Friday, June 30, 2006

What If They Deny the Deity of Christ?

Here is another question and answer that followed the speech given by Zane Hodges.

Question from the audience: Professor Hodges, what about a person like a Jehovah’s Witness who comes by and willfully and aggressively denies the Deity of Christ? Would that person be saved in light of the purpose statement of the Gospel of John—“that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God”? It seems as though they’ve recreated Christ in an image that they want to present Him, and they’re believing in something that John did not present. How would you handle that?

Answer from Professor Hodges: I don’t think that there are very many Jehovah’s Witnesses who have believed that Jesus is the Guarantor of eternal life to every believer. I don’t think that that is a part of their theology.

Question from the audience: Well what about anyone who would aggressively deny the Deity of Christ, not misunderstand, but deny it? Would that person be believing in the Jesus of John 6?

Answer from Professor Hodges: My only question about a person like this, Was there ever a time when, in the simplicity of faith, they trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life? If the answer to that is, Yes, there was such a time, then they are still saved even though they may have veered widely off the track. I still would say, however, and this is a guess, but I doubt if there are very many Jehovah’s Witnesses knocking on our doors who were at one time saved, but there may be some of them.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

What Must a Person Know About Who Jesus Is?

The Deserted Island Scenario post below was actually part of a speech given by Professor Zane Hodges in 2000 at a Grace Evangelical Society conference. Following the speech there was a question and answer session with the audience. Below is a question that was raised. As time permits, other questions and answers will be posted. The questions and answers are transcribed from a tape of the speech. Contact the Grace Evangelical Society if you are interested in a copy of the 2 tape series--"How to Lead People to Christ."

Question from the audience: Zane, I think it has been very helpful for you to provoke us to think through how we present the gospel and the content of it. And maybe this is just a point of clarification coming from your opening example (the guy on the beach). Wouldn’t someone need to know something about Jesus, Who He is and His identity, apart from just that five letter name? And isn’t that, in fact, what John does with his gospel? He didn’t write just John 6:43-47. He wrote all 21 chapters, and that’s what he’s trying to communicate—Who Jesus is.

Answer from Professor Hodges: There’s no question that John is giving us a lot of information about Who Jesus is. But the issue that I’m raising is basically the issue of the core minimum which is necessary for salvation. The first question is, Is the Jesus mentioned in John chapter 6 the Jesus who really offers eternal life? The answer to that question is, Yes. And, therefore, if the person believes that this Jesus will indeed do what He has promised to do, he has believed the promise of the Word.

Now, I think what you’re really thinking is, Is it likely that a person with that minimal type of information about Jesus would exercise faith in Him on the basis of that fragmentary verse? I will admit to you, that’s not very likely. And that’s why we try to present the Person of Christ, the work of Christ. What we’re really doing is painting a portrait of Jesus that invites men increasingly to believe in Him.

So in my illustration about Sam, Sam comes up to me and he offers to meet my financial need. And maybe I don’t know a single thing about Sam, but Sam sounds honest to me, and for some reason or another I trust him. But that’s probably not going to happen too often. Maybe I’m even a little gullible there. But if I find out that Sam has enormous resources, that would certainly enhance the offer that he makes to me. But I think the basic issue is, Is the Jesus being referred to in John 6:43 the Jesus who does indeed fulfill His promises? And the answer to that question is, Yes.