I have spent much time now on this very critical issue. The Following is sample of things found in my book on the topic co-authored by Tyler Leigeb. The title is The Perfect Sacrifice. Calvinistic Lordship salvation manages to distort the way a man can receive eternal life. For sure that is a big issue. The Jesus died spiritually error threatens, and in the end, does destroy what Christ has done in the first place on the cross for our sins. This is also a big deal.
Here is a summary of my studies and conclusions after study for the Dean article even before writing the book.
1) No Bible verse actually says directly that Jesus died spiritually
2) No verse means even indirectly that He died spiritually (remembering context and comparing scripture with scripture)
3) The picture of Christ’s sacrifice was that of the sacrificial lamb.
a) A lamb did not have to die spiritually
b) A lamb had to be spotless
c) Christ so perfectly mirrored the lamb that He even was silent going to the cross. Isa 53
d) Christ was the final sacrifice once for all for sin
4) Spiritual death means more than just spiritual separation.
a) Jesus would have ceased to be God
b) Jesus would had to have been born again spiritually!, not just raised physically
1) This is nowhere recorded in the Bible so if Jesus died spiritually then He would
still be spiritually dead
2) Spiritual death for Christ would have meant that He died two deaths (which
Robert Dean teaches – yet Dennis Rokser and Tom Stegall say they oppose
Deans’ view on that, while holding to their own version)
c) God cannot be divided against himself – JDS seems to a problem here
d) God/Christ would have become slave to Satan as in all that goes with sin would have been included (so do go so far as to teach this)
e) during time that Christ was on the cross spiritually dead he would/could not have been the object of faith. And it throws into question (at least) His being able to be such after.
5) Even if spiritual death meant separation only, it still would be odd that God the Father would turn His back on God the Son – (A split existed within the Trinity? A split within Christ himself? No, because the Bible doesn’t say it. Therefore there is no need to go down that route of Pandora’s box like speculations.)
a) Psa 22:24 says to me that God would not forsake Christ
Psa 22:24 For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;
neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.
b) Christ often said I and my Father are One (this is a problem for JDS or supposed
imputed spiritual separation)
6) If Christ died spiritually then He ceased to be perfect.
a) If he ceased to be perfect then He ceased to be the Savior. Remember: spotless
b) He became sin for us in the sense of a sin offering – not an actually guilty sinner
1) Otherwise there is no savior available
2) The whole point of the substitution was so that He being righteous could satisfy
7) The few verses people use to support the view have much better interpretations available
a) The verse about the darkness during the crucifixion – Mat 27:45 Now from the
sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.
(This is descriptive and could be a sign, but all we have is the statement. Why
then speculate on it or read more into it than face value?)
b) The verse about the statement My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me
(Some use the word forsaken to justify the whole notion, but remember that this is a direct quote of Psalm 22. This is why Jesus uses “My God, My God”. He is quoting David saying that. “Forsaken” there can simply mean something like: Why have you left me in these straits?, or how much longer must I endure this? – given the contexts. And in following with then the context of Psalm 22 we see that it was not dealing with David’s spiritual death but rather prayer from David asking for deliverance from what He was going through physically.)
c) Hab 1:13 (Some take this to mean that God looked away from Jesus on the cross
but this verse is simply saying God does not look upon sin with favor. In other
words, He does not approve of sin in peoples lives. Christ never sinned. He took
on the sin of the world as an innocent God/man but was still considered Holy. The OT sacrifices were considered to be most holy in God’s sight, even as they were
being offered. This is one main reason why they were acceptable in His sight.
More on the sacrifices:
Lev 6:14 And this is the law of the meat offering: the sons of Aaron shall offer it before the LORD, before the altar.
Lev 6:15 And he shall take of it his handful, of the flour of the meat offering, and of the oil thereof, and all the frankincense which is upon the meat offering, and shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet savour, even the memorial of it, unto the LORD.
Lev 6:16 And the remainder thereof shall Aaron and his sons eat: with unleavened bread shall it be eaten in the holy place; in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation they shall eat it.
Lev 6:17 It shall not be baken with leaven. I have given it unto them for their portion of my offerings made by fire; it is most holy, as is the sin offering, and as the trespass offering.
Lev 6:18 All the males among the children of Aaron shall eat of it. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations concerning the offerings of the LORD made by fire: every one that toucheth them shall be holy.
Lev 6:19 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Lev 6:20 This is the offering of Aaron and of his sons, which they shall offer unto the LORD in the day when he is anointed; the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a meat offering perpetual, half of it in the morning, and half thereof at night.
Lev 6:21 In a pan it shall be made with oil; and when it is baken, thou shalt bring it in: and the baken pieces of the meat offering shalt thou offer for a sweet savour unto the LORD.
Lev 6:22 And the priest of his sons that is anointed in his stead shall offer it: it is a statute for ever unto the LORD; it shall be wholly burnt.
Lev 6:23 For every meat offering for the priest shall be wholly burnt: it shall not be eaten.
Lev 6:24 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Lev 6:25 Speak unto Aaron and to his sons, saying, This is the law of the sin offering: In the place where the burnt offering is killed shall the sin offering be killed before the LORD: it is most holy.
Lev 6:26 The priest that offereth it for sin shall eat it: in the holy place shall it be eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation.
Lev 6:27 Whatsoever shall touch the flesh thereof shall be holy: and when there is sprinkled of the blood thereof upon any garment, thou shalt wash that whereon it was sprinkled in the holy place.
Lev 6:28 But the earthen vessel wherein it is sodden shall be broken: and if it be sodden in a brasen pot, it shall be both scoured, and rinsed in water.
Lev 6:29 All the males among the priests shall eat thereof: it is most holy.
Lev 6:30 And no sin offering, whereof any of the blood is brought into the tabernacle of the congregation to reconcile withal in the holy place, shall be eaten: it shall be burnt in the fire.
Lev7 Lev 7:1 Likewise this is the law of the trespass offering: it is most holy. Lev 7:6 Every male among the priests shall eat thereof: it shall be eaten in the holy place: it is most holy. (The thing offered for sin was most Holy in God’s sight. So was Christ.)
8) The weight of evidence with other scriptures shows a physical, not Spiritual sacrifice.
Joh 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
Joh 6:48 I am that bread of life.
Joh 6:49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
Joh 6:50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
Joh 6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
(Not spiritual death for the life of the world, physical.)
Hebrews9-10 (There are many more.. please see my book.)
9) The cup that Christ had to bear was physical and emotional.
f) spat upon
h) crown of thorns
i) joints out of socket
k) thirst – physical
(Dennis Rokser has advocated that the cup was spiritual death and in sermons has said that Christ was spiritually thirsty)
10) The comparisons and contrasts of Adam and Christ in Romans fall apart logically.
Romans 5:10-21 The bottom line is that all of theology falls apart in that we are left with no Savior. This is not some trifle of a matter.
11) To say that Spiritual death is necessary for the atonement is to add to God’s Word.
12) To say that that “He paid for our sins while still physically alive.” is to negate the concept of the necessity of Christ’s death. Think about it, why then go on to die physically?
13) It would be more logical and intellectually consistent to say if He died spiritually then he also went to hell to suffer there as men would also do. (But it is false).
a) The free grace style “Jesus died spiritually” position appears to be one step
removed from this error as seen by EW Kenyon, Word faith teachers, Joyce Meyer
b) Many of the same truths that prove the aforementioned people to be false also
prove the “grace”(half way) position on it to be false
14) This error also seems to be in close cahoots with other errors such as concerning the
blood (Thieme, MacArthur) or the importance of the burial of Christ.
15) The issue appears to be based more on men’s reasoning and opinion than scripture.
a) Chafer seminary
b) RB Thieme, Robert Dean, Leonard Radtke, Dennis Rokser, Tom Stegall, Andy
Woods, John MacArthur, Billy Graham, Walvoord and some from Dallas leaned
this way some yet not as much as Thieme.
(I have to be sensitive to pastors that either hold this view or a lesser form of it to
the point that maybe they will take a second look. Many times these things get
passed from mentor to student such as possibly happened with Radtke / Rokser.)
16) It becomes ridiculous to be so concerned by errors such as antinomy, lordship salvation, the cross-less gospel, Calvinism, Arminianism, Catholicism, etc. but yet we ourselves are going to usher in and promote a Jesus that died spiritually. Why promote a Jesus that the Bible does not describe? What about the Biblical need to have the correct object of our faith? How is that any better than the Calvinist god who chooses most for damnation or the Arminian god who provides no eternal solution? How is it any better than the cross-less advocate who strips down the gospel to nothing other than the name of someone called Jesus?
17) This one particular issue is a real problem maker for newer believers and or less established believers.
a) I have seen hurt come from it
b) I have seen emotions boil up over it
c) I have seen this particular issue clung to by those that are enamored with
particular teachers…such as Thieme. It gets to the point where the teacher
becomes first authority and God second because they trust and lean on the teacher
so much that they fail to check out in God’s Word if it is really so.
d) it is a potential church split maker because people could emotionally take sides
especially if they don’t have the scriptural foundation or patience to study it out
18) It gives fellow grace believers a bad name
a) JB Hixson was worried about the cross-less guys causing a bad name for “free
grace”… but this is any better?
b) The sad thing is that some that may have errors such as LS or on repentance do
understand that Jesus did not die spiritually. If those people saw this error in our
camp, it would just give them reason to think we are unknowledgeable of the
19) This issue is problematic and should not be thrown around in churches lightly without proper build up. It takes years of study to be prepared for deep doctrinal disputes. This particular issue is especially hard because the concepts are throughout the Bible itself. So much has to be considered that the average person may choke on it all or rush to a decision based on loyalty or personality. After all, even guys with fancy degrees and who are well respected pastors are falling for this stuff.
20) The Bible never mentions that Jesus suffered “hell on the cross” as some with this view state. – Rokser for example.
21). Unfortunately… this is not about semantics or finding a more “pc” way to describe it. There are actual ramifications for the concept of Jesus dying spiritually. The question is do we want to let this be taught in our churches? If the answer is no, then how do we deal with those who do? It is not easily answered in each individual case.
Note: Comments will be allowed on this post but no advocating of a opposing position whether it is that of Joyce Meyers / EW Kenyon, or Dean, or Thieme, or Rokser / Stegall. But I will answer honest questions about any verse or on book material.