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

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Free Grace Theology is a Great Concern of Mine

Free Grace theology is my passion! I am a staunch defender of it. I am a shameless and unapologetic advocate of it. I have been engrossed for years plumbing its depths in the Sacred Scriptures and in the writings of those who proclaim it. As such, I am saddened when my Free Grace brothers and sisters charge me with heresy. I share a rich theological heritage with these people! I enjoy the writings of Charles Ryrie, L.S. Chafer, John Walvoord, Tom Constable, Earl Racmacher, Charlie Bing, Dave Anderson, as well as Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin, Joseph Dillow, Erich Sauer, and G.H. Lang. I don’t agree with everything each one of these men promotes. But I have learned great things from them and hold them in high esteem for the work they have done in the cause of Christ.

Recently, I decided to write Dr. Earl Radmacher and share with him some of my concerns.

What is your opinion on the dark cloud that a few fundamentalist free gracers sprouting from Duluth have hoisted upon the Free Grace world?

This is my opinion: Free Grace theology advocates share a rich heritage and common theology. There are some differences in opinion on how one is to do evangelism, but we all agree to the major theological tenets of evangelical and orthodox Christianity! It is most unfortunate that such discord is being propogated among the brethren!

Charges are being trumped up to such an extent that a legitmate nuance and position of Free Grace theology coming from Zane Hodges and the GES has been demonized as heresy!

I support Zane Hodges financially. I support the GES with my membership. I am a member of the FGA. I also espouse the particular position of Zane Hodges. I have a couple of blogs which I have written 200+ articles on Free Grace theology, many having to do with the nuanced position of the GES. Because of this, I have been stigmatized by some who consider themselves Free Grace as a heretic!

These people from Duluth have so poisoned the well with their innaccurate, pejorative, and Christ-dishonoring rhetoric, trumping up charges and demonizing people, that good people in Free Grace leadership, who know that Zane and the GES don't preach heresy, are afraid to publicly fellowship with them in fear that it may have (this is only my opinion) financial repercussions when donors and supporters, who have been poisoned against the GES, find out.

I was perusing the internet today and found some articles that Miles J. Stanford wrote "against" you. He discussed your correspondences with him that had to do with the Bema seat. You brought up names such as Chitwood, Lang, Wilson, and Govett. Now, I do not agree with all of these men in everything, certainly not on millenial exclusion, but they have (especially Lang) very scholastic and persuasive arguments concerning the Bema! I love reading these men. I am on board with you concerning the Bema. But men from Duluth and Middletown state that such considerations are heresy.

Furthermore, Brother Stegall in his articles speak against Zane's view of repentance which is found in an appendix of your book taken from a Bob Wilkin book!

You also quote Zane Hodges liberally in your book, esp pages 126-127, in which Zane is identifying the core consideration of what these Duluthians criticize: that salvation comes by believing that Jesus is the Christ, with the content that as the Christ He is the Guarantor of everlasting life to the believer in Him.

Please tell me what you think about all of this! I am so disheartened over all the politics! I have heard rumors that the Duluthian faction of the FG community has made threats and demands of the FGA executive committee.

I am an advocate of Free Grace Theology as I believe those from Duluth are. Why is it that we cannot coexist and why is it that Zane Hodges and the GES are being trumped up as heretics? Please advise. What do you think about all of this discord being instigated by a select small few sectarians?

The following day Dr. Earl Radmacher gave me a call and we talked about these things for almost 2 hours. His answers were a voice of reason and of studied and scholarly wisdom. He addressed all my concerns that I had written him and, furthermore, all that I verbally addressed him with. On the phone I asked for his permission to publish some of the statements that he made over the phone. He agreed. I was so thankful! I have talked to several key FG leaders who do not believe that the GES nor Zane Hodges teaches heresy, but who do not wish to come out publically to declare so. I believe that the are fearing the consequences of men rather than judging with righteous judgment in the sight of God. But not Dr. Earl Radmacher. He is fair and balanced and speaks the truth in love.

Within the next few days I will share with you all our conversation. Stay tuned.

Your Free Grace host,

Antonio da Rosa

24 Comments:

Blogger David Wyatt said...

Bro. Antonio,

I look forward to this with great anticipation. God Bless!

May 27, 2008 5:02 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

That is encouraging.

May 28, 2008 12:54 AM  
Blogger Don Reiher said...

Thanks for your work. I will be at the FGA meeting next Monday in Salem and will be spending time with Dr. Radmacher & others. I like the newsletter from Steve Lewis about the debates that are going on. I hope everyone follows his recommendations.

It ought to be an interesting 2 days.

May 28, 2008 7:32 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Antonio,
I think peer pressure is alive an well in Christendom, sadly. It seems that certain people with very strong personalities and clamorous voices are able to drown out others' consciences about love, mercy and righteous judgement.

Mr. Radmacher sounds like a very reasonable and courageous man. I look forward to reading your future posts too.


Don,
are these newsletters on the web? I would like to read one.

May 28, 2008 8:23 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Antonio,

The real question is not: "What does Radmacher say?" but "What does the Scripture say?" (Rom.4:3; Gal. 4:30). If the risen Savior disagrees with your "promise-only" position (Jn.2:22,19:35, 20:19-21:14), does it really matter what a man named Earl Radmacher says?

JP

May 28, 2008 8:54 AM  
Blogger Peggie said...

Antonio,
I'm looking forward to reading your
other installments.
Thank you.

May 28, 2008 9:03 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi JP

Yes but what was the purpose of the signs including the eighth? To prove that Jesus is the Christ the One who guarentee's ones eternal destiny! Anyone of the signs could bring faith, but in the end anyone bellieving that Jesus is the Christ is born of God! That's the bottom line!

alvin

May 28, 2008 9:07 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

"If anyone... does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ... he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men..." --The Apostle Paul

"You have the words of everlasting life!" --The Apostle Peter speaking to the Lord Jesus Christ

"The words that I speak to you are spirit and they are life." --The Lord Jesus Christ

"I solemnly assert to you, whoever believes in Me has everlasting life." --The Lord Jesus Christ

"I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst." --The Lord Jesus Christ

I consent to the prima facie rendering of Jesus' words in the context in which He uttered them.

The Duluthian faction has been "obsessed with disputes".

They are my Free Grace brothers. But they are erring.

The questions are not over what I believe, but how I do evangelism. Let it be known here on this thread that my mandate is not to do evangelism but to make disciples. If any products of my evangelism do not endure, or proceed into heresy, it is a problem for them in the sight of God. At any rate, no sound church will welcome them.

I preach the cross and resurrection. I preach faith in the real Jesus Christ. If someone professes faith in Jesus, I endeavor to plug them in and get them discipled. If they end up bailing, or creating heresy, that is their problem and God will sort it out. If they grow and mature, then I have done my job. And I do not rest until they grow and mature!

Evangelism is only a means to an end. My purpose is to herald the proclamation of the King whereby He invites all to be companions with Him and sit with Him at His banqueting table in the Kingdom. But such requires two conditions to be met:

1) Faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life
AND
2) Sanctification and endurance in confession of Jesus Christ until the end.

As such, I preach sanctification, I preach doctrine, I teach the wonderful truths of our Savior, I encourage, admonish, and exhort!

I want unity in the Free Grace world. The discord is being used of Satan to reak all kinds of havoc! Their problem with me is how I do evangelism. But the bottom line in my evangelism is with a view to discipleship! I am not out there looking solely for professions of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ! I am seeking to make disciples of Christ who will love Him, grow and mature in their understanding of the Savior, and take up His challenge to persevere until the end, keeping their garments unsoiled.

Those from Duluth need to see things from another perspective. My insistence that I preach the death and resurrection, which I will do as long as their is breath in me, and my determination to make disciples, fully instructed in both doctrine and the ways of righteousness, should suffice them!

Any who would turn away from discipleship will not be a problem for the churches nor a blight on the glorious message and gratuitous promise of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I am not satisfied with a profession of faith! I will not rest until those who profess the name of Jesus depart from iniquity and until those who profess the name of Christ consent to the doctrines which accord with godliness.

Properly understood, there should not be a single Free Grace brother out there who should continue to dispute this!

The disputes have caused "envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings," even to which I have become involved in such. For this I genuinely apologize!

Brothers and sisters in the Free Grace world, I am sorry for my attitudes and behaviors that have increased to more ungodliness.

I preach the Christ crucified, I preach the Christ resurrected, I preach the deity of Christ, and I preach faith alone into the bonafide Jesus Christ alone for eternal life, apart from works of any kind. I endeavor to make disciples of Christ, fully prepared for every good work and fully instructed in the docrtines of Christology. I will not rest until I die, preaching Christ, and Him crucified! I will not rest until everyone who names the name of Christ will be fully instructed.

I am reaching out my hand to those of Duluth and those associated with their concerns. I am your Free Grace brother, sharing a rich heritage and common theology with you!

Let their be peace so we can join with each other proclaiming Christ's saving work, in preaching faith alone in Christ alone, and in informing others against the errors of Lordship Salvation!

All of you who are sympathetic with my concerns for Free Grace theology, please pray! Pray for unity, pray for peace, which can only be had when TRUE understanding has been accomplished! Pray for understanding! The GES and I are on the same page as those from Duluth! We want strong advocates of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! We want to proclaim the cross of Christ and His death for sins! We want to preach resurrection from the dead and new resurrection life!

Join with me brothers!

May 28, 2008 10:34 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Alvin said:

"Yes but what was the purpose of the signs including the eighth? To prove that Jesus is the Christ the One who guarentee's ones eternal destiny! Anyone of the signs could bring faith, but in the end anyone bellieving that Jesus is the Christ is born of God! That's the bottom line!"

Alvin, your explanation simply begs the question: Who is "Jesus"? The contextual and historical Jesus that the apostle John calls his post-resurresction readers in the present dispensation to believe is clearly "Jesus...risen from the dead" (Jn. 21:14).

If you think it is unnecessary for post resurrection readers in the present dispensation to believe in "Jesus...risen from the dead", please show me from the Gospel of John where the apostle John specifically calls his post-resurrection readers in the present dispensation to believe in any other "Jesus".

For example, John 3:16 narrates the story of Jesus witnessing to an individual in the Old Testament. In his Gospel narrative to post-resurrection readers in the New Testament, the apostle John builds on the truths of John 3:16 and shows that after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus from the dead, those living in the New Testament must now believe in these truths for eternal life (Jn. 2:18-22, 19:35, 20:19-21:14).

The apostle John doesn't separate the the finished work from the full deity of Jesus; instead John combines them. Regarding this, note the two dependent hina clauses in Jn. 20:31 as evidenced below:

"Then ['Jesus...risen from the dead', Jn. 21:14,KJV] said to Thomas, 'Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.' Thomas answered and said to Him, 'My Lord and my God!' Jesus said to him, 'Because you have seen
Me, have you believed? Blessed are those who have not seen [the Lord Jesus as crucified-and-risen] and
yet have believed [cf. 1 Pt. 1:8].' And truly Jesus [as crucified-and-risen] did many other [resurrection] signs in the presence of His disciples [as opposed to before the multitudes, Jn. 12:37], which are not written in this book [cf. Acts 1:2-3, 10:38-43, 13:28-31; 1 Cor. 15:3-5] but these [three resurrection signs which are written in this book, Jn. 2:18-22, 21:14] are written[:]

[1.] that [hina] you [the unsaved post-resurrection reader in the present dispensation] may believe that Jesus
['risen from the dead', Jn. 21:14, KJV] is the Christ, the Son of God, and

[2.] that [hina] [by] believing you [the unsaved post-resurrection reader in the present dispensation] may
have [eternal] life in His name.” (Jn. 20:27-31,NKJV)

JP

May 28, 2008 10:55 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Antonio,

Regarding your evangelism you have said:

“If a JW hears me speak of Christ’s deity and asks me about it, I will say, ‘Let us agree to disagree about this subject.’" (bold added)

"At the moment that a JW or a Mormon is convinced that Jesus Christ has given to them unrevokable (sic) eternal life when they believed on Him for it, I would consider such a one saved, REGARDLESS of their varied misconcetions (sic) and beliefs about Jesus." (bold added)

"I would never say you don’t have to believe that Jesus is the Son of God. This has the import of the gospel proposition which makes it salvific! If someone asks me point blank, do I believe that one must believe that Jesus is God in order to go to heaven, I would say ‘NO!’” (bold added)

Antonio, your preaching is antithetical to that of the apostles who proclaimed the saving message of the Gospel, an integral part of which is the full deity of Christ(Rom. 1:1-5; 1 Cor. 15:1-11; 2 Thess. 1:8-9).

As an orthodox and traditional Christian, I will have no part in the false assurances you distribute to unbelievers.

JP

May 28, 2008 11:38 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi JP
Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to be saying that because of the dispensational change the living water has changed?
That being the knowledge of Jesus person that He is the Christ the One who guarentee's the believers eternal destiny.

1 Cor 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.

Isa 55:1 "Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters;
And you who have no money, Come buy and eat.
Yes, come buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.

Rev 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!"
And let him who hears say, "Come!"
And let him who thirsts come.
Whoever desires, let him take the water freely.

1 John 5:1a Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God

JP, I don't believe the living water has changed because Christ has not changed.

alvin

May 28, 2008 1:01 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Jonathan, a couple of things.

I never give assurance of salvation to anyone! That has been my mode of operation from the very beginning. I simply point them to the Savior and what He said. They may obtain assurance of salvation by simply looking to Christ.

If you will not be on board with the unity that is being presented here and the cause of Christ being forwarded by Free Grace theology, by all means, go and start your own Duluthian faction and condemn Free Grace brothers to your heart's content.

If this is going to be the case with you and your kin, you will find that you will be alone on this. The FGA was not started, as Lou Martuneac has explicitely stated, for the purpose of housing people disatisfied with the GES. Earl Radmacher, founder and founding president of the FGA said that anyone who would say such a thing "is a liar". As I have stated before, there is not a shred of evidence to that contention.

Fred Lybrand, one of the founders of the FGA, has personally told me that he does not believe that the GES or Zane preaches heresy.

Earl Radmacher, founder of the FGA, and founding president, states that Zane and the GES do not preach a 'crossless' gospel. We will read more of what he has to say later.

Charlie Bing attended the GES national conference in 2008 and links to the GES from his own website. Furthermore, he everywhere considers Zane Hodges a bona-fide advbocate of Free Grace theology. He was one of the three founding people in the FGA.

Jonathan, you are no longer welcome here. Please desist from posting on this blog or on Unashamed of Grace. Your willful insistence to propogate discord among the Free Grace brethren is something to be ashamed about. You do not judge with righteous judgment but are obseesed with disputes.

God speed to you, Jonathan. I wish you the greatest blessings of the Lord Jesus Christ. I hope that one day you will come to understand that you and I are both brothers in the Lord and also Free Grace brothers who both look to the Judgement Seat of Christ and endeavor to present to Him mature, instructed, and enduring disciples who bear the reproach of Jesus Christ, and suffer with Him for the glory of God.

Reparations will be made in the Free Grace community, JP. These will be due to true understanding of the issues being realized. No longer will those of us who have a legitimate nuance in the Free Grace Community be defined by those who are obsessed with disputing, who trump up charges, and refer to us with pejorative and innacurate descriptions.

Satan is at work, gentlemen. He is behind the rukus. He wishes to divide and conquer, which is his modus operandi. No longer will this blog or any of my blogs tear down my Free Grace brothers. This venue will be used for the glory of Christ. You can get on board with the truth of Free Grace theology or be left at the station to your balking, finger-pointing, disputing and wrangling, and factionism.

This blog is for Free Grace theology advocates, whether they be of the persuasion of Zane Hodges, Robert Wilkin, Charles Ryrie, Robert Lightner, Charles Stanley, R.T. Kendall, etc. Whatever your Free Grace position is, as long as you know we all share a rich theological heritage, and proclaim eternal life by faith alone in Christ alone, you are welcomed here.

No longer will we countenance the confusion and discord being propogated by the devil.

Free Grace brothers, we will unite!

Your fg host,

Antonio da Rosa

May 28, 2008 1:53 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Alvin,

Excellent observations!

May 28, 2008 1:54 PM  
Blogger ExPreacherMan said...

Antonio,

I came, I saw, I read and I am unwilling to enter into the fray.

In Christ eternally -- for souls for the Savior,

ExP(Jack)

May 28, 2008 5:44 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Jack,

thanks for dropping by at my insistence and reading.

Your fg host,

Antonio

May 28, 2008 6:41 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Antonio.... THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
My heart is so full tonight reading your article! Your concerns were also mine. You have no idea how this article lifted my spirits!!!
Everything you said, and all the questions you asked are the same things that have been deeply on my heart too!!!

Thank you for writing Dr. Radmacher. I'm so glad to hear about this. Dr. Radmacher is an honorable man who I have come to love and appreciate throughout my years as a member of GES. I'm so glad to hear that he is still a friend of GES and Zane Hodges.
I hope that my other friends at FGA will also publically come out and defend them. I love them all so much.

I just had to say thank you, thank you, thank you! You made my day, or should I say.... my evening!

Now it's time to go read the comments.

Much love in Jesus,
Diane
:-)

May 28, 2008 11:04 PM  
Blogger Don Reiher said...

Rose,
here is the link
http://rmbc.edu/april08newsletter.html

May 29, 2008 4:31 AM  
Blogger David Wyatt said...

I agree with bro. Lewis. Good article. God Bless.

May 29, 2008 7:06 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Thank you, Don. I appreciate that article, too. Things should not continue on the path that they are currently on. I see the lack of communcation as a great problem - the differing meanings that people assign to the words and terms involved. I am thinking of a specific quote right now of an antagonist, but I will leave it alone, thinking better of it. :~)

May 29, 2008 7:59 AM  
Blogger Donald said...

I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Radmacher on the phone yesterday to discuss many things.
I did not ask permission to share this, but I will anyway.
Dr. Radmacher has had health problems through the years, and he is recovering from a recent (fairly) major surgery. He will be speaking next Monday at the FGA conference.
I don't see how he does it!
Please pray for his recovery, and for strength for his wife, who is caring for him, who has health struggles of her own. His exact words were that Satan is doing all he can to hinder the ministry of Free Grace people lately. I can testify to this in my life, as I am sure can Antonio and others!

Continue to uplift the FG leaders in prayer to withstand the attack of the enemy. The enemies of the FG folks are not the enemy. . . they are the victims of the enemy.

- Don

May 30, 2008 4:27 AM  
Blogger Peggie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

May 30, 2008 12:33 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Thank you Don for letting us know. We'll be praying for Dr. Radmacher and his wife, Ruth.
How we thank God for them.

Diane

May 30, 2008 12:44 PM  
Blogger Peggie said...

Antonio said:
“I am so disheartened over all the politics!”

Antonio, we are disheartened, also but we thank God for you and your willingness to stand along side
Bob and Zane.

Don,
Thank you for the update on Dr. Radmacher.My husband and I met him several years ago at the GES Conference and was struck with the love shown to him and Zane from the men who were taught by them. We will pray as you ask.

I’m usually a two line writer, but today I outdid myself.
Blessings

May 30, 2008 7:08 PM  
Blogger Biblicist said...

Hi Antonio:
I think you did a wonderful job of
refuting jp. You were much more gracious than I would have been.
I just want to make one remark about his rantings about JW's.
Although you answered well, I have debated with many JW's and Mormons.
I have NEVER met a single one who would even consider the FREE GRACE position. That is, I don't think you will EVER find a single person who believes JW or Mormon doctrine who doesn't have absolute, ontological blocks in his mind which PREVENT him from ever believing in Christ for everlasting life! Just as there are logical reasons that an atheist CANNOT believe in Christ
for Eternal Life, there are logical reasons (many of them) which PREVENT any JW or Mormon
from believing in Christ for Eternal Life.

Thus, one of jp's favorite "arguments" is baseless, completely baseless!

How many of us when we first believed in Christ for Eternal Life knew about the
intricacies of the Trinity? Or the other "deep things of the Spirit?"

Gary

June 04, 2008 6:18 PM  

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