Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14)

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Response to Daniel of Doulogos

The following is my reply to Daniel of Doulogos's post concerning Free Grace Theology in general, and me in particular. His article is Doulogos on 'Free Grace'

You write:
Antonio de Rosa
It is Antonio da Rosa. This is a common mistake. Maybe because they think I made a typo, or quite possibly so people can’t make a proper search to find my stuff.

You write:
Antonio has been beating the "free Grace" drum for a few months now
I have been providing another perspective on the Bible that is not traditional. I can make no judgments about you, but I am a disicple of the Lord Jesus Christ; I eagerly await His coming; and I approach His word with humility and openess.

You write:
[Antonio does not have] anything particularly important to say
I would hope that your readers would not take your word on this matter. I hallow the word of God and expound it with regards to context, idiom, grammar, consistency, and most importantly, distinctions within its teachings.

I would invite any and all of Daniel’s readers to come and see for yourself and examine my arguments and expositions for yourself. Free Grace Theology Blog

And note at the time of your visit that Daniel has not chosen to engage an any of my discussions nor offered his superior exegetical skills to fill up any holes in my exposition.

You write:
surely the one tune he plays on his droning drum has been heard before
You like your demeaning language you use against me? Your whole tirade is just one mean-spirited attack after the other against me.

You write:
Antonio is becoming somewhat infamous
I extoll the virtues of Christ and the grace of God. I lift up Christ in His perfect act of submission to the Father, whereby He satisfied God’s eternal judgment for sin in His sacrificial death on the cross. I proclaim God’s grace to the sinner.

If this is what it means to be infamous, may I ever live to fulfill that calling, sir!

You write:
[Antonio’s theology is merely a] pet theology
My dictionary for the adjective “pet” is “Particularly cherished” and “a favorite”. If this is all that this pejorative term meant to you and implied to your readers, I would be very happy to accept that labeling of my beliefs.

Yet you and I both know that you are not very fond of my deeply held convictions (nor me) so you seek to belittle and demean them in this way as if they are the product of my novel imagination.

What makes mine “pet” and yours “orthodox”? The decisions of ancient councils, the judgments of men? The popular fraternal order of Reformed advocacy?

You act as if God Himself has parted the clouds and, booming in His thunderous voice, says “This is my beloved Daniel, Listen to him!” You portray yourself as having received an extraordinary endowment by special revelation of God that affirms the verbose nature of your theology down to the minutest detail.

The blogosphere is a realm of ideas, sir. You do not corner the marked on “truth”. What I suspect is that your fraternity does not like being challenged by another exegetical view’s opposing convictions.

Rather than come over to my blog and deal with my exegetical and expositional posts, my rational and provoking constuctions, you would rather pontificate as you here do.

I preach Christ crucified. I preach that Christ is sufficient and enough to save the worst of sinners. I preach holiness. I preach repentance, surrender, commitment, love, and good works. I preach accountability for lack of these things. I preach reverance and worship of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Messiah. I preach God’s unbounded grace that dispenses the Water of Life. I don’t find anything imaginative or novel about my commitment to my Savior, or my devotion to instruct the children of God.

You write:
we see Antonio's eisegesis, exposed and corrected by learned men and children, only to watch in morbid fascination as he ignores it all, and continues to beat his drum.
This is a huge indictment. Do you have any examples where I was corrected? I can show you several where others have been corrected by me (go to my blog and see my latest post on James 2:14ff where I show an apologist corrected in his assertion / link HERE.

Mere posturing and rhetoric mean nothing, Daniel. You assert much, rationalizing through the rose-colored lens of your mere proof-texting, arguing your pleas to them by your presuppositional theology; and support little. The viscious circle of asserted interpretation of proof-texts supported by presuppositional theology never stops!

You write:
I admire that level of gusto, but at the same time I find it tragic and dangerous; tragic for Antonio, and dangerous for those who don't see the wolf for the wool.
More indictments without substance. This same charge I lay to you, sir. I have 30+ articles on my website. Where is your response to any of them?

But take comfort in your numbers. I will take comfort in the truth, as Luther did.

You write:
[Typing a comment to Antonio I was]trying in vain to say how wrong it feels in my soul to examine his teachings in greater depth
How wrong it feels? Oh yeah, versus your Traditional, Reformed theology! I think it was a dichotomic feeling, on one hand, hating my theology in deference to your “superior” position, while on the other hand, being convicted the truth apparent in my writings.

You write:
having rejected the core about which all his teaching seems to orbit
Not by anything substantial, but you have compared my theology to yours and found it lacking.

You write:
Surely our command of the Greek language has shown us that the word "pistis" (faith/belief) has no perfect synonym in English.

Likewise, we know full well that when we employ the verb form of the word, we amplify any asynonymity inherent in the verb. How then (when we lack an English word that carries all the subtleties of the Greek) do we flesh out the nuances that are in the Greek which cannot be translated into English? We must translate the word into its closest English equivalent yet retain in our understanding the full spectrum of nuance the word carries in the original context, culture, and grammar. We do ourselves damage if in translating a word we neglect its full meaning.

I don’t know where you get this. You have begged the question here, sir.

A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature (Bauer-Arndt-Gingrich-Danker, affectionately known as BAGD), which is the standard Greek lexicon:

1) trust, confidence, faith; in the active sense = “believing”
2) [pertaining to God]faith, trust, confidence in God

In the whole of the article on “pistis” in the standard Greek lexicon (BAGD), there is not even a remote suggestion that there is some “hidden” or “full spectrum” sense in which the word English word “faith” is not completely and perfectly synonomous with it! No entries that have obedience, repentance, or any of that nonesense.

Lidell and Scott Greek Lexicon:
1) trustin others, faith
2) generally, persuasion of a thing, confidence, assurance
3) to be persuaded
4) Theol., faith, opp. sight and knowledge

The Complete Word Study Dictionary New Testament (Spiros Zodhiates):
1) noun from peitho (3982), [which means] to win over, persuade.
2) Faith
3) firm persuasion, conviction, belief in the truth

The New Analytical Greek Lexicon (Wesley Perschbacher)

1) faith, belief, firm persuasion
2) assurance, firm conviction
3) ground of belief, guarantee, assurance

To see that my view of faith is no different than these lexical definitions, see my article on The Biblical Doctrine of 'faith' with Discussion

There are no subtle nuances such as repentance, obedience, etc.; in other words, no support for your liberal “kitchen sink” model, where you seek to impose works into the semantic value of “faith” as John MacArthur does, whereby Michael Horton soundly rebukes MacArthur for his “works-salvation”. That is right, one Lordship advocate calling another’s position works’s salvation. To see Michael Horton’s comment’s to John MacArthur and the beautiful logic and syllogism that he uses to show that MacArthur’s insistence of importing obedience to Christ into the semantic value of “faith” is tantamount to works-salvation, use this link: John MacArthur is ‘Hard to Believe’.

You write:
Sometimes however, scripture gives us more information about a word than we might realize. For instance, if we want to know more about "pistis" (belief) we can see examine the other side of our sword. Scripture is, after all, a double edged sword, and we learn as much about "belief" by examining what scripture says about unbelief. No tricks or gimmicks here - just rightly dividing the word.
We shall see that you are about tricks and gimmicks, and smoke and mirrors.

You write:
When we look at the way "unbelief" is used in scripture (that is, in opposition to belief) we will necessarily form a more complete picture of how "belief" was understood. To this end we must not fail to observe that in various places in scripture we see the same word ("apeitheo") translated as unbelief and elsewhere as disobedience. God be praised for this sort of consistency in scripture! Even were we so careless in our translation as to drop the nuance of obedience from our understanding of "faith" - yet we see from the other half of the double edged sword, that the meaning is retained!

So when I talk about faith, I am talking about that same faith that is described in verses like Romans 10:16 ("But they have not all obeyed the gospel") that is, I recognize that "faith" is synonymous with "obeying the gospel" - genuine faith is characterized by obedience ; and simultaneously a faith that is not genuine is characterized as apathetic/disobedient.
Will this argument hold up? Not in the slightest.

Look at this leap in logic: because the opposite of believing the gospel is “disobedience” we must thereforeconclude that “faith” must include “obedience” and “submission” and “repentance”.

Why this leap of logic and serious misrepresentation of language? To support the insupportable. The sense of “apeitho” is clear when viewed as a rejection of the gospel:

The gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is a command to believe: Note the famous statement of Paul to the Phillipian:

Acts 16:31
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved”
Here Paul uses a 2cd person singular aorist active imperative. This is a command to believe in Jesus. When one fails to believe in Jesus, he has disobeyed.

When someone does not believe in Jesus what does this amount to? DISOBEDIENCE. When one fails to believe in the gospel that is to be preached in all the world, they have disobeyed God. To not believe the command to obey the gospel is to disobey. Is that so hard to understand? Are we so bankrupt in our theology that we must make such incredible importations into the semantic value of words in order to prove our position?

Look at Daniel’s logic this way: Suppose I tell my son, “Jacob, wash the car right now.” An hour passes and he has not gotten down to busting suds on my cheap hunk of junk. I then say, “Jacob, you have disobeyed me! You have not washed the car!”

Are we thus to conclude, as per the logic of Daniel, that the verb “wash” must necessarily be characterized by “obedience”, or that the Greek word that is translated “wash” has a hidden, powerful, and untranslatable nuance that the English word “wash” fails to render. I have just got finished reading several dictionary entries for “wash” and I have yet to find the sense “obedience” in it.

Why have some of our translations in the English rendered “apeitho” as “disbelieve” when it does not have that sense in any of papyrii in the profane literature?

Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich, and Danker in BAGD, page 82 state in their entry for “apeitho”:

“since in the view of the early Christians, the supreme disobedience was a refusal to believe their gospel, apeitho may be restricted in some passages to the meaning disbelieve, be an unbeliever. This sense, though greatly disputed (it is not found outside our lit.), seems most probable in J[ohn] 3:36; Ac[ts] 14:2; 19:9; Ro[mans] 15:31”

For the early Christians, not believing the command in the gospel to believe in Jesus was the most supreme disobedience. This author heartily concurs.
John 3:36 and Acts 14:2 clearly juxtapose belief and disobedience (disbelief) [that the failure to obey the command to believe the gospel amounts to disobedience].

Acts 19:9 has a clear contrast as well. Luke writes,
“And he [Paul] went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God . But when some were hardened and did not believe [epeithoun], but spoke evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus (Acts 19:8-9, emphasis added).
Luke’s two contrasts are clearly evident (reasoning/hardened and persuading/disbelieving). If one will not respond to reasoning, he is hardened. If one will not be persuaded, he is disbelieving (disobedient to the message of eternal life).

Thus we see, with no shadow of doubt, that Daniel’s argument and illegeitamate importing into the text, is gimmicks and tricks, and is most defintitely not dividing the word of truth.

This is the common error I see in Daniel. He lumps together many doctrines that we find in the Scriptures, puts them in a blender, and hits puree. He then presents this mess as his position in soteriology (the doctrine of salvation). He is not careful to distinguish important matters in the Bible, but seeks to include the Christian alone’s concerns to unbelievers. We must be careful with the Bible. Just because we are admonished to preach holiness, repentance, submission, and obedience to Christ in the Bible does not mean that these are expressions of conditions for eternal life! Where do you stop? The Old Testament has 613 ordinances, the New Testament requires about twice that number, in grace principles, to the Christian.

Clearly Daniel’s argument that faith = obedience because disobedience is the failure to obey the command of the gospel to believe is shattered. Only one with such strong theological presuppositions can fall into this kind of blatant error. Daniel’s argument is unfounded, logically found wanting, and desperate.

Michael Horton, no small Reformed writer sees the implications of this “kitchen sink” approach (the illegitamate importation of foreign implications into the semantical value of the word “faith” and “believe.

Although Michael Horton is no friend to Free Grace theology, as he is in the Lordship Salvation ‘camp’, he does make some interesting comments about John MacArthur:

“MacArthur adds W. E. Vine's definition of faith as including even "conduct inspired by such surrender" (173-74) [The Gospel According to Jesus]. If we are justified by faith and if faith is surrender, obedience, and conduct inspired by such surrender, then we are justified by works. The logic seems unavoidable:

We are justified by faith alone.

Faith is surrender, obedience, and conduct inspired by such surrender.

Therefore, we are justified by surrender, obedience, and conduct inspired by such obedience” (Michael Horton, Christ the Lord, pg 44).

Michael Horton is using the same syllogism that I use in order to show that the “kitchen sink” approach to linguistics that the Lordship Salvationist uses with reference to their blatant importation of “obedience” and the like into the semantical value of “faith” is nothing but justification by works!

You write:
That is why when I read how Paul describes the gospel that he preached in Acts 20:21 ("testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ") I do not imagine for one moment that Paul was "adding repentance" to the gospel - or inventing some new "two step" gospel, whereby repentance comes before faith - as though the idea of obedience was foreign to the concept of "faith."
Daniel, any casual reader of this proof-text from Acts 20:21 would know that there are two separate things going on here: repentance and faith. This is not the same action. And the actions both have different objects.

The burden of proof is on you to show that this verse equates repentance with faith, and that this verse is Paul’s proclamation of the his simple gospel message.

Lets look at this verse in its context:

Acts 20:17-22
From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church. 18 And when they had come to him, he said to them: "You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you, 19 serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews; 20 how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, 21 testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

Knowing that he may not see the Ephesian elders again, Paul was encouraging them, stating that he had performed his ministry to the fullest with regards to them and provided them all the teaching that they needed (Paul “kept back nothing that was helpful”). Paul taught them publicly and from house to house. Paul ministered for some time in Ephesus. Paul’s teaching during this time can be summarized as teaching repentance and faith. These are the hallmark teachings of the Christian life.

Paul did not keep anything back in his preaching that was helpful! He proclaimed God's whole counsel. Repentance toward God and faith in Christ are to be regarded as the essense of all his preaching for their benefit. To say that because Paul preached repentance toward God in this context means that Paul preached repentance as a necessary requirement for salvation is to import that meaning into the text.

Paul, in his apostolic defense of the gospel, the book of Galatians, fails to mention jot nor tittle of repent, repentance or any of its cognates within the letter’s confines. Throughout his letter he regards faith alone the sole conduit bringing justification to the believer. It is telling that Paul pronounces an anathema on anyone preaching any other gospel than the one that he delivered, then goes on to expound and defend that gospel, and utterly fails to mention even once the doctrine of repentance.

You write:
I rather believe that Paul is articulating clearly (for the benefit of people who need it spelled out to them...) what genuine faith looks like - it is submissive - mixed if you will or at least inseparable from "repentance."
Again, you fail to show this. Your proof-texting and lack of exposition is quite revealing.
The stuff you write following this is just your man-made opinion, lacking any exegetical or expositional support. It is your mere contention based upon your fine art of presenting the text of scripture ripped out of its context. Your logic and arguments do not follow once the whole passage is shown.

You write:
Can a child have "faith" in his or her parent's "parenting" if that faith fails to includes submission to the parent's authority? Of course not. If the child rejects the authority of the parent, it demonstrates that contrary to whatever their mouth may profess - they in fact do not have "faith" in their parents ability to parent.
That a person believes anything does not necessarily result any any action. I believe that diet and exercise can save me from the deadly consequences of heart disease. I have read some pretty intense, disturbing, and persuasive commentary on the results of bad diet and lack of exercise. Does this mean that I will necessarily eat right and exercise? How many of you believe the same thing and fail to exercise and diet?

This is what James calls a “dead” faith. It is faith that does not have actions. It is a faith that is not profiting as it should be.But it is faith none-the-less. James’ concern is pastoral for those whom he has already deemed born again (James 1:18). He is encouraging them to vitalize their faith by adding works. Adding works to your faith has much benefit, for obeying the Word of God has life-saving benefits (James 1:21).

James is not talking about a faith that is spurious or less than saving. James is saying that faith without works is dead, like a bicycle without a rider doesn’t travel, or a car without gas is useless. Faith without works is still faith as a bicycle without a rider is still a bike and a car without gas is still a car. Remember, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” Faith without works is non-vital. The spirit in the body is the animating factor of the body, like gas is the animating factor in a car and the rider is the animating factor of the bicycle, so works vitalize and energize our faith.

Doing works by your faith makes you excited in the area that your faith is attached to. Christians believe that evangelism is important and the only way by which the unsaved can come to faith and receive eternal life. But when was the last time you preached the gospel to someone? But, when you get off your duff and actually go out and share your faith, you feel how those works energize your faith! This is exactly what James is talking about!

Peter tells us that we need to “giv[e] all diligence” in the area of “add[ing] to [our] faith” the Christian virtue and works (2 Peter 1:5-7). For when works are added to faith the Christian “will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:8) But the Christian who fails to add works to their faith “is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins” (2 Peter 1:9).

Daniel, you talk about Christ being a King. Yes He is a King, and yes He has a kingdom. But you insist on putting the cart before the horse!

You write:
My bowing before the king cannot be separated from my trusting the king to save me. He is -The- King and any trust I place in Him that avoids His crown is by definition illegitimate. I cannot trust the King, and at the same time reject the Crown. The King is the King, and I must accept Him as the King or my trust is not placed in Him… If a King declares that He will save all who come to Him - that is, all who come and partake of His Kingdom, only those who are "in the kingdom" (that is, those who have bent their knee in fealty) can expect to be saved by Him.
Your logic, although in its presentation sounds godly and sincere, is tragically faulty. How does one become a part of a kingdom? He must first be BORN into that kingdom. How is one born into the kingdom of God? Jesus says by faith in Him to save you. Once you are born into God’s kingdom THEN you become subject to the King.

You have things completely backward. You see, a meek and humble Savior implores men and women to receive, absolutely free, His perfect salvation. All that He asks is to trust in Him alone for the gift He offers to everyone, regardless of who it is.

Once the one simply drinks of the water that the Savior offers by faith, he is then born into the kingdom, transferred into the kingdom. It is then that they become the King’s subjects.

At the moment of faith in Jesus for eternal life, the believer becomes a child of God. He is thus ushered into a new relationship with God. This relationship as to its essence is familial. In this relationship, God is the perfect Father. He nudges, directs, leads, chastens, scourges, teaches, encourages, etc.: all the attributes of a perfect Dad.

In relation to the King, the newly regenerate one is subject to the dictates of the kingdom, and when those are spurned, he is liable. The Bible is full of the Christian’s accountable nature to God. It was free to get in the kingdom, but now that one is in, he is required to fulfill his reponsibilities as a servant to the King. When these requirements are not met, the Christian may be met with the exacting chastening of the Father.

You write:
Those who imagine they are children of the Kingdom because they one day decided to "trust that the King will save them" may have entered the fold - but they are by no means a part of the flock - they have come into the fold some other way and not through "the Door."
Does this phrase strike anyone else as being completely heretical? Jesus Himself says that “Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life” (John 6:47). Paul says “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved (Acts 16:31). The list could go on and on. Imagine that, Jesus promises and guarantees that the one who believes in Him has eternal life, but in reality, the one that trusts in Him for that gift “are by no means a part of the flock”. There is still something missing, for Daniel. What is it? It is obedience. You cannot go through the door unless you work your way through it.

What presumption! What pontification!

The “door” for Daniel is nothing else but works, cleverly disguised and imported into the meaning of “faith”.

You write:
Such as these may put all the trust they want in the king, but that trust is impotent not being founded on the person of the King, but rather on the fact that the King saves people. Truly, a subtle, but horrible mistake to make.
Sir, this is nothing but a straw man. The trust that Jesus entreats (and Free Grace advocates propose) is faith in Him alone in the content of His promise to guarantee eternal life and resurrection to the one who merely believes in Him for it:

"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26).

This is it. Christ guarantees eternal life and resurrection to the mere believer in Him for it. Does Daniel believe this, that this is enough? I am less than certain that Daniel has supported the notion that he believes Jesus here in His statement. Jesus does not add repentance, surrender, submission, obedience, or any of Daniel’s “pet” soteriological terms. Christ entreats us to be certain, assured, and persuaded that He has given us eternal life. But Daniel would have us base our knowledge of eternal life on our commitment to Christ, our obedience to His commands, and our turning from sin. I do not only contend that Daniel bases his assurance on such, but has, in reality, required such for entrance into the kingdom, for the recepetion of eternal life by his insistence that you cannot believe in Jesus unless you obey Him.

You write:
This false faith is the faith that "free grace" (easy believism) strikes me as embracing. Some, not content to simply embrace this false hope, go about promoting it with a hellish zeal - such cause me to shudder.
It is your theology that should cause you to shudder, for you abrogate the grace of God by your insistence that kingdom entrance is conditioned on obedience/works.

This reminds me of Christ’s words:

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in” (Matt 23:13)

In the following, I am going to insert my sentiments into your very own words to turn them around on you: (my words in italics)
With regards to Traditionalism, it should be obvious that at the very heart of the gospel itself, we disagree - since those in the Lordship Salvation camp take faith to mean much more than our own understanding of scripture would suggest it means. Surely, we cannot admire any theological house that might be built upon such faith, since from our vantage that house is already sinking in quicksand. That is, I can't really respect much of what a ”Lordship” person teaches knowing that this particular leaven, leavens the whole lump.
I agree that it is in the gospel that we disagree. You believe that becoming right and reconciled with God is on account of your obedience. I believe that eternal life is received by grace through faith. And in the same vein, I cannot respect much of what the Traditionalist teaches, knowing that his particular doctrine is one of works-rightousness/works-salvation.

I continue to insert my words into your sentiments:
My hope and prayer is that ”Lordship Salvation” is exposed as deficient and that those who have been deceived will begin to understand what faith really is, and recognized that the "faith" that they teach disqualifies them (in the estimation of those who oppose them) from the office of 'reputable' teacher. Scripture teaches us to stay ignorant of evil, which is why I do not spend much time studying heresy - except to expose it.


What I see in the position of the Reformed Traditionalist, is a hidden pride. They can not entertain thoughts that people who are not as holy as them can actually enter the kingdom of God. They would see such people as unworthy to enter the Kingdom. They scoff at the idea of the Savior requiring nothing of them in order to be lavished by His grace but the “hearing of faith” (Galatians 3:2). They decry the proposition that eternal life is received passively by mere faith in Jesus Christ apart from the actions of “bending the knee”, “surrender”, “commitment”, and “repentance”.

They reject the notion that eternal life is God’s absolutely free gift to the simple believer in Christ. They must be about adding their provisos, caveats, and strings to the beautiful and simple expressions of salvation that are given in the Bible, thus corrupting the very grace that is actually offered by Jesus.

Such betrays the state of self-righteousness and Pharasaicalism.

“Let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev 22:17).


Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Excellent response to a quite appalling post, Antonio.

God Bless


February 01, 2006 12:41 AM  
Anonymous bobby grow said...


I feel the vortex of the blogosphere sucking me in. I went over to Doulogos' site, and I had to respond to the flagrant historical inaccuracies/exegetical he was communicating.

His post is almost not worth a response, it's so sloppy--I'm trying to be loving here--but very frustrating to read such misrepresentations.

February 01, 2006 12:50 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Hi Antonio,
I am glad you did this post. I felt very badly after reading Daniel's post yesterday. I really don't understand all the talk of "heresy" that he was putting forth.

Did you read the post after that one? He explains his thoughts on repentance. It is more humble, but it is still POTS. No matter what material of their's that I read, I can't escape the idea that one can believe in Christ, receive eternal life, and retain the ability to be disobedient. (Not that I would promote that, or that I would want that for anyone. It would be very unprofitable for Christ's kingdom.)

I find the reformed theology very ODD. It confuses me.

Its teachers often sound so wise and biblically minded, but now and then, the way they redefine terms and all the subtle changes of meaning of beautiful, simple truths is very tragic. Taking it one step further by attacking you was something I found very hurtful by Daniel.

This is a good post and I follow your logic and your exegesis very easily. I am not asked to make any ODD twists or leaps when I read your explanation of the passage in ACTS.

As far as James goes, his statements are not all that simple. "Faith without works is dead." is a very unusual saying. It should cause us to scratch our heads a little. What does it mean? Now, that is the type of passage that requires some searching and explaining to make sense of it. I appreciate the way you have been doing that.

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved." That passage (and many others like it) does not require a lot of head scratching. ("hmmm... what does it mean?") The gospel is so obviously and wonderfully simple. Christians need to keep the simple simple. Thanks for doing that! Jesus Christ saves.

I really appreciate you, Antonio. I think you are a breath of fresh air in the Christian blogosphere. I am so glad you are here "beating your drum"! :~)

I also like many of the Reformed people that I read, while I don't always agree with them. I wish differing groups could be a little more tolerant of eachother. I guess it is just impossible.

Keep up the good work! God bless you.

February 01, 2006 5:10 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Hi Bobby Grow! I hope your hands/arms are doing OK. Thanks for what you contributed on Daniel's post about the history, etc... I was wondering about the accuracy of some of those statements.

February 01, 2006 5:12 AM  
Blogger Modern Day Magi said...

well done Antonio.
I did however notice a little of that knarky tone so often found in the 'reformed / inquisitors' blog responces to the theology of 'free Grace'.

I love chewing on the doctrinal steak you provide.

February 01, 2006 5:40 AM  
Blogger Daniel said...


My apologies for the mishandling of your name. My own last name, being dutch, begins with "van de" - at it is for this reason, and carelessness on my part, that I failed to cut and paste. It was not intentional, and I am sorry to have offended in that way.

I haven't read your whole article, but I must leave for work - so forgive me if I don't respond in a way that satisfies.

One thing Antonio - if I have given the impression that my interest in the gospel is an attack against you personally, forgive me. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If you love the Lord, and are convinced that your theology reflects the truths found in scripture - then surely you will want to straighten me out, and will use every tool in your box to do so. Permit others who share your zeal, but not your theology, to exercise this same love for you in trying to straighten you out.

I hope that your fans will only hate my "ignorance" and not me.

February 01, 2006 6:20 AM  
Blogger ambiance-five said...

Hey all and Antonio,
I certainly do understand your stance on this issue because I too have come from one like it.

How we are to "believe" in case is not the issue as I (now)see it. The issue is how the Lord stated that the Gospel was to be delivered to the nations.

Luk 24:47
(ASV) and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name unto all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

If we are not following that guideline then are we doing what the Lord asked?

I love you all and understand because the Lord has brought me so far and I too once held your very same stance.

I hope you can see what I am trying to say.

February 01, 2006 7:29 AM  
Blogger Jim said...


My eyes are still peeling from that scorching. I think you must have unloaded every 15 letter word in your arsenal.

Please remember if and when you end up on top that you don't turn around and treat the opposers as you were treated.

Bobby Grow,

When are you going to start a blog? You seem to have some very level headed things to day.


February 01, 2006 7:58 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

As one of Antonio's 'fans', I feel a little patronised that Daniel should find it necessary to tell us not to hate him personally.

Maybe he thinks us 'easy believers' can get away with a little hatred without meriting the Lord's most severe chastening.

February 01, 2006 8:06 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Ambiance, why are you under this impression that Free Grace people do not believe in preaching repentance?

If you believe in the sanctity of marriage, you no doubt believe it should be preached. That does not mean you believe that people receive eternal life through chasity and marital faithfulness.

We must preach repentance. If people do not repent they will perish, whether believers or unbelievers. However, it is by faith that we are saved unto eternal life, not by repentance.

Every Blessing in Christ


February 01, 2006 8:12 AM  
Blogger Nate said...


Awesome post man!!

Keep up the good work!



February 01, 2006 8:13 AM  
Blogger ambiance-five said...

[Dys}We must preach repentance. If people do not repent they will perish, whether believers or unbelievers. However, it is by faith that we are saved unto eternal life, not by repentance.

I see what you are saying...but it doesn't null the fact that the Lord laid guidelines for preaching the Gospel. If you are truly preaching a repentance and remission of sin then please forgive me. It just seems to me to sound like you can go sin all you want if you just believe and it will all be fine.

I know it is hard to break from such when that is all you have heard from a child..believe and you will be saved..but the Lord does break it when we come to understand it is not just about a belief without a true heart of wanting to obey.

I do hope to follow the Lord's guidelines. I hope you all do too.

nuff said..


February 01, 2006 9:07 AM  
Blogger Daniel said...

Okay, I am back.

First and foremost Antonio I applaud and thank you for taking me to task on this. I wish I had the time (not to mention the education ;-D)to respond to you in a way that would do justice to your careful and thoughtful effort.

I am sorry that I made my post personal - that is, whatever I had to say, I could have said without directing it at you - but rather than justify myself (which is what I am sorely inclined to do) I would rather thank God for having been rightly rebuked by your even handed response.

You have my earnest, honest apology for making you the "target" of my post (instead of targeting your theology) - I hope you find it in your heart to forgive me this breach, in hindsight I honestly regret having been so calloused - and while the sting of your response was perhaps the immediate catalyst, notwithstanding, regardless of your post, I would have come to regret my tone and how I addressed your person (rather than your theology.) It remains the desire of my heart to treat you with dignity and respect, and I am amiss in having failed to do so in my post on Free Grace.

If the Lord permits, I will address your portrayal of my position - my time is limited, and I must be careful where and how I spend it - and protecting my own honor doesn't rank very high on that list. ;-)

Grace and Peace,


February 01, 2006 10:39 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

'I see what you are saying...but it doesn't null the fact that the Lord laid guidelines for preaching the Gospel.'

Repentance is not the Gospel. If you believe it is, show us this. As I just said, we should preach the sanctity of marriage, but that does not make the sanctity of marriage part of the Gospel.

'It just seems to me to sound like you can go sin all you want if you just believe and it will all be fine.'

This is a little vague, Ambiance. What do you mean by 'fine'? If a man believes on Christ he has eternal life. Do you not believe this to be so?

Of course it is not fine to sin. If we live a life of pleasure after believing, the Lord will chasten us. If we continue in that course we will perish. At Christ's judgment seat we would be ashamed. We would loose any privilege in after the resurrection.

Is this fine? I do not think it is.

Nevertheless, our sins do not negate God's gift of eternal life in Christ. We are saved purely by grace.

Every Blessing in Christ


February 01, 2006 12:21 PM  
Anonymous bobby grow said...


I maintained a blog for about 8mos. a few of the bloggers here used to visit it, it was fun. It was primarily dedicated to providing a historical theological perspective with issues of exegesis, and dispensationalism thrown in.

I have sense developed tendonitis in both arms which has slowed me down.

Plus, this theological game gets a bit old, although important, after awhile--I've played it for quite awhile--and I'm kind've tired of discussing the mechanism for appropiating salvation--believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved--so Antonio's position.

I won't be starting a new blog, but thanks for the encouragment.

In Christ


February 01, 2006 1:07 PM  
Blogger Jim said...


I know how you feel, sometimes I wonder if we are merely arguing over endless geneologies, etc.

However, there is an aspect to the blogging that I appreciate; the fellowship of other believers.

My desire is to fellowship over the word, not simply dissect it for the sake of wining a theological wrestling match.

I think your comments will be much appreciated whenever you are able to contribute.

Amen, Jesus is Lord!

February 01, 2006 2:13 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Matthew, you are a genuinely handsome and enigmatic figure. Your avatar is awesome! Thank you for your encouragement!

Bobby Grow,

You are an extremely literate, articulate, and intelligent writer, with a great understnading of historical theology and theology itself. I am very encouraged and grateful for your participation. I am honored that you have participated in the discussion on my blog.

I pray for you, brother, that God will oversee and orchestrate your complete deliverance (salvation) from your ailments. I also lift you up in regards to your ministry: may it be far, wide, and effective to the glory of the Father.


Daniel's post on repentance is a string of pearls that turns out to be quite plastic and does not fit.

He does not understand Jesus' ministry with Israel prior to His rejection, he does not understand the dispensational distinctions of different sets of good news for different people, and from the very first quote "repent or likewise perish" (or however he put it) he doesn't understand that when that verse is taken in context, it was given to the Jews as a warning to repent of face physical death. The parable that follows Jesus' command to repent talks about Israel/Jeruslam being a tree that is bearing no fruit that is liable to be cut down, unless it repents. That they do not repent and perish is widely known in the fact of the destruction of Jerusalem in 68-70 A.D. with (am I right on this Bobby) 1 million deaths and the total anhialialation of the temple.

It took me several hours to pen my reply to him, and I am still not completely satisfied with it.

I have given thought to posting a reply to his new post, but I may just take it peice meal and make articles on his points in the future.

I had to wake up this morning at 3 am and didn't finish that post until 11pm and when I finally got in bed, all I could think about was addressing his post on repentance and the errors that he gets himself into very widely.


February 01, 2006 7:29 PM  
Anonymous bobby grow said...

I believe you're right, Antonio, on the destruction/dispersion of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Thnx for your prayers!

BTW, hi Rose! My arms still aren't totally better, so I need to take it easy on blogging.

Daniel's understanding on repentence is so contrived it's hard to understand how thoughtful people can affirm his position. He equivocates faith and repentence, failing to capture the beautiful nuances Holy Writ gives these concepts.

He also seems very disengenious, as he doesn't seem to engage my comments on his site.

Anyway, keep up the good work, Antonio. This is probably the extent of my blogging for awhile--I'll keep reading though.

In Christ


February 01, 2006 9:24 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...


I love you. I pray that all goes well with the birth of your child. You are welcome in this forum anytime. I love your avatar too, you are one handsome man!


February 01, 2006 9:30 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Modern day magi,

Please know that it means alot to me that you take the time to venture over here to de udder side.

I appreciate your encouragement.

Ambience Five,

My latest post addresses your concern about repentance in Luke 24.


you and I are becoming good friends. thanks for your call the other night, I enjoyed immensely our hour plus long conversation.


You are full of the Spirit!


February 01, 2006 9:33 PM  
Blogger H K Flynn said...

Excellent Post, Mr. da Rosa!

Thank you for thoroughly slogging through and responding to bluster with Bible!!!

Great to hear from you, Bobby, though I haven't read the comments section of Daniel's post, I did glance at yours. Looked like some excellent clarification. Hope you comment a bit once in a while :)

And Antonio, I'm glad you and Daniel are on brotherly terms again.



February 03, 2006 8:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too am a free grace salvationist. I believe we are saved by faith alone in Christ Alone. No works no good intentions. Even the Lord said "It is finished." Lordship Salvationists are a dangerous group who have been totally deceived just as Eve was in the garden of Eden. "You Shall be like God." Said the devil and Eve believed. The serpents rantings are no different today for now he says "if you want to go to heaven you MUST be like God." Anyone who honestly believes that a single iota of committment, surrender, and obedience is necessary for their salvation might as well go check in to hell for that is where they are going. Not even realizing that they are trying to steal the glory of Jesus for themselves. It was Christ who paid for our sins not us. Let us honor the one who truly deserves the glory. Humble yourselves before God. And anyone who thinks he/she obeys God must open their minds and realize that they obey God to their satisfaction and not to a Thrice Holy God's satisfaction. I know God is perfect and will not fellowship with imperfect creatures. How many sins did it take Adam and Eve (who were created perfect) to commit before they were cast out of the garden of eden? I hope you can understand now how many sins it takes for a man or woman to go to hell...just one and by the way without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sins. So all you lordship salvationist pray to see the truth. I will also pray for you because your minds are blinded. You are nothing more than a bunch of condemned self-righteous and judgemental fools who honestly believes he goes to Christ to offer something. Free gracers go to Christ to recieve the gift of eternal life. Acknowledging to God that we are utterly helpless and trust in His perfect Son who was sacrificed on our (believers) behalf."The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing." I believe that Christ died for my sins on the cross and rose again. Man can do nothing more than just believe. Any man or woman who tries another way in will never get through. We are shut up to THE gospel (1 Cor 15:1-4) and not a gospel. For it please God through the message to save those who would believe (note it doesn't say do-gooders it says believers) Every false religion will have mankind trying to make his way into heaven. True biblical Christianity says that Christ got us (believers) into heaven...with His own Blood. False religion is a religion of "Do" True Christianity is a religion of "Done"


April 18, 2006 2:20 AM  

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