By Jack and John, ExPreacherMan.com Administrators
Charles Ryrie…. Lordship “salvation” advocate?
God does not debate the requirement for eternal life – He declares it. Man receives eternal life by Grace alone through Faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. (Ephesians 2:8-9) – or, he does not receive eternal life at all.
God does not negotiate with mankind the terms of Eternal Life — His promise and the terms are clearly spelled out in His Word, the Bible. John 3:16-18 and many other verses declare, Believe on Jesus Christ and live eternally with Him — believe NOT and remain condemned eternally (forever).
Those who would try to negotiate, debate, bargain or strike a “deal” with God are fighting a losing battle for themselves and those whom they influence. It is a battle for eternity.
Charles Ryrie is guilty of promoting (threatening?) Lordship “salvation” to his readers in his books “Ryrie Study Bible” and “So Great Salvation”.
In Ryrie’s answer to James 2:14 he writes:
“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, comment under James 2:24).
That is a catchy phrase but it is an un-scriptural, anti-Grace one.
Ryrie also had a problematic explanation for James 2:19 that led to his further error in explaining James 2:24. Following is his note on James 2:19:
The unity of God was a fundamental belief in Judaism. But if that belief did not produce good deeds, it was no better than the “monotheism” of the demons. = demons.tremble = shudder. (Ryrie Study Bible, comment under James 2:19).
Also, Ryrie seems to interpret 1 Corinthians 4:5 to be conclusive that all Christians will bear fruit. Following is the concluding quote from the section called “Bearing Fruit”, from “So Great Salvation,” Charles Ryrie, Victor Books, 1989, pp. 45-46:
Nevertheless, every Christian will bear fruit; otherwise he or she is not a true believer. In speaking about the Judgment Seat of Christ, Paul says unequivocally that every believer will have praise come to him from God (1 Corinthians 4:5).
It may surprise some of our readers to see how closely John MacArthur and Ryrie agree on this issue. Here are a couple of quotes from JMac that echo the identical philosophy:
“I have never taught that some presalvation works are necessary to or part of salvation. (sic) But I do believe without apology that real salvation cannot, and will not, fail to produce works of righteousness in the life of a true believer”
We find on one of JMac’s web pages, he relishes in Ryrie’s study bible quote, mentioned earlier here… and on the same page quotes John Calvin as supporting their mutual positions. JMac says:
“Here even Charles Ryrie sounds like an advocate of “lordship salvation”:
And then JMac quotes the Ryrie’s “bible.”
It is really puzzling that Ryrie insists that all Christians will bear fruit, based on 1 Corinthians 4:5, a verse in which fruitfulness is not even mentioned. This seems, for Ryrie, to trump 2 Peter 1:8 (in which “barren” and “unfruitful” are both used).
The problem with people who insist that all Christians will bear fruit, even those who “soften it up” like Ryrie, is that we cannot look to fruit we have borne for assurance of salvation. If we cannot look to fruit in our own lives as evidence of having eternal life, of what possible consequence is it to insist that “true believers” will bear fruit?
Is Ryrie trying to threaten believers into bearing fruit or else he declares their faith is non-existent? What is the different between Ryrie’s philosophy and that of John MacArthur or Calvin or Piper? In essence, nothing!!
It seem perfectly and Biblically logical that anyone who sincerely understands the meaning of God’s Grace would NEVER stipulate any works requirement for or fruit to prove one’s salvation, whether past, present or future, yet too many teachers/preachers do just that, even those who present themselves as heroic proponents of free Grace.
Therefore a proponent of LS would plead before the Lord, “But God, if I show You or show my church, my friends and neighbors or the world my fruit and my good works surely you will accept me on my merit, on my terms.”
That is Satan’s lie.
Grace defined is basically unmerited favor, benefit, a gift. And any real Gift by Grace is free, without strings or qualifiers attached — or it does not fit the accurate description of “a gift.”
How could anyone who knows the truth of the Gospel of God’s Grace teach that works are required to get into heaven? What could possibly have motivated Ryrie to compromise the gospel in his books? Was he trying to “coexist” with the works salvationists? Was he trying to sell books? Was he trying to gain recognition? Or, did he really believe what he wrote? It is simply impossible to tell.