Monday, April 21, 2014

A Contrary View of the Gospel at Grace Biblical Seminary

"A little leaven (a slight inclination to error, or a few false teachers) leavens the whole lump [it perverts the whole conception of faith or misleads the whole church]. [For my part] I have confidence [toward you] in the Lord that you will take no contrary view of the matter but will come to think with me. But he who is unsettling you, whoever he is, will have to bear the penalty."  Galatians 5:9-10, Amplified Bible.

     There's division in the ranks at Grace Biblical Seminary (formerly Free Grace Seminary). Two contrary views of the Gospel are being promoted by the staff. Let's take a closer look... 

     Rick Whitmire and Tom Stegall are both on staff at Grace Biblical Seminary in McDonough, Georgia. The school’s stated mission is “to advance the cause of Christ by presenting the gospel of God’s amazing grace”1 – yet actually these two men  have contrary views on that very gospel! Rich Whitmire is Vice President and Dean of Online Education, as well as Professor of Evangelism, Biblical and Theological Studies. Tom Stegall is Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies. Notice the following public statements these men have made in regards to the gospel, and how their statements are contrary to each other. 

Rick Whitmire's 
Statements on the Gospel:

“Romans 1:16 – ‘For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the (Gentiles).’…
The Apostle Paul Defines the Gospel: 
1 Corinthians 15:3-5 – ‘For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ DIED for our sins according to the scriptures: And that He was BURIED, and that He ROSE again the third day according to the scripture: And that He was SEEN...’
The Apostle Paul summarizes the most basic ingredients of the gospel message, namely, the death, burial, resurrection, and appearances of the resurrected Christ.
a. This is the one place where the historical elements of the gospel are clearly defined. Our responsibility is to make the gospel clear and Biblical. But in order to do so, we must have a clear understanding of what the gospel means in the New Testament. These verses, give us the heart of the gospel. Note the four clauses introduced in verses 3-5.
b. The Apostles [sic] Paul in defining the gospel uses four verbs: 1). Christ Died.... 2). Christ was Buried.… 3). Christ Rose.… 4). Christ was Seen.” 2

Contrary to

Tom Stegall's 
Statements on the Gospel:

“Paul did not consider the burial and appearances to be part of ‘the gospel’....”3
"...the burial and post-resurrection appearances of Christ are not technically part of the gospel...” 4
"...the cross and resurrection are elements of the gospel in distinction to the burial and appearances..."5
"The interpretation that views the four clauses in 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 as...all being necessary components of the gospel, is at odds with the entire pattern of the New Testament."6
“...only the substitutionary death and bodily resurrection of Christ are elements of the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15, in contrast to the burial and appearances”7

     Comparing and contrasting the above statements of the two men, did you notice that while Rick Whitmire states that "the most basic ingredients of the gospel message, [are] namely, the death, burial, resurrection, and appearances of the resurrected Christ" - Tom Stegall says that "the burial and post-resurrection appearances of Christ are not technically part of the gospel"! So Rick Whitmire says that Christ's burial and appearances are part of the gospel, while Tom Stegall says they are not part of the gospel. So which is it? 

     I trust that Grace Biblical Seminary will address this division over the Gospel and hold Tom Stegall accountable for his false teaching so that the school can move forward in spirit and in truth, “with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel” (Philippians 1:27).



2 Whitmire, “The Facts Presentation,” GO TELL EVANGELISM, CHAPTER 2, OUR WITNESS FOR CHRIST (dated “07-15-03”), underlining, capitalization, and second ellipsis his, (accessed April 5, 2012). NOTE: In the original article much of Whitmire’s statement is in bold print.

3 Stegall, The Gospel of the Christ (Milwaukee, Grace Gospel Press, 2009), p. 579.

4 Ibid., p. 578.

5 Ibid., p. 579.

6 Ibid., p. 588.

7 Ibid., p. 585.

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