Bible Teaching aimed at helping you enjoy the Scriptures which are the Word of GOD!
Preaching by: John J. Malone, Sr - JABSBG*
Due to my position with respect to Robert Wilken of the GES, and the conclusion that he is a heretic – a schismatic person – I considered that it would provide useful background to publish this email exchange I had with Zane Hodges shortly after the 2005 GES conference.
While at the conference, I appealed to Wilkin in connection with a workshop conducted by Bob Bryant. I attempted to draw the attention of others to this problem, including Dr. Elliot Johnson and Rene Lopez, but I consider that I was pretty much alone in being outraged at Bryant’s position, and, as I look back on it, his devious behavior that decorated it.
While Wilkin did not at that time simply tell me that Bryan’s position was also his (and Hodges), he emphasized that it was merely “a workshop” and that it thereby did not represent the position of the GES.
Subject: GES Conference Workshop, 2005
I have some few things to write to you about, and the better part of them will be in an email or emails to follow.
This one is about something very disturbing to me that came from two of the final workshops of the conference earlier today.
The first workshop – and the one I attended – was conducted by Bob Bryant, and was named “Eternal Security: Do you have to Believe It?” Frankly, I thought the premise posed a useful exercise, and was a reinforcement of 1 John 5:10-11.
But in the course of the session, Bob ticked off a few doctrines that he was not addressing – the Deity of Christ, the resurrection, and maybe a couple of other truths – and disposed of them as not saving truth. I interrupted him to say, “Do you mean necessary but not sufficient?” He refused to answer that in the affirmative or negative, but more or less told me to shut up, perhaps more politely.
So afterwards, I asked him why he did not simply agree that they were necessary but not sufficient, and to my surprised he claimed that believing in the incarnation of Jesus Christ as God in the flesh was not essential to saving faith, nor did he consider that belief in the resurrection of the Lord was a necessary component of saving faith. I said I thought the second coming of Christ was also indispensable, and we also disagreed on that.
After that discussion, I spoke very briefly with a young man who attended the second workshop, held by Ken Wilson, “Is Faith in Christ’s Deity Required for Eternal Life? – ‘Son of God’ in John’s Gospel.” I told him, “Just give me the short answer: was it ‘yes” or ‘no.’” He said the answer was that Wilson wasn’t sure one way or the other, but that most of the attendees thought it was a requirement.
It’s my conclusion that if these fellowsâ€™ views are representative of the direction of GES, it may be headed to heterodoxy concerning the content of the gospel unto everlasting life.
I’d like to know whether, assuming I have reported this matter to you accurately, you are as troubled as I am with these developments.
Thanks for your email and your frankness. However, I agree with Bob Bryant.
Thanks for your direct and quick reply.
How long you have held this view?
Yours with all things in Christ,
For some time. When it comes to what we MUST believe to be saved, we must allow the Gospel of John to guide us, not evangelical tradition. Otherwise we shall be guilty of adding our own "theological requirements" to the gospel.
God bless you,
I agree we ought not impose our own “shibboleths” as criteria to slay our brethren, even though I believe the one in Judges 12 was sanctified to Jephthah’s use.
Indeed if I am imposing extra-biblical requirements on life, the result is excluding brothers from the household of faith. I certainly do not care to narrow the requirements of the gospel on the lost beyond what is biblical, or to narrow fellowship with my brothers on like wrong grounds.
I believe there is a personal revelatory aspect to the Gospel of eternal life concerning the person of the Lord Jesus, just as Peter had experienced according to Matthew 16:17.
When it comes to the Gospel of John, we can start where the book does, in the first 14 verses, to understand the primacy of the Deity of our Lord Jesus, and the importance of His incarnation to all that follows in the narrative.
I submit to you that no brother will bring a correct testimony concerning eternal life without likewise bringing the correct assessment of the Lord Jesus’ Deity in His incarnation, and His materiality in His resurrection, both of which are summed up in the phrase as the Father’s monogenes (John 1:14) . Eternal life is, after all, to know Him (John 17:3) . It is only His resurrection out from the dead that declares Him, with power, as the Son of God (Rom 1:4).
Likewise, I find it incredibly poignant that the apostle criticizes the Galatians for their movement away from the God the Father when they move toward a heteros gospel, which is not an allos. This appears consistent with the revelatory aspect of the gospel noted above.
I hope I am not merely following evangelical tradition, especially because I donâ€™t have one, having been raised RC. I was two years in an open Brethren assembly, and I could not argue with anyone who claims that counts as an evangelical denomination, except to claim without shame that I was not well-received in ministry there by the traditionalists (elders so-called), especially with respect to the Book of Hebrews.
I suppose I have been as affected in the faith by you as much as anyone, except, perhaps, the late A. E. Wilson, and the late Dan Smith of Vancouver BC (who stood with me among PB’s), who you may have come to know over the years in brethren circles.
So now, I’m worried about you, and I hope you receive me well. I don’t want to see you leave the pier just as your ship is coming in.
Thanks for listening,
I appreciate the gracious tone of your email. Although I try to avoid long email exchanges, due to constraints on my time, I have a certain curiosity about what you are trying to tell me.
Are you saying this: If a man were to believe that Jesus was the Christ and had given him eternal life by faith alone - yet he did not understand the deity of Christ - that his faith is invalid and he is not saved?
You could possibly reply by a yes or a no.
Have a joyful Sunday in the Lord.
My short answer is “yes.”
But your question does not precisely match the issues represented in the discussions, in my view.
I have actually written quite a bit more, but I will not prevail upon you with it unless you desire further discussion.
I do a daily one-hour radio program. I get some lengthy doctrinal emails. I know it can become wearisome. Those mails seldom – but sometimes! -speak to me along the lines of a present and profitable meditation on my heart.
The question I wanted to ask you at the conference was concerning your view of the exanastasis in Phil 3:11.
Today I reviewed our correspondence of 20+ years ago (when you were about my and Bob Wilkin’s age.) I must tell you that your own letters are also marked with exceptional graciousness.
I had asked you about the phrase above, and you wrote, in part, “… In my judgment the reference is to what we know as the first resurrection. However, I believe Paul means that he is striving to attain to the lifestyle which is characteristic of that resurrection.”
I took your view to mean that the exanastasis was not connected directly with the results of the judgment seat of Christ, but was somehow “attainable” here below, without having (yet) been attained by Paul at the writing of Philippians.
Have you altered this view any?
Thanks for your email response.
On Phil. 3:11 my view remains the same. Paul is aiming high for a 1st resurrection-type lifestyle.
On the other matter, I appreciate your understanding and "short" answer. As you probably guessed from my phrasing of the issue, I would feel a "yes" response conflicts with the Apostle's teaching. But I have no wish to pursue this issue with you unless you feel it might be profitable for us to do so.
I didn't know you had a radio program, but itâ€™s a good way to serve the Lord. May the Lord bless you much.
Profitability is a very difficult thing to assess until after the fact, especially with a discussion. Even after the fact, profitability can be hard to assess, both in discussions and in business.
Certainly some discussions fall into an abyss of unprofitability – especially by email where intonation and body language are often totally lost – but I do not think this one has, and my sincere hope is that it will not.
I am skittish, of course. Because my experience is that usually once people lock on to a position, and publish it even a little, they seldom turn from it.
In brief, I am concerned that the definition you are using of the Christ (why leave off “the Son of God?”) is turning steak-like faith into some sort of twinkie.
I went back to some notes taken at a November 1990 talk you gave here in Omaha at Believers Bible Chapel. At that time, you said that belief in Christ included belief in His resurrection, His present life, and belief He is the guarantor of eternal life. It occurs to me that, by assuming the same position as given by Bob Bryant, you have dropped the 1st 2 of those criteria.
I am assuming that your position is that there must be all that one needs to believe written in the Gospel of John up to the point of John 20:31 . If so, I have no problem at all with that conclusion.
Yet that very verse forms a terminus ad quem for the Deity-of-Christ bookends of John 1 (incarnation), consummated by Nathanael’s testimony, and John 20:24-29 where very specifically Thomas is said to have gone from a state of unbelief to a state of belief by first hand experiential evidence of the Lord’s bodily resurrection, and his subsequent and immediate conclusion of the Lord’s Deity.
I cannot understand how the omission of faith in the literal bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus, His incarnation, and His Deity – the very things at issue in Bob Bryant’s position – is somehow necessary or even consistent to achieve consistency with the Apostle’s (I assume John, but you did not say) teaching. It occurs to me that less than these requirements gives introduction of the gnostic into our midst.
The position you and Bryant are taking is cryptic to me. I think it should be laid out in boldface, if it’s going to be laid out at all.
But I actually hope the more that you (and Bob) turn from it.
I’m still cheering for your triumphant finish, so that, at the judgment seat of Christ, you may enjoy the exanastasis ek nekron.
Well, I agree that profitability is hard to assess. But as interesting as your last email is, it raises too many issues at once and makes the discussion unmanageable.
I think, if you wish to continue, we'd both profit from keeping our comments short and to the point. The discussion might take more time but it will be better focused.
So I will weigh in with a short question. You say, why should I omit "Son of God" after referring to Jesus as the Christ?
I answer with a question. Why is that problematic in light of 1 John 5:1?
My best to you,
Thanks for answering Zane.
Having confined the issue to a poorly constructed theoretical, I can understand why you would want to focus from what is at hand. At some point, I will deal with the conundrum of this theoretical circumstance as well as the man on the island you wrote about in your 2000 paper, and why both are analytically invalid.
Nevertheless, we proceed.
First, I take you admit that, in your theoretical, you did omit ["the Son of God"], so the question remains “Why?”
Second, John’s gospel did not omit, in the relevant passage ( John 20:31 ); and
Third, your question is an easy one: the long shadow of 1 John 4:3 . Whatever you accept as legitimate faith is circumscribed by this.
But if you may leave John’s gospel, I may go to Romans 1:1-4; 10:9.
There is a real paradox you have come to, and it has to do with a flawed theoretical conjecture.
Therefore, although you begin with the criticism of evangelism (I am incorporating Part 1 of your 2000 paper in here for the sake of brevity) – much like Watchman Nee – that we need to focus on bringing people to Christ who does the saving instead of to doctrines which cannot save, your result is that you accept as adequate faith that which is sound on a doctrine concerning eternal life, yet completely wrong on Christ, the One to Whom you advise we bring the sinner.
In the chemistry lab, when we have gone through an experiment that is correct before our eyes, but upon inspection we find the result to be invalid, we retrace our steps before we write up the results.
I hope to win you, not this debate.
Thanks for your reply. Please let me say it is still a bit too long and raises too many "sub-points."
It seems to me that 1 John 5:1 is quite relevant because it is the same author. I was pointing out that the author of John can say essentially what my "hypothetical" says. (But it's not really a "hypothetical" because exactly that idea describes the conversion experience of a person I know.) Don't bother to reply to this paragraph. I can rephrase my point so we don't go off the main track.
Instead, let's put it this way: Someone says: "I believe that Jesus is the Christ, my Savior, who has given me eternal life by faith."
Is he saved?
Rejoice, the Lord is risen!
I think I am right to combine this theoretical with the one in your 2000 article.
1 John 4:3 is there for reasons you know better than I do.
In short, if the fellow said the statement you quoted with a capital “Who,” he’s likely saved.
I want to know if he believes in the Lord’s resurrection out from the dead, which is something you taught not too long ago.
It’s not the statement I accept before I baptize someone, I’ll tell you that, and the only requirement for me to baptize someone is that he is a believer, and that he has not already been so baptized.
Let me take you back to your 2000 article, the man on the island, which I thought was a well-defined example. If the portion he read only had the letters “Jes” readable instead of “Jesus,” is he saved?
As for conversions of people known, I also knew a fellow – I worked in the cubicle next to him – who said he believed in Jesus Christ. I went to his home upon his invitation, wherein he told both me and his wife that He did not think Jesus Christ to be God. He was even angry about this point, and his face became contorted and, frankly, very ugly. We remonstrated with him in the matter, and after some time of prayer, he relented and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. His wife told him he looked like a different man when we were done. This occurred early in my Christian life, and is also very memorable.
Now let’s take your theoretical fellow a step further. Suppose I accept that he is saved based on the confession you have outlined, and now we get to know him a bit. He hears the “Easter message” and refuses to believe it. He says he’ll wait like Thomas did. We show him John 1, and tell him that is about the Lord’s incarnation, and that he is God. He says he doesn’t buy that either. Is he saved?
Or do we have a new problem here of “persistence” in doctrine?
I know I am being longer than you want me to be, but that is because I will not accept as valid faith in an unresurrected “Christ” who is not the Son of God incarnate.
Yeah, I agree you are giving me too much per email.
Do you think we can keep on one subject until we complete it? We are not really talking about my article, are we? We could get to it in time, perhaps, if we can make slow and careful progress on the present subject.
So I ask this time for clarification only.
Are you telling me the statement I sent you would be unacceptable to you without a capital on "who"?
Thanks for the brevity!!
What would a capital W have to mean?
His eternal power and Godhead.
Unhappily, I got the last words in with that reply, not hearing again from Zane.
Obviously, I failed to win Zane in this discussion. Now this problem has become the center of what GES is doing, rather than merely a conference workshop, which is where I found it in mid-March, 2005.
Many men have left or otherwise distanced themselves from the GES, as I understand it, the Free Grace Alliance, which was a fledling group to promote missions activity, only 4 months old when I engaged Hodges as above, will not allow Bob Wilkin to join.
As for Zane Hodges, I seriously wonder if someone who was much closer to him than me (not hard to qualify!) has approached him to try to rescue him late in his life.
Why should it be that someone who has helped so many of us understand the jeopardies that are at stake in the Christian life is left to himself to become disapproved in that day?
What a sad, sad story has been building here!
What a master-stroke is being delivered by the enemy of our lives!
I am writing regarding the quotation on your site from last week concerning my 2005 GES talk.
“After that discussion, I spoke very briefly with a young man who attended the second workshop, held by Ken Wilson, â€œIs Faith in Christâ€™s Deity Required for Eternal Life? – â€˜Son of Godâ€™ in Johnâ€™s Gospel.â€ I told him, â€œJust give me the short answer: was it â€˜yesâ€ or â€˜no.â€™â€ He said the answer was that Wilson wasnâ€™t sure one way or the other, but that most of the attendees thought it was a requirement.”
John, I presented that paper with the explicit purpose of proving that belief in Christ’s Deity is necessary for eternal life. Lopez monopolized the subesquent discussion and confused people. I have since left GES and published the paper in the Chafer Theological Journal under the title, “Is Belief in Christ’s Deity Necessary for Eternal Life in John’s Gospel?” I believe you will find the answer to be an unapologetic “YES!,” as well as exposing the errors of GES (Wilkin and Niemela) on this very issue. I am now a member of the Free Grace Alliance which meets this October in Irving, Texas.
In His Grace and Truth,
Dear Brother Malone:
I appreciate your article, “I Lose Zane Hodges.” A companion of mine (Pastor Tom Stegall) in the debate over what has come to be known as the “Crossless” gospel largely propagated by Zane Hodges and the GES linked me to your site.
I have been largely involved on the debate to refute the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel. In recent months I was drawn into the debate over the “Crossless” gospel.
In both camps I have seen, just as you have, that in open venues advocates of these egregious errors will not speak in clear, unvarnished terms about exactly what they believe. I might not have disclosed private e-mails, but your interaction with Hodges is most enlightening.
If you have any interest in my work on Lordship Salvation and/or the GES, Hodges/Wilkin position on the Gospel, please visit my blog. The site address is: http://www.indefenseofthegospel.blogspot.com
I would be interested in any new developments you might uncover and share on this issue.
I just spoke at the 2007 Grace Conference at Quentin Road Baptist Church. I met several men in the Free Grace Alliance (FGA), including Charlie Bing, who I have been interacting with on line for about 10 years.
The FGA seems to be a good alternative to the GES for men in the Free Grace community who have departed the GES.
I never joined the GES because I had some sense that it was headed where it has landed in recent years.
Yours in Him,
I notice at the top left hand side there are 7 articles… 6 of them are actually dated Aug 2 2007… but beside the header it indictaes that it is Spring 2005… also the names show retrievable but nothing happens…. why the differences in dates & also no retrieving/history of names???? What does it mean when it indicates “Ken Wilson on I lose Zane Hodges: Spring of 2005″
Is the paper that you wrote for Chafer available for circulation? I am interested in reading it.
The section you are asking about in the top left hand site of the site is titled “Latest Comments”. It is a listing of the 7 most recent comments submitted to BibleStudy.net and who posted them.
So when it says “Ken Wilson on I lose Zane Hodges: Spring of 2005″ that means that Ken Wilson posted a comment on the article titled “I lose Zane Hodges: Spring of 2005″. You may notice that your name now appears on that list, and mine as well.
The names are linked because when you submit a comment you have the option to provide a link back to your own web site. If you opt out, it simply links back to the article that you are commenting on.
The discrepancy of the dates (Aug 2007 vs Spring 2005) is because this email exchange took place in August of 2005, after the first GES conference John attended. However, John posted that email conversation as an article on BibleStudy.net on Aug 2, 2007.
I hope that clears things up a bit.
At my blog and various other sites I have posted this question to Hodges, Wilkin, & Myers.
Can a lost man be born again while consciously denying the Deity of Jesus Christ if he believes in Jesus for eternal life?
Thus far only a young man named Antonio da Rosa, a very passionate apologist for Hodges and the GES, with a poor reputation at many sites, has responded.
What da Rosa does, however, is answer the question with a question. He is obviously trying to redirect away from an issue that they are very reluctant to address. He would have done better by not acknowledging the question at all.
You can view the article and brief thread here…
Furthermore, da Rosa posted a very reckless and irresponsible piece at his blog in whuch he reveals what are primarily private communications between Wilkin and two other pastors in the “Crossless” debate.
You can view his reckless article here…
It is a shame that this young man, (who is unofficially speaking for the GES) is acting in ways that bring the GES, his personal testimony and integrity under legitmate scrutiny.
Dear PM Readers:
IMO, the most egregious heretical statements coming from advocates of the GESâ€™s â€œCrossless/Deitylessâ€ interpretation of Gospel can be found and are compiled in this article.
Also see the companion article, Heresy of the â€œCrosslessâ€ Gospel: Verified & Affirmed!
Thanks for your patience; nothing further to add at the moment.
if i believe (trust, am persuaded, have faith) in this “person” named Jesus that he can really give me eternal life and i will live forever. it only stands to reason that i will believe he is not just a normal man! i have now fullfilled John 20:31 and like the jailer i need only to believe. it is not rocket science and so simple that a child can do it.
[WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ’610588601 which is not a hashcash value.
Jesus was specific in saying that if the Pharisees did not believe Him to be the “I Am” they would die in their sins. John 8:24. “He” is in italics because it is not in the Greek. When Jesus declared “Before Abraham was I am.” they tried to stone Him. Why? They recognized His claim to deity and were going to stone Him for that. Is not dying in one’s sins the same as not being saved? How can someone deliberately denying the deity of Christ claim to be saved?