The Unusual and Troubling Teachings of Zane Hodges
Explanatory note: Zane Hodges is a well respected teacher in evangelical circles. We hold no animosity toward this man and count him as a brother in Christ. For years he taught at Dallas Theological Seminary, and he is held in high esteem by many of his former students. He is also very influential in forming The Grace Evangelical Society (GES) which publishes a theological journal and newsletter. He has also authored numerous books. While recognizing the good that brother Hodges has accomplished for the cause of Christ, we are concerned about some of the teachings which he is promulgating. Here are some examples of his teachings which we find to be disturbing:
1. Zane Hodges teaches that a multitude of people will not inherit the kingdom of God, even though they have been washed, sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of God (1 Cor. 6:9-11). The Gospel Under Seige, Chapter 9, "Who are the Heirs?"
2. Zane Hodges teaches that a large portion of the Church, Christ's beloved body and bride, will be cast into outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Grace in Eclipse, Chapter 9, "The Darkness Outside" and see also Chapter 8. See our paper, Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth--Will This Be the Fate of True Christians?
3. Hebrews 12:6-8 says, "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons." This text is very clear. God loves everyone of His sons and He chastens every single one of them. But Hodges teaches that there are multitudes of saved people who are ILLEGITIMATE (BASTARDS--KJV) and who are not chastened by the Father (even though they are saved people). See Hodges discussion of Hebrews 12:8 in The Bible Knowledge Commentary.
4. Hodges teaches that true Christians (those who are really saved) can be described as "children of the devil." Hodges says, "The question might be raised whether a truly regenerate person could ever be called a 'child of the devil.' In the light of 2 John 9, the answer must be Yes" (The Epistles of John, p. 145). Note: Read 2 John 9 for yourself and see if you think this passage proves that true Christians can be called children of the devil!
5. Hodges teaches that the antichrists mentioned in 1 John 2:18-19, 22-23 could very well be saved people! The Epistles of John, pages 111-112.
6. "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny Him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate" (Titus 1:16). Hodges says that this is a description of "redeemed and justified people" (Grace in Eclipse, pages 68-69). Keep in mind that professing to know God is not necessarily the same as knowing God (see Matthew 7:21-23)..
7. Hodges has no problem saying that a person who totally abandons the Christian faith can be saved. He gives the following illustration:
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. 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).
Hodges insists that this man is truly saved, and that although he lost his faith, Christ did not lose him. However, it's quite obvious that this man believed only for a while, had no root, and when trials came (the illness and death of his wife), he fell away (Luke 8:13). Hodges explanation for this is that the stony ground, the thorny ground and the good ground (in Christ's parable of the sower) all represent saved individuals! [This is explained by Hodges in his book, The Hungry Inherit]. The fact that Hodges' friend attended a fundamental college and Dallas Seminary, and seemed to be a believer, does not prove anything. Judas fooled everyone except the Lord, and even on the night of the betrayal his fellow disciples did not know that he was the traitor. Did not the Lord Jesus teach us that the tares would be difficult to distinguish from the wheat? Does not Satan have his "ministers of righteousness" who can easily appear to be genuine ministers of God (2 Cor. 11:15)? Since Hodges' friend did not hold fast ("keep in memory"--KJV) to the gospel, does not this indicate that his faith was in vain (1 Cor. 15:1-2)?
8. "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God" (2 John 9). Hodges teaches that this is a description of a saved person! [Bible Knowledge Commentary, p. 908] Hodges seems to teach that if anyone professes Christ, then they must possess Christ. But here is a case where a person doesn't even possess God ("hath not God") and yet Hodges still insists that the person is saved!
9. "Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God" (3 John 10-11). Verse 10 is a description of wicked Diotrephes whom Hodges says was a saved man! Hodges insists that a true believer may do evil continually and may be described as one who "hath not God" (Bible Knowledge Commentary, p. 914). Apparently, all you need to do to convince Hodges that you are saved is to be in a church and claim to be a believer, regardless how you act and regardless how you live! But Jesus said, "Not everyone that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 7:21).
10. Hodges teaches a "cross-less" gospel. That is, he teaches that is is not necessary for a sinner to believe that Christ died for their sins and rose again in order to be saved. The only thing a sinner needs to believe is that Christ guarantees eternal life to whoever believes (John 6:47). A knowledge of who Christ is and what He accomplished on the cross is not necessary. [This error is set forth most clearly in the article "How to Lead People to Christ, Part 1," in the Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society (Autumn, 2000). I would encourage the reader to read the full article which is available on the GES website.] This teaching is serious and cuts to the very heart of the gospel (1 Cor. 15:3-4). There are those even within the free grace group who are very concerned about Hodges' teaching on the gospel (and concerned about the similar teachings of Bob Wilkin as well). John 6:47 is a wonderful salvation promise, but is it really the full gospel? Is faith in the work Christ accomplished on the cross a necessary part of the content of the gospel (1 Cor. 15:3-4)? Is faith in the resurrection essential (Romans 10:9-10)? Hodges insists that it is not necessary for a sinner to believe in Christ's death for our sins and in His resurrection in order to be saved, nor does he even believe it is necessary to believe that Jesus is the Son of God [see the article listed above for documentation]. For a very helpful article regarding the "crossless gospel" taught by Hodges and Robert Wilkin and others in the Free Grace camp, see The Tragedy of the Crossless Gospel (actually written by a pastor who is a part of the free grace movement).
* * * * * * * *
We have a number of documents which evaluate the teachings of Zane Hodges and other men who share similar views. Please consider the following:
The Middletown Bible Church
|More Articles Pertaining to Hodges, Dillow, Wilkin (GES) and Faust|