Grace Evangelical Society: Controversial Teaching

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Lou Martuneac, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. Lou Martuneac

    Lou Martuneac
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    Dear BB Guests:

    I was reading and posted two comments in the Salvation & Sin thread. My comments had to do with Grace Evangelical Society’s (GES) view on sin and repentance, which are among the most extreme you will find in evangelical circles.

    With the GES’s National Conference having just concluded I decided that it was time to remind the readers in various evangelical circles of the egregious and dangerous doctrinal errors coming from Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin and the Grace Evangelical Society.

    Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin of (GES) have a view of repentance that is not held by any Bible-believing evangelical church or fellowship I am aware of.

    Men on both sides of the Lordship Salvation debate agree that repentance plays a role in salvation. They disagree sharply on the exact definition, but agree that without repentance there is no salvation. Hodges, Wilkin and the GES, however, believe that repentance by any definition is NOT a condition of salvation.

    Wilkin at the just concluded GES conference wrote/said,

    In Harmony with God Hodges wrote,
    The teaching of Hodges deceived and turned Wilkin on the doctrine of repentance. For Hodges and Wilkin repentance is only for the believer to maintain a harmonious relationship with God. Both men and most of their GES followers are the only advocates I am aware of for this absurd view of repentance.

    The GES view of repentance is just one of the egregious doctrinal errors that are coming from Hodges and Wilkin. The most disturbing view of all is their interpretation of the Gospel, which ahs come to be known as the Crossless Gospel.

    Numerous doctrinal aberrations are the reason why the GES is rapidly losing membership. *See 2008 GES National Conference

    Additional examples of GES doctrinal errors include:

    1) There is no technical meaning for the term the “Gospel” that must be believed for salvation. *See- Technical Meaning of the “GOSPEL.”

    2) The lost man does not have to know, understand or believe in the finished work or deity of Christ, but can still be saved.

    A lost man can be saved no matter what “misconceptions” he has about sin, the Savior including His finished work and deity (including open rejection of the deity of Christ). According to GES/Crossless Gospel advocates these so-called “misconceptions” do not hinder the lost man from being saved as along as he believes in Jesus’ promise of eternal life. In an evangelistic setting the GES man believes these “misconceptions” must be put on the “back burner” and left there.

    If a lost man openly rejects the deity of Christ the GES advocate is prepared to tell him, “It is not necessary to believe that Jesus is God to be born again, but if you ‘believe Jesus guarantees eternal life,’ that is enough for now. We’ll sort out the deity question once you are saved.”


    3) There will be a “punitive” Judgment Seat of Christ for some believers who appear there including being cast into outer darkness.

    4) There is no sin barrier between God and lost men. At the GES website the following statement appears under their article, How Can I be Saved?

    Another GES member wrote,
    The controversy with GES over the Gospel is not over what they believe about the finished work and deity of Jesus Christ. The controversy is not over what they believe Jesus did to provide salvation. The crux and chief focal point of controversy is over GES’s insistence that the unsaved do not have to understand or believe in any of these things, but can still be born again.


    LM
     
    #1 Lou Martuneac, Mar 7, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 7, 2008
  2. Martin

    Martin
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    Why did Southwestern allow that conference on their campus? Are they not aware of the false teachings of GES?
     
  3. webdog

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    I wonder if the disagreements are a matter of semantics. I believe repentance to be part of faith, two sides of the same coin.
     
  4. Revmitchell

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    Nothing like a one sided coin.
     
  5. Martin

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    If you believe this is only about semantics, you should get a copy of Zane Hodges book "Absolutely Free!: A Biblical Reply to Lordship Salvation". Knowing your views, I am not sure you would be able to get through it without having a fit. :laugh:
     
  6. Lou Martuneac

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    Thanks for the comments. I have been away and unable to comment. I'll try to add some notes over the weekend.


    LM
     
  7. Lou Martuneac

    Lou Martuneac
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    Men:

    The GES National Conference ended last Thursday.

    Long time GES member and Crossless gospel advocate, Bob Bryant spoke at the conference. His theme was, "The Search for the Saving Message Outside of the Gospel of John."

    According to another Crossless gospel advocate, who was in the session, Bryant,
    This is the kind of absurdity coming from the GES.


    LM
     
  8. pinoybaptist

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    Lou, I am a Primitive Baptist, and believe it or not, I agree with the GES on their view of repentance with respect to eternal salvation.

    The only work required for a man's eternal salvation is that of Christ's.

    The only requisite for the sinner to be saved, eternally, is God's mercy, which requires NO REPENTANCE from the object of His mercy.

    If you require repentance as a pre-requisite to eternal salvation, then you have to start preaching that God DID NOT SAVE anyone prior to the gospel because only when the gospel came, in its preached and printed form, did the call to eternal salvation based on repentance begin.

    If you will say that this is not so, and that God saved people even before the preaching of the cross, then on what basis did He save them, and where is the record that He required repentance of them in order for their eternal salvation to be a surety ?

    You cannot call such a doctrine a "crossless gospel" because the cross, HERE IN TIME, is the confirmation and the visible expression of God's mercy for His people, which mercy and love He had for them since eternity past.

    God could have saved His people APART FROM THE CROSS, but He did not do so, instead He sent His own Son to suffer that ignoble death in order for those for whom such eternal salvation was authored to understand the depths of God's hatred for sin (and all His people are tainted with it), and the depths and riches of God's mercy, so that in the ages to come, they may sing and speak of His mercy in Christ.

    There is NO DEMAND that His people repent FIRST, and THEN eternal salvation will be granted to them. Eternal salvation is ALL OF GOD, FROM GOD, to His people, for them to be acceptable in His Heaven, having been redeemed with the blood of His Son.

    There is a demand for repentance AFTER you have been told the truth, and pointed to Christ, and Him crucified, dead, risen, coming again, and YOU, the SINNER, profess faith in Christ.

    I lifeted this from the website of a Primitive Baptist church for you to better understand why I agree with the GES on this point:

    SOURCE

    The word "repentance" is found in the Bible 26 times, once in the Old Testament (in Hosea 13:14), six times in the Book of Acts (5:31;11:18;13:24;19:4;20:21;26:20), ten times in the gospels, eight times in Paul's epistles, and once in the general epistles, in 2 Peter 3:9, this last one worthy of its own thread, as is the word "Repentance".

    Contextually, in most of these passages, repentance is used in relation to those who profess to know God (as in national Israel), and those who profess to follow Christ (as in church members), but is not used in relation to eternal salvation.

    One may argue that repentance is not works, per se.

    But if it is not works, then what is it ?

    It cannot be a fruit of the Holy Spirit, because how can the Holy Spirit plant or bear fruit in an unregenerate person who is not His child ? Will He do that at all prior to Him regenerating that sinner ?

    I appreciate your sincerity in thinking that you are acting in defense of what you perceive to be the correct gospel, and believe me, with so many heresies and absurdities coming in I wish your tribe would increase, but I think you are misunderstanding those you are waging this war on.
     
    #8 pinoybaptist, Mar 10, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 10, 2008
  9. pinoybaptist

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    In continuation of the above, consider the following verse by Paul in his letter to the Romans, chapter 5, verses 6 thru 8:



    While we were yet sinners. Allow me to expand this by saying while we were yet ungodly, praciticing, unholy, unregenerate, sin-stained, unrepentant, sinners.

    Not only adulterous in thought and practices, but idolaters, worshipping the wrong Jesus, or the wrong God, devout practitioners of religion, thieves, liars, tax evaders, gossipers, lazy, slothful, greedy, sinners.
    Even while we were thus, Christ died for us, because Christ is how God showed, or commended His love for us, which love He had for us in eternity past, having known us in His mind before the foundation of the world, chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world.

    Is it our repentance that reconciled us to God ?
    Or was it Christ's death on the cross that did so ?

    Paul answers that in verse 10 "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son......." and says again in Colossians 1:21, thus "And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled."

    Having thus been reconciled, and having received and understood the gospel of the Son of God, what's next ?

    Are we to walk in darkness continously ?

    No.

    We are to repent. Turn from idols to the living God.

    That is when repentance comes in, when our responsibility comes in, when God requires of us sacrifice in return for His sacrifice.

    But He saved us FIRST for Himself, without any input from us.



     
  10. skypair

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    GES notwithstanding, the scripture says we die to self and THEN are raised/resurrected to newness of life. That's the picture in baptism which your denom avows. So please get the order correct in your doctrine.

    First, you repent -- then you are reborn, regenerated.

    In a similar metaphor, first you agree to be espoused -- then you marry (have relationship).


    I notice that Reformers stay far away from these comparisons as they are totally disagreeable to their theology.

    BTW, John the Baptist preached repentance BEFORE the cross. It has ALWAYS been required for justification of the sinner before God.

    skypair
     
    #10 skypair, Mar 10, 2008
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  11. pinoybaptist

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    Where is your scripture on dying to self, skypair ?
    And who are told to die to self ?
    Those who have no profession of belief in Christ, or those who do profess to know Christ ?
    And to whom did John the Baptist preach repentance ?
    To the gentiles, the descendants of those who fought Israel in her early days, who at that point in time have not been given the same baptism of the Holy Spirit ?
    Or to the Jews who belonged to the nation God created out of one man, and profess in their religion to know Jehovah and worship the true, living God and yet have turned such knowledge God had intended to be a living faith to a dead faith of works and ordinances and traditions ?

    Again, the point is repentance is for an affirmation or confirmation of a faith one professes, not to result in such a faith.
     
  12. pinoybaptist

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    I also went and checked out GES' website, and took a look at their "Statement of Faith", and found many things they say that I disagree with.
    I sent them an email, which I am posting here:

    Their first statement of faith says:

    The sole condition for receiving everlasting life is faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ, who died a substitutionary death on the cross for man’s sin and rose bodily from the dead (John 3:16-18; 6:47; Acts 16:31”.

    May I state that I believe that everlasting life is not “received” but “given” ? Eternal life/everlasting life is a gift of God to those whom He chose in Christ based on none of their acts or faith in Him.

    Indeed the Bible tells us that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”, and if Christ died for us, then He redeemed us, and if He redeemed us then we do have everlasting life and if He redeemed us it is because that is God’s will for us through Christ and in Christ from the foundation of the world, while we were yet uncreated.

    The cross is God’s act in time in Christ to make final, in time, a plan of salvation He had from eternity past for all those whom He chose in Christ who are His gift to Christ, and to whom Christ is His gift to them, for the purpose of His own glory.

    This plan of salvation was typified, pictured, and illustrated by God Himself thru the many characters of the Old Testament, thru the many events, and thru His many acts in the Old Testament, which He then had written down for the instruction, knowledge and comfort of His people down thru the ages, on to our age, past our age, and until His coming again.

    The fact that Jesus is called the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world for the sake of those whose names were written in the Book of Life of the Lamb, which book was written from the foundation of the world, should indicate to us that everlasting life, or eternal life, is not predicated on the forgiven sinner’s acts of faith, neither is it predicated in the forgiven sinner’s act of repentance, for both are works, and Paul says “not by works of righteousnesses which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us”, and in this particular instance he is referring to eternal salvation.

    In your second statement, you say: Faith is the conviction that something is true. To believe in Jesus (“he who believes in Me has everlasting life”) is to be convinced that He guarantees everlasting life to all who simply believe in Him for it (John 4:14).

    But you see, here again, Jesus’ statement about those believing in him having eternal life is exactly what it says. They believe in Him, BECAUSE they have eternal life, not SO THAT they may or will receive eternal life. No matter which way we cut it, the language is pretty simple, “you believe because you have eternal life”.

    Jesus was stating a fact about the one who believes. His apostles followed Him at His call, and believed on Him, because they have (had) eternal life. Matthew left the collector’s table and, in Mark’s word followed Jesus “straightway”, because He has eternal life, Peter left fishing and followed Jesus (believing Him) because He already has eternal life. Or everlasting life.


    Faith and repentance are prerequisites, yes, but not to eternal salvation, but rather to salvation here in time.
    Eternal salvation is all of grace, apart from works, and faith, repentance, obedience, all these are works that are manifested by a regenerate life.
     
    #12 pinoybaptist, Mar 10, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 10, 2008
  13. webdog

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    You may state it...but reconcile it with John 1:12...
     
  14. pinoybaptist

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    Well, here is John 1:12, web:

    And, of course, since your position is that you can not be saved without receiving Christ as your Savior first, you disregard the next verse which tells of the why they receive Him

    the "which" of course are those that received Him (Jesus), and the verse specifically states that these were born of God.

    Contarywise, those who did not receive Him, or recognize Him as the Messiah, rejected Him, because, as the Master Himself, said, they are of their father, the devil (John 8:44), and equally fits in with another Scripture where it is said those who wonder at the antichrist wonder at him because their names are not written in the Lamb's book of Life (which pertains to God's eternal remembrance of all those whom He has chosen in Christ from eternity past) as stated in Revelation 17:8.
     
  15. webdog

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    I didn't disregard the "why"...because it's not there :)

    I see "...which were born...", now "...why they were born". I agree the new birth is solely from God, and is a gift. The requirement for that gift is clearly laid out in Scripture, though..."by grace through faith".
     
  16. pinoybaptist

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    True enough.

    But we often overlook the fact that there are two aspects to salvation, and both can be said to be by grace.
    It is by God's grace that He chose many to be saved in Christ, apart from the forgiven sinner's input such as faith, repentance, belief, and other good works.
    Grace because He does not have to save anyone, there is nothing in
    Scripture that says He is under obligation to save anyone, yet, because He is a God of love and mercy, He did plan and execute, in and through His Son, the eternal salvation of many from generations past, to present, and on to the future, until He decides time must end.

    The eternal aspect of God's salvation is all OF GOD, BY GOD, AND FROM GOD to the sinner for the sinner's entry and acceptance into His presence in Heaven.

    The TIMELY aspect, that of being saved from riotous living, from an untoward generation, from false doctrines and gospels and practices, through the preaching and hearing of God's word, and receiving of Godly instructions in order to live the kingdom life as citizens of heaven who are pilgrims here on earth, all of which result naturally in blessings from God and His protection, can also be said to be by grace, since having saved His own for eternity future, He is likewise under no obligation to steer them away from the natural consequences of sin and error here in time, and yet He did, when He decreed that His apostles and disciples should hie and hurry to preach the good news to all for whom the good news are intended.

    And I believe it is this aspect which Paul speaks of when he, who is the most ardent preacher of grace in its purest form, should seem to be adding the fallen man's faith now as an ingredient to the pure and perfectly finished work of the very God of Creation.
     
  17. webdog

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    You are advocating two salvations, it seems, like the Millenial Exlusionists from GES.
     
  18. pinoybaptist

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    I believe there are either two types of salvation being spoken of by the writers of the Bible, or there is one salvation with two different aspects: eternal and temporal, or timely.

    Whichever of the two is right, the facts are :

    1. Not all the time the Bible speaks of salvation, it pertains to the eternal salvation of God's people. For example, Jehovah tells His people to choose life, and not death. Are they being asked to choose life in order to be God's people ? Obviously not.

    Another one is Peter telling those who were already pricked in their hearts, to "repent", "be baptized", "save yourselves from this untoward generation". Is this eternal salvation ? If it is, then the apostle, who is as strong an advocate of grace as Paul, is saying in effect that salvation comes through an additional input from those for whom it was authored.

    Would you agree with him ?

    Or Paul, telling the Romans, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation......"

    Now, what is the cause of the eternal salvation of God's people, is it the gospel ? Or is it the grace and mercy of the Lord God expressed in Christ and finalized at the cross ?

    I believe if we look at the proper context of the salvation Paul was speaking of we will see that it is salvation from dead works, and a dead faith or body of faith such as the religions of the Gentiles that belonged to the Roman New Testament church, and the equally dead faith that the Judaists who have been converted used to practice.

    2. Eternal salvation has always been, always is, and always will be APART any human contribution. It is a salvation authored and perfected by Christ, and Christ only. It is free of input of any kind from any man, it is 100% grace, and it is 100% OF THE LORD, and 100% unconditional for and to man.

    3. Temporal or timely salvation is conditional and requisite upon the sinner's obedience, faith, repentance.
     
  19. SeekingHisTruth

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    Repentance is a given in salvation in that it is a change of mind from the previously held beliefs to the new belief that Jesus Christ died on the cross and shed His blood in their place and that if they believe that based on their need because of sin they are saved.

    If that is not true then Paul was lying. There's no way to get around that. Either Paul was telling the truth or he wasn't. He didn't include repentance "from sin" in either Acts 16:30-31 OR Eph. 2:8-9.

    Repentance from sin can ONLY be done by someone that has been born from above.

    By the way I would be interested in where the GES states they hold to a believer being cast into outer darkness. I've never seen that from GES. Not that it's not there, but I've never found it.

    I used to attend a church where the pastor wrote a book on the JSOC and he was a GES member and Hodges even wrote a review of the book if I remember correctly and he didn't mention anything about a believer being cast into outer darkness that I can remember.
     
  20. skypair

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    Rom 6:2-9. Check it out.

    Here it is, pb -- you wouldn't BE baptized/die if you didn't BELIEVE it was unto new life in Christ. Do you see where the belief comes before the death?

    The Jews.

    Which does NOT negate the that process for which it stands --- what it represents. It represents spiritual belief, death/repentance, rebirth/regeneration, does it not?

    skypair
     

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