Question #71: Refute the “cross-less gospel.”

The cross was a most significant part of the gospel of Christ.
The cross was a most significant part of the gospel of Christ.

Answer: In his promotion of the crossless gospel, Zane Hodges simply wants “people to believe that Jesus guarantees their eternal destiny.”   He does not affirm the need of believing in the substitutionary atonement: “The Cross is necessary, but not a necessity in terms of saving knowledge.”  Three cases in point are raised: 1) John 11:25-27, 2) John 4, and 3) John 6:68-69–all three don’t mention the atonement.  “If there must be a bare minimum of information, then it is imperative that we know that bare minimum and only ever giver that bare minimum as the means to salvation.  In this thinking, if the minimum is adequate, then this is where we would want to keep everybody.”  So says Zane.  Hodges believes that believing in the name of Jesus is the bare minimum as the means to salvation (Jn 6:43, 47).

In contradistinction, the true gospel is encapsulated in 1 Cor 15:3-5 which specifically declares “that Christ died for our sins…”.  Believing in just the name of Jesus still implies that one needs to know who this Jesus is or least know which Jesus to believe in–the Hispanic next-door neighbor named Jesus [Hey-soos] or the Son of God who died for sinners?  The cross-less, bare minimum gospel then:

1) is disobedient (Mat 28:19-20; Ac 20:27),

2) ignores progressive revelation,

3) undermines the activity of the whole counsel of God in opening the eyes of the lost (Ac 26:18),

4) reduces the gospel (1 Cor 15:3-5),

5) limits the gospel (Rom 1:16),

6) denies the work and person of Jesus Christ, and

7) depreciates missions.


One-Minute Theology with Chaplain T features the question and answer portions of the Systematic Theology courses that were part of my seminary work at Piedmont Baptist Graduate School. I will be posting  Q & A’s from time to time until my ordination council meeting set for February 1-2, 2014.