Easy Believism, “Cheap Grace,” Lordship “Salvation”

Easy Believism, “Cheap Grace,” Lordship Faith.

By Jack Weaver

Wow!! That title describes a large platform upon which to start a discussion.

Several times I have been accused of “Easy Believism” and “Cheap Grace” when explaining God’s Amazing Grace in Salvation.

The pejorative term “Easy Believism” and “Cheap Grace” are most notably shouted by Calvinists and Lordship Salvation (C-LS) proponents such as  John MacArthur, R.C Sproul (Monergism.com), Francis Chan, et al.

C-LS folks deny the clear dispensational teaching of Scripture. (Dispensationalists rightly divide the Word of Truth, [2 Timothy 2:15] understanding that God deals with (governs) man in different ways in different ages, even though in every age His salvation is always freely given by trusting in God’s promises through faith, believing the available and revealed knowledge of Jesus Christ, the Savior/Messiah).

Several years ago I was sharing my faith in Jesus Christ with a stranger. I noticed someone watching me carefully. Shortly afterward the stranger departed, this watcher derided me by saying, “You were teaching him Easy Believism.” I regret that I never had  a chance to follow up that topic with him.

Many times we see a very subtle statement by proponents of Lordship Salvation, using Ephesians 2:8-10, that “Salvation is by Grace, but true salvation results in good works.”

Yes, Salvation IS by God’s Grace through our faith but the second half of that statement, while it sounds good, is absolutely un-Biblical. Ephesians 2:10 clearly says,“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we SHOULD walk in them.” How tricky it is for C-LS “scholars” to read that word “should” as MUST! 

John MacArthur – Master’s Seminary Journal

TMSJ 4/1 (Spring 1993) 5-24

Excerpt (John MacArthur)

Though elsewhere I have employed the expression “lordship salvation” for the sake of argument, here I am using the more accurate expression “working-faith salvation” (cf. Jas 2:17) A faith that is void of submission is a merely intellectual faith, sometimes appropriately called “easy believism.” “Easy believism” is the view that saving faith is a solely human act. Those who adopt such a view must then scale back the definition of faith so that believing is something that even depraved sinners are capable of.

(See also Bruce Bauer’s excellent review of JMAc’s latest book, “Slave.”)

Unbelievable statements by the “respectable Bible Scholar,” John MacArthur. Being a Calvinist, JMac apparently does not believe Christ died for sinners. Despicable thoughts by JMac!!

These are a couple of words from C-LS folks that emerge from their imagination, but do not appear in a search of God’s Word;  “sovereignty” and “depraved.”

Name calling, pejoratives and verbal persecution are not unusual occurrences if/when we share the free Grace of Jesus Christ… Salvation is FREE without the requirement of works before, during or after. Yes as believers in Christ, we SHOULD do good works because we are saved and belong to our Savior — but God never places any requirements to do good works to be saved or stay saved.

I believe that Jesus Christ is the True and Only Savior of the world. He died personally for your sins and mine — those sins that would separate us from God for all eternity. He was buried and arose from the grave, proving He is God. He is alive today. [1 Corinthians 15:1-4]

Now the simple part.. God simply asks you to trust (believe in) Jesus Christ for your eternal life. He paid the death penalty price and all He asks of you is that you will believe in Him. [John 3:16] That is the very essence of God’s salvation and it is forever.

Isn’t that easy to believe??

God’s Eternal Hope for You

100 responses to “Easy Believism, “Cheap Grace,” Lordship “Salvation”

  1. Another interesting post and plenty of great comments.

    Bonhoeffer was definitely Lordship, I own maybe a dozen of his books, because after I cited a man who painstakingly researched his books 20 + years ago, I was frequently asked, “Did you read the book” or “Do you even own the book”? So…. I bought as many used ones as I could over time. This researcher gave not only the book title, but the publisher and year (because some titles were re-published by others), and the page numbers where this info was found. Completely and thoroughly documented.

    A few of Bonhoeffer’s glaring errors. He might be an admirable man for what he did during the war, I do not know considering the major cover-up of some of his lack of true belief, but if these beliefs were what he founded his faith on, he could not possibly know Christ.

    1. He didn’t believe in a historical resurrection – therefore he could only not have believed the gospel, unless he changed his mind later.
    2. He said much of the Bible was a myth, and not to be taken literally.
    3. He did not believe in the virgin birth.
    4. He questioned the Deity of Christ.
    5.
    The reformed and ecumenical love him. Case in point, Eric Metaxas who penned his “biography” and when I asked him in a public forum if Bonhoeffer denied the resurrection, he hemmed and hawed, and looked at the ADF attorney behind him on stage (Scottsdale Bible church) and said it was a “rumor” on the internet. I suggested he do some more research and look into Letters from Prison and one more book which I could not remember the title.
    6. He was proud to be a Barthian.
    There is more, but those things above should make any believer want to refrain from quoting him once they know. Happy also to share the references if anyone would like.

  2. Supplemental info. for Michael (and anyone else who may be interested):

    http://www.gracelife.org/resources/dissertation.asp?id=chp6

  3. Michael,

    Thanks for your comment. Please help me simply understand your premise.

    You are saying that in Ephesians 2:10, the word SHOULD by your interpretation means MUST?

    So are you saying you MUST walk in good works to (a)be saved, (b)stay saved or (c)both?

    Unless I misunderstand, either way, your theory contradicts the Lord’s entire concept of Biblical Grace salvation, by Grace alone through Faith alone in Christ alone.

    Bruce’s earlier explanation is conclusive.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  4. Hello Michael,

    Glad to have you join our discussion today. Come back again sometime.

    Your explanation of Ephesians 2:10 is a bit simplistic. This site often quotes the “should” of Ephesians 2:10, following the King James Version, to demonstrate that, although God created us for good works and he desires that we do good works, nevertheless, we often fail to do so. Several other translations follow the translation of the KJV, using the term “should.” Some say, “might,” or “would.” Lordship Faith advocates often say that Ephesians 2:10 insists on good works to prove one’s salvation.

    Listen to the explanation of Ephesians 2:10 from Dr. Charles Bing from his book, “Lordship Salvation,” pp. 45-46 (Bing argues that the text in no way necessitates good works):

    “Created . . . ‘for (epi) good works’ means that God purposed that every Christian have good works, and though it may be inferred that they will, this phrase says nothing about the fulfillment of the purpose or what measure of works validates faith. These works were prepared by God beforehand (ois proetoimasen ho theos) so that Christians might walk in them (hina en autois peripatesomen). The purpose clause signified by the hina uses the subjunctive mood of peripato to express expectancy and probability, but not certainty. The clause states a purpose, not a promise.”

  5. Michael Hammons

    Thanks for the blog. Eph. 2:10 starts with the word “For” which clearly give explanation of verse nine. Thus coordinating verse 10 with nine which give us either purpose or reason. Verse 10 gives the reason why we were saved by Grace and not works. The statement of reality or fact is expressed by the word “are.” It’s object is “workmanship.” Thus, those who accepted Christ by faith were God’s beautiful work created in Christ Jesus for good works. Anyways, I would continue to argue thought the text to see if one could get a better understanding of the word “should.” One might find how foolish the argument is if one just translated the verse and made the word “walk” the result the subordinating conjunction “that” and a subordinating clause. Also do a word study on the word walk in Eph. I believe you will find walk is the main points of chapters 4-6. By the way the Greek word translated “should”, easily takes on the idea of must. The Greek word “should” does not appear in verse 10 but walk. Thanks for blog.

  6. I like that kind of math.

  7. Christian Lawyer,

    So great to have you here .. You nailed it!!
    Makes one wonder why folks complicate the message — Maybe for control???

    Drop back any time.. we will appreciate your comments.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  8. Salvation = faith in Jesus + 0

  9. Brad,

    Hmmmmm, this sounds a lot like the MEAN God of Calvinism, a God who must not be all-loving because he elects some for heaven (the lucky few) and many or most for hell. And, according to the Calvinist idea of limited atonement, the latter group (as well as the first group) have absolutely no say in the matter. THAT is not the Christian gospel of John 3:16, Ephesians 2:8-9, Acts 16:30-31 and 1 Corinthians 15:1-8—the TRUE gospel is a gospel of GRACE!

  10. Ok. Specifically, it does not say what you said it says (Ps. 5). Secondly, according to what you are saying, though God does desire all to be saved, that does not mean all will be saved. The power does not lie in the hands of man for one to be saved at whim or will. It lies with God trying to bring those to repentance who will be saved.

    But what I just said really has nothing to do with what I was trying to say, which is this. To take the power out of a verse like, Thou hatest all workers of iniquity, and to say that God really doesn’t mean it, takes the power out of the verse and when the man is being condemned by God in order to get him to a point where God will save him, people will tell a person of a God of love, when God is letting that man know he is doomed. The stripping of a man of all of his hope in this life, it brings hope, but when you give it to a man prematurely, it short-circuits the work of God in that man’s life!

  11. Hi Brad:

    I don’t think that I could have answered your Psalm 5 citation any more clearly. Whenever we analyze a certain text we must, of course, look at it in view of its local setting as well as to understand its larger context of the entire Bible. Regarding the Hebrews 10 citation, yes, God is a holy God and he will judge sin. He is also the God of Love who desires that ALL men would be saved (2 Peter 3:9). Sadly, however, for those whose entire lives are characterized by sin and who have repeatedly and steadfastly rejected God’s gracious gift of salvation through his Son Jesus Christ to the point of their death, for them, as Hebrews declares, there is no hope. But the GOOD NEWS is that God is not willing that any should perish and his gracious offer of salvation stands for anyone who will come to him by faith, trusting in Christ alone: in Christ’s death, burial and resurrection; in his wonderful GIFT of salvation!

  12. Dear Bruce,
    I know what you are saying, and it is very popular today to say that God hates the sin and loves the sinner. But that is NOT what that Scripture I quoted says. What does it say specifically, not generally? Specifically it does explicitly say, THOU HATEST ALL workers of iniquity. To say that God hates sin, but loves sinners, takes all the power out of that verse. That verse damns and condemns people. To say that “well, God really doesn’t mean that, He really loves you”, takes all the power out of the fear of an angry God.
    It is like Hebrews chapter 10, verses 22 until the end of the chapter, where the most famous is verse, verse 31 states, It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. To let a person who is being totally stripped by God of all his armor, and to have that person, who after reading Hebrews chapter 10, and having himself be afraid to death, and to let them know of a loving God, while it is true God is loving, to tell a person who is being stripped of all hope, that there is hope when God never told them that there was, that does a great disservice to them! It lets them retain their armor. Please do not, whatever you do, when God is refining the silver in a man’s life, and burning out all hope and impurities, before he becomes pure silver, Please whatever you do, DO NOT short-circuit God! It can be done, and when it is done to men, they are worse off than they were before they met you, and before God got them to the place of holy fear.

  13. Brad,

    In the passage the Psalmist David declares the holiness of God contrasted with the sinfulness of man—v. 4 “For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.” He elaborates and personifies his declaration in verses 5-6: “The foolish [other translations say ‘arrogant’] shall not stand in thy sight; thou hatest all workers of iniquity. Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing [lies]; the Lord will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.”

    The phrase “workers of iniquity” has the idea of “purveyors of generational patterns of sin.” Their entire lives were characterized by sin. To David, such men, whom he describes as “bloody and deceitful,” are so vile, so evil that they are the very personification of evil incarnate. So in David’s phraseology, he can rightfully say that God “hates” these men in the sense that God certainly loathes everything that they embody and everything that they stand for. But the Bible also declares circumspectly that although God hates sin he nevertheless LOVES the SINNER. What is the evidence? He sent his only begotten Son to die for ALL sinners:

    John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent NOT his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

    Ezekiel 33:11 declares: ” Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have NO PLEASURE in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die…”

    Likewise, 2 Peter 3:9 declares: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance.”

    When Psalm 5:5 declares that God hates the workers of iniquity, it simply means that God hates their sin, especially their steadfast arrogant stubborn attachment to their sin(s); however, the Bible never says that God hates the sinner. He loves sinners (that’s you and me too!) so much that he gave his only begotten Son to die for them. That’s NOT hatred, that’s the most incredible love of all!

    “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” -John 3:16

    Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.”

    Hope this clears things up for you, Brad. Are you trusting in this gospel message mentioned above (by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone) for your eternal life?

  14. Psalm 5, verse 5. I am at this time not trying to make a point, just trying to see what would be done with such a verse

  15. Brad,

    Thanks for dropping by.

    The phrase “workers of iniquity” comes up many times in the Bible. How about giving a reference so that we can see the context. Then please state your case clearly (what point are you trying to make?) and we will respond accordingly.

  16. Two things come to mind, I in this post will only mention one of them. One of them is this. What do you do with the Scripture which states, Thou hatest all workers of iniquity? The second has to do with predestination, but I will leave that for later.

  17. Bruce,

    Thanks for your prayers… Needed and appreciated.

    I agree with you wholeheartedly about MacArthur. He is the greatest disciple of discipleship salvation popularized by him as “Lordship ‘salvation’.”

    I think Bonhoeffer intimated discipleship salvation.. but MacArthur has “perfected” it to the detriment of the Gospel of Grace.. Salvation by faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  18. Hi Jack,

    You may be right that Bonhoeffer was one of the early popularizers of lordship salvation. But I think that John MacArthur is hugely and mostly responsible for the worldwide spread of this false teaching, starting especially with the publication of “The Gospel According to Jesus” in 1988 [I call it “The Gospel According to MacArthur”]. Over the past twenty-three years this abominable teaching has spread to every corner of the globe. And it has even taken on a life of its own not currently connected to MacArthur. Think of the vast damage that this man has wrought over the years. Is there any undoing of it all??

    Praying for you friend!

    Bruce

  19. Bruce,

    Thanks for that comment detailing the origin of that awful term “cheap grace.” We who believe in Biblical Free Grace understand the slings and arrows that come our way via that term.

    Bonhoeffer’s theology was certainly convoluted.. and maybe he was the originator of the lie of Lordship “salvation.” Interesting!!

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  20. Hi friends,

    I recently discovered a book review on Amazon which shed some light on a well-known term which is regularly used by the lordship faith camp, namely, “cheap grace.” I personally loathe this expression because there is nothing whatsoever that is cheap about the incredible awesome grace of God who loves us so much that he sent his only begotten Son to die for our sins. And it is a slanderous pejorative which lordship faith advocates love to try to pin on Free Grace theology. The term above is attributed to a famous WWII era writer named Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It comes from one of his early books, “The Cost of Discipleship.” According to the Amazon review by “Big D,” Bonhoeffer’s views on discipleship changed over the years and he actually distanced himself from some of his early writings. Look at the following excerpt from the review of Bonhoeffer’s early book, “The Cost of Discipleship”:
    (1) The writing style of this book is badly outdated and hard to follow and understand. This book badly needs an editor to put Bonhoeffer’s thoughts into more modern prose. This book, as it is, is a difficult and at times convoluted read. A new updated edition is badly needed.
    (2)Secondly, and more importantly, this book is early Bonhoeffer, full of didactic thought, at times morally pompous. A better place to start a study of Bonhoeffer might be his last work, “Letters from Prison…” written at the end of his life. This work is the more seasoned, more mature Bonhoeffer, a man who has seen to some the degree the mistakes and folly of his earlier thinking.

    The reviewer’s comment above about the author being “morally pompous” in his youth fits many in the lordship camp whom I have found to be very elitist in their treatment and attitude toward any and all who disagree with their unbiblical views.

    By the way, just for the record, I own a copy of “Letters from Prison.” I don’t recommend it. It, too, is convaluted and hard to follow.

  21. Bruce,

    Thanks for posting those articles. I also read the review of the book crazy love at the freegracealliance.com website. I don’t understand why Chan would tell his congregation that most of them might be going to hell. They have got no assurance of salvation.

    Jack,
    Bruce did do a good job with the answer.

    with his stripes we are healed,

    phil121

  22. Phil,

    Thanks for dropping in. Bruce wrote a great comprehensive answer for your discussion, don’t you think?.

    Thanks Bruce.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  23. Hi Phil:

    Thanks for joining us with your comments. You quoted a lot of good Scripture on assurance of faith. I might add John 10:27-30. You correctly declared how Lordship Salvation teaching actually destroys assurance of salvation for anyone who buys into LS nonsense. Francis Chan’s book, “Crazy Love,” is the most egregious example of extreme LS teaching. In chapter 4 Chan concocts his own artificial list of what he dubs “the lukewarm” (basically any Christian who is not living some extreme on-fire over-the-edge obsessed life for God, whatever all of that means). Then in chapter 5 in one fell swoop he literally consigns them all to hell! There’s hardly a believer left standing. So I say to all, do not even go near that false unbiblical book. It uses only the worst kind of manipulation as well as guilt and fear motivational tactics. Jack has many good articles on this site exposing the falsehoods of Lordship Salvation teaching and on Chan’s unbiblical teaching. Here are some of them:
    https://expreacherman.wordpress.com/2011/01/05/grace-under-fire-the-fallout-of-lordship-faith-teaching/
    https://expreacherman.wordpress.com/2010/09/02/macarthur-grace-baiting-an-article-bt-bruce-bauer/
    https://expreacherman.wordpress.com/2008/09/06/john-macarthur-lordship-salvation/
    https://expreacherman.wordpress.com/2011/04/28/is-lordship-salvation-by-macarthur-chan-et-al-error/
    https://expreacherman.wordpress.com/2011/01/23/lordship-salvation-teaches-confusion-francis-chan/

    You might also like to read a full-length review of the Crazy Love book at: http://www.freegracealliance.com/articles.htm

  24. Brethren,
    I just found this website recently. This is a good website. All this Lordship Salvation stuff is garbage. I believe in Lordship Discipleship. I believe in Lordship Fellowship. I don’t believe in that Lordship Salvation dung.
    If one had to “persevere to the end” or if “good works must accompany saving faith” then why does it say in the scripture “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption”? (Ephesians 4:30). Why does it say “Quench not the Spirit”? (1 Thes. 5:19). Why does it say “Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen”? (1 John 5:21). Etc. If “good works” or a “changed life” must accompany saving faith then why would these commands even be in the Word of God. Lordship Salvationist’s really baffle me.
    I read that Francis Chan book “Crazy Love”. I think it might be a good book to get you on fire for God but that book is filled with Lordship Salvation dung. For this reason I can not recommend that book to anyone. I also saw the part on this website about the book and one guy named Royce commented something like “believers that are saved and living like hell is fiction”. That Royce guy is fiction. “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Romans 4:5). This Royce guy must think he lives a sinless perfect life. “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10). Royce better be sinless or else according to him he’s going to hell.
    I tested a Lordship Salvationist one time to prove how stupid Lordship Salvation really is. I told him to give me $1,500. I told him about Matthew 5:42 “Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.” He said no. I told him then he must not really be saved then because he is not doing what Jesus commanded. He then must of realized what a garbage position Lordship Salvation is.
    For assurance of Salvation one needs simply to go to John 6:47 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.”
    I don’t understand why these Lordship Salvation people want to pervert the Gospel of Christ (Galatians 1:7) and corrupt the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3).
    “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel (Lordship Salvationist’s) is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” (Romans 10:1-4)
    “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees (Lordship Salvationist’s), ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20).
    Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
    Phil121

  25. “But like I said, if they were basically trusting in dead animals for the ultimate forgiveness of sins and eternal life, that just does not seem correct. That’s substantially different from believing in the real substitutionary atonement.”

    The blood of dead animals _is_ substitutionary atonement. Please read the entire ceremony of the scapegoat –the sins of the people are laid on one goat, and the goat is driven away (really driven off a high hill or cliff to ensure it died, and the sins of the nation with it). The other is sacrificed, once again for the sins of the people. Or even the way in which the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies. The point of these sacrifices was to cover sin. So, no, it’s not “substantially different.” It’s actually the same thing –or perhaps a picture of the same thing.

    But what’s at the back of these blood sacrifices? That is the quandary… It is faith in the promise of God that the blood sacrifices will cover sin. It is the faith that covers sin, not the blood (as if the blood were, in some way, magical). The entire Mosaic Law is based on faith in the promise of God –if you do this sacrifice, God will cover your sin. From Adam to the Disciples, they all believed the promise of God in this regard. In a sense they were right, but in a sense they were wrong…

    So it is with Christ. Our faith in Christ is what saves us, but that faith is in and through his perfect blood sacrifice. Acts 20:28, Romans 3:25, Romans 5:9, Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:20, etc.

    Salvation has always and ever been through faith in the promises of God, because the character of God is to tell the truth and to carry out what he promises to do. Salvation is eternally the same –it’s always faith in God’s promises, nothing more, and nothing less.

    But, this thread is long enough… You have the last say, unless others want to jump in. I (unfortunately) have a paper, a book, and a bunch of blog posts to write. And then there are those slides for work, and that PRD, and… No, as much as I like to discuss this, I really need to step away for a bit. Sorry. 🙂

  26. Brother Jack:

    Just want to let you know that I have added a link to your blog from my blog under Recommended Sites.

    Lou

  27. But like I said, if they were basically trusting in dead animals for the ultimate forgiveness of sins and eternal life, that just does not seem correct. That’s substantially different from believing in the real substitutionary atonement.

  28. “Jack, post-millennialism is not a theory of worldwide ecumenism. It is a theory of worldwide evangelism, often with an increased emphasis on political involvement as a matter of sanctification.”
    No, it’s not… 🙂 Post-mil means that we (the Church) will build the kingdom of God on this physical Earth before Christ returns. This implies that Israel is no more –and that the current state of Israel is an affront to God, rather than a blessing from God. Post-mil doesn’t emphasize evangelism, it emphasizes building and gaining political power.

    ==
    “Jan, it is true that Cain’s sacrifice was crossless, but a crossless practice is different from a crossless gospel.”
    No, it’s not. 🙂 A “crossless Gospel,” means that the person doesn’t need to understand that a blood sacrifice is necessary for reconciliation with God. The “crossless Gospel” tries to take blood sacrifice out of the picture –and this simply isn’t possible.

    ==
    “Russ, everyone back then had some concept of blood sacrifice so I guess your theory is possible — that knowledge of a Messiah has always been required, plus knowledge of some kind of blood sacrifice. But I guess the main problem is that Jesus’s followers did not even seem to understand he was going to die.”
    You are confusing two issues here –what the Disciples understood of the Messiah, and what they understood of the blood sacrifice required for reconciliation. In their minds, the Messiah would come and make Israel the most powerful nation on the face of the Earth. Within Israel there would still be the Temple, and the blood sacrifices within the Temple would still cover the sins of Israel. Some of the sacrifices within Rabbinical tradition, BTW, covered the sins of the world –the Day of Atonement, specifically, and the scapegoat.

    The concept of a blood sacrifice was not tied to the Messiah at all in their thinking, although it has always been clear from the Scriptures that the two are intertwined –the Akedah, the protoevanglian, Isaiah 53, various Psalms, and many others.

    So did the Disciples think Jesus would die? No. In fact, that a human sacrifice would be the blood sacrifice to cover sin was the farthest thing from their minds. They grew up in a culture where human sacrifice was the ultimate evil –how could a God who so strongly condemned human sacrifice, sacrifice his own son, a human, to cover sin? But that doesn’t mean they didn’t believe that blood sacrifices cover sin, only that they didn’t understand the two purposes of the Messiah.

  29. Jack, post-millennialism is not a theory of worldwide ecumenism. It is a theory of worldwide evangelism, often with an increased emphasis on political involvement as a matter of sanctification.

    Jan, it is true that Cain’s sacrifice was crossless, but a crossless practice is different from a crossless gospel. The crossless gospel doesn’t actively advocate crossless practice or even crossless belief. The crossless gospel just says that a person can be justified despite having certain faulty (or missing) beliefs.

    Russ, everyone back then had some concept of blood sacrifice so I guess your theory is possible — that knowledge of a Messiah has always been required, plus knowledge of some kind of blood sacrifice. But I guess the main problem is that Jesus’s followers did not even seem to understand he was going to die. Granted, maybe they expected him to set himself up in the temple and start slaughtering animals (rather than slaughtering himself). Such a scenario would obviously involve both a Messiah and blood sacrifice. But even if Jesus were the one doing the killing, it still seems like a belief centered around dead animals would sort of miss the point.

  30. Bro. David,

    Thanks for dropping in.. It was your statement in some other venue against “cheap grace” (plus accusations against me) that started my thought process for this title. We have some great folks and discussions here, don’t we?
    Give our best to your sweet wife.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  31. JanH,

    So well said! I couldn’t agree more! The longer I live, the more thankful for God’s amazing love & grace I become. I see more clearly how sinful I am but how gracious He is. Thank You Jesus! Thank you bro. Jack for your faithfulness to our Savior.

  32. Here is the new link to Bruce Bauer’s new article mentioned above, Free Grace Theology and “Easy Believism”: Is There Really Any Connection
    http://www.expreacherman.wordpress.com/?p=986&preview=true

    It is well worth the read and we will appreciate your comments.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  33. Dear all,

    Well I retire and wake up to a plethora of wonderful and interesting comments.

    Drew, since the day I trusted Christ (at age 35 and I’m now 82) I could not understand the Biblical rationale behind a Postmillennial theology. When analyzed, it appears almost a theory of eventual world-wide ecumenism with all religions holding hands singing Kum-by-yah. Where am I wrong?

    Rus, thanks for that great explanation to Drew.

    Jan, your dialog with Drew is excellent and well thought out.

    Lou, thanks for the link about Hodges. It was interesting in many ways but especially in that you mentioned Florida Bible College. I trusted Jesus as my Savior at a Florida Bible College (FBC) Christmas Concert (1964 when the college was relatively new), attended church there and ultimately received a theology degree from FBC (my first degree was from the University of Alabama and was totally impractical). I was not aware that during my time at FBC, I was in the middle of the battle against the lies of Lordship Salvation, because I was engulfed in a Free Grace atmosphere and attending one of the greatest bulwarks of Free Grace Theology. Dr. Richard Seymour was/is a great teacher — was then and is now a dear personal friend whose books I recommend highly. Dr. Jim Scudder Sr. and I were friends and graduated FBC at the same time. Dr. Tom Cucuzza (Grad of FBC) was my Assistant Pastor and a great friend and inspiration to our church.

    To all, I really appreciate the time each of you have taken to think about and write in this this detailed discussion.

    Bruce Bauer just contacted me with a new article, somewhat building on this discussion (which I will try to post today). It should be very informative: Free Grace Theology and “Easy Believism”:
    Is There Really Any Connection?

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  34. However, I think it is very strongly presented in Scripture that the wages of sin is death

    I mean all through Scripture, from Genesis on.

    JanH

  35. Thanks for the explanation, Drew. Now I see what you are saying. That is an interesting way of looking at it that I never thought of before. Once again I have to agree with Russ on this one, though.

    To Russ’ thoughts I would add that Abel brought the kind of sacrifice God sought- a sacrifice of death interposed between him and the righteous God who had imposed death for sin as the consequence against man. Contrarily, Cain’s offering was bloodless, deathless, and now we could say “crossless” in that it denied, ignored, or sought to circumvent the actual consequence God imposed on man for sin. Basically, Cain stood in agreement with Satan, suggesting that we shall not surely die. The concept of death being required to satisfy God’s wrath against sin has been present since the skins God gave Adam and Eve in the garden. We have seen in Christ that God’s Lamb has indeed fulfilled that requirement permanently (the entire book of Hebrews) and is now the specific content of saving faith that is necessary. However, I think it is very strongly presented in Scripture that the wages of sin is death, just as God said in the garden, and that the death of something must be interposed in order for man to be able to stand before God. But now, since there is no more offering for sin, Christ is it. Therefore, He and He alone must be presented before God, His death interposed between God’s wrath and the sinner, and, just as always, no one can stand before Him and be accepted without such sacrifice. Before He would accept other offerings as long at the life had been ended and the blood spilt, but now that is all ended. Now there is one Offering only, and along with that a change in priesthood.

    In short, perhaps it would be easiest to say that prior to Christ, there was no such thing as a deathless offering for sin. and now that Christ has been offered, there is no such thing as a crossless offering for sin, the cross being the altar on which The blood was shed and The Lamb was slain. Everything has become very specific and pointed: all is made clear.

    JanH

  36. Faith is revealed in each of these Dispensations. Much of the complaint against dispensationalists is that there is a teaching among them that God saved men in different ways. That is a lie! No such teaching exists among dispensationalists. Salvation has always and only been by faith.

    Abraham believed God, and it was accounted unto him for righteousness,” (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:3).

    “Without faith it is impossible to please God,” (Heb. 11:6).

    Salvation has always been by faith!

    Lou

  37. “Jan, the crossless gospel is basically non-dispensational because it emphasizes a complete lack of change over the ages in the content of the gospel. By contrast, Lou Martuneac and the FGA people would presumably admit that knowledge of the cross was not necessary before the cross, but they would nonetheless argue that the content changed later on, such that the cross (and whatever other doctrines) became necessary after the cross. Obviously the idea of change is more dispensational.”

    The problem you’re bringing up is what must a believer before the Cross believe in order to be saved. In other words, what is the content of faith? There are only four answers to this question:

    1. Knowledge of the sacrificial death of Christ is only necessary after that death took place.
    2. Knowledge of the sacrificial death of Christ is always necessary and known at all times in history.
    3. Knowledge of the sacrificial death of Christ is always necessary, but some gain this knowledge after death, while others gain this knowledge before death.
    4. Knowledge of the sacrificial death of Christ is never necessary.

    #1 is what you’re accusing dispensationalists of –and this is completely wrong. I don’t know a single dispensationalist who believes this.

    #2 is one of the foundations of covenant theology –that Adam knew the entire Gospel from the day he was tossed out of the Garden of Eden on his ear, and mankind never lost that knowledge.

    #3 is what every dispensationalist I’ve ever known believes. Before the cross, there was a specific content of faith necessary. If someone held true to that content of faith, they were taken to Abraham’s Bosom, to which Christ went and preached the remainder of the content, and released them into heaven. The specific content of faith before the Cross, which was pointed to by everything from Adam to John the Baptist was (roughly) this:

    – We are sinners unable to be reconciled to God.
    – The only reconciliation comes through blood sacrifice.
    – There is one coming who will, in some way, atone for man perfectly, and heal the rupture between God and man completely.
    – God is going to bring this about. It is a promise.
    – For a person to be reconciled to God, he must believe in this promise, which means he must believe in God’s trustworthiness and power to accomplish this promise.

    In all ages, the object of this faith was God himself, and the action was relationship with God –to be fulfilled in totality when the person dies. Eve believed her child Cain would be the one who would reconcile mankind to God. Noah was also believed to be the one who would reconcile mankind to God. Men have looked for a savior throughout the Scriptures.

    #4 is what you’re claiming to believe. Since you think the content of faith cannot change over time, and those in the Tanach who were faithful didn’t know about he cross in a very specific manner, then knowing about the cross doesn’t matter today. The problem is you’re using two meanings for the word “cross,” and shifting between them rapidly.

    You say, “people in the Tanach didn’t know about the cross.” True enough –but they knew the concept of sacrifice, and they understood that only a blood sacrifice could reconcile them to God. Did you think that God just killed the animals from whence he took the skins to cover Adam’s sin off in the woods where they wouldn’t see what was going on? There is great significance in God choosing animal skins to make clothing that would cover their sin. Every faithful person in the Tanach performed sacrifices to God. All of them.

    When you use the word cross today, you change the meaning to: “They don’t need to know the principle that a blood sacrifice is necessary for salvation. As long as you have faith in God, you will be saved.” Faith that God will do what, precisely? Faith that God did what, precisely?

    What you are saying is:

    1. The content of faith cannot change over time.
    2. Dispensationalism believes the content of faith has changed, so dispensationalism is false.
    3. Since men did not know about the Cross in the Tanach, and yet were judged righteous, knowledge of the Cross is not necessary.
    4. Since knowledge of the Cross is not necessary, knowledge of the entire concept of sacrifice to reconcile God and man is not necessary.
    5. If knowledge of the requirement for a sacrifice to reconcile God and man is not necessary, then the only thing necessary is “faith in God,” without any other content.

    The next logical step is this:

    6. If “faith in God,” is all that’s necessary, then it doesn’t matter which god you believe in, because it’s still faith.

    This begins with a series of false premises, so we shouldn’t be surprised that it reaches a completely false conclusion.

  38. Jan, the crossless gospel is basically non-dispensational because it emphasizes a complete lack of change over the ages in the content of the gospel. By contrast, Lou Martuneac and the FGA people would presumably admit that knowledge of the cross was not necessary before the cross, but they would nonetheless argue that the content changed later on, such that the cross (and whatever other doctrines) became necessary after the cross. Obviously the idea of change is more dispensational.

    My own beliefs are non-dispensational and postmillennial.

    And since Lou has brought it up, I do think Hodges’s view of repentance is just stupid.

  39. Dear Jack:

    I would not know what or how Hodges fell into to such an awful heresy. There are men who sat under him in seminary and stayed in touch with him over the years. Many of them tried, but failed to help him see what he had gone way out of balance in his theology. No one has yet been able to pin point just when the first signs of his Crossless gospel teaching germinated, but it was first evident in the early part of the last decade. Hodges put out a two-part series in 2000 titled How to Lead People to Christ and it was with that that many began to see in stark terms he had shifted radically. The last article Hodges published before his passing The Hydra’s Other Head: Theological Legalism sealed the deal and removed any doubt he had embraced a radical reductionist heresy.

    The following article is part one of two that addresses his drift. Part two (see link at end of part one) addresses repentance in particular. See- Drifting Far Off The Marker. For example

    “Hodges has come to believe, against the full body of Greek literature, that repentance is turning from one’s sins. There are nuances where honest theologians can disagree. This is not one of them. The belief that repentance somehow takes sin as its automatic object is indefensible from Greek. It is bluntly contradicted by a mass of secular literature as well as Scriptural usage. Because Hodges has retained his commitment against Lordship Salvation, the only way he is able to teach a Reformed definition of repentance (a turning from sin) while preserving grace is to claim that ‘repentance’ is never presented as a requirement for salvation in the New Testament.”

    Hodges did not finish his race well. His legacy is that he is responsible for the most egregious form of reductionist heresy ever introduced to the NT church by one of its own. The GES with Bob Wilkin is the sole propagator the Hodges legacy and his Crossless gospel.

    Antonio da Rosa is one of those who fell into the trap of the Hodges, Wilkin, GES Crossless gospel (CG). The CG is as radical a departure from the gospel by way of its reductionism as Lordship Salvation is from its works based end of the soteriological pendulum swing.

    Hoping this is helpful.

    Lou

    PS If you want t the most comprehensive work on the Crossless Gospel get a copy of Ps. Tom Stegall’s book, The Gospel of the Christ: A Biblical Response to the Crossless Gospel Regarding the Contents of Saving Faith. There are excerpts at my blog under the Label, “Gospel of the Christ Book.”

  40. Lou,

    Maybe 40years ago +- a great discerning friend touted Hodge as a great and clear discerning Free Grace salvation preacher. I read part of the book he offered me. I thought it either rather good, or I was not discerning or Hodge was actually clear at that time — and since slipped disastrously.

    I have read snippets of his errors on your Blog and wonder what is it that gets into the mind of a solid Bible teacher that twists his theology so and what influence was it that wooed him such that he departed so far from truth.
    That may be open only to speculation unless we see contradictory, statements from him explaining how his once Biblical teachings are now unBiblical.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  41. Hodges and Wilkin both define repentance as the LS men do. Then to maintain some distinction away from LS Hodges declared repentance is not part of/necessary for salvation (justification). I document this in my book and at my blog.

    Ah. That must be where I heard it.

    JanH

  42. 😀 !!

  43. Pearl,
    Don’t know that I’ve ever watched that program.
    I used to be a straight shooting rifleman, shotgunner,and pistoleer.. but with my eyesight just about gone, I would just have to aim in a perps general direction and say “Dance” cause there ain’t no tellin’ where them thar shots ‘er gonna go.
    Jack

  44. You also know I don’t intend to twist the Gospel to convince the nay-sayers that one must “turn from sin 180″ to be or stay saved, don’t you?

    Don’t I know it!! No compromise!! You’re a straight shooter, “Lucas McCain”

    Absolutely it’s close! And it’s why anyone who has ever heard a sermon since the advent of BIlly Graham is terribly confused by the word “repentance” together with salvation. Good luck hearing the pure, simple gospel. Can’t recall when I’ve ever heard it in the mainsream, come to think of it.

  45. Jan:

    Hodges and Wilkin both define repentance as the LS men do. Then to maintain some distinction away from LS Hodges declared repentance is not part of/necessary for salvation (justification). I document this in my book and at my blog.

    Lou

  46. Jack-

    Funny you should say that about Graham. The LSers don’t like him because he makes salvation too easy. They don’t like his walk-the-aisle approach.

    I don’t like his ecumenism. But I never did listen to him.

    Seems Billy Graham = confusion.

    JanH

  47. I personally can appreciate the GES’s crossless gospel precisely because it is anti-dispensational. The crossless gospel says that the gospel has always been unchanging. I think it’s kind of funny that a supposedly dispensational group would even come up with that idea.

    Drew,

    Please elaborate.

    You are not the first person to say something along these lines, frankly. I recall some discussion about Hodges holding the same interpretation of repent that the LSers use and something about him not really agreeing with Dallas’ doctrinal statement, but I don’t recall any specifics.

    I am curious as to your take on crossless and anti-dispensationalism.

    JanH

  48. Pearl,

    You also know I don’t intend to twist the Gospel to convince the nay-sayers that one must “turn from sin 180” to be or stay saved, don’t you?.

    Hmmmm, just thinking how close that message sounds to LS teaching. Suppose ole Billy was the progenitor of LS teaching? I have considered that thought for some time — but Billy was not the first to misinterpret the word repentance, he just popularized it in a twisted sense..

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  49. You’re one of the few. No doubt some equate him with the Apostle Paul. Curious, don’t you think, how he went from “Repent!!” to his latest message that even Buddhists/Muslims/etc which have never heard the gospel will still be saved. Guess his cozying up with the Vatican was instrumental in that, huh?

    You realize, don’t you Jack, that by saying you rejected Graham’s message calling for one to “repent and do a 180” could be woefully misunderstood. I fear some will read your words and accuse you of condoning the saints to “whoop it up!“.

  50. Pearl,
    I have disliked Graham since before I was saved.. when he would get on TV, point at me and say “Repent of your sin! You are walking one direction and you must turn from sin and turn your life around 180 degrees in order to be saved.” I rejected that, thankfully. A faulty repentance message is just as misleading as a lordship message.
    My daughter in law says she trusted Christ at one of his crusades.. but obviously she was counseled by someone with a clear Gospel and trusted Christ because of that and in spite of Graham’s message — because now she is very discerning.
    And Schuller was bad news for millions of folks — my Dad included. (another story).

    Thanks for that.
    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  51. Imagine teaching that a lost man does not have to know, understand or believe in whom Jesus is and what He did to provide salvation, but can still be born again.

    I saw a brief clip of an interview of Billy Graham by Robert Schuller, where Graham actually stated the same thing.

  52. “If a dispensationalist wants to, he can always argue that there are two elections.”
    Um, no you can’t… 🙂 I don’t think you’ve actually grappled with the entire problem.

    “I personally can appreciate the GES’s crossless gospel precisely because it is anti-dispensational…”
    So you’re working from a presupposition –that there are no dispensations– and building your soteriology around that. It’s much, much, safer to move from the Scriptures –which clearly teach dispensations– to a framework, with an open willingness to change your framework when the Scriptures dictate.

  53. Russ, I don’t see any importance in the election issue. If a dispensationalist wants to, he can always argue that there are two elections. By contrast, a Calvinist can argue that there is only one election. In that same way, a non-Calvinist non-dispensationalist can also argue that there is one election. I personally think that the election issue in Romans 9 is just referring to God’s election of Jesus.

    Regarding Lou Martuneac’s comments, I personally can appreciate the GES’s crossless gospel precisely because it is anti-dispensational. The crossless gospel says that the gospel has always been unchanging. I think it’s kind of funny that a supposedly dispensational group would even come up with that idea. And I also appreciate the crossless gospel’s emphasis on assurance of salvation, but I guess that’s sort of a separate topic.

  54. Brother Jack:

    Thanks for the follow-up and kind remarks I did not know there was a limit to links that can be posted. Sorry about that.

    While GES once was a helpful ally in the debate over Lordship Salvation (LS) it (GES) has gone so far in the other direction of reductionist soteriology it is no longer a welcome force in the LS debate. GES has marginalized itself. Where LS adds to, Hodges/Wilkin/GES have taken away from the one true gospel of grace. Because of its teaching of reductionism the GES membership has been reduced to a small cell of theological extremists.

    Yours in Him,

    Lou

    PS: In another thread I welcomed Bruce Bauer to your site. A great addition.

  55. Lou,

    Thanks for those links.. your post was moderated because of more than one link.
    Antonio and I exchanged ideas many years ago, when he first started attacking you. I removed his link on my blog when he began advocating what is called the crossless gospel.

    I appreciate your stand for the “simplicity that is in Christ” and the clarity of the Biblical Gospel.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  56. Btw, Bruce, I read your review on Francis Chan’s “Crazy Love” the other night, and learned plenty. I found his assertion that lukewarm Christians (accompanied by his list) were damned to be outrageous. Very, very disturbing. I tremble for these people.

  57. Blame it on seminary… 🙂 It’s all too easy to “fall into the language.” Sovereignty is probably a bad word to use in this sort of discussion, because of the rather narrow definition given it by Calvinists –God controls not only the flow of history, but even every decision.

    Unfortunately, “all powerful” leaves room for the open theists to stick their thinking into things on the other end –it’s been co-opted, as well, in other words. They say things like: “Of course I believe God is all powerful, but that just means he can override anything we humans choose, control nature, and things like that…”

    To me, “all powerful,” and “sovereign,” mean about the same thing –God controls the flow of history, down to selecting specific people for specific tasks. That while God knows every decision, and orders history accordingly, he doesn’t control every decision.

    There doesn’t seem to be a word in the middle that hasn’t been co-opted by one side or the other. Maybe we need to invent one.

  58. Thanks Pearl, we agree…

    And thanks Lou, we agree.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  59. Brother Jack:

    This morning Jan informed me that your blog had a visit from one Antonio da Rosa. If I may, as briefly as I can state that:

    1) The GES is home of the most egregious reductionist assault on the Gospel commonly known as the “Crossless Gospel.” The CG was invented by the late Zane Hodges.

    Imagine teaching that a lost man does not have to know, understand or believe in whom Jesus is and what He did to provide salvation, but can still be born again. Imagine teaching that a lost man can openly, consciously reject the deity of Christ and still be born again. These are just a few of the teachings from Hodges, Bob Wilkin, the GES and Antonio da Rosa.

    2) Antonio da Rosa is one of the most extreme and vocal advocates of the Crossless Gospel heresy. Here are a few samples by da Rosa:

    If a JW hears me speak of Christ’s deity and asks me about it, I will say, ‘Let us agree to disagree about this subject.’

    At the moment that a JW or a Mormon is convinced that Jesus Christ has given to them unrevokable [sic] eternal life when they believed on Him for it, I would consider such a one saved, REGARDLESS of their varied misconcetions [sic] and beliefs about Jesus.

    The Mormon Jesus and Evangelical Jesus are one and the same.”

    If someone asks me point blank, do I believe that one must believe that Jesus is God in order to go to heaven, I would say ‘NO!’

    Rather than a long post here I am going to provide a few additional links to articles that document the heresy of the GES Crossless Gospel. Jan linked to my blog, but here are some specifics from among the nearly 70 articles I have on the GES and it’s Crossless Gospel.

    GES Reductionist Affirmation of Belief

    The “CHRIST” Under Siege: The New Assault from the Grace Evangelical Society

    Antonio da Rosa: Believing the Gospel, “May Indeed Frustrate Grace?”

    Bob Wilkin, “Trust[ing] in the Risen Christ [is] Flawed.”

    Heresy of the Crossless Gospel Verified & Affirmed

    Zane Hodges’s Hydra Head Article

    I caution all readers to withdraw from, mark and avoid the GES and Antonio da Rosa.

    LM

  60. Russ,
    I don’t intend to put words into your mouth but I know you could describe your belief in God’s omnipotence and omniscience in words other than the Calvinist catchword “sovereignty.” 😉 The word itself is not in the KJV Bible. (Certainly we would find it if one uses a more recent “Bible” adaption or paraphrase by teachers who have an affinity for Calvinism).

    Calvinists define the word as meaning that man has NO choices because of Who God is. Of course we know that is patently false.

    To Calvinists who insist on the word, I will usually say that God is surely all powerful but in His wisdom, love and grace has given man, who has condemned himself, the choice to disobey or obey, whether to trust Christ or reject him. This applies especially in matters of Salvation and service.

    I have read enough of your writings to know you do not believe the Calvinist origination and definition of the words “sovereignty of God.”

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  61. Anyone who doesn’t know about Antonio, go over to Lou Martuneac’s blog and use the search feature for Antonio da Rosa.

    Thank you!!!!!!!

  62. Don’t even start, Antonio. No one who knows anything about you is going to buy it. You are persona non grata and you know it.

    Anyone who doesn’t know about Antonio, go over to Lou Martuneac’s blog and use the search feature for Antonio da Rosa.

    http://indefenseofthegospel.blogspot.com/

    JanH

  63. BTW –I do hold to the sovereignty of God. I also hold to the free will of men. IMHO, the Scriptures teach both quite clearly. Arminians resolve the tension in favor of free will through prevenient grace, Calvinists resolve the tension in favor of God’s sovereignty. While I realize there are those in the FG camp that resolve the tension in favor of man’s free will, I simply believe we can’t satisfactorily resolve the tension from our human viewpoint.

    The Scriptures say both are true, so they are both true. God is, in other words, smart enough and powerful enough to retain his sovereignty while still allowing men free choice in whether or not they want to be saved. Don’t ask me how that works, because I’m not God. 🙂

  64. “The main distinctive point about dispensationalism is the belief that God plans to rebuild ethnic Israel.”

    I would put this another way –if you read the Scriptures consistently, you’ll come to that conclusion. You can be a Covenant Theology Free Grace believer –but I think you must read the Scriptures inconsistently to be so. You can be a Calvinist and be a dispensationalist, but I think you must read the Scriptures inconsistently to be so…

    These post, from Dr. Reluctant, might help you understand better –he attacks the issue from the hermeneutical angle, going through all five points of Calvinism one at a time:

    http://drreluctant.wordpress.com/2011/02/16/dispensationalism-and-tulip-total-depravity/
    http://drreluctant.wordpress.com/2011/03/31/dispensationalism-and-tulip-unconditional-election/
    http://drreluctant.wordpress.com/2011/04/19/dispensationalism-and-tulip-limited-atonement/
    http://drreluctant.wordpress.com/2011/05/12/dispensationalism-and-tulip-irresistible-grace/
    http://drreluctant.wordpress.com/2011/06/08/dispensationalism-and-tulip-the-perseverance-of-the-saints/

    In the second post, for instance, he ties Covenant Theology to Calvinism by going straight to the Canons of Dort:

    “There are not various decrees of election, but one and the same decree respecting all those who shall be saved, both under the Old and New Testament; since the Scripture declares the good pleasure, purpose, and counsel of the divine will to be one, according to which He has chosen us from eternity, both to grace and to glory, to salvation and to the way of salvation, which He has ordained that we should walk therein (Eph 1:4, 5; 2:10).

    This article, taken with Article 9 makes it clear that Dort believed that there is just one people of God. Acceptance of these Articles is thus implicit rejection of the Israel/Church dichotomy which is so central to DT!”

    The path between Covenant and Calvinism is through election –if you believe in total inability, then you must believe in election “against the desire of the person so elected,” (though Calvinists prefer to say that God gives totally depraved man the desire, but what’s the difference between giving me a new desire and working against my old desires, in the end?). There can only be one sort of election, so there must be only one election, and hence one people, because it would make no sense to elect two different people into two different things.

    The Calvinists I know who are dispensationalist all soften election in some way –almost all of them call themselves “4 point,” or “3.5 point,” and they even modify the points they hold to. I always tell them, when we get into this discussion, that I could be a five point Calvinist if I get to define the points the way I like… 🙂

  65. Russ, I was actually arguing that even a LESS literal reading of scripture should still result in free grace theology. For example, even a less literalistic reader could easily look at the centurion who was healed just because he expected a miracle, and see that faith does not equal love for God and obedience to the law (MacArthur’s theory). And on the flip side, many people come up with objections to free grace theology based on interpretations that arguably, are overly literal (e.g., equating Hebrews 6:8 with hell; or saying that the “mark of the beast” or other sins such as saying bad things about the Holy Spirit will allow people to lose salvation).

    And those passages that you cite do show God implementing some changes, but they don’t have much to do with soteriology. Everyone with any sense agrees that God has changed some things at times. The main distinctive point about dispensationalism is the belief that God plans to rebuild ethnic Israel.

  66. Great discussion all!

    Thanks, Russ, for your in-depth analysis. I, like Drew, have not perceived in the past the strong links that you mention between Free Grace and Dispensationalism, but you have given me much to ponder about—thanks again. By the way, your mentor Dr. Doug Bookman spoke at my church a few times (he was a professor of my pastor’s). I found him to be a brilliant theologian and I had no problem with anything that I heard him preach (I remember specifically that he had some interesting insights regarding the events surrounding the birth of Christ); I don’t really know anything about his stand on LS or Calvinism. One of his former associates is Dr. James Rosscup (Prof. Emeritus). He was a professor of mine years ago at Talbot Sem. Great man of grace.

  67. “But I don’t find that idea very convincing because it doesn’t exactly take a genius to get free grace theology from the Bible. The doctrine of salvation by faith alone is hammered so thoroughly throughout scripture that a highly literalistic (or an Israel-versus-church) framework is not at all necessary to get it.”

    I agree that if you read the Scriptures in a literal, “just plain sense,” sort of a way, you’ll get to Free Grace. But if you read them that way, you’ll also get to some form or another of dispensationalism. There isn’t any “plain sense” covenantal reading of the Scriptures.

    I don’t see how anyone can read Genesis 6-8, Exodus 1-20, and Acts 2, and not “get” that these are definite changes in the relationship between God and man. Since a dispensation is just a rather technical term for a specific relationship between God and man… A plain reading leads to dispensationalism. It takes hard work to avoid that conclusion.

    You might not get to 7 crisply defined dispensations by just reading the Scriptures, but you’ll get to dispensationalism. The problem is a lot of people confuse the two ideas.

  68. Jack, I think the main connection between free grace and dispensationalism is just that dispensationalists have historically separated themselves from Calvinists. As you have pointed out, Calvinism pretty much automatically leads to some form of legalism. Dispensationalists CAN be legalistic, too, but such dispensational legalism is purely by choice, and not automatic like it is with Calvinism. So Calvinists are at a disadvantage; they have no real chance to become free grace, whereas dispensationalists have a chance.

    But what this explanation tells us is that when you used the term “dispensationalist,” you basically just meant “non-Calvinist.” That is, a non-Calvinist can readily become an easy-believist.

    But I would just point out the flaw in your statement — which is that someone (such as myself) could easily be a free gracer without accepting Calvinism OR dispensationalism. So your assumption that all non-Calvinists are “dispensational” is just not totally accurate, although in practice it may be generally true, for historical reasons.

    Russ’s argument that a dispensationalist interpretive method (which I guess would maybe tend toward literalism) leads people to free grace theology is something I had considered. But I don’t find that idea very convincing because it doesn’t exactly take a genius to get free grace theology from the Bible. The doctrine of salvation by faith alone is hammered so thoroughly throughout scripture that a highly literalistic (or an Israel-versus-church) framework is not at all necessary to get it.

  69. {GES link removed by Admin. We don’t recommend it}

    Thank you!!!!!!

    JanH

  70. Antonio, Thanks for dropping by.. but you may recall that on your blog we had some differences about GES and some of its newer more recent teaching. I know you favor GES but we will not get into that discussion on this thread.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  71. Thanks Jan,

    That Ice article seems to be quite comprehensive — My article and comments hit on the highlights but Ice goes for the details and is quite interesting.

    Not long ago, Shirley and I were talking about how great it was that I trusted Christ, was Biblically grounded and educated under Dispensational teaching. Having a graphical mind with an art and drafting background, one of the first Christian book purchases was Larkin’s Dispensational Truth, a wonderful book of graphical charts vividly illustrating the Dispensations and many other things Biblical. I still refer to it on occasion.

    It seems from Ice’s article that Covenant Theology is an enemy of Dispensationalism but not so much Calvinism. I see this as a distinction without a difference. I think it interesting that Ice reports one of two major proponents of Dispensationalism was James Hall Brookes (1830-1897) of Walnut Street Presbyterian Church, St. Louis, while the other was a Baptist. I rarely see a Presbyterian today following a Dispensational path. It is interesting too that C.I. Scofield was also at one time a Presbyterian Pastor. My first Bible was a Scofield Reference Bible, which I appreciated — but did find some references to Predestination which I found incongruent with my theology and his Dispensational teaching.

    Further we find that the founder of Dallas Theological Seminary, Lewis Sperry Chafer was first a Presbyterian preacher yet a Dispensationalist.

    Assuming Dr. Ice’s treatise is true, I must say that I have not met any modern day Covenantees or Presbyterians (Calvinists) who are Dispensationalists. Maybe I just “Don’t get around much anymore.”

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  72. Here’s an article by Thomas Ice on the history of Dispensationalism:

    http://www.pre-trib.org/articles/view/short-history-of-dispensationalism

    JanH

  73. (FYI I had a note for myself which had no bearing on my comment — so I deleted it)
    I may be departing from the premise of my own article — but comments here have brought up other thoughts, which maybe should be an article rather than a comment.

    Calvinism and a lack of dispensational teaching seems to have produced the problem called Replacement Theology, saying the “church” has replaced Israel in the promises of God, thereby leaving open a plethora of problems — among them, Israel has no claim to the land, Kingdom Now Theology, the theory that we are presently in the Millennium, the Great Tribulation has already taken place, and that there is no “taking away” of believers (Rapture), et al.

    This, to some, is called the New Covenant Theology, hence Covenant Presbyterian Churches, Covenant College, Covenant Reformed organizations, etc.
    The teachers of The New Covenant Theology generally abhor Dispensational teaching because the concept interferes with their Reformed (sometime Replacement) theories.

    I agree with Russ, Calvinist teaching is the problem and I see it ever growing. I have some family who have been entrapped by Calvinism, but I love them dearly.. Kinda like some who say, “God loves the sinner but hates the sin.” I am certainly not God however, I love my family but hate their sin of Calvinism. 😎

    Calvinists have created and plied the mystical extra-Biblical catch words “sovereignty, depravity, monergism,” etc. These adherents use such words as if they were verbatim right out of the Bible.

    Calvinists also push the use of more mystical Latin words “Sola Fide, Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia” etc. all of which, when translated, are true — but being framed with the language of Romanism they mystify, confuse and obfuscate the simple truth of salvation by faith alone in Jesus Christ alone without any works of righteousness on our part. Hence they redefine those words, grace, faith and regeneration to suit their ideas.

    I suppose that is why Lordship Salvation and Calvinism are kissin’ cousins. Because Calvinists proclaim that if you are going to be saved, you will be saved (whether you want to or not) and now the “Lordship” kicks in saying that when you are saved, you WILL serve because you have no will to do otherwise — or else you weren’t saved to start with. They ignore the clear Biblical teaching of the two natures of a believer.

    Bruce, we will be looking forward to your article exploring “easy-believism” and “cheap grace.”

    Thanks all for these interesting comments and observations. We appreciate all of your comments. Keep ’em coming.

    Russ, as if you couldn’t tell, I likewise have a runaway keyboard. And by the way, the FGA (mentioned above by Bruce) is one of the best sources for solid Grace information.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  74. BTW, I don’t know if this helps any more –but I don’t even know what the FGA puts on their web page about belief, etc., any more than I really pay attention to Grace Community says about what they believe, etc. My two “spiritual mentors” are Dr. Robert Dean and Dr. Doug Bookman –and honestly, I’m really working through a lot of this stuff myself, on my way to get my MDiv (though I’ve no idea what I’m going to do with it once I get it –I’m far too old to go into a pastorate, but I would like to teach someday).

    The free grace camp is just about as wide as the Calvinistic camp, in many way.

  75. “But as far as I’m aware, Calvinists usually do believe that there are differences in the content of faith between the old and new testaments.”

    Covenant theology and Calvinism were, originally, one and the same. Dispensationalism came late to the game in terms of Calvinism (I would guess that the first Dispensational Calvinist really appears late in the Puritans in the US, so somewhere around 250 years ago). Almost all Dispensationalists came out of the Arminian/Free Will Baptist line, not Calvinism. Today, almost all truly Calvinistic denominations are still Covenant –Presbyterian, for instance. There are a number of Arminian Covenant folks, such as many in the Methodist church, but there are only a handful of Calvinistic Dispensationalists.

    “And on the flip side, the Grace Evangelical Society considers itself dispensationalist, but denies that there was any substantial difference in faith between the testaments.”

    Don’t confuse the type of faith, the content of faith, the object of faith, and the action of faith… When you sit in a chair, the content of the faith is that the chair will hold you, and the object of faith is the chair (or the designer of the chair, etc.). There isn’t “sitting faith,” or “nonsitting faith,” there is only faith. The “action of faith,” is the actual process of sitting.

    In Covenant theology, the object of faith is always God, the content of faith is always Christ, and the concept of faith is that there is “saving faith,” and “nonsaving faith.” In Calvinism, the “action” of faith is producing fruit.

    So, for Abraham, in Covenant Theology, the object of faith is God, the content of faith is salvation through faith, the concept of faith is “saving faith,” and the “action” of faith is fruit. The same thing is true for you and I –nothing has changed.

    In Dispensenationalism, the object of faith is God, the content of faith is God’s promises, the concept of faith is simply believing that God will keep his promises. The “action” of faith is reconciliation and relationship.

    Most Calvinists are Covenant because election and total inability require Abraham’s faith to be the same as your or mine in every way, and the object of the spiritual life is producing fruit. Most Free Grace are dispensationalists because the object of the spiritual life is relationship with God. LS goes one further by adding submission as and explicit requirement to this mix.

    HTH… Though I might be confusing, rather than helping, at this point.

  76. But as far as I’m aware, Calvinists usually do believe that there are differences in the content of faith between the old and new testaments. And on the flip side, the Grace Evangelical Society considers itself dispensationalist, but denies that there was any substantial difference in faith between the testaments.

  77. BTW– a great number of the people I know and respect (even love) in the theological world consider themselves Calvinist, so I’m not trying to bash Calvinist. Just like I’m probably inconsistent in some points of my belief, though, I think the dispensationlist Calvinists are generally inconsistent in theirs in respect to hermeneutics and progressive revelation. In other words, they don’t appear, to me, to be “consistent Calvinists.” I think you see this in JMac, as well –this is why you can pick out various quotes from different places, and show different things.

    The modern world isn’t strong on consistency in thought… To the degree that you see postmodernism creep into the church, you’ll see this sort of inconsistency in people’s thought. There’s a mental block to inconsistency built up by our culture, in some way, and we all (even me) fall prey to it in some way. I hit this wall of inconsistency in my own beliefs on a regular basis, so I don’t hold myself above these men in any way.

  78. There are, I think, two connections between dispensationalism and FG theology.

    The first is hermeneutics. If you read the Scriptures in a “normative literal” way (just taking the text for what it says), you’ll notice there are two strong statements in the Scriptures –men have free will, and God is sovereign. If you’re an open theologian, then you must rework all the Scriptures on the one half so they don’t say what they appear to say. If you’re a true 5 point Calvinist, you must rework the Scriptures on the other half so they don’t say what they appear to say. Either way you’re going to be inconsistent in your reading –and this inconsistency is bound to bleed over into other areas. Once you get to the point of inconsistent reading, then you’ve really opened the door to reading the Scriptures inconsistently in all cases –of starting with your own framework, and moving from there, rather than starting from the Scriptures, and simply accepting the tension you find.

    The second is the interlocking concepts of total depravity and election to salvation. Calvinism necessarily states that the content of faith must always be the same throughout all time. In other words, that it’s not faith in God’s promises within the current context that counts, it’s faith in Christ –and LS goes one step farther, saying it’s not only faith, but that you must submit your entire life to God before you can be saved, and that the Holy Spirit must “prove” your salvation by producing “fruit” in your life.

    If you really believe that the content of faith must be consistent throughout time, and that submission to Christ must be consistent, and that election must be consistent, then you’ve cornered yourself into saying that all men, throughout time, must always have known about Christ, and his death, resurrection, and lordship. And that, somehow, believers in the Tanakh were always indwelt with the Holy Spirit, and always produced “fruit.” It simply doesn’t matter if such things aren’t in the Scriptures, they must be, or the system falls apart.

    Hence, full blown Calvinism tends to run with full blown covenant theology –the covenant must remain the same from the time of Adam’s fall until the time of Christ’s return, because the means, content, and proof of salvation must be consistent throughout. If you really believe in election to salvation (because men are totally unable to choose to have faith), then there must only be one “elect” people of God –it makes no sense to have election to Israel, and then election to the church. Election must be election, plain and simple.

    Dispensationalism, on the other hand, demands progressive revelation. Abraham had faith in God, and even in a savior, but Abraham didn’t know his name would be Jesus, that he would die on a cross, nor that he would build a thing called “the church.” This simply can’t be allowed in the Calvinistic view –if Abraham was elected, then he must have been elected to the same organization as the rest of us. Hence Israel is the church, and the church must go all the way back to the Fall. Hence the Mosaic Law is still in effect today, and was in effect after the Fall (in some way –although, again, the Scriptures are completely silent on the existence of the Mosaic Law before Moses, and they clearly state the Mosaic Law was fulfilled in Christ).

    The primary content to faith is always, in the FG view, God’s promise to save, God’s ability to save, and God’s willingness to save –I don’t believe that faith without content is a meaningful construct, nor that faith can be expressed without some form of action. On the other hand, I’m not willing to say that people knew what I knew at all points in history –nor even that I know what they knew. Nor am I willing to say what the expression of faith might look like in a specific person at a specific point in time, nor that I understand the path the Holy Spirit takes in each person’s life, nor the true state of anyone’s heart.

    Anyway, I’m going orthogonal, and running off at the keyboard… I hope the connection between dispensationalism and FG makes more sense…

  79. Hi Drew:

    You bring up some good points.

    Although I have always considered myself to be a dispensationalist (not an ultra or hyper one), I too have sometimes wondered about the connection between dispensationalism and free grace theology. My guess is that it goes back to the early days of Dallas Seminary and L. S. Chafer’s strong promotion of both theologies (what do you think, Drew?) I find it ironic that John MacArthur considers himself to be a dispensationalist (certainly not in the normative usage of the word) in that he sees a difference between God’s programs for Israel and for the church (although he now calls himself “a leaky dispensationalist” whatever that means). R. C. Sproul and other Reformed Calvinist teachers (as Jack said) seem to be consistently outspoken against dispensationalism. Perhaps MacArthur’s close affiliation with Sproul, Piper, et. al. has caused him to distance himself from dispensationalism.

    Thanks, Drew. I always enjoy reading your posts and I am always challenged by them.

  80. Pretty much everyone would agree that to some extent, God deals differently with people in different ages. Otherwise we would still be sacrificing animals. But dispensationalism overemphasizes those differences (in my opinion), with the unfortunate side effect that many Christians today strongly undervalue the Old Testament.

    And even regardless of your opinion on that issue, my question still remains: What does God’s dealing differently with people even have to do with free grace theology? They’re totally separate issues. And of course, the other main part of dispensationalism is the idea that God still wants to set up a physical kingdom based around ethnic Jews. I don’t see what that has to do with free grace theology, either.

  81. Hi Russ!

    Thanks for your comments. As others already said, what you said was right on the money. I especially liked your explanation about the fallacy of “fruit inspection” in the Christian body. Francis Chan, in his million plus bestseller, “Crazy Love,” takes fruit inspecting to a whole new caustic extreme when he makes a copious list of all the “lukewarm” and then in one fell swoop damns them all to hell. Apparently, in Chan’s peculiar unbiblical thinking, only the elite superchristians who are radically and obsessively “on fire” for God (whatever that means) will be the lucky few who make it to heaven. For a complete review of Chan’s book see my article entitled “Balanced Love” on the Free Grace Alliance Web Site:
    http://www.freegracealliance.com/pdf/BookReview%20ofCrazyLove.pdf

    Also, “Expreacherman” Jack (on this Blog Site) has numerous discussions on Francis Chan and his unbiblical theology.

    Serving together,

    Bruce

  82. Jan, I have never run into a Free Grace advocate that is not Dispensational. Maybe because it has never come up for me.
    Thanks for your comments.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  83. In the coming days, I would like to explore the terms “easy-believism” and “cheap grace” in more detail.

    Stay tuned and please leap in with your thoughts.

  84. Hi Drew. I’ve come across some non Dispensational Free Grace adherents in my studies. Not too many but they do exist.

    JanH

  85. Drew, thanks

    The dispensational comment is mostly directed to Calvinist/reformed advocates because we find that most Lordship Salvation teachers are Calvinist/Reformed in their leanings and hence deny any dispensational teachings in the Bible..

    You say you are not a dispensationalist. Do you not agree with my definition of Dispensationalism? Which is:
    “Dispensationalists rightly divide the Word of Truth, [2 Timothy 2:15] understanding that God deals with (governs) man in different ways in different ages, even though in every age His salvation is always freely given by trusting in God’s promises through faith, believing the available and revealed knowledge of Jesus Christ, the Savior/Messiah).”

    What then do you disagree with in that definition? Or do you have a different definition?

    I am truly interested.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  86. Why does the article seemingly equate free grace theology with dispensationalism? In my mind, these two beliefs are completely independent. Personally, I am an easy-believist but not a dispensationalist.

  87. By the way, as for why there is such confusion regarding MacArthur in particular, his friends as well as his detractors recognize his tendency to make self contradictory statements. One friend of his, Gary Gilley, said the following:

    Critics of MacArthur accuse him of teaching a form of works salvation and of being almost in Rome’s camp on sanctification. These critics can point to a number of statements in both volumes* that seem to support their concern. Others, such as myself, point to other statements showing that MacArthur teaches salvation through faith alone, and sanctification as a process(3) that follows. Hard to Believe was MacArthur’s opportunity to clear the waters and demonstrate to his critics that they have misunderstood him. In this regard he more than fails—he actually fuels the fire. He does exactly what he has done in the previous books—makes bewildering statements.

    That can be read with a little bit more at the bottom of the article here:

    http://withchrist.org/gilley.htm

    *Gilley is referring to The Gospel According to Jesus and Faith Works by MacArthur.

  88. What Russ said.

    JanH

  89. Russ,

    Thanks — your observations are right on target.. It eventually boils down to Grace vs Works for salvation — or staying saved. By Grace is the only way God accepts and keeps anyone for salvation — never by works and never by the slippery slope of “Lordship Salvation.”

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  90. Fisherman,

    Thanks for dropping in and thanks for your analysis of MacArthur’s teaching but his words contradict themselves and Grace Church’s statement of faith.

    Also check out the link above to Bruce Bauer’s review of JMac’s book “Slave.” You may be surprised at what JMac truly says and means.

    Also your quote from James about faith being dead. James (under inspiration of The Holy Spirit) was speaking to believers, brethren who were being disobedient Christians. (read the first few verses of the chapter) The word “dead” is the Greek word “Nekros,” and is indeed, dead.. but if you study it in context, it does not mean non-existent — but “as a dead body, like a corpse; dead (literal or figurative).” Being figuratively “dead” means inactive, not functioning, etc. Obviously a one time faith in Christ brings salvation and salvation is eternal, without end so it cannot be speaking of salvation.. Therefore that verse certainly does not mean we lose our salvation but that we are not living as one with faith in Christ SHOULD live. Christian carnality cannot be cured by adding works to salvation. The person who does so and his message is accursed. (Galatians 1:8-9) Our salvation is kept by God’s power, not ours.
    “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:5

    Here are a couple of quotes from JMac that would contradict his church’s statement of faith. There are many more:

    “Let me say again unequivocally that Jesus’ summons to deny self and follow him was an invitation to salvation, not . . . a second step of faith following salvation.” (Dr. John MacArthur, The Gospel According to Jesus: What is Authentic Faith? pp. 219.)

    “Salvation is for those who are willing to forsake everything.” (MacArthur, The Gospel According to Jesus, p. 78.)

    Thanks again for your visit.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  91. “I mean wouldn’t you agree if someone told you that they are a Christian, but goes out and get drunk every night, not take care of his family, have an affair etc. is really a Christian, just because he claims he is. ”

    But this is precisely where the problem begins –once you make a list, and check it twice, then you end up judging whether or not someone else is a Christian. There is absolutely no way we can know the state of another person’s heart –and it’s actually pointless to try and guess. We don’t need to know “who’s in,” and “who’s out,” for any reason. We don’t need to know who’s a Christian and who isn’t, honestly.

    We should share the Gospel with those who don’t claim to believe, and strengthen those who do. Saying, “this person does so-and-so, so they need to hear the gospel again, because they’ve obviously not really submitted to Christ,” is presumption –and wrong. How many people doubt their own salvation because they don’t know if they have the “works” necessary to prove they are saved? I just sat in a class where a professor said, in front of the class, that he was only 80% certain he’s saved –because he could backslide tomorrow, and all the good works evidenced in his life could be made naught in his later years. That he won’t really know if he’s saved until he’s physically standing before the throne of God. That’s Lordship Salvation in a nutshell.

    Second, Lordship Salvation isn’t “just” saying, “if you believe, you will have works to show it.” The reason it’s called “Lordship Salvation,” because you must proclaim Christ as Lord in order to be saved. In other words, whether you call it works or not, you must go beyond faith to submission –if you’re not submitted, you’re not saved.

    I would argue this entire concept is based on a bad reading of the text… Satan admits God’s lordship, but he’s not saved. Even the demons believe –and tremble. Faith is a form of submission, but it’s more than submission. Abraham didn’t just have faith, he submitted in faith –he trusted God against his human experiences. He acted like God was able to do whatever was needed to keep his promises.

    By focusing on “lordship,” and “the radical demands of Christ,” we are stepping away from the Gospel, which is saving faith (again, submission, but more than simply submission) in the character and promises of God. Lordship salvation focuses on me –what I must do to be saved, and what I must do to prove my salvation. What people call “easy believism,” also focuses on me –what do I get out of my faith? What’s the bargain in hand? Is it worth it?

    True Christianity is focused on God, and our relationship with him. We must trust his promise to bring us to him, trust his character not to lie, and trust his power and ability (through submission) to do so.

  92. Hi! All
    I just stumble upon this blog, but just wanted to share my two cent regarding Lordship Salvation. I think most people have a misunderstaning and make it much more complicated than it needs to be. First of all, I know JMac never like labels and Lordship salvation is just another label people gives, so let us not put each other in catergory but rather a discussion of pursuing truth as Christians in the Word of God. Hopefully as Christians we can all agree that our salvation and justification before God is through the blood of Jesus Christ by grace through faith! Simply put it is in Jesus Christ alone, not Jesus plus work, traditional, etc. etc. And I think JMac would totally agree, especially if you look at Grace Community Church’s doctrine. Now I believe the real issue is what happens after one is justfied or saved through their faith in Jesus Christ. And in the book of James 2:14-26, he states “…So also faith by itself, if it doesn’t have works is dead.” I know many people get hung up on this, but essentially James as well as JMac is just stating that if you truly have a faith in Christ, that your attitude, action and works will ultimately reflect that truth. I mean wouldn’t you agree if someone told you that they are a Christian, but goes out and get drunk every night, not take care of his family, have an affair etc. is really a Christian, just because he claims he is. Now of course, we will never be perfect in this life, in fact we’ll stumble time after time, but hopefully our life has a pattern of holines, righteouness and love just like that of Christ. And I believe that is all what JMac is trying to say, not salvation is Jesus plus work. Hopefully this will clarify some issue. Blessings.

  93. Jan,

    You show how ridiculous LS-C teaching is.
    Sounds like they are the ones who discovered circular logic.. and you illustrate it perfectly.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  94. Thanks Bruce.

    I never put it that way myself until I was writing that comment. But it’s true, isn’t it? First you have to have a works faith, but then you have to look at that faith and see if it is really the right kind of faith, which means you have to examine it as assess it. Then you have to take the data you compile from that and make an informed decision to accept that the faith is true saving faith, or reject it as unreal and unsaving. If you do that, then you have to replace it (or get it replaced by God, which you just have to sort of trust that He will do for you, so you’re back to trust faith again) and then assess that faith. Whether you put trusting faith in the gospel message or trusting faith in the type of faith you have, eventually you are going to hit the point where you have no options left but to simply trust something. The working faith idea only pushes that back a step or two, or three…

    JanH

  95. Great choice of topics Jack! This could really develop into quite a timely and rousing discussion.

    All of the comments so far have been very incisive; each person has utterly laid bare the blatantly contradictory nature of Lordship Salvation teaching. Dr. Thomas Cucuzza’s Book, “Secure Forever! God’s Promise or Our Perseverance” develops thoroughly the theme of the incoherency and complete inconsistency of the LS “working faith” concept. [See the link in the above right column to purchase Tom’s outstanding book.]

    Jan:

    Regarding your comment, “Eventually you are going to have employ the faith that just trusts something or you will have no assurance, and if there is no assurance, do you really have belief?”, this was so well-said; I have never heard anyone else put things that way. I think that you really cut to the heart of the discussion and to the sad, sad fallout of LS teaching.

  96. Hi Russ, good to see you again.

    Your explanation or question is well put.. “How can you have “works-faith” without having man doing the works?”
    This is the contradiction in terms and in opposition to God’s Grace that is never explained by JMac or any of his LS-C buddies. (And JMac’s program and blog is call “Grace to You.” A weird idea of Grace). Some do try to explain it by twisting Scripture, though.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  97. “For it is God which worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Phil. 2:13

    “Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.” I Thess. 5:24

    Yep, Russ. Makes perfect sense to me! 🙂

  98. It’s interesting because JMac has contradicted himself here. You must have “works-faith,” which means your faith must work to be saving, and yet those who believe it’s simply faith that saves are making salvation something man does. Aren’t works _defined_ as something man does? How can you have “works-faith” without having man doing the works?

    The works the Holy Spirit does in me aren’t works, but gifts, or grace, not my works.

    Or am I not making any sense here?

    Russ

  99. Jan,

    Thanks. You ask,Where does one begin with this?
    It is hard to imagine a sane person beginning with LS-C, isn’t it?
    Your analysis is great, but as with most of JMac’s stuff, it does give one a headache.

    The problem is that the “saving faith” JMac speaks of is virtually impossible to define, even though he tries.. and fails.

    Isn’t it great to just BELIEVE in Christ, trusting Him alone and then having that assurance of eternal life in spite of the LS-C folks. THAT motivates me!!!

    Sorry ’bout your headache.. I empathize — I got a whopper while writing this. There is so much more I needed to say.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  100. Though elsewhere I have employed the expression “lordship salvation” for the sake of argument, here I am using the more accurate expression “working-faith salvation” (cf. Jas 2:17) A faith that is void of submission is a merely intellectual faith, sometimes appropriately called “easy believism.” “Easy believism” is the view that saving faith is a solely human act. Those who adopt such a view must then scale back the definition of faith so that believing is something that even depraved sinners are capable of.

    Where does one begin with this?

    You will always find the issue in LS pertains to submission to God’s authority. It is always a matter of authority and therefore submission. Somehow saving faith never seems to pertain to the message believed, only to the faith itself to see whether or not it is a “working-faith.” I am not sure where that ends. How do you ascertain whether or not the faith under examination is a working faith? Does the faith that accepts that the faith under evaluation is indeed a working faith (and therefore a saving faith) have to be a working faith too? And what do those works look like? Eventually you are going to have employ the faith that just trusts something or you will have no assurance, and if there is no assurance, do you really have belief?

    Nevertheless, this is how they will frame the issue so they can control the narrative. But in spite of making it all about authority/submission, they do not recognize the obedience of believing the gospel message (see Romans 10:16) as saving submission.

    Then, to make matters worse, he goes on to complain about “scaling back” the definition of faith to something even depraved sinners are capable of. This is in spite of his own scaling back the degree of obedience necessary to be acceptable to God. God’s standard of obedience is perfection. If we keep the whole law but stumble in one point, we are guilty of all. Yet, MacArthur knows that even as regenerate people we will not be perfect in our obedience until heaven. So he scales back God’s standard of perfect obedience to something less than perfect. And one is never quite sure exactly how much less than perfect you can be and still qualify as possessing “working-faith salvation.”

    Now I have a headache.

    JanH

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