Thursday, November 27, 2008

Zane Hodges' Passing

It has been reported that Zane Hodges, the former Dallas Theological Seminary professor of New Testament, has passed away at the age of 75. Hodges is best known for his work in the "Free Grace" movement and his books such as "Absolutely Free." He was controversial in life and it is certain that he will remain controversial after his death.

Just last week I gave a message at Holy Epidemic in Melbourne, Australia called "Combating Easy Believism on the Streets." In that message I pointed out the fruit of Hodges' backwards theology as we have observed it on the streets of Dallas\Fort Worth, the home of Dallas Theological Seminary. I've seen seminary students and graduates argue the fine points of the Greek term for repentance while they are drunk. I've seen pastors walking out of comedy clubs, laughing at the same filth that the world laughs at, and then argue with us about what constitutes the Gospel. I've seen a free grace, KJV-only open-air preacher justify his adultery as a professing Christian because of this kind of theology. And this kind of thing just goes on and on.

This different gospel that Hodges (and others) proclaim reduces the glorious Gospel of Christ into nothing more than a general assurance that Jesus made a legitimate offer of eternal life and anyone who considers the offer legitimate is saved. Repentance was reduced in Hodges' theology to nothing more than "fellowship with the Father", eliminating the concept of turning from sin (and to the shock of other Free Gracers, he denied that it even meant "changing the mind about Christ"). The concept of the Lordship of Christ was thought to be limited to His deity rather than any claim of mastery, missing the obvious point that Christ's deity in no way lessens the duty of man towards Him but only increases it.

Hodges' theology affected me in Bible college when I took a theology course taught by a professor who was greatly influenced by this kind of thinking. This influence showed up in my own doctrinal statement where I wrote (as a false convert Baptist pastor) "Saving faith is intellectual assent to the facts of the Gospel". As if saving faith can be reduced to a number of bullet points that we merely say "uh huh" to.

In the days ahead, we're sure to read tributes to Hodges' scholarship. I read a blog this morning which praised his scholarship while admitting to disagreeing with his views on salvation. Maybe it's just me, but if his so-called "scholarship" led to errors in his soteriology, then isn't his scholarship flawed? He might have been able to defend his errant views well, but that does not make the man a great scholar. It only makes him a skilled manipulator of the text. There have been many of those kind of self-appointed scholars throughout history and history has not been kind to them.

I never met Hodges, never took one of his classes or heard him speak. But I was once a fruit of his theology. On this Thanksgiving Day, I have much to be thankful for. The Lord Jesus Christ, in His magnificent grace, rescued me from that false gospel and brought me to true salvation. He gave me the gifts of repentance and faith and in grace drew me unto Himself. I thank God that He rescued me from the blindness I was in and brought me to salvation.

Hodges is dead, but his soteriology is not. It probably will never totally die out. Free Grace proponents have made it very clear that they will be tenacious in their efforts to spread their theology within churches, seminaries, and even children's ministries. With Hodges' passing, I am reminded today how vital our work in Biblical evangelism is. How we must commit to being even more tenacious. How one day, we too will leave a legacy. Will it be a legacy of distorting the truth or boldly proclaiming it? Only time will tell.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Holy Epidemic

Today's blog comes to you from "Down Under", in Frankston, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia. I'm in town for a few days at the Holy Epidemic Conference, Australia's only street evangelism conference. The conference starts tonight.

According to the conference manual, "The purpose of Holy Epidemic is to promote street evangelism and equip Christians for the task...Our desire is that what we are doing on the streets would spread through the rest of Australia (and the world) like an epidemic...I pray that God would use our feeble efforts to preach His blessed gospel to impact the country of Australia with a deep conviction of their sinfulness (John 16:7-9). That people would turn to our Saviour Jesus Christ in sincere repentance, and submit themselves to His Lordship. I pray that we would see a genuine awakening in Australia and the rest of the world."

Amen. A worthy prayer for a nation steeped in unbelief. Please pray with me that the Lord would use the conference to do these things, for His glory.

Speaking Schedule:

Friday Night:

Session 1: Operation Mobilization: Principles for Establishing a Church Based Evangelism Team (Pastor Lionel Letcher)

Session 2: Taming the Lion: Managing Fear Biblically (Jon Speed)


Session 3: Open-Air Basic Training--A Beginner's Guide (Jon Speed)

Session 4: Operation Mobilization II: The Local Church & The Local Mission (Pastor Lionel Letcher)

Session 5: Combating Easy Believism (Jon Speed)

Session 6: Obedience (Pastor Lionel Letcher)

Session 7: The Neglected Weapon of our Warfare (Jon Speed)

Session 8: Question & Answer Session (Pastor Lionel Letcher & Jon Speed)

Please pray that in each session our Lord would be magnified and that we would decrease. Pray for clear explanation of His Word.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Revival Conference in Greenrock, Scotland LIVE Webcast Here

This conference will be from November 25-27 and you can watch the conference LIVE here on Informed Evangelist. Featured speakers include:

Keith Daniel, Carter Conlon, Al Whittinghill, Denny Kenaston, Don Courville, Gareth Evans, Colin Peckham, David Guzik and others.

We'll post more information on the schedule as it becomes available.

Friday, November 7, 2008

James White on this Historic Election

Please check out these comments from James White on our recent election.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Sovereignty of God

This post is dedicated to all of those who find their hope in American politics, be they Republican, Democrat or a third party. In the weeks ahead there will be a lot of rhetoric, mostly from the winners in yesterday's election. Please keep in mind that this is all it is: rhetoric. Politicians are only human; dead in their trespasses and sins unless Christ has regenerated them.

Who is really in control? Who sets up rulers and takes them down? Who receives glory for His mighty purposes? Only the Sovereign God of this universe. Anyone else who wraps themselves in the banner of "change" is only a pretender.

"The Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and earth beneath" (Joshua 2:11)

"And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said, O LORD God of Israel, which dwelleth between the cherubim, Thou art the God, even Thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; Thou hast made heaven and earth." (2 Kings 19:15)

"Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is Thine; Thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and Thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of Thee, and Thou reignest over all: and in Thine hand is power and might; and in Thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all." (1 Chronicles 29:11-12)

"O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? And rulest not Thou over all kingdoms of the heathen? And in Thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand Thee?" (2 Chronicles 20:6)

"Behold, He taketh away, who can hinder Him? Who will say unto Him, what doest Thou?" (Job 9:12)

"The kingdom is the LORD's: and He is the governor among the nations. All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before Him: and none can keep alive his own soul." (Psalms 22:28-29)

"The earth is the LORD's and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Who is this King of Glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory." (Psalms 24:1, 10)

"He ruleth by His power forever; His eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves." (Psalms 66:7)

"O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for Thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations of the earth." (Psalms 67:4)

"Promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: He putteth down one, and setteth up another." (Psalms 75:6)

"God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; He judgeth among the gods. Arise, O God, judge the earth: for Thou shalt inherit all nations." (Psalms 82:1, 8)

"The LORD reigneth, He is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength , wherewith He hath girded Himself : the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved. Thy throne is established of old; Thou art from everlasting." (Psalms 93:1-2)

"Blessed be the name of God forever and ever: for wisdom and might are His: and He changeth the times and the seasons: He removeth kings, and setteth up kings." (Daniel 2:20-21)

"Which in His times He shall shew, Who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto, Whom no man hath seen, nor can see; to Whom be honour and power everlasting." (1 Timothy 6:15)

"Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created." (Revelation 4:11)

"And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth." (Revelation 19:6)