Lordship Salvation’s Hidden Secret: Grace Under Fire: The Fallout of Lordship Salvation Teaching

This is a wonderful expose’ of “Lordship Salvation,” by my friend Bruce Bauer. He  exposes the lie and strips the false teaching down to its barren roots. [Excerpt]: “Some Christians live in a constant state of tension and dread, always ill at ease, restless, uncertain, never knowing when they’ve done enough; they’re never quite able to get a grasp on assurance.” Read on and be enlightened.

 

By: Bruce Bauer,  Lancaster, CA

 

 

Introduction

 

Recently I attended the funeral of an elderly Mormon lady, a dear friend of mine and of my family’s for several decades.  I’ll refer to her as “Jane.”  In one of the eulogies given the speaker commented that in her dying days Jane had expressed fears that her church tithes might not have been paid up to date.  As I pondered what had just been said, I thought, how tragic, how sad that a person should have to live in such bondage, doubt and fear right up to the point of death.  I silently felt grateful to God that at least we, as evangelical Christians, don’t have to live our lives in such enslavement to duty shrouded by panic and uncertainty of salvation.  My thoughts raced to John 10:27-30:  “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one.” [NIV as are all refs.][i] I rejoiced in the warm snuggling grasp of our Lord’s hands, saving and preserving each and every person who comes to salvation by faith in Christ alone.  But, I reflected, don’t many Christians live out their lives under precisely the same cloud of insecurity, apprehension and angst experienced by Jane?  Do all evangelicals really act so differently than she?

What, then, is the defining distinctive hallmark that sets evangelical Christianity apart from Mormonism, the JWs, Roman Catholicism, and indeed, every other religious belief system?  Free Grace theology states it best:  “We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone” (Ephesians 2:8-9).  Every other religious structure has a works-based salvation plan at its core.  But aren’t many evangelical writers and pastors guilty of promoting a similar type of works-for-salvation system of their own?  Certainly, proponents of Lordship Salvation have been accused of teaching just such a salvation plan despite their vehement denials. Much has been written on this debate.  I will not rehash it here; however, this paper will describe some of the pernicious fallout of Lordship Salvation teaching on the lives of believers especially and on some unbelievers as well.  For additional study of the Lordship debate, I refer the reader to some of the best works that I have read on the subject:  1. Charles C. Bing, Lordship Salvation:  A Biblical Evaluation and Response, GraceLife Edition (Burleson, TX:  GraceLife Ministries, 1992, 1997).  2. Fred Chay and John P. Correia, The Faith that Saves:  The Nature of Faith in the New Testament (Phoenix, AZ:  Grace Line, Inc., 2008).  3. Charles C. Ryrie, So Great Salvation (Chicago:  Moody Press, SP Publications, 1989, 1997).  4. Fred R. Lybrand, Back to Faith:  Reclaiming Gospel Clarity in an Age of Incongruence (San Antonio, TX:  Fred R. Lybrand, Xulon Press, 2009).  5. Thomas M. Cucuzza, Secure Forever!  God’s Promise or Our Perseverance? (St. Cloud, MN:  Thomas M. Cucuzza, Xulon Press, 2007).  6. Lou Martuneac, In Defense of the Gospel:  Biblical Answers to Lordship Salvation (LaVergne, TN:  Lou Martuneac, Xulon Press, 2006, 2010).

The Fallout of Lordship Faith Teaching

Battered! The Father Serra Syndrome

 

Father Junipero Serra was an 18th century Franciscan priest who is famous for founding the Roman Catholic mission system throughout western Mexico and California.  He is known to have been a flagelist, that is, one who would regularly pummel himself with a whip in order to exorcise his personal demons (sinful thoughts and attitudes).  In a California history course in college, I learned that on more than one occasion Father Serra had to be physically restrained by his assistants to prevent him from flogging himself to death.

Do some Christians today beat themselves up as Father Serra did?  Oh, maybe they don’t do so physically, but do they torment themselves mentally and emotionally over their struggles with sin?  Listen to the following composite of one who is caught up in such a pattern of conflicted self-deprecating thinking:  “James is a young man with a different set of problems, the greatest one being lust.  Though he has never actually committed fornication, James struggles continually with impure thoughts.  He lives in dread that his Christian friends will discover what is happening inside his brain.  Attached to this mental impurity is a sense of deep shame, a shame that permeates his feelings about himself and his position before God.”[ii] James desperately needs a regular healthy dosage of the preaching of God’s abundant awesome gift of grace in the believer’s life.  He also would benefit tremendously by the warm understanding embrace of fellow Christian brothers and sisters.

The teaching and preaching of Lordship Salvation can foster a tremendous state of anxiety and doubt for some believers because its precepts demand a high level of purity of thought and lifestyle undergirded by the constant threat of not having been blameless enough or virtuous enough to merit salvation.    Recently I witnessed a heart-wrenching testimony from a young Christian man whose assurance of salvation was decimated by the reading of a best-selling book which promulgates a very condemning form of Lordship Salvation doctrine.  Out of respect  for the young man I’ll share just a brief portion of what he said without giving his name:  “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 15 years, but I am according to the scriptures ‘lukewarm’ and will not be accepted into heaven . . . .  May God have mercy on us all . . . .”  Hearing a sad profession such as this reminds me of why it is so crucial for Free Grace teachers and writers to proclaim strongly the message of God’s grace and to counter the harmful repercussions of Lordship Faith preaching.  I wonder if any of these popular Lordship pastors and writers ever pause to consider the fallout, the damage and pain that they might potentially inflict through preaching and publishing their judgmental diatribes.  Who will pick up the broken pieces of shattered lives?

Driven! When is Enough Enough?

 

Some Christians live in a constant state of tension and dread, always ill at ease, restless, uncertain, never knowing when they’ve done enough; they’re never quite able to get a grasp on assurance. One of the consistent marks of Lordship Faith teaching is that it sets very lofty (some would say unattainable) standards of normative Christian achievement.  After all, their teachers might say, didn’t Jesus establish the ideals for us in the Sermon on the Mount?  Pity the average churchgoer who may not appear to be very dedicated to God or to be very active in serving him.  She might find herself listed among the ranks of the half-hearted or, dare I say, the “lukewarm”; if so, certain Lordship Faith leaders would almost certainly brand her as unsaved.  But who sets the criteria for Christian attainment and who gauges the hearts and motivations of the congregation?  How many years must one actively serve God?  Ten, twenty, thirty, fifty?  Must good works be obvious to men or can they be quietly noticeable before God?  Are any periods of failing allowed?  For how long?  Is working in a secular job acceptable or must one quit her job and go to the mission field?  Do true “on-fire” believers have to sell their fancy cars and houses and live like paupers?  The questions are endless and the answers are few.  And, one of the saddest questions of all is, how many unbelievers are put off by Lordship teachers’ unreasonable up-front demands of commitment, surrender and change of lifestyle in order for one to be allowed into the kingdom?  Rather, shouldn’t Christians be giving them the good news, the grace news of John 3:16, Acts 16:30-31 and Ephesians 2:8-9?

Listen to the story of a driven believer:  “Betty is as reliable as Mother Teresa, as dedicated to Christ as one can be.  . . .  But no matter how much Betty does, she always feels she’s not doing enough, because she also feels that somehow she isn’t quite pleasing God.  This haunting sense of God’s disapproval drives her from Bible study to prayer group, from buying each ‘New and Improved System for Personal Devotions’ at her local Christian bookstore and joining every church outreach program to standing at every opportunity to recommit her life to Christ.  In spite of her ‘gold-medal performance’ as a Christian, Betty continues to feel that God considers her a failure.”[iii] Is this really the way that God wants Christians to live?  Wouldn’t God want us to live lives characterized by confidence, freedom and grace?….

[…]

Read the balance of this excellent free article in PDF format Click here: >> “ Driven ” at Free Grace Alliance web site.
 
 

34 responses to “Lordship Salvation’s Hidden Secret: Grace Under Fire: The Fallout of Lordship Salvation Teaching

  1. Great points Rob!

    Something that you said, “when people don’t believe in God, they try to act like Him themselves” gave me a bit of a new twist on LSers. It could be said that they are putting themselves in the place of God in making blanket determinations of who’s saved and who is not. Francis Chan certainly does this in his book “Crazy Love,” in which he consigns the myriads of churchgoers, those whom he dubs, “the lukewarm,” to hell. “Lukewarm” means, apparently, anyone whom Chan places on his self-concocted list of anyone who is not all-out, over-the-top, on-fire, over-the-edge for Christ, whatever all of that means.

    In an article that I wrote some time ago, I detailed various ways that LSers caricaturize Free Grace theology. Many of the quotes from the article came from MacArthur’s book that you cited. Here’s the link in case you would like to check out the article:

    http://www.freegracealliance.com/pdf/baiting.pdf

    Rob, thanks for your insights.

  2. Rob Ramcharan

    The Wikipedia article on the Lordship Salvation controversy says that John MacArthur “argued that the one-third of all Americans who claimed to be born again according to a 1980 Gallup poll reflected millions who are deceived, possessing a false, soul-destroying assurance.” MacArthur, John F Jr (1994) [1988], The Gospel According to Jesus (Revised and Expanded ed.), Zondervan p. xxi.
    Two problems with this. 1) How was he able to derive that number from a Gallup poll taken between eight and 16 years before he was writing? And 2) how can a false assurance of salvation (or anything else, for that matter) have any effect on Divine election?
    One of the most interesting explanations for the determination of hyper-Calvinists to make people feel miserable and insecure about their relationship with Jesus is that, when people don’t believe in God, they try to act like Him themselves. Could it be that Lordship Salvation theology is just another variation of “take your money and run your life”?
    Starting to look like it.

  3. Steve,

    Do I understand you correctly???

    Reading what you wrote, I fear for your eternity. You are contradicting and disbelieving Christ Himself, you are denying His teaching that Eternal Life is indeed Eternal and you imply that God’s Holy Spirit Who permanently seals and indwels every believer could be sent to hell. Simply not Biblical!! Hebrews 6:4 is not speaking of rejecting once acquired salvation by faith alone in Christ alone.

    John 10:28 (Christ speaking)
    And I give unto them ETERNAL LIFE; and they shall NEVER perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

    Ephesians 1:13 (to believers in Jesus Christ)
    In whom [Christ] ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

    Read again John’s quote above from Clear Gospel Campaign, read again the scripture verses he lists.

    Steve you said, “If my position, which I will never repudiate, give offense, simply say so and I will move on.”

    Your comment gives offense not so much to us as to the finished work of our Savior who gave Himself for you. He paid your sin debt — Once you trust Him as your Savior (Not probationary) you don’t have to “keep on keeping on.” He said “It is finished.”

    We pray that you will learn enough Scriptural assurance to be able to rest in God’s Grace — not your own efforts to keep yourself saved. We will be praying that you will see the Truth in trusting Jesus Christ alone as your Savior.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  4. Pearl, amen! Eternal life is eternal!

  5. jimmyorourke

    Hi Steve,

    Rest assured, your position on Eternal Security does not offend me, per se, but it does make me sad for you in the sense that you could be experiencing the fullness of joy if it were not for the conditional security view you hold.

    You see, the believer will not experience “fullness of joy” until and unless he understands that salvation is ETERNAL for ALL THOSE WHO’VE BELIEVED on the Son:

    “These things have I written unto YOU THAT BELIEVE on the name of the Son of God; that ye may KNOW that ye have ETERNAL LIFE, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:13)

    This same epistle, in chapter 1, verse 4, says:

    “And these things write we unto you, that your JOY MAY BE FULL.” (1 John 1:4)

    My friend, it is absolutely impossible to have fullness of joy without having assurance of eternal salvation–eternal salvation that is for ALL who’ve BELIEVED.

    As for Hebrews 6:4-6, I couldn’t agree more with you that the born-again are in view. I used to hold the “hypothetical” view, but thankfully a gracious friend explained a better interpretation. Dr. Charlie Bing explains well this latter interpretation here if you’re interested:

    http://www.gracelife.org/resources/gracenotes.asp?id=38

    Lastly, you might also be interested to know that Christians can indeed apostacize from the faith, BUT apostacy is not equated in Scripture with losing or “walking away” from salvation:

    http://www.gracelife.org/resources/gracenotes.asp?id=55

    That your joy may be full,
    Jimmy

  6. I would add the following, from Clear Gospel Campaign:

    “God is not a man, and the life that comes from God is not subject to death. God cannot die! He is immortal, eternal….

    God it not immortal because He is too powerful to be killed. He is immortal because the nature of Gods’ life is such that it is not capable of being extinguished. Gods’ life is intrinsically incapable of death. And this is the life that is imparted to the believer in the regeneration! This is why the term “eternal life” is so intertwined with passages dealing with regeneration.

    If it were possible for a believer to “lose his salvation” (including his eternal life), it would mean that divine life can somehow be extinguished. And if this were possible, then it would be possible for God Himself to die! The life of God cannot be extinguished, and the life of God cannot be extracted from the new person, who is no longer God, but a totally separate person.

    Those who believe one may lose their salvation through abandoning their faith may be genuinely saved. They may believe in salvation by grace through faith, and apart from man’s works. And faith is not a work (Romans 4:16). But such persons have placed upon themselves the heavy burden of what might happen if the faith within their heart might fail. It is not to the cross that we must direct such a person. If they are trusting in Christ alone, they are surely saved. We must encourage them regarding the regeneration of the Holy Sprit. That, even “though we are faithless, he remains faithful, for He cannot deny himself.”

  7. Welcome Steve. I’ve been reading your comments with great interest, together with the many others which are new to the blog. I will say it was bittersweet to learn your former experience caused you such great despair; and yet, you are a success story nonetheless, in that your eyes have been opened and you are growing in the knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    I appreciate your recognizing that you are still learning. Aren’t we all? Don’t make the mistake of boxing yourself in again by stating you’ll never repudiate a coveted position without first examining every possible angle. And even then, often times, our coming to understand hard passages comes by the assistance of brothers/sisters who may better recognize common pitfalls.

    You said,

    “Besides if you say that MacArthur is apostate but hold Once Saved Always Saved you are saying he was never a born again christian in the first place. You cannot have it both ways.”

    This was discussed many months ago – I can’t recall the exact thread, but someone had brought up JMac’s testimony. It was hoped by some, and believed by others, that he began in the faith soundly enough but got off track along the way, most likely through seminary (imo) I suppose only God knows for certain, but if he was truly born again, then even he is secure in the everlasting arms of the Father. I don’t believe any of us desire to see anyone perish, no matter their offenses to the body. God’s ways are higher than ours, His mercy beyond our comphrehension. If one came to faith in Jesus Christ as a child, and then got absorbed into legalism years later and eventually led others to same, are you suggesting God washes His hands of such a one? If so, then doesn’t logic dictate that you must also assume the same fate for the countless others which followed after him, including yourself? It’s absurd to think that a person can lose eternal life, then regain it, then lose it, then regain it, all based on behavior or faulty understanding. Either one is born again or isn’t.

    It would be helpful if Jack, Bruce, or another, could shed further light on the topic of brethren which “fall from grace”.

  8. Sorry, the BOLD button got stuck.

  9. Hello Steve,

    Thanks for your comments. It sounds like you hold to the viewpoint of Chuck Smith and basic Calvary Chapel teaching. I feel that Romans 8:38 disallows that possibility:

    Standard Viewpoints on Hebrews 6:

    1. A Purely Hypothetical Case [Larry Richards, The Complete Christian, 1975, SP Publications, pp. 62-63]: an intellectual exercise, a logical impossibility, an absurdity, if you will, meant to spur the Jewish-Christian readers to become serious about their faith.
    Support: the use of the same term “impossible” in Hebrews refers to something that cannot be conjectured or conceived of as in Heb. 6:18 “It is impossible for God to lie.” Heb. 10:4 “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.”
    2. Believers Who Have Fallen Into Sin and will Lose Their Reward [J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Radio, Hebrews 6]. McGee believes that the terminology used in Hebrews 6 refers clearly to believers, not to unbelievers. “once been enlightened” “tasted the heavenly gift” “shared in the Holy Spirit” “tasted the goodness of the Word of God” Heb. 2:9 uses the same word for taste speaking of Christ, “he might taste death for everyone.” He cites 1 Cor. 3:10-15 in support of this position: “Gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw” “It will be revealed by fire” “If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.”
    3. True Believers Who Have LOST Their Salvation [Church of Christ]. Church of Christ, cultic in teaching: One “true” church; baptismal regeneration; no musical instruments; ability to lose salvation [saved-lost-saved]; rejection of the HS. I reject this position.
    4. True Believers Who Have of Free Will Walked Away from Their Faith [Chuck Smith, Blue Letter Bible, audio, Hebrews 6; also, Jon Courson, Searchlight, Teachings of Pastor Jon Courson, audio, Hebrews 6]: This position holds that believers are kept by the power of God and as salvation is indeed an eternal gift from God, it cannot be lost. However, a believer could, of his own volition, knowingly turn his back on Christ and reject his own salvation. I feel that this position treads dangerously close to position 3. It only differs by semantics!! I reject this position.
    5. Unbelievers Who, Although They Were Seemingly Part of the Body of Believers, Were Nonetheless, NEVER SAVED [F. F. Bruce, Comm. on Hebrews, 1964, Eerdmans, pp. 118-125. These people were professors, not possessors! They looked and acted like Christians; they probably took part in communion and attended services regularly. Ray Stedman calls them “stillborn.” 1 John 2:18-19 calls them “antichrists” who “went out from us, but they were not of us;” Among the 12 apostles, how many fled away from Christ at the crucifixion? ALL of them! Which two were the most striking?? Judas and Peter. What was the difference in their “falling away.” Judas hanged himself. Peter returned and repented. The first was a phony. The second was a true believer. Did Jesus know their true spiritual identities?? YES [John 6:64]

  10. Steve Meikle

    A believer cannot lose his salvation, but he can reject it. I nearly did, and if I hardened my heart to the Voice of the Spirit (Today if you hear my voice harden not your heart) too often I may very well be dead and damned this day.

    I will not argue the point beyond this, but IMO Hebrews 6:4 is too explicit.

    I urge you all to read it. As it links with the Nicodemus Discourse (unless a man be born again he cannot even see the kingdom), I hold that only those who have been born again can be counted enlightened, to have tasted the heavenly gift and been partakers of the Holy Spirit.

    Think about it. To not be born again and yet partake of the Holy Spirit? Partaking of the Holy Spirit is what being born again is, for in Romans it says if you have not the Spirit you are not one of His (ie a born again believer

    IOW the stern warning in Hebrews 6:4 applies to born again believers. Therefore it is possible for born again believers to fall away to perdition. The standard response to this passage is frantic legalistic effort, but this is not what is required, indeed it is what the whole letter to the Hebrews was warning against. If one knows the difference between a Person and a doctrinal platform then staying with Him in prayer (Abiding in christ) is the solution. This is all rest and joy. But i will not imperil myself by believing Once Saved Always Saved, for there is a subtle but deadly difference between trusting a doctrinal position and trusting the Living Person who is Jesus Christ the Risen Lord.

    Besides if you say that MacArthur is apostate but hold Once Saved Always Saved you are saying he was never a born again christian in the first place.

    You cannot have it both ways.

    If my position, which I will never repudiate, give offense, simply say so and I will move on

  11. Thanks, John, for that explanation. Jack has an excellent post on eternal security as well. It is a reprinting of a terrific tract written by Dr. Tom Cucuzza: https://expreacherman.com/?s=cucuzza+pamphlet

  12. Regarding the permanence of salvation, this excerpt from Clear Gospel Campaign says it very well:

    “God has sealed believers of this age with the Spirit as an earnest, that is, a nonrefundable down payment; who is given as a guarantee of our eternal life (2nd Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13, Ephesians 4:30) The plain meaning of this specific guarantee being, that if God were to break His word and condemn one of His own to eternal hell, that He would have to send His Spirit likewise to hell for eternity. We believe that the horrifying absurdity of this prospect was the deliberate intent of Scripture, highlighting in the most vivid language possible, the offense given to God to suggest that a believer can lose his salvation.”

  13. jimmyorourke

    Hello Steve,

    You stated, “…especially if we do not (and I never have) believed in once saved always saved. Oh, there is eternal security. but it is in the person of Christ, not the doctrinal platform of OSAS.”

    Have you always believed in CONDTIONAL security (the false teaching that a believer can, so-called, lose salvation)?

    Jimmy

  14. Steve Meikle

    I am learning, but am not there yet, that not only is salvation a free gift but sanctification is free likewise. Also discipleship. For if these last two are not free then we will still live in despair, especially if we do not (and I never have) believed in once saved always saved. Oh, there is eternal security; but it is in the person of Christ, not the doctrinal platform of OSAS.

    I am to stay with him (Abide in me, He said) in prayer; and when prayer in the Spirit is a two way conversation and not a religious monologue to the ceiling, it, too, is easy. Too many times I have been told “Oh, but he never said it would be easy” (BUT HE DID, I might add); and my old pastor said that he was not going to make coming to the altar call easy either, for the Christian life was blood, sweat and tears. He had forgotten that it is righteousness, joy and peace. He might not be a Lordship Salvationist (I left that church many years ago) but he believed in “paying the cost of discipleship.” Misunderstanding this, he fell from Christ and became a legalist; and his teaching helped drive me literally mad.

  15. John,

    Thanks. Your “Rating System” is a classic!!!

    What amazes me is why anyone would ever choose anything but God’s pure Free Grace. It is so freeing, invigorating and encouraging — Grace makes a believer desire to serve our Savior — not by threats and fear but simply by His Grace!!!

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  16. John,

    Classic ratings scale, thanks!

    Great to have you onboard.

    Bruce

  17. Maybe to assist in taking things with a “big chunk of rock salt”, we coud have a ratings system – kind of like the movies:

    “G” – Grace. Suitable for all audiences.
    “PG” – Unintentional perversion of Grace.
    “PG13” – Intentional perversion of Grace, with malice aforethought.
    “R” – Repudiation of Grace.

  18. Jack, great comment on taking anything or anyone else with a “big chunk of rock salt.” It is amazing that the tactic used most often by people who pervert the Gospel to spur people to Godly living and service is to lead them away from trusting in Christ. I grew up in the so-called Bible belt. Almost everything that I heard in church growing up fed my innate, flawed belief that I had to assist in my own salvation. It should be called the LS belt, not the Bible belt!

    Grace is indeed under attack. In fact, the majority of people I have “met” who believe in Free Grace are on this website.

  19. Bruce,

    Great posting of those reviews.. Thankfully some do “get it” but to think that they must suffer through reading Chan’s book to “get it” — is tragic. Sad that millions of others are and remain duped.
    I just pray these postings will open some eyes.

    Pearl,

    I likewise have seen inconsistencies with Tozer which surprised me when I saw it.. However, I see many “sound” Bible teachers quoting Augustine (Catholic), Nouwen and the Desert Fathers without any disclaimer.. Sad!!!

    Like you say, Bible Doctrine must be from the KJV!! Anything or anyone else should be served with a “big chunk of rock salt.” That it is a sad commentary on the state of faith today.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  20. Hi Jack & Bruce. Hope all is well with you and yours.

    Extremely insightful reviews, Bruce. The anger of the one person witnessing his/her friend being swept away by another gospel is, indeed, a righteous anger.

    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.
    2Co 11:4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

    I also noted with interest the mention of Tozer. He is one I’ve listened to and posted on myself many times, until in one sermon of his called “Deeper Spiritual Life: What is It?”, I heard him speak most favorably of Henri Nouwen, Brother Lawrence, and a few others, as being true prophets of God sent to clean the Roman Catholic Church from the inside out. Whaaaaa?! I can no longer listen to or recommend him.

    In fact, it’s amazing to me how many teachers in the so called “deeper life” ministry borrow “wise” sayings from the Roman Catholic church and its false prophets. I read just recently an interview with Philip Yancey (can’t recall where…maybe the “Berean Call”[?]) where the question asked from whence come his methods on the deeper life, to which he responded that none come from protestantism, but from Rome. This has been my sobering observation as well. Borrowed Roman Catholic quotes nestled inconspicuously in the writings of numerous “fundamental” men and women who, no doubt, may very likely be found resting upon many of our bookshelves.

    I’m so sick of it all, frankly. Just stick to the KJ Bible and take each teacher with a big chunk of rock salt. Pessimistic? You betcha!

  21. THE FALLOUT CONTINUES . . .

    The sad sad fallout from the egregious lordship salvation book, “Crazy Love,” by Francis Chan continues [the book has now sold about 1.2 million copies]. Listen to the following excerpts from Amazon reviews (it’s heartening to read that some people do “get it” about the unbiblical nature of the book):

    “Christianity is not about comparing oneself to non-christians or even to other Christians. If there is any comparing to be done, one should start by comparing oneself to Christ. That’s why we have the New Testament and the gospels specifically. There’s enough in there to show how a Christian should behave. I don’t need Francis Chan.”

    “I was involved in a Bible study and we read it as a group. The leader was so taken with the book and was so visibly shaken in his walk that I felt bad for him. I’ve spent time away from the church so it may be easier for me to spot pharisaism. I certainly am far from a perfect Christian but Chan didn’t make me feel any more convicted. I couldn’t stomach anymore of Crazy Love after page 113. It strikes me that there are three reactions to Chan’s writings. Either 1) they are people that are so hard on themselves as believers that they are ready to believe every negative thing about themselves. These are usually genuine Christians but immature in their faith.
    2) people that are so prideful that they are right in line with Chan and don’t recognize the pharisaism in him and in themselves.
    3) are genuine and mature believers that see right through his method.”

    “I started reading one of Chan’s other books (Forgotten God) and because of this was not interested in reading “Crazy Love”, however a friend is excited about the book and so I will read it for love of her and we and the rest of the body will discuss it. I hate legalism and what it does to people. This beautiful, sweet, loving sister is constantly under condemnation because she is afraid she isn’t doing all the things she should. It makes me angry. Perhaps God will use this experience to solidify in all of us a revelation of His grace as opposed to the “revelation” of legalism so much of the body has fallen prey to.”

    “Adam,
    Thank you for an outstanding review of this book. I just finished the book today and was deeply troubled by it. Through your and a couple of other reviews, I’ve realized that what was troubling me was precisely what you pointed out — weak exegesis by Chan and a confused message that seemed to be the exact opposite of the “Good News” of the Gospel. I fear that this book will be needlessly terrifying for many believers. You’ve done a wonderful service by pointing out it’s flaws.”

    Here’s someone else who “gets it” about the unbiblical nature of the book Crazy Love:
    “All my brethren thought this book was the greatest thing ever and I was excited to read it thinking it was about God’s crazy love and grace for us. But it’s about how some people are really special based on what they do and the rest of us are slime. Very humanistic. And a bit snarky (“your best life later”, tee-hee, I zinged that terrible Joel Osteen). Plus it’s just the same old “American church sucks…” stuff I’ve heard all of my 40+ years (Tozer is great the first thousand times you hear him quoted). I want to live a radical life, but not because a book says I’m not saved if I live normal. Thanks again. Well said [Adam].”

    “He does speak of lukewarm Christians as though they aren’t Christians at all and that really troubles me. . . . he makes the reader, Christian or not, focus on a works-based salvation rather than God’s grace. At least that’s how I see it.”

    “This book made me feel depressed and discouraged, as if there was really no way I could ever do it right, no way I could ever be anything more than “lukewarm”. And I am one of those people who (at one point in my life) actually did sell all of my possessions and move to a third-world country to help the poor because God called me to. Though I know I’m far from perfect, I thought I was at least pointed in the right direction. This book made me feel like why should I even bother? Nothing I can ever do will be good enough, so I shouldn’t even try.”

    “Not even touching on theology (a lot of other reviews already have), this book just felt wrong. Rather than inspiring me to draw closer to Christ, it pushed me further away. I definitely wouldn’t recommend this… there are lots of other actual good Christian books out there . . .”

    The saga continues . . .

  22. Thanks Bro. David,
    And thanks to Bruce for the article.
    Your rants are welcome any time…

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  23. So sad bro. Jack. Amazing how right the Word of God is & how wrong we can be. Peter in 1 Peter 5:1-4 so clearly says that pastors are NOT to lord it over their flocks, but to shepherd them as Jesus does. Commitment salvation is the ultimate in “lording it over” the heads of a poor, brow-beaten flock. I’ve been there. Interesting that he doubted his own salvation, commitment salvation can’t help but cause any honest soul to doubt since it takes our focus off our gracious Savior & puts it on our commitment, or lack of, to Him. I am truly amazed that more don’t doubt under this system, unless they are hiding it or are deluded. Anyway, my rant is now over! God Bless you bro. Jack!

  24. Likewise this verse:
    2 Timothy 4:3
    For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

    I’m sure there are many more scriptures warning of false teachers. People are gullible and many preachers wish to be authoritarian.

    In Christ, Jack

  25. Hi Pearl and Bruce,

    Great discussion. There are many verses that explain why “lordly” pastors and the gullible flock veer so sharply from the Truth. Here are a couple:

    Jesus said as recorded in John 3:19
    And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

    And as the Apostle Paul admonished Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:4:
    Neither give heed to fables [teaching of fiction] and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.

    LS fictionalizes God’s Word, thus truth is far removed from it.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  26. Hi Pearl, always great to hear from you.

    You are so right when you remind us that all of us will be held accountable for the words we speak. I alluded to this fact in the closing statement of my review of the book “Crazy Love” (written two years ago): http://www.freegracealliance.com/pdf/BookReview%20ofCrazyLove.pdf
    “Words have meaning and impact! Words can edify or harm. When the book ‘Crazy Love’ through, in my opinion, poor exegesis, consigns Christians by the busload to hell—‘To put it plainly, churchgoers who are ‘lukewarm’ are not Christians. We will not see them in heaven’ (Chan, pp. 83-84)—isn’t there bound to be fallout? ‘Crazy Love’ is currently a Christian best-seller. Its impact is destined to be substantial! Most, I fear, will have no understanding of the broad theological implications of the book as outlined in this paper. My greatest apprehension is the potential for wholesale devastation of Christians’ assurance of salvation.”

    I didn’t have to be a prophet to predict that these outcomes would occur, which they have.

    Pearl, I, too, am amazed that so many people don’t understand; they just don’t realize how much damage that this book could cause and HAS caused! My educated guess is that myriads of pastors promoted the reading of the book to their congregations as a means of stirring up more activity for God in response to widespread complacency in their churches [it was required reading for all of the adult classes at my church]. These pastors sure chose the wrong vehicle to achieve that end! A gentle kick in the seat of the pants may have been necessary, but not a caustic, fear and guilt based, blatantly damning LS tome such as this one. And, of course, few individuals will tend to question their pastors’ recommendations, and thus most will just accept whatever they are told to read without scrutinizing it biblically.
    Fortunately, as JanH once said, referring to the fact that a number of reviewers of ‘Crazy Love’ on Amazon actually understood how wrong and unbiblical this book truly is, it is heartening to see that some people do GET IT!

    As a footnote, Francis Chan resigned from his pastorate of Cornerstone Church of Simi Valley in Spring of 2010, sensing a call into some unspecified inner city ministry. He previously resigned in 2006 when he experienced doubts of his own salvation (this is where LS theology will often lead one). His church allowed him to return to his position later that year.

  27. Hi Jack & Bruce,

    Wow, Bruce, that’s heartbreaking! It makes me realize just how seriously God takes our actions and words, as he warns that we will be accountable for every idle word spoken. I think causing a fragile and insecure brother or sister to fret so, when they should be ministered to and built up in the faith, is a grave offense.

    It amazes me that Chan’s book has received such mixed reviews: some thrilled by it, and others terribly disturbed. Why do you think that is?

  28. Francis Chan’s million plus bestseller, “Crazy Love,” continues to bring much harm to the body of Christ. I still find it mind-boggling that thousands of pastors have promoted this book to their congregations.

    Listen to this recent Amazon review of Crazy Love which demonstrates how this ungodly unbiblical book has utterly decimated many Christian’s assurance of faith:

    “I was severely depressed about not feeling saved before I read this book. When I saw its cover and title, I thought it was going to be a nice book about God’s love, one that could help me get in a closer relationship with Jesus.

    After reading the first few chapters, I found myself crying my eyes out and the next morning, I literally had a panic attack. It was so bad, I lost a lot of feeling in my limbs and was unable to swallow well. I had a hard time working for the next few days after and had to increase my anxiety medication later that week.

    On top of the anxiety attack, I have obsessive compulsive disorder and this book had me actually pondering if I should sell my house and live with my parents in order to be a “real Christian”. After all, the book mentioned someone who heard this guy’s sermon and did. Isn’t that basically what Christ asked of the rich young ruler–to sell everything? That’s what went through my head.

    I’m not saying that we shouldn’t fear God, but this book put the “fear of God” in me in a bad way and ultimately did not do me any good. I think Chan’s bad relationship with his own father, which he mentioned in the book, had a large part to do with his thoughts of God.”

    Let this testimony stand as a warning: Stay away from this book!

    FIND TRUE HOPE IN CHRIST:
    https://expreacherman.wordpress.com/eternal-life-for-you/

  29. You know bro. Jack, & all, as I look back over my spiritual journey with the Lord, I think I am becoming more & more amazed at the Lord’s remarkable patience & faithfulness with me. I now am beginning to see some of the roots of where some of these issues came from, & it is amazing that I am still here! He is certainly faithful. I love Paul’s statement in Galatians 2:20, “…the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me…” It has recently been pointed out to me by a fellow faithful blogger brother that it is the faithfulness of Jesus Christ that is the key! I live by HIS faithfulness! He is faithful to preserve us blameless in Himself until we see Him face to glorious Face! Halle-LU-jah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you bros. Bruce & Jack for your faithfulness as well. You are a blessing to young upstarts like me.

  30. Thank you David, Scotty and Pastor Jack for your most kind and gracious comments. I have been accused of fomenting division in my writing. This is not the case. But when I see the heart-breaking fallout of lordship faith teaching in the form of broken, driven lives, lacking all assurance of salvation, I must speak out for the grace gospel of Eph. 2:8-9, John 3:16, and Acts 16:30-31. In another article entitled, “Grace Baiting,” I made the comment: “The question of the true meaning of what it means to be saved is THE most important question of all! Get that question wrong and you face the potential for a lifetime of legalistic bondage, a decimation of assurance of salvation, and, for some, ultimately, eternal separation from God.” To read the full article, see Pastor Jack’s blog at:
    https://expreacherman.wordpress.com/2010/09/02/macarthur-grace-baiting-an-article-bt-bruce-bauer/

  31. David and Scotty,

    Yep any honest believer could write a book about the lies told them — before and after salvation..
    Thankfully there are people like Bruce who dare to expose the error and tell the truth.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  32. Like David I could write a book! I often wonder, as I look back and at my age, I have seen much, if there isn’t a certain group of people that prefer to live in bondage to one thing or another. It’s sad, really sad…….

  33. Oh, bro. Jack, could I ever leave a book of a comment on this! Such fine writing & grasp of the truth of Biblical grace by this brother! How crucial to see that our motivati0n for living the Christian life is knowing that we are already accepted in the Beloved through simple faith in His shed blood for us! He loves us & is for us, not against us! Oh my, thank you bro. Jack for posting this. I have already “favorited” the pdf article &* am going to devour it soon. God Bless you bro. Jack my dear friend in Christ! Hello to your sweet wife!

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