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)

Monday, November 19, 2007

My Meeting with Charlie Bing and J.B. Hixson

Dear readers of Free Grace Theology Blog,

Sorry for the delay in writing. There has been much going on in my life and I have been a bit burned out in blogging. I have been reading two books which I highly recommend: In the Arena of Faith by Erich Sauer and Firstborn Sons: Their Rights and Risks by G.H. Lang. I think that I am going to read them twice in a row. I didn't make any highlights in either book the first time and I want to prepare them for reference. They are both essential books.

I also have been working on the title "Son of God" as it relates to Jesus the Christ of Nazareth. Much more work needs to be done, but I will put out something preliminary soon. It will be good to get all of the objections to my thesis so that I can work out the kinks, and hone and sharpen my position.

The thread Are We Robbed of John 3:16? -- What does 'Believing in Jesus' Really Mean? Is now up to 187 comments, by far the greatest number that I have had. I appreciate all of your input and insights. It is a very emotional topic for all.

It is my studied position that John 3:16 (and other Johannine evangelistic passages) cannot be legitimately used by Traditional Free Grace theology in their evangelism. Using the principles of plain, normal, and literal hermeneutics, we come to the conclusion that these communications were used by Jesus (and thus inscribed for us by the Apostle John) in a way foreign than what the TFG would use them. Jesus, whose words are spirit and life, who has the words of everlasting life, made these evangelistic utterances with specific import, simply relating to His audiences that whoever believes in Him shall never perish but receives, as an immediate and irrevocable possession, eternal life. To this condition the TFG add, in all reality, a number of complex theological requirements. Therefore the evangelistic passages of John, which we all know, and have been dearly loved over the centuries, are insufficient witnesses to Jesus' soteriological program. Furthermore, for the TFG to use them would be confusing, for what Jesus meant by "believe in Me" (which is a condition that once fulfilled is the intermediate agency through which one receives everlasting life) is not considered saving faith by them. The TFG either have to import foreign meaning into the texts themselves (inserting extrinsic data into the meaning of "belie[ing] in" Jesus), or supplement them, when, indeed, Jesus spoke them they were sufficient, self-contained, authoritative decrees providing for His audiences the unadulterated condition for receiving eternal life.

In the near future, I want to take a break from this internal debate. I would like to touch on some topics that Erich Sauer and G.H. Lang bring up in the books I read of them. In some of the writings I have read of Traditional Free Grace advocates, they disparage the idea of punitive aspects of the Bema. George Zeller and others have taken a strong stance against the writings of Zane Hodges and Joseph Dillow when it comes to some aspects of Bema Judgment. It would be good to flesh out some of these things, as I believe that the punitive aspects of the Judgment Seat of Christ are strong deterrents to carnal living.

Ok, the title of this post is My Meeting with Charlie Bing and J.B. Hixson So I will now get to writing about it. What I will be relating to you all I have permission from Charlie to express to you, my precious readers. I received an email from Charlie asking me to call him to discuss details of getting together. I talked to him and we agreed on lunch on Friday, November 16th, the last day of the Evangelical Theological Society meeting. I met him and J.B. Hixson at the Town and Country Hotel in Hotel Circle in San Diego. On the phone earlier I had offered my assistance in taking them to the airport and rental car place, so I picked them up in my new Chrysler minivan. Stephen R. Lewis was waiting with them. He wasn't leaving that day, but told me that he wanted to meet me in person. It was a treat to meet him!

Charlie and J.B. mentioned to me that they had heard alot about In and Out Burger and asked if there was one nearby. Well, I knew there was one within a couple of miles but didn't know exactly how to get there (I had eaten there a few times before, but got there from a different way). We drove leisurely around, talking about the ETS conference. Finally we found the best burger joint in the world! I ordered for all of us: 3x3's with whole grilled onions, animal style, fries and drinks. Later, Charlie emailed me saying that the burger was "definitely worth the plane ticket" :)

Of course I wanted to talk about the debate that has been going on in Free Grace theology. I took the opportunity to discuss my position, and was able to talk quite freely and openly. I provided arguments for Refined Free Grace Theology, and we discussed them. They were both very courteous and polite. In my opinion: I believe, in the end, that there was a greater understanding and appreciation for my position. The conversation was lively and friendly. I truly appreciated the opportunity to dialogue with these two great Christian gentlemen. I have to admit that I was quite excited to get to know them them, and greatly anticipated our meeting. I have been thinking about our discussion since that time; it has given me much food for thought and steered me into a couple of areas of study where my position can be stronger.

Charlie Bing and J.B. Hixson are genuine, sincere, balanced, thoughtful, deliberate, patient, highly intelligent, Christ-honoring and loving gentlemen. It was my pleasure and honor to meet with them. I hope that our relationships will grow.

Your Free Grace Theology host,

Antonio da Rosa
agdarosa@cox.net

8 Comments:

Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Antonio,

It sounds like you had a profitable meeting with J.B. and Charlie. I think that's great you are willing to talk to them so freely and openly.

I am wondering why you haven't taken the same posture with me? (Especially when you said in your latest post: "Of course I wanted to talk about the debate that has been going on in Free Grace theology.") Have you changed your position regarding our agreement in which you said you would post my interaction with Zane Hodges (which I have titled "Three Resurrection Signs of the Savior") and personally emailed to you weeks ago. Besides this, I am wondering why you have not even talked with me about it at all, not even returning my emails or responding to my various comments here on your blog?

I'm sure you understand I am left quite bewildered and confused!

Endeavoring to reason from the Scriptures,
Jonathan Perreault
http://freegracefreespeech.blogspot.com

November 19, 2007 10:16 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Thanks for the update.

November 20, 2007 1:09 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Antonio,

If possible I will try to call this weekend.

Your brother,

Jim

P.S. Dr. Lewis spoke highly of you in a meeting I had with him Monday.

November 20, 2007 5:29 PM  
Blogger Jeremy Myers said...

Antonio,

Thanks for the update. I'm glad you were able to meet with these men. It's too bad Bob wasn't able to meet with you as well!

I hope you're not getting too burned out with blogging, since I enjoy reading yours and am always interested in what you have to say. Sorry I don't comment more...

November 21, 2007 3:01 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

I'm thankful for the productive discourse and I pray relations can continue to improve.

May God bless you and your family to have a wonderful thanksgiving.

November 21, 2007 4:49 PM  
Blogger David Wyatt said...

Praise the Lord for this, bro. Antonio! Glad to see brothers in Christ being....well....brotherly!! God Bless.

November 22, 2007 5:56 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Jonathan and Matthew, Thanks for your comments!

Jim, I was very happy to meet Dr. Lewis. I hope that I can get some more face time with him in the future. Thanks for visiting!

Jeremy, I do go through my ups and downs in blogging. I don't want to get burned out... I need balance.

KC and David,

Thanks for the encouragement and sentiments! You guys are great brothers.

Antonio

November 22, 2007 6:35 PM  
Blogger Liam Moran said...

Antonio, I am glad you got to meet J.B. Hixson and Charlie Bing. Both are very gracious and godly brothers. They both are very humble.

November 28, 2007 7:28 AM  

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