Category Archives: Assurance of salvation

Lordship Salvation: False Prophets or Fruit?

By johninnc

Matthew 7:15-16:

[15] Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

[16] Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

As I encounter people contending for the hearts, minds, souls, votes, and money of a bewildered public, false prophets and their fruit are almost everywhere.

As the late Jack Weaver, founder of ExPreacherMan used to say, “the woods is full of ‘em!”

I am also reminded of the quote that was above the door exiting a Southern Baptist church that I used to sporadically attend: “You Are Now Entering the Mission Field.” That message was true, but incomplete. It needed to be on both sides of the door.

The point is, that much of professing Christendom is comprised of either false prophets, or their fruit. It is just impossible to know which is which.

Following are some of the insidious false messages that abound in the world of professing evangelicalism.

  • Just to say “believe in Christ” can produce a false assurance of the hope of Heaven. Jesus spoke often about the gift of eternal life. To make it clear, He said, “Count the cost.” –“Evangelist” Billy Graham
  • I would ask them to consider whether the signs of eternal life are present in them. As John explains so thoroughly in 1 John, conversion does not bring sinless perfection, but it does begin to make fundamental changes in the human heart.” – Pastor J.D. Greear
  • Another proof of the conquest of a soul for Christ will be found in a real change of life. If the man does not live differently from what he did before, both at home and abroad, his repentance needs to be repented of, and his conversion is a fiction. – 19th Century Preacher Charles Spurgeon
  • I often wonder if those who espouse easy-believism have simply adapted their theology in order to try to get a sinning loved one into the kingdom. – Pastor and best-selling author John MacArthur
  • We have to repent of our sins in turn. A person cannot stay in adultery and be accepted by God. You’ll have to repent. – Evangelist Franklin Graham
  • So a dispassionate statement of belief, with nothing behind it, and no intention to serve God in any way is all it takes…interesting belief. Never heard that before. – Facebook Comment from the son of a Southern Baptist Minister
  • However, good and bad deeds will prove an individual’s faith. If good deeds aren’t there, it proves faith isn’t present. These people face eternal judgment. If good deeds are there, it proves faith is present and they are granted eternal resurrection life. – David Chadwick, Pastor of Forrest Hills Church, Charlotte 
  • The paralyzed man is not healed by walking. Just like a Christian is not saved by works. However, when that paralyzed man walks, he proves that he was healed. When Christians demonstrate a changed life, they prove they were saved by Christ. – Commenter, ExPreacherMan
  • James 2:24 [“Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only”] is the reply to the question of James 2:14. Unproductive faith cannot save, because it is not genuine faith. Faith and works are like a two-coupon ticket to heaven. The coupon of works is not good for passage, and the coupon of faith is not valid if detached from works”  – Ryrie Study Bible
  •  As such, repentance is a necessary precursor to saving faith. It means that a nonbeliever must admit his sin to God, acknowledge he is wrong, and be willing to seek a new way of life. – “Free Grace” theologian Joseph Dillow
  • How a person conducts his life or campaign is an indication of who he is. In Matthew 7, Jesus Himself says that a tree – and people of faith – are known by their fruit, not just the words they say. – Presidential Candidate Ben Carson
  • Repentance is a turning from sin, while faith is turning to Christ. – Theologian Dr. Roy Zuck
  • Second is the subjective or experiential test of assurance in which you ask yourself, “Is my faith real?” The apostle John’s purpose in writing the epistle of 1 John was to give true believers assurance of their salvation (1 John 5:13). In that small epistle John gives several marks to distinguish a true believer. – Commenter, Redeeming Moments website
  • James’s purpose is to contrast mere intellectual agreement with active, saving faith that involves receiving the life of Christ. When Christ stood at the door and knocked, did you respond by opening the door, as Rahab did? If so, I think you’ve met the requirement of this historically controversial faith-works passage. – Author Andrew Farley, from “The Naked Gospel”
  • The question to ask is whether a Born-Again Christian can cease being a Born-Again Christian. The answer to this question is, yes, a Believer can stop believing, a Christian can stop being a Christian, and the Born-Again can turn his back on Salvation and become lost-again. – “Evangelist” Jimmy Swaggert

Each of the above quotes is fruit of false prophets.

Those of us who are clear on the gospel should seek to minister to those who aren’t. In so doing, we should be gentle and wise.

If someone is bound and determined to persist in error, or in their associations with apostate organizations, you should know when to move on.

If you are unsure about the message of a particular person, church, book, website, etc., I would encourage you to see if it passes ALL THREE of the following conditions:

1. Is it consistent with eternal life by grace through faith alone in Christ alone?
2. Is it consistent with eternal security?
3. Is it consistent with assurance of eternal life, based on God’s promises alone (i.e., it is not internally-focused on changes in attitudes, behavior, etc.)?

And, if you want to know how to have eternal life, click here:  THE GOSPEL

 

Lordship Salvation: A Tale of Two Soils

By johninnc

Luke 8:12-13:

[12] Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.

[13] They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

The above passage is an excerpt from the parable of the sower, taught in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. We know, from all three accounts of the parable of the sower, that people represented by soils two through four believed in Christ as Savior, and therefore received eternal life that could never be lost or forfeited.

But, most Calvinists and Lordship “salvationists” (LSers) will steadfastly deny the clear word of God regarding the spiritual position of believers represented by soil two (Luke 8:13).

Following is an example of the false teaching that soil two represents unsaved people, promulgated by budding Southern Baptist star J.D. Greear:

In his parable about the different types of soil, Jesus spoke of a group who heard his word and made an initial, encouraging response of belief, only to fade away over time. These are those, Jesus explained, who hear the gospel and respond positively to it—pray the prayer, walk the aisle, get baptized, or do whatever new converts in your church do. They remain in the church for a period of time. But they do not endure when the sun of persecution comes out and will not in the end be saved.

Greear’s comments are indicative of the mainstream of the Calvinist/LS community that prefers the teaching of men even when it contradicts God’s clear word. In this case, it is belief in the false Calvinist tenet of “perseverance of the saints,” which maintains that all “true believers” will persevere until the end of their lives in faith and some degree of holiness.

The irony of Greear’s comments is that LSers are represented by either soil one or soil two.

In his sermon entitled “Life Lessons from the Dirt,” pastor Tom Cucuzza explained how Satan uses pastors that teach false doctrine to keep people from understanding the gospel message. Following are excerpts that address soil number one:

Minutes 18:59 – 19:12

“How does Satan blind the mind of the lost? With false messages. You can sow the truth, and Satan will bring a false message to that person and it will keep them confused. Or, it will keep them lost.”

Minutes 19:39-20:53

“But you see, Satan blinds the minds of people by giving them a heavenly way to go to hell.

And the most dastardly of all false gospels is what we call Lordship “salvation” or discipleship “salvation.” Who says ‘Jesus is necessary, but He’s not enough.” You must also be committed and follow the Lord if you want to get to heaven. That’s mixing grace and works. It does not save. It only further deceives people and makes their blindness deeper, and deeper, and deeper. Be careful! Be careful!

So, the first soil that we see is the soil of pride. And pride of course – have you ever witnessed to somebody and they’ll say ‘I can’t believe that’. Why not? ‘It’s too easy. Oh that’s easy believism’. Or, the new one that they’ve come out with makes me want to throw up. They’ll say: ‘that’s greasy grace’. Greasy grace! You’re disgusting! How could anybody put the word ‘greasy’ with the word ‘grace’? Friends, let me tell you something. If you’re not saved by grace, you’re not saved. It’s nothing but amazing – grace! Amazing grace.”

But, not all people who have fallen for false gospels, including LS, are unsaved.

Some are those represented by soil two, who once believed in Jesus as Savior, but have fallen away. Such people may be actively involved in Church, trying to lead Godly lifestyles. Others may have “thrown in the towel” and given up on Church and Christianity altogether.

Following are some of the ways that believers become soil two believers:

  • Not staying grounded in the gospel
  • Failing to put on the full armor of God
  • Misplaced trust in men, man-made institutions, or church history
  • Trying to “eat the meat” and “spit out the bones” of false teachers
  • Desire for fellowship
  • Bewitchment
  • Compromise
  • Willful blindness to error being taught
  • Equivocation

We simply cannot know whether those who have fallen for false gospels such as Lordship “salvation” are saved (soil two believers) or unsaved (soil one).

Either way, they need to be introduced, or re-introduced to the truth of the gospel.

If you would like to know from the Bible how to have eternal life, please click here:

The Gospel

Lordship Salvation: Is THEIR Report OUR Report?

By johninnc (illustration by Holly Garcia)

image001-1

Romans 10:16: But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

We were recently meeting with some Christian friends, who mentioned that a prominent writer would be appearing at a local megachurch to make the case for Christianity. This writer’s book makes the case for Christianity by describing how much faith it would require to be an atheist.

That is a great topic for a book, and for attendant lectures. But, let’s look at a little bit of background on the teachings of the church (Forest Hills Church, Charlotte) hosting this event.

From their pastor’s blog:

(he is explaining things from Jesus’ perspective)

Through my obedience, my Father has given me the final authority to execute judgment over all humanity. One day, everyone will hear my voice and appear before me in final judgment. Don’t marvel at this saying. It is true. This judgment will solely depend on those who have believed in me. John’s gospel repeatedly states this truth (3:16;5:24,25; 14:6). However, good and bad deeds will prove an individual’s faith. If good deeds aren’t there, it proves faith isn’t present. These people face eternal judgment. If good deeds are there, it proves faith is present and they are granted eternal resurrection life.

Do you believe in me today? Do you believe I came from heaven, lived in human flesh as a man, lived the perfect life you’re incapable of living, died for your sins and rose from the dead to prove your righteousness and grant you eternal life? It’s a free gift, given by grace through faith. Accept this gift. Believe in me. Trust me for your eternal life.

This is a terrible Calvinist “perseverance of the saints” message that is entirely unbiblical. It is an affront to the real gospel message. If good deeds prove the presence or absence of faith, then one must look at himself to determine if he is saved.

The question then becomes:

Is the person teaching that the Bible is reliable reliable? Or, are they setting records (attendance, book sales, etc.) by changing the record?

Let’s look at the conflicting, unbiblical statement of faith (in works) of another megachurch in North Carolina – Summit Church in Raleigh:

We believe that salvation is a free gift given at God’s initiative, and must be received personally by faith.  
John 5:24; Rom 10:9-10; Eph 2:8-9

We believe the Bible to be God’s Word, a true and fully accurate account of God’s love for us.  Its purpose is to teach us how to have a relationship with Him, worship Him and bring Him glory.  
Psalms 19:7-10; 2 Tim 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21

Sounds good so far, right?

Ah, but then the contradiction:

If you’d like a more in-depth explanation of our doctrinal beliefs, you may want to read The Baptist Faith and Message.

Following is an excerpt from the “in depth explanation” from the Baptist Faith and Message:

Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.

A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace.

Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour.

 This statement of “faith” requires that someone be regenerated before believing (unbiblical), defines repentance as “a genuine turning from sin toward God” (unbiblical), and thereby makes Jesus necessary for salvation, but not sufficient.

In the false gospel presented in the Baptist Faith and Message, Jesus’s work on the cross, and His victory over sin and death must be augmented by our works – in this case turning from sin.

This is not the record that God gave of His Son. And it is not a message that will save anyone.

1 John 5:10-12:

[10] He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

[11] And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

[12] He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

Have you believed OUR report? Or have you believed THEIR report?

OUR report:

Eternal salvation is a free gift, available to every person on the same basis: by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

THEIR report:

Their reports vary widely. They often look the same as ours – on the surface. But then, they contradict themselves with other statements or beliefs. Some examples:

  • We are saved by grace alone through faith alone. But, the faith that saves is never alone.
  • A true Christian will…
  • You must repent of your sins to be saved
  • You must commit your life to Christ to be saved
  • You must have heart faith, not just head faith to be saved
  • You can lose your salvation

For more information on OUR report, click here: OUR REPORT

 

Lordship Salvation: Where I Come From

by johninnc

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

Where I come from it’s cornbread and chicken

Where I come from a lotta front porch pickin’

Where I come from tryin’ to make a livin’

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

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

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

Let me take a moment to explain what I mean.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

New Video Message from Dr. Thomas Cucuzza: “There’s Room At The Cross For You”

Dr. Thomas Cucuzza has posted a new video sermon on youtube that you might enjoy.  It is entitled “There’s Room At The Cross For You.” It is linked below:

Dr. Cucuzza makes the point that the thief on the cross is a type of all of us. This is a critical point, because all of us were condemned before we believed.

John 3:18: He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

 

Lordship Salvation: Worthless Religion

By johninnc

John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

I recently read a fascinating article on Yahoo entitled “Raising Kids Without God (But Maybe Not Without Religion)”, written by Calvin Hennick.

The crux of the article seemed to be that the writer wanted his kids to go to church so that they could contemplate the meaning of life.

Following are some of the salient excerpts:

My wife and I both grew up with a fairly evangelical, literalist brand of Christianity, and while we don’t quite consider ourselves atheists, we certainly don’t believe the things we believed when we were kids…

So, if I no longer believe that God can grant my family salvation in a life after this one, why am I thinking about going back to church now that I have kids? It’s not out of a desire to instill morality in them. Anyone who takes a look around can see that there are good and bad people of all faiths, and of no faith, and personally, I have pretty much the same sense of right and wrong that I did when I was a born-again Christian…

Instead, I’d like my kids to have a place where they can contemplate essential, universal questions about what it means to live a good life. I’d like for them to be part of a community searching for something bigger than the joys and struggles of everyday life – even if this “something greater” isn’t God. And I’d like these things for myself, too…

I still think it’s possible for my kids, and for me, to find meaning and community without God. But it might be a whole lot harder to find these things without church.

This is a very tragic article on so many levels.

First, the writer says that he and his wife “grew up” with Christianity. Did they? Was it ever made clear to them that they were sinners, alienated from God due to their sin? Were they taught that God, in his love for us, gave His only begotten Son – Jesus Christ (God in the flesh) – to take away the sins of the world by dying for us? Was it ever made clear to them that one need only to believe in Jesus as Savior in order to receive eternal life?

Second, the writer seems to equate trusting in Christ for eternal life with trusting in Him to make us good, and moral. Jesus did not die to give us a “sense of right and wrong.” He died to take away our sins. Were the writer and his wife taught that one believes in Jesus in order to make them good? Or, were they taught that one believes in Jesus for eternal life?

Third, the writer says that he used to be a born again Christian. There is no such thing as someone who used to be a born again Christian. If the writer ever believed in Jesus as his Savior, he has eternal life that can never be lost or forfeited.

Last, having one’s children explore “what it means to live a good life” without teaching them how one receives eternal life is worthless.

While the writer claims to no longer believe in God, his faulty views of the Christian faith seem to have been embraced by many groups masquerading as Christian churches. And, many such groups are worthless in terms of either leading people to the Lord, or helping believers to grow in their faith.

Let’s investigate how three groups of people who identify as Christians deny the gospel. We will use John 3:16 as the backdrop:

Calvinists – believe that God chooses who will believe and who will not. Therefore, they deny the “whosoever” of John 3:16. They also believe that all “true believers” will persevere in holiness, and Godliness, thus revealing that they are believers through their good works. Since one cannot know whether he has been “chosen”, and since one’s works will demonstrate that he has been “chosen”, these people will invariably look to works for assurance of eternal life.

Lordship “salvationists” – believe that one must either make a bi-lateral contract with God in order to receive eternal life (such as “repenting from one’s sins” or “making Christ Lord of one’s life”) or that one who has received eternal life will show some ill-defined “life change” to prove he is a believer in Christ. Therefore, they deny the “believeth in Him” of John 3:16. Like the Calvinist, LSers will invariably look to works – at least in part – for assurance of eternal life.

Arminians – believe that one can lose his eternal life through sin. Since this is a concept not found in the Bible, this group can never tell you how much sin it takes to lose one’s “eternal life.” Accordingly, they look to works for evidence of eternal life, thereby denying the “everlasting life’ promised in John 3:16.

Perhaps your church is clear on the gospel, and never teaches any of the above concepts. If so, great! But, if your church teaches any of these things – either implicitly or explicitly – you and your family are in grave danger.

If you would like to know how to receive eternal life please click here: ETERNAL LIFE FOR YOU

I Marvel: Lordship Salvation’s Spookiest Passage

By johninnc

Galatians 1:6-9:

[6] I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

[7] Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

[8] But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

[9] As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

Galatians 1:6-9 is one of the most misinterpreted passages in the Bible. This is true, in part, because of the mindset of Lordship “salvationists”, who do not realize the passage is talking about them.

Lordship “salvation” (LS) is the unsupportable belief that the PERFORMANCE of works, the PROMISE of works, or the EVIDENCE of works must accompany faith in Christ in order to establish, or provide evidence, that such faith has resulted in eternal life.

There are two varieties of LSers:

The first group is those who have never trusted in Christ alone as Savior. The Bible refers to this group as “false brethren.”

Galatians 2:4: And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:

The second group is eternally secure Christians who once believed the gospel, but who have since incorporated LS into their understanding of the gospel.

Galatians 5:4: Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

According to the NIV Bible that is the mainstay of many LSers, Paul is consigning both of the above groups to hell.

Galatians 1:9 (NIV): As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!

This translation is woefully inaccurate.  While it is true that anyone who is preaching a false gospel is accursed, it is not true that they are beyond redemption.  In fact, the sad reality is that some people who preach false gospels are eternally secure Christians who have turned from the good news of the gospel to the bad news and uncertainty of LS.

The mistranslations of Galatians 1:8-9, such as the one featured in the NIV, are part of the reason that Christians fail to mark and avoid the false teachers of LS.

I marvel that someone thinks that God could both desire that everyone be saved (John 3:16, 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9) and also desire that people who are teaching a false gospel be eternally condemned.

I marvel that people cannot discern the contradiction in the NIV “translation” of Galatians 1:8-9 with other scripture.

I marvel that anyone would think that an eternally secure Christian, who falls from grace by incorporating LS into his understanding of the gospel, would be consigned to hell.

I marvel that LSers are not totally freaked-out and spooked by this passage in the NIV!

I marvel that LSers think they can please God with their lifestyle changes, cessation from sin, good works, and so on, without ever having believed in Jesus ALONE as Savior, or after having believed in Jesus as Savior and then having fallen from grace.

I marvel that LSers look to themselves for assurance of eternal life and think they have found it.

I marvel that LSers, who insist that an inspection of self and others for “fruit” of salvation, seem to find it in themselves, but not others.

I marvel that LSers think people represented by soil 2 in the parable of the Sower were never saved. Particularly in light of the FACT that any LSer who is saved is himself represented by soil 2.

I marvel that someone who has never believed in Christ ALONE as Savior thinks he can be a disciple, a “Christ follower” or have a “relationship with Christ.”

I marvel that someone who has fallen from grace thinks he can stay in that state and be in fellowship with Christ.

I marvel how LSers, who mistakenly interpret the book of 1 John to be a series of tests to determine whether or not one has eternal life, routinely conclude that they have passed the test.

I marvel that LSers think the book of James, which was written to believers, is a field guide for determining whether or not one has eternal life – which is received by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone – based on an evaluation of his works.

And finally, I marvel that someone who understands and believes the gospel would attend churches and financially support ministries that preach a false gospel. I marvel that someone who understands and believes the gospel would hold hands with those who do not and pretend they are all on the same page.

I DO NOT marvel that those who take a stand for the gospel are harangued, hassled, maligned, unfriended, unwelcomed, and disavowed by the religious masses claiming the name of Christ.

Have you been spooked by LS? If so, click here:  Not Scary!