An Admitted Lordship “Salvationist” Visits ExPreacherMan and Asks Questions

By Jack Weaver

A gentleman named Ryan addressed us here at ExPreacherMan by direct email, asking some interesting questions about our Biblical beliefs. With his permission we  print his letter anonymously as an article post. We have numbered his questions to make answering by number more orderly and have made our comments in between his questions.

We urge our discerning readers to kindly answer Ryan’s questions from a Biblical point of view. We have emboldened some phrases for emphasis.

Ryan, we appreciate your note. After reading your questions it seems, as you say, you are indeed a Lordship Salvationist (LS) and like most LSers, also a devotee of Reformed/Calvinist teachings. (Ref. question 6).

Ryan’s Note:

Ryan: Hello, I have spent some time reading various topics on here. I would probably be considered an LSer.
 

1.) Ryan: I think we agree that Christ’s righteousness is given to us once we believe in Christ as our savior.

ExP: We here at ExP know that any believer in Jesus Christ has His Righteousness imputed the very moment he makes the personal decision to trust by Grace alone through Faith in Jesus Christ alone as Savior. He is secure forever, and it is “not by works of righteousness which we have done” before, during or after believing in Jesus. Period. (Titus 3:5)

2.) Ryan: Where I am trying to find an answer on your beliefs, and where we may disagree, is on how we can have a hint of who is a follower of Jesus or not.

ExP: It is not possible to identify a believer by his behavior. We would be more likely to accept that a person is a believer in Jesus by his clear words expressing that his salvation is dependent completely by Grace through their faith decision in Jesus Christ as Savior. There are many who call themselves “followers of Christ.” Such as Roman Catholic, Baptist, Charismatic, Calvinist, Methodist, Church of Christ and “Christian” religions of every description, yet those mentioned here, by their doctrinal statements, are not depending on Christ’s finished work on the cross for their salvation. These religions add good works to the salvation message. Example: Catholics are some of the nicest, cleanest living, most charitable, good works folks I know yet they do not trust Jesus Christ alone as their Savior. They trust their church, the Pope, their charity, Mary and the priests as their means of salvation.

3.) Ryan: I don’t want to be the Judge, but doesn’t the new creature show himself as sanctification takes place?

ExP: The new creation or creature should show — but may not. Visible evidence is not a requirement for salvation. Every Believer has two natures, the new man and the old man, the righteous nature and the sin nature — and as Paul (whom we KNOW was a believer), said: If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.  Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. [19] For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.  Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.  I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. (Romans 7:16-21).
.
4.) Ryan: Shouldn’t we speak warning (not condemnation) to those who don’t show change in their lives?
.
ExP: We assume you are speaking of one who has trusted Jesus as his Savior. If so, we should teach him God’s Grace. Let him understand that 2 Corinthians 5:14 advises us that it is the Love of Christ that constrains [compels] us to live the Christian life and to walk in good works, not primarily by threats and warnings. Part of that teaching can be warnings if needed. Such teaching should never be a threat of loss of salvation (such as Chan, MacArthur, et al) but an understanding of God’s grace filled discipline to a believer.
.
5.) Ryan: Isn’t Jesus Lord over all…even the devils?
.
ExP: Yes, as we see in Scripture, “The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)” Acts 10:36.  Jesus IS Lord of all, but without Christ one cannot submit to His Lordship, they are alienated and lost. Certainly one must believe that Jesus is the Lord God Almighty in the Flesh in order to trust Him as Savior, and in doing so they remain under His Lordship — whether they are obedient to Him or not. A lack of obedience and of “following” Jesus’ Lordship does not negate one’s salvation. Fellowship, “Yes” but salvation, NO!
.
6). Ryan: I agree it’s God’s gift to us to cause us to believe and repent by the power of the HS. Isn’t this considered salvation…when we trust in Him as our salvation? 
.
ExP: You said it is God’s gift to us to “cause us to believe and repent.” We vehemently disagree with that statement which is the  Reformed/Calvinist notion, from the “I” in the T.U.L.I.P, “Irresistible grace.” That is NOT a Biblical teaching. God’s Grace has appeared to all men and every man/woman has a will and a choice to either believe or reject Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:11) God’s Holy Spirit convicts every person (the world) of sin, righteousness and judgment John 16:8, and Jesus Christ draws every man unto Himself.  “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” John 12:32. Some will believe, some will refuse — but all have a free will choice.
.
 7). Ryan: Lastly, wouldn’t our lives change as we re-direct who or what we are trusting in?
.

ExP: A believer’s life SHOULD (not must) (Ephesians 2:10) show a change and he SHOULD walk in good works as he learns and is obedient to God’s Word. But that is dependent upon his free will and choice. We make a decision to believe in Jesus to have eternal life and then afterward we SHOULD make a decision/choose to serve Him. I understand your concern for those who might use as an excuse, “I believe in Jesus — now leave me alone.” Please understand this wisdom from a friend just yesterday, “Separate your concerns for a lack of behavior, works or service from the message of the FREE grace Gospel of Christ. The two doctrines are completely apart. (Romans 11:6) We decide to be saved by God’s Grace through Faith in Jesus Christ alone, then we decide to serve or work for Him — (or not).

Ryan asks: Please, just a little light on this would be appreciated…or a link that would help answer this for me. I don’t want to be divisive and am only asking for your input seeing that you are someone who is trying to be faithful to the gospel.

Ryan, Click on these Links:

Dr Tom Cucuzza, Secure Forever (E-book or hard back)

Eternal Life For You

Biblical Hope

Gospel Video; Cucuzza

Clear Gospel Campaign

69 responses to “An Admitted Lordship “Salvationist” Visits ExPreacherMan and Asks Questions

  1. Kenneth Groenewald

    Excellent answers Jack. I’m reminded of 1 Peter 3:15. But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
    Kenneth.

  2. Matt for Grace and Truth

    4) Eternal salvation by GRACE through faith in Christ ALONE and NOT by pre-salvation or post-salvation works at all, IF properly grasped and embraced by a saved person, motivates such person to live more purely in response to God’s GOODNESS, and not at all by dreaded fear of losing one’s salvation.

  3. Ryan is referring to the idea that there is “sufficient proof” that a person’s life has changed, and such proof means that the person really is saved.

    That is the crux of the problem. The Bible never defines the “amount” of proof, in either category, whether the category be good works or avoiding sin. The believer is called to good works and the believer is called to avoid sin. But since nobody is ever doing as much as they could be, and all believers still sin, then the believer is left with no assurance of anything.

    Paul Washer teaches this error which Ryan is referring to. Now God spoke through a donkey. Lest we be confused with the modern-day “seminarian expert” and such, as if Paul Washer is anything. So since God can speak through a donkey, then it is the message that must be tested.

    What proof does Paul Washer have, that he is saved? He gives very long speeches to people, so is that proof? He sells books on theology, is that proof? Yet the unsaved in Matthew 7:22 did far greater works than Paul Washer has ever done in his life.

    And we don’t know Paul Washer’s personal life. What if he is all talk in public, yet all sin in private? Would that make him unsaved? At the very least, Paul Washer sins everyday, like everyone else. At what point must we declare him unsaved, since he sins every day?

    I have found the way to combat these theologies, is to always apply them to the holder of the theologies. Paul Washer teaches these things. So, how is he doing on his own scale? He might be unsaved, if we take the argument to its logical conclusion.

    And lost in all these paragraphs that I just wrote, is JESUS CHRIST AND HIM CRUCIFIED. At best, Jesus Christ and Him crucified will get lip service… “oh yeah, Jesus died for us”. But the effect of “Jesus died for us”, doesn’t matter if you “sin too much” or “do too little”.

    Then where is the Gospel? Where is the good news?

    Paul Washer doesn’t have any.

  4. Excellent and well-written article once again, Grandpa Jack.

    What a crucial point you made that serving Christ or the lack thereof, should not be confused with the free grace gospel! Salvation and discipleship are not entirely disconnected, but their individual messages are distinctively clear and non-overlapping. The first step is trusting In Christ as Savior for eternal life, and proceeding that is one’s personal decision to perform good works, serve Him, and commit to be His disciple. Becoming a disciple of Christ is the obligation of every believer, but it is a choice and not an indication of whether one is a true believer. As Jack once said, in Christ there are obedient AND disobedient children. None of them, however, are or can be unsaved!

    God bless all you old folks who continue to be a light in this generation (including mine).

  5. Duane Hawkins

    Hi Ryan!

    These are great questions that every believer – especially those struggling with the contradictions between Lordship Salvation teaching and free grace teaching – should ask.

    One thing that we on this forum would hold in common with at least many of the Lordship Salvation advocates that I know of is our belief that the Bible is the final and infallible authority on all matters to which it speaks. Since we hold that the Bible is authoritative on all matters to which it speaks, then the Bible must be the final authority on matters of justification and salvation, to which it speaks very clearly.

    While most advocates of Lordship teaching will affirm that believers are saved through faith alone in Christ alone, they almost universally add the conditional clause “but saving faith always produces works,” or similar words to the same effect.

    The Scriptures speak very clearly as to the place of works in the justification / salvation of the believer. There is none:

    “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.” (Romans 3:28, KJV, emphasis mine)

    “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” (Romans 4:5, KJV, emphasis mine)

    “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” (Galatians 2:16, KJV, emphasis mine)

    After reading the Scriptures above in context, and comparing them with the teaching of Lordship salvation, one has to wonder: If works are a foregone conclusion of saving faith, then why would God bother telling us that the one who works not but believes is justified? In the understanding of the Lordship Salvationists, these passages are rendered almost nonsensical, and yet they very clearly state what they state: that [our] works are in no way tied to the justification of the believer.

    So where do the Lordship Salvationists get their ideas about saving faith being obedient / working faith? Some Scripture sources often cited by Lordship Salvationists in defending their position include the Sermon on the Mount (particularly as told in the Gospel of Matthew), the First Epistle of John, and occasionally, the story of the rich young man.

    On the surface, the First Epistle of John would seem to provide the best argument for tying works to saving faith, but it is important to note that while the Scriptures cited above quite clearly affirm that saving faith need not be accompanied by works, 1 John never explicitly ties works or obedience to salvation / justification; rather, it uses terms like “abides in,” or “dwells in” to express the relationship of the obedient Christian to his or her Savior.

    It is also important to understand the epistle in context: First John was written in direct response to the infiltration into the Church by metaphysical teachings like that of the Gnostics, who commonly held that the material world is of no consequence and that Christ came as a spiritual manifestation, not in the flesh. These teachings led to the obvious outcomes of either extreme self-denial, or extreme hedonism. When understood in this context, the apparent contradictions between First John and the Pauline epistles disappear and we see the letter as a warning against following those who claim to be Christian, but teach a different Christ, a different view of humanity, and a different view of creation that that supported by the Old and New Testament Scriptures – and whose lifestyles (either loveless asceticism or shameless hedonism) are perfectly consistent with their distorted view of God and man.

    When taken in context, we also see a similar pattern in the accounts of the Sermon on the Mount and Christ’s meeting with the rich young man. In both of these instances we have an audience made up of people who believe themselves to be justified by a combination of genetic good fortune and observance of the Law. Christ’s Sermon and His instructions to the rich young man dispel forever the notion that we could possibly be good enough to merit heaven, based on Law-keeping. After all, who of us can honestly say that we have never had a vengeful or pornographic thought, or that we have never once placed money or anything else before God?

    What these and other passages commonly cited by Lordship Salvationists actually teach is our desperate need for a savior, upon whose work we can truly rely. That savior is Christ, and the difference between the teaching of the Lordship Salvationist and the Free Grace believer is the difference between faith in Christ and faith in faith in Christ.

    May God Bless You in Christ,

    Duane

  6. Duane Hawkins

    …meaning that the object of faith under Lordship teaching (unintentional or not) becomes our own faith walk, rather than Christ.

  7. Duane Hawkins

    For a deeper view of the roots of Lordship Salvation teaching, you may want to cautiously study the five points of Calvinism and Calvinist Puritanism in particular. In my view (which I believe to be supported by Scripture) Calvin’s teachings on Total Depravity, Limited Atonement and Irresistible Grace have led to a distorted view of both God and man that has resulted in a cart-before-horse view of salvation in which the Holy Spirit transforms a non-believer into a believer without respect to the will of that person. It is really only in the particular Calvinist view of God and man and of the mechanics of salvation that Lordship teaching makes any sense. Fortunately, this view of salvation is found nowhere in Scripture, which tells us that it is the WORD that has the power to pierce our hearts and to change our unbelief into belief (Hebrews 4:12, Romans 1:16, many passages in John and elsewhere) and admonishes us to choose whom we will serve / believe. The Holy Spirit is the gift to the believer bestowed upon belief, not against his will before belief.

    May God Bless You in Christ,

    Duane

  8. Duane,

    Thanks. I understand your point and you said, “cautiously” — but I would not suggest anyone study the Calvinists documents themselves but study from a free Grace critical analysis of the falsity of the TULIP.

    Our article, Dismantling the Calvinist Tulip: “TULIP” De-Petaled would be such a recommendation:
    http://www.expreacherman.com/2011/05/25/t-u-l-i-p-de-petaled/

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  9. Ryan, you asked some great questions, and I think Jack and others here have provided some great Biblical answers.

    In addition to the points made so far, I would ask: why would the new testament include so many instructions for believers (including the writers beseeching them) if those things just happen automatically? Why would there be a judgment seat of Christ (for believers only) if good works/turning from sin automatically follow salvation? Why does the Bible talk about rewards for believers, but refer to salvation as a gift?

    Examples:

    Romans 12:1: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

    1 Peter 2:11: Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

    1 Corinthians 3:13:-15: Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

  10. Ryan,

    It looks like you have received some good answers so far. I would like you to also make sure to consider the foundations. How did you arrive at your view? How do you come up with Lordship salvation? Are you viewing scripture through a Reformed or Covenant lens? Are you dispensational at all? Do you hold to the basic ideas of Calvinism? How you answer those questions will reveal how you are arriving at your conclusions. After that, decide how you are defining terms like repentance, justification, grace, faith, salvation, sanctification, discipleship. Please realize that most Lordship advocates/teachers not only come at the Bible with different theological lenses but they also define key terms differently than we do.

    The main reason that I never embraced Lordship theology is that I never embraced Calvinism at all. Many years ago a simple verse, John 3:16 showed me the way to be saved and also specifically prevented me years later from falling into Calvinism because it refutes limited atonement. It worked for me anyway. From there I was able to go back and see that the errors in rest of the points of Calvinism.

    Matt made a key point. I couldn’t stress what he said enough. I’ll address your questions specifically in a later post.

    Jim F

  11. Jack, as usual your response was clear and to the point, wish there were more like you locally, andy

  12. Duane Hawkins

    Thanks Jack,

    Yes, I should have been more specific in recommending a trusted resource like the one you provided.

    God Bless,

    Duane

  13. Thanks Andy,

    We all just need to take God’s Word in context and share it without all the modern bells, whistles and twisted, add-on “theology.” I’m preaching to the choir because you know there’s nothing difficult or complicated about the “simplicity that is in Christ Jesus.” We appreciate you and Debbie. Come see us.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  14. Ryan, the answers given so far are excellent. I would like to just a few considerations of my own.

    1.) Ryan: I think we agree that Christ’s righteousness is given to us once we believe in Christ as our savior.

    This point might be similar but many LS supporters believe that repentance and faith are inseparable graces that “make” the person believe.

    2.) Ryan: Where I am trying to find an answer on your beliefs, and where we may disagree, is on how we can have a hint of who is a follower of Jesus or not.

    This goes back to my point about definitions. I do not personally equate follower of Jesus with believer (eternally saved person). Follower of Jesus pertains to discipleship. A person can also be a follower or disciple for a time but not a believer.

    3.) Ryan: I don’t want to be the Judge, but doesn’t the new creature show himself as sanctification takes place?

    Yes at times, but it shows to limited finite men. There is also not a way to quantify how much of what things should be evident and any given point of time. The bottom line is that we should all be motivated by the love of God to please Him always. There is always room for growth.

    4.) Ryan: Shouldn’t we speak warning (not condemnation) to those who don’t show change in their lives?

    We should not warn people that their works may prove that they are unsaved. We should warn them however if they believe a false gospel. Jack is right. We are disciplined by grace. Too often people are guilt tripped into fear rather than taught to actually walk in the Spirit. Some people are never discipled and do not study the Word as they ought. They need to be shown study skills and how to apply God’s Word. Nothing squelches Christian growth better than being unsettled over one’s salvation. The quality of one’s discipleship (learning) is not solely up to God. Sure, God has provided everything we need in His Word but man must also obey and put in the time and effort to study the Word.

    5.) Ryan: Isn’t Jesus Lord over all…even the devils?

    There is nothing that I want to add here that hasn’t already been said.

    6). Ryan: I agree it’s God’s gift to us to cause us to believe and repent by the power of the HS. Isn’t this considered salvation…when we trust in Him as our salvation?

    This is a Calvinistic view. God does not regenerate us first or “make” us believe. Salvation is the gift to us not faith. That point has been discussed in depth on this site and I won’t go into it here.

    7). Ryan: Lastly, wouldn’t our lives change as we re-direct who or what we are trusting in?
    .
    I have heard this kind of statement a lot from those who advocate that repentance means turn from sins to be saved. It is basically the change of life view. I think that view of repentance is false and it is not the focus of the Christian life to try to do works. Rather we need to focus on our Savior, get to know Him better and find that our lives produce fruit not because we strive to do works (keep the law to prove we are different or one of the elect) but because we are walking in the Spirit.

    Jim F

  15. Hi Ryan, thanks for asking the questions, and thanks to all for the clear answers from Scripture. I knew from solid teaching all my life, but finally, I got out from underneath trying to finish by the flesh, what a weight has been lifted, and His Word sure does give enlightenment. If only people will study with His approval in mind, they won’t be ashamed, and will rightly divide His Word. If they would seek Him diligently and look for the truth apart from any indoctrination, but search the Scriptures to see if these things are so…

  16. Thank you Jack for taking the time to answer my questions. I also have read all of the posts thus far. I appreciate the patience and the respectful words and understand why you speak ill of certain preachers (even if I disagree with you).
    I agree, in no way that our works are tied to the justification of a believer. I wholeheartedly believe that we are seen righteous before God, through Christ, no matter how “good or bad” we have been doing.
    I commend many of you for holding to the scriptures as infallible and for your desire to not believe a different gospel…one in which our works earn us salvation even in the slightest. Christ’s works (life, death, resurrection) are all that a believer need to trust upon.
    I have a few other questions that may shed some light for me.
    1. Would a person who: A. believes that God changes a man’s heart from rebellion to submission B. believes it is by the Holy Spirit a man can do anything apart from the flesh (point A is included here) C. trusts in Christ alone for salvation. – would that man be considered a child of God? Even if he believed our works do “display” a changed heart? (this may sound like question 4)
    2. I want to preach grace, Christ and Christ crucified…salvation freely offered by trusting in Christ alone. I personally believe it is only by knowing God more and being more and more amazed by grace that we can overcome sin issues in our lives…not by forcefully striving to “fight the flesh” in our own strength. But what is wrong with continually pointing people to Christ and then calling them to turn from their idols?
    3. Would you say believing in Christ AS salvation is different than believing in Christ FOR salvation? Doesn’t the devil believe Christ is salvation? Same with the Satan worshipper? Isn’t it the submission to God…that makes the difference? (I realize our actions go against this…but shouldn’t there be a fight that shows we WANT God as our Lord?
    4. Are all Calvinists LS’ers in your opinion? Does Free Grace reject all Calvinistic teaching?
    I apologize if these questions are all over the board. I tried to keep out the language that could be misinterpreted.
    5. A disciple is a follower. We all follow something or someone. That will designate who/what our God is. How can a “Believer” not be a disciple…imperfect yes…but still a follower who trusts in their teacher…and his ways. This would show by his works…no?

    Lastly, I don’t want to go in circles here. I have read much on this site…thank you…but it seems like there is a disconnect and an over emphasis on rejecting works based identification in the desire to preserve the gospel…which is understandably important. I just think the bigname LS’ers are focusing on “works” because Americans use the microwave approach to salvation and there really is no belief/ trust…just a prayer. Where persecution is common…and death…Christ followers seem to understand that following Jesus means a changed life.

    To sum it up – why can’t someone be a FREE GRACER but also exhort children of God, followers of Jesus, to do good works…for the Lord…not for salvation…but simply because THEY HAVE SALVATION. (I think many of those you call LS’ers fit in this description)
    I will pray now that God brings clarity. Wherever it is needed.

  17. Thanks Ryan,

    (For our readers, Ryan is the subject of this article),

    We appreciate your visit and additional questions.

    I invite our readers to comment (not an essay, please) on each of your questions as I am pressed for time at the moment. I’ll check back later.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  18. Hello Ryan,

    I’ll answer one of your questions:

    You asked, “why can’t someone be a FREE GRACER but also exhort children of God, followers of Jesus, to do good works…for the Lord…not for salvation…but simply because THEY HAVE SALVATION?”

    Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
    Did you notice that the verse said, “SHOULD walk in them?” Yes, as true believers in Christ, saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, we should serve God, out of gratitude for all that he has done for us and because it is the right and proper thing to do. The rub comes when LSers, like Chan, Platt, Piper and MacArthur DEMAND good works as a litmus test of genuine salvation. This fact is thoroughly documented at this site in many articles. When one begins to place additional requirements on trusting in Christ alone by grace alone through faith alone, then works are added into the salvation plan to obtain, to maintain and to prove genuine salvation. This is the fallacy of Lordship Salvation! It is not only unbiblical, but it also deceives many into thinking that they are saved when they are not. And for those who have already become saved by trusting in Christ Jesus alone for salvation by grace through faith, LS then can become a real destroyer of assurance of salvation.

  19. Ryan, I had typed a long response to your various questions, but, ultimately decided to focus on just one.

    Your third question really sheds a lot of light into your belief system. I will focus on the last part.

    You said: “Isn’t it the submission to God…that makes the difference? (I realize our actions go against this…but shouldn’t there be a fight that shows we WANT God as our Lord?).

    My comment: If you are asking if submission to God makes the difference in the context of receiving God’s free gift of eternal life, the answer is no. This belief reduces God’s gift of eternal life to a trade.

    Ryan, the attempt to introduce the performance of works, the promise of works, the desire to do good works (good intentions) or the evidence of works into the salvation equation is all based on disbelief in the finished work of Christ and belief that we must help save ourselves.

    I will conclude with a short excerpt from Clear Gospel Campaign:

    “To this end, we affirm that a lost sinner must, at some time in his life, believe on Christ alone, apart from the works of the law, for his salvation, and that apart from such an authentic moment of saving faith, there is no hope of salvation.”

  20. Ryan,

    I believe that any minister MUST be clear in the presentation of the Gospel.. NEVER imply that works are a part of securing or keeping salvation. Walking in good works SHOULD be the result of believing in Jesus. Grace and works are diametrically opposed to each other and can never be mixed if you wish to be true to Scripture. There is a wonderful principle that should always be followed:

    “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.” Romans 11:6

    The moment you imply, suggest, request, preach that good works are required to prove one’s salvation, you have crossed the line into a false Gospel.

    You asked about the difference between believing “in Christ AS salvation or FOR salvation”:
    “Isn’t it the submission to God…that makes the difference? (I realize our actions go against this…but shouldn’t there be a fight that shows we WANT God as our Lord?”

    That begs the question: Submission to God in what way? You are implying that we must submit to His leadership (as Lord for discipleship) in order to have, show or keep eternal life after we have believe in Christ alone FOR salvation. That is not Biblical because it infers that if we do not “submit” to his discipleship, we may not really be saved.

    You asked,”shouldn’t there be a fight that shows we WANT God as our Lord?”

    To whom are we showing this fight, you as a Pastor? Your church members? Would you be bragging about how hard you are “fighting”? Or are you inferring that the Lord does not already know your mind, whether or not you show it to the world, church, friends, Pastor.

    A believer doesn’t have to “WANT God as our Lord.” If you or one of your group has trusted Jesus Christ alone as Savior, Jesus IS their Lord (Master). They now have the opportunity and choice to obey God’s Word (not man’s ideas or dictums) and thus enjoy the benefits — or be disobedient to His word and suffer discipline and the temporal consequences. Every believer SHOULD walk in good works. (Ephesians 2:10). Your group must NEVER be told that they “must walk” in good works to show you or anyone how obedient they are. The Lord already knows.

    Ryan, it seems your questions belie the witness of your stated beliefs above, in salvation by God’s Grace alone.
    (Forgive me for breaking my own anti-verbosity suggestion).

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  21. I am pondering on this thought…that I may not believe in salvation by Christ’s merit alone…but that Iam including works in that which I trust in. I don’t see it (though may be blinded). I certainly hope I am not trusting in my works…at all.

    I guess a Calvinist can fall into a works based trust if that Calvinist become Armenian and stops believing even His good works come as a grace (gift) of God through the Holy Spirit which He prepared beforehand for us to walk in (Eph 2). Otherwise…even if a Calvinist, who believes in assurance of faith through adoption, in no way can be accused of trusting in works based salvation since that Calvinist lives by the fact that it all comes from God’s power and sovereign rule. Bear with me, since you oppose Calvinistic theology, but maybe that is the issue…if I look at good works from your Armenian view…then of course it would seem like a belief in works based salvation. I view my works as God’s merit…God’s glory…God’s own boast since only He provides the works which we walk in and I can take absolutely NO credit for them. So, can’t we agree to disagree on Calvinistic theology and then say we both are only trusting in Christs merit alone?

  22. Ryan,

    1.

    The thing here that concerns me is the part about God making him do it and the rebellion to submission thing. I believe that God influences us to believe through the Word and Spirit but does not make us. I don’t see salvation in terms of going from rebellion to submission but rather going from unbelief to belief. Would that person be considered a child or God? I personally would want to ask that person more questions and even then it might be hard to know for sure.

    4. Are all Calvinists LS’ers in your opinion? Does Free Grace reject all Calvinistic teaching?

    Basically I see these two (Calvinism/LS) alike though there may be nuances or degrees as far as extremes. Calvinists hold to Perseverance of the Saints which is where LS comes from. Free Grace as far as I understand it rejects all Calvinistinc teaching – the five points of Calvinism (TULIP). Beyond that though there may be some commonly held views.

    5. “A disciple is a follower. We all follow something or someone. That will designate who/what our God is. How can a “Believer” not be a disciple…imperfect yes…but still a follower who trusts in their teacher…and his ways. This would show by his works…no?”

    Discipleship is learning from the Master. In the time of the apostles they had to follow Christ to be his pupils. Today we don’t exactly have the dynamic where we actually are following Christ around the earth but we can still learn from Him through the Spirit and Word. Discipleship or Christian growth through learning the Word can improve for a believer. A believer could neglect it. They could fluctuate in their level of commitment to it etc. God is always leading us to learn more of Him but that does not mean that we always make the full effort. Does failure necessarily show that God is not our God? No, but is does show we are not doing what we ought and we have no excuses.

    “I just think the bigname LS’ers are focusing on “works” because Americans use the microwave approach to salvation and there really is no belief/ trust…just a prayer. Where persecution is common…and death…”

    I am an American and have been around many churches and not really seen that example much. We would agree that people are not saved by a prayer but by faith in Christ alone.

    “Christ followers seem to understand that following Jesus means a changed life.”

    I believe that there are two natures, the old man and the new. Our lives very well may seem different in ways the more we walk in the new man in the power of the Spirit in obedience to the Word. However we will not always be obedient because the old man is still there. We can and will still sin. There is no need to introspect ourselves to try to judge whether or not our faith is “real” based on works. Also if salvation is not akin to discipleship, as some like MacArhtur would have you to believe, then this isn’t really relevant to conversion.

    Jim F

  23. 1) Why do the works always have to be added as “qualifiers”? Romans 4:5 eliminates any such qualifiers when it comes to salvation.

    2) Telling people to turn from idols is great. But nobody can turn enough from anything, to be saved. Don’t add it to salvation. As soon as you add any works to salvation, it ceases to be about Jesus Christ and Him crucified, and ends up about that/those work(s), see Galatians 5:2.

    3) The devil cannot be saved, no matter what he believes or does. This is a red herring argument. “Wanting God as Lord” isn’t ever presented as the way to heaven. A person should want God as Lord, but again, it’s never presented as the way to heaven. And Jesus offers free eternal life, it is an offer to be believed in, or rejected.

    4) I’ve never personally seen one calvinist that wasn’t LS. If there are non-LS calvinists, then they wouldn’t in reality be calvinists, since the fifth point of TULIP is LS.

    5) Not every believer is a good disciple at all. And many disciples are not believers (John 6:66). There are carnal Christians. Whether you believe that or not.

    What degree of “changed life” must a person have, to prove their salvation? If I define the necessary “changed life” for the person, then I can prove ANY person to be not saved, ANY, you and me included, because I can prove that every person’s life hasn’t “changed” enough, depending on where I set the parameters (parameters which are found nowhere in Scripture anyway). See how easy it is to manipulate people and take away all security and comfort.

    I will conclude by answering your last question, with a question. Why can’t a saved person just be saved, without the “qualifiers”? And then do works to obey the Lord, for love, and for rewards? And if they don’t, they’re still saved.

    Not intending to be snarky :)

  24. 1. So Free Gracer’s don’t believe in perseverance of the saints?

    2. Also, doesn’t Jesus talk about “hating your father, mother, etc” (meaning a changed life or sorts).
    3. Doesn’t the call to “follow him” look like a life of obedience…and failure?
    4. Doesn’t the new creation Paul talks about involve a changed life as well as a changed person by the Spirit?
    5. Why do the many writers of the Bible exhort the saints toward changed lives, obedience, etc?

    6. On another note, shouldn’t you be just as concerned about giving people false assurance as you are about giving people a gospel that is tainted with works?

    Thanks for all of your kind and patient comments.

    [ed. note: numbers added for ease of response]

  25. Ryan,

    Just so you know, we don’t hold to the Arminian view. We would reject that system as well. Again, part of the problem lies in the Calvinistic view that God does everything including make the person believe all the way down to works that they do as believers. Are you saying that you are in essence a robot or puppet? One does not have to take that extreme view in order to not “work” for their salvation. Christ has provided all the work necessary for salvation. All we need to do is believe. Believing is not a “work of righteousness.” (this is contrary to what many Calvinists teach.)

    A possible reason why our disagreement over Calvinism might not be able to be written off- If the Calvinist is incorrect about God doing everything for them then their system becomes a works system because they are trying to then constantly prove that maybe they are indeed one of the elect. The other problem is tied into perseverance of the saints as Abe and I mentioned above. LS is basically a works gospel because God is not an all controlling manipulator that makes people believe or not believe. That being the case, the test of whether or not you decide to be a disciple is not nearly the same in that it no longer bears the weight of proof as to if one was genuinely one of the elect or not.

    Jim F

    PS

    Sorry if this comes across hard to read. I tried my best to boil this down to two paragraphs but there are some complex ideas here. (Some of which we had discussed more thoroughly on other posts.)

  26. Ryan, Calvinism and Arminianism both teach salvation by human works.

    The Calvinist must base his assurance of salvation on being one of the elect. As one of the elect, he will manifest good works and perseverance in holiness. If not, it may call into question whether he really was one of the elect. That is why Calvinism is so inextricably linked to Lordship “salvation.”

  27. Ryan, one more thing:

    You said: “Otherwise…even if a Calvinist, who believes in assurance of faith through adoption, in no way can be accused of trusting in works based salvation since that Calvinist lives by the fact that it all comes from God’s power and sovereign rule.”

    My comment: The Bible teaches that it is God’s will that all men be saved. But, not all men will be saved. For God to choose only some to be saved, that would mean that He also chooses others to not be saved. That would mean that He made choices contrary to His revealed will and His word. As we know, God is perfectly Holy and cannot lie nor contradict Himself.

    Calvinism is a man-made religion.

  28. Ryan,

    I am operating upon the assumption that you are honestly searching for the truth. On that basis I will answer your questions. In the past we have had many individuals try to string us along with ongoing standard LS questions and propaganda. I trust that you do not fall into that category.

    Here goes:

    1. No, Free Gracers do not hold to perseverance of the saints (the “P” of the Calvinist “TULIP”). This false teaching is man-centered requiring the individual to perform a lifetime of good works in order to prove to himself and to others that he was ever really saved to begin with. It is basically equivalent to Lordship Salvation. It’s a real killer of assurance. Many unanswerable questions arise from this teaching: A. Who sets the standards for Christian service and behavior? Some, (like Chan, Platt, Stearns and Piper) make the standard as “all-out, on-fire, over-the-top, never lukewarm;” otherwise, one is considered as an unbeliever. B. How long must one serve God to know for certain that he is saved?—five years? ten years? twenty? C. Are any periods of backsliding ever allowed?; if any, for how long? D. What about the many biblical examples of believers who strayed from the Lord: David, Solomon, Jacob, Samson and Lot come readily to mind. Solomon fell into idolatry at the end of his life; did the timing of his sin exclude him from heaven? I think not! Believers do not have to strive to persevere in their faith. God saves us and God keeps us saved (John 10:27-30).

    2. Regarding your partial quotation of Luke 14:26, this verse and section speak about the costs of discipleship, NOT salvation. LSers commonly missaply discipleship texts as if they were salvation texts.
    There are no costs for the individual to become saved. Salvation is entirely a FREE GIFT from God to anyone who will trust in Christ alone by grace alone through faith alone: Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3:16-18; Romans 4:5; John 11:25; Acts 16:30-31.

    3. Ref. to discipleship, as in #2

    4. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” When a person trusts Christ alone by grace alone through faith alone for salvation, yes, that person becomes a new creation in Christ with a new nature. But the old nature is still on the scene as well (see, for example, Paul’s admitted struggles with sin and the old sin nature in Romans 7). The believer should do good works for God (Ephesians 2:10), but, if he failed to do so, this failure would not prove that he was unsaved.

    5. Because living for Christ is the right and proper thing for a believer to do.

    6. How could preaching the Biblical Gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ Jesus alone (Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3:16-18; Acts 16:30-31) possibly be considered as “giving people false assurance?” Preposterous!

  29. 1. So Free Gracer’s don’t believe in perseverance of the saints?

    eternal security – yes, perseverance of the saints – no

    2. Also, doesn’t Jesus talk about “hating your father, mother, etc” (meaning a changed life or sorts).

    This is talking about those believers who decide to become dedicated disciples. For those in Jesus day there sure would have been a change in what they did in life. Some left their occupation and family so they could learn from Jesus. I don’t have to do that today in that specific sense to learn from Him. We do have his completed Word.

    3. Doesn’t the call to “follow him” look like a life of obedience…and failure?

    Did Peter ever fail? What about Thomas? Paul? God does not make us walk a perfect life of obedience. Also, how many people do you know that are perfectly 100 percent committed to discipleship and obedience always and have never sinned since becoming a believer. I’ve never met that person. Quite frankly, most believers (actual saved people) struggle just to read their Bible regularly.

    4. Doesn’t the new creation Paul talks about involve a changed life as well as a changed person by the Spirit? 5. Why do the many writers of the Bible exhort the saints toward changed lives, obedience, etc?

    Yes, there is a reason that we are told to put off concerning the old man. This is because it is NOT automatically done for us by God. We are to go on to holiness becoming always more and more like Christ but it is not a perfect process for us because of the sin nature and bears no consequence on our eternal state just on the rewards we will receive (for God’s glory) at the Bema Seat.

    6. On another note, shouldn’t you be just as concerned about giving people false assurance as you are about giving people a gospel that is tainted with works?

    Yes, but giving a person assurance solely upon works they can do or not do is a recipe for false assurance. They need to start with faith in Christ alone. Calvinists are more concerned about not giving assurance to the non-elect. I’ve met some people like this who talked about these things the way you do now.

    Jim F

  30. I want to thank you all for your replies. Well done, very clear, and sincere. I will think upon these things for a while. I think I understand where you “Free Gracers” are coming from and I have to say that you seem to be right, holding true to the gospel of Jesus Christ and resting in His work alone. If I am in error, may God show mercy to me and my LS friends and those we teach. I will continue to seek the Lord’s wisdom on this most important issue. I do not take the charge of bringing a false gospel lightly. God forbid.

    In Him, and Him alone, Ryan

  31. Ryan, following are my answers to your questions from 11:06 last night:

    1. “So Free Gracer’s don’t believe in perseverance of the saints?”

    My comment: NO! I believe that we are preserved by God’s power. See links below:

    http://expreacherman.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/cucuzza-the-permanence-of-salvation.pdf

    2. “Also, doesn’t Jesus talk about ‘hating your father, mother, etc’ (meaning a changed life or sorts).”

    My comment: This is a discipleship passage. But, being a dedicated disciple of Christ requires full defense of the Gospel, which may result in disagreements with people close to you on the terms of salvation – even your parents.

    3. “Doesn’t the call to “follow him” look like a life of obedience…and failure?”

    My comment: Being a dedicated follower of Christ is a great thing to do, but it will not result in eternal life. Salvation is by Grace, through faith in Christ.

    The first step in discipleship should be for a new believer to become firmly rooted in the Gospel. Otherwise, he is going to have a very confused journey of discipleship and be a very confusing witness.

    4. “Doesn’t the new creation Paul talks about involve a changed life as well as a changed person by the Spirit?”

    My comment: The new creation Paul talks about is born of God, and therefore absolutely sinless. Not only does the new creation not sin as much as the old creation, he does not sin at all.

    1 John 3:9: “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”

    The “old man” still remains, which means we still sin. There is a conflict between the two natures of the believer until we go to be with the Lord.

    5. “Why do the many writers of the Bible exhort the saints toward changed lives, obedience, etc?”

    My comment: Ryan, this is one of your best questions so far. The answer is, because changed lives, obedience, etc. are not AUTOMATIC in the lives of the saints. If changed lives were automatic, these scriptures would not need to have been written.

    6. “On another note, shouldn’t you be just as concerned about giving people false assurance as you are about giving people a gospel that is tainted with works?”

    My comment: Anyone who believes in Christ as His personal Savior has eternal life and eternal security the moment he first believes. He should, therefore, have assurance.

    False assurance is generally based on belief in a false gospel, such as Calvinism, or LS.

  32. Ryan,

    Thanks for your dialog and sincerity.

    You said, “If I am in error, may God show mercy to me and my LS friends and those we teach.”

    Rest assured, The Lord is always full of Mercy. You are right to be concerned for those you teach.

    You further asserted: “I do not take the charge of bringing a false gospel lightly. God forbid.”

    Wise decision, Ryan. According to scripture, those who perpetuate “another” (false) Gospel are accursed. Galatians 1:8-9

    You say, “God forbid” you from preaching a false gospel. He will not forbid you from that — that is your decision to preach a clear gospel message. The Lord desires that but will not force you.

    We will pray for you and your decision.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  33. Ryan, Somehow both Arminians and Calvinists are confused, or outright falsely accuse us “free-gracers” of being antinomian, or not exhorting others to live a life pleasing to Christ.

    Isn’t it grace that even enables us to live? The one thing that is needful that will never be taken from us, is one thing we need to do to encourage believers who are still in the milk. (Luke 10:38-42). We can also use plain speech from God’s Word, vs. lengthy sermons with convoluted definitions such as in John Macarthur’s sermon on “The Only Road to Heaven”

    I believe that God preserves the Saints, holds us forever secure in His hand. But I do not accept the teaching of perseverance of the saints, much which does not line up with Scripture. (I can agree with the recommendation above, I read Thomas Cucuzza’s book, Secure Forever! (excellent Biblical response, rich and replete with Scripture).

    God’s Word gives us our assurance, as does the Holy Spirit when He witnesses with our spirit that we are His. Have we believed God’s testimony of His Son? Then we should KNOW. (John 20:31; I John 5:10-13)

    I want to ask you in return, shouldn’t you be concerned about making a young believer stumble by attacking their assurance, in essence shaking their faith? Isn’t the standard for knowing whether someone is saved by their correct profession of faith? (I am not being snarky either, just have been in the receiving end of that). Can we judge the circumcision of their heart by the appearance? (John 7:24) Is that righteous judgment?

    As we know from John 6, Jesus had many disciples who stopped following Him, but it was because they didn’t believe His Words. HE knew from the beginning who would not believe. Those who believed He had the words of eternal life had nowhere to go, even though we know Peter denied Him, and the rest all fled at the arrest, they were believers and He lost none except the one who was already prophesied to be the son of perdition.

    Here’s a question for you. If Lordship teachers are so concerned for these people’s growth, should they not commend them to the Word of His grace, (Acts 20:32), teach them the strong meat of His Word, (Heb 5:12-14)and leave the finishing and completion to the Author and the One that began the good work? Shouldn’t we point them to the solution? The meat if they are still babes, or the gospel if you believe they are unsaved?

    Should these same people not “imitate” Paul and the other apostles, exhorting, encouraging, rebuking with God’s Word (not theirs) and most especially follow JESUS themselves, and wash the feet of those who are already clean. (Eph 5:26; John 17:17) Isn’t THAT the solution instead of accusation? Isn’t that a picture of us helping other become progressively sanctified?

    I was reading in I Cor 12 last night, and thought instantly on people like Washer and Macarthur, who many times point to outward works they say they do not see, and surmise someone is not saved.

    So sad to me, it’s no wonder so many young one’s wonder if they are even part of the body of Christ, or give up and never grow as they cannot compete.

    Most of the chapter reminded me of why He placed us together in the body (certainly not to be accused). And it also wasn’t so that the foot can question since they are not the hand if they are even in the body. Or the ear wondering if because they are not the eye, if they are even of the body…. These men I believe are the ones that disdain the feeble members.

    Here is vs. 21-23: And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

    My short personal testimony. I did not grow because I was not in the Word. People did not see outward evidence and constantly accused me of not being saved. I began to believe them and tried to do what I should do, but the accuser of the brethren was helped along by the church people in judging my salvation by my works (or lack thereof in their eyes). Or sins thereof, real or imagined that they had heard about.

    I thank God I was His legitimate child, and that He chastised me. I had become without hope. I had believed, but I was unable to live the life, so therefore I must not be saved. Finally, I said “Help me Lord”, and the Holy Spirit began to bring Scriptures to my remembrance to assure me that He knew me in advance, and forgive me, all sins, past, present, and even more than I knew, the ones I would commit in the future. Perfected forever…(Heb 10:14)

    What is the purpose of accusing of someone’s heart, they need to judge by a righteous judgment and if they doubt someone’s salvation, they need to go in the manner of 2 Tim 2:23-26, and ask them the necessary things regarding the gospel, and if they say they believe, you cannot and should not accuse them, but disciple them yourself.

    Wash their feet yourself. His grace has enabled me to do things I had no strength to do on my own. Good works I had no idea were possible. And I care NOT if a soul sees them, but Christ who is my judge. The one and only judge.

    If we think someone is not saved, we should remember that WE do not currently judge the world (I Cor 5 at the end). We only judge the sins within the church… And still Paul did not say they were not saved.

    Preach the gospel, it is the POWER of God unto salvation…

    I hope you receive it in the tone and with the sincerity it was given, I know words, or written words cannot properly display our emotions. God bless you as you hopefully will defend the gospel.

  34. Duane Hawkins

    Hi Ryan,

    Earlier, you asked:

    “Are all Calvinists LS’ers in your opinion? Does Free Grace reject all Calvinistic teaching?”

    As others on this forum do, I believe Calvinism and Lordship Salvation are inextricably linked. It all hinges on the Calvinist definition of Total Depravity as equivalent to Total Inability – the utter inability of man not only to seek God, but even to choose God or any of the things of God – and even when faced with the truth that his eternal life is at stake. Once we buy into the notion that depravity equals inability, then we must conclude that that the only possibility for salvation is if God literally regenerates / replaces the sinner’s heart apart from the will of that individual, but this introduces another inconsistency that Calvinists try to explain away like this:

    [Predestination / Unconditional Election] “does not mean that man cannot oppose its execution to a certain degree, but it does mean that his opposition will not prevail. Neither does it mean that God in the execution of His decree overpowers the human will in a manner which is inconsistent with man’s free agency. It does mean, however, that God can and does exert such an influence on the human spirit as to make it willing” (Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, pp 124-125)

    If, as Calvinists maintain, man is truly unable to even respond to God when called and would naturally refuse any opportunity to place faith in Christ, then we must recognize the explanation of election given above for the nonsensical doublespeak that it is, and that unconditional election must override the will of those elected. No amount of linguistic gymnastics can change that. So we are really left with only two possibilities: depravity does equate to inability and election is therefore unconditional and is executed without respect to or even in opposition to the will of those elected; or depravity stops short of total inability and election is therefore conditioned (at least initially) upon the volitional belief of the elected individual.

    So, does the Bible teach Total Inability? Consider the following Scriptures:

    “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)” (Romans 2:14-15, KJV)

    “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15, KJV)

    While the Bible does tell us that men do not volitionally seek after God (Romans 3:11), and that they cannot come to Christ unless drawn (John 6:44), nowhere do we find that man is incapable even of trusting in the Savior to save him from eternity in the Lake of Fire (as Lot did in Genesis 19). To get to this conclusion, we must redefine terms like draw to mean compel, as many Calvinist teachers do.

    The tragedy of Calvinism is that, even in their staunch defense of the infallibility and total sufficiency of the Scriptures, they seem to have missed the vital truth that God Himself has invested His Word with the supernatural power to open blind eyes and to change men’s hearts, such that they become able to see themselves for who they are, God for who He is, and to recognize their desperate need for the Savior:

    “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17, KJV)

    “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 Greek.” (Romans 1:16, KJV)

    “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12, KJV)

    “And many more believed because of his own word.” (John 4:41) (and many more like this)

    Our part is simply to share the Word of God and let the Word do its work:

    “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? 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!” (Romans 10:14-15, KJV)

    In Christ,

    Duane

  35. Thanks Duane for the solid explanation.

  36. Duane Hawkins

    Thank you all for all you do! Sites like this one have encouraged me in my own struggle to understand the Truth of Scripture. It has been a long struggle for me. I cannot count the number of times I prayed the sinner’s prayer because of teachings like these. Ironically, the harder I tried, the worse I failed.

    How is the weather out there? Very soggy here in the Southeast.

  37. Hot and dry in Southern Cal. A 25,000 acre “Powerhouse” fire is raging about ten miles from my home. No danger to us but there’s a lot of ash in the air.

  38. Duane,

    Thank you. You have written an excellent critique of the LS/Calvinist teaching.

    One thing that Ryan mentioned in his comment is the Calvinist catchword, “sovereignty” which, incidentally, does not appear in the KJV, (only in some of the modern Calvinist inspired translations), yet the concept of “sovereignty” is the rock and foundation of their teaching.

    I reiterate a statement I made in the article about the sham of the Calvinist invented word, “sovereignty,” perpetrated by Reformed teachers:
    Without their devised, invented and concocted understanding of the word “sovereignty,” the whole Calvinist/Reformed/LS theology has no core and falls apart.

    Their twisted concept of “sovereignty” taints EVERY doctrine they have invented. Without it they have nothing and their TULIP is simply a shriveled, amorphous illusion.

    If you take the five invalid TULIP points and analyze them Biblically without the crutch of “sovereignty,” none will stand. Daniel made a great case for that in an earlier comment.

    LSers and Calvinists either ignore plain teachings in Scripture or they go to great lengths to justify their false doctrines.

    I have never run into a Calvinist/LSer who would admit that he, personally, had ever made the personal decision to believe in or trust Jesus Christ as his Savior. They say it was all of God, their faith was given by “God and His Grace.” For them to admit otherwise would violate the “absolute sovereignty of God.” What a terrifying and uncertain future they must envision!!

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  39. You know Philip asked the Eunuch if he believed with his whole heart, and we know what the Eunuch answered…

    So those who believe that they are saved due to election, I ask, Did you really believe with your whole heart? What did you believe? When did you come to faith? (and I don’t mean an exact date). Doesn’t it trouble you, that you didn’t make a decision to place your faith on Him alone because of what HE did? Did you “enter in” the narrow gate? For people like John Macarthur who say how hard this is, I believe for a Calvinist, it is very hard. Because you don’t believe in the simplicity that is in Christ.

    I know from a young age I believed, but there came a time where I on my own knew I wanted to be identified as one of His own, and came to my mom, and we need the right answer, to those who ask, “What must I do in order to be saved”?

  40. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved! ” Amen!
    That implies one can believe.
    The gospel must be made clear in its presentation to the lost. That is what all of us “Grace Folk” are adamant about. It’s what HE did for me.
    I

  41. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. That implies one can believe.”

    Well said.

    Of course, it takes a Reformed theologian to deconstruct such a clear sentence in Scripture, and cause God to be a giant tease that tells you to believe even though you can’t believe unless you happen to be part of the “arbitrary elect”.

  42. FryingPan9

    Ryan, allow me here to second what Holly Garcia said about the resources John recommended and to elaborate:

    Obviously your Bible is the most important resource, but I’ve read Dr. Tom Cucuzza’s SECURE FOREVER! as well as the GOSPEL booklet offered by Clear Gospel Campaign and can tell you they are not only great resources, but at this point I really think they’re ESSENTIAL.

    You can probably divide the world of Free Grace believers into two camps — those who utilize commentaries to enhance their understanding of the things of God, and those who don’t, be it to the extreme of NEVER using any resources other than the Bible (and having disdain for those who do) to thinking it’s okay to use outside Free Grace resources, but who are nonetheless leery about said resources “crowding out” God’s Word to one degree or another. I say that only because it’s obvious some of us who post on and/or administrate this blog are in the former camp and I believe it’s okay to be that way, at least for a season.

    Only 6 months ago I was incredibly confused and needed to be disabused of the affect a lot of false teachings were having on me, even though I more or less knew most of the false teachings were just that–bunk. But I lacked the confidence, knowledge and discernment to not be “taken in” by some of them and thus I was constantly being robbed of the joy of total confidence in having eternal security based on my faith by grace alone in Christ alone.

    Thanks to this blog and the resources recommended here, I’ve made great strides in reclaiming my joy and being an effective witness for the gospel as opposed to a sidelined onlooker, which, because of the “fruit” of LS theology, I was. It’s pretty impossible to win others to Jesus when you’re bogged down wondering if you’re even really saved.

  43. Fryingpan :) I stayed away from books for a long time, and I am glad I did. But when I read Tom Cucuzza’s book, I sure learned a lot through many of the Bible verses and the orderly manner it was presented.

    Although I know the Holy Spirit continued to guide me into all truth, through reading His Word, and using it to prove all things, I learned such a valuable lesson. I don’t care who it is. I look up each Scripture even if I know the reference. And I am so thankful for His Word. And we have it as a wonderful treasure, if we will just test the spirits, and search to see if these things are so.

    I am much more careful not to recommend people, and even so, I always try to remember the caveat of “proving all things”. So glad you are here with us :)

    Don’t even know if you are a brother or sister in Christ, but I know you are family :)

  44. Holly–I’m a man. Well, I try to be.

    Thank you.

  45. Fryingpan9, you made me laugh, glad you are a man, been praying to the Lord for more godly men to speak up and be bold regarding the truth of the gospel, and mark men who are not straightforward about the truth of the gospel.

    God bless you… thanks for the chuckle :)

  46. Duane Hawkins

    Jack,

    Thank you for the kind words, and for fighting the good fight! I don’t know if you have heard of him, but G. Michael Cocoris has some excellent and fairly concise but complete resources rebutting Lordship Salvation and Calvinism and explaining Repentance on his website – all lovingly presented and heavy with Scripture. So far he seems pretty solid in his teaching to me, I’ll let you take a look first and see if you want to recommend his materials.

    In Christ Always,

    Duane

  47. Hi Duane,

    Good recommendation on Cocoris. He was one of the first to come out strongly against Lordship Salvation in his book on the subject. The book is out of print now; I had to pay over sixty dollars for it on Amazon.

    Thanks for commenting. You’re always welcome.

  48. Duane and Bruce,

    Thanks Bruce, I know very little about Cocoris — but happy to find him a good resource.

    Thanks Duane for bringing him up — there are so few we can trust.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  49. I have Cocoris’ book on Repentance, but also found it online for free, pdf format. If someone cannot find it, I will find the link if approved by the admins in the next day or so. I thought he did a very good job and laid out every example. Been a little while since I read it, but I think it’s a good recommendation for those who have difficulty understanding what repentance means.

  50. I would recommend the section on repentance from Clear Gospel Campaign. It provides a comprehensive analysis of every NT usage, including context, object of repentance, subject of repentance, and consequence of repentance.

  51. John,

    I agree with you that Clear Gospel Campaign is a better source for the word “repentance.”

    At Holly’s suggestion and your warning, and with some difficulty I read excerpts from Cocoris’ PDF on Repentance — and find at least one section in error and confusing.

    What I read in the PDF is generally OK, but he uses the the phrase “fruit of repentance”, which is not Biblical (“fruit worthy of repentance” and “fruit meet for repentance” are scriptural phrases). This error seems common in some Grace teachers.

    One Cocoris quote that I found to be not doctrinally correct is this one from page 17, speaking of repentance:

    “The internal change is the root and the external change of action is the fruit. As M’Neile says ‘the fruit is not the change of heart, but the acts which result from it.’

    That quote makes it sound like good works automatically emanate from belief in Christ. Yes, good works SHOULD result from belief in Christ but they are not “the acts that result from it [repentance].” This teaching is simply not Biblical.

    If anyone reads or studies Cocoris’ work, do so with care and discernment.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  52. Jack,

    What is the difference between fruit worthy of repentance and fruit of repentance? I have never heard of “fruits meet for repentance” either – can you elaborate some?

    Thank you.

  53. Good afternoon. Thank you for your wonderful resource.

    Although this does not completely address the comment at hand, it is within the general ballpark, and the Submit Comment by E-Mail form did not work for me.

    I have been doing some research on Soteriology, Free Grace, and Lordship Salvation, through which I have discovered your blog.

    I also discovered a paper located here
    { Link Removed } which analyzes and gives scriptural support from a Lordship Salvation point of view. I am curious as to what scriptures you would use to refute these points.

    I believe that no one group is capable of accurately representing another group, and that there is misunderstanding of the others’ positions on both sides. While I believe the author misrepresents the position of “Free Grace”, I find some of his points difficult to refute.

    I do believe that what is defined and believed as the Gospel is vitally, or rather, eternally, important, and as I endeavour to make sure that I both believe and teach an accurate Gospel, I’d like to know others’ thoughts.

    I am conscious of the fact that for most of my Christian walk I have been submersed in more Lordship Salvation teaching than otherwise, hence, I have difficulty reconciling the blogger’s response to question 2, “It is not possible to identify a believer by his behavior” with Matthew 7:15-23, which states that a particular group of people, namely, false prophets, can be identified by their fruit, as well as 1 John 3:10 which states [KJV] “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.”

    I believe that everyone here loves God and wants to see the truth of the Gospel proclaimed. I want to make sure I have a proper understanding as well. I am young and recognize that many others have much more experience and knowledge and may be able to respond.

    Thank you all;

  54. Jonathan,

    Thanks for visiting and your inquiry. You may notice that we deleted the link to the radical Calvinist web site. We do not advertise such false doctrine here at ExP.

    Rather than have us read a diatribe in favor of Lordship Salvation, would you kindly itemize the points that seem to convince you that there is scriptural support for Lordship salvation and that it is an acceptable teaching.

    As you may know the site you mentioned was originated by RC Sproul and is perpetuated by those such as the author of the article who agree with his radical Calvinism. His source in favor of the argument includes Calvinists and Lordship Salvationists, MacArthur, Sproul, Michael Horton, J. I. Packer.

    His article sets up a straw man with the title: “A Biblical Response to the Teachings of Zane Hodges, Joseph Dillow, and the Grace Evangelical Society (Called the “Free Grace” Movement)

    No respectable believer in God’s Biblical Free Grace endorses those folks/organizations and their crossless “gospel” message.

    We will appreciate your list of the author’s points you find difficult to refute. Our many readers will be glad to help you do so.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  55. David J.

    Thanks for your questions. This subject has been covered many times here at ExP. I will quote our good friend John, Commenter and Author here at ExP:

    John said:
    I have found lots of things I disagree with, even from great Free Grace expositors.

    Examples:

    On repentance: I have seen several treatises on repentance that many people swear by, that I think are way off in the following ways:

    1. The use of the term “fruits of repentance”. This phrase is NEVER found in scripture. There are “fruits meet for repentance” (Matthew 3:8), “fruits worthy of repentance” (Luke 3:8) and “works meet for repentance” (Acts 26:20).

    Note that there are “fruits of the spirit”. They are not referred to as “fruits worthy of the spirit” or “fruits meet for the spirit”

    Why do I think “fruits of repentance” is wrong? Because it is not in the Bible and because “fruits of repentance” makes it sound like someone who is saved will automatically bear fruits.

    2. On repentance: “A change of heart, that leads (or normally leads) to a change in behavior”

    Why do I think it is wrong? Because repentance is best translated to a “change of mind”. If one interprets it as a change of heart, one may look to his change in heart or behavior for assurance. Even if someone concedes that a change in behavior does not automatically follow a change of heart, this interpretation would still cause a person to question his salvation, leading to the following type of introspection:

    “Is there something wrong with my faith? A change of heart normally leads to a change in behavior. I don’t feel like my behavior has changed as much as it should.”

    This introspection can ebb and flow, based on how one is feeling at any given point in time.

    Link:

    http://www.expreacherman.com/2012/12/18/dave-hunts-berean-call-promoting-not-only-calvinism-but-now-the-terrible-lordship-salvation-of-ray-comfort/#comment-16691

  56. Jonathan, you’ve indicated you teach, so since we’ll be held more accountable, it’s something to be soberminded about. I don’t know if you’ve had the book by Thomas Cucuzza recommended to you, but I think he did an excellent job of answering not only the things you mentioned, but in far more depth, covering both sides with Scripture.

    It’s called, “Secure Forever! God’s Promise or Our Perseverance?” by Thomas Cucuzza and is available in Kindle and also paperback.

    God bless you as you consider how you’ve been taught and consider asking the Lord to show you where certain things you were taught might not quite line up with His Word.

  57. Duane Hawkins

    “If anyone reads or studies Cocoris’ work, do so with care and discernment.”

    Jack,

    This is surely sound advice, and one I would repeat with respect to any Bible teacher, Free Grace or otherwise. The Bible itself is the best resource we have for interpreting Scripture and we are called to be like the Bereans, receiving the Good News and sound teaching with joy, but also with care to compare what is being said with the Word of God itself.

    It is interesting what the Samaritans said after Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well: “…now we believe, not because of what you said, but we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ…” This is not to say that I don’t find books and study resources useful or that I don’t appreciate the time and devotion it takes to compile them, but I think it is wise to check and cross check the work of even the most well-respected teachers.

    In Christ Always,

    Duane

  58. Duane,

    Yes! You said, “I think it is wise to check and cross check the work of even the most well-respected teachers.”

    Dr. Tom Cucuzza would certainly agree with you if you listen to his sermons or read his book, Secure Forever. He would invite you to compare everything he says with your KJV Bible.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  59. Hi Duane,

    Sound advice to all of us. Thanks! We appreciate your participation at Expreacherman.com.

    .

  60. hi. The scriptures on fruit worthy of repentance is meaning, now that you changed your mind and believed in Jesus as your savior who has inputed his righteousness to you as a free gift. Work out that salvation so men can see it and bring glory to God and also so you can earn rewards and have intimate fellowship with the Father. Abide in the vine. Remain in fellowship with God
    and you will manifest the new nature. We have relationship with God which is eternal but to remain in fellowship with him in this temporal life we need to become Jesus’ disciples. Like James says, show me your faith by your works. He is saying bear fruit so others can see that you believe. God already sees your faith in his Son as your salvation. He wants us to show
    the world our faith to get others saved. Not to prove to or add to our salvation. Just thought I would share that as I couldn’t figure out that scripture either. I realized that repent didn’t mean from sins so it had to
    mean simply that to believe you changed your mind from not believing to believing you were saved by grace not your good or promise of good behavior otherwise it’s works. If an unbeliever could repent deal with their sins
    then they wouldn’t need Jesus. Why ask a unbeliever to repent of sins when he can’t even keep the law perfectly, he has a fallen nature. Until you are convinced that you are made righteous with Jesus, righteous postionally which
    is how God sees you. It will be hard to live righteously. Knowing God sees you holy no matter what takes the pressure off so you can relax in Jesus knowing you are secure eternally and live an overcoming life and will begin to change and have joy and can really get to know the love God has for us.
    I don’t believe these lordship preachers are living righteously as how can they when they are still trying to work for God’s acceptance. Trying to keep the law causes you to not overcome sin. They are only living morally which is the same as a moral catholic or unbeliever. They cannot be walking in God’s unconditional love towards others because being under the law you cannot operate in love, only human love which at its highest is conditional.
    They undermine young beleivers’ assurance; I know from experience and will challenge them when ever I get the chance. They are really saying Jesus’ blood wasn’t good enough. Their works are more important. If you cannot say I am only going to heaven on Jesus’ 100 percent perfection. But say I am going to heaven because of Jesus plus my performance then you are not trusting in Christ alone period. You can boast. Hope that helps
    ralph.

  61. Maree,

    Welcome!! We appreciate your visit and your excellent Bible based comments.

    You made one point that I would like to expand upon. You wrote, as a believer:

    “[Y]ou can relax in Jesus knowing you are secure eternally and live an overcoming life and will begin to change and have joy and can really get to know the love god has for us.”

    Your statement that you “will begin to change” should certainly be the goal of every Grace Bible believer. However, since it is the choice of the believer to make that change, perhaps it would be better said that we “should begin to change”. There is no guarantee that a believer will change — but our prayer is that every believer will learn scripture from a Grace perspective and apply it to their life and thus begin to change..

    We welcome you back any time!!

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  62. hi, sorry I meant that just didn’t word it very well. I was saved at 11 years old but my parents didn’t get saved till five years later. So had no teaching or discipleship for those years apart from a children’s bible. I used to read that and fell in love with Jesus through the gospels. I didn’t grow until years later when I started to learn how to live the Christian life. So according to lordship teachers they would say I wasn’t saved. But I was from that moment at 11 years old when someone shared with me about Jesus and I received him as my Savior very simple. Too simple for lordship guys.

  63. Hi Maree,

    Thanks for that powerful testimony of how you trusted Christ alone by grace alone through faith alone, as it says in Ephesians 2:8-9. You were saved and you knew it from that moment on. Praise God that you didn’t let the lordship guys rob you of your joy or of your assurance of salvation.

  64. Jack, you reminded me to lose that terminology I have sometimes used, “change of heart”, which from what I understand it, the heart is likened to the flesh, and it’s our mind that decides to believe and then serves the law of God.

    Just another thing I have to be careful and prayerful of my speech.

  65. Maree, that’s a wonderful testimony, and what a blessing your parents became saved. I am sure many thought I was not saved, and those same people probably would still think so, judging me in their own flesh instead of by my profession of faith.

    I believe they have done much harm to the body of Christ, and continue to keep the lost in the same state… Their gospel cannot save.

    It was a blessing to read your posts :)

  66. For some of our readers who may not be subscribed to ExPreacherMan, John has written an excellent article about JD Greear, an up and coming Icon of the SBC Lordship Salvation push.

    Please visit:
    http://tinyurl.com/pwxfeus

  67. Just wanted to say what a site you have—a refuge from all the confusion out there. Talk about a cafeteria religion out there. Baptists are now unidentifiable with Calvinism and Arminianism and lordship teachings. It’s hard to find a church or teacher without these false teachings.

  68. Hi Mary,

    Thanks for writing. A refuge indeed!—a Free Grace Oasis, as the opening slogan reads.

  69. This has a lot of excellent answers for questions I see repeated over and over regarding perseverance and such. I am also reminded of Tom Cucuzza’s very good book.

We appreciate you. Please leave a reply & subscribe to our Web site and comments using check boxes below,

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s