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Zane Hodges goes too far. - Comments (16)

Printer Friendly Category: Articles,Doctrine,GES: Hodges, Wilkin,
Author: John Malone
Date: 24th March, 2005 @ 09:06:25 PM

In order to demonstrate that certain essential doctrines concerning the person of the Lord Jesus Christ are not necessary to bring one into saving faith, Zane Hodges proposes a theoretical circumstance that is preposterous on its face, and invalid in its details.

Hodges’ scenario is this:

Let me begin with a strange scenario. 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).

Notice what Hodges leaves out in his {proposition|Jo 6:43-47}: reference to God the Father, and His drawing work; the power of the Lord Jesus to raise others (which implies His own, of course); and a reference implying His Deity.

In effect here is what Hodges says: “Suppose a man believes in the Lord Jesus Christ apart from knowing His Deity, His resurrection, and even His incarnation. Doesn’t that mean he doesn’t need to believe those things?” Of course, that is what it means by tautology! BUT IT DOESN’T HAPPEN. By proposing the absurd scenario, Hodges causes us to consider that a man knows nothing of Jesus Christ or the gospel, has no conception of God, his alienation from God, and so forth. It also causes us to forget that God saves by revelation.

None of this is Biblically true. In accepting Hodges’ premise, most of the argument is gone. It is inconceivable that a man comes to Christ without the conviction of sin, righteousness, and judgment that comes with the operations of the Holy Spirit.

It is equally inconceivable that a man comes to saving faith in Jesus Christ without the disclosure of the Father that {Jesus is the Son of God.|Mat 16:17}

Let’s not forget that THIS MAN DOESN’T EXIST, and is hardly reason to abandon the clear dictates of Scripture in 1st John 4:3 “And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”

I find it interesting that people seem to think a childlike mind is like this imaginary man. I have 23 grandchildren, and they are each one by one believing in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

I can tell you that a child’s mind is very reachable with the thought that Jesus Christ is God, as well as that God is Father in heaven. If people would quit filling those young minds with disappointments like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the like, they are even easier to reach.

(Our daughter, for instance, tells her children that the guy dressed in red with a beard is “old man piggy.”)

The practical outworking of accepting Hodges’ premise is that we must receive into our churches as “brethren” those who deny the literal resurrection, the Deity, and the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ. How ridiculous is that?

Comment by pykesplace1 » 30th April, 2006 @ 02:41:18 PM


I found your entry by accident while cruising the internet. I can’t remember what I was trying to find, but in my search I found the name Zane in reference to someone else other than Mr. Hodges. For what ever reason, I decided to include Zane Hodges in my search. One of the first entries in the search was your discussion above.

By way of back ground, I live in the Omaha area and I have listened to your radio show and visited your web site many times. I also have read a few of Zane Hodges books.

A few years ago, I attended a confernce where Bob Wilkin brought Mr. Hodges marooned man scenario. I asked him, what if this man thinks Jesus is a frog? Is he saved? The answer was “yes”. I guess Kermit Saves. Croak!

Comment by robert jimenez » 5th June, 2007 @ 08:59:34 PM

I think the best view on lordship salvation is this zane hodges doesn,t add enough works to the christian life and john macarthur adds to much works

Comment by Tom Baldock » 5th July, 2007 @ 07:17:51 PM

I read with disbelief, and I mean disbelief, the comments made re: Bob Wilkin by pykesplace1 where he allegedly asked Wilkin \”if a man thinks Jesus is a he saved?\” According to pykesplace1 Wilkin replied \”yes\”.

I have checked this out with Bob Wilkin, he would like a tape or publication to substantiate this absurd claim. Wilkin denies ever having believed this and is a total misrepresentation of his theological position.

It seems to me that this quote should have been checked out before placing it on the internet, unless if course truth is not of significance when you are dealing with those who do not hold to the same view as yourself.

From my perspective this comment not only reflects on pykesplace1, whoever he may be, but worse still \”you\” are stained with the unsubstantiated slander of a brother. I would suggest you think carefully before publicizing such remarks. Your behavior has caused me and perhaps many others to question your integrity. We may disagree theologically but surely civility should be shown. Thank you I await your reply.

Comment by John Malone » 5th July, 2007 @ 07:18:45 PM

Dear Tom Baldock (or whoever you may be),

I will publish your remarks on the web site also without callling Bob Wilkin to see if he talked to you about a tape or publication.

I will also attempt later this month to get Wilkin to put his own position on a tape when he is in Omaha, but I am pretty confident he will elude clear questions, just as he and Zane Hodges have done heretofore. Bob is also welcome at any time to make his position on this serious matter known. So far, he has been unwilling to do so, but actually ducks the questions, saying he “agrees with Bob Bryant.”

If you think pykesplace1 is misreprepresenting Wilkin, then can you represent his position correctly? Because as far as I know, the Wilkin-Bryant-Hodges position is that as long as a person believes that Jesus is the “guarantor of eternal life” it does not matter if they think He’s a frog or not. That is consistent with, though not exactly what they told me. I did not ask the Kermit questions.

Certainly Bryant told me privately it did not matter what someone thought about critical elements of His Person or work. Bryant refused to address the matter publicly.

What’s your own position on the matter? Do you agree to receive as a brother someone who denies that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? Do you receive as a brother someone who denies His second coming? His resurrection from the dead? His incarnation?

You are, by your own standard, gulity of slandering me as a slanderer.

I am not going to be intimidated by you or anyone else from exposing this heretical direction taken by Hodges, et. al.


Comment by Tom Baldock » 6th July, 2007 @ 12:18:17 AM

John I am sending you an excerpt from Bob Wilkin’s tract “Saving Faith in Focus”. I ask that you carefully read it, for in your reply to my letter you implied that Wilkin’s and Hodges deny the necessity of believing the deity of Christ, His incarnation, His resurrection from the dead and His second coming. I can see no evidence of this in this writing nor have I ever found it in any of Hodges writings.

I realize there will be many who disagree with Hodges and Wilkin but to label someone as promoting heretical teaching is “strong stuff”. I see from your writings that you are a dispensationalist. No doubt you are aware that some such as John Gerstner consider you view heresy. I disagree for I too hold to dispensational theology.

John, lets leave the name calling to others. I am not suggesting that we can’t voice our disgreements but to imply a brother is a heretic is “strong stuff.”

Again I ask you to examine Wilkin’s writings and perhaps modify or adjust the language of your disagreement.

“Martha believed Jesus’ promise. In answer to the question, “Do you believe this?” she said, “Yes, Lord, I believe.” She then went on to acknowledge Him as “the Christ, the Son of God, who is come into the world.” She knew that Jesus was the Messiah and as such, He certainly fulfills His promise to give eternal life, life that is forever secure, to every believer (compare John 20:31). Martha understood that there were no strings attached. She knew that she had eternal life and that she would never lose it because Jesus, as the Son of God, was trustworthy.

The apostle Paul sums up what Martha, and every Christian, believes when they come to faith in Christ: “However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life” (1 Timothy 1:16). In order to be saved, we must believe on Jesus for everlasting life. On the basis of His death and resurrection, He always fulfills His guarantee to give everlasting life to all who believe in Him for it.”

I understand from your postings that your wife has recently gone through some serious surgery. I will be remembering her and you and the family as you deal with this crisis.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

In His Service

Comment by John Malone » 6th July, 2007 @ 01:42:14 AM


I appreciate that your posts here are heart-felt, and that you are really hoping that I just have it wrong about Hodges, Bryant, and Wilkin.

Unhappily, I DON’T have it wrong, and you are simply coming to find out today what I have now known for over a year.

When I first heard Bob Bryant spinning this new twist on the new birth, I thought he needed a boost to make sure he was clear enough. So I spoke up, and said something to the effect that “understanding the Deity of Christ is necessary, but not sufficient, that’s what you are saying, right?”

He actually did not agree, and asked me to hold off any more questioning until he was done. Then, when he was done, he did not entertain the question. So I button-holed him afterward, and asked him what was the deal.

That is when he told me he did not think faith in Christ’s Deity, resurrection, ascension, or second coming were not necessary components for “saving faith.”

I assumed Wilkin would sort Bryant out, but he demurred, talked around the question, and invited me to a session where these matters would be discussed. However, they weren’t. There were plenty of other pastors at the GES conference that were stroubled with Bryant’s position.

Then I assumed Hodges would sort them both out, and Hodges told me he agreed with Bryant. Frankly, I now know he is the source of this error, and that Bryant was merely agreeing with him.

Even in the quotations of Wilkin’s writing above, I see him tip-toeing around matters. His (and Hodges) position is exactly (and ONLY) what he writes there: “In order to be saved, we must believe on Jesus for everlasting life.”

That is subtley but dangerously different from Acts 16:31: {“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”|Acts 16:31}

What Wilkin et. al. mean is that if you believe Jesus guarantees you eternal life, you have it. This is ALL one must believe. This is why pykesplace1 asked Wilkin about the frog. And this is why Wilkin answered what he did. If you have access to Wilkin, simply ask him persistently about this matter. You will see he is in the Hodges-Bryant error.

Sure it’s shocking. Sure it’s not plainly laid out that way in the writings of Wilkin or Hodges. It’s not plainly said that way by Bryant either.

But I assure you, that is EXACTLY what they hold.

They do not hold that there must be a revelation to the believe of Who Christ is as the Son of God.

Now, Wilkin will be here in Omaha on July 27th, 2007 at a church where I once taught the youth, and I intend to pin him down exactly on this matter. I suspect he will duck the issue and escape because well-meaning fellows like you take a long time to believe stuff that guys like me say.

I have been plagued, my brother, with an ability to see quickly the implications of what some are teaching well before others. It doesn’t make me popular, I can tell you that.

As for Hodges, Wilkin & Bryant, they are simply paving the way for a new persistence qualification: persistence in doctrine.

Thank you for you considerate remarks about Karen. Her ordeal has been a real trial for me.

Comment by Vlad » 16th October, 2007 @ 08:30:40 AM

While I disagree that one may believe ANYTHING about Jesus to be saved, I agree that ALL one needs to do to be saved is to trust alone in Christ alone.

From my understanding of the cults, NO ONE trusts Jesus alone, since in their theology Jesus cannot be trusted but should only serve as an example of obedience that must be copied in order for one to be acceptable before God the Father.

So, to trust Jesus Christ alone, one must hold that He is GOD and human. However, I’d disagree that one must have an accurate understanding of the Trinity in order to truly accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. Perhaps that is what Wilkins and Hodges meant.

Comment by Metachoi » 26th January, 2008 @ 08:20:07 PM

What is the bottom-line to saving faith? How much, what exactly, does one have to believe to be saved?

This is a difficult question, it seems to me. What do you think Nicodemus or the woman at the well knew and believed? Honest questions.

Comment by Keith Melton » 31st January, 2008 @ 09:59:08 AM

“What’s the bottom line of saving faith?” Since you brought up the woman at the well, re-read about her again in John chapt. 4, especially verse 10. Jesus sets it out very straight forward. Know the gift, know the giver, ask for the gift, and the giver gives it. All this of course depends on your faith/belief/trust that the Lord Jesus is who He says He is, and has the power and authority to do what He says He will do.

Comment by John Malone » 31st January, 2008 @ 10:16:47 AM

Zane Hodges’ oft-referenced verse, {John 20:31|jo 20:31}, says that one purpose of the account of the woman at the well is that we would come to believe that Jesus is “the Christ, the son of God,” and so doing, we would have “life in his name.”

Therefore, it is reasonable and consistent to understand that she (and Nicodemus) concluded that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.

I know that Hodges, Wilkin, et. al. do not believe she believed this. Their gainsaying can be prosecuted on their home field.

Wilkin’s most recent writings are shrill and very poorly done. They are marked by the most pervasive elements of his heretical behavior.

I will be writing about him again, soon, even though he has become nearly irrelevant.

Comment by Bob McDonald » 22nd May, 2008 @ 01:18:46 AM

I invited Bob Wilkins to conduct a bible conference at the church I pastored in 2004. I was shocked when in his first message he taught that faith in Jesus apart from His death and resurrection was all that was necessary for eternal life. In fact, in his message he taught that to include the teaching of His the death and resurrection in sharing the gospel only brought confusion. I was so shocked that I assumed that I had misunderstood or that he had miscommunicated. But after several hours of private discussion, he made it clear that he, following his mentor, Zane Hodges, held that belief in the person of Jesus, apart from belief in His death for payment of our sins and resurrection to declare the believer righteous, is the gospel that saves.

Hodges and Wilkins are correct in not confusing the nature of “faith” when they remove any idea of man’s works and obedience. But they are eternally wrong when they remove the works and obedience of Christ from the object of that faith.

John MacArthur and the ‘lordship’ salvationists preach a false gospel by adding man’s works and obedience to the nature of faith. But Wilkins and Hodges proclaim no less of an error when they remove the essential core, the death and resurrection of Christ, from the gospel. They also, pervert the gospel of the grace of Christ.

Comment by Keith Melton » 25th May, 2008 @ 01:51:30 PM

Question to anyone. When were the disciples, minus Judas, saved? Before or after the Lord’s death burial and resurrection?

Comment by John Malone » 30th May, 2008 @ 05:11:46 AM

The disciple Abraham was certainly saved before the Lord’s death.

I am curious: why do you ask this question?

Comment by Keith Melton » 30th May, 2008 @ 07:28:45 AM

I ask because some proclaim faith in the death burial, and resurrection are necessary for salvation. But I don’t see that played out in scripture. The disciples, even after our Lord’s spelling it out for them disbelieved the death and resurrection, even outright rejection of it, and then after our Lord’s death doubted His resurrection, but they would still be counted among the saved. I realize one can shave off too much info like Zane and company have done, but I also believe that what often is presented as the gospel, is bloated. What I myself have struggled with is to “produce” a simple (un-bloated)gospel message, but also one that has adequate information for a lost soul to have a change of mind, and be converted. I now have come to realize that I can not “produce” a solitary one size fits all presentation, because the hearers all would have different levels of knowledge ranging from total ignorance of Christ, to even very detailed in what they know. I also presented the question to get people to consider what they believe the gospel is as compared to scripture and maybe find that it is not what they may necessarily have been taught. Thank you brother(s)for your website

Comment by Leon » 1st April, 2016 @ 03:58:01 PM

Oh my! Some of you make it so difficult. surviving in life in general is so difficult that I cannot fathom that Jesus requires a certain amount of work to be followed after belief. how much work is required? if one does not work enough does he lose his salvation? just surviving in this miserable world is difficult enough let alone being told that I have to work for my salvation, give me a break! listening to the ones with inflated egos that can’t take criticism, I’m referring to the ones that criticize Zane Hodges and others. when they asked Jesus what must they must do to work the works of God and Jesus replied “this is the work of God, that you believe on him that he has sent.” That’s it.
some of you people remind me of the Pharisees in the New Testament. have a good day!

Comment by Roger Johnson » 2nd January, 2017 @ 03:25:12 PM

Gentlemen and Gentlewomen: A very disturbing discussion when I consider Matthew 7:13-23 that culminates in Jesus telling a lot of Pew-Sitters to depart from Him because He did not know them. This theme of knowing or not knowing God or Jesus is repeated several other places – most notably in John 16:1-3 that ends in “…because they have not known the Father, nor Me.” This matter of knowing Jesus or not knowing Jesus is critical to salvation. Notice who the people are who Jesus rejects in the Matthew passage – the devoutly religious who followed Jesus to the point of believing their works were of some value in saving them. That is not what God, nor Jesus want. They want you to know Them. Who Jesus is and what He accomplished on the cross. Of course a person who hears the gospel for the first time and walks forward to say a prayer will not understand fully Who Jesus is or what Jesus accomplished on the cross. But where do we find ignorant people in the Bible believing in a person they know nothing about? It took me several months to repent (change my mind) about Who Jesus is and what He accomplished on the cross for me before I believed unto salvation. I have known several people who thought they were saved on a certain “decision” night, but later realized they didn’t know Jesus at all.
So, what do I believe is the answer is? What is the true Gospel that Jesus hands to us as a free gift? Jesus is God. He came to earth and lived as a man, and at the appointed time, went willingly as the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world. When Jesus cried out “Tetelesti!” and then gave up His Spirit, God’s condemnation of sin was finally satisfied, in full, once and for all. All sin was forgiven at the cross, but unless you believe it, it will do you no good. Why? Because knowing that all sin was forgiven at the cross is part of knowing God and Jesus Christ. If you deny that aspect and believe instead that your post-salvation sins are forgiven progressively as you confess them – A WORK – then you do not know what Jesus Christ did for you on the cross. Of course this means that God is no longer in the business of forgiving sins. It also means that everybody in heaven or hell are already forgiven. Jesus does not know those people who are rejected because they didn’t know Him. Oh, that first chapter of 1 John was written to the Gnostics who had infiltrated the Asia Minor churches with the claim that since flesh was sinful and spirit was not, they did not need forgiveness, nor a Savior. And 1 Corinthians 11:29 that describes a communion curse for partaking of the elements unworthily had nothing to do with John’s first letter to the Asia Minor churches. Look at when those letters were written. Paul wrote to the Corinthians around 50 AD and John wrote to his churches around 90 AD. That means the Corinthians had no means of washing their post-salvation sins from their accounts for forty years. Those poor Corinthians drank to their damnation because they were unworthy.

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