Hodges, Dillow, Wilkin, Faust
Understanding Their Doctrine
Especially as it Relates to the Bible's Teaching on Assurance
 

 

Hodges, Dillow and Wilkin are brothers in Christ.  To my knowledge they are living for Christ and walking worthy of of the gospel.  It is not our desire to cast any aspersion on these men, their character, or their ministries, but simply to examine their teachings in the light of the Word of God.  We hold no animosity towards these men.  We agree with them on most of the doctrines of the Christian faith, but we are very concerned about some of their teachings as will be described and explained below.

The teachings of Faust are far more serious and far more extreme, and we seek to warn believers regarding his false teachings. 

 

Some statements may be made in this paper without providing full documentation. For complete documentation see The Theology of Zane Hodges and Joseph Dillow and the Grace Evangelical Society --a detailed examination of their teachings.   Documentation is also provided in the other documents listed at the bottom of this page.

1. The Teaching of Hodges, Dillow, Wilkin, Faust

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 ones who do not overcome

See our study: Who Is the Overcomer in Revelation 2-3?

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 must experience weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Faust would go so far as to say they are temporarily hurt of the second death and then are punished in the fires of 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.)
Persevering believers 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)

Please note:  Not every description given in the right hand column necessarily applies to each and every believer who fails to inherit the kingdom, according to the teaching of Hodges and Dillow.  For example, a person may not abandon his faith in Christ, but he may be guilty of serious immorality.  He may not stop believing, but he may be totally caught up in the things of the world.  He may not deny Christ, but he may be a practicing homosexual.  Etc.  Another person may live a very moral life in every way, but be guilty of denying Christ and abandoning the faith.  According to their theology, there are various ways that a saved person can disqualify himself from reigning with Christ.

Having totally divided the body of Christ in this way, they then assign totally different destinies to these two groups, with the majority group suffering punishment or exclusion during the thousand year kingdom.  These four authors 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.   Hodges teaches that they will suffer great remorse at the judgment seat and then be excluded from the millennial banquet and barred from reigning with Christ during the kingdom.  All agree that these wicked believers will experience weeping and gnashing of teeth and outer darkness.  

Faust is the most extreme when it comes to the degree of punishment.  Faust actually teaches that saved people who do not measure up and who are not overcomers will actually be hurt 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 (see The Rod--Will God Spare It?  by J.D.Faust , Schoettle Publishing Co., 2002). 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 "protestant purgatory" ideas, but they share a common theology with him.  They differ mainly in what kind of consequences the wicked saved people (non-overcomers) will suffer.  They also differ in the length of time that the non-overcoming believers will experience weeping and gnashing of teeth. Faust has them suffering in the fires of Hades throughout the thousand years. Hodges and Wilkin say that the grief and remorse (the weeping and gnashing of teeth) will be short-lived and will take place at the judgment seat of Christ but will not extend into the kingdom.   Dillow teaches that the weeping and gnashing of teeth will take place "in the kingdom" (p. 351, The Reign of the Servant Kings).  See our paper, Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth--Will This Be the Fate of True Christians?

Hodges, Wilkin and Dillow do not use the term "Hades" to describe the fate of evil believers, but their descriptions of the fate of these people certainly sound quite "hellish."    Dillow explains that the phrase "wailing and gnashing of teeth" is found seven times in the New Testament and he claims that four of these passages refer to the regenerate in the kingdom.  Dillow teaches that that the unfaithful believers will be cast outside of the joyful millennial banquet where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (The Reign of the Servant-Kings, pages 348-351).  Hodges holds to a similar view. He teaches that the phrase "outer darkness" (Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 25:30) never refers to the fate of the unsaved, but always refers to the fate of regenerate people who fail to inherit the kingdom.  While the banquet hall glows with light and reverberates with the joys of faithful believers inside, the unfaithful saints are excluded from this festivity and must be out on the darkened grounds of the King's private estate, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Grace in Eclipse, p. 89).   Hodges, unlike Faust, insists that there is no punishment or torment involved, just deep remorse and regret and shame (p. 89). 

For a detailed examination of what the Bible teaches with respect to "weeping and gnashing of teeth" see Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth--Will This Be the Fate of True Christians?


2.  One of their main arguments:  Assurance of Salvation.

Hodges, Dillow, Wilkin and Faust all teach that good works are not the necessary outcome of saving faith.  This is what they teach concerning saving faith:

1.  A person can be a believer and yet his life can be devoid of good works (James 2).

2.  A person can be a believer and yet persist in the sins of homosexuality, alcoholism, fornication, etc. (1 Cor. 6:9-11).

3.  A person can be a believer and produce no good fruit.

4.  A person can be a believer and deny Christ (Matthew 10:33).

5.  A person can be a believer and can, at some later time, totally depart from the faith, denying the gospel totally, blaspheming Christ, and even teaching against Christianity.

6.  A person can be a believer and then stop believing.  Not only does he stop believing but he can believe false things about Jesus Christ (he can deny His deity, deny His substitutionary death, deny that He came in the flesh, deny His ability to save sinners, deny His bodily resurrection, etc.).   

These men believe that if good works are a necessary fruit of salvation, then a person can never have assurance of salvation:  "A  man who must wait for works to verify his faith cannot know until life's end whether or not his faith was real" (The Gospel Under Siege, by Zane Hodges, p. 79).  Hodges is thus saying that the root (saving faith) can be good but the fruit (good works) can be corrupt or totally missing.  Hodges teaches that a person can KNOW that he is saved even though he may never SHOW that he is saved.  In fact, Hodges teaches that a person can show all the signs of being an unsaved person (such as rejecting the Bible, hating Christ, rejecting Christianity, living wickedly, etc.) and yet still be saved!

Wilkin says the following about faith:

But how can we be sure that we have really believed?  Therein lies a problem created by traditions, not by the Word of God. That question is foreign to the biblical gospel.  There is no such thing as true faith as opposed to false faith. All faith is faith.  If we believe in Christ for eternal life, then we have eternal life and we know we have it, because He guarantees it. [Confident in Christ, p. 55].

Wilkin, when he says, "All faith is faith," seems to be suggesting that all faith is true faith. And yet Paul taught that those who do not "hold fast" (KJV-"keep in memory") to the gospel which he preached are those who have "believed in vain" (1 Cor. 15:1-2).  The Lord Jesus spoke of people who believe only "for a while" (Luke 8:13), describing the very temporary faith of those who have "no root."  James spoke of those who had a "dead faith" in contrast to those whose faith was living (James 2).  The faith of the men described in John 2:23-25 certainly fell short of saving faith, because one of these men who believed when he saw the miracles of Jesus was Nicodemus (compare John 2:23 with 3:2) who needed to be born again!  John 8:30 speaks of people who believed on Jesus, but as you read the verses following you discover that Satan, not God, was the father of these people (verses 41-44).  So to say "all faith is faith" does not stand up to the measuring stick of the Bible.

Hodges, Dillow, Wilkin and Faust claim to be the champions of the doctrine of assurance of salvation, when in reality they are the destroyers of it, as we shall now examine.

3.   They are in danger of giving false assurance to wicked and Christ-rejecting people.

They are concerned that the wrong doctrine will rob believers of the assurance of their salvation, but they need to be aware that wrong doctrine can also give false assurance to those who shouldn't have any assurance at all.   It is possible to assure the unregenerate that they are saved, doing great harm to their souls by giving them a false comfort and a false hope.  

Should we encourage a person to have assurance of salvation who persists in the sin of prostitution or homosexuality?

Should we encourage a person to have assurance of salvation who no longer believes in Jesus Christ and who believes that the gospel message of a crucified Saviour is foolishness?

Should we encourage a person to have assurance of salvation even though he has no desire for God's Word,  he refuses to assemble together with God's people, he has no prayer life, he never tells anyone about the Lord and his life manifests nothing but the works of the flesh?

And should we encourage such people to have assurance of salvation based solely on some supposed profession of faith that they may have once made?

Hodges gives the example of a personal friend who departed from the faith.  Here is the story:

I have a friend, and more than a friend, a man who labored with me side by side in the ministry of Godís Word in the little group that has become __________ Bible chapel and this friend has fallen away from the Christian faith. He graduated from Bob Jones University and from Dallas Theological Seminary. And about the time when he and his wife left Dallas his wife contracted a very serious illness which over the years got progressively worse until she was reduced to being a complete invalid, and after the death of his wife I visited my friend (who now lives in the Midwest and who teaches Ancient History in a secular university). And as we sat in the living room together, face to face, he told me very frankly but graciously THAT HE NO LONGER CLAIMED TO BE A CHRISTIAN AT ALL, THAT HE NO LONGER BELIEVED THE THINGS THAT HE ONCE PREACHED AND TAUGHT, and the situation was even worse than he described because I heard through others that in the classroom on the university campus he often mocked and ridiculed the Christian faith. As I sat in that living room I was very painfully aware that it was impossible for me to talk that man into changing his mind. It was impossible for me to talk him back to the conviction he had once held. IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE for me to renew him to repentance. You want to find someone harder to deal with than an unsaved person? Find a person like thatÖ.

Oh how disgraceful for a man to have known the truth and proclaimed the truth and then to deny the truth! He has put the Son of God to an open shame! Well you say, "I guess heís headed for hell, right? I guess heís headed for eternal damnation. Heís renounced his Christian faith." Wait a minute. I didnít say that, and neither does the writer of Hebrews. Let me remind you that Jesus said, "I am the bread of life. He that cometh to Me shall never hunger and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst" and He also said, "He that cometh to Me I shall in no wise cast out"Ö. Godís will is that He lose no one (John 6:37-40). He has never lost anyone and HE NEVER WILL! And I grieve because my friend AND BROTHER has lost his faith BUT CHRIST HAS NOT LOST HIM. HE HAS LOST HIS FAITH BUT CHRIST HAS NOT LOST HIM! Do you believe in the grace of God?

Hodgesí illustration was given in a tape series which he delivered while speaking at the Church of the Open Door which at the time was pastored by G. Michael Cocoris. The series of tapes is entitled, "Great Themes in the Book of Hebrews" (available through Redencion Viva Publishers).

This is indeed a sad story of apostasy, of a man departing from the faith that he once professed. Hodges wants us all to know that this man is not lost and is not headed for hell.  If Hodges were talking to this apostate, he would probably say something like this: 

My friend, I know you have turned your back on the faith and I know that you have rejected all that you once believed, and I've heard that you now go so far as to mock Christianity in the university classroom.  But I want you to know that you can still have assurance of your salvation.  You are still a saved man.  You have lost your faith but Christ has not lost you.  You have let go of Christ, but Christ has not let go of you.  

Is it really wise to try to assure an apostate that he is eternally safe?   Could it be that this man was never saved in the first place, although he seemed to be in many ways?   Don't the tares look very similar to the wheat?   Might we not even think that the people described in Matthew 7:21-23 may have been believers?   Did they not do many wonderful works in Christ's Name?   Did not Judas fool many of his companions into thinking that he was one of them, when in reality he was only a mere pretender?   My counsel to this person would be much different than that of Hodges.  I would not want to give him any false hope or false assurance.  I would not want to tell him he is safe when he might not be safe at all.  I might say something like this:

"My friend, it has become clear that you have rejected the gospel of Jesus Christ, and when it comes to Jesus Christ you refuse to believe on Him, having rejected the great amount of light and knowledge which you previously had.  Because of this you are in great danger because God's Word says that the unbeliever is condemned (John 3:18) and will perish (John 3:16).  God's Word teaches that the unbeliever will die in his sins (John 8:24).  I know of no place in God's Word that gives any kind of comfort or any kind of hope to one who repudiates Christ and rejects His gospel.  To turn your back on Jesus Christ is to turn your back on your only hope of salvation."

It is important to understand that the Scriptures do not provide assurance of salvation to all those who merely profess faith in Christ.  A false profession is deadly and has eternal ramifications. Lack of assurance in the regenerate is far less critical than false assurance in the unregenerate.  A true Christian may have horrible doubts and fears about whether or not he is really saved, but in spite of this, when he dies he is going to be safe in the arms of Jesus.  His anguish of soul, though regrettable, is only temporary.  This is far less serious than the case of an unsaved person who claims to be a Christian and who is given false assurance that all is well with his soul.  This has very grave eternal consequences. It is far better for our teaching and preaching to err on the side of causing believers to examine their profession and to make sure they are saved, than to give even the slightest degree of hope and false assurance to unbelievers.

4.  Hodges, Wilkin, Dillow, Faust have only  partial assurance.   Their assurance is lacking and defective.

Based on God's Word, a believer can know that he is saved and he can also know that his faith will not fail.   Hodges, and the others of similar persuasion, believe that you can know that you are saved but they have absolutely no assurance that their faith will not fail. 

Wilkin has accused me (in a review article in his theological journal) of not being able to have assurance of salvation.  His argument is as follows:  Zeller cannot have full assurance of salvation because he cannot be 100% sure that his faith will not fail, and if his faith does fail, then he believes that he was never saved in the first place. So how can he ever have assurance?  

My response is this:  The same Bible that promises me that I am safe and secure in Jesus Christ forever is the same Bible that promises me that my faith will not fail.  My unfailing Saviour is the reason my faith will not fail.  Wilkin needs to have assurance of unfailing faith!

Let us examine some of the passages of Scripture which indicate that a true believer's faith will not fail.

"And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:  But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not" (Luke 22:31-32).

Christ assured Peter that he would pray for him that his faith would not fail.  When we speak of a believer's faith not failing, we in no way mean to imply that a true believer cannot have serious lapses of faith.  Backsliding is certainly possible in the life of a believer.  The Bible has many examples of believers who failed and fell into sin due to the weakness of their flesh and their own personal failures.  Peter is a prime example.  His fall was predicted by the Lord and it was a very serious fall.  He denied his Lord three time, even after he had publicly and boldly declared his loyalty to Jesus and his willingness even to die for the Lord.  But in spite of his fall and the greatness of his sin, Jesus prayed for him that his faith would not fail.  And that prayer was answered.  Peter wept bitterly.  Peter turned around ("was converted"--Luke 22:32).  Peter thrice reaffirmed his love to the Lord (John 21:15-17).  And Peter was God's instrument to preach to multitudes of Jews on the day of Pentecost resulting in about 3000 conversions (Acts 2:41). 

Would we dare say that Peter was unique among believers, and that Christ prayed that his faith would not fail but that other believers do not benefit from such intercession?   May we never underestimate the value and efficacy of the intercessory work of our Saviour who ever lives to make intercession for us (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25).  In the intercessory prayer of John chapter 17, the Lord's two main prayer requests are that believers would be KEPT (v. 11,15) and that they would be SANCTIFIED (v. 17).  Hodges and his friends believe that, for most believers, only the first request will be answered.  They teach that many believers will be KEPT but not SANCTIFIED.  It should also be noted in John 17 that the Lord never suggests that He would keep His believers apart from faith, that is, that He would keep them safe whether they continued to believe in Him or not.  There is not a hint of this.  Indeed, the only disciple who was NOT KEPT was the one who did not continue faithful, the son of perdition (John 17:12).

Do Hodges, Wilkin, Dillow believe that Christ prays for them that their faith will not fail?   If so, then why can't they have assurance of unfailing faith? 

"To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Peter 1:4-5).

This passage is very important because it sheds light on how God keeps His children.  We would agree with Hodges that God keeps His children and that we are eternally secure.  We differ on HOW God keeps His children.  The Bible says, "[we] are kept by the power of God through faith."    God keeps us through faith.  Hodges teaches that, in the case of many believers, God keeps them apart from faith, that is, He keeps them whether they keep on believing or not.   But the Bible teaches that God not only keeps us saved, but He keeps us faithful.  

In Acts 27 we have the account of Paul's dangerous sea journey in a ship on the Mediterranean Sea.  On this trip Paul received a message from God and he was able to assure the crew, based on God's Word, that all of them would be saved (Acts 27:24) and not one would be lost (Acts 27:22).  Based on these sure promises, the crew members could have full assurance that they would arrive safely without any loss of life.  Later Paul gave another message:  "If you don't stay in the ship, you cannot be saved" (see Acts 27:31).  As it turned out, they all stayed in the ship and they were all saved.   If Hodges had been part of this crew, he might have reasoned as follows:  "Since God has already promised that we will all be saved, then God will keep us safe whether we stay in the ship or not.  So if you stay in the ship you will be safe, but if some of you want to abandon ship, you will be safe also because we have God's promise that all of us will be safe."   But Paul made it clear that if they didn't stay in the ship, then they could not be saved.  Keeping them in the ship was one of the means that God used to keep them safe and thus fulfill His original promise.

The moment we received Christ as our Saviour we were placed on "the ship of faith."  God keeps us safe on this ship until we reach our final destination.  But don't get off the ship!   God keeps us by His power through faith.   He doesn't keep us apart from faith.   As we travel the rough seas of life, we may fall down hard on the deck of the ship, as Peter certainly did when he denied his Lord, but thank God, we will never fall overboard.  Indeed, our Saviour prays for us that we will stay on the ship of faith (Luke 22:32).  We can have full assurance, not only that we will arrive safely at our destination, but also that God will keep us faithful throughout the journey.

"Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul" (Hebrews 10:38-39).

The writer of Hebrews speaks for every true believer when he says, "We are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul."   Notice that there are only two groups mentioned here:  1)  Those who draw back unto perdition (the lost apostates);  2)  Those who believe to the saving of the soul (God's believers who are kept faithful).  Hodges and Faust want us to believe there is a third group:  Those true Christians who depart from the faith and who stop believing with the result that they are excluded from the kingdom (Faust) or excluded from the blessings and joys of the kingdom (Hodges/Dillow/Wilkin).   In order for his theory to work, Hodges must redefine the term "perdition" so that it merely means some kind of temporal loss rather than eternal ruin (see The Bible Knowledge Commentary, under this passage).  But Hodges' argument is nullified by the fact that this word is obviously used of eternal ruin in its New Testament usages: Matthew 7:13 (destruction), John 17:12; Romans 9:22; Philippians 1:28; 3:19; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; 1 Timothy 6:9; 2 Pet. 2:1; 2 Peter 3:7; Rev. 17:8,11, etc. 

If the writer of Hebrews could have assurance that he would not draw back unto perdition but that he would believe to the saving of the soul, then why can't we?   

Finally we must ask this question:   Where in the New Testament does God give any assurance or hope to an unbeliever, or to a person who rejects His Son?   It doesn't matter if this person has always been an unbeliever or if this person once claimed to be a believer.  Where does God give any kind of encouragement to such a person that all is well with his soul?   All I can find is terrifying warnings to any person who has a wicked heart of unbelief.  Now it's true that as believers we have times when our faith is not strong and our Lord can rebuke us:  "Oh ye of little faith."  We are not speaking of weak faith, but we are speaking of a person who has abandoned the faith entirely and who rejects the gospel and has completely turned his back on Jesus Christ (like the friend of Hodges in the illustration given above). 

5.  Hodges, Wilkin, Dillow and Faust ought to live in fear and dread because of their defective theology.

These men have much to say about the importance of assurance of salvation--knowing for sure that you have eternal life based on God's clear salvation promises.   And yet these same men ought to live in the fear and dread of the following:

1.  These men ought to live in the fear and dread of the possibility that at any time they could fall away from the faith and stop believing in Jesus Christ.

2.  These men ought to live in the fear and dread of the possibility that they could depart from righteousness and persist in immorality, even living a life that is dominated by fornication or homosexuality or drunkenness (1 Cor. 6:19-20). 

3.  These men ought to live in the fear and dread of the possibility that they could abandon Christ even to the point of mocking Christianity and denying the fundamentals of the Christian faith (that is, a total rejection of the gospel).

4.  These men ought to live in the fear and dread of the possibility that they will be cut asunder and appointed a portion with the hypocrites (Matt. 24:51).

5.  These men ought to live in the fear and dread of not inheriting the kingdom of God.  They have no assurance that they are going to inherit the kingdom and they have no assurance that they are going to reign with Christ.

6.  These men ought to live in the fear and dread of having Christ's beloved body and bride divided in two during the millennium--which according to their teaching will definitely take place.

7.  These men ought to live in the fear and dread of the awful consequences of how they might live.  For Hodges, Dillow and Wilkin it could mean being cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. For Faust it is even worse. For him it means being hurt of the second death and then spending a thousand years in Hades in fiery torment! 

8.  These men ought to live in the fear and dread of millennial exclusion.  For Hodges, Dillow and Wilkin, they fear being in the kingdom but missing out on the joys and privileges of reigning with Christ.  Faust fears being totally excluded from the kingdom, tortured in fire for a thousand years.

9.  Hodges lives in the fear and dread that he himself might end up a "bastard" (Heb. 12:8, KJV),  an illegitimate son who, according to him, is a saved person whom the Father does not chasten (see Bible Knowledge Commentary, page 810).  Perish the thought!

Is this the kind of lack of assurance that God wants you to have?


6.  A Final Word.

Some of these men, in published writings or in personal correspondence, have accused me of not being able to have assurance of salvation. 

Their objection:

If genuine faith endures to the end, then how can one have absolute assurance that he will be saved five years from now, since his faith might/could fail, proving he was never saved?

My response:

The best way to answer this is to give you my own testimony.

Based on Godís unfailing Word and based on Christís perfect, finished cross-work on my behalf, I joyfully claim full assurance of my salvation. I have received the Lord Jesus as my Saviour, and having the Son, I know I have LIFE (1 John 5:12). I have His promise that I will never perish (John 3:16; 10:28). I am safe in His hands forever (John 10:28-30). It is His will that I should never be lost but that I should have everlasting life (John 6:36-40). Based on Godís Word and Godís promises, I can be sure that I will not fall from the faith tomorrow. I believe that I am constantly (present tense) being kept by the power of God through faith (1 Pet. 1:5) and that He will keep me from falling and present me faultless (Jude 24). I am fully persuaded and convinced that the God who began a good work in me will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:6). Though I know that I am very prone to wander and leave the God I love, yet I know that Christ is interceding for me and praying that my faith will not fail (Luke 22:32) and I believe this prayer will be answered. By Godís grace, I am not of those who fall back into perdition, but I am of those who believe to the saving of my soul (Heb. 10:39). As Godís child, if I begin to depart from Him, I can count on my Heavenly Father to deal with me as needed, knowing that I will be chastened of the Lord and not condemned with the world (1 Cor. 11:32). On my deathbed, if God should be pleased to give me any kind of mental ability or sanity, I confidently expect to say at that time, "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesusí blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' Name."

Notice what I did not say in the above paragraph:  "I know I am saved because I obey Christ's commands" or "I know I am saved because of the good works that I perform" etc.  Lest I should be accused of basing my assurance on my own walk or on my own conduct or my own performance as a Christian, let me share the following statements which express my position on assurance:

"The evidences which the apostle John appeals to (1 John 2:3; 3:14) are only possible to those already knowing [resting in full assurance of] forgiveness of sins, as these did (2:12), and are used as arguments against seducers (2:26), not to establish those not at peace. We may trust evidences and be deceived, but cannot trust Christ and be so (Ps. 2:12; 2 Tim. 1:12); and we are welcome to trust Him as SINNERS (1 Tim. 1:15)." -- from a Letter signed by F.W. Grant and others 
 
"You must be saved, and know you are saved [by believing God's Word], before one acceptable fruit can be brought forth -- else the works are legal."  -- W.P. Mackay (Grace & Truth)

Biblical assurance is based fully on the Person and work of Christ, and it recognizes also His keeping power and intercessory ministry.  In contrast to this, Zane Hodges, Joseph Dillow and their disciples seem to promote a kind of assurance that is defective and terribly unsatisfying:

I know Iím saved and that I have eternal security but I have absolutely no assurance as to whether I will still be believing in Christ one month or one year or 30 years from now. I may be totally denying Christ by then. I may be a Buddhist by then, married to a Japanese idolater and worshiping false idols myself. I may deny that Iím even saved. I may be teaching against Christianity as a professor in a university. I may blaspheme the very Name of Christ. I may be instructing others not to put their faith in Christ and not to believe the fundamentals of the Christian faith. I have no assurance whatsoever that Iíll be believing in Christ next month or next year. I know God has saved me but I donít know if I will keep myself believing. I know God will keep me saved but Iím not sure if I will keep myself believing. If Christ is praying for me that my faith will not fail, then I have no assurance that this prayer will be answered. I have no assurance that God will keep me from falling. My life may end up being a total reproach to the Name and cause of Christ and my testimony for Christ may do more harm for Christ than if I had never been saved. ĎBlessed Assurance, Jesus Is Mineí even though the day may come when I will deny Him and blaspheme His Name and totally abandon the truth of the gospel because I may end up believing and behaving as a total apostate.

This kind of assurance of salvation is not an encouragement to my heart.  The very thought of denying the Lord in this way ought to terrify us.  If we really believe that the GLORY OF GOD is more important than anything else, then what could be worse than bringing great disgrace and shame and ridicule to the Name of Jesus Christ? What could be worse than blaspheming the Person and work of Christ, especially if this is done by someone who once claimed to be a Bible believer!   May we cleave and cling unto the One who is able to do the following:

"Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen" (Jude 24-25).

             --George Zeller

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We have other documents which evaluate the teachings of these men in light of the Bible.  Please consider the following:

The Theology of Zane Hodges, Joseph Dillow, Robert Wilkin (the Grace Evangelical Society) and the more extreme view of J.D.Faust

The Tragedy of the Crossless Gospel

 


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