A Response to Hodges: How to lead a person to christ, Parts 1 and 2 -- By: Gregory P. Sapaugh

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 14:2 (Autumn 2001)
Article: A Response to Hodges: How to lead a person to christ, Parts 1 and 2
Author: Gregory P. Sapaugh

A Response to Hodges:
How to lead a person to christ, Parts 1 and 2

Gregory P. Sapaugh

Executive Pastor
Faith Community Church
The Woodlands, Texas

I. Introduction

I appreciate the opportunity given by Grace Evangelical Society to respond to the articles by Zane C. Hodges, “How to Lead a Person to Christ, Part 1: The Content of our Message”1 and “How to Lead a Person to Christ, Part 2: Our Invitation to Respond.”2 While my admiration and appreciation for Mr. Hodges is of the highest order, I nevertheless feel constrained to reply to these articles, which I feel contain some issues that need to be addressed. Hopefully, this dialogue will lead to a greater understanding of the gospel, which we both hold so dear.

I agree that the message of the gospel should not be loaded up with extraneous content as the Lordship Salvation position does. The effort of Hodges to find “the core issue in bringing men and women to faith and eternal life”3 is commendable and necessary. However, I disagree as to what comprises the core issue. My difference with the articles concerns the issue of progressive revelation and the centrality of the work of Christ on the cross for salvation.

II. The Progress of Revelation

In the two articles, Hodges focused exclusively on the Gospel of John. While he is correct that “the Gospel of John is the only book in our New Testament canon that explicitly declares its purpose to be evangelistic,”4 his total reliance on that book alone for soteriological truth creates a needless dichotomy with the rest of the New Testament. While John may not emphasize the death of Christ in his presentation on how to receive everlasting life,5 the centrality of the cross becomes clear in the remainder of the New Testament (this will be discussed more later). Single-minded focus and reliance on one book of the Bible, while ignoring the testimony of the rest of Scripture, is not too far from using a verse out of context to support an erroneous theological position.6

It is unclear why Hodges focuses on the misunderstanding by the disciples of the coming death and resurrection of Christ (cf. John 20:9).7 How are these men any different from any other Old Test...

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