Calvinism >> Moderate << Lordship "salvation"

While web surfing yesterday I came across a church web site in which the well known Pastor claims he is neither a Calvinist nor a Lordship “Salvation” proponent — yet he promotes both on his web site. He indicates that he is a “moderate,” half way in between MacArthur’s (Calvinist) Lordship “salvation” (LS) and a Calvinist position (or even a Charles Ryrie position on Grace??). Our analyses in previous articles have pointed out that LS feeds on Calvinism and vice versa. But remember Calvinism feeds on “baby” Christians or church attenders (John Piper, John MacArthur, Francis Chan, et al). The Bible speaks of error as “leaven” and explains that a little error spreads and spoils the whole. Halfway between two errors is obviously — Error.

Yesterday, our web friend Jim F and I had a great exchange of emails where I expressed my position regarding Five Point Calvinism; I am a ZERO pointer, non-Calvinist — Jim agrees. We find nothing in God’s Word — in context — that supports any of the five points of the corrupt Calvinist TULIP nor do we find any support for the manipulation of God’s Word into the LS lie. Jim made an astute statement (which I quote without his permission) “There is also too much focus on what men have said about the Bible. Greater emphasis should go to what the Bible has said about itself.”  (Thanks Jim)

2 Timothy 3:16
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Just think about that verse. If we were all LS or Calvinists, we would have no need of reproof, correction or instruction in righteousness, because they say such would be “automatic” or granted upon “saving faith” or as long as we “persevere to the end.”

Most of you, our dear friends, have no idea of the words and thoughts we read from supporters of LS and Calvinism. We filter these so, if we find them abusive, they never appear. If someone is earnestly seeking Truth we will discuss the pros and cons of their position.. but we refuse to advertise their error.

In recent comments we have been labeled everything one can imagine including Arminian, Roman Paganism, etc. And this milder error prone statement: You folks need to get a grip! A faith that doesn’t produce obedience isn’t saving faith.


  • Is there a middle ground between LS/Calvinism and God’s Grace teaching?
  • Shall we preach the Truth of God’s Grace and compromise with LS/Calvinism or other error?
  • Is a false definition of Repentance (turn from sin for salvation) acceptable in a Free Grace environment?
  • Share examples (no links) of well known, published, blatant compromise with the Truth possibly outside of areas of any prior discussions.

Please discuss: Is compromise ever acceptable when using God’s Word? Are there any areas where compromise may or may not be acceptable? Let us discuss it amicably.

The Truth of God’s Salvation << Click

66 responses to “Calvinism >> Moderate << Lordship "salvation"

  1. Aaah, got it, Joel. Glad I asked. I thought you were suggesting one of the tulip petals being worthy of considering while tossing out the rest.

    And I completely agree with you on how we ought to behave when disputing a theological point/position with another (wise as serpents, yet gentle as doves).

    Nah, I won’t dismiss Ramsey’s financial advice, which is really just plain, common sense (and the scriptures said it all first anyway); but I won’t be contributing any more $$ to his financial ministry, which will only help him toward more opportunities to hand out free CDs presenting an LS gospel, all buttered up with comfy, lovey feelings borrowed from Brennan Manning, contemplative mystic. He’s humorous, likeable, persuasive, and secularly appealing, drawing large crowds of lost people. No doubt in my mind he’s totally emergent.

    John Gregory, I have enjoyed reading your latest posts, especially your last comment to Dime. Bless you in your devoted ministry of 27 years, sharing the gospel with those in jail, prison and on the streets.

    I share your amazement that anyone could actually advocate the “crossless gospel”. I remember being doubly shocked a couple years ago watching a youtube video where Billy Graham was appearing on Robert Schuller’s program, saying that God’s grace was sooooo broad that even those who have never heard Jesus’ name, but worship god in their own way (Hindus, Buddhists etc) will go to heaven! Billy Graham!! And Schuller just gushed all over him with praise and the audience applauded. “God’s grace is very broad!!” shouted Schuller. I can think of a bible verse using the word “broad” but it wasn’t in reference to God, but the road which leads to hell. I see no difference between Graham’s claim and Rob Bell’s Universalism.

  2. Jack,

    If you’ll send me your email, I will enlarge and send to you. Thanks.

    Pearl, For clarification. I had provided links to a commentary that goes through each 5 points of calvinism. It first presents the 5pc position, then the Arminian counter position, and then finally a Free grace perspective and refutation of both the 5pc and Arminian position. Having read through both, and the are quite lenghty, I did not once come across anything that alluded to the issue of the crossless Gospel. Thus my comment regarding the baby and the bathwater. The links were removed because the source, according to Jack, (and I yield to his wishes) is a proponent, in some form or fashion of the Crossless Gospel. I hope Jack will review the links, and then provide us with an opinion of the actual material, as opposed to dismissing their content based on another issue. Not to say the issue isn’t important. It is. And is one I do not hold. The cross is central to today’s Gospel.

    My point was that the person that provided them to me, has actually written a paper, which speaks against the crossless position, and Hodges position specifically. He is a p.h.d student at Luther Rice and a stong Free Grace Biblicist. In fact, he is the one who helped illuminate the error of LS too me in the 1st place.

    This is Jack’s site and I respect his wishes to moderate as he sees fit. I think as a believer it is important to point out error, but to do so in graciousness and humility. Having perused many dispensational sites in the last year, I was greatly discouraged to see all the venom and vitriol between different dispensational groups. (Not saying that is what is going on here.) IMO, we should make are argument with the position and not the person. Otherwise it often gives off the appearance of bitterness, snarkyness, lack of humility and an ad hominem approach. Even if our argument is correct. (And I believe it is.) Granted, I disagree with the positions of Francis Chan, McCarthur, Platt, Mohler, Sproul, etc. I am thoroughly convinced they have adopted an incorrect position, and I pray that all these men will abandon their LS and 5PC positions. I’m equally in disagreement with the Crossless position, but that doesn’t mean I will forbid read anything that might have a connection. I had already read your recent blog, and I certainly won’t dismiss Dave Ramsey’s financial advice because he may be in error regarding something else unrelated. His financial advice is either on the money (no pun) or it’s not.

  3. Joel,

    I tried to read your recommended article on the crossless “gospel” but it is in a tiny font and in PDF format.. Both are such that it is impossible for me to read. I am in the process of going blind (already in one eye).

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  4. Joel and all,

    I have just posted an article that more or less says perhaps we must “throw the baby out with the bathwater.”
    “Lordship Salvation — Demanding the Impossible.”

    Joel, I was hoping your “reformed” comment was a pun.. and I did see the smiley but just wanted to be sure — and I will read your friend’s link on the crossless “gospel.:” Thanks for coming by and commenting. We are a lively Grace group here as you will see.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  5. John Gregory

    On the idea of a crossless gospel, I must say that satan never sleeps!
    Concerning this idea I would quote Dr. Shea, This idea is “plainly idiotic”! Without the Shed Blood & the Ressurection Of Jesus Christ, we have NO
    Gospel! We might as well follow Muhammad!
    The attacks upon the truth of the Gospel keep us on our toes!
    What is sad (but not surprising) is that they come from Christians (so called).
    Ever diligent we must be! As far back as Adam & Eve, God’s Word
    teaches that faith in God & the shedding of BLOOD is required for
    reconciliation! No blood! No reconciliation! How can anyone advocate
    this moronic idea of a crossless Gospel? What can be the base for this
    God bless!
    John Gregory

  6. “I hate to see the baby get thrown out with the bathwater.”

    Mind clarifying that, Joel? Jack and Bruce have stated before that all petals either stand or fall together.

    I know that there are anti-LSers out there which are still reformed. But, taking into consideration each petal, I really don’t understand how they reason that out.

  7. Yes, the ‘reformed’ LS was a pun, thus the smiley.
    Regarding the links, sorry wasn’t aware of the issue with that group. What is interesting is that a friend of mine referred the links to me in a private discussion. And, he himself wrote a master’s paper refuting the ‘crossless’ postion regarding TGOJ as promoted by Hodges and others. Here is a link.
    So, I would encourage you to read the 5 point address, as I have found it one of the most thorough undertakings of refuting 5PC. I hate to see the baby get thrown out with the bathwater

    I read through each point, and am also a ittle familiar with the debate, and didn’t read anything that remotely touched on that issue to my memory. I assume you are speaking to the issue of saying one can be saved by trusting in Jesus even without believing in the crucifixion. Thus the crossless gospel.

  8. Welcome, Joel (and wife!) ~

    It really is a joy to learn that Christians like you and Jon (and others which have commented here recently) are doing research and discovering that LS (aka Lordship Probation coined by Jack) is not limited to Calvinism, but also alive and well in Arminianism.

    As I mentioned a few days ago, regular commenter JimF alerted us to an Arminian facet which, imo, shows it to be quite similar to Calvinism (I finally found it; read his comment here): )

    Before I discovered Jack’s blog, I was beginning to think that a person was either Calvinist or Arminian since so many preachers I’ve heard/read seem to be of the opinion that those are the only two options in existence. Then, there are those who take “a little of this” and “some of that” from both views. I say, get off that merry-go-round and get on the narrow road!

  9. Joel,

    Welcome to our Free Grace web site — you should feel right at home. Thank your wife for us.

    When you wrote, “I am a reformed LS” we assume you mean “formerly” and not “Reformed” as in Calvinist. 😎

    Your analysis is very astute and we are happy you see the stark difference between LS lies and Free Grace Truth.

    Those who promote the error of LS will try to convince some that there is no such thing as one who is neither Calvinist or Arminian.. but there is — a Biblicist — one who simply takes God’s Word, the Bible at face value.

    Years ago I was a supporter of the Grace Evangelical Society (GES) but with more recent publications and statements, I find their newer teahings questionable.

    Incidentally, while some of them may be OK, we have removed the links to the Grace Evangelical Society (GES) PDF files. We make it a policy to not advertise certain sites with whom we disagree in some major points. In the case of GES, it involves what has been called the Crossless Gospel. Here is a link to Duluth Bible Church who has fully explored the crossless phenomena of those associated with GES.

    Click to access GFJ%202008%2001%20Crossless%20Gospel%2006%20Stegall%20T.pdf

    Again we appreciate your observations and coming home to the Truth.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  10. Joel, weclcome! As you have discovered, both Arminianism and Calvinism teach salvation by works. Christianity is salvation by Grace through faith in Christ alone. Please check out the attached link from Clear Gospel Campaign:

  11. I am a reformed LS. 🙂
    Thanks to my wife, I stumbled on your thread. Never gave much thought to the issue, but it seems that it has come to my doorstep, within our own congregation. Been studying diligently since.
    The initial hint was a few years back, when I heard an Arminian make a false dilema. He said you are either some form of 5-point calvinist or an Arminian. Something didn’t sit right with me about that statement. I seriously doubt a 5PC considers a zero pointer who also rejects Arminianism any type of Calvininst. Thus the false dilema.

    I never knew the depths of this divide, till this past year. Here is a resource that delves deeply into the 5 points, offers the Arminian response, and then finally the FreeGrace/Biblical alternative to both of those wayward positions.

    {Links to GES removed}
    T: http://
    U: http://
    L: http://
    I: http://
    P: http://

    Grace alone,

  12. John Gregory

    Brother DIME!
    I will continue my stance. I cannot explain the reason some accept the Gospel and some do not. Again, I will leave that in the hands of the Holy Spirit. Again, I simply say that the Gospel, proclaimed is able to be understood by anyone & everyone. I believe that when the Gospel is given, ALL those who hear will be convicted at that time. That IS the Holy Spirit’s ministry! I do not see any limit to the Spirit’s convicting anywhere. Again I say read Romans 1:18 thru 2:1. The Word tells me that man is without excuse! When the individual states that he or she does NOT understand the simple Gospel message, he or she is NOT being truthful! I do not accept
    the statement. I have been doing evangelism in jails, prisons, and on the street for nearly 27 years, and I have learned to proclaim His loving message lovingly. But never comprising the TRUTH. After all, what is it that is so dificult to understand? We are all sinners! The wages of sin is death! Jesus, God in the flesh has paid the price! And by believing in Him, we gain forgiveness and are reconciled forever! WHAT is it that is not understandable? Give them the ten commandments! If they have broken one of them once, they as we are GUILTY! We have NO excuse! We DO understand. If someone tells you that he or she does not, he or she is NOT speaking the truth and is calling God a liar!
    Yes, we love them, but we cannot allow them to maintain that they are not able to understand! They do not WANT to admit they know and understand! Love them, pray for them, and always with a spirit of humility do not allow them to hide behind their claims of inablity or ignorance.
    God bless you Brother Dime!
    John Gregory

  13. Dime,

    You must be clearer and specific in your question about the “changed heart.” What do you mean by that? Salvation? Service? Heart transplant? 😎

    In Christ eternally, Jack

  14. Dime,

    You stated, “I simply say that nonbelievers do not understand/embrace the gospel because God hasn’t allowed them to. Please correct me if I’m wrong.”

    You are blaming God??? Very terribly wrong. God does not disallow anyone from believing the Gospel. Where did you possibly get such an idea except from your Calvinism? That is Basic Calvinism 101. As I stated in one of my previous answers (with all the verses I mentioned — did you read it?), it is God’s will that all would believe. Again — your choice — believe or not believe, it is not God’s fault if a person does not believe in Jesus. However, honestly it could very well be the fault of your “gospel” message if you are telling him what you have illustrated in these comments.

    If you are sincere about sharing the Free Grace Gospel with your friends, go here and download a free PDF copy of Handbook of Personal Evangelism at

    If you really are concerned for your friends’ eternity, you will enjoy reading and studying that How-To book — we used it as a textbook in Bible College.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  15. Jack,

    Do you think when someone gets saved, it was ultimately the person who changed his heart or God who changed his heart? Please don’t view it as a trick question again.


  16. Jack,

    Thanks for pointing that all out. I actually typed my post already knowing those things you felt I was deficient in. I feel that my experiences are confirming God’s Word, not contradicting it. My point was this: I preach the gospel, pray for the person to be saved, the person believes in Christ not because of any effort of his own but by the Spirit’s working. Some nonbelievers don’t receive that same conviction.

    Dont worry, I do not present a LS salvation message to them. Definitely not. All I meant was that I understand LS’s position.

    I do NOT believe the gospel is a parable. In that parable of the seeds, Jesus made it clear that He didn’t want the mass to understand His message. The things of God are not understood by man unless God allows them to understand. The gospel being a parable suggests that the gospel represents a real truth, but the gospel is truth so its not a parable. I simply say that nonbelievers do not understand/embrace the gospel because God hasn’t allowed them to. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    Thanks for the that post, those were the verses I was looking for.

  17. Dime,

    You only partially answered the questions I posed.

    But first, you are under a false assumption if you think the Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ is a PARABLE. Absolutely false and nothing could be further from the truth. NEVER assume God wants to hide his salvation from anyone.

    About some folks believing others not… read this comment I just posted on another thread. It may hep clear the air for you.

    You state that Lordship salvation has a different take… NO, Lordship salvation is NO SALVATION at all and if you are trying to reconcile that with God’s Free Grace you will be confused forever… and IF you are witnessing to your friends using Lordship teaching — it is no wonder that they have trouble understanding the simplicity that is in Christ Jesus’ Grace. You are not presenting the Truth to them..

    Dime — abandon your Calvinist and LS bent — those teachings will only pervert any Gospel message.

    You said, “the Spirit chooses who to convict vs man choosing not to see the Truth.”

    Wrong — God’s Holy spirit convicts the WORLD. Man chooses to believe or not (providing your Gospel message is clear).

    You also said,”From my experience, it’s not all rooted in man’s choice but from God’s initiative.”

    Man’s choice to believe is the only way he will ever have eternal life. You MUST use God’s Word and NOT your experience to determine God’s purpose and will. Your experience will change from day to day — but God’s Word is settled forever — unchangeable.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  18. I know scripture says in Titus that “the grace of God has appeared to all men” and in John, Jesus says “I will draw all men unto me” and “My Spirit will convict the whole world of their sin.”

    IN MY EXPERIENCE with nonbelievers, nonbelievers definitely can be convicted of the truth and then deny or reject it. There are also nonbelievers who just don’t understand it. It’s just like in Luke when the disciples asked Jesus about His parable of the seeds and why he didn’t explain anything, Jesus said He spoke in a parable so that the mass wouldn’t understand. Jesus said, “Seeing they may not see, and hearing they won’t understand.” Some people just don’t get it. I think it’s true that God has not allowed all to see/understand the the truth.

    Let me know your thoughts. Sorry for not giving specific chapter/verses…I don’t have a bible near me.


  19. Hi all,

    Yes I’ve accepted Christ as my Savior at 13. Without revealing my age, I’ll just say that I’ve been a Christian for a long time. I am confident that I have eternal life because I have fruit in my life that proves my belief is real. I am in no way saying fruit is necessary to prove belief, but I’m just saying for myself that it’s an indicator. In terms of scripture, John 3:16 is all that is necessary to show that anyone who believes is saved. I understand that lordship salvation has a slightly different stance, and I have not rejected their view SIMPLY because I’ve been wrong about many things in the past when I thought I was right.The Spirit has brought me to a point where I want to fully know different views, see both sides, and judge for myself. There’s a reason why people believe what they believe (in Christianity) and I want to see the whole proof.

    Aside from all that, I know that the Spirit is the seal to our salvation. I repent daily for my sins, and I feel very strong convictions from the Spirit when I sin. I acknowledge and have experienced His indwelling in me, which is also proof that I know I believe.

    John Gregory,
    What you have commented is very one-sided, no offense. Have you any experience with non-believers or are you just generalizing? I don’t mean to challenge, just asking a question. I have many non-believing friends who just don’t get it, and can’t understand the gospel. I also have friends who are new believers that were the non-believers that I just described in the previous sentence, that suddenly it all just made sense to them and they felt convicted, without any effort on their part. They behaved and thought the same way as the other non-believers in terms of God, yet somehow were able to believe. It indeed is the Holy Spirit working as you say, but why do some come to believe and some don’t? Of course the reason you described is true, but how do you explain that some just all of a sudden are convicted and see the light without any effort? The reason you described entails that it’s man’s choice, and that assumes all are convicted. And not all are convicted of their own sinfulness thereby feeling in need of a savior. In this case, it seems like God seemed to give light to some, while others not. Of course, we can argue that everyone has their time and that we never know if the Spirit will convict them later on in life. However, it does show that it’s God who works. See Psalm 14:1-3, Jeremiah 17:9-10

    I’ve preached the gospel to many many people, and got involved in their lives and how they think, and there’s just too many of these types of situations. Most of the new believers believe not because of what I said, aside from my sharing of the gospel, but because I prayed that God would convict them and give light. Again, God’s ultimate doing not mine.

    Through this blog, I’m trying to find that balance between how God works and man works because there is a gray area that I pointed out — the Spirit chooses who to convict vs man choosing not to see the Truth. From my experience, it’s not all rooted in man’s choice but from God’s initiative.


  20. Hello again Dime,

    I hope you’ll seriousely consider the questions Jack posed to you. The answers will benefit not only yourself, but the rest here who are trying their best to understand where you’re coming from.


  21. John Gregory

    I submit this for the brother who says that some people are not able to realize that they are sinners, and that for others being a sinner just does not click. We, as ambassadors for & of Christ are to represent Christ and to proclaim the Gospel of God’s grace. This does involve pursuasion! But we are NOT the ones that convince, convict, or convert any one! That is the ministry of the Holy Spirit! The individual may tell you that what you say does not ‘click’ or that they are not ‘able’ to accept the truth of your explanation of the gospel, but that is a smoke screen! They KNOW that they are sinners! They refuse to believe! Please read the first three chapters of the book of Romans! We ALL are without excuse!
    Pray for them that the Holy Spirit will do His work, and leave the situation in God’s hands.
    John Gregory

  22. Dime,

    Quick couple of questions for you.

    Do you know FOR SURE you have eternal life in Heaven when you die? By what Scripture if yes.. and if “no” why not?

    Have you ever made the decision to trust Jesus Christ alone as your Savior?

    Tell me about your experience how and when you decided to trust Christ as your Savior (if so).. Because if you have never made that decision, all this conversation is useless to you.

    Therefore, you should review our article on “Eternal Life For You.”


    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  23. Dime, I don’t know how to explain that some people acknowledge sin and others don’t.

  24. Pearl,

    Thanks for sharing your experience. However, Arminianism is largely free will, which Eddy pointed out, no? I do understand that it is still different though because it is largely man-centered. It would be even better if you guys are willing to differentiate between your point of view and Arminianism. I do know that Arminians do not believe in assurance of salvation which is just wrong.

    Some unbelievers are able to realize that they’re sinners in need of a savior, but others aren’t. For some people, the fact just clicks but for others it doesn’t even calculate. How would you explain that?

  25. Dime, one does not have to be “broken by his sinfulness” to accept Christ. He has to know that he is a sinner in need of a savior.

  26. Dime,
    Free will is the issue. God gave each one of us free will. It is up to us to decide whether we believe in Christ or not.

  27. Hi Dime,

    I came to this blog neither a Calvinist nor an Arminian, but have found (as I’ve learned from the many on-going discussions) that I had absorbed errors from both camps. One regular commenter, JimF, directed us to some very interesting Arminian beliefs of which I was completely ignorant. What I learned was that Arminianism is really a twin to Calvinism with amazing similarities! Two sides of the same coin! I hope Jim can recall which thread he highlighted that observation. Maybe even rehash a bit of it here.

    I’m still learning too…

  28. Dime,

    I am neither Calvinist, Arminian nor a follower of any other man-made “religion.”.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  29. Jack.

    You assumed correctly that I am serious. I have no reason to waste my time and argue on others’ blogs. Thank you for your patience and answering my questions. You may think questions are silly or foolish, but those questions may not be foolish or silly to another person. I hope you can assume the best. I am not asking trick questions either.

    I grew up in an environment where, when we preach the gospel or share with people, they say “you’ve planted the seed and now let God water” which meant only God can change the unbeliever’s hearts. That’s why I asked that question. I never believed that a person can convince another to believing Christ as their Savior. I always believed that I can share the gospel, but ultimately God decided whether that person sees the light or not (i.e. some people see their sinfulness and are broken by it and some just don’t care). You may call it a Calvinist environment that I grew up in if you would like, but that is why I asked the question because I’m not getting it. If I were to successfully convince this unbeliever to receive Christ, wouldn’t I get all credit for helping him get saved?

    I suppose I had a different understanding of totally depraved, so I am no longer holding onto that stance. I suppose that you are a 0 point Arminian as well?

    Thanks again.

  30. Dime,

    You said, concerning the verses you asked about, “Most calvinists use the passage I cited as a main defense to their beliefs.” That is exactly my point — you are using their points in your arguments and you even say you are inclined to agree with one of them.

    Remember the TULIP comment… It explains almost all of your questions.

    I have answered most of your questions previously (if not you directly, then others) but I will try one more time to answer patiently and briefly. I do pray you are serious and will understand this time. We don’t want anyone to feel rejected but we do expect our friends to read and understand or reasonably discuss our explanations. Most of all, you said you were satisfied with my previous answers — yet you repeated the questions in a different manner. That, I thought, was just a little disingenuous.

    About the false Calvinist teaching of Total Depravity you said “one that I would be inclined to agree with is total depravity.” That means, even though you said you did agree with my explanations so far, you obviously did not agree with my discussion of the TULIP where I illustrated the fallacy of that teaching of Total Depravity. Man has always had a free will to decide for good or evil.

    He also has a free will to decide to believe or not believe in Christ — and he must therefore suffer the consequences for those decisions. And one must personally make a decision for Christ — no one does it for him — and to ignore Christ IS a decision. If you think Total Depravity is valid, then you must accept the false Calvinist teaching of pre-belief regeneration in order to get around it. Dime, you need to abandon ALL of your Calvinist points — they are ALL interwoven and wrong.

    You asked:
    Do you believe that it’s unnecessary for me to pray for my friends that are non-believers?

    I am interested why you would ask such a typical Calvinist question. You certainly should pray for an opportunity to share the real Gospel of Jesus (not the Calvinist one) with them and that they will be so convicted of sin, righteousness and Judgment (John 16:8) that they will see the only solution to avoiding an eternity in hell is to make a personal decision to place their faith in Jesus Christ alone as Savior. (John 3:16-18)

    You said:
    If they are so depraved that they cannot choose Christ, am I to convince them to salvation or would it be God that chooses them unto salvation?

    You are again clinging to your false “depraved” Calvinist error here — No one is so “depraved” they cannot choose right, wrong or to believe in Christ. (Romans 1:16) God does not choose anyone to be saved. Salvation is through “belief of the Truth” which we have already discussed (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

    You asked:
    Would not that mean that all men who are saved are wise for choosing Christ?

    Is this a trick question? It certainly is a Calvinist lead-on question at best. Man chooses to believe in Christ because that is the ONLY solution to an eternity in hell apart from God.

    1 Cor. 1:17
    For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

    An individual personal belief/faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) is the ONLY solution for your eternity — not with Calvinist so-called “wisdom of words.”

    As Paul said: 1 Cor. 2:4-6
    And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men [Calvinism] , but in the power of God.

    Your reference to John 6:44 is answered by Christ Himself who is God in the Flesh when He says:
    John 12:32
    And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

    Dime, I have assumed in this comment that you are seriously seeking the Truth as you have attested to. Study these notes and we all pray you will be enlightened by God’s Word.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  31. Jack,

    I don’t see my questions as a series of ludicrous thoughts nor foolish, but valid for consideration. I am not a closet Calvinist, and I don’t post to contend. I post because I hope to understand your point of view, so it would be nice if you would answer those questions. Most calvinists use the passage I cited as a main defense to their beliefs.

    I feel a bit rejected and inferior by your post, especially when my intention is honest.

  32. Dime,

    Sorry, but your last two questions, the second of which is a series of ludicrous thoughts, shall remain moderated. The questions you ask have been answered previously. Though you deny it, I have a sneaking suspicion you may be a closet Calvinist and not even know it.

    We are not here to contend with foolish questions.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  33. AMEN — John G …

    and indeed FREEing… and IN Christ eternally, are ALL Believers.


  34. John Gregory

    John G.

  35. Dime,

    Elect or chosen for service for our Savior – is our purpose as believers in Christ..

    My thoughts fully discussed in my comment here:

    ADDENDUM: For believers – after we have trusted Jesus Christ as Savior — our purpose and privilege: See Ephesians 2:10

    For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we SHOULD walk in them. [My emphasis]

    In Christ eternally, Jack

  36. Thanks Jack!

    Now you said “Biblical election has to do with service by believers to their Savior”, can you clarify what you mean by service? Does election have to do with believer’s works?

  37. Bruce and Jack, well said. It is also worth mentioning that much of the error that we see in organized religion today is based on one or more of these five unbiblical facets of Calvinism – particularly lordship salvation.

  38. Jack,

    Great succinct analysis of the five points of Calvinism, in response to Dime’s question!

    If I could just one other brief point, the five points of Calvinism stand or fall as a unit (Jack and I say that THEY FALL). For some people to claim that they are two or three or four-point Calvinists makes no sense at all because the five points are inextricably linked. As Jack pointed out well, all five are UNBIBLICAL.

  39. Dime,

    Succinctly and maybe not totally complete:
    My comment and analysis is beneath the bold lie of the TULIP.

    Total Depravity
    (also known as Total Inability)
    Man is not totally “depraved” or as they say, totally unable to make right or wrong decisions in his life or the decisions to reject or trust Christ. (John 3:16 – whosoever believeth — a decision open to the world).

    Unconditional Election
    Calvinist error says they are unconditionally elected for salvation.. from the foundation of the world. Untrue. Biblical election has to do with service by believers to their Savior — not “elected” by God to be saved, which would thus leave those He refused to elect to be condemned to hell for all eternity – (See previous comments)

    Limited Atonement
    Calvinist error says that Christ’s atonement was limited to only those elected by God for eternal life… totally ignoring all scripture references that say Christ died (Atonement) for the sins of the whole world, every person.

    Irresistible Grace
    God’s Grace can certainly be refused by anyone so inclined. Calvinist error says all who are “elected” can not refuse God’s Grace. That alone is a false premise to start with.

    Perseverance of the Saints
    “Saints” do not persevere to be saved. Scripture says that all “Saints” (Believers) are indwelt and forever sealed with God’s Holy Spirit as belonging to the Lord for all eternity. He perseveres for us.

    All points of the TULIP are based on a false premise as you can see from my comments. So I am 0 pointer — not agreeing with any of their TULIP.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  40. Jack,

    You said you are a 0-point calvinist. Can you please explain why all 5 points are unbiblical? I’m not a calvinist, but one that I would be inclined to agree with is total depravity.

    It would be appreciated, thanks.

  41. Thanks Matt,

    We agree and I believe your assessment, “not living up to its potential” is Biblically accurate.

    There are no contradictions in God’s Word when taken in context.

    Let’s all just settle on the simplicity of Grace!! 😎

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  42. Matt for Grace and Truth

    Jack, you wrote: “As a matter of fact every true believer ‘is released from the obligation of adhering to any moral law” as having anything to do with his salvation.’ ”

    That appears to accurately define salvation by grace and not by works. It’s either grace or works. It can’t be both.

    Paul, under the direction of the Spirit, says works “should” follow salvation. Paul uses the subjunctive mood, which is the mood of possibility and potentiality. The action described may or may not occur, depending upon circumstances.

    I see how one could then conclude that James inspired words of “dead” faith speaks of a faith that is not “living” up to its potential.

  43. Matt for Grace and Truth

    Thank you all for the input and links.

    Jim F. wrote, “Matt, you said, ‘I am not advocating moderate or semi-extreme free grace positions.’ Which position do you actually advocate?”

    I am exploring both views.

  44. Thanks for reminding me! Biblicist Theology is the bedrock to build upon and live by. The using of labels makes me weary. Unfortunately, simply saying “it’s in the Bible” is not sufficient. We have to dig into the bedrock of Scripture in order to understand what the Scripture actually is saying.
    Let The Word speak for itself. At times this means reading and searching the original languages with a strong inductive interpretation. A great deal of poor translating results in wrong understanding. A large amount of Calvinistic doctrine is based upon a deductive interpretation, which should never be used with Scripture. Inductive reasoning with a normal interpretation leads to true interpretation. Biblicist inductive reasoning is the only road to the truth.
    God bless,
    John Gregory

  45. Matt, you said, “I am not advocating moderate or semi-extreme free grace positions.” Which position do you actually advocate? Are you saying that you believe that there are kinds of faith? You said, “James says a faith that does not produce works is “dead” faith. Such dead faith may believe there is one God, but seems to imply rhetorically that the a certain kind of faith (by itself without works) was not a salvation producing faith.” If there is non-saving faith then it is because the faith is misplaced, not because of some sort of lack of works afterward. Of course those who even partially misplace their faith in anything to do with themselves are not trusting God fully for salvation in the first place. It must be noted that some Calvinists hold that regeneration precedes faith and therefore they will at times seek to find out if a person’s faith is the right kind thereby trying to determine if they were regenerated or not. It really ends up being one big ball of confusion.

  46. Matt,

    The definition of Antinomianism is: relating to the doctrine that by faith and the dispensation of grace a Christian is released from the obligation of adhering to any moral law

    As a matter of fact every true believer “is released from the obligation of adhering to any moral law” as having anything to do with his salvation.

    Do you intend that definition? And certainly James is not addressing salvation by threatening believers, saying, in effect, the believer better keep the moral law and act like it or he will lose his salvation or maybe he never had it? Knowing you, I am confident that is not what you are saying. I’m not sure just exactly why some folks believe these verses could cancel or question one’s salvation.

    James speaks of Abraham’s being justified before man (“Seest thou..) by his works because reading a few verses further we see,
    And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. YE SEE then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” James 2:23-24

    In other words, you see the outward and are justified before man — but Abraham’s belief (and ours) is what justified him and us before God. James is simply a plea for believers to be obedient to the dos and don’ts of scripture so others may see their good works. (Certainly not to help secure their salvation.)

    And yes, in almost every epistle the basics of salvation are frequently relayed to believers in all contexts so as to reinforce their one-time faith decision to trust Jesus Christ. That is referenced in Scripture;grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.2 Peter 3:18

    However, as we grow in grace we should never neglect the basics of the Grace Gospel;
    For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 1 Cor. 15:3-4 (For whosoever believes.)

    Matt, I pray this and other comments will help clarify our position on Free Grace. Grace and works are mutually exclusive and thus incompatible for salvation.
    And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. Romans 11:6

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  47. Matt,
    I hope the following article written by Ron Merryman will help you understand my understanding of James 2:14-26.

    Understanding James 2:14-26 (Pt. 1)

    Understanding James 2:14-26 (Pt. 2)

  48. Matt:

    There’s something else you might consider. While I realize you used labels (i.e. “moderate free grace”, “semi-extreme free grace”) in your post to attempt to delineate certain theological positions, there really are only two classifications any teaching can fall under: Biblical (i.e. truth) vs. unbiblical (i.e. error).

    It is unfortunate that biblicists have been forced to employ the phrase “free grace” (since grace is of course by it’s very nature free) to differentiate themselves from the legions of false teachers today who teach costly grace (can you say oxymoron?).

    In short, as you know there is no such thing as “moderate free grace”, or “extreme free grace”, or “semi-free grace”. There is biblical grace (which is indeed free or unmerited). Any teaching that is not in harmony with biblical grace is error.

    NOTE: As an aside your usage of the aformentioned labels reminded me of the silly usage of other labels like “moderate calvinism”, “hyper-calvinism”, “4 point calvinist” etc. ALL FIVE POINTS are unbiblical, so what’s the point?

  49. Matt for Grace and Truth

    Jack, I am NOT labeling you or any of the regulars as advocating Antinomianism. Not for a minute.

    You are writing that James is written to believers so, therefore, he must NOT be talking about salvation issues. Using that logic, can’t the same be said for Paul in writing to the Ephesians?

    All of the NT epistles addressed problems in the church. James was tackling Antinomianism among other things, would you agree?

    The Greek word that James uses for “dead” is used 132 times in the NT and frequently by Paul, for example: Ephesians 2:1, 2:5 “dead in trespasses”, etc. (It would make an interesting word study). These NT epistles may be written to believers, but sometimes they deal with doctrinal issues of salvation.

    I am not advocating moderate or semi-extreme free grace positions.

    I am merely seeking your input to help clarify my understanding of your positions and the basis thereof.

    I truly appreciate your blog. I have learned a tremendous amount from my occasional reading of same the past few months.

    Thank you for your ministry and for your regular commentators.

    Most of all, I am thankful for God’s marvelous, wonderous free grace!

  50. Matt, welcome back.

    You offer a big plate of choices.. some I agree and some not so.

    First we would define Grace as “unmerited favor.” Therefore if we ever imply that salvation is secured or kept by anything other than “by grace” and completely unmerited then there is a problem.

    I would disagree that the term “semi-extreme free grace” applies to any of our regular commenters or our Administrators. (Bruce Bauer or me)

    You state:
    Moderate free grace advocates do not require merit-seeking works before and/or after salvation as a condition for salvation, but state that “unmerited” Spirit-inspired “works of faith” after salvation will eventually to some degree occur as a natural byproduct of salvation…

    Matt, your assumption here sets up some person as a “fruit inspector.” There are no scriptures that imply that a believer MUST show “works of faith” as a byproduct of faith to other men in order to keep, secure or guarantee their salvation. Salvation is always unmerited Grace!!! The Lord knows our mind and our initial decision to trust Christ as Savior and requires no works.. and man may never know. Your quote, “Quantification and qualification is impossible.” I would add “by man.” It is certainly not a red herring when we see Lordship salvation (LS) folks insist on some works to show them (people) that they are believers.

    You wrote:
    Book of James (as well as arguably the book of First John) a faith that saves will also eventually produce unmerited “works of faith.”

    The books of James and 1 John, misinterpreted, are favorites for LS folks and I am not sure where the phrase “works of faith” comes from since it is not a Biblical phrase. And how long is “eventually?” And by whose standards? Man’s?

    Your “charge” of antinomianism is untrue about our regulars here. Antinomianism implies that we would ignore Biblical moral law in our lives because of Grace. Not true — we say keeping the moral law before of after salvation does not impact our eternal salvation. We urge our believing readers to obey the scriptural “shoulds” as in Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” NOT to be or stay saved but because we are already saved, with which you seem to agree. We see action verbs throughout the New Testament pleading with believers to be obedient to scripture — not to be saved but because we are saved. Examples: “Put on the whole Armour of God,” “be ye kind one to another,” “be not unequally yoked,” “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed” etc, etc. Obedience is not automatic else all believers would be obedient without needing any admonition.

    Of course your exegesis of James statement “faith without works is dead” is inaccurate since the word “dead” is figurative (because James, being written to believers, cannot mean they are unsaved) — “dead” here simply means inactive — NOT non-existent.

    I pray this and others explanation will clear up some of your thoughts about us here.. We plead for obedience to scripture but do not attach either obedience or disobedience to gaining or keeping our Grace salvation.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  51. Hello Matt:

    You state, “Semi-extreme free grace advocates state that, while post salvation works are very important, the Bible does not require any works at all (whether merited or not) before and/or after salvation as a condition for or as a necessary byproduct of salvation.”

    Why would you label the above position “semi-extreme free grace”? Isn’t this simply what the Bible teaches (Eph. 2:8-9, 10)?

    You state, “But, according to the Book of James (as well as arguably the book of First John) a faith that saves will also eventually produce unmerited “works of faith.”

    Which verse (s) in James and 1 Jn. state that faith WILL produce works?

    You state, “James seems to condemn “dead faith” which does not save.”

    According to James, is non-productive faith (i.e. faith without works) “dead” in the sense of being non-existent, or does the Greek indicate that such a faith is merely useless?


  52. Matt, based on your definition, I would consider myself a semi-extreme free-grace advocate. Guilty as charged!

    I don’t think the Bible teaches “moderate free-grace”. I believe the Bible teaches free Grace.

    I don’t agree with your analysis of James. You said: “James seems to condemn “dead faith” which does not save.”

    James is an exhortation to believers. It need not have been written if good works are an automatic by-product of salvation. When James speaks of a dead faith, he is speaking of a barrren, non-productive faith. Moreover, James 2:19 is one of the most butchered verses in scripture. This verse is often mis-used to say that faith in Jesus is not sufficient to be saved. That is not what this verse is saying. This passage never even touches on eternal salvation.

    My interpretation of Matthew 25:31-46 is that it deals with people who become believers after the rapture – tribulation believers. That is, only believers who are faithful will physically survive the tribulation. Unfaithful believers will die physically during the tribulation. Therefore, this specific passage deals with either faithful believers (who are the only believers who survive the tribulation) or non-believers. Sheep and goats. It does not deal with pre-tribulation believers.

    Regarding your statement: “Perhaps moderate free grace does produce, in some, a lesser degree of assurance that semi-extreme free grace. But, in many people’s careful evaluation, moderate free grace is what the Bible most clearly teaches.”

    I would offer a Biblical response. The Bible never tells us to have a lesser-degree of assurance. It tells us that we can be completely assured.

    Jesus said it this way:

    ‘Most assuredly I say unto you: He that hears My Word and believes on Him that sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but has passed from death into life.’

    John 5:24

    Regarding your last point, you said: “I find it difficult to believe that moderate free-gracer proponents are to be placed in the category of false teachers or, worse, not born again.”

    I think that any “moderate free-gracer” who has accepted salvation as a Free Gift from God, through faith in Christ alone (apart from any works, promises of works or evidence of works) is saved.

    However, I don’t think there is any such thing as “moderate free grace”. I think that it is vitally important that the Gospel be presented in its clarity. No one is immune from being influenced by bad teaching.

  53. Pertaining to the aspect that moderate free grace proponents are false teachers or even not born again, is ridiculous! I have a nephew that has been a born again Christian for many years. He was led into Calvinism. But after much prayer and talking to him, his family and I have been able to free him of this false theology. He never lost his salvation! But because his father listened to Calvinist teachers, he and his son started to believe in this false doctrine. They never lost their salvation! That is not going to happen. If the individual is once born again, that individual cannot loose
    his or her salvation. They may be led into false areas, but they are still children of God. I agree with you Matt, whether free grace or moderate free grace, or even a Calvinist, if the person is born again he or she is a child of God and my brother or sister in the Lord! Love them as you try to share the truth with them. There is too much judgment!
    God bless, John G.

  54. Matt for Grace and Truth

    Compromise and balance are often confused. Compromise implies watering down truth to reach agreement. Balance implies taking the totality of scripture on a subject to provide a complete and circumspect understanding of a Biblical truth.

    This blog and its most frequent contributors and commentators, from the several articles I have read, hold a position of what I will term semi-extreme free grace. Please forgive the label; it is for purposes of distinguishing views only in this response.

    According to free grace advocates, Lordship advocates require some uncertain measure of merit-based works or activity before and/or after salvation as a condition of salvation.

    According to free-gracers, merit-based works may be defined as any activity other than believing that are a condition of salvation.

    Semi-extreme free grace advocates state that, while post salvation works are very important, the Bible does not require any works at all (whether merited or not) before and/or after salvation as a condition for or as a necessary byproduct of salvation.

    Moderate free grace advocates do not require merit-seeking works before and/or after salvation as a condition for salvation, but state that “unmerited” Spirit-inspired “works of faith” after salvation will eventually to some degree occur as a natural byproduct of salvation (as opposed to “works of the law” which seek to merit salvation). Granted, a born again Christian may backslide, be without any good works for a time, but such will not result in loss of salvation.

    The semi-extreme free grace theology believer may ask, “What is the minimum amount of works that faith that must be produced?” Quantification and qualification is impossible. But such questions are arguably “red herrings” which seek to imply a merit-based motivation is needed for post-salvation works to be considered in the equation. But, according to the Book of James (as well as arguably the book of First John) a faith that saves will also eventually produce unmerited “works of faith.”

    Of course, most moderate free grace advocates would agree that if a person died a short time after believing into Jesus for salvation without any visible works, that would NOT result in a loss of salvation because salvation is a grace gift not by works. Works can’t save. A gift can’t be earned.

    On the one hand, Paul’s writings protect against merit-based legalism. On the other hand, James epistle protects against lawlessness / antinomianism.

    Paul states twice that salvation by is grace/mercy through faith without works, but that salvation should produce a lifestyle of works (Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 3:5-8).

    James says a faith that does not produce works is “dead” faith. Such dead faith may believe there is one God, but seems to imply rhetorically that the a certain kind of faith (by itself without works) was not a salvation producing faith.

    Paul condemns “dead works” which do not save. James seems to condemn “dead faith” which does not save.

    Both Paul and James were writing to a Christian audience.

    Jesus Parable a Matthew 7:21-23 (Lord, Lord didn’t we…) appears to describe merit seeking legalists.

    Jesus parable at Matthew 25:14-30 (talents) and 25:31-46 (sheep and goats) seems to describe faith without works antinomianism resulting in being cast into outer darkness for eternity.

    Perhaps moderate free grace does produces, in some, a lesser degree of assurance that semi-extreme free grace. But, in many people’s careful evaluation, moderate free grace is what the Bible most clearly teaches.

    I find it difficult to believe that moderate free-gracer proponents are to be placed in the category of false teachers or, worse, not born again.

    But, being open regarding this matter, how would you respond?

  55. Thanks Pearl,

    Great observations and excellent points.

    For many years, first as unsaved and then later as a believer, I was involved heavily in politics. The necessary political compromise was always distasteful to me in that arena but the idea of compromise became abhorrent to me as I studied God’s Word. Therefore, I left politics for the ministry of Jesus Christ where I could be free to preach “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2) in a no-compromise environment.

    I am sympathetic to folks who are raised “religiously” swamped by an LS/Calvinist/works-based influence. They must find it difficult to see the error and then make a break with such. Our friend John is an excellent example of one who has done so with gusto! As he so eloquently discovered about God’s salvation.. “It’s a GIFT!!!”

    Even though in my early years I lived among “religious folks,” no one ever spoke to me about my eternal life. It was not until age 35 that I heard the clear Grace Gospel. I immediately made the decision to trust Jesus Christ as my Savior. No works, no turn from sin, no change my life, no perseverance, no false “elected to salvation” lie, I just put my faith in Jesus and became secure in Him forever. I am so thankful the Gospel was spoken to me so clearly and simply. That is the reason we have dedicated this web site to expose “religious” error and proclaim the clarity and simplicity of the Gospel of God’s Grace.

    We thank the Lord for the opportunity and for each of you who contribute to that end.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  56. I have always maintained that compromise within the Christian context (preaching the gospel and beyond) is a major no-no. I’m learning that much of it isn’t so obvious, and discerning what’s a compromise and what’s not is harder than I thought, often requiring several sets of “fresh” eyes to help me recognize it.

    Compromise within a political and relational context, however, is necessary, otherwise we’d be in a perpetual state of civil war.

    To answer the question as to whether there is such a thing as middle ground between LS and free grace preaching, there’s not. And yet, I think a great many so-called free-grace preachers manage to get away with it either via a backdoor (over-comer position) or a much more subtle trap door (Keswick model of sanctification).

    Just yesterday, I visited a blog asserting a question to the reader if one is “really” saved or not, followed by a link to a Paul Washer sermon. After enduring one of those, one’s response is bound to be “maybe I’m not”. And the truth is, maybe the person really isn’t saved, only not because of the convicting message pointed at such a one, but because most of us have too long gauged our salvation based on our own mercurial behavior aka the oft-misunderstood and over-used term “repentance”.

  57. Jack,

    Here are some of my thoughts on your questions.

    Is there a middle ground between LS/Calvinism and God’s Grace teaching?

    Even if there is middle ground I wouldn’t want to camp out there. The Holy Spirit leads us always towards the truth, not to partial truth.

    Shall we preach the Truth of God’s Grace and compromise with LS/Calvinism or other error?

    Simply put, no. However it is easy to do without even knowing it at first. So many writers and preachers are compromised by this error and pass it in sometimes subtle ways.

    Is a false definition of Repentance (turn from sin for salvation) acceptable in a Free Grace environment?

    Not really. I have a hard time with those who choose to use this phrasing. I don’t believe that everyone that uses this phrase always means the same thing, but it does have a works sound to it. For example: I do this (turn from sins) therefore I get this (salvation). Or better yet, I am willing to turn from my sin therefore I’ve earned the right to ask God’s forgiveness and can then be saved. I’ve also seen where some start off with a right definition of repentance (change of mind) but then proceed to tack on turn from sins as a sub-point.

    Is compromise ever acceptable when using God’s Word? Are there any areas where compromise may or may not be acceptable?

    We know there are passages that are not easily explained and where there may be some differences, however God’s truth should never be compromised. Some people focus so much on one verse or two that they in effect trample on and twist other verses out of their actual meaning. Verses like Eph 2:1 and John 6:44 come to mind although there are many others.

    Jim F

  58. Hi John,

    Loved your [mis]quotation of Eph. 2:8-9. It really drives the point home strikingly about the absurdity of the LS position on salvation.

    I suppose that, if one had the time and the inclination, he could rewrite the entire New Testament in LS-ease. Or has this been done already in the LS commentaries?


  59. Thanks Jack. Standing firm in the truth and love of Jesus Christ!
    Love this web-site!
    God bless, John Gregory

  60. John,

    Great list as usual. I should have borrowed that to include in this article. But our readers who follow comments will get it. Powerful.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  61. Alexander,

    Welcome back. Yours is an interesting trip through Moody and now seminary. Always beware that seminary does not become cemetery!!

    I think most of us here would agree with you that Calvinism is the false wave of the future. We continue to do our best on seeing Truth prevail.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  62. Jack, I was intrigued by the comment that you attributed to Jim F., above:

    “There is also too much focus on what men have said about the Bible. Greater emphasis should go to what the Bible has said about itself.

    I like to try Bible verses with some man-made hooey, just to see how ridiculous they sound.

    For example:

    Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV) “For by grace you have been saved through faith (and turning from your sins, committing your life to Christ, persevering to the end), and that not of yourselves (except for the part where you turned from your sins, committed your life to Christ and persevered to the end); it is the gift of God,not of works (such as those listed above), lest anyone should boast.”

    Some “red flags” for me in evaluating church doctrine:

    1. Undue emphasis on church tradition (Lutheran, Weslyan, SBC, Roman Catholic)
    2. Elementary exercises in hero worship (usually related to “great soul winners” such as Spurgeon)
    3. Sloppy links to kitchen sinks (a so-called free grace site with links to Billy Graham ministries, Macarthur, etc.)
    4. Unnecessary complexity in explaining terms
    5. Ambiguity in explaining terms
    6. Not explaining terms
    7. Grace killers – usually in the form of the “ands” when discussing how to become saved – by believing in Jesus and…(turning from sins, publicly confessing Christ, asking Jesus into your heart, asking Jesus to save you, etc.)
    8. More focus on repentance than on faith
    9. Asking one to accept Jesus as both Lord and Savior in order to be saved
    10. Comfort with other churches that distort the Gospel – ecumenism

  63. Pastor Jack,
    It’s been a while since I’ve commented. I first started reading your blog sometime around 2007 when I was working on my Bible degree from Moody Bible Institute. I feel blessed to have studied with MBI, it doesn’t, at least in the undergrad school, promote Calvinism, LS, and my interaction with the professors was always proof of a solid, biblical stance overall. I have since graduated, and moved on to seminary. What I was oblivious to as an undergrad I’ve become very aware of as a grad student, Calvinism is the movement of my day, it seems. The more time I spend around these institutes of “higher” education (and these are Bible colleges/seminaries), the more I am flooded with wave after wave of fresh reformed theology recruits. I’ve heard them called the young, restless, and reformed. They are [all of those things] and are very argumentative. The more colleagues I speak with, professors I interact with, and students I deal with, it seems to me that this battle against erroneous doctrines of salvation needs to be front and center on the minds of all believers.

    Salvation is so simple. It’s almost like people really go out of their way and work hard to complicate it. The beautiful simplicity almost seems to confuse some! I’d also add I think there’s some real confusion in many pulpits these days over salvation, and it spreads to the people. There’s definite confusion in the classroom of so many Bible colleges/seminaries these days. Even the ones not openly seen as reformed/Calvinistic seem to be very open to a sort of soft Calvinism, or Calvinism light. If they don’t outright teach it, they certainly don’t come against it when a student begins expressing Calvinistic views through class papers.

    Anyway, a little bit of a rant from my perspective. I appreciate your writing on this blog.

  64. John and John Gregory,

    Thanks for your comments.

    Most of us would agree, “No Compromise.” But often those who promote doctrines such as LS and Calvinism redefine the tenets and meaning of the word “compromise” by taking verses out of the context for which the Holy Spirit intended as well as inventing new phrases such as “God’s sovereignty,” “saving faith” and “total depravity” neither of which appear in the Authorized KJV.

    We must be vigilant always. Both doctrines, LS and Calvinism and their numerous iterations are tricky.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  65. Jack, I wrestle with this all of the time, particularly because I am not comfortable attending any church that compromises the Gospel, and yet I cannot find one near my home that does not. The most common form is “turn from your sins for salvation” (front door LS), but I also see a lot of “its not faith plus works, but a faith that works” (as if good works automatically follow eternal salvation – back door LS).

    Your example of the old LS standby “A faith that doesn’t produce obedience isn’t saving faith” is interesting. Anyone who has believed in Christ for eternal security is eternally secure. No further acts of obedience are necessary to maintain salvation, nor to prove that one is saved. If further obedience were necessary, what quantification standards would one use for assurance? What would this say about Solomon (who devolved into idolatry in his old age), or Sampson (consorting with prostitutes, breaking his pledges, etc.)? How does the most holy person know that he will persevere in holy living?

    If someone’s teaching compromises the deity of Jesus, the sufficiency of His atonement (including denial of eternal security) or the doctrine of Grace (such as teaching that works or the promises of future works are necessary to obtain, keep or prove salvation), I will avoid them.

    Clear Gospel Campaign has this to say on the matter:

    Christian Unity and The Gospel Message

    … any area of doctrine even remotely affecting the integrity of the gospel is inherently serious (Galatians 2:11-14), that Scripture calls us to draw the line at the earliest point, and to yield not one inch on matters that jeopardize the integrity of the gospel, a compromise that jeopardizes the eternal life of every man, woman and child on this planet who has not yet heard the gospel message (Galatians 1:6-9, 2:5).

  66. Concerning compromise: which means to settle differences by mutual concessions. Any form of compromise is imperiling the Truth of God! The Truth that has set us free is Jesus Christ and our saving relationship with Him. Our Lord NEVER compromised His relationship to His Father! Any change in proclaiming the Truth is hazarding the Truth. If, when witnessing, we change or in any way soft pedal, or try to put the Truth into softer words, we are compromising, imperiling, disobeying, and recreant to our Lord. We are ambassadors of the Lord Jesus Christ! We represent Him and His Kingdom! We are not allowed to compromise His Truth. Even the idea of compromising is scary! The only solution that can save mankind, the most important news in the universe, and someone wants or suggests that we compromise in order to be relative to those who are so in need? As ambassadors, we do not have the authority to change the Message of the Truth! We are not sent to tickle ears. We are sent to proclaim Jesus Christ is Lord and that He is the only way to eternal life. Compromise that? Never!

    God bless you all!

    John Gregory