Friday, September 18, 2009

Dillow's statement on the Gospel

(Dr. Lybrand has invited this (his) letter (below) to be published and discussed here and elsewhere.)

17 September 2009

To: The Free Grace Community
From: Fred Lybrand, President, Free Grace Alliance
Re: Jody Dillow and the Gospel

To Whom this may interest---

Over the past year or so I have had a good number of you inquire about many things regarding the direction and shape of Free Grace thinking. Among them has been a concern about Jody Dillow, a man of significant influence among us all through his teaching (especially in his work "The Reign of the Servant Kings") and pioneering missions work.
You need make no mistake here; I am writing to support and honor Jody. He has been a dear brother and an excellent thinker (not to mention that my wife is a better wife to me because of Linda Dillow's ministry!).
The issue regarding Jody is one of concern over the GES Gospel (aka 'crossless gospel'). Jody doesn't exactly engage in these issues, especially as he is endeavoring to bring the BEE training to the eastern world, and by means of the internet seminary work he is involved with, to the whole world.
I was especially caught off guard when I received feedback from his endorsement of my new book on Faith and Works ("Back to Faith") where he said,

"Fred Lybrand's analysis of the common saying, 'Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is not alone,' exposes the logical and biblical fallacies inherent in Calvin's famous statement. With careful exegesis he dissects James' discussion of faith and works with fresh insight into this controversial passage. When I read his doctoral dissertation I immediately encouraged him to publish this so that many others could benefit. The book is well written and finally puts Calvin's cliché to rest---where it belongs."
- Jody Dillow

It is with this in mind that I simply want to say that he and I have had some good conversations and he has specifically given me permission to publish the following statement regarding his view of the gospel:

“I believe that in order for one to be saved he has to believe that Jesus is the Christ (that is, the Lamb of God who takes away sin and the Messiah), the Son of God (that is, He is God), and in believing one can have eternal life through His name. One must trust in Christ’s forgiveness for sin wrought for him at Calvary as an essential element of saving faith.”
- Jody Dillow (by permission, email correspondence, September 4, 2009)

Now, this statement is not meant to be an exhaustive description of the gospel; but I do believe it stands for itself; and I feel very comfortable standing with Jody. We are all engaged in the process of discussion and growth as we promote and defend the grace of God. For my part, this statement is fine...though I can see it inviting a few questions as well. What I know for sure is that Jody is in the same Chafer / Ryrie traditional free grace world I dearly love. Of course, I don't exactly agree with Chafer or Ryrie on everything (I don't even agree with myself on some things!), but I am grateful for Jody's clear statement you see above.
I hope this satisfies the questions many of you have raised and trust we will all continue to faithfully (and fervently) labor together.

God bless you all,
Fred Lybrand

Friday, September 11, 2009

Disconnecting Proof of Faith from General Lifestyle

I've always wondered if saving faith is the sort of faith "that desires to follow after Christ." To follow Christ has come to mean in evangelicalism, as far as I understand it, a believer who is known for their faith in Jesus Christ because of a lifestyle that is consistent and visibly productive of righteous works.

Kev has been putting in a good deal of effort along with Mark Pierson on Kev's blog (On My Walk), in attempt to produce a dialogue with Lordship Salvation proponents concerning the meaning of saving faith. I'm really impressed with what they have thusfar produced. I highly recommend his latest two articles on this dialogue. These are excellent for introducing any reader who is new to this issue.

Kev's latest article is titled, "What is Faith? My Response To The LS Presentation."

Zane Hodges spoke in 2005 considering for what works are designed to give proof. His session is titled, "Once Again James 2." He is saying, if I understand rightly, that a general lifestyle of obedience has not a single mention in James 2. This is a five part video series. Parts 1 and 5 are the most direct - below.

JAMES 2:20-26
But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

I've always wondered if saving faith is the sort of faith that by nature desires to follow after Christ. This insight seems to disconnect the idea even further.

Thanks to Don Reiher, who has been diligent to make available many conference sessions of free grace teachings. There are many to access to date on YouTube.

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