The Teachings of

Zane Hodges, Joseph Dillow, Robert Wilkin
(The Grace Evangelical Society)

and the extreme teachings of J. D. Faust



Zane Hodges was Professor of New Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary for many years. He did a considerable amount of work in the area of textual criticism and he was a strong defender of the Majority Text. He is to be commended for his scholarly work, The Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text (Thomas Nelson, 1982).

Zane Hodges, who went to be with the Lord in November 2008, was a Bible believer and a strong defender of the great doctrines of the Bible such as the inerrancy of the Scriptures, the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, the substitutionary atonement, etc. Those who knew Zane Hodges have described him as a man of fine Christian character and devotion.

For many years Zane Hodges was one of the most outspoken proponents of a doctrinal position that insists a person can depart from the faith, deny Christ totally, persist in sin, stop being a believer, deny all the fundamentals of the faith, mock the gospel, and yet still be counted among those who are truly saved. Hodges and others have insisted that a true believer may or may not continue in the faith unto the end. According to this teaching, a person can have the TRUE ROOT (saving faith) but not necessarily have the TRUE FRUIT (good works). His books which present this position are The Hungry Inherit, The Gospel Under Siege—A Study on Faith and Works, and Grace in Eclipse—A Study on Eternal Rewards. Most of his books are made available through the Grace Evangelical Society (GES). Hodges also contributed to The Bible Knowledge Commentary (a commentary done by the faculty of Dallas Theological Seminary). In this commentary Hodges contributed the commentaries on Hebrews and 1,2,3 John, where his views on faith and works and assurance of salvation are clearly enunciated. In more recent years he has written commentaries on The Epistles of John and The Epistles of James both published by the Grace Evangelical Society.

Dr. Joseph Dillow graduated in Science with a major in Electrical Engineering. He received his Th.D. degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. He served on the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ, Christian Family Life, and as a visiting instructor in Systematic Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. For over a decade he and his wife Linda have lived in Vienna, Austria, where he has served as founder and director of Biblical Education by Extension International (BEE), a biblical training ministry for church leadership in eastern Europe, Russia, and China. Many years ago he wrote an excellent book on the gift of Tongues entitled Speaking in Tongues— Seven Crucial Questions and he also made a significant contribution to creation science by his masterful book dealing with the vapor canopy entitled The Waters Above. He also wrote a book on the Song of Solomon entitled Solomon on Sex. His book concerning which we are critical of in this paper, is entitled THE REIGN OF THE SERVANT KINGS—A Study of Eternal Security and the Final Significance of Man. In this paper, when page numbers are cited from Dr. Dillow’s work, we are referring to this last mentioned book.

Dr. Dillow’s book is significant for many reasons: (1) It is the most comprehensive and systematic presentation of this doctrinal position yet written (650 pages); (2) Dillow, in the beginning of the book, acknowledges that it was Zane Hodges’ teaching that changed the way he looked at the book of Hebrews in particular and the entire New Testament in general. This change of thinking took place in 1973 as Dillow listened to a set of tapes by Zane Hodges dealing with the book of Hebrews; (3) Very influential men have endorsed and are recommending Dillow’s book including Dr. Charles Ryrie and Dr. Earl Radmacher. Dr. Ryrie said, "This scholarly and well written book should be read by all pastors and students of the Word who are interested in the doctrines of grace…A TRULY LANDMARK BOOK!" Dr. Radmacher wrote this: "Dr. Dillow’s REIGN OF THE SERVANT KINGS may well be the most significant contribution toward resolving the several hundred year debate between Calvinism and Arminianism."

Thus we have Zane Hodges who for many years promulgated this doctrine through various books and tapes and Joseph Dillow who systematized this teaching in one, comprehensive, massive volume. This teaching is being embraced by more and more believers, mostly among dispensationalists. Many of those who embrace this view have chosen as their rallying point the Grace Evangelical Society which publishes a newsletter which is sent to a readership of 9,000 and a theological journal which also has a circulation of 900. They are publishing a number of books. Robert Wilkin heads up the Grace Evangelical Society. He enthusiastically recommends the writings of Zane Hodges and Joseph Dillow and he has authored some of his own books, including Confident in Christ–Living By Faith Really Works and The Road to Reward.

A more recent volume which should be mentioned is The Kingdom, Power & Glory–The Overcomers Handbook (almost 400 pages) by Chuck and Nancy Missler. The Misslers (pages 49, 271) strongly recommend Joseph Dillow’s book (The Reign of the Servant Kings) and the Misslers’ book certainly reflects the same theology that is found in Dillow’s volume. I have written a lengthy review of this book by Chuck and Nancy Missler. However, since the Misslers’ views are very similar to those of Hodges and Dillow, this paper will answer address many of the doctrinal problems found in the book by Chuck and Nancy Missler, although I will not specifically refer to their book in this paper.

Another controversial author of our day is J.D. Faust who wrote The Rod--Will God Spare It?, which interesting enough is published by the same company that published Dillow's book (Schoettle Publishing Company, NC, a company which specializes is publishing books by authors who teach kingdom exclusion and in some cases, authors who teach a partial rapture).  Faust holds to many of the same views as Hodges and Dillow and the Grace Evangelical Society, but his position is rejected by these men because of his extreme and unorthodox views regarding millennial exclusion and millennial punishment.  He teaches that non-overcoming believers will taste of the second death and then be punished in Hades for 1000 years.  In light of this, many have accused Faust of teaching a "Protestant Purgatory" which he vehemently denies.  However, he certainly does teach that unfaithful believers will be severely punished during the millennial. 

All these men teach that Christ's beloved body and bride will be divided into two distinct groups:

The Minority Group The Majority Group
The overcomers The one who don't overcome
Those who inherit the kingdom Those who are excluded from the kingdom or from its blessings
Those who reign with Christ Those who do not reign with Christ but who are cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Faust would go so far as to say they taste of the second death and then are punished in Hades for 1000 years.)
Those who confess Christ Those who deny Christ
Faithful believers Believers who depart from the faith and who  stop believing in Christ
Righteous believers Unrighteous believers (covetous believers, homosexual believers, drunk  believers, adulterous believers, fornicating believers, etc.)
Believers who continue in the faith Believers who abandon their faith in Christ
Believers who have a living faith (faith accompanied by works) Believers who have a dead faith (faith but no works)
Believers represented by the good ground (Matthew 13--the parable of the sower) Believers who are represented by the rocky ground and the thorny ground (Matthew 13)
Believers who are faithful and wise (Matthew 24:45). Evil believers who are unfaithful and unwise and who will be cut asunder and appointed a portion with the hypocrites (Matt. 24:51)

Having totally divided the body of Christ in this way, they then assign different millennial destinies to these two groups, with the majority group suffering punishment, either severe fiery torment (Faust) or not being allowed to reign with Christ during the thousand year kingdom (Hodges, Dillow, Wilkin).  Hodges, Dillow, Wilkin and Faust all agree that apostate and wicked believers will suffer very serious consequences during the kingdom age, but they don't all agree as to how severe the suffering will be.  All agree that these wicked believers will be cast into outer darkness and experience weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Faust is the most extreme when it comes to the degree of punishment.  As already mentioned, Faust actually teaches that saved people who do not measure up and who are not overcomers will actually taste of the second death (the lake of fire) for a brief period of time, and then will be punished in Hades in the underworld for a thousand years.  He follows the teachings of men like Govett, G.H.Lang and D.M.Panton (partial rapturists). Hodges, Wilkin and Dillow are horrified by Faust's extreme views, but they share a common theology with him in many ways.  They differ mainly in what kind of consequences the wicked saved people (non-overcomers) will suffer.

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