Another Look At The Deserted Island Illustration -- By: Robert N. Wilkin

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 26:50 (Spring 2013)
Article: Another Look At The Deserted Island Illustration
Author: Robert N. Wilkin

Another Look At
The Deserted Island Illustration

Robert N. Wilkin

Executive Director
Grace Evangelical Society
Corinth, TX

I. Introduction

I recently met with a pastor friend and his elder board about an illustration related to John 6:47. At the 1999 GES Conference Zane Hodges gave a two-part message entitled, “How to Lead People to Christ, Parts 1 and 2.” Both parts were later published in our journal.1 In the first part, Hodges gave an illustration about a fragment of John 6 washing up on the beach of a deserted island. I will quote his version of the illustration in a moment. Hodges was eventually strongly criticized.2 Some went so far as calling his message an accursed message.3 They gave it pejorative names like “the crossless gospel”4 and “the promise-only gospel.”5

My pastor friend is in the middle of this controversy. On the one hand, he agrees with the critics that Hodges’s message is cross-less and deficient. But, on the other hand, he greatly

appreciates all that Hodges wrote and has a high regard for him and for GES.

My friend believes that in that illustration and the article in which it appears, Hodges was suggesting that when evangelizing we should not tell people about Jesus’ deity, substitutionary death on the cross, and His bodily resurrection from the dead. He believes that Hodges’s point was that if we shared more than the promise Jesus made, we would confuse people.

My pastor friend also thinks that Hodges was suggesting that some people actually are born again today without knowing anything more about Jesus other than someone with that name sometime made this promise.

Another friend reviewed this article for me. He asked me if I thought it was hypothetically possible to believe in someone named Jesus for everlasting life if you knew absolutely nothing about him. Like Hodges, I would say no, this is like asking if there is such a thing as a round square. That is logically impossible. It is also logically impossible to believe that someone you know nothing about guarantees your eternal destiny because you believe in Him. People need to know enough about the Man named Jesus to be persuaded that He guarantees their eternal destiny.You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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