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GES, Wilken Turn to Isogesis. - Comments (2)

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Author: John Malone
Date: 3rd April, 2008 @ 01:53:05 PM

Sometimes you can be correct in your conclusion, but completely wrong in how you get there. When it happens to a preacher or one writing about the Scriptures, this is symtomatic of isogesis as compared to exegesis.

Exogesis, the practice of precisely disclosing something, is a man of God with the Word of God is supposed to do. It is the art and craft of being a workman, cutting straight the Word of God. The Lord Jesus Christ “exegeted God” to us.

In short, isogesis is the practice of bringing a conclusion about a matter to the table, and then finding Scriptures to prove it. It’s dangerous. It’s a faulty approach. It disqualifies the practitioner from claiming God’s unction.

We already know of the disqualification of Bob Wilkin in ministry due to his schismatic behavior. It’s a sad matter, really, to see him further descend to pathetic mishandling of the Bible in his latest attack on the false doctrine of “Lordship Salvation,” proving once again that my opponent’s opponent is not necessarily my ally.

In his latest headline article in the GES newsletter “Grace in Focus,” Wilkin declares. “We believe Jesus is Lord.” The major question for Wilkin, of course, is “Who is this ‘we’?” Could it be Wilkin poses as the Queen of England, or has a mouse in his pocket? Because when he says “we,” he is not talking about all believers, but apparently some sect he is leading – “free grace advocates” – at least in his mind. His entire viewpoint is schismatic. But this is not news.

What is news in the improper way Wilkin handles the key Scriptures he uses to emphasize his point. The first six paragraphs in his article are devoted to outline portions of John MacArthur’s erroneous position on the gospel. MacArthur casts “those who … see faith as simple trust in a set of truths about Christ,” as holding “no-lordship.” The point Wilkin wants to make is that a “free grace position” advocates properly the Lordship of Christ.

Of course, he is hindered due to taking up Zane Hodges error on this topic. Hodges, Wilkin, Bob Bryant, Jon Niemela, and others have championed that essential content of he gospel does not include that Jesus is the Son of God, or that He is Christ.

So, now, the point Wilkin wants to make is that a “free grace position” will certify the Lordship of Christ correctly. His aim is noble enough. Wilkin is simply not the one to advance it, and he proves this in his seventh paragraph, which I reproduce in red:

I personally am prepared to die for the Lord Jesus and His gospel. I know many other Free Grace proponents who are as well. We are prepared to do so not because we must be committed to His Lorship to gain kingdom entrance or to prove we are truly born again.

I reflexively cringe at statements like this, knowing that the Scriptures cite such remarks by the apostles of the Lord just before they ran away from Him! Thomas, who later denied the Lord’s resurrection, said such a thing. Personally, I have my hands full living for the Lord – He will let me know how I did – let alone to boast of my preparedness to die for Him.

We are prepared to do so because we love Jesus and long to please Him (2 Cor 5:14 ; 1 John 4:19) ,

Here we find the first two Scriptures cited by Wilken, and neither one of them are properly applied. In the first case, “the love of Christ constraineth me,” Paul is not talking about his love for Christ, as Wilken is, but Christ’s love for him. “Of Christ” is a genitive, and therefore cannot be understood as “my love for Christ,” but rather “Christ’s love.” The misapplication of these genitives frequently can lead to wrong understanding of Scripture. Paul’s (or Wilken’s) love for Christ is not powerful, and not much of a topic. Christ’s love, on the other hand, has the power to “constrain,” or direct, us.

Again, in 1 John 4:19, John is not talking about our great love for Christ. Again, it emphasizes His love for us. Even though I am a KJV guy, and prefer the Textus Receptus, it’s not lost on me that a large number of texts leave out the word “him” in this passage, this rendering it, “we love because he first loved [us].” This gives the force of the matter, which is that it is Christ’s love [and work] FOR us – NOT his work IN us – which provides the driving force of our Christian lives. This is the essence of grace.

because we believe He is indeed the One to whom we will one give an account at the bema, the judgment Seat of Christ (2 Cor 5:9-11), because we long to rule with Him in the life to come (2 Tim 2:12), and because we are grateful for the everlasting life which we know is ours forever.

My appreciation for eternal life is not the power or motivation God has provided for me to achieve boldness at the judgment seat of Christ, instead of shrinking back in shame. Neither is gratefulness the principle by which I will attain to the goal of being pleasing at that time.

The principle to realize the hope of our calling is the one which the Galatians so easily abandoned , and the one to which we are instructed to remain , having received Christ. The works God has prepared for me to walk in will be realized only by the principle of grace-through-faith.

I am concerned that the “free grace” movement has fallen into ungracious hands.

Comment by David West » 9th April, 2008 @ 09:15:17 AM

Ah, the legacy of easy believism continues to rear its ugly and deceiving head….

How can you separate Christ’s salvation from His Lordship (rhetorical – not you John)? If He is Savior, it must be because He has the authority (and grace) to save. That’s Lordship. This is good news! Why? because before Christ, our lord was Sin – and Sin’s goal for us was death. I like the new Lord better!

Note that upon His conferring the gift of salvation to us, He did not require us to be the caretakers of that salvation. Jesus said that those given to Him by the Father would in no way be snatched from His hand. That means that His hand is doing the holding and not ours. Thank God! If my salvation depended in the least tiny bit on my ability to hold on to it, I would be a dead duck.

To further strengthen the case, please note that our Lord further left commands and instructions to His called out ones. When the local jail guard frees you, he does not give you commands to govern the rest of your life. When the King frees you, He does. Jesus’s guidance to us in Paul’s epistles predominantly are clearly those of someone who has claimed Lordship. If He freed us and then had no further claim to us, we would have a much shorter New Testament (something like – “You’re free guys – go have fun! I’ll clean up any mess when I come back!”)

Brother John – you have this right. God’s word sounds sweet in my ears – please keep preaching it!

Comment by Stephen » 12th January, 2009 @ 02:35:04 PM

Greetings. I’m relatively new to “free grace” but, as I understand it, most Free Grace people I know shun Bob Wilkin and the GES. The Free Grace Alliance covenant, for example, is not something that BW or GES can affirm in good conscience. For that reason BW has dropped from the Free Grace alliance. At any rate, I just want to make clear that which you (John) may in fact already know.. BW and GES do not rightly represent “Free Grace”, however hard he/they may try.

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