Camp Lordship Salvation: Are Your Kids Safe?

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By johninnc

(illustration by Holly Garcia)

As summer vacation time rolls around, I am reminded of the legion of camps and vacation Bible schools being offered by “churches” of every stripe. And, since there is so much false doctrine being promulgated from the pulpits, books, and websites of “Christian” ministries, it stands to reason that their camps and vacation Bible schools would follow suit.

Christian camps and vacation Bible schools can be a great way to train our children in Biblical doctrine, but not if they are doctrinally aberrant – particularly with respect to the gospel message.

As alluring as it may be to give the kids a nice, wholesome getaway (not to mention giving the parents a break from the kids), we should be cautious where we send them.

Most parents would not even think about sending their children some place where their physical safety would be a concern. This vigilance should extend to children’s spiritual well-being. We should not send our children to church camps or VBS without knowing EXACTLY what they are being taught, and whether or not it lines up with scripture. Otherwise, our precious children may be being fed a  diet of theological poison, without our being aware. This could have serious long-term consequences.

Some good up-front questions to ask yourself would include:

  • Do I know what the gospel is? If you are not sure, click the link below:

The Gospel

  • Do my kids know the truth of the gospel?
  • Do I know what the false gospel of Lordship “Salvation” is? If not, click the link below:

Lordship “Salvation”

  • Who is the sponsoring organization, and what are their beliefs?
  • What print and other media are being used?
  • Who prepared those media, and what are their beliefs?
  • Who are the teachers and counselors, and what are their beliefs?

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. If the sponsoring organization, materials, or teachers are not crystal clear on the doctrine of salvation, then sending your kids to their camps or vacation Bible schools would be ill-advised.

The camps and VBSs are often packaged with clever themes, focused on fun and adventure, or some special interest. Those that are teaching false doctrine will not advertise that, because most of the time they don’t even know.

I have come up with several examples of false doctrine that one may encounter in camps and vacation Bible schools, and have chosen to illustrate those with the following fictitious offerings:

  • Camp Sherlock: Join Holmes and Watson on a Journey of Fruit Inspection
  • 19th Hole Christian Golf Camp: Shooting Par for Salvation
  • Social Media Evangelism: Lordship Salvation Proof Texting
  • Green Missions: Become Equipped to Save Planet Earth!
  • All Aboard! Choo Choo the Meat and Spit Spit the Bones on the Ecumenical Soul Train
  • Camp Vegas: Salvation Roulette and 21 Reasons Why Christ is not Enough

I used hyperbole in the above examples to make a very serious point. We should stay away from false teachers, and we should keep our kids away from them too. If we don’t know whether or not a teacher is sound, we should not use our kids as guinea pigs.

Lordship Salvation: Where I Come From

by johninnc

Following is the refrain from the song “Where I Come From” by country music star Alan Jackson:

Where I come from it’s cornbread and chicken

Where I come from a lotta front porch pickin’

Where I come from tryin’ to make a livin’

And workin’ hard to get to Heaven, where I come from

I heard this song today for the first time, and it reminded me of where I come from.

I was raised in the southeastern US, and North Carolina is where I currently live. I like fried chicken (sorry PETA) and cornbread. I feel most at home when I’m here. And, I used to think I had to work to get to heaven.

Let me take a moment to explain what I mean.

I am a 53 year-old man that didn’t become a believer in Christ until age 49. As far back as I can remember, I believed that Christ was the Son of God, that He died for our sins, and was raised from the dead.

But, I thought that in addition to believing in Jesus for eternal life, I had to internally resolve to turn from my sins and commit my life to Christ in order to get to heaven. I had fallen for the false gospel of Lordship “salvation.”

Until just a few years ago, it had never dawned on me that faith in Christ and faith in Christ plus me were mutually exclusive. Resolving to turn from sins and committing one’s life to Christ are works. We cannot be saved by our works.

Romans 3:20: Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Most churches, evangelists, and print ministries teach Lordship “salvation” either explicitly, or implicitly. It is appealing to us, because it fits into our preexisting belief that we can somehow work our way back to God.

Following are excerpts from our page entitled Lordship “salvation” Defined:

At its core, Lordship “salvation” (LS) is not salvation at all but man made PROBATION – a disbelief in God’s Word which clearly states that salvation is by Grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

LS is the unsupportable belief that the PERFORMANCE of good works, the PROMISE of good works, or the EVIDENCE of good works MUST accompany faith in Christ in order to establish, or provide evidence, that such faith has resulted in eternal life.

LS can be overt (one must forsake all of his sins and follow Christ in obedience and discipleship in order to be saved) or VERY SUBTLE (one’s behavior will change once he is saved).  But, do not be deceived. Trying to add ANY human merit to Grace makes it no longer Grace. (Romans 11:6).

Anyone who is a Christian has repented (changed his mind) from some false belief  to belief in Christ alone as Savior. For me, I had to repent (change my mind) from thinking that my good intentions had any bearing whatsoever on whether or not I was going to go to heaven.

We receive eternal life when we stop working for it, and believe in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone.

Romans 4:5: But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

LS is where I come from. Belief in Christ is where I am now. God never gave up trying to draw me to him.

If you are workin’ hard to get to Heaven and would like to know how to have eternal life, click here: The Gospel

God has not given up on you either. How do I know? I know, because you are reading this post.

 

 

Stemming Fruit Inspection

See new page Stemming Fruit Inspection, which contains the full text of the chapter “Fruit Inspectors” from Preston Greene’s new book.

This subject is vital to the defense of the gospel, so I hope you will read it and refer others to it.

You Might Be a Lordship Salvationist If… (Part 2)

by johninnc

2 Corinthians 11:3: But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Almost three years ago, we featured an article entitled You Might Be a Lordship Salvationist If…

Many people misconstrued the intent of this article, thinking that it was either comedic, tongue in cheek, mean-spirited, etc. However, the intent of the article was to challenge people – both born-again believers and religious non-believers – to challenge beliefs they might hold that are contrary to grace.

The original article is linked below:

Original article

We know that sequels are rarely on par with the original, but respectfully offer the following additional points:

  1. You believe that there is some “middle ground” between Lordship “salvation” and grace – that the truth “LIES somewhere in between.”
  1. You believe that someone must desire to turn from his sins in order to be saved.
  1. You believe that there is some “missing link” between grace and Lordship “salvation,” and you are bound and determined to find it.
  1. You think that doctrine isn’t important, as long as someone “loves the Lord” and wants to serve Him.
  1. You believe you are keeping God’s commandments.
  1. You think being a Christian is not as good as being a “Christ follower.” In fact, you think they are one and the same.
  1. You think that Christians are under any of the Mosaic law.
  1. You are insistent that the thief on the cross would have done good works if he had been afforded the opportunity.
  1. You believe that someone must want to get better in order to be saved.
  1. Your gospel is that Christ died and was raised from the dead. In other words, you don’t believe it was “for our sins.” (see the Apostles’ Creed).
  1. You think that some of the people that the Bible says believed, did not have “saving faith.” Instead, they had “spurious faith,” or only believed some of the things about Him. In other words, they were never “truly saved.”
  1. You are torn up about peoples’ sins, but indifferent as to what “gospel” they might have heard and believed.
  1. You troll grace websites, agreeing with ALMOST everything they say, but trying to get them to “throw you an LS bone.”

I admit the last one is “tongue in cheek.” However, it is more of a warning to those who are clear on grace.

I can’t tell you how many times I have received, or read, a long-winded “leaven sandwich,” in which the writer tries to imbed the leaven somewhere between a couple of thousands of words of grace.

This is usually done by an intermittent commenter, who will wait a few months between submissions, each time trying a different angle on the same error.

Who Said That?

By johninnc

From Wikipedia: Who Said That? is a 1947-55 NBC radio-television game show, in which a panel of celebrities attempts to determine the speaker of a quotation from recent news reports.

The following quotes are from various organizations and individuals that are attempting to influence contemporary society in one way or another. My point in selecting  these quotes is not the degree to which they do, or do not, reflect appropriate perspectives on the issues to which they pertain. Rather, my point is the degree to which these quotes seem aligned with contemporary issues of social justice, environmentalism, and altruism.

I will publish the source of each of the quotes (the answer key) as the first response to this article.

_______________________________________________________

1. We believe we have a responsibility to innovate, sponsor, and evaluate new forms of community that will encourage development of the fullest potential in individuals.

2. The poor and excluded face dire threats from climate disruptions, including the increased frequency of droughts, extreme storms, heat waves, and rising sea levels.

3. Advocate

Join with others who are seeking to ensure that governments, corporations and communities do their part to achieve the goals of:

  • Halting the spread of HIV through effective prevention, treatment and care.
  • Eliminating the stigma and discrimination experienced by those who are HIV-positive.
  • Reducing the conditions of poverty and marginalization that contribute to the spread of HIV.

4. With the news on immigration focused on administrative relief and a new Congress seemingly bent on undoing that relief, we know there may be some confusion about what is happening.

5. How do we deliver the first AIDS free generation in over 30 years? It all begins with the elimination of HIV transmission from mother to child. Right now, in developing countries, over 650 babies are born with the disease every day. But we have the power to change things by providing HIV positive mothers with the lifesaving medication they need to deliver a healthy, HIV—free baby. And all it takes is just 40 cents a day.

6. Current scientific findings indicate that reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are required to avert accelerated climate change. Scarcity of natural resources and threats to ecosystems and biodiversity are serious environmental issues. Recent events, from extreme weather events to severe droughts to the decline in summer arctic sea ice extent, all illustrate the severe consequences and devastating impacts of climate change. These challenges demand fundamental changes in the way society, including businesses, uses natural resources.

7. We support the right of all public and private employees and employers to organize for collective bargaining into unions and other groups of their own choosing.

Every person has the right to a job at a living wage. Where the private sector cannot or does not provide jobs for all who seek and need them, it is the responsibility of government to provide for the creation of such jobs.

 Corporations are responsible not only to their stockholders, but also to other stakeholders: their workers, suppliers, vendors, customers, the communities in which they do business, and for the earth, which supports them.

8. Inequality is the root of social ills … as long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems.

9. And rising inequality and declining mobility are also bad for our families and social cohesion — not just because we tend to trust our institutions less, but studies show we actually tend to trust each other less when there’s greater inequality.

10. Learn about and support proposed legislation that would provide in-state tuition for immigrant students as well as other pro-immigrant bills…

Consider holding a series of workshops or events that educate people in your community about their legal rights, how to prepare for a raid, or the impacts of local immigration laws and ordinances.

11. Principles of Solidarity

  • Engaging in direct and transparent participatory democracy;
  • Exercising personal and collective responsibility;
  • Recognizing individuals’ inherent privilege and the influence it has on all interactions;
  • Empowering one another against all forms of oppression;
  • Redefining how labor is valued;
  • The sanctity of individual privacy;
  • The belief that education is human right; and
  • Making technologies, knowledge, and culture open to all to freely access, create, modify, and distribute.

12. Sustainability –  it’s in our heritage.

_______________________________________________________

As you think about the missions of the above individuals and groups, and their adherents, think about what makes them similar and what makes them different. Think about how these messages may have been different in different times and circumstances.

And, if you would like to know how to have eternal life, based on God’s unchanging word, please click here: Eternal Life

Please note: we are interested in your comments. However, we are not interested in your political views, your impression of Jesus’ political views, etc. We are interested in your views of how governments, businesses, and churches are becoming more closely aligned in their stated goals and priorities.

Lordship Salvation: Filthy Rag Faith

By johninnc

Isaiah 64:6: But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

We often hear religious professing Christians malign authentic, Biblical Christianity with mocking epithets. Among them are “easy believism”, “greasy grace”, “cheap grace”, and the like.

I personally don’t mind “easy believism”, because that term is directed at believers rather than at the priceless atonement provided by Jesus.

Without wanting to appear mean-spirited, or playing tit-for-tat, I would respectfully submit that those who teach works for salvation, or faith plus works for salvation (Lordship Salvation), are encouraging lost people to put their faith in filthy rags. And no one has EVER received eternal life from Filthy Rag Faith.

Let’s look at some examples:

From Franklin Graham:

Maybe gays that are watching want to know, “Can God forgive me? Or can I go to heaven as a gay person?” Absolutely. But the same for any of us. We have to repent of our sins in turn. A person cannot stay in adultery and be accepted by God. You’ll have to repent.

Franklin Graham is a sinner, and I’m no better than a gay person. I’m a sinner. But I’ve been forgiven, and I’ve turned from my sins. For any person that’s willing to repent in turn, God will forgive him.

My comment: No you haven’t “turned from your sins” Franklin. What does that even mean? Can you hear yourself? Do you believe in Christ as your Savior? If so, why the focus on your works? Forget what daddy says (famous evangelist father Billy Graham also preaches salvation by works) and try the truth.

From Charles Hadden Spurgeon:

True conversion is in all men attended by a sense of sin (which have spoken of under the heading of conviction); by a sorrow for sin or holy grief at having committed it; by a hatred of sin, which proves that its dominion is ended; and by a practical turning from sin, which shows that the life within the soul is operating upon the life without.

All the spokes of a wheel move at once when the wheel moves, and so all the graces commence action when regeneration is worked by the Holy Ghost. However there must be repentance. No sinner looks to the Savior with a dry eye or a hard heart.

Another proof of the conquest of a soul for Christ will be found in a real change of life. If the man does not live differently from what he did before, both at home and abroad, his repentance needs to be repented of, and his conversion is a fiction.

My comment: Mr. Spurgeon, were your tears, contrition, turning from sin, and living differently the objects of your faith? If not, why would you say these things that undermine the gospel?

John Calvin:

Shew me by works thy faith; for since it is not an idle thing, it must necessarily be proved by works. The meaning then is, Unless thy faith brings forth fruits, I deny that thou hast any faith. This verse is a key to the meaning of James: faith is to be proved by works; then faith properly justifies and saves, and works prove its genuineness.

My comment: Mr. Calvin – are you the same Calvin as in “Calvinism”? Did your works prove your faith? What if you had neglected the works? This quote would cause one to think that he must look for good works to manifest themselves in his life before he knows he has eternal life.

John Wesley:

God does undoubtedly command us both to repent, and to bring forth fruits meet for repentance; which if we willingly neglect, we cannot reasonably expect to be justified at all: therefore both repentance, and fruits meet for repentance, are, in some sense, necessary to justification.

My comment: Mr. Wesley, if one believes in Christ as Savior, but willingly neglects bringing forth fruit meet for (worthy of) repentance, he cannot expect to be justified at all? Is this why you thought that Christians could lose their salvation? This gives the impression that one’s faith should be in his ability to keep himself saved.

The Bible says that eternal life is received by grace through faith in Christ – without the deeds of the law:

Romans 3:26-28:

[26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
[27] Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
[28] Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Each of the above examples is from people who teach (or taught) directly, or by implication, that salvation comes by both God’s grace and our works. The Bible says otherwise.

Romans 11:6: And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

If you would like to know what the Bible says about how to have eternal life, click here: Eternal Life According to the Bible

Hope, Change, or Hope and Change?

By johninnnc

My apologies to those who thought this might be a political article.

There is a great deal of confusion in the world of professing Christendom about how one receives eternal life.

The Bible says that we are saved by grace, through faith in Christ. The Bible also says that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes. For those of us who have understood and believed the gospel,it is incumbent upon us to defend it.

One of the keys to defending the gospel message is to make sure that our Christian testimonies are based on our hope of heaven, which is the finished work of Christ.

Just as our assurance of eternal life should be based on God’s promises alone, our Christian testimonies should not point anyone to the change in our lives, or the combination of our hope and change.

Hope

The founder of this ministry, the late Jack Weaver, wrote a great article entitled “What is Bible Hope?” That article, which  is far and away the most popular one of all time for this website, is linked below:

What is Bible Hope?

Hope, in it’s New Testament usages, means “to expect or anticipate with pleasure.” For Christians, the hope of heaven is based solely on God’s immutable promise.

Titus 3:7: That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

God promises eternal life to anyone who will believe that Jesus (God in the flesh) paid the full price for his sin (past, present, and future), and that He was raised from the dead to prove His payment was accepted.

Our Christian testimony should be based squarely on Christ as the sole basis for our hope of heaven.

Change

While eternal life is promised to all who believe in Christ as Savior, having positive, beneficial changes in our lives is conditioned on learning God’s word and applying it to our lives.

John 8:31-32:

[31] Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
[32] And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Please note that only those who have believed on Him can continue in His word. Those who haven’t believed on Him are not even in His word.  The freedom that Jesus is speaking of here is not eternal life (the people who have believed on Him already have that) – it is the life-changing power of His word, applied to our lives.

Please note, again, that the transformation in this life is not automatic.

Romans 12:2: And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

One does not have to believe that Jesus will “change his life”, or even desire to have Jesus change his life in order to be saved. 

More from Ron Shea:

When the “changed life” becomes the focus of a “conversion” testimony, it is not only a practice unknown to Scripture, it is in fact, counter productive in pointing men and women to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. It implies that salvation is allowing Jesus to change one’s life, with the consequence of observing a change. Ultimately, such “testimonies” teach, by implication, the doctrines of Lordship salvation and justification by works, wherein justification is a process by which our lives are transformed. This is, by definition, the doctrine of Justification by works.

In addition to implying that justification is by works (or grace and works), Christian testimonies that are focused on changed lives are very difficult to distinguish from other sources of changed lives.

By necessity, the zealous adherent to any religious or secular pursuit undergoes change in his life.

The Bible makes it clear that religious zeal cannot bring eternal life. Many religious people spend lots of time proselytizing.

Matthew 23:15: Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

Likewise, unregenerate people who believe that they can save themselves may go to church every time the doors are open, do mission trips, work the soup kitchens, donate money to charity,  and know every jot and tittle of scripture.

John 5:39-40:

[39] Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
[40] And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

Similarly, lots of people change bad behaviors, but that doesn’t result in eternal life. J.O. Hosler put it this way:

A lost person can change his mind about sin and reform from some forms of wickedness, but he will be neither saved nor eternally rewarded for this. He may, however, reap some earthly benefits from living a prudent life.

So, if our testimony is about the change in our lives, how is the hearer to separate our message from all of the others? HE CAN’T!

Last, if the focus of our testimonies is our changed lives, what if our lives change for the worse? Does that mean that Christ didn’t die for our sins, or that He was not raised from the dead? Does this mean that we were never saved in the first place? Of course not!

That is why the focus of our testimonies should not be on our changed lives.

More from Clear Gospel:

The gospel is not about how great we are. It is about our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. And our testimony is not how God became “yummy in our tummy.” Without question, the quest for meaning and purpose are powerful. But not everyone achieves a sense of purpose simply because they come to faith in Christ. Some go to their grave clinically depressed and emotionally unfulfilled in this lifetime. But no one who has ever come to the cross has walked away dead in their sins. They walk away alive in Christ. The gospel is that Christ died for our sins, and rose again from the dead. May this truly be “our testimony.”