The Gospel Driven Man. By Ralph “Yankee” Arnold. Hull, GA: Send the Light, 2005. 200 pp. Paper. $12.95.
Ralph “Yankee” Arnold is a man who has a passion for clarity in Evangelism. He is a graduate of Florida Bible College from back in its glory days. He has pastored and founded and taught at a Christian School and Bible College.
This book has sixteen chapters with titles such as Salvation Means Having Eternal Life (3), Faith without Works (9), Lordship Salvation (10), Repentance (11), Confession before Men (12), Water Baptism (13), and Keeping the Gospel Clear(16).
There is much in this book that JOTGES readers will like. Arnold repeatedly stresses the freeness of the gift, the eternality of eternal life, and the passive simplicity of faith in Christ. His discussion of faith without works is consistent with that of Dillow, Hodges, and other Free Grace proponents (pp. 138-46).
He urges readers not to use fuzzy evangelistic appeals such as inviting Christ into your heart (pp. 179-88). He opposes Lordship Salvation and anything that confuses faith alone in Christ alone as the sole condition of eternal life.
JOTGES readers may be slightly uncomfortable with his treatment of Rom 10:9-14 (pp. 166-70). While he doesn’t suggest that confession is a condition of eternal life, he also doesn’t see it as a condition for salvation from escaping God’s wrath in this life. Rather, he sees it as a way in which we manifest before men that we are born again.
However, when he earlier discussed Matt 10:32-33, he indicated that confessing Christ was a condition of eternal rewards (pp. 163-66). Therefore, while many might not agree with his view of Rom 10:9-14, they nonetheless will agree with his position on Matt 10:32-33 and the issue of eternal rewards.
Arnold says that “repentance is necessary for salvation” (p. 154), and he defines repentance as a change of mind, not as turning from sins (p. 154ff.). As I did in my doctoral dissertation, he argues that repentance is a synonym for faith in Christ when it refers to unbelievers and that is a call to service when it refers to believers (p. 154). While I have since repented of my view of repentance— I no longer believe it ever is given as a condition of eternal life, I certainly find the change-of-mind view to be consistent with the Free Grace gospel.
The typesetting of this book might bother some. There is much use of bold type, as well as a fair amount of using both BOLD AND ALL CAPS. This is a bit distracting.
While this book does not have much in the way of detailed exegesis, it is filled with passion and abiding love for the Savior and His pure gospel. There is much to like here.
Many in the Free Grace camp have been influenced by Florida Bible College and by Yankee Arnold. They will be delighted by this book. For those who are not familiar with Yankee Arnold, this book would be a nice addition to their Free Grace library.
Robert N. Wilkin
Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society