The Mistrusting Groom: A Portrait of Lordship Salvation’s Capricious “god”

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The following story illustrates the vindictiveness and absurdity of the false “god” of Lordship Salvation, an unbiblical “god” who denies that salvation comes by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3:16-18; Acts 16:30-31); a whimsical “god” who denies assurance of salvation to all; a “god” of man’s creation who demands the promise of a lifetime of obedient [some say "over-the-top," "on-fire"] unwavering commitment—failure to fulfill that promise for a lifetime will, for the purveyor of Lordship Salvation teaching prove that one was never saved to begin with. What a mean ridiculous unbiblical “god” is this “god” of Lordship Salvation.

Source for the following story: Sarah Hinlicky Wilson, “What’s His Is Ours,” from ChristianityToday.com, September 14, 2012, vol. 56, No. 8, Pg. 32.

“Picture this: a bride and groom dashing out of the church, through the showers of birdseed and into the limo, all aglow with the light of love from the vows they’ve just taken. In the backseat of the car, en route to the reception, they embrace and kiss. Then the groom announces that he has something to say.

“Now you realize, my dear,” he begins, “that, as far as I’m concerned, we can’t really say we’re married, because I don’t know yet what kind of wife you’ll turn out to be. I hope for the best, of course. And I’ll help you all I can. But only at the end of our lives will I be able to tell if you’ve lived up to my expectations. If you have—then, and only then, I’ll agree that we truly got married today. But if you don’t, then as far as I’m concerned we were never married at all. After all, how can I call you my wife if you fail to be a wife to me?”

Under such circumstances, it will not be a happy honeymoon—if there’s one at all. A wife cannot be a wife if her whole existence as wife is conditional and under constant scrutiny (likewise for a husband). She will certainly fail. This groom has completely misunderstood what just happened. A marital vow is a forward-looking creative act, not a retrospective judgment. The couple that tied the knot only 60 minutes ago is every bit as married as the couple celebrating their 60th anniversary. Whatever happens in the course of the marriage does not affect the “married-ness” of that couple.”

69 responses to “The Mistrusting Groom: A Portrait of Lordship Salvation’s Capricious “god”

  1. Comment by: Kiprotich Arap Ruto,

    Life circumstances differ for every individual and each moment, experience and personality, among many other factors. So life may or may not be a happy honeymoon. Everything in life is conditional and under constant scrutiny. A couple that tied the knot only 60 minutes ago is every bit as married as the couple celebrating their 60th anniversary. However, marriage is conditional to goodness/good mutual behavior, trust, honesty, faithfulness, commitment towards investing in love, health, wealth and abundance of wellness or goodwill or trust that is by personal rational choice intentionally invested, dedicated, devoted, channeled and committed into the relationship and also the attitude(s) and choice to respect each other and to work together on various projects and facing/going through various challenges in life, as a sucessful team, with sustainable resources/resourcefulness, dignity and honor. So I’d say, the quality and behavior of a person happens in the course of a relationship, does affect the “married-ness” or the honesty, the closeness, trust and the intensity/purity of love of that couple/relationship.

    Comment by: Kiprotich Arap Ruto

  2. Rob Ramcharan

    Ok. But what do you do with Exodus 33:19, where it says, “And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”
    What I’m getting out of this verse is, God will be merciful and compassionate, except when he chooses not to.

  3. A great analogy, pastor.

  4. Welcome Kenruto!

    Thanks for commenting today. I think that you might have missed the analogy that the article makes about marriage and our relationship with God. Lordship Salvation proponents declare the false teaching that, although a person once trusted in Christ Jesus alone for salvation by grace alone through faith alone, to the Lordship Salvationist, that’s just not good enough. According to this false teaching of LS, a person must prove that he is saved through a lifetime of good works; otherwise, to the LSer, the individual was never saved to begin with. Ephesians 2:8-10 declares, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Notice that verse 10 says that we should do go works; it is the right and proper thing to do; it pleases God. But a true believer is never in danger of losing his salvation or his relationship with God because God guarantees our eternal life and relationship with Him for eternity! John 10:27-30 tells us that God the Father and the Son hold all believers in the palms of their hands and they will never let go!

  5. Another great illustration, Califgracer. Thanks for sharing. It’s a very easy analogy to remember.

    Can you tell me, was it “obvious” that the writer of this article for Christianity Today (CT) was intending to expose the false doctrine of Lordship Salvation (LS), or did she sort of do it implicitly or by “default”? I’ve not read CT in any capacity in probably 20 years or so at this point and I’ve never really read it cover to cover to begin with. So I’m curious as to what context they seemed to be putting this (in terms of the overall framework of the entire issue of CT, as well as where CT’s at “as a whole” these days). I ask also because, not that I’m an expert, but I’ve more or less come to have little trust for CT as they seem to not exactly be the purveyors of sound doctrine. Is CT known for being critical of LS? It would be interesting to see where the critics and the enablers in the LS controversy exist in the Christian cultural landscape of America.

  6. . . . I suppose I could check out the CT web site as well, now that I think of it.

  7. Wow, sounds like the beginnings of a miserable, psychologically abusive relationship to me. Following your source, Bruce, I read the other scenario, which, if I’m not mistaken, is where the LS purveyors pick up and run with phrases like “easy believism” and “cheap grace” and “counting the cost”, which appears to be the overall intent of the “Christianity Today” article, to undermine grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone by suggesting that salvation is comparable to the bilateral contract one enters into upon marriage. I’m running on half-empty today due to a virus, but is it a legit analogy to compare coming to Jesus Christ for salvation to the marriage ceremony, which is full of promised commitments from both parties?

    Welcome aboard, Kenruto ~

    “Everything in life is conditional and under constant scrutiny.”

    In this life, yes, but not in Jesus Christ. Said another way, “nothing in life is free”. Unfortunately and mostly true in this world, but salvation in Jesus Christ is not a bilateral contract, but a freely given gift, and therefore, free (Rom.3:24, Rom.5:15,16,18, Rev.21:6).

  8. Bruce,

    Wonderful illustration of LS lies. Your point is well taken.

    Kenruto:

    We frequently use illustrations here at ExP, but we realize that none will ever be as pure, accurate and certainly not inspired as is scripture.

    We must understand, a marriage is a bi-lateral contract between two equal parties whereas our Salvation is secured by a unilateral contract offered by the Absolutely Rightous One Jesus Christ as a gift to unworthy sinners, just for the taking with no “commitment” on our part. All He requires of us is simply to take His salvation offer by Grace alone through Faith alone in Christ alone – with no strings attached and our salvation is complete and eternal.

    Kenruto, I’m curious. Are you absolutely sure you will spend eternity in Heaven by simply trusting Jesus Christ alone as your Savior??

    To be assured of that, Read and Believe the Scripture in the link on the header above, Eternal Life for You:
    http://www.expreacherman.com/eternal-life-for-you/

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  9. Jan Kotlarski

    Kenruto most likely isn’t saved yet, Jack, as a short search on google showed me.
    He’s a kind of new-agey pantheist according to a post of his on his own blog on the 16th of May 2012.
    I won’t link his blog, but you should be able to verify this yourself.

    But indeed, the analogy is a great one, califgracer.
    But there’s a bigger problem than just the LS crowd or the calvinists, it’s actually a whole problem with christian pharisaicism emerging from the woodworks of neo-conservatism and fundamentalism.
    Things God warned us about through the writings of our apostle Paul in Colossians 2 and 1 Timothy 6 and most probably some other places in the scriptures.
    They might mean well, but their methods are so unlike the methods Paul used to urge the recipients of his letters to change their conduct, Paul was stern yet lovingly encouraging, something what most supposed conservatives and fundamentalists miss.
    Lordship salvation, calvinism, works salvation and other ailments are just symptoms of the curse of the pharisaical leaven spreading through so many churches.

    Let’s hope, pray and be vigilant that we ourselves don’t get infected with this nasty curse, because i know from myself that i am really susceptible to it and that it is easy to become sudgmental and legalistic in ones thinking and conduct.
    Which leads to fruit inspecting and the whole mixup of salvation and subsequent discipleship, thus making it slavation instead.

  10. Arrowhead119

    Almost a good analogy, if it didn’t lack a more realistic view of what can happen once a couple is married. Yes, you can be married on one day and very much so in love, but what about the couple where one of the spouses commits adultery, is unfaithful to the other and refuses to repent. Would we really say Once-married-always-married? Or would we say they were never truly married and you can fall away from being in love or faithfully loving someone?

  11. Expected Imminently

    If, at the end of their lives the groom decides the bride fails his test, then not only has he been ‘stringing her along’ and using up her youth for his own benefit, but he is also responsible for the woman to be ‘living in sin’ i.e. not really wed at all. She married in trust, then in old age he got shot of her and chucked her on the rubbish heap. Charming! What a thoroughly obnoxious L.S. bridegroom! Jesus would NEVER act like that, and HE, knowing the end from the beginning, could not commit that sort of wickedness.

    Sue

  12. Hi Pearl and Frying Pan,

    Actually, I gleaned the quotation about the mistrusting groom from a new book on Free Grace entitled, “The Romance of Grace,” by Jim McNeely. Since I extended the quotation a bit beyond McNeely’s book, I thought that it was most fair to attribute the citation back to the original author of the article. This citation in no way implies any blanket endorsement of ChristianityToday.com. Also, the quotation was made in isolation, a “parable” if you will, meant to illustrate only one simple basic point, not to “walk on all fours.” And you’re probably right, Pearl, that ChristianityToday.com intended to spin the story in another direction.

  13. Hello Arrowhead119:

    The story in question is a simple fictional “parable” meant to demonstrate only one basic point. Of course, if the story is over-analyzed and taken beyond the intended isolated point, then the analogy can break down.

  14. It is an unusually effective analogy as long as its not taken too far. Of course the “other” family analogy of a man telling his children that he will wait and see if they are really his children is so pathetic and ultra-abusive that it sort of defies using it. But of course that is the LS argument in a nutshell.

    Very encouraging blog for those of us in the thick of mixed messages theology…

  15. Hi Johanna,

    Thanks for your thoughtful words. Please join us again soon.

  16. Hello Rob R,

    Do I detect a Calvinist bent in your question? Ex. 33:19 is a favorite of Calvinists for they misuse it to state that God shows mercy only upon the elect. This is not the case—God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son (John 3:16-18, cf. 1 Jn.2:2). God does not want any to perish (2 Peter 3:9). Exodus 33:19 does not say, as you claim, that “God will be merciful and compassionate, except when he chooses not to.” The verse simply indicates that God’s mercy and grace come, not through man’s demands or man’s good works; rather, they come through God’s initiative. Ephesians 2:8-9 and Titus 3:5 declare this fact clearly.

  17. Rob Ramcharan

    Thanks for clearing that up.

  18. This discussion brings to mind the situation described by the prophet Hosea. In Hosea, the prophet likened Israel’s idolatry to spiritual adultery. What is remarkable is God’s response to the adulterous behavior of His betrothed. He determines to woo her back to Himself with persuasive words (Hosea 2:14). In Hosea 2:16, the LORD declares that wayward Israel will call Him her Husband rather than her Master. This passage reminds me so much of Galatians 4:21-31, where Paul contrasts the Covenant of the Law with the Covenant of Grace. There is a big difference between being a slave and being His Beloved. God doesn’t give up on His unfaithful spouse or His wayward children when they go astray. Because of the precious blood of Jesus, He is able to call undeserving sinners His Beloved.

  19. Alan,

    That is a beautiful picture of not only God’s amazing Grace and Love — but the nature of eternal life for believers.

    You said:
    “Because of the precious blood of Jesus, He is able to call undeserving sinners His Beloved.”

    I would add that “His Beloved” are only Believers who have been redeemed by that Precious Blood of Jesus, yet sinners still. And yes, He “so Loves the world” that He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to die for those undeserving sinners so they likewise would have the chance and choice to believe in Jesus, His death and resurrection for their salvation.

    Great thoughts,

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  20. It’s difficult to rest in the Bible’s promises that God loves you, sealed you with His Holy Spirit, and is faithful even when your faithless, while also believing that He threatens you by saying, “I never gave you the gift of eternal life if you don’t provide enough evidence that I gave you the gift eternal life.”

    Yeesh!

    My heart breaks for anyone in depression, fear, despair, or anger due to this false teaching, as I fell into it for a period of time. Thank God for His pure and simple Gospel, and thank God we still have His Word to learn from instead of relying on man.

  21. Julie,

    You are Welcome here and will find many friends – it is so wonderful to hear that you have shed the shackles of the horrible teaching of Lordship “salvation.” (probation).

    You are right — for those who adhere to that false teaching — there is no hope — except to reject and abandon the teaching as you did. We have many commenters here who have done so.

    Please come back often and join in our fellowship.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  22. Great to have you with us, Julie. You’ve found a much needed oasis here at this blog. I was “for a period of time” under the confusion and bondage that comes from the false doctrine of probation salvation. More than anything else, (after sticking to God’s Word of course) this blog and the resources to which it pointed me have helped me see the light. I’ve only been “here” at this blog for a couple of months and already feel like I’ve been friends with everyone here for years. You’re among friends.

  23. Welcome Julie! This ministry has been a great blessing in my life.

    You really captured the inane nature of Lordship “probation”/perseverance of the saints teaching with your comment.

  24. Thank you very much for the warm welcome Jack, Fryingpan9, and John. :) This site is indeed a rare, truly free-grace oasis.

    And Jack, I’m sorry if it seems like I’m unsubscribing and re-subscribing multiple times. I access this site on my phone quite often, and my fingers are acting little more clumsy than usual! :)

  25. Julie,

    Thanks — we appreciate your comments and are happy you find Grace things of interest here. “Free Grace oasis” — I like that!!

    No problem with subscribing multiple times. I think the system takes your email address and ignores any duplicates..

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  26. Julie, you said what I would like to say much better than I could say it! I too went through a period of depression many years ago over this very teaching, and our gracious and loving God used that time to help me understand His grace a little better and hopefully help some fellow strugglers as well. Bro. Jack has also been and continues to be a faithful and beloved brother who has been a blessing as well.

  27. Julie,

    Thanks for giving us permission to use your phrase, “A Free Grace Oasis..” I pray ExP will remain just that long after I’ve gone to Heaven.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  28. This a little off subject, but I need some prayers. I have purchased a few “Handbook of Personal Evangelism” by A. Ray Stanford from Wally Morillo in Pharr TX, to give away to my Pastor, youth pastor, SS teacher, my Dad, and a close friend who need to read the book. I’ve been a Baptist all my life and sad to say my Church falls into LS doctrine. Hopefully by God’s grace they will be awakened spiritually to God’s truth as the same as he did for me just a few months ago. I pray that this doesn’t lead me to leave my church, but if it comes down to it, I suppose I must.

  29. Bryan,

    Thanks for your note and your courage. We certainly pray that your Pastor, youth pastor, SS teacher, Dad and your friend all respond positively to your gift to them — that they will completely understand God’s salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone.

    Please keep us posted how they respond and how we should pray. Give them time to digest the information since it will be new to them.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  30. Jack,

    Thanks, prayers I need is that God would prepare their hearts and for me- boldness and wisdom/guidance. I know they will have questions. My biggest fear is that they will not see any big deal and say things such as “You’re just over analyzing the issue, “surrender yourself”, “turning from sin”, “committing yourself” etc. is just an expression. Of course we all believe in free Grace.” God bless and I will keep you posted, I plan to give them out within the week.

  31. Bryan, I am praying for you too! You are showing tremendous courage. We had to leave a church that we liked because the pastor just could not seem to understand what the differences were between the Gospel and the erroneous doctrine taught by the SBC.

    The pastor said that “turn from sin” for salvation and “commitment” for salvation were “the depths of scripture” and we would understand later. He also “pulled rank” on us with his seminary training.

    I think you may find the following link from Clear Gospel Campaign to be helpful:

    http://www.cleargospel.org/topics.php?t_id=18

    Also, the following quote from Clear Gospel Campaign:

    “The phrase “repent of your sins,” is so embedded in Christian culture that it is hard to hear the word “repent” without mentally adding on the three words “from your sins.” And since the word “repent” is often associated with eternal salvation, this leads to further adding on, either mentally, or verbally from the pulpit, the words “to be saved” to the end of the sentence. Together, they form the greatest myth in the history of Christianity . . . “You must repent of your sins to be saved.”

    This belief is not only wrong, it is an error that threatens the eternal destiny of every man, woman and child on the planet. For it reduces the gospel of grace to a gospel of works. Scripture teaches with unmistakable clarity that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law, (Romans 3:28) and that to entrust one’s eternal salvation to one’s own obedience to God’s laws is to frustrate God’s offer of the gift of forgiveness of sins and eternal life, and make void the promise (Romans 4:4-5, 24; 11:6-7, Galatians 5:1-4)”

  32. Bryan, what you wrote:

    My biggest fear is that they will not see any big deal and say things such as “You’re just over analyzing the issue, “surrender yourself”, “turning from sin”, “committing yourself” etc. is just an expression. Of course we all believe in free Grace.”

    That seems to be right out of the devil’s confusion play book in terms of how this LS annoyance is seemingly everywhere these days. I totally identify with what you’re saying. I’m dealing with a similar situation with my current church but the particulars and dynamics are admittedly different. But it’s not just my church–it’s believers all around me who seem oblivious to the seriousness of the danger one puts themselves in by refusing to be sure they’re relying on nothing but God’s grace for their salvation. If my recent experience can shed any light, while I’ve had a lot of frustrating and disappointing setbacks, I’ve also had some very encouraging victories where it’s easy to look back at myself and think, “Oh ye of little faith–did you think God only puts people in your life to make it difficult?”

    I will be praying for you. But if you don’t get the results you’re hoping for–that is, is some or all refuse and/or fail to read Ray Stanford’s book–be on the lookout for other ways the Lord will prompt you to make headway nonetheless.

  33. John,

    Good answers for Bryan and great quotes from Clear Gospel Campaign.

    You said:

    The pastor said that “turn from sin” for salvation and “commitment” for salvation were “the depths of scripture” and we would understand later. He also “pulled rank” on us with his seminary training.

    Antics such as, “The depth of Scripture” and “pulling rank” are two signs of scriptural ignorance. Obviously those are excuses because he had no answer.

    The SBC’s loss is our gain here at ExP. We are so very thankful for you.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  34. I cannot express how it warms my heart to hear that others will stand for the truth, so many are silent. Many I know wait to see if someone else will speak and such error has infiltrated, and the enemy is relentless.

    I had to almost just smile at the day of attacks, it was like round the world with legalism, from a Hebrew Root’s person, to a couple who denied eternal security, and another man who was Holiness movement, yet another a Roman Catholic, and a Pauline ultradispensationalist group.

    The common denominator seemed to be the condescension and then the arrogance and outright attack. It all seemed but for naught, except one found me on my blog, tracked me there because she couldn’t find a way to email me, and asked me some questions, and has now become my friend, she didn’t know how to see what was wrong with what they were teaching, but it didn’t seem quite right.

    A Jewish friend emailed me, and I shared quite a bit, seems like I’ve been around the world, and needed to come back here and just read a little.

    God bless you all as you stand for His truth. In His love.

  35. Oh, and I must not forget the Calvinists. That was the one who called me a liar and a hypocrite, interesting fellow… :)

  36. Hi Holly–I’ve read a lot of your blogs–love ‘em, but I don’t want to get off topic. I too find myself having to come back to this blog again and again. (Okay– you said “Come back here a just read a little” – so the comparison only holds so much water. But I’m new to Free Grace (less than 3 months). I’d post here more but I often stop myself because I don’t want to be redundant and I know sometimes the (reasonable) feedback I will likely receive will be either, “Read your Bible and pray more” or “Keep reading” Or both . . .

  37. FryingPan,

    Sorry if you don’t think we have been specific in our many answers. I presumed we had been pretty specific in answering virtually all of your questions.

    Please tell us what we could answer more directly and we will try.
    (BTW, advising to “read your Bible, pray and both” is not bad counsel.) 8-)

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  38. Oh no, not at all, Jack. You and everyone here’s been incredibly helpful, gracious and specific. I’m sorry I left room for inference. I was mainly addressing what I believe is my responsibility to make sure I read and re-read people’s feedback and counsel here before compulsively leaving posts that have pretty much already been addressed. I do admit though that I sometimes have trouble finding my way back to some of the threads on which I’ve left questions and received feedback.

    Sorry for the confusion! :

  39. Expected Imminently

    Hello Frying Pan 9

    I have had to learn the slow way by prayerful Bible study on my own. Now I can recommend these two books which are confirming and adding to my understanding of Free Grace. There is also a wealth of teaching to be gleaned from the articles and comments here at ExP.

    http://www.freegracealliance.com/store.htm
    ‘Simply By Grace’ by Charles Bing. $12.

    ‘Secure For Ever’ by Thomas M. Cucuza; £8.67p

    [ed. note---U.S. link]: http://www.amazon.com/Secure-Forever-Promise-Perseverance-ebook/dp/B0071NUUTK/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1327598039&sr=1-2

    God bless your future studies with a strong desire for His Truth.
    Sue :)

  40. Thank you, Sue.

  41. FryinPan,

    Not a problem – I must have misunderstood… Anytime you have questions, please feel free — continue to ask.

    If, when you comment, you would check the box beneath your email address to be notified of additional comments. If you do so, you should be receiving all answers to your comments by email.

    Thanks,

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  42. Hey, everybody. Just let you know that I dropped off a copy of Dr. Stanford’s book on his desk yesterday. Thank you for all the prayers, will keep posted what kind of reaction we’ll get.

  43. I was referring to my Pastor’s desk, sorry for not making that clear.

  44. Bryan, I have prayed that your pastor will understand the difference between the only appropriate response to the Gospel (belief) and the innumerable man-made gospel substitutes.

  45. Bryan,

    Wonderful.. we are praying for you and your Pastor as you engage him with the Truth. Don’t be discouraged whatever the outcome. The Lord is with you and your message of Grace.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  46. Rob Ramcharan

    I’m sorry. I can’t make any sense of any of this. People can use the Bible can be used to prove anything or disprove anything. All I can do is what I think is right and then hope things work out. Obviously, I don’t understand the material well enough to have an opinion. You’ve been doing fine without me up to this point. Goodbye.

  47. Hello Rob,

    Yes, some people can misuse the Bible by taking verses out of their proper textual and historical contexts to attempt to prove a theology that the Bible does not teach. At Expreacherman.com, every effort is made to quote Scripture in its proper context and to declare the Free Grace gospel that the Bible clearly teaches. If you feel that we have failed at this in any way, or if you have an honest question that you wish to ask about a particular Scripture or teaching, feel free to present that to the group of commenters.

  48. Hello all. Since I often feel I have nothing useful to contribute in the way of teaching or encouraging I thought I would ask a question instead. I have been endeavouring to read the Bible from the front to the back and have reached Ezekiel now. I’m a bit confused by Ezekiel 18, specifically verses 25-32. I know this is Old Testament but I thought Grace(faith) was still what saved people and not following the law? These verses seem to suggest to me that God is saying repent and turn from your sins and you will live or be saved? Verse 27 says: Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.
    I know that the saving isn’t always eternal salvation but saving his soul? This confuses me a little. I appreciate any responses and I continue to read this blog regularly.

  49. Jon,

    From our good friend John.. through me — to you:

    Jon asked about Ezekiel 18, particularly verse 27:

    Jon said: “These verses seem to suggest to me that God is saying repent and turn from your sins and you will live or be saved?”

    My (John’s) comment: These verses clearly do not refer to eternal life. If they did, then verse 26 would mean that someone could lose eternal life through turning to sin.

    Ezekiel 18:26-27:

    “When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die. Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.”

    Remember, scripture says that no-one is righteous (Romans 3:10), but for the righteousness of God imputed to them through faith in Christ (Romans 3:22). Once someone believes in Christ, he has eternal life (John 3:16). But, he is not immune from the temporal consequences of his behavior. Likewise, someone may enjoy the temporal benefit of good life choices, but remain unsaved.

    J.O. Hosler makes this point, as follows:

    “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.”

    John

  50. Morning, Jon!

    I had noticed your absence and wondered how you were doing just this past weekend. Glad you’re still around. I recall that you have been an encouragement and gave occassions to thoughtful reflection through many of your comments. You’re a valuable contributor here, and missed when you don’t.

    As for Ezekiel 18, since it is old testament, I would say that it’s consistent with much of the OT language regarding the law and man’s obedience to it; it’s demanding, rigid, exacting execution without delay and entirely void of grace!

    That’s just my two cents and may be way off (?)…I look forward to Jack’s explanation.

  51. I do humbly agree with all that has been said. Sister Pearl is very
    close. Ezekiel 18: 26-27, I s Old Testament. It is primarily for Israel.
    The rightous man, even though he could be a Gentile, must maintain his
    relationship with God by the Law.
    The Israelite & Gentile, both came to God the same way, by Grace
    alone, faith alone, in Christ alone. At the time of Ezekiel, mankind’s
    repentance, faith, etc. was evidenced by Temple worship. (There was a court of the Gentiles).
    One factor I think needs to be brought to light though. Before
    The Church (starting on that one Pentecost recorded in Acts 2,), NO ONE was born again, or permantely indwelt by the Holy Spirit. I am saying
    this in order to agree that Ezekiel 18: 26-27 could not refer to salvation.
    As Pearl has said, ” the law is demanding, rigid,” etc.. The purpose of the Law was NOT to work for salvation, which is what the Jewish People tried to do, but the purpose of the Law was to lead them to acknowledge
    that they could not keep the Law, and thereby fall upon the Grace of God.
    Both Jew & Gentile have a problem with pride (sin). The Jews wanted a
    king like the Gentile nations. When God gave the Jewish Nation the Law,
    they boasted that they would KEEP the Law.
    I think that Grace was there, it was just hidden under the pride of the people.
    Please correct me if you will,
    Brother in Christ,
    John H. Gregory

  52. As I re-read Jon’s question, this stuck out to me:

    “I know that the saving isn’t always eternal salvation but saving his soul? This confuses me a little.”

    I don’t believe the chapter has to do with the eternal standing of the soul, but a death sentence pronounced against the soul, as in the person (i.e. seven souls were on the sinking ship). And, actually, God is gracious here, in the legal sense, in that he says that a wicked person who corrects his ways and lives according to God’s laws will be allowed to live.

    Checking with Jack, he sent me the following, which I believe confirms my understanding.

    According to Strong’s:

    Soul in the OT virtually every case:
    nephesh, neh’-fesh; from Hebrew 5314 (naphash); properly a breathing creature, (Physical – JW)

    Soul in the NT virtually every case:
    psuche, psoo-khay’; from Greek 5594 (psucho); breath, i.e. (by implication) spirit, abstract or concrete (the animal sentient principle only; thus distinguished on the one hand from Greek 4151 (pneuma), which is the rational and immortal soul; and on the other from Greek 2222 (zoe), which is mere vitality, even of plants: these terms thus exactly correspond respectively to the Hebrew 5315 (nephesh), Hebrew 7307 (ruwach) and Hebrew 2416 (chay)

  53. John G., you said:

    “Before The Church (starting on that one Pentecost recorded in Acts 2,), NO ONE was born again, or permanently indwelt by the Holy Spirit.”

    Is it possible that being “born again” and being permanently indwelt by the Holy Spirit don’t have to coincide?

    Otherwise, why would Jesus have told Nicodemus that he must be born again, if that were not possible for him at that time?

    John 3:3: “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

    Further, Jesus seemed to at least imply that Nicodemus should have known about the concept of being born again:

    John 3:9-10: “Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?”

    Last, if a person could not be born again before the Pentecost, then would one who trusted in Christ (or the coming Redeemer) have had to do something to maintain his salvation? If so, this would seem to present at least a couple of problems:

    More than one plan of salvation or the possibility of boasting in Heaven (by people who kept themselves saved prior to Pentecost).

  54. Thanks everyone for your explanations. I don’t know how to make certain words show up in bold but Pearl caught it anyways. I appreciate the distinction of the OT soul and NT soul also. And thanks also for the Biblical reminders John. Romans 3:28 also came to mind to me for this issue.

  55. My Pastor told me he received the book, he said he was familiar with Ray Stanford’s but has not read it yet and he knows my concerns about the subject of LS and the misuse of repentance that is unfortunately common in our Baptist churches today. He said we can discuss it after he reads it but he seemed positive, which is good.
    On a different note, are there any good Christian organizations that are worthy of donations? In other words, Christians groups that don’t follow LS or Calvinism. I can only give so much, but there are a lot who support LS, I love to help spread the gospel anyway I can.

  56. Bryan, you might consider Clear Gospel Ministries. That very small organization is run by Ron Shea, who wrote “The Gospel” booklet. “The Gospel” booklet, which has been translated into many different languages, is an excellent resource for witnessing. See link, below:

    http://www.cleargospel.org

    Any church that is clear on the Gospel (such as Northland Bible Baptist Church, Riverside Bible Church, and Napier Parkview Baptist Church) is also worthy of consideration.

    You might also consider financial contributions to select Bible colleges with which Bruce, Jack, or others here may be familiar.

  57. Hi Bryan,

    Tagging onto John’s comment, Dayspring Bible College, a ministry of Quentin Road Bible Baptist Church would be an excellent choice for donation. Here is the link:

    https://www.dbc.edu/

  58. FryingPan9

    Hello Bryan,

    Thanks for asking this because I’ve been thinking of asking a similar question for a number of days now. I can vouch for Clear Gospel Ministries, as well as Northland Bible Baptist Church in the sense that I’m familiar with their teaching and the work they do. I’m also in touch w/ them and they answer all correspondence promptly, thoroughly and graciously.

    I can apply the latter to Quentin Road Bible Baptist Church as well, but I’m not as intimately familiar with the work that they do.

    I don’t want this to deviate off topic, but if it’s apropos I’d like to know more about what everyone here thinks about “tithing” in general. I used to think I “had to” tithe. Now I know better, but I am still a bit confused and uncertain. I will admit though that it’s even occurred to me that I’d perhaps better be careful about where I donate. Not as a salvation issue of course, but as a matter of how it can affect my stand at the Bema judgement.

  59. Thanks for the suggestions, on another note- I hope it is okay to post this. The link is called “Satan Exposed” by Jeff L. Dial. A 72 page e-book that you can share with others.

    http://www.onychabaptistchurch.com/Files/Satan%20Exposed.pdf

    It promotes free grace and exposes the LS and the misuse of the word repentance which unforgettably too many churches get wrong, a good read.

    In Christ,

    Bryan

  60. Bryan, I think Dial had some good things to say in his e-book, and I agree with almost all of it. However, there is one fairly significant theological error:

    Page 19: “With this understanding, sinners Biblically repent (Acts 17:30), acknowledge their sinful condition (Rom. 3:10–12, 23), call on (Rom. 10:13) and receive Jesus Christ alone (John 1:12; Rom. 10:9–10) by faith (Eph. 2:8–9), believing He died on the cross for their sins (Rom. 5:8), was buried, and rose again the third day (1 Cor. 15:1–4).”

    Eternal salvation does not require calling on the Lord. Calling on the Lord, as used in Romans 10:13, is a response to belief (see Romans 10:14), not part of the means of becoming saved.

    Romans 10:13-15:

    [13] For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
    [14] How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
    [15] And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

  61. Thanks, for clearing that up John, I didn’t catch that. Anyway, I didn’t mean to go off course from FryingPan9′s question about the tithe. I’m in a hurry so hopefully someone can answer this.

    Bryan

  62. Fryingpan, following is the Clear Gospel Campaign doctrinal statement on tithing:

    “Section 2 Tithing and The Gospel Message

    (a) We believe that there are eternal rewards for Christians who sacrificially give of their finances (Matthew 6:1-7; 6:19-20), personal resources (Matthew 10:40-41) labors (Matthew 10:42), and their life (Matthew 16:25) in support of those ministries and Christian workers who faithfully and accurately proclaim the gospel message (3rd John vs. 3-8).

    (b) We believe, however, that it is the duty of every Christian to avoid supporting, either financially, or through any other resource, those pastors, churches and ministries that distort the gospel (2nd John vs. 7-11). We believe God holds accountable, believers who, out of ignorance of the gospel that is clearly set forth in Scripture, support ministries that do not abide in the pure doctrine of Christ. Accordingly,
    (i) We believe it is the duty of every Christian to make diligent inquiry into the doctrine of a church or ministry, particularly with respect to the doctrine of soteriology before financially supporting it.
    (ii) We believe that those Christians who tithe or support doctrinally aberrant ministries are partakers of the evil deeds of those teachers and “evangelists” (2nd John vs. 11).
    (iii) We believe that the eternal rewards that God gives for sacrificial tithing (Matthew 6:1-4; 6:19-20), will be diminished or lost when those tithes and offerings supported ministers or ministries that are not straight with the gospel (2nd John vs. 8).

    In view of the clear teaching of Scripture on this subject, we regard it as a tragedy that Christians should be willing to sacrificially tithe, while they are unwilling to put forth the effort to grow to a pure understanding of the gospel message to learn where to tithe, lest they forfeit, at the judgment seat, part or all of the reward that they should have received. We further believe it is a tragedy that the money and resources of God’s people should be squandered on advancing teachers and ministries that are not faithful with God’s word.”

  63. Hello everyone, I did post earlier on this thread about approaching my Pastor about the preaching/teaching LS at our church and I gave the book Handbook of Personal Evangelism by Ray Stanford. Well with my crazy work schedule(working a lot of weekends, so I miss Church a lot) I have yet confronted him about the issue at hand. My wife says let him come to you first but it has been a couple months now. However, today I get a text from our Church that our pastor is starting a man’s bible study on the book “Not a Fan” by Kyle Idleman, a book that I have yet read but I skimmed through before and it seems close to resemblance to “Radical” by David Platt, another LS author. Needless to say that he hasn’t either read Stanford’s book or he did and didn’t phase him. Either way I need to bring up the subject, I also see way too many at my church adoring this book and hold others like, Platt, Piper and Chan on a high pedestal. My greatest fear, is that I will have to leave and will not find a Church home. I have painfully realized the horrible grip of LS has in my surrounding area, I continue to pray that God open their hearts.

    In Christ,

    Bryan

  64. Bryan, I have prayed for you and the choice you face in deciding whether or not to leave your church.

    I cannot fathom why anyone who believes the Gospel would teach from Idleman’s book. The book is replete with works salvation messages, and Idleman’s church is replete with works salvation messages.

    I have not read “Not a Fan” either, but have read the attached review and flipped through a copy that my niece had to find out whether or not the references were legitimate – they were.

    http://www.freegracealliance.com/pdf/Not%20A%20Fan_bookreview_Hosler.pdf

    The following quotes are alarming:

    “P. 31: Nicodemus had made a decision about Jesus, but that’ s not the same as following him. Jesus would not accept a relationship with Nicodemus where he simply believed. P. 32: Many have made a decision to believe in Jesus without making a commitment to follow Jesus. The Gospel allows for no such distinction…Jesus never offered such an option. When we decide to believe in Jesus without making a commitment to follow him, we become nothing more than fans.”

    Following is from “What We Believe” from Idleman’s church:

    “We believe the Bible teaches that one receives God’s grace by putting faith in Christ, repenting of sin, confessing Christ and being immersed into Christ (Romans 5:1-2 / Luke 24:45-47; Acts 3:19; 17:30; 2 Peter 3:9 / Matthew 10:32; Romans 10:9; Philippians 2:11; 1 John 4:15 / Acts 2:38, Romans 6:1-7; Galatians 3:27; Colossians 2:12; 1 Peter 3:21)”

    I don’t think this is Biblical. I think the Bible teaches that one receives God’s grace by putting faith in Christ – period.

    “Repenting of sin” is included as a requirement for salvation, even though this is never found in the Bible.

    Confession of Christ is included as a requirement for salvation, and Matthew 10:32 is presented as a reference. Confession of Christ is not a requirement for salvation, and Matthew 10:32 is not a salvation passage (Matthew 10:32 “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven”)

    The inclusion of “being immersed into Christ” as a requirement for salvation, together with the references to Acts 2:38, Galatians 3:27, Colossians 2:12, and 1 Peter 3:21, all suggest that Idleman’s church believes that water baptism is a requirement for salvation, although it does not expressly say so.

    Romans 6:1-7, which are included in the statement on how one receives God’s grace, are not verses that pertain to how one receives the free gift of eternal life. Rather, this is a sanctification passage. It’s inclusion in this part of the church’s statement of faith suggests either a Lordship “salvation” orientation, confusion over what these verses mean, or a simple mis-referencing.

  65. This quote from Idleman’s book (appropriate name) is shocking and goes against Jesus direct words in John 6:28-29, 40, 47; 5:24 etc.

    “Jesus would not accept a relationship with Nicodemus where he simply believed.

    What???

    What audacity to directly contradict the Word of God….

    Shocking to me.

  66. Reblogged this on Redeemingmoments and commented:
    Simple explanation of just a small portion of the many errors of Lordship teachings.

  67. Holly,

    You are right. However, in addition to (“appropriately named”) Idleman, there are many, many more — i.e. Francis Chan, David Platt, John MacArthur, Arthur Pink, R.C. Sproul, et al who relish the idea of publishing their own words which contradict the Word of God. Just too many — too sad.

    We need to continue standing for “the faith once delivered to the Saints.” We appreciate your doing so!!

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  68. Thank you for the good material to use. You know I remember entering the world of “spiritually mature Christianity”. It took me a while, but I did begin to understand that there was a problem, when someone felt the need to tout the latest, greatest preacher, book, or saying, and actually made their arguments by men’s words.

    I was perplexed. So this was the spiritually mature side of the church? So I needed to buy Spurgeon and Sproul, or Pink in order to thoroughly understand the hard things of Scripture?

    I never was so confused in all my life as to when I started reading some of these men. I thought I wasn’t trying hard enough. I was beginning to be despised by some of these older men and women when I asked questions and wondered how certain things lined up with Scripture…

    Each group had their favorites. Some loved Nouwen or Manning or Thomas Merton. By this time, I was more cautious with rushing out to buy, although I did buy at one time “Ragamuffin gospel” out of curiosity. I couldn’t get very far with Manning’s stories of flagellation (self-whipping for those who might not know…I certainly didn’t).

    I began to learn slowly “prove all things” and made errors through the years, but it is one of the most important things I learned in not falling for error.

    I found too that I could disagree with someone who was truly spiritually mature, because they would take the time to answer my questions, or point me to the right Scriptures. They never despised me, got sarcastic with me, or were short-tempered, they were gentle, patient, apt to teach, instructing meekly. I found those who were in error were usually not gentle for very long if you crossed them, certainly not patient, and if you couldn’t understand what they were saying, then you just weren’t spiritually mature enough in their estimation.

    I am amazed at the errors out there, but very aware of how treacherous the waters, and so we need to speak when we see serious error, and I very thankful for those who do. I believe for a while in the church, people believed they were to have “unity” and somehow declared these things “non-essential”. Not sure how that can be so, since all Scripture is profitable for doctrine, how can we slide on something so important as the gospel message, the power of God unto salvation?

    Thank you for doing what you do Jack, (and Bruce, Jim, John, and many others here). I prayed for men like you to be speaking the truth in love, and am thankful He is faithful.

  69. good work guys

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