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, March 12, 2008

Open Letter to the Free Grace Alliance

This is an open letter from Antonio da Rosa, member of the Free Grace Alliance.

I want to bring to your attention that Lou Martuneac, who is not a member of the FGA that I am aware of, has opened a comment thread on his blog about the new FGA statement concerning the gospel, where he (and other non FGA members) has been critical of it. Fred Lybrand, the founding director of the FGA, wrote in an irenic spirit concerning the new FGA statement under this same blog article thread (although I am under the impression that he has some misunderstandings about what some in the FGA has dubbed "the Promise-Only gospel"). Several people who are not in the FGA, and who do not even consider themselves Free Grace (Lou Martuneac does not consider himself Free Grace, and he is on record in various places saying so) are being critical of the statement. Yes it is true that Lou Martuneac is arguing as if he has a vested interest in the FGA, which he does not, but this does not prompt my writing.

The reason for this open letter to you all is the comments made from Ron Shea that Lou Martuneac posted on his blog, which seems to be an email to Lou Martuneac from Shea. In this disclosure of Lou Martuneac from Ron Shea, there is this material:


5) In addition to their theology, there are three Ph.D.’s and/or former professors who claim the mantle of this movement. Professor Zane Hodges is, by every appearance, the author of the Crossless gospel. Then Bob Wilkin (GES) and John Niemela.

Frankly, I do regard this movement as evil, not only in its theology, but in the leaders, at least two thirds of whom I find to be not simply sinners (as we all are), but who have systematically, cunningly, and grievously sinned to promote their heresy.
(emphasis was mine)


Ron Shea is a member of the FGA and is actively seeking to bring members of the Free Grace community into disrepute by accusing them of willful, systematic, deceptive, and grievous sins.

I am looking for a remark from the FGA executive committee distancing themselves from the hateful, irresponsible, and reprehensible comments of Ron Shea. It is one thing to disagree with the position of another. It is quite another thing to condemn those of the other viewpoint of evil and sin.

Will the FGA condemn the statements made by one of its members, Ron Shea, thus distancing themselves from them?

The comment thread of this post is found here, which contains comments by Fred Lybrand and Ron Shea.

Comment Thread of Lou Martuneac

I have found it shocking already that some in the FGA have condemned the position on the gospel that I hold to as the 'post-modern Promise-only false gospel'. This is the type of rhetoric that we should avoid.

Are we not all preaching the cross in evangelism?
Sure we are.

Are we not all preaching the bodily resurrection of Jesus in evangelism?
Of course we are.

Are we not all preaching eternal life by grace through faith in Jesus Christ apart from works?
Most assuredly we are.

We may be differing a bit on what the exact content of saving faith is, but one thing is for sure that we all agree on:

Saving faith is simple and sole reliance upon Jesus Christ of Nazareth for eternal life, for spiritual salvation. It is believing in Jesus for eternal life. It is trust in Jesus Christ alone. It is faith alone in Christ alone.

I am pleased with the new statement from the FGA. The good news about Jesus Christ which contains the essential preaching of the substitutionary nature of Christ's death on the cross for sin and his bodily resurrection needs to be heralded far and wide. It is essential that we preach Christ crucified and risen again.

Thank you all for your time.

I look forward to a statement from the FGA one way or another in this concern.

Your comments and reactions to this will be greatly appreciated and kept confidential at your request.

Sincerely,

Antonio da Rosa
http://free-grace.blogspot.com

123 Comments:

Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Lou Martuneac and his friends do seem to like making a fuss.

March 13, 2008 12:47 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

It seems like some people are getting confused about who the enemy is. I would think that most anyone commenting in that thread could read this statement from your post and be satisfied that you are not much different than themselves:

I am pleased with the new statement from the FGA. The good news about Jesus Christ which contains the essential preaching of the substitutionary nature of Christ's death on the cross for sin and his bodily resurrection needs to be heralded far and wide. It is essential that we preach Christ crucified and risen again.

March 13, 2008 6:35 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Matthew,

I suppose if defending the gospel is considered "making a fuss", then I plead guilty. But I can't say that I "like" it.

March 13, 2008 6:53 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Rose,

Why should we be satisfied with that statement from Antonio? The differences may not be significant in quantity, but they are significant in quality.

I really don't understand why you and others keep repeating this. It's all well and good that CG people plan to preach the cross and rez, we've acknowledged this over and over and over again. The problem is that they do not require the lost to believe those things, and indeed say that people can be saved even while denying these things.

Jeremy Myers thinks his daughter was saved at the age of 2 because she believed Jesus would take her to heaven when she died. Bob Wilkin told our church to ignore the erroneous doctrine of JWs on everything except their view on works.

Why in the world would I be "satisfied" with this statement from Antonio when I am so completely dissatisfied and greatly troubled by his other statements about JWs and Mormons? A Catholic could very well have made the exact same statement Antonio made here. Would you be "satisfied" to see this statement from a Catholic, that they are "not much different" from you?

As has been said many numerous times, Antonio's personal beliefs on the death and resurrection of Jesus are not the problem. The problem is what Antonio and other CG people require the lost to believe in order to be born again.

March 13, 2008 7:22 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Antonio,

So we can only be critical of the FGA statement if we are actually in the FGA? Well then, I'll expect you to stop being critical of all statements from all organizations that you are not currently a part of (including the Catholic Church, Grace To You, etc.). And might want to tell the Democrats and Republicans to stop criticizing each other while you're at it.

Meanwhile, I'll stick with a reasonable perspective and continue to exercise my freedom to question and critique the views of any person or organization that I choose.

March 13, 2008 7:34 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Hi Antonio.

Rachel,
Let me tell you: there is something about this "require the lost to believe" verbiage that doesn't sit right with me. Does that sound right to you? Listen to yourself say it and see if it sounds right. :~)

I can't remember where, but Antonio told me that he does not think that someone can be saved while "denying the reality of Christ's crucifixion and ressurection." Maybe he can clarify that, but a few weeks ago, I think he commented to that effect.

You say:
A Catholic could very well have made the exact same statement Antonio made here. Would you be "satisfied" to see this statement from a Catholic, that they are "not much different" from you?

I suppose you are right - a Catholic might have said that. The big difference between Antonio's approach and the Catholic approach is that the Catholic approach does not include this that he said directly before that statement that I quoted:

Saving faith is simple and sole reliance upon Jesus Christ of Nazareth for eternal life, for spiritual salvation. It is believing in Jesus for eternal life. It is trust in Jesus Christ alone. It is faith alone in Christ alone.

I was raised a Catholic and went to parochial schools. My mother still is pushing it at me weeekly. There is no "sole reliance" upon Christ and no assurance of eternal life at all. The Catholics do have a "cross-filled" "gospel" though. It doesn't matter. They are counting on their own works and the works of others to make them right with God. I think that is the same reason why Wilkin says "to ignore the erroneous doctrine of JWs on everything except their view on works." I won't do what Wilkin suggests, but I can see that that is the big thing that Mormons, JWs, Catholics and all kinds of other false religions have in common - they don't have "reliance upon Jesus Christ of Nazareth for eternal life" as I quote Antonio above. They rely on works and miss the boat.

Just out of curiosity, would you find yourself more closely aligned with Antonio who teaches "reliance upon Jesus Christ of Nazareth for eternal life" who theorizes that someone may miss a clear understanding of the cross and yet be saved.... or.... with a Catholic who teaches the cross and ressurection are vital components of salvation, yet doesn't see "reliance upon Jesus Christ of Nazareth for eternal life" ?

Blessings Rachel

March 13, 2008 7:44 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Rose,

You said,

"...there is something about this 'require the lost to believe' verbiage that doesn't sit right with me. Does that sound right to you?"

Sure, why wouldn't it? Something must be "required" of the lost to be saved, otherwise we have universalism. You mentioned this before on your blog. I don't see the problem. What would you prefer we say? That the lost should be "strongly encouraged" to believe? That we should "recommend" that the lost believe? I must confess, I'm really not understanding the problem here, and to be honest it seems sort of nitpicky, as if you're trying to find things to disagree about.

"I can't remember where, but Antonio told me that he does not think that someone can be saved while 'denying the reality of Christ's crucifixion and ressurection.' Maybe he can clarify that, but a few weeks ago, I think he commented to that effect."

I didn't see that. So let's ask him right here.

Antonio, you've already made it clear that you think the lost can be born again even while denying the deity of Jesus. How about the death and rez? You've made it clear that you don't think it's necessary for the lost to understand the death and rez. Is it possible, in your view, for the lost to be born again even while denying the death and/or resurrection of Jesus?

"I suppose you are right - a Catholic might have said that. The big difference between Antonio's approach and the Catholic approach is that the Catholic approach does not include this that he said directly before that statement that I quoted..."

Okay, but see - that's my point. That statement, if it was said by Catholic, does NOT "satisfy" you because of other differences. And that is the exact same reason why that statement from Antonio does not "satisfy" me. The known differences between us are too substantial for me to be "satisfied" with such a generalized statement.

"Just out of curiosity, would you find yourself more closely aligned with Antonio ... or with a Catholic...?"

This is a very strange question. Why does it matter who I'm more closely aligned with? Would you find yourself more closely aligned with a Catholic or a Calvinist? Would that mean you would stop criticizing whichever one? I have no interest in overlooking the significant differences between my position and Antonio's position on this merely because our positions have other similarities.

March 13, 2008 8:13 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Dear Friends,

I've been reading your comments.
I liked what Rose said.
I can't really add anything clearer than what's already been said by Antonio and others. But I do feel some sadness. My sadness is that those who use to be friends with GES are now saying such awful things against them. To even suggest that they are preaching a crossless gospel makes me cringe. The gospel includes the crosswork of Christ and His resurrection. But nowhere in the Bible does it say that we must believe in HOW He saved us to be saved. The gospel includes everything that Jesus did to make it possible for us to be saved. But we're not called to believe the gospel. We're called to believe in Christ. The Bible says that we must believe in Him. Believe in Him for what? For eternal life. That's the place that GES wants to get a person to. There are too many people in the world today who believe that Jesus died on the cross for their sins, but yet don't believe in Him ALONE for eternal life. They believe that Jesus did His part and now they must do theirs. Those people haven't yet believed the truth that brings salvation.

GES is NOT putting down the cross. Bob Wilkin prefers to present the "gospel" without bringing up the cross *FIRST*. Is there something wrong with that? Well then, you better know that you are also mad at Jesus then, because that's how Jesus presented it. He started out with offering eternal life to those who would believe. Does that mean that Jesus didn't think that His coming death was important? Of course He did!!! Bob Wilkin makes a good point. He likes to evangelize the way Jesus did. He says that most people in this country today have heard about the cross and the resurrection. As soon as they hear those words they read into them what their preconceived ideas are. Most people know they have sinned. But the words that Jesus used to evangelize gets their attention. Bob Wilkin likes to start off evangelizing with words something like this.... "Did you know that Jesus gives eternal life as a free gift to all who believe in Him?" WOW! That will raise some eye brows. The person hearing that hopefully will ask questions like..... "How can He do that?" THEN you have the opportunity to bring in the fact that Jesus was the Son of God who came to earth to die on a cross to pay for your penalty SO THAT you could have eternal life as a free gift. That person may think..... REALLY? WOW! I've never heard that before!" The cross and resurrection is the REASON God can give us eternal life. But the person receives that eternal life when they believe in Jesus alone for that gift. Did they believe the story of the cross? YES! Were they saved because they believed HOW He saved them? NO. They were saved because they believed in the giver for His gift.
Understanding the crosswork of Christ and His resurrection facilitated their belief in Him. Jesus started with eternal life. Bob Wilkin likes to start with eternal life. How can you top that?

Preach the cross and the resurrection! Absolutely! But remember..... a person is saved when they believe that Jesus gives them eternal life as a free gift. Putting it a little different way....... believing that they will go to heaven when they die and not to hell because Jesus alone gave them eternal life with Him forever. Could they ever get to that place without understanding the cross and resurrection? Well, the apostles did. Others before the cross did. Today (after the cross) we obviously share that truth with the people we're evangelizing. But the Bible never says that the content to be believed has changed after the cross. It hasn't changed. It's the same wonderful content. Remember..... GES is defining the truth that brings a person from death to life when believed. Too many preachers never get people to that place. Very sad.

GES nor Zane Hodges nor myself proclaims a crossless gospel. It makes me very sad to watch what is being said against these fine godly men. Yet I know that if God be for them, who can be against them. I thank God for them. And I thank God for the cross of Jesus Christ and His blood that was shed for me so that I could have the free gift of eternal life. I'm glad for the scriptures that He gave us because I can go there and find the truth. This debate and those saying these terrible things against GES has not shaken my belief at all. The reason..... I have the Bible to search the answers. I praise God for that. There I am safe and not confused by all the debate that rages.

Antonio, I'm so thankful for your blog! And all the others who enter in to support the truth. I love you for it. I praise God for all of you who defend the truth.

Ps. 34:1.... "I will bless the Lord and ALL times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth!"

In Jesus' love,
Diane
:-)

March 13, 2008 10:50 PM  
Blogger Peggie said...

Diane,
Now THAT's the Bob Wilkin that we know! Thank you for saying it so much
better than we could.
Jim & Peggie

March 14, 2008 7:59 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Hi Rachel.

I want you to know that I say the following with a friendly demeanor. I tell you that because I know reading comments on blogs - they can sometimes come across in ways that they were not intended... but I just have to say this:

If I am being "nitpicky" then I am certainly not alone!!! :~)

The way you all are parsing that statement from the FGA is quite and indeed "nitpicky." In fact, as I read you-all's comments, that was the word that came to mind: "nitpicky"... so I had to smile when I saw you use that word. Yes, I am probably being nitpicky about the "require the lost to believe" verbiage. Guilty.

:~) Have a great weekend and God bless your little ones.

March 14, 2008 7:59 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Hi Rose,

I agree in a sense. It is nitpicky to parse the statement out like that. I would never have done that in a million years if it weren't for this debate and the way that the CG folks so often spin terms to their unique definitions. As I've said elsewhere, Bob Wilkin claimed he agreed with my church's statement of faith, when we knew there were items and phrases in there that he couldn't possibly agree with. When we brought those points up to him, he came back with his own definitions. We then had to be really "nitpicky" to show him how our church has defined those terms, and only then did he back off.

So I agree, it is nitpicky. We should be able to say that the lost need to believe the gospel to be saved, w/o hearing things like, "the gospel means any good news", or, "saved doesn't mean saved from hell", etc. These terms and phrases have had commonly understood definitions for years upon years. It is the fact that Hodges, Wilkin, et al. are redefining them, but still using them w/o explaining their redefinitions, that causes us to have to go back and "nitpick" the definitions to make sure that everyone really is agreeing to the same things. I would love to move on from this "nitpicky" stuff, but as long as the CG people insist on their redefinitions, we will have to continue discussing it.

Thanks for the blessing on my kiddos, they need it! My 1-year-old seems to have some allergies (or maybe it's a cold, can't tell quite yet), so he's fairly miserable. I hope your kids are all healthy now. I really want warm weather!

March 14, 2008 8:33 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Hi Diane,

I wonder, have you read the articles from Greg Schliesmann at Lou's blog regarding the definition and usage of "the gospel"? If not, I highly recommend you do so. Suffice it to say that to separate the person of Christ from the work of Christ cannot be supported biblically.

Regarding whether or not the content of saving faith has changed, the NT speaks in many places of a "mystery" that was "hidden" until after the cross. What do you think that was?

March 14, 2008 9:05 AM  
Blogger knetknight said...

Hello Diane.

I believe I know you from years ago and that you knew my parents well. Calvary Bible College, Beth Haven, Chester, David and Carla, those names ring any bells? If so, I believe we go to church with one of your daughters. It has no direct bearing on the discussion at hand but I find it interesting, if true, that our paths have crossed in cyberspace after so many years.

As you point out, the argument for your side goes something like "If we witness as Jesus did we can't be wrong". That argument, however, ignores the transitional nature of the gospels and Jesus' ontological uniqueness.

For example, do you accept the signs in Acts as indicative of what is normal for the church today? I hope not and will assume for the moment that we are essentially in agreement that much of Acts is not dogmatically binding since it was a time of transition. In the same way that it is incorrect to view Acts as doctrinally and woodenly normal, so is it also incorrect to say that whatever Jesus did is a precise model for us. i.e. It's ontologically ludicrous to say "Witness as Jesus did and you can't be wrong" because, frankly, none of us can do that. e.g Which of us supernaturally knows the intimate details of those to whom we witness? You and I have to pull that information out through conversation but Jesus "just knew" when he talked to the woman at the well. I daresay you would readily admit that you can't factor that into your own witnessing and so the error of "witness as Jesus did" becomes readily apparent. He had precise and divine knowledge of exactly what the woman needed, you and I can't even come close to that. There are many more examples to underscore the obvious truth that we CAN'T witness as Jesus did, to assert otherwise is to dismiss and diminish the clear ontological differences.

Further, the text doesn't support the idea that the purpose of the passage is to give us an explicit model for witnessing but rather to show that the gospel is for everyone. Jesus broke many barriers by talking to 1) a Samaritan and 2) a woman.

You assert "The Bible says that we must believe in Him. Believe in Him for what? For eternal life."

Where precisely does it say this, Diane? So far, despite many attempts, no one has been able to demonstrate a single verse or passage that says that explicitly. Antonio and others have previously insisted that we must produce that kind of explicit statement to support our view while simultaneously failing to produce a biblical statement in defense of their own view that meets their own standard. Try as you may, we've repeatedly demonstrated that the verses you are most likely to reference as "simple concise expressions of the saving message" carry a load of contextual and implied knowledge when put to the test.

You see, it is our highly literate, western, low-context mindset that forces the idea into the texts that "there must be a single concise statement". That contrasts sharply with the ancient high-context culture in which a high level of common knowledge could be taken for granted. "One interpretation, many applications" is a basic hermeneutic rule. When we read the Bible we must resolve "what did it mean to the original recipients?" before we can accurately conclude "what does it mean for us today?". Any conclusion that ignores such is based on assumption and is very likely to be quite incorrect. The idea of "there must be a concise explicit statement of the saving message" is exactly one such conclusion that flies in the face of what the original recipients would have thought so it lacks any credibility as a standard.

Finaally, we are not attacking Bob Wilkin/Zane Hodges or anyone else personally -- discrediting a man does not necessarily discredit his views. We are, however, biblically critical of their doctrine which we see as having the disastrous real-world possibility of giving false assurance of Everlasting Life to children and adults alike. Despite Roses' repeated claims to the contrary, our concerns are not at all theoretical.

There is much more I could write but I am completely out of time right now.

Spirited but gracious,
Stephen

March 14, 2008 9:37 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Matthew,

You are right. It seems to me to be an exercise that many in their group enjoy.

Rose,

You are absolutely right. The legitimate problem is not with those who take the GES position. The legitimate problem is with those who take the Fundamentalist approach.

People like Lou, Rachel, Stephen, and the like, are not Free Grace Theology proponents of any flavor. Their theology is a fundamentalist theology. I do not mind them arguing against Free Grace proponents. What I do have a problem is with them arguing against a Free Grace Theology understanding from what I believe to be a false identification with Free Grace theology.

Many theologies have a "faith alone in Christ alone" emphasis. Because they do, it does not make them Free Grace Theology proponents. I believe that there are several important doctrines that someone would need to hold on to before they could claim to be Free Grace Theology advocates.

I believe it would be far more productive and far more accurate for Lou and his friends to identify themselves with the Fundamentalist label rather than Free Grace theology.

It is quite telling that Lou himself has stated that he did not identify himself with Free Grace theology and would not. But now he seems to be trying to flip flop on that to make a greater statement: he believes that he can do greater harm to Consistent Free Grace theology by posing to be under that umbrella.

It is also quite telling that after years already of the FGA being in existence, with Lou having a multitude of times saying that the FGA was created to be a Free Grace organization free of GES positions, that Lou has not yet to this point become a member of the FGA.

Lou is not Free Grace! He has abberant views on repentance, perseverance of the saints, assurance, and the Christian life that puts him at odds with basically the whole of Free Grace theology. No Free Grace leaders and writers share his views on these things. Lou is not Free Grace!

Let us begin to call a spade a spade! Lou's theology is a flavor of strict fundamentalism and not Free Grace.

Let Lou, Rachel, Stephen, Kevl, define for us the foundational, un alterable, principles of Free Grace theology, or as Ryrie likes to say concering dispensationalism, what they believe the sine qua non of Free Grace theology is and how they fit that mold better than some other designation.

If they do not fit that mold, let them all be clear that they fight against the GES position of Free Grace from outside the pale of Free Grace theology advocacy. Let them take on the mantle and title of the theology (or -ies) that more closely represent their actual beliefs.

I believe that they have a strict fundamentalist theology, and this is where the problem lies.

Their theology demands that they convert the lost to their theology before they can be converted to Christ. They "require the lost to believe" their fundamental doctrines and convert to their fundamental religion before they can simply tell the lost that Jesus promises irrevocable eternal life to the one who merely puts their trust in Him for it.

It is like dangling a carrot before the lost, getting them to jump through their multiple and varied hoops before they can reach the prize.

This is the problem!

Let me tell you what is NOT the problem, Rose:

The GES position on the saving message.

1) It is biblical, and uses biblical language and wording.
2) It preaches the substitutionary death of Jesus for the sins of the world
3) It preaches the bodily resurrection of Christ
4) It preaches faith alone in Christ alone

In the GES position, they put the cart AFTER the horse.

You see, once someone gets saved, the evangelist's job is not done. He is to continue to instruct the new saint in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ!

But the fundamentalist position puts the cart before the horse.

There is no real urgency for the new saint to be instructed. Why? He has been required to assent to the fundamentalist doctrines before he can be saved!

If someone in the GES position receives a profession of faith from an evangelistic opportunity, he will make sure that such a one is discipled and taught the glorious gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, which includes much more than just justification by faith alone!

JUST DO A WORD STUDY ON THE APPROPRIATE GREEK WORDS for gospel (noun), preach the gospel (verb), and evangelist. Paul preached the gospel to those in Rome who were already saints whose faith was spoken of throughout the world!

And if this convert will not eventually begin to hold true the orthodox doctrines about Christ, and/or propogates heresy, then the church will have discipline.

The Fundamentalists will do the same thing as the Calvinists would do:

Tell such a one that he was never saved in the first place.

If such a one reads the gospel of John in verses like John 3:16 and in his heart believes in Jesus as John 3:16 prescribes, he will have assurance that he is saved, because Jesus is no liar! He states that WHOEVER believes in Him has everlasting life.

But we should not allow such a one to propogate heresy in our churches and should administer discipline.

Free Grace people do not give anyone assurance of their salvation. This is a straw man and misconception.

We only point men and women to where they may find assurance for themselves:

the objective word of God that states unequivocally that anyone who believes in Jesus has everlasting life.

If someone believes in Jesus then they will be assured that they have everlasting life, because the guarantee of eternal security is explicitely and emphatically attached to Jesus' message to the lost:

"Most assuredly I say to you, whoever believes in Me has everlasting life!"

We don't give them assurance, we only point them to Jesus!

In summary:

1) Lou and his crew should not feign to be attached to the un-debatable foundational principles which make Free Grace Theology advocates Free Grace in their theology.

2) The trouble is not with the GES position which is faithful to the Bible, to Jesus' words, and to ongoing growth in the new saints, but with fundamentalist doctrine which puts the cart before the horse, requiring the lost to sign on to their creeds before they would even say that Jesus offers eternal life free to faith in him alone (and not faith PLUS repentance!).

I know, alot I have said, but I ramble!

Antonio

March 14, 2008 2:05 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Rachel,

I believe that it is psychologically and virtually impossible for someone to be certainly convinced that Jesus of Nazareth guarantees their eternal well-being through faith alone in Him alone, after being told and showed from the Bible Christ's substitutionary death on the cross for the sins of the world and His bodily resurrection, and yet deny the reality of those facts.

If someone does not believe what the bible says about Jesus' death and resurrection, they surely won't believe it when it states that faith alone in Jesus of Nazareth will receive guaranteed eternal well-being! They cannot believe something specific (the claim that Jesus guarantees eternal life to the believer) when they deny the general which that specific is a sub-set of (the testimony of the scriptures).

Antonio

March 14, 2008 2:23 PM  
Blogger knetknight said...

Oh, Antonio, so much presumption. You're killin' me and I got a pretty good laugh.

All I have time for at this moment is that I agree wholeheartedly with and have signed the FGA covenant without any of the word games that I believe you must play to claim you agree with it. Apparently I satisfy their def. of free grace.

Spirited but gracious,
Stephen

March 14, 2008 2:24 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Antonio,

Yes, you do ramble. Most of your post is emotional rhetoric, not too much to respond to. I'll pick through it again later when I have a bit more time to see if there is anything of substance to reply to.

Meanwhile, I am laughing quite heartily at you calling me and my husband Fundamentalists (don't forget that capital 'F')! ROFL! You really have no idea what you are talking about. Indeed, Jeremy Myers ate a bit of crow on that point after I was significantly more sympathetic and helpful to his list of doctrines he was/is questioning than you were!

"Fundamentalists"! LOL!

March 14, 2008 2:25 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Diane Boring,

You surely do not live up to your last name!

Your wee bit treatise is flawless. There can be no real argument with anything you have said. Thanks for sharing!


Peggie,

Thanks for logging on and giving Diane that vote of confidence and note of encouragement!

Your fg brother,

Antonio da Rosa

March 14, 2008 2:25 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Stephen and Rachel,

I am afraid that you have not listened to the testimony of Fred Lybrand who stated that the FGA is governed by a covenant rather than a doctrinal statement.

The covenant, as read, Stephen and Rachel, could be signed on by most if not all evangelicals the way it is read! John MacArthur himself could sign on to it! And as a matter of fact, there are reformed Calvinists (who are inherently Lordship) who are in membership with the FGA because they could agree to the very broad covenant! H. Wayne House is only one example.

It is manifestly obvious that the covenant is NOT a definition of what Free Grace Theology is, and it seems very naive of you to have thought so. It is shown by your comments that you really do not have a grasp of what Free Grace theology is. This is not surprising as you have stated that up until the middle of last year that you had not even known about this position!

The covenant is very broad as written that it could be signed on by just about any flavor of evangelical. Re-read the statement. It is so broad and ill-defined that any evangelical could sign it (and of course that includes me! even section 3!)

Do a little more research before you make the uninformed claim that this covenant is the sine-qua-non of Free Grace theology. It is merely a covenant for membership to this organization.

Antonio

March 14, 2008 2:48 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

If this covenant is the sine-qua-non of free grace theology, then we would have the interesting situation that most if not all evangelicals are Free Grace Theology advocates, which would include the Lordshippers, lol!

March 14, 2008 2:50 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

I did ask a question earlier wondering what you thought the distinctives of Free Grace theology are. I would be interested to hear what you thought separated Free Grace Theology from any other theologies. I think this would be a profitable exercise.

Antonio

March 14, 2008 4:31 PM  
Blogger knetknight said...

ant said: "Do a little more research before you make the uninformed claim that this covenant is the sine-qua-non of Free Grace theology. It is merely a covenant for membership to this organization."

Ooh, more baseless assumption. Get a grip Ant, I never claimed the FGA covenant was the sqn of fg. We have researched this recently and found the opinions of what "is" fg to vary somewhat, so I would say at this point that there is no universally accepted fg sqn. If you think there is please chime in, but at the end of the day you're a guy with a blog and an opinion and those are a dime a dozen. I'm happy to "discuss" it with you but we're just two guys with different opinions.

ant said: "It is manifestly obvious that the covenant is NOT a definition of what Free Grace Theology is, and it seems very naive of you to have thought so."

It's naive of you to think that's what I thought. What is manifestly obvious is that the covenant is intended to weed out those who are not fg so far as the FGA is concerned. I did listen to Fred and he said "Our goal with the covenant was for it to allow room, but not so much that that the errant extremes would feel comfortable joining." I think an LS proponent would have a hard time agreeing to the FGA covenant in good faith. If one is willing to play word games however then virtually no statement can be written precisely enough. Now, you may think the wording of the FGA cov. is too vague but the word from Fred is that it's precise intent was weed out the "errant extremes". If I weigh your view of the cov. against the view of a founder of the FGA I'm gonna side with a founder of the FGA -- I know, how silly of me.

As I understand it your icon Zane Hodges couldn't agree to the FGA cov. so you'll understand my surprise that you could. I am however not a judge of your heart, and CB accepted you, so will leave that to the Lord and not lose any sleep over it.

March 14, 2008 7:17 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Antonio,

You said,

"This is not surprising as you have stated that up until the middle of last year that you had not even known about this position!"

First of all, neither of us said that we did not even know about the Free Grace position. That's ridiculous. Stephen indicated that he had not studied much detail on the position. There is quite a difference. Besides that, I myself have known about it for quite some time, as I told Gene on Lou's blog (which I'm sure you read). I would say that I have been aware of the two opposing positions of LS and FG for about 15 years. But even if not, people can "know" about something their whole lives and not really understand it, whereas one could have just found out about something 2 weeks ago and understand it very well. This is especially true with a theological position that merely requires a lot of reading/study that could easily be done sufficiently over the course of a few days. So your attempt to slam either or both of us for the amount of time that we have been aware of the position fails no matter which way you slice it.

You said,

"It is manifestly obvious that the covenant is NOT a definition of what Free Grace Theology is, and it seems very naive of you to have thought so."

And,

"Do a little more research before you make the uninformed claim that this covenant is the sine-qua-non of Free Grace theology."

I haven't seen anyone anywhere make this claim. Maybe you should "do a little more research" before you make an uninformed claim that someone else has made a claim.

While Stephen can obviously speak for himself, I will say that he wasn't saying the FGA defines Free Grace theology. But for you to say that a Lordshipper could join the Free Grace Alliance in any kind of good conscience is utter nonsense. I suppose, if a Lordshipper is keen on twisting and redefining terms like you do so frequently, then perhaps they could join. But even then, I would think the very name of the organization would be hard for them to get past. It seems it is you who is "not listening" to Fred when he notes that the FGA covenant has "obvious meaning[s]".

Can you produce something specific from or about H. Wayne House (or any other FGA members) that indicates that they are Lordship?

March 14, 2008 7:19 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Regarding my view of the distinctives of FG theology: first, let me quote myself from my comment to Gene on Lou's blog when he asked a similar question:

"However, there does not appear to be any official list of the essentials of FG theology. Rene Lopez mentioned in an article of his last year that FG theology has been pretty loosely defined and still lacks clear definition. Perhaps this debate will lead to more clarity. But my point is that I see no reason to accept your list of 'essentials' of FG theology when there are many different lists, some which may include items that you might not agree with."

Beyond that, what I see as the most prominent feature of FG theology as opposed to others (especially LS) is not requiring anything upfront for salvation other than faith in the gospel, as well as the believer being able to have assurance of their salvation from the moment it is given. Any works-based religion obviously cannot give immediate assurance, and LS seems to require total commitment, surrender, etc. upfront. Another distinctive I see of FG is the belief that Christians can backslide, sin for a long time, etc. and still be saved. I think one aspect of this that is debated by FGers is whether or not a Christian can apostasize. Some say yes, some say no. So I don't think an answer either way on the apostasy issue includes or excludes someone from FG.

So those are the main distinctives I see coming from FG leaders. There may be more, but that's all I can pull off the top of my head. And I would say I agree with these I have listed. Thus, at the least, I consider myself significantly more FG than LS. But as I said above, there doesn't seem to be any consensus "sine qua non" of FG theology. Also as I said, perhaps this whole debate will cause that to change.

March 14, 2008 7:34 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Btw, I'd just like to point out that Stephen and I did NOT read each other's posts... we were posting completely separately.

Just another reason I love being married to my best friend. :-)

March 14, 2008 7:41 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

----------
You assert "The Bible says that we must believe in Him. Believe in Him for what? For eternal life."

Where precisely does it say this, Diane? So far, despite many attempts, no one has been able to demonstrate a single verse or passage that says that explicitly.
----------

1 Timothy 1:16
"However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a patter to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life"

Paul is an example of all who are going to place their faith in Jesus Christ for the express purpose of receiving everlasting life.

The preposition "for" is a translation of the Greek "eis". According to Daniel B. Wallace, in Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, the preposition, "eis" when used with the accusative (which it is in this case!), as it is here, has the "basic use" of "purpose" with the translations of "for, in order to" and even "to", which would be a rough translation in English in this situation, yet still denotes purpose.

The purpose for which one places their faith in Jesus is to receive everlasting life. In other words, those who believe on Jesus do so for the purpose of appropriating the everlasting life that Jesus everywhere promises in the only evangelistic book in the Bible, the gospel of John.

So there. It is here explicit.

Furthermore, in the understanding of the phrase "pisteuo eis" in the gospel of John, translated "believe in", it is explicit. Believing in someone always has a specific import and purpose.

The following is taken from this article: Do You Believe this? An Amalgam of Pertinent Considerations

1 Timothy 1:16
However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe in Him [Jesus] for eternal life.


"The apostle Paul sums up what Martha, and every Christian, believes when they come to faith in Christ: "However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life" (1 Timothy 1:16). In order to be saved, we must believe on Jesus for everlasting life. On the basis of His death and resurrection, He always fulfills His guarantee to give everlasting life to all who believe in Him for it. Martha did not decide to believe in Jesus for eternal life. She was convinced of the truth of what Jesus said and hence she believed in Him in the biblical sense." (Bob Wilkin, Saving Faith in Focus, Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society)

Throughout the Johannine gospel, John uses the technical phrase denoting saving faith, "pisteuw eis" ("believe in"), in other words, believe in Jesus. Whenever, in any language, someone uses the phrase "believe in" something, the context determines what is the content of that belief.

There are no exceptions!

A quarterback telling a wide receiver, "I believe in you"
(quarterback trusts wide receiver that he can make the play)

A father telling his wife, "I believe in the babysitter"
(father trusts that the babysitter is qualified to take care of his children)

A passenger telling another, "I believe in the airline pilot"
(passenger trusts that the pilot is qualified to take care of his air travel)

A Narcotics Anonymous participant telling a friend, "I believe in the program"
(NA participant trusts that the program works)

The candidate for class president telling the assembly of students, "Believe in me!"
(prospective executive asking the student body to trust him to exceed their expectations in getting the job done)

The teenager telling his folks as he takes the family car out for the day, "Believe in me!"
(teen is asking that they trust him for the well-being of the car)

Jesus says, "whoever believes in Me will not perish but has everlasting life. The one who believes in Me will live. The one who believes in Me shall never die, even into eternity."

Why the disconnect?!!

The context is eternal well-being, and Jesus is saying He is the Savior from perishing and the Guarantor of eternal life! Whoever trusts in Him as the one guaranteeing that they will never perish, but have eternal life, will never perish but have eternal life. The gospel of John is full of these passages and contexts. When He says, "Whoever believes in me shall never perish but have everlasting life" the context is clear. He is eliciting trust in Him FOR the guarantee that they will not perish and FOR everlasting life.

This is the meaning of "believe in" Him in those many contexts in the gospel of John. Jesus is saying, "Believe in Me!", in other words, "Trust Me for your eternal well-being!" There is no other way to take these passages and contexts. You will injure simple interpretation of them by taking them in any other way. Jesus is seeking to get them to rely upon Him for their eternal destinies. He shows Himself authoritative so that people will trust Him.

If I said "I believe in the babysitter" in the context of going out for the evening with my wife, let it be known I certainly mean that I am entrusting the well-fare of my children to the babysitter. When Jesus says that "...whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life" (Jn 3:16) the context is clear. He wants us to entrust our eternal destiny to Him. If I do believe in Him, as the John 3:16 context shows for us, I know that I have everlasting life and will never perish, for the guarantee is inexorably linked to His promise.

Saving faith is believing in Jesus for everlasting life. It is trusting Jesus to guarantee your eternal well-being.

We all agree that saving faith is believing in Jesus. But that statement is useless and worthless without a context. When I say I believe in the babysitter, I don't mean I trust her with my taxes or medical diagnosis! Believing in the babysitter has an irreducible content based upon the context. And that is that you trust the care of your children into her hands.

The same with believing in Jesus. It is as simple as trusting your eternal care into His hands.

March 14, 2008 7:47 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

I wrote:
---------
"It is manifestly obvious that the covenant is NOT a definition of what Free Grace Theology is, and it seems very naive of you to have thought so."

"Do a little more research before you make the uninformed claim that this covenant is the sine-qua-non of Free Grace theology."
----------

Which caused Rachel to respond in this way:
----------
I haven't seen anyone anywhere make this claim. Maybe you should "do a little more research" before you make an uninformed claim that someone else has made a claim.
----------

But didn't Stephen state:

All I have time for at this moment is that I agree wholeheartedly with and have signed the FGA covenant without any of the word games that I believe you must play to claim you agree with it. Apparently I satisfy their def. [which in this context, would be the FGA covenant] of free grace.

Antonio

March 14, 2008 7:56 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Rachel has written:
----------
However, there does not appear to be any official list of the essentials of FG theology
----------

There may be no "official" list, but a position without distinctives distinguishing itself from other positions, is no position at all.

Rachel writes:
----------
Beyond that, what I see as the most prominent feature of FG theology as opposed to others (especially LS) is not requiring anything upfront for salvation other than faith in the gospel,
----------
Many people claim this but do not consider themselves Free Grace.

Rachel continues:
----------
as well as the believer being able to have assurance of their salvation from the moment it is given.
----------
I would agree with this statement as given, but again, this is not inherently Free Grace, for I believe that it is not a sufficient statement on assurance, properly distinguishing itself from other positions that say roughly the same thing. This statement is not distinctly Free Grace.

I have a very important question for you though:

Please tell me specifically how one is to come to the conclusion of having certian assurance of one's salvation. How, specifically, is one able to have assurance of their salvation the moment it is given?

Rachel continues:
----------
Any works-based religion obviously cannot give immediate assurance, and LS seems to require total commitment, surrender, etc. upfront.
----------
I don't have any arguements here :)

Rachel continues:
----------
Another distinctive I see of FG is the belief that Christians can backslide, sin for a long time, etc. and still be saved.
----------
Reformed people believe the same thing. Note the Westminster Confession XVII.III. After already speaking of one's eternal security it states:

"Nevertheless, they may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalency of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins; and, for a time continue therein: whereby they incur God's displeasure, and grieve his Holy Spirit, come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts, have their hearts hardened, and their consciences wounded; hurt and scandalize others, and bring temporal judgements upon themselves."

This statement from Westminster directly corresponds to what you have suggested is a distinctive of Free Grace theology.

In light of all of this information, I submit, Rachel, that just because you believe that assurance is possible at the time someone is born again, doesn't make you a Free Grace proponent. I also submit that the belief that one has the mere ability to have assurance on the day he is born again is not distinctively Free Grace, and is really not a sufficient statement about assurance from a Free Grace perspective.

Furthermore, the discussion of backsliding, as you have given it, is also not distinctively Free Grace as has been shown by a simple quote from Westminster.

I am left with the impression that you and your husband have a less than general understanding of Free Grace theology, and submit again that I do not believe that either of you may be accurately described as Free Grace Theology advocates.

Antonio

March 14, 2008 8:36 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Antonio...

AMEN to your wonderful explanation of what it means to believe in Him!!! Your illustrations were great!!! It's always been obvious to me that it's to believe in Him for eternal life, and that's before I knew much of anything. I understood that wonderful truth way, way back when I was first saved as a teenager. I didn't need any explanation from any theologians to help me understand that. I just read John 3:16 and my eyes were open. But I loved the way you helped explain it so well. It'll help me to explain it to others who have questions.

I can't help but wonder WHY all this resistance from BELIEVERS to this truth? I wonder what's in the minds of those Christians who themselves believed in Jesus alone for eternal life, yet now are fighting against that very truth? It's puzzling to me!!! I can understand resistance from unbelievers, but puzzled by the resistance of believers???

I want everyone out there to know that I'm not in this to win an argument. Jesus is my Savior. I am in awe of what He did to save me!!! I never want to loose focus that He's with me now. This discussion is about HIM. May Jesus Christ alone be lifted up and praised at all times. Yes even tonight... even here in my little study as I type these words. Wherever you are who are reading this, praise Him and lets all remember He's not just a name to debate about. He's living and powerful and at work in our lives, and He is transforming us from glory to glory as we look into the mirror of scripture with and open and honest heart to hear Him.
To Him alone be all the glory and praise!!!

Rejoicing in Him tonight!
Diane :-)

March 14, 2008 9:37 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Antonio,

Yes, Stephen said,

"All I have time for at this moment is that I agree wholeheartedly with and have signed the FGA covenant without any of the word games that I believe you must play to claim you agree with it. Apparently I satisfy their def. [i.e. the FGA's def] of free grace."

I don't see anything in there saying that the FGA has completely and utterly defined "Free Grace". Please reread Fred's words that Stephen quoted: "Our goal with the covenant was for it to allow room, but not so much that that the errant extremes would feel comfortable joining." Clearly the FGA was not defining every jot and tittle of fG theology, yet they did set some boundaries. That's all Stephen was saying.

Face it, Stephen never said what you claimed he said. Move on.

March 14, 2008 11:14 PM  
Blogger knetknight said...

diane said: "I can't help but wonder WHY all this resistance from BELIEVERS to this truth?"

Like you Diane, we stand for what we believe the Bible says. It's really that simple. Convince me the Bible says otherwise and Bob's your uncle. There's no conspiracy or bitterness here, I'm chucklin' up a storm here tonight, but we have a doctrinal disagreement about a critical doctrine, THE critical doctrine if you ask me which is precisely why BOTH sides are very passionate about this. I like what Fred said about us at Lou's place... spirited but gracious. It's a serious discussion, but not a personal one.

antonio said: "But didn't Stephen state: [blah blah blah] Apparently I satisfy their def. [which in this context, would be the FGA covenant] of free grace."

Yep, and that's true. "Apparently I satisfy THEIR def." [emphasis added], which is admittedly somewhat broad as Fred said "... to allow room, but not so much that the errant extremes would feel comfortable joining." Again, I only claimed to meet THEIR def., so why the disconnect?

Now, I may not meet YOUR peculiar def. (which I suppose plays some part in why I'm not on your blog team yet???) but so what.

Do you consider Ryrie fg? If you do, I'm seriously thinkin' you're gonna have to wrap your arms around me and start feelin' some love.

Okay, you've posed a lot of info and we're diggin' into the books now to see if what you say has any merit. You know, Berean stuff. I'll give you a preview though... 1 Timothy 1:16... not as explicit as you claim. Besides, it's not John and every good fundie FGer knows that if it's not in John it doesn't count. ;-)

Spirited but gracious,
Stephen

March 14, 2008 11:19 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Antonio,

Let's try this. What do you think are the distinctives of Free Grace theology?

Here's another one - who gets to decide whose distinctives are required? That's my point in saying that there is no "official" list. Several people have different lists - why is yours the "right" one?

Another question - do you consider Ryrie and Lightner to be Free Grace?

March 14, 2008 11:29 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Antonio,

Just to add to my point about the differing lists of FG distinctives - what I'm trying to get you to realize is that there is a range, a spectrum of these beliefs. Sort of like Darrel Bock saying he is "soft lordship". One can consider themselves "Free Grace" w/o being required to accept the extreme version of Hodges.

I've spent some time tonight reading through the salvation/assurance sections of Ryrie's Basic Theology, Lightner's Sin, the Savior, and Salvation, and other miscellaneous statements from them and others online. I see nothing from these leading FG folks that I have not stated here. And I see several comments from them that are in direct opposition to many of the views you hold and espouse. I'll post some of them later. But the point is that I agree with everything I'm reading from "traditional", well-established and accepted Free Grace men. So if you think I am not FG, then neither is Ryrie, or Lightner, etc. It is becoming quite apparent that you hold an extreme position on soteriology, and I will not let your extremist position define my view.

March 15, 2008 12:11 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Very quickly,

Asking if Ryrie is Free Grace is like asking if John McCain is a Republican.

There can be a case made for and against both.

"Faith and works are like a two-coupon ticket to heaven. The coupon of works is not good for passage, and the coupon of faith is not valid if detached from works."

Charles Ryrie, The Ryrie Study Bible, Expanded Edition, KJV Version, Page 1877, on James 2:24

Sounds like a quote straight from John MacArthur.

March 15, 2008 2:17 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Rachel or Stephen,

Please be specific to tell me how one is able, in your system and position, to have certain assurance of his salvation the day he receives it. Walk me through it please.

Thanks,

Antonio

March 15, 2008 2:21 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Rachel said...

Regarding whether or not the content of saving faith has changed, the NT speaks in many places of a "mystery" that was "hidden" until after the cross. What do you think that was?
March 14, 2008 9:05 AM

The mystery of the gospel (Eph 6:19). The gospel is clearly in the OT. So what is this mystery? Is this not the mystery of the church, Jews and Gentiles together in one body? Indeed, it is. That is the good news Paul has in mind here. By Bob Wilkins


Here are two good articles by Bob Wilkins:
http://www.faithalone.org/conference/2008/manuscripts/Wilkin%20Is%20Jesus%20Evangelistic%20Message%20Sufficient%20Today.doc


http://www.faithalone.org/conference/2008/manuscripts/Wilkin%20Gospel%20Means%20Good%20News.doc

March 15, 2008 8:05 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Alvin,

I'm so glad to see you comment. I always learn good things from you. I was hoping you would be at the GES Conference in TX a few weeks ago so that I could meet you face to face, but you weren't there. Maybe someday we'll meet.... although it might be in heaven!
:-)

May the Lord continue to use you for His glory.

Diane
:-)

March 15, 2008 9:38 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Diane

Thank you for your kind comment. I look forward to reading your posts, because you always speak the truth in love. That to me speaks volumes of your close relationship with the Lord.
I struggle in this debating to keep my flesh out of it. I'm looking forward to that day when the flesh is gone.

Blessings alvin :)

March 15, 2008 9:50 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi again Alvin,

I understand that struggle. ME TOO!!! That's why I need to pause and take time with the Lord BEFORE I write. Commenting on these blogs are only good if we do it in love and dependence on Him. I have much to learn. You're helping me with that. Glad you're out there.

Diane
:-)

March 15, 2008 10:08 PM  
Blogger knetknight said...

We've had birthday get togethers and family stuff this weekend which is has kept us disconnected. Church today, kids choir singning, you know. We'll be back soon though.

Diane, I introduced myself to you earlier and asked if you might remember our family from Calvary Bible College and Beth Haven years ago? Did you miss that or you intentionally not acknowledging me for some reason? No spirit of accusation, just trying to understand.

Spirited but gracious,
Stephen

March 16, 2008 6:40 AM  
Blogger knetknight said...

Antonio, at Sharper Iron you recently challenged Lou to "please falsify the [GES] statement that you claim is absurd by simply showing us a scripture outside of the gospel of John that is the saving message of Jesus?"

Well, earlier in this thread you directed me to 1 Tim 1:16 as an expression of the saving message that you think supports your position. Before I take the time and space to set you straight on 1 Tim 1:16, are you sure you want to acknowledge that you think there even ARE expressions of the saving message outside of John? Please clarify your view because it appears from my seat that you're standing on both both sides of the same argument.

Spirited but gracious,
Stephen

March 16, 2008 9:25 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Stephen,

I'm sorry that you didn't receive my REPLY to the e-mail you sent me at my home e-mail address. I was surprised to get it, but happy to hear from you. Since you did not receive my reply, I'm going to paste that reply here on Antonio's blog. Hope that's OK. I would never purposely ignore you. Nice to hear from you.

Here's the e-mail reply that I sent you.....

HI Stephen,

Good to hear from you. Yes, this is me. Your mom and dad are great friends.
How are they doing?

I've come to realize that I'm not going to change the mind of those who don't see it the way I do. So forgive me if I don't try here. If Antonio, Zane, Bob Wilkin and others haven't made clear these issues, I sure can't improve upon them. I do know your viewpoint very well though. The best I can do is what I said on Antonio's blog last night. I hope you will read it very carefully. I'm sure you will disagree, but at least you will understand my position and why I believe what I do.

I will be happy to share my testimony with you here.

I grew up always attending Sunday School. I always had a love for God in my own way. I believed the Bible was the Word of God, that Jesus was the Son of God, that He died on the cross and rose from the grave. I "loved" Him in the only way I knew how to love Him. But I wasn't saved. It was through the ministry of Youth For Christ that I came to understand WHY He died, and I simply believed His promise of John 3:16. I went away from that rally KNOWING beyond a shadow of doubt that I was forever saved BECAUSE of Jesus. He promised to give eternal life just by believing in Him for it. That was LONG before I ever heard of GES. Nothing has changed in my belief as far as how I got saved. Yes, I have learned a lot since that time and am still learning and growing, but I've always known that simple faith in Jesus for everlasting life is what brings a person from death to life.

I'm truly glad to hear from you. You have the sweetest mom in the whole world!!! Please give her a hug for me.

All because of His wonderful grace,
Diane
:-)

March 16, 2008 11:42 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Rachel and Steven

Here was Antonio's question to you both again. I also am interested to hear your answer.

Antonio said...
Rachel or Stephen,

Please be specific to tell me how one is able, in your system and position, to have certain assurance of his salvation the day he receives it. Walk me through it please.

Thanks,

Antonio

March 15, 2008 2:21 PM

March 16, 2008 11:58 AM  
Blogger knetknight said...

Thanks for the kind reply Diane. I didn't send you an e-mail though I do not know your private e-mail and I only posted to you on the blog here. So I'm curious to know what e-mail address it is that you received an e-mail from and replied to that appeared to be from me. Perhaps Antonio or someone else forwarded what I posted here to bring it to your attention? Regardless, Dad was over to the house yesterday and we celebrated our very near birthdays and I mentioned to him that I was fairly certain that I had run into you online. As a result, he recalled some fond high school and college stories :-)

More later. Spirited but gracious,
Stephen

March 16, 2008 12:38 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Stephen,

I don't know how I happened to receive your e-mail. Maybe Antonio or someone else just forwarded it to me because it was of a "personal" nature??? I'm glad he did that. I just responded back to you by hitting the reply button.
If you want my e-mail address, just ask Antonio for it. I'm glad for him to give it to you. Thanks so much.

Nice to hear from you.

Diane
:-)

March 16, 2008 12:59 PM  
Blogger knetknight said...

Alvin, you are the king of not answering questions so it's humorous that you of all people seem to be attempting to hold my feet to the fire on this. As I indicated earlier today, we have had a weekend full of family events that have kept me/us somewhat away from the keyboard. There is no dodge but family time comes unapologetically first.

I will get to an answer though I'm not convinced it'll be very fruitful since we use many of the same terms but with meaning that the Redefined Free Grace position (that would be you) has changed.

Further, my answer to that question does nothing to explain Antonio's seemingly contradictory statements elsewhere and I'm even less hopeful that our discourse will be fruitful if I'm not convinced he's consistent with his own arguments.

spirited but gracious
Stephen

March 16, 2008 1:08 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

From the gracious people
Stephen and Rachel

Get a grip Ant,
Indeed, Jeremy Myers ate a bit of crow on that point
Spirited but gracious,
Stephen
Alvin, you are the king of not answering questions
I like what Fred said about us at Lou's place... spirited but gracious. It's a serious discussion, but not a personal one.

I’m willing to bet Lou thinks he’s gracious to?

Webster’s New World Dictionary
Gracious 1. Having or showing kindness, courtesy, charm, etc 2. Merciful; compassionate. 3. Indulgent or polite to supposed inferiors.

March 16, 2008 4:46 PM  
Blogger knetknight said...

Antonio said: "... there are reformed Calvinists (who are inherently Lordship) who are in membership with the FGA ..." (emphasis added)

Inherently Lordship... huh.

Ryrie was a Calvinist, looks like Bob Wilkin is too, or at least he was in 1997. Now, I realize you think Ryrie is a kind of McCain of FG, though most do recognize Ryrie as FG, so I won't stop here.

The consensus is that Lewis Sperry Chaffer was a Calvinist too and at least this review thinks his Systematic Theology "... as a whole definitely belongs within the limits of Reformed theology with certain important additions and qualifications." Additions and qualifications, sure, but still within the realm. Huh, and I thought you thought so highly of Mr. LSC. Guess you'll need to issue a retraction of your articles claiming he used "refined free grace language" because he also, gasp, used reformed Calvinist language.

spirited but gracious
Stephen

March 16, 2008 5:01 PM  
Blogger knetknight said...

I like this one from dictionary.com: "Indulgent or beneficent in a pleasantly condescending way, esp. to inferiors."

I suppose whether or not I'm "pleasantly condescending" depends on your point of view, but I assure you I am withholding much sharper remarks. Besides, I've been very nice to Diane because she hasn't undermined her credibility. I'm very gracious to those who are simply ignorant or mistaken, I don't have much tolerance for those whom I perceive are being dishonest or deceptive.

spirited but gracious
Stephen

March 16, 2008 5:13 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Stephen it sounds to me your really paranoid about everything. I read through these posts and saw that Rachel’s one question was not answered. I had just read something on that subject by Bob Wilkin so that’s why I answered Rachel’s question. Being that I had interrupted Antonio’s question to you is why I reposted it, not to hold your feet to the fire but just to be polite to Antonio. Also you showed your paranoia about Dianes e-mail. When your answering someones question to you, if your not going to be gracious to them don’t sign off like you have been. I have tried to answer every question that has been asked of me. Sometimes I had five different people asking at the same time. There is NO question that I can think of that I did not try to answer, maybe not the way you thought it should have been answered but none the less I answered. And also about you being with your family today, I did not expect an answer until tomorrow. Your paranoid about everything it seems and very ungracious in your tone to everyone.

blessings alvin

March 16, 2008 6:19 PM  
Blogger knetknight said...

Laughing? Yes. Paranoid about the e-mail Diane got? Not at all. But I was genuinely curious (wouldn't you be?) and even offered a very plausible (and acceptable) explanation in the very same comment. I'm totally fine with whoever sent her the e-mail, I was obviously trying to engage Diane personally and someone else was kind enough to bring my comments to her attention, and I'm A OK with that. See, I'm happy... lots of smiley faces. :-) :-) :-) :-)

spirited but gracious
Stephen

March 16, 2008 7:05 PM  
Blogger knetknight said...

Ok, the moment you've all been waiting for... and then I'm off to cuddle with my honey and catch up on LOST season 2.

Antonio asked: "Please be specific to tell me how one is able, in your system and position, to have certain assurance of his salvation the day he receives it."

Okay, is everybody in their seats and buckled in for this jaw dropper?

I trust God to keep his promise to all who believe in Jesus for salvation.

Let the (re)definitions and (re)qualifications begin,
Stephen

March 16, 2008 7:19 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Stephen,

I want to CORRECT something that I said. I thought that someone forwarded your original message to me rather than posting it because it was of a personal nature. But I realize now that it WAS posted. Probably what happened is that I received a message of that post, and I just thought it came directly to me from you. I apologize to Antonio for saying that he probably forwarded it to me because of the personal nature of the letter. But even if he had, I wouldn't have minded that.
So it was my mistake. Just wanted to say SORRY about all the confusion.

Praising Him at all times!!!

Diane
:-)

March 16, 2008 7:20 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Stephen I should have been more clear, your paranoia showed through in this statement:

Did you miss that or you intentionally not acknowledging me for some reason? No spirit of accusation, just trying to understand.

March 16, 2008 7:44 PM  
Blogger knetknight said...

Thanks for the clarification Diane, it wouldn't have been a problem even if he or someone else had but it's nice to know what happened.

Good night,
Stephen

March 16, 2008 7:44 PM  
Blogger knetknight said...

Yes, and I ended with "No spirit of accusation, just trying to understand."

Stephen

March 16, 2008 7:45 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Rachel,

I want to apologize to you because I missed your post to me. I see now that it was posted just before Stephen's original post to me. Somehow I missed it. I'm sorry.

You said...
*I wonder, have you read the articles from Greg Schliesmann at Lou's blog regarding the definition and usage of "the gospel"? If not, I highly recommend you do so. Suffice it to say that to separate the person of Christ from the work of Christ cannot be supported biblically.*

Also you said...
*Regarding whether or not the content of saving faith has changed, the NT speaks in many places of a "mystery" that was "hidden" until after the cross. What do you think that was?*

Rachel, I appreciate your question, but in all sincerity I just don't read Lou Martuneac anymore. I've found that he doesn't really listen. He just goes on other ministry's blogs and attacks. I first realized that when I was reading GES' blog. So for that reason I don't put any stock in what he says. If I felt he was really open and honest with the text, I would consider his point of view.

Regarding your other question. I would agree with Alvin on that. He said....
*The mystery of the gospel (Eph 6:19). The gospel is clearly in the OT. So what is this mystery? Is this not the mystery of the church, Jews and Gentiles together in one body? Indeed, it is. That is the good news Paul has in mind here. By Bob Wilkins*

He also said...
*Here are two good articles by Bob Wilkins:*
http://www.faithalone.org/conference/2008/manuscripts/Wilkin%20Is%20Jesus%20Evangelistic%20Message%20Sufficient%20Today.doc

http://www.faithalone.org/conference/2008/manuscripts/Wilkin%20Gospel%20Means%20Good%20News.doc
END OF ALVIN'S QUOTES

I would say more if I thought it would be profitable, but I think it would just be redundant.

I'm glad that Stephan has a good wife, and I'm glad you've both been blessed with wonderful children. As a grandmother, I know how much that means to both your parents. Children are truly a blessing from God.... and a double blessing for grandparents.

I wish you God's very best in your life.

In Jesus' love,
Diane
:-)

March 16, 2008 8:00 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Stephen you said:
I trust God to keep his promise to all who believe in Jesus for salvation.

Stephen that sounds like John 6:47
Most assuredly I tell you he who believes in Me has eternal life.

Your simply taking God at His word according to your reply.

Here is something Bob Wilkin said:
But What About the Practical Problems That Arise?

There really are no practical problems in sharing His evangelistic message if we are seeking to please the Lord Jesus Christ and do what He told us to do.

Look at the following seeming practical problems and see if you can’t see why they really aren’t problems at all.

But that isn’t the way we’ve always done it. So?
But that isn’t the historic teaching of the church. So?
But that would mean a person could be born again by faith in Jesus and yet not have a completely orthodox view of His person and work. So?
But that would mean that someone might be born again without knowing precisely why it is that Jesus indeed is able to give eternal life to the believer. So?
But I don’t like that message. So?
But I think that is leaving out important stuff. So?
But that isn’t the message the Lord used to lead me to faith in Christ. So?
But if that’s true, then my testimony is wrong. So change it!

Stephen, I'm one who had to change my testimony! Because at age 12 I thought I had to walk an isle before I would be saved. At the time I knew I was a sinner in need of a Saviour, and I believed that Jesus was the Saviour but I thought I had to do something like walk an isle before He would save me. It wasn't until I read Zane Hodges book "Absolutely Free" that I understood for the first time that eternal life was a free gift and that discipleship was seperate and had to do with rewards. That's when I first understood that it really was a gift, and had NOTHING to do with what I would do for Jesus.
blessings alvin

March 16, 2008 8:28 PM  
Blogger knetknight said...

diane said: "I've come to realize that I'm not going to change the mind of those who don't see it the way I do."

I understand. I am a bit more optimistic however because I have changed my mind repeatedly over the years, even in recent months, and so believe that others can be coaxed to do so as well even if it takes a long time. No one who knows Rachel and I very well will argue that we're stuck in blind tradition.

alvin and diane both said something like: go read this stuff by BW.

I have spent some time today reading through his and some other articles in the conference folder you linked to. fwiw, I generally liked Bob Wilkin's article about being a Berean. I am obviously at odds with his soteriological conclusions, not his philosophy. I've taken to heart some things he said from when he came to our church last year. i.e. I'm clearer on the gospel now than I've ever been in my life, though I obviously disagree with Dr Bob on what exactly that is. I'm driven by truth, not tradition, and have even read atheist books to understand the strengths and weaknesses of their arguments. What Rachel and I have found is the truth has nothing to fear from lies. Our willingness to ask hard questions of our beliefs have shaped and strengthened our faith considerably; has prepared us to give our kids and others thoughtful answers on why/what we believe. This is why it slays me when someone slaps a "fundamentalist" label on me as if it's a pejorative. I am a fundamentalist in the sense of definition 1 here but not in the pejorative sense that some use to imply that I stick my head in the sand to new ideas "just because". I won't be blown about by every wind of doctrine either so if you ask me to change my mind you're gonna have to pony up some proof.

You mentioned exchanging e-mail addresses earlier, the simplest way would be for you to go to and use the form to send us a message. We have some photos of the kids and family too here

It'd be nice to catch up and hope to hear from you,

spirited but gracious,
Stephen

March 17, 2008 11:29 AM  
Blogger knetknight said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 17, 2008 1:40 PM  
Blogger knetknight said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 17, 2008 1:43 PM  
Blogger knetknight said...

er, the links at the end of my last post got a bit flubbed so here it is cleaned up.

You [Diane] mentioned exchanging e-mail addresses earlier, the simplest way would be for you to go to our web site and use the to send us a message with your e-mail address in it. We have some photos of the kids and family online too.

March 17, 2008 1:47 PM  
Blogger knetknight said...

Sorry about the multiple posts. The links looked fine in "preview" mode each time but get jumbled as soon as I publish the comment even though I don't change anything. Odd... I'm very paranoid about why that's happening and I'm absolutely sure it's a conspiracy. ;-)

Tongue in cheek,
Stephen

March 17, 2008 1:50 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Stephen

Stephen you said:
I trust God to keep his promise to all who believe in Jesus for salvation.

Alvin said:
I understood for the first time that eternal life was a free gift and that discipleship was seperate and had to do with rewards. That's when I first understood that it really was a gift, and had NOTHING to do with what I would do for Jesus.

Someone reading our posts could easily come to the conclusion that we are believing the same thing "in Jesus to keep His promise" do you agree?
Antonio's question had to do with assurance.

So I will explain why I have complete assurance.
Jesus has promised that the one who drinks (believes) the living water that He freely gives as a gift will NEVER thirst again. And this invitation has been given to anyone who desires to take freely of. That's me! Jesus has also stated in many places that the one who believes will NEVER perish but has eternal life. And that also has passed from death to life and will not come into judgment. Therefore based upon these promises to the believer (that's me)I have full assurance of my eternal destiny. As I have stated up above it has NOTHING to do with what I may or may not do for Jesus from that time forward but is completely to do with the giving and receiving of a gift. If there were other conditions I could NOT have full assurance UNTIL those conditions are met. But being that I believe the gift that Jesus offers freely is truly a gift I have been fully convinced of my eternal destiny!

Stephen would you now articulate the reason for your assurance?

This way people can really tell if we are on the same page.

I'm on my way to work now, so have a good night.
alvin

March 17, 2008 3:03 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

You know what, John MacArthur has provided 9 distinctives of Lordship salvation. He presents each of those distinctives for what they are, then contrasts them with the FG position (or as he calls it, "easy-believism"). I think it's a pretty good list for both sides. I would say if you agree with his LS points there, then you're LS. OTOH, if you agree with the FG counters that he presents there (maybe with slight modifications since they come from an anti-FGer), then you're FG.

Beyond this, if you think that Ryrie isn't FG (and probably Lightner too), I don't see the point in continuing this part of the discussion. I don't know anyone who has made the case that Ryrie isn't FG except you. You're defining FG by your extreme version, and no position is ever rightly defined by the extremes.

March 18, 2008 7:14 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Hi Diane,

No problem on missing my question.

Actually the articles I was referring to were not written by Lou, they were written by Greg Schliesmann. Lou simply posted Greg's articles at his blog. They are excellent, I really do recommend you read them.

"The Technical Meaning of the Term 'The Gospel'" by Greg Schliesmann

March 18, 2008 1:55 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Antonio,

I no longer see any value in discussing with you anything related to Free Grace and the Crossless gospel. You have now lost all credibility. You have shown yourself to lack integrity in these discussions.

First you stole our words and twisted them at your blog w/o even telling us, you have ignored several of our questions previously and in this thread, you make claims about things that were never said, you constantly use pejorative labels that don't even apply, you were (and still are) completely dishonest about the sock puppet "FG Me", you've completely ignored your obviously contradictory statements about 1 Tim. 1:16, and now you've set yourself up as the one who decides who is "really" FG and who isn't and have consequently excluded pretty much everyone who doesn't agree with your extreme brand of FG to the extent that you are now saying that even Ryrie isn't FG.

This has gotten ridiculous, Antonio. If anyone is a Fundamentalist here, it's you, as you don't seem interested in the truth, but merely being right, winning, and insisting that everyone agree with your extreme views. I can't speak for anyone else, but as far as I'm concerned you have lost all credibility, and I see no reason to continue responding to you.

March 18, 2008 2:27 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

This was from the gracious one:

Well, earlier in this thread you directed me to 1 Tim 1:16 as an expression of the saving message that you think supports your position. Before I take the time and space to set you straight on 1 Tim 1:16, are you sure you want to acknowledge that you think there even ARE expressions of the saving message outside of John? Please clarify your view because it appears from my seat that you're standing on both both sides of the same argument.

In 1 Tim 1:16 it is pretty obvious that Paul is NOT giving an invitation here to believe in Jesus for eternal life, but is stating what he had believed in Jesus for which is a pattern for every believer. Just as Paul if you have never believed Jesus offer of eternal life (if you knew the gift of God) then as of yet you have not believed in Jesus for His gift. Jesus told the women at the well "if you knew the gift of God." (John 4:10).
And Antonio's credibility is fully in tact, and truth!

blessings alvin

March 18, 2008 4:08 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Just a short comment about Ryrie. I had a real question about Ryrie when at a conference he was asked if he believed that a person needed to believe in eternal security in order to be saved. He would not commit himself one way or the other. John 3:16;5:24;6:47etc are the essence of eternal security. And assurance is of the essence of saving faith.

goodnight
alvin

March 18, 2008 4:31 PM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Hi ANotnio.

Wow, this discussion has just gone on and on since I left my comment. I have gotten all the emails notifications of the comments, but just haven't taken the time to come back.

Hey Stephen,
I think I have a perfect point in saying that this is theoretical. I am not sure if I have exactly seen *you* say this, but those with whom you seem to mostly agree - admit that the RFGers preach the same thing that you do, right? You do stipulate to the fact that Antonio and Wilkin (or anyone else you guys have "marked") preach the cross and ressurection? Yes, you do. So... this is why I say this is a spaz attack over a "theory."

Wilkin and co. say that the bullseye of evangelism - the thing that actually brings eternal life - is believing in Jesus for eternal life. They surround this bullseye with all the things that you seem to include as part and parcel of saving faith... wonderful and powerful information about Jesus' person and His work. So what is the difference? You theorize that the person was born again through believing the bullseye *and* the surrounding things on the target. They theorize that the actual moment of the new birth happened right around the simple bullseye - faith in Jesus for eternal life.

Either way, you both have the same overall picture - the same big target. You just differ on what exact thing brings the new birth. I see this as a discussion of theory and I think I am well-grounded in saying that.

It sure seems that some people have been very antagonistic over it... over-reactive. I just wanted to offer my explanation for my use of the word "theory." I am not just emptily repeating that... without "reason."

March 19, 2008 7:02 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Rachel,
I don't get your last comment at all. I have read all the comments as they have come in. I did not see Antonio say that Ryrie wasn't FG. He said a case could be made either way. Personally, I really like Ryrie. I have his study bible in the NAS... it is my "take it to church" Bible. So Sunday I looked up his footnotes on James, because I couldn't remember reading what Antonio said he said there. Sure enough - it is there- salvation is a two coupon ticket. That really surprised me. My sensitivity to LS has become heightened recently - in the last few years - so I suppose that is why it did not jump out at me when I read it in the past - which I am sure I have.

Either way, you say Antonio has "lost all credibility." What a harsh thing to say. Even I didn't say that to Lou M. when I thought he had. Maybe you should try to be a little more gracious in your words... like you might try saying, "Antonio, this could affect your credibility." You wouldn't sound so over-reactive.

Also - as to the overarching theme of this whole discusison in these last few weeks about the FG "teething" and FGA covenant etc.. you might want to consider that Antonio has been an avid "Free-Gracer" for years now. He has worn that label so prominently and proudly. When he first started blogging about three years ago - I had never heard the label "Free-Grace" before that - and the Calvinists that I was blogging near seemed very scornful of it, so I became cautious. I remember I put his link on my blogroll and instead of calling his blog what he called it "Free-Grace Theology" - I called it "Antonio's Blog." He emailed me and asked me why I couldn't just call his blog what he was calling it like everyone else's blog on my blogroll. He wanted to identify himself that way - with the label FREE GRACER. He also would visit Pyromaniacs and post a link to his blog saying "Visit my FREE GRACE THEOLOGY blog" - he got a lot of scorn for that too. The point is, he has worn this label proudly and received scorn for it for a number of years.

Then... people like you and Lou, who, like me, had never identified yourselves by this label, want to come in and start fighting him over what Free-Gracers "ought" to believe and getting in his face on these blogs. I can see why he would find that unseemly and would start to question that. Can't you?

Perhaps if you just shifted away from the context of a "Free-Grace" battle and over into a "Christain" argument it would make more sense. Like if you would say you just wanted to discuss this as Bible believers, which you both obviously are, it would be more seemly, especially coming from Lou.

The sock-puppet thing is silly and immature IMO. There is no way Lou can know who left those comments. I might have left them for all he knows. To keep bringing it up is ridiculous. Blogging allows for such things and as long as someone is not saying awful things or slandering someone, what is the big deal if you know who is saying it? I read all the comments in question and I did not undersatnd why you started asking that poster if he was Antonio - it seemed really evasive. Why couldn't you all just discuss something without having to bring up "personalities" and baiting Lou's personal resentment of Antonio, with that poor poster as the casualty, whoever he/she was. I would not have brought that up, but I have thought it ever since - and now you have brought it up - so I wanted to tell you what I thought.

I know I have rambled, but I hope I have perhaps given you some food for thought - at least of how these things seem from my point of view.

March 19, 2008 7:30 AM  
Blogger knetknight said...

Alvin, do the phrases "white washed sepulcher" and "brood of vipers" ring any bells for you? Who said those things Alvin? Do you criticize Jesus for being ungracious? There is biblical precedent that there are times when it's appropriate, necessary even, to ditch being lovey-dovey. I'm not saying Antonio is a Pharisee, but I think the principle of Jesus' rebukes are rightly applied to him, and thus my tone. You are not Antonio so I will be more gracious toward you. I will be similarly gracious to Antonio if he confesses his wrong doing.

alvin said: "Stephen would you now articulate the reason for your assurance?"

Sure,

"I trust God to keep his promise to all who believe in Jesus for salvation."

That's the answer I gave earlier -- I have believed in Jesus for my salvation and I am assured of it because I trust God to keep his promise. John 3:16, 6:47, 1 Tim 1:16 -- you know, the same verses you use.

The difference my friend is that we disagree on what it means to "believe in Jesus". Our premise is that that biblical phrase, understood as intended, conveys ontological and theological truths that are inseparable.

alvin said: "In 1 Tim 1:16 it is pretty obvious that Paul is NOT giving an invitation here to believe in Jesus for eternal life, but is stating what he had believed in Jesus for which is a pattern for every believer."

The question is simply whether or not it's an explicit expression of the saving message outside of John. Antonio claimed in this thread that it is, while at Sharper Iron he was arguing that such did not exist. That's logically inconsistent no matter how you slice it so I asked Antonio to clarify his view and resolve the contradiction. If he does acquiesce to 1 Tim 1:16 being an expression of the saving message outside of John I'll proceed to demonstrate that 1 Tim 1:16 carries a load of contextual information that nullifies his specific claim anyway. No need to do that though if he doesn't think it even is such an expression, which is why HE needs to resolve the contradiction -- you can't do that for him.

Stephen

March 19, 2008 9:04 AM  
Blogger knetknight said...

Rose, the sock puppet thing is relevant in that he rails against Lou for having done the same thing. Lou was wrong for doing that and he as admitted it. The diff is that Lou has confessed and even publicly apologized. If Antonio would do the same he would be forgiven. I am a network admin Rose and it's my job on occasion to investigate who did what and when for purposes of enforcing work policy. Anyone in my line of work worth his salt knows that there are ways to know who did what and where. It's only an issue in regards to Antonio because he won't admit it.

March 19, 2008 9:15 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Stephen,
I would enjoy seeing where Antonio 'railed against LM' for doing the FlyGuy thing. As far as I can tell, Antonio only brought that up after LM hypocritically tried to pin the same on him.

Just so you know, I was the one who emailed LM when I saw FlyGuy posting last summer. I was pretty sure, but not 100%, (by looking at sitemeter) that it was LM. So I emailed LM and kindly told him that I thought he should leave Antonio alone. He replied by asking me what I was talking about. I told him that I had a 'technical means' for knowing that he was FlyGuy. He replied by asking me if I could help him catch someone else doing this on another venue! LM never 'confessed' or expressed "sorrow over this sin" to me, that is for certain. (Not that I thought the anonymous posting was any big deal in and of itself; I didn't.)

Furthermore - LM kept harrassing Antonio, even when Antonio was in India on a missions trip... with his family at home.... having to read Lou's nasty comments on his personal blog - the missions trip blog no less!!! It was dreadful to have read those comments at that time.

That is why it all seemed so hypocritical and "convenient" for LM to apologize when he thrust the hand of judgement upon Antonio.

As for the apology: anyone reading that could see that LM only apologized because he wanted to enjoy the "privilege" of accusing someone else (A). That is sure how it seemed to me ayways.

Like I said: very immature.

Enough said about such a silly thing. I can't believe the threat either: "I am going to refer to you as a link unitl you confess." Just plain childish. I would think, being a mentally healthy person yourself, you can probably see this too.

Also - since you didn't rebutt me, I will asuume that you see my point about why I use the word "theory." :~)

March 19, 2008 9:44 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Rose,

Your post is lengthy, but I will address every point that I feel needs correcting or that I need to answer. Thus, this post will be lengthy as well.

You said,

I did not see Antonio say that Ryrie wasn't FG. He said a case could be made either way.

Yes, he said a case could be made either way, then went on to provide a point toward making the case that Ryrie is NOT FG. I think it's pretty evident that Antonio thinks Ryrie isn't FG. Until he comes out and says that Ryrie is in fact FG, the evidence indicates that Antonio thinks Ryrie is NOT FG. Have you seen him say otherwise?

You said,

Either way, you say Antonio has "lost all credibility." What a harsh thing to say. Even I didn't say that to Lou M. when I thought he had. Maybe you should try to be a little more gracious in your words... like you might try saying, "Antonio, this could affect your credibility." You wouldn't sound so over-reactive.

It may be harsh, but it is absolutely true. Frankly, I don't care what you have or haven't said to Lou. If you think he's lost all credibility, maybe you should tell him. I've been significantly patient with Antonio, engaging him on many topics and discussions when others have quit. I have interacted with his points and answered his questions. He has done nothing like that with me.

If I said what you suggested, "this could affect your credibility", that would be inaccurate, regardless of how much better it would sound to you. All the things I listed, and more, don't merely have the possibility of affecting his credibility, they already have. I've given Antonio lots of chances to be honest in many ways, and he's failed them all. I don't have the time to continue on with someone who so obviously avoids any question or discussion that he can't easily win. Read over my list again and tell me if any of them are untrue.

As far as being "gracious", maybe Jesus should have been more "gracious" as he blasted the Pharisees over and over, and Peter when he railed on the false teachers in 2 Peter 2, and David when he said he couldn't wait till someone took his enemies' little kids and threw them on the rocks. Sorry, but clearly there is a time for "gracious" and a time for dishonor. I've given Antonio double-overtime on the gracious part, and now he's run out of time. He has shown a pattern of evasion, dishonesty, and unreasonableness, as well as an unwillingness to even consider other arguments. His comments drip of arrogance and condescension. Discussing anything with him has become an utter waste of time.

And to be honest, I don't see how me saying that he's lost all credibility is particularly "harsh". All it means is that I don't have any reason to even listen to and interact with him anymore, based on his past patterns. "Harsh" would be calling him names, yelling, making rude comments, etc. I've done none of that. But I will not back away from the truth and from stating it as such merely to make someone feel better.

You said,

Then... people like you and Lou, who, like me, had never identified yourselves by this label, want to come in and start fighting him over what Free-Gracers "ought" to believe and getting in his face on these blogs. I can see why he would find that unseemly and would start to question that. Can't you?

You have this completely backwards. I have NEVER "[gotten] in his face". It is ridiculous for you to even suggest that. If anyone gets in people's faces, it's Antonio. And I NEVER "want to come in and start fighting him over what Free-Gracers 'ought' to believe". Rose, you said you read all the comments in this thread. Reread them and tell me, who is the one saying what FGers "ought" to believe? Who is the one insisting that people have to believe x or else they're not FG? Who is the one naming people and saying they aren't FG? Not me. I've never once said that someone wasn't FG or that someone had to believe something in particular to be FG. Antonio is the one doing all that, he's the one that brought all that up about FG distinctives and saying I'm not FG, blah blah. (As an aside, we received an email from Bob Wilkin just yesterday and he named off all of ONE distinctive for FG.)

And I'm sorry, but it just doesn't matter who's been FG longer or whatever. I honestly find this very pedantic. It's like you're saying, "Antonio gets to say who's FG because he's been one longer and people said bad things about him for it!" Again, he's the one complaining about who's FG and who's not. Not me.

Perhaps if you just shifted away from the context of a "Free-Grace" battle and over into a "Christain" argument it would make more sense. Like if you would say you just wanted to discuss this as Bible believers, which you both obviously are, it would be more seemly, especially coming from Lou.

Indeed. Not once did I say I wanted to discuss as "free grace" or not. As I said above, it is Antonio who has insisted on turning this into a "free grace" battle. He's the one constantly drawing the lines in the sand over who is fg and who's not, and implying that we can't be part of this discussion if we're not (as evidenced by his attempt to exclude us from discussing the FGA covenant on the basis of us not being in the FGA). Perhaps you should direct your comments here to Antonio instead, as they don't apply to me.

And why do you bring up Lou here? I'm not Lou, I don't speak for him. If you have something to say to Lou, then say it to him. But don't blast me for whatever problems you have with Lou.

You said,

The sock-puppet thing is silly and immature IMO. There is no way Lou can know who left those comments. I might have left them for all he knows.

Sorry, but you don't really know what you're talking about here. We know it was Antonio. There is incriminating evidence that you know not of. I'm quite sure Antonio has checked with his computer friends and they have no doubt verified to him that we're exactly right. And as I've said numerous times already, if it wasn't him, he would've been denying it to high heaven. He's been given multiple opportunities to simply admit it, and refuses. That is a major issue for me. If he can't be honest about something as simple as that, how can be trusted to be honest in his dealings with Scripture and his interactions with others about Scripture? If that was the only incident, it could perhaps be overlooked. But that, combined with everything else, seals the deal for me.

You said,

Blogging allows for such things and as long as someone is not saying awful things or slandering someone, what is the big deal if you know who is saying it?

No, "blogging" absolutely does NOT allow for "such things". Sock puppeting is rejected as unacceptable by everyone. It will get you banned immediately just about everywhere. Simply making anonymous comments is one thing. Pretending to be someone else who agrees with your arguments and thinks you're right is a completely different thing and is in fact a "big deal". It reminds me of the "man behind the curtain" in the Wizard of Oz - he tried to make himself look really scary, when really he was just one guy.

In this case, it's especially bad because Antonio did it specifically to be able to post on a blog that he's been banned from. AND, when confronted about it, he refused to admit and apologize. I have no desire to take my time to discuss things with someone who acts this way, besides the fact that he ignores questions and comments when things don't work out in his favor.

You said,

I read all the comments in question and I did not undersatnd why you started asking that poster if he was Antonio - it seemed really evasive.

What?! We seemed evasive?? I'm sorry Rose, but you are clearly lacking in objectivity here. How is asking him to identify himself evasive? The only one being evasive in that thread was Antonio. That is plain to see.

You said,

Why couldn't you all just discuss something without having to bring up "personalities" and baiting Lou's personal resentment of Antonio, with that poor poster as the casualty, whoever he/she was.

To be honest, I have no idea what you're talking about here. "Personalities"? "Baiting"? "Poor poster"? I had no ulterior motive in that thread. I'm not interested in having a less-than-honest discussion with someone. If Antonio can't be honest about his own position, I won't be responding to him. Actually, I did respond to Antonio/FG Me in that thread several times. For that matter, Lou even lifted his ban on him for that specific thread so that Antonio could come and openly defend his statement. Even then, Antonio couldn't bring himself to do the honest thing.

I'm sorry, but that kind of behavior is a deal-breaker for me. Antonio's pattern of misbehavior, dishonesty, and unreasonableness has caused me to see that further discussion with him will be completely unproductive and a waste of time.

March 19, 2008 10:11 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Rose,

I've never responded personally to something you've commented on, but I've been reading you for a long time. I liked the way you explained FG theology thinking (Ryrie, Antonio, etc). You said it very well regarding the "bulls eye" being surrounded by all the other truth that WE BELIEVE. I agree with you.... the "bulls eye" (thank you Alvin who pinned that for me) is where a person must get to to be born again. We all proclaim and believe the entire package, but anyone who doesn't get to the bulls eye is NOT SAVED. I happen to agree with Antonio, Zane, Bob Wilkin that a person can get there without understanding all the surrounding truth. I'm teaching a wonderful Bible Study vs. by vs. through John that shows how the 8 signs are for the purpose of bringing a person to believe in Jesus Christ. This Bible Study has been a huge eye opener to the young moms who are in the study. They see it!!! I believe in the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I will forever be thankful for what He did to provide for my great salvation.

Just wanted to introduce myself to you and say I hope we meet face to face someday. Glad you're out there.

Jesus bonds us together!
All because of His wonderful grace,
Diane
:-)

March 19, 2008 10:39 AM  
Blogger knetknight said...

rose said: "As for the apology: anyone reading that could see that LM only apologized because he wanted to enjoy the "privilege" of accusing someone else (A). That is sure how it seemed to me anyways."

Can you see the heart Rose? I can't. That is why I do not judge Antonio's heart, but his actions. that is also why I would quickly forgive. Bad behavior doesn't justify bad behavior so it makes no difference whether Lou was sincere or not.

Stephen

March 19, 2008 11:35 AM  
Blogger knetknight said...

How 'bout this: If Lou smears Antonio for fessin' up, I cross my heart and hope to die that I'll take him "out back". Lou's an old guy, I think I can take him! ;-)

"Vinnie"

March 19, 2008 1:04 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Stephen and Rachel,

I believe in the text of this discussion, I answered Stephen's request for explicit scriptural support for my position. Briefly, I went into John's technical expression, "pisteuo eis" and 1 Tim 1:16. Up to that point I had discussed all things. You all may have an abundance of time to write exhorbitantly long comments several times a day, but I have three children and a wife. My wife is working 13 hours a day opening a restaurant, and I am waking up at 3 am every morning and not getting to bed until near 10pm taking care of my house and my kids, who I have been running around town taking to Dr.'s appts and baseball games.

A little patience is not much to ask.

Anyway, I thought the ball was in your court...

Antonio

March 19, 2008 4:18 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

----------

Let's try this. What do you think are the distinctives of Free Grace theology?

Here's another one - who gets to decide whose distinctives are required? That's my point in saying that there is no "official" list. Several people have different lists - why is yours the "right" one?

Another question - do you consider Ryrie and Lightner to be Free Grace?
----------
A position, in order for it to stand, must be made up of principles that are consistent with one another. There are a core of principles to Free Grace theology, which I intend to hit on in a future post.

Principles for any system of enduring worth must be self-consistent. You ask me what I think about Ryrie. He has been quite helpful in the debate.

But he reminds me of John Calvin and the Reformers. The Reformers made concessions to Roman Catholicism in light of some criticism the RCC leveled against reformation theology. Calvin did heavy revision on his Institutes (he continued to revise, update, and expand for 23 years from its original publication), changing his theology, in light of attacks of antinomianism leveled against him.

Ryrie has made concessions with Lordship Salvation on key battlegrounds such as James 2. There are positions of and statements made by Ryrie that are not internally consistent.

In an ideal world, with certain language and articulation, there would be either ins or outs. But we are a society of scale. Someone who only holds to 3 or 4 points of Calvinism is still considered a Calvinist. This ought not to be so. A denial of a principle foundational tenet of a position ought to exclude one from identification.

By all means, believe what you will. Let a man be so convinced in his own mind. In such a case as someone who holds to 3 or 4 points of the calvinistic main-frame, let us not call them Calvinists. We lose precision and definition when people are identified with something in which they deny foundational tenets. One may be said to have Calvinistic leanings and yet not be a Calvinist.

Ryrie's principles and theology is not pure or consistent. He has Free Grace leanings. But the quote that I provided from his study bible squarely sets him at odds at a basic foundational level with any position of Free Grace theology consistent within itself.

Ryrie is an Independent. When you read some of his stuff, you will find it excellent, other times it will parallel Lordship thought.

I plan on making a post articulating Free Grace theology distinctives in light of the current discussion with the FGA covenant.

sincerely,

Antonio da Rosa

March 19, 2008 4:40 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Rachel writes:
---------
One can consider themselves "Free Grace" w/o being required to accept the extreme version of Hodges.

----------
In life, it is said that someone who drives faster than you is a maniac and someone who drives slower than you is an idiot.

What you call extreme, I call quite normal. What you call normal, I call insufficient and inconsistent.

Repentance as a mere change of mind is a laughable joke. Lordshippers have every reason to ridicule Free Grace people who hold to it as a mere change of mind. Meaning of words are determined by usage. In the standard Greek lexicon (both BAGD and BDAG) there is never one usage of metanoeo or metanoia as simply a change of mind in the N.T. Not even one example. Do a word study for yourself. Never is the translation "change of mind" appropriate.

This change of mind doctrine was formulated to adopt itself to Lordship Salvation rules. LS states that repentance is necessary for eternal life, for they think they see such in the Bible. But there is not even one text, rightly understood, demanding repentance for eternal salvation.

Such inconsistency and compromise with LS has plagued the debate from the getgo.

LS has a real strong argument against some who have Free Grace leanings in the area of repentance and eternal life.

This is only one area. There are several others!

sincerely,

Antonio da Rosa

March 19, 2008 4:47 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

In an email, someone recently made this comment to me:

----------
The assumption that Calvinism always kills FG is almost to the level of an Urban Legend…and many of my friends and colleagues believe it without clearly being able to prove it. Remember, Gordon Clark and R.T. Kendall have both been great helpers in the FG debate! In particular, the idea that “if one believes one point of Calvinism he must believe all five” is (a) and idea the 5-pointers put out (why believe them now?), and (b) incredibly easy to refute.
----------
to which I responded:

If there are not sufficient distinguishing parameters set for any position or theology, there will never be any specifity or ability to dialogue meaningfully. We will be talking past each other having differing definitions in mind. Perseverance of the saints and limited atonement are FG killers. If one wants to call themselves Calvinist and deny those two things, they are free to do so, but let me tell you, I believe it to be a bit absurd. So they are 3 point cCalvinists... does that make them 2 point arminians? There could be made a case where every tenet of Calvinism is anti-thetical to Free Grace theology, but inparticular, perseverance theology is a killer. I have had personal correspondence, by the way, with John Robbins, of the Trinity Foundation (ya know, the late Gordon Clark's outfit) and he thinks that Free Gracers are kooks and would never identify himself with their theology (and I am convinced that Gordon Clark would not either!). It is unfortunate that there are high visibility moderate/soft Free Grace leaning people out there who are quite compromising in certain FG elements.

Antonio da Rosa

March 19, 2008 4:51 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Was written by Stephen:
----------
Well, earlier in this thread you directed me to 1 Tim 1:16 as an expression of the saving message that you think supports your position. Before I take the time and space to set you straight on 1 Tim 1:16, are you sure you want to acknowledge that you think there even ARE expressions of the saving message outside of John? Please clarify your view because it appears from my seat that you're standing on both both sides of the same argument.
----------
I think a Reformed Lordship (or, Arminian) theologian might say, "Of course, we must believe on Him for eternal life, but this in itself is not enough. You must also .... (fill in the blanks!)" What this shows, I think, is that we are ALREADY reading 1 Tim. 1:16 against the background of the Gospel of John where we have ALREADY LEARNED that "He who believes" in Him "HAS everlasting life."

The saving message is "Most assuredly I say to you, whoever believes in Me has everlasting life." (Jn 6:47)

As such there is no example of the saving message outside of the gospel of John. 1 Timothy 1:16 can only be read against the backdrop of the gospel of John. In that light, it is insufficient as an example of the saving message. But in this discussion, it is an explicit statement by Paul explaining to us the purpose for faith in Jesus: to receive everlasting life! And as such, coupled with the gospel of John, is the explicit evidence for the Free Grace position that you have been asking for.

What is the saving message?
The promise of Jesus whereby He guarantees everlasting life to the believer in Him. (pisteo eis technical expressions in John and surrounding contexts)

What are they believing in Him for?
the purpose of recieving everlasting life. (the gospel of John evangelistic text contexts as discussed, with explicit support found in 1 Tim 1:16)

sincerely,

Antonio da Rosa

March 19, 2008 4:59 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Stephen wrote:
----------
Ok, the moment you've all been waiting for... and then I'm off to cuddle with my honey and catch up on LOST season 2.

Antonio asked: "Please be specific to tell me how one is able, in your system and position, to have certain assurance of his salvation the day he receives it."

Okay, is everybody in their seats and buckled in for this jaw dropper?

I trust God to keep his promise to all who believe in Jesus for salvation.

Let the (re)definitions and (re)qualifications begin,
Stephen
----------
Let me ask you a question, Stephen. What passages do you go to for specific assurance?

Here is something that I wrote sometime ago that directly speaks to your position as it relates to assurance:

Are we robbed of John 3:16?

If a person is evangelized with the TFG method, where can he later turn to in the bible if he loses assurance of his salvation? No scriptures will be found that will line up with his evangelistic experience. We are to find certain and complete assurance in the objective word of God. But there is no verse or passage in the whole of Scripture that states, “Believe that Jesus is the God-man, who died a substitutionary death on a cross, rose again from the dead, and trust His works, and you will be eternally saved.” Since the TFG has to make his evangelistic appeal and invitation a conglomerate of many passages, how is the one struggling with assurance going to come to the understanding that he has fulfilled all the conditions? Suppose that there may be more in the Bible that the evangelist didn’t find or relay. Aren’t there 27 books in the New Testament? The evangelist only turned to a few!

...

(Could you say you can get assurance from a verse like John 3:16? How can you when you do not correctly interpret it? What Jesus meant when He said "believe in" Him is far simpler in meaning than what you attribute to it!)

John 3:16 was stated by Jesus around three years before His essential, substitutionary death on the cross for the sins of mankind. He stated to His audience that anyone at that time who “believed in” Him had everlasting life and would not perish. In other words, anyone who entrusted their eternal destiny to Him would have everlasting life and never perish. This was His promise. This is the most used evangelistic verse in the whole Bible. Does this promise still apply to the present time? If it does not, then those of the Traditional Free Grace position necessarily, in some sense, misuse it (if they use it at all), for in line with their position, it is necessarily an inadequate passage relating to lost man the core consideration in the reception of eternal life*. How is it misused? When the statement was given by Jesus, it was a sufficient summary and promise providing for Nicodemus the unadulterated condition for receiving eternal life. Since, for the TFG saving faith includes many more conditions than simply “believing in” Jesus as articulated above, they cannot apply John 3:16 with its intended meaning and usage in context. They necessarily would need to supplement it with a variety of other additional information not contained therein.

If asked the question:

Is John 3:16 a sufficient invitation, summarizing the core appeal to men for the reception of eternal life?

The TFG necessarily have to answer: No.
But Refined Free Grace theology uncomplicatedly answers: Yes.

Sincerely,

Antonio da Rosa

March 19, 2008 5:06 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Rose,

your statements made today are on target. I appreciate them very much. Thanks for your reasonableness and friendship.

Your forever brother,

Antonio

March 19, 2008 5:07 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Alvin,

Thanks for your input and your keen observations on those remarks given in a "spirited" manner here.

Thanks for your participation.

Antonio

March 19, 2008 5:10 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Diane,

Thanks for your input and comments.

Antonio

March 19, 2008 5:13 PM  
Blogger knetknight said...

rose: "Either way, you both have the same overall picture - the same big target."

It's not theory and the bullseye analogy actually helps my point in the following way.

rose: "... the same big target..."

The bullseye analogy as you use it is flawed because (1) it assumes incorrectly that there is only one target and because (2) it's focus is on whether you and I can identify the right target rather than whether or not the shooter can. e.g. You know and proclaim the right target but allow the shooter to have a misconception and shoot at the wrong target anyway. That makes no sense and in fact tills the soil for doubt rather than assurance.

rose: "I see this as a discussion of theory and I think I am well-grounded in saying that."

Rachel has repeatedly demonstrated to you (other blogs, other posts, other comments) that it is definitely not theory. Sure, you TELL them of the correct bullseye but then allow them to shoot at whatever target they "think" you meant -- the whole "regardless of misconceptions" thing. We rather clarify and insist they shoot at, and only have assurance in, hitting the only target on the field that can save them -- the ontologically unique Jesus Christ: son of God, who died for the sins of the world and rose again. Assurance based on hitting the bullseye of the wrong target is false assurance and crisply illustrates why our concerns are not theoretical.

"Robin Hood"

March 20, 2008 8:29 AM  
Blogger knetknight said...

Antonio: "You all may have an abundance of time to write exhorbitantly long comments several times a day, but I have three children and a wife.
[...]
A little patience is not much to ask."

I'm a family man too so I honestly do understand. I am not impatient, it will take some time to respond properly to all that you've written anyway... 'specially now that the NCAA tournament has started... Rachel disappears this time of year and the kids and I are forced to live off the land until Monday.

NCAA widower,
Stephen

March 20, 2008 9:29 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Dear Friends,

The "target" that each lost person must "hit" (believe) to be saved is the EXACT SAME TARGET FOR EVERYONE!
It's the same for me, Antonio, Rose, Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin, Alvin, Stephen, Rachel, Matthew, etc., etc.!
I hit that target when I *believed* that Jesus Christ had given me eternal life.

The John Bible Study that I am going through has shown me that John was written for the very purpose of bringing a person to believe in Jesus Christ for eternal life. It's an evangelistic book primarily. If John records what it is we must believe to have eternal life, then that settles it. The other books of the Bible would never contradict John.

Also please stop and think about this...
John's Gospel is written *AFTER* Christ's death, burial, and resurrection (John 20:31). That means that people believed the same thing BEFORE and AFTER the crosswork of Christ to be saved. Nothing changed. Remember.... John, who wrote LATER than any other writer of Scripture, DID NOT CHANGE THE CONTENT OF WHAT MUST BE BELIEVED TO BE SAVED. The Gospel of John was written primarily to show a person what they must believe to have everlasting life. The cross and resurrection IS the 8th sign which is the GREATEST reason to believe that Jesus is the Christ. The book of John identifies what it means to believe in the Christ in John 11:25-27.

I have always known from the day I was saved that believing in Jesus Christ alone for everlasting life is the message that must be believed to be saved.
John 3:16 was that verse FOR ME!
But today, because of this debate that is raging, I've come to see how all the pieces fit together to confirm what I always believed to be true. This saving message is confirmed when examined by scripture. Isn't that just so NEAT!!! I love that wonderful, simple message. Profound and yet so simple that even a child can believe!!! What a GREAT GOD WE HAVE who would simply give us salvation by simple faith in Him.

BTW....... a PRAISE!!! One of my grandchildren (8 years old) received the assurance of her salvation last night. She asked to talk with me. She had been taught about Jesus. Perhaps she was saved earlier. We don't know? Only the Lord knows for sure. But what's important is NOW she KNOWS she's saved. Only God knows if she had that moment of confidence earlier. She cried and told me that she wanted to be sure that she was going to heaven. She could quote all the Bible verses, but she just didn't know ***HOW to believe!*** That's what she told me as tears came down her cheeks. I didn't lead her in a sinners prayer. I didn't tell her that she was saved. We just went back to the scriptures and read the verses...... John 3:16-18. Then she (on her own) turned to Acts 16:31. She said to me..... "How do I know that I believe?" Knowing that salvation was spiritual (of God), I just told her to ASK Him to help her with her questions. Then I took her to verses that said if you seek me, you will find me.
I told her something like this....... "Lucy, will you come tell me and Grandpa, and your mom and dad when you KNOW that Jesus' promise is true? Will you tell us when you KNOW you are saved?" We hugged. She left the room. Later she came to me and said...... "Grandma, can I talk to you at 10:30?" (That was at night..... cute) I said sure. Well, at 10:15.... (a little early) she told me that she KNEW she was saved. She said that Jesus keeps His promises. And she knew she was going to heaven when she died.

Then as an added blessing she and her younger cousin put on a play for us today. They pretended like they were on stage, and the one cousin asked Lucy...
1. What do you believe about Jesus?
Lucy's answer was.... That He died on the cross and made a way so that everybody could go to heaven.
2. Do you think you're going to heaven?
Lucy's answer was... Yes
3. Do you think you have to do good works to go to heaven?
Lucy's answer was... No you don't.

If you ask Lucy how she knows she's going to heaven she will say something like..... Jesus paid for EVERYONE'S sins and got them out of the way. Now they have to take His ticket to go to heaven. She will tell you that the ticket is just a way of saying that you must believe in Him to take you there. That He is the only way. AND she has a BIG SMILE today because she KNOWS she has that ticket BECAUSE Jesus promised in the BIBLE.

That's what I want my life to be about. I want to tell people how they can have His "ticket." What a joy!!!

Thank you all my friends on this blog for taking the time to share in my joy.

All because of His great love,
Diane
:-)

March 20, 2008 7:49 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Diane
Thank you for sharing, and Praise the Lord for your little grandchilds salvation!!!!
And Amen to all that you shared!!!!

blessings alvin

March 20, 2008 9:54 PM  
Blogger knetknight said...

diane: "The "target" that each lost person must "hit" (believe) to be saved is the EXACT SAME TARGET FOR EVERYONE!"

Right, exactly my point. "EVERYONE" must hit the "EXACT-SAME" target. If we allow the lost to hold ontological misconceptions of Jesus then, by definition, we are allowing the lost person to shoot at a DIFFERENT Jesus. That is incompatible with what you wrote above and, again, demonstrates why are concerns are not theory. The Jehovah's Witness, Mormon, or Muslim who shoots at a target with THEIR Jesus in the middle is, by definition, shooting at the wrong target and so their fundamental misconceptions must be cleared up first. Do you disagree Diane? Do you believe one can be saved by "Jesus" while consciously holding to the idea that he's a created being that is the spirit brother of Lucifer? If Lucy had said "Gramma, I believe that Jesus, the spirit brother of Lucifer, keeps his promise, so I KNOW I'm saved" Would you have rejoiced in that profession?

diane: "She will tell you that the ticket is just a way of saying that you must believe in Him to take you there."

Let's modify that slightly... "She will tell you that the ticket is just a way of saying that you must believe in the spirit brother of Lucifer to take you there."

Would you be as exuberant if she had said that? (Only Diane can answer for Diane, I look forward to her answer.)

I rejoice with you that Lucy is saved and knows it. Our oldest son Simon (4) expressed saving belief a few months ago. Wednesday night, coming home from AWANA, we were listening to Adventures in Odyssey, and near the end of the story a little girl died. I looked back at Simon and shed tears knowing that, even if he died that night, that his everlasting destiny was secured. Death has lost it's sting on him, and now on Lucy as well. I know your joy, and I share it.

Paternally,
Stephen

March 21, 2008 6:26 AM  
Blogger David Wyatt said...

That episode of AIO is awesome, bro. Stephen. It is titled "Karen." Did you hear it on BBN, by any chance?

Bro. Stephen & sister Diane,

What a joy to know your little loved ones are bound for Heaven! God Bless.

March 21, 2008 8:49 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Stephen,

I share in the joy of your son's salvation! AWESOME!

Actually, I believe that anyone is saved who believes that Jesus gives everlasting life when they believe in Him alone for it as recorded in John 3:16.
The Spirit of God is the only One who can make that truth real to a person. Whatever misconceptions a person has about Jesus when they come to faith in Him will be straightened out as they study the Word. But if they read the words of John 3:16 and believe in that promise, then they are believing in Jesus alone as their Savior.
And all my Free Grace friends preach the cross and resurrection of Christ.

I couldn't be happier for you in the salvation of your son!!! AWESOME NEWS TO HEAR!!!
:-)

March 21, 2008 10:05 AM  
Blogger knetknight said...

David, thanks for the info about that AIO episode -- we listen on KLJC in Kansas City. I am 39 years old and LOVE listening to AIO, especially with my son. He asks me to turn on AIO as soon as we get in the car after AWANA. AIO is so well done and I find myself frequently very moved, as parent, by the family issues it touches on. It provides a segue for spiritual conversation with my son too, can't say enough good things about it.

diane: "But if they read the words of John 3:16 and believe in that promise, then they are believing in Jesus alone as their Savior.
And all my Free Grace friends preach the cross and resurrection of Christ."

Diane. I am saddened to confirm your view. Is that the official view of GES, that any misconception of Jesus can just be cleared up later?

The issue with that is that it boils saving faith down to faith in a promise, rather than a person. You are in effect saying "believe the promise and that's enough even if you are ignorant of, or incorrect about, the provider -- save that his name is Jesus."

That flies in the face of John 6:47 which says "... he who believes on me has eternal life."

It flies in the face of John 3:16 which says "... whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life."

The wording of these verses is such that the PROMISE of Jesus is directly dependent on belief in the PERSON of Jesus to fulfill it. They say "believe in/on ME" not "believe in/on MY PROMISE". Your view places the person of Jesus as less significant than his own words, in effect the same thing the pharisees did by lifting the the law itself higher than the God who gave that law to them. You are more concerned that one would have a misconception of the promise than you are of the promise giver. You are placing the creation (the promise) over the creator.

earlier you said: "I can't help but wonder WHY all this resistance from BELIEVERS to this truth?"

Do you still wonder why?

Passionate but gracious,
Stephen

March 21, 2008 12:02 PM  
Blogger Linda Jo said...

Hello to everyone! I'm Linda - Lucy's mom (the 8 year old girl that just got saved) YEA, GOD!!!

Hi, Stephen and Rachel. Wow, it took me a LONG time to read everyone's blogs, but I'm finally done. I was going to stay out of it until I saw my baby's name on here.

Stephen, you are in trouble!!! What in the world does this mean?...
"She will tell you that the ticket is just a way of saying that you must believe in the spirit brother of Lucifer to take you there."

You don't have to answer that.

Lucy is going to tell you all by herself right now what she believes. I won't even correct any misspellings (not that there will be any - she is in the gifted class afterall! Heehee!

OK, everyone, here's Lucy.....

I believe that Jesus died on the cross and took my sins away. Jesus made a way so that everyone could go to hevin forever. He paid for my sins and yours. I know that I will see you in hevin. And I know That Jesus is real because it tells me that in the bible. My life is going to go on and on and on because I will be with Jesus forever. Jesus is good and I believe in him. your christian friend Lucy. The End.


OK, let me grab a tissue...
I've got to tell you, I sat by for the last 10 minutes (it took that long for her to hen-peck at the kepboard) wanting to interject, but I bit my tongue and let it all come from her. Good job, Lucy. I love you!!!!


Now if any of you say anything bad about my baby's testimony, you are in BIG TROUBLE! Not by me, but by Lucy. She's pretty tough for an 8 year old! Besides, her dad is a defensive tactics instructor. She's got some pretty good moves that most 40 year-olds can't escape.

WooHoo!!

A very happy Mommy,
Linda Jo

March 21, 2008 12:07 PM  
Blogger knetknight said...

Hello Linda. I do not and did not ever question your daughter's testimony.

Read my "spirit brother of Lucifer" comment in context and you will see that I am inserting an example of a misconception into Lucy's profession to see if you would still accept that profession. IF she had said that, as Mormon's do implicitly/explicitly, would you still be a happy mommy if your daughter had placed her faith in the promise of Jesus, the spirit brother of Lucifer?

March 21, 2008 1:13 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 21, 2008 1:39 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Stephen,

You wrote this:
----------
If we allow the lost to hold ontological misconceptions of Jesus then, by definition, we are allowing the lost person to shoot at a DIFFERENT Jesus. That is incompatible with what you wrote above and, again, demonstrates why are concerns are not theory. The Jehovah's Witness, Mormon, or Muslim who shoots at a target with THEIR Jesus in the middle is, by definition, shooting at the wrong target and so their fundamental misconceptions must be cleared up first.
----------
You state that it is a "different Jesus".

What do you mean by a different Jesus? A different person?

Are these people conjuring up different people because of their wrong beliefs about Jesus? So by an act of the will they are creating new Jesuses, in other words, new persons?

I have once written:
"The Mormon Jesus and Evangelical Jesus are one and the same [historical person]."

But Stephen, your wife has said the same thing!

Rachel:
"We know they [the Mormons] are referring to the same historical person we are [the Evangelicals]."

So we are not talking about a different Person after all!

Just merely different beliefs about the SAME historical person!

Your argument evaporates in light of your wife's comments...

Antonio

March 21, 2008 1:47 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

In any instance of communication, a single unique reference is sufficient to delimit identification.

For instance, I have never met Matthew Clarke, the Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, from Dyspraxic Fundamentalist's 'This is a Cult. Want to Join?' blog, although we have talked on the phone, emailed each other, and discoursed on blogs.

If, when I was talking to, let say, Rose Cole, I referenced Matthew Clarke, of the 'This is a Cult. Want to Join? blog found at http://dyspraxicfundamentalist.blogspot.com, who is paralyzed from the waist down,

Would I necessarily be talking about a different Matthew?

(Matthew is not paralyzed)

Why?

I made a UNIQUE reference to him, in that the Matthew I am refering to has a blog called 'This is a Cult. Want to Join?' at the very site of http://dyspraxicfundamentalist.blogspot.com.

The fact that I refered to Matthew as being paralyzed from the waist down was nothing more than a misconception or untrue belief I HAVE ABOUT HIM, not some spurious, fake, or imaginary Matthew.

If one unique reference is all that it takes to limit that reference to a specific person, why is it that we say that Mormons refer to a wholly "different Jesus" when they make reference to Him in (at least) 20 unique and distinct areas of agreement with evangelicals?

We all have or had misunderstandings and misconceptions about Jesus. How many misconceptions about Jesus does it take to make Him another Jesus? Can a simple misunderstanding preclude me from refering to the historical Jesus Christ? What if all I had was the gospel of John and I was misinformed and believed that Jesus Christ was born in Jerusalem, not Bethlehem. Yet I have read the gospel of John and make reference to Him from there. Am I necessarily referring to a "different" Jesus because of this misconception?

Communication would become impossible if we required absolute precision when making reference to people. We all have misconceptions (IOW FALSE BELIEFS) about everyone, including our spouses, parents, and siblings. When we make reference to these people, are we conjuring up an imaginary "different" relative, because no one in the world fits the 100% description and conception we have of the referent?

Everyone here should realize that such a thing is absurd.

All that it takes is ONE unique reference to delimit identification of a specific person.

Let us speak as to the irreducible minimum to identify Jesus Christ for salvific purposes:

#1) The name : Jesus

But there are many people named Jesus, I must make the reference unique. Let me continue:

#2) His unique ability: Jesus is the Guarantor of eternal life to everyone who believes in Him for it.

No one in the universe can fit this reference[!!], other than the historical Jesus Christ of Nazareth, born in Bethlehem, born of the Holy Spirit and Mary, crucified on a Roman Cross, and resurrected from the dead.

I could delimit Christ in other ways, that he was risen from the dead after being put to death on a Roman cross. No person in the universe can fit this unique description.

BUT THIS INFORMATION IS NOT SALVIFIC. For our purposes in evangelism, the irreducible minimum which delimits reference to the historical Jesus, which is indeed salvific, is that JESUS dispenses irrevocable and eternally secure eternal life to the believer in Him for it. This information is sufficient to delimit our referencing to the bona-fide Jesus Christ (in whom we all have misconceptions about).

No one but the consistent FGer can give a solid, objective answer to the question, "What is essential to know concerning Jesus to delimit our faith to Him and not some imaginary person?" Let me tell you why. If the non-FGer lists 10 strong and rock-solid references to the Lord Jesus Christ, all it would take, for them anyway, to speak of another Jesus, is to include a blatantly (to them) erroneous belief.

Lets say you asked this question to the normal Traditionalist. He could say, "If you delimit Jesus Christ by these things, you will make sure that you aren't discussing someone else" :

1) virgin birth
2) hypostatic union
3) death for sins
4) resurrection from the dead
5) name: Jesus
6) mother: Mary
7) had apostles named Peter, John, and James
8) Died on a cross
9) was a carpenter
10) Performance of great miracles such as raising people who were physically dead
11) He is God

But lets say that I beleive all these things about Jesus Christ, but I say that he was the spirit brother of Lucifer who was made God by another God.

Well, the whole thing goes to pot and I am now believing in a different Jesus, even though I agree to the list of these 11 rock solid references!

The whole idea becomes a slippery slope. How can ANYONE be sure that they are believing in the REAL Jesus (as opposed to these imaginary figments being brought to life by heretics) when one really can't know if all what they believe about Jesus is in fact true in reality?

Where does one draw the line? There can be no logical difference between a major or minor misconception, nor any OBJECTIVE means by which to discern which category to put them in. Any misconception is a blatant erroneous belief, no matter how sincere it is.

Let's use Matthew Clarke from 'This is a Cult. Want to Join?' again. If I came up with 11 unique references to him (that could be true of no one in the universe but Matthew Clarke) but then referred to him as an astronaut rather than a doctoral student, am I referring to a DIFFERENT Matthew?

To insist on the application of an orthodox doctrinal checklist for eternal life is superfluous, erroneous, and damaging to assurance. Am I to look at my doctrine for assurance or am I to look to Christ through His promise of eternal life for assurance?

Furthermore,

with each of those 11 rock solid references to Jesus Christ comes an explanation of each. Not only must I assent to the references and doctrines contained in that list, I must assent to them in the way the creeds such as the Westminster Confession or others defines them. The slippery slope keeps getting more slippery by the moment!

In reality (let's try to stay here!) there is only one Jesus Christ who can truly impart eternal life to the believer in Him for it. Simple trust in Him to do so will bring eternal life.

March 21, 2008 1:55 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Diane,

good word!

If someone has been told the words of the historical, real Jesus from the gospel of John and believes the saving message as articulated by that historical, biblical Jesus, that person has done everything that is required for eternal life:

the right thing: faith
in the right person: Jesus of Nazareth

Good word, Diane!

Antonio

March 21, 2008 1:57 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Hi Linda,

No one has said anything bad about Lucy's testimony. While it is great to read her testimony in her own words, it doesn't change anything Stephen has said. Would you be rejoicing if Lucy had said, "It's a good thing God created Jesus so that Jesus could give me eternal life"? If Simon had said that, I would know we had more work to do and would definitely NOT proclaim him saved. The question is, what would you say to that?


P.S. I just want to reiterate that no one is questioning what Lucy believes. :-)

March 21, 2008 2:05 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Stephen writes:
----------
The issue with that is that it boils saving faith down to faith in a promise, rather than a person. You are in effect saying "believe the promise and that's enough even if you are ignorant of, or incorrect about, the provider -- save that his name is Jesus."
----------
This is more innacuracy.

It is so simple, it really gets me that you just don't get it.

If you were to promise me that you were going to take me home from work, and I believed that promise, I could articulate that faith in different ways, all accurate:

I believe you when you tell me that promise.
I believe in you.
I believe your promise.

They are all the same.

To believe in someone is to believe something about that someone.

In the case of saving faith, when we believe in Jesus, we are believing something about Him. What we are beleiving is that He is truthful when he promises eternal life to all who simply take Him at His word.

Your argument and objection to Free Grace theology, upon examination, really doesn't hold water.

Believing in someone is trusting that someone. And when I believe Jesus when He says, "Most assuredly I say to you, whoever believes in Me has everlasting life." (Jn 6:47) I am believing IN Him, I am believing in a Person, that what He has promised He is able to make good on.

"[Abraham] was fully convinced that what He had promised He was able to perform. And therefore 'it was accounted to him as righteousness.'" (Ro 4:21-22)

Saving faith is being convinced, persuaded that what Jesus has promised He is able to perform. Saving faith is believing Jesus in His promise.

Antonio

March 21, 2008 2:06 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Rachel,

the real question is:

"Does Lucy believe that Jesus of Nazareth has given her eternal life by her simple faith in Him?"

Antonio

March 21, 2008 2:08 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Rachel, what you have just stated is the core problem with traditionalism.

Eternal life is only received after a multitude of theologically required steps from the standpoint of God are followed.

What a shame! What a tragedy!

I would rejoice and consider any child saved who simply stated they have eternal life because they trust in Jesus through John 3:16.

Antonio

March 21, 2008 2:12 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Thank you Stephen,

I know that you did not question my granddaughter's salvation.
And all of us here (including Linda and her family) are happy to hear of your son's salvation too!!!
PRAISE GOD!!!

I have only good memories of you as a little boy. How did you grow up so fast?
:-)

God is good all the time!

In Jesus' love,
Diane
:-)

March 21, 2008 3:19 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Stephen,

Just one clarification. Of course my faith was in the PERSON of Jesus Christ alone for everlasting life. When I believed His PROMISE, I was believing that HE was the only way to heaven.
It's IMPOSSIBLE to believe the PROMISE of John 3:16 without believing in the PERSON!

That's my testimony, and it's one I love to share with everyone. Your parents understood that truth very well because they were among my group of friends who surrounded me with that truth when I first got saved. That was a very happy time in my life.

Forever grateful to Him alone,
Diane
:-)

March 21, 2008 6:49 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Stephen/Rachel/All,

Have been away working an acquisition of my company and stopped in because I noted the number of comments on this topic. Here we are again "discussing" the finer points of Soteriology. I would like to add my thoughts. I have read through all the way through this thread and other than Stephen starting his posts off with belittling rhetoric none of you make any point that holds up under close biblical scrutiny. Your challenge to redefinitions and requalifications are as humorous to me as we must be "humorous" to you. Have you ever heard of the exegetical fallacy of illegitimate totality transfer? Your position commits quite often to try to bash a biblical theology that you and others don't seem to grasp.

I ask these questions because I am seeking to understand your statements and then be understood clearly. On another point to consider, that there has been an articulation of the central tenets of Free Grace Theology:

http://freegracenetwork.com/?p=36

http://freegracenetwork.com/?p=39

However, as C.H. Mackintosh said,

"God has not confined Himself within the narrow limits of any school of doctrine – high, low or moderate. He has revealed Himself. He has told out the deep and precious secrets of His heart. He has unfolded His eternal counsels, as to the Church, as to Israel, the Gentiles, and the wide creation. Men might as well attempt to confine the ocean in buckets of their own formation as to confine the vast range of divine revelation within the feeble enclosures of human systems of doctrine. It cannot be done, and it ought not to be attempted. Better far to set aside the systems of theology and schools of divinity and come like a little child to the eternal fountain of Holy Scripture, and there drink in the living teachings of God's Spirit." (C.H. Mackintosh, The Mackintosh Treasury, Miscellaneous Writings by C.H. Mackintosh,(Loizeaux Brothers, New Jersey, 1976), 605.)

Those of you who call us "fundamentalists" are being as dogmatic as we are. I have to agree with the FGA board member and noted evangelist Dr. Larry Moyer of EvanTell Ministries, in summarizing his views during the FGA panel on the cross and resurrection controversy, he stated,

"According to the New Testament when you go out and evangelize you are asking them to put faith in a person, that person is One Who died for you and arose. But you're not putting faith in His act of dying, you're not putting faith in His act of arising, you're putting faith in a Person and the Person is the one who died and arose."

He went on to say that if he had only 15 seconds to share the gospel he would include the cross and resurrection as it was crucial to understanding who Jesus is and what He has done for us. He went on to say that it is "very awesome" for someone to say "Thus saith the LORD" and "if you say this you had better make sure your right."

I take this to mean it is dangerous if a person does this and is wrong. They will be held accountable for souls. You must be as certain of your position as I am of mine. Being an evangelist, Dr Moyer also made this telling statement of a scenario, "If you were presenting the gospel, and you're about to say He [Jesus] died and arose; and all the sudden the person died, would he go to heaven? I cannot take this bible and dogmatically prove that he wouldn't. And I cannot dogmatically take this bible and prove that he would." In addition to most of the panel members his final point was, "It doesn't change anything" except Tom Stegall. All on the panel confirmed that each one's gospel presentation always presents the cross and resurrection of Christ to the unbeliever. So do I and almost every other one I know of. I think most of us in the "crossless" crowd have come to understand that the basis of what you consider wrong with us i.e. that we preach a flawed gospel. So I would compare and contrast at an "atomic" level my perception,

CG: Jesus Christ, and His Person alone is believed for eternal life.

Non-CG: Jesus Christ, and His Person alone is believed for eternal life plus an absolute necessity of the same belief in the cross and resurrection, His deity, etc.

In addition, I have read the articles by Mr. Schliesmann, I would say that they are flawed in one critical sense, the conclusions he reaches do not prove in any technical sense from either the NTs original language or grammar point what the word Gospel means. Normally you would see a concise etymology of a word and then working your way up from that to every single passage in the NT and its OT counter parts. This is a normal part of exegesis called a synchronic word study. These articles attempt to discredit Jeremy and Bob, and by default those of us who are labeled with the pejorative term "crossless." What a sad misnomer that in and of itself is false.

And as usual as I was getting close to the end of the thread, just like Lordship Salvationists and hyper Calvinists, the anti-CG crowd claims foul that we have misrepresented their views. I also find it amusing that those who consider us heretics are backpedaling with a child's testimony. When for months almost without exception you have defined a number of things that must be believed in addition to trusting Jesus Christ for eternal life. I believe that we have catalogued between 5 and 18 things.

Both of my son's articulated their faith in Jesus Christ at age 5 and 6 respectively and as an elder in the church had the privilege to baptize them in the San Gabriel River, along with others I had shared the gospel with. They all heard the gospel of the church age, with the cross and resurrection, but the question asked and answered was: do you trust Jesus to save you forever?

This past Good Friday, my pastor who graded Greek papers for Professor Hodges at DTS, preached about the necessity of proclaiming the cross and resurrection. But he went on to say that it is belief in the Person of Christ that saves not the information or our works. We are a free grace church of somewhere between 3000 and 4000 people. Three people at the service I was in trusted Jesus Christ for eternal life. Our church continues to grow and disciple people like this. This presentation of the Gospel was a "traditional" gospel that I had read 29 years ago and placed my own belief in the Lord.

It’s a shame that you would and continue to label us crossless, because every person that night hammered spikes into a cross on the way out to remind us of what our Lord did to accomplish the basis of our salvation.

His forever,

Jim

March 22, 2008 10:40 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Stephen/Rachel/All,

Have been away working an acquisition of my company and stopped in because I noted the number of comments on this topic. Here we are again "discussing" the finer points of Soteriology. I would like to add my thoughts. I have read through all the way through this thread and other than Stephen starting his posts off with belittling rhetoric none of you make any point that holds up under close biblical scrutiny. Your challenge to redefinitions and requalifications are as humorous to me as we must be "humorous" to you. Have you ever heard of the exegetical fallacy of illegitimate totality transfer? Your position commits quite often to try to bash a biblical theology that you and others don't seem to grasp.

I ask these questions because I am seeking to understand your statements and then be understood clearly. On another point to consider, that there has been an articulation of the central tenets of Free Grace Theology:

http://freegracenetwork.com/?p=36

http://freegracenetwork.com/?p=39

However, as C.H. Mackintosh said,

"God has not confined Himself within the narrow limits of any school of doctrine – high, low or moderate. He has revealed Himself. He has told out the deep and precious secrets of His heart. He has unfolded His eternal counsels, as to the Church, as to Israel, the Gentiles, and the wide creation. Men might as well attempt to confine the ocean in buckets of their own formation as to confine the vast range of divine revelation within the feeble enclosures of human systems of doctrine. It cannot be done, and it ought not to be attempted. Better far to set aside the systems of theology and schools of divinity and come like a little child to the eternal fountain of Holy Scripture, and there drink in the living teachings of God's Spirit." (C.H. Mackintosh, The Mackintosh Treasury, Miscellaneous Writings by C.H. Mackintosh,(Loizeaux Brothers, New Jersey, 1976), 605.)

Those of you who call us "fundamentalists" are being as dogmatic as we are. I have to agree with the FGA board member and noted evangelist Dr. Larry Moyer of EvanTell Ministries, in summarizing his views during the FGA panel on the cross and resurrection controversy, he stated,

"According to the New Testament when you go out and evangelize you are asking them to put faith in a person, that person is One Who died for you and arose. But you're not putting faith in His act of dying, you're not putting faith in His act of arising, you're putting faith in a Person and the Person is the one who died and arose."

He went on to say that if he had only 15 seconds to share the gospel he would include the cross and resurrection as it was crucial to understanding who Jesus is and what He has done for us. He went on to say that it is "very awesome" for someone to say "Thus saith the LORD" and "if you say this you had better make sure your right."

I take this to mean it is dangerous if a person does this and is wrong. They will be held accountable for souls. You must be as certain of your position as I am of mine. Being an evangelist, Dr Moyer also made this telling statement of a scenario, "If you were presenting the gospel, and you're about to say He [Jesus] died and arose; and all the sudden the person died, would he go to heaven? I cannot take this bible and dogmatically prove that he wouldn't. And I cannot dogmatically take this bible and prove that he would." In addition to most of the panel members his final point was, "It doesn't change anything" except Tom Stegall. All on the panel confirmed that each one's gospel presentation always presents the cross and resurrection of Christ to the unbeliever. So do I and almost every other one I know of. I think most of us in the "crossless" crowd have come to understand that the basis of what you consider wrong with us i.e. that we preach a flawed gospel. So I would compare and contrast at an "atomic" level my perception,

CG: Jesus Christ, and His Person alone is believed for eternal life.

Non-CG: Jesus Christ, and His Person alone is believed for eternal life plus an absolute necessity of the same belief in the cross and resurrection, His deity, etc.

In addition, I have read the articles by Mr. Schliesmann, I would say that they are flawed in one critical sense, the conclusions he reaches do not prove in any technical sense from either the NTs original language or grammar point what the word Gospel means. Normally you would see a concise etymology of a word and then working your way up from that to every single passage in the NT and its OT counter parts. This is a normal part of exegesis called a synchronic word study. These articles attempt to discredit Jeremy and Bob, and by default those of us who are labeled with the pejorative term "crossless." What a sad misnomer that in and of itself is false.

And as usual as I was getting close to the end of the thread, just like Lordship Salvationists and hyper Calvinists, the anti-CG crowd claims foul that we have misrepresented their views. I also find it amusing that those who consider us heretics are backpedaling with a child's testimony. When for months almost without exception you have defined a number of things that must be believed in addition to trusting Jesus Christ for eternal life. I believe that we have catalogued between 5 and 18 things.

Both of my son's articulated their faith in Jesus Christ at age 5 and 6 respectively and as an elder in the church had the privilege to baptize them in the San Gabriel River, along with others I had shared the gospel with. They all heard the gospel of the church age, with the cross and resurrection, but the question asked and answered was: do you trust Jesus to save you forever?

This past Good Friday, my pastor who graded Greek papers for Professor Hodges at DTS, preached about the necessity of proclaiming the cross and resurrection. But he went on to say that it is belief in the Person of Christ that saves not the information or our works. We are a free grace church of somewhere between 3000 and 4000 people. Three people at the service I was in trusted Jesus Christ for eternal life. Our church continues to grow and disciple people like this. This presentation of the Gospel was a "traditional" gospel that I had read 29 years ago and placed my own belief in the Lord.

It’s a shame that you would and continue to label us crossless, because every person that night hammered spikes into a cross on the way out to remind us of what our Lord did to accomplish the basis of our salvation.

His forever,

Jim

March 22, 2008 10:41 PM  
Blogger knetknight said...

Good morning Jim,

I know Lou is banned from this blog but I don't know about Greg. In the sole interest of advancing that discussion I will point out that he is apparently reading and has responded to you.

Stephen

March 24, 2008 7:16 AM  
Blogger knetknight said...

jim: "Your challenge to redefinitions and requalifications are as humorous to me as we must be "humorous" to you."

It was not a challenge, it was a statement-of-the-obvious in regards to the differences in our interpretations. Nothing more.

I've been swamped in Easter stuff all weekend and will post more later as to what I think is a scriptural basis for my views. I'm sure you'll disagree, but I will demonstrate, contrary to Antonio's repeated assertion, that I do not hold to my view of "the gospel" out of traditionalism. Indeed, Rachel and I commonly disagree with others over the insufficiency of tradition as an authority unto itself. That my view of the gospel lines up with tradition is because I believe it is substantiated by the text.

It will take some time to collect my thoughts on that though I am happy to provide it.

Stephen

March 24, 2008 7:55 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Stephen,

You will have to do better than that to convince an evil person like me that I'm wrong. And as far as Lou is concerned, like many who encounter him we just say that he is always angry about something. Antonio is right to ban someone like him from this blog. And for Mr. S. I don't feel even the need to respond. Let them write a book! I think it is humorous that they spend their time talebearing (Lev. 19:15-16; Proverbs 11:13; 20:19; Romans 1:29-30). While the rest of us try to live lives pleasing to the Lord Jesus Christ by faith.

Let him dismiss my point of view, I expect it. There are more important things for me to be doing versus responding to someone like Lou who is just going to engage not to discover truth - because those type of people already think they have the corner of it - but to commence doing those things that Paul told Timothy and Titus to deal with swiftly in the church. And since there is no biblical accountability out here in cyberspace - let them claim victory!

Since you and Lou seem to be communicating why not tell him not to waste his time or mine and pass that on to his friend.

Very Respectfully,

Jim

P.S. I'll be putting more of my thoughts on these and other "crossless" things on my blog.

March 24, 2008 8:44 PM  
Blogger knetknight said...

Jim, I do not think YOU are evil -- not any more so than I am myself or any other man. From God's view, indeed, we are all evil, we all need God's free grace -- in that at least I think we agree. Proponents on both sides have gotten fleshy from time-to-time, but at the end of the day I can honestly say that I will quickly forgive any man who asks, as I know I need forgiveness myself.

jim: "While the rest of us try to live lives pleasing to the Lord Jesus Christ by faith."
I assure you Jim that "trying to live a life pleasing to the Lord" is on my mind every day. I fail sometimes, sure, but that doesn't change the goal.

jim: "Let him dismiss my point of view, I expect it."
I dismiss your view no more than you dismiss ours, and probably a fair sight less. I can only speak for myself, but I did not dismiss the "refined" point-of-view out of hand. I honestly considered it but found it decidedly lacking consistency with scripture at large. Where I feel "refined" free grace misses the mark is in it's (un)focus... it relies on such microscopic interpretation that I believe it misses the forest for the trees. The RFG "any misconception allowed club" and "sin, God, and the resurrection are optionally believed" view simply does not fit well the overview of scripture. As with naturalistic explanations for the origin of life, explanations which sometimes seem to make a great deal of sense when isolated or selectively matched to other compatible theories, so also has RFG simply failed to convince me. The RFG view is as unconvincing as abiogenesis is to explain the origin of life without God. I disagree with the arguments for abiogenesis, but I do not hate it's proponents. I disagree with RFG, but I do not hate her proponents.

Yes, Lou and I communicate... as I'm sure do Rose and Matthew and Antonio with each other. I would pass along your message but I'm pretty sure they've seen it already , or will soon.

I am pleased you are no longer with the FGA, but I am also pleased to pray for you. And, no, I'm not praying for a lightning bolt to hit you. I believe you are subject to, and a proponent of, poor and false teaching as much as you probably believe the same is true of me. I wish you no harm, but I also wish God to chasten and restore you to sound doctrine for the sake of the souls you impact. God as my witness, my heart at least is right before the Lord.

Sleepless in Kansas City,
Stephen

March 24, 2008 10:37 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Stephen, it sounds to me like you pick and choose who you want to forgive and apologize to. You think you can get away with being disrepectful to ones as Antonio, but then apologize to others. It shouldn't surprise me you being inconsistant being your also an inconsistant Calvinist!
I also see the hyprocicy of Lou, he also picks and chooses who his bedfellows are. He is hostile to a RFG but at the same time accepts a Consistant Calvinist who would say that "Calvinism is the Gospel." This also does not surpise me! A church I went to for years, when looking for a pastor had a Consistant Calvinist come and preach. He made the comment "it is unbiblical to tell people God loves them because in fact His plan for them might be the eternal lake of fire, so you would be lying to them." All the elders could say is "but he's orthodox." I see it all as inconsistant picking and choosing who you want your bedfellows to be!

Stephen you might get a better sleep if you were to be more consistant?

Robin Hood might have been sincere but was sincerely wrong!

alvin

March 25, 2008 4:40 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

I keep getting these two threads confused as to who posted what where. Here's my comment from the other thread that should have gone here:


Jim,

On your blog you said that you've decided not to "pursue dialogue" about the crossless issue, but that you intend to speak your mind on it.

1. If you're not pursuing dialogue, why are you interacting with us?

2. So you want to speak your mind but not dialogue with your opponents? IOW, you want to say your piece but not have to defend it. This doesn't make much sense.

March 25, 2008 10:24 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Stephen,

Your making an honest attempt at engaging someone who is absolutely convinced of his position. My leaving the FGA had to do with the same reason I never joined the GES, I intent to write polemically (as Miles J. Standford did) and don't want to be associated with any particular group.

Rachel,

This in part answers your questions. I don't really care about what my opponents think. They are wrong. And it is also not about me being right. That no longer matters to me anymore. In the years of spending time with the Lord in His word and seeing things outside of some man made theological grid actually helped me grow towards spiritual maturity like nothing else.

One of my conclusions in the thesis is that if you don't believe my teaching leave. Its as simple as that. It is the way elders deal with outsiders who come into a church to change doctrine or start some pet ministry of theirs. Show them the door and say good'day.

So in effect, in so far as I am in this PUBLIC place and the blog owner welcomes me to stay, I have an educated opinion of why you and others are completely missing the point of the truth about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Also, if people like Lou wants to bash me personally, I actually spent most of my adult life defending his right to do that.

There is no emotion in what I am doing - I hold no angst against you or anyone else. You are sincere in your belief just as I am in mine. Nothing personal - just business here.

In the Name,

Jim

March 25, 2008 5:45 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Jim

I know I appreaciate you being here! You have a very good knowledge of Scripture and the original language. And I'm sure all the other believers here appreaciate you also. We know you have come through the front door,,,ha!ha! Other words your not looking at Scripture from a man made grid. There are ones here who are trying to come in the back door or up another way. Child like Scriptures such as John 3:16 for them need to be interpreted according to their grid to fit. We have come to John 3:16 not wondering whether we are the elect. But we come to John 3:16 as a child knowing that God loves the whole world which means "me" and proved it by giving His Son.

I for one am not afraid to witness just the way Jesus did with the women at the well. That is offering the free gift right up front. And as also the invitation for any who desire to take of the living water freely as Rev 22:17 states.
But I am not so naive not to know that the most powerful sign to prove that Jesus is the Christ being His death, burial and resurrection. I also know that the Holy Spirit is convicting the world of sin, rightousness and judgement, why? Because they do not believe!
As Diane has clearly stated up above the eight signs in the Gospel of John are for the purpose that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ the One who guarentee's the believers eternal destiny.

Jim you stated:
Your making an honest attempt at engaging someone who is absolutely convinced of his position.

I will add my amen to that also!!!
I have believed Jesus simple promise that the One who has believed in Him as the Christ has eternal life and will not perish!

Most on this blog have believed as Zane has stated that the gift really is "Absolutely Free" once you see that you know that there is nothing in Scripture that contradicts that! That is the starting place! Child like faith in Jesus for His gift of life! If you don't start there you can't start!

blessings alvin

March 26, 2008 2:27 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Alvin,

Thank you for your very kind comments.

Grace and peace to you,

Jim

March 28, 2008 7:00 PM  
Blogger Ryan S. said...

This is a good quote below. I might be Reformed and not always agree with you, but you're right on the mark here.

When one is born again, he is “cleansed from his old sins” (2 Pet 1:9), and has a new beginning; he has been made white as snow. At that point one should strive to remain unspotted before the world (Jas 1:27) and thus keep his garment. Yet there is the sad possibility that one may be characterized by barrenness and unfruitfulness (2 Pet 1:8), and unrighteousness (1 Cor 6:8) and thus experience loss and shame at the judgment seat of Christ.

Note how thorough of an investigation will take place before Christ! Note the possibility of two different outcomes, as one is recompensed for what he has done in the body, whether it be good or bad!

Luke 8:16-18
No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light. Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.


There are those who seem unspotted and undefiled but in all reality it is by pretense alone. Everything secret and hidden will be revealed, made known, and come to light! And in the case of the pretender, “even what he seems to have will be taken from him.”

The one who does not “keep his garment” will appear before Christ “naked” and in “shame”! The same writer of the Apocalypse wrote this moving appeal: “And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming” (1 Jn 2:28). We must remain committed to Christ, persisting in steadfastness until the end; watchful for His appearing and keeping our garments undefiled.

April 26, 2008 10:53 PM  
Blogger Biblicist said...

Antonio, first let me say that I think your article is excellent.

YOu said, "Jesus is the Christ, the disciples believed this, and
according to 1 John 5:1 anyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born again."

My question is that this statement seems to me to mean taht one need not know the he has eternal life, for him to have been born of God. Many people believe that Jesus is the Christ who do not believe that this is all that is necessary for one to be born of God.

Gary (gkmcnees@comcast.net could you let me know if and when you answer this? Thanks, Gary)

May 25, 2008 3:37 PM  
Blogger Biblicist said...

Antonio said:

Antonio said...
Rachel,

I believe that it is psychologically and virtually impossible for someone to be certainly convinced that Jesus of Nazareth guarantees their eternal well-being through faith alone in Him alone, after being told and showed from the Bible Christ's substitutionary death on the cross for the sins of the world and His bodily resurrection, and yet deny the reality of those facts.

If someone does not believe what the bible says about Jesus' death and resurrection, they surely won't believe it when it states that faith alone in Jesus of Nazareth will receive guaranteed eternal well-being! They cannot believe something specific (the claim that Jesus guarantees eternal life to the believer) when they deny the general which that specific is a sub-set of (the testimony of the scriptures).

Antonio


Antonio, What you suggest above is
I think a pretty exact parallel to
what Christ said to the Jews who
did not believe in Him. He said, "If you believed Moses you would believe me."

I think this passage supports your
contention.

May 25, 2008 5:26 PM  
Blogger Biblicist said...

Ant says:

Repentance as a mere change of mind is a laughable joke. Lordshippers have every reason to ridicule Free Grace people who hold to it as a mere change of mind. Meaning of words are determined by usage. In the standard Greek lexicon (both BAGD and BDAG) there is never one usage of metanoeo or metanoia as simply a change of mind in the N.T. Not even one example. Do a word study for yourself. Never is the translation "change of mind" appropriate.

The Nelson's study bible says:

"The Greek verb translated repent indicates a change of mind and outlook which may well result in sorrow for sins. But the basic idea is a reversal of thinking which changes one's life. Liddell and Scott
give its definition to be a change of mind or heart. Strong's does also.

I have done a simple put in the definition for repent as "change your mind," and it fits perfectly
most places.

Gary

May 25, 2008 7:34 PM  
Blogger Biblicist said...

Rachel said...
Hi Linda,

No one has said anything bad about Lucy's testimony. While it is great to read her testimony in her own words, it doesn't change anything Stephen has said. Would you be rejoicing if Lucy had said, "It's a good thing God created Jesus so that Jesus could give me eternal life"? If Simon had said that, I would know we had more work to do and would definitely NOT proclaim him saved. The question is, what would you say to that?


P.S. I just want to reiterate that no one is questioning what Lucy believes. :-)


I just don't get it! Do these people even read what you have written, Antonio? I think not.
Or else they cannot comprehend
it. It is really very sad.

Gary

May 25, 2008 8:15 PM  

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