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, June 10, 2008

Disturbing news concerning the new book by Dr. J.B. Hixson, Director of the Free Grace Alliance

Recently, Dr. J.B. Hixson, director of the Free Grace Alliance (FGA), published a book on the gospel which contains inaccurate statements concerning consistent Free Grace theology. The material includes misrepresentations, falsehoods, and misquotes. I may in the future document these things word for word from his book, showing the lack of care that he took in constructing his criticism.

As you all know, I spoke to Dr. Earl Radmacher at length a few weeks ago about the state of affairs in the Free Grace theology movement. In the course of our discussion, Dr. Radmacher told me that he was asked to write the foreword to Dr. Hixson's book, and, he added, that he was ambivalent to do so. Since we were discussing issues concerning Free Grace theology, he stated quite confidently and certainly that Dr. Hixson's book did not mention whatsoever the current controversy that has been instigated by a very small, yet vocal, sectarian branch of Free Grace theology. In spite of his reasoned hesitancy to write the foreword, he did so.

Dr. Earl Radmacher was the Founding President of the Free Grace Alliance. During our discussion, he mentioned that when the antagonists from Duluth started publishing their offensive articles that he wrote them to object to several things. In addition to criticizing their ill-conceived methods and misrepresentations of consistent Free Grace theology, he stated that he does not believe that Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin, or the Grace Evangelical Society preaches a 'crossless' gospel at all! Dr. Radmacher thinks that such a designation is flat-out disingenuous and inaccurate.

The following is taken from Dr. Earl Radmacher's book, Salvation, Word Publishing, in the Acknowledgments section, pg ix:

Exegetically I am indebted to the exegetical expertise and hermeneutical care of Zane Hodges, whose humility before the Word of God and untiring diligence continues to be a model for me of "a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). There have been times when I questioned his conclusions, but further investigation usually demonstrated his superior wisdom.

These are high praises of Zane Hodges by Dr. Earl Radmacher! Dr. Radmacher expresses his indebtedness to Zane for his "exegetical expertise and hermeneutical care". Zane is characterized by Earl as one who "rightly divid[es] the word of truth" and one whose "humility before the Word of God" is a model for him.

In the text of his book, Dr. Radmacher reserves over half of a written page, 22 sentences, for a block of text written by Zane Hodges. The exact content of this excerpt is Zane's explanation of saving faith, particularly what it means to soteriologically believe that Jesus is the Christ. The interesting thing is that the premise of Zane's argument found in the text that Dr. Radmacher chose to use is the point of contention for those select few sectarians who have hoisted division upon the Free Grace world.

In the text of the book authored by J.B. Hixson, director of the Free Grace Alliance, J.B. makes disparaging comments about Zane Hodges. He even goes so far as to state that Zane Hodges preaches a false gospel!

If Dr. Earl Radmacher knew that such material would be included in J.B.'s book he would never have written the Foreword to it!

Just two weeks ago I spoke to Dr. Earl Radmacher concerning issues facing Free Grace theology, and just two weeks ago he was unaware that such material was in J.B. Hixson's book on the gospel that he wrote the foreword to! Dr. Radmacher stated ever so matter-of-factly that no talk of objections to the consistent Free Grace theology of Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin, and the Grace Evangelical Society was in J.B.'s book!

But lo, and behold! The book is now being published, containing glowing endorsements by Tom Stegall and Dennis Rokser, two of the prime instigators in the destruction of Free Grace theology. Additional content has been added that Dr. Radmacher was unaware of, material that disparages his friend and biblical model of Scriptural precision and care, Zane Hodges, going so far as to state that Zane preaches a false gospel! Is this not ‘red meat’ intended partly to encourage and satisfy the Duluthian Antagonists?

I called Dr. J.B. Hixson today on the phone. I told him that I had a discussion with Dr. Earl Radmacher and that Earl was quite certain that J.B.'s book did not contain a whit of objection to Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin, or the GES. I therefore asked him if the manuscript that was given to Earl to read before he wrote the foreword contained the material which accuses Zane Hodges of preaching a false gospel. He bluntly told me that it was none of my business!

Readers of Free Grace Theology Blog:

Dr. Earl Radmacher would have never endorsed a book that contained material condemning his friend and mentor, Zane Hodges. Obviously, Dr. J.B. Hixson knew this! The only logical explanation that can be inferred by this information is that Dr. J.B. Hixson, director of the Free Grace Alliance, purposely kept Dr. Radmacher in the dark concerning this material! Can you come up with another explanation?

Why would J.B. Hixson wish to have Dr. Earl Radmacher endorse and write the forward to his book? Why has there been such a great attempt on his part to get Earl to speak at FGA functions now? It is obvious that Dr. J.B. Hixson is trying to consolidate a strong anti-GES Free Grace party in the FGA by showcasing Dr. Radmacher, a long time advocate and beloved patriarch of Free Grace theology (yet whose position closely parallels Zane Hodges and the GES!) to the Free Grace public. Thus by close association, it appears to the public, ipso facto, that Dr. Radmacher sides with the Duluthian faction, which in fact, he is opposed to!

If in fact Dr. J.B. Hixson has purposely kept Dr. Radmacher in the dark concerning material that he knew Dr. Radmacher would find offensive (and would thus keep Earl from endorsing his book and writing the foreword) he is guilty of a gross deception and is worthy and in need of strong admonishment! In this, and in email correspondences that I have had with him, and in phone conversations, I have not found Dr. J.B. Hixson to be of sufficient maturity and discernment to be director of the Free Grace Alliance. It is because of this that he will receive my vote of No Confidence.

If in fact this was a deliberate deception on Dr. J.B. Hixson’s part, he should step down from the leadership of the FGA. Such behavior is not commensurate with the responsibilities and spiritual duties of leadership necessary for a director of the Free Grace Alliance.

In the frequently asked questions (faq) section of the Free Grace Alliance we find this in answer to the question, “How is the Free Grace Alliance (FGA) different from other organizations?”:

The FGA is seeking to unite leaders, churches, and organizations which affirm the gospel of grace. The structure of the Alliance is such that the membership owns the organization through SHARED LEADERSHIP. We at FGA want to CONNECT, ENCOURAGE and EQUIP free grace leaders, churches, and organizations...to STRATEGIZE TOGETHER about how to unite and promote grace to our needy world.


As the director of the Free Grace Alliance, Dr. J.B. Hixson is mandated to “connect, [and] encourage” free grace people, and to “strategize together how to unite”. He is sorely lacking in these principles. On the contrary, he is using the directorship of the Free Grace Alliance to divide Free Grace theology asunder, and in the process, is making a public spectacle and mockery of it!

Dr. J.B. Hixson: What are your strategies for uniting the Free Grace Theology camp? Let me tell you something, J.B., condemning and anathematizing your Free Grace brothers who preach the substitutionary death and bodily resurrection of Christ and faith alone in Christ alone apart from works is not the way to inspire unity!

No longer are many who would consider themselves Free Grace advocates speaking against Lordship Salvation. No! They rather are devouring other Free Grace people! It is sad and deplorable! Free Grace brothers are not our enemies! The enemy is Lordship Salvation in its many guises!

Recently Dr. Hixson stated in a newsletter, “I appreciate these men [John Piper, Mark Dever, Al Mohler] and their passion to speak out against sin.” Frankly, what does it matter if these people speak out against sin but preach a non-saving message of works-righteousness? What does it profit a man to repent from sin, reform his life, and then end up in hell? I do not appreciate the teachers of Lordship Salvation. They are false prophets and false teachers who lead men and women into destruction. But does he lift up his fellow Free Grace brothers who associate with the Grace Evangelical Society? No. He stipulates to his FGA speakers that they aren’t even to mention Zane, Bob, or the GES.

Zane Hodges is a biblical scholar par excellence. He has remained unmarried, devoting himself to the interpretation of the Word. His accomplishments are many! But the lack of respect and appreciation for this man, who taught at Dallas Theological Seminary for 27 years, co-edited a version of the Majority Text, wrote nearly a dozen very helpful and exegetically sound Free Grace books, and devoted a large part of his life to expose the dangerous teachings of Lordship Salvation, is appalling and disturbing!

Free Grace theology shares a rich history and theological heritage. All of us preach Christ and him crucified as the only basis for eternal life. All of us preach that Christ was raised for our justification. All of us preach faith in Jesus Christ as the sole condition for eternal life. Dr. J.B. Hixson does not seem to grasp this, for if he did, he could begin constructing roads rather than burning bridges. If he did, he would be facilitating strategizing sessions on how to unite rather than publicly denouncing fellow Free Grace advocates.

The Free Grace Theology public deserves to know if the Director of the Free Grace Alliance is guilty of deception. The whole controversy can be quelled if Dr. J.B. Hixson will come out and say that the manuscript that he gave Dr. Radmacher contained the disputed material and that somehow Earl missed that section. If he did not include this material to Dr. Radmacher, it would be some oversight!

It is publicly known that Dr. Earl Radmacher does not believe that Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin, or the GES preaches a false gospel. As a matter of fact, Earl holds Zane in the highest of esteem, calling him a “model” for him, and his soteriology closely parallels Zane’s! It is a fact that Earl was certain that no such material was in J.B.’s book just two weeks ago. It is a fact that if Earl would have known that Zane was so disparaged, and condemned as preaching a false gospel, that he would have never written a foreword to J.B.’s book. It is a fact that J.B. included that material unbeknownst to Dr. Radmacher, possibly on purpose keeping him in the dark.

This is not a scandal that will go away without being dealt with. Unless J.B. Hixson comes out and states something public, either exonerating or implicating himself, stepping down from the executive committee of the FGA, it will not be forgotten.

We must have confidence in our leaders. J.B.’s acts of divisiveness, un-fair representation of other Free Grace brothers, deception (as found in our email conversation) and potential scandal as identified in this post, does not inspire a whit of confidence in his leadership.

76 Comments:

Blogger alvin said...

Hi Antonio

Sounds like J.B. has allot to explain! Let's hope he can clear things up. The praising of Piper sounds pretty fishy. You sure a fox isn't in the hen house?

alvin

June 11, 2008 7:41 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Alvin,

Dr. J.B. Hixson and his theology is squarely Free Grace.

His appreciation for such men is unfortunate.

I hope that things will be cleared up as well.

Please pray for the FGA.

Antonio

June 11, 2008 8:21 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Antonio,

Thank you for your defense of the truth. How that thrills my heart. I love your heart, too. I can tell that your only objective is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ!

Alvin, I always appreciate your comments. They're always good and make me think.

Something I've noticed about Zane Hodges. He just keeps studying the Word, focused on the Lord, and seems to let all of these attacks just pass over him. I'm so glad for that. He doesn't seem to get distracted. God will honor those who honor HIM~!

"....for those who honor ME, I will honor" (1 Sam. 2:30)

Enjoying HIM today,
Diane
:-)

June 11, 2008 10:58 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Antonio

I don't think I've ever heard of him before, but that's good to hear he's squarely free grace.

I also appreaciate your heart Antonio, and will be praying for the FGA.

Hi Diane
I agree about Zane, I wonder if he is still filling the pulpit of that Black Church in or around Dallas? What an example!
I sure would like to be in a Church that meets around the Lord's supper!

Diane thanks for your encouraging words, they mean allot!

blessings alvin

June 11, 2008 6:09 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

A couple of people in the blogosphere have been throwing around the idea that Dr. Earl Radmacher is unaware of the teachings of the GES. Such comments are extremely misinformed and shows ignorance of matters to which they address.

I want to assure my readership that Dr. Earl Radmacher is thoroughly versed in the current controversy, the claims of Duluth, and the theology of Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin, and the GES.

Would you expect any different from a man who is very good friends with Zane Hodges and is a leader in the Free Grace world? I mean comon, to suggest such is to traffic in flights of fantasy.

Zane's landmark discussion on "How to Lead People to Christ" happened in 2000 at the GES national conference. 8 years have passed in this time. I personally met Dr. Radmacher at the GES Southern California regional conference in 2005.

Dr. Radmacher is up to date with all of Zane Hodges' writings. Furthermore, he has read the articles written by Tom Stegall, as this post has declared. Dr. Earl wrote to the Duluth people two times with specific objections to the articles.

In my nearly 2 hours talking to Earl, I found him to be very up-to-date with all of the current discussion in Free Grace theology. Why would anyone think differently?

In my discussion with Earl Radmacher, he stated that it is possible for someone to be born again apart from knowledge of Christ's death and resurrection, although, he, Bob Wilkin, Zane Hodges, and I do not believe that this happens much, if at all. Only in very extreme cases could I imagine such a scenario, such as someone in a burning car, or carshing plane, or moments from death. Earl gave me argumentation similar to those things that I have already argued in the past.

I will continue in another comment.

Antonio

June 11, 2008 8:04 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Earl's arguments over the phone to me sounded much like some of the arguments that I have already made.

Here is an excerpt from an article that I did entitled 'Whoever [simply] believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God' (1 John 5:1). Do you believe this?

It can be proved from the gospels that people believed that Jesus was the Christ without the conscious understanding of such import. In other words, the disciples and the common folks believed that Jesus was the Christ (and thus were born of God according to 1 John 5:1) not understanding, assenting to, or even knowing about Christ’s substitutionary atonement and resurrection (not to mention His deity).

A few instances should suffice:

Andrew and most likely the Apostle John believed that Jesus is the Christ (John 1:40-42), and according to the writer of this gospel, whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God and has eternal life (John 20:31; 1 John 5:1). It should be of great note that this occurence happened very early in Jesus' ministry. Phillip and Nathanael affirmed His messiahship very soon afterward (John 1:43-49). Following these events, Jesus started attracting disciples. His disciples are shown to have believed into Him at the time of His first sign miracle (John 2:11).

Another example would be the Samaritans of Sychar. The woman at the well first believed that Jesus was the Christ (John 4:29), based solely upon Jesus' prophetic statements about her life. This woman went into the village and told the inhabitants about Jesus. As an interesting side note, she states, "Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" (John 4:29). This does not indicate that she affirmed or was consciously aware of Christ's deity. Next, many of the people of the village believed into Jesus as the Christ. Of great note is John's statement, "And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, 'He told me all that I ever did'" (John 4:39). Based solely on this immoral woman's testimony of Jesus' prophetic gift, "many of the Samaritans" believed in His messiahship. Please note that this woman's testimony did not include an explanation of the hypostatic union of Jesus and the substitutionary death and physical resurrection. These Samaritans heard, through a severely tarnished vessel, a simple attestation to Jesus' ability, which supported His claim that He was able to guarantee their eternal well-being. As a result of the evangelistic edeavors of Jesus, many Samaritans believed that Jesus was the Christ (John 4:42).

These events happened within the first year of Jesus' ministry. This is an important consideration because Jesus did not reveal to anyone His death and resurrection until His third year of ministry (Matt 16:21; Mk 8:31; Lu 9:22). It is important to note here that even after giving them this information that they did not believe such would be the case, evidenced by Peter's reaction to Jesus' statements: "Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!" (Matt 16:22).

It is important to note further that after Jesus had died (thus fulfilling part of His prophetic foretelling in Matt 16:21) that the disciples did not believe in Christ's resurrection, even after it was reported to them by two different sources! A short quotation is in order:

Mark 16:10-15
She [Mary Magdalene] went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe. After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country. And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either. Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.

What can we make of this information? We must certainly conclude that the disciples and the common folks of Jesus' time believed into Him as the Christ, and thus were born of God (1 John 5:1), having no conscious understanding or knowledge of any import of Christ's substitutionary death or resurrection. Furthermore, what makes this information so much stronger is the fact that the disciples, in actuality, consciously and verbally denied TFGs import of soteric information into the title, "the Christ". The disciples wilfully contradicted Jesus' statements concerning His death and resurrection! These particulars cannot be overemphasized. The disciples consciously disclaimed this information yet still believed that Jesus was the Christ [and according to John's simple assertion, "Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God" (1 John 5:1)].

In John 20:9 we read, "For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead." This is an important verse that needs to be brought to our attention. What we see here is that the disciples believed that Jesus was the Christ apart from understanding all the concepts that are connected to and associated with the title, "the Christ".

June 11, 2008 8:05 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

To be fair to Earl, although he believes it is possible for someone to be born again apart from knowledge of Christ's death and resurrection, he does say that one must acknowledge His deity.

A further argument that sounded like him you can find here:

Must One Understand Christ's Death for Sin to be Born Again?

Antonio

June 11, 2008 8:09 PM  
Blogger Sanctification said...

Antonio,

The funny thing is that I was with both J.B. Hixson and Dr. Radmacher just eight days ago at the NW conference. I did not sense any tension between the two. When Radmacher spoke without a script during his scheduled time, he spoke about the mysterious and unfortunate re-write of the Nelson study bible NKJV notes from the free grace perspective he took nine years to complle, to a flagrantly Lordship position.

When he talks about a war going on, I haven't ever heard him talk about the issues within free grace. He only talks about those who are outside of free grace. He extensively cites the history and work of the likes of Bob Wilkin and Zane Hodges when speaking of the efforts of the free grace movement, during class.

But I would not presume to begin to know his mind.

I shared my testimony with Dr. R. as a way to introduce myself, on May 18th. In my story I shared how was one of those rare examples where Christ did save someone without either acknowledging His death for my sins, or His deity.... I specifically asked him to decide if I was worthy of fellowship with him. He has not yet given me a verbal answer. I think he was very interested in my testimony and he shared it with other free grace people to hear their replies too. I continue to spend time around him and he is pleased that I want to learn more. He has taken me under his wing, I would say, by the way he *treats* me. Dr. Radmacher is a man full of the LORD's grace, with intelligent and bright eyes. He has been undermined by the Lordship proponents so many times, and it is so sad.

Antonio, thank you for sharing this phone call with us. My advice is to have you think twice before setting yourself against others, or seeking Hixson's public humbling, because as you say, the free grace movement should not be at war. Do you imagine that the apostles Paul and John fought over what gospel was? No, and yet we have such variety in the ways they taught the truth. Let there be variety today, and do not add any more tension than is necessary to this controversy.

But I'm with you about the freedom we have in faith, brother. ;)

June 11, 2008 10:20 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Wonderful comments, Antonio!!!!!
I don't know who is reading your blog, but I hope there are many because you teach us so well FROM THE SCRIPTURES!!!

I just want to plead with everyone to please be a Berean NOW! Don't just assume that Antonio is wrong. CHECK HIM OUT in the Bible!!! GOD WANTS YOU TO DO THIS!!! (Acts 17:10-12)

Long before I ever heard what you just taught, I was studying through John and I noticed that very truth... that the disciples believed in Jesus for eternal salvation, yet didn't believe that He would die and rise from the dead. That understanding came later after He rose. I remember pointing that out to my pastor's wife at the time. She was puzzled and just kind of blew it off. She didn't want to face that fact so she just ignored it. So I saw it in the scriptures long before I was taught it by others. If anyone will be honest with the scriptures they will see that what you teach is biblical.

So dear friends, PLEASE BE HONEST AND OPEN WITH GOD, AND COME TO HIS WORD WITH THE VEIL OFF... READY TO HEAR EXACTLY WHAT GOD MEANS BY WHAT HE'S RECORDED!!!

And Antonio... if everyone reading this blog rejects the truth, just know that God is pleased with your teaching because you are honest and open with His Word. And He is using you in the lives of many. And that's what counts!!!
Don't ever stop. We need you and we love you in Jesus.

Rejoicing in Him always,
Diane
:-)
P.S. Alvin, I know that you're one who also comes to God's Word with the veil off ready to hear Him. You're always a joy to read. Thanks for that. You, too, are helping me grow in Christ.

June 11, 2008 10:49 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Very Good Antonio!

I believe you nailed it with showing that anyone believing that Jesus is the Christ is born of God 1 John 5:1 and that the ones in John's Gospel believed in Jesus as the Christ without all the TFG five conditions.
Other words the living water has not changed! To believe that Jesus is the Christ now is the same content that they believed in John's Gospel.
Antonio I believe the big crux of the problem is that these ones who are making the most noise over this "don't believe that ALL sin has been taken care of". Thus they MUST get the cross in there, or your sin still seperates you from God. Zane just as you and I know that sin is no longer a barrier because the Lamb of God took it all away! The real issue is life! And that's where the Christ, the same content that the disciples believed MUST be believed. And that is summed up in "simply believing Jesus for eternal life."

Also in 1 John 5:10-13 the testimony to be believed there to KNOW that you have eternal life is "that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in the Son."
Of course this is writing to believers who KNOW already that they have eternal life because they have believed that Jesus is the Christ thus they are born of God!
If what our objectors say is true 1 John 5:11 would read like this: And this is the testimony that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures and that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in the Son.
But that's NOT what it says because the subject is the testimony one MUST believe to KNOW they have eternal life and that's based solely on the fact that Jesus HAS given us eternal life!

1 John 5:11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in the Son.

alvin

June 11, 2008 10:50 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Michele,

Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts. I have dropped by your blog before - a few weeks ago - and read your testimony and talk about Earl Radmacher and Bob Wilkin.

You wrote:
----------
The funny thing is that I was with both J.B. Hixson and Dr. Radmacher just eight days ago at the NW conference. I did not sense any tension between the two.
----------
Michele, at the time of the conference, Dr. Radmacher was still unaware that the material in question was actually in the book that he gave a foreword to. Furthermore, if there was any tension between the two, I doubt they would have given any indication before the FGA public.

You wrote:
----------
When Radmacher spoke without a script during his scheduled time, he spoke about the mysterious and unfortunate re-write of the Nelson study bible NKJV notes from the free grace perspective he took nine years to complle, to a flagrantly Lordship position.
----------
He mentioned this briefly on the phone to me. It is a sad thing. I have a Nelson Study bible from the year that it came out. It has been very helpful. What a tragedy that some of the notes have been re-written. I may have to do more study on this and possibly write an article about it.

You write:
----------
When he talks about a war going on, I haven't ever heard him talk about the issues within free grace. He only talks about those who are outside of free grace. He extensively cites the history and work of the likes of Bob Wilkin and Zane Hodges when speaking of the efforts of the free grace movement, during class.
----------
This is the way that it should be. Sometimes a good tactic is 'polite ignorance' of troublemakers. As I have written in this piece:

No longer are many who would consider themselves Free Grace advocates speaking against Lordship Salvation. No! They rather are devouring other Free Grace people! It is sad and deplorable! Free Grace brothers are not our enemies! The enemy is Lordship Salvation in its many guises!

The division in Free Grace theology is not being propogated by Dr. Earl, Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin, or John Niemela. It was started by a fundamentalist faction stemming from Duluth Bible Church.

There has always been charity and understanding withing Free Grace circles. There are alot of personalities and many flavors and shades of Free Grace theology. But we have always been on the same page, fighting for the grace gospel, and alerting and instructing people to the dangers and errors of Lordship Salvation.

But out of nowhere, and apart from good form, those from Duluth launched a pre-emptive strike with an untamed war of words, misrepresenting and caricaturing consistent and biblical Free Grace Theology. They coined an inaccurate, pejorative, and disingenuous label for the position of Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin, and the GES. They poisoned the well with theological expletives, misrepresentations, and flat-out falsehoods.

Dr. Radmacher told me that he wrote the Duluth people twice with objections to their material.

It is quite telling for the rest of the readership of Free Grace blog that you state that Dr. Radmacher "extensively cites the history and work of the likes of Bob Wilkin and Zane Hodges when speaking of the efforts of the free grace movement." This is due to the respect he has for these men. They are Dr. Radmacher's allies in Free Grace theology!

To disparage these men is to insult Dr. Radmacher personally, and the grace movement in particular.

Dr. Radmacher wisely sees that Satan is at work in the Free Grace movement. Whether one sees it or not, J.B. Hixson, Duluth, Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin, and Dr. Radmacher are all on the same page. We all stand up for the gospel of Christ: the basis for salvation being the death of Christ and resurrection, and the reception of eternal life by faith alone in Christ alone.

Factionism and pride are huge temptations in the world. Just look at Calvinism. It is like a sacred fraternity with its membership soaking in prideful expressions.

The Duluth people are so far gone that to unify, as is both the wise and right thing to do, would be such a blow to their pride. They have hardened themselves in their conceptions and objections, and no amount of discussion could dislodge them from their obsession to dispute.

The bottom line is, even the Duluth people would have to admit, that on Zane and Bob's word, they preach the death and resurrection of Christ each time the evangelize and call men and women to place their trust solely in Christ for eternal life. It is psychologically impossible for someone to disbelieve what they have been told about the cross and resurrection and then go ahead and place their trust in Jesus for eternal life.

Therefore, the evangelism that is done by Zane and Bob GETS PEOPLE SAVED. The Duluth people HAVE to admit this, although, you will not find them conceding it.

But Lordship Salvation is diametrically opposed to the evangelism of Zane, Bob, and Duluth. NO ONE CAN GET SAVED THROUGH LORDSHIP EVANGELISM. As far as someone preaches that submission, turning from sin, surrender, and giving up one's life is required for salvation, they preach a message that cannot save.

It would be quite the concession by the Duluth people to admit that the evangelism of Zane, Bob, and the GES actually gets people saved and in the kingdom. It would be even a greater concession on their part for them to admit that Zane, Bob, and the GES, do not leave people simply professing faith in Christ, but instruct them into sanctification, discipleship, and the call to rewards- heirship with Christ.

So Zane and Bob and co. get people saved and disciple them! To emphasize this by the Duluth people would remove them from them all of their steam.

Again, the fact of the matter is that Zane, Bob, and the GES present the basis for salvation as Christ's substitutionary death on the cross and bodily resurrection each time the evangelize. Furthermore, they preach faith alone in Christ alone.

Will Duluth (and J.B. Hixson) admit that the evangelism of Zane and Bob actually gets people saved? If they were as wise as Dr. Radmacher they would. We must not stop praying for them.

you wrote:
----------
Dr. Radmacher is a man full of the LORD's grace, with intelligent and bright eyes. He has been undermined by the Lordship proponents so many times, and it is so sad.
----------
I agree to both statements. Dr. Radmacher is a man of great stature in the Free Grace world. All would do well to emulate this man in his grace, wisdom, and judgment.

You wrote:
----------
My advice is to have you think twice before setting yourself against others, or seeking Hixson's public humbling, because as you say, the free grace movement should not be at war.
----------
With all due respect, I am fighting for unity. This article exposes the attempts of people in the Free Grace world to cause division and in-fighting.

The war was started by the Lou Martuneac's, Dennis Rokser's, Tom Stegall's, and J.B. Hixson's of the Free Grace world. The greatest majority of Free Grace people wish to live in harmony with each other, judging that we are all on the same page. It is a small, and very bitter, few, who are waging war.

You write:
----------
Let there be variety today, and do not add any more tension than is necessary to this controversy.
----------
Michele, you are preaching to the choir. These words need to be addressed to J.B. Hixson.

Thanks again for visiting my blog. I am very optimistic for you as Dr. Rad (as he is sometimes called) has taken you under his wings.

Your free grace brother and host,

Antonio da Rosa

June 12, 2008 4:57 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Dear readers of Free Grace blog,

I just wish to mention to you that I have come to find out that Dr. Radmacher has finally been apprised of the offensive material in J.B. Hixson's book. It wasn't until I informed him through email and my blog that he became aware.

In my phone conversation with J.B. Hixson, he stated to me very forcefully, after I asked him point blank if he ommitted the offensive material from the manuscript he gave Dr. Earl, that I should stay out of this business. Certainly this reaction does not lend toward a presumption of innocence.

I was very polite in my asking. He became instantly defensive. He could have quelled any doubt by forthrightly saying, "Of course the material was in there."

Dr. Radmacher was shocked that this material was in there because his name in on the book endorsing it, and to say only the least, is distraught. He is now looking into these matters.

I will let you know more if I become aware and am allowed to share anything.

Your unapologetic free grace host,

Antonio da Rosa

June 12, 2008 5:24 PM  
Blogger Sanctification said...

Antonio,

Thanks for your comments.

You said:
"I have dropped by your blog before - a few weeks ago - and read your testimony and talk about Earl Radmacher and Bob Wilkin."

I actually saw your fine example of asking permission to share private discussions and immediately knew I should have thought of that, too. I would never have guessed just a week ago that there was any kind of readership out there for this debate over gospel within free grace! Out of respect for Dr. Radmacher it can only be wise to let him associate himself however he wants to without some measly new student of his publicizing for her own opinions.

So, I took down Dr. Radmacher's reaction to my testimony (because the testimony is so very liberally what some would call "crossless"). I am still not sure how he would truly appraise it, I am waiting to find out. We actually attend the same church....

But I'll tell you what's on my heart.

I could take sides, very easily. I am no bible scholar but I don't think people need to be, to just study what the gospel is. What's more, in my case I have the confidence of a crossless, free grace in my own experiences. But I don't want to push primarily for people to hear and believe in the power and relevance and God's use of it. At least not any longer, seeing what's going on out here.... Why? Because I love the word of God, and I think I might have caught Dr. Radmacher's vision. He seems to me to be singularly focused, on proclaiming how we can have assurance by faith alone in Christ alone, because of the cross and because Jesus is God. And I love that message.

For those who think less is heresy, I wish they could have their eyes opened -- God can save with less. For those who love grace, just remember the scriptures are the final authority, and Paul's description of the gospel ought to be ours too, without a flinch.

You wrote:
"With all due respect, I am fighting for unity. This article exposes the attempts of people in the Free Grace world to cause division and in-fighting."

I can tell you are, just as I am sure Hodges and Wilkin want to teach all the truth about what Jesus has done for us. Your points are crucial.

I am trying to learn exactly how free grace evolved. Perhaps the "full gospel" proponents feel as if the movement was unfairly gotten off the ground by those who published firstmost on the gospel... which happened to be Hodges, and Wilkin? Who took a liberal pov? If that's the case, they must have thought their interpretations went underrepresented, and all this time have been waiting for a J.B. Hixson to defend something a little more for the conservative side?

If this is the case then no wonder there is infighting. Not one group should be able to claim the name for themselves, if there is a disagreement on such a central matter.

You also mentioned that Dr. Radmacher just found out about the material in Dr. Hixson's book. I am glad to know this. Because Dr. R. was promoting the debut of the book in May and at the conference, and, as I look back on that I've been wondering if he must have had a mind to this small issue of whether or not it would call what I have associated myself as, as heretical. I want to know what he thinks!

During the FGA NW conference, he talked for several minutes about the Nelson study bible's second edition. The first one had his and the other two author's study notes, but, someone has gone through for the second edition and removed some or perhaps all, of the important free grace fellowship passages to mean salvation-lordship interpretations. The one he quoted, was 2 tim 2:11-13.

"This is a faithful saying:

For if we died with Him,
We shall also live with Him,
If we endure,
We shall also reign with Him,
If we deny Him,
He will also deny us.
If we are faithless,
He remains faithful;
He cannot deny Himself."

Someone at Nelson changed the free grace study notes from what is obvious to us all about the teaching of this passage, to instead read what I can remember I will paraphrase, as "If we are faithless salvation is impossible to have ever taken place. See John 15:6."

It's like this keeps happening to him, over and over and over. Nine years worth of writings, gone!!

He was passionate about this, and this is what I am passionate about as well, having a husband who clearly judges self and others in the usual Calvinist way, which takes so much effort to correct.

I beg you Antonio to keep in mind the way in which you describe those who are divisive. I am saddened to see your readers roused about their exposure. It is one thing to point it out so that we are aware, as you did for Radmacher's sake, and ours. Blessed are the peacemakers, dear brother. My aim is to cover over their offenses, and treat them as better and more important than myself, as I address their issues.

Peace,
Michele

June 13, 2008 1:10 AM  
Blogger BTopartzer said...

Thank you for the good information regarding Earl Radmacher and the GES controversy. However, it appears to be an overstatement to declare Piper and MacArthur as declaring a false Gospel. They do not believe works are involved in salvation but have inconsistencies and exaggerations. I am fully aware of them. They declare a Gospel that will save anyone who believes. They have some inconsistent and wrong theology behind the declaration. People are saved if they believe in Christ as the giver of eternal life. Right? There are varied presentations and emphasis to the presentation of the historic foundation of the Gospel as outlined at 1Cor. 15:1-4. We must be as correct as possible. But Zane Hodges does indicate that the imperfect and incomplete information may still save. Let us be as gracious as possible with those in the Lordship camp and Free Grace Camp. This can be done without surrendering the points of theology in Soteriology that we see as Biblical and necessary. The GES gospel will save. The LS gospel will save. People are saved in both kind of churches. They give fruit and evidence of regeneration. The basis is the death burial and resurrection of Christ. The declaration is "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved."

June 14, 2008 11:05 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Bob Topartzer,

I am honored that you have visited this blog. I must say that I followed your conversations on Sharper Iron with great interest. I appreciated your analysis of Lou Martuneac. Furthermore, I was struck by your balance and level-headedness.

I would be very upset if I endorsed and wrote the foreword to a book and found out later that material was added that accused my ally in ministry and mentor of a false gospel.

Truthfully, I do not know what I would do in such a case. I am praying for the situation right now, that Dr. Radmacher would have wisdom.

You see, it is delicate thing! On one hand, J.B. Hixson is on the same side as we are, so there is a desire to be gracious. Yet on the other hand, J.B. Hixson, in the role of director in a Free Grace institution, is propogating division among brethren. There definitely needs to be some form of accountability for his actions.

The Free Grace Alliance, as told to me by Dr. Earl, is a place for all Free Grace people. Yet J.B. Hixson, the director, is alienating a good portion of the Free Grace world with his actions and rhetoric. And it seems to me that Dr. Charlie Bing is looking on in either passive allowance or active encouragement.

This is astonishing to me! Why? The FGA had a discussion about the content of faith, if the cross and resurrection were mandatory convictions in addition to faith alone in Christ alone. There was put together a round table of leaders in Free Grace. Only one out of the whole group certainly stated yes, and that was the protege of the prime instigator from Duluth.

Insofar as a Lordship proponent sticks with John 3:16 or Acts 16:31, I have no problem. It is when they mix the call to discipleship with the invitation to receive eternal life that they fall into fatal error. As well, Lordship theology touches every aspect of Christian living negatively. We will have to agree to disagree on this one. I am encouraged that you present Christ as the one authorized and able to dispense everlasting life to anyone who simply believes in Him.

Again, thank you for your visit. Do come back often!

With regards. Your free grace host,

Antonio da Rosa

June 14, 2008 2:18 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Michele,

I appreciate your note tremendously - it shows your humble and beautiful heart.

I would like to respond to two things.

You wrote:
----------
If this is the case then no wonder there is infighting. Not one group should be able to claim the name for themselves, if there is a disagreement on such a central matter.
----------
The central issue, for me anyway, and it has always been, in faith alone in Christ alone apart from works of any kind. This is the crux of Free Grace theology.

I have posed this question to those who are opposed so bitterly to Zane Hodges:

Let us say that a man was reading the book of John and came across John 1:12; 3:15-16; 4:10-13; 5:24; 6:35-40; 11:25-26. In the process of reading these verses, this man placed all of his faith and trust and hope and certainty into Jesus as his Savior. In other words, this man entrusted his eternal well-being to Jesus. This man, by an act of faith, placed all of his reliance upon Jesus alone for eternal life. And before the man was able to reach the end of the gospel of John, before the passion and resurrection narratives, he died.

Would this man be in heaven or hell?

This is where the balanced people are separated from the extremists. You see, those who have created discord in the Free Grace community with their heresy hunting and factionism, MUST answer that this man is now in hell!

But even people who do not identify with the Grace Evangelical Society positions would say that this man is in heaven.

This man exercised faith alone into Christ alone!

The Duluthian Antagonists wish to paint the GES as extreme. But there is no greater extreme statement than to contend that Christ would throw somebody into hell who had faith alone in Him alone apart from works!

The extremists from Duluth must picture Jesus in this way judging the man from the aforementioned illustration and question:

{Jesus} You believed Me when I said that whoever believes in Me has everlasting life. You entrusted your eternal destiny and well-being into My hands by believing in Me. You trusted me alone for the gift I stated was received by faith in Me. You rested your certain hope of eternal life to my truthfulness and authority.

BUT

Since you did not add to that faith assent to my substitutionary death for sins, and bodily resurrection from the dead, I must throw you into hell.


Imagine the extreme scenario of someone who fully and completely trusted in Christ for eternal life, yet nevertheless is thrown into hell because of historical and doctrinal stipulations!

It is not extreme to propose that Jesus Christ is truthful when He states that simple faith in Him receives everlasting life! It is not extreme to propose that child-like trust in Him as one's Savior is sufficient to be reckoned righteous.

It is extreme to suggest that faith alone in Christ alone is insufficient to save! It is extreme to propose stipulations greater than personal trust in Christ for salvation!

You wrote:
----------
I've been wondering if he must have had a mind to this small issue of whether or not it would call what I have associated myself as, as heretical. I want to know what he thinks!
----------
I wanted to know the same thing, Michele. So I called him and asked him what he thought of the baseless and dispute obsessed allegations and accusations brought against Zane, Bob, and the GES by the Duluthian Antagonists.

And the rest is history. He stated that he objects to their charges, and furthermore, that his soteriology closely parallels Zane Hodges.

I would sugges that you sit him down and ask him these questions for yourself. And then, by all means (with permission of course) relate that information over here on this blog.

Grace and peace to you!

Your free grace host,

Antonio

June 14, 2008 2:43 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Excellent Antonio!

You clearly showed who the real extremists are!

June 14, 2008 7:52 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Antonio,

You said it so well and with much graciousness. I don't see you as an "attacker." I see you as someone passionate about truth. I see you as a true Berean. You're a teacher and a good one!!! You've been given a special gift from the Lord. And I'm so glad the Lord's letting you use it here on your blog because you're teaching me so much. I appreciate these words that you said in your article a few days back.......

(words from Antonio.....)
"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 doctrines 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!"
END OF QUOTE

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I am one who has been so blessed by the teaching of GES and Zane Hodges. I thank God for them continually because they have given me the freedom to search the scriptures to see what is true. They have NEVER pushed me to believe something that I don't see clearly for myself in the Word. All they've done is shared the fruit of their studies. It's then up to me to search and see if it is true. I've found that it is true most of the time. If there's something I don't yet see the way they teach it, I put it on the shelf and come back to it at another time. Eventually the Lord opens my eyes when I honestly search for truth. Isn't God good! He does that all the time for me.

Before I ever heard of Zane Hodges or GES or Dr. Radmacher, or any of my free grace friends, I understood one truth. It was this. Jesus promised to give me everlasting life when I believed in Him for it... John 3:16. My doctrine wasn't refined, so I never really thought about whether or not you had to believe in other things besides that truth to be saved. I did believe in other truths. I did believe in His work on the cross and His resurrection. I did believe in His deity. So I never really thought about the issues that are now raging in this debate...... "How much needed to be believed to be saved." BUT....... looking back at the time I was saved, this is what I believed....... It was the simple promise that Jesus would give me everlasting life, that I would not perish in hell forever, but I would be with Him forever. It was just believing His promise. So as I look back, my salvation testimony is that Jesus saved me when I believed in Him for it....... not because I believed in His work, which I did. I just believed God's promise. How can anyone argue against that?
GES has helped refine my understanding, and it's not changed me away from what I believed, but just helped me understand better the wonderful truth of my salvation. I like the term that is being used for my position...... REFINED FREE GRACE THEOLOGY. I'm being sharpened in what I already know. Jesus saved me. I believe in Him. That simple, that wonderful~!!!

So all of my dear free grace brothers and sisters, please think about what you're doing when you attack good men like Zane Hodges and those in GES as heretics, or preaching a false gospel.

Just one more thing........ Don't know if he'll ever read this, but thank you Dr. Radmacher for your life's work and for your friendship. I have the original NKJV Study Bible that you so graciously made available to me when it first came out. And not only me but many in my circle of friends. You are dearly loved and appreciated, and I'm praying for you.

All because of HIS wonderful grace,
Diane

June 14, 2008 9:29 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Alvin, thanks for the encouragement.

Diane, it is always a pleasure to read your comments. You are more than welcome here to post comments to your hearts desire. They bless me and encourage me. Thanks for being so supportive and for your prayers.

If Satan has his way, the Free Grace message will be nerfed because of those who are obssessed with disputes. Pray that this day will never come.

Whatever happens, as long as I live and breath, I will teach and live Free Grace theology.

Please pray for me as I am ill right now.

To all of my patrons who are fathers:

Happy Father's day! Do not forget your heavenly Father who has begotten you from above! Give Him the honor due His name!

Your free grace host,

Antonio

June 14, 2008 10:35 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Good Morning Antonio

Will be praying for your health to recover! And thank you for reminding us of our Heavenly Father who begot us! Praise the Lord!
Diane you sure have a gift of encouragement, and I agree with all that you have said!

Your brother In Christ
alvin

June 15, 2008 4:15 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Prayers for your health dear brother and that God’s will is soon accomplished in all else. May He bless you with a quick and full recovery.

June 15, 2008 4:38 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Praying for your health Antonio!!!
Isn't it great to know that we have a Father in Heaven who hears.

Diane

June 15, 2008 7:03 AM  
Blogger Evangel said...

Antonio, have you seen the names of the endorsers of the Hixzon's book? I went to Hixson's website and read most all of the FG leaders highly praising the book. I am curious of the content of the book.

Roby

June 15, 2008 11:09 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Roby,

Yes I have.

The largest majority I have never heard about before. Frankly, If I have never heard of you before or what your believe from what you have written, your endorsement is not going to have any sway over me. Some (as Tom Stegall and Dennis Rokser) have little value outside their small congregations. Still out of the rest that I do recognize, only a few have any published book(s).

Dr. Fred Lybrand, one of the endorsers and on the executive council of the FGA, personally told me that he DOES NOT BELIEVE that Zane, Bob, or the GES has a false gospel. Dr. Fred Chay, another endorser, on the council of the FGA, was at the GES National conference this year, had a booth set up there, and taught a break-out session. You don't set up a booth and teach at a conference, thus associating yourself with the GES, if you think they preach a false gospel!

Even Charlie Bing himself, another endorser, came to the GES national conference and brought friends from India there. I sat with him at lunch and was in a couple of breakout sessions with him.

You say "most all of the FG leaders". Brother, like I said, I have been in this movement for 14 years and I don't recognize the lion's share of these people. They don't have books out.

The GES is the oldest and most well-known FG organization out there. It has articles from Bing, Congdon, Anderson, Radmacher, Farstad, Dillow, Hodges, and Chafer. Furthermore, Charles Ryrie, only a couple years back, spoke a plenary session at the GES national conference.

The fact of the matter is that Dr. Radmacher is a friend of and an ally in the ministry with Zane Hodges, who is misrepresented and disparaged in J.B. Hixson's book. Radmacher was kept in the dark and wrote the foreword unapprised of the false material that was added in. He would have never written the foreword to the book if he knew that J.B. Hixson was going to add that offensive material. But J.B. DEARLY wanted Radmacher's endorsement, as I said in this post, to consolidate an anti-GES faction in the FGA. Hixson is using Radmacher for political purposes.

Thanks for coming over. You may have had other information you wish to share. Please follow up if you have anything else to say.

Your free grace theology host,

Antonio

June 15, 2008 12:30 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Dear readers of Free Grace blog,

I received an email today from Dr. J.B. Hixson which accused me falsly of a number of things without a shred of substantiation or documentation. Within his email there contained falsehoods and misrepresentations. The email that he sent me was formulated to be a defense of his actions whereby he (no admittedly) left Dr. Radmacher in the dark and unapprised of his offensive material concerning Dr. Radmacher's friend and ministry ally, Zane Hodges.

I am not at liberty to state everything that J.B. wrote, but I wrote a lengthy response and rebuttal to his insinuations and false-accusations. His email to me carbon copied Dr. Radmacher, Fred Lybrand, and Fred Chay. The email I sent in response carbon copied all of these men and also Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin.

I hope to hear in the next few days from Dr. Radmacher and/or his ministry partner. I would also appreciate a response from Dr. Bing, Dr. Chay, and Dr. Lybrand.

If I do not hear from them, I will deliberate whether or not I should post some of my response to J.B. Hixson here on my blog.

There is wisdom in just letting this go for the time being and waiting for J.B. Hixson's book to be available to the public. I will pray and seek godly council on how to proceed with this.

In all of this, I am acutely aware of Dr. Earl Radmacher's unfair and unfortunate position. In a sense, he is being used for political purposes by some in the FGA. I am praying for him, for his health, and for wisdom to be given to him concerning what his courses of action should be in light of the current situation.

I would ask you all to pray during this very delicate time in the Free Grace world.

Your concerned and sonfused fg host,

Antonio

PS: pray, please, for the free grace movement!

June 16, 2008 9:36 PM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Antonio,
I am praying also that the devil will not continue to have his way in this. I think he laughs at all this biting and devouring one another. It is a shame.

June 17, 2008 9:45 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Antonio

Will be keeping the situation in prayer and also your health.

blessings alvin

June 17, 2008 9:46 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hey Antonio

Are you getting over that gunk yet? Maybe you need to eat MORE fish? Like octopus and squid, maybe throw in a couple sardines and mustard! Oh boy that would do it! That would kill anything!!!
Anyway been praying for your speedy recovery, and hope your getting better.

brother alvin

June 20, 2008 8:05 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

AMEN Alvin!!! Except for the part about octopus and squid, sardines and mustard. Outside of that....
AMEN!
:-)

Antonio, I really am praying for you to get well. And I know that the Lord hears and answers our prayers on your behalf. He said so!!!

Diane
:-)

June 20, 2008 8:28 PM  
Blogger Katherine Gunn said...

Amen. :-)

June 20, 2008 9:29 PM  
Blogger David Wyatt said...

Bro. Antonio,

Add my prsyers to the mix, but you can leave the sardines & mustard off. The squid & octopus among other various & sundry sea critters is just fine. Got some in the fridge right now. Would offer you some, but there you are in sunny CA & me here in even sunnier NC. Oh well, I am serious about the prayers at least!
Bro. Alvin, you crack me up beyond what I am already cracked!

June 21, 2008 11:43 AM  
Blogger Peggie said...

Antonio, Sure hope you are feeling
better. God Bless you.

June 21, 2008 12:21 PM  
Blogger dreiher2 said...

Sanctification,

I too was at the NW 2008 FGA conference, where I did video recording of the conference.

In my conversations with JB and others, the tension was just beneath the surface. I sensed that people are uneasy about the conflicts going.

I went to lunch with JB, and John Doan (the sound guy) and we did not talk about the conflicts. They are well aware of them, and they are trying to deal with the issues in good conscience.

We need to be careful what we say about other "Grace People." We need to be sure we are part of the solution and not be part of the problem.

Lets keep the discussions private as much as possible, until both sides can come up with some agreed upon disagreements. This is long overdue!

Keep in mind that Dr. R. endorses a lot of things, and none of them are perfect in every way. Each one of us has our own convictions as to how much we can disagree with something and still endorse it. I disagree with our church's doctrinal statement, but it is better than any other church in the area, so I signed it.

We Grace people are part of a huge Spiritual conflict, and we need to keep everything in perspective.

Those who were at the conference know that it is a miracle that Dr. R. is still alive. Maybe God kept him alive to help resolve these conflicts, and to be an example to firmly hold to our convictions, yet make some compromises (reluctantly) in order to win the war. Where you see Satan working overtime, you know he is responding to a threat. The unity of Grace people must be a great threat.

- Don

June 23, 2008 6:48 AM  
Blogger Sanctification said...

Don,

I know you!

You said:

"Lets keep the discussions private as much as possible, until both sides can come up with some agreed upon disagreements. This is long overdue!"

Yeah. It didn't take long for me to realize I needed to unsay as much as possible. Eek!

I found out about the disagreement after the conference. It seems to me that Free Grace has an unparalleled thing going for it, if they can only get over some of the "minor things" and give each other a little space to be different.

I know I need free grace.

June 27, 2008 12:06 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Dear Free Grace Friends,

I've been pondering again today this whole debate on the content of saving faith. It makes me very sad that this has divided our free grace friends. But it shouldn't. Can we know with absolute certainty what the CONTENT of saving faith is? YES, I believe that we can know with absolute 100% certainty. So I'm going to give it one more try. For those who disagree with me, please don't be mad at me. I'm not mad at you. I just have a passion to help "even one" person see it clearly.

Today I was reading an article written by a free grace friend who I respect greatly. I appreciate his ministry so much. He differs with me on this subject. He's aware of my leanings. I wanted to just touch on some things that he said in his article. I don't know if he ever reads Antonio's blog, but if he does I want him to know that he will always be my friend and I thank God for his contribution to the grace message. He's a very gracious person and God has used him greatly in my life.

He states.... "The CONTENT of the gospel is the person AND work of Jesus Christ, which are inseparable as the object of saving faith." (emphasis mine)
I agree that the gospel includes the person and work of Jesus Christ. The gospel includes everything that made our salvation possible. Praise the Lord for his wonderful gospel. I ALWAYS preach the death and resurrection of Christ and much more. But does the Bible clearly say that a person is not saved if he doesn't know all these details about the Savior? I agree that there needs to be CONTENT that BRINGS A PERSON TO BELIEVE in Jesus Christ for His gift of everlasting life. But that content is not the same for everyone. The same SAVING MESSAGE must be believed, but the content that gets a person to that place where they believe in Christ is different for everyone.

I'm going through a Bible Study in John right now, and my eyes are being opened in a huge way (regarding that book). If John was written to tell people how to have eternal life, and more than just believing in Him was required, why didn't Jesus tell them all the content that was necessary to believe to be saved? He DID tell them. John 3:16 and other places.

For some, I think they just want to believe that Zane Hodges teaches and believes that *NO content* is necessary for a person to entrust their eternal destiny into His hands. But Zane NEVER said that. He DOES BELIEVE IN CONTENT. But his POINT (that most all on the other side are rejecting) is that the ONLY content ***that saves*** is to believe in Jesus Christ for the eternal well being of your soul... (your being). You may not think it through to use that word, but your CONCEPT is that Jesus has saved you FOREVER!!! You are safe FOREVER in His care. You will go to heaven when you die, not hell. Whatever content is necessary to get you to that place is what is needed for YOU!!! I agree with my friend in that article that says it's a work of the Spirit of God. Only He can bring a person to the place where their faith is in Him alone.

I'm remembering a story that Zane Hodges told a few years back at a GES Conference. At that conference he told of a time he was a student at Dallas Theological Seminary. He was working in the kitchen with another student who worked as a janitor. This student told Zane that it wasn't until he came to Seminary that he first realized that Jesus (who He had trusted as Savior) was God. It just never dawned on him before. Would we then have to conclude that he was never saved until he believe that Jesus was God? I'm not willing to say that at all because the Bible doesn't say that. If His trust was in Jesus Christ of the Bible to save him, then he was saved. But what was the specific saving content? John 3:16, Acts 16:31, etc. His trust was in Jesus to save him. That alone was the ***saving content.*** God saved him. That man knew he was saved because He believed Jesus as the giver of eternal life.

What's distressing to me is that these men (Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin and others) are being tagged with playing down the cross of Christ and His resurrection plus other wonderful, glorious truths. My friends....... they preach Christ crucified and His resurrection as the ONLY basis for our salvation. They preach everything the other side does. Yet they are being attacked as preaching a crossless gospel which is absolutely FALSE. Those who say that Zane and GES believe that the cross and resurrection are NOT REQUIREMENTS to BELIEVE TO BE SAVED are correct. They do not believe that it is a REQUIREMENT to be saved. Why? Because the Bible doesn't make it a requirement. But since we live after the cross, we all preach it because it is the BASIS of our eternal salvation. Without the cross and resurrection, nobody could be saved. Maybe in this dispensation everybody comes to faith believing that Jesus died for their sins and rose from the grave. But what if someone believes without realizing that His blood had to be shed? They're missing an important truth. Yet they're saved if they've believed in Jesus for everlasting life. If a person NEVER has believed in Him for that, what's the joy? The person who believes in Jesus alone knows He alone gives eternal life. No works whatsoever. Isn't that a marvelous message?!!!!! WOW! It doesn't get any better than that!!!

So my passion is this..... The content that saves is "whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." Praise God for His great provision to save us through faith in His Son....... the sinless One sent from God, deity Himself, virgin born in order to save us through His cross work and resurrection from the dead!

Why are some fighting against this beautiful gift freely given to anyone who believes in Jesus alone for it?
Is there even one out there who can write back and say....... I get it! That's my hope. That's my prayer.

I love you all.

All because of His wonderful grace,
Diane
:-)

June 29, 2008 9:05 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Amen Diane, you said it like it is sister!!!

Seems real clear to me, and I'm not even a theologian!

Maybe that's the problem, it's just to simple.

Jesus wants us to trust in Him for His gift and not in what He had to do to provide it!

simple alvin

June 30, 2008 4:00 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Alvin,

You've helped me to understand lots of truth..... especially the "bulls eye" illustration. I'll always be grateful for that.
:-)

A lot of "stuff" has been going through my mind because of this debate. I ask myself.... why are there so many unwilling to see what is obviously true?
One answer is.... that they don't want to see it. They refuse to see it.
But there are probably some who simply have a "knee jerk reaction" to what is being said falsely. Their defenses go up. After all, how can anyone say that you don't have to believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to be saved? When I first heard this, I had to process it. I needed more clarity. But I trusted the men who were teaching it. I'm not saying I trusted them blindly. No! They've taught me well. Examine the evidence. I did. I saw. You know what I found out? I found out that my salvation happened when I simply believed the promise of John 3:16. I remember that general time. I remember the assurance I had. I KNEW I was saved BECAUSE I believed what Jesus said about giving me everlasting life if I would believe in Him. I didn't have my theology refined, but I knew that Jesus saved me because I believed in Him, and He promised.

NOW THIS IS IMPORTANT.........
***Nobody is saying that we SHOULD NOT believe in Christ work on the cross and His resurrection. I did. Most people do. Hooray for believing that wonderful truth. That's one of the "greatest truths" to convince us that Jesus can do what He promised. Maybe EVERYONE today comes to faith believing THAT truth. But maybe not. The Bible does NOT say we must believe in His work or we can't be saved. If anyone says differently, they have yet to convince me by scripture. They fall far short. You may notice that it's always fuzzy what exactly has to be believed in order to be saved. They may have some kind of understanding, but not fully, etc.
***But that is a terrible message to bring to a lost soul who needs to know that Jesus will give them eternal life if they just simply believe in Him for it.*** Why is that so hard to understand???

THIS, TOO, IS IMPORTANT........
***Anyone who hears of Jesus' death and resurrection will NEVER DENY it and THEN turn around and believe in Him for eternal life. Please hear me here!!!!! I don't believe that's possible. It's based on the fact that God the Holy Spirit draws us and convicts us and opens our eyes to truth when we respond to His drawing. Why would He open our eyes to truth that saves and close them to His work that made our salvation possible?

What I'm trying to say is...... I'm all for believing in the cross work of Christ. I rejoice in His resurrection. I BELIEVE He rose. BUT to tell someone that they must believe certain doctrinal truths.... ****that the Bible doesn't even require**** is ADDING TO THE WORDS OF GOD. If O.T. people could be saved without understanding HOW, so can N.T. saints. Are there people like that? God knows. I don't need to know.
Possibly in remote areas of this world. Only God knows.

Our friends on the other side seem to be saying that we don't think it's important to preach the cross and resurrection. Of course it's important. But believing HOW He provided for our salvation is NOT saving. It leads to our salvation (to the bulls eye), but believing that truth won't save anyone. They must believe in the Giver for the Gift. That's what God has written down in His Word, and I will never compromise on that awesome saving message!!! How can I deny His Word? Some are probably denying it because they're truly confused about this whole debate. The things they've read against GES would cause anybody to cringe. But the problem is...... they're reading lies (either intentionally or unintentionally). Only God knows the heart. I am not their judge.

I heard from one FGA friend that we must be careful to make the gospel (saving message "good news") CLEAR. But their very own presentation is muddied with what exactly that message is to be believed. They themselves are not clear. The biblical message is very CLEAR. It's the only message that is CLEAR.
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved."
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever BELIEVETH ON HIM SHALL NOT PERISH BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE."
What could be more clear than that?

Here's what I'm doing. I'm praying. I don't think we have any way of convincing those who don't want to be convinced. But God knows my heart. He knows I'm being honest with His Word. He knows I mean business with Him. And He knows how to discipline me if I'm disobedient to what I know to be true. He doesn't want us to compromise the truth about how to receive His free gift.

I'm very thankful to GES for encouraging me when I become discouraged. How do they do that? Scripture...... pure scripture. I check it out. It's the only thing that keeps me going.

Dear readers to this blog....... please let me know if there's even ONE person out there who wants to understand. If you do, God will show you for sure, and there are GREAT rewards for those who diligently seek the Lord.

Antonio has my permission to share my e-mail address if anyone would ask him. (I'm hope that's OK to say, Antonio!)

I'm thankful for all my Christian friends. And I appreciate good, loving debate if it's done with the purpose of coming to the truth. Our God is faithful, and He won't let us down.

PRAY!

A sister in Christ and free grace friend,
Diane
:-)
P.S. Forgive me for rambling!
BUT........ our understanding of our great salvation is being "refined" (sharpened). Isn't that a good thing!!! I'm very thankful that God is still teaching me, and I want Him to correct me when I'm wrong. In fact, I pray and ask Him to shake me up if my eyes are closed to truth.

June 30, 2008 4:57 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Yes Diane, Jesus saving works should always lead us to faith but if it does not lead us to faith alone in Christ alone then it has not accomplished it’s purpose. Just as the law is to be as a schoolmaster to lead us to Christ but if it does not accomplish it’s purpose what good is it other then to condemn us. Multitudes have believed in Jesus works but are yet to believe in Him alone for His gift. We have a great disconnect in most of our churches because the bullseye was never made clear.. And that is what Zane Hodges has tried to do refocus us to the person of Jesus Christ for His gift of life. Does that mean that the target ONLY has a bullseye on it? No, all His works are there to lead us to Him. Some will be able to see straight to the bullseye, others will have to see the whole target before they are able to focus on Christ and His gift. We preach the whole message because we know it’s purpose is to lead to faith alone in Christ alone!


alvin

June 30, 2008 6:07 PM  
Blogger Katherine Gunn said...

Has anyone heard from Antonio? Is he doing okay?

June 30, 2008 8:33 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Katherine, I haven't heard a word or what kind of illness he has but have been holding him up in prayer!


goodnight
alvin

June 30, 2008 9:00 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Alvin, Excellent comments you made!!! I agree 100%.

I'm sorry I got so carried away in my last 2 "long" comments. Please forgive me.

I, too, would like to hear how Antonio is doing. I'm praying for him.

Diane

June 30, 2008 9:36 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Diane

I agree with your comments, I think your right on the mark!

I seen a divide before this "content of saving faith" with the disagreement about if a person had to know that they were eternally secure to be saved. Other words there were ones who in the Free Grace camp who didn't believe that "assurance is of the essence of saving faith." A Free Grace pastor in a town nearby was promoting this and getting together with other like minded in the Free Grace camp. He even went down to Texas to meet with the head of the Greek department to make sure his interpretation was correct. I've yet to get together with him. He wanted to run his thought's by me. First he had something happen then I had something happen so we never got together yet.
So one is what the saving message is and the other is do you have to know you’re saved forever to be saved.
It all makes me just scratch my head in amazement.
alvin

July 01, 2008 8:56 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Alvin,

I'm almost afraid to comment because I've been getting carried away with much rambling. I'll try to keep this short.
:-)

Regarding the necessity to KNOW that you are forever secure when you're born again...
If there's NEVER that moment you KNOW Jesus has saved you forever apart from works, then you've never been saved. BUT... lots of Christians believe that Jesus has saved them for eternity but later get confused because of bad teaching.

I personally don't believe the DOCTRINE of eternal security is necessarily believed at salvation but the CONCEPT is. The concept is the assurance that you WILL be with the Lord forever because of Jesus. The DOCTRINE includes a lot of Bible that shows us WHY we could never loose our salvation. That teaching comes later.

That's my quick version.

Knowing Jesus makes everything beautiful. Even during an election year!
:-)

BTW.... I'm still waiting to hear that Antonio's OK.

Diane

July 01, 2008 8:51 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Good morning Diane

I agree with your quick version! That it is how I see it too!
I did have Antonio's phone number but my memory has deserted me on where it is? Hope to hear some good word soon!

have a great day in the Lord!
alvin

July 02, 2008 4:25 AM  
Blogger David Wyatt said...

Amen sister, beautifully said, Diane.

It seems while surfing the cable channels while on vacation or sometime I've seen a "QVC" channel. Is this possibly Diane's "Quick Version Connection" station??

July 02, 2008 6:59 PM  
Blogger dreiher2 said...

Antonio:

I just got JB's book. Other than the parts about Prof Hodges, and Bob Wilkin, it is excellent.

I think the parts disagreeing with Zane and Bob were done graciously, although I guess that is a matter of opinion. It is my opinion that people are paying more attention to what Duluth folks are saying about Bob and Zane, then actually reading, listening to mp3s, and having private conversations with Bob and Zane. It takes more than an hour conversation to clear things up.

At the FGA conference, JB said he talked with Bob for a long time about the issue. I think the issues are so emotionally charged, that people are hearing what they want to hear. . . perhaps on both sides.

I can't speak for Bob or JB, but I am not convinced that JB really understands. I just listened to Ken Wilson's "Free Grace Theology" class on CD. I am convinced he does not really understand what Bob is saying either. Ken states that GES is adding additional requirements to Faith alone in Christ Alone! That should throw up a red flag that there is miscommunication going on!

I have read everything Bob, Zane and John Niemela, and Bob Bryant has put out, and I have hundreds of MP3's from GES, and I have listened to them repeatedly, and I think JB and other FGA people are misconstruing what Bob and Zane, and other GES folks are REALLY saying.

Perhaps I am wrong. . . but I think that there is a major communication breakdown which occurs due to the emotional intensity of the so-called debate.

If I can ever dig myself out of the pile of work I am under, I plan on doing some more writing and research to try and analyze where the breakdowns are occuring. I think that is the problem.

FYI. I am transcribing Zane's 2 messages from 1999 on "How to Lead Men to Christ," and I think I will to write up an analysis of it, along with an analysis of Zane's style of teaching. I think that is the bulk of the problem.

- Don

July 03, 2008 6:24 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi David,

I plead ignorant! I'm sorry... I don't know what that means...
about "QVC." duh!
:-)
But I do other silly things like that. For example...
By youngest daughter and family are sailing the Atlantic. They spent their first year in the Caribbean, and are now in their 2nd year sailing through the Bahamas and on up the eastern coast of the US. They just anchored in NY. My grandchildren got all excited over seeing a SUBWAY. I thought they meant SUBWAY SANDWICHES. They meant Transit. duh!
So now you know how my mind thinks.
:-)

Enjoy hearing from you.

Diane
:-)

July 03, 2008 7:46 PM  
Blogger David Wyatt said...

Thank you Diane! To be honest, I am not sure if QVC is correct or not. I just saw it surfing the channels! You're a blessing. God Bless.

July 03, 2008 8:10 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

Great Stuff as always Antonio. Sorry I have not been able to get here sooner. I was virused and I had to get a new computer.

It is disgusting how Lordship salvation distorts the Gospel of Jesus Christ, believing in Him as Christ for eternal life.

There are some hardcore lordship proponents in my area who have been telling people they need to give up all sinful habits before they can be saved, and they openly say "If you believe in Jesus as the Christ but continue in sin you are not truly converted/saved", they lean more towards the Calvinist mindset.

July 11, 2008 6:50 PM  
Blogger Sanctification said...

All,

I haven't been here in awhile. I am hoping also that Antonio is okay.

Diane, I want to thank you for the humility you personify by admitting regret over your weaknesses, mistakes, or errors. I need to see people be human, because it sets me free to be human too.

Perhaps it'd be best for me to keep quiet, too. Though God wants me to live present-tense, by faith, ready to give an answer, ready to come to the aid of the forlorn, open and honest hopefully in a manner reminiscent of a child's. I feel comfortable playing the fool, hanging out for years with JWs, LDS, and OPs makes you the guy with all the dumb questions. Excepting Christ's reputation in the scriptures I love, I really have no reputation to protect, anyway. I am a woman. I'm young, I'm uncertified.

There is one thing I fear: that I would injure the good efforts or reputation of someone else. For that reason I am trying to get as good a grip as quickly as possible on how big a deal this issue really is. It has been very difficult to figure out, in this sub-culture, what sorts of things can be talked about openly, and what sorts of things are not okay. All of these issues ought to be openly talked about with enthusiasm and hope. But because there are people attached to these ideas, I am discovering it is important to be cautious.

Dan said something in his comment about differentiating people from their ideas. This sounds good to me. I want to bring up the issue of politics. I can't share with you a verbal explanation for why I think this is important, but if you bear with me you might be able to catch on to how we could avoid making any further mistakes in the expression of either point of view. I want to draw some principles out of these topics:

http://rightcyberup.org/cult.html

http://rightcyberup.org/spiritual.html

I hope these sites, though their material is on a completely separate and extreme issue from Free Grace Theology, are able to "speak to you" like they do, me. I wrote a few reasons why these features bother me on my latest blog post, "Spiritual Pornography."

http://sancsblog.blogspot.com/2008/07/spiritual-pornography.html

My intention in sharing the example of what happened in this group, is to make sure both opinions in free grace are at the other end of the continuum, sharing not even a hint of similarity with the features of a group experiencing this kind of problem.

For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 1 cor 11:31

At another blog site representing the "fuller gospel" I have left comments giving two other important reasons why it is a bad idea to stir up negativity within the walls of those who call themselves "free grace."

I still have a couple more life-applicational principles for why it is unhealthy. Here's one of them.

My dad was a professor at a couple universities. He shared with me his technique for successfully imparting the material of the course to students.

Those of us who are fortunate enough to have experienced a secular college education can remember these kinds of courses, these kinds of instructors. They taught the principles of the course, they laid out a certain foundation of fact. And then they asked good questions. Before the discussion even begins he knows that not all the students are going to think the same way. They all have different backgrounds, different perspectives and experiences and exposures. But the context was that these different, even contradictory ideas were all given space to be aired and explored. It wasn't ever an argument. It was a discussion.

Imagine the student who sits there and takes notes and learns to "pass a test." Or the guy who simply ingests the material so that he can regurgitate what was fed to him. Is regurgitation, learning? I am not sure. Imagine the student who walks in already having his mind made up, and raises his hand with an attitude. None of these kinds of students are ones which are engaged to grow in learning of the material. Only when set in the context of a discussion which includes opposing points of view, are the students motivated to really participate, and own for themselves, their opinions.

We don't want anyone to just read Zane, or listen and nod along in a pew in Duluth. (I don't think that's happening, I have more confidence in free grace than that.) But you know what I mean? That's the worst thing that could ever happen. Then it's all about men and distribution and nothing about individual responsibility with scripture.

So shouldn't discussion be absolutely top of the list of things to be about doing?

When we hold up the joe-Christian as responsible to figure out for himself what the scriptures say, we ought to have enough respect to accept what he comes up with. Right? I mean otherwise we're lying, by saying that they are responsible before God to figure it out. That doesn't mean however that their wacky conclusions have to stay that way, though, because in community we are ever growing and learning with each other.

Just another idea....

Take care all of you,
Michele

July 12, 2008 1:10 AM  
Blogger Trent said...

I will try and call Antonio tomorrow. Hello my Free Grace Brothers and Sisters. Diane, well put! Great to say hello to people here. Alvin, long time no talk. My life seems to be getting better and I hope to become an active part in the community again. A friend of mine talked to Antonio a few days ago, so I know he is alive at least. Antonio, if you see this before I talk to you, keep the faith brother and your graciousness intact.

Grace and Truth

Trent

July 12, 2008 9:44 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Trent,

Glad to hear from you that Antonio is OK. He's someone who I thank God for because of his love for the truth. And I also love his heart. I know that all he wants is for God's saving message to be crystal clear so that everyone can have the opportunity to hear about the free gift that God has to give.... everlasting life with Him through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone to all who simply believe.

I, too, love that message. And even though sometimes I get "carried away" with many words, I never mean to come across as unloving to anyone. If I've been that way, please forgive me. Sometimes the flesh gets in the way.

Can't wait to hear from Antonio personally on this blog. That'll be a happy day!!!

Thank you Michele for your kinds words. You have a big heart.

In Jesus' love,
Diane
:-)

July 13, 2008 8:05 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Trent

Glad to hear from you. I've missed your presence, you always had very good things to say. I'm glad to hear also that Antonio is doing ok.

Hi Diane, you always have good things to say, and you always say them with kindness. Your a great example for me.
I believe Trent has the same heart and is very kind to people.
I think Antonio and myself have alot of Peter in us, were always ready to cut off an ear. Maybe I should just talk for myself, sorry about that Antonio. Hope Jesus brings healing if I've cut anybodies ear off. I can get carried away in the heat of the battle, I'm sure Goodnight can atest to that. I better shut up while I'm ahead.

alvin

July 14, 2008 8:04 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Alvin,

I always read with much enthusiasm anything you write. I like the way you make truth understandable, and I also like your heart. I've found you to be very kind.

Antonio is also kind. He too takes truth and makes it understandable. Truth is worth defending.

I think both you and Antonio would agree that if what any of us say can't be supported completely by scripture, then we should reject it. But that's what I appreciate so much about the two of you. You help me see what is there in the Word, and I thank God for you.

Sometimes controversy can become distasteful, yet if it helps us sharpen our understanding of God's message then the controversy is good.

Thank you my kind and gracious friends (Antonio and Alvin... and others) for your faithfulness to the TRUTH of God's Word. Oh, how satisfying it is to have my eyes open to it!!!

To God be all the honor, glory, and praise!!!

All because of His wonderful grace,
Diane
:-)

July 14, 2008 8:35 PM  
Blogger wjc said...

Hi Antonio

I applaud you and want to encourage you not to waver in standing firmly for what is right and fighting for it! Contrary to what most might think, controversy and division is good and God will use it to refine and clarify His message through these broken and tattered vessels... Frankly, some vessels he desires to take out of the way... You have maintained a gracious tone and that is good but do not back down and do not compromise what is right for the sake of politics or to preserve the status quo of some organization. Doing so will only result in a man-made movement built on the sands of compromise and devoid of God's blessings and power. You are in my prayers for God's wisdom, strength and words...

Your friend,
WJC

July 17, 2008 11:31 AM  
Blogger wjc said...

Forgive me if I need to vent with you guys a little… I love Antonio and thoroughly enjoy many of your posts - so I feel like I'm among cyber-friends bound together by the magnificent truth of God's free grace!

I am frankly disturbed to hear that several board members besides Dr. R have endorsed this book by J.B.. Forgive me if I don't tip toe around this little Texas Frisbee but it certainly sounds like something is rotten in Denmark! Either J.B. duped all of these guys by withholding the controversial portions of the manuscript or none of these guys did the due diligence to scrutinize what they were lending their good names to... If it's the former then J.B. should be kicked out of his position as Exec. Dir of the FGA and every one of these guys that were duped should make that unequivocal call for his resignation. Dr. R should withdraw his forward and all should cancel their endorsement of the book immediately. If the latter scenario is true then this is a group of "leaders" that have grown careless in that role and with their responsibilities on the board of FGA. They should call for the resignation of J.B. for distorting and maligning Zane, Bob and GES. They should immediately withdraw their endorsements, apologize to Zane and Bob for this unfortunate failure to scrutinize the book and then move forward! Regardless, even if you consider J.B. to be in the Free Grace camp, he has no business being at the helm of an organization supposedly focused on promoting the Free Grace movement. Publishing material that attacks, distorts and attempts to impugn the teachings of Zane, Bob and GES hardly resembles promotion of the movement. It does resemble the actions of someone who is trying to manipulate and change the movement as characterized by those in the FGA. A position like this requires someone who is a bridge builder across the landscape of Free Grace rather than what can only be characterized as the bridge burning that is occurring. The last thing we need in the Free Grace movement is men whose "theology is squarely Free Grace" attacking other men whose theology is not only squarely Free Grace but have played a pivotal role in establishing, organizing and defining the movement!!!

I have a hard time reconciling the idea that Dr. R, and these others that Antonio has mentioned, agree with and support what Zane, Bob and GES stand for relative to Free Grace and yet have not immediately reversed their endorsement of this book and called for some accountability for actions taken... One would think that there would be some very clear and swift action on the part of these folks to preserve their friendship and relations with Zane, Bob and GES if they really do hold them in high regard… Unfortunately, based on what has not happened so far what comes to my mind is the old saying: “with friends like that, who needs enemies”…

I would echo what Alvin said regarding Piper and a fox in the hen house. I only hope it’s not “foxes” in the hen house. This is sounding more and more like something that everyone (except Antonio - God bless him) is trying to sweep under the rug, cover over and pretend that everything is just fine... I don’t care how “quiet” or under cover this issue is or remains – there is a stench that is brewing and wafting from this unfortunate mess. Frankly the more light on it the better – to my mind. Where are the real men??? They need to find their spines, stand up and be counted and start the draining of this putrid little pond…

- WJC

July 17, 2008 4:23 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi WJC

I agree with you WJC it’s due time J.B set things straight. If he were an honorable man I would think he would want to do that. But as you say if things are just keeping quiet, I don’t believe in letting a dead dog lie (or left lying), because he will start stinking up everyone around him.
This is a little excerpt from a CD I have, where Earl is commenting about Zanes writings and heart:

I thank God for this man. I recently gave away my library to Oregon Theological seminary where I now teach, and I had quite a few commentaries on James. One of the commentaries is three volumes on James, three volumes about three inches thick on James. That’s the largest commentary I had. The smallest commentary I had was 138 pages, a paperback. I’d throw away the rest of them to keep that one by Zane Hodges. I would gladly throw away all the commentaries that I’ve got on 1st and 2nd and 3rd John to keep one by Zane Hodges on 1st 2nd and 3rd John.
But this man does not specialize in the theologians but he’s well aware of what the theologians are saying but he specializes in the Word, not as a technical apparatus but as something he dearly loves and wants to be able to portray it to us. And, Zane Hodges “I LOVE YOU” I have not always agreed with you “AT FIRST.” But when I listen a little longer you usually come out right, but not always.
Then Zane gets up to speak and says this:
Which only goes to prove that other seminary professors are the toughest ground to plow.

J.B. if your reading this you better check your soil because it looks to me to be pretty hard ground.

alvin

July 18, 2008 8:29 AM  
Blogger wjc said...

Hi Alvin, - Thanks for that quote from your tapes... I can just hear Dr. R ending with "...But when I listen a little longer you usually come out right, but not always..." and then Hodges standing up and with a chuckle saying "Which only goes to prove that other seminary professors are the toughest ground to plow."

I love it! Both Dr. R and Zane have a great sense of timing and humor...

I can only pray that this relationship is not damaged by what appears to be a trap of deceit that Dr. R has been caught up in...

We will just have to wait and see what the consequences reveal...

July 18, 2008 11:37 AM  
Blogger Sanctification said...

Isn't Dr. Radmacher awesome? I enjoy hearing him speak. He loves his wife very much, and always has great things to say about everyone. I want to be like that.

July 19, 2008 12:13 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

I like him,(wjc, makes sense).

July 19, 2008 8:49 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Thank you my dear friends....

Antonio
WJC
Jim
Alvin
Trent
Michele
Erin
David
...and others...

You encourage me. I'm earnestly praying that God will open eyes to see clearly His saving message. I don't mind debate. It's good if it helps us to be sharpened in our understanding of God's truth. I'm just grieved though by the attacks against my very good friends who hold to the position (my position too) that a person is eternally saved when they get to the place where they believe that Jesus (the Person who God sent into the world) gives eternal life to all who believe. HOW much they know before coming to believe that truth is in God's hands. But His promise can't ever be changed. And MY PRAYER is that all of my free grace friends will come to see clearly this wonderful, glorious, yet simple truth.

I have no idea who reads this blog. But whoever does read it, welcome! We here want only to give honor and praise to the Savior of the world... Jesus Christ who gave His all that we might be eternally saved.

Thank you dear friends for your comments because they truly encourage me!!!

Keep praying and trusting.

1 Sam. 2:30b..... "for those who honor ME, I will honor!"

All because of His wonderful grace,
Diane
:-)

July 19, 2008 10:27 AM  
Blogger wjc said...

Where in the world is Antonio?!

July 21, 2008 8:54 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

I think Trent was suppose to have talked with him.

A friend of mine talked to Antonio a few days ago, so I know he is alive at least. Antonio, if you see this before I talk to you, keep the faith brother and your graciousness intact.

hopefully Trent will give us some word about Antonio, till then keep praying!

July 22, 2008 2:01 PM  
Blogger wjc said...

The person that Trent was referring to was me - I talked with Antonio. Haven't heard from him recently though so just wondering out loud...

July 22, 2008 3:14 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

I am here and I am fine. Just taking a little break. Will be back blogging in a week and a half.

God bless all you readers!

July 22, 2008 4:34 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

AWESOME!!!! You made my day Antonio!!!
:-)

July 22, 2008 4:37 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Antonio

Great to hear from you!!! Will be looking forward to your return :)

alvin

July 22, 2008 6:49 PM  
Blogger wjc said...

He's alive!!!!

July 22, 2008 8:48 PM  
Blogger Katherine Gunn said...

Good to hear you okay. ;-)

July 23, 2008 2:11 AM  
Blogger Looker4522 said...

Antonio,

I am so glad to hear things are OK. Enjoy your break. I know how much time it takes just to lurk, so I can only imagine the time that consistent blog authors spend reading, researching and writing.

May our Wonderful God bless you and your family with fellowship and peace!

July 23, 2008 8:52 AM  
Blogger wjc said...

It really should not be a big surprise that we have a situation emerging within the FG camp in which men who are theologically sophisticated, well educated, trained in the scriptures and in positions of spiritual leadership, are defining and requiring some rather complex propositional truths as fundamental requirements that must be heard and understood by the lost in order to receive eternal life. The unsaved must not only believe in the object of our salvation - Jesus - for eternal life but must have an understanding of the basis by which Jesus is able to save us. This is a rather sophisticated intellectual process that is required and I would like to draw your attention for a moment to some parallels that I think might be instructive.

Imagine for a moment with me that we are part of the mass of Israelites who are wandering in the wilderness and you and I have just experienced a horrifying plague of vipers which have suddenly come into our encampment and we along with countless others have been bitten by these poisonous reptiles. We are getting sicker by the minute and hundreds lie dying when the word comes around that Moses will raise a bronze serpent on a pole in the middle of the camp and if anyone will just look at that bronze serpent he or she will be healed from the bite of the vipers and will not die… Suppose I said to you: “Now listen Joe, I don’t get it - this doesn’t make much sense – we just have to look at a bronze serpent on a pole and we will recover and live? What could that possibly have to do with our condition and our recovery? There has to be more to this story… We need to know where Moses got this idea. We need to know how this can possibly work cause I’ve never heard of such a thing… Maybe the heat is getting to Moses so let’s go see if we can get the scoop on what’s behind this bronze serpent on a pole thing!”…

Now if you’re honest you are probably thinking how ridiculous! Just look at the bronze serpent and then if you must you can check into the details later dude!! I would submit to you that the Israelites probably didn’t have many if any of the details. All they likely knew through that bleary mental fog and the searing pain that was spreading to the nerves of their dying bodies was that Moses said to look at the bronze serpent and whoever does will live – and that was enough…

What I’m getting at should be clear. We are living in a day when just as they did in Jesus day, some of our most learned and best religious men can complicate and obscure the grand simplicity of God’s plan, purpose and mission. If there is one thing that the scriptures and our experience should teach us - it is man’s natural propensity in his intellectual arrogance and pride to create clouds of sophisticated arguments and requirements that replace the magnificent simplicity of God’s wise plan. We see this very notably in Lordship theology and now we see a similar mentality emerging within the FG camp. I would suggest that it is spawned by the same spirit which wars against the mind of man to blind his understanding of the simplicity of God’s saving grace. It is the same spirit which permeated the legalism of the Pharisees of Jesus day and blinded them to who He was causing Jesus to ask them repeatedly “why don’t you believe me?”…

Much like the admittedly ridiculous example in my story we have a group of theological sophisticates who say that without a full understanding of the basis for how Jesus is able to save men the lost cannot be saved – i.e., reduced to the bare minimum, just looking to Jesus in faith for eternal life is not enough. Despite the clear parallel that Jesus gives Nicodemus in John 3 between the simple look of the Israelites to the bronze serpent in that wilderness camp for life – to believing in him for eternal life.

Even though Jesus alludes to His future crucifixion Nicodemus would not have understood that detail – only that Jesus was saying that He was here, visibly for all to see much like that bronze serpent was so that “whoever believes in Him, may have eternal life.”

July 24, 2008 11:50 PM  
Blogger Katherine Gunn said...

wjc~

Wonderfully stated. The simplicity of it was something Jesus actually thanked the Father for on a couple of occasions -at the same time commenting that those who considered themselves well learned and knowledgeable missed it precisely because it was so simple.

July 25, 2008 1:11 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

wjc...

Thank you! What a wonderful, helpful illustration of simple belief in Jesus for eternal salvation!

July 25, 2008 8:01 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

I think you fishermen will be able to relate to what I’m saying. I know Antonio at least likes to eat fish…Ha!Ha!
When we go trolling for fish we don’t just throw out a little bity hook but we put on the big oh cowbells to get the fishies attention. We know what catches the fish is the hook but one might say if the fishies could talk, it was that big shiny looking fish that got me to bite. Other fish might be attracted for other reasons but are just following and have not yet taken the hook.
If we were to think about this in fishing for men terms we might come up with this. The fishies that are following but haven’t biten yet are like the ones in John 6 Jesus calls them disciples but He told them they haven’t yet believed. We also know there are different barriers in peoples lives that keep them from seeing the truth, and until those barriers are removed they can’t see past them. The women at the well might have needed to see Jesus unconditional love “How is it that you being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” Others their sin might loom big over them and they might say that they were attracted to the Savior. Maybe they thought they were unsavable, but when they saw the cross they new Jesus had paid for all their sin. Others like Nicodemus needed to see their need, that their status just didn’t get it. That could be a picture of a Calvinist who thinks they are just born into it because of their Calvinist parents. Or it could be a Catholic that was sprinkled as a child. We want to give people all that we can to get them to believe in Jesus for eternal life. We know though that they don’t need to swallow the hook and all the cowbells to be caught, they only need to swallow the hook. Different people are attracted to Jesus for different reasons but until they have believed in Him as the Christ their still not in the boat.
As Zane would say ‘Please don’t take this in a literal sense, but just as food for thought.’

Note: For all of you non-fishermen a cowbell is a bunch of shiny pieces of metal on a wire and as they go through the water they spin and flash and at the end is a leader which is just a piece of line and then the hook. To the fishies it could look like a school of fish or just the shine could attract their attention so they come and check it out and hopefully end up getting caught. I know I’ve got a very active imagination…Ha!Ha!

alvin

July 29, 2008 11:14 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Have any of you asked Dr. Radmacher what he thinks about this article?

Have you read Dr. Bing's article in the newest FGA newsletter?

It may be time for us to move on and support the free grace organizations that best represents our views. The Lord used both, Paul and Barnabas when they could no longer work together. My prayer is that it would be true of us in free grace. Reconciliation may be in our futures, but not at this time, just read the blogs representing free grace theology. Lord help us to move on as we present the message of, faith alone in Christ alone.

Mike

July 30, 2008 10:34 AM  
Blogger Sheva said...

It's really impressive to be read!!


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