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Grace Evangelistic Conference 2 - Comments (3)

Printer Friendly Category: Articles,Doctrine,GES: Hodges, Wilkin,
Author: John Malone
Date: 17th March, 2005 @ 11:57:06 AM

Yesterday, the GES had an evening breakout session featuring a robust discussion on the essential content of the gospel. Most of the discussion was “proposition” oriented. By that I mean that it focused on the reception of the offer of the gospel and its attendant promise of eternal life, such as are found in {John 3:16,|Jo 3:16} {John 6:47|Jo 6:47}, and {John 4:14|Jo 4:14} in conjunction with {John 4:26|Jo 4:26}.

Bob Wilkin, who led the breakout, held that there is no faith in the gospel that can be held apart from the faith that one has also received eternal life by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ: that the knowing receipt of eternal life is implicit in receiving Jesus Christ, i.e. {believing in His Name|Jo 1:12}.

The discussion was energetic, and there were a variety of viewpoints. Especially cogent, in my view, was the distinction made by one concerning the secure possession of eternal life by the believer, and the assurance of such possession.

I think focusing on propositional and transactional aspects of the gospel can be important, but certainly confusing as to discovery of the faith of another. I had suggested the breakout so that there did not arise some kind of extra-Biblical {“shibboleth”|Jud 12:4-6} among brethren that might inhibit true fellowship: the {bond of peace|Eph 4:1-3} we are obliged to keep in order to have the peaceable waters and quiet pasture whereby we come, by ministry of the Word of God, into the {unity of the faith|Eph 4:11-13}.

Well, this discussion ended up troubling me throughout the night, robbing me of sleep. And I finally came to the conclusion the reason for my trouble is because our discussion left off two of the great “old saws” of our Christian fellowship: the PERSON of Christ, and the WORK of Jesus Christ. These intertwining aspects of the gospel message have ever been at the basis of our peace together, and the seven-fold unity listed in {Eph 4:1-3|Eph 4:1-1} is neither more nor less than that which comprises our peaceful bond.

At the top of that list is “one body.” Christians have an innate sanctified new-nature magnetism to assemble together in the {liberty|Gal 5:1} whereby they have been set free by the {spirit|Phi 1:27;2Cor 3:17} of the Lord. Graciousness in this mattter leads us to become minimalist in our “requirements” for fellowship, limiting them to the bare necessities.

But CERTAINLY the necessities of function as one body, in one spirit, with one hope, turns on having “one Lord,” and this speaks of the PERSON of our Lord Jesus Christ. Today, there are “other” Jesus’s, who are not the One Who is Lord and Christ. Whether he plays shortstop for the LA Dodgers, or drives a cab in Tijuana, this “other” Jesus certainly isn’t the one listed “Lord” in Eph 4.

And that means we fairly inquire into the facts behind the faith of the one professing eternal life in Jesus Christ. As the Lord asked Peter, “who do you say that I am,” we fairly ask our fellow believers who they say Jesus Christ is. Is He the incarnate Word of God, the I AM revealed to Moses? Is He the One risen bodily from the grave? Is He the One now at the right hand of the Father, exalted above angels? Is He the One coming again to earth in that very same body in which He arose?

Without satisfactory (e.g. affirmative) answers to these questions about the PERSON of the Lord Jesus Christ, it is impossible to include the respondent as having “one Lord” and of “one body” and of “one spirit” with those who have believed in Him.

But the WORK of the Lord Jesus Christ is equally necessary to believe in order to be graciously benefited by the gospel message. Christ’s work on the cross, briefly comprehended, is the giving of eternal life. In point of fact, knowing Jesus Christ is actually the precise equivalent of {having eternal life|Jo 17:1-3}.

Eternal life is the product of Christ’s work. To deny it as a present possession is exactly the same as denying His death for one’s sins, His Providential sacrifice.

At the end of the day, we need to hang our thoughts on what the Bible says a child of God knows innately – that he has eternal life – and one may legitimately ask a believer about such a reality. In fact, it is the {testimony|1Jo 5:10-11} of every child of God.

Comment by bruce abercrombie » 16th July, 2007 @ 08:56:37 PM

I noticed the date on this article: 17th March, 2005 @ 11:57:06 AM

Well, here are two years + and saga continues. Below is an interesting article circulated recently on this same issue.

The long war for the purity of the Word of God has been
waging for centuries. Paul’s charge to Timothy is as applicable and
appropriate today as when it was first issued in approximately 62-63AD:

O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane
and idle babbling and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge
—by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.” (1Timothy 6:20-21)

If there is any “scriptural truth” we as believers have been entrusted with by God, which must be tenaciously guarded, it is the Gospel of the true grace of God. Yet even in fundamental and evangelical circles today there appears to be much confusion and contention regarding the most important of questions, namely:

“What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30)

On the one hand there are those who GOOF-UP THE GOSPEL via religion by requiring such works as water baptism, living a holy life, not sinning big sins, etc. in order to be saved. This is obviously contrary to the clear teaching of scriptures like Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 4:5, Titus 3:5,6.

On the other hand there are those who GARBLE THE GOSPEL via Arminian decisionism by requiring such non-biblical conditions as to raise a hand, sign a card, walk an aisle, pray a prayer, ask Jesus into your heart, etc. in order to be saved, this is often done with a “non-eternal security” twist to boot. These can be done without any true grasping or understanding of the true Gospel, and actually confuse instead of clarify the only right answer to our question, which is simply, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved…” (Acts 16:31).

Then there are those who GAINSAY THE GOSPEL via Calvinistic Lordship Discipleship-salvation teaching, by requiring for salvation the turning from all sin and a commitment of complete surrender and submission to Christ’s mastery over one’s life, evidenced by on-going fruitfulness and faithfulness to the end. This seriously confuses the justification of a sinner before God vs. sanctification of a saint over time. In doing so, this false teaching annihilates the absolute assurance of salvation. Furthermore, the Gospel no longer is about the “good news” of what Christ has done for us but now focuses on what we must do for God (surrender, submission, sacrifice, etc.) to insure our eternal salvation.

Furthermore, to the sad dismay of many holding to the clear “free grace” message, it must also be mentioned that there are those in the Free Grace camp who are GUTTING THE GOSPEL of the unique person and finished work of Jesus Christ as integral essential elements of the Gospel which must be believed in order to be saved, all in contradiction to 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. This new and novel “cross-less gospel” in a bottle strips the Gospel of the needed WHO and WHAT that make it so believable.

Thus, we as believers and recipients of the true grace of God must especially focus on these core issues of biblical Christianity as we must “earnestly contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

The Good News of Eternal Life as a gift from God is available only by grace alone, through faith alone, in Who Christ is, the Great I Am and What He has accomplished through His death, burial, and resurrection on our behalf.
(1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 4:5; Romans 5:8; John 8:24; 10:25; John 14:6)
Adapted from an article by Pastor Dennis Rosker,

Comment by John Malone » 17th July, 2007 @ 06:38:21 PM

Our brother Bruce Ambercrombie has nicely summarized, in the key of “G,” the “alternative” gospels that are out there to buy today.

It is with great sadness that we see Wilins & Hodges go down this “Gutless” gospel path, as our brother has called it, for both have been stalwarts against “Lordship Salvation” for many years.

Nevertheless, my opponent’s opponent is not necessarily my friend, and we are friends IF we do what Jesus Christ commands us to do. And He commands us to hold fast the faith and a good conscience.

I will attempt to discover if Bob Wilkin has a good conscience about this matter on July 27th and 28th here in Omaha when Wilkin visits a church where I formerly taught the Scriptures here in Omaha.

Comment by Keith Melton » 15th December, 2007 @ 11:10:23 AM

Salvation is caused by faith properly focused on Jesus, as to the following. Who He is, What He has done. What He Provides. All three aspects are needed for salvation. For anyone to improperly focus on one aspect to the neglect of others causes a dangerous imbalance and possible heresy in regards to the particular Gospel about/of Jesus the Christ. Paul’s description of the “Gospel” contains all 3. John’s “gospel” contains all 3. Any “Gospel” presentation lacking these 3 will be lopsided, and conducive to errors.

In addition I would say that anyone who denies any one of these aspects is either an unbeliever or an apostate.

Who Jesus is, God
What has He done, died for the sins of the world, and rose again.
What He provides, eternal life to all who believe in Him.
Salvation must stand on all three of these things or it falls.

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