Saturday, May 4, 2019

Dennis Rokser's "Hermaneutical Hopscotch" Approach to Defining the Gospel

"The student of Scripture is not free to practice his own hermeneutical hopscotch - jumping around the text and twisting it to meet his theological agenda." -Dr. Parker Reardon
Is the burial of Christ something to be skipped over when presenting the Gospel? What about the appearances of Christ after His resurrection as the apostle John highlights at the end of his Gospel? Can these facts be skipped over in our presentations of the Gospel?

Pastor Dennis Rokser of Duluth Bible Church takes a non-traditional view of the Free Grace Gospel. In other words, he doesn't think that Christ's burial and resurrection appearances are part of the Gospel. Thus it's not surprising to see how he skips over these facts in the Gospel of John. For example, Rokser made the following statement in regards to the Gospel of John and "what a sinner needs to believe to have eternal life":
“Furthermore, Hodges fails to note that John does not even personally appeal to his readers to personally believe the content of what has been written in his Gospel until he declares the record of Christ’s death (John 19:35) and His bodily resurrection (John 20:31).”1

Notice how in his statement above, Rokser skips over the fact that Christ was buried (Jn. 19:38-42) and the fact that He appeared to His disciples (Jn. 20:19-31). Sadly, Dennis Rokser is playing hopscotch with the Gospel - skipping over certain parts of the Gospel that he has picked out as not really being part of the Gospel.
   
But in light of the "content of what has been written" and the context of John's Gospel, Rokser's statement should actually include the Gospel truths of Christ's burial and resurrection appearances to His disciples (see the italicized words below which Rokser skipped over and didn't include in his statement):
Furthermore, Hodges fails to note that John does not even personally appeal to his readers to personally believe the content of what has been written in his Gospel until he declares the record of Christ’s death for our sins (John 19:35; cf. Jn. 1:29-34) and His bodily resurrection from the grave to appear "in the presence of the disciples" (John 20:30-31; cf. Jn. 19:38-21:14).3 

This is John's gospel message and what he says must be "believed" (cf. Gal. 2:6-9; 1 Cor. 15:1-11). So the next time you present the Gospel to someone, don't play "hermeneutical hopscotch" - be sure to include Christ's burial and appearances like the apostle John does in his Gospel.


ENDNOTES:

1 Dennis Rokser, “Stakes Through the Heart of Zane Hodges’ Hydra Head,” http://indefenseofthegospel.blogspot.com/2008/10/stakes-through-heart-of-zane-hodgess.html (accessed October 8, 2008). For more information, copy and paste the previous link into your web browser and read my comment at the end of that article.

This is a common tactic among groundless gospel advocates. For example, Tom Stegall skips over Christ's burial and resurrection appearances in Acts 13 (see my blog post titled "Tom Stegall's Galatian Gospel: Where is Christ's Burial?"), and J. B. Hixson skips over Christ's burial and resurrection appearances in Isaiah 53 (see footnote 7 in my chart "The Free Grace Gospel Debate").

3 This is my adaptation of Rokser's original statement which skipped over the facts of Christ's burial and resurrection appearances.

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