Grace Baiting – an Article on Lordship Salvation by Bruce Bauer

This is a must read for all Christians.. it outlines the dangers of John MacArthur’s heretical theology.

Quoted from Bruce Bauer’s article about John MacArthur re his “Lordship Salvation” apostate theology:

As I read the introduction and the first few chapters of the book [John MacArthur’s The Gospel According to Jesus], I was reminded afresh of the way that Lordship Faith writers and bloggers frequently belittle and satirize all who refuse to hold to their stringent theological views.  A waft of arrogance often accompanies their words.  I have witnessed just a bit of such mean-spiritedness from the Free Grace camp, but it seems to come wholesale from the Lordship Faith side.  Perhaps the movement takes its lead from MacArthur, who certainly shows no restraint in disparaging his opposition (more on this later).             

Although there is no blue-print employed by Lordship Faith writers to trivialize or caricaturize opposing viewpoints, I have noticed the use of the following tactical tools.  This list may be thought of or entitled as:

“A Lordship Faith Guide for Denouncing Free Grace Theology” (Rejoinders to these allegations will follow the points being made.  …..).

Go here and read the entire article  — with footnotes from respected Conservative Grace theologians.

 Articles Grace Baiting.

How to know for sure you are going to Heaven.

65 responses to “Grace Baiting – an Article on Lordship Salvation by Bruce Bauer

  1. Thank you, Jack.

    You raise a lot of good points. I think I’ve only read their statement of faith once since the first time I read it, which was basically the same day I began attending, if memory serves correctly.

    I’m pretty sure their stand on the miracle gift of “tongues” is passive at best but it’s certainly not active as I’ve seen ONE person speak in tongues in the years I’ve been with them. That said, I need to look deeper.

    My two biggest concerns are their “cooperation” with Greg Laurie (whom I’ve come to learn from this blog, is a proponent of LS) and the fact that they had a person teach there last year who allegedly has the gift of healing (he took us through scripture–the guest that is, not our pastor) to explain why it was biblical. But he also tried to teach us to speak in our “prayer language.” Not long after that I was reminded by an old Dave Hunt video I have where Dave warns against the folly of trying to teach one to speak in their “prayer language.”

    Anyway, you don’t need to know my life story. I will continue to learn, be careful and investigate.

    Thanks for all the help!

  2. Fryingpan,

    Calvary Chapel is a loosely affiliated group of churches who are supposedly independent. However, they usually have the same or similar Statement of Faith. Read their statement of faith carefully. Many CC churches border on charismatic teaching and believe that all or some of the sign gifts given the Apostles at Pentecost are still effective, including the miracle gift of “tongues” in the book of Acts. Scripture is clear that the miracle gift of “tongues” was temporary and given by the Lord to initially reach folks with the Gospel. That has ceased and the 1 Corinthians record of “tongues” refer to learned or native languages — not the miracle gift.

    Your CC church may or not tolerate the sign gifts. Often the Statement of Faith language is subtle. Just be careful — investigate — question.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  3. Thanks so much, Jack. I really appreciate it.

    I seem to recall others posting on this blog or elsewhere their frustration with trying to find a good church in Tennessee. They say you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a church in Middle Tennessee but we call know quantity doesn’t amount to a hill of beans if the doctrine’s compromised.

    I’ve been attending a Calvary Chapel for over 6 and a half years and that was AFTER a 5-year search. Now that I’ve been learning about Free Grace and have a much better grasp on the I have reason to think I may need to consider leaving them. But first I’m going to see if I can at least stand for the truth. But I know trying to change a church is about if not more delusional than someone in a bad relationship thinking they can change the other one for the better.

    I think part of my problem is I’m not sure I could simply not attend SOME church regularly without feeling bad about it, so perhaps I’ve been giving credence to something that shouldn’t even really concern me all that much.

    I suppose I’ll have to learn more about the implications of being affiliated with a Calvary Chapel church and whether or not they’re a soul-winning church, how much they back load the gospel, etc.

    Any and all input, feedback and advice is more than welcome.

  4. Fryingpan9,

    Your analysis of the first point of error is accurate. It implies a “turn from sin” Lordship salvation.

    Your second point on their error is also valid. They say, “God secures the final salvation of all believers [true by His Holy Spirit -ExP.]… keeps the believer from that continued and open practice of sin or apostasy that would end in eternal damnation…” Second part not true.

    For the believer, there is no “…continued and open practice of sin or apostasy that would end in eternal damnation..”

    That is a terrible error. Eternal life is, by definition, FOREVER/ETERNAL and without end!!!

    You are very wise to investigate the church first rather than blindly taking a recommendation from any organization, be it Free Grace or otherwise. Churches and people apply for their names to be listed on free Grace organization’s lists and often by questionable means — and it seems they are often accepted either through ignorance or on purpose.

    Fryingpan, we appreciate your discernment. Sorry you cannot find a good church.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  5. Hey all,

    I’ve taken a second, closer look at the one Free Grace church in Tennessee that’s “recommended” by (linked to from) the Free Grace Alliance web site and have some concerns over parts of 2 points in their “Salvation” section on their “What We Believe” page.

    First there’s the first part of point 4: “Salvation occurs when man, confronted with God’s word (Romans 10:17, 1 Peter 1:23), repents of his personal sin (Acts 17:20; 1 Thessalonians 1:9) ]

    My main problem: The above seems to be once again an incorrect use of the word repent and seems to imply the tired old “turn from one’s sins in order to be saved” so common in LS/Calvinist circles.

    Then there’s the first part of point 8: “God secures the final salvation of all believers (Philippians 1:6, John 6:39, Jude 1) keeps the believer from that continued and open practice of sin or apostasy that would end in eternal damnation (2 Thessalonians 3:3, 1 Corinthians 11:32) ]

    My problem with the above is that it seems to frustrate free will.

    Anyway, I’ve been known to be overly critical and way too over analytical, so I’d appreciate any and everyone’s opinion about this. Am I right in having some misgivings about this?


  6. Thank you, Jack! I use a lot of hyperbole–maybe I need to check that habit. (It once cost me my job–don’t ask.)

    Anyway, not really off topic but per some comments much earlier on this post, I checked out Free Grace Alliance and after reading up on the one church they “recommend” in Tennessee I was like, “Uh . . . that’s not really a ‘free grace’ position.” My main point being we really DO need to be discerning and rely on God’s Word and the Holy Spirit to guide us in all things. Now more than ever the urgency of Luke 18:8b rings out: “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (NKJV)

    The hyperbole-prone stand-up comic in me wants to say, “Aside from the Free Grace movement? NOPE!”

    I’ve also found “falling back on” Proverbs 14:12 to be especially “relevant” of late– “There is a way that seems right to a man,
    But its end is the way of death.” (NKJV)

    Before discovering this blog I always applied that to those who were “blatantly” outside of the church, if you get my meaning.

  7. FryingPan 9,

    No need to be embarrassed about some of the nonsense you formerly “believed.” Just rejoice in the Truth and contend for the Gospel of Free Grace!!

    Glad to have you aboard!!

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  8. I appreciate this and other posts that have helped draw the clear connection between Calvinism and Lordship Salvation. For several years after getting saved in 1992 I was a Calvinist w/out even realizing it! I can only speak for myself, and I’m not the dumbest kid on the block, but I was guilty of a lot of the pitfalls of that type of theology, not the least of which was a rather blase attitude towards witnessing to the lost . . . I’m embarrassed at some of the nonsense I used to believe.

    When I first stumbled across this blog I was only vaguely aware of the (now clear) connection between Calvinism and Lordship Salvation.

  9. Pingback: Free Grace Theology and “Easy Believism”: | Notes From A Retired Preacher

  10. Bro. David,

    Great point.. guess I was remiss not coming to grips with Comfort/Cameron sooner.. Interesting thoughts.

    Right on the money when you said, “Christ-focus.” That is Grace.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  11. Yes, Ray Comfort is huge into commitment salvationism. His “Hell’s Best Kept Secret” is all about using the Law (Read “10 Commandments” to get people to see their need of a Savior, & then keeping one on pins & needles that he may be a “false conversion” if enough “fruit” is not seen in the life to confiem one is sufficiently converted. Teaching things like we should preach 90% law & 10% grace, etc. I once upon a time fell for this for a short time but have long since repented. I don’t necessarily see all that much wrong with using the Law to point on to see his need of Christ, but the problem comes when one continues a life of law-focus rather than Christ-focus.

  12. Thank you, Bruce,

    Hmmmm. Kirk Cameron associate of Francis Chan and Chan a graduate of MacArthur’s college, then Ray Comfort an associate of Kirk Cameron, et al… What a web of circular deception they weave.
    The more we dig the more we see the cooperative rot. Sickening.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  13. Thanks for the information Jack. I know that Kirk Cameron is a close associate of Francis Chan and promotes his theology, so that kind of closes the loop.

  14. Bruce,

    Interesting, pitiful but encouraging comment on Amazon about MacArthur..

    About Ray Comfort– the only thing I know about him is that he and his actor cohort Kirk Cameron preach repentance for salvation as “turn from sin salvation” which, when properly analyzed does appear to be a type of Lordship salvation after all.. Never thought of it quite like that til now… thanks. I would never recommend him because of his “turn from sin salvation” message.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  15. On another note, in a recent conversation I had with a Christian friend, the name “Ray Comfort” was mentioned by my friend. My friend heard him speak recently and thought his theology was “off” although he couldn’t exactly pinpoint the problem. Although I had heard the name, I don’t really know anything about him. Is Comfort another proponent of lordship salvation theology, a la MacArthur, Piper and Chan?

  16. Hello Pastor Jack and all:

    I just read this insightful recent comment on Amazon on a review of MacArthur’s book, “The Gospel According to Jesus.” Here’s what the commentator said:

    “I am filled with anxiety and consternation reading this book by MacArthur. Had I read this years ago I never would have made the decision for Christ. MacArthur makes salvation like an invitation to study at Harvard with a condition that if you don’t maintain a B average then you will be kicked out, blackballed and condemned to toil in the salt mines forever.
    This book is grim reading indeed.
    And while it is true that many Christians appear to be lukewarm, I would suggest that MacArthur take a long hard look in the mirror. If people do not seem to be genuinely following Christ, perhaps this is because they do not have in their pastors and ministers anyone to follow!”

  17. Steve,

    Probably the best treatment of the subject I’ve ever seen is in the free Bible Institute at Bible Broadcasting Network’s online Bible Institute,, course number 12100, at this link:

    Dr. Richard Seymour is the teacher. Hope this helps!

  18. Steve,
    I just pray this will help as you counsel your friend.
    We can never look into a person’s mind to tell whether they have trusted Jesus Christ as their Savior.. so I would continue to share the Gospel of salvation with him, assuming he may not really understand and may not have trusted Jesus Christ personally as his Savior.
    It is a shame that Christians will not obey the Scriptures about their behavior after salvation, however, applying the legalism of LS doctrine is not the Biblical solution. Ephesians 2:8 clarifies our salvation is God’s Gift through our faith… and Ephesians 2:9 tells us we are created unto (for the purpose of) good works which we SHOULD (not must) do.
    As believers, that is why we are here. There are dire consequences of discipline for believers who defy the Scriptures — but by God’s Grace, that discipline is never hell.
    However, he does discipline and scourge His children:
    For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth [disciplines], and scourgeth [punished] every son whom he receiveth.” Hebrews 12:6
    If your friend is saved but not being disciplined or punished by the Lord for his disobedience, he just may not be saved. However, we must also realize, an outsider cannot look into the life and mind of a believer to be able to tell whether or not he is being disciplined.
    We’ll pray for you as you share God’s Word with your friend.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  19. Stephen Devries


    Thank you brother for taking the time. This has been very helpful.

    I am counseling a long time family friend who is living in an adulterous relationship, has left the church and is really doing nothing to show any sort of love for our Savior – and yet he seems to have no Godly guilt/conviction and insists that he will be in heaven because he is, in his words, “resting in God’s Grace.”

    He was raised in a “Free Grace” Church and continually refers to the fact that nothing we do can separate us from the love of God and that although he SHOULD be following and obeying and pursuing holiness but does not HAVE to … he is not saved by works.

    I have been raised in more of a LS tradition (for nearly 50 years) so have all the Scripture and answers in that doctrinal system to call him to live according to the upward call of Christ Jesus. And yet I have been reading on your blog (and enjoying it!) – as I am so green in this new way (for me) of looking at Scripture – searching for ways to counsel/disciple without the added baggage of your life choices having anything to do with your salvation. I guess what I am asking is for some help in how to encourage my brother in Christ to live like it without adding the yoke of lordship?

    Thanks again for the obviously large amount of time and effort you put into this blog.

    God Bless!

  20. Stephen,

    Thanks so much for your comment and inquiry.
    First, here is a link to an article I wrote within which I have a good explanation of what Biblical “repent” really is and is not. The article, “Is A Statement of Faith Infallible?” is at:

    Also I highly recommend articles by a dear friend of mine, Dr. Richard Seymour. He has written several books explaining. simply, “Repentance.” Here is a link to a short but great PDF file you may download free, “Understanding Repentance” (about 2/3 of the way down this page):
    We must always remember that any doctrine that contradicts the simple doctrine of Eternally Saved by Faith Alone in Jesus Christ Alone is in error. Therefore a correct understanding of “Repent” is essential.
    If this does not help, please ask again. Thanks.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  21. Stephen Devries

    I don’t want to take up too much of your time so just pointing me to a link where you may have already covered this would be great.

    I am looking an explanation of “repent”.

    Please do not feel as though my question is a “bait” in any way as I am in neither camps of Free Grace or Lordship Salvation but am trying to get a full biblical understanding of salvation. I do not want to upset you in any way with my question and if you feel it is attacking your viewpoint or trying to bait you into an argument it is not my intent. I am truly just looking for direction from someone like yourself who has really raised the flag of Free Grace as something you are extremely passionate about.

    Thanks for your time and God Bless,

  22. Thanks Bruce,

    I will take your comment and post it as a separate article.

    In Jesus eternally, Jack

  23. This review is from: Slave: The Hidden Truth About Your Identity in Christ (Hardcover), by John MacArthur
    The back paper jacket to the book caught my attention: “A COVER-UP OF BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS: Centuries ago, English translators perpetrated a fraud in the New Testament, and it’s been purposely hidden and covered up ever since. Your own Bible is probably included in the cover-up!”

    WHAT? Are we to understand that Bible translators for centuries, hundreds if not thousands of highly-trained knowledgeable men of God, have kept a well-guarded secret about the true meaning of the Bible that only NOW Dr. MacArthur will be the one scholar who will bring us the real scoop?

    Yes, this is exactly what the book would have us to believe, that the common Greek term “doulos” has been mistranslated in every major version of the Bible since the earliest of printed Bible translations. According to MacArthur, “doulos” should be translated primarily if not exclusively as “slave.” Most modern translators (NASB, NIV, KJV, NKJV, ESV) as well as common Greek-English lexicons interpret the term in a variety of ways as, “servant,” “slave,” “bond servant,” “bondman,” or “attendant.” MacArthur also states on pp. 29-30 that the proper meaning of the Old Testament’s nearest equivalent term, “‘ebed” has also been hidden by modern translators:
    “The King James Version, for example, never translates ‘ebed as ‘slave’—opting for ‘servant’ or ‘manservant’ the vast majority of the time. But contrast that with the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Old Testament from before the time of Christ. It translates ‘ebed with forms of ‘doulos,’ or ‘slave’ more than 400 times!”
    WHAT?? The LXX translated the Old Testament from Hebrew to Greek, NOT to English! So MacArthur is leaping to an inappropriate conclusion about the meaning of the Hebrew in this case.

    My greatest problem with the book was that the author, MacArthur, took the ancient images of slavery and superimposed them onto modern Christianity with the intent to create the notion that our normative relationship with God and our service to God should be that of a slave to a master, instead of that of a child of God responding out of love and gratitude to an omnibenevolent (all loving) Father God. Romans 8:15 says, “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba,” Father.”

    With this slave-to-master representation set into place, the author proceeded to promote his standard lordship salvation doctrine dressed in new clothes, slave garb. He even used much of the same argumentation that he used in “The Gospel According to Jesus.” And, once again, he freely denigrated and caricaturized Free Grace theology, especially in chapter five.

    Recommended reading: “The Grace Awakening,” by Charles Swindoll

  24. Bruce,

    Thanks for the update…

    I will be happy to publish/post a short review of the apostate book if you wish to write one.

    MacArthur just can’t be satisfied with his false doctrine — he must keep pushing the error with yet another book of lies.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  25. This is a warning note to alert the grace folks that John MacArthur just released a new book entitled “Slave.” I do NOT recommend reading the book but I read it and reviewed it for Amazon just so a grace perspective could be represented. The book is basically his latest promotion of lordship salvation theology dressed in new packaging, what I call “slave garb.” The book begins with an almost laughable premise. It states that all of the English Bible translators for centuries, including those who translated and compiled the King James Version, have perpetrated some massive fraud covering up the “true” meaning of the New Testament. Guess who comes to the rescue of the Scripture and brings the real hidden truth? None other than MacArthur himself. How cultic and arrogant to place himself above the scholarship of hundreds if not thousands of learned scholars, spanning centuries, devout men of God, who brought us our English Bibles. Predictably, and sadly, the MacArthur fans are flooding Amazon with glowing reviews.

  26. Thank God for Jesus!! She is so right about legalism & religion turning us back on ourselves. If I was my only hope, then i am hopeless. But than brings us back to my first statement!

  27. If anyone doubts the destructive impact of Lordship Faith teaching on the lives of believers, listen to this recent poignant testimony of a lady whose assurance of salvation was decimated by reading a best-selling lordship book (recorded in the Amazon reviews of the book “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan—Dec. 13, 2010):

    “One year ago, I was given this book by a well-meaning husband who knew I was desperately seeking to discover and live in the love of God. I eagerly curled up on the couch and began reading. The title couldn’t have been more deceptive. As I pushed through the book, I was drawn back into the deep sadness/darkness my soul was longing to leave. I should have quit reading it, but I’m obsessive about finishing a book and understanding what the author is saying. I was left with no hope, depressed and miserable. Needless to say, my husband was remorseful to see me crying and feeling that I must not be a Christian, nor could I ever be if I had to attain what the book espouses. This book will lead you into legalism, guilt, and fear. Anything that turns us back onto ourselves will do this. Thankfully, this summer I was given the truth of all truths in the light of the world, Jesus Christ, who reveals the Father through the Holy Spirit. He has radically transformed my mind and I now have a joy unspeakable that a book like this will never take away. NOTHING can separate me or you from the love of God.”

  28. Thanks for you gracious spirit in discussing it with me. Its a subject that can easily get heated on either side.

    In developing my doctrine of salvation and sanctification I personally shy away from allowing any such “negative fallout” to make up my mind. There are negative fallouts on either side of this discussion. I grew up in a church that was not labeled “Free Grace” but taught something very similar to it and I saw, in that small little church, much negative fallout. Too much emphasis on Eternal Security while neglecting the necessity of spiritual growth. As I said before though, I don’t allow those negative fallouts to determine my doctrine. I can only go by what the Scripture clearly says and as I read it I see that a person (believer or unbeliever) is known by his fruits.

    God bless.

  29. Thanks for writing. I will not attempt to rekindle the lordship debate here as that has already been laid out so clearly in many other forums. Pastor Jack has two blogs on this site, mentioned earlier, that address the lordship issues in great detail. If you read back on this thread a little way you will see the sad fallout of lordship salvation in the life of the young man whose assurance of salvation was decimated by reading the book of a popular lordship preacher/ writer. Seeing this kind of negative fallout is what causes me to become passionate in holding to and declaring a free grace understanding of the gospel.

  30. I would prefer to remain anonymous if that’s alright with you. I agree with you in much of what you say, but I think we draw a couple of lines in a couple different places.

    Does I John 3 tell us that we must live sinless lives in order to get to heaven? Absolutely not! John himself in chapter 1 lets us know that we will sin. But chapter 3 verse 10 does tell us that the evidence that someone is a child of the devil and not a child of God is that they do “not practice righteousness.” So, from that we can determine that those who are the children of God do practice rightousness. Don’t misunderstand me here…I am NOT saying that one must “practice righteousness” to be saved. What I am saying is that one who has truly believed will practice righteousness.

    This idea goes along with the teaching of Christ himself when he talks about a tree and it’s fruit in Matthew 7. The false teachers would be identifiable by “their fruit” or their works. Again…works are not what saves a person. But works are how we can identify whether a person has been truly believed or not.

    I know many from the “Lordship Salvation” camp and would consider myself among them. Most of them (if not all) I believe would stand with me in my position that works are an evidence of true conversion.

    Can I address your original article, Bruce? I found it fairly offensive and quite a misrepresentation of the kind of people who hold to Lordship salvation. You took many different arguments that MacArthur and others have used and either amplified them or took a few inferences from them to make them sound as if they were nothing but a bunch of people with no regard for Scripture, no regard for the gospel of Jesus Christ, and no regard for other members of the body of Christ. This may be true of some in the Lordship camp but is certainly not typical of all or even most. I would entreat you to be careful in how you address those who are seeking (just as you are) to rightly divide/handle God’s Word. The end of 1 John 3:10 says that one who does not love his brother is not a child of God. I encourage you to love your brother when you address them and I don’t think that you fulfilled that in your article. That does not necessarily tell me that you aren’t a believer, but I don’t think you were living it out in writing the article.

    Yes, MacArthur does use hard words at times, but there are times when hard words are necessary to address certain errors. In the case of MacArthur I think it is necessary in the context of what he is discussing. There are those (I don’t know if you would number among them or not) who, when witnessing, will tell someone that they must simply believe in Christ to be saved (which is true) but they make no mention that the evidence of true belief in Christ is a changed life. Is it legitimate to say that a person truly believed as a child and then could live their life as a practical Atheist? I believe that Scripture says “no.”

    Please understand, I am NOT promoting a works based salvation. A person is not saved by believing and changing. Rather one is saved and changed when he believes. The change does take time and will not always occur as quickly as some believers, but their will be a change.

    Also please understand that I am not seeking to attack you, but rather to encourage you as a brother in Christ. Please prayerfully consider my words. I pray that they will be useful to you.

  31. Sorry, typo in line 29 above, “What was their response?”

  32. Dear Anonymous (what is your name?):

    Response to question 1:
    The apostles and early church leaders used the discernment of the Holy Spirit coupled with the testimony of the new believers to determine who were the genuine believers. NO, they didn’t try to look for a long-term history of good works to attest to true belief. Read through the book of Acts sometime. Over and over real believers were accepted into the fellowship of believers immediately upon their believing in Jesus Christ through the preaching of the gospel by the apostles and others. Here are a few salient examples: Acts 2 and 4: Peter preached to the multitudes the gospel message of salvation in Christ Jesus. Many accepted his preaching of salvation in Jesus Christ. Thousands were welcomed immediately into the body of believers. Acts 5: Many men and women believed the preaching of apostles about salvation in Jesus Christ. Many were added to the body. Acts 8: The Ethiopian eunuch was saved by Philip’s preaching of the gospel of Christ Jesus. He was accepted as a believer immediately and quickly baptized as confirmation of his new-found faith in Jesus (baptism was the outward evidence of the faith he already possessed!) Acts 10: Cornelius and family believed in Jesus through Peter’s preaching of the gospel. They were accepted immediately by Peter and others into the fold. They even evidenced their new-found faith by supernatural confirmation of the Holy Spirit before they were baptized or were able to perform any good works. Acts 13-14: Proconsul Sergius Paulus as well as a multitude of gentiles believed in Christ through Paul’s preaching and were immediately welcomed into the fold by Paul and Barnabas. Acts 16:29-31: The frightened Philippian jailer asked the classic question of Paul and Silas, “Sirs what must I do to be saved?” What was there response? Did they tell the man to promise a lifetime of commitment of service to God and then follow through on that promise or be in danger of not making it to heaven one day?? NO WAY!! They replied, “BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.” Paul and Silas went to the jailer’s house and led the whole family to believe in Christ Jesus. They accepted them immediately as believers.

    Question 2 (Re. 1 John 3):

    Look at your context! Starting in 1 John 2:28 and continuing throughout the text you cite, John refers repeatedly to the readers as “dear children” or “children of God:” Clearly John is speaking to BELIEVERS. He warns them to be careful that they don’t fall into sin even though he knows that that will happen from time to time. His admonitions are for Christians to live holy lives befitting of the calling that they have in Christ Jesus. As to the specific verse you cite (verse 10), certainly if a true believer does not, as the text says, “do what is right” or if he does not always “love his brother,” then at those times he is not behaving as a child of God should behave. But those times of straying do not condemn the believer or else you and I and every other believer would be lost because no one lives a completely sinless life.

  33. I just have a couple questions out of curiousity.

    1. What did the Apostles and early church leaders use to discern whether or not someone had truly accepted God’s gift of grace through Christ?

    2. What is your interpretation of 1 John 3:4-10? (especially verse 10)

  34. Thank you both David and Pastor Jack. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families!

  35. God Bless that dear saint! I pray “Phil” takes her words to heart. Thank you bros. Bruce & Jack. Joyous Thanksgiving to you both. I’m calling “Thanksgiving” “Psalm 107:2 day!”

  36. Thanks David — Salvation so simple yet so confused by “theologians.”
    And Bruce, thank the Lord for the lady who spoke to “Phil.”

    You wonder the motivation for the MacArthurs and Chans whose best efforts seem to confuse rather than comfort — give doubt rather than assurance.

    Y’all keep up your good work for the Lord.. and have a great season of thanks for our Savior and His blessings.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  37. Hello again Pastor Jack and David:

    I just wanted to let you know that a lovely Christian lady responded graciously to the young doubting man (I’ll call him “Phil”). I’ll give just a bit of her loving response:
    “Phil, you are breaking my heart!” “For by grace you are saved through faith, and this NOT from yourselves; it is God’s gift—NOT from works, so that NO one can boast (Eph. 2:8-9). Don’t let Chan’s twisted views of the gospel rob you of the joy you have in Christ.” She goes on to detail how Chan misuses discipleship and heavenly reward passages throughout the NT taken totally out of context and turns them all into salvation texts, thereby totally confusing the proper distinction between salvation and maturing in Christ.

  38. Bro. Jack,

    I don’t say it nearly enough, God Bless you & I am thankful to be your brother in Christ. How can anyone miss clear truth such as Eph.2:8-9 as to eternal salvation in Christ, 7 v.10 speaks of God’s plan & desire for believers, but it is not automatic, or there would be no need for the exhortations to faithfulness in the NT. I can empathize with this young man. I’ve been where he is. I pray for him to return to simple faith in a wonderful FINISHED work by a Faithful Savior! Otherwise I’d be hopeless too. God Bless you brother Jack.

  39. Bruce,

    Thanks for the note — that is a pitiful admission from the young man who read Chan’s book.

    I would certainly love to have a sit-down conversation with him — to lead him to an assurance of his salvation in Jesus Christ alone. He needs to purge those anti-Biblical Chan-thoughts with a good foundation in and understanding of God’s Word..

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  40. Dear Pastor Jack:

    Thank you so much for clearly and boldly proclaiming the dangers of Lordship Salvation teaching (especially that of John MacArthur and Francis Chan). I have seen much negative fallout from this unbiblical teaching. Listen to this direct quotation from a young man who lost his assurance of faith after reading Chan’s book “Crazy Love”:

    “I have been trying to grow in Christ and I have my ups and downs and struggle with my salvation often. After reading Crazy Love I am utterly ruined in dispair and hopelessness. According to what I am reading which is scripture quotes from the Bible in Chan’s book there truly is no one who is a follower of Christ or a “Christian” unless they have given up everything from this life including thoughts, schedules, plans, money, attitudes, time etc.. I can see this in the scriptures and there is no hope for most of us to ever be like the one who is not lukewarm. There is no hope for me anymore, for I thought I was a Christian for over 15yrs, but I am according to the scriptures “lukewarm” and will not be accepted into heaven as the scripture references in Chan’s book notes. May God have mercy on us all…”

    For anyone who doubts the destructiveness of Lordship Salvation teaching, see Pastor Jack’s blogs:

    Thanks again Pastor Jack and may the Lord continue to bless you!

  41. Bible Study…
    Will do..
    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  42. So far so good, they offered for me to lead service last week. Keep prayin.

  43. Bible Study,

    Great news — will pray for you.. Keep me posted about your future.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  44. I defninitely will, looks like I will be preaching officially again soon. Well see how it goes. One thing is for sure, I will not compromise what thus saith the word of God.

  45. Thanks Paul,

    I appreciate your question.

    “In Christ” “In Jesus Christ” etc all mean the same from what I see in Scripture. Being born into Jesus Christ, God’s family by faith in Jesus Christ. “And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:” Philippians 3:9
    Incidentally be very wary of Watchman Nee and his sidekick Witness Lee. While some teachings appear OK, they preach severe errors doctrinally.
    From Miles Stanford, who I believe is a doctrinally Biblical scholar, we see this on Nee and Lee:
    “Hence much of the good of Nee’s ministry and writings (some thirty volumes of his messages are in print at present) has been overshadowed by errors such as the Arminian “baptism in the Holy Ghost” for power in service and spiritual warfare, exercise of the sign gifts (tongues not stressed), healing in the atonement, inner light and intuitive revelation, demon possession of believers, and exorcism.

    “Nee also taught a split, or, partial Rapture, i.e., the “overcomers” will be caught up prior to the Tribulation, the “unprepared” believers will experience the holocaust. ”

    As you see, these are false doctrines from Nee as illustrated by Stanford.
    Link to Stanford article:

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  46. Dear ExPreacher Man,
    Thanks, Bruce for linking me to this blog, but Jack, I am curious about an explanation of being “in Jesus Christ” or “in Christ” are these the same thing? It triggered the question because of a book by Watchman Nee that made the case for being “in Christ” no more, and no less. Any thoughts on that? It was many years ago I read that, so can’t quote it, don’t know if I even have it any more. Sorry this may be off-topic, but was curious.
    In Christ, Paul

  47. Bible Study

    Congratulations.. simply go by “Thus Saith The Lord” !!!

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  48. I just wanted to let you know, that there is a little church that is beginning to stand with me, just this week. They have mentioned helping me get back into the stand. God is awesome. I don’t know how this will all play out, with opposition I am facing from a sister church and a select few members of this church, but I will let you know. I don’t want to cause division, but I want to do what God wants me to do regardless of who likes it.

  49. Bible Study,

    You said, “God revealed to me that faith in his son is sufficient for salvation without the deeds of the law.”
    Amen, you are so right !! Your decision to trust Jesus Christ alone is the very essence of His Salvation.
    Will pray you can find a fellowship of fellow believers — and be Bereans.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  50. Thank you Bruce for the encouragement.

  51. Bible Study:
    Thanks for your story. It was very moving. I applaud you for not becoming bitter about your situation. Blessings on you in the future!

  52. I was a united baptist preacher for three years. God revealed to me that faith in his son is sufficient for salvation without the deeds of the law. Because of this, and rejection of commandments and doctrines of men, i was ousted. The pastor wrote a letter saying basically that I am a devil and sent it to three states and over 50 different churches telling them not to let me in their stand. Before that, the church stood with me while another man persecuted me for over a year. The funny thing is that the first man stood and proclaimed “he is a Nazarene” speaking of me. All this gives me comfort due to the fact that Jesus was called both a devil and Nazarene as well. I don’t sweat it, I know whom i have believed and am persuaded he is able to keep that which I have committed unto his hand.

  53. Bible Study,

    Please tell us your story why you are no longer welcome to preach in your church.

    I retired voluntarily from the active Pastorate — without any conflict or problem.. but I have continued to preach the Gospel, teach the Word and warn believers of those who preach false doctrine — and there are many false teacers floating around these days.

    In Jesus Christ eternally by my decision to trust Jesus Christ as my Savior,

  54. I would like to know why you are an ex-preacher. I too am an ex-preacher. Well I still spread the good news, but the church organization I used to belong to no longer allows me in the stand. I have been persecuted to no end. What is your story? Sorry this may be off topic, but the title of your blog has sparked my curiosity. Sounds so familiar.

  55. Michael,

    I could not recommend Hodges except maybe in some work done years ago. He is associated with GES as Bruce said, and they recently have a reputation as preaching a “Crossless Gospel.” Give a shout if you need info on that.

    You might try these:
    I have some friends who are associated with and post here so maybe they have something you could use.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  56. Hello Michael.
    I have found it difficult to find good commentaries specifically from a Free Grace perspective. Zane Hodges has commentaries (I haven’t read them), one is on 1 John, but some say that his Free Grace views (as well as those of the group called GES with whom he is alligned) are extreme at times, tending to water down the clear Gospel message of 1 Cor. 15:1-8. One Free Grace blog endorses the Jamieson Fausset and Brown commentary—I can’t personally vouch for that recommendation. I usually like what J. Vernon McGee and Warren Wiersbe have to say in their commentaries, but I haven’t always agreed with them either. I’ve also read F. F. Bruce, The Epistles of John; he is always scholarly. Sorry if this doesn’t help much. I guess that I would just recommend that you always read with discernment, whatever be the source.

  57. I have been following this blog for a little while now … came to it by way of it’s emphasis against McArthur’s preaching. Would you have a good recommendation for a commentary on 1 John? I was hoping to catch a view of one from the Free Grace camp.

    God Bless.

  58. Confused,

    Good, I believe you — Now then tell me — how do my and Bruce’s views match up with what you’ve been taught? What have you been taught?

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  59. I’m not trying to bait you or anything, I honestly want to know how your views match up with what I’ve been taught (which I’m not claiming to be better or worse, I’m just trying to own my faith and not just be a blind follower)

  60. Thanks Bruce, a wonderful Biblical answer to Confused’s question.

    Confused.. your last comment question was answered completely by Bruce in his article and his gracious answer to your secondary question.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  61. Either or. Whether it be instantaneous or a slow change, I just want to know if their is a change, and what kind of change

  62. Dear “Confused”:

    Is this one of those “grace baiting” questions from a Lordship Salvation proponent, or are you an honest searcher for truth? Yes, Pastor Jack and others have answered your question clearly and in detail on at least two of his blogs. Here are the links below (please read them for a detailed response):

    Briefly, and I will operate under the assumption that your motives are honorable, here is a nutshell response:

    Yes, of course there is an instantaneous transformation of a person’s life when he comes to salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (Eph. 2:8-9). 2 Cor. 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.” And, he now has the Spirit of Christ living right inside of him!
    Now, if you are really asking, “Mustn’t there necessarily be an array of good works and other noticeably visible changes to PROVE one’s salvation?” the answer is NO. Are good works a good thing and pleasing to God? Absolutely! Are good works always an indication of true belief in Christ? Not necessarily. Here are four camps in which a person might be categorized:
    1. A true believer in Christ who lives for the Lord and produces fruit (pleasing to God and the proper way for a Christian to live).
    2. A true believer in Christ who produces little or no fruit—Rom. 4:5 (Lot; the saved thief on the cross; Samson; the Church at Corinth; the Church at Laodicea, for a few examples). [Don’t try to use James 2 as a retort: James was writing to believers, emphasizing the quality of true belief, not the reality of belief.]
    3. An unbeliver who does “good” works. Do they save him? NO. Examples abound, particularly in the liberal Hollywood community. Typical “good” causes include: protecting the environment; feeding the hungry; rescuing the whales; drilling wells in Africa; animal rights advocacy; Habitat for Humanity. Some of these are fine causes, but none of them saves the soul.
    4. An unbeliever who does no good works.

    So we see that good works are not a good indicator of true belief in Christ.

    Pastor Jack put it so well in his blog on MacArthur and Lordship Salvation (see the second link above): “MacArthur’s Lordship salvation is not Biblical. To be sure of our salvation we need not look at our fruit—we believe in Christ and then look at the verse, I John 5:13. Our proof of our salvation is in Scripture not in our behavior or our fruit.”

  63. So as you can tell by my name, I’m confused.And I’m sure you answered these questions on a bunch of different posts, but it’s hard to put them together in some sort of order. Basically my question though is, does our life change when we accept Jesus Christ as our own personal savior and Lord?

  64. Good observation Bruce,
    Franklin Graham must be under tremendous pressure from the Graham Association to mess up his message.
    I have heard him give a pure, clear Gospel message — with no false “turn from sin,” and no “make Jesus Lord” thoughts..
    But I guess inherited fame has its price.

    In Jesus Christ eternally,


  65. Hi Pastor Jack:

    Thanks for the link to my article. I trust that others will find it helpful.

    In my reading I was startled that Franklin Graham wrote the opening tribute to MacArthur’s 2008 third edition release of “The Gospel According to Jesus.” After reading one of your blogs about Graham saying that Obama is a Christian, I guess this shouldn’t surprise me. Listen to some of Franklin Graham’s words: “I am pleased to send you this copy of ‘The Gospel According to Jesus’ (Billy Graham Assoc. Edition, 2008) by my friend John MacArthur. I believe you will be encouraged and challenged by this book’s clear message: Jesus is not only our Savior—He’s our Lord! Examining what authentic faith in Christ looks like according to Scripture, Pastor MacArthur reminds us of the true message of the Gospel and suggests practical ways we can make Jesus Lord of our lives on a daily basis.”


    Pardon my ignorance, Mr. Graham, but my Bible tells me that Jesus Christ is and always was and always will be Lord God of the universe, Lord of Creation, Lord of Redemption, Lord of ALL, regardless of any declaration that I make.