Category Archives: Christianity

Lordship Salvation: Is THEIR Report OUR Report?

By johninnc (illustration by Holly Garcia)

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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

 

Christian Privilege

It has become fashionable, of late, to use the term “privilege” to address perceived inherent advantages that some groups have over others.

Examples of privilege:

  • White privilege
  • Male privilege
  • Heterosexual privilege
  • Cisgender privilege (refers to agreeing with the sex and/or gender one is assigned at birth)
  • Able-bodied privilege

My teenage daughter recently brought home, from a summer program she is attending, a “Christian Privilege Checklist.”

Following are each of the items listed (source: itspronouncedmetrosexual.com). The “privileges” are in italics. My responses to selected “privileges” are parenthetical, in bold.

  1. You can expect to have time off work to celebrate religious holidays.
  2. Music and television programs pertaining to your religion’s holidays are readily accessible.
  3. It is easy to find stores that carry items that enable you to practice your faith and celebrate religious holidays.
  4. You aren’t pressured to celebrate holidays from another faith that may conflict with your religious values.
  5. Holidays celebrating your faith are so widely supported you can often forget they are limited to your faith (e.g. wish someone a “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Easter” without considering their faith).
  6. You can worship freely, without fear of violence or threats.
  7. A bumper sticker supporting your religion won’t likely lead to your car being vandalized.
  8. You can practice your religious customs without being questioned, mocked, or inhibited.
  9. If you are being tried in court, you can assume that the jury of “your peers” will share your faith and not hold that against you in weighing decisions.
  10. When swearing an oath, you will place your hand on a religious scripture pertaining to your faith.
  11. Positive references to your faith are seen dozens of times a day by everyone, regardless of their faith.

(My comment: yeah, right. Christians are at least equally-often maligned as non-intelligent, superstitious, hateful, ignorant, etc.)

  1. Politicians responsible for your governance are probably members of your faith.

(My comment: Some probably are. Many say they are. Most pander to Lordship “salvationists” and other large, mainstream groups within professing Christendom, because that is where the big blocks of votes are.)

  1. Politicians can make decisions citing your faith without being labeled as heretics or extremists.
  2. It is easy for you to find your faith accurately depicted in television, movies, books, and other media.

(My comment: It is not even easy to find my faith accurately depicted in churches that claim to be teaching the gospel. Most churches teach a false gospel, so the depictions in television, movies, books, and other media pick up on this.)

  1. You can reasonably assume that anyone you encounter will have a decent understanding of your beliefs.

(My comment: Almost no one I encounter will have a decent understanding of my beliefs, unless I tell them. Even if I were to give my testimony in a “Christian” church, it is likely that most in attendance would look at me like I had two heads. My testimony would be unwelcome in most mainstream churches).

  1. You will not be penalized (socially or otherwise) for not knowing other people’s religious customs.
  2. Your faith is accepted/supported at your workplace.

(My comment: My workplace has affinity groups for every conceivable special interest group – except Christians – and encourages employees to be identified with pet special interest causes).

  1. You can go into any career you want without it being associated with or explained by your faith.
  2. You can travel to any part of the country and know your religion will be accepted, safe, and you will have access to religious spaces to practice your faith.
  3. Your faith can be an aspect of your identity without being a defining aspect (e.g., people won’t think of you as their “Christian” friend)
  4. You can be polite, gentle, or peaceful, and not be considered an “exception” to those practicing your faith.
  5. Fundraising to support congregations of your faith will not be investigated as potentially threatening or terrorist behavior.
  6. Construction of spaces of worship will not likely be halted due to your faith.
  7. You are never asked to speak on behalf of all the members of your faith.
  8. You can go anywhere and assume you will be surrounded by members of your faith.

(My comment: I cannot even go into a Southern Baptist church and assume that I will be surrounded by members of my faith.)

  1. Without special effort, your children will have a multitude of teachers who share your faith.

(My comment: This is just simply not true. Even if I were to send my children to a “Christian” school, I could not place confidence in that label without performing extensive due diligence to ensure that the “Christian” school was not corrupting the gospel.)

  1. Without special effort, your children will have a multitude of friends who share your faith.
  2. It is easily accessible for you or your children to be educated from kindergarten through post-grad at institutions of your faith.
  3. Disclosing your faith to an adoption agency will not likely prevent you from being able to adopt children.
  4. In the event of a divorce, the judge won’t immediately grant custody of your children to your ex because of your faith.
  5. Your faith is taught or offered as a course at most public institutions.
  6. You can complain about your religion being under attack without it being perceived as an attack on another religion.
  7. You can dismiss the idea that identifying with your faith bears certain privileges.
  8. Share more in the comments below!

(My comment: ETERNAL LIFE! All Christians have eternal life. Those who are not Christians do not have eternal life. If you would like to know how to have eternal life, click here: ETERNAL LIFE FOR YOU.)

Lordship Salvation: Where I Come From

by johninnc

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

Where I come from it’s cornbread and chicken

Where I come from a lotta front porch pickin’

Where I come from tryin’ to make a livin’

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

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

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

Let me take a moment to explain what I mean.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Stemming Fruit Inspection

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

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

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

by johninnc

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

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

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

The original article is linked below:

Original article

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

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

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

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

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

Lordship Salvation: Filthy Rag Faith

By johninnc

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

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

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

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

Let’s look at some examples:

From Franklin Graham:

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

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

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

From Charles Hadden Spurgeon:

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

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

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

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

John Calvin:

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

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

John Wesley:

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

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

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

Romans 3:26-28:

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

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

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

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

Hope, Change, or Hope and Change?

By johninnnc

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

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

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

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

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

Hope

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

What is Bible Hope?

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

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

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

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

Change

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

John 8:31-32:

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

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

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

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

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

More from Ron Shea:

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

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

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

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

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

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

John 5:39-40:

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

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

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

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

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

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

More from Clear Gospel:

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