Is “Lordship” Salvation by MacArthur, Chan, et al Error?

Dear readers,

This is about theologians who would teach that a believer in Christ WILL be obedient or WILL do good works. (Washer, MacArthur, Chan, et al. I suggest some of my links with further details – footnotes below)

Just to be clear, yes, I agree with the Bible that by all means a believer in Christ SHOULD be obedient, but….

If we teach or preach that just because one is saved there “will be” obedience and good works, this assumption is contradicted by over half of the New Testament which urges, beseeches, begs and implores believers to be obedient and do good works befitting a believer in Christ.

God’s Grace provides us the means whereby we are empowered and enabled (but never forced) to be obedient.
1 Corinthians 15:10
But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all:yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

A few examples of the Apostles Paul and Peter begging believers in Christ to obey Scriptures:
Beseech = Greek, Parakaleo = invoke or implore, beg.
Ephesians 4:1
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, [As believers in Christ we are called to be witnesses for Christ]

1 Peter 2:11
Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

1 Thessalonians 4:1
Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.

1 Corinthians 1:10
Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Romans 12:1
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Ephesians 4:24
And that ye put on [you array yourself – something you do] the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Romans 13:12
The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off [something we do in obedience] the works of darkness, and let us put on [something we do in obedience] the armour of light.

We believers should enjoy and relish the Lord leading and discipline (teaching) us by His Grace into obedience to Him — but our disobedience never puts our salvation in doubt in God’s eyes, only man’s. And because the unsaved see believers and (right or wrong) judge Christ by us, we SHOULD be obedient to our Savior, because we ARE saved eternally — but thankfully not to be or stay saved.


1. Lordship salvation Calvinism and One-naturism <<Click

2. Lordship Salvation [Chan] teaches Confusion. << Click (A pitiful true story)

19 responses to “Is “Lordship” Salvation by MacArthur, Chan, et al Error?

  1. Because in essence they are trying to be their own Savior by their works. They do also cry Lord, Lord.

    Have they believed on Him to save them? Or have they believed on something they can do in order to be saved?

    By the way Jack, I know you have trouble with the colors and writing.

    The top says, “If Jesus is not your Savior, Then He’s not your Lord at all!”

    The verse is I, even I, am the Lord; And besides me there is no Saviour. Is 43:11

    Then at the bottom I said,
    MANY will cry Lord, Lord…
    And will do any miracles and good works in His name.
    But He will say He never knew them.
    Do you possibly trust something you do, you did, or will do as part of your salvation?

    Jesus IS Lord, and you might believe that, the demons know that and tremble.
    But have you believed that Jesus IS your Savior?

    By the way Jack, I know you have trouble with the colors and writing.

    The top says, “If Jesus is not your Savior, Then He’s not your Lord at all!”

    The verse is I, even I, am the Lord; And besides me there is no Saviour. Is 43:11

    Then at the bottom I said,
    MANY will cry Lord, Lord…
    And will do any miracles and good works in His name.
    But He will say He never knew them.
    Do you possibly trust something you do, you did, or will do as part of your salvation?

    Jesus IS Lord, and you might believe that, the demons know that and tremble.
    But have you believed that Jesus IS your Savior?

  2. Another good article Jack.

    Why do Lordship proponents make the gospel more difficult? I found myself excusing Paul Washer awhile back saying something to the effect, “He seems like a sincere man”…and I found John 7:24 coming to my mind, and I was praying, “Lord, I’m not being unkind” and the verse came to mind again, and especially NOT according to the appearance.

    And it dawned on me. As much as we cannot read their motives, we cannot know them to be bad (in their own mind), we cannot also judge their motives or intentions to be good. I learned that day, that I was judging by the appearance, so, now I try to stick with the fruits of what is coming out of their mouth.

    People think I am hard. I am knowing that only the truth will set people free, and if people are not being straightforward about the truth of the gospel, people will not be saved.

    What they are teaching about it being so hard to enter into the narrow gate, expounding upon the meaning of strive, and changing the whole gospel to a list of do’s and don’ts before you can believe, and another list for after.

    People have speculated that they are tired of the carnality of the church. Well, are they even preachers? Pastors? What’s the solution? More laws? More regulations? Or the sanctification by the Word? I for one am tired of what they do to people’s lives as they make them doubt their salvation, or preach a message that is no good news at all.

    To turn it a little around, I decided to make a little photograph, with the similar type of verbiage they use to question someone who does not think their doctrine is Biblical. If it is acceptable, here is the link to the photograph.

  3. Mike,

    This is not a forum to promote your theology, whatever that may be. We have tried to help you because you said you were struggling..

    Your last comment and any further — will not be posted. They all seem to be promotional for your questionable teaching.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  4. Mike,

    Yes, all believers SHOULD live their lives according to Scripture.. but disobedience does not negate their salvation acquired by Grace through faith alone in Christ alone, apart from any works.

    Again, never make salvation (getting or keeping) have behavioral or works conditions.

    And Yes, Biblical marriage is between one man and one wife.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  5. David, Solomon and others had several wives. Polygamy was prevalent among early believers. There is a movement underway today promoting “Christian Polygamy”.

    The original intention of marriage was a man should have one wife. Wouldn’t having multiple wives would disqualified him from the ministry. I have no easy answer. In those cultures I believe the pratice should be to teach new belivers the principles of Scripture. I’m sure you would agree we should live are lives according to God’s Word and not man’s or cultures ideas.

  6. Mike,

    About calling a believer a sinner, you are in error with your exegesis and perhaps writing without thinking. We find God’s Word (inspired by the Holy Spirit) addresses believers as “sinners” in several places:
    James 4:8 when he was pleading with his believing flock:
    “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

    And then Paul to Timothy in
    1 Timothy. 1:15
    “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”

    You also play loose with the word “sinner.” Perhaps you used the English dictionary (a common mistake among many), whereas the Greek dictionary word for sinner is “Hamartolos” or plain and simple, “sinner.”

    You infer you sin but are not a sinner.. that is double talk. As I said, in God’s eyes every believer is righteous before God.. but we do sin.. thus are sinners – but saved by His Grace. Are you claiming to the contrary?
    1 John 1:10
    “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  7. Mike,

    Your scenario with four wives…

    What SHOULD he do? It is not advisable to deal with hypothetical situations. He, now with the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit, will need to be educated in Scriptural things.. and be advised by the Godly Biblical Pastor who led him to Christ. Obviously he will never lose his salvation whatever he does.

    Mike, I have no easy answer for that question as I have never encountered it. What do you think he should do?

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  8. I agree grace requires no preconditions of behavior or works to be saved. In the above senario, if a man has four wives, then he becomes a believer, what should he do? Stay married to all four? Divorce all four? etc….

  9. Jack, I never said we have no sin. Biblically speaking, are belivers referred to as sinners? Do words mean anything? If saints are nothing but sinners in disguise, then we are no better or no different than the rest of the religions.

    Sinner, noun – evildoer, wicked, devoted to sin, not free from sin. Does this describe you? Sinner is a label, it’s an identity. Someone may say “I’m just a sinner saved by grace”. Is that how the word of God defines us?

    From Genesis to Revelation the evidence is overwhelming there are those who are unrighteous/righteous, ungodly/godly, sinners/saints, children
    of the devil/children of God etc…

    From the standpoint of Jesus, a person was a sinner as long as he or she remained opposed to the will of God. In the Gospels the term sinner is used in two ways – to describe the individual who is opposed to God and His will, and by Jesus’ opponents to describe those outside of their group to whom Jesus offers the gospel of salvation. Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels.

    Jack, If you want to refer to yourself as a sinner who is opposed to God’s will, fine.

  10. Bruce,

    I am unable to read the minds of LS preachers, teachers, writers, etc..

    BUT if I had a guess, they make it hard to be saved (or stay saved) to keep them in their flock.. Sort of a “refined” do-don’t legalism of years past – the opposite of Free Grace.

    It is beyond me why lay adherents of LS remain so adamant — unless it is ignorance of proper dispensational Bible teaching and study — and listening to LS teachers, writers and preachers.

    I would welcome your article if you wish to publish it here.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  11. Hi Jack:

    Here’s an open question to throw out to your audience. I already have my ideas but it would be helpful to get other responses/approaches. I’m toying with writing an article on the subject. Here goes:

    In terms of motivation, why do you think that preachers/teachers, writers and/or other advocates of Lordship Salvation purposely make the way of salvation so complicated, clouded and difficult for the unbeliever to understand or embrace? Simply put, why make it so hard to get saved?

  12. Mike,

    You stretch the words of that verse just a tad.
    John, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, speaking to believers says:
    “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8

    And the Apostle Paul struggled with his old sin nature:
    “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” Romans 7:19

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  13. Jack, Calling it a night. I’ll have to get back to you on #2 above and the questions for me posted on the other page regarding areas in which I struggle with LS doctrine.
    Answer: Jack says:
    (1) Believers in Christ are sinners until we die — but saved sinners, thus Saints in God’s eyes. (Blameless in God’s eyes)

    The Word of God says:
    Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

    We WERE sinners, Christ died for us. Believers are NOT sinners saved by grace. We WERE sinners saved by grace.

  14. Mike,

    Looks like we got our notes crossed again. Thanks for the questions.

    LS folks say we WILL be obedient or we aren’t saved.
    The Bible says believers SHOULD be obedient for fellowship with Him and other believers.
    (1) Believers in Christ are sinners until we die — but saved sinners, thus Saints in God’s eyes. (Blameless in God’s eyes)
    (2) Grace requires no preconditions of behavior or works to be saved. (Ephesians 2:8-9) God loves you just as you are and wants you to trust Christ as Savior.
    “That whosoever believeth in Him [Jesus] should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:15
    That is the very essence of Grace — which is undeserved mercy.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  15. If we WILL be obedient or WILL do good works then why does the bible use the word SHOULD? Why does the bible teach us how we ought to live if it’s automatic/ guaranteed? Jack, in total agreement with your observations.

    Here are two questions that have been asked recently:

    1) Are we sinners or Saints?
    2) What would and unbeliever who has multiple wives, permitted in his culture, have to do if anything about his marital status to be saved?

  16. Bruce,

    Thanks. That is a good study on preservation and perseverance. A careful study of this really knocks holes in Calvinism and Lordship salvation.

    I would like more folks to comment here but not many have done so in the two months since I posted it.

    I think I will send a link to here for our friend Mike. He might enjoy this discussion.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  17. This is an excellent topic Jack! I hope that more folks will post on it.

    Here’s an excerpt from Dr. Charles Bing which applies to the “would” or “should” works issue:

    The arguments against perseverance:

    Perseverance depends on faith as a special power given to man, but the Scripture does not accommodate this thought at all. Faith is our response to God’s promise of eternal life. In Ephesians 2:8, the gift is not faith but salvation by grace (See GraceNotes No. 48).

    In spite of Ephesians 2:9 that says we are saved “not by works,” perseverance [a core teaching of lordship salvation] makes works a necessary proof, and thus a condition of salvation. This is inconsistent with being saved by grace. Romans 4:4-5 makes the contrast clearly, “Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness” (See also Rom. 11:6; Titus 3:5). There is only one condition for salvation by grace, and that is to believe (Rom. 3:22).

    When a person believes, he is convinced of God’s promise to give eternal life, to justify, or redeem (There are a number of terms used for eternal salvation). Assurance can be absolute because God’s promise is absolute: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” (John 5:24). Romans 4:16 makes it clear that our assurance of receiving God’s promise has to be through faith in God’s grace (not our performance). Abraham was credited with righteousness because he was “fully convinced that what [God] had promised, He was also able to perform” (Rom. 4:21).

    If eternal salvation was dependent on our performance enduring to the end of life, then no one could be sure about salvation until life has ended. Yet the Bible has clear indications of genuine believers who did not endure in faith and works to the end of their lives (Acts 5:1-11; 1 Cor. 11:30; 1 John 5:16). In 2 Timothy 2:12-13 it is implied that it is possible for believers not to endure: “If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.” Endurance is rewarded with reigning, but denial of the Lord is met with denial of that reward. Even if we are faithless (from Greek apisteo , literally, “be without faith” or “disbelieve”) God will be faithful to His promise of making us alive with Him (verse 11).

    The preferred term, preservation:

    Preservation is a term that speaks of our security of salvation. Unlike perseverance that emphasizes our performance, preservation emphasizes God’s promise to give us eternal life (John 3:16), God’s purpose to see us conformed to the image of Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:29), and God’s power to let nothing separate us from His love (Rom. 8:31-39). If God preserves us in our salvation, we can be absolutely sure we are saved forever, something that is impossible in perseverance.

    Preservation does not negate the true biblical concept of perseverance, which understands that perseverance is not for salvation but for rewards, as seen above in 2 Timothy 2:11-13. In 1 Corinthians 9:27 Paul was expressing the possibility of losing not his salvation, but his reward, when he wrote: “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (from Greek adokimos, which never refers to hell or loss of salvation in the New Testament). A major theme of Hebrews is the importance of the Christian to endure, or persevere (Heb. 6:11-12; 10:36; 12:1).

    Dr. Charles Bing is a cofounder and former president of Free Grace Alliance. To view the full article by Dr. Bing, see:

    To study in depth the difference between perseverance and preservation, see Dr. Thomas Cucuzza’s outstanding book “Secure Forever! God’s Promise or Our Perseverance” (see the link by Jack in the upper right column).

  18. Thank you for the hat tip, Jack!

    Those are two excellent foot notes you’ve included. A post back in January was one which woke me up (I’m including that link), especially through the discussion which ensued. You’ve got a lot of great folks frequenting your blog. I’ve been paying much closer attention to what I hear/read as a result. Thank you so much.

  19. Just a quick note:

    This post resulted from a Comment I made on the Blog of a dear friend, Pearl, at “Be Thus Minded.” I recommend you read her excellent posts.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack