The Teachings of

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

and the extreme teachings of J. D. Faust

The Position of Dr.  Charles Ryrie With Respect to These Issues

Dr. Charles Ryrie is a well-respected dispensationalist, the author of the excellent book Dispensationalism Today which recently has been revised and enlarged and goes under the title of Dispensationalism. Dr. Ryrie is quoted on the back cover of Joseph Dillow’s book, giving this endorsement: "In this penetrating critique of Westminster Calvinism, Dr. Dillow has given us a comprehensive discussion of eternal security and rewards. By a constant appeal to scripture, the biblical doctrine of eternal security is supported instead of the Reformed doctrine of perseverance. 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!"

It was puzzling to this writer why Dr. Ryrie should endorse Dillow’s book in light of the fact that Dr. Ryrie’s own writings contradict many of the positions held by Dillow (and Hodges). Consider the following examples:

"An overcomer is not someone who has some special power in the Christian life or someone who has learned some secret of victory. John himself defined an overcomer as a believer in Christ (1 John 5:4-5). Thus every Christian is an overcomer" (Revelation, pp. 22-23 under the discussion of Rev. 2:7). "To him that overcometh. Not a reference to an especially spiritual group among the believers, but to all true Christians (cf. 1 John 5:5)" (Ryrie Study Bible, comment under Rev. 2:7). Hodges and Dillow are at odds with Ryrie, teaching that the "overcomers" are a special class of believers (the victorious believers who persevere in the faith).

"James 2:24 ["Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only"] is the reply to the question of James 2:14. Unproductive faith cannot save, because it is not genuine faith. Faith and works are like a two-coupon ticket to heaven. The coupon of works is not good for passage, and the coupon of faith is not valid if detached from works" (Ryrie Study Bible, comment under James 2:24). In contrast to this, Hodges and Dillow teach that a person can present to God a coupon of faith detached from works and be admitted to heaven. Ryrie does not hold to the Hodges/ Dillow interpretation of James chapter 2.

"[Acts 8:13] Simon himself believed also. Peter’s denunciation in vv. 20-23 indicates that Simon’s faith was not unto salvation (James 2:14-20)" (Ryrie Study Bible, comment under Acts 8:13). Ryrie here teaches that Simon was not saved whereas Hodges and Dillow insist that he was. Notice also how Ryrie gives James 2:14-20 as a cross-reference, indicating that Ryrie understands James 2 as depicting a situation where the person is not truly saved, whereas Hodges/Dillow understand James 2 as depicting a saved person who is fruitless and without works.

Ryrie teaches that the false teachers described in 2 Pet. 2:20-22 are unsaved: "These false teachers had apparently made some sort of profession of the truth without possessing the new life of Christ. They then rejected what they professed, becoming slaves of corruption (v.19) and showing their true natural, unchanged condition (v.22)" [see Ryrie Study Bible, comment under 2 Pet. 2:20]. Hodges/ Dillow understand these verses to be describing a saved person (see Dillow, Reign of the Servant Kings, p. 467).

"Every Christian will bear spiritual fruit. Somewhere, sometime, somehow. Otherwise that person is not a believer. Every born-again individual will be fruitful. Not to be fruitful is to be faithless, without faith, and therefore without salvation….Every Christian will bear fruit; otherwise he or she is not a true believer" (So Great Salvation, pages 45-46). Hodges and Dillow would never make such a statement! Hodges teaches that good works are not a necessary outcome of saving faith (The Gospel Under Siege, see pages 8,9,11,79).

"‘If we endure, we shall also reign with Him.’ [2 Tim. 2:12] Here the contrast is between the endurance necessary in this life and the ultimate glorification which all believers will enjoy (Rom. 8:17)" [So Great Salvation, pages 140-141]. Hodges and Dillow teach the opposite. They teach that NOT ALL believers will enjoy reigning with Christ, but only the "overcomers" (that is, only those believers who suffer with Christ). Ryrie teaches that all believers will share in this.

"‘If we deny Him, he also will deny us,’ reiterates the Lord’s word in Matthew 10:33. Judas did this" (So Great Salvation, p. 141). Ryrie understands this verse as describing the denial of Christ by an unsaved person and uses Judas as an example. Hodges/Dillow understand this verse as describing the denial of Christ by a saved person.

"Repentance is a change of mind that bears fruit in a changed life" (Ryrie Study Bible, note under Matthew 3:2).

Ryrie Study Bible, under 1 Cor. 4:5Ė"At the judgment seat of Christ, when counsels are revealed, all believers will receive some praise from God, for all will bear some fruit" [emphasis mine].

Concerning Signs of Life in 1 John: "The subjective ground [of assurance] relates to my experiences. Certain changes do accompany salvation, and when I see some of those changes, then I can be assured that I have received the new life. Some of those changes are keeping His commandments (1 John 2:3); loving other believers (1 John 2:9-11; 3:14); and doing right things (1 John 2:29; 3:9). It goes without saying that I will never keep all His commandments, nor will I love all other believers, nor will I always do right things. But the fact that these experiences have come into my life, whereas they were absent before, gives assurance that the new life is present (2 Cor. 5:17)" [So Great Salvation, p. 143]. Hodges and Dillow would strongly object to this statement on assurance. They insist that one’s assurance must rest only upon the promises of God and not upon any subsequent experiences or changes following salvation. They understand these tests in 1 John to be tests of fellowship and not tests of life, but Ryrie disagrees.

If Ryrie’s views on these things are so contrary to that of Hodges and Dillow, then why did he write such a positive endorsement of Dillow’s book? Has Ryrie changed his views lately or is he merely minimizing the doctrinal differences which he has with Joseph Dillow (and Zane Hodges)?

In seeking to answer these questions fairly, I wrote to Dr. Ryrie and received the following response:

Thank you so much for the materials you recently sent and for your letter concerning my blurb for Dillow’s book. I donít think the blurb says I agree with all the positions taken in the book, though it clearly says I do not agree with the Reformed position. I endorsed the book because I do think it deserves a careful reading because of what it does to the Reformed position. Perhaps I should have added something like "although I do not agree with all the conclusions taught in the book."

Years after receiving this response from Dr. Ryrie I learned what really happened.  I learned this from two reliable sources, one from a Bible college professor and another from a seminary professor (from two different schools, each man's testimony was given independently of the other--"in the mouth of two witnesses").  Both of these professors had talked to Dr.  Ryrie directly about this. I learned from both of these men that Dr. Ryrie never wrote the blurb that is found on the back cover!   Apparently what happened was that Dr. Ryrie did a favor for his friend Jody Dillow, and give him permission to write a blurb in his name.  So the blurb was written by Dillow himself, putting Ryrie's name to it.  Later Ryrie regretted doing this, especially in light of the fact that many men were bewildered (as was I) that Dr. Ryrie could recommend a book containing so many peculiar interpretations many of which are diametrically opposed to what Dr. Ryrie has written and taught.  I e-mailed Jody Dillow to ask him if this is what really happened and he never replied to my e-mail.

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