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

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

How to Lead People to Christ, Installment #1: Zane's introduction to his address

The following is the first installment of a multi-part series that will provide the transcripts of Zane Hodges’ provocative and seminal addresses of the Grace Evangelical Society’s National Conference in 1999, titled “How To Lead People to Christ: Pts 1 & 2”.

Today’s portion is Zane’s introduction to the material he wishes to present. In it he highlights the objective of his message.

Special thanks must be given to brother Don Reiher, who has spent many hours in the transcription of this message (and countless hours providing Free Grace people with beneficial resources). Don, we all appreciate your efforts, and would like to encourage you to continue to make available Free Grace Theology media.

Zane Clark Hodges:

How to lead people to Christ. The title of my two talks at the GES Pastor’s Conference this year may lead you to expect that I am going to talk to you about how to do personal evangelism. Hopefully, you will get some ideas about personal evangelism from the things that I say, but that is not my major objective. Instead, I want to talk about how Grace Theology should effect the way we present the Gospel whether we are presenting it to individuals or to groups.

Nevertheless, before I go any further, let me just say this. I do genuinely enjoy talking to people about their eternal salvation. And, I have done so with many, many individuals over the years. In the Kerugma office where I work, there works with me a close friend who does not attend Victory Street Bible Chapel. When I first met him he did not understand the way of salvation, but over a period of years and after many conversations on the subject he became a believer. He understands now that salvation is absolutely free even though most of the people that he knows do not understand that. He even knows what Lordship Salvation is, and he knows it ain't good. Now the salvation of this friend of mine is one of the very highly treasured results of my many years of service to Christ. It’s an immense joy to me to realize that as a result of his faith in Christ the friendship that we’ve had now for 18 years will go on forever in the Kingdom of God.

What I am trying to say is this. I am a teacher by spiritual gift, but I enjoy doing the work of an evangelist as much, or maybe more than teaching. So as I talk today about putting good theology into our soul winning, I am talking about something that is an important issue to me. And I want you also to know that I try hard to practice the things that I'll be preaching to you today and tomorrow.

The question I am raising in my talks is a basically simple one. Here it is. Have we allowed solid Grace theology to properly affect the way we proclaim and share the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Have we really allowed our Grace theology to impact our sharing of the Gospel? Now I propose to address that issue under two headings. The two headings are these. Number one: The Content of Our Message, and number two: Our Invitation to Respond to It. Now I want to consider the first of these topics this afternoon, and the second one, God willing, in the discussion tomorrow morning.

This introduction shares with us pertinent material that we must keep clearly in mind if we are to understand the rest of Zane’s message. In his own words, Zane gives to us his objective:

I want to talk about how Grace Theology should effect the way we present the Gospel

Have we allowed solid Grace theology to properly affect the way we proclaim and share the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Have we really allowed our Grace theology to impact our sharing of the Gospel?

Zane Hodges had concerns on how the gospel was being presented to the lost. Biblically insupportable practices and unbiblical terminology have found their way into the evangelism of Free Grace people. It was his desire to see that “solid Grace theology” be the foundation for our evangelistic appeals. Zane wanted us to start to think about the issues concerning the saving message in order that we might ask ourselves, “Have we really [really!] allowed our Grace theology to impact our sharing of the Gospel?” It is the fact that he got people’s attention! And he got people thinking; some with an open mind, and others with an unfortunate reactionary response.

As we will find out from the installments yet ahead, Free Grace people often run scared from their theology in the practical exercise of evangelism. In this, they have adopted ways of sharing the gospel that betray concessions to points raised against Free Grace Theology. We have even borrowed methods from Lordship Salvation! Brothers, we must take a good, hard look at the way that we have been accustomed to preaching to the lost, and “allow… our Grace theology to impact our sharing of the Gospel”!

Furthermore, we see Zane’s heart for the lost and his love of evangelism. He puts in practice that which he preaches.

Zane Hodges was a man of impeccable character, as many of his detractors will also note. He has been the Godfather of the Free Grace movement. Zane’s scholarship found in the forms of teaching, preaching, and writing have been lauded by all in Free Grace. I recently saw a vocal opponent of the GES soteriology position use Zane Hodges’ material and refer others to it for a positive benefit.

In light of Zane’s unique position in Evangelical Christianity: never married, scholar par excellence, 26 ½ years teaching Greek and New Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary, exemplary Christian walk and love for Christ, and past theological achievements (this is by no means an exhaustive list!), those who identify with Free Grace theology (and I would suggest all Christians everywhere for that matter) ought to give him a dispassionate and attentive hearing.

What I am suggesting is that we act as Bereans. There is a process in this. We must first condition ourselves to be “fair-minded” (Acts 17:11). I know this is something hard to do. Often, truth first brushes us the wrong way – is that not the case? Factors within us often withold us from even considering an argument. This often makes people rash in their condemnation. Biases must be set aside.

Next, we must “receive the word with all readiness [of mind: προθυμίας] ” (Acts 17:11). Our minds must be prepared beforehand to willingly and considerately consider the word being ministered to us. Prayer for the Holy Spirit to lead us into His truth is of course appropriate here.

Lastly, we must “search the Scriptures” (Acts 17:11). Often, we search the Scriptures only to discredit another’s teaching that we are already hardened against. This is not what I mean here! The Scriptures being expounded to us must be thoroughly examined in the light of what has been taught. So often men and women go to other texts to use as ammunition against their opponent’s interpretation of another text. We must first start with the passage in view, and then work from there. In having the nobility of a fair-mind, receiving the word ministered to us with impartial readiness, and studying the pertinent Scriptures, so we will be Bereans.

As the footnote to this introduction portion of Zane Hodges’ GES address, entitled: How to Lead People to Christ, I would like to provide a short admonition that was spoken at the 2001 GES conference, entitled: The Spirit of Antichrist: Decoupling Jesus from the Christ (found in a condensed written form in the Autumn 2007 Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society):

… the grace movement faces some significant dangers…

It may seem strange to say it, but the grace movement must face the danger of not being open to God’s Word.

Most grace people probably feel that openness to God’s Word is a hallmark of the grace movement. After all, we are prepared to let the Scriptures speak even if they clearly contradict long-held traditional interpretations. The doctrine of rewards is one such area where the grace movement seems prepared to let the Scriptures speak.

I agree that this has been a strong point of the grace movement up until now. I hope it will continue to be. But there are some warning flags.

… the grace movement must bring all of its convictions to the bar of Scripture. And we must be prepared to revise these convictions however God’s word requires. No movement can remain vital which no longer examines itself in the light of Scripture.

When such examination of our convictions ceases, tradition and dead orthodoxy are not far down the road.


Blogger alvin said...

Hi Antonio

Thanks for your clear proclamation of the saving message!!!!
And thank you brother Don for all your hard work in getting these messages so people can watch them!!!!

Hopefully, you will get some ideas about personal evangelism from the things that I say, but that is not my major objective.
Zane wanted to make sure we have the core of the Gospel the bulls-eye correct!

Zane speaking of his friend:
He understands now that salvation is absolutely free even though most of the people that he knows do not understand that.
Amen to that!!!!

Zane Hodges had concerns on how the gospel was being presented to the lost.

My own personal evangelism, first and foremost to me is that the one I’m speaking to doesn’t go to hell!!! Then my next concern is to make a disciple out of them. I had a chance to spend a couple hours with two different men last night speaking to them about their eternal destiny. The one was talking about the middle-east about to go up! I took out my Bible and turned to Daniel and shared with him Daniels 70 weeks (490 yrs) and only 7 yrs left. Then told him what Jesus said in Matt 24 “just as in the days of Noah they will be eating and drinking.” Then I told him I want you to go with me when I go, and explained that all his sins were on the cross and Jesus offers him the free gift of eternal life. What it came down to is that he did not believe the Bible was true that it was just a book people had put together. I told him if I’m wrong I’m just dead, but if your wrong you will be in hell for eternity. And I took him to PSALM 73 Then I understood their end. Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction. Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awakes, You shall despise their image.
I don’t know about you but I don’t want to see anyone go to hell!!!!!
The second man also questioned the Bibles authority and claimed to be a Christian. He had died twice and had a pacemaker on his heart. But he thought he could give the gift of eternal life back. I told him he had believed something God does not give “a temporary gift.” And then took him through the Gospel of John showing him it was permanent! But he still did not believe it. It is difficult enough with all the things thrown at people in this day and age, we MUST be as accurate with the Gospel of Grace just as Zane was, hitting the bulls-eye every time! My car-pool buddy and myself were talking about if the rapture took place while we were out at work, and they were trying to get a hold of us on our post . . . .where are they? We will be in the clouds . . .no radios up there . . .Ha!Ha!

My buddy Steve and me make sure everyone gets the word that saves...the bulls-eye!!!!

Where He is there am I…Eph 2:4-8

Alvin :)

February 05, 2009 3:01 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...


Thanks for your input on this message. Also thanks for your good message.


February 05, 2009 4:22 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Dear readers of Free Grace Theology Blog:

Is your theology terminal? Are you now satisfied that you that all your convictions are indeed God's truth?

Zane's words are instructive here:

we must be prepared to revise [our] convictions however God’s word requires. No movement can remain vital which no longer examines itself in the light of Scripture. When such examination of our convictions ceases, tradition and dead orthodoxy are not far down the road.

God forbid that our movement slip into traditionalism!

Can grace people still search the Scriptures honestly when some traditional view of their own is called into question? Are we open to the Word of God whether it agrees with us or not? (Zane Hodges, JOTGES, Autumn 2007)

I sure hope so.

Some of the answers that I used to give to Reformed folks and Lordship people no longer sit well with me in light of my continued study into Scripture. Maybe, if you are honest with yourself, you have felt the same way!

Doctrines such as:

1) Propitiation (the Atonement)
2) Repentance
3) The content of saving faith
4) Eternal punitive loss (the metaphorical 'outer darkness')
5) Temporal wrath of God

are some of the many topics that must be thoroughly examined in light of the Scriptures. Scriptural consideration of these topics can strengthen our Christian walk, give us the ability to read the Scriptures prima facie, and have powerful arguments against Reformed and LS theologies.

your free grace brother,


February 05, 2009 4:42 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Here is something that caught my attention. This is from Zane’s message “What do we mean by propitiation?

Unfortunately many born again Christians do not understand the splendid universal sufficiency of the work of Christ on the cross. They frequently miss-represent it when they evangelize the unconverted.
Fortunately you don’t have to have a perfect understanding of the cross to be saved, if that were the case probably no one would be saved. (emphasis mine)

This is very interesting what Zane says here!

We have been charged with preaching a cross-less gospel, when in fact the ones making that charge miss-represent the cross and do not believe in the universal sufficiency of the cross. And when they evangelize the unconverted they get saved in spite of their miss-representation of the cross. But notice what Zane says about the cross: Fortunately you don’t have to have a perfect understanding of the cross to be saved, if that were the case probably no one would be saved.
Does that sound like Zane believed in a cross-less Gospel? No way!!!! See I believe the majority of people that get saved is by way of the cross. To “look and live” is to believe that Jesus has paid for ALL of your sins therefore has guaranteed your eternal destiny! He has saved you forever! But what Zane was concerned about was that the cross would not be linked to the fact of your eternal security! That you have eternal life and shall never perish. You are ONLY believing in Jesus as “The Christ” if you are looking at Him as securing your eternal destiny . . . . meaning He has saved you forever! That is the bulls-eye!!!!
These ones who miss-represent Jesus sacrifice bring in their own requirements from lack of their own understanding of the sufficiency of the cross for the whole world! They come across as though they are defending the cross, when in fact they are denying it’s sufficiency for the whole world! They don’t believe that Jesus REALLY paid it ALL!

Anyway that’s how I see it, and I’m open for correction if you can prove it!

Alvin :)
P/s Don't mistake my enthusiasm for a bad tone because I know someone can only see something if they have light but if they are rejecting light that is another issue.

February 05, 2009 10:01 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

One last thought to put things into perspective:

It can’t be OVERLY emphasized how POWERFUL to be able to look into a persons eyes and KNOW that the person you are witnessing to Jesus has paid for ALL their SINS and genuinely LOVES them and the ONLY reason they will spend eternity in HELL is because they reject God’s free gift of eternal life. It's like Jesus Himself looking through your eyes because you KNOW HE LOVES THEM and has proved it by paying for ALL THEIR SIN ON THE CROSS!

Wherever He is there am I
Alvin :)

February 05, 2009 10:37 PM  
Blogger Celestial Fundie said...

Good points.

February 10, 2009 3:00 AM  
Blogger Gary said...


Good point.

I would add another.

When anyone ADDS anything to believing in Christ for eternal life they open pandora's box, so to speak.

Look at the Nicean Council, for example. The outcome proclaimed an anathma against all who did not agree with the detailed theory of the Trinity.

I don't think I agree with the notion about "minimal" doctrine.

If one believes that one must believe ANYTHING in addition to what J 3:16; etc., state to receive eternal life then they do not believe J 3:16 etc.

It is that simple.

By adding to what God has said means that the person does not believe what God has said.

To clarify, if a person teaches that a person is not given eternal life unless he also believes the ressurection, anything else, then that person is denying what Christ said, and teaching a person to believe what will not result in eternal life.


February 16, 2009 8:56 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Gary

I agree 100%, and also agree with your comments on the thread below this one. The way you stated "only the faith of the ungodly" brought a lot of clarity for me.
I've been reading Zane's book "Grace In Eclipse" and how the word believe has been subtly redefined to mean alot more. Such things as personal relationship. Some would call it 3D. But when the simple apropriation of the gift of life is redefined to mean anything more then simple belief one is adding to the requirements for that gift.
Those who would start with "faith alone saves but the faith that saves is not alone" are proclaiming another gospel one that MUST have works to get to heaven. Maybe this seems simply as a pastoral problem with some but we know it attacks how one is born again by adding works as a requirment if the faith is saving. You showed clearly that the faith that saves is alone and has to be alone without any works what soever. Diane has already lost a friend to the Reformed false gospel, so the enemy is real but some would embrace them as brothers in Christ along with there works just being misplaced in 1D.

alvin :)
Thank God for men like Zane Hodges that drew the lines clear between the gift being "Absolutely Free" and discipleship costing everything. Some would bring it all back together and just rename it 3D.

February 16, 2009 11:10 AM  
Blogger Gary said...

A PS from Gary

Bob W. put what I was trying to say in my last entry much better:

"A person who believes that faith in Christ must be supplemented by something else (obedience, commitment, perseverance, or even faith in other doctrines such as the diety of Christ, substituitionary atonement, etc.) obviously does not believe that all who believe in Jesus have eternal life."

JOTGES Vol. 21; Number 40; Spring 2008, page 25 note51.

Brilliant, Gary

February 16, 2009 1:10 PM  
Blogger agent4him said...

Alvin, Gary, Antonio, et al.

Alvin, I am sorry that you responded in such a volatile way to my post on the previous thread; as I said, I am on your side, and Antonio tried his best to make that clear as well.

I must, however, continue to register my concern with FG-ers who continue to blast away out of fear that any mention of works at all ipso facto somehow contaminates the FG message of faith alone in Christ alone for eternal life, or that it gives unbelievers the wrong idea that they have to have works to "get to heaven."

The assertion made by Gary in the previous thread that there are two different kinds of faith---one that "gets us into heaven" and another that "produces works," as in James 2:14-26, simply cannot be supported by Scripture. James himself makes it clear in 1:2-4 that the faith that places us into the Body of believers whom James is addressing ("brethren") is the same faith that is tested throughout our lives in Christ; it is the same faith that can "die" when it is unaccompanied by works (James 2:14-26).

Let me be crystal clear, here: I hold to exactly the same conclusion on James 2:14-26 that was held by Zane Hodges: A faith that is "dead" does not mean that the "believer" was only a "professing" and never had genuine faith to begin with, as some Calvinists would hold; nor does it mean that such a person loses their salvation when they stop "believing" as most Arminians would hold; what it does mean is that the faith of some believers, perhaps many believers, can die, and I think we see this phenomenon all too frequently among evangelical believers of all stripes.

It simply confuses the issue to insist, however, that the faith that saves does not produce works. While it is true that the faith that justifies does not "work," as we can clearly show from Romans 3 and 4, it is absurd to cry heresy when others hold that "the faith that saves is not alone." That is the whole point of the Christian life (Eph 2:10)!

Not even Zane would concede that there can be no change at all when someone receives the gift of the Holy Spirit---that is simply nonsense (2 Cor 5:17). The real issue is whether anyone can use the absence of any specific outwardly visible works to either judge someone else's salvific status or assure oneself of one's own salvation.

Let me cite Zane's own words on this issue (JOTGES 3/2, Autumn 1990):

"The reader of John’s Gospel will note how often it is mentioned that the one who believes in Jesus has eternal life. Not once, however, does the inspired writer suggest that this guarantee can be disallowed if there are no good works in a believer’s life.

"Of course, there is every reason to believe that there will be good works in the life of each believer in Christ. The idea that one may believe in Him and live for years totally unaffected by the amazing miracle of regeneration, or by the instruction and/or discipline of God his heavenly Father, is a fantastic notion—even bizarre. We reject it categorically.

"But this is not at all the point. The issue here is assurance. And with this, works can play no decisive role whatsoever."

Please note the words in bold in the quote above from Zane's article in JOTGES. We in the FG movement simply must begin the theological spade work of fleshing out the kind of changed life that should (not must) be manifested in believers: the theological work of describing the full-orbed salvation to which our Lord invited us.

February 16, 2009 4:48 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...


I must mention that I agree that there is not a difference between the "kind" of faith that appropriates salvation and the "kind" that produces works. I agree! Faith is faith! Faith is the conviction that something is true. They both are the same substance.

But we must be careful here. There are distinctions to be made!

The appropriation of eternal life is contingent solely upon a simple act of punctilliar faith, a moment of faith. We receive eternal life the moment we "drink of" the water that Christ gives.

In the very moment that someone is convinced that they have eternal life simply by faith in Jesus for it, they are born again. This is a punctilliar moment.

When we produce works from our faith, it is not based upon an act of punctilliar faith (as the reception of eternal life is), but upon the continuance of linear faith.

There is no distinction in the substance of faith between that which justifies and that which sanctifies.

But there must be a distinction in the tense of operation between the faith that justifies and the faith that sanctifies.

One is not justified by a persevering, linear faith! This is perseverance of the saints.

But one is sanctified by a persevering, linear faith!

I hope I have made myself clear. I agree with what you have said, but find that there is a nuance of distinction to be made, not in substance, but in tense.

Furthermore, the faith that saves is a very narrow and mypopic persuasion to a very singular proposition:

Jesus Christ is the Guarantor of eternal life to the believer in Him for it.

Sanctifying faith will be a conglomeration and aggregate of convictions concerning various issues. It will include convictions that a person is dead to sin and alive to God, to name only one.

So in conclusion:

1) There is no difference in the kind of faith between the faith that justifies and the faith that sanctifies. Faith is the same substance, the conviction/persuasion that something is true.

2) There is a difference in the tense of faith in justification and sanctification.

3) Saving faith is in one proposition, one conviction. Sanctifying faith, being of the same substance as saving faith, will nevertheless incorporate a multitude and variety of convictions that are not necessary for the simple appropriation of eternal life.

Your free grace theology host,


February 16, 2009 5:54 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...


As well I must mention your astute observation about the issue of faith and works, that the concern of Free Grace theology is for the assurance factor, which you brought out for my readership.

In a note, in harmony with what you have said, Zane stated:

"... we must add that there is no need to quarrel with the Reformers' view that where there is justifying faith, works will undoubtedly exist too. This is a reasonable assumption for any Christian unles he has been converted on his death bed!"

and in line with your thinking of assurance, he continues:

"But it is quite wrong to claim that a life of dedicated obedience is guaranteed by regeneration... What is wrong in lordship thought is that a life of good works is made the basis of assurance, so that the believer's eyes are distracted from the sufficiency of Christ and His cross to meet his eternal need."

Absolutely Free! pg 215


February 16, 2009 6:04 PM  
Blogger agent4him said...


My deepest gratitude for your careful and deliberate distinctions. I concur completely with the substance of both your posts and am convinced that Scripture is totally supportive of the distinctions you have made.

Could I call upon your good graces to make one request using your FG platform? I will understand and would of course accede to your wishes if you have a better suggestion.

I would humbly request all those who frequent your blog to pray for the mind of Christ. I sense, as you have, that this is a critical time for unity in Spirit among faithful believers; but I, as you, also sense a brokenness in FG ecclesiology. Thus for the moment, I have no solution other than to call us to collective prayer, and I can think of no better forum to request that we do so.

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves..."

February 16, 2009 8:23 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Jim said:
it is absurd to cry heresy when others hold that "the faith that saves is not alone." That is the whole point of the Christian life (Eph 2:10)!

Jim that was how you were coming across to me. Mixing the act of saving faith with the walk of faith. As though Eph 2:10 was part of the package of Eph 2:8,9. I think what Antonio just showed was HUGE! I'm glad you agree with him! Because that saying "the faith that saves is not alone" connects works to the proposition of a free gift and changes the faith that saves in to more then just being persuaded that something is true as Antonio made clear.
Because we clearly do not believe that the saying "faith alone saves but the faith that saves is not alone."
The ones that make that cry MUST have works or else their faith is put into question?
Colin is very clear that he believes that. Bobby is less clear but has confessed to Colin he believes what Colin believes but just in a different way but the elect will persevere.
I was not just going to go get something to say "I gotcha" but was just proving what I had said was not a lie. But remembered Bobby saying it to Colin on Roses thread concerning Lordship Salvation.
And Antonio the e-mails you sent me were at work, I was on my three days off so did not see them until last night. I will admit I got a little or a lot carried away with things and apologize to Bobby and Jim and you for my bad behavior. I will work on a NEW approach and try not to get so worked up.


February 17, 2009 8:05 AM  
Blogger agent4him said...

Alvin et al.

Thanks Alvin. You are a good man in Christ, and I sincerely believe you have a pure heart. But I think the fall has given us all a severely impaired "sense of hearing." It takes me 5 or 10 minutes to formulate a response on these blogs but usually about an hour or 1 1/2 hours to edit them before they meet the test, "Did I hear well enough to respond to what was said?"

Now, regarding your phrase
"...part of the package of Eph 2:8,9..."

Here again, Alvin, I too agree with Antonio but I still say that Eph 2:10 is part and parcel of the package, as I explained on the previous thread! Let us be very careful about how we understand Paul's use of the term "saved" (the Gk tense is perfect = completed action with abiding consequences; not aorist, which is surprising if this were just referring to justification, which is punctiliar, as Antonio pointed out above). Paul's intent is to show that it is God's plan for us to be saved by grace through faith in all three dimensions of salvation. He's not just talking about justification here but the intended abiding effects of our salvation.

What Paul very carefully does is separate any works that we can do without grace to gain that full salvation and the works that he has prepared for us to do by his grace in the continuing obedience of faith, as Antonio clarified above, so that we might fully participate in that salvation! I don't see Paul making an intentional distinction here between justification (1D) and sanctification(2D)/glorification (3D); it is implicit that 1D is absolutely necessary and foundational to achieve the intended purpose of our salvation in these verses (2D/3D). It is an artificial distinction to read into these verses that we are meant to pause at the end of Eph 2:9 and say, "Hmm, that's a pretty good deal [1D]; I'm not sure I want to sign up for the 'works he prepared beforehand' part of the deal [2D/3D]."

The fact is that we all too often do exactly that, but the genius of God's plan is that we don't lose our justified status before him when we refuse to continue following him. Yet can you imagine how incredibly painful and sad it must be for the Father to see his true children refuse to follow his invitation to walk in those works?

Our full inheritance (3D) is directly dependent on whether we continue to walk in faith by grace or not (2D); this is exactly the point of Zane's Grace in Eclipse and Jody's Reign of the Servant Kings. There is a biblical kind of perseverance we should be teaching that can never jeopardize our justification before God but has everything to do with whether we participate his preordained purposes and thus vindicate them in our own lives, both now (2D) and at the Judgment Seat of Christ (3D).

I believe we err when we don't emphasize to people how valuable in his eyes we really are to be called as faithful agents of his redemption, at the very center of his plan to restore the world, and not just to passively populate heaven.

(My bias is that we should include this in our evangelism, although it is certainly not necessary for someone to be justified by faith. It can only enhance the appeal of eternal life to those who don't have it, but I won't fall on my sword here.)

I can't understand why such an approach would ever be seen to water down the pure message of Free Grace. It's free when we receive it for justification to life (Rom 5:16-17) and it's free when we receive it through his Holy Spirit to give us life now, so that we might reign with him in righteousness to eternal life, now and in the age to come (5:17, 21).

February 17, 2009 9:36 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Jim, I must say that I understand Eph 2:8-10 a little differently than you do.

The predicate does not contain a simple perfect, but what is called a perfect periphrastic construction. It is a verb of being, in this case in the second person plural indicative (you are) with a nom, pl, masc, perf pass, participle (having been saved).

I must disagree with you, although I reserve the right to change my mind. ;)

The statement literally reads, "you are having been saved," which means that the Ephesians (and us by application) are in the present state of ALREADY having been saved.

It is an emphatic form of the perfect.

As such, the perfect is a punctilliar action with enduring results and can be illustrated this way:


the "o" denoting punctilliar action, and the arrow denoting enduring results of the action.

Thus by grace we were saved, and are now in the present, and forever more, saved.

I believe this denotes justification salvation solely, and implies (arguably) eternal security.

"Through faith" modifies the perfect periphrastic, denoting instrumentality. We were punctilliarly saved through the intermediate agency (or instrumentality) of faith, and are in the present state of justification.

The "through faith" identifies the immediate instrument by which one was justified, and was solely operative in the past (in this context), during a punctilliar moment, resulting in an enduring 1st tense (or 1d, as you like to call it) salvation.

Verse 10 denotes one of God's purposes of our spiritual birth: the walking in the good works that God has prepared for us to do. "Whether we do so or not depends on the many biblical factors which are relevant to spiritual development" (Zane C. Hodges, Absolutely Free! p 73). May I say that the production of good works depends upon 2cd tense (or would you say 2d) salvation, which is a synergy between God and man, a cooperation (whereas the 1st tense salvation of Eph 2:8,9 is "the gift of God").

I may be wrong about my above interpretation of Eph 2:8-10, but I am confident of its veracity. You will pardon me, Jim, if I suggest that in your reaction to the tendency of FG people to think myopicaly (sp?) in 1d salvation terms, you have read your 3d salvation into Eph. 2:8-9, and as such, I disagree with your statement here:

Paul's intent is to show that it is God's plan for us to be saved by grace through faith in all three dimensions of salvation. He's not just talking about justification here but the intended abiding effects of our salvation.
This may indeed be the case, that God's plan for us is to be saved by grace through faith in all three dimensions of salvation. But you cannot make a case for that here in Eph 2:8-10.

The salvation in Eph 2:8-9 is SOLELY 1st tense salvation, as argued above, and Zane would also agree.

The "intended abiding effects of our salvation" is the enduring aspect of our justification.

You wrote:
Here again, Alvin, I too agree with Antonio but I still say that Eph 2:10 is part and parcel of the package
We must note that Eph 2:10 is begun with the explanatory gar. We have been 1st tense justified (eph 2:8-9) for the purpose of 2cd tense sanctification (eph 2:10; and the resultant 3rd tense glorification, not referenced here).

I would agree that 2d and 3d salvations are part of the package, but they are conditionally so, every provision having been made for them. Neither 2d or 3d is referenced in Eph 2:8-9, and although 2d is referenced in 2:10, it is in the subjunctive, and is contingent. 3d is not mentioned at all.

I have no problem in evangelism stating the benefits of justification and the new birth; in all actuality, I believe as you that they are powerful inducements to believe. Yet I believe there is a time and a place for the simple declaration of Jesus' wonderful promise. And I believe that I could make a strong case for such from the Gospel of John.

Your differing (and probably wrong) free grace brother,


February 17, 2009 3:09 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Anyway I'll let you two work that out, you both have all the great learning. But with my simple mind we MUST remember Ephesians is written AFTER the FACT. It's written to believers. I have no problem talking sanctification to unbelievers but I do not put the cart before the horse. John is written to UNBELIEVERS and Jesus would have ALREADY given the living water to the women, and was all about the GIVING and RECEIVING of a gift! Just as Rev 22:17 it can be taken freely without any reference to your works, what you SHOULD do or Not do ARE IRRELVENT. Jim I think you need to get this clear in your mind or else whether you believe it or not your implying there is MORE then just the giving and receiving of a gift but discipleship being part of the package.

John 4:10
The Greek tenses in John 4:10 would permit the following interpretation of the NKJV reading:

"If you [now] knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you. 'Give Me a drink', you would [already] have given you living water".

I believe Gary has this VERY clear in his mind. Faith as you say might be of the same substance but saving faith is the simple appropriation of a gift and that is ALL!

When I get off work in the mourning I've just finished around a fifteen hour day so I don't have a lot of time to think something over before I respond so I apologize if I did not hear clearly, but it seems to me I'm still hearing the same thing?
Off to work!

February 17, 2009 3:41 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Sorry I just woke up, still getting the sleep out of my eyes, here is the proper reading "The Gospel Under Siege" page 156

"If you [knew] the gift of God, and who it is who says to you. 'Give Me a drink', you would [already] have asked Him, and He would [already] have given you living water".

Guys I REALLY believe we need to have this straight in our minds before were READY to talk to ones that believe your faith has to work if it's real. Because if we think Eph 2:10 is part of the gift we are NO different then them just saying it in a different way.


February 17, 2009 3:49 PM  
Blogger agent4him said...

Yes, Antonio, quite right: It is a perfect periphrastic construction that I would translate into English just as you did. I would also agree with your schematic time line. Where we might differ is on the significance of the explanatory gar and whether glorification is in fact also in view.

It will take me a while to mull this over Antonio; let me get back to you. I don't disagree with anything you or Alvin said about priorities in evangelism. I'm just not at all certain that we can limit the implications of 2:8-9 to 1D salvation (justification), even if that is the primary referent of 2:8-9.

Thanks so much, Antonio, for posing the question so incisively, and I apologize in advance to other readers who might feel a little peeved about all this Greek stuff. I actually do believe in the long run that things of salvation are logical and simple; however, they may well be, especially in Ephesians, more multifaceted and thus more glorious than we commonly think.

February 17, 2009 4:03 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Hey Jim,

I am sorry that I didn't address your note about praying for the mind of Christ and ecclesiology.

Listen, I consider this a Free Grace Theology forum. Please post what you like.

If you ever get around to it, construct something and I will post it as an article here. It doesn't have to be formal or anything, do with it as you see fit.

I would really like to know your thoughts on your concerns with Free Grace Theology and ecclesiology. I have an idea of what may be of concern (for I have some of my own), but would love for you to flesh it out here on this blog.

Thanks again for your participation, Jim. You are a welcomed and needed partner here to keep us 1ders (this is me!) in check!

love in Christ,


February 17, 2009 6:43 PM  
Blogger Bobby Grow said...

Alvin said:

The ones that make that cry MUST have works or else their faith is put into question?
Colin is very clear that he believes that. Bobby is less clear but has confessed to Colin he believes what Colin believes but just in a different way but the elect will persevere.
I was not just going to go get something to say "I gotcha" but was just proving what I had said was not a lie. But remembered Bobby saying it to Colin on Roses thread concerning Lordship Salvation.


if you're trying at a different approach; you're off on the wrong foot!


are you going to continue to allow this misrepresentation to go on?

I have never ever used the language of "election" and "perseverance" in a positive sense. I have never held to the TULIP, never held to a concept of "perseverance" (not even the FG style that Agent4Him mentions --- and thank you, Jim, for mentioning that; because this helps confirm my assertion that FG uses the Calvinist framework but skews the categories with its own conceptuality).


you'll need to reproduce that quote you wrongfully attribute to me; this is getting really old, Alvin!

I'm starting to understand how you must feel with Lou, Antonio!

February 17, 2009 10:36 PM  
Blogger Bobby Grow said...


I said it as clearly as I possibly could in the last thread!

I believe that justification is appropriated by "faith" all by itself --- without works "frontloaded" or "backloaded" (that is language taken directly from prominent FG scholar Jody Dillow, see his book The Reign of the Servant Kings).

Here's what I said in one of my last comments on the previous thread to this one:

The difference between Colin and I, and this is clearly noted, is that he does believe in the role of good works as the basis for assurance of salvation (he is completely honest about that); and I do not! I see good works functioning within the sphere of "sanctification," and separate (relative to appropriating salvation anyway) from justification --- in the sense that justification is an "event" and "sanctification" is the process that ensues after we have been justified. I believe it is possible for someone to fall into tragic sin, and even die in that sin (cf. I Cor 11 taking communion in an unworthy manner, Acts 5 Ananias and Sapphira) --- and even because of sin (sin unto death I Jn 5). I do not believe that someone must "persevere" and "repent" and come back to a vibrant walk with Christ in order to end up in heaven (and I hate talking like this, because it is a very negative way to speak and frame theology, which is one of the weaknesses I see with FG --- I digress).

I'm not sure how I can be anymore clear, Alvin! Did you even read this comment? And if you did, how can you say the things that you do about my ideas on salvation? Do you think this is a game, where you can just flippantly say, ". . . Bobby is less clear but has confessed to Colin he believes what Colin believes but just in a different way but the elect will persevere.
I was not just going to go get something to say "I gotcha" but was just proving what I had said was not a lie. But remembered Bobby saying it to Colin on Roses thread concerning Lordship Salvation.

Where did I say anything like this on Roses blog? If you're going to make an serious assertion like that, then you need to provide the proof . . . when what you attribute to me writhes against everything in my makeup. And just as a caveat, if I did say anything like that (which I didn't), then I recant of it at this moment!

Now do the Christian thing, Alvin; and quit ad hominening (attacking my character) to death. And go ahead and substantiate your claim about me (provide a link). You don't think it's okay for Lou to do this to Antonio; but then you turn right around and do it to me (what kind of sense does that make).

Btw, in the past I was sought out by "the Calvinist," Frank Turk to debate him at his debate blog --- right after Antonio had debated him --- you know what he understood me to be, and how he framed that debate . . . I was the Free Grace proponent, and he was the Calvinist (of course). Here's the link to that series:

My Debate with "the Calvinist" Frank Turk

So now it's your turn. If people should take you as a credible reliable, honest person; you need to provide a link that substantiates your assertion about me.

February 17, 2009 11:24 PM  
Blogger Bobby Grow said...

Antonio, I hope you don't mind; I am going to hijack this thread to defend myself a bit further. Here is that interaction that Alvin is referring to --- this is my opening comment over at Rose's:

I wonder if "Free Grace Theology" could exist without "Lordship Salvation?"

What I mean, is that FG basically seems to negate LS; and then builds their theology on that negation. In other words, it often, at least in threads like this, does not come off as having its own positive platform. For example, with FG, we still have "perseverance theology," it's just that the referent has been shifted---so that the FG'r perseveres for reward (and hopes of being in the 'inner circle of Jesus'); while the LS'r perseveres for salvation (justification). All I see with FG is a need for the framework provided by LS; w/o it the FG view would really have no framework.

I say all this as a non-advocate of Lordship salvation.

Hello Rose.

Colin Responds:

Good morning Rose/Bobby:

I hope that you both had a good Christmas.

Bobby: I must take issue with your statement that "the LS'r perseveres for salvation (justification.

Assuming that your definition of Ls'r refers to the long established Reformed position, then it is more accurate to say that the perseverance is because of salvation, rather than for salvation. When this is understood, then the false charges of a works salvation simply melt away in snows in spring. If it remains minsunderstood, then a carciature has been created and that serves no one.


I respond:


merry Christmas.

I disagree. When I refer to LS, I'm referring to the idiosyncratic version of Federal Calvinism, reflected in the teachings of John MacArthur.

When I say that for the LS'r perseverance results in salvation, I wasn't confusing the cause or the effect. Indeed, an LS'r WILL persevere, because Christ has already persevered, and applied His active obedience to the elect's account. If Christ had to persevere for salvation, which He did, according to the Federal/juridical framing; then I think we can accurately say that the elect persevere for salvation . . . if they don't they aren't elect.

Colin responds:

Hi Bobby,

I was simply trying to avoid the idea (at least from a Reformed point of view) that our perseverance led to our justification, rather than invariably flowed from it.

If our justification depends on or flows from our perseverance in any shape or form, then it may be said to be by works, whether in part or in whole. I disagree with that. Whom God justifies, He glorifes and this fact ensures our perseverance unto the end.


I respond:


I just wrote a rather lengthy comment for more clarification, and wouldn't you know it, it was swallowed by cyberspace.

Here's a shortened version of what I said.

>I am Reformed, Scottish Reformed.
>There are many more streams represented by the term, Reformed other than Westminster, Dordtrechian orthodoxy.
>It is not fruitful or helpful for people to take the label 'Reformed', today, and assume that their perspective is the only historical label that correlates to 'Reformed'.
>For further info that establishes my point, contra the popular appropriation of the term by contemporary followers of Federal/English Calvinsim see Janice Knight's: Orthodoxies in Massachusetts: Rereading American Puritanism, T. F. Torrance's Scottish Theology, Ron Frost's chapter on Richard Sibbes in the book The Devoted Life, and my own blog with many posts that illustrate this point.
>Scottish Reformation theology sees salvation and the incarnation/atonement from an ontological frame vs. English/Federalism's nominalistic/juridical frame . . . which ends up emphasizing a more trinitarian approach to salvation vs. the monadic version emphasized by Federal theology.

Goodnight said:

If our justification depends on or flows from our perseverance in any shape or form, then it may be said to be by works, whether in part or in whole. I disagree with that. Whom God justifies, He glorifes and this fact ensures our perseverance unto the end.

I respond:

Did you miss what I said, then? That's what I just said! In the Federal scheme, Christ did and does persevere for salvation . . . which is applied by the Spirit, to the elect. If one does not persevere, then they are not elect (in the Federal scheme). So in other words, it's not your perseverance that God 'ensures' at all (which is one of the problems that I see with the Federal scheme here, election, at a functional level, as evinced by you here, ends up anthropocentric and "my assurance" driven vs. christocentric and "Christ's assurance" driven) . . . it is His life that is 'assured', and thus anyone in Him (the elect) are 'surely' His (btw, this is where Calvin is at odds with Federal Calvinists, given his view of election relative to Christ's constant and continued mediation of salvation to the elect from the throne Heb 7:25).

In short, you/we have nothing assured, relative 'our' salvation . . . it is Christ's salvation as He vicariously assumed humanity into His life, and mediates salvation to all who will by 'His vicarious faith/trust'. If His life is stable, and solid, then His 'shared' salvation with us certainly is thus.

and Colin responds:

Good morning Rose/Bobby:

Thanks for your reply, Bobby. To be honest, you are a bit above me on these things. I hardly know where to start.

I'll settle instead for where we agree, rather than disagree.


Antonio, don't look at me like that ;-); you are one of the masters of writing long comments and long posts :-).

This is the only thing Alvin could be referring to; this is the only interaction (that I recall) that I have ever had with Colin on LS at Roses'.

I am not saying that I agree with perseverance, at all. I am trying to clarify (by "describing" the relationship between LS and Federal Calvinism)for Colin. I am describing his own framework for him, and then describing Lordship's version of Calvinism; and then trying to make the connection between the two. I am not saying that I hold to that idea of perseverance or election; but instead I am defining it, in order to refute it (which I never really get to do in that thread, because Colin cut if off as you can well note).

He is the one who said he is happy to leave it at the points where we "agree." I never said we agreed, at all. But I understood his gesture, at that point, of just wanting to graciously bow out of that dialogue.

I hope the apparent confusion, on Alvin's part, has been clarified; and I hope that this illustrates how being more careful, and asking for clarification in the first place; can help to avoid any type of misconstruing of my views in the future.

Here's the link to the thread this whole dialogue takes place in:

A Thoroughly LS Sermon

Doin' your "donkey-work" again, Alvin ;-).

Okay the intermission is over; everyone back to your normal, and on-point commenting per this thread :-).

Sorry, Antonio!

February 18, 2009 12:12 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Bobby

I have tonight off so I will have a chance to look at what you have here. And if I was wrong I have no problem apologizing. I did rough you up pretty good so for that I do apologize but the other I will let you know. All these sites are blocked from my use at work, anything that has blog on the address. But I’ve been able to access your site (Scottish Theology) at work because it does not say blog on it. So I’ve gotten a much better understanding of what you believe. Some of it I’m still scratching my head over. From double predestination, where people can get saved after they die to Jesus being not only the elect One but also the reprobate. Also you’re standing on Free Grace being the same as Lordship both man-made just a different focus Free Grace on co-heir. You must not see that the big difference between FG and LS is that FG offers a free gift of eternal life, LS doesn’t. I can see where it wouldn’t matter if someone died in their sin if everyone gets saved in the end after they die.
Anyway I’ll get back to you and if I misunderstood anything here please correct me!

Alvin :)

February 18, 2009 8:27 AM  
Blogger agent4him said...

Antonio, Alvin, et al.

Hey, Bro...you are too kind. Lemme give some thought to your offer, and I'll see what I can come up with.

OK, I've had a little time to chew on your take on Eph 2:8-10, so let me make a couple of points on the grammar but more on the context of the passage.

Wallace (p. 575) seems to feel that the English present perfect, as you have used with "...you are having been saved..." may be too narrow in some cases. In fact, Wallace uses Eph 2:8 as his example for this: He would translate the perfect periphrastic construction as a simple English present, "For by grace are you saved..."

While Wallace agrees that the periphrastic perfect should have intensive force, he would not agree that this necessarily denotes punctiliar action in the past; it doesn't exclude completed action but focuses more on the present results of the action, especially with stative verbs, as in this construction, so that it essentially has the force of the present without clearly defining the duration or kind of action that led to the present state.

I would agree with Wallace that using the English present perfect "having been saved" may be too precise or narrow for the intent of this construction in 2:8.

Now, What is the intended logical relationship of 2:10 to 2:8-9? Hows do we understand the explanatory gar in 2:10 and the ensuing hina (purpose) clause? IOW Why are we saved by God's grace---appropriated by faith---and not by our works?

What Paul chooses to emphasize is that God "pre-intended" for us to be involved as "his workmanship"---agents of his redemptive purposes---but could not involve us in those purposes unless and until we ourselves are saved from sin. He doesn't explicitly specify here what aspect(s) of salvation he means; his point is only that the fulfillment of our agency depends first on being saved. And the irony is that the whole package of 2:8-10 seems to be affirming that we are in a sense saved from insisting on our own works in order to (hina) set us free to walk in his works.

So, where has the grammar led us thus far? It looks like we are in a past state of "saved-ness" that continues at least to the present, and it is for the purpose of "walking in" God's works. (We don't know, just from the grammar, whether future salvation is also in view.)

So, what is at stake in 2:8-10? Not the works themselves (after all, they are preordained), but rather our intended/chosen agency for God in the fulfillment of those works.

Now, what more can we add from the context to further elucidate the impact of what Paul is saying in 2:8-10?

What strikes me throughout the entirety of chap. 1 is Paul's repeated and overriding focus on the present heavenly reality of our salvation. Alvin has correctly pointed out that Paul clearly acknowledges here that we have something to gain by the assurance that we are populating heaven and being delivered from hell (after all, we were "children of wrath").

However, I find it interesting that Paul in this context does not use forensic terminology, as in Romans and Galatians. He insists on using "salvation" terminology but repeatedly alludes in context to the guaranteed and secure future inheritance of the saints (so, hats off to Antonio on that one; he's clearly on to something here with eternal security).

Moreover, Paul also mentions glory throughout and concludes with a prospective focus on our participation in the glory of Christ's ultimate Kingdom rule (1:18-23, similar to 1 Cor 15:22-28). It seems appropriate at this point to borrow a page from Colin's mantra that "whom he justified he also glorified," as Paul seems here as well to look at our glorification as a "done deal." I would contend that this is part of what we look forward to in 3D salvation. Which "part"? Our heavenly destiny. Is it contingent on works? No. Why does Paul harp so much on that in advance of 2:8-10?

Because the firm assurance of our heavenly destiny is a critical prerequisite of the bold confidence we must have to walk in God's preordained works in this present life.

My conclusion: Bold confidence in living out our 2D salvation depends on firm assurance of 1D salvation and our directly linked (non-contingent) 3D salvation---our secure inheritance in glory. All of this is by grace through faith.

Now, in response to Colin and Bobby, there is also a contingent aspect of our inheritance or 3D salvation, but Paul does not address it in this context. It has to do with suffering and is emphasized in Romans 8:16-17, which makes the clear distinction with a Gk men..., de... construction between "heirs of God," on the one hand, and "co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer together with Him" on the other hand.

It appears that neither Colin nor Bobby accepts this latter conditional aspect of 3D (prospective) salvation as Scripturally viable, but this clearly marks a very important distinction between FG and both LS and strong Calvinism. I am OK with Bobby calling this our own version of the doctrine of perseverance, as long as we understand beyond a shadow of a doubt that such perseverance in no way affects our heavenly destiny and should never play a role in our assurance of that destiny.

I know Colin disagrees with that last clause, but that's OK. I will continue trying to actively listen. Thanks again, Antonio, for provoking me to further clarify how I see Eph 2:8-10 fitting into FG theology. I will respond to Diane below.

February 18, 2009 10:00 AM  
Blogger agent4him said...

Hi Diane (and this will also serve as my post on "concerns," Antonio),

What you have said about your experience with FG literature when viewed on its own merits is exactly what happened with me. I found it tremendously freeing in the interests of pursuing works of love in this life in anticipation of a rich inheritance with my Savior and my Lord, Jesus.

So, what's the problem? Why do I see the FG movement in crisis? I think it has to do with a subtle sense of separatism from the rest of the Body of Christ and even within the FG movement. The latter has been a serious concern of Antonio's that he has emphasized on other blog-sites, but the deeper problem for me is how we relate to our brothers in Christ who differ with us on the issues of assurance, security, and perseverance.

As long as "birds of a [theological] feather flock together," I think the Body will remain to a certain degree shackled in our present pursuit of God's Kingdom purposes among us (classical and modern dispensationalists will differ with me on notions of "Kingdom"; I am a "progressive"). The HS is grieved when His people are constrained by theological fragmentation to the point of de facto separation. That's why I'm so delighted to discover these conversations going on in the blogosphere, because the print medium for dialogue has resorted mostly to polemics.

That is one problem with Zane's writings: Although brilliant analysts like Antonio, Bob Wilkin, and Rene Lopez have plundered his writings to great advantage in an attempt to consolidate FG theology, this is lost on those who would benefit the most from its correctives because we have evolved such a highly defensive posture against LS, Arminian, and strong Calvinistic views.

That's why I keep emphasizing the need to actively listen to people like Colin and Bobby who have the courage (or maybe it's just bullheadedness?) to stick with us on these blogs. They are not the enemy!!! We can learn from one another! We know who the real enemy is and have gotten lulled into a defensive posture, arguing theology like Job and his friends while the world is going to hell in a handbasket (imagery courtesy of Zech 5).

There are so many strident FG voices aimed both at each other and at those "outside the camp" that we have essentially marginalized the FG movement. I have begun to make some small inroads in the "academy" at Denver Seminary, but it has taken three years of patiently enduring the smirks of Calvinists and Arminians alike, who simply scoff at anything that is based on the writings of ZH or BW (most are not even aware of BW).

D.A. Carson wrote a book called Exegetical Fallacies, in which he used three separate examples from ZH's writings to illustrate "classical" exegetical fallacies, such that he has now become the laughingstock of Greek specialists in many circles. This hurts me deeply, because they have absolutely "thrown the baby out with the bathwater"; but the sad fact is that Zane simply no longer has any credibility in that sphere.

These same people have great influence on seminary students, who then go on to pastor churches. That is one of the reasons why I am trying to build cordial and collegial relationships with faculty that I could just as well choke with my hands because of their dangerous theology of perseverance.

My conviction is that we in FG simply must engage the larger academic community if we expect to advance the cause beyond small parochial, isolated, and thus marginalized parachurch or church organizations. And we must also engage in areas beyond soteriology. We cannot be satisfied with firing shots across the bow to the perceived enemies of FG when they generally couldn't care less.

That is why I have been so emphatic on FG sites in underscoring its practical implications and trying to extend those implications to Trinitarian theology and its relationship to human agency.

I have written one book on Job and Ecclesiastes in which I have tried to promote discussion in this area of our intended agency for God. I now hope to further advance that discussion in the future with a combined commentary on James and First John which would build on the monumental spade work that Zane has already done by looking at them from a more canonical perspective.

To conclude, if all we do in the ears of those who differ with us theologically is keep harping on the critical importance of being "saved" without works, we run the serious risk of continuing to ignore our calling to serve God's present purposes for the rest of the world. I am convinced we have a huge contribution to make.

February 18, 2009 11:34 AM  
Blogger Bobby Grow said...

Hi Alvin,

I am not a universalist, I do not believe that anyone can get "saved" after they die (cf. Heb 9:27; Luke 16); once someone dies in their sins, that's it, they are in "Hades" waiting their "final judgment" in the Lake of Fire Rev. 20.

Now I have argued against folks who are universalist (I know quite a few of them from my school days, and they have blogs, so I try to take them to task a bit). And I do hold to the idea that Christ is both the elect and reprobate (which allows for a more christ-centered understanding of "election"). Much of my stuff is probing and not "static" or fixed; so in other words, contrary to Antonio's blog, my blog is "less formal" and it represents me "thinking out-loud." If you ever have questions about what I'm saying at my blog --- I have a comment meta as well, you can ask me to clarify :-).


my problem with any version of "perseverance theology" is that, unless framed trinitarianly (as it is in the NT -- see II Cor. 1--5); then this has the same impact upon an FG'rs daily spirituality as the Lordship or Calvinist view does (I am thinking more psychologically and socially vs. "theologically" (although these of course are inseparably related). So that union with Christ is not what is emphasized, and the "motivation" that that brings (as far as perspective II Cor 5:14); but instead their is a focus upon --- for the Calvinist --- "me and my salvation," and --- for the Free Gracer --- "me and my rewards." Do you see this as a problem? I think you do, given your acknowledgment for FG folks to think about the importance of our "union" with Christ (which surely does have implications for an healthy ecclesiology). Anyway, I hope that helps clarify my concern there a bit further.

You know I minored in Greek in undergrad; and majored in it in seminary (I have an MA in bib studies too ;-). Often I avoid discussion on Greek Grammar in the "sphere," well, because it takes too much work :-) (and most folks aren't going to appreciate it anyway). But let me just say, I recognize the men . . . de construction in Rom 8:16, 17; and agree with the contingent relationship between "suffering" now and "glory" later. But what you need to establish, and this is what I disagree with; is that being heir and co-heir relate to greater and lesser "reward" (I know that Galatians also has this language, and Dillow tries to press that). But the informing theology, and connection that he uses from the OT (inheritance/possessor) is "illegitimate" as far as I can see; and makes for a "creative" bit of exegesis (even interesting); but I think artificial. I flesh this out a bit further in this post:

Continuities Between Lordship Salvation and Free Grace

There is a fundamental hermeneutical inconsistency in Dillow's method here, as far as I can see.


February 18, 2009 1:23 PM  
Blogger agent4him said...


Thanks, man, for framing the issue so well.

Regarding your comments on perseverance and rewards in your putative FG parlance, "me and my rewards":

First off, I guess it depends on what we envision as "rewards"? If we start with your concession from Rom 8:16-17 and 2 Cor 4:16-5:10 that future glory is contingent on present suffering, then surely we may posit that, at the very least, Rewards >/= "glory" at the Judgment Seat of Christ. But in what sense could we be considered "co-heirs" that is distinguishable from our destiny as "heirs of God" in heaven (Rom 8:17, cf. Eph 1-2)?

At this point I agree it makes great sense to "go Trinitarian" in order to think through the implications of "co-reign" with Christ. My starting point is drawn from the NT book of Hebrews, an epistle absolutely shot through with exhortation of believers to persevere.

The author's well-known gloss on Psalm 8 (Heb 2:6-8, from the LXX) sets forth the Father's divine commissioning of human authority over "the world to come" (2:5) as rooted in the Creation commission of Ps 8. While coronation imagery in both the original Psalm and Heb 2:6-8 makes it clear that this commission was/is conferred upon humanity in general, "we do not yet see" this authority in place at the present time (Heb 2:8c); that is, unless we consider Jesus' coronation at the cross on our behalf (2:9).

In being "made perfect through sufferings," Jesus was qualified to be crowned as "the captain of our salvation" so that "he might bring many sons to glory" (2:10). The connection between glory here (2:10) and authority over the "world to come" (2:5) is contextually tangible enough for them to be equated. This pericope in Hebrews is nothing less than a canonical fleshing out of the suffering-contingent "co-inheritance" first mentioned in Rom 8:16-17.

Thus far, we have direct organic involvement of Father and Son in our contingent inheritance, and it is "we and Jesus" (not "me and my rewards") who are to be crowned with glory and destined for co-inheritance over the world. So, where does the Spirit enter?

Wonder of wonders! The third person of the Trinity is already organically front-loaded in the immediate context of Rom 8:16-17! Paul says "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God," the very same "sons of God" in whom the suffering-contingent glory will be revealed to all Creation (8:18-19)!

So, Bobby, what can we infer from Scripture about perseverance and "rewards"?

*Rewards are equated with glory that is incomparably greater than the suffering upon which it is contingent
*That glory is fleshed out in full co-reign with Christ; He and "his brothers" ("many sons") have been given authority by the Father over the "world to come"
*The "sons of God" are brought to this glory by identifying with Christ in his sufferings
*Enduring Christ's sufferings is fully contingent on being led by the Spirit, the antithesis of self-sufficient perseverance or ambition

So, there you have it: "me and my rewards"---some kind of ambition like the legendary "sons of thunder" wanting to be seated on either side of the Lord---has nothing to do with Scriptural perseverance or rewards. In fact, such a self-sufficient (dare I say semi-Pelagian?) notion of perseverance and rewards is antithetical to the authentic FG view of contingent inheritance or "rewards"!


February 18, 2009 4:09 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Hi Jim,

Thanks for your continued study in Eph. 2:8-10. In reading it, I don't see how what I have said essentially has been dismissed by Wallace. In fact, I consulted him before writing my last post.

Anyone who has done a degree of work in Greek, having their trusty grammars at their side, come to realize that men and women differ on individual cases. Furthermore, the more you read your grammars, the more you are left with the impression that there are varying degrees of subjectivity involved in their pronouncements depending upon the matter being discussed. Wallace's infamous treatment of the so-called durative force of the present participle in the Gospel of John is only one example.

I have read and own several grammars, and they often quote other grammars disparagingly. It seems as if they have a "I have my experts and you have yours" attitude.

Speaking of perfect periphrastics, Ernest De Wit Burton in "Syntax of the Moods and Tenses in New Testament Greek" (see pgs 40-42) speaks of the completed action of the perfect periphastic:

"It is important to note that the term 'complete' or 'completed' [in reference to the perfect periphrastic] ... mean[s]... accomplished, i.e. brought to its appropriate result, which result remains at the time denoted by the verb." (emphasis his)

In the discussions in Burton, and Dana and Mantey, they compare the aorist with the Perfect. Both denote a past completed punctiliar action, but the perfect emphasizes the enduring result. Indeed the aorist has a function called the Resultative Aorist, which is "especially near in force to the perfect" (pg 42).

"The Perfect [periphrastic]... affirms the existence of the result of the past action, the occurence of which it implies"

Still, my understanding of the tense of the perfect is true.


This is a genuine and true representative of the perfect tense. See Dana and Mantey pg 179 for this same pictorial representation.

Although one aspect of the verb may be emphasized over the other (the enduring result, or the past completed action), they both are present, indeed one presupposes the other!

In any reading of Eph 2:8-9, we understand that there is definite reference to the past, completed action, 1st tense salvation, that is denoted as the "gift of God" and appropriated throught the intermediate agency of faith.

You wrote:
While Wallace agrees that the periphrastic perfect should have intensive force, he would not agree that this necessarily denotes punctiliar action in the past;
On pg 573, Wallace states quite simply, "The force of the perfect tense is simply that it describes an even, that, completed in the past, ... has results existing in the present time."

Now punctiliar may not always be the operative word, although I would disagree to that. Items that are looked at as punctiliar are not always viewed as an immediate, or instantaneous moment in time. There is quite some latitude in the expression of punctiliar statements.

What we must note is that in the perfect there has been a COMPLETED ACTION, that I regard as punctiliar, an action punctuated in time, to be a moment, or even easily demonstrated by a much longer period.

And in Eph 2:8-9, there is a completed action, having been realized through the instrumentality of faith, whereby one secured the gift of God, which is justification salvation. This salvation has results that remain through the present.

Let me make it clear: 2cd tense salvation is dependent upon works! Thus we have James 2:14ff, and Romans 6:11ff. We cannot be saved from the deadly consequences of sin unless we add works to our faith, reckon ourselves dead unto sin, present ourselves to God, and our members as intruments of righteousness.

Therefore, 2nd tense salvation is not in view in Eph 2:8-9 for these reasons:

There is a past completed action in Eph 2:8-9, secured by faith, denoted as the gift of God, and not of works. It is dependent only on God. 2nd tense salvation is not a completed action, and is gained by varying works in cooperation with God.

Now you may speak of the provisions for 2nd and 3rd tense salvation being present here. But you would be straining the language here. In Eph 2:8-9, the salvation under consideration has been ACTUALIZED as a completed action, and this solely by grace through faith, as the gift of God. 2nd and 3rd tense salvation has not been actualized, and is not solely by grace through faith, it is also of works. 2nd and 3rd tense salvation can not be stated as a completed action, only stated as provisional.

My jumbling of thoughts, and my last post on the matter. You may have the last word.

Thank you for making me study harder than I wished to today.

Your free grace (and, again, probably wrong) brother,


February 18, 2009 5:33 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...


It is a mild generalization to claim that Zane is a laughing stock in Greek study. Men will use any excuse to discredit men like Zane who took a stand on the freeness of eternal life and also on the Byzantine text type. A dispassionate review of the evidence would lead one to the understanding that Zane was a scholar par excellence in the field of Greek.

Furthermore, on your issue of the fallacies presented in Carson's book, I believe that Zane actually reviewed the book in BibSac and showed Carson's fallacies, and discussed his own supposed fallacies.

I am always open to try to dialogue. I would love to discuss Free Grace theology in the marketplace of Christian thought. I am just not sure how far we would be able to get with the insurmoutable biases of the fraternal order of Reformed folk. You say you have made some inroads. That is awesome! I don't believe that Free Grace theology will ever get a wide hearing or acceptance. And I would bet, if I were a wagering man, that your impact at Denver will not create a revival and paradigm shift there.

But listen. I don't want to sound like the naysayer. I am for grace and for spreading it far and wide.

I like what you have written. And I would appreciate you to formulate a battle cry article that I might post it here.

God's will be done, but may we ever seek to act honorably and graciously to spread the message of grace. If that means that our movement will remain on the fringes of evangelicalism, so be it. May we keep our integrity and continue to pray that God use us to start a revival that entails a balanced proclamation of God's 3d salvation message, along with other pertinent grace issues.


PS: you lost a few points in my book for your "coming out" on my blog that you are a progressive. Can they even be saved?

February 18, 2009 6:34 PM  
Blogger agent4him said...


Dude. Maybe I shouldn't even have mentioned the perfect tense; I was trying to set up a larger view of what is going on in the preceding context of 2:8-9, and into which it fits. I hope I can state this more clearly:

In my previous reply, I certainly did not intend to cite Wallace in order to dismiss what you said. In fact, I actually felt (subjectively at least) that I conceded much of your logic on 2:8-9: Indeed, 2D salvation is not in view in 2:8-9, I gave you that. And certainly Wallace gets some stuff wrong; he has a Reformed view on a number of exegetical issues. The only reason I quoted Wallace was to make the point about your reference to "punctiliar," as I believed you had overstated the case: The perfect is about "completed action with continuing results," without specifying the kind or duration of past action. I don't disagree at all with the vast majority of the points you are making, and I truly regret having come across as antagonistic.

I am actually more interested in your comments about 3D salvation; in particular, how do you see my distinction between contingent and non-contingent (i.e., no works) inheritance? In the context that precedes 2:8-10, Paul seems to consider 3D salvation as directly linked to 1D: He seems to see us already seated with Christ in the heavenlies; our inheritance is actualized, non-contingent, and thus, perhaps, even implied in his view of the "completed" action signified by the perfect in 2:8-9. That's all I was saying, not 2D at all.

February 18, 2009 6:42 PM  
Blogger agent4him said...

Hey, man, on your last post---preachin' to the choir, here! I am totally down with the "Greek scholar par excellence" and his Majority Text work. But I could talk about that 'til I'm blue in the face, and it would make no difference to the NT faculty where I work, as you have insinuated.

I understand your pessimism; I believe it is shared by Bob W. My hope, brother, is with the students; that's where I believe we can make the greatest inroads, but I have to be nice to the faculty. The paradigm shifts, if they are to occur, will occur in the leadership of the churches and mission fields where these students are eventually planted.

Lemme think about the battle cry thing...I'm still recovering from your crass and blatant insult about me being a progressive D man. I'll have you know that Rene still considers me his friend in spite of that.

February 18, 2009 6:57 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Bobby
See if I got it?
Other words you don’t believe a born again person’s perseverance is guaranteed ONLY Christ’s perseverance is and He persevered for the person that is ELECT? You would say that both FG and LS are in your words anthropocentric?

You say that you believe “the faith that saves is alone.” But you believe the LS’r WILL persevere just not the way they think but have in Christ? So concerning LS or FG their starting point is the same if they are elect? If they are the elect either message works because it is of God not man?

February 18, 2009 8:17 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Jim

I like what you’ve shown here concerning Eph 2:8,9 connection to vs. 10. Also in showing in context to chapter one the certainty of the believer eternal security. Until that is known vs. 10 would be inapropriate to be placed on someone. As Bob Wilkins and John Nemelia have pointed out you cannot believe something you do not understand and both you and Antonio have showed the difficulty of understanding vs. 10 relation to Eph 2:8,9 which is written to believers who in the mind of Christ are already in Christ seated at the right hand of God in heaven. So their eternal destiny is not in question by whether they walk in those works God has prepared for them to walk in but what is in question is whether they will participate with God willingly. This is why this is not part of the offer of the gift of eternal life, which offer is so simple that a little child could understand and believe. These MUST be kept separate or else the SIMPLICITY of the offer is LOST in a SEA of perseverance which brings ones WORKS into the proposition therefore the horse and the cart have become one.
And it must be remembered Jesus Himself reminded us to COUNT THE COST BEFORE we take up His discipleship offer (Luke 14:28).

February 18, 2009 8:22 PM  
Blogger agent4him said...

Thanks, Alvin

I hope my exchange with Antonio helps clarify how assurance of the completed, "done deal" aspects of salvation (2:8-9) is intended to then enable our ongoing confidence to walk in God's purposes for us (2:10), even if those purposes portend suffering.

February 18, 2009 8:41 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Bobby

I apologize to you and Colin and whoever else I offended. It gave me a headache just trying to wrap my mind around what you believe. With my dictionary in hand I worked through all your big words. I’ve come to the conclusion these blogs are for intelectuals not simple minded people as myself. Your just too far over my head, and my great ignorance shows. I will try to reach people like myself where I live with what I believe to be true, if I’m wrong God have mercy on me.

February 18, 2009 9:12 PM  
Blogger Bobby Grow said...


nice response! I'm currently struggling with the flu bug (any advice, Doc ;-); so I'll have to get back to your exegesis.

I'll just quickly note, the point I am going to get at with you is on making the literary connections (in other words, establishing the intratextual exegesis -- on each disparate epistle -- with the broader intertextual [canonical] approach that you're assuming) between the Romans context and the Hebrews.

Also I am going to press you on the "hard" distinction that you are making between heir and coheir (per a Pauline economic and trinitarian theology); and then your transfer of this distinction from the Romans context to the Hebrews context.

And last, I'll challenge the a priori (unstated) "interpretive tradition" that is serving as the informing voice on your interpretive decisions in Romans and then Hebrews. I'll probably just be underscoring the fact that you have one, more than anything ;-).

Oh yeah (I've already started to pen my response, but I'm too tired and sick to finish it at the moment), I'll start off my response by discussing the men . . . de "correlative conjunction" construction; and how it might not do the heavy lifting (at least as definitively) that you are having it do.

It may be a couple of days before I'm able to actually post the response, sorry :-(.


you're still not "getting me;" at this point I'll take the blame. I'll try to flesh it out further (what would make it easier, is if you would comment on the posts that you have been reading at my site; that way I could better clarify what is confusing you per that post :-).

February 19, 2009 12:56 AM  
Blogger Bobby Grow said...

Okay off to bed, and hopefully better health.

I'm just signing back on real quickly, Jim . . . to make sure that you know that your claiming of QED maybe, well, "just claiming" ;-).

See ya soon . . .

February 19, 2009 2:08 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Bobby

Hope you get over that nasty flue real quick! The Lord has been puting you on my heart to pray for you!


February 19, 2009 5:35 AM  
Blogger agent4him said...


So sorry to hear that you've got that bug (really, I am; I agree with Alvin). Lot's of fluids, ibuprofen for discomfort, and hot showers before bed.

Let me say that I am totally tracking with you on your challenge and agree that my QED may be premature from your perspective; I am more confident of that conviction both from the immediate context and from the canonical perspective that I am becoming increasingly comfortable with.

I'm now seeing a different side of you than you have previously been willing to expose to the unsuspecting public. And I like it. I have already been "pressing" myself on the very issues you have brought up---viz. intratextual and intertextual considerations---I totally agree that there is more exegetical "heavy lifting" to be done than can be borne simply by the Greek construction of Rom 8:16-17. You are so right.

Regarding seeing through the "lenses" of a tradition, you bet I have one---indeed; it's called Free Grace, but an increasingly "three dimensional" system of Free Grace. (That's actually what I have been meaning by my 1D, 2D, 3D theological constructs.) Only recently have I begun to see the intertextual connections and get more "comfortable" with this expanding and canonically rooted perspective on FG.

BTW, what are you doing now? I mean the "big picture"? Are you in a PhD program?

February 19, 2009 5:54 AM  
Blogger dreiher2 said...

Wow 40 comments, and we did not even get past Zane's introduction! I can't imagine how many comments there will be when we actually get into what he said!

By the way I just posted the first half of Zanes message from GES2001, which in my opinion is really part3 of his "How to lead people to Christ" series.

Here is part 1 of 6

February 19, 2009 8:15 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

I really liked how Zane used the blind man to show that the charge of “intellectual accent” is unfounded. The man only needed to know who Jesus was to believe in Him. He simply needed more information.
John 9:35-38
Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God? He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.” Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him.
Zane pointed out that to believe that Jesus is the “Son of God” is the functional equivalent to believing He is the Christ (John 20:31). So that was saving truth (1 John 5:1a; 2:25 and this is the promise He has promised us eternal life). All through the Gospel of John over and over He makes the offer of eternal life, and that’s John’s purpose for the Gospel of John that the unbeliever might believe that Jesus is the Christ!
But, the objector of today would say “intellectual accent” is not enough you must have more then just head faith but heart faith! Zane tells us what the 21st century evangelical would most likely have said if they were the blind man:
“Lord, what do you mean by believe?”
Or he might have said: “Do you mean personal trust?”
“Do you mean intellectual accent?”
“Do you mean commitment of the whole person?”
Zane went on to say: I hope you can see that, in the context of John 9, such statements are actually theological nonsense. They are the result of failing to take the Biblical treatment of faith at face value. When it comes to believing something, the Bible does not contradict normal usage of common sense. Theologians, however, have been known to do both! End

We have heard this in our own midst by those who claim to be born again have we not? They would say that true faith involves repentance or results in discipleship?

Alvin :)

February 19, 2009 9:03 PM  
Blogger Bobby Grow said...

Well, I'm almost better.


I really appreciate your prayers, that means a lot! You are a good brother, I know we've had our "problems," but I also know that the One who unites us is greater than what might "divide" us.


Thank you for the advice (Doc ;-), and I appreciate your prayers!

I'm not going to post what I had originally intended, in response to our correspondence above; it's too long, requires too much development, and as far as comment metas in the "sphere" go might be too much for such media to bear :-).

I learned and taught the "canonical critical" approach in my school years; I like it, but I think I want to qualify it a bit (I'm not totally on board with Sailhammer's appropriation of Childs).

Just by way of suggestion (as I've already suggested) I think Paul's theology proper might be more informative towards understanding where the distinction is at between heir co-heir in Rom. 8:17. In fact I think the distinction most likely reflects, "trinitarianly," the order that we see in I Cor. 3:21ff:

21 Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours: 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come—all are yours. 23 And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

So that we have the otherness and distinctiveness between the Father and the Son being noted; so that while there is a difference economically, relative to the "distinct roles" in the unfolding salvation history of God, there is no "material" difference (i.e. union) between the "inheritance" of the "heirs" and the "inheritance" of the "co-heirs" (I think the "saved" "disciple" distinction being supposed in Rom 8:17 by FG has to be brought to this text in order to make a "hard" distinction in the way that FG does).

As far as Hebrews 2, I think a syntactical analysis would probably undercut distinguishing "sons of God" and "brothers" as an inner circle who get to share in a kingdom reign (to the inclusion of those "saved as by fire"). Hebrews 2:14ff says:

14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. 17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.

So we have "seed of Abraham," "brethren" (see vs. 11 cf. vs. 17), and "sins of the people." I think the grammar supports a universal view here (relative to kingdom reign) vs. a particularist (endorsed by FG).

As far as as usage of Ps 8, as a canonical guy I'm surprised you don't see a more Christic situation going on here. So that the "men in general" (anhypostasis is really and primarily in reference to the Christ as the "Man" who Ps 8 is referring to and Hebrews is echoing. In other words the one who reigns is the one reigning even now, the Son of David, and then all those who are united to Him get to reign with Him by virtue of His life and mediation inaugurated at the cross (vs. 9).

I also think, to belabor this point (on "all believers reigning"), that I Cor 6:1-4 assumes that "all" saints will participate in the "judging" "reigning" with Christ:

1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?

And Paul is speaking here to very immoral "carnal" Christians; and yet he reasons a fortiori and simply assumes that "all" saints will be involved in the judging of the "age to come."

Yes your interpretive tradition is FG, that's clear, but what I was going to underscore was the necessity for assuming a dispensational premil framework in order to conclude what you do (esp. with Heb.).

Having said all that, Jim, I think your version and arguments are the most forceful that I've heard from any FG proponent. I think FG is much better for having someone like you!

As far as me personally. I've served as adjunct faculty at the seminary and college level (at Multnomah), and would like to be a full time prof someday. In the past I was accepted to Fuller's PhD track in historical theology; but didn't follow through because of finances. I know a guy in the PhD program at Princeton Theological Seminary, and he's been trying to get me to go there (but it's in New Jersey ;-); but my wife isn't that keen on going "east." It is my dream to get a PhD, and teach full time . . . finances always seem to be the main hindrance --- but I know the LORD can do things (understatement), so we'll see.

I'm glad you've seen things, sometimes I just to sensitive; and lock horns more than I should :-).

Again, Alvin and Jim, thank you for your prayers; that means a lot.

In Christ

February 21, 2009 2:55 AM  
Blogger agent4him said...


Awesome, man! About your dream of full-time teaching, I mean. I'm totally familiar with the adjunct route, and you couldn't pay slaves what we get to do what we do.

And I know how long it can take to finally feel human again after the flu...hope you're even better by now, and God forbid that anyone else in the family should come down with it.

I don't know how much to get into in this venue either, but thank you for your kind assessment of my inchoate explorations into inheritance vis-a-vis FG theology. I heartily accept your challenges from the context of Heb 2 and the additional contributions of 1 Cor that you suggested. Let me mull these over, but I will say from the larger perspective on 3D salvation I have been attempting to lay out here, I think there is more of a spectrum than a "hard" distinction between "heir" and "co-heir."

Yes, we are all "brothers" and "children" in Christ (Heb 2) but we are all being invited to mature into full-fledged "sons" who will "take over the family business" of the Kingdom, as it were. This is why I see both Heb 2 and Ps 8 as speaking of humanity in general, but only Christ has depicted (so far) the "visible" fulfillment of our Creation commission. All who are "in Christ" positionally are being invited into full fellowship with him now by the leading of the Spirit to more fully rule and reign in union with him as the quintessential "son of man" that was referenced more generically in Ps 8 and Heb 2:5-7.

So, briefly, with reference to "carnal Corinthians," all believers will "judge" in some respect in the Kingdom (non-contingent 3D inheritance), but that is where the parables of "talents," "minas," and "cities" come in...variable degrees of rule in the coming physical form of the Kingdom; this in turn engages my response to you at the theological "system" or "tradition" level:

In re: "dispensational premil framework"....wha?....you mean you're not???!!! I'm surprised you "heard" me as well as you did; I can tell from your reply to my Rom 8/Heb 2 thing that you understood implicitly what I was constructing...and quite well, I might add. Of course, none of what I am proposing makes any sense outside of a premil framework, and none of the historical premils I have tangled with see any distinction of inheritance, either, but I don't think that particular framework necessarily rules out degrees of inheritance.

In re: "canon critical" and "canonical guy"...you could probably teach me a lot about Sailhammer's appropriation of Childs (whom I have been reading lately); unfortunately, I haven't yet had the opportunity yet to get into Sailhammer. I do think one has to distinguish between "canonical" and "canon critical"---the latter assumes a hermeneutic of suspicion, the former presumes a meta-level of inspiration behind the canonical arrangement, as in Childs, Vanhoozer, etc. I just finished Childs' posthumously published work on the canonical shaping of Paul and am currently wading through Kenton Sparks' proposed evangelical "adjustment" to the doctrine of inerrancy in his God's Word in Human Words.

In sum, Bobby, you have very effectively challenged my thinking on 3D salvation...I'll let you (and Antonio?) decide what the best forum might be for furthering the discussion, if you still want to "tango," exegetically speaking. Would Unashamed of Grace be a better forum? How interested are you? (Or maybe it's just a matter of available time.)


February 21, 2009 5:06 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Bobby

Hope your feeling better and getting back up to speed. I want to apologize to you again because you were right I was reading past you instead of listening to you. I will try to do better job of listening to you in the future. Also I don’t want to come across as I am personally attacking you (ad hominem), and when I have done that I apologize for that. Hopefully we can have a new start, and I don’t blame you for anything because I believe your just stating what your convinced to be true.

And I'm not apologizing just to apologize but will try to listen and if I'm not sure I will ask you to clarify and not just jump like I have in the past with you and Colin.

Hold me to it!

Alvin :)


February 21, 2009 7:06 AM  
Blogger Bobby Grow said...


I'm starting to feel more normal (re. to the flu), unfortunately my whole fam. has come down with it . . . thanks again for the prayer.

I don't have a problem with seeing "degrees" of reward or loss, for that matter (I think this will be the case, inversely for those condemned to hell --- e.g. varying degrees of judgment); but I don't see a clear reference to ruling and reigning in the millennium made in the NT (not even implicitly) relative to "reward" (apart from general reward by virtue of union with Christ --- I don't see this as "contingent" on "my obedience").

As far as my millennial perspective --- just a little background first --- I grew up, as a PK, and under FG theology. This of course included the classic/revised dispy premil pretrib perspective; once I went to bible college (approx 13yrs ago) I switched to Progressive Dispy (and have maintained that view up until about a year ago). At the moment I am not going to claim an official viewpoint, but its not between historic premil and progressive dispy; but instead between progressive dispy and amil --- and my reasoning actually revolves around hermeneutical and linguistic theory more than what the "details" of the disparate views entail.

This actually represents one of the problems that I see with the FG framework relative to its articulation of salvation. It revolves around an idiosyncratic reading of scripture, that if someone rejects, they are unable to endorse FG's "broader" perspective on salvation. In other words, if we are going to look at theology, in general, on a continuum --- ranging from "essential" to "non-essential" --- and we use a "funnel" as the analogy; I see soteriology right next to theology proper and christology as very fundamental, and very essential. And I see eschatology in the realm of "non-essential" (the outer edge of the "funnel"). But it seems to me that if I reject an "outer-edge" non-essential issue (like dispensational premillennialism), then I have to reject the FG view of salvation (in total) --- and this just does not seem tenable to me. It makes an "essential" contingent on a "non-essential."

Yeah, I can see your distinction between canonical and canon critical --- but I don't think canon critical guys would accept your labeling ;-).

Anyway, good interacting with you Jim; you have challenged me as well, and I look forward to further dialogue!


If any man be in Christ he is a new creation, the old things have passed away, the new has come.

I agree, lets focus on the "new" and move beyond the "old" that has passed away :-). You're a good brother, and I look forward to further interaction!

In Christ

February 23, 2009 1:01 AM  
Blogger agent4him said...


I'm sorry to hear that the family also took the hit; that's what I was afraid of. The kids should bounce back quicker, but what a pain!! I feel for you.

I understand most of your response but would like to flesh it out a little more, if you are up to it. It promises to be a very lengthy give and take, indeed; but first I'd like to hear whether Antonio is willing to let us presume on his good graces on this particular forum. What's the "order of business," esp. in view of the topic of this thread?

Thanks for the clarification of your theological heritage. I think you have identified exactly the areas that need further development in FG, and I totally understand why you're "stalled" between amil. and disp. premil. For my part, I'm perfectly comfortable with the "already/not yet" aspects of Kingdom fulfillment within a "progressive" framework. I agree that the "proper" hermeneutical approach now represents the main frontier of further development in FG.

What I'm not sure I understand is your despair over the possibility of reconciling FG eschatology with soteriology/Christology. It should be painfully evident that the whole FG movement represents a far from monolithic "system," and I think we can't make much further progress until we grapple more at the system level. Isn't this hard theological work up to those people within the movement to now engage who are still on speaking terms?

Re: "contingent on obedience," I see this as very different from a legalistic "works" orientation that most people read into the concept of "obedience." I'm increasingly convinced that obedience in the NT boils down to obeying the shema and Christ's "new commandment," and the "local" details of how this "works" out during the present age are dictated by the Spirit.

Re: question of implicit or explicit allusions in the NT to "millennial rule," my main sense of how this works out comes from the gospel accounts of Christ's invitation to follow him...literally, physically, in this world, during the present age, in anticipation of his return. I think the exegetical "money" will come from a more canonical appreciation of the vineyard-type parables in which present responsibility for stewardship of Kingdom "business" is entrusted to "sons" or "stewards" while the King is "away" (the present age) in light of his future return; as well as from Jesus' encounters with people who were inquiring about "status" in the future Kingdom.

Re: "canon critical," I see evangelicals finally attempting to work out a new framework for the reliability of Scripture that takes canon criticism seriously---I'm assuming those are the folks to whom you are referring, so I do agree with you on the "suspicion" thing, if you were implying evangelical canon critics.

So---Bobby, Antonio---what do you think about further discussion? I am not at all confident what the best venue would be for further discussion along these lines.

February 23, 2009 6:42 AM  
Blogger Bobby Grow said...


On my "despair," it's basically the idea that I see the FG approach completely contingent on Dispy (whatever version) premillennialism. In other words, could an amiller hold to the FG view on salvation?

Yes, the vineyard parables are very important; and you're right there is "contingency" involved here . . . but it's still a leap, to me, to say that there will be some reigning with Christ (Dillow) and some not --- this seems more speculative to me.

The Shema certainly is the best frame, since Jesus Himself frames the Law this way (Mt 22); and this is the point of "Affective Theology" (see my most recent post, at my site) or "Historic Free Grace."

As far as canon criticism, yes one of the profs I T.A.'d for (Ray Lubeck) would represent an "Evangelical" who is involved in the work of appropriating canon criticism into an evangelical milieu. But I still have problems with this --- but this is probably not the thread to develop those issues any further.

Jim, I appreciate the dialogue . . . if you want (I have a blog too), we could talk about "stuff" further over at my blog. Here's a link to a post that we could discuss these issues further:

Bruce Waltke Critiques Brevard Childs

This has to do with Canon Critical issues, but we could try to flesh other things out there as well (in other words, I would just make this thread an "open" forum, kind of like we've been doing to Antonio's thread here ;-).

Anyway, Jim, if you want to continue what we've started here, over there (at my blog), I'm fine with that!

February 23, 2009 2:14 PM  
Blogger dreiher2 said...

I just wanted to say "Your Welcome" to all of the folks who thanked me for putting "How to Lead People to Christ" and the rest of Zane's materials on YouTube, and webcasting Zane's funeral.

I was reflecting again this morning on how blessed we are for having known Zane, Bob Wilkin and other fellow GES folks who have such a love and a passion for Christ and His Glorious saving message which is so simple. When we get to the Bema I fear I am falling way short of using what I have been given.

We should all thank God for being part of such a blessed minority.

In His Grace,
- Don

BTW: I will be bringing my webcasting gear to GES2009. I hope to see you all there.

February 25, 2009 7:17 AM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...


Your attempts to influence other individuals to give you leverage with me have not resonated with them and will not yield anything for you. Even if they were inclined to sympathize with you they have no leverage or authority over me in the first place.

If you want to sort this out so that the mutual ban can be reinstated you will need to communicate directly with me.

Whatever feelings you have about my ministry in defense of the Gospel you need to put them aside just long enough to work this out with me. If you ever want to have the mutual ban restored you will need to work it out with me, and me alone.

I’m not trying to be harsh when I say this, but I am absolutely resolute that I will participate in discussions at both of your blogs (at will) unless you contact me to discuss closure.

You can e-mail me at indefense06@gmail.com to initiate contact to resolve the issue. I would have e-mailed you, but you told me you are blocking my e-mails.

Resolution of this issue rests solely with what initiative you will take to end it. I am giving you a window of opportunity to send me an e-mail so that we can sort this out together. I think a 48-hour window is fair.

For the next 48 hours I will not post at your blogs. I do, however, request that you (including any admin at your blogs) do NOT delete this offer. If this comment is deleted and/or you do not contact me by the end of the day Friday I will then consider the mutual ban permanently dissolved.

To reiterate, I am giving you a 48 hour opportunity to bring closure. This is completely up to you where we go from here. I have posted this at your blogs so that your friends can see that you have this opportunity.

Micah 5:8

March 18, 2009 10:13 PM  

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