Lordship Salvation: Christian or Cult??

One of our regular contributors has given to me an idea for a new discussion.  Read over the following statement and tell us what you think.


The contributor said:

“I think you are right about that and that is very unfortunate because it co- opts an otherwise valid concept. But then, they [Lordship Salvation teachers/advocates] do that a lot. I have noticed, unless it’s just me, that a lot of the time they use the same terminology we use but redefine it to mean what they want it to mean.”

Isn’t this exactly what every single cult does with Christian terminology or Biblical terminology? Mormons, for just one example, say that they believe in the Trinity, meaning, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. But when pressed, they will have to admit that, according to LDS theology, what they really mean is that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are THREE SEPARATE GODS; if really pressed further, they will even have to acknowledge further that they believe that they, as faithful Mormons, will one day in eternity become “gods” themselves. Hardly Christian theology!!

You have given me an idea for a new post:

Lordship Salvation:  Christian or Cult?

We welcome your comments.



75 responses to “Lordship Salvation: Christian or Cult??

  1. Abe,

    Astute observations. Thanks!

  2. They would speak against calvinism, since calvinism is so very LS, so it’s good that they speak against calvinism. But then they would just assert that you’re holding yourself in the salvation position, and they arrive at the same destination that calvinism arrives at, which is, no security at all and LS doctrine from the other side. So while they speak against calvinism, they end up with the same wrong doctrine as calvinism.

  3. Hi Abe,

    Thanks for your comments.

    One commenter wrote: “I have to agree with the rest that I would not call Chuck Smith a heretic, but he has certainly allowed abuse and ecumenicalism to creep into the church.” That states the case pretty strongly.

    Abe, you are absolutely correct that Chuck Smith teaches that one can lose her salvation. He would say that one doesn’t lose her salvation; rather, she, of her own volition, walked away from it (salvation). That’s kind of splitting hairs semantically. Either way of putting it, Smith’s position is wrong and unbiblical (see Romans 8:37-39 and John 10:27-30). Eternal life is ETERNAL.

    Regarding Smith’s LS leanings, I have heard that you are correct about that too. That seems kind of strange and inconsistent in view of his declarative statements against Calvinism (see, for example, his endorsement of Dave Hunt’s expose of Calvinism, “What Love is This”).

  4. A poster wrote: “I, personally, would not call Chuck Smith an heretic because I have listened to him many times on the radio and internet over the years and I heard no evidence of heresy”

    I’m not certain what the word heretic really means, so I don’t want to go there, but I can say with certainty that Chuck Smith absolutely says you can lose your salvation. So that alone means he doesn’t teach the plain and simple Gospel.

    Chuck Smith is decidedly Lordship Salvation in his teachings, so whether that makes him a heretic or not, I don’t know. It does mean that he doesn’t teach the true Gospel. Chuck Smith used to terrify me when he would talk about the Lord leaving King Saul and how if we leave the Lord, the Lord will leave us.

  5. John,

    Those Free Grace believers are like needles in a haystack.

    “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
    Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Mat 7:13-14


    Thanks for those links.

  6. One more thing. I never knew any Free Grace believers until I became one. I had always been taught that salvation was a package deal, like what the Sherwood Baptist Church link sets forth

  7. The link to Sherwood Baptist Church is typical of the SBC dogma on which I was raised. I won’t dispute that it is false gospel. It has been around a long time. Many of the “old-time” preachers, such as Spurgeon, taught this bologna straight-up.

  8. Eddy,

    Thanks for your notes and links… I wrote extensively on Andy Stanley’s Catalyst Atlanta with links to his terrible sponsors and speakers:

    Then I wrote a followup to that about Stanley holding a Catalyst conference at Saddleback church with Rick Warren:

    Going from bad to worse. Simply Terrible,

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  9. John,

    Thanks for your valuable contribution.


  10. Due to the links in my previous post are not showing up, I am reposting part of the article here again:

    RBC Ministry: (Under the section Answer to Tough Questions)

    Priscilla Shirer:
    Please understand that Sherwood Pictures is the movie production arm of Sherwood Baptist Church.

    Andy Stanley:

  11. Dear Jan,

    I am very surprised Roger Oakland himself wrote that very LS article. Do you have any recollection on what is that article about?

    Anyone here please correct me if my understanding of apostasy is not correct. I will say apostasy mentioned in 2Th 2:3 is mostly in a cooperate sense, i.e. the christendom as a whole are falling away from the biblical faith which is the free grace Gospel. Since we know that there is no way for a born again christian to lose his/her salvation, there is no way for a born again christian to fall away from faith. Even an individual, after being saved, foolishly buying into the LS lie, this born again christian is still saved. I am quite sure many christians are in such a situation. Paul in Galatians called them foolish Galatians.

    2 Th 2:3 stated very clearly, the falling away (apostasy) has to happen before the repute, and then the antichrist will be revealed. Antichrist is a false christ, accompany with a false gospel, and a deceiving spirit. The purpose of the apostasy is to prepare the whole Christendom and the whole world to accept the Antichrist. I believe the apostasy will come to the climax at the time of rapture and the revealing of the antichrist. Just right after the rapture, there will be no christian found on the surface of the earth. At that time a true revival will begin. During the seven year tribulation, more and more people will come to Christ, despite being persecuted by the antichrist. Hence, I do not think apostasy will last through the seven year tribulation.

    The more I observe, the more I am convinced that this apostasy is close to completion. More and more of the true believers are churchless. Most of the professing christians are already believed in the LS gospel. I believe LS is another gospel to unite the world for the antichrist.

    As for those false prophets, they are not part of us. Almost all, if not all of them are trying one way or another to lead people to believe in the LS gospel. Even those few who used to teach the free grace Gospel, such as Andy Stanley and his father Charles Stanley, are sharing the platform with the LS preachers and/or endorsing contemplative spirituality. Here are some of the examples of the false prophets:

    RBC Ministry: (Under the section Answer to Tough Questions)

    Does Teaching the Doctrine of Eternal Security Encourage People to Believe They are Saved? | Answers To Tough Questions

    Is Deep Sorrow Necessary to be Saved? | Answers To Tough Questions

    Priscilla Shirer:
    Please understand that Sherwood Pictures is the movie production arm of Sherwood Baptist Church.

    The Resolution for Women – by Priscilla Shirer  – Courageous: Resources based on the movie from the creators of Fireproof

    How to Become a Christian

    Andy Standley:
    Speaker Highlights from Catalyst 2011 | Catalyst

    Whether they know it or not, they are trying to lead everyone to the same faith, the faith of LS.

    “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would [no doubt] have continued with us: but [they went out], that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. 1 John 2:19


  12. Jan, I know you asked this question to Eddy, but I feel drawn to answer. I don’t believe that LS is consistent with faith alone in Christ alone. If someone is trusting, in any way, in his commitment, then he is trusting in works.

    If someone was inititated into the “faith” thinking, in any way, that he had to “bring something to the table” for salvation, then I belive that he has believed in vain (1 Corinthians 15:2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you – unless you believed in vain). This is because the individual’s understanding of Grace was fundamentally flawed, perhaps to the point of precluding the exercise of a saving faith in Christ.

    If someone comes to a childlike faith in Christ alone, and later falls into LS, then I believe he has fallen from Grace (Galatians 5:4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by the law; you have fallen from Grace).

    For me, LS was like chasing a white rabbit down a hole. Like in Alice in Wonderland, I had to walk back through the rabbit hole the same way I went in to get out of it. I am not going back into the rabbit hole.

    The purveyors of LS will try to get you to agree to very small compromises. Sometimes, they are very hard to detect, as the purveyor does not know he is, himself, slipping into the error.

    The path to apostasy starts with compromising with error. If someone recognizes an error, excuses the error, and then accepts the error, he may then embrace it.

    Some of the warning signs of Christians slipping into error are these:

    1. They start to make up their own definitions of words. For example, I have heard “repentence” defined as “a change in allegiance”, “a change in orientation”, “stop it”, etc.
    2. They use words, but fail to define them. For example, they will tell you that salvation involves faith and repentance, but without defining repentance.
    3. They will try to get you to accept that there are back-loaded evidences of works that should automatically manifest themselves in the life of a “true believer”
    4. They use qualifiers for the word “believer”, “faith” and “saved”. Examples include “true believer” and “genuine faith”
    5. They are increasingly comfortable with ecumenism.
    6. They give Christian testimony that consists of the “used tos”. Like “I used to do this, that and the other before I was saved. Now I don’t”. This is ineffective testimony and demonstrates a focus on works, rather than how one came to believe, what impediments (such as LS) kept him from believing, etc.

  13. Jack-

    Unfortunately, I recently saw a VERY LS article on the Lighthouse Trails site. I believe it was either written by or about Roger Oakland and his ministry. I get his email newsletter and I think it was a link through that. I didn’t keep the link either, but it was quite grievous.

    In my own opinion, LS is the root cause of most of the apostasy happening in the Christendom.


    This is an interesting take. We’ve explored a possible relationship between LS and the apostasy too, though not so much as a root cause. At least, I didn’t think of it that way. Would you mind expounding on your theory? How do you see LS as the root cause of this apostasy?


  14. Marcella
    Thanks.. I tried that link and first the two pages were enough for me to understand that we do not agree with them. My eye gave out after the second page.. but I suppose the pages following did not rectify the error of the first two.

    Will continue to try to find the article I mentioned above.

    In Christ eternally, Jack

  15. Jack, I got blocked by Deborah at Lighthouse Trails two years ago, then she banned me, so I was not even able to get onto their website! It all came about when I sent an e-mail to Lighthouse Trails, asking why they promote certain false teachers. I got a very hostile response back, but didn’t keep any of those e-mails. I was shocked that they did what they did to me!

    Here is some information about Calvary Chapel, which you and the bloggers might like to read:


  16. Eddy,

    I did correspond with Deborah (of Lighthouse Trails) as I have mentioned on this Blog.. and at that time she had no idea of the content or damage of LS.
    Yet recently somewhere I saw a strong article by her condemning LS. I thought I saved the article or the link — but I searched their site and my archives and I cannot find it. I’ll keep looking. I would like to think they understand and have changed their view.. but I cannot recommend them until I know.

    Thanks for your discernment,

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  17. Faith,

    Thanks for sharing your CC experience with us. I have the impression that most of the CC pastors are being deceived by a subtle form of LS. In my own opinion, LS is the root cause of most of the apostasy happening in the Christendom. In spite of this, most of the watchmen such as Roger, Deborah, and Dave Hunt/McMahon still refuse to acknowledge the issue of LS. They are tirelessly exposing the symptoms of LS believers without point out the cause, which is LS itself. In most cases, they are still treating these false prophets as our brothers and sisters in Christ, asking them to repent from their wrongful practices. Such situation is like blaming a blind man of not following the road signs. While at the mean time, many innocent soles are following the blinds unknowingly. The watchmen are partially blind. Very sad indeed.

    I understand that Jack already tried to talk to Deborah on such issue without success.


  18. Marcella and Eddy,

    Assembling does not necessarily mean “church building.” We do have a fellowship of believers who frequent this blog. The writer of Hebrews had no concept of massive cathedrals — nor did he look forward to the Internet.. but here we are together studying God’s Word.
    And since I am physically unable to “go to church” I am thankful for this fellowship of believers assembling ourselves together right here, Thanks for those thoughts.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  19. Eddy, you said, “Many born again christians are in those churches and putting up with these false prophets.” That’s right, and it’s so sad!

    I had enough false teaching during the three years I was involved in a cult. I will not compromise on the truth of God’s Word or accept ANY false teaching now!

    Some people may think they have to go to church in order to stay in fellowship with other believers and the Lord. I was talking to someone about church once, and I felt guilty for not going. They used this scripture passage to justify that we need to be going to church, but I don’t see “church” mentioned here at all: Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” We are “assembling ourselves together…and exhorting one another” as brothers and sisters in Christ on this blog. A few people on here have also said that they don’t go to church. If this scripture passage speaks of going to church, then we all could be put to shame and guilt. I won’t accept that, and I don’t think anyone else here would, either!

  20. Marcella,

    I agree with you there are many churches with the biblical sounding statement of faith and yet, preaching LS. They are preaching another Gospel. Many born again christians are in those churches and putting up with these false prophets.

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

    I have no problem of calling them heretics. We should love them and those poor souls following them by trying to bring to them the free grace Gospel.


  21. Hi all,

    Thanks. A new set of everlasting eyes “Guaranteed-by-the-Lord” will soon be delivered to my new address in Heaven, 😎
    Even so Come Lord Jesus!!

    In Christ eternally, Jack

  22. Good comments Eddy and appreciate your links- yes this is what was given to my husband and I to read at the church I recently left, so it is Chuck Smiths. One thing to realize about CCs – they say they are independent, but in reality Chuck Smith of Costa Mesa have to interview those who want to be affiliated with Calvary Chapel and go by their rules.
    The sad part of all this is that many of the CCs are being caught in child abuse: in fact one CC pastor was just arrested two weeks ago. Also, the sad part is that there is NO ONE standing up against these pastors from the main CC Costa Mesa. I would think if you would not want your name (Calvary Chapel) and witness for Christ to be dragged through the mud you would stand boldly against any kind of abuse in your organization.

    Anyway did not mean to get sidetracked off the cult topic of LS- sorry Bruce.

    Yes, Jack your eye is very clear (in seeing deception and error I mean….) 🙂

  23. Hi Jack,
    The author of the CC Distinctives document is Chuck Smith himself. His name is in the first page (the cover page) of the document. Sorry for not making that clear in my last post.

    You certainly have an excellent eye.

    “it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire” Mat 18:9


  24. Eddy,

    We sure appreciate that link to the CC Distinctives.
    The CC folks completely and totally misinterpret the Bible on the “Gifts of the Spirit” and “tongues” or languages.
    They don’t hew a hardline against Calvinism or Arminianism so as not to hurt someone who may have come from that background. Astounding!!

    I realize this is the CC in Portland and may not represent Chuck Smith or all CC churches.. but that is simply awful.

    Eddy, I am blind in one eye and almost in the other so my “good” eye gave out before I could read it all.. but that IS tragic to think of the thousands who are being fed and believe that garbage..

    Thanks again for the links.. They are an eye-opener (even to an old blind guy).

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  25. Hi Faith,

    You said:

    “I have to agree with the rest that I would not call Chuck Smith a heretic, but he has certainly allowed abuse and ecumenicalism to creep into the church.”

    Thanks for that statement, Faith. I think that you expressed what I was trying to say better than I could.

    Thanks Marcella, as always, for your comments. I understand what you are saying. For me, though, I don’t remember ever labeling an individual as an heretic (with one noted exception, Harold Camping); I prefer to leave that assessment to God’s judgmental realm. However, I have, on rare occasions, labeled a movement or theology as “heretical.” I trust that this explains my thinking on the subject.

  26. Bruce,

    Thanks for the link. I agree completely with you the different types of repentance as mentioned in the discussion.


  27. Dear Jack,

    I agree with you Dave Hunt is not completely clear some of the time. He should have taken a much firmer stand on against all LS denominations.

    Here is more information on Chuck Smith’s believes, especially on the topic of Eternal Security. Please read chapter 11 “Striking The Balance” of the Calvary Chapel Distinctives.

    Click to access ccd.pdf

    Thank you again for setting up this wonderful blog site.


  28. Boy, came on here and see a mixture of LS and CCs.
    Marcella I was going to remark on the same thing about Jerry Boykin and Rick Warren- Also, Mark Driscoll has been in a CC conference and Francis Chan is going to be in a CC conference- so makes you wonder about all this syncretism. I have to agree with the rest that I would not call Chuck Smith a heretic, but he has certainly allowed abuse and ecumenicalism to creep into the church.
    As Jan said the Moses Model is definitely a model of leadership that lends itself to abuse by the pastor. They do have a board that helps the pastor but the pastor can fire that board whenever he deems necessary. I have never read from Scripture that the New Testament church was to model the church after Moses style of leadership and I never read that one could fire their elders. One could discipline an elder if he was teaching error or participating in immoral conduct. Also, the site calvarychapelabuse.com tells a very convincing account of what is happening in CCs around the country. I attribute this to these churches having huge organizations that run church and ministries from the top – there is NO way to get to the top because of the power they possess. And would these leaders that have risen to the top step- NO WAY! The money, fame, and power all in the “name of Christ” is too difficult to give up.

  29. Bruce, aren’t all false teachers heretics? They preach falsehoods and heresies. One doesn’t have to look too far to realize where the error lies. False teachers are good at what they do. They mix truth with lies, and that’s how people get deceived. In my search for a biblical church to attend, I have found many, many church websites that have biblical sounding statements of faith and “what we believe,” but when I visited those churches, the Pastors were preaching falsely. Some handed me literature about their church, which contained very bad doctrine.

    I used to hear Chuck Smith and others on the local Christian radio station, but I stopped listening to that station at least five years ago because they air teachings by false teachers. They promote LS, Calvinism, and a mixed bag of other false doctrine. And to think, I had a testimony that I “got saved” while listening to this same Christian radio station 12 years ago. I realized I was deceived!

  30. Eddy,

    Thanks for joining us today.

    Thanks for the links that you gave on Calvary Chapel. I was especially troubled by reading the third link on repentance. There were so many errors there. Jack wrote an excellent article which developed into a really comprehensive discussion on True Biblical Repentance. I went back today and reviewed it; I was blessed and refreshed by reminding myself of what is true repentance.

    Here is a link to Jack’s fine article and discussion:


    It is WELL WORTH a reread!

  31. Eddy,

    The article by Dave Hunt is very good but I am a tad surprised that he defended the doctrine of the Reformation along with Luther and Calvin. We have quoted Hunt in the past but find he is not always consistent in his criticisms.

    And about the link to Chuck Smith’s definition of “repentance,” he is confusing at best and totally wrong at worst. Amazing.

    I have a friend who attends CC at Costa Mesa and he is straight as an arrow on doctrine (that I have been able to question) and he, being a lawyer, has a solid statement of faith on his Commercial web site. Hmmmm.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  32. Eddy,

    Thanks for dropping by. We appreciate your comments and links. We will check them out.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  33. Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
    I’ve been following the blogs on this web site for a short while and learned a whole lot. Although I am not an out spoken person, I could no longer resist to show my support to Jack and all the bloggers here for your serving the Lord faithfully.

    I totally agree that LS is not Christianity. I also have no issue of labelling LS cult. I remembered Dave Hunt wrote an article exposing Roman Catholicism with the title “A Cult is A Cult”


    In regarding to Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel, there are many articles on Roger Oakland’s web site exposing their connections to the Roman Catholic Church.

    In order to understanding more on Chuck Smith, please read his sermon note titled “TRUE REPENTANCE”



  34. Hi Marcella,

    Thanks for sharing the videos with us.

    Troubling videos, to be sure, and troubling associations of Smith’s, but I still hesitate to label someone an heretic based upon his associations.

  35. Why does Chuck Smith endorse the Roman Catholic church’s knights of malta? Why does he participate in the Harvest Crusade with the false teacher, Greg Laurie? Laurie was here last year, spreading his false gospel mesasage to 10s of thousands of people. Notice Chuck Smith introduces his “good friend,” Rick Warren. Are those cheering people on the video screaming fans of these false teachers? I don’t hear anyone giving glory to God or sharing the gospel. What?! That prayer, “God, help me to be open,” which Rick Warren tells the people to pray, what does that mean?! Be open to what? We need to be open to the truth of God’s Word, to understand these deceptive times we live in, and to avoid these wolves that get behind the pulpits and preach false gospels.

  36. As long as Chuck Smith has been exposed, here are a couple more fine videos about him. NOT! Beware of this heretic!

  37. John,

    I agree — that whether we call LS a cult or not (I have no problem calling it a cult) we see:
    The essential fact is that the LS works philosophy is no more Christian than
    # Catholicism, {works}
    # Mormonism, {works}
    # Jehovah’s Witnesses, {works}
    # Billy Graham’s SBC ritualistic “Turn-from-sin-for-salvation-ism,” {works}
    # the cruel unloving god of Calvinism, {perseverance works}
    # the inability of the Arminian god to keep a person saved and secure. {works}

    To the shame of “religions,” LS {works} pastors, bloggers, writers and organizers, the list goes on.

    Great observations, John

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  38. Rather than trying to decide whether LS is a cult, which many people define in many different ways, I think the more important question is whether or not LS is Christianity. In other words,is LS another gospel, or just another flavor of Christianity.

    In my view, since LS is a works-based philosophy, it is incompatible with God’s Gospel of Grace. IT is therefore, not Christian.

    It seems inconceivable that many, if not most, professing Christians may not actually be saved, due to their belief in works-assisted Grace. It is hard to imagine how the purveyors of LS can make study of the Bible their life’s work, yet miss the central theme.

    Could it be that people get drawn into the LS lies of turning from sins and commitment as necessary elements of salvation because they are afraid to let go? In other words, they hold onto these concepts “just in case” they are right? If so, hanging onto idols “just in case” is not the same thing as trusting in Christ alone.

    One of the more subtle forms of LS is the concept that salvation is by Grace through faith in Christ, but one needs to examine his own body of work to see whether he is “in the faith”. We need to trust in Christ, who is always faithful, not in ourselves.

    We need to be more forthright in rejecting LS. We need to tell our LS friends, who try to get us to agree with even a seed of their LS yeast, that we reject it outright.

  39. Hi Marcella,

    I agree with you that Smith gave poor advice to the caller in the clip. He has gotten a lot of flack over his statement, which is undoubtedly deserved. Given a chance to go back he would probably handle things differently. But his historic stance is strongly anti-abortion. He made the following statement to try to clear up his position:
    “I am totally opposed to abortion. I believe it is a great sin. I do believe that the 50-plus million children that have been aborted in the United States since the Roe verses Wade is one of the greatest sins of America, and I think that we’re going to be judged for it.”

  40. Thanks, Jan, on the clarification of the Moses model of church leadership. Your definition reminded me of Benny Hinn, who growls, “Don’t touch the Lord’s anointed!”

  41. It’s not clear what Calvary Chapel’s beliefs are. This is very brief and doesn’t provide any biblical information:

    Many websites say that Chuck Smith is charismatic, and according to his book: Living Water: The Power of the Holy Spirit in Your Life, Smith believes in the sign gifts:
    “In exercising the ministry of pastor-teacher, I believe there are three spiritual gifts that operate, especially when we are teaching the word of God: prophecy, the word of knowledge [“the Lord told me”], and the word of wisdom [p. 19]. … How is the gift of tongues to be used in the life of the believer? Tongues are exciting! It builds you up in your walk with God, and invigorates your relationship with Him” (p. 178).

    I believe that the cannon is closed and that the sign gifts have ceased, as 1 Corinthians 13 states.

    This is from Operation Rescue, a prolife organization, in regards to Pastor Chuck Smith’s advice to a pregnant woman to get an abortion. I am quite disturbed about this. How can any Pastor tell a woman that it’s OK to abort their unborn baby or in this case, conjoined twins, then twist the scriptures to justify that God won’t condemn the woman for the abortion? It’s outrageous to me!


  42. Jan,

    Good solid answer on “cult” versus “cultic.” Thanks!


    I, personally, would not call Chuck Smith an heretic because I have listened to him many times on the radio and internet over the years and I heard no evidence of heresy, although I dislike his occasional Charismatic leanings. I rarely use the word “heretic.”

    Oops, Jan, there I go softening the blow again.

    I can’t speak to the issues that Jan brought up about Smith as I have no personal knowledge about that. One thing that I’ve never liked about Smith’s preaching is the sloooow pacing. I’ve heard that the kids at his college who are required to listen to his taped preaching will speed it up to about 300 percent and not miss a word.

    Several people have brought up serious issues/problems with various Calvary Chapels nationwide. Could that be because they are mostly run autonomously? That is the response that I have heard, anyway.

    I have listened often to the preaching of David Guzik, a professor at Calvary Chapel College, Germany. I have found him to be a gifted expository teacher of the Word.

  43. Your last paragraph sums it up perfectly, Jan. I’ve been struggling here within the last few months, and am just recently, finally regaining my footing.

  44. Pearl-

    When F.B. Meyer wrote about handing over the keys, it was not to appease God and acquire salvation, but to increase in sanctification.

    Thanks for that reminder about Keswick and the difference between “giving God the keys” or else He won’t save you and “giving God the keys” because He has saved you.

    I know for myself I have to be careful not to let this whole LS thing rob me of things that are perfectly valid Biblically when they are in their proper place. I don’t have any problem with Jesus as the “Driver” of my life. I actually prefer it that way most of the time as He is so much smarter than me. 🙂 But to make that a requirement to get saved is just plain wrong. It is not a requirement to get saved, nor is it the definition of saving faith. “Letting Jesus drive” is not the gospel!!! Oh brother!!! How ridiculous! And is this not yet another example of how they co opt a concept?

    But a lot of the time, the way the LSers abuse these valid Biblical principles makes me want to ditch the principles altogether, and that is what I have to guard against: throwing out the baby with the bath water.


  45. Bruce-

    Hmm. Good question. I’m not sure if there is a technical difference, but the way we use the two terms does come out to what you are saying: cushioning the blow. However, I’m not sure the distinction is entirely inappropriate. For one thing, we Christians tend to like to not call our brothers cult leaders because while their behavior might be atrocious, their doctrine may be orthodox. I think as Christians we tend to reserve the designation of cult for those groups that are completely aberrant on the fundamentals of the Christian faith: deity of Christ; virgin birth; death, burial, resurrection; Bible alone is the word of God and can’t be added to with new “revelation;” etc. So when we say “cultic” of our brothers, we are generally referring to the kind of behaviors seen in cults.

    That’s something that requires some further consideration, I think.


  46. He his

    He IS not meeting with success….


  47. Marcella-

    Faith will surely get back to you with more on this, but in brief, the Moses model of church leadership means that the pastor is THE person in charge, has total control and is accountable to no one “but God.” He has no horizontal accountability and to defy him is to defy “God’s anointed.” Basically. One man with WAAAAAAYYYYYY too much unchecked power.


  48. Jan, yep – just came out of a Calvary Chapel Church-

    I kinda figured that was the case.

    the pastor was fine, but when I found out they used the Moses Model for church leadership

    Uh yup. I would never go to one for that reason alone.

    and then found out about the many abuses in Calvary Chapels around the state and the lack of proper leadership with the mothership (Costa Mesa)

    There is a fellow who is trying to get Chuck Smith and CC leadership to listen to him on his issue of severe physical abuse by his pastor father, who abused him, his brother, and his mother for years, as well as several members of his congregation (not physically, but spiritually and emotionally). He his…not meeting with success and is being mistreated by Smith, et al. Smith is using some indecent tactics against him, too, like suggesting in his sermons that this guy is in big trouble with God for not submitting to Smith’s authority on this. It’s an awful situation and goes all the way to the top. The guy’s been blogging about the situation to try to get it some public awareness:


    It’s for reasons like these that I have been earnestly praying that God will deal with His church as this simply cannot be allowed to go on. This is SUCH a blight to His name and it is happening all over the place in all kinds of churches.

    we left right away.

    I don’t blame you at all.


  49. Bruce, in response to your question about cults, I’ve used “cult like behavior.” A cult is a cult. if a church or organization is demonstrating cult like behavior, it probably is a cult! For awhile, I was referring to every church, where the gospel wasn’t being preached, as a cult. Someone rebuked me, so I stopped doing that. I think cults are places, where there is lot of control from the leadership, and the leader is the star of the show, drawing attention to him or herself. If you don’t do things their way or oppose what they teach and believe, there are serious consequences.

    The leader of the cult I was in was not controlling, but he was the center of attention and wallowed in that. I got involved in a Latter Rain revival movement through a local church, which I later discovered was a cult after I got out of that movement. The revival leader was very controlling and mean. If we didn’t do things his way, we were punished by the leader. He’d prevent us from participating in the revival until we were meritted again through apologizing to the revivalist and demonstrating good behavior. I watched the revivalist slap one woman, and I watched as he kissed the foreheads of several women, who laid on the floor slain in the spirit. Although he was married and his wife attended most of the meetings, the revivalist knew how to make the women swoon. It was very wierd! The revivalist is dead now – died on the operating room table during heart surgery two years ago. The cult that hosted his meetings is continuing with weekly revival meetings and bringing in false prophets. The leader of that cult, a woman, always introduced the revivalist by name and said, “We love you!” He’d some up and hug her and kiss her on the cheek. She’s smile. Sickening! I don’t know how the revivalist’s wife could sit there and watch her husband do the things he did. I got the impression that she knew her husband was deceiving people and that he was lying about alot of things, but that he probably threatened her to not do or say anything about it.

  50. Faith, what do you mean by Calvary Chapel using the Moses model for church leadership? Are you saying they use signs and wonders as God commanded Moses to do in order to try to get the people to believe in God? Or are you referring to Aaron being Moses’ spokesperson, and Calvary uses other people to speak for them, so to speak? Pardon the pun! Thanks, Faith!

  51. A preacher recently referred me to the Calvary Chapel here where I live. I have known about the dangers of this church for several years and that Chuck Smith is a heretic. I went to Calvary Chapel’s website here and checked it out. I listened to a “sermon” that the Pastor gave last year, which was a prophecy about some small country I have never heard of and its impact on the return of Jesus Christ. The Pastor talked about that for a long time and then finally got into some scriptures. I didn’t listen to see if he was preaching accurately. I had enough of his prophecy, so I shut his sermon off. I know two people who attend Calvary Chapel, both former friends of mine, who are involved in New Age mysticism and the tongues heresy. I witnessed to one of these gals, but she refused to accept the truth. I was so grieved, but there was nothing I could do, so I prayed for her and left her in God’s hands. Both of these people are involved in things I was involved with when I was in the cult. It grieves me to see people stuck in deception, and even after I’ve shared the gospel, they don’t accept it. They call me “skeptical” and “crazy.” The gal I shared the gospel with kept asking me if I was OK because she thought what I was saying was strange, and kept talking about what she believed in. Indeed, the gospel is foolish to those, who are perishing.

    Faith, you said, “Serve the Lord with gladness.” At the close of the worship services at the Lutheran Churches I’ve been to, the Pastor says, “Go in peace and serve the Lord.” Then the congregation shouts, “Thanks be to God!” and goes on their way. Who stops to consider what was just said? Does anyone really leave the church and go and serve the Lord? Many I know go to church every Sunday, thinking it’s the thing to do and then they live their lives any way they want, never serving the Lord at all. Are they just repeating words and not considering what’s even being said? So many of the printed prayers in the Lutheran and mainline denominational bulletins are very strange prayers that ask God to help us see the reality of the invisible realm around is, etc. It sounds very New Age. I don’t pray those prayers. Every time I visit my hometown church with my parents, which is a mainline church, I read the prayer in the bulletin ahead of time so I know what’s going to be said. Everyone else around me reads it out loud, but I don’t. I was recently on a bus tour, and there was a printed out prayer, too, which was New Age, and I didn’t read that out loud, either. People don’t realize what they are praying or even asking God for through these prayers that someone has written! It’s dangerous!

  52. Here is another question to throw out there for discussion along with the main topic:

    Christians (myself included) often use the term “cultic” to describe a church, a movement or a theology, instead of “cult.” I must admit that my doing so is probably a way of cushioning the blow, so to speak. My question is, is there really any difference between calling a movement “cultic” versus calling it “a cult?”

  53. Jack/Bruce, a comment of mine is in moderation because of two links. Gracias!

    [Got it Pearl, see above]

  54. Excuse me not “Calvary Chapel abuses around the state”- I mean “Calvary Chapel abuses around the country”– oops!

  55. Great discussion guys- I am really gleaning much! Thanks Jack and Bruce for your words of wisdom. I can see what you are saying- if there is any indication of abusive behavior ( and by that I mean even spiritual abuse ) we could then classify it as a cult.
    My husband and I were talking about this very issue of how cult-like these churches have become and are so thankful that the Lord Jesus protected us. It is a lonely road, but we are much better off not getting involved with a vast amount of the churches today.

    John thank you for your great input about this issue. I have to say my husband and I talked about the “desire” as a prerequisite for salvation today. When I became saved as child I did not completely understand the desire part, but did know that Jesus was who He said He was and wanted that. No coercion on my parents part either. Was I completely sold out for Christ from that point on? No, the Lord put me through a series of sanctification before I really realized who the Holy Spirit was and what He did.

    Jan, yep – just came out of a Calvary Chapel Church- the pastor was fine, but when I found out they used the Moses Model for church leadership and then found out about the many abuses in Calvary Chapels around the state and the lack of proper leadership with the mothership (Costa Mesa) we left right away.

    The Lord Bless you guys this weekend and serve the Lord with gladness! 🙂

  56. Afteroon all,

    I’ve only scratched the surface of this discussion, beginning with John’s comment, where I stopped on this phrase: It might mean “giving God the keys”.

    This comes from F.B. Meyer, who was a *Keswick personality, and whose quotes I’ve posted at my blog.

    Upon learning about the peculiarities of LS, I’ve expressed to Jack many times before my own trepidation of the teachers from whom I’ve gleaned much of my current Christian knowledge over the last 10 or so years.

    Keswick is a mixed bag of denominations, some reformed, others Arminian, and then just plain biblicists. I think it’s important here, again, to emphasize what LS is and isn’t.

    When F.B. Meyer wrote about handing over the keys, it was not to appease God and acquire salvation, but to increase in sanctification.

    I admit that the whole deeper life concept can lead to weariness (have I surrendered enough?), and much has been written on this by others much more knowledgable and capable than I (Miles Stanford for one) but technically speaking, it’s not LS theology (except of course, in the event one is reading Arminian Oswald Chambers who has said that if one is living a carnal life, he is in danger of loosing his salvation. Upon learning his position, I’ve deleted all his posts).

    As Jan mentioned before, there are Arminian LSers who wreck as much havoc upon a soul as a TULIP.

    However, do these extremes justify doing away with beseeching, exhorting, admonishing the church to live according to their calling as sons of God? As Paul would say, God forbid. Not only are we bound for heaven some day in the sweet by and by, but we are sealed by His Holy Spirit to BE our life now. We began in faith, let us continue on in faith, walking in His new life.

    The mechanics of that (growing in maturity) is where things have the great potential to get sticky and false teachers come in from all sides.


    *When I speak of Keswick, I mean back in their golden days, not currently. Lou Martuneac has posted a few times on this movement, of which I’m very familiar and have recently distanced myself from to some degree upon learning more about LS, but not entirely. The original concept is biblical, as I stressed above.



  57. Great discussion. Jack, I think that what you said is very important. While an institution or a theology can, by all classical definitions, be considered a cult, nevertheless, there can be individual Christians (babes in Christ) who are swept into such churches. Of course, if they are true believers by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, they will not lose their eternal life which is forever secure, but they will certainly live a life filled with anxiety, confusion and lack of assurance of salvation.

  58. Everyone, I used quotes around the word “saved” in a previous posting in reference to a professing Christian. That was inappropriate on my part. Although this individual exhibits a fundamental misunderstanding of Grace, I know that it is possible that he has accepted the Lord and needs to be gently guided from the LS error. I must admit, I have problems with being patient, gentle and discreet.

  59. Jan, thanks for the information on Sovereign Grace Ministries. I have heard of that ministry, but didn’t know that it was a cult. I read a few comments on one of the websites you posted last night. It sounds like people experienced or are currently experiencing terrible things!

    My mom was talking to a man my family knows, and he told her that God has been so good to him and his daughter and now it’s payback time. Wow! Sounds like lordship conspiracy to me! We don’t owe God anything, no matter how good He’s been to us. When someone gives me a gift or something, I often feel like I need to give something back to them, but the other person tells me that’s not necessary. God doesn’t expect gifts or tokens from us every time He blesses us! I do give Him thanks and praise for His blessings in my life and the lives of those I love. Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and forget not all His benefits!

  60. Yep. Calvary Chapel is having serious issues too. They are almost just like SGM. Not much difference except that Chuck Smith is supposedly anti Calvinist while Mahaney is thorough going TULIP.

    And on those characteristics from Rick Ross, some of that was present when Mahaney stepped down. Al Mohler and Ligon Duncan said people should not read the blogs (Survivors and Refuge) as they were just gossip blogs by bitter leavers. So they tried to squelch critical inquiry by silencing a major avenue of information.

    But anyone who defies the orders from command central and reads the blogs will find the issues are EXTREMELY serious and systemic within the organization and can in no wise be reduced to mere “gossip.” It is not gossip. It is information that everyone needs, especially those in SGM. Mohler and Duncan: epic fail.


  61. Faith,

    Thanks. Ross’ list is good but I would say that a cult does not need to conform to the complete list to be a cult. In my mind if a church or organization venerates a person or extra-Biblical teaching and denies the Free Grace Gospel, regardless of nice folks, friends or family therein, I personality consider it a cult. LS comes into a church as “sweetness and light” and often the Pastor and congregation are unaware of the harm and consequences until too late and they are engulfed.

    Here’s the secular definition of a cult, Dictionary.com:
    1. a particular system of religious worship, especially with reference to its rites and ceremonies.
    2. an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, especially as manifested by a body of admirers: the physical fitness cult.
    3. the object of such devotion.
    4. a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.

    Seems innocent enough doesn’t it, until it becomes oppressive.

    We need to try to assure that those folks and friends in cults understand and believe the Free grace Gospel of Salvation. But they all still have a choice to believe in Christ and then a choice of fellowship — some choose cults, apostate churches and religions, etc. Given the difficulty of finding a good Grace fellowship of believers, it is no wonder that a baby Christian can get taken in by the lie (cult) of LS.. But that is their choice — we just try to keep warning and educating them with God’s Word. This is what we try to do here on this web site and we thank you for your participation in doing so.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  62. Previous post “some of these” : I meant with some of these indicators I see many churches coming dangerously close to becoming cults.

  63. Just read the SGM abuse site you were posting about – whew!! Sad 😦
    This is very similar to what is happening over in the Calvary Chapel organization- Same abuses and NO one doing anything about it.

  64. I agree with what Jan says- I do not know if I could call it a cult, but with cult-like tendencies. The LS church that I came from had wonderful believers attending, but the trap I saw was the elitism that was creeping in. There are other organizational churches that I could also say are acting in a cult-like manner and are becoming the norm in todays modern church. Could they become cults? Yes, I do believe they can.

    Found these signs of what a cult is from Rick A. Ross Institute:
    By Rick Ross, Expert Consultant and Intervention Specialist

    Ten warning signs of a potentially unsafe group/leader.

    Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.

    No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.

    No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget, expenses such as an independently audited financial statement.

    Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.

    There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.

    Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.

    There are records, books, news articles, or television programs that document the abuses of the group/leader.

    Followers feel they can never be “good enough”.

    The group/leader is always right.

    The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing “truth” or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.
    Some of these I see MANY churches coming dangerously close to becoming cults. I told my husband a month ago that we are now in the “age of cults”. Way too much power for men. Marcella was posting in the previous post about IHOP and how she came out of this cult. I could claim that this one is a cult because of the abuse and completely denying Christ’s deity. Anyone claiming they themselves can become “little gods” is far away from being a Biblicist.

  65. Bruce-

    No prob!! 🙂

    I would have gotten back to you sooner on that but I had to go to work where I don’t have internet.


  66. Hi Jan,

    Please forgive me for taking something that you posted beyond your intended meaning. I will try to be more careful in the future. I have learned so much from you over the past couple of years—thank you!


  67. Jan,

    Not a problem –Solved. It is easier to read all in one document. Just let us know if we don’t catch it in moderation. Thanks.

    Very interesting article.. and incidentally, “Sovereign” is a catch-word of the Reformed/Calvinists. It does not appear in the KJV or NKJV.. but is created by Calvinists to imply that God is so “sovereign: that man has no choices, especially in salvation.

    In Christ eternally, Jack

  68. Bruce/Jack-

    I know my comment is in moderation because I put in 3 links. I forgot I have to split them up.


  69. Bruce, to be perfectly honest, I see what you are saying but I never intended that comment to imply that LS was cultic, nor that the teachers of LS were ipso facto cultic.

    I was just thinking they play dirty pool.

    (And, BTW, now that this is out there, look for them to co opt the cultic idea of redefining terms, turn it around, and apply it to Free Gracers in 3…2…1….)

    But it is interesting that you went this direction because I do think that among LS teachers there are some who do seem to have some characteristics that can be considered cultic, or at least abusive. Mark Driscoll comes to mind, certainly, and has received much criticism to that effect.

    But even more so C. J. Mahaney. Sovereign Grace Ministries has become such a cult like environment that it has spawned 2 blogs for “survivors” and “refuge” for those afflicted by affiliating with them. Among the disenfranchised are those who do insist that SGM is a cult, not just cultic, and the stories they tell of what happened to them when they were inside are truly shocking. One of the blogs, SGMSuvivors.com, had a post on whether or not SGM was in fact an actual cult. Many former members and even former pastors said yes, it was.

    Also, on a related note, I recently put this comment up at Lou’s. The first part I bolded is a quote from the article I was responding to:

    …have become enamored with the intellectuals and want to be like them at all costs; they even talk like them and walk like them.

    This is a bigger problem than it may seem. It is one thing to be highly appreciative of or even greatly influenced by a teacher. It is quite another when a younger Christian is so taken with a teacher/authority figure that he cannot find his sense of self except to the degree that he identifies himself with his teacher. This is part of Paul’s warning concerning “I am of Paul, I am of Apollos.” The teacher gains, or rather is given, way too great an influence to the degree that even the Lord is overshadowed. These men are parrots of the teacher. They become like Stepford pastors, who look like themselves (sort of) but have been gutted of their God given personality and individuality and act like they’ve been programmed. Set your plastic pastor in the pulpit, press “play,” get the teacher he identifies with.

    These hero worship issues are the stuff of childhood, where children really don’t know who they are yet and absorb their sense of identity from the adults in their lives, usually their family. But these men should be beyond that by the time they are in post secondary school. They should have a pretty good sense of who they are and should be able to tell the difference between themselves and their teacher. During the college years it is not unusual to see college age kids identify to a certain degree with their school or their school team, etc. But when this turns into the kind of homogeneity we see with the students of these “elites,” it has gone too far. They look like plastic dolls off an assembly line, and sound like them too.

    What I see here is either that they never got that far in their development and are therefore immature (which may be due to no fault of their own) or that they are reverting from maturity to a stage of immaturity, where their identity is being deconstructed and reconstructed according to that of the teacher. If this is what is happening, this is actually cultic in essence. I saw a video recently of a man who is not young by any means, who had been working with one of these “elites.” His gestures and voice inflections were just the same as the “elite’s.”

    But either way this is a way huge red flag. These elites have way too much power and it is the wrong kind of power.

    The “man who was not young by any means” was Dave Harvey, who is C. J. Mahaney’s second in command and has taken over the presidency of SGM until Mahaney comes back from his self imposed exile to Mark Dever’s church.

    BTW, Lou’s article is here:


    It’s not exactly about this, but in case you’re interested.

    Also, if anyone is interested, this is one of the SGM blogs. Very educational, especially if you have the time to read through the comments.


    Here’s one article where cultism is seriously considered among the bloggers:


    There are a ton of others. Type “cult” into the search feature at the top of the home page and you will be busy for a good long while.


  70. Hello John G.:

    Thanks for your comments today. Of course we agree that the individual Calvinist is not the enemy. We also agree that some Calvinists are true believers in Christ. I know that experientially, as I have some in my family. We do not judge individuals here. That is God’s realm. These are not the issues of this post, however. The point here is to discuss the question, “Lordship Salvation: Is it Christian or is it a Cult?” We are speaking of a false theological system known as “Lordship Salvation.” For me, John, Jack and others on this site, the answer is yes, LS is a cult. John put it so well in his comment above: “It is the cult of ‘me’!” The emphasis is upon one’s own good works, rather than on the finished work of Christ at Calvary. This is a telltale indicator of EVERY cult.

  71. Sometimes my heart becomes sad. I have been a Christian for fifty years and a Baptist for thirty. I had to leave the one Baptist Church because of the overwhelming influx of families who were hard core Calvinists! I now attend a Church that is Biblicist in their doctrine and evangelical emphasis, but they are not Baptists. I find that to the praise of God, our Lord can be found anywhere. I guess my point is that Those individuals who choose to be Calvinists are no doubt Christians! Those families that joined the Church that I left, came out of the one that I just joined. They are Christians! They just have been
    BLINDED by Calvinism . My own nephew became a Calvinist! But to the praise of God, after much prayer and counseling, my wife, his mother, myself, and the Holy Spirit, brought my nephew back to the truth of Biblicist Christianity. I know that he was a Christian! He was blinded, but now he sees! The individual Calvinist is not my enemy. He is my brother. I must strive not to make enemies, but to remove the heretical influence of false doctrine. Know the Truth, be able to defend the Truth, proclaim the Truth, live the Truth, and love the individual who is in need of the Truth.
    God bless You, and thank God for your service.
    Your brother in Christ, John Gregory

  72. John,

    Thank you for your most insightful words. Your expression “The cult of ‘me'” was particularly fitting and unique, at least I don’t think that I have heard it worded that way before. But, I guess that every cult is a cult of “me” in that every cult focuses on the individual’s good works instead of on the finished work of Christ.

    I found your list of REdefinitions by LS teachers to be particularly helpful and exactly accurate.

    And your second post on the warnings from Scripture was particularly incisive and sobering. Yes, the Bible does give strong warnings for messing with the gospel.

    Thanks again, John for your comments. Your keen thoughts and expressions on this site have been well-received; you are a real blessing!


  73. Just one note of follow-up:

    Judgement of believers who do not have works that survive:

    1 Corinthians 3:15
    If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

    Judgment of workers who never believed:

    Matthew 7:22-23
    “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord,’ have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I shall declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”

  74. Bruce and Jan,

    Jan is totally right and will probably offend lots of die-hard Lordship “salvationists.” But that is OK because the true Grace Gospel is foolishness to those who expect to be saved by their behavior, just as the cross of Christ offends those who reject Him.


    You have published a great expose’ of the twisted thoughts of those who would insult our Savior by trying to aid in or add to their salvation!

    Wonderful — and it is a keeper.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  75. It is a cult. The cult of “me”. As we have observed, there are several strata. Each has this in common: One must look to his merit/faithfulness in combination with Christ’s merit/faithfulness, rather than relying solely on Christ’s merit/faithfulness. The message of the Cross is offensive to the flesh – including the inherent belief that one must help save himself. This flawed belief is universal to the natural man – whether the most humble, or the most narcissistic. It is taught by almost all of the large denominations, in one form, or another.

    It is manifested in people who maintain that one must love God with all of his heart, but do not mind trampling the Gospel by adding to it, or deleting from it.

    It is manifested in its participation in contemporary social issues – recycling, conservation (what would Jesus drive?), stamping out malaria, occupying Wall Street, digging ditches in Paragauy, etc.

    It is manifested in the use of Biblical words, by re-defining them to meet their merit-bassed cult. Examples:

    Faith – doesn’t just mean belief. It means “heart faith” vs. just “head faith”. It means “a commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Savior.” It means a “working faith” or “faith that works”. It means “faith alone, but a faith that’s not alone.” Faith itself (rather than eternal life) is sometimes defined as God’s gift. It might mean “giving God the keys”, or “putting Christ on the throne of your life” or “surrender all”

    Grace – it does not mean the Gift of God. It means “something that is free, but will cost you everything.” It means “a Gift of God, but you have to maintain it”.

    Eternal security – you are in God’s hands, provided you “maintain your faith”.

    Repentance – does not mean a change of mind. It means “sorrow for sins”, “turning from sins”, “willingness to turn from sins”, etc.

    Narrow way – means good behavior, not reliance on Christ