it to grow. Its nature is to grow. If it doesn’t grow, it is because we have worked really hard to not cooperate with God in receiving and enjoying and living into his gracious gifts of Scripture, the Spirit, the church, prayer, etc.”
You have to determine if he means it proves faith or faithfulness. And if faithfulness, does that then prove faith?
I started thinking about what the Pastor said about repentance. He said a changed life proves repentance not salvation. Now to his credit… say I’ve tried pizza and don’t like it, but I say I’m willing to try it again, because Pizza Hut gave me free pizza for life. I try it again and love it, so I’ve changed my mind. If I continue to eat pizza, isn’t that ongoing proof that I actually did change my mind about liking pizza? It doesn’t prove that I have gotten free pizza for life at Pizza Hut, but it does mean that I have changed my mind about liking pizza. I think that’s all he’s saying about fruit proves repentance as opposed to fruit proves salvation. Yankee Arnold always says works back up (prove) what we say we believe not that we are saved.
Yes Curtis and the believer can grieve the Holy Spirit and there is no limit to that. Not that that is a good thing, but it shows the incredible Grace of our Lord.
we are his workmanship
we bear fruit the production is the holy Spirit’s work
31 And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward:
2Ki 19:30 And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall yet again take root downward, and bear fruit upward.
Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Eph 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, beingrooted and grounded in love, View more
Col 2:7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
The legalist aka works for salvation evidence of salvation don’t see spirituality and growth as separate . we are spirtual or carnal being filled or not filled by holy spirit
growth takes time in response to Grace through Faith the only response to Grace is Faith . Use Law and Growth stops and frustrates Grace
and that is all done for the believer soul who Yields to Holy Spirit availing themselves to the finished work of Christ Jesus
How does a soul receive Christ Jesus ? By Grace through Faith
How does a soul walk (Live the Christian Life ? By Faith in response to Grace
How does a believer soul receive Policy, Discipline ? Grace Teaches for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
I live by the faith of the Son of God
Rom 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
Col 2:6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
Col 2:7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
Gal 2:19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Gal 2:21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
Tit 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Tit 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Yes that’s pretty much what I emailed him back. I told him that we “should” produce fruit eph 2:10 and that it’s our “reasonable service” Rom 12:1. But there is no way our fruit can prove repentance/salvation. He wasn’t having any part of the truth. I think I may have alienated him. He said he didn’t want to discuss it any more. I get that quite a bit… Oh well… on to the next.
In my post about Spurgeon and repentance I had said the following:
“They may not love it for the time; but can they be sincerely penitent, and then go and transgress again immediately, in the same way as they did before? How can we believe you if you transgress again and again, and do not forsake your sin? We know a tree by its fruit, and you who are penitent will bring forth works of repentance.”
(Spurgeon shows no biblical understanding of “works meet for repentance”. We as believers are to do those things worthy of repentance but not to be saved or even to prove that we are saved. We should do them because we are saved and they are God’s will. We should serve out of love for our Savior. They are not a legalistic tests of genuineness.)
Ok this is not the pastor of that doctrinal statement, but it’s the other pastor I was emailing. Please let me know Jim or Curtis how to best answer him. I know he’s wrong, but I don’t know best how to answer his John the Baptist response. This is what HE said…
“I’ve always defined repent as “change one’s mind.” I’ve also always believed that the proof of repentance is a changed life – as John the Baptist said, “Bring forth fruit worthy of your repentance”, I E, that proves you actually had a change of mind.”
Yes, they need to further define change of mind. Some do start there then proceed to shrine for it including turn for sins or willingness to turn, or heart felt sorrow.
I caught a glimpse of that doctrinal statement before link was removed . under salvation how one receives eternal life was not there a Calvinist will say Grace through faith but leave it undefined.
several times now i have had pastors agree that repent means change of mind then they stand up and give a repent of sins gospel invitation. one pastor agreed with the clear gospel booklet then during preaching he put up on the big screen repent = to turn from sin
Right Brad, you and anyone can pretty easily see that John Calvin was…. A Calvinist even in today’s sense. There isn’t one of the most popularized points that he didn’t affirm in his writings. Those who say otherwise are either not honest or have not studied it.
Brad, I have met Pastors that will say all that but they are still confused and still end up adding in works.
Brad, try not to think of it as believing on our behalf. That is not what he does. His was and is however righteous on our behalf. One main reason that the saved person stays saved eternally is because we were already forever declared righteous in Christ.
I don’t see much of a problem from a cursory glance of the doctrinal statement you linked to but I don’t believe for a second that Calvin taught grace. Sure, some things were added in over time but he himself had plenty of his own error.
I just saw this on Holly’s site. Think I may have struck out again. But, I emailed him these commentaries to see what he says.
I think I found a church. I was at subway, and I bumped into a Pastor of a church I had been to once before. I had always wanted to ask him about the specifics of the gospel. So, the first thing I asked him was “Do you believe repentance is a change of mine?” and he said absolutely it is metanoia; it means change of mind.” So, I knew I was on the right track with him. Then, I said “so you believe once somebody is saved that there is no guarantee they will do good works afterwards?” He said “absolutely there is no guarantee of that.” Then, to make sure I said “so works don’t prove salvation correct?” He said “absolutely not.” He said he knew John MacArthur and said he was a nice guy but that the tulip was completely false. I said “90% of churches have the gospel wrong.” He said “I agree.” Then, he said something that kind of scared me. He said he was a “Calvinist the way John Calvin meant it to be.” So, I said “wait that kind of scares me.” He then explained that some guy hijacked Calvinism and turned it into the tulip and stripped away grace from what Calvin taught. This guy really knows his stuff, and he has a radio program here. The link is below. I don’t really know about the hijacking of Calvinism, but he and his site seem to be on point. I think it was a divine trip to subway. Here is the website link.
(I will look at the link but not post it – site admin)
I hope you don’t think that I’m falling into the “faith” is the gift of ehp 2: 8-10 thing. I just know at some point of salvation God does give us a measure of faith. Is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit faith? I don’t know. If it is, then of course that helps sustain us eternally. I was talking to a grace preacher, and he said the gift of eph 2:8-10 was quote “all of it” meaning he said it was salvation, grace, and faith. So, I asked him “you don’t believe we get some special faith to believe do you?” and he said no but all Christians are given a measure of faith and if you want to see the God given ability to believe as a gift, then that can be a gift as well, but he agreed it was still a choice. I kind of understood what he was saying. But no, God doesn’t give anybody some special, selective gift to believe the gospel. All men have that capability. Maybe I’m over thinking it but, when I saw “Faith of Christ” in that passage it sounded different than faith “in” Christ. I thought once we place our faith “in” Christ, then of course we have the faith “of” Christ. Correct?
Yes Romans 4:5 sums up what you said. I just got caught up on the KJ wording. The Bible does say though that “If we are faithless He is faithful; for He cannot deny Himself” The way I think about that is the moment we are saved, Christ lives in us through the Holy Spirit, and any time we sin we stop believing, because sin is unbelief. Even if our faith “Dies” or stops like the soil examples, there is still the Faith of Christ or “Faithfulness of Christ” living in us that sustains us. We receive that saving faith /spirit when we believe the gospel. So, to say a believer can stop believing is hard to really say. If Christ can’t deny Himself, can we really deny ourself when Christ is part of us? Belief/faith or “Saving faith” is always alive in us even if we deny it or “Stop” believing it. I like to say it’s dormant if somebody “Stops” believing. But, Christ who is our identity, is always believing on our behalf.
I feel like I’m splitting hairs, but I want to know the intricacies. Why does the King James say faith “Of” Christ rather than faith in Christ? It sounds like Christ has the faith initially not us and He gives it to us through belief along with the Holy Spirit. Christ does give a “measure” of faith according to scripture, so we have to receive at least some faith during the belief process. The scripture says “Will He find faith on the earth?” I always thought that meant will there be many believers? So, when do we get the faith of Christ? Isn’t the indwelling of the Holy Spirit the faith of Christ?
No, His righteousness is imputed to the moment we believe. Faith is merely the conduit through which we receive the gift.
Yes, but we do the believing not Jesus, so we aren’t saving ourselves. There is nothing in and of our believing itself that saves. Only Jesus saves, and something happened when we believed. He was meeting us half way through our belief. Is it then that we received the “Faith of Christ?” We didn’t have it before we believed, and it wasn’t in our belief itself. Was the saving faith imputed to us along with His righteousness at the time we believed?
Brad, “saving” if you must call it that is the believing itself. It is the moment you place your faith in the one person that can save. It is the object of faith that makes it salvific. Why? Because Christ is the Savior.
I have a question. I was noticing the scripture I posted Gal 2:16 “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ” As far as “Saving faith” goes this scripture seems to imply that faith comes from Christ. So, do we believe first and then get “Saving faith?” There is no way to have saving faith before we believe. So, how do we exercise that if we don’t even have it yet? Does the saving faith come simultaneously from Christ when we believe or is the believing the saving faith itself? Or, does that come from Christ after the process of believing? I started thinking about that passage, and all other versions say faith “in” Christ. But, I believe the KJ to be most accurate, and it sounds like Christ gives the faith here. This passage made me start scratching my head. When did we get the “Saving faith” of Christ?
A wise saying from a video I saw on youtube ( :
“Telling a believer to examine their works to validate their salvation won’t work, because if they conclude they are not saved, you need to tell them to believe on Christ again without works and you are back to square one.”
Being declared eternally innocent in Christ is the proof.
Right, they are logically stuck with that position unless they renounce Calvinism otherwise they have not way to prove to themselves that God picked them
Yes and this verse makes it so clear that a “Changed life” can’t prove salvation. The L/S stump guy told me a saved person “Will” have a changed life or else he’s a deceived person and is not really saved. lol To say a Christian “Will” have a changed life is the exact same thing as saying a changed life = salvation which is the exact same thing as saying works = salvation. Heresy
Faith is contrasted with works of the law and once you know it is a work of the law you realize it is not for justification
Gal 2:16 “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
The law was to keep man from sinning, so the “works” that Paul speaks about is “Works” against sinning. So, attempting to stop sinning is works, because that is what the law was for. I know how to explain it better now that I’ve read this.
Ok yes that makes sense… I was looking for more of what Paul said but Paul did mention the law as works and the law is a reflection of the sinfulness of sin or the lack of obeying it is, so yes the law would show that making an effort to stop sinning is “works.” Thanks Jim, Curtis.
You also have to realize that some Calvinists will admit it is works but will say it is not your work because God supposedly does it for you.
Law 347 of 613 commandments
Speak unto the children of Israel, When a man or woman shall commit any sin that men commit, to do a trespass against the LORD, and that person be guilty;
7 Then they shall confess their sin which they have done: and he shall recompense his trespass with the principal thereof, and add unto it the fifth part thereof, and give it unto him against whom he hath trespassed.
And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.
Brad, it is actually one of the commandments of the law. I’ll have to look up which one.
Jim or Curtis,
Do you know any scriptures that show how stopping sin or trying to stop sinning is a work? I know Jonah 3:10 is one, but I was wanting to know if you knew more in the new testament. I know there’s a lot, but I just can’t think of them. I have been debating this L/S street preaching team, and I need to know my scriptures on that. These guys hang out in a nice area of North Dallas that has a lot of restaurants, movie theatres, shops etc, and they basically try to make people feel bad about themselves for going out and having a good time. Since 90% of North Dallas people are Christians, they stand on a stump and shout at people telling them they are really not Christians because they are “Carnal.” lol I debate them all the time, and they are 5 point Calvinists. They think they are being modern day John the Baptists. So, I need some scriptures stating that stopping sin or trying to stop sin is a work.
Curtis, he said it in context to salvation that’s why I was surprised and why I asked Jim the question. I understood why L/S pastors would say it, but when Yankee said it I was like… what does he mean? If I remember correctly he said a believer must put “all” their faith in Christ for salvation. I was like how much is “all?”
the latest Yankee Arnold Gospel presentation i didn’t hear “complete faith ” in presentation.
I do not expect a pastor to say perfectly a gospel presentation but thats no excuse not to be consistant. Yankee has always been consistant .
maybe Yankee was talking in context of something when you heard ” complete faith ” like , trust , rely, depend
Yes that is what I mean. And, that faith is not some special gift like John MacArthur believes. We all have faith that when we sit in a chair it will hold us up. Christ and his finished work must be the object of that same faith for salvation. Everybody has that ability to trust in Christ.
If by God given faith you mean the natural ability of humans to believe, then yes.
Ok that makes sense. I agree, you either believe or you don’t. That doesn’t take a lot of faith in my opinion. A mustard seed of faith in Christ alone and His finished work apart from anything else will do. It’s not like we have a whole bunch of faith before we believe anyway. But, I believe all men have a measure of God given faith and have a choice to place it in Christ alone for their salvation.
I believe it is an either / or kind of thing. Either you trust Christ alone as your Savior or you don’t. Perhaps what many of them are getting at is that we must make sure that we are indeed placing it in Christ and not part in Christ with the other part in ourselves. Such as trusting our commitment to discipleship, our remorse, our prayer, our works of righteousness, our promising to be good, etc.
Jim I had a question. I have had trouble with with understanding why Pastors and grace pastors as well say you must put your “Complete faith” in Christ to be saved. Even Yankee Arnold has said the same thing. I believe it’s just a mustard seed to be saved. How does somebody know if they have put their “Complete” faith in Christ as opposed to some other percentage? I don’t think belief has a percentage or a completeness. You either do or you don’t believe.
This helps explain it:
Yes, “Good Friday” is not the day Jesus died. There is no way to get three days and three nights if He died on a Friday. And, it wasn’t the regular Sabbath that everybody thinks; it was a yearly Sabbath that was being celebrated.
Good Friday and Easter is probably something invented by Catholics.
Bibleline has a good article on it.
I’ll post it later.
Only one Savior and way of salvation
Same Savior, slightly differing specifics.
“And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.”
Abraham was preached through the Holy Spirit (The word/scripture) the same gospel that Paul preached and the same gospel that all men who believe are saved by. He believed the gospel through prophecy. He “foresaw” the same gospel that you and I were saved by; he believed it, and he was saved. Only one gospel…
Jim, Abraham believed what he knew of the gospel. Obviously he had enough to be saved. God showed him through the potential sacrifice of Isaac what the cross was all about as well. So, he had enough of the gospel in prophecy. The first sacrifice in the garden was a symbol of Christ’s death for our sins. All these people had faith in what they had to go on, and that was enough of the gospel for them apparently. I still wonder where Jesus went during those three days. Some say he went to preach the gospel to the people in Abraham’s bosom. By the way, since Easter is coming up did you know Jesus didn’t rise from the dead on Sunday? He rose from the dead on Saturday evening. Evening was the start of the day for Jews back then. Hate to burst people’s Easter Sunday bubble, but He arose on Saturday. ( : You probably knew that though…
Curtis, I believer all people under grace (dispensation) are saved by believing the Gospel of Christ, Jews included. During this dispensation it is my understanding that all believers Jew or gentile become collectively the bride of Christ. After the rapture it will be back to God’s kingdom program with national Israel
Hebrews are still looking for their Messiah to fulfill the law and prophets
Now is it possible to witness to a Hebrew to Trust Jesus as their personal Savior ? in a couple of words like “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. ” ?
Yes it is possible
however is it probable ?
is there a better way to use the word of God skillfully (rightly divided) to show a Hebrew that Messiah has come ?
especially a Hasidic Jew ? who’s first experience to the word of God is taste honey poured on the word of God
you really think you could lead a Hasidic Jew to Messiah with John 3:16 ? or any other new testament verse you choose ? .
The least of which you would want to do is tell a Jew you are a Christian ,
You say you are a believer in the Jewish Messiah and show them in the Old testament (the Torah) Messiah
A Hebrew needs to see Messiah has come and fulfilled the Law by Grace through Faith
A gentile dog must Trust Jesus as their personal Savior by Grace through Faith
1 gospel with 2 of the same messages or
2 gospels with same message
Mat 15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Mat 15:26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.
Eph 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
Brad, this might help. What gospel was Abraham told when he believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness? Did someone share with him the specific gospel that Paul preached about the past resurrection?
Jim I think you’re right on not having to understand what hell really is to be saved. I was a little out of it yesterday. I had just come back from a root canal. Fun stuff.. But, I still don’t agree with two gospels for salvation. There is all kinds of good news in the bible, but salvation can’t waver. I don’t think anybody can fully understand the hideousness of hell. And to be honest, I don’t like thinking about it, because it’s like I begin to mentally put myself there, and it’s not a good state of mind to be in for too long. I don’t think the Lord wants us to dwell on it. But, if somebody does not trust Christ alone for salvation, then they die in condemnation. Where else could they go when they die other than out of His presence because His presence is holy, and being out of the very presence of life itself can have no joy in it.
As for the gospels, it is like I have said already. The Bible describes more than one set of good news. As in the good news of the coming kingdom or the good news of the risen Christ who had died for us. You have to look to context to see who is being addressed and what specifically the good news to those particular people pertains to.
Brad, universalism does not believe in the gospel. So a universalist has to at on point trusted Christ alone as Savior just as anyone else.
Don’t get tripped up by the four points thing. Bottom line is that you must believe the gospel of Christ. You can’t believe something that eliminates Christ or his finished work if you are that moment newly believing the gospel. Why, because they would be contradicting and not faith in the right object. Can I trust in a Jesus that I believe is guilty of sin, just a good man, not God, not morally perfect, didn’t rise again, won’t save me if He didn’t previously pick, won’t keep me saved even if I mess up in my Christian walk… Etc
A person can understand in general the eternal consequence of sin, separation from God forever without necessarily understanding the nuances of hell
Jim, so you are saying people in the universalism church are going to heaven? They believe in the 4 points that Duluth believes. They just believe all people will inevitably believe the 4 points.
There are also people that believe the 4 points, but they believe hell is just a state of non existence. So if they believe that but believe the 4 points they are in?
L/S believe the 4 points, but they think they have to do other stuff too. Are they going to heaven?
There has to be an answer as to what precisely must be believed, but I don’t think the 4 points are it. Believing the 4 points is how somebody “knows” they are saved if they believe there is nothing more than believing that, but receiving the Holy Spirit is how somebody is saved. Can somebody do that without understanding the 4 points? I think so. I don’t think people in the universalism church or the other two examples will be saved. The spirit leads us to understand the truth of hell and why we need to be saved in the first place. You can’t receive the Holy Spirit and deny in your spirit the truth of hell.
Yes Curtis, I agree Jesus will set up His kingdom on earth literally and rule for 1000 years. But, if the bible meant 2 gospels it would have said gospel(s) plural. I believe there is a specific plan for the Jews but not a specific plan for salvation. Only one salvation plan… one gospel.
I believe Romans 10:9 is a post salvation verse for assurance. It basically means if a person is a confessor of Christ (a person typically confesses Christ after they are saved) and believes in his heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, then they will be saved.
In other words, Paul is saying if you are a believer in Christ because you are convinced that God raised Him from the dead, then you will be saved. That is how I feel the spirit has led me to read that passage. It is specifically for assurance.
God is not finished with Israel , Jesus will have His Kingdom on earth .
He will literally in body physically will be seat on the Throne of David and will rule .
That will Happen
the word Gospel means Good News , Both Gospels are Good News
both are saved the same way by Grace through Faith
two Gospel’s 2 different programs , dispensation’s 2 different people groups
here is were the bur under the saddle comes in when someone uses romans 10:9-10 as a salvation justification verse If someone wants to use it for justification sure go ahead but use the Word of God skillfully , wisely , rightly dividing. unfortunately most all who use this verse stumble all over it and use it to prove lordship salvation , works for evidence of salvation they have no clue of the tenses of salvation they also attempt to mix justification and sanctification .
for instance they read romans 10:9-10 and say see it says , “you need to turn from your sins ,surrender your life to Jesus , publicly confess Christ ,, confess Jesus AS Lord , ask Jesus into your heart and he will give you the Free Gift of eternal life”
confess Jesus AS Lord when Jesus already is Lord this is a mind control tactic “loaded language” and hooks souls into following for wrong reason’s mainly out of fear
to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Rom_1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
Rom_2:10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Mat 10:6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Mat 10:7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Mat 15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Mat 15:25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
Mat 15:26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.
Mat 15:27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.
Mat 15:28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
the righteousness which is of faith.
Rom 9:30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.
Rom 9:31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law
Rom 9:32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
Rom 9:33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
with the heart man believeth unto righteousness;
there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek –all that call upon him.
Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Rom 10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Rom 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
Brad, I don’t believe believing in a literal hell is required for salvation. Though it does help a person begin to see their need and the gravity of the situation they face without Christ
Yes, my Pastor always says if you can’t walk an isle and profess Christ publicly, then He will deny you in Heaven. lol I disagree. It’s the good ole Southern Baptist “public profession of faith” for salvation. You just have to believe, but most believers should and usually do confess Christ.
Jim, yes I agree it can be for both. I don’t and never have believed a confession is necessary for salvation. I have listened to that sermon. Just saying two different gospels doesn’t sound right to me. Duluth says there are 4 things necessary for salvation. 1. Diety of Christ 2. Humanity of Christ 3. Death of Christ 4. Resurrection of Christ. Romans 10:9 covers them all I believe. But what if somebody doesn’t believe in a literal hell or that all people will inevitably believe those 4 points and avoid hell (universalism)? Then, they are disqualified right? See how it gets into one more thing that must be believed? So, they need to add step 5 that there is a literal hell and people will go there. Then, there will be a step 6 somewhere…
Brad, you demonstrate that you still don’t understand the gospel of the kingdom. But doing so will help you not to be so confused
It is speaking of both. The point is to not use the verse to make confession with your mouth such as praying a prayer or make a public statement as part of what is needed to receive eternal life
Jim, I’m talking specifically about Romans 10:9. I feel it’s talking about salvation in that very verse. It’s speaking of salvation from hell not just earthly circumstances, because it says “believe unto righteousness.” Yes, earthly circumstances can be part of it, but that verse is specifically talking about salvation from hell. Curtis, I don’t consider myself a dispensationalist at all, and I’m not quite sure what a hyper dispensationolist is. I don’t believe in two gospels, and I have listened to that sermon before. I have to disagree with two gospels. That is dangerous thinking to me when Paul stressed one gospel. There was one cross and one gospel. If there was a gospel of grace and a gospel of the kingdom, then there would have been a cross for the Gentiles and a cross for the Jews. One cross and one gospel for all. God is no respecter of persons. I believe there are different instructions for Jews and a different approach of reading the bible for them and how it relates to them differently, but there is only one message of salvation; there is only one gospel of truth.
Brad it seems to me , you are under the influence and or coming out from the influence of hyper Dispensationalism . if i may encourage you stay away from the escape reality website and give a listen to the Gospel of the kingdom vs the gospel of grace . seeking God for wisdom and understanding
January 23, 2016 at 3:21 pm
if I may post
The Gospel Of The Kingdom vs. The Gospel Of Grace
That is why it goes on to say how then shall they call upon him if they have not believed and how shall they believe except one be sent. As matter of fact one was sent and they rejected
Remember that Israel could not call on God for deliverance from Roman oppression because they had to believe first. Back in chapter 9 it said they sought it not by faith.
It is talking both about believing unto life and calling upon the Lord then for deliverance from earthly circumstances. Remember this is in reference to Israel primarily
1. You are saved eternally from hell. 2. You are saved eternally from hell. This whole passage is about eternal salvation. Calling on the name of the Lord is trusting in Him for salvation. The chapter starts out: “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” Again, it’s about eternal salvation. What other salvation would it be talking about? “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness…” “Unto righteous” must be eternal salvation, because there is not one righteous without believing in Christ. The explanation to me is in vs 10 “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Once somebody is saved by believing the gospel, they are a typically a confessor of Christ. It doesn’t mean they have to be a confessor, but they would generally confess their Lord who saved them. The confession doesn’t save, but the believing does. That’s what the verse is saying to me.
Brad what happens when you believe? What happens when you call upon the lord in context of this passage?
I had a question I don’t think I’ve asked before. It has to do with Romans 10:9. On one of your comments, you said that wasn’t a salvation scripture. Just wanted to understand why you think it isn’t? I’ve always loved that scripture as a simple assurance verse. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t think that a confession is necessary for salvation. What I think that scripture means is that if you are a confessor of Christ or one who confesses Christ (have trusted Him), and you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, they you will be saved. I’ve looked at that scripture from every angle in context etc, and I can’t come to any other conclusion other than it is an assurance for salvation scripture. And, I believe it’s a salvation from hell scripture not just “saved” from something else. What are your thoughts and why?
I just listened to half that sermon that Curtis sent. It’s really good. He says what I’ve been saying over and over on other blogs and perhaps this one that sometimes there is a duel repentance in salvation. A change of mind about your sin and acknowledging it and a change of mind about who Christ is after that and placing your faith in Him.
Sometimes when I tell somebody “I’m sorry” I really mean I am owning up to what I did or acknowledging it. I don’t always feel remorse, and I really don’t have to and may go as far as to say to feel remorse could be sinful as a Christian. Satan loves to keep us in a guilt ridden state about things that God has told us to forget. Thanks Jim and Curtis. That kind of makes sense. I’m still meditating on it.
For that passage I like the explanation that Ron Shea gives from cleargospel.org
“Repentance in Luke 17:3-4
3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.
4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.
Subject Repenting, not repenting, etc.: A “brother” (fellow believer).
Object of that repentance: In some degree, the repentance relates to trespass or wrong committed against a second brother. The word is metanoeisei (from metanoeo, “change one’s mind”). It does not suggest remorse, but an acknowledgment that the conduct was indeed a trespass. It is owning up to the fact that the trespass was not within the right of the offending party, but violated some boundary or right of the offended party. As noted earlier, the fact that the term “repent of your sins” is never found in scripture does not mean that repentance from sin is unbiblical. The point was simply that repentance does not take sin as its inherent object, and since the phrase “repent of your sins” is never actually found in Scripture, the prominence of this phrase in modern vernacular is clearly overdone.
Consequence of repentance: The offended brother is to forgive the offender.
NOTE: Several observations are in order regarding this passage. Firstly, it is specifically not a soteriological passage. It deals with restoring fellowship between two believers. Secondly, the nature of the repentance is not expressly stated. All that is known is the root word, “metanoeo,” and that the repentance was directed to, or at least somehow related to a “trespass.” Thirdly, the word “strepho” (“I turn”) is part of the repentance process for restoring fellowship. As noted earlier, the word “repent” does not mean “to turn” but “to change one’s mind.” It was also noted, however, that the central issue is not this basic definition of repentance, but the object of repentance. Words have a “field of meaning.” For example, the word “run” can mean to move one’s feet quickly to transport oneself. “Run” also describes a wrist watch or piece of machinery that is functional and operating. If one were to draw a circle that encompassed the meanings of the word “run,” and another circle that encompassed the meaning of the word “function” or “operate,” the circles would not be superimposed on top of each other. However, the field of meaning of the terms “run” and “operate” would overlap.
It is noteworthy that, although the Majority Text and the Textus Receptus normally agree, the King James rendition of the Textus Receptus, “turns to you” is, oddly enough, more consistent with the reading of the Alexandrian manuscripts. The words “to you” are not in the Majority text reading. Accordingly, we are not certain if the turning is “to you” (to the offended brother), “from sin” (unstated), or is simply a re-assessment of his words or conduct, recognizing that they were, in fact, offensive. Although the object of repentance is unstated in Luke 17:4, it reasonably appears from the context to be the sin committed against a brother. Since the object of “turning” is not specifically stated in the Majority Text, the extent to which the meaning of metanoeo and strepho overlap in this context is not certain. It appears, however, that there is some redundancy in the use of these terms. ”
Repentance According To The Bible
Tom Stegall, 01/24/2016 |
Jim, how does “change of mind” fit for the word repent in these verses? Sounds like “I’m sorry” or at least the “acknowledgement” that a person has sinned. How would you change your mind 7 times about the same thing? It would have to be “I’m sorry.”
“3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.
4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.”
I am also sure that Ryrie will be missed. He may not have said everything correctly over the years but he helped stand for the true gospel and against LS. He also helped many understand dispensations and other important Bible truths.
Yes, the mental weeding as you put it certainly gets old. I could only take so much myself. It took me almost two years to find a good church but it was worth the wait
As you know, I’ve been struggling to find the right church, but I’m realizing there might not be a perfect church. If Charles Ryrie who was truly a free grace believer can go to a Southern Baptist church for years, then I guess I can too. I just hate having to mentally weed through the L/S nonsense.
I wonder why he says you have to ask forgiveness?
I heard back from the Pastor. Here is the church’s salvation statement definition of repent:
“Salvation is available when we recognize our own sinfulness (repentance: turn from our sins) and we place our trust in Christ’s work on the cross.”
So, I asked him what that statement means by “turn from sin.” I asked him if it meant it’s just a mere acknowledgment (recognition) that we are sinners and for him to confirm that it didn’t mean somebody had to “Clean up their act” or make a commitment to clean up their act to be saved.
This was his response:
“Hey Brad! Thanks for your email and I totally agree with you. When I use the word repentance, it is always in the context of recognizing that we are sinners and asking for/receiving forgiveness for those sins through Christ’s work on the cross. In no way can we work for our salvation before we accept Christ or after. I hope this helps!”
I went to another church on the willow creek website, and this guy sounded pretty sound. He went over the 4 soils in the sermon, and he actually said some of soil 1 people might be saved and soils 2-4 were definitely saved. Most L/S pastors and pastors in general would rule out soils 1-3 as non saved. I thought it was very interesting that he held that position. He talked about salvation being completely free as well at the end, but didn’t go into it and said to come to the front if you wanted to know how to be saved. I’m now going to both services of both churches. They are about 2 minutes apart. I emailed this new church about salvation, but nobody got back to me.
I will write you back via email later today concerning your last comment. I can’t post it because if you want to mention others views specifically you need to provide quotes that substantiate it.
Brad, the problem with some of that is that the Bible does not say all Christians “will” grow. This is why we are rather instructed to grow and to add to our faith.
2 Pet 1:
3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.”
I think that’s what he’s saying that all eternal life grows. All Christians (new creations in Christ) grow. Our living spirit “new man” is always growing because God keeps it alive if we don’t help it grow. My personal opinion though is that nobody is pure evil after they are saved. So, all Christians do some spiritual good after they are saved. God doesn’t have to keep Christians on continual life support alone. If a Christian does a good thing like wave to somebody on the street, that’s growth. There are only two types of actions good or evil. Nobody is pure evil after they are saved. So, all Christians will grow to a certain degree.
Living things do grow but Spiritually speaking the analogy falls apart. This is because living things eventually die, but the new creature in Christ does not. It is incorruptible. We also have to be careful to be clear on talking about the new man. The new man itself does not sin. We sin when we decide to walk / act in the old man / flesh. Growth then is a matter of us as believers learning to walk in the Spirit and feed on God’s Word. We as believers can become neglectful and feed the flesh thereby stunting our growth to being a more mature believer.
Hope that makes sense.
By the way,
You never let me know if you believe “All living things grow.” I do believe it’s inevitable that all Christians grow, but at what rate is up to us. God will keep us alive and growing minimally even if we are faithless, otherwise we would be dead.
Yes, I went to the willow creek website, but I don’t think Preston Trail really follows that model very closely. I think they are just in the association to be in one. I’ve been to a few other churches in the willow creek circle as well, and they were completely different than Preston Trail. That’s why I kind of like Preston Trail, and Paul the Pastor is willing to correspond about L/S issues. I wouldn’t say he falls into that category for the most part, and he does believe repent means change of mind. One thing I don’t like is they preach out of the NLT. Kind of makes me feel like I’m 12 years old or something. lol Believe it or not, this church is about as good as I can find so far on grace. Like you, I was saved at a young age as a Southern Baptist. They seem to be L/S more than ever nowadays. There was a church on the FGA website but it was kind of far away, and it’s really, really small. I’ve gone to big churches my whole life. I like that kind of atmosphere and worship.
It appears to be associated with Willow Creek and Bill Hybels. They also talk a lot about deciding to be a Christ follower which many times is code for lordship. The Willow Creek doctrinal statement mentions needing to have “humble” repentance and faith. These are red flags that you would want to find out more about. I have also noticed that the “Next Steps” terminology is common in large evangelical last leaning and or seeker “friendly” churches.
Brad, does his church have a website?
He’s just saying all life grows. He doesn’t say all life grows as it “Ought.”
This is what he said:
“I mean that new life in Christ is LIFE – and every living thing in God’s cosmos naturally grows. It’s unnatural for something God created not to grow and have life. So … perhaps a Christian can choose not to grow, but to do so he would have to live an unnatural spiritual life, constantly quenching the Spirit’s fire and disobeying God.”
Brad, is he saying this in terms of all living things or of the new man?
Growing as we ought as a believer takes the work of study and application.
i have a question not relating to what we have been discussing. I’ve been attending a new church, because it was the last straw with my other church when my pastor said “Both by faith and by works we are saved.” I have been emailing this new pastor back and fourth, and he has been extremely helpful, and I have asked him all the L/S questions to see where he stands. He has agreed that fruit is not proof of salvation and that everybody is in a different place in their walk with the Lord. He did say that “All living things grow.” So, I asked him if he meant ‘Bear fruit?” He said no, but that all things in God’s cosmos will naturally grow. He said definitively that we can’t look at peoples outward fruit as evidence of salvation, but he said there isn’t anything that doesn’t grow in God’s living plan. I agree with him. I know that there is no guarantee that a believer will have a changed life or bear fruit, but “if we are faithless God will remain faithful.” He will keep us eternally alive. So, behind the scene, God keeps us growing in Him otherwise we would be spiritually dead, and that can never be the case with believers. We are eternally alive, and alive things are always growing. Alive = growth. This is a fairly large and growing church with probably 7,000 members. He’s taken the time to email me back and fourth numerous times with lengthy replies, so he obviously cares about people. I’ve met him once, and he couldn’t have been more genuine, and he hasn’t written any books that I know of. lol What do you think about him saying all living things grow?
LOL… kind of like Max Lucado. That guy is just a book machine… I never buy people’s books.
Brad , good you see this now then later . Yes they do say some good things,. most all weak to false teaching does that . Also what is NOT said sometimes does as much damage to a soul than what is said. the smart ones ask questions the others by their books.
There is a whole host of teachers/preachers, doctrines attached to that blog . Like Jim Said it would take a whole other blog just to address them all and name them . bottom line it all just another “system of thought” just like calvinism and they ready to sell you another book.
books books by another book .
This is the question I asked him:
When I first came to this blog, and then posted links from it to another grace blog, I was told to “Run” from your blog because it was a “gateway to universalism.” I was kind of skeptical of what I was told. That’s why I have asked you so many questions. Now that I’ve read some of your views, I think you do lean towards universalism or are at least willing to see it as an option. Please correct me if I am wrong. You said quote: “I know some people will be upset because I refuse to condemn the lost to an eternity of fiery torment.” Describing hell as fiery torment forever doesn’t even scratch the surface of what it really is, so I have no problem describing it that way. The awfulness of the eternal separation from God could never be completely described, so putting it that way is light indeed. I don’t see why you have a problem with it? The story (not parable) of the rich man and Lazarus leaves no doubt that the unbeliever will be in excruciating torment forever. I know a lot of my questions have answers within your blog, but at least one or two replies would be nice. Some of your views on hell seem to contradict each other.
And this was his reply:
“It’s quite possible that all of my views on hell are wrong. In fact, since the Bible is so vague on the subject, I expect they will be at least somewhat wrong.”
I appreciate his honesty, but the only way we can describe hell to people is exactly how Jesus described it and that is an eternity of fiery torment.
Ok you were right Curtis,
This guy does have conflicting statements on hell. This is one of his quotes:
“I know some people will be upset because I refuse to condemn the lost to an eternity of fiery torment. And others will be upset because I don’t assume that all will be saved.”
I have no problem admitting when I am wrong. However, I don’t always throw the baby out with the bathwater. He makes some good points on other things. But, this is a pretty big red flag.
And with that all said I do my best not to follow a religion but the Word of God itself.
Also the main thing to do with my information, as with anyone, is to check it against scripture.
I was saved from the penalty of my sin at a young age. I was five years old when I trusted Christ as Savior. I was raised in a conservative Baptist church and attended a conservative Baptist Bible college called Northland Baptist Bible College. That school no longer exists as they took a turn for the more liberal side of things, alienated their constituency, and eventually closed. I worked at a conservative Christian camp for three summers. I have spent time helping in churches. During that time I was helping in a church plant and the church decided to take more of a Calvinistic lordship approach to the gospel and theology. It was during that time that my eyes were opened to the multitude of doctrinal error that were causing issues in many Baptist churches and in the larger scope of Protestant evangelicalism. Now I attend an independent Bible church. While I still lean Baptistic in certain areas, I don’t consider myself a Protestant baptist. I don’t identify with the reformation or Catholic Church.
I reject Calvinism, Arminianism, covenant theology, hyper dispensationalism, the Charismatic Movement, and other things such a the “crossless” gospel.
I see the Bible from a basic dispensational perspective. There is a difference between God’s kingdom program with Israel and his program with the church.
Please see my doctrinal statement for further clarifications.
Also, feel free to ask if you have any further questions about me or my views. Most importantly I love God and others. So I take theology seriously and care about others to build them up, encourage, or warn of dangers.
Who is Jim F?
And what is your background and religion that you follow? Just want to know how to consider your information.
the escape to reality gentleman’s blog is the gateway to universalism ,the gnostics and mysticism.
Run Forest Run . I know because I was down that road on that blog . That’s why your argument’s Brad are familiar to me.
Please don’t try and make a Yankee Arnold video say what he is not saying He is refuting Calvinism!. besides you won’t last long listening to Yankee and trying to make escape to reality blog fit . They are opposing to each other’s teaching. Only Yankee is biblical.
Everyone born with and upon mental comprehension knows there is a God there is something missing . however they must hear and believe the Gospel for a relationship.
“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God,”
They did not want to know the God they knew
Rom 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
Rom 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened
Brad, if you won’t understand the kingdom versus the grace gospel they you will not be able this anytime soon. Pastor Dennis is giving you the straight up doctrinally sound explanation. The escape to reality guy you linked to does not understand. It would take me a whole separate blog post to explain it all but Dennis’s message already does that for you.
Also, we have already discussed the word whosoever. Whosoever believes the gospel implies it was communicated. It does not imply it was communicated specifically to all men.
Hi Jim and Curtis,
No I’m not trying to prove my point. I just think Pastor Arnold is clearly saying in this video that all people on the face of the earth will have a choice to receive salvation through the gospel. He clearly says “Whosoever.” It’s about the “Whosoever wills and the whosoever won’ts” he says. By saying whosoever he clearly means all men on the face of the earth will have a personal choice for salvation through the gospel. That would include Native Americans. Jim, you obviously feel some people will be completely left out even if they seek God from general revelation. That makes no sense at all to me. I know for a fact that Pastor Arnold said in another video that he believes all men will get the gospel even those who don’t even seek through general revelation. He specifically noted how God sent Jonah, Noah, and Lot to sinful cities with the gospel when they weren’t even seeking God, so they would have NO excuse. He said all men will get the gospel presented to them. I wish I could find that video again, so if you run across it or know which one I’m talking about please let me know. But, I’m convinced that Pastor Arnold believes everybody “Whosoever” will have the choice to believe or reject the gospel. I believe the same thing, but I believe that it doesn’t have to be a specific verbal cross gospel. But it must be the cross gospel, because that is the only gospel there is. I don’t believe in a kingdom gospel and a grace gospel. There is only one gospel. There is not a gospel for the Jews and one for Gentiles. That gets into “another” gospel that Paul warned us about. Here is a link I found from a grace believer. I don’t know much about this guy and his blog, but he seems to think there is only one gospel as well which is the gospel of grace.
I started listening at 15:00 and have heard this sermon before and it is a good one by pastor Yankee. What pastor says I confirm with biblically . Yankee and Rosker will both tell a soul to read and study scripture for yourself and confirm for yourself what they are saying. To me you are trying to take what pastor Yankee is saying out of context to try and prove your point.
was thinking about your questions Brad and have been following along. I do recognize you are struggling for I was there and was obsessing over scripture and comparing what one pastor said against another. If I may encourage you to keep seeking and keep studying God’ word asking God for wisdom and understanding.
couple passages of scripture is what I keep thinking of when pondering your tone of questions as you attempt to corner the gospel into a couple of words and what is the minimum a soul needs to believe and what about those who can not comprehend.
Keep in mind the word of God is alive and powerful
Heb_4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
question can we trust God to do what is right ?
Rom 11:32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.
Rom 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
Rom 11:34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?
Rom 11:35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
Rom 11:36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
I hope you do spend some time with the sermon Curtis linked to. It should help toward clearing some things up concerning the gospel of the kingdom and gospel of Christ.
As for the Yankee Arnold sermon, I do like that one as well and have listened to it before. I do not feel that he says anything incorrectly so I don’t really disagree with Him either. Remember that this message of his is in the context of refuting Calvinism and some of its main points. Here are some things that are true. God calls all men unto himself. One way seen is through the general revelation as I already mentioned. Yankee affirms this. Also He draws all men through the gospel message of Christ. Note that this refutes the Calvinist who would say that God chose for many to not believe.
So let’s look at it closer.
At minute 14 Yankee says that He has given some light. They know that there is a God and they know there is a creator.
He says that God’s truth can bring them to more truth. A missionary’s path can be brought along with a path of a person following the already revealed truth they have. I have already mentioned this particular view earlier. There is some merit to it, however I caution people not to assume too much with this type of theory. While plausible to an extent, it can be overblown too. I am ok with it in general so long as we don’t start making the Word say something it doesn’t actually say. That is why I think it was wise for him to say I don’t know how all that works. The way I prefer to explain it is that we as believers have the gospel that has the power to call all men so therefore we should obey the great commission realizing that what we have is both important and powerful. Notice that the missionary still needs to present the message to the unbeliever, that is my point.
God does draw all men in the sense that it starts with the general revelation of creation. But this does not mean that the gospel of Christ does not need to be proclaimed. Think about it, how then shall they believe it? Yankee is not saying that believing general revelation is enough. He is saying that a person still has to bring the lost person the message and that all may believe it. There is no person that hears it that cannot believe it as Calvinism presumes.
So He will draw all men through the gospel, yes. This means what I just said. The gospel draws and is believe able to all who hear it. Just like general revelation reveals its truths. Only those handicapped or babies lack the ability to understand.
At around 22:22 he says why in the world would you want missionaries if unconditional election were true? At the same token I would say why in the world would you need missionaries if a person can be saved with only general revelation? Why would you need missionaries If they don’t need to hear or read the gospel of Christ?
Thanks Curtis, I will listen to that. Jim and Curtis please listen to this video by Yankee Arnold. He seems to hold a different view.
Start at marker 15:00
He says “Anybody who wants it (salvation) can have it”
He goes on to say:
“To believe that God has chosen to save certain people and the rest of them don’t have a chance that’s not found in this book.”
He also says: (Marker 18:11-18:20)
“God calls everybody but only a few people choose to hear; choose to believe it”
Jim, you obviously disagree with Pastor Arnold. He obviously believes everybody will get the opportunity to choose salvation.
You believe some will have no chance at all, because the church will fail. I.E. your example of Natives not having a chance at all.
I’m not trying to pin Dr Arnold against you it’s just that you use his examples on your blog. So, I guess you don’t agree with all that he preaches? That’s OK, I was just wondering, because I found his teachings on your blog and listen to him now all the time. If you disagree with Pastor Arnold on this, then please let me know. I tend to agree with what he is saying on this and disagree with the opinion of Pastor Rokser on it.
if I may post
The Gospel Of The Kingdom vs. The Gospel Of Grace
Brad, these are not saying all will hear.
Many preachers do not understand the Olivet discourse or the fact that the gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world. The reason is that many forget to realize things. First, that this is the gospel of the kingdom not Paul’s gospel. Second, this takes place during the tribulation time after the rapture of the church but before the coming of Christ to set up His kingdom on Earth. Also realize that even though it will be preached in all the world it does not mean that all people will specifically hear it. Also remember that the Holy Spirit works differently then. There will not be His general work, that He does now, once the church is raptured.
You have to remember that the church is a temporary interruption to the plan God has with Israel. After the rapture, the 70th week resumes God’s national plan for Israel. In that, the world in general will have the gospel of the “kingdom” preached. Most will reject it anyway and either accept the mark of the beast or be killed. We do know that many will believe and be saved but will mostly be martyred. (Revelation mentions a host of them dressed in white). Some will survive to physically populate the kingdom. We as believers now, will not be there during the tribulation time.
So what you have to do if you are ever going to understand this is realize that there is only ONE way to be saved. But there are many messages of good news. The specific content of that good news has to be noted based on the context.
Two more salvation scriptures that are a call to “All” not just to those lucky enough to get the verbal cross gospel preached to them.
Matt 11:28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Jesus
Revelation 22:17 “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Jesus
Ok maybe you are right, but he does say “Any man” not just any man of the church, and I heard a pastor say it was in fact a salvation verse. I’m pretty sure it was Yankee Arnold I was listening to. Jesus also said this:
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”
The specific cross Gospel wasn’t even around yet, because Jesus hadn’t gone to the cross, but Jesus said this “Gospel.” There is only ONE Gospel. This is the same Gospel (and it was indeed “crossless” at the time) that must reach the whole world according to the great commission, and it hasn’t been fulfilled yet. The Gospel has not changed since Jesus said that. Verbal or non verbal, cross specific or cross indirect, it’s still the cross Gospel.
Brad, the verse is more likely talking about fellowship.
Some people presume salvation because of the ” I will come into him”
14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
Why would a salvation verse, and a rather vague one, be stuck in this section of verses?
But, “and will sup with him and, he with me” sounds more of the context of fellowship. Remember that John is writing this to the messenger to the church (saved people) of Laodicea.
Rev 3:20 is not a salvation verse. So what you are supposing doesn’t fit. As for Dennis Rokser’s church, I don’t follow them or any other church but I do know Dennis to be a good man and he has had to stand up against the crossless gospel. Sometimes in doing so people can get disgruntled. But I don’t put anything into hearsay or slander from crossless gospel advocates. If the “Antonio” person in the link you sent is the person I think it is then he is a crossless gospel advocate and not someone I’d suggest anyone listen to. Rather run the other way.
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
Brad, the answer is no. They would be without excuse. Please see Romans 1.
Just a thought. You told me before that there would be exceptions for children and mentally handicapped people. Isn’t somebody who never had the chance to even hear the Gospel just as handicapped in regards to the Gospel if not more so than a child or a disable person? Isn’t the lack of never even getting a chance to hear and believe the Gospel a worse handicap than having a mental disability or being a child?
Please read ch 19 and 20. The cross is mentioned very clearly.
Hi Brad, The Jesus mentions that He would be lifted up to Nicodemus. This was in reference to the cross. John does record the account of the death, burial, and resurrection. So why does someone necessarily need to look elsewhere? I think it best to also include truth the way Paul encapsulated it to the Corimthians but remember the book of John has the events detailed. So that is why I said not necessarily.
Remember there are no exceptions. One must believe that Christ died for them trusting Him as their risen Savior. That is the content of what it means to believe on His name.
You said, If they later refuse the truths of Jesus, then they didn’t believe in Jesus.” The problem is that this is not Biblical. A person can be fooled as a saved person about any particular truth. It is not up to us to keep our own salvation by keeping up our faith. Likewise faith one moment does not guarantee continued faith. Paul says in Timothy if we as saved people are faithless then He remains faithful.
The gospel of John does at least allude to the cross as in John 3.
Joh 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
Joh 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Joh 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Joh 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Someone could just this passage in witnessing to explain the cross and that me must trust Christ for salvation based on who He is and what He has done. In Nicodemus’s time he had not yet been to the cross.
A child does not need to understand the word atonement but can understand Christ died for them, rose again, and is to be trusted as their Savior.
As for John 20:31, what just preceded it in chapters 19 and 20. The account of the death, burial, and resurrection. Why can we trust in Christ’s name for salvation? Because His name refers to the Son of God who died for us.
Hmmm, “not necessarily”. That’s kind of vague. Is this not the purpose of the book of John?: John 20:31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
Sounds pretty clear to me, what am I missing? And how would a child understand what atonement is? That’s a pretty big word for simple child-like faith.
Jon, not necessarily but they would need to know that the atonement has been made at the cross in the Christ died for them.
Jim are you suggesting that reading the Gospel of John would not be sufficient for someone to be saved? That a person has to read the writings of Paul and/or Peter to be saved?
Thank you Alice for your excellent comment. Yes, we must know that the Jesus who saves is not the same as the five mentioned.
Thank you for an excellent article on the Cross-less gospel which reduces the gospel to merely ‘believe in Jesus for eternal life’ taking away the cross, the crucifixion, the shed blood of Christ for the remission of our sins, His death, burial and resurrection from the dead as well as His Deity, Virgin birth, His sinless perfect life and many essential doctrines of Christ. Also the Cross-less gospel doesn’t specify which ‘Jesus’ as there are many people in Spanish-speaking countries who are named ‘Jesus’ or similar so we need to identify which Jesus we are talking about. Obviously the Biblical Jesus is far different from:
1.’Catholic Jesus’ who needs to be sacrificed over and over again unlike the Biblical Jesus Who by ONE sacrifice perfected forever them that are sanctified (Heb 10:12).
2. ‘Calvinistic Jesus’ who only died for the sins of the ‘elect’ unlike the Biblical Jesus Who died for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2;2).
3. ‘Mormon Jesus’ who is half-brother of Lucifer.
4. ‘Jehovah Witness Jesus’ is the archangel Michael, a created being rather than the Creator-God.
5. ‘Lordship-salvation Jesus’ who demands additional requirements for salvation besides faith such as turning from sin, absolute surrender, submission, total obedience and on-going faithfulness and fruitfulness unlike the Biblical Jesus Who finished the work of redemption and atonement for sins on the cross and offers eternal life as a free gift of grace to all who simply believe/trust in Him alone.
(Eph 2:8-9, John 3:16)
Many other false ‘Jesus’s are being preached in our pulpits today so we need to be on constant guard that we are not deceived by ‘another’ Jesus. 2 Corin 11:4.
Thanks again for your warning in the above ‘cross-less Jesus’ post.
Thanks Curtis, you illustrate well what I have been saying. When I verses like Rom 3:-12 it is hard to imagine that there are some that believe general revelation enough to the point where God is going to somehow send someone specifically to give them the gospel. Rather God has already given all of us as believers the direction to share the gospel in all the world. Do we choose to be faithful in that or do we choose to keep the gospel to ourselves? Do we, like the crossless advocates, take the wrong gospel? God forbid.
Just a note on some events in the book of Acts, not all things in Acts are normative principles. Such as the Holy Spirit leading Philip to specifically go talk to the Ethiopian eunuch. Same thing goes for Paul conversion experience, Peter’s vision to see Cornelius, or what happened to Annanias and Saphira.
The question Zane Hodges asks reminds me of “can God make a rock to heavy for him to lift ” type question.
a soul on a deserted island is thinking of one thing if he had any exposure to civilization and that is getting off of the island and or were the next food or water is coming from .
There is no one that seeks after God and or when they knew God they didn’t want to know the God they knew . We are all born knowing there is something missing .
Rom 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Rom 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
Rom 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
Rom 3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Understandest thou what thou readest?
How can I, except some man should guide me?
Act 8:26 And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.
Act 8:27 And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,
Act 8:28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.
Act 8:29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
Act 8:30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
Act 8:31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
a better question to ask maybe why in the world would God choose the foolishness of preaching to save souls ?
in my witnessing privilege opportunities (not captured audiences) I am so amazed how God the father draws souls to himself setting up witnessing opportunities and allows the foolishness of preaching and my stumbling about with words to see souls receptive to the Gospel (eternal life) .
This was the question you asked, ” Do you believe all people will get the choice to accept or reject Christ’s offer of redemption for their life?”
The problem is that you could ask this to 20 different grace Pastors and get differing answers yet have them all basically agree. There are various ways one could look at it. See some pastors may be of the view that God will find a way to send a messenger to take the gospel to someone that perhaps has seen general revelation and acknowledged at least that there must be a creator. I don’t think there is a lot of support for this view but some may. If they do then they may reason that in some way God does in a sense grant all a choice to hear special revelation because if they believe general revelation then God will find some messenger to take them either the written Word or the spoken Word. I am not going to speculate on Pastor C’s reasoning, nor in any way put any words in his mouth. I know him and he has great theology. The thing is if we both discussed it at length we would probably agree with each other at the end of the day. (and I know he denies the crossless gospel)
That is all I will say about the question. And I feel our dialog has come to a point of closure unless you wish to discuss the topics of study I gave you or the questions I asked you in my last comment. I feel that those would help drive this conversation to a place of profitability for others reading. A friendly hint for you, when you study John 3:16, keep in mind that the ability of men to receive or reject the gospel, if presented, is not the same as opportunity to have it presented. (I could have the ability to read but if I never read the right book does it help?)Likewise, the lack of opportunity to hear the gospel because someone never took it to you is totally different than God choosing either that nobody will take it to you or choosing that you will be reprobate (Calvinism). It is not God’s fault or choice that no person took it to you. It is the fault of those he told to take it to you. Calvinism however says it is really the fault of God for choosing against you. (As in not “electing” you.)
You simply did not ask him the detailed enough question.
Jim, I already received the answer I need from Pastor Tom. You refuse to answer it. If he wants to come on your blog and elaborate or recant what he said fine. But either way, he said what he said, and I’m fine with it. At least he answered the question. I now see that your answer would obviously be no. I just don’t know how you can’t see that John 3:16 says that God will give all people in the ‘World” a choice for eternal life. I don’t know how He will ultimately do it. Maybe He will give your specific “Cross gospel” to every man in a vision before they die. Who knows? All I know is that John 3:16 says “Whosoever” (Greek translation “anyone”) “Believes” (Greek translation “to” believe). “To” implies a choice to “Believe” for eternal life. 1 Cor 15:22 “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” How did Adam die? He made a choice… How will all men be reconciled to Christ? They will have a choice. It’s called free will for all. Paul said to include the death, burial and resurrection in our message to people, so I’m going to do what Paul said. As for the rest of the “Whosoevers” in the “World” that I don’t give that message to, then that’s up to the messenger. As far as you saying some people just won’t get a choice? I’m not buying it. It’s a false gospel for only a select few who will be lucky enough to get a choice. It’s selection election just just like Ray Comfort and John MacArthur. That’s not the truth of God’s word.
I purposefully choose which posts to allow. I want the conversation to stay at least somewhat to the crossless gospel topic itself. If I want to talk about something you bring up and I feel it adds to the conversation then I will. I am not going to rehash things over and over, answer loaded questions, or discuss any further comments from Pastor C. He may post on here if he has time and chooses to do so but until I’ll refrain. My aim here is not to learn a view contrary from my own from you but rather to help you see a few things from scripture. I always leave it up to you to study it out. No need fore to go at length to disprove you or make you look foolish or anything. That is not my intent.
Here is my desire for you.
Go study what Paul and Peter’s gospel content was. The Bible can make it clear.
Study whether or not a saved person can deny the faith in any way. The Bible gives examples.
Study whether or not anyone ever received eternal life by general revelation only. If this is possible then there should be a Bible example or two.
Check the Bible itself if it specifically says anywhere that all men will hear the special revelation of the gospel.
Did all American Indians hear Paul or Peter’s gospel message before they died? Please think about it. If you say yes then who told them or how did they read it? Or was it rather that for many of them the just had the general revelation of nature around them?
The apostle Paul sums it for you already
Your belief that only a certain few will have the opportunity to receive this special “Cross gospel” of yours is just as bad as John MacArthur and Ray Comfort saying only a certain few will receive a special “Faith and repentance” to believe. It’s just a different way of saying what they are saying. Any way you look at it as far as you have tried to explain it to me, many people are left out of the choice for redemption for their lives, because the church didn’t succeed in the Great Commission. Any way you look at it or wish to twist it or explain it, it is a form of predestination plain and simple. Everybody will have a choice to accept Christ’s redemption for their lives. “Whosoever” will get the choice to believe. John 3:16
“You said “Brad, I get that you are trying to say that they agree with you but they are simply not saying what you are saying.” You seem to be trying to make me feel foolish Jim, and that is not of the spirit. Pastor C’s beliefs do in fact line up with what I’m saying yet you don’t post any of those comments. Sometimes I feel ganged up on between everybody on these “Grace” blogs, and it doesn’t always feel “Gracious.” We are not always going to agree 100%, and if you make a mis- statement, I would expect you to humble yourself and say something to the effect of: “Brad i do see that you and Pastor Tom have similar beliefs on this matter” Instead, you attempt to make me feel completely isolated. His response to my yes/no question lets me know we are on the same page at lest to some degree. Holly first seemed to be, but it seems now that she takes sides with her blog friends as well. You really should apologize Jim and admit that Pastor C and I have similar thoughts on this, but you won’t even post what he said or answer my simple yes/no question. You have been extremely helpful Jim, but please admit when you are wrong on something you stated. I have admitted multiple times that I have been wrong and had no problem with it. Again, it’s not about being right and wrong but ultimately knowing the truth. It’s almost like you’re saying “How dare you have differences with my blog friends and insinuate that I don’t agree with Pastor Tom.” Also I would like you to specifically “define” the cross gospel, because no matter how you define it, there is either more that has to be believed or less. It’s never the same content.
Brad, the crossless advocate could say something similar. Like, well you just have to believe Jesus guarantees you eternal life and once you do you are saved. No need to hear about the cross because you can just figure that part our later or in eternity…
Your last question does not make complete sense. What said anything about believers eternally denying something? They could temporarily deny something through the flesh that they still have. Now the choice to believe the gospel has eternal consequences but that is different.
I do not believe that person will “Come to believe” the truths of Christ; I believe the person will come to understand what they have already believed. We believe in Christ, but we have eternity to understand all the truths about Him. If Christ is in us and we are in Him, then how can we eternally deny any of Christ’s truths?
Brad, I am sorry that you believe that a person will come to believe certain truths or they weren’t saved. Not sure where you see that as Biblical. It is almost like the Lordshippers say well if you are “really” then you will… Fill in the blank with a good work.
“So those that reject the light and truth are in darkness by choice” At least now you do seem to be saying there is some choice in the matter. I didn’t think you felt there was any choice at all for redemption for some. However, as I stated, is Jesus not the light “and” the truth? John 8:12, John 14:6. So, if somebody “accepts” the light rather than “rejecting” it, then are they not in fact “accepting” Jesus who IS the light and the truth? You can’t just accept the light of Jesus and not the truth of Jesus. That would be like unscrambling eggs just to get the the egg whites. It’s impossible. If you accept the light you will inevitably accept the truth of the light or else you didn’t accept the light. You can’t separate the light and the truth. As far as Jonah… I disagree. I believe my ex will eventually come around to the truth of the story either in this life or after or else she didn’t believe in Christ. The story of Jonah is essentially the cross gospel. It’s the prophesy of His death, burial, and resurrection.
Hi Brad, The Biblical support for the salvation of babies and handicapped is not something that has tons of verses about it yet I believe is true based on what is said. I’m not going to get into those passages under this post but please consider reading Dr Lightner’s book Safe in the Arms of Jesus. The uninformed are different because the can perceive and comprehend the general revelation around them and could technically understand the gospel should it be presented to them. Think of it this way. Say there is a book that you need to read to know what to do to be saved. But it is dark and you can’t even see where the book is. The light is turned on and you can now see the book. But you still are not saved because you have not yet read the book and done what was needed (trust in Christ alone based on His finished work). You are with out excuse. Now once you read the gospel and it had then been specifically communicated to you you then have the opportunity to obey it by believing it for yourself or rejecting it. The Bible says that most men reject even the general revelation let alone the special revelation. So those that reject the light and truth are in darkness by choice but babies had no choice yet.
As for believing the virgin birth. Please go back and look at what I actually said. I did not say that you had to know things about it but you can’t be in denial of it. See the difference? As a five year I knew that Christ was God, perfect, and died on the cross for me. I knew that he was alive and I put my trust in Him to save me. I didn’t get taught much about the virgin birth at age five but it didn’t matter because I wasn’t denying that Christ was God or any aspect of his atonement. Even thought at that time I probably never even heard the actual word atonement.
One does not have to believe things about Jonah etc to be saved.
Furthermore, if there were more exceptions then God’s Word would have spelled it out.
Isn’t somebody who is completely uninformed about the gospel just as innocent in the matter as a child or the mentally handicapped? Also, Jesus IS the light. (John 8:12) In regards to your comment about “the light of general revelation “ vs “the more focused light,” What’s the difference? Jesus IS the light. A person receives eternal life by receiving/accepting Him (The Light). John 1:12 Also in this post you say that the knowledge of the virgin birth is essential too. So by your own salvation statement on this blog, nobody could be saved, because you don’t mention the virgin birth. My real life ex girlfriend was a believer, but she just couldn’t believe that Jonah was in the belly of a fish. She said that was a metaphor. So, I guess the cross gospel wasn’t enough for her? On my tracts that I’m about to print that you approved of should I put a clause on the bottom that says if you don’t believe everything else in the bible in this life later, then this is null and void? I’m not trying to be sarcastic, but these are necessary questions that I’m seeking answers to. My tracts you said were fine, but if somebody really can’t be saved by them, then why hand them out? Because, it’s not “inevitable” that they will come to believe “All” the truths of the bible in “this lifetime” later. Again, I am not an advocate of the crossless gospel as evidenced by my tracts; however, there has to be exceptions other than babies and special needs people.
Thanks Lou for that warning about Antonio da Rosa. I see the crossless error as one small step away from universalism. People like Da Rosa prey like wolves on those who are fed up with the legalism and emptiness of Catholicism or reformed oriented lordship teachings that are so common today and trap those trying to recover into further darkness of a different variety. It is like the devil has them like a yo-yo tied to his finger bouncing from one false position to another yet never really arriving at the truth. It’s time for men that know better to call them out and thereby spare some of the unsuspecting.
The “Crossless” gospel advocates believe and teach that a lost man can be born again apart from knowing who Jesus is, and what He did to provide salvation. They believe that all a lost man must do, to be born again, is believe in the name “Jesus,” no matter if he does not know or understand who Jesus is, His deity, and what He did to provide salvation.
They will take this reductionism to the place where a Mormon can be born again who openly rejects the deity of Christ, but believes in Mormon Jesus that is thought to be the half-brother of Satan. I have all of this documented at my blog from the teachers of the reductionist “Crossless” gospel heresy. Among the most vocal among them was Antonio da Rosa, a GES member and zealot for the Hodges errors. For example da Rosa wrote, “The Mormon Jesus and the Evangelical Jesus are one and the same.” See, Can the Biblical Jesus & Mormon Jesus be “One and the Same?”
I totally agree. There is little worse than taking out the cross, resurrection, and deity of Christ. Sounds more like a doctrine of devils to me once all those things are relegated as non-essential. We do need to separate from this error and those that promote it. Sadly I have heard that there are otherwise decent “grace” men that are unwilling to take a clear stand against it. But they should separate with urgency because people are falling for it.
I appreciate that you’ve brought this gross distortion of the Gospel back to the forefront for discussion. The “Crossless” gospel of the GES is the most egregious form of reductionist heresy ever introduced to the NT church by one of its own.
The Grace Evangelical Society (GES) “Crossless” advocates are hardened in their error. Much of their problem is absolute loyalty to their departed leader, Zane Hodges, who formulated this reductionist heresy. For the Crossless advocates the finished work of Christ and His deity are stumbling blocks to their methodology of personal evangelism. They do not hesitate to jettison “put on the back-burner,” these truths from the evangelistic message. They essentially agree to deny the cross, Christ’s bodily resurrection and His deity on a practical level, if those truths are offensive to the lost man they are witnessing to.
No amount of complaining by any advocate of the “Crossless” gospel can change the fact that their theology removes the finished work of Christ on the cross and His bodily resurrection from what a lost man must know and believe for salvation (justification).
This teaching of a “Crossless” gospel must be vigorously resisted and its advocates marked and avoided (Rom. 16:17-18) lest the unsuspecting fall into the reductionist heresy.
Please see here:
Everyone has a choice except for babies etc as mentioned earlier but that choice is not necessarily based on the gospel but general revelation only. Remember that believers are responsible to God for their faithfulness in sharing the gospel. This is partly because of the ramifications if we as believers do not. This is also why it is so important to be sharing the correct content in our message and the reason for this post.
Brad, perhaps you are presuming to much? The light of general revelation is one thing but the more focused light of the gospel is another thing because of the more specific info contained and being communicated.
Ok so everybody will get a chance to “accept “or reject the light. That is if “fact” what Holly and Pastor C are saying verbatim as well as the scriptures. I think we may be splitting hairs here. But, what they are saying is that if the light is accepted then the Gospel message will be presented to them. I don’t really understand that extra step. Jesus “Is” the light. If you accept / “receive” the light you are saved. However, you seem to be saying that some may not even get a chance to accept the light. John 1:12 “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” Are you saying there is a difference between accepting the light and receiving the light? Because, if accept means receive, that is salvation. Whether you say accept or receive, there is a choice in the matter. You seem to be saying many will not have any choice at all in the matter of salvation. That is not inexcusable.
Brad, I get that you are trying to say that they agree with you but they are simply not saying what you are saying. Yes, they are saying a person is without excuse and so am I but they are not saying that never being able to hear the gospel is a valid excuse. There is a big difference. As John 3 says, those that have not believed are condemned already. This includes those that have not heard.
I agree, but what Pastor C and Holly are saying I believe is that God is just and all people will be “Without excuse.” If you never got a clear enough presentation as to what you need to believe, then one “Would” have an excuse. You said “Now I do believe that the general drawing through creation etc can help a person realize the need to consider the special revelation of the gospel.” But, their argument as well as mine is that it “Will” help a person realize the need to consider special revelation. Everybody will have a choice for redemption. Just as Adam had a clear choice in the garden to fall.
I agree with both Holly and Tom C but I think you may be misunderstanding the difference between a general drawing and the specific witness of the gospel itself. Now I do believe that the general drawing through creation etc can help a person realize the need to consider the special revelation of the gospel but the fact still remains that it still needs to be communicated to them through the written or spoken word.
If everyone is being drawn, they will all have a choice. “They will eventually understand the gospel…” Pastor C
Pastor C’s response:
“Everyone is being drawn by four things:
1. Creation Psalm 19:1-6.
2. The word of God. Psalm 19:70-14.
3. Jesus Himself John 12:32
4. The Holy Spirit. John 16:7-11
According to Romans 1, the world is without excuse. They are being drawn but it is up them to accept the light God is bringing them. As they are open, they will eventually understand the gospel and hopefully trust Christ. But many resist the conviction and drawing. Acts 7:51.
God does not put damnation into a heart. Men are condemned already due first to their sin and second to their having not believed. (Whether they heard and rejected or never heard, they still haven’t believed.) Most will not find the truth not because of bad luck but because of hardness of will(their own resolve not to change their mind) and unbelief.
All men are given the ability to choose but not all will have the opportunity to hear Christ’s clear gospel preached.
God does not intervene right away. He certainly will not come do our job for us in carrying out the great commission. He will at some point have enough and come for His bride when the time is right.
You are correct in that this is not specifically a LS versus grace issue. It is however an issue of the Biblical responsibility of men to believe the gospel and take that gospel to the lost. God has provided the solution in Christ. Christ provided the atonement and provides himself as a living Savior. He has given men starting with the apostles to go into all the world with the gospel. You say it is not all up to the church. However the transport and proclamation of the gospel is indeed a task for the church. The thing is that the Holy Spirit assists in convincing men of the truth but this is done through the Word whether written or spoken.
I have been reading up and praying about this. There are differences of views on this, and it’s not a Grace vs. L/S issue. There are L/S that believe the same way you believe on this and vise versa. I don’t believe in universalism. I just believe God will inevitably give everybody a choice to believe or not to believe the truth. It’s not “All” up to the church to get the message out. Romans 10 means from a general standpoint as to what we need to do, but God always intervenes where man fails. That’s the whole idea of Jesus coming to earth as a baby born to a virgin. It was supernatural, because man failed. Why is God so loving that he gives children and mentally handicapped a free pass but not everybody else who won’t get the gospel? Why are they so special? They still have evil hearts. Psalm 51:5 They can still choose good vs evil. Adam clearly “Chose” evil, so all men will have the equal opportunity to “Choose” eternal life. Again, I believe all men will be given a choice even if it’s supernatural. I believe that’s what “Whosoever” means. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says God set eternity into the hearts of men. Why would he set eternal damnation into the hearts of those who will never have a choice to believe the gospel? That would be like a dad telling a son I bought you a new car (atonement), but the DMV has shut down for good, so you will never get to drive it. And, the the dad knew the DMV was going to shut down, but he bought the car for him anyway. That makes no sense. You are in fact saying that many people will not be lucky enough to receive the good news. That’s the only way to put it. Again, there are many differing opinions on this Jim, and it’s not a L/S / Grace issue.
Brad, the atonement itself is 100 percent unlimited in that all may be saved. But we also know from the Bible that most will choose to reject the truth and not receive the free gift that was purchased for them. They will leave the offer not having taken it. To say otherwise is really just universalism where all will be saved just because Christ died for them. God’s plan was to provide as Savior and to send out laborers to gather the harvest. This plan includes now today the use of the local church to proclaim the truth to a lost and dying world. Human choices matter. If I present a false gospel then it can have ripple effects on those that hear it.
I disagree. If Jesus knew that some people would never get the chance to believe in Him, then why go through the cross for them? So, He could tell the church what a lousy job they did? This is “Limited” atonement you are talking about. How could it be atonement for them if Jesus knew before the cross that there would be absolutely NO chance of them being atoned for, because they would never get a choice? Jesus died so “Whosoever” (“to” believe) would be saved. Whosoever “chooses” to believe. “Whosoever” will have the “Choice” to believe. “Everybody…” will have a choice.
I agree with you on believing in John3:16 not meaning continual belief. However the verse is not saying all men have an equal chance to hear about the gospel. “Whosoever believeth”means all that do believe. But in order to believe they must hear. There is no supernatural working bringing people to eternal salvation outside of the gospel. The Spirit works with and through the gospel to convince men of the truth. All people have the witness of creation but nowhere does the Bible say a man receives eternal life through believing general revelation. Likewise there are NO exceptions save for babies and some mentally handicapped. If you don’t think so then you have a lot of studying to do. One last time I will tell you that Christ’s death was not in vain. It doesn’t matter how reject or never hear. His atonement accomplished the deliverance from sin the every man needed. It is the appropriation that doesn’t take place for those who don’t believe.
Eternal power and Godhead does not mean specifically “saving” power. It means more his overall power and capability as creator and his overall authority as such.
Brad, you have to agree with what the Bible itself says. There is no place where it says that all men will be given the special revelation of the gospel. Christ died for all men, so therefore all could have technically been saved but the vast majority chose not to believe. Christ did not die in vain. It provided the payment. The people rejecting the truth made it in essence of non effect for themselves because they chose not to believe it. People that do not hear the gospel were not predestined to not hear any more than I was predestined to believe. Just because God knows what will happen doesn’t mean He makes it happen. Rather He allows men to choose including for believers to choose if they will be diligent and obedient to take the clear gospel to a lost world that so badly needs to hear. By grace through faith means that you are not saved by merit through works. It is by the gracious gift of Gods Son and his atonement which is received them through faith. But what does Romans 10 say?
14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
They need to hear is the point. Otherwise how shall they believe? Please think on these verses. The Bible makes it rather clear on this point.
That’s what I mean. “Without excuse” means that everybody will get a clear enough presentation to be saved, so they will have no excuse if they refuse to believe. Otherwise, Christ died in vain for the people who didn’t get a clear enough gospel message. Everybody gets an equal opportunity, or He isn’t just, and it isn’t a choice. That is a form of predestination Jim. I can’t agree.
You said “Not everyone is guaranteed a clear gospel presentation. There will be multitudes in eternal damnation that never heard the truth proclaimed.” Again, predestination to hell for a certain unfortunate multitude who didn’t get the clear gospel message. Should I count my self “Lucky?” Salvation isn’t about luck For by Grace and “Luck” I’ve been saved? That is not the truth. I can’t agree.
Brad, people die with pardonable sins and are still accountable to pay for them. Thankfully for us who have heard and believed, we have our sin paid for at the cross.
“Without excuse” does in a sense mean they are accountable. They must give account to God for their lives. They will either have Christ’s righteousness or their “own”. Their names will either be written in the Lambs book or not. Not everyone is guaranteed a clear gospel presentation. There will be multitudes in eternal damnation that never heard the truth proclaimed. This is not God’s failure but a failure of both the church for not going and for not keeping their gospel accurate and of the unsaved who are still responsible to their creator.
There is no such thing really as getting saved without at least a child like understanding of the cross / atonement. It is not like you can just be saved by a promise only then get filled in later. Where do you get that from the Bible? Believers post cross were saved by believing the gospel of Christ that Peter and Paul preached.
Yes, I know the cross gospel was preached by Paul and Peter. The cross saved all who are saved no exception there. And, we should preach it too. What I am saying is there has to be exceptions in the message received not the cross itself. Ok, if we are looking “Post Cross” up to the end of the world… Do you think EVERY single person during that time period will have heard and been given a chance to believe the Cross Gospel? Everybody? I don’t think so. And if they didn’t, you are telling me that by default they are in hell without being given a fair shot at what to believe? Therefore, Jesus died in vain for those people, because they will never get the verbal, audible Cross Gospel message? I don’t think so. Again, Romans 1:9 makes it clear to me that not everybody will get the complete “Cross gospel,” but nobody will have an excuse. So, they have to have a choice OTHER than the cross Gospel or else Jesus died in vain for those people who didn’t get the message of the cross. Again, “without excuse” means accountability, so all will have a choice, but what about those who didn’t get the cross gospel? What will they be held accountable for? They never got to hear it. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the only unpardonable sin; therefore, if somebody receives the Holy Spirit without the knowledge of the cross, then they are saved. They WILL come to the knowledge of the cross later or else they didn’t receive the spirit. I don’t see how you can argue with that. God is spirit; He is not always audible, nor is He always a message. He is the living truth. Receive it, believe it… saved.
Why did Paul say the believers in Ephesus were saved? 2:8-9 talks about the how but what about these verses on chapter ?
7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
What gospel did they hear that Peter and Paul and others were preaching? The gospel as seen in acts or 1 Cor 15
John, that is right. Peter and Paul proclaimed the same gospel. So should we.
The accountability of the mentally handicapped is up to God to determine. He knows which ones have the ability. Also, various scriptures can be used by the Holy Spirit to convince a person to change their mind but gospel of Christ is the principle thing to proclaim to the lost. If they first won’t admit they are even lost they may need verses about that.
Yes Jim I agree,
The message of the cross is extremely important and should be preached first and foremost.There are if fact exceptions though. Do you agree? Where do we draw the line? I believe also that 90% of atheists or agnostics have heard of what Jesus did on the cross. They just don’t believe it yet. So, for them all they might need is John 3:16 just to get them over the hump. That’s all I’m saying. There is a reason scriptures like John 1:12 can stand alone. Also having worked with the mentally handicapped, they can be extremely mean at times and are definitely in need of a savior. I don’t think they get a free ticket just because they are handicapped. Somewhere the spirit has to be received, and the cross isn’t necessary for them; hence, an exception. But the example of the kid above can be and exception as well. What Paul is telling us I believe is the optimal way to preach the gospel. That doesn’t mean people cant be saved in other ways that are exceptions. If God tells somebody they are saved through his word, they are saved.
Babies and mentally handicapped that did not have capability to understand (in God’s judgement) will be in heaven. On the other hand, those that have only the testimony of general revelation of the creation around them are without excuse. The Bible is clear that they need to hear the gospel of Christ. This is partly why it is so important to take that message throughout the world. The simple fact of the matter is that the Son of God died for all even those who would straight up reject Him. There are not really exceptions. One needs to trust Christ based on who He is and what He has done by way of the atonement and resurrection.
Thanks for your post. I don’t know if I entirely agree, and this is something I have been praying about for a while. There are always some exceptions I believe i.e. unborn babies, special needs people, children “under the age of accountability” etc… so where do we draw the line? I don’t think we could ever know. Yes, the cross gospel should always be preached, but Jesus knows who are His before they even choose to believe. Romans 1:9 comes to mind “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:” What about people who don’t ever get the Gospel fully, but they only have the things of nature to go on? Do they just go to hell without any choice because they never received the cross only gospel? Then, Jesus just died for a bunch of extra people He didn’t have to, because they will never get to choose the cross only Gospel. God is a compassionate God. Another scenario… a young guy who never read the bible picks one up and starts reading. He reads 2 Tim 3:16 and says “I knew God had to talk to people somehow! This book is the real deal!” He’s heard about sin and hell but he never understood it other than his sin will send him to hell and that Jesus saves people from hell. He then reads John 3:16 knowing now that God is in fact speaking to him through His word. He’s like.. “Sweet! God himself is telling me I can have everlasting life if I just believe in Jesus!” And, it is in fact God speaking to him, because we know (you and I) for a fact (I know you know Jim) that the scriptures are in fact God’s word, because the word itself proclaims it, and the kid believes it. God is in fact speaking to the kid. Then, the kid flips over to Eph 2:8-9 knowing again that God is in fact speaking to him and God in fact says to him through His word “By grace you have been saved…. this is the Gift of God” Kid’s like “Awesome thank you God!” The kid gets killed in a car wreck right after that. Kid goes to heaven, and God says I know I (in fact) told you you were saved by my very own word (2 Tim 3:16), but you’re not. I lied, and you have to know about the cross too. So I just guess God is lying to the kid? You can’t say the kid wasn’t saved, because God in fact told him he was through his own word, and the kid believed it. There has to be exceptions. So, where is the line drawn?
Jim, the Bible is clear that the hearing and believing the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) are essential to receiving eternal life:
Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
We can see what Peter preached to Cornelius, and the result when Cornelius believed:
 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)
 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;
 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:
 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;
 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.
 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.
 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
There are more links on the crossless gospel found here:
For further reading please see the following: