The Teachings of

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

and the extreme teachings of J. D. Faust

The Gospel Under Siege


This is the title of a book written by Zane Hodges in 1981 which sparked a great deal of controversy. It was published by Redencion Viva (P.O. Box 141167, Dallas, Texas 75214). The controversy centered around issues such as these:

  1. What is the relationship between saving faith and good works? Hodges insists that good works are not the necessary outcome of saving faith.
  2. Can a true believer totally abandon Christ and the faith even to the point where he no longer believes in Christ and denies the facts of the gospel? Hodges insists that this is possible and even cites an example of this which will be discussed later in this paper.
  3. Can a person who habitually lives in sin [even as a homosexual or as an adulterer or as a drunkard or as a murderer] claim full assurance of salvation? Hodges insists that this is possible because, according to his view, assurance of salvation is based upon the promises of God and has nothing to do with how a person lives.  Hodges seems to teach that it is wrong to ever call into question the salvation of any person who professes faith in Christ, no matter how wickedly he may live.  He may live like a child of the devil, but as long as he claims to be a child of God, we should believe him.
  4. If a person truly has eternal life, will this life be evidenced in any way? Hodges insists that it is possible that there will be no evidence at all. In other words, a person can KNOW he is saved but he need not SHOW that he is saved.  Hodges teaches that the grace of God is able to save a person but it may or may not transform a person.
  5. Will all believers inherit the kingdom of God or only some? Hodges insists that all believers will enter the kingdom but the wicked believers (those believers who are drunkards, homosexuals, thieves, fornicators, covetous, etc.) will not inherit the kingdom.
  6. What did James mean when he said, "Faith without works is dead"? Hodges insists that James was teaching that a saved person can have a dead faith and have a life devoid of good works.
  7. What did John mean in his first epistle when he said, "We know that we have passed from death unto life because…" "By this we do know that we know Him…" etc.? Hodges insists that such verses are not to be taken as "tests of life" but should be understood as "tests of fellowship." See also Dillow, p. 407. Both men teach that a true believer can habitually hate the brethren, disobey Christ’s commands, practice unrighteousness and continue in sin.

As we think about these important issues there are certain key passages of Scriptures which are at the very center of the debate. These would include the following:

  1. The book of 1 John, especially passages such as 1 John 2:3-4; 1 John 3:10; 3:14; etc. which seem to be setting forth identifying marks of a true believer.
  2. The passages which speak of those who do not inherit the kingdom: 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:5-6; etc. Those who do not inherit the kingdom--are they believers or unbelievers, saved or unsaved?  Those Who Do Not Inherit the Kingdom--Are They Saved or Unsaved
  3. The second chapter of James which deals with the relationship between faith and good works. If a person is really saved will this be evidenced by good works?   Justification by Faith and Justification by Works--Did James Contradict Paul?
  4. The passages which speak of continuing in the faith, such as Heb. 3:6; 3:14; 1 Cor. 15:1-2; Col. 1:23; Luke 8:13,15. Is it possible for a true believer to totally abandon the faith?   Can a Saved Person Totally Abandon His Faith in Christ?
  5. The passages which speak of "outer darkness" and "weeping and gnashing of teeth." Do these passages refer to the anguish of the unsaved in hell or do they describe the great remorse of carnal Christians who do not inherit the kingdom and who do not participate in the wedding banquet?
  6. Revelation chapters 2-3 which refer repeatedly to the "overcomer." Are all believers overcomers or are there two classes of believers (those who overcome and those who do not)?
  7. There are many other significant passages which will also be discussed in this paper.

Actually the true gospel of the grace of God is under siege by Zane Hodges himself. In the Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society (Autumn, 2000), Hodges wrote an article entitled, "How to Lead People to Christ, Pt. 1." In this article Hodges discusses the content of the gospel, that is, what a person needs to believe in order to be saved. Contrary to 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 and Romans 10:9-10, Hodges argues that it is not necessary for a sinner to believe in the death and resurrection of Christ in order to be saved. He merely must believe that eternal life is guaranteed to anyone who believes (John 6:47). Robert Wilkin also holds to this defective understanding of the gospel. John 6:47 is a wonderful salvation promise, but it is not the full gospel. There is a free grace pastor who has written a detailed book in which he analyzes the position of Hodges with respect to the crossless gospel. The book is entitled The Gospel of the Christ–A Biblical Response to the Crossless Gospel Regarding the Contents of Saving Faith. The author is Tom Stegall. I know the author and would recommend this book very highly. The book illustrates that even those who are a part of the free grace movement are greatly alarmed by some of the teachings set forth by Zane Hodges, Robert Wilkin and others.

For an introduction into this controversy, see The Tragedy of the Crossless Gospel.


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