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)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

When asked to put up, they back down

NOTE: THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED AND MODIFIED as of 6:20 PM Pacific Standard Time, August 22.

All the Duluthian antagonists have declined to publicly debate this important gospel related issue. What does this mean, and what does it say about their position? We will flesh this out a bit further down.

Lou Martuneac said he wouldn’t host a debate at his church at all. He even went so far as to say that he might leave a church that held a debate. He says, “If the pastor of my church were to announce such an event for my church, I would meet with him and the deacons and strongly object to it. If they went ahead, I would not attend and would likely be looking for a new church.

Lou Martuneac furthermore stated this argument:
Why would any pastor want to host a preacher in his own church knowing that his flock is going to be exposed to what he (the host pastor) believes is false teaching?

This is why I would never agree to host a debate/open forum on the interpretation of the Gospel being debated in recent months.

I don’t think it is wise to subject a congregation made up of believers at various levels of spiritual and doctrinal growth to what you may be convinced is false teaching.


Jeff read Lou’s remarks and stated, “"If… you truly feel that it is your obligation to think for your flock, then I would agree that declining an invitation for open debate is the way to go." (emphasis his)

Jeff expressed my sentiments exactly.

If Lou Martuneac, Greg Schliesmann, Tom Stegall, and Dennis Rokser's positions are true, then this will come out in a debate. Their arguments will be more persuasive, compelling, and biblically accurate. Furthermore, Dennis has taught this church for many years and inculcated his doctrines into it. He additionally could teach afterwards, critiquing from his own pulpit what had been said by his opponents.

Lou must think his position is not so persuasive. Why else would one seek to shrink away from a moderated, equitable, fair and balanced debate?

If the debate was only Bob speaking at Duluth or any other 'majority' FG church, I can see Lou's concern. But since the debate would be two sided, and his side would have the opportunity to champion their position and declare its stronger biblical evidence and support, his point is completely canceled.

Aren't people able to weigh and consider two points of view presented at the same time and make determinations for themselves without Lou's 'babysitting' concerns? Or do they need Lou's superior wisdom to dictate to them the truth?

Lou's objections are but a poor attempt to find justification for the declining of an invitation to an equitable and moderated debate.

Furthermore, let me express this. The debate does not have to be at Duluth. The reason Bob probably proposed that one should be at Duluth in the first place, as well as his national conference, was so that Dennis wouldn’t feel as if it would only be on Bob Wilkin’s turf. Bob surely wanted to propose a fair debate, in that, one of them would be on Dennis Rokser’s home field, where he could have the advantage.

If Pastor Rokser has the same concerns as Lou, why don’t we just hold two sessions of debates at the GES conference? Since GES conference goers will be hearing Bob Wilkin's position through much of the convention, why not have Dennis come and give the other side? Surely he may be able to persuade some with the truth who have not yet made up their mind! Surely he could show himself as bold in person in the same way as he is making his objections to Free Grace Theology in writing. If it is a case that he doesn’t want his flock to come into contact with GES theology, let him then commit to a debate at the Grace Evangelical Society national conference.

As a quick note, some think that a debate would not be profitable, but should continue in writing (as if both could not occur?). Glenn W. stated this, “Because when writing a paper a person can usually reign in their emotions and advance important points without those emotions clouding the issue.” But he notes how emotional the writings on the web are getting in the same comment! He said, “The emotions I am seeing on the web make me believe that nothing positive is going to be accomplished on the web.” I don’t know how Glenn can say that writing keeps people from emotionalism. He mentions that it should be writing without comments, such as in a journal. But did that keep Tom Stegall from using the emotionally charged and pejorative “crossless” designation THIRTY ONE (31) TIMES in the span of only EIGHT (8) pages?

Public, moderated, equitable, and fair debates have much to offer. It presents what people actually believe, rather than caricatures from the other side. It keeps people accountable for what they have said. It gives the opportunity to present issues side by side for consideration. Public debates can be used the same way as testimony in a courtroom. There is time for statements, questions, cross-examinations, rebuttals, and so forth. By this medium, men get at the truth; issues become condensed and the distinctions become clearer. Glenn talks about emotion as if debates encourage them. Passion is a good trait for debates, but when one becomes emotional, that is when he loses! Good debates spurn emotionalism! I have listened to at least 4 debates that Bob Wilkin did. He did so with Christian character and gentlemanly conduct.

From what I read, the Duluthian antagonists have much to hold the Grace Evangelical Society accountable for. Why would they not want to take advantage of an opportunity to do so at one of their conferences? They would have a platform to warn unsuspecting GES conference goers of the dangers of its theology. They would have ample opportunity to make a case and persuade those who may be sitting on the fence, or who haven’t thought about these issues yet.

To me it is duplicity. Dennis Rokser, Tom Stegall, Lou Martuneac, and Greg Schliesmann want to scold and reprimand the Grace Evnagelical Society in public but only in written form. When the opportunity comes to discuss these things in a personal and public forum, the boldness shrinks away. Why can’t they do both? Who said that they have to do only one so as to leave the other undone?

They should be happy to come to the GES convention and shut the mouths of the Free Grace heretics, showing them the error of their ways with their more persuasive and biblical arguments.

But indeed, such an unwillingness to debate where real consequences can be at stake, manifests itself in the way that these outspoken antagonists are shrinking back into recreant discomposure. They are scared to death to debate.

So they will continue to publish their bitter rants and tirades, in the safety and solace of the written page; leaving us all wondering how we are to take such men seriously when they feel no moral compunction to stand their ground and defend their attacks against those whom they shame.

In the 80s during the Lordship controversy between MacArthur and Hodges, at least 3 formal debates were in the works. John MacArthur backed out of them all. He later stated that he would rather have a "private" debate, like the one Dennis proposed. But even when the time for this came, John backed out.

What does this say about MacArthur? The first impression it leaves in the mouth is that he ran scared from debating the scholarly Zane Hodges. Isn't it easier to attack straw men than the real thing? You may continue in caricatures in writing, but in the public forum of an equitable, fair, and moderated debate, you do not have the luxury of doing so.

There is a strong and compelling correspondence between the Duluthian antagonists and John MacArthur. When asked to put up, they back down.

56 Comments:

Blogger Antonio said...

Danny, please contact me in an email about this. I don't want the thread to digress into this discussion. Your points are taken, and I will make an appopriate change. Thanks.

I will email you.

Antonio

August 22, 2007 5:44 PM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

August 22, 2007 5:49 PM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

I find the title to this article ironic. “When Asked to Put Up, They back Down.

Hodges, Wilkin, Myer and da Rosa have been asked to answer this question:

Can a lost man be born again while
consciously denying the Deity of Jesus Christ if he believes in Jesus for eternal life?


Antonio posted a non-answer a few days ago at my site. He does not even have to appear in public, just in writing say whether or not a lost man can be born again while consciously denying the Deity of Christ.

Why can’t Antonio and the other men who hold to the Hodges view of the Gospel address this vital question? Why does Antonio “back down” from answering this important question?

IMO, the Deity of Christ is a MUCH greater concern to everyone from both sides of the debate than declining an invitation to debate in public settings; don’t you think?

Why is this major doctrinal issue, a bed rock foundation and cornerstone of our faith, being avoided?


LM

August 22, 2007 6:05 PM  
Anonymous danny said...

Hi Lou. Antonio is going to make changes to the article based on my feedback. As to the issue of the Gospel, I do agree with Antonio that a person can be saved without understanding the Death/Resurrection, but let me say, this is an abnormal occurrence. And even Zane makes it clear in How to Lead People to Christ Part 1 that people rarely come to faith in Christ without understanding the Cross. In fact, Zane does a great job of connecting the Cross to eternal life by faith in that same article. I know you've read it, but this part shows how he clear he is on the Cross:

(being quote) 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).

The preaching of the cross greatly facilitates the process of bringing men to faith in God’s Son.

V. Dealing with Souls

This brings us to the bedrock issue of leading people to Christ. After all, that’s the title of this article and I mean by it just what the title says. We need to lead men to Christ! Winning souls is a matter of leading people to a Person to whom they may safely entrust their eternal destiny. We are not leading them to a message, but to Jesus Christ as the object of their faith.

But more often than not, we have difficulty leading them to Christ, unless we lead them through the full gospel message. The gospel message is normally the avenue through which men and women come to understand why they can trust completely in the Savior. 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.

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.

So I find it not only useful, but indeed essential, to explain that the Lord Jesus Christ bought our way to heaven by paying for all our sins. In recent years I have liked to emphasize that He paid for all the sins we would ever commit from the day of our birth to the day of our death. This serves to stress the completeness of the payment He made. It is usually only in the light of so perfect a payment that people can come to see the reasonableness of a salvation that is absolutely free.

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.

One of my favorite illustrations goes like this: If a friend bought you a Rolls Royce and paid for it in full and offered it to you as a free gift, wouldn’t he be hurt, or even insulted, if you insisted on paying for it yourself? In the same way, if we try to do or pay something to go to heaven, even though Jesus paid it all, aren’t we insulting His great sacrifice and treating it as if it were not enough?

Most unsaved people can understand that point, even if they don’t believe its true. The Savior’s work on the cross thus becomes a powerful argument that He should be trusted for eternal life.

And apart from the cross, for most modern Americans, the offer of salvation by faith alone in Christ alone, just doesn’t compute. Even after hearing it, it still may not compute. But by offering the truth of the gospel to people, we give the Holy Spirit something to work with in their hearts. And in the final analysis, it is only the Spirit of God who can sweep away the blindness of the human heart so that the glorious light of the gospel of Christ may shine into unsaved hearts.

Nevertheless, let it never be forgotten: If anyone has faith in Jesus as the One who secures his or her eternal destiny, that person is born of God. Jesus has never yet failed anyone who trusted in His name for eternal salvation. And He never will. (end quote)

August 22, 2007 6:10 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Lou,

You ask:

"Why is this major doctrinal issue, a bed rock foundation and cornerstone of our faith, being avoided?"

This is ridiculous. I am on record in many places.

Why not take this issue up in an equitable, fair, and moderated public debate with Bob Wilkin?

August 22, 2007 6:25 PM  
Anonymous danny said...

Lou, I'll answer the question. Since you're thinking of a hypothetical man who is not simply ignorant of the Deity of Christ, but rather consciously denying it, I would say that he will probably reject the idea that Jesus gives eternal life as well. But I'm not dogmatic about this. If this person who is consciously denying the Deity of Christ is actually believing Jesus' promise of eternal life, he is saved, but again, this must be a rare occurrence, if it even occurs at all.

And even if I consider such a person saved, if they persist in denying His Deity, then I would break fellowship with them. I'm sure Antonio and Zane would not fellowship with such people either. As you know, Antonio and Zane both herald the Cross. This whole issue is over a hypothetical situation. But Antonio is right that the bottom line is believing Jesus' promise of eternal life. We present the Cross to make it clear how Jesus can offer eternal security. Lou, if you quote any of these statements of mine, please quote them in their entirety.

August 22, 2007 6:26 PM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Antonion:

Why do you "back down" from answering this question?

Can a lost man be born again while consciously denying the Deity of Jesus Christ if he believes in Jesus for eternal life?

Why is it you can't give a straight up answer to a very plain, simple question on this vital doctrine?

Why don't you go "on record" with an answer to this question?


LM

August 22, 2007 7:17 PM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Danny:

Thanks for addressing the question in a frank, forthright manner.

It appears to be a fruitless endeavor to get Antonio or any of the other GES folks who frequent his site to deal with this question.

I am going to post your comments at my site under the article where the question appears. I will, of course, quote your comment in its entirety.

Go to: The Deity of Christ: A Defining Question to the GES

If you'd like to follow-up, visit me there.


LM

August 22, 2007 7:28 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Lou

'Can a lost man be born again while
consciously denying the Deity of Jesus Christ if he believes in Jesus for eternal life?'

Yes.

The fact that he denies the deity of Christ may present an obstacle to him believing in Christ, However. Any wrong teaching can present an obstacle to a person trusting in Christ for eternal life.

If I asked you:

Can a lost man who believes in evolution be born again, while trusting in Jesus for eternal life?

I expect you would say yes.

But I am sure you, as I did above would qualify this by saying that evolution may be an obstacle to him believing.

It is possible that the Holy Spirit may need to remove his belief in evolution before he can believe. On the other hand, it is possible that he might be born again while still believing in evolution and later come to reject that idea.

With God all things are possible.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

August 23, 2007 1:04 AM  
Blogger Kyle Kaumeyer said...

Bob Wilkin has posted a response on the GES website, www.faithalone.org regarding Rokser's refusal to debate him. There is also an opportunity to respond on the GES blog at the bottom of the page where the response is posted.

August 23, 2007 8:10 AM  
Anonymous GlennW said...

Good Morning Antonio,

I see you read my comment from the previous post. I can honestly say that I did not expect you to agree with it but I felt it was worth saying anyway. I agree that the writing on the web has been emotional and the medium has not been much of a restraint. My belief is that the faster a response can be generated the less time there is to cool down and carefully consider one's words. The internet is a much faster way to respond to an opponent than the old fashioned paper journal and it is more prone to rashness. Likewise, a face to face meeting is even more immediate and prone to rashness. Do I expect the participants in a face to face debate to get into a fist fight? No. Never the less, a face to face debate can be brutal while the participants smile in front of an audience.

I also understand your point regarding Tom Steagall using the term "Crossless Gospel" thirty-one times in eight pages. As soon as that paper was posted you coined the term "Checklist Gospel" and used it as many times as possible. Okay, I get the point. If Tom is going to use a phrase designed to get your goat then two can play at that game. I don't believe that it will be any different in a public debate. One debater may very well get up and use the phrase "Crossless Gospel" thirty-one times and the other debater will then use the phrase "Checklist Gospel" thirty-two times all the while smiling at each other. Once the debate is over they will shake hands, walk off the dais, and never speak to each other again. The members of the audience will all go home thinking "their guy" won.

I know that you will continue to promote a debate because you believe that it will bring resolution to many of these issues. I do not have as much trust in the debate format but I will be very happy to be proven wrong.

Now I want to go out of my way to point something out to you. You know that we disagree on many of these issues and I will occasionally post comments on your blogs. I have avoided using terms that I know offend you such as the "Crossless Gospel." Also I never use loaded terms such as "extreme" or "fringe" when speaking of your (or anyone else's) positions on issues since I consider these to be terms used by politicians to tar opponents without actually having to offer up any information themselves. I know I irritate you and, from time to time, about everyone else who posts on these blogs. While I think some of that is unavoidable I do try and be respectful (while not always succeeding). If you feel I cross the line you have my e-mail address.

Glenn W.

August 23, 2007 8:57 AM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Matthew:

The deity of Christ is based on the clear teaching of Scripture. That being established, we then turn to what the Bible says about denying His deity.

1 John 2:22-23
"Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also."

In light of what the Bible says about the deity of Christ, and the consequences of denying this truth; there is NO biblical justification for teaching a lost man can be born again while consciously denying the deity of Christ if he believes in Jesus for eternal life?


LM

August 23, 2007 11:22 AM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Question to Antonio:

Does Bob Wilkin know you are trying to encourage and arrange a debate/open forum for him?

Do you have his permission and blessing to be speaking on his behalf?


LM

August 23, 2007 11:53 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Glenn,

Have you ever heard a debate? They are very helpful and informative. And I ask you, why would you suppose that one needs to be done to the exclusion of the other? Why not it be both/and rather than either/or?

Pastor Dennis Rokser of Duluth (MN) Bible Church has charged GES and some of its writers, including me, with preaching a “gutted gospel,” a “crossless gospel,” and even a false gospel saying, “So while some may not like the route of public exposure in addressing this ‘different gospel which is not another’ [Gal 1:6-7],’ should not the public teaching of the crossless and gutted gospel require a public response if personal interaction is rejected?” (Grace Family Journal, “Two Clarifications,” Summer 2007).

Personal interaction has been anything but rejected, and Bob has suggested a public interaction forum which has been declined.

Glenn, did you read my comments concerning the benefits of a debate. What are you worried about? Are not Dennis and Bob mature Christians? Your reasons for declining of a debate are far less than substantive or pesuading.

The benefits of a public, equitable, fair, and moderated debate far outweigh any mere possible concerns you have.

Such a declining of a public interaction by someone who has charged GES with heresy says something about the character of the one making the charge.

Antonio

August 23, 2007 4:56 PM  
Anonymous alvin said...

Saul of Tarsus was activly denying Jesus deity and everything else about Jesus but yet he was born again. Nothing is impossible with God! It took a sign to bring him to see. The Gospel of John gives eight signs, and any one of them is enough to bring persuasion...alvin

August 23, 2007 6:19 PM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Alvin:

Appreciate your reply. I assume you are referring to my question on the deity of Christ.

I have not taken the time to look at this closely, but from memory I am quite certain the Bible makes no reference to Paul consciously denying the deity of Christ at the moment of conversion on the road to Damascus.

My question has to do with that moment when a man is being witnessed to, and he is contemplating the claims of the Gospel as Hodges views it. (Believe Jesus is the Giver of eternal life and you will receive eternal life.)

You (Alvin) are witnessing to a lost man, and he flat out says he denies the deity of Jesus Christ.

He consciously rejects the idea of Jesus being God, equal with the Father.

Can that lost man be born again while consciously denying the Deity of Jesus Christ if he believes in Jesus for eternal life?

That is the narrow scope of my question.

I'd appreciate your addressing that scenario exacty. Two men (Danny & Matthew) have answered this question, Antonio is dodging it.


LM

August 23, 2007 6:52 PM  
Anonymous danny said...

Hi Lou. I posted this comment at your website under the Deity of Christ thread. If you have time, can you answer my question both here and at your website?

Lou, now let me ask you a question. What if a person believes that Jesus is the Son of God, but are either unaware or flat-out deny that He is co-equal with the Father? John 20:31 doesn't make it clear that Jesus is co-equal with the Father. Does that mean believing John 20:31 is insufficient for eternal life?

Exactly how many facets of Jesus' Divinity must a person understand before they can savingly believe that they are eternally secure through Him?

August 23, 2007 8:58 PM  
Anonymous alvin said...

Hi Lou,

I’m fleshing this out with a man at work. He is a Sunday school superintendent for the Mormon Church. I have taken him through most of the Gospel of John. I’ve presented Jesus free gift of eternal life. I’ve explained that Jesus guarantees his eternal destiny simply by believing Jesus promise. He says he believes that it’s true. He believes John 6:47. I haven’t had the opportunity yet to get into the Diety of Christ. He is still dedicated to his church. You tell me if he is born again? I believe Jesus promise to anyone! alvin

August 23, 2007 9:16 PM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Danny:

This site’s administer is not willing to answer the question. IMO, therefore, this site is not conducive for a discussion of the doctrinal question I posed.

I just posted a comment to you at my blog.


LM

August 23, 2007 10:27 PM  
Anonymous bobby grow said...

Alvin,

I read the scenario . . . HE'S NOT SAVED!!! If He still holds that Jesus is the spirit brother of Lucifer, then He has a heretical view of Jesus, and cannot be saved under such a paradigm.

You guys amaze me. You cannot end up with the "what" of the gospel, w/o the "who" of the gospel--Jesus who is God . . . this is just silly talk.

August 24, 2007 11:24 AM  
Anonymous alvin said...

You asked! Can THAT lost man be born again, while consciously he has denied the deity of Christ, if he believes in Jesus for eternal life? My answer is YES!
Lou you make believing in Jesus sound like it is a decision one makes. I believe the decision that one makes is having ears to hear. The Holy Spirit works in a persons life through persuasion by the Word, if they are open to the light, the Holy Spirit gives them more light. But I believe that believing is illumination (2 Cor 4:3-6). If a person has been given illumination to the fact that Jesus is The Christ the One who guarantees eternal life, then they are born of God no matter what other wrong doctrine they believe. Once they believe something is true they cant not believe it, unless persuaded different, but of course one drink and they will never thirst again. Saul was given illumination to Jesus as The Christ, even though he WAS consciously denying Jesus as a fraud. I notice in your question "while consciously he HAS denied the deity of Christ," from GES Blog end quote. We have every reason to believe that once he is born again that the Holy Spirit will lead him to believe other propositions.
Yes! Jesus keeps His promise (John 6:47),,,alvin

August 24, 2007 6:59 PM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

August 24, 2007 8:26 PM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Alvin:

You misquoted me by attributing this to me, "while consciously he HAS denied the deity of Christ"

Please go back up the thread, copy my question exactly as I wrote it.

For others, here is the question I have posted to Antonio, Jeremy Myers and Bob Wilkin. It, however, is open to all who wish to give answer.

Can a lost man be born again while consciously denying the Deity of Jesus Christ if he believes in Jesus for eternal life?

The time frame I am targeting is at the moment of conversion, not before or well after.

Thanks,


LM

August 24, 2007 8:34 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

August 25, 2007 12:57 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

August 25, 2007 1:04 AM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Greg:

I have noted elsewhere the reason I believe Antonio feels men who reject his, Hodges, Wilkin, the GES interpretation of the Gospel are "attacking Free Grace."

They believe their interpretation of the Gospel is, our should be, the "official position" of all men who identify themselves with the Free Grace community.

Therefore, in Antonio's mind, to reject what Hodges, Wilkin and the GES teaches is to reject and "attack Free Grace".


LM

August 25, 2007 8:22 AM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Antonio/Alvin:

My question has to do with a lost man who consciously rejects and denies that Jesus is God. The question has solely to do with a lost man who has made a conscious decision to deny that Jesus is God. He has rejected Christ’s deity, he has that opinion, and made it known while he is hearing a Gospel presentation, and he is firm in that rejection of Christ’s deity.

This question I have framed has nothing to do with what may be taught or learned following conversion. To what ever degree he will be taught or learns or about the deity of Christ following a genuine conversion is irrelevant.

With that established, if you were witnessing to a lost person, and this individual told you that he does not believe Jesus is or ever could have been God; in your opinion, if he also says he is, “believing in Him (Jesus) for eternal life as He promised,” was that man genuinely born again?

To clarify further, a lost man has, “one focus, and one focus only.... believing in Him for eternal life as He promised..” He has, however, made known to you that he rejects any idea that Jesus is God. In spite of his conscience rejection of Christ’s deity, was he born again by, believing in Him (Jesus) for eternal life?”


LM

August 25, 2007 8:23 AM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

August 25, 2007 8:43 AM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

August 25, 2007 8:55 AM  
Anonymous alvin said...

Lou if what you believe is true it should be true in all cases, so lets say the person is a child.
In my scenario the child has been told by his Mormon parents that Jesus is not God, but instead of trying to explain the Deity I introduce Jesus as The Christ the one who says in scripture that whoever believes in Him has everlasting life (John 6:47).






So your question would go like this.

With that established, if you were witnessing to a lost child, and this child told you that he does not believe Jesus is or ever could have been God; in your opinion, if he also says he is, “believing in Him (Jesus) for eternal life as He promised,” was that child genuinely born again?

I would say YES!

I believe Jesus will meet people at their most basic need "LIFE." they MUST only believe that Jesus is The Christ, the One who guarantees everlasting life.
The Mormon and the Catholic are in the same boat even though the one has more knowledge, what they both lack is life! alvin

August 25, 2007 7:04 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Greg,

will you come over here and talk your lies as well?

Only when you understand one's theology should you critique it. Keep your misinformation to Lou's blog. You will not post it here.

Greg, are you willing to debate Wilkins at his national conference? Will you put up or back down as Rokser, Martuneac, and Stegall have?

August 25, 2007 8:09 PM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Alvin:

I asked you and Antonio this question, “If you were witnessing to a lost person, and this individual told you that he does not believe Jesus is or ever could have been God; in your opinion, if he also says he is, “believing in Him (Jesus) for eternal life as He promised,” was that man genuinely born again?”

I am accustomed to most of the men in your theological camp dodging or twisting the question to avoid answering clearly. You have chosen the “twist the question” route. My question needs no rephrasing.

It is almost amusing to observe the creation of various theological loopholes some of you men are weaving to avoid the force of the question. They are so similar I tend to think each of you men is drawing them from the same “playbook.”

So, you avoid my question and rephrase it in your own words. Nevertheless, let’s look at your rephrase.

…this child told you that he does not believe Jesus is or ever could have been God…was that child genuinely born again?”

You answered your own question this way, “I (Alvin) would say YES!”

You are on record saying the truth that Jesus is God can be emphatically, consciously rejected and that person can still be born again by believing Jesus gives eternal life. That is what you just said in your “child” scenario.

It is sad that you can listen to the name, Person and deity of our blessed Lord blasphemed, and still count the one who blasphemes the Son of God as able to become a child of God.

Thanks for at least being transparent. Maybe some others who are dodging the question will consider following your lead.


LM

August 25, 2007 9:56 PM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

"Greg, are you willing to debate Wilkins at his national conference? Will you put up or back down as Rokser, Martuneac, and Stegall have?"

Pot & Kettle, Antonio.

You won't answer my question in an on line debate. However you clamor for a public debate, that (what just dawned on me) does not include you on the roster. Curious!

Anyway, you are still barking up the wrong tree(s).


LM

August 25, 2007 10:00 PM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

By the way, Antonio:

I feel slighted. You came up with a humorous label, "Duluthian Antagonists," for the Minnesota men.

I am from Chicago: Windy city, gangstaas, stuffed pizza.

Can't you come up with a good one for me? My city is bigger and better than Duluth, White Sox, not withstanding.


LM

August 25, 2007 10:06 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Antonio, you deleted my post, accused me of lies, misinformation, and misunderstanding your position.

What misinformation did I post?

The point of my post was that I object to your claim I attack free grace. I noted you are confusing "GES" and "free grace". I believe Jesus died for all our sins and rose again so there is absolutely nothing left to pay. We are offered eternal life as an absolutely free gift by faith in Jesus Christ.

-- Greg

August 25, 2007 11:44 PM  
Blogger MrGiggs said...

"Can a lost man be born again while consciously denying the Deity of Jesus Christ if he believes in Jesus for eternal life?"

Yes.

August 26, 2007 8:47 AM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Antonio:

Mrgiggs answered, "Yes," to my question which is, "Can a lost man be born again while consciously denying the Deity of Jesus Christ if he believes in Jesus for eternal life?"

So, Matthw, Danny, mrgiggs, Alvin gave a quick, clear reply. These men are following the natural consequence of Hodges' teaching. Jon Lee, however, says, "No."

Would you care to join them by giving a clear, unambiguous answer one way or the other? Maybe Jeremy will consider answering as well.


LM

August 26, 2007 5:57 PM  
Blogger Jeremy Myers said...

Lou,

I can't speak for Bob, Zane, Antonio, or anyone else on what follows....

Somewhere in this debate, I remember you (it may have been Greg or Tom) saying you were looking forward to discussing the doctrine of this issue. However, I don't think the debate should be about doctrine persay, but about Scripture. Doctrine is, after all, developed through a careful analysis of Scripture.

So my answer to your question is that there are no Scriptural examples one way or the other which provide us with an answer. You cannot provide a Scripture reference which answers your question with a "no" and I cannot provide a Scripture reference which answers it with a "yes." So God Himself has chosen not to answer your question. If you want to accuse someone of evading your question, accuse Him.

However, there are examples in Scripture of people who were ignorant of the deity of Jesus, and yet believed in Him for eternal life, the woman at the well for example. So even you would have to agree that belief in the deity of Jesus is not a requirment for justification.

Therefore, if it is not a requirement, it would seem, hypothetically, that if a person were to consciously deny the deity of Jesus, that they could still believe in Him for eternal life. I don't think they would, but it seems like God may allow it. But again, since Scripture provides no answer one way or the other on your hypothetical situation (which I have never run into and I doubt you or anyone else has either), I give no answer either.

This whole debate needs to get away from tradition and hypothetical situations, and stick with Scripture and real-to-life situations. If nobody in evangelistic enounters will ever run into your hypothetical situation, what is the point of debating your question except to waste of all of our time?

August 26, 2007 7:04 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Lou, while I do not want to speak for Antonio, I think if you trouble yourself to read some of the material that he has written, the answer ought to be obvious.

August 27, 2007 12:51 AM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Matthew:

On this question any one might as well speak for Antonio, because he will NOT speak for himself.

Jeremy just ran interference for Antonio with another evasion post.

If Antonio has written what would be a clear unambiguous answer to the subject of my question, then he can link me to it. Or if you know where that is, I'd appreciate your linking me to it.

At least you gave an answer, but Jeremey and Antonio are dodging it. Why is that? Why would men who believe the Bible is the final authority for faith and practice, refuse to discuss a question on the deity of Christ? Curious.

If Antonio's answer is out there, why won't he link me to it? Curious.


LM

PS: I am going to have a note especially for Jeremy, but at a later time.

August 27, 2007 5:26 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Lou, what he has written on the subject is clear and unambigous, so I do not see why you need to pressing him for an answer.

August 27, 2007 5:49 AM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Matthew:

Where is what Antonio has written in clear, unambiguous terms on the subject?


Lou

August 27, 2007 9:24 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Try this one:

Unashamed of Grace: Soteriology Points

August 27, 2007 1:40 PM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Matthew:

I read the link.

I did not see anything that would qualify as an answer to my question, which is:

Can a lost man be born again, while consciously denying the deity of Christ, if he believes in Jesus for eternal life?

His article is just an older version of the same interpretation of the Gospel coming from Hodges.

Anyway, thanks for the link.


LM

August 27, 2007 5:57 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Lou,

Stop pestering around. It is annoying!

Why should I answer you when you do not answer my questions? I have no intention of answering your question until you answer mine. If you like, I will repost it. I have already said that I would be as verbose as necessary to answer your question when you answered mine.

Listen. You are doing that which you accuse me of doing. I asked you point blank a question, and you have not answered it.

Here is the question again:

Lou,

You have evaded the question. For clarity sake, let me reword:

Are you saying this: If a man were to believe that Jesus was the Christ and had given him eternal life by faith alone - yet he did not at all know or understand Jesus' death for sins and His resurrection - that his faith is invalid and he is not saved?

Please do not evade and stall. Answer the simple question and I will be as verbose on your questions as humanly possible.

Antonio

I understand if you don't want to answer it. You Duluthian antagonists, when asked to put up, you back down.

August 27, 2007 8:05 PM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

August 28, 2007 8:32 AM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Antonio:

Your question reveals a basic misunderstanding of Biblical terms and ideas.

If you want to reword and trying asking your question based on a biblical text that is properly handled, I will be happy to answer your question.


LM

August 28, 2007 8:45 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Of course you don't want to answer it.

Because you realize that someone can believe Jesus is the Christ (and if they do, they are born again 1 John 5:1) and not at all know or understand Jesus' death for sins and His resurrection.

You must dispense with the casuistry.

Antonio

August 29, 2007 12:01 AM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Antnio:

Your question still reveals a basic misunderstanding of Biblical terms and ideas.

Please try to reword and ask your question based on a biblical text that is properly handled, then I will be happy to answer your question.


LM

August 29, 2007 6:18 AM  
Blogger jonperreault said...

Antonio,

I am a member of Word of Grace Bible Church and my pastor is Tom Stegall. I must say that I do not agree with the gospel that you and GES are espousing (as I understand it). Nonetheless, even before I read your article, I had come to the same conclusions as yourself regarding DBC's and WOGBC's refusal to publicly debate GES. I believe a public debate concerning the truth of the gospel upholds at least the following Biblical truths:

1) Reasoning together (Isaiah 1:18)

2) Reasoning in the synagogue, marketplace, and Areopagus (Acts 17:17-21)

3) Always being ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you (1 Peter 3:15)

4) Personal and public confrontation concerning the truth of the gospel (Galatians 2:11-14)

5) Meeting at the Jerusalem church concerning the truth of the gospel (Acts 15:1-21)

Besides what I have said above, consider the following:

1) The GES gospel teaching is ALREADY well know, having been in circulation for at least two years (as I understand it). In fact, DBC has already taught at least two seminars on this very issue! Supposing this GES gospel teaching is false, what innocense of the flock is there to guard?

2) As you said, the public debate DOESN'T have to be held in a DBC affiliated church, or any church for that matter (as Bob Wilkin said in his letter, the particular's of the debate are open to negotiation).

3)No matter where the debate takes place, DBC and WOGBC would obviously be DEBATING and DISAGREEING with the GES gospel, not approving it.

4) Many Christians (even Christians at DBC and WOGBC) regularly expose themselves to theological debates - and therefore false teaching (whether it regards Catholicism, Evolution, Mormonism, or now the GES gospel). Furthermore, many of these debates are probably not held at DBC or WOGBC, and so there is probably not as much opportunity for the correct doctrine to be reinforced in the minds of those that attend.

5)Both sides (DBC & Co. and GES) should ALREADY be prepared to debate, since this has been an issue (and has even been publicly taught) for at least two years.

August 31, 2007 5:40 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Jon,

thank you for reading and replying to this post.

I sense that you are very reasonable. I am very happy to see you in favor of a public debate.

I really love how you said that you disagree with the GES position "as I understand it".

Please email me. I wish to give you two mp3s of Zane Hodges as he clearly defines the GES position. It even has many questions at the end that may answer any questions that you may be having.

I believe that there are many misunderstandings to the GES position, and if you took the time to understand how GES articulates its position, you may still not agree, but you will at least understand fully why we believe as we do.

There are many mischaracterizations and blatant falsehoods circulating about GES doctrine.

Please email me, for I wish to discourse with you.

agdarosa@cox.net

Thanks for your reply. I intend to publish your comment as a post.

Thanks for your reasonable comments,

Antonio da Rosa

August 31, 2007 7:29 PM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Antonio:

Maybe I am mistaken, but I thought I posted something to you tonight. Did you delete another post of mine? I will repost it.


LM

September 02, 2007 10:29 PM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Antonio:

At the GES blog I got this note from William Feiss, “I really appreciate your efforts to set up such a debate.”

Following was my reply to William.

Wilkin did e-mail to me his thoughts about the deity of Christ question I posted to him at my site. I am not revealing his answer at this time.

IMO, a debate such as he is calling for, can be arranged and I am sure someone in the FG community who takes an opposing position to that of Wilkin would agree to debate him.

I have encouraged Bob Wilkin to reply to my e-mails, and I trust he will very soon. This is going on 5 days that he has not replied. I do not understand his hesitation. This has become somewhat of a concern to me. I have sent a carbon to Jeremy of my notes to Bob, this way there is no question that he knows I am willing to help him get the debate he desires. I am beginning to wonder if his protestations, over having his earlier call for a debate declined thus far, may have been a façade.

It would probably go a long way if men who are sympathetic to Wilkins’s position on the Gospel, and desire such a debate, as you yourself have expressed, were to contact Wilkin directly and encourage him to reply so that I can work toward arranging the open forum, public debate he has indicated he wants.

Would you be willing to e-mail Bob at GES for this?


Now, would you Antonio please contact Bob Wilkin and encourage him to let me know if he is still interested in representing the GES position on the Gospel in an open forum debate.

I would be happy to help in making it come about.


LM

September 02, 2007 10:30 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Lou, will you, Tom Stegall, Greg S, or Dennis Rokser be on the other end?

Why would Bob want to debate a nobody who is not written on the matter? It would be a joke. The Duluthian Antagonists, of which you are a part, are cowards, throwing stones from their glass houses. They are publically unaccountable and ought to be ashamed of how they have thus far shown themselves.

Why, when you have been asked to put up, you back down?

September 02, 2007 11:26 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Let me also say this, I have already heard, first hand, that Bob and Zane would present their case in a public debate forum if Tom and Dennis would field the other side. 74 year old Zane would take the stage, but those who are full of fierce words and vitriol on paper shrink cowardly back.

Antonio

September 03, 2007 12:09 AM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

I have posted my reaction, Bob Wilkin (Alleged) Response to the Debate & Deity Questions.

This post here in this thread will be my ONLY acknowledgement of Antonio. Wilkin needs to speak for himself.


LM

September 03, 2007 8:48 AM  

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