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Part Two of Pastor Gilley’s series on the gospel message and its various interpretationsin modern evangelical Christianity:

(Read Part 1 here)

The Crossless Gospel – Part 2

(April/May 2011 – Volume 17, Issue 2)

In the first paper on the “Crossless Gospel” I identified four distinct positions taken by evangelicals in regard to the gospel.  These four schools of thought have much in common but disagree on important points.  The “Gospel is the Kingdom” view is the idea that the gospel is essentially the proclamation that Jesus is Lord over all things and it is the mandate of the church to work toward social/political/economic justice throughout the world.  Some, such as N. T. Wright, would add a spiritual dimension to the agenda and call men to reconciliation with Christ while others, e.g. Brian McLaren, would see this invitation as unnecessary.  Those who proclaim the gospel of “Lordship Salvation” are concerned with a right relationship with Christ.  They believe such a relationship is possible only on the basis of the finished work of Jesus Christ who now offers salvation to all who repent and turn to Him alone by faith alone.  Reception of the gospel involves surrendering our previous gods and that which we have formerly trusted and embrace Christ Jesus as our Savior and Lord.

The two positions that will be addressed in this paper would be in alignment with Lordshippers in their understanding of the person and work of Christ.  However the Free Grace view rejects the need to surrender to the Lordship of Christ, while the Crossless Gospel takes Free Grace theology further by claiming that the unregenerate need not know anything about the person and work of Christ in order to be saved.

The Free Grace Gospel

While the term “Free Grace” goes back to at least the debates between John Wesley and George Whitefield[1] it has taken on a new connotation since the 1980s.  Zane Hodges, long time professor of Greek at Dallas Theological Seminary, had written The Gospel Under Siege in 1981 in which he challenged many of the traditional soteriological teachings found in Reformed theology, especially the necessity of repentance for salvation, faith as commitment, spiritual fruit as evidence of salvation, and perseverance of the saints.  John MacArthur followed with his The Gospel According to Jesus in 1988, which basically declared war on Hodges’ view and brought the debate into the living rooms of evangelicals.  Hodges defended his position the next year with the book Absolutely Free.  While MacArthur would deem Hodges’ teachings as “easy believism,” Hodges along with Robert Wilkins and others coined their view “Free Grace” and founded the Grace Evangelical Society in 1986 to promote their understanding of the gospel.  They also created the term “Lordship Salvation” to describe what MacArthur, and most aligned with a Reformed understanding of the gospel, taught.   Free Grace parted on many fronts from the more traditional teachings stemming from the Reformation but some of the most unique features include:

  • Free Gracers have narrowed their search for a description of how one is saved to the Gospel of John. It is not that other texts have nothing to contribute to the gospel discussion but definitions of the gospel or evangelistic instructions that are found outside of John’s Gospel are reinterpreted to harmonize with John’s presentation. In other words the Gospel of John gets the final word on the gospel.   Hodges explains the rationale behind this choice: “John’s gospel is the only book in the New Testament which plainly declares that it was written with an evangelistic purpose in view” [John 20:30-31].[2]  This concept is reinforced in Robert Wilkins’ recent book review of The Gospel of the Christ in which he writes, “Hodges, Niemela, and many others have argued, persuasively in my opinion, that the Gospel of John is the place where the Lord Jesus gave us the saving message… It has long been the hallmark of the Free Grace position that the Synoptic Gospels were written to the church for discipleship, not to unbelievers to tell them what they must believe to be born again.”[3]  In contrast to Wilkins’ statement it should be noted that all other evangelical traditions recognize the contribution of John’s Gospel to the saving message, but they would believe that many other New Testament texts have much to say on the subject, especially substantial portions of Romans, Galatians and Hebrews.  Those outside the Free Grace camp believe it is a mistake to narrow the gospel to the teachings of one New Testament book and reject the contributions of the others.
  • Saving faith is stripped of any aspect of commitment or surrender to the Lordship or mastery of Christ.  “What faith really is in biblical language,” Hodges declared, “is receiving the testimony of God.  It is the inward conviction that what God says to us in the gospel is true.  That – and that alone – is saving faith… Saving faith is taking God at His word in the gospel.”[4]  Hodges goes on to define faith as “firm conviction,”[5] childlike trust,”[6] an “act of appropriation” of the truth of the gospel,[7] and an “act of trust.”[8]  But as David Anderson, himself a supporter of Free Grace, is careful to distinguish, while Hodges uses all these definitions of faith he does not use the word commitment or surrender.[9]  The Free Gracer sees commitment as taking the concept of faith too far.  Some also believe that faith can die and cite James chapter two as proving their case.  Dead faith in James is not seen as spurious faith but faith that has lost its fire or fervor for Christ.  Works will bring faith back to life.[10]  Anderson states, “If we separate works from our faith, it goes lifeless and limp.  It is dead.  If we want to bring our faith back to life, we must add works to our faith.  Works act like a shot of adrenaline to our faith.  They give it vim and vigor.  They bring it to life.”[11]  Free Grace teachers are deeply concerned that the gospel not be “frontloaded” with works (a good concern).  They apparently see conviction, trust and appropriation as part of faith but commitment or surrender to Christ as works.  The same can be said for repentance below.
  • Since the call to repentance for salvation is not found in John’s Gospel, repentance from sin is unnecessary in responding to the gospel invitation. The official doctrinal statement of the Grace Evangelical Society states,

Repentance, rightly defined as a change of mind, is an integral part of this saving faith. 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 as a part of, faith as a condition for receiving eternal salvation.[12]

Hodges writes, “The call to faith represents the call to eternal salvation.  The call to repentance is the call to enter into harmonious relations with God… Genuine repentance may precede salvation… it need not do so.”[13]  David Anderson, in his recently published book Free Grace Soteriology parts company with some Free Grace thinkers in understanding repentance as carrying more weight than “change your mind.”[14] With many Lordshippers he defines repentance as “an internal resolve to turn from one’s sins.”[15]  However, Anderson sides with Hodges in his soteriological position stating, “Repentance is not a prior condition for unbelievers to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.”[16] Repentance as understood by those in the Free Grace community, in contrast to the teaching of most conservative theologians since the Reformation, is not a facet of saving faith.  Repentance is necessary for proper fellowship with God, but not for relationship with God.

  • Free Grace adherents are often characterized as believing that while the fruit of the Spirit may manifest itself in the life of the regenerate it need not do so.  It is possible that an individual can experience genuine conversion but never evidence any spiritual change whatsoever.  Yet this characterization appears to be a bit of a “straw man.”  Anderson quotes Hodges:

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.[17]

Most in the Free Grace camp see fruit and good works as a secondary evidence of salvation not the primary evidence which is objective faith in Christ.  Most Lordshippers would agree.

  • Those who have received Christ by faith are saved and assured of eternal life and have a genuine relationship with the Lord.  However, those who fail to obey Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to transform their lives will fall short of inheriting the kingdom of heaven and will not experience fellowship with the Lord.  Anderson frames it this way, “What if reception of eternal life… is by faith, and possession of eternal life… is by works?”[18]  Some Free Gracers see a difference between entering the Kingdom, which is a gift from God received by faith, and inheriting the Kingdom which is a reward meted out for good works.  In eternity some believers will enjoy the glories of the Kingdom while others will be outside the Kingdom and even in suffering.

This latter idea is drawn from the interpretation of the servants in the parables of Jesus who some believe must necessarily be Christians.  Concerning the head of the house (Matt 24:42-44), the evil slave (Matt 24:45-51), the foolish virgins (Matt 25:1-13), and wicked, lazy slaves (Matt 25:14-30) Joseph Dillow writes, “There is nothing in the context which requires us to interpret these four individuals as any other than carnal Christians.  Nothing, that is, except certain preconceptions brought to the passage which keep us from believing that a true believer could come under these judgments described.”[19]

However Jesus says of some of these wicked slaves that when He comes He “will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (24:51).  In Matthew 25:30 when the Lord comes He will tell His servants to, “Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  How is it conceivable that a true believer at the time of Christ’s return will not only lose any inheritance in the kingdom but will also be cast out into outer darkness and experience unspeakable pain?  Dillow attempts to soften the level of suffering by saying that these were most likely metaphors for judgment and symbolism for profound regret,[20] but not only is he reading what he wants to into the text he is still proclaiming that a Christian will be cast out and suffer pain (emotion and/or physical) as a judgment from Christ at His coming.  This is a clear departure from the traditional understanding of these parables and the fate of the believer at the coming of Christ.

These are some of the distinguishing positions of Free Grace theology.  Some differ from the Lordship view only in matters of degree, others are radically divergent.  But in recent years some of the Free Grace leaders have taken their theology in different directions. This new course is called by some (not by those who embrace it) the Crossless Gospel.  In reading the original writings of men like Hodges I believe the roots of the Crossless Gospel have been evident all along, but in the last decade or so have caused a division in the Free Grace community. This division led to the formation of the Free Grace Alliance in 2004.  Some of the notable leaders of FGA are Charles Bing, Earl Radmacher, Fred Chay, Larry Moyer and Daniel Anderson.  These, and many others, have retained the original Free Grace understanding of the gospel message, while Robert Wilkins and Zane Hodges, and apparently those now associated with the Evangelical Grace Society, would adhere to the Crossless Gospel that we will now describe.

The Crossless Gospel

The uniqueness of the Crossless Gospel position is best understood through a now famous illustration offered by Zane Hodges in an article for the Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society entitled, “How to Lead People to Christ: Part 1, the Content of Our Message.”  Below I quote Hodges in full:

Try to imagine an unsaved person marooned on a tiny, uninhabited island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  He has never heard about Christianity in his life.  One day a wave washes a fragment of paper up onto the beach.  It is wet but still partly readable.  On that paper are the words of John 6:43-47.  But the only readable portions are: “Jesus therefore answered and said to them” (v. 43) and “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life” (v. 47).  Now suppose that our unsaved man somehow becomes convinced that this person called Jesus can guarantee his eternal future, since He promises everlasting life.  In other words, he believes Jesus’ words in John 6:47.  Is He saved?  I suspect that there are some grace people who would say that this man is not saved because he doesn’t know enough.  For example, he doesn’t know that Jesus died for his sins on the cross and rose again the third day.  Needless to say, there is a lot more he doesn’t know either, such as the doctrine of the Trinity, the eternal Sonship of Jesus or the doctrine of the virgin birth.  But why is he not saved if he believes the promise of Jesus’ words?  It is precisely the ability of Jesus to guarantee eternal life that makes Him the Christ in the Johannine sense of that term.  Our Lord’s exchange with Martha in John 11:25-27 demonstrates this clearly”[21]

Let’s carefully analyze this illustration statement by statement:

“He has never heard about Christianity in his life.”  This would mean that this individual knows nothing whatsoever about the true God, Jesus, sin, salvation, the cross, the resurrection, heaven or hell.  He is a blank slate, as far as biblical truth is concerned, who now must assess the message he has read without any context.

“One day a wave washes a fragment of paper up onto the beach.  It is wet but still partly readable.  On that paper are the words of John 6:43-47.  But the only readable portions are: ‘Jesus therefore answered and said to them’ (v. 43) and ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life’” (v. 47).   Why Hodges felt it was important to mention that the full text of the scrap of paper originally contained all of John 6:43-47 is bewildering since all that matters is the portion that is legible.  The fact remains that everything our marooned friend knows about God, salvation, or Jesus Christ is that a person named Jesus has offered to give everlasting life to those who believe in Him.  Keep in mind that this man does not know who Jesus is; as a matter of fact he has never heard of Jesus before.  He does not know that Jesus is the Son of God, that He as the Son of God became a man, that He is our Savior from sin and that He died on the cross and was resurrected.  He has heard only the name Jesus.  As far as this man knows Jesus could be a Washington politician, a street vendor or a major league baseball player.  Additionally, our lost buddy does not know that Jesus is the Christ.  This is important as will be demonstrated below.

Now suppose that our unsaved man somehow becomes convinced that this person called Jesus can guarantee his eternal future, since He promises everlasting life.  In other words, he believes Jesus’ words in John 6:47.  Is He saved?   The setup is in place and now Hodges pops the question.  Many who have become convinced of the validity of Hodges’ teachings for the last two or three decades are faced with a dilemma.  They have accepted the concept that “if we believe that Jesus is the One who guarantees our eternal destiny, we have believed all we absolutely have to believe in order to be saved.”[22] And “It is the name of Jesus that brings salvation whenever anyone believes in that name as his or her sure hope of eternal well-being.  We are not saved by believing in a series of theological propositions, however true and important they may be.  We are saved by believing in Jesus.”[23]

But the name of Jesus is not a magical password to eternal life.  Biblically a “name” carries with it the content of who that person is.  For a first century Roman legionnaire to speak “in the name of Caesar,” for example, was to speak for the Emperor of Rome.  Those listening to the message did not have to know every detail about the Emperor’s life but they did have to understand who he was in order for the message to have any meaning or authority.  Similarly, the name of Jesus reflects certain content.  It is not just a random name, it is the earthly name of the Son of God, the Savior, the One who died in our place on the cross, the One who rose from the dead and ascended into the presence of the Father.  Our stranded man knows none of these things; he has just read a name with no meaning or context.

Hodges, of course, has anticipated these objections and writes, “I suspect that there are some grace people who would say that this man is not saved because he doesn’t know enough.  For example, he doesn’t know that Jesus died for his sins on the cross and rose again the third day.  Needless to say, there is a lot more he doesn’t know either, such as the doctrine of the Trinity, the eternal Sonship of Jesus or the doctrine of the virgin birth.”  Hodges expects resistance to his illustration, even within his own theological circles, for good reason – virtually no one in the history of Christendom has ever made the  suggestion that all one need do to be saved is believe on a random name.  Conservative evangelicals throughout the ages have closed ranks on the necessity to know and believe in both the Person and the work of Jesus Christ.  This is why missionaries travel throughout the world, why every effort is made to proclaim the gospel through every possible means.  If all that is needed is John 6:47 and publishing the name of Jesus, we could throw all of our resources into displaying “Jesus saves” banners and hiring more eccentrics to jump in front of the cameras at the Super Bowl with John 3:16 written on their chests.

But Hodges is not to be deterred: But why is he not saved if he believes the promise of Jesus’ words?  It is precisely the ability of Jesus to guarantee eternal life that makes Him the Christ in the Johannine sense of that term.  Our Lord’s exchange with Martha in John 11:25-27 demonstrates this clearly.” Hodges’ logic escapes me here for He quotes Jesus as telling Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.  And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.  Do you believe this?”  Martha replies, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ the Son of God, who is come into the world.”  Note first that Jesus was not a random name to Martha.  She already believed that He was “Lord” (i.e. God), “the Christ” (i.e. the Anointed One) “the Son of God” who had become man (i.e. the incarnation).  Jesus adds that He is the “resurrection and the life.” Martha has ample theological insight into who Jesus is and is given more before she is asked to believe on Him.

Believing that Jesus is the Christ seems important to Hodges’ system, as it should.  In the same article he references the woman at the well (John 4) and rightly proclaims, “There is no evidence that she or the other Samaritans understood the deity of our Lord.  But they did believe that he was the Christ.  And John tells us in his first epistle that ‘whosoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God’ (5:1).”[24]  I agree, but believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One, requires content into the name of Jesus – content that our island dweller does not have.  This man does not even know what “Christ” means, how can he believe that Jesus is the Anointed One?  Hodges counters by saying, “When he believes John 6:47 he is believing in Jesus as the Christ.”[25]  But “Christ” means far more than simply one who gives us eternal life.  William Mounce, in his Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, writes, “Christos means ‘Messiah, anointed one, Christ’… Peter’s confession at Caesarea Philippi, ‘You are the Christos, the Son of the living God’ (16:16)… According to the NT, Jesus as the Christ fulfilled Israel’s expectation of a deliverer from their sins… NT preaching, especially among Jews, focuses on presenting Jesus as the Christos.[26]  As can be seen, in NT usage “Christ” stands for the Son of God, the Savior from sin, not just One who offers eternal life.  Hodges’ marooned man cannot possibly know the meaning of Christ from the scrap of paper he has read.

What about the Cross?

On the basis of Hodges’ illustration it is obvious that knowing who Jesus is (His person) is unimportant in the matter of salvation – simply believing in a name, the name Jesus, will suffice.  But what about the works of Christ? Is it necessary that we understand what Jesus has done for us (His works) in order to be saved?  Not according to Hodges: “Neither explicitly nor implicitly does the Gospel of John teach that a person must understand the cross to be saved.”[27]  This belief stems directly from Hodges’ core understanding of New Testament teaching on salvation: “Let me say this: All forms of the gospel that require greater content to faith in Christ than the Gospel of John requires are flawed.”[28]

The Gospel of John is given the final, absolute word on anything to do with the gospel message.  The rest of the New Testament is not allowed to inform or add anything to John based on one verse of Scripture, John 20:31, “But these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”  As wonderful as this statement is, nevertheless to relegate all the New Testament teaching concerning how to be saved around one verse and then to declare that one, and only one, book in the Bible has anything to say on the subject is dangerous at best, and almost guarantees the exegete of Scripture will go astray.  I believe that Hodges and company have done this very thing.

The major concern that Hodges, Robert Wilkins, and others who have embraced the Crossless Gospel have is that some are adding to the gospel message.  If additions are needed to merely “believing on the Name of Jesus” where is the cut off? How much more must be understood and believed for a person to be saved? Hodges writes,

No one has ever trusted in that name for his or her eternal well-being who has not been saved by doing so.  And this is true no matter how little they might have known about the One whom that name represents… Everyone who believes in that name for eternal salvation is saved, regardless of the blank spots or the flaws in their theology in other respects…  In other words, God does not say to people, “You trusted my Son’s name, but you didn’t believe in His virgin birth, or His substitutionary atonement, or His bodily resurrection, so your faith is not valid.”[29]

All agree that an individual does not have to know all the facts about the person and works of Christ in order to be saved.  That Mary was His mother, He was born in Bethlehem, grew up in Nazareth, was baptized in the Jordan River and numerous other details are important but are nonessential to the saving message.  But I believe the Scriptures make clear that the gospel message must include the following information:

The human need:  Hodges’ imaginary islander has no concept of a Holy God who demands sinless perfection of those who would come into relationship with Him.  While the created universe and a God-given inner witness (Rom 1:18ff) confirm that a deity exists, what that deity is really like and what He demands is beyond the scope of general revelation.  Likewise, while this man’s conscience reveals that he is in fact sinful (Rom 2:15), he has no means of removing that guilt and no knowledge of who or what can.  Without specific revelation (i.e. Scripture) our stranded friend may have a fear of an unknown deity and a personal conviction of his own sins but he has no knowledge of his real need or of the real God.  The initial stage of the gospel witness is to reveal the true God and the real human problem of sin and alienation from the true God.

Paul takes the opportunity in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 to lay out the outline of the gospel he preached – the gospel “by which you are saved” (v. 2).  What was the content of his gospel?  In verse three Paul writes, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins.”  The gospel is the good news of what God has done through Christ to save us from our sins.  No one can be saved who does not understand that the real problem Christ came to address is our sin.  The saving message, contrary to the Crossless Gospel message, is not only about how to find eternal life.  Eternal life is a result of solving our sin problem which has caused us to be alienated from God.  Ephesians 2:1-3 describes mankind’s unregenerate state before Christ as being dead in sin, walking according to the course of this world, following Satan’s agenda, living in lust, indulging our desires and under the wrath of God.  Our spiritual condition is so dire that there is absolutely nothing we can do about it.  We need a Savior and, according to Scripture, that Savior is Jesus Christ—but who is He?

The Person of Christ:  What must one know about Jesus Christ?  Hodges’ fictitious friend knows absolutely nothing about the Lord.  Is it possible for him to place his faith in the mere name of Jesus for eternal life when he has no concept of who Jesus is?  I think not.  While not every detail of Jesus’ life need be known there are certain things that must be. In 1 Corinthians 15:3 Paul states as part of the gospel that Christ died for our sins, so at the very minimum we must know who this Christ is.  Philippians 2:6-7 identifies Christ as both God and man.  It was necessary for Him to be God or else He would be unqualified to pay for our sins.  But it was also necessary for Him to be man to die in our place.  While all the complicated aspects of how Jesus Christ could be both man and God simultaneously may not be understood, the sinner must have some grasp on both the humanity and deity of the Lord.  He is not just a man who happens to be named Jesus and claims saving powers.  He is the incarnate Son of God.

The saving work of Christ:  In Hodges’ system nothing of Jesus’ saving work needs to be known in order for one to come to salvation. Yet Paul’s gospel taught that “Christ died for our sins” (1 Cor 15:3) – He died in our place.  Peter writes, “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive by the spirit” (1 Pet 3:18).  Hebrews 10:14 reads, “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.”  Much of the record given to us in the four Gospels was given to testify to the work of Christ on the cross and to the resurrection.  Paul’s argument in 1 Corinthians 15 is wrapped around the importance of the resurrection to the saving message. In verse four Paul includes the resurrection in his gospel, “And that He was buried and that He was raised on the third day.”  He would go on to say, “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith is vain… and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins” (vv. 14, 17).  Throughout the New Testament it is apparent that those who would come to Christ for salvation must understand that He has died for their sins, has been resurrected from the dead and is therefore a living Savior.

The response:  Hodges believes that salvation is received by faith alone – so far so good.  But faith in whom and for what?  Certainly Jesus is more than a random name with no content.  And those who would believe on Him must know who He is and what He has done in order to receive the gift of eternal life.  It is true that any who place their faith in Jesus Christ will be saved (Rom 10:9-10, 13), but unless we know who Jesus is (the incarnate Son of God), and what He has done (died for our sins and been resurrected from the dead) we cannot place our faith in Him.

Conclusion

In Thomas Stegall’s critique of the Crossless Gospel, this former member of the Grace Evangelical Society writes,

What is now being taught as the new, simplified version of the “good news” is that a lost person can receive eternal life by “faith alone in Christ alone,” yet without needing to believe in or even know about Christ’s person and work.  According to the new and improved gospel, someone doesn’t need to believe in Christ’s deity, substitutionary death for sin, or bodily resurrection to be truly born again.  As long as that person believes in the name of “Jesus,” even without an understanding of who He is or what He’s done, such a “believer” will receive eternal life and become justified by God’s grace – just as long as he believes this “Jesus” can guarantee him eternal life.[30]

In a no doubt good-willed attempt to not complicate the gospel and to assure that unbiblical layers of requirements are not placed on the simple saving message I believe the Crossless Gospel leaders have actually gutted the gospel of all meaning.  What has been removed leaves virtually no “good news” at all.  For according to the Crossless message, the sinner does not need to know:

  • His own sinful condition nor his need for forgiveness
  • His inability to solve his sin problem
  • That God is the only God.
  • That God is the holy Creator of all things
  • That Jesus Christ is the Son of God
  • That Jesus Christ became man and was therefore the God-man
  • That Jesus Christ lived a sinless life
  • That Jesus Christ died in our place for our sins
  • That Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead
  • That Jesus Christ is alive today and reigns with His Father in heaven
  • That Jesus Christ not only offers eternal life but forgiveness from sins and the righteousness of God.

If anyone doubts that this is a true portrayal of the Crossless Gospel they need merely to return to Hodges’ marooned man illustration in which this individual places his faith in the name of a man promising eternal life, even though he does not know who this mysterious “Jesus” is. I believe this is a serious distortion of the biblical message of salvation.

 


[1] See Arnold Dilimore, George Whitefield, Vol 1 (London: The Banner of Truth Trust: 1971), pp. 309-313.

[2] Zane Hodges, Absolutely Free, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1989),  p. 26.

[3] http://www.faithalone.org/journal/2010i/1.pdf, pp. 18, 20.

[4] Hodges, pp. 31-32.

[5] Ibid., p. 28.

[6] Ibid., pp. 38-39.

[7] Ibid., pp. 40-41.

[8] Ibid., p. 32.

[9] David Anderson, Free Grace Soteriology (Xulon Press, 2010),  p. 170.

[10] Ibid., p. 31.

[11] Ibid., pp. 34-35.

[12] http://www.faithalone.org/journal/1988ii/Farstad.html.

[13] Hodge, pp. 145, 146.

[14] Anderson, p. 138.

[15] Ibid., p. 139.

[16] Ibid., p. 128.

[17] As quoted by Anderson, p. 213.

[18] Ibid., p. 136.

[19] Joseph C. Dillow, The Reign of the Servant Kings (Hayesville, NC: Schoettle Publishing Co., 1993),  p. 385.

[20] Ibid., p. 387.

[21] www.faithalone.org/journal/2000ii/Hodges.htm, pp. 1-2 (emphasis his).

[22] Ibid., p. 3.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid.

[26] William D. Mounce, Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006),  p.109,

[27] www.faithalone.org/journal/2000ii/Hodges.htm,  p. 4.

[28] Ibid., p. 5.

[29] Ibid., p. 6.

[30] Thomas L. Stegall, The Gospel of the Christ, a Biblical Response to the Crossless Gospel Regarding the Contents of Saving Faith ( Milwaukee: Grace Gospel Press, 2009), p. 32 (emphasis his).

Original article reprinted in full at The Narrowing Path with kind permission from the author.