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

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Lou Martuneac versus All Free Grace Leaders / Is a willingness to give up one's known sins required for eternal life?

The following is a comment from a Free Gracer named Mike. You may find all of his wonderful comments HERE.

Is a willingness to give up one’s known sins (prostitution, smoking, etc.) required for salvation?

Lou Martuneac would say yes. Here is his answer in case you missed it. Lou Martuneac says, “If a person expressed their intention to hang on to their sin I would stop right there. I would not attempt to lead them to pray for God to save them. That person is far from biblical repentance." (emphasis added Posted on August 18, 2006)

How would those in Free Grace community, even with the differences in the definition on repentance, answer the question, “Is a willingness to give up one’s known sins required for salvation?”

Charles Ryrie says no. He says, “I do not need to be willing to give up smoking in order to be saved.” (So Great Salvation page 39). “Is repentance a condition for receiving eternal life?...No, if it means to be sorry for sin or even to resolve to turn from sin, for these things will not save.” (SGS page 99).

Zane Hodges says no. He says, “Thus to repent is to rediscover our direction and to experience true "life" in harmony with our Maker. But repentance is not the means by which we acquire eternal life." (Absolutely Free Chapter 12)

Charles Bing says no. He says, “If it is asserted that repentance means resolving to forsake all known sin, then the absurd scenario emerges in which it would be best to keep people ignorant of their sins when preaching the gospel.”

Ron Shea says no. He says, “Accordingly, we deny that saving repentance is ever directed to sin, either by way of sorrow for one's sins, or the resolution or promise to "turn" from them.” http://cleargospel.org/topics.php?t_id=27

A. Ray Stanford says no. He says, “preachers have been going about earnestly trying to get men to quit their sinning, or at least to work up a genuine sorrow for sin. But is this the divinely appointed task of Christians--to get men to change their ways? No! This kind of preaching often leads to form of self-righteousness and self-reformation—not to salvation.” (Handbook of Personal Evangelism page 80)

G. Michael Cocoris says no. He says, “Repentance means a change of mind or attitude; it does not include tears or turning. To define repentance as being sorry for sin or turning from sin is dangerous, because it could cause people to think that they could do something that could in some way help them obtain salvation.” (“Repentance: The Most Misunderstood Word in the Bible” Pt. 2)

Joseph Dillow says no. He says, “their [lordship salvation] view is that a man must resolve to turn from all known sin and follow Christ absolutely. It seems that works enter through the front door, and another gospel is taught.” (emphasis mine) (The Reign of the Servant Kings page 10).

GES says no. Its affirmation of beliefs say, “No act of obedience, preceding or following faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, such as commitment to obey, sorrow for sin, turning from one’s sin, baptism or submission to the Lordship of Christ, may be added to, or considered part of, faith as a condition for receiving everlasting life” (emphasis mine).

Lewis Sperry Chafer and John Walvoord would have said no. “The divine message is not “believe and pray,” “believe and confess sin,” “believe and confess Christ,” “believe and be baptized,” “believe and repent,” or “believe and make restitution.” These six added subjects are mentioned in Scripture, and there they have their full intended meaning; but if they were as essential to salvation as believing they would never be omitted from any passage wherein the way to be saved is stated.” (emphasis mine). (Major Bible Themes page 187)

Lou Martuneac’s position that one needs to be willing to give up a known sinful habit (eg. prostitution) is outside the circle of those who advocate a Free Grace view of the Gospel.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Lordship Proponent and a Free Grace Advocate both say that Lou Martuneac is Lordship Salvation

Just about a year ago, the Pulpit Magazine, which is a web-magazine done by John MacArthur and associates, put out a series on Lordship Salvation. During this time, Lou Martuneac highly advertised his book and spent a considerable amount of time in discussions happening in the comments threads of these posts.

Nathan Busenitz, the managing editor of the Pulpit Magazine, read Lou Martuneac's book, and he had this to say about it:

After reading his book, I am convinced that Lou Martuneac is, in actuality, a proponent of Lordship Salvation.

There, I said it.

I know, I know… this is probably not what most of you expected to read...

But it’s true… after reading his book, I’m convinced... the repentance Lou promotes is, essentially, the repentance of lordship advocates. Thus, because he sees it as necessary to saving faith, I am left with only one conclusion:

Whether he realizes it or not, Lou Martuneac is teaching a lordship gospel.

I can see where Nathan gets this. Lou Martuneac's definition of repentance is the same as Lordship Salvation. Here are some quotes from Lou Martuneac's book (remember, Lou regards repentance as necessary for eternal salvation):

“Repentance is an attitude that always results in action. ...Biblical repentance will produce a change of life evidenced by a new behavior as one yields to the working of God’s Spirit” (pp. 111-112).

“...biblical repentance... [is] [w]hen a man understands that he is a sinner, and makes a definite, on-purpose decision to confess that sin, and turn from the old ways...” (p. 121).

“Good works... are a by-product of repentance and saving faith. They are the evidences of genuine repentance and an unceasing gratitude for God’s mercy” (p. 123).

Lou Martuneac's comments about repentance could be found in any textbook advocating Lordship Salvation. Repentance has always been a huge battleground in the discussion between Lordship Salvation and Free Grace Theology. But Lou Martuneac sides with the Lordship Salvationist.

Another of the very contentious battle-fronts in the Lordship/Free Grace debate is that of Perseverance theology. Lou Martuneac decidedly ends up on the Lordship side, advocating Perseverance of the Saints.

“The natural consequence of repentance and new life in Christ is a changed life. His behavior will change because he has a new desire in him to grow in Christ... the Holy Spirit will show him areas where he needs to take steps of faith and growth... [The Christian] continues to grow and show new evidences of a changed life” (p. 122).

“He is following because he has been saved;... His faith in the Savior resulted in his becoming a follower, a disciple” (p. 138).

Lou furthermore quotes these authors and pastors with approval:

John R. VanGelderen: “The issue is not that a Christian should not have a changed life but that the changed life is not involved as a part of one’s moment of salvation. ...After one makes this decision, logically and theologically it would follow that his life now with the new nature will begin to change as he yields to the divine nature” (p. 244-245).

Dr. Fred Mortiz: “The lost who respond to Christ in true faith will obey Him at that point. Convicted and convinced by the Holy Spirit, they will understand that their obedience to sin places them under the judgement [sic] of God. They will trust Christ alone for salvation, calling on Him. That is obedience to the Gospel! Those who have so trusted Christ can be trained as disciples of the Lord Jesus. They will follow Him in baptism, the first step of obedience to Christ in the Christian life. They will surrender their wills fully to Christ and follow Him. They will be willing to take up a cross, enduring humiliation, suffering, and possible death for the One who literally bore a cross to save them from sin” (p. 248).

Pastor George Zeller: “Behavior and fruit are the evidence of saving faith but they are not the essence of saving faith. Don’t confuse the fruit with the root. ...Discipleship is not a requirement for salvation; discipleship is the obligation of every saved person” (p. 273).

These quotes, are in essence, identical to those you will find in any Lordship Salvation book. A changed life that perseveres until the end is guaranteed by eternal salvation. This is not Free Grace theology, but Reformed Lordship Salvation.

In the opinion of this Free Grace advocate, Lou Martuneac is Lordship Salvation.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

How I Might Do Evangelism with a Jewish Man

This post is a comment in response to someone on another blog. I do not wish to edit it so to be in a new post format, so I am just cutting and pasting. There is great information in this post and I believe it will bless you to read. It really gives practical information on how to have evangelistic conversations with people who you associate with.


With a Jewish man I might start things off something like this, "Jesus Christ was the promised Jewish Messiah who made the radical claim that anyone who believes in Him will immediately receive irrevocable eternal life".

If this strikes the Jewish man as an interesting and curious statement, a conversation will ensue, in which I will attempt to provide the man with sufficient information to answer his questions and replies with a view to seeing him become persuaded that he has eternal life through faith in Jesus.

The evangelism that GES proposes frees men and women up to discuss relevent things with people. If this Jewish man lives in the United States, he is most certainly aware that evangelical Christians believe that Jesus is God, died on a cross and rose again from the dead.

If I were talking to a Jew, he may very well ask me about the deity and humanity of Jesus. I would certainly entertain his questions and answer them to the best of my ability. But if such a one continued to express doubts or objections to this, I would say politely, "Let us for the time being put this issue on the back-burner. Can I show you from the Jewish Scriptures that the advent of Jesus Christ fulfills many prophecies?"

If a Christian has already given much evidence for the deity of Christ and one is being objectionable to it, many times that Christian will shut down. I will be happy to present the case for Jesus' deity to someone who has questions about it. And having done so, I give things for the Holy Spirit to use in working on the heart of the hearer. But I will not shut down.

As long as the listener is interested in continuing a conversation with me, I will point them to faith in Christ through His promise which guarantees eternal life to the believer. Being persuaded that Jesus is God is not the only psychological route that one can go by to become persuaded that Jesus guarantees their eternal destiny.

As I said, I would love to talk to the Jew about the Old Testament Scriptures. I would love to talk to the Jew about Jesus' compassion to the people, His teachings of love, His miracles, and the prophecies concerning His advent.

In evangelism, we have a targeted goal. We are seeking to bring someone to believe that they have eternal life simply by believing in Jesus for it. Jesus gives promises in the Gospel of John, which is the only book in the canon that has an evangelistic purpose, expressly and explicitely stated.

Jesus' promises in the gospel of John are not to be qualified by the assent to a myriad of doctrinal truths. If anyone, no matter who they are, or how they come to find the Biblical Jesus trustworthy, puts their faith in Him for their eternal well-being, they will not be let down by Jesus. Jesus' promises in the gospel of John are far too universal and sweeping to invalidate simple trust in Him alone for eternal life, even if misconceptions about Him are present.

Objections and denials of things pertaining to Jesus can surely preclude one from faith in Him for eternal life. If this Jew can put aside for the moment the discussion of Christ's deity, and Christ's voluntary consent to die, and look in a considerate way at the prophecies concerning Christ's advent in the Old Testament, His miracles, His teachings, His compassionate acts, His righteous and holy acts, and through consideration of these things, become persuaded that Jesus guarantees his eternal destiny through faith, why would anyone consider him unsaved?

As I have said. Objections to certain Christian doctrine can preclude one from faith in Christ, and the denial of Christ's deity and denial of Christ's voluntary death will probably be certain precluders of coming to faith in Christ for eternal life. But again, there could be a process involved. And answering well questions about other aspects of Jesus may soften the objections on other points enough to persuade one that Jesus, who was prophesied about in the Old Testament, worked miracles, wrought compassion, and displayed righteosness and holiness, guarantees one's eternal destiny through faith.

I know that when I came to faith, I had many questions and doubts concerning various aspects of Jesus and Christianity. But what was told to me in an evangelistic conversation I had with someone, was enough to persuade me that Christ indeed guaranteed my eternal well-being.

If someone does not agree with your checklist of doctrines, all is not lost! There are other routes that may be taken. And at the very least, other areas that show Jesus to be authorized, able, willing, and qualified to give eternal life can be plumbed to those who are the other party in our evangelistic conversations.

I don't need to wait for someone to assent to the big 5 before I can move on. Jesus Christ can be presented in a number of ways. The disciples were able to believe upon Him for eternal life without understanding that He was divine and without realizing that He came to die on the cross for their sins and to rise again from the dead. They heard His testimony and saw His miracles and believed in Him for eternal life. This was enough.

Once someone gets saved, and has eternal life, they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who in time, through the spoken and written word, and the teaching of godly men and women, can clear up any misconceptions that the newly born again person may have.

Correct doctrine is essential to living the Christian life. If one never becomes apprised of it and appropriate its teachings in the execution of his Christian life, he will live a life of failure and face consequences in both time and eternity.

We can't put the cart before the horse. Eternal life comes first and then with the help of the Holy Spirit, leading into all truth.


Friday, September 07, 2007

Does Simple Faith Alone in Jesus Christ Really Save? Checklist Evangelists would say, "No!"

The Duluthian Antagonists and Checklist Evangelists believe that saving faith is assent to a complex series of propositions, containing multiple objects of faith, and is the result of a series of steps. Simple faith in Jesus through His promise is insufficient to save. Imagine Jesus Christ throwing into hell people who trusted in Him alone for salvation but failed to assent to the complexities and added steps that the Checklist Evangelists impose upon saving faith. Jesus would then be telling a lie when he said, "Most assuredly I say to you, whoever believes in Me has everlasting life" (John 6:47). Apparently, according to the Duluthian Antagonists, one can believe in Jesus for eternal life but fail to receive it for lack of assent to their critical and crucial orthodox doctrines. Would Jesus throw people into hell who had a certian hope and complete reliance upon Him through His promise to give eternal life to all who believe in Him for it? Imagine someone considering Jesus to be their absolute Savior and only hope of eternal well-being, but being cast into the lake of fire because they did not assent to the front-loading of the gospel with an array of doctrinal stipulations imposed upon them by the 'fundies'?


Let us say that I believe Jesus:

1) Was born in Bethlehem
2) Mother's name was Mary
3) Was tempted by Satan
4) Walked on water
5) Healed the sick
6) Gave sight to a blind man who had been blind from birth
7) Turned water into wine
8) Cast out demons
9) Raised Lazarus from the dead
10) said to an adulteress caught in the act, "Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more"
11) was of the tribe of Judah
12) was of the line of David

AND I believed His promise:

"Most assuredly I say to you, whosoever believes in Me has eternal life."

In other words, I believe that the Jesus who did these things is the Christ, and my Savior, and that through faith alone in Him I have eternal life. YET I do not know and/or understand He is God, for instance (you could read in here any one of their multiple objects of faith, such as Christ's humanity, the substitutionary death, and resurrection).

The Duluthian Antagonists and Checklist Evangelists would believe me unsaved and on my way to hell because I have misplaced faith. I am believing in 'another' Jesus. Such an argument is baseless (I barely know much about many of my readers, but I surely can reference you by using what little unique things I know about you, apart from any of the grander and fuller elements of your personality, character, position, etc.).

Have we not sufficiently delimited the Jesus who is referenced in the above 12 ways to none other than the Jesus of the gospels?

Of course we have.

But the Duluthian Antagonists and Checklist Evangelists insist upon additional theological requirements, ones which neither Jesus nor John required. Their arguments haven't been based upon a biblical requirement mandating one believe that Jesus is fully God, equal to the Father in every respect, for no such commandment or requirement exists. Their arguments have often been framed by the idea that without Jesus' deity assented to our faith will inevitably be misplaced into some ethereal, figment of our imaginations, in other words, some 'other' Jesus. This reasoning is flawed for 2 reasons:

1) Jesus was believed in for eternal life apart from His deity being understood.

2) Many other unique references to Jesus can delimit our referencing of Him to the Historic Jesus who did make a promise guaranteeing eternal life to all who simply believe He has done so.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Cowardice, Cultishness, and Childishness of Lou Martuneac and the Duluthian Antagonists, Not to mention Lou's Flip-Flopping and Duplicity

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Commentary on Lou Martuneac and the Duluthians in the Matter of this Public Debate

The following is a comment by a Mr. Liam Moran, graduate from Moody Bible Institute, and friend to Jonathan Perreault. I have allowed him space to share his mind on the events at hand. There are scattered notes that are my inclusion, marked off by brackets. Thank you Liam for your reasonable and balanced views. We can all learn something from them.

I am writing this post in response to Lou Martuneac’s comments which he posted on September 2nd, 2007 on his blog. The following are his remarks for consideration:
Sunday, September 02, 2007
I post this in the comments section to expand on why I have noted that Antonio da Rosa is a “spiritually immature (young) man.”

I do not post that kind of opinion lightly, and have good, demonstrable reason to do so. There are numerous examples and levels of immaturity that are very evident with Antonio. His harsh, pugilistic tones, his deletion of comments from his blog that he will call “rants” because they uncover truths that he wants to keep hidden. He is often banned and reprimanded at blogs that are moderated for unchristian and immature behavior.

There is, however, no starker example of da Rosa’s spiritual immaturity than what transpired late last week. A person who goes by jonperrault (JP) posted at three sites including my own what can be described as a personal attack and/or negative criticism against Pastor Tom Stegall. The most disconcerting aspect of this is that JP, at Antonio’s site, identified himself as a member of Pastor Stegall’s church: Word of Grace Bible Church.

JP publicly criticized the pastor (Tom Stegall) of his home church and the Duluth Bible Church (Dennis Rokser). JP took sides with da Rosa over the decision of Pastor Stegall (& Rokser) to decline Bob Wilkin’s invitation to an open debate on the “Crossless” gospel.

To reiterate: JP posted comments at three sites that were highly critical of the pastor of his home church.

Enter Antonio da Rosa’s shocking immaturity. The following is primarily in reference to the post by JP and da Rosa’s reply, which can be viewed under, When Asked to Put Up, They Back Down.

A spiritually mature man would have recognized the impropriety of what JP did. Instead, da Rosa gleefully receives this personal assault on Ps. Stegall by JP. Antonio stated to JP that he (da Rosa) is going to publish as a post the critical comments by JP.

It meant nothing to da Rosa that JP, a member of the Word of Grace church, publicly criticized the pastor. I can state flatly that had JP been criticizing some pastor other than a man who has written in objection to the “Crossless” gospel, da Rosa would have brushed these criticisms aside and may even have deleted them. What da Rosa does in this case, however, is seize upon a chance to use a member of Ps. Stegall’s church as a weapon to discredit and undermine the leadership and ministry of Pastor Stegall not just in the “Crossless” debate, but within his own church.

The spiritually immaturity of da Rosa does not end there. Antonio encouraged JP to contact him (da Rosa) by private e-mail to further develop the relationship and cooperate on formulating what are likely to be more personal assaults on Pastor Stegall by JP.

A spiritually mature man, a man of integrity, would not have seized on the blatant wrong-doing of one man and seek to use and develop it into a weapon to be used against the pastor of that man’s local church. Antonio, however, clearly is NOT a man of integrity or spiritual maturity. This latest incident removes any doubt!

Antonio is deeply confused in his doctrine of the Gospel, and he is consumed with attacking any person who shares a legitimate criticism of the teachings of Zane Hodges, and he has clouded his judgment by a reckless passion to turn a doctrinal debate into an all out personality war.

Until, today I left JP’s comment at my blog, because it was posted by JP at two other sites. Now that I have addressed it I am doing what Antonio would have done if he had the spiritual maturity and integrity to do it I the first place. I am deleting the comment by JP, and rebuking him for publicly criticizing the pastor of his home church.

The Bible speaks on how to address conflicts in the church. A public lambasting of a brother-in-Christ, let alone the pastor of the church where you attend regularly is NOT among them. Antonio da Rosa does not have the spiritual discernment or maturity to know and understand these things.

In keeping with his usual predictable form, I fully expect da Rosa to lash out with another retaliatory, personal ad hominen attack.

His doing so will further demonstrate and cement his spiritual immaturity in the mind of any objective observer.

After reading the above post by Lou, I felt compelled to publish my concerns. I am deeply troubled by what I see going on in this debate. I have never seen a theological debate spiral so out of control and get as personal this has become. I believe that this is cause for concern.

My intent here is not to delve into the issues of the debate. Let me say from the offset that I do not agree with the GES teachings on the issue. I am concerned by what appears to be a “shift” [Ed. Note: better - “refinement”] in their teachings on certain doctrines in recent years. I agree with the Duluthians in that they are raising some serious concerns that need to be addressed [Ed. Note: the GES has some major concerns about them as well] . However, with that said, I feel their method of communicating these issues to the public are cause for concern. My point here is not to delve into the theological issues regarding to the debate but to address the proper method of this debate.

Lou’s post here is one of the most egregious examples of ad hominem I have ever seen. For Lou to accuse others of ad hominem is “the pot calling the kettle black.” Jonathan Perreault in no way “assaulted” or “lambasted” his pastor. He was trying to reason with him regarding the issue of Tom and Dennis debating Bob Wilkin. These are public issues and are in the public forum. Therefore, it is in no way inappropriate to respond publicly. Paul and Barnabas had a “sharp” disagreement over John Mark (Acts 15:39). If anyone in church history could accuse someone of “undermining his leadership” it would have been the great apostle Paul. But I do not see in Scripture where Paul rebuked Barnabas (or Barnabas rebuking Paul). In fact, we see later that Paul changed his mind about John Mark (2 Tim. 4:11). Jonathan should be able to communicate his disagreement without worry of verbal retaliation by his pastor or others of like mind [Ed. Note: who do so under a ‘biblical’ guise]. There are others in the Free Grace camp who feel that Tom and Dennis should have accepted the offer to debate [Ed. Note: Its not too late!] Are they “assaulting” Tom by their reasonable opinions? Is disagreeing with someone over whether or not Tom and Dennis should have said “yes” to the debate a “church conflict” “an assault” or “lambasting?” I think not.

Lou never once addressed Jonathan’s biblical reasons describing why he felt his pastor should have accepted the offer. Rather, he attacked Jonathan and Antonio da Rosa. This is a classic example of ad hominem [Ed. Note: not to mention presumptious]. Though Lou has since revised some of what he said, he is standing by his comments on Jonathan Perreault. Lou’s further ad hominem approach is seen by his frequent use of the designation “young man” describing those he opposes. The fact that Lou makes it a point to mention this appears to me to be a further violation of the principle Paul sets forth in 1 Tim. 4:12. It seems Lou is trying to attack the credibility of what he perceives to be the folly of a “young man.”

Obviously, Lou feels that Bob Wilkin needs to be debated, thus his offer [Ed. Note: It makes me wonder why Lou has changed his mind…]. This appears to be an inconsistency. It seems that Lou is in effect defending Tom and Dennis for choosing not to debate but now he now wants to?

Paul says in Philippians 4:5a, “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone (ESV).” We are also called to “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). Unfortunately, I do not see these principles along with 1 Cor. 13:4-7 being consistently applied here by Lou or the Duluthians.

This militant, combative, belligerent and fundamentalist type of debating is not biblical nor is it glorifying to the Lord. It solves nothing.

Furthermore, after reading Lou’s blogs and interactions with Jeremy Myers, I have gotten the impression that Lou is asking “trick questions” to supporters of GES. This appears to be an attempt to trap them into saying something that Lou can then go and post on his blog. Accusing the GES of heresy. This “cloak and dagger” approach to ministry is not biblical. It is understandable why Myers would wait to post responses and be cautious before responding to Lou.

Bob Wilkin and Zane Hodges are well-recognized, erudite Bible scholars. They are skilled exegetes. If Bob is going to “change his mind” and “repent” then it is going to happen after careful exegetical examination of his arguments are done. Bob is not going to change his mind through nasty rhetoric. His arguments from the gospel of John must be examined and refuted [Ed. Note: well, examined anyway]. This debate will only be solved through an exegesis of Scripture. While I agree with Tom Stegall’s concerns, I am concerned by his approach in the GFJ, Grace Family Journal. In the Summer 2007 issue, on p. 17 at the very end of Stegall’s article it says, “The next article will begin to explain the basis and rationale for the [GES position] as espoused by its proponents. How did they and why are they teaching this?” (emphasis mine). Tom should have begun his two articles in this manner, addressing their rationale first; not two articles later. Rather, Tom started out with his conclusions in a pejorative manner. This has come across as reactionary and pretentious. I believe the concerns would have been better received had Tom started out first with the GES rationale and then in his last article laid out his conclusions. By Tom not doing so, he has “put the cart before the horse.”

There seems to be a fanatical obsession with Bob “changing his views.” I would love for Bob, Zane and Jeremy (and others) to retract their position on this [Ed. Note: I would love for the GES position to be understood and fairly represented] . However, if they are going to do so, the approach that has been taken by the other side will not accomplish this. Their reactionary, ad hominem style of debate is only going to cause those trying to be reached to be even less receptive and leave them on the defensive.

This belligerent approach to ministry lacks a spirit of love and grace. I do not sense a “grace-oriented” attitude by my fellow brothers (who I happen to agree with) on the Duluthian side. This is not how Christ has called us to dialogue. Furthermore, it lacks a.) scholarly aptitude b.) it is unprofessional c.) it is not a dealing objectively with the issues and d.) it is not being reasonable. It surely does not present a good testimony.

I am in no way trying to attack, assault or lambaste the ministry of Lou or our Duluthian brothers. In fact, I have been very blessed by their ministry and I enjoy the ministry of the GFJ. I know God has used them. However, after reading the blogs, the journals and especially after Lou’s acerbic blog post, I feel compelled to bring forth my concerns.

I am extending a plea to stop the unprofessional vicious name-calling rhetoric and ad hominem arguments. Let’s please get this debate back to the Bible and to the exegesis.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

A Member of Tom Stegall's Church Reasons that his Pastor should Debate

Bob Wilkin told me himself that Zane Hodges would join Bob in a debate if Dennis Rokser and Tom Stegall would field the other side; or even if Dennis or Tom wished to bring in another. Zane Hodges, 74 years old, would take the stage and defend his biblical position against those who have publically shamed him! Where are the Duluthian Antagonists who are so fierce on paper but have ran from the public accountability of an open forum and debate? They have shriveled back into dastard discomfiture.

The following is a comment left in the post entitled When asked to put up they back down

The author is a member of Tom Stegall's church, a Mr. Jonathan Perreault. I believe his comments are appropriate and reasonable.

"DBC" stands for Duluth Bible Church, pastored by Dennis Rokser.
"WOGBC" stands for Word of Grace Bible Church, pastored by Tom Stegall.

To set this up, here are a few of my comments:

Dennis Rokser, Tom Stegall, Lou Martuneac, and Greg Schliesmann want to scold and reprimand the Grace Evnagelical Society in public but only in written form. When the opportunity comes to discuss these things in a personal and public forum, the boldness shrinks away. Such an unwillingness to debate where real consequences can be at stake, manifests itself in the way that these outspoken antagonists are shrinking back into recreant discomposure.

So they will continue to publish their bitter rants, in the safety and solace of the written page; leaving us all wondering how we are to take such men seriously when they feel no moral compunction to stand their ground and defend their attacks against those whom they shame and misrepresent.


I am a member of Word of Grace Bible Church and my pastor is Tom Stegall. I must say that I do not agree with the gospel that you and GES are espousing (as I understand it). Nonetheless, even before I read your article, I had come to the same conclusions as yourself regarding DBC's and WOGBC's refusal to publicly debate GES. I believe a public debate concerning the truth of the gospel upholds at least the following Biblical truths:

1) Reasoning together (Isaiah 1:18)

2) Reasoning in the synagogue, marketplace, and Areopagus (Acts 17:17-21)

3) Always being ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you (1 Peter 3:15)

4) Personal and public confrontation concerning the truth of the gospel (Galatians 2:11-14)

5) Meeting at the Jerusalem church concerning the truth of the gospel (Acts 15:1-21)

Besides what I have said above, consider the following:

1) The GES gospel teaching is ALREADY well known, having been in circulation for at least two years (as I understand it)[Ed. Note: The GES positoin has been around for over a dozen years]. In fact, DBC has already taught at least two seminars on this very issue! Supposing this GES gospel teaching is false, what innocence of the flock is there to guard?

2) As you said, the public debate DOESN'T have to be held in a DBC affiliated church, or any church for that matter (as Bob Wilkin said in his letter, the particular's of the debate are open to negotiation).

3)No matter where the debate takes place, DBC and WOGBC would obviously be DEBATING and DISAGREEING with the GES gospel, not approving it.

4) Many Christians (even Christians at DBC and WOGBC) already regularly expose themselves to theological debates - and therefore false teaching (whether it regards Catholicism, Evolution, Mormonism, or now the GES gospel). Furthermore, many of these debates are probably not held at DBC or WOGBC, and so there is probably not as much opportunity for the correct doctrine to be reinforced in the minds of those that attend.

5)Both sides (DBC & Co. and GES) should ALREADY be prepared to debate, since this has been an issue (and has even been publicly taught) for at least two years.

Thank you very much, Jonathan, for your well reasoned and articulate plea for those who have publicly sounded the war cry against fellows who share a rich heritage with themselves to stand up for what they charge in a public forum. For in this time being they are free from the direct cross-examination of those brothers in Christ who they vehemently oppose and shame with a constant barrage of theological name calling. Can their claims withstand the scrutiny of a debate where the straw men arguments cannot work; where their charges can be examined by those who they level them against; where they can be asked penetrating questions probing their actual disagreements? We may never know as long as they remain recluse...