The Teachings of

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

and the extreme teachings of J. D. Faust

Are Good Works the Necessary Fruit of Salvation?

In his book, The Gospel Under Siege, Hodges:

1) Denies the necessity of good works in the life of a true Christian:  "Consideration [in this book] will be given to some of the major texts that are thought to teach the necessity, or at least the inevitability, of good works in the life of a true Christian. The inconsistence of this view...must be faced" (p.8);  

2) Denies that good works are an essential fruit of salvation:  "Can I know that I belong to Christ and belong to Him forever?  If good works are essential fruit of salvation, the answer to this question must be: No"  (p.9);

3) Says that good works are not a necessary outcome of saving faith:  "If works are a necessary outcome of saving faith, the problem is equally great" (p.11; and the argumentation here used makes it clear that Hodges does not believe that works are a necessary outcome of saving faith);

4) Denies that good works are an inevitable outcome of genuine saving faith:  "Certain passages in the Pauline letters have been taken to prove that good works are an inevitable outcome of genuine saving faith. As has already been pointed out, this kind of deduction destroys the believer's ground of assurance" (p.79);

5) Says that the Bible does not teach that a true Christian will persevere in good works:   "Some believe [wrongly so, according to Hodges] the Bible teaches that a true Christian will persevere in good works" (p.11).

[In a later edition of The Gospel Under Siege, I have been told that Hodges has modified some of these statements, thankfully].


In being critical of the position of Hodges, Dillow, Faust, etc. we do not mean to imply that true believers always live lives that are pleasing to God and super-abounding in good works.  We recognize that carnality can be a major problem among believers and that regenerate people can and do backslide.  Saved people can be in a very sad spiritual state, and this we do not question.   They can even walk as unregenerate men (1 Cor. 3:1-4).   These important issues are dealt with in detail in the following document: Saved By Grace Alone.  We do not hold to the Lordship salvation teaching that good works automatically and unfailingly result from saving faith.   There is a delicate Biblical balance on this issue that must be maintained. "The pendulum swings, ridiculous extreme, bypassing the truth which lieth between."   The so called "free grace" position and the Lordship salvation position are two extreme positions.  The truth is to be found somewhere in between.  This is common in theology.  With most areas of doctrine, there are usually extreme and unbalanced views on both sides of the truth.

What we are concerned about is the teaching that a truly saved person can totally abandon the faith, deny Christ, deny the gospel, and even mock the Christian faith, or that a true believer can have a life that is characterized by and dominated by immorality, disobedience, and wickedness. 


…why did Jesus say, "even so, every good tree bringeth forth good fruit…a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit…a good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things" (Matt. 7:17-18; 12:35)?

…God’s work of chastening has failed to bring about the desired result (Heb. 12:10-11).    Note: Those who are not God's legitimate children can live any way they please all the way to the grave, but God, in His love, does not allow His children to live any way they please.  Just as a human father uses a rod to keep his child from persisting in evil behavior, so the Heavenly Father chastens His children so that they will not persist in sin.  [Zane Hodges claims that the "bastards" or illegitimate children mentioned in Hebrews 12:8 are probably regenerate people who do not inherit the kingdom!  See the Bible Knowledge Commentary under Heb. 12:8.]

…the God who saves is powerless to sanctify [thus, the prayer of Jesus in John 17:17 will not be answered for some believers].

... the indwelling ministry of the grieved Spirit of God in convicting erring saints is ineffective

…for some believers God’s workmanship is never realized and never displayed and thus there are some believers that never walk in those works which God has before ordained that they should walk in them (Eph. 2:10).

…Jesus’ parable of the sower ought to be revised so that it would read as follows: "But other fell into good ground and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold and some zerofold" (Matt. 13:8). As the parable stands it teaches that all believers are fruitful but not all believers are as fruitful as they should be or could be. Actually, Hodges and Dillow and Wilkin teach that many believers bear ZERO fruit as represented by the stony and thorny soils.

…John the Baptist was being too severe and demanding when he challenged the profession of the Pharisees and Sadducees and when he told them that every tree not bearing good fruit would get the axe and the fire (Matt. 3:7-12).

…John the Apostle must have been mistaken when he wrote, "He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God" (2 John 11).

…God is not changing all believers into the image of His Son, or if He is changing them, this change is not evident and not seen (2 Cor. 3:18).

…God’s grace has failed in its teaching ministry (Titus 2:11-12) and God’s purpose of redemption has not been realized (Titus 2:14).

…God’s purpose for believers in light of the cross would not be fulfilled (see 1 Pet. 2:24).

…God’s holy new nature (Eph. 4:24; 1 John 3:9) is consistently concealed in the lives of those believers who are devoid of good works.

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