By our friend John
You might be a Lordship Salvationist — IF…
1. You think that loving Jesus is the same thing as believing in Jesus. .. .
2. You believe any of the five points of Calvinism.
3. You believe that there are marks of true believers.
4. You think that an inventory of personal holiness is a litmus test for a believer.
5. Your favorite authors are John MacArthur, Paul Washer, Francis Chan or John Piper
6. You believe that repenting of or turning from sin is an essential component of being or staying saved.
7. You believe that good works are an automatic result of salvation.
8. You believe behavioral changes (the “I used to’s…”) are appropriate content for a conversion testimony.
9. You think that people who have a pattern of “big sins” must be unbelievers.
10. You give Lordship “Salvation” (LS) teachers a pass, rather than marking and avoiding them.
11. You think you must desire a relationship with Christ in order to be saved.
12. You think that a believer must feel more sensitivity to sin in his life, or he was never really saved.
13. You think that a believer cannot fail to distinguish himself from the lost world.
14. You admire the exposition of LS teachers – except for the false gospel part.
15. You believe “faith” and “faithfulness” are the same things.
16. You are comfortable with non-biblical gospel substitutes.
17. Your favorite bumper stickers are “Surrender All or Not at All” and “Heaven: Don’t Miss it for the World“.
18. You believe the “straight and narrow” refers to your behavior.
19. You believe that assurance of salvation is based on your own faithfulness.
20. You think Spurgeon did not teach Lordship salvation.
21. You think there is a difference between “head faith” and “heart faith” – and only heart faith counts.
22. You refer to Christianity as “easy believism”.
23. You think the book of James is a diagnostic tool to determine whether someone is saved or not (by their works).
24. You think Matthew 7:21-23 proves that works really are required to get into heaven after all (therefore making God out to be a liar).
25. You think that free-grace believers don’t have access to Bibles, so you quote your favorite proof texts to prove to them that faith in Christ alone won’t really save them.
26. You believe that Biblical truths can become heretical if not “properly balanced”. This is usually code for something along the lines of “the faith that saves is not alone – it’s always accompanied by good works and/or holiness.”
Heaven is a FREE Gift, by God’s Grace << Click
Note: see part 2 of this article, linked below:
Note to Felix:
Grace and the false gospel teachings of A.W. Pink are at complete odds.
This website is an oasis of grace. We are simply not interested in regurgitations of Pink’s false teaching here.
For more on Pink’s error, see post linked below:
jonathon, thanks for commenting.
We reject all five tenets of Calvinism as antithetical to the gospel.
I am “free grace” to a moderate degree… perhaps somewhere in between Ryrie & Radmacher (but perhaps slightly closer to Ryrie).
But if I may give a criticism to free grace theology is that people in this movement sometimes unfairly stereotype Calvinist theologians to be “Lordship Salvation” in their soteriology. I myself was at one point in time guilty of this but my assumption was proven wrong by the teaching of Dr RT Kendall who I can vouch is more free grace than many people give him credit for. He is a four point Calvinist (i.e. rejects limited atonement) but is clearly very uncomfortable with Lordship Salvation as shown in the quote below:
“For years, the English Puritans had been my heroes. But that was before I examined them very carefully. These men had in common the belief that a person must be “prepared” for grace before he or she could be truly saved. Such preparation to me smacked of salvation by works.
This widespread teaching is called “lordship salvation.” Sadly, those who teach this do not say it means affirming that Jesus is God, which (in my opinion) is what Paul actually means by lordship salvation. They say you cannot claim to have Jesus as your Savior until you first receive Him as Lord. Agreed.
But what does it mean to acknowledge Him as Lord? Does it mean you must obey all His commands before you can be sure you are saved? There are those who virtually put sanctification before salvation as proof you are really saved!
I do not accept this kind of teaching. That is precisely what I was set free from. If I am told I cannot be sure I am saved unless I am always manifesting holiness—good works—that is bondage. I would be looking inside myself day and night to see if I am still saved, checking my spiritual pulse every day, asking, Am I in, or am I out?”
Additionally, even though Dr Kendall is reformed in his theology, the conclusions that he come to in his exposition of James 2 and Hebrews 6 are very similar to free grace theologians like Radmacher.
Holly, I think Jason’s point was that he was siding with the OSAS person, until he discovered that the person, while believing in OSAS, also believed in LS. In other words, he was a Calvinist.
Jason, I am a OSASer, so confused why the label of another as if it is a bad thing to believe once we are saved, we are always saved. Can you clarify?
JohnWI – praying for you, your pastor and elders. That they might know that they have (echo) currently possess, eternal life. The interesting part I found is one of the meanings of the word ‘hath’ is ‘to have’ to hold’, like wedding vows. Which reminds me that we are baptized into the body of Christ the moment we believe (1 Cor 12:13; Eph 4:4-6). We are sealed until the day of redemption (Eph 1:13; 4:30). If we are part of His flesh and bones, and He gave Himself for us, who can separate us from His body? Ephesians 5 gives us a picture of Christ and the church being of one body.
John 6:47 and 1 John 5:13 are some others. I did an article on eternal security God’s Promise, and I did it sort of in response to someone on FB who said we could walk away. And so I was doing the ‘undo’ point of view, and so many verses came to mind. I’ll share the link, maybe you can grab some verses too.
Johninnc – I like the explanation of the round trip. I’ve also always thought that these men did not ascend of their own power or volition but were taken up. But that’s another good way to look at it.
JohnWI, I am very happy to hear that he elder found John 5:24 to be something to consider.
I have prayed for him.
Johninnc and Keith, I’ve had John 5:24 underlined in my bible for a long time and I read John 5:24 a couple of times before I went to my meeting with my pastor and elder, so I would be prepared. But I am telling you, when I used that verse in the meeting against calvinism, it was like a light went on and it cemented the verse in my spirit, how we have eternal the moment we hear and believe the gospel, no proofs required. And as I explained that to the elder, I could see him really thinking about that one. I will always use that verse now, when I am in a conversation with a calvinist. A person has, right now, eternal life, the moment they believe the Gospel. Amen! Thanks for bringing that verse to my attention!
To perhaps beat a dead horse (that may have been dead for a few days), I’d like to comment on 2nd Cor. 13:5:
It seems to me that the key phrase is “the faith”. The definite article is in the Greek text. Paul wasn’t telling the Corinthians to examine themselves to see if they were in the works (or the “fruits”). He was telling them to examine their doctrine, what they believe. Is it “the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (which is what Paul believed), or a different gospel?
Anyway, I think that’s the short way around the barn.
Jason, then they don’t believe in grace.
They didn’t think I had the gift. They kept saying that I willfully sin and mock grace. All because I said I did not need to prove it.
Jason, a lot of Calvinists day they believe in grace, but they mistakenly believe that faith itself is the gift of God.
There is nothing “hypergrace” about believing what the Bible says – that eternal life is the gift of God (Romans 6:23).
The Calvinist who was arguing with me pulled this trick. He called himself free grace and accused me of hypergrace. He even said that I agreed with Joseph Prince. He makes the head/heart distinction. I call taqiyya on these accusations.
Johninnc, Thank you!
JohnWI, if you are able to speak from the pulpit, you might find these helpful for notes:
William, I think that Enoch might be the other example.
One possible way to harmonize this with John 3:13 is to look back to John 3:12.
Jesus seems to be saying that He has firsthand knowledge of heavenly things, having come from there. In other words, no man had made a “round trip,” having both ascended to heaven and then having come back to testify of heavenly things.
John, How does one go about harmonizing 2 Kings 2:11 with John 3:13? The 2 passages seem to conflict with each other. Is Elijah the only exception?
So, last night, I had a meeting with my pastor, and at the last minute he asked if the elder could sit in with us, since he was the one who gave the sermon, and I said sure. I would say that both men were very gracious, even though it was a passionate discussion. I do feel, the pastor, for the most part believes the same as we do. But, the whole issue came down to, the pastor saying that he knows there are reformed people, and others in the church who don’t believe the same way we do,(salvation is a free gift, no strings attached, to those who will accept it). Should he put a sign over the entrance saying, only those who believe this way may enter? And I said of course not, but I said when you allow a person to preach from the pulpit, that is espousing calvinism/macarthurism, you are putting your stamp of approval on that doctrine, which I believe is heresy. I asked then if would allow a pentecostal or a mormon to get up and preach and he said of course not. I did ask if I could have equal time. He said he would have to talk to the board. We will see were it goes.
LS alters the gospel (pun intended).
jason, I kind of associate alters and especially alter calls with LS as well.
Keith, yesterday I had an experience. An OSASer used John 5:24 to silence an Arminian. I demonstrated my agreement by saying that I don’t have to love God or turn from sin to prove it. For I have believed and it is a done deal. And then the OSASer accused me of building my entire theology on one verse. He was an LSer. The Arminian would accuse him of the same. When is hanging on John 5:24 taking it out of context? Only when it is used to defend the crossless gospel.
You might be a lordshipper if your church has an altar. Altars were done away with. A pulpit is not an altar. Every popular evangelist or false prophet from Billy Sunday to David Owuor has an altar, and it is the place of strange sacrifice, such as asking jesus into your heart, repenting of sin, promising to live a holy life, and making him lord. Altars uplift Baal.
You might be a lordshipper if you call the two natures gnosticism. It happened to me just now.
JohnWI, we see, from the immediate context, that the Apostle Paul was establishing that what he was telling them was inspired by God.
Verse 3: Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you.
It is clear, and he is acknowledging in verse 3, that Christ is mighty in them. If he were challenging whether or not they were believers, he wouldn’t have said this.
Verse 5: Examine yourselves…
What Paul is essentially saying is this:
“You became Christians by hearing and believing the gospel that I preach. So, do I speak for God? Ask yourselves.”
There is simply no way that 2 Corinthians 13:5, or any other scripture can mean to evaluate oneself to determine whether one’s behavior, attitudes, motivations, etc. prove whather or not one is a believer.
Perfection is required to enter heaven. If anyone honestly evaluates himself, he would have to acknowledge that he isn’t perfect. There is simply no quantification standard other than perfection. So, if your pastor uses 2 Corinthians 13:5 as a behavioral test to see whether or not he qualifies for heaven, he will fail the test, as we all would.
Having Christ’s perfect righteousness imputed to us through faith is how we receive eternal life.
Ask him to talk about John 5:24 with you.
Johninnc, I looked under the proof text link, here on expreacherman, for an explanation of 2 Cor 13:5, and I still I am not clear on that particular verse, or the context of it. Could you elaborate a little more on it for me, or if it’s already been discussed, can you direct me to that thread? I am going to go talk to my pastor tonight so I want to be prepared. Thank you!
In my experience, John 5:24 is a showstopper for many LS folks since it serves as irrefutable proof that one can know that he has eternal life in the present tense without having to produce “proof” going forward in the Christian life that such is the case. They don’t know how to knock that one down.
Jason, a lot of LSers believe in OSAS, but they think that if someone isn’t living right it proves they don’t have eternal life, or, they think that one has to turn from sins to receive eternal life.
I was in a grueling argument on Facebook with people who believe in eternal security. They were arguing with Arminians. I was getting on just fine with my testimony, until I confessed that I cannot stand Paul Washer, and then they defended him. And it all went downhill from there. I told them that there is no such thing as truly saved, and they started to intimate that salvation is hard by warning me about lip service. I told them that OSAS is useless if I can’t know that I am saved, and they don’t listen. They changed the subject to discipleship in order to intimate works. When I tell them that I am confident that even if I become a despicable person, I am saved, it annoys them. People who use “truly believe” do not truly believe in eternal security. The irony is lost on them.
The OP made this later comment: “there are “OSAS” Preachers Who are NOT OF GOD but INFILTRATORS. They are the “SEED SOWN”by the Devil to pollute the Doctrines of God. I’m choosy about books especially “New Ones”. I rather dig and keep on digging the Word of God to MINE THE PRECIOUS JEWELS OF GOD’S DOCTRINES. I rather Master (if I could) the Doctrine of Salvation bec People are being Deceived by the Devil thru his false ministers and False Religions”
My comment: “exactly what I was talking about when I said some people pay lip service to OSAS. They add lordship salvation. You don’t like Paul Washer, do you?”. He seems to get it. But he doesn’t leave me any likes.
I was even asked by these LSers if I followed Tom Cucuzza.
Good one! I will have to remember that one when, or if, I talk to him.
JohnWI, so, in other words, they get to go to heaven because Christ died for their sins and was raised from the dead AND they didn’t “jump into sin with both feet.” (Sarcasm intended).
Amen Brother! I won’t bother with the whole list of the 10 hallmarks he used, but just this one, and I actually laughed during the church service when he showed it on the screen.
#2 on his list;
“A true convert lives a life of obedience by keeping God’s commandments more often than breaking them. A true convert is not a habitual Sinner. There’s a difference between stumbling into sin and jumping in with both feet”, and he referenced 1John 2:1-6 for that.
I am going to ask him how he is doing on that one. Has he been keeping a list?
JohnWI, perhaps more fundamentally is that assurance of eternal life, based on God’s promise, found in verses such as John 5:24 cannot coexist with co-examinations, based on works.
I didn’t catch that I should have had, darkness and Light to correspond with flesh and Spirit. Sorry!
JohnWI, agree that 1 John should never be used for determining whether or not someone has eternal life, based on works. Same for 2 Corinthians 13:5.
These “10 hallmarks of a true believer,” and the like are just teaching works salvation.
I knew we were at a church that didn’t really take a stand, for or against calvinism/LS, but the pastor, for the most part, preached that salvation was a free gift, even though, every once an awhile, he would throw in some cliches that just didn’t sit well with me. And I knew, since the church didn’t take a stand, there are several people that are Macarthurites or Piperites. But last Sunday I left church total disgusted. Our pastor let one of the elders preach and the title of his sermon was ” Are you a Christian Headed for Heaven?” using 2 Cor. 13:5. And then adding ” 10 hallmarks of a true believer” based on using 1John as proof text and basically using TULIP from that. I don’t know everything about 1John, but this much I do know, it was not written to prove whether you are a Christian. The purpose of the letter is stated in 1John 1:4 “And these things we write unto you, that your joy may be full”. It is written to believers so that they can distinguish between walking in the flesh and the spirit, light and darkness, so that they will have fellowship with God and their joy may be full, which is the fruit of the Spirit. Please correct me if I am wrong.
I have set up an appointment this week to talk to the pastor to see why he would allow this to be taught from the pulpit, unless he put his stamp of approval on it. If that is the case we might be looking for another church, or at this point we might just be having church at home, watching Yankee Arnold and Tom Cucuzza and the likes and of course fellow shipping with believers from this blog.
If there is no hell, then what could be the consequences of believing without following Jesus? I guess you won’t be saved until after death, and you won’t be let in until you repent of your sins. Such is MEtheism (My God wouldn’t allow people to send themselves to hell) accompanied by MEdooism (I will earn heaven).
Today I saw the following quote from Joel Osteen:
…having a personal relationship with Jesus is the only way to Heaven. It’s about the individual’s choice to follow Him.
My comment: The Bible clearly states that anyone who believes in Jesus has eternal life. It does not say anything about the desire to have a relationship with Jesus, or the intent to follow Him in discipleship as being requirements for eternal life.
I think a lot of atheists are closet Lordship “salvationists.”
Those atheists that know they are sinners, but have not believed they can receive the imputed righteousness of Christ, think they’ve got to stand before God on the basis of their own works. They know they could never survive that judgement. Therefore, they deny God and try to pretend Him away.
Likewise, the Lordship “salvationist” denies God by inserting himself as his own savior or co-Savior. He knows he can never survive a judgment based solely on his works. The difference is, he tries to get Jesus to give him an “assist” – or, he tries to give Jesus an “assist.”
The atheist says “there is no savior.” The Lordship “salvationist” says “Jesus is my lord and Savior,” but in his mind thinks that he is his own savior/co-savior.
jason, I agree. That is why the Southern Baptist Convention is a welcome home to both full Calvinists and those that would not consider themselves Calvinists, but still hold to the false perseverance of the saints doctrine.
And that proves once again that POS is the acid test of calvinist orthodoxy. The rest can fall by the way side.
My Calvinist lite friend has just conceded limited atonement based on walking through 2 Peter 2:1. I think he realized he had a choice between defending the L or the P. He first chose to defend both but realized he couldn’t do so without saying that Christ purchased anybody through a different means than the Cross. I think he now realizes that he is not a Calvinist but he has a Calvinist bend (still LS). I told him I realized that he was not a true Calvinist when he admitted to being wrong.
I think the gutless Lion would have woken up in Aslan’s country, since he is a Lion, lol. And Dorothy would have longed for her eternal home. As for the Wizard and the four Witches, that would get beside the point. All I can say is that no turning from magic is required, but if any think they are good (recall, “I’m not a bad man, I’m just a bad wizard”), they are in trouble.
More confusion about the heart comes from memorable statements. In the movie, the Wizard tells the Tin Man that a heart should be judged not by how much one loves but how much one is loved by others. Biblically, the heart is judged as deceitfully wicked. All are loved by God, but only those who believe are justified.
In the book, Glinda tells Dorothy, “bless your heart”. If the heart is wicked, should you wish it godspeed? If the heart is not being distinguished from the soul, this may be ok.
A much more recent character was, after a battle with an evil wizard, encouraged about the power in his heart. Again, not very Biblical.
In Star Wars, the Force is another word for heart.
Confusion about the heart: it’s in our literature, our music, our idioms. It permeates our culture.
Holly, I read your response – very thorough and biblical.
It must be Calvinist day on the web.
The heart and mind are used interchangeably in many places in Scripture, although we know we don’t believe with our heart, but our mind, the distinction is made also in Acts 8, so often people will use that to make it seem that there is a difference. We believe obviously with our brain, and the heart as an organ isn’t deceitful, I believe we understand it is the seat of our emotions, our thinking, our doublemindedness, our sinful choices, the sinful world — these are all the things that twist thinking and deceive people, because Satan is the god of this age, the prince of the power of the air.
Jason and John (love your comments on #2 by the way), For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he… (Pr 23:7). Throw that at those who talk about a head faith vs. heart faith 🙂
RAS – I had to chuckle a couple of times at your comments, die-hard Calvinists are positive you are bound for hell if you don’t accept their teaching or that of their anointed. The Word is what they need, and they do indeed rely on commentary and quotes of men. I just keep reminding myself how Jesus answered Satan — It is written… I try to do the same, I don’t always succeed in remembering it’s His Word that’s important and has power.
I do remember so well the rage of one ‘reasonable pastor’ when I made what he said was a ‘false accusation’ when I told of all the good character of my God, and used Scripture (without reference citations) to recount to him my God vs. the god of Calvinism. He mocked me after and said I sounded like Brian Mclaren. That is probably my most memorable moment because I realized more than ever what I said was true. They do not recognize a lot of Scripture other than if it is referenced, or typical Scripture used to answer them, but if you put it in plain speech, such as saying Christ purchased even the worst false prophet with His blood, they will say it is not in His Word (of course it is in 2 Pet 2).
Anyways, I find they often are not willing to simply discuss Scripture. Why not? Why not explain the alternative Scriptures that answer their theological bent? I believe it’s because it is a security blanket to them, it frames how they should believe, and it’s more organized than the alternative churches like the purpose driven types, so they feel a little more secure that they are saved. Truly sad.
Johninnc, I came here to read, then saw what you said about my site. I tell you I am confused on my site, now it doesn’t show comments, but if you click on comment, there is a new way to answer and no way to edit it, very frustrating. But I did find the comment, and this one time I allowed it, because his ‘proofs’ were the typical reformed texts where they form a doctrine off of a verse here or there, never using context, and often even misquoting it (as he did with God opening Lydia’s heart to believe). At any rate, may he somehow repent, may the Lord open His heart to attend to the words of the Lord that any may speak to him over there 🙂
Nice Jason! You can throw the lion in as a gutless gracer too
jason, very good!
The Tin Man and Scarecrow could have a debate about this, lol.
The Scarecrow and Tin Man woke up at the white throne judgement. The Scarecrow, asked what he did with his brains said, “I believed in you. I was scared of fire and I knew it was foolish to reject grace. I did not know how to believe with my heart because I didn’t have one”.
Asked what he did with his heart, the Tin Man said, “I gave it to you and made you Lord. I believed in my heart that it was not possible to trust you without obeying you. Since I didn’t have a brain, I did not question the logic of the matter”.
The Lamb said, “I am Lord, you cannot make me Lord. You should not have asked for a heart, since the heart is deceitfully wicked. Since you don’t have nerve cells, hell won’t be physical torment for you.
Turning to the Scarecrow, he said, I do not distinguish the heart from the mind. You did well to believe with your mind. You are a welcome guest at my table, though you aren’t made with a stomach.
Another thought occurred. A man may believe in his heart that he is a woman. How gross. A heart faith can be a mental disorder.
Jason, I am trying to get my heart to tell my mind to pump blood. I’m not really a philosopher.
The term “philosophy” is only used once in the New Testament, and not in a positive way.
Colossians 2:8: Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
The “tradition of men” and “rudiments of the world” include works for salvation.
The second Rock, Paper, Scissors of Calvinists: Books, Logic, Scripture.
RAS, yeah – that wasn’t lost on me. People who are fighting the truth cannot use truth to fight it.
Wordly philosophers sometimes seem less clueless than the lordshippers. Some philosophies hold that the mind is in all matters more reliable than the heart, lol.
I don’t read Greek either John and I agree that English makes it clear enough that eternal life is the gift. But it just goes to show the games played to protect the cherished “doctrines of grace”. They appeal to menuscripts then when shown that those men are against the argument being made then menuscripts are meaningless. They appeal to logic and when shown the illogic of what they say then logic is meaningless. They appeal to scripture and when shown that scripture doesn’t say what they think it does then it’s back to menuscripts.
Jason, regarding number 2 – my wife and I talked about this tonight.
Since our hearts are not capable of thought, we would have to use our minds to determine whether our faith was “a heart thing” or “a mind thing.” Since my mind knows my heart is not capable of thought, any honest assessment would conclude that belief was “a mind thing.”
Now, I attended the University of South Carolina. In my heart, I might think they will beat Clemson in football this year. But, in my mind, I don’t really think that. So, in this instance, “heart faith” would be something I don’t really believe. See how wrong LS really is?
RAS, I don’t know any Greek, but the Bible makes it clear that eternal life, not faith, is the gift of God.
In 1996, I went through a time when I longed to hear eternal security and wasn’t getting it. A counselor from InterVarsity told me I needed a changed life. I was attending several churches, and that was not meeting his requirement of going to church. He didn’t say why. He wasn’t satisfied until I repented in tears. I’m pretty sure it was repenting of sin, and he was expecting it.
Shortly after that, I subscribed to Cult of the Martyrs and read You-Know-Who. It was a killing curse to read his books. I had already read Tortured for Christ, and now 100 Prison Meditations had me under its torture spell. I had no rest.
The church I grew up in still taught grace, and they helped me escape Armstrongism, but back then I was scared of their interpretation of Hebrews warning verses. I was chasing after repentance of sin, and that was making me double-minded. One evening, I visited that church again, and the gospel was not mentioned. Faith was defined as a heart thing. More confusion in my life followed.
I was unstable enough in my ways to buy a Mary K Baxter book. There was nothing revealed except myths about a trip to hell and more loadship.
What a relief it is to come here in 2016 and learn that
1. I don’t need a changed life
2. Faith is not a heart thing as opposed to a mind thing.
3. I don’t need to repent of sin.
4. Eternal security is the gospel.
5. Fruit inspection is not of God
The blog I was chatting on has its regulars and there are two that I am particularly trying to reach, one of them is the guy I described as a “lite” Calvinist. But every conversation is bombarded by about 2 or 3 hard line Calvinist who have judged many of us to Hell already and one of those is a woman I mentioned before who copies and pastes quotes from Pink, Gil, Owens etc. Well she is a real thorn in the side. She again went to Eph 2:8-9 to prove faith as the gift and I copied and pasted several Greek experts who said the verse does not allow for faith to be the gift (including Calvin Himself). Well, she replied that commentaries are no proof of truth. How rich is that?
Then she told me she had given me ample scripture and warned me that there are consequences for refusing to heed what she has said. Her whole argument is that a person can’t heed the ample scripture she has given without first being born again. Rich irony I tell you.
Phil, since it is the gospel that is the power of God unto salvation, the gospel is right in Satan’s cross-hairs. He is constantly at work trying to distort the message.
One of the best ways he has found to blind people to the truth is by putting out a seemingly infinite number of counterfeit gospels. Most people have heard the counterfeits much more than the authentic gospel.
I know. I changed it to make it more of a warning to not put too much reliance on the doctrine of men.
They seem to have them all.
Why is it so difficult for people to believe that Christ did it all for them at Calvary so they can be redeemed and have eternal life? Is it just pride that they think they must contribute to what Christ has already provided for them?
My comment was in reply to your remark about Bing, which seems to have disappeared.
Are any of those articles from before GES went off the rails? From reading Hixson, it get the impression that the problems became visible around 2008. It is possible that most of what I was reading from them in 2009 was reliable.
Paul told the Galatians not to trust anything that contradicted they gospel he had preached to them – even if it were to come from him or angels from heaven.
Galatians 1:8: But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
We should be careful to make sure that any doctrine we hear meets the following requirements, no matter who it comes from:
1. Is it consistent with eternal life by Grace alone through Faith alone in Christ alone?
2. Is it consistent with eternal security?
3. Is it consistent with assurance of eternal life, based on God’s promises alone (i.e., it is not internally-focused on changes in attitudes, behavior, etc.)?
If it meets these requirements, it might be right. Otherwise, not a chance. No matter who says it.
I can only hope that Curtis Hutson and Charlie Bing are as reliable as we think.
It seems that even in my lifetime there is spurious church history about which the facts elude me.
RAS, I just read a post to Holly’s website, that has not yet been posted, from a die-hard Calvinist. The comment ends with “God bless.”
My comment: God bless who? The people He has chosen to receive eternal life?
Jason, we can only go by what people have said. We often find that someone we thought was reliable has said some things that directly undermine the gospel. If this is the case, we have to point it out, so that people know that we don’t agree with the error.
We avoid quoting certain people here, because we know they teach LS. I learn of this policy as I observe this site. I erase my own words before I hit the submit button on several occasions, because I’m about to quote someone and reconsider. Then I discover that even some of the people we quote teach LS. Now I’m confused, lol. To McGee or not to McGee, that is the question.
Phil, one of our commenters attributed the following quotes to McGee. I did a search on a couple of these, and they were in fact McGee quotes. I highly suspect that McGee was either LS or inconsistent on grace.
“As John Calvin put it, ‘Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves in not alone.’ Saving faith, therefore, is alive; professing faith is dead. We have a lot of so-called professing Christians today who are members of churches. They are nothing in the world but zombies. They are walking around as if they are alive, but are dead.” Another, same commentary, James 5 on who James is referring to Christians or non-Christians: “There is some controversy and difference of opinion among commentators on this question. I personally believe that they are the godless rich, and in that I follow the opinion of one whom I respect a great deal, John Calvin.” Commentary on James 2:17-18: “Faith, if it hath not works, is dead. The faith is dead? Why? Because living faith, saving faith, produces works. You have to draw that conclusion from James’ illustration. He is talking about the fruit of faith. A minister once talked to a man who professed conversion, and asked, “Have you united with the church?” ‘”No, I haven’t ” the man replied. “The dying thief never united with the church, and he went to heaven.” “Have you ever sat at he Lord’s table?” “No, the dying thief never did, and he was accepted” was the answer. The minister asked, “Have you ever been baptized?” “No, the dying thief was never baptized, and he went to heaven.” “Have you given to missions?” “No, the dying thief did not give to missions, and he was not judged for it” was the reply. Then the disgusted minister said to the man, “Well, my friend, the difference between you two seems to be that he was a dying thief and you are a living thief.” “James says it is faith that saves, but saving faith produces something.”
Sadly, after listening to a J Vernon McGee audio, he sounds LS. He teaches that repentance is part of faith, but not just a change of mind that you did not believe the gospel of your salvation before, but now you do. McGee said that repentance involves a turning from your old sinful ways to Christ; in other words resolving to change behavior plus trusting Christ for one’s salvation.
It sounds like he misdefines repent as so many others do. It seems that just believing in Christ for salvation is just not enough for so many of them.
Maybe I misunderstood McGee, but I don’t think so.
I was just asked by a person who I would call a “lite” Calvinist, in that he says he believes in the “doctrines of grace” yet he will not defend all 5 points he just accepts them as truth, he asked me if people aren’t born with faith then where they get the faith to believe. Talk about confusion over what faith is. There is no simply believing the good news of their salvation for so many people out there. TULIP’s influence cause so many problems.
Phil, good point. And, some try to differentiate types of faith, or think that faith must include believing that Jesus will change your life or desiring that Jesus change your life. These things all confuse things and frustrate grace.
Even people who have heard and believed the simple truth of the gospel are being lead to “what is your response to this?” It can become ” I surrendered my life to Christ” or “I gave my heart to Jesus” or “I made a commitment to Christ to follow him.” There are others. My point is people will see these as their saving faith instead of simply faith in the gospel.
I think some preachers and teachers are not satisfied with people simply believing the good news of their salvation and being saved. They want more from the person, a commitment, and that “more” ends up being what the person identifies with when they were saved. So instead of a person believing Jesus died to save me and therefore I am saved, it becomes something like “I gave my heart to Jesus” or “I gave my life to Jesus” and that ends up being their testimony of how they were saved.
Holly, whether or not this “tricky” comment was intended to deceive, it is thoroughly confusing.
Holly, yeah, when I hear people object to grace in citing 2 Corinthians 13:5, it is a red flag.
I was warned that most churches teach works. But I was never warned about the subtle way it was done. I fell for the reformed trap.
Yes the comment was ‘tricky’ or sneaky. I’d like to add a #27, which is one I see frequently.
They are likely a loadshipper if they quote part of 2 Cor 13:5, suggesting you need to examine yourself to see if you are really saved. When you tell them this is not the context of the Scripture at all, because they are saved, they have the Holy Spirit in them and that fact is proof of Paul’s apostleship, they usually suggest you need to get some higher learning in a reformed institution. I was always warned about reformed school when I was a child 🙂 I never wanted to go there.
#11 is a subtle trap that I have fallen for. It appeals to the best motives in us and yet it strips the gospel of grace. It did not used to bother me to hear that Christianity is a relationship, not a religion. Now I must rethink. Jesus makes a clear appeal to my rational best interest by offering eternal life. If I don’t accept, I hurt his feelings. If I am not permitted to act on the appeal that was made, then it seems that the offer was a sham, and that I cannot be saved. The whole notion makes God a liar.
Wurmbrand had said that a true believer must desire to be an arm of jesus, sharing in his sufferings. That teaching sounded like the very collectivistic system that he was allegedly fighting. I couldn’t tell the difference.
I have encountered number 11 several times:
11. You think you must desire a relationship with Christ in order to be saved.
Following is an excerpt from a comment from several years ago:
By focusing on “lordship,” and “the radical demands of Christ,” we are stepping away from the Gospel, which is saving faith (again, submission, but more than simply submission) in the character and promises of God. Lordship salvation focuses on me –what I must do to be saved, and what I must do to prove my salvation. What people call “easy believism,” also focuses on me –what do I get out of my faith? What’s the bargain in hand? Is it worth it?
True Christianity is focused on God, and our relationship with him. We must trust his promise to bring us to him, trust his character not to lie, and trust his power and ability (through submission) to do so.
My comment: This comment is really tricky!
People come to Christ for eternal life. Their motive may be entirely selfish. They do not have to desire to have a relationship with God in order to be saved. They need only believe the gospel. People come to Christ because they believe they need eternal life, and that it is found in Him. People who understand and believe the gospel know that they don’t have to do anything to receive eternal life.
The commenter makes it sound like under “easy believism,” the believer is trying to weigh some “bargain” – like “unless you give me eternal life, I won’t believe in you to give me eternal life.” This is really goofy. Anyone who believes in Jesus as Savior has come to the point of understanding that eternal life is a free gift, without cost or obligation to the recipient – including any required obligation to want to have a relationship with God.
The commenter makes an artificial distinction between what he calls “easy believism” and what he calls “true Christianity.”
The Bible makes no such distinction. What the commenter referred to as “easy believism” is what the Bible refers to as Christianity.
OK – thanks to e-mail from Tyler, I now think I have the right link. For some reason, I was getting a different path from my phone than from my PC.
Holly, I would like for it to go straight to the passage, but I don’t have a separate page for each passage,so I don’t know how to do a direct link.
John, as Jim mentioned it takes you to a page where there are multiple titles including the difficul.t passages, which I now know you would then click the right title, then look for the passage. I assumed you meant for it to go direct to the passage.
Hi John, The link works. You just have to also then click on the other and lookdown at the 2 Cor verse as I did.
Calvinists and others often use a verse such as 2 Cor 7:10 out of context as a way to qualify “authentic” faith/repentance. Their logic goes that if one is not truly sorry then their faith is not from God and is a counterfeit faith. In other words one must detest, hate, forsake their sin in order to turn from their sins and believe the gospel. But notice the additions to faith when one goes down that path. They arrive there partly because of their preconceived notion that God must gift people with the special kind of faith that is salvific.
Rather, as John correctly points out, this passage is dealing with believers who were guilty of sin as believers and were confronted by Paul in a godly manner (he desiring their best interests) and they changed their minds agreeing with God on the matter. They procede to have a clearing of themselves in the matter. This compares well to passage such as I John 1:9 which is also dealing with believers.
Salvation there in 2 Cor 7 in the context of deliverance for believers is different than deliverance as unbelievers from eternal punishment. I have met people who think that they can use this one verse and apply it as a general principle on all occurrences of the word repentance in any other context. However to do that is to violate a proper comparison with other scriptures that are clear that faith alone is the way to receive the gift of eternal life. That is because it is by grace not something meritorious.
Holly, I intended for the link to be to the Pet Passages article – specifically 2 Corinthians 7:9-11. I just selected the link and it took me there. Are you getting something else?
John – that link does not go to where I believe you meant it to go.
Jess, a good thing to do with Scripture is always look at the whole context.
2 Cor 7 speaks to believers who are already saved from eternal death. The sorrow that they felt is good, and the Word of God written to them has saved them from many destructive things. We have already seen the incestuous adulterer in 1 Cor 5 being given over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh. We also see the drunks and those who are carnal. We see people eating and getting drunk at the Lord’s table and are falling sick and some dying.
My point is, when we see ‘saved’, we need to ask <b'saved from what'? We can find the answer by seeing who is spoken of, what, where, when, why, how if that will help. A book that illustrates this well is ‘Salvation in Three Time Zones’ by Dennis Rokser.
Hope this helps, God bless your week.
Jess, sorrow for sin is not a requirement to receive eternal life. Awareness that one is a sinner, in need of a Savior, is.
The publican indicated that he was depending on God’s mercy, not his own works.
The passage that you cited from 2 Corinthians does not have to do with receiving eternal life, but has to do with Christians in the Corinthian church who already have eternal life.
Please see link below for further explanation:
I was becoming confused and misguided by Calvinists and lordshipsalvationists over the past year – since finally recognizing the subtle lies I’ve been trying to undue a lot of false beliefs that crept their way in…
I would appreciate anyone providing clarification on this matter :
I was reading through comments and saw a caligracer wrote about LS teacher
“Washer’s False definition of saving repentance as sorrow for sin”
My question is : does godly sorrow always take place prior to salvation or only sometimes /
I understand 2 cor 7:10-11 To mean that people are convicted of & are sorry for their sin – like Luke 18:13
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
– not saying that in order to be saved one has to pledge to change or desire to change but I thought conviction & a sinner being sorry & recognizing Jesus paid their sin debt is the normal salvation process
Those two scriptures & my personal conviction & sorrow that preceded faith in Christ’s atonement for my sin
10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
Jennifer – Maybe in talking to him, he may not hear, but do not settle for someone entrenched in false doctrine, no way. Come and fellowship with us on facebook (if you are there), I’ll suggest some friends I know who are sound and (can’t be a dating service) but I can get you some fellowship to grow in His grace. My name there is Holly Sprenger Garcia, please feel free to ‘friend’ me if you like.
Are you content in your singleness? Why do you want a husband? Is it to fill a void or to share your love? (don’t answer these to me, ask yourself).
I ask because I have long struggled with the idea that I could only be happy while with a spouse, but have recently realised that is not true. I now view marriage as a blessing rather than necessity and I’ve recognised that this has put me in a much better position (and state of mind) to think logically about what I want in a prospective wife. For instance, not needing to be married to be happy (or joyous) means that I will not (God willing) jump into a toxic relationship that compromises my values.
Perhaps I’ve said something that helps you, hopefully I’ve not said anything that does not.
You may want to review Ephesians 5:22-33. Marriage is a physical representation of our relationship with Christ and our testimony to the world about the closeness, comfort, and peace available to those who have placed their faith in Him.
Knowing this, we should never “settle” for the person we marry – it is difficult enough to model Christ and the Church when husband and wife are in harmony concerning their faith.
Concerning union with a Calvinist Lordship Salvationist, I would strongly advise caution. It may be that the person is a saved believer, but has been seduced by the intellectual appeal of Calvinism. It may also be, though, that the person has never truly relied on Christ and His finished work alone for salvation. As John and others have said, you do not want to find yourself unequally yoked to someone that is not actually a believer.
If you love this individual and believe that he may be a true believer, it may be worth engaging him in a discussion of why he believes that the god described by TULIP is the God of the Bible. There are several excellent resources on the subjects of Calvinism and Lordship Salvation:
“Confronting Calvinism,” by Anthony Badger, is very thorough and also addresses Calvinism’s cousin – Arminianism.
“Deconstructing Calvinism” by Hutson Smelley is also very thorough – lots of scripture references and refutation of Calvinist exegeses.
“What Love is This?” by Dave Hunt is a quick read, but may be a little on the aggressive side to share with someone in the Calvinist mindset.
“Secure Forever!” by Thomas Cucuzza is a quick read and comes highly recommended by many on this site.
Finally, “Holiness, the True and the False” by H.A. Ironside is an interesting testimony on the effects of the Armininian Holiness movement – I think you will be surprised at the parallels in the impacts Ironside describes and the effects we see today in the victims of L.S. teachers.
Please also remember the reality of 1 Timothy 4:1. This will happen if one is yoked with another who embraces false doctrine.
1 Timothy 4:1 – Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
God bless! I hope and pray that God will bring the right man into your life who is free grace and clear on the gospel. Faith alone in Christ alone apart from works.
I also agree with John on all 3 of his points. If you are clear on the gospel and then marry a person who is not clear on the gospel, chances are that over time you will get led astray in your faith. Remember “reformed” theology is Calvinism/Lordship Salvation and are one and the same. Let’s not forget the Biblical example of King Solomon who was a strong man of God, but got led astray in his faith because of his serial polygamy with many other women. Solomon then became a demon worshiper and even built 2 altars to the 2 demon gods, Chemosh and Molech in 1 Kings 11:7.
Jennifer, welcome and thanks for your comment.
I have prayed for you. No, I would not “settle” for guy that you described. You might consider giving him a copy of “The Gospel” booklet by Ron Shea and going through it with him. If you “settle,” you run at least three risks:
1. You become compromised and lose your effectiveness as a witness.
2. You may marry someone who is not saved.
3. Your children grow up being taught a false gospel.
Hey, folks! I’ve gotten a lot of help on this website after spending several years confused about my salvation due to subtle LS teachings.
I am 29 years old and single. I hope to be married and have a family someday–hopefully in the next few years, considering my age! Would some of you pray I’ll find a young, fun, handsome man who believes the true gospel–that grace really is free? Or–shoot! I’ll be so bold to say introduce me to someone if you know one who fits the description/ age range! #expbecomesdatingservice
A sweet guy who is serious about the Lord is trying to court me now, but he keeps speaking highly of David Platt (someone who has really confused me with his works-based salvation messages), said “repent means turn from the way you are going,” and said he’s considered being “reformed” in theology. Yikes! I haven’t gotten the nerve to tell him what I believe yet–I’m a little nervous that it will turn into a debate & I won’t defend the position well enough to convince him. But he may need to hear it for his own sake, ya know?
Sounds like a stupid question, but should I settle for this guy? Living in a rural area, I haven’t had many dating opportunities, so I’m hesitant to let this guy go for fear of not getting another chance to start a family. (But I know God can do anything).
Daniel – I think that is how believers faith is made shipwreck or they are led astray. It’s a canker that is spread because of false teachings (like Hymenaeus and Alexander in 2 Tim 2), or those teaching wrongly of the resurrection (like 1 Cor 15). Believers there doubted the gospel they had been preached. The disciples were unbelieving although saved. I always think on the simple answer, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Rom 10:17). So we need our shield of faith built up so we can extinguish the fiery darts of the enemy (Eph 6). Jesus answered the enemy with ‘it is written’ in Matt 4, it is the way to deal with the enemy, so we need our ‘feet time’ (Lk 10:38-42) with Jesus.
Bob – glad you came and shared. Many of us do not have a physical church, a few are blessed with a small study with believers, not even enough to have elders. So much deception, so much compromise, but we are blessed with the ability to have His Word and the more we know, the more we can tell the difference between good and evil, truth and error (Heb 5:12-14). Our attitude does matter when we study of course (2 Tim 2:15), and whether we are searching the Scriptures to see if things are true (Acts 17:11). May the Lord help us as the Holy Spirit guides us into truth.
Daniel, I once had the same fear that I had committed the “unpardonable sin” when I was a much younger Christian. The unpardonable sin cannot be committed today because it requires Jesus PHYSICAL PRESENCE here on earth performing miracles. The Pharisees and teachers of the law in Matthew 12 and Mark 3 came dangerously close to committing the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit which is the correct Biblical name of the unpardonable sin.
It is the attributing of the miracles of Jesus to the power of Satan. The Pharisees and teachers of the Law back during Jesus earthly public ministry were eyewitnesses to the many miracles and healings that Jesus performed. However, many of Jesus miracles and healings produced no faith in them and they refused to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, but instead accused Him of being demon possessed and performing miracles and healings by the power of Satan.
The very fear of having committed the unpardonable sin is proof positive that you have not committed this sin and as stated earlier, this sin was only possible during Jesus earthly public ministry. Also, you can look at it this way and ask the question: How can a Christian who is eternally saved at the very moment of faith later on commit an eternal sin that eternally condemns the person? IMPOSSIBLE. Jesus taught in John 5:24 – ” Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is PASSED FROM DEATH UNTO LIFE. ”
The unpardonable sin can only be committed by the UNSAVED. It can also be said that the unpardonable sin is the sin of UNBELIEF rejecting the gospel of John 3:16 and dying in that rejection.
IF you have trusted in whom Jesus was (Gods only Son, God in the flesh) that He “died for your sins” and rose again. YOU are “sealed”.
Think about it. IF you have all these sins that send you to hell, BUT Jesus DIED FOR ALL THOSE SINS, how many send to YOU have left to send you to hell???
– The logical answer,……”none”. Jesus died for them ALL.
Now, how can satan “get what he wants” and you be denied entrance into heaven when Gods word has PROMISED you otherwise???? Once saved, Jesus PROMISED to never cast you out, never lose you, nothing will be able to pluck YOU from His hand.
I never read once where satan can “undo” Gods promises. In fact, the bible says that “God cannot lie”. As a result, these promises are “irrevocable”.
Once you are saved (you know Jesus died for your sins), the devil WILL mess with you. Thus the “amour of God” is needed (Eph 6) to combat the devil.
BTW – the “feeling” you are having. Most of us here have understood that “feeling”. Same “feeling” had me considering plucking out an eye or cutting off a hand” (thought that would be better then going to hell).
Acts 13:39 – 39 And by him all that BELIEVE are justified from ALL THINGS, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses
Daniel, if you are trusting in Christ now, I wouldn’t dwell on times in the past when you had doubts.
I can assure you that it is never God who tries to get you to doubt.
Augh! Sometimes I fear of not being able to enter heaven when I die! Just the thought terrifies me. I do believe in christs death, burial and resurrection. But satan wants me to doubt and I’m afraid he’ll get what he wants if Im denied access to Heaven when I die. Man, I DESPISE this feeling. And then I’ll know for sure that the lord had it in him! Would he toss me away like a joke? I remember when I was a freshman I thought I committed the unpardonable sin. I asked my sister who is also a believer what it was and she said it was basically saying damn, but saying God before it. And I remember saying that in the 8th grade. At that point, I felt UTTER TERROR thinking that it was too late for me. I was scared and I cried in my sleep that night. I woke up feeling so hopeless, like there was no point in living. I wasn’t thinking about suicide though. I just felt like everyday that God was looking down on me, furious and I pictured him mocking me. And… I don’t remember how I got my hope back in God. Did the devil insnare me in his grasp for a while?
Bob, welcome and thanks for your comment.
I have prayed both for you and for the errant churches.
Wow. Thank you for the clarification. I’m in a Discipleship Program, which teaches doctrine similar to this.
Example is that a few weeks ago sing devotion, the pastor said that “..if a person is not praying enough, they are not saved.” Also, the “repentance of sins” is in many sermons and lectures taught here.
I finally realize that I must trust on Christ alone for my salvation and not on my works just to keep my salvation. (Ephesians 2:8-9). The Calvinist doctrine is extremely burdensome to the point that I compared my works to the next man’s and wondering, “Am I’m doing enough?” This can result in competition and jealousy for well-intended people. This is very poisonous and can damage one’s true walk with Christ. I can truly attest to this.
Pray for me as I planning too search for a church that preaches the truth. Also, pray for churches and organizations that preach this heresy.
The Spirit of God and demons don’t have any place in the same habitation. If she willingly speaks to a spirit she has opened herself up to these things because she does not have His Spirit. The point I was making is she cannot rebuke the spirit. Only the Lord can. The reason why a demon would reveal true things is to keep the person in bondage and deceiving others until the enemy decides to destroy them. Preach the gospel as many ways as you can to her.
John, now that you mentioned Acts 16:16, it does remind me of her and the spirit that speaks to her. However, when I talk to her there is no indication that she has used that spirit for monetary gain.
Holly, I mentioned that to Grace. Grace feels that she’s already saved, but I am not so sure of that. She is in her fifties and tells me that this spirit has been speaking to her since childhood. I don’t get it at all. Why would a spirit attach itself to her for so long and reveal things to her that would come true?
William, I would suggest to grace, that she ask the Lord to rebuke this spirit on her behalf. Thinking on this from Jude 1:8-9
Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. Praying Grace will come to know the Lord.
William, grace really seemed to feel comfortable with you (you tube).
William, I’ve joined you in praying for grace.
I know it’s been a while since I commented. Please pray for a lady named Grace on YT that I’ve been chatting with. This woman is very confused right now and she tells me that a spirit has been speaking to her ever since childhood. She states that the spirit would reveal things to her that would come true including the imminent death of her father which did in fact take place. On one occasion it revealed that her friend was in imminent danger and that her friend was not aware of it. She immediately prayed for her friend and later discovered that her friend was being threatened by someone with a gun, but her friend was unharmed.
Even though she’s been going to church, I don’t sense that she’s saved because of the fact that a spirit has been following her and speaking to her since childhood. I told her the simple gospel and her need for Christ and the free gift of eternal life and I also told her that she needs to rebuke this spirit in Jesus name. Its highly possible that this is a demonic spirit. Please pray for her.
My mother once had an encounter with a spirit whom she initially thought was a spirit of God. Prior to my mother being diagnosed with malignant cancer, she had a dream where she said a spirit told her that this was not cancer. However, when a biopsy was performed, it was confirmed that it was malignant cancer. This told me that my mother was being lied to by a lying spirit of Satan because her dream almost prevented her from going to the doctors.
Thanks John, perfect, must have not seen it. I’m not getting notified of comments either.
Holly, I already had a link to Part 1 in Part 2. I just added a link to Part 2 in Part 1.
Just as a side note–my subscriptions no longer work, so if I ask a question or make comments which are more or less begging an answer, and I don’t come back for months at a time, it’s because I no longer get email notices about comments, and I simply have a very selective (and often terrible) memory. I’m not blowing off this blog or anything . . .
Yes, when I re-read #21 I literally said out loud (almost yelling) the name of my former pastor, a not “terrible” LSer but an LSer nonetheless. It was in his office in October of 2006 where I first heard that lie and unfortunately in my ignorance back then I fell for it. That and the one about thinking one has to want to have a relationship (or simply have–regardless of wanting it) with Christ to be saved.
All Calvary Chapel stuff . . . At least in terms of where I learned it/heard it for the first time. Makes total sense now that I know Chuck Smith basically taught to be saved comes from “abiding in Christ” which others on this blog have pointed out is more or less preaching works for salvation.
Johninnc – you should put a link to part #2 underneath this article and vice versa!
FryingPan9 – you HAD to make go look to see what 25 was lol, so now you should go look at #21, because that’s the one they like to use the 12 inch measuring tape on. See part 2 of this article too.
I recently had a very frustrating experience where I discovered a friend of mine is out and out LS and is (for now anyway) hardened to the gospel. So I came here for a “refresher” and yes, to see how many items on this list seemed to apply to my friend.
But I got a big chuckle out of #25. I believe the irony in the wording was lost on me the first time around when I read it over 2 years ago, which was when I was new to this blog.
The truth has always been there, many evil men have fought to suppress the truth in unrighteousness. But His Word endureth forever…
“Jared, there have been Bible-believing Christians throughout history. Just like today, though, the theology of the “big names” throughout history hasn’t necessarily lined up with the Word of God”
That is THE answer.
The truth has always been there, right in everyone’s face. Read the Bible, and take it literally. it says what it means, and means what it says. No “hidden mysteries” to avoid simple reading and believing.
There have always been true believers throughout all ages. But the most “popular” names, are promoted by the world system, to throw off as many as possible. The world system is not in the business of promoting truth.
They can’t stop the Word of God either way. The Word says what it says.
You said, “I don’t know why someone who claims to have been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ would make frustrating grace their life’s work.”
Exactly — and then we see those who do not discern the problem of promoting them. I know several of the “Grace” web sites of which you speak. Very disturbing!!!
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Jack, that’s an interesting perspective on Hudson Taylor.
In a similar vein, I have seen several sites that state that Spurgeon’s childhood conversion testimony seemed to be grace-oriented, as if that makes his heinous Lordship “salvation” lies acceptable.
I don’t know why someone who claims to have been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ would make frustrating grace their life’s work.
My take is that many men that are supposedly renowned in Christianity are not or were never very clear on the gospel. This includes man like, Augustine, Calvin, Knox, Whitfield, Carey, Brainerd, Elliot, Judson, Edwards, Spurgeon, Taylor, Luther, etc etc. I think if your theological heritage goes back to Augustine or the Catholic church the you will likely have error. The Reformers cast aside some of the Catholic but kept some of the erroneous ways of looking at things. The often created their own problems rather than getting their doctrine from the Word. I remember looking up specifically what many of these men said in term of the gospel and the method for obtaining and what I found mostly was some form of Lordship salvation. I could probably find some examples again if you really want me to.
Dispensationalism is a side issue. I believe that there have always been people with a more literal, consistent, plain hermeneutic that would have been able to at least tell the difference between the law and the age of grace. I don’t think dispensationalism is a hermeneutic itself but rather a conclusion arrived at objective study of the Word with a literal, plain, consistent hermeneutic.
That is indeed a touching testimony by Hudson Taylor. It reminds me of my childhood when my doctrinaire Calvinist parents told us the stories of Hudson Taylor and his China Inland Mission. I rejected their Calvinism and became atheist at age 16. Much later, after I trusted Christ as my Savior at age 35 and later yet, just before they passed into Heaven, both of them separately confided in me that they were trusting in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior and had made that decision as young folks. So I suppose they, like Taylor, could very well have seriously adopted Calvinism later in life for expedience.
It is amazing educational experience to search the Calvinist web sites and find Hudson Taylor’s name proudly displayed and discussed as one of their own. In his book, “For Calvinism,” Calvinist author Michael Horton extols the virtues of “Calvinist Hudson Taylor” and his mission, alongside other dedicated Calvinists. Horton explains (in his opinion), that “those who have had the greatest impact upon missions have been Calvinist (John Ryland Jr., Hudson Taylor, William Carey, David Livingstone, David Brainerd, etc). Whether true or not about missions is up for debate. Here is a case of an historian Horton glorifying his own personal prejudices and preferences.
Certainly, Taylor’s “conversion experience” gave no indication of Calvinism but related his simple decision to put his faith in the “finished work” of Jesus Christ on the cross. So he must have adopted his Calvinism later in life (not unusual), having been “educated” out of God’s simple salvation, (i.e. by Grace through faith in Christ alone) and delivered into the lie of Calvinism.
Therefore, was Hudson Taylor saved? God alone knows. If he believed his original “conversion” experience it appears he was. The question remains though — why did he depart from the Truth into the false doctrine of Calvinism? Was it expedience??? After all he was a contemporary and personal friend of another Calvinist, CH Spurgeon, who was reportedly an ardent supporter of Taylor’s China Inland Mission.
We ardently pray that we who know and teach the Truth of God’s Grace will not succumb to error – and that we will continue to preach the truth of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Thanks for that extensive citation of verses and the Greek definition of various words. It is helpful.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
I guess the Lord knows those that are His.
May the following precious salvation testimony by Hudson Taylor -after trying to be a Christian, striving to commit himself to Christ, to follow Christ etc.- and discovered the Finished Work, leave you are encouraged and edified as it did me.. God bless and good night!
” On a day I can never forget, . . . my dear mother being absent from home, I had a holiday, and in the afternoon looked through my father’s library to find some book with which to while away the unoccupied hours. Nothing attracting me, I turned over a basket of pamphlets and selected from amongst them a Gospel tract that looked interesting, saying to myself : ‘ There will be a story at the commencement and a sermon or moral at the close. I will take the former and leave the latter for those who like it.’
” I sat down to read the book in an utterly unconcerned state of mind, believing indeed at the time that if there were any salvation it was not for me, and with a distinct intention to put away the tract as soon as it should seem prosy. I may say that it was not uncommon in those days to call conversion `becoming serious’; and judging by the faces of some of its professors it appeared to be a very serious matter indeed ! Would it not be well if the people of God had always tell-tale faces, evincing the blessings and gladness of salvation so clearly that unconverted people might have to call conversion ‘ becoming joyful ‘ instead of ‘ becoming serious ‘ ?
” Little did I know at the time what was going on in the heart of my dear mother, seventy or eighty miles away. She rose from the dinnertable that afternoon with an intense yearning for the conversion of her boy ; and feeling that, absent from home and having more leisure than she could otherwise secure, a special opportunity was afforded her of pleading with God on my behalf. She went to her room and turned the key in the door, resolved not to leave the spot until her prayers were answered. Hour after hour that dear mother pleaded, until at length she could pray no longer, but was constrained to praise God for that which His Spirit taught her had already been accomplished, the conversion of her only son.
” I in the meantime had been led in the way I have mentioned to take up this little tract, and while reading it was struck with the phrase : ` THE FINISHED WORK OF CHRIST.’
“‘Why does the author use this expression?’ I questioned. `Why not say the atoning or propitiatory work of Christ ? ‘
” Immediately the words ` It is finished ‘ suggested themselves to my mind.” ` What was finished ?’
” And I at once replied,’ A full and perfect atonement and satisfaction for sin. The debt was paid for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.’
” Then came the further thought, ` If the whole work was finished and the whole debt paid, what is there left for me to do ?’
” And with this dawned the joyful conviction, as light was flashed into my soul by the Holy Spirit, that there was nothing in the world to be done but to fall down on one’s knees and accepting this Saviour and His salvation praise Him for evermore.”
Nothing either great or small,
Nothing, sinner, no:
Jesus died and did it all,
Long, long ago.
` It is finished,” yes, indeed,
Finished every jot.
Sinner, this is all you need,
Tell me, is it not ?
When He from His lofty throne
Stooped to do and die,
Everything was fully done
Listen to His cry.
Weary, working, burdened one,
Wherefore toil you so?
Cease your doing, all was done,
Long, long ago.
Cast your deadly doing down,
Down at Jesus’ feet ;
Stand in Him, in Him alone,
“Thus while my dear mother was praising God on her knees in her chamber, I was praising Him in the old warehouse to which I had gone alone to read at my leisure this little book.
” Several days elapsed ere I ventured to make my beloved sister the confidante of my joy, and then only after she had promised not to tell any one of my soul-secret. When Mother returned a fortnight later I was the first to meet her at the door and to tell her I had such glad news to give. I can almost feel that dear mother’s arms round my neck as she pressed me to her heart and said:
“‘ I know, my boy. I have been rejoicing for a fortnight in the glad tidings you have to tell.’
” ` Why,’ I asked in surprise, ‘ has Amelia broken her promise ? She said she would tell no one.’
” My dear mother assured me that it was not from any human source she had learned the tidings, and went on to tell the incident mentioned above. You will agree with me that it would be strange indeed if I were not a believer in the power of prayer.
Speedy, thank you, I actually think I will enjoy looking up what you shared, and actually do it as a study. I appreciate the citations!
Good advice Jack,
I’ve often wondered if some of them had ever believed the true gospel in the beginning, and had been bewitched to finishing in the flesh.
One time John 7:24 kept coming to my remembrance when I gave a Calvinist the benefit of the doubt by saying something to the effect of “he seems sincere”. I kept remembering “Judge with a righteous judgment and not according to the appearance”. I kept thinking, “I am cutting him slack and I am not being unkind. Nor am I judging whether he is saved or his motives” (as if that was righteous judgment). And the verse would come to my remembrance once again. It suddenly dawned on me (as it should have far before this) that to even surmise something good about one who was teaching an accursed doctrine, was to wrongly judge the person possibly. I was doing it by the appearance, and I realized I had maybe given the false teacher some leeway as a good guy. No leaven, not one little bit!
Now I try to remember to not think of any man beyond what is written. If those who aren’t teaching properly are identified as ravening wolves inwardly, I figure I better also identify them as such.
I think when these false teachers go out from among us, that means that their false doctrine is made known, although they very well might be in the church building teaching.
Jack, Hi sir! You’re absolutely right regarding God’s equal condemnation of sin. Before a Holy God, sin is sin & there is no such thing as levels of seriousness, such as “mortal”, “venial” etc. – it ALL required the death penalty.
Regarding the biblical words used by God to describe its various effects, manifestations, progressions & stages in the categories of harmatia, kakos & poneros, here are the verses:
HARMATIA:- Mt1:21, 3,6, 9:2,5,6, 12:31, 26:28, Mk1:4,5, 2:5,7,9,10, Lk1:77, 3:3, 5:20,21,23,24, 7:47,49,49, 11:4, 24:47. Jn1:29, 8:21,24,34,46, 9:34,41, 15:22,24, 16:8,9, 19:11, 20:23, Ac2:38, 3:19, 5:31, 7:60, 10:43, 13:38, 22:16, 26:18, Ro3:9,20, 4:7,8, 5:12,13,20,21, 6:1,2,6,7,10,11,12,13,14,16,17,18,20,22,23, 7:5,7,8,9,11,13,14,17,20,23,25, 8:2,3,10,11:27, 14:23 , 7:5,7,8,9,11,13,14,17,20,23,25, 8:2,3,10, 11:27, 14:23, 1Co15:3,17,56, 2Co5:21, 11:7, Ga1:4, 2:17, 3:22, Ep2:1, Col1:14, 2:11, 1Th2:16, 2Th2:3, 1Ti5:22,24, 2Ti3:6, He1:3, 2:17, 3:13, 4:15, 5:1,3, 7:27, 8:12, 9:26,28, 10:2,3,4,6,8,11,12,17,18,26, 11:25, 12:1,4, 13:11, Js1:15, 2:9, 4:17, 5:15,20, 1Pe2:22,24, 3:18, 4:1,8, 2Pe1:9, 2:14, 1Jn1:7,8,9, 2:2,12, 3:4,5,8,9, 4:10, 5:16,17, Rev1:5,18:4,5. (sometimes rendered “sin”, /”sins”), refers to usually a person, simply missing the mark. (paraptoma is similar to this category). Further definition & light can be shed by comparing the OT usage in the LXX.)
KAKOS:- Mt21:41, 24:48, 27:23, Mk7:21, 15:14, Lk16:25, 23:22, Jn18:23, Ac9:13, 16:28, 23:9, 28:5, Ro1:30, 2:9, 3:8, 7:19,21, 9:11, 12:17,21, 13:3,4,10, 14:20, 16:19, 1Co10:6, 13:5, 15:33, 2Co5:10, 13:7, Phi3:2, Co3:5, 1Th5:15, 1Ti6:10, 2Ti4:14, Ti6:10, He5:14, Js1:13, 3:8, 1Pe3:9,10,11,12, 3Jn11, Re2:2, 16:2. (usually translated “evil”, but sometimes “wicked”, “noisome!” (nice KJV word!!! ;-), or just “bad” – it is usually Satanic kind of evil.
PONEEROS: (which is where we’d place those who are not just deceived, but progress into DECEIVING, PEDDLING evil doctrines such as loose your salvation, salvation by works, anti trinitarianism, LS, baptisimal regeneration, etc): infectious & spreading. – Mt5:11,37,39,45, 6:13,23, 7:11,17,18, 9:4, 12:34,35,39,45, 13:19,38,49, 15:19, 16:4, 18:32, 20:15, 22:10, 25:26, Mk7:22,23, Lk3:19, 6:22,35,45, 7:21, 8:2, 11:4,13,26,29,34, 19:22, Jn3:19, 7:7, 17:15, Ac17:5, 18:14, 19:12,13,15,16, 28:21, Ro12:9, 1Co5:13, Ga1:4, Ep5:16, 6:13,16, Col1:21, 1Th5:22, 2Th3:2,3, 1Ti6:4, 2Ti3:13, 4:18, He3:12, 10:22, Js2:4, 4:16, 1Jn2:13,14, 3:12, 5:18,19, 2Jn11, 3Jn10, Rev16:2. Also translated “evil” often (despite it being a different greek word), sometimes “wicked”, “grievous”, “lewd” etc. This goes beyond personal sin, and infectious Satanic rebellion, but is now spreading. For example, in Germany during the early 20th cent., turning their back on God, getting into the evil of replacement theology etc, led to the evil system of Nazism, which inevitably progressed to become infectious & spread. Some teachers are not only “deceived” but “deceiving”. I would put the JW’s, Mormons & Brahamits (Jesus Only’s) in this class. It was weird to see such US cults in central Africa this weekend. You just sense that their doctrine is highly energized. They travel the seas to make a disciple and he ends up twice a sone of hell as them.
The verses above are a conclusive list on the subject (forgive any typos)
An interesting study.
If tarrying in prayer is proof of one being saved, I would have been concerned for the disciples. But God’s Word lets me know both, that they didn’t persevere in prayer that night even though Jesus Himself asked them, and it also lets me know they were already clean (except Judas).
Praise the Lord we are sealed eternally by the Holy Spirit, and He intercedes in prayer for us.
Edwards is favorably quoted by most hyper-Calvinists, because his ‘conversion’ happened when a feeling came upon him and he accepted Calvinism’s teaching of God’s Sovereignty. His theological determinism is not based on foreknowledge, but of a God who determines all, especially those who will go to hell and have no chance to believe.
We would not agree and have no reason to believe that those who preach/preached grave error were ever born again — especially since they mix grace and works in their salvation teaching. They are accursed. (Galatians 1:8) Best to completely mark and avoid them as scripture clearly instructs believers.
And we make a BIG mistake when we cite what truth false teachers may say because, again, it is mixed with error. How can a new “baby” Christian know which is the error and which is truth? That is the tricky old seminary theological fallacy of “Eat the meat and spit out the bones.” Too many folks choke on the bones.
Imagine the terrible thought of recommending CH Spurgeon because we find one of his sermons that seems on the face to be free Grace… And then our audience searches Spurgeon archives and reads his terrible, anti-grace sermon “Turn or Burn” which is completely contrary to scriptural Grace. Unconscionable.
We must use Biblical discernment and great care when our words influence others.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Speedy, it’s hard to say whether anyone teaching false gospels is born again. If someone tells me they believe works are necessary for salvation (or to prove one is saved), all I know is based on what they say, they do not believe the gospel now.
False gospels are not the power of God unto salvation. If they were, there would be no need for us to contend for the faith.
Jared, grace has always been MAINLINE (from Divine perspective).
The natural tendency is to deviate to works.
Actually, it began creeping in DURING the Apostle’s lifetimes – see Galatians & Hebrews (ESPECIALLY), as well as Romans, Corinthians, Ephesians, Colossians, Timothty, Titus, & John.
Also, just read 2ND CENTUARY church history & you’ll see the leaven again there.
Have you or anyone else ever read the church history reference work called “The Pilgrim Church” by Broadbent? It appears to have a HUGE history of remnant movements, groups, theologians etc, worldwide, throughout the past 2,000 years that believed and taught the gospel of grace + nothing, by faith + nothing, in Christ + nothing.
Dispensationalism is a separate issue altogether. Strictly, it refers to the method of Systematic study of the Bible in AGES/DISPENSATIONS (Grk aion), advocating a literal 1,000 year rule of Christ (called Chileism), which was believed commonly by the early church, later re-popularized by people like JN Darby, much later, Chafer, Scofield etc. It is a separate issue, and many dispensationalists have gone back into LS, works etc.
Many of the people you look up to, we would agree were probably born again, despite the error. Where they taught the truth we’d happily agree & do cite it, but error is error, especially when it comes to salvation.
In reading your comment, it appears you may be inadvertently contributing to spreading the idea that Lordship “salvation”, Calvinism and Armenianism are all valid ways of salvation. The Bible very specifically says Salvation is by Grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone and with any addition of works, the teacher is accursed. You should be very careful how you embrace those false doctrines.
You may look down through history (since Paul if you please) and find many teachers who have not bowed the knee to false teaching. How can you tell if a teacher is teaching the lie of Lordship or works “salvation”?
There is a simple formula… Do they add works to their salvation message in any way?
And there is a simple way to discern that:
From our page:
Lordship Salvation Defined,
Jared you must apply sound, contextual exegesis to your study of scripture, especially since you apparently see no real problem with the teachings of the men, John Calvin and Jacobus Arminius.
We will be praying for your clear understanding of God’s Grace.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Jared, you didn’t answer my question:
What do you think of Jonathan Edwards?
You said: “I believe its irresponsible to imply that everyone in mainstream (sic) Christian teaching has missed the mark on the true nature of salvation since practically Paul’s time. The implication to this would be that millions of supposed Christians had been dissolusioned to believe their souls were eternally secure.”
My comment: I believe much “mainstream” theology today departs from God’s Word as to how one receives eternal life. I am not much of a student of theological history, but there has been a long history of false teaching as far as I can tell.
Roman Catholicism – salvation by works
Reformed theology – Roman Catholicism “lite”
The Bible says one receives eternal life by grace, through faith in Christ as a free gift (that is, with absolutely no strings attached). If someone teaches something different, and many do, it is no longer the gospel. And, since only people who believe the gospel are saved, those who have never believed the gospel are lost.
There are going to be many people who think they are going to heaven who do not. I don’t know what the number is – millions doesn’t seem out of the question. The Bible says “many”:
 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Jared, why do you care about the doctrine of men so much? Jesus is the only one who can save you. The doctrine of men has no saving power.
Certainly I don’t believe that popularity is the best measure of truth, Chirst was hated and despised by many, yet He was the ultimate authority on truth. I guess the deeper and more poignant question applies to how we each develop our theological similarities/differences. Therefore I’m merely interested in who has been formative in your opinions that has espoused the same “Free Grace” theology message that can be traced back througout Church history. I believe its irresponsible to imply that everyone in mainstrean Christian teaching has missed the mark on the true nature of salvation since practically Paul’s time. The implication to this would be that millions of supposed Christians had been dissolusioned to believe their souls were eternally secure. As to the dispensationalism question, my point or deeper thought was, why do you suppose that it hadn’t been taught since scripture was penned up until the 19th century, and therefore the soteriology of the church was disconnected from scripture for such a long period of time. (I say that based on other posts that label Reformed Soteriology and Arminian Soteriology as False doctrines.)
Jared, there have been Bible-believing Christians throughout history. Just like today, though, the theology of the “big names” throughout history hasn’t necessarily lined up with the Word of God.
The Bible says that there will be relatively few believers (relative to non-believers):
 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.
This does not indicate that the most popular (or famous) theologians will necessarily be those whose teaching lines up with the Word of God.
As to when dispensationalism came about, it can’t have been in the last 180 years, because it is clearly taught in scripture. And, we both know that scripture is more than 180 years old.
Jared, it is very difficult for many people to trust in Christ because of the extent to which they have been blinded by the doctrine of men. We are to measure the validity of what anyone says against God’s Word.
And now a couple of questions for you:
1. What do you think of Jonathan Edwards?
2. Do you think popularity is the best measure of truth?
As a follow up to the question about Jonathan Edwards, I’m interested in whether or not the regular commentors here see any value in any Preachers/Teachers/Theologians throughout the last 20 centuries of Christian orthodoxy or if you feel that the message of “Free Grace” was missed by virtually all the theology that came after the Apostle Paul up until very recently say the last 180 years or so that dispensationalism has existed?
Edwards was LS. Here is more from his sermon “Hypocrites Deficient in the Duty of Prayer”:
Hypocrites never counted the cost of perseverance in seeking God, and of following him to the end of life. To continue instant in prayer with all perseverance to the end of life, requires much care, watchfulness, and labor. For much opposition is made to it by the flesh, the world, and the devil and Christians meet with many temptations to forsake this practice. He that would persevere in this duty must be laborious in religion in general. But hypocrites never count the cost of such labor; i. e. they never were prepared in the disposition of their minds to give their lives to the service of God, and to the duties of religion. It is therefore no great wonder if they are weary and give out, after they have continued for a while, as their affections are gone, and they find that prayer to them grows irksome and tedious.
My comment: One does not need to “count the cost” to receive the free gift of eternal life.
I would exhort those who have entertained an hope of their being true converts, and yet since their supposed conversion have left off the duty of secret prayer, and do ordinarily allow themselves in the omission of it, to throw away their hope. If you have left off calling upon God, it is time for you to leave off hoping and flattering yourselves with an imagination that you are the children of God.
My comment: Lordship salvation 101.
But if your case be such as is spoken of in the doctrine, it is surely time for you to seek a better hope, and another work of God’s Spirit, than ever you have yet experienced; something more thorough and effectual. When you see and find by experience, that the seed which was sown in your hearts, though at first it sprang up and seemed flourishing, yet is withering away, as by the heat of the sun, or is choked, as with thorns; this shows in what sort of ground the seed was sown, that it is either stony or thorny ground; and that therefore it is necessary you should pass through another change, whereby your heart may become good ground, which shall bring forth fruit with patience.
My comment: This is from the parable of the Sower. Even though Jesus says that the people described by soil 2 (Luke 8:13) and soil 3 (Luke 8:14) have believed, and therefore have eternal life, Edwards seems to think otherwise.
The reason there are so many false converts is that there are so many false gospels being taught. Edwards did nothing to combat this. He appears to be another revered reformed preacher, in the tradition of Charles Spurgeon and so many others, who vacillated between preaching grace and Lordship salvation.
Thanks for your definitions of evil.
It would be very helpful and instructive if you would cite scripture in each case of your definitions.
It is also worth noting that all “categories” of sin are equally condemned. “The wages of sin is death…”
But the solution is always and only, “But the Gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
Eternal life is only By Grace through Faith in Jesus Christ alone. PERIOD!!
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
I read another of Edward’s sermons entitled “Hypocrites Deficient in the Duty of Prayer”. This sermon betrays some leanings toward the Calvinist tenet of “perseverance of the saints.” Following are pertinent excerpts that I found troubling:
We are often taught, that the seeming goodness and piety of hypocrites is not of a lasting and persevering nature. It is so with respect to their practice of the duty of prayer in particular, and especially of secret prayer.
My comment: Failing to persevere in prayer is not a “sign” that someone does not have eternal life. See Luke 8:13. What is someone supposed to conclude from this? It’s either “I’m not praying enough, so I’d better start or I may not really be saved” or “I’m not praying enough so I’d better try believing in Jesus and see if it works this time”.
Men of this character can come to a neglect of secret prayer by degrees without very much shocking their peace. For though indeed for a converted person to live in a great measure without secret prayer, is very wide of the notion they once had of a true convert; yet they find means by degrees to alter their notions, and to bring their principles to suit with their inclinations; and at length they come to that, in their notions of things, that a man may be a convert, and yet live very much in neglect of this duty.
My comment: Edward’s equates people who are not diligent in their prayer lives with unbelievers. He has no biblical basis for this.
But it is far otherwise with the true convert. His work is not done; but he finds still a great work to do, and great wants to be supplied. He sees himself still to be a poor, empty, helpless creature, and that he still stands in great and continual need of God’s help. He is sensible that without God he can do nothing. A false conversion makes a man in his own eyes self-sufficient. He saith he is rich, and increased with goods, and hath need of nothing; and knoweth not that be is wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.
My comment: Edward’s characterization of the “true convert” is the will of God for a believer. However, not all believers fit this pattern.
Edward’s characterization of a “false conversion” draws on scripture from Revelation 3 written to believers.
Revelation 3:17: Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
Welcome Jared and thanks for your question.
I am not very familiar with Jonathon Edwards, although some of our regulars here may be. I believe Edwards was a reformed theologian and he seems to be quoted favorably be MacArthur and other contemporary Calvininist/LS theologians.
I just read one of Edward’s most famous sermons entitled “Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God.” The sermon was 7,176 words and focused on the horrors of hell. There was only passing mention of how to avoid the horrors of hell (by believing in the Lord Jesus as Savior). There were two places in which the concept of believing in Jesus for eternal life were mentioned.
The conclusion of the sermon was:
Therefore, let every one that is out of Christ, now awake and fly from the wrath to come. The wrath of Almighty God is now undoubtedly hanging over a great part of this congregation. Let every one fly out of Sodom: “Haste and escape for your lives, look not behind you, escape to the mountain, lest you be consumed.”
Harmatia “sin” is falling short of the glory of God
contrasted with “evil” (attacking the glory of God)
Kakos “evil” is when you’re infectED by evil
Poneros “evil” is when you infect /SPREAD it to others.
False teachers fall into the last & worst category.
We just got back from preaching the gospel of His free pure grace in the country of Congo! They have never heard anything like it!! Everywhere you go you find damnable heresy… “an ENEMY has done this”
SATAN is the FATHER of LIES
Jesus didn’t mince words with people who “shut up the kingdom” with their false teaching…
“YOUR FATHER IS THE DEVIL!!!!”
I’m curious to see what the common perceptions are regarding the Puritan pastor and writer Jonathan Edwards?
Jack, as you mentioned regarding the seasoned veteran, my eyes are being opened all the time, to these men who boast of being Bible Scholars, they have no reason for an excuse, when they continually twist Scripture. They don’t use Scripture in context. They just repeat over and over the twisted Scriptures; such as using 2 Cor 13:5 to suggest someone isn’t saved, or Matthew 7:15-21 as an excuse to judge other Christians of being unsaved based on performance, or even 2 Cor 7:9-10 to re-define repentance as being godly sorrow unto salvation. Or the one in James 2 about faith and works, or even the demon’s believing, to suggest we have the ‘wrong kind’ of belief. These men have no excuse…
John, I have met both, those who are teaching this accursed gospel, and those who are being deceived. Then I guess there are also those in the middle, who have not proven all things, they go with the flow of others, blown about by every wind of doctrine. They are the peace keepers I see on FB. They come out every now and then to chastise others for not having unity with their Calvinist or Arminian ‘brethren’. They post Holiness, Calvinist Paul Washer on one hand, MacArthur the next time, Ravenhill the next, and might throw in a little David Wilkerson for good measure. Maybe a ‘deep quote’ from Spurgeon or Tozer. They argue that Billy Graham was the greatest evangelist that ever lived, and if you should mark and avoid any of these men, they come out quickly and suggest you “examine yourself to see if you are in the faith” (as one used that passage on me out of context the other day, and another “preacher” who now identifies as reformed Calvinist told me I needed to work out my salvation in fear and trembling…
They don’t realize as day after day of quoting the poisonous words of others…that they too have swallowed the poison and are weakened and compromised or worst, what they accuse others of? They may not ever have believed the gospel, because they never claim their salvation was based upon belief in Jesus Christ as their Savior.
I am amazed as I have seen people I know fall for this. My ex-teacher was the biggest surprise, I could see her headed in that direction, but was hoping with her love for the Word she’d see through it. I’m afraid keeping herself too busy in ‘ministry’ she started leaning on John MacArthur’s theology, and things changed rapidly. I haven’t been in her class for over a year and a half I think, lose track of time, but I can’t imagine how quickly she got to where she is today. But we press on, dig into His Word, strengthen and revive ourselves with it (Ps 119:25,28) and put on our armor each day… I love His Word and hate every false way.
King David and King Solomon? How on earth was it possible he was able to in his own mind even make his case. Can’t be made. The Covenant made with them (2 Sam 7, also 2 Chr 17 I believe) states very clearly that His mercy would not depart from them and if they sinned, He’d chastise them but His mercy would not depart. I agree with you regarding MacArthur, Piper, Sproul and others like Washer, Spurgeon, Calvin of course. These men are impressed by the wisdom and feigned piousness of other men. I can only pray some will come out and see the truth. We can continue to speak the truth in love, praying some will hear even as they see the discussion. These men lie against the truth…
No matter — the points are true. Thanks.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Jack, the points about the proper place for judgment and judging things by God’s Word were Tom’s (key points only – not quotes). The last sentence was mine.
Sorry for the confusion.
Tom has a great point, “So, without ascribing motives, we can say what the false teachers teach are lies.”
A lie is a lie regardless of its source when it contradicts plain contextual scripture — whether the perpetrator is:
(1) a new and excited believer (with no desire to deceive) who is simply ignorant of scripture — or:
(2) a seasoned veteran (knowingly preaching messages that twist scripture).
We should admonish and pray for those sincere ones who have no ulterior motive — that they should see and tell scriptural Truth.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Not part of Tom’s sermon on James, but my opinion.
While we are to be gentle and kind, false teachers are not to be treated with “kid gloves” or “molly coddled”. The apostle Paul, writing under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, makes this very clear in Galatians 5:12.
Jack and Holly, I was listening to Tom’s sermon today (James, part 13). Lots of discussion about the proper place for judgment. We can judge actions and teaching according to the Word of God. We are to oppose false doctrine and them that promote it – by name. God’s Word is truth. Anything contrary has to be wrong. So, without ascribing motives, we can say what the false teachers teach are lies.
 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
William, it is great that you are taking a stand for the gospel. I have prayed that the person with whom you are contending would understand the gospel and trust in Christ alone as his Savior if he has never done that.
The Lordship Salvation LIE is the greatest “Christian” counterfeit ever devised by Satan. They look like us, and talk like us, but they’re not the real McCoy. This great heresy is truth to the MANY who are deceived by it.
If Jim Jones can deceive over 900 people to hell by his false teachings/suicide on a small scale, look at how much more MacArthur, Piper, Sproul, etc, are doing on a nationwide and worldwide scale.
No doubt that Lordship Salvation theology looks and sounds like truth to the many who lack spiritual discernment and fall for it.
I was just engaged in a debate with a Lordship Salvation LIAR up on YouTube for days and it was just back and forth and back and forth with Scripture, but this person just would not budge period. He just kept insisting that salvation can be lost based on the Christian’s performance and that salvation is not a one time event, but a lifelong process.
He believes that King David, King Solomon, and Samson are all unsaved men, but in Scripture it is so obvious that these are men of God and are saved. He would change these facts to “custom fit” his warped theology.
Call them what they are, LIARS.
If they themselves think they are not liars they are deceived, believing what they preach to be truth – therefore they are preaching a LIE regardless.
It is difficult to believe that JMac, Piper, Washer, Platt, Sproul et al, who preach the lie, are all deceived. One would think there is some intention there. Salvation is so clear and simple.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
It is really an important distinction, it really took me a long time to grasp that what I needed to believe is His testimony of His Son which was written so I might know I had eternal life.
Even when doing well, and then having some pastor maybe 6 or 7 years ago teach in 1 John, it shook my assurance and got me all legalistic again. My poor husband… I was worried whether he was saved more than whether I was (laughing now, for he was so much more humble than I and also makes me sad for the times I must have shook his assurance). This man had me looking for near perfection, because he had also taught that ‘of course we couldn’t be perfect’ but that ‘these things could give us assurance we belonged’. So when you are truthful, you look at the fact you sin, you don’t love God with everything you have, and you don’t love your neighbors as much as yourself. And surely if I was angry at someone I hated them, and therefore wasn’t a believer.
Being washed in His Word, and instructed and counseled in it, sure makes it a lot easier to answer the enemy. Learning to “prove all things” by His Word made such a difference in me not just carte blanche accepting what a pastor taught. Praise God…
Jack, I hope it is o.k. that I used the term Liars regarding these people, for that is what they do, is they lie about the truth, they corrupt minds from the simplicity that is in Christ and they blaspheme the way of truth by their lies.
They like to say we have not made Him Lord or do not submit to His “Lordship” which is deceptive on their part. They know we do very well believe in His Lordship and nowhere are we told in His Word if we don’t totally submit, abandon, commit, be a slave, that we are not saved, but that is exactly what they mean. Why didn’t the apostles chastise the believers they were telling to submit, bring themselves into submission that they were not saved because they had not made Him Lord?
I find it interesting that these men who constantly accuse the brethren never ask if one has truly believed the gospel, instead they ask them if they have done ‘this’ or given up ‘that’ and if not, they probably are not saved.
I have one word for them. Liars.
Right – this is why we must engage people to see what Gospel they have believed – as Paul did with the elders at Ephesus.
Duane, thanks for the clarification.
Just like the presence or absence of visible works is not an reliable indicator of someone’s eternal state, neither is the presence, absence, or extent of non-visible things such as feelings, emotions, or sins of the heart.
One need not look for evidence of warfare between the new nature and the flesh for assurance of salvation.
I like that!
The point of calling it Lordship “salvation” is that folks want to put commitment and obedience to Jesus as Lord as a requirement for salvation which is false.
The Lordship of Christ is a fact but we do not commit ourselves in obedience to His Lordship to be saved – no one could ever do that!! We simply believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior to be saved. Very simple.
We have called the false doctrine “Lordship Probation” because taken along its path and to its ultimate conclusion, it is only probational – looking for visible evidence — NOT salvation.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Anyhow, the point I was trying to make is that I wish we could call Lordship Salvation by another name (though I understand that that is now the common usage).
Agreed. I’m not saying that change is necessarily evident and that we cannot continue to live in the flesh, but I do believe the Scriptures teach that we receive a new nature that is at war with the flesh (Romans 7). So I do believe there is something different about believers beyond the ordinary conscience and knowledge of the Law given to all men.
I do not believe; however, that the presence or absence of visible works is a reliable judge of someone’s eternal state. It isn’t that we give our lives to Christ; it is that He gave His life for us. It isn’t that we are committed, it is that He is committed, even in the face or our unfaithfulness.
Duane, thanks for your comment.
You said: “I don’t believe it is possible for a person to come away from this unchanged, but I believe it is pointless to try and qualify or quantify what that change should look like and how fast it should occur with respect to “saving” faith.”
My comment: I think a believer comes away “changed”, in that they have passed from death unto life (John 5:24). Other change is dependent upon the extent to which the believer submits to Christ. The Bible does not teach that there is any automatic change in the life of a believer. For more on that topic, please see the link below:
I really feel like is is a shame that we have let a particular group of believers commandeer the term “Lordship Salvationist.” The implication is that free grace believers are denying the lordship of Christ. Nothing could be further from the truth. Since the Gospel names Christ as Lord and teaches us that He is literally the image of the Father become flesh, then receiving the Gospel does carry an implicit acknowledgement that the claims made of Christ in Scripture are true and that He really is Lord.
The problem with (and I like the term, though I forget to whom I should credit it) bilateral contract salvation is that it redefines the term “believe” to mean “commit” or “give your life.” This is nonsense, as Hebrews 11:1 gives us a definition of faith that is perfectly in line with common understanding of the term: “evidence of things unseen” (KJV) or “conviction of things not seen” (NASB) – in other words TRUST; trust that God’s word is true, that all of the things it says about Christ are true, and that Christ really did die for the sins of the whole world (mine included), and trust in Christ Himself. So for the believer, confessing the Lord Jesus is an acknowledgement of that which already IS, rather than an act of “making” Jesus the Lord of ones life. Jesus is Lord of all already (even unbelievers – a fact that they will acknowledge to their dismay on the last day).
Using the words “commit” or “give your life” in the context of salvation implies an exchange – works or the promise of future works in order to obtain salvation and conveys a very different meaning from the Greek word commonly translated as “belief” or “faith.” I think bilateral contract salvation is a good description of this belief system, as it conveys clearly the idea that salvation requires some sort of an exchange – a promise of obedience (e.g. works). This is what Piper, MacArthur and others in the reformed and similar camps are clearly teaching at present, and I believe that this constitutes adding to the words of Scripture.
On the other hand, the Scriptures do teach that the Holy Spirit is given to all who place their faith in Christ at the moment they believe. I don’t believe it is possible for a person to come away from this unchanged, but I believe it is pointless to try and qualify or quantify what that change should look like and how fast it should occur with respect to “saving” faith. Rather, we should look to the example of Scripture and simply exhort our professing brothers and sisters to put off the old and walk in the newness of life as Paul did.
Holly, I look forward to reading your article. The misuse of Matthew 7 glosses right over the fact that Jesus never challenges these peoples’ claims of good works.
John, I hope people might really consider this article to consider what they are being taught. I am writing an article now, Lord willing, about Paul Washer’s constant misuse of Matt 7, and I am citing this article and quoting point 18, which is also exactly what John MacArthur does in his sermons on how to be saved.
Abe, I have seen this too. Even some “free-grace” advocates get on the slippery slope that Christians “normally” do good works. Consider, for example, the following from Constable Bible Notes:
“The sheep and the goats will express surprise, but not because they
anticipated a different fate. They will express surprise because of the
evidence upon which Jesus will judge their condition, namely: their
treatment of His brethren. Normally a person’s works demonstrate his faith or lack of it.”
johninnc, good additions to the list. Your #24 made me think of one more, that would be in Matthew 25:31-46, there are those I have heard that use that as “proof” that works must be part of the life of the believer, to be in the kingdom. Particularly catholics run to those verses, but they are used in general by several LS groups.
You might be a Lordship “salvationist” if:
22. You refer to Christianity as “easy believism”
23. You think the book of James is a diagnostic tool to determine whether someone is saved or not (by their works)
24. You think Matthew 7:21-23 proves that works really are required to get into heaven after all (therefore making God out to be a liar)
25. You think that free-grace believers don’t have access to Bibles, so you quote your favorite proof texts to prove to them that faith in Christ alone won’t really save them.
26. You believe that Biblical truths can become heretical if not “properly balanced”. This is usually code for something along the lines of “the faith that saves is not alone – it’s always accompanied by good works and/or holiness.”
Thanks for that wonderful, encouraging story. It is always possible for the Truth to win out if folks would simply pay attention to Scripture rather than man!
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Holly, thank you for your encouraging story!
Once someone recognizes the glaring error of guys like Chan, MacArthur, and Washer, it usually opens their eyes to the more subtle error of closet purveyors of LS.
Thank you Holly for that poignant true story. It’s encouragement like that which keeps us going at this difficult ministry.
Blessings on you.
I have to tell you all a wonderful story.
A few months back a woman emailed two people to ask her of three people. Francis Chan, John Macarthur and Paul Washer. The first woman got to respond first, I had a few things going on and she responded favorably in some ways about all three, although she did say what “some people said” about their Lordship position, she didn’t have much of a problem with it.
Today I saw a post from her, she named all three men, she shared about how their teachings of Lordship had almost made her suicidal and how she has been set free by the teaching of grace, so happy, I know she will have a lot to learn as we all do, but it was such joy I felt!
I see so many who lose their assurance and are so miserable, may people keep the preaching of the gospel pure, and not corrupt the minds of others, or unknowingly sow their own tares…. helping out the enemy.
God bless you all!
Yes, there are those like you who have believed the free Grace Gift of salvation but have been “educated” away from the Truth by preachers/teachers who convince them to the contrary. However, if they start out believing the Truth (and are thus saved eternally), the lies presented incessantly can impress a babe in Christ, bringing doubt and eventually impacting their Christian life and witness.
We praise the Lord for every believer like you who has been so afflicted then later, seeing the clear Truth of the Gospel of Grace is determined to stand in and proclaim that Truth.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Jack, hope you’ll be with us for quite some time, seems like a number of us are thankful people here are rightly dividing His Word of truth.
You know years ago, I might not have understood the big hoopla, after all, shouldn’t we be sorry for our sin in realizing we are sinners? Or turn from sin if we plan on Him saving us? Semantics isn’t it? (Some stay quiet, some half-heartedly argue, but even those who understand you can’t possibly turn from all your sin do not see the importance of this.)
Isn’t God’s standard perfection? I don’t understand why they don’t get that we are bringing works to the table in exchange for a free gift, and it will never suffice. It’s never enough.
I came to Him understanding a free gift, but years of hearing different preachers, I was so unsure of my salvation it got to the point I was not sure if I could “come back”. Their teachings had stolen my assurance. I had no strength. Perfect place to be, and what they need to understand that people have different responses when they believe. All that matters is if the Lord gave the increase, and the seed took root.
God does not grade on a curve, or a sliding-scale, Nothing we can bring… What work? Believe in whom He sent.
I am blessed that others find ExP an honest and valuable Free Grace Bible resource.
We will keep it up and running as long as the Lord wills… and in the event of my soon trip to Heaven (at 84 it could be any day!! 😎 ), Bruce, John and so many other wonderful folks will keep it going in a Free Grace direction, warning of error and preaching the gospel of Salvation by Grace alone through Faith alone in Jesus alone!!
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Please accept my apology. I should not have questioned your motives. I have been the recipient of hateful comments in the past, and I guess I was being overly-sensitive to the issue. Your list does make some very valid points about what Lordship Salvationists believe and teach. Peace and God bless.
Duane, I’m sorry you do not think my article was appropriate. I guess my version of “seasoned with salt” and your version differ.
I wrote the article in a colloquial fashion because the victims of Lordship “salvation” teaching are often not well-grounded in scripture. Lordship “salvationists” prey on the weak, including babes in Christ and the unsaved.
Each of the items in the list could be the subject of a separate article, or series of articles. The point was to make people think about their beliefs and ask themselves why they hold them.
Holly, I was first drawn to this website, because Jack was the only one I could find who would deal honestly with the errors of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), Billy Graham, etc. by name.
I am a believer DESPITE having grown up in church – in my case, an SBC affiliate.
Following is an excerpt from the statement of faith of my boyhood church:
“Our only hope is Gods free gift of salvation provided through Jesus’ death on the cross. When we repent of our sin, place our faith in Jesus, and surrender to Jesus as Lord we are saved.”
False doctrine, such as the above, is blinding people to the truth. It is pervasive in the mainstream denominations and ministries. I will continue to fight it.
Jack – I must share with you something as sort of a testimony, and since testimonies are His, I hope this is o.k. to do, I don’t do it to continue any argument….
I’ve shared before as I watch men stay silent or even be “gracious” seemingly, but they call men “brethren” who are teaching another gospel. How could this be? I have wept many times and asked the Lord, where are the men who will speak and contend for the faith?
Where are the men who will name names so people know where the error is before little ones are offended? I saw the certain “discernment ministries” who were vicious in their contending, also dragging people into their own false teaching.
But I was looking for someone who had the sound speech that could not be condemned, so that their opponent might be ashamed. Who used the Word of God and laid it out.
I realize no one is perfect, but it sickened me when I talked to the associate pastor about why the pastor was sharing men’s names like Henri Nouwen, and Brennan Manning and “pastor” Paul Yonggi Cho and he had excuse for everything, I guess in the name of graciousness or false unity. I realized that there just weren’t many, more prefer to stay quiet, I suppose maybe somehow they’ve been taught tolerance or political correctness.
All I know is that we need to do this, we are told to follow the apostle’s pattern and example, the brethren were exhorted in the manners to mark and avoid, and the doctrine to contend for.
And so I for one was so thankful to find this place, one that was direct about the errors of these teachers in comparison to the Word. The wishy washy manner of some (I mean no offense) instead made me feel like I was just somehow nitpicky and needed to be quiet.
Someone else contended that we might have the truth. Thank you all for doing the same. We can all make a mistake in our manner and should constantly go to the Lord and His Word, and other believers to keep short accounts. But I know you personally want to be held accountable by His Word, and from what I’ve seen, you have properly marked public error publicly. This is not the same as a sin against us as per Matt 18, but it is error and it was publicly named, and we should continue doing the same.
By the way, Piper is one who almost destroyed me with some of his teachings, and yet I would tell people calmly why to avoid him, and what his errors were. But I WOULD tell them, and I would do it with His Word as I know you do too. Thank you SO much for the love it takes to do this, in light of others understanding of what they think you should do, please continue to do what you feel the Lord would have you to do. In His love, Holly
You know it’s funny because a man asked this question in a forum the other day, basically, what is our responsibility, and should it be done in the open?
I guess we have a clear example of yes, Paul confronting in the open, in front of both believers and non-believers. He called them hypocrites, and the ones teaching it false brethren. And I believe it was as an example for us to do the same as he exhorted others.
And it was for the purpose that the truth of the gospel might remain. The Romans were exhorted to do the same, Mark and Avoid, I can only assume that the obvious is public error, needs publicly marked to save the hearers.
God bless each one of us to obey His Word, to love it, to contend for the faith once delivered as Jude exhorted.
Jack, thank you. You have been an inspiration to me to stand up for truth in the face of a world that doesn’t want truth, including a “church world” that sometimes doesn’t want truth either. I’ve had enough LS “church” experiences, so that I see this blog, and it’s a drink of fresh water. 🙂
Duane, the good fight is indeed worth putting our attention upon. There are scores of people in churches that don’t believe the true Gospel (not to mention the world full of unbelievers that need the true Gospel). We’ll agree with each other to put our attention there. 🙂
Understood and agreed – most of the comments I have seen on this blog are well-though out and full of salt. I apologize if I offended anyone on this forum and I am truly thankful that we have a place to come and share the true Good News.
Let’s keep up the good fight and not quarrel with each other. I started it, so I’ll apologize.
I agree with Abe. Yet I also agree with your premise that we should speak gracefully in love.
I searched the entire database of our comments, almost 10,000 messages and hundreds of articles and found no mention of “Slave-ationist.” However I think that is quite an appropriate description of those who purvey the horrors of Calvinism Lordship “salvation,” Lordship Probation, etc.
We appreciate your suggestions to our commenters but we already have a section defining our Comment Rules at the header of each page by which we ask our readers to abide. And, with very few exceptions, virtually everyone does.
We here at ExP expose Piper, MacArthur, Platt, Chan, Washer and scores of others who preach false “gospels.” I will try to graciously convince those who have innocently fallen under their spell but I have little patience with the promoters of those false teachings. In fact I will call them ACCURSED, just as did the Apostle Paul to the Galatians (or any/all of the other descriptions Abe chronicled from God’s Word in his comment).
The Apostle Paul through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit says:
Just like Abe and so many here, I have friends and family who have fallen for the lie of Calvinism and Lordship Probation. We teach and exhort them to understand and believe the Truth by gracious words as much as possible. But we must eventually call the masters, teachers, purveyors and promoters of deceit what they are, ACCURSED. They are trying to convince others of a Heavenly way to go to Hell.
Yes, precious souls are at stake… just as they were in Paul’s day.
Please let us not belabor the point any further. Thanks.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Did you even read what I posted? Did I say we can’t say anything? No. I said that what we say must be tempered with Grace and seasoned with the salt of God’s Word, but you seem to hear only what you want to. Show me in Scripture where we are specifically instructed to say those things in public. I showed you in Scripture where we are specifically instructed to be gracious in speech toward all men. ALL men. I also showed you how we could respond to false teaching without calling men names or questioning their personal motives. I wouldn’t have brought the issue up again, but you had to insinuate that, because I advocated for gracious speech, that I wasn’t opposed to false doctrine.
The only reason I brought it up in the first place, was because I have seen terms like “Lordship Slave-ationist” used on this site (though not often by the moderators, who seem to be gracious, indeed), and because I do not believe posting Jeff Foxworthy-style lists on public forums is an appropriate response to false doctrine. This issue is not funny, to be made light of. People’s eternal lives are at stake. We want people to hear the Good News, not shut it out because of the attitude of the messenger.
In Christ Eternally,
[ed. note: The points about civility in dialog are understood (hopefully by all) and were certainly worth discussing. Thanks to Duane for bringing the issue up to everyone’s attention. Thanks to all who commented, and now let’s move on to another topic please.]
By the way, I see none of the things I quoted from Scripture, being said on expreacherman by anyone. I don’t see anyone saying “So-and-so is a whitewashed tomb, a dog and a pig”, and so on. I believe everyone here has refrained from such speech, at least I’ve never seen it. But it is Biblical speech, nonetheless.
Everyone here is already being what a pastor of mine used to call, “nicer than Jesus”. Jesus is truly the very definition of nice, but we think we can’t express ourselves in the way He did, because we’d be interpreted as “not nice”. This isn’t against Duane or anyone, but when it comes to verbiage about false teachers, it’s coming to the point that you’re not allowed to say anything without someone being offended. But that offense can’t stop the exposure from happening. If it wasn’t done here, then God would find someone else to do it, but it will get done.
Too many people I love, have been destroyed by false teachers. False teachers have the strong verbiage in Scripture directed against them, in God’s very Word, for a reason.
John the Baptist called out false teachers, calling them vipers (Luke 3:7). Jesus said the same (Matthew 12:34). Jesus called them hypocrites (Matthew 23:13), in fact it is impossible to read Matthew 23 and not see this point very clearly.
Peter called them wells without water (2 Peter 2:17) and used an Old Testament Scripture to call them dogs and pigs (2 Peter 2:22).
Jude called them filthy dreamers (Jude 8) and compared them to the wicked acts of Cain, Balaam, and Korah (Jude 11).
Paul said they are under an anathema (Galatians 1:6-9), Paul called them out by name, saying that Paul sent Alexander and Hymenaeus to satan (1 Timothy 1:20), and later said Alexander did much harm, and sought the Lord’s “repayment” on him (2 Timothy 4:14).
I’m not trying to belabor the point, but the Scriptures show a strong firmness of speech against false teachers. I personally refuse to back down on that. That’s just me. I have watched false teachers rip family members apart, and churches. They are wolves, they are whitewashed tombs (as Jesus said there too), they are everything that Jesus, John, Peter, Jude, and Paul called them. May the Lord cause them to stop, and speak lies no further. It is love of God to tell the truth about false teachers, and that is the love of God that I am concerned with, in protecting His sheep from the wolves.
I wanted to leave this alone, but I guess I am going to have to address it:
The Scriptures clearly instruct us that we are not to have fellowship with false teachers, and that we are to reject their teaching. But the same Scriptures also clearly instruct us that we are to be gentle and gracious of speech, even to those whom we might name enemies:
“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;” (2 Timothy 2:24-25)
“Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.” (Titus 3:1-3)
“Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.” (Jude 1:9)
The only people we find in the Scriptures naming false teachers wolves or vipers are John the Baptist, and Christ Himself. As I stated above, the writers of the epistles, while not at all shy about naming false teachers, 1) tended to do so in a general sense (e.g. in terms of the doctrine they teach), and 2) did so in personal letters to congregations, not in open forums. I can be very firm in refuting a false teacher’s doctrine without affixing any kind of pejorative to the individual. I’ll give you an example:
John Piper is a man with whom I strenuously disagree, in terms of his teaching on soteriology and justification. If a fellow believer were to ask me whether I would recommend any of Piper’s works, I have no need to call Piper names; I would simply say something like: “I cannot recommend any of Piper’s works, as Piper teaches a future justification in which our works will be laid out as evidence that we are truly elect – not for rewards, but for entry into the Kingdom. This is in clear opposition to the Scriptures, which tell us that we have passed from death to life the moment we believe and shall not come under condemnation (John 5:24, Romans 8:1), and that we are justified by faith apart from or without deeds of the Law (Romans 3:28). Until Piper repents of his position on future justification and on works as a corequisite to faith, I would steer clear of his teaching.”
The Biblical model for addressing our enemies is to do it firmly, but in love, backing it up with the truth of Scripture.
hollysgarcia wrote: “Took me a little while to figure out those who came to me, and told me they were “older in the Lord” and I needed to “spend more time on the gospel and less time witch hunting”… I knew I wasn’t witch hunting, so I knew the correction wasn’t coming from Him, nor His Word, but He allowed all that for me to grow, still am, and YES! The Lord hates the truth to be twisted, changed, altered in any way, because it will cost people their lives.”
Greatly said. You know, when you are for something, that by nature makes you against something. We are for Jesus being the only way to heaven. That makes us by nature, against any other way being presented as the way to heaven. We are for the Bible as the absolute perfect Word of God, without error. That means we are against any other text being presented in that same way.
So a person that is either teaching or believing false doctrine, will say, “Hey, just be for something, why be against something?”. But the nature of being for something, automatically makes you against something. Conversely, if a person is not against something, then they really aren’t for something very much at all.
hollysgarcia wrote: “but I smile when I think on Paul, had I been in Galatia, I might have horrified, and asking Paul to be gentler”
Maybe Paul would have been thrown out of most churches today. He would have been a constant “troublemaker” with constantly speaking of doctrine and pointing out errors.
Abe – I want to add to what you have said if you don’t mind, because I too call false teaching what it is, we will know them by their fruits, we are to mark and avoid false doctrine. I do believe in keeping sound speech that cannot be condemned, which to me, means using the Word with the right motives, defending the gospel, contending for the faith…
Some definitely have issues with how I speak, but I do think we are given patterns. I have the end result it would be nice if some were won over, and I have had it happen, two of my closest friends were both in deception, one was downright furious with me, and I asked if I could call, and she permitted it, but I was gentle in my speech, but did not compromise the truth. So, there is a fine line, and I am thankful we have each other to hold each other accountable, but I am completely with you on what you said.
“But I believe the Lord showed me that avoiding verbiage found in the Scriptures due to wanting to be more “gentle” out there, wasn’t the way to get the hard truths around. The world wants us to be afraid to tell the truth. We are to speak the truth in love, but in Scripture, the false teacher is never spoken of with anything except the worst verbiage. That is because they are leading people to the lake of fire, and the Lord hates that.”
Of course as we know we have people calling anyone anything, but we can only be responsible for our own words before Him, and accountable to others that have commended themselves to sound in His Word and willing to be corrected by His Word. Took me a little while to figure out those who came to me, and told me they were “older in the Lord” and I needed to “spend more time on the gospel and less time witch hunting”… I knew I wasn’t witch hunting, so I knew the correction wasn’t coming from Him, nor His Word, but He allowed all that for me to grow, still am, and YES! The Lord hates the truth to be twisted, changed, altered in any way, because it will cost people their lives.
I do see men/women who are harsh without using the Word, and I am sure I have the made the mistake, probably it was me here using the term Load-shippers, but the reason for that is the front loading or the back loading of the Gospel, as well as thinking of the Pharisees who were trying to add a burden back on the Gentiles trying to bring them back under the law… Many thoughts. Anyhow, I know there is a balance, and a necessity for accountability, but I smile when I think on Paul, had I been in Galatia, I might have horrified, and asking Paul to be gentler 🙂
I do still, in public, call false teachers “wolves” if that is what they are. I used to see things like you do. But I believe the Lord showed me that avoiding verbiage found in the Scriptures due to wanting to be more “gentle” out there, wasn’t the way to get the hard truths around. The world wants us to be afraid to tell the truth. We are to speak the truth in love, but in Scripture, the false teacher is never spoken of with anything except the worst verbiage. That is because they are leading people to the lake of fire, and the Lord hates that.
Duane, good points made, and received with the love that you obviously delivered it in 🙂 May we always speak the truth in love, with the end result in mind, and when we fail as we will, may we hold each other accountable. In His love.
I am a new believer, relative to many of the regular contributors to this site.
I grew up in SBC churches, but never really understood the Gospel until a couple of years ago. When I first read a Gospel presentation that did not involve “turning from sins” or “committing my life to Christ” for salvation, I kept asking myself “where is the rest of it?”
The SBC denominational dogma is laden with works for salvation messages, as are so many of the organizations within mainstream Christendom. This is not an accident. These organizations parse their words with willful intent.
You might be interested in the article “Who Makes These Errors”, which is linked below:
I do not believe that everyone who attends a church that is associated with an apostate organization (such as the SBC) is an unbeliever. However, I do believe they need to understand that they are aiding and abetting the frustration of Grace.
I am passionate about shaking believers out of their lethargy, getting them to dissociate from apostate teaching, and to take a stand for the clarity of the Gospel.
Having said that, I agree that we won’t meet with success by insulting people.
“Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”
I understand what you are saying. We do need to be Spirit filled when we answer each other regardless if we agree or disagree. Sometimes being Spirit filled does lead to some righteous anger.
I personally take the mindset that we should first try to win people with the truth of God’s Word. If they don’t listen to God’s truth then I did the best I could and leave them in God’s hands so to speak.
I have also met many reformed types who will debate the issues to a point. Usually things break down pretty fast in my experience. Especially once people realize that they are approaching scripture through competing lenses. For example, covenant vs dispensational or Calvinist/Arminian vs free grace.
[John the Baptist, that is]
Granted, but we need to be cautious about drawing this parallel: Jesus could see into men’s hearts and understood that the Scribes and Pharisees were mainly motivated by a desire to preserve their personal and positional power. John was the last of the Old Testament Prophets. The stern warnings of Paul, Jude, Peter, and others that we find in the epistles were for the ears of the Church and were given under the inspiration of God.
In a closed setting (for example a Bible study dealing with false doctrines, cults, etc.), we can be a little less guarded, in terms of our speech. Even then, I would submit that simply giving a high-level overview of a false teacher’s doctrine with scripture references in rebuttal is a more effective tool than simply naming the person a heretic or a wolf.
The Scriptures direct us to be gentle with respect to our conversations with others and to guard our tongues (Titus 3, 1 Timothy 2, 1 Peter 3, James 3). After all, we never know when we might win someone to Christ simply by the graciousness of our conduct and the winsomeness of our speech – like the faithful wife of 1 Peter 3.
A few years back, I had some missionaries from a well-known cult visit my door. I was ungracious; I pounded them into silence with Scripture; I scored my points, and they went away red-faced and angry. I have regretted it ever since. I will likely never see these men again and I can only pray that God will bring them to another Christian who will open God’s Word to them in kindness.
When I am in it to score points, I am a clanging symbol, and the Spirit has rightly convicted me of this on numerous occasions. I want to be in this for souls – including those of the teachers with whom I disagree.
I meant to have quotes around the part that started with “As a former L.S. proponent…”. Since I was quoting Duane. I don’t do well with quotes 🙂
As a former L.S. proponent, I can tell you that I was never swayed one iota by being called a “purveyor of the religion of Cain,” a “Lordship Slavationist,” or any other such name.”
But there were countless times in Scripture when Jesus (and Paul/Peter/John) called people wolves, antichrists, swine, and so on. I’m not advocating doing that. I’m just saying that identifying a false teacher as a wolf, is Scriptural. A wolf in sheep’s clothing needs to be called that, for the sake of ministering to the unaware.
I am totally with you on confronting false doctrine wherever we see it, and doing it boldly. You hit the nail on the head. The Free Grace vs. Lordship Salvation debate is often very heated because it cuts to the very heart of our faith, and I have seen sarcasm and personal attacks on both sides of the issue [sadly, from my own keyboard, at times].
I am also in agreement that we should not (as Paul indicated in his letter to the Galatians) give these teachers’ works our recommendation, nor give them a forum for teaching, nor yield the floor to them and allow their teaching to go unanswered. Open forums, however, invite discourse, and I do not believe Paul would have opposed the idea of trying to understand the position or ideology of the lost or confused, that we might better meet them with sound doctrine that cuts into the heart of their error [introduce them to the “Unknown God,” as it were]. While Paul’s letters and rebukes were addressed specifically to those in the Church, this forum is public and may be visited by believer and unbeliever alike.
My thought is simply that we should, as the recipients of abundant grace, manifest that same grace ourselves, hit false doctrine squarely between the eyes with the truth of Scripture, and leave the name-calling and sarcasm to the other side. As a former L.S. proponent, I can tell you that I was never swayed one iota by being called a “purveyor of the religion of Cain,” a “Lordship Slavationist,” or any other such name. I was profoundly moved, however, by sound teaching showing me how oft-quoted scriptures in 1 John, Hebrews, James, and the Gospel accounts of the Sermon on the Mount cannot possibly carry the meaning assigned to them by Lordship Salvationists, by my own study of the Scriptures (especially the letters to the Romans and the Galatians), and by the contradictory teaching of the Lordship Salvationists themselves.
Duane, happy to meet you, I’m with you on speaking the truth in love as the Word, of course, tells us, keeping in mind they might not be saved at all, so Col 4:5-6 comes to mind. Sound speech that cannot be condemned, along with your reference to 2 Tim 2:23-26.
I don’t think I’ve really ever noticed someone here not speaking the truth in love, sometimes firm speech might be taken wrongly that way, but I think on Paul regarding false apostles, deceitful workers, those who bring a different gospel being accursed.
Peter fell in with Judaizers no doubt, but Paul was definitely not lovey dovey with him, he called Barnabas and Peter hypocrites basically, and told them they were to be blamed. He said they were not being straightforward about the truth of the gospel. (Pretty serious charge) And he did it in the presence of those same men, calling them false brethren. I am guessing that people must have thought “WHOA, that’s harsh Paul.” Paul even said he didn’t give place to these people for even an hour.
People who see family members believing a false gospel and possibly going to perish because of it understand how important it is to be ready always, along with preaching the Word, also we are to reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
Doctrine being the key word so many times as we see admonitions to not allow these people any ground. Paul exhorted Timothy himself to take heed to it, so that he could save himself and the hearers, and the Romans he told to “mark” (name names) and “avoid” those who brought a doctrine contrary to the one we learned, John in 2 John 1:9-11, tells us we are not to share in their evil deeds, see the seemingly hard instructions there, but I am so sure they are for the purpose that people might hear the truth.
Of course we have Jude writing on these false workers, and it’s pretty tough language. I know it was from love, and longsuffering, because we want what our Father wants, none to perish. And of course, all these stern admonitions inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Peter talked about those false teacher who denied the Lord who bought them. That MANY would follow their pernicious ways, and not only that, heaven forbid… the way of truth will be spoken evil of.
It’s not easy…we shouldn’t use sarcasm, or unkindness, and we should be in prayer, hopefully, as we speak. Of course our end result is that we want to see them saved, not lost, no matter what others might perceive of us. That is opposite of what the enemy wants, so he is quite happy when false doctrine abounds as it does. Or men stay silent, or simply compromise by being in false unity.
In the same manner Satan deceived Eve in the garden, he is subtly corrupting people’s minds from the simplicity that is in Christ, (which again will cost them their soul), so I love the way Paul finishes in the same chapter.
But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we.
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. 2 Cor 11:12-15
In His love, Holly
Thank you both very much for the warm welcome, and for the wealth of information – both on and linked to this blog.
I echo Bruce’s welcome — and concur with his statements.
There are many LS/Calvinists who are not seeking rational and informed discussion. We regularly receive vile, contentious comments and emails which we delete. They will never see the light of day.
Kind and calm comments such as yours deserve retention.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Welcome to Expreacherman.com Duane!
Thanks for your comments. I’m so glad that you are a Free Grace believer. I appreciate your call for civility in comments and discussion. Overall I think that most commenters at this site are not mean-spirited or nasty. Some, however, do get a bit passionate when speaking out against the false teaching of Lordship “Salvation.” That is because we have witnessed personally the terrible fallout of this detrimental teaching through the lives that have been hurt and through those whose assurance of salvation has been decimated, again, by the unbiblical teaching of LS. And also, one can only ask the question, “How many people have been blinded by LS teaching from seeing the truth, clarity and simplicity of the true gospel message of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.” To view some of this “fallout,” see the article:
I’m pleased that you have been able to engage in friendly discussion with LS adherents. We are open to that situation here, but sadly, we have found that experience to be rare at Expreacherman.com as most of the Reformed/Calvinist LSers who come onto the site typically have no desire for courteous open honest debate. Usually, they either send in terse insulting statements or they send in long Calvinist/LS diatribes to attempt to promote their own agendas.
Again, we are glad that you discovered this site and please come back again.
I agree with much of what is said here, but I would issue one plea to the authors and contributors to this blog: Please, please, let us keep our conversation civil and seasoned with grace. It is both possible and commendable to disagree with all or part of another’s doctrine / soteriology without resorting to name-calling or needlessly derisive remarks or personal attacks.
Though I also find myself in substantial disagreement with many of the Reformed teachers discussed in this blog, I believe it more fruitful to soberly engage the teaching of these men at the point where it departs from scripture in the hope that followers of these teachers and even the teachers themselves might be edified and prompted to reexamine their position. After all, even the Apostle Peter fell in with the Judaizers for a time. For my own part, I received the free gift of salvation as a young boy, then later became confused by some of the difficult passages in James, Hebrews, and 1 John and the modern reformed teaching surrounding those passages. It was only after my future son-in-law forwarded me a link to a sermon transcript by a well-known reformed pastor containing the astounding declaration: “Jesus said, if you don’t fight lust, you won’t go to heaven,” that I began to realize how far afield from grace L.S. teaching had wandered – prompting me to reexamine my own beliefs in the fresh light of Scripture. I now consider myself to be [once more] firmly in the free grace camp.
I do not believe in limited atonement; therefore, I believe that every Lordship Salvationist is a person for whom Christ died. Accordingly, it should be every believer’s desire to keep the lines of communication with L.S. advocates open in the hope of bringing them or restoring them to full assurance of salvation through faith alone in Christ alone. In my own personal experience, I have found most reformed L.S. adherents to be earnest [if misguided] and willing to engage in discussion of the Scriptures. Peter, the former Judaizer, exhorts us in his first epistle to always be ready to give an answer to any man who asks a reason for the hope that is within us, but to do it with gentleness and respect, or meekness and fear.
John and Jim F,
Yes, I likewise choose to appreciate the song Amazing Grace.
I have read that Newton was Reformed but not sure at what point in his life he may have adopted that teaching.
The words from the hymn:
…do not indicate a Reformed mentality — because he admits there was (1) a specific time (hour) when (2) he first believed.
Most Reformed teachers would say there is no specific hour one believes but they are chosen from all eternity and it is not his belief but God’s regeneration that makes one saved. Newton did not indicate that in his hymn.
Speculation: Like so many folks who adopt Reformed teaching, is it not possible he decided to trusted Christ as his Savior and then was swept into the false teaching of Calvin some time later? It is likely that Reformed, partisan, revisionist historians have altered the events in Newton’s life to reflect their point of view rather than truth. Historians are known to be revisionists.
Nevertheless, the hymn “Amazing Grace” is a beautiful description of God’s amazing Grace and, like both of you, I choose to appreciate the beauty and truth of that hymn.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Jim F., thanks for letting me know. Like you, I choose to think about the song the way I understand grace.
The sad thing is that I don’t really think John Newton was a free grace type believer. He probably had a more reformed view of grace – you know – the kind that takes over a person and enables them to see.
“Newton saw himself a sinner like David who had been chosen, perhaps undeservedly, and was humbled by it. According to Newton, unconverted sinners were “blinded by the god of this world” until “mercy came to us not only undeserved but undesired … our hearts endeavored to shut him out till he overcame us by the power of his grace.””
I’ve also read through some of his writings and they are suspect in many ways.I still personally like the song though because I choose to think of it the way I understand grace regardless if he truly did or not.
Mike, “Victory in Jesus” was our theme song at an SBC RA (Royal Ambassador) Camp when I was nine years old. I don’t think the SBC would bat an eye at thinking that one had to “repent of sins” to be saved. That’s what they teach. Ditto for Billy Graham Crusades. See below:
I agree with Jack that we need to check out the hymns we sing and make sure they are Biblical.
One word of caution – people that teach false gospels (such as LS) will sing songs about God’s grace in full voice, yet deny the Gospel with their spoken word and in their hearts. They will project their errant doctrines into the meanings of great, Biblical hymns, just as they do into the Bible itself.
Billy Graham Crusades has used “Just As I Am” as their theme song for decades, yet they preach that one has to “be willing to turn from sins (repent)” and “through prayer, invite Jesus Christ to come in and control your life through the Holy Spirit. (Receive Him as Lord and Savior.)” in order to be saved. Which is it? The Bible gives the correct answer that seems to have eluded the evangelist:
Romans 5:8 (NKJV) “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Clear Gospel Campaign suggests one approach to evaluating hymns, below:
“If you are in a small group, examine each line of this hymn, and discuss what it teaches about the salvation found in our Lord Jesus Christ. Discuss other major doctrines of the Bible that you are able to find taught, reinforced, or magnified within this hymn. Circle various words or phrases that encommpass major Bible doctrines, and jot down one or two words describing the doctrine(s) addressed therein. Try to identify at least one Scriptural reference for each doctrine you are able to identify in this hymn.”
I have attempted matching a couple of verses from “Amazing Grace” with relevant scriptural references, below:
T’was Grace that taught
my heart to fear. (John 16:8; Acts 16:29)
And Grace, my fears relieved. (Philippians 4:7)
How precious did that Grace appear
the hour I first believed. (Ephesians 1:13-14)
The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures. (Titus 1:2)
He will my shield and portion be (Psalm 18:2)
as long as life endures.(Psalm 23:6)
Yes, you bring out a great point. We do need to check out the hymns we sing and make sure they are Biblical.
I love the old hymns but that “repent” phrase in “Victory in Jesus” is a sore point for me also. It sorta irks me when I hear it in any broadcast from a church which should know the lie inherent in those words.
In Jesus eternally, Jack
this is a great post you may be lordshipsalvationist if you know I love the song victory in Jesus but it is theologically incorrect. there is a line then I repented of my sins and won the victory. we did not win the victory when we repented of our sins we won it when we trusted in Jesus Christ alone because of His finished work of the cross alone by grace alone. has anyone else thought about this incorrect theology in this song ? mike
John, those definitely sound like Lordship Salvation messages to me. Thanks,
Dennis, please check the following:
Also, check this:
Hi John and Jack,
I read the list and most of the comments; very interesting stuff. And I agree with the list whole-heartedly, except for one question. As you probably remember, I stumbled upon your website a mere 3 days ago. I am hardly an expert in this little-explored area of Christian thought, which I would call “the True Gospel.” So, I have much to learn.
I am a little perplexed at the inclusion of Spurgeon in the category of those who teach Lordship Salvation (which I am also learning about). I say this because one of my favorite and most reassuring quotes comes from Spurgeon. I would like to share it with you:
“Many people have only believed in God to save them for a time; so long as they are faithful, or so long as they are earnest. Beloved, believe in God to keep you faithful and earnest all your life: take a ticket all the way through. Get a salvation which covers all risks. There is no other ticket issued from the authorized office but a through-ticket. Other tickets are forgeries. He that cannot keep you forever cannot keep you a day. If the power of regeneration will not last through life, it may not last an hour.”
-Charles Haddon Spurgeon
(Taken from the text of Sermon No. 2108, Oct. 6, 1889 entitled: “Perseverance in Holiness”)
Now the fact is, I have downloaded over 600 of Spurgeon’s sermons. I have read only a few of them, however. But the one quoted from above has always brought me a great deal of solace. Although I do love that passage and in fact the entire sermon, I can’t say that I’ve ever been a rabid Spurgeon fan. My only question is: In what way did he preach Lordship Salvation?
That passage seems to refute an LS position but since I’m not a Spurgeon expert I suppose it is quite possible that his “Lordship Salvation” teaching must be evident in his other writings or sermons. I have heard the phrase “perseverance of the saints” bandied about a bit while on this site. Maybe that’s part of it also. A little clarification by you learned gentlemen would be greatly appreciated.
Anyway, there are wonderful, fascinating discussions on this site and I have been treated very kindly since first showing up. Also, thanks to Dr. Tom for so quickly responding to my e-mails with such excellent answers to my questions.
May our Lord richly bless all of you.
You are welcome. I will ask my “Dutch lineage” friend your Church question. He has been a USA citizen for many years but still has family in the Netherlands, I believe.
Thanks for staying in touch — we appreciate your comments — especially your interest in the propagation of a clear, free Grace Gospel message worldwide.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
A short reply.
Thank you for your responses, i appreciate them.
Jack, could you ask your friend if there is a bible believing congregation in Hilversum he knows of.
I’m not asking for myself, as i live in Groningen and go to a bible believing congregation nearby, but for a good friend of mine, who lives in Hilversum now.
God bless you, Jan.
Oooops, writes/speaks fluent Dutch and English. Jack
I will contact my friend who was a Youth Leader in our church many years ago. He was born and raised in the Netherlands and speaks/writes fluent English.
Thanks for the tip
In Christ, Jack
Jack and Jan, Clear Gospel Campaign is looking for someone to translate “The Gospel” into Dutch. See below.
Jan, I offer the following from Clear Gospel Campaign:
“We believe that those of genuine faith and delicate conscience, who are inclined to compulsively question the genuineness of their own faith, demonstrate an inner dialogue that is simply not present in reprobates or sociopaths. Because assurance is a birthright of every Christian, we believe it is the duty of a pastor to know the condition of his flock, to identify brethren of sensitive conscience, and, having confirmed their true testimony of faith in Christ, to affirm and validate them, and to build within them a firm and solid assurance of their salvation.”
Regarding the paragraph that you quoted above, that says:
“Anyone who uses salvation or security by grace as a license to CONTINUE in a lifestyle of habitual sin has not only accepted gross heresy, but they should examine themselves to see if they have truly been saved. Those who have been saved by grace have become new creatures with new hearts. A faith that produces no works fits the scriptural definition of dead faith which is mere head assent rather than heart faith and which does not save. This is a Perversion of the Grace of God.”
I will address these points one-by-one.
First, Grace is not a license to sin. To quote J.O. Hosler, “Sin in the life of a believer is not a failure of God’s grace.” God’s Grace is not a guarantee against human failure. The consequence of sin for a believer may include natural consequences, God’s chastening and loss of eternal rewards – never loss of eternal salvation. There are a lot of passages exhorting Christians not to sin or abide in a lifestyle of sin. If it were not possible for believers to willfully sin, why would these have been written? For example, Romans 6:12 “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.”
Second, those who have been saved by faith in Christ have become new creatures. Every sin a believer commits comes from his old nature that will die when his flesh dies. The new creature is sinless and has eternal life.
Third, there is no difference between head faith and heart faith. This is an LS lie used to imply that simply trusting in the person and work of Christ is insufficient for salvation. This is the HEART of the LS lie! Please read the booklet by Dr. Tom Cucuzza, linked below:
Click to access cucuzza-faith-without-works-is-dead.pdf
Jan, it is one of Satan’s goals to deprive a believer of his assurance. My advice would be to stay away from LS teaching and put on the armor of righteousness. Please read “The Gospel”, which I have attached below. It gives practical advice for getting rooted in your faith (see pages 24-25).
I have also prayed for you.
Jan from the Netherlands,
Welcome, we are happy to have you drop in.
You have asked several questions and I will defer to John who wrote the article (and others of our discerning readers and commenters) about your questions and thoughts.
Thankfully every Believer’s eternal security is not the least dependent upon ourselves — but totally upon the Lord Jesus Christ when we trust Him alone as our Savior.
We will pray for you.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Dear brother Jack, i have known and visited your nice and blessed blog for less than a year now, during the time that i was and to some extent still am struggling with myself and to a lesser extent with assurance of salvation.
I have been struggling with works-salvation and lordship salvation for quite some time, due to me waking up from a slumber of several years, where i was carnal and backslidden. I’ve had my share of days wherein i thought i was lost, where i asked God to just off me and throw worthless me into hell, where i thought that i had fake belief in Jesus Christ as my Saviour Who paid for it all and Who rose from the dead victoriously on the third day [I’m a former atheist, so go figure how vile and disgusting lordship salvation is to make someone like me doubt his own salvation.], etc.
What gets me is that the lordhip salvationists keep asking one to prove one’s faith to oneself in order to see whether one might a REAL believer. And especially the underlining of the necessity of heart faith and denouncement of head faith toubled me and still troubles me a bit, as i have asperger’s syndrome and my heart most of the time does not give this supposed necessary heart faith. Which not only frustrates me to no end and makes me doubt my faith, but also makes my cringe in despair, making me desire the total destruction of myself, as i know i’m unworthy and i still have many emotional issues lingering on from the past, as i was bullied, almost never understood, trampled upon, etc.
I know that to be saved one has to acknowledge God as existing, oneself as the unworthy sinner one is, awaiting a righteous judgment for the sins one has commited, acknowledge Jesus as God come in the flesh, Who gave himself as THE Sacrifice for everybody and their sins, suffered and died on the cross at Calvary, was pierced to have His precious blood shed, was laid in the grave and Who rose victoriously from the grave to show that He is indeed God almighty and that His payment for sin was accepted by the Father. He appeared for 40 days, left earth from the mount of Olives, will snatch us and all dead christians up any moment now and will visibly return to earth on the mount of Olives at the end of the 70th week to reign a King on earth for 1000 years.
Wirting that does help put things in perspective, as focusing on Jesus is all we need to do, remembering Who we believe in. He is our eternal hope, not our supposed good works or the avoidance of sin. well, the following is what triggered me to respond here and ask for some advice:
“Anyone who uses salvation or security by grace as a license to CONTINUE in a lifestyle of habitual sin has not only accepted gross heresy, but They should examine themselves to see if They have truly been saved. Those who have been saved by grace have become new creatures with new hearts. A faith that produces no works fits the scriptural definition of dead faith which is mere head assent rather than heart faith and which does not save. This is a Perversion of the Grace of God.”
As far as i can see, this fulfills points 3, 4, 7, 9 and 21, maybe a few more. What gets me is the stressing of a continued lifestyle of habitual sin showing someone to not be saved, all the while Paul showing in 1 Corinthians, especially in chapters 3, 5 and 11, that God will chasten, destroy, curse, afflict, etc. and even kill those who as His children will continue in rebellion against Him, but He will never take their salvation away. Loss of rewards, tears and shame when the Bema judgment comes, but those who are Jesus’ are and will be His forever and they are His responsibility.
Yes, one can keep wilfully sinning after being saved, it won’t make one unsaved, but the further costs are terrible and avoidable. There is freedom to sin, but no license, sin costs us a part of our eternal rewards and our future position. Our Saviour and Lord Jesus wants us to succeed in Him and encourages us to follow Him for His benefit, that of others and our own.
Anyway, thank you for your time and God bless you, dear brother.
Yours in Christ Jesus, Jan. [I’m a brother from the Netherlands.]
Our friend John has written another insightful article which you will find very interesting:
Lordship Salvation: Blinded From The Light; Satan’s Devious Campaign Tricks
In Christ, Jack
That is a great excerpt loaded with the Truth of God’s Grace..
In Jesus eternally, Jack
I listened to a wonderful sermon by Tom Cucuzza this morning. Following are some of the more crucial excerpts:
You notice it says “if our gospel be hid it is hid to them that are lost.” And you notice how they’re blind. Satan is blinding them. Now, how does Satan blind people to the truth of the Gospel? Can I tell you this? Unfortunately, friends, he does it through the pulpits of America and through the Word.
Because, for generations, for generations – really for all of history – most people have been saying that you go to Heaven through religion of one kind or another. You go to Heaven through rituals. You go to Heaven through ordinances, or sacraments, or good works of one kind or another. And what that does – see people automatically want to believe the authority and so what that does is it leads people astray, into something that’s false and they believe that.
And then, when someone comes along with the true Gospel of Grace, that says your sins have been bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ, once and for all, and that all you can do to be saved is to put your faith in Him, trust in Him as your Savior, they say this: “I can’t believe that. That’s too easy. That’s easy believism. That’s cheap grace.” And all these kind of lines that they come up with. “You can’t tell me it’s a gift. You can’t tell me that you can put your faith in Christ as your Savior and, no matter what, you’re going to Heaven. You can’t tell me that”. Why would a person say that? I’ll tell you why, because they have been blinded by Satan.
This is why the Lord rejects any attempt at us earning our salvation through good works or reformation. This is why you hear these people say: “well, what Christ did is important, but you have to be willing to turn from all your sins. “ Okay. “Write that in the contract!” Okay. “You got to put that in there – these are the things you’re agreeing to in your purchase agreement here.”
No dear friend! Paid in full. “Well Christ it is partner – you gotta be sorry. You gotta promise to change. You gotta promise this, you gotta promise that. You gotta get baptized. Well Christ it is partner. It’s a free gift, but if you don’t walk forward, you can’t be saved. Cause, cause you know, Billy Graham used to say ‘everybody Jesus called He called publically’”.
Well, you haven’t read your Bible lately. Sorry Mr. Graham. Nicodemus came to Jesus by night. The woman at the well – it was one-on-one with the woman at the well. No-one came till later. Those were personal, one-on-one things.
Let’s believe God. Okay. Listen, you don’t have to walk forward to be saved, you don’t have to raise your hand to be saved, you don’t have to do anything but believeon the Lord Jesus Christ and you’ll be saved. That’s the condition. The sole condition- it’s simply to believe.
Again, this is why the Lord rejects any attempt at us earning our salvation through good works or reformation.
Salvation is not a bi-lateral contract. That’s why this so called “Lordship salvation” being preached today by people like Piper, and MacArthur, and Sproul, and all these other people – that’s why it is a damning, false message. Because it is adding to the condition of salvation – which is Grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. It’s the only way you’re saved. It’s not a bi-lateral contract. It’s unilateral! It’s God saying: ‘I promise you this’.
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Jerry, you might be interested in “The Four Perversions of Grace” linked below. It summarizes the following errors and how they interrelate:
1. Basic salvation by works (common forms include water baptism or public confession of Christ as prerequisites for salvation)
2. Arminiansim – denial of eternal security (common forms include serious sin or apostasy result in loss of salvation)
3. Bi-lateral contract salvation (common forms include repenting of sins or committing ones life to Christ in order to be saved)
4. The Perseverance of the Saints (the belief that genuine saving faith will always produce visible and lasting results in a person’s life. Therefore, serious or habitual sin would prove that true conversion never happened – that the person was never saved)
Hi Jerry, we’re glad that you joined us today.
I am pleased that you are informed about the dangers of Reformed/Calvinist teachings. Lordship Salvation actually flows of one aspect of the Calvinist “TULIP” acronym, the “P” of “Perseverance.” In reality Lordship Salvation is equivalent to Perseverance (I recommend that you get Dr. Tom Cucuzza’s fine book on the subject—see the link on the right column). There are many articles and discussions on the Expreacherman.com site which give much detail on the unbiblical teachings of Calvinism, Perseverance and Lordship Salvation.
(the other Jerry)
Thank you for your patience.
I initially came across your website by accident. The term “Lordship Salvation was intriguing to me.
I had not seen a similiar discussion anywhere. I believe in Jesus Christ as my personal savior. Jesus did all the work and paid the full price. He is the gift giver and I am the glad reciever of the most wonderful gift in all the world. I am busy fighting Calvinists on another front. These so called ministers of the Gospel are often called to pastor churches without revealing their Calvinist leanings. And once in they sometimes cause a disruption in the Body or worse, a church split.
Although I was not familiar with the terminology of Lordship Salvation, I will add to my list of things to watch for along with Reform theology.
Thank you for your kindness.
Thanks for all of that. It seems to me that the first seed represents unbelievers, the second and third represent unfaithful believers, while the fourth represents faithful believers. I guess it is usually presented as the fourth only representing believers due to some who reject the idea that Christian can be carnal, the idea of one naturism, or the idea of what we were talking about relating to repentace being some sort of change of course.
I do believe that I agree with you on what you are saying about repentance and don’t worry. I don’t get tired of it. Some of these kinds of things should be talked about repeatedly.
Jim F. I apologize if I am repeating myself from previous posts, but repentance, when used in an eternal salvation context, very clearly means a change of mind about some aspect of the Gospel message that the unsaved has wrong. For example, Clear Gospel Campaign has this to say on Repentance and the Divinity of Jesus:
“Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” Acts 17:29-31
Four questions need be asked of the above passage:
1) Is the context of this passage soteriological? (Dealing with eternal salvation). The answer is unquestionably yes. Paul is not instructing these Athenians on the selection of deacons and elders in the local church. He is addressing lost men about their most urgent need, their need for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ. In the above passage, Paul teaches that God will judge the world in righteousness by the man (Jesus) whom He (God the Father) hath ordained. To fail to regard this passage as soteriological is just plain nonsense.
2) Is repentance presented as a requirement for eternal salvation? The answer is unquestionably yes. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent. Simply put, repentance is not an option.
3) Is the object and/or content of repentance disclosed? Yes. The Greek word is “metanoeo” (change one’s mind). And in the verse immediately preceding the use of the word repent, Paul states, “we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.” To “ought not think” is virtually synonymous with the meaning of “repent” (to change one’s mind). And the belief or doctrine that men “ought not think” is that God is simply some silly gold, silver or stone idol fashioned by the hands of mortal man.
4) Is the soteriological message derived from this passage consistent with the soteriology of other parts of Scripture? Again, the answer is Yes. The divinity of Jesus is repeated over and over as part of the saving message. And divinity must be defined! One cannot say “I believe Jesus is God,” and then turn around and point to a statue of gold or silver and say that it is god. Such a belief reduces to mere rhetoric any affirmation of Jesus’ divinity.
On the subject of Repentance from Self-Righteousness:
“In Luke 13:4-5, we read:
4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?
5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
In the above passage, the words “sinners,” “repent,” and “perish” occur in the space of two verses. For the simple minded, this proximity is all the evidence needed to reinforce the mantra, “Repent of your sins to be saved.”
As in Matthew 3:5-9, the underlying Greek word for “repent” is “metanoeo,” “to change one’s mind.” It will therefore be recalled that the most significant marker to the object of repentance is something in the context that tells you what the subject is said to “believe,” or “suppose” or “understand” or “think” or “regard.” This identifies the object of repentance (the belief about which the lost sinner must “change his mind.”)
Jesus speaks of a tower in Jerusalem that collapsed and killed 18 people. The Jewish mind searched for an answer for this tragedy. They realized that only God can know the secret thoughts and deeds of another man. Perhaps then, they reasoned, those 18 persons on whom the tower of Siloam fell were actually the 18 worst sinners in all Jerusalem. God could have gathered them together at the appointed time and place to execute his righteous judgment. And this is exactly what Jesus says of their faith . . . “Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?”
However, to believe that God’s judgment falls only on the worst sinners in Jerusalem would mean that those who were not so killed were not worthy of God’s judgment. They had lead good enough lives to have avoided the wrath or judgment of God. And this is to believe that salvation is earned by the works of the law. This is the most universal understanding of salvation by works in every religion in the world. “I’m not perfect but on a bell shaped curve, I’m not at the far end with murderers, child molesters and drug dealers. I’ve lead a pretty good life when measured against the crowd.”
Jesus words could be described in this way: “Do you believe that the life you have lived has been righteous enough to keep you from the eternal judgment of God? I tell you no, but if you die trusting in your own righteousness, you will perish eternally”
Jesus commanded them to repent . . . to change their mind. They must to abandon all hope of securing a right standing before God by the works of the law, and trust in God alone for their salvation.”
Jim F., I think when people add nuance to the definition of salvation repentance, or try to coin new phrases for faith, they are prone to drifting into error.
The best definition of repentance that I have seen is from Northland Bible Baptist Church:
“16) Repent (metanoeo) means a change of mind. Repentance in salvation means a change of mind from any idea of religion that man may have and to accept God’s way of salvation. Repentance does not in any sense include a demand for a change of conduct before or after salvation. Matthew 21:32, Acts 20:21, 2 Corinthians 7:8-10, Eph 2:8-9, Rom 4:5, Rom 5:8, John 3:16-18, Gal 3:10-12, Acts 16:25-31, Rom 11:29.
One of the counterfeits Satan is using today is the misuse of the word “repent”. To insist upon repentance that in any sense includes a demand for a change of conduct either toward God or man is to add an element of works or human merit to faith. Penance is payment for sin. Penitence is sorrow for sin. Works add something of self in turning from sin. But repent (metanoeo) means a change of mind. Nowhere does Scripture use the phrase “repent of sin” to be saved.”
I do not like definitions of repentance that call it a “change of heart.” This kind of language makes the Gospel message difficult to understand, and could lead the unsaved to infer that he has to experience regret, or have a desire to start being good, etc. in order to be saved. This distracts from the Gospel message.
Regarding the parable of the sower, I am convinced that the second soil is a saved person. If not, a person would need to trust in their ability to maintain their faith. This would make trusting in Christ difficult, if not impossible. It would also make assurance impossible. The Bible says that the entire Trinity is involved in keeping us saved. It does not guarantee that our faith will endure. Consider the following from “Must Faith Endure for Salvation to be Sure? (Pt.3)” by Tom Stegall:
“Luke 8:13 clearly says that the people represented by the second soil “receive the word with joy” and “for a while believe,” though they fall away due to persecution. Logically, those in Luke 8:13 appear to fulfill the condition for salvation stated in Luke 8:12, namely they “believe.” The Holy Spirit-inspired text actually says in v. 13 that they “believe.” It does not say that they “professed” to believe, or lacked “genuine” faith, or “appeared to believe,” or only had “human” faith, etc. The only reason someone would reject the plain testimony of the Holy Spirit here is because it doesn’t fit their theology. “Faith” may not endure.
Yet, some Calvinists object that the people described in v. 13 cannot be saved because they “have no root” in themselves. According to this interpretation, the root represents the presence of regenerated life from God within the soul of the believer. However, the phrase “have no root” (Gr. hrizan ouk exousin) should not be understood in an absolute sense to preclude the very presence of a root, but rather in the qualified sense of “no depth of root.” It is for this reason that the New American Standard translation of Luke 8:13 says, “…and these have no firm root.” This harmonizes better with Christ’s teaching about the second soil in the parallel passage of Matthew 13:5. He says of the second soil, “Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth.” Likewise, Christ also taught in Luke 8:6 that “…some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.” In both Matthew 13:5 and Luke 8:6, the rocky soil received the seed, it germinated, and then “sprung up.” This certainly indicates the presence of life, not its absence! The second soil teaches us that faith in Christ may not persevere.”
Thanks, I guess I’d have to consider the difference between conversion and repentance. I think the problem lies in the fact that many of these terms are inter-related in some way: repentance, faith, conversion, regeneration, justification and salvation. It is difficult for people sometimes to understand how these all related to one another and we tend to look to so called experts who write theology books and the like. The problem comes in when a theologians begins to perpetuate even the slightest departure from the truth. It leads to further error and can even result in the creation of a whole new doctrine or condition for salvation other than what is given in scripture.
For example, a person could rightly understand that repentance is a change of mind but be told by a theologian that , well repentance has aspects in the mind, will, and emotions, and therefore change of mind is part of it but you also need to feel sorrow, and have a change of heart. If i remember right MacArthur holds this and so does Thiessen.
About that parable, the person that I was talking to actually brought that up. I remember telling them that the person did not believe and that it was not about heart faith. They simply had not come to the point where they needed a Savior. For me that is the key issue along with what a person believes about Christ. Rhetorically, is He the only way, or is someone or something else able to get you to heaven? Our course of life, which is basically unrighteousness before salvation, is not important. All men must come as sinners for salvation. No amount of course correction or repentance can get us a foot in the door. I see repentance and faith as almost the same thing. Turning from self sufficiency or false gods to the Savior.
Jim F., by the way…repentance unto salvation for me involved changing my mind to believe that salvation was a Gift, not conditioned on repenting from sins or committing my life to Christ.
Jim F., I have heard a ton of different definitions of repentance, including “a change of allegiance”, “a change in direction” and a “change of course.” I agree that it is very misleading and would lead to either the error of LS or the error of a two-step process for conversion.
Gordon Olsen discusses a distinction between repentance and conversion in his book “Getting the Gospel Right”. I think he is a little bit awry in his discussion. He also has coined the term “repentant faith”. Here are some quotes (I will not post a link):
“One misconception about repentance which developed in the church after the time of the Apostles was that it meant a change of direction in one’s lifestyle, turning over a new leaf in life. Instead, repentance is a change of mind, and conversion is a change of direction or lifestyle. When one is driving down the interstate, repentance is the realization that one is going in the wrong direction. Conversion is when one finds an exit and make a u-turn. They are related, but distinct. This is important because the Pharisees had the idea that as long as things looked good on the outside, one was all right with God. But the Lord Jesus was more concerned with the issues of the heart (Prov. 4:23), as the starting place for dealing with the external lifestyle…
The Greek words for conversion (strephein, epistrephein) refer to a change of direction, used in the literal sense of “turning oneself around” (Mk. 5:30; 8:33) or metaphorically of a spiritual turning toward God. It can refer to both a change of the direction of one’s life and of a change of lifestyle.
Conditioned on repentant faith, God gives the new birth as a total work of the Spirit in imparting new, divine life to the spiritually dead. The outward result of this is conversion. God’s way is to start on the inside with the new birth, which then begins to impact the outward life in conversion.”
Among his other views that I vehemently disagree with are that people who depart from the faith were never saved. They were counterfeits. He says that soil 2 in the parable of the sower did not have heart faith. His exact quote is:
“”Note that the word of God had not taken root in this individual’s heart. There was a thin layer of soil on a rocky pan, which kept any root from developing. It is a presumption that this describes a truly saved individual. They are counterfeits.”
You said for point 21, “You think there is a difference between “head faith” and ”heart faith” – and only heart faith counts.” I recently had a person tell me this. They went on to say that repentance is a “change of course.” When I brought up “change of mind” they responded with the idea that the change of mind led to the change of course. Have you heard of this concerning repentance? I think it is very misleading. I think that this line of thinking could either lead to Lordship salvation or to a two step process for conversion.
Jerry, one other thought:
The false gospel of Lordship “salvation” is in conflict with the real Gospel of salvation by Grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. There is no hope of salvation apart from an authentic moment of belief in Christ alone, apart from any works (works includes promises or commitments for future works). I have prayed for you. Specifically, that if you have ever trusted in Christ alone, and have become confused, that you would return to faith in Christ alone. But, if you have never trusted in Christ alone that you will throw off the shackles of the religion of Lordship “salvation” that cannot save, and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior.
Jerry, the sources of mis-information on God’s plan of salvation are legion. The sources of credible information are few. I am delighted that you have found one of the credible sources in this website. Check out the statement of faith from this website:
The doctrinal statement on “The Object and Content of Saving Faith” from Clear Gospel Campaign:
And, “What We Believe” from Northland Bible Baptist Church
If you really want to do a “deep dive” on the subject of Lordship “salvation” and why it is not Biblical, I would recommend that you read the following:
Attaching Personal Righteousness to the Back-side of the Gospel’s Requirements By Pastor J. O. Hosler, Th.D.
Click to access Lordship%20Salvation%20Response_Hosler.pdf
Jerry, quotes by C.H. Spurgeon and other Calvinists/LS proponents are not compelling to me. I spent most of my life lost in LS, but praise God that I finally understood the real Gospel and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior a couple of years ago. I have given extensive evidence that Spurgeon shared many, if not most, of the tenets of what we now call Lordship “salvation”. I do not consider Spurgeon to be a consistent, credible source. Many so-called free grace expositors disagree with me on this, but so be it.
I would add the following, on the subject of Lordship “salvation” from Clear Gospel Campaign:
Bilateral Contract (“Lordship”) Salvation
Bilateral Contract Salvation, most commonly known as “Lordship Salvation” is the false doctrine whereby God offers a lost sinner the promise of eternal life in exchange for a lost sinner’s promise of future works. It is thereby an exchange of promises, or a bilateral contract. Because the controversy of Bilateral Contract Salvation developed more slowly than the question of other works of man commonly required within religion for man’s eternal salvation, advocates of “Lordship” or Bilateral Contract Salvation are embedded within the framework of evangelicalism, and generally regarded as a different “flavor” of the evangelical faith.
Ultimately, however, there is no theological distinction between corrupt systems of theology that require works, such as water baptism, to be performed prior to gaining salvation, and corrupt theological systems that require the promise of future works in exchange for salvation. Any gospel presentation that makes, as a requirement for gaining eternal salvation, repentance from one’s sins, committing one’s life to Christ, making Christ the “Lord” (master) of one’s life, becoming a disciple of Christ, and other equivalent statements that require a promise of future behavior (Romans 5:8; Titus 3:5), is heresy.
Although there is no limit to the number of passages of Scripture that have been twisted to require every conceivable work of man as a prerequisite for receiving God’s eternal salvation, there are three terms most commonly asserted as demonstrating the tenets of Lordship Salvation:
a) Lord In the time of Christ, the term Kurios (Lord) could variously mean “God,” “master,” or “Sir” depending on the context of usage. Within “salvation formulas” within Scripture (passages that declare, prima facie, what one must do or believe to be saved), the divinity of Jesus is repeatedly presented as an essential element of saving faith. (John 8:25-27, 8:23-24, 11:25-27, 20:31; Acts 9:20, 16:30-31; and 1st John 5:13). The fundamental goal of a physicist is to generate generalizations which remain true under diverse circumstances. If they can do so, they are called “laws of nature.” The fundamental goal of the theologian is to generate generalizations which are consistent across a spectrum of teachings within Scripture. If they stand up to that test, the are called “doctrines.” The fact that the divinity of Jesus is explicitly identified as an element of saving faith throughout Scripture should inform a theologian as to a logical interpretation of the term “Lord” in conjunction with eternal salvation. And the existence of over 160 verses of Scripture that declare salvation is by faith alone, and countless verses that further declare that salvation is not by the works of the law, should further inform even the most callow theologian that the call to obedience is expressly not a demand placed on man in exchange for eternal life. To interpret the word “Kurios” (Lord) as a call to obedience in exchange for the promise of eternal life is therefore to utterly fail as a theologian! To the use of the term Kurios in conjunction with man’s salvation is plainly a call to man to honor Christ as his Creator.
b) Repentance The extant Greek literature plainly demonstrates that the Greek verb “metanoeo” and the noun “metanoia” are simply a change of mind. This change of mind can take virtually any object, as evidenced both by Scripture, and by extant Greek literature. Sin can be the object of repentance, but there is no basis in the Greek language for understanding “sin” to be the necessary or intrinsic object of repentance. Moreover, no passage of that identifies sin as the object of repentance also identifies the consequence of that repentance as eternal salvation. And no passage of identifying repentance as a requirement for eternal salvation ever identifies sin as the object of that repentance. The discussion of repentance is thoroughly examined beginning at the following link: http://www.cleargospel.org/topics.php?t_id=27
In passages dealing with eternal life, repentance is used in a sense that is equivalent to believing on Christ alone, which, within the witness of the New Testament, has the reasonable scope of:
i) rejecting other gods (Acts 17:22-30), thereby affirming our Triune God as the only true God;
ii) rejecting as the means for salvation all other vehicles, such as religion (Matthew 3:5-9), sacraments, animal sacrifice or religious ritual or sacerdotal functions, or good works (Hebrews 6:1 [c.f. Hebrews 9:9-14]), or salvation by obedience to the ten commandments (Luke 13:1-5), thereby affirming Jesus as the only means by which men must be saved; and
iii) evaluating the person and work of Christ and turning to Him in faith (Luke 24:47, Acts 26:20).
“Sin” is never described as the object of repentance unto eternal salvation.
c) Disciple: The litany of verses in Scripture could be examined to demonstrate that discipleship is not a condition for salvation. But after examining these verses, those committed to salvation-by-works will simply amble off to some other passage where God places demands on mankind. The fact that God calls us to discipleship is in no way a proof that the call to discipleship is a requirement for salvation.
d) Faith as implicitly requiring Works: A novel argument that has recently arisen in the Lordship Salvation crowd is the assertion that, at its very root, the Greek word “pisteuo” (“I believe”) implies the promise of works!
…The same confusion in logic is evidenced in almost every writing or debate one sees by a “Contract” or “Lordship” Salvationist. They will produce a great litany of different verses of Scripture in which God demands holiness, sacrifice, humility, love, or some other manifestation of obedience in His Creatures. But this alone proves nothing. To serve as evidence for “Lordship” salvation, or any other form of salvation by works, some statement in the context of these demands must state that eternal salvation is conditioned on the promise, or the performance of these demands.
Hello Jerry (this is not Jerry K),
I believe that commenter John has already answered you well some time earlier on the issue of Lordship. Here is an article from Dr. Charlie Bing of GraceLife Ministries which elaborates on the biblical position of salvation and lordship (see the GraceLife link in the right column for many good articles on grace theology):
“The Lordship of Jesus Christ,” GraceNotes No. 41—Dr. Charlie Bing (GraceNotes, GraceLife Ministries Web Site, article # 41)
Dr. Charlie Bing: “Jesus is Lord. No one who believes the Bible denies that. But what does that mean and how does Christ’s lordship apply to our salvation and our Christian life?
The Meaning of Lord
The word usually translated Lord in the New Testament is the Greek word Kyrios. It is sometimes used as a title of respect, much as we would call someone sir. We see this in Acts 16:30 when the Philippian jailor addresses Paul and Silas as “Sirs” (the plural, kyrioi). Lord is also commonly used as a title with the name Jesus Christ. As a title, it not only shows respect, but also reflects who Jesus is. He is the Lord. When the Hebrew Bible was translated into the Greek Septuagint, the Hebrew name for God, YHWH, was usually translated Kyrios, or Lord. YHWH conveyed first of all deity, but implied all the other aspects unique to deity such as Creator, Owner, Ruler, Judge, Redeemer, and Savior.
The Lordship of Christ in Salvation
The Lordship, or deity of Jesus Christ, is essential to our salvation. Consider some of the things that Jesus did for our salvation only because He is the Lord God:
He became the perfect sacrifice for our sins, without spot or blemish.
He gave His life as a sacrifice for all mankind—past, present, and future.
He rose from the dead to live and offer us eternal life.
He promises, provides, and secures the eternal life of all who believe in Him.
It is only because Jesus is in the position of Lord God that He can save us and gives us eternal life. While Lord speaks of His position of deity, the name Jesus speaks of His humanity and role of Savior, because Jesus means Savior. In the name Jesus Christ, Christ means Messiah, the One anointed or chosen by God to be the Savior and King. So Lord is a title that primarily conveys Jesus’ deity. What this means for salvation is that Jesus has the power and authority to save sinners because He is God. What this does not mean is that sinners can only be saved if they submit to Him as the Ruler of their lives. Ruler is only one subset of deity, and it is arbitrary to make that one divine function and position into a subjective demand. As the word implies, salvation requires a Savior. Jesus came to save sinners (1 Tim. 1:15; 4:10) and He can because He is God. Sinners need a divine Savior. It is one thing to say that to be saved a sinner must acknowledge the divine authority that Jesus has as God or as the Son of God. It is quite another thing to say that to be saved a sinner must submit to Jesus as the Ruler of his life. The first acknowledges Jesus’ objective position and power as God, the second demands a person’s subjective response to Him as Ruler. The Bible has examples of unsaved sinners who addressed Jesus as Lord without submitting to Him (e. g., John 4:11, 15, 19; 9:36). To further illustrate, we could say that during World War II General Douglas MacArthur saved the Philippines. He was able to save them because he had the position and power of a four star general of the United States Army. To the people of the Philippines, however, MacArthur was not their general, nor were they required to submit to him as their general. They only needed to accept the “salvation” that he offered them.
The view called Lordship Salvation
There is a view that teaches a sinner must submit to Jesus as Ruler of his life in order to be saved. Proponents of this view call it Lordship Salvation, though it should be called Commitment Salvation or Submission Salvation since it emphasizes the unbeliever’s subjective response to Jesus Christ as Ruler. Lordship Salvation confuses the objective position of Jesus as Lord with the subjective response to one aspect of His lordship—rulership. Not only does this view reflect poor theological method—soteriology should not be built merely on titles, but it contradicts the Bible’s teaching of salvation by grace through faith. The grace that saves us is the free, unmerited, unconditional gift of God. Making a sinner’s submission to Jesus as the Ruler of his life a condition for salvation destroys the grace of God which makes salvation a free gift that can only be received through faith (Rom. 4:4-5; 11:6; Eph. 2:8-9). Lordship Salvation is also arbitrary because it only emphasizes rulership in the divine title Lord Jesus Christ. To be consistent, they should require sinners to accept Jesus as the Creator, Sustainer, Judge, Prophet, Priest, and King, because all these and more are aspects of His deity. Furthermore, they should demand acceptance of all that the name Jesus means, and all that the title Christ means. Teachers of Lordship Salvation often derogatorily refer to those who believe in the freeness of grace in salvation as no-lordship, or non-lordship. Of course, this is incorrect and deliberately misleading. Their error comes from confusing the objective position of Jesus as the Lord with one’s subjective response to Jesus as their Lord and making it a requirement for salvation. Those who believe in the freeness of grace believe that Jesus must be the Lord (God) to be Savior. The response required of an unbeliever is simply to believe the gospel— who Jesus is, what He has done for our salvation, and what He promises us. There is no lexical or biblical basis for defining believe as submit. Believe simply means to be convinced of something or persuaded that it is true. There are even biblical examples of those who had submitted to Jesus as their Ruler but were not saved (Matt. 7:21-23), and those who were saved when not submitted to Jesus as their Ruler (Acts 5:1-10; 19:18-19). We are not saying a person who comes to Jesus as Savior deliberately rejects the rulership of Jesus Christ. We are saying that to demand a sinner to submit to Him as Master is simply not the issue in salvation, much less is it reasonable to demand this of one who is spiritually dead.
The Lordship of Christ and Sanctification
While we reject Lordship Salvation and its requirement that sinners must submit to Jesus as the Ruler of their lives, we enthusiastically embrace the term Lordship Sanctification or Lordship Discipleship because submitting to Jesus as our Ruler is what the Christian life is all about. Once we know Jesus as Savior, we must learn to relate to Him as our new Master. Many passages admonish us who have believed in Jesus as Savior to now relate and submit to Him as Lord. The point of Romans 6 is that now that we have a new Master in Jesus Christ, we should submit ourselves to Him. Romans 12:1 urges us to present ourselves as “living sacrifices.” We live and die to the Lord (Rom. 14:8-9). As believers we are told to “sanctify the Lord God” in our hearts (1 Peter 3:15) and to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). Such admonitions would not be needed if we had already done all that in order to be saved.
We can not make Jesus Lord; He is the Lord! We can only submit to Him as servants. As our divine Savior He saves us; as our divine Master He sanctifies us. To keep the grace of the gospel free we must not confuse the faith required of an unbeliever for justification with the many aspects of submission required of believers for sanctification.”
Clearly the Lordship of is taught in Scripture. The Book of Acts is an excellent example of this teaching. While I am not a fan of Spurgeon, he does come up with interesting observations.
C. H. Spurgeon’s writes: It is interesting to notice that the apostles preached the lordship of Christ. The word Savior only occurs twice in the Acts of the Apostles (5:31; 13:23). On the other hand, it is amazing to [observe] that the title Lord is mentioned ninety-two times; Lord Jesus thirteen times; and the Lord Jesus Christ six times in the same book. The gospel is “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31). (Stephen F. Olford and David L. Olford, Anointed Expository Preaching (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 287.)
Although the number of times Lordship is used in comparison to Savior does not prove Lordship is more important than the doctrine of Christ as Savior but it does show that the Doctrine of Lordship is a significant doctrine. I understand that you acknowledge the Lordship of Christ my point is it seems difficult to separate Jesus as Savior and Jesus as Lord.
The debate on “lordship salvation” fails to recognize that you cannot separate saviorhood from sovereignty. As John Stott has put it, “When you come as a sinner, you open your hand to receive forgiveness and eternal life, but you come on bended knee.” (Stephen F. Olford and David L. Olford, Anointed Expository Preaching (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 287.)
One implication of salvation is the concept of a repentant sinner coming on bended knee. Many sermons conclusions have issued a call to salvation for a sinner to come forward and kneel at the altar and there receive the plan of salvation. The act of kneeling is a historic act of submission. Submission, I believe is always associated to Lordship.
Those preachers who tell sinners they may be saved without forsaking their idols, without repenting, without surrendering to the Lordship of Christ, are as erroneous and dangerous as others who insist that salvation is by works and that Heaven must be earned by our own efforts. (Arthur Walkington Pink, The Arthur Pink Anthology (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2005).
I believe that Mr. Pink has a point. Of course I realize that when discussing fine points in Scripture it is helpful to separate passages even down to single words (jot or tittle).
Faith was a common word with Paul. It means the believing surrender of self to Christ as Lord. The New Testament calls Jesus “Savior” only a few times, “Lord” hundreds of times. To have faith means to accept the lordship of Christ over all of life, to become his slave (cf. v. 1). (The Teacher’s Bible Commentary, ed. Franklin H. Paschall and Herschel H. Hobbs (Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1972), 709.)
NKJV Romans 1:1Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God
Is it not reasonable to accept the Lordship does play a role at the moment of conversion and if not when does Lordship play a part? Is the act of accepting the gift of grace an act submission? If so, then doesn’t Lordship play a role in the salvation act?
Jerry, the Lordship of Christ does play a role. Jesus is Lord, which is why He is able (and willing) to save. Belief in the divinity of Jesus is an essential element of saving faith (John 8:24). But, nowhere does the Bible require obedience to Christ or “submission to His Lordship” in exchange for salvation.
One does not need to focus on following Christ before He has accepted Him as his Savior. One is not saved by Grace through faith plus a promise of following Christ or submitting to Christ as Lord. One is saved by trusting in Christ alone as his personal Savior.
Check out this tract entitled “Am I Going to Heaven”:
Dear sir, thank you for your site.
I desire clarification on item 16: Lordship or Commitment salvation, or making Jesus Lord of your Life for salvation is un-scriptural. God s Word says we as believers should determine to allow Jesus be the Lord of our lives in obedience to our Savior for proper fellowship; but it should NEVER be intimated or taught that it is a requirement for gaining or keeping our salvation. John 3:16-18, Ephesians 2:10
My question is this. At the point of salvation does the Lordship of Christ play any role? Are you suggesting that it is only Jesus as Savior that the individual needs to concern himself with and following salvation focusing on following Christ or submitting to Christ as Lord.
I forgot to provide a link. See below:
Jim F., I agree that the Armninian view of prevenient Grace makes a mockery of God’s capability to preserve those under Christ’s blood. It also makes a mockery of God’s promise to preserve those under Christ’s blood.
Clear Gospel Campaign’s full section on the doctrine of Grace is very helpful and interesting. It provides a proper Biblical explanation of Grace, as well as an early history of Grace. Following is its account of the genesis of Lordship salvation:
“For a Jew to refuse to be circumcised did not mean that he fell into sin for one foolish hour of his life, but that his entire life was lived in rebellion to God! There was not even a one hour period that he honored God by obeying this command! Never for a single hour had he submitted himself to the Lordship of Yahweh. This was a powerful argument! Could a man be saved who believed on Christ, and yet, lived his entire life in rebellion to God…never for so much as five minutes submitting his will to God’s? Paul said yes, for eternal life is a free gift! The enemies of grace however felt it was utterly absurd, offensive and impossible that a holy God would be willing to save so rebellious a sinner. And it was this appeal to human logic that made this argument so forceful!
The Judiazers had hit upon a compelling strategy. They would force Paul to say that a man could be saved through faith in Christ even if he lived his entire life with his fist raised defiantly toward God. The enemies of Paul were the original “Lordship Salvationists.” They were sincere in their beliefs, and the logic of their argument was as powerful and persuasive in Paul’s day as it is in this day. It would force Paul to say that God not only saves sinners, but saves sinners in the very act of rebellion against God.”
Thanks John for that excerpt. It is so true that we must have a true Biblical understanding of grace. Calvinism and Arminianism along with Catholicism get it so wrong. It leads many to non saving works for salvation. The thing about Arminianism is also that this supposed prevenient grace allows the person to excercise faith but also to withdraw that faith at a latter time. This would make a mockery of God as if somehow God is incapable of preserving those under Christ’s blood.
Jim F., Clear Gospel Campaign has some interesting insights on this topic. Please see below:
“Section 3: Popular False Doctrines Touching on the Gospel
We believe that there exist popular doctrines and teachings that, though not necessarily denying the gospel, are so inextricably linked to the gospel message, that history bears witness to the damage consistently done to the gospel message by adherence to these false doctrines, including:
(a) The Doctrine of “Infused,” “Sovereign,” or “Irresistible” Grace.
We believe that the fundamental meaning of “grace,” from the Greek word “charis,” is the disposition of a giver to offer something freely, out of the beneficence of the giver, its closest equivalent term in Hebrew being “hesed,” God’s loyal and unconditional love. We note that, throughout the progressive history of the church, the very meaning of grace was transformed from its lexical roots into a sensual quality or an ethereal vitalizing element (e.g. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica, Part 1 of the Second Part, “Treatise on Grace,” questions 109-114). Through this progressive distortion, bizarre and complex schemes of “grace” have been developed, including “prevenient grace,” “actual grace,” “common grace,” “effectual grace,” “sovereign grace,” “sanctifying grace,” and “irresistible grace.” We observe from church history that the corruption of “grace” into an ethereal vitalizing substance, though often starting with the seemingly “innocuous” view that “grace” vitalizes the lost sinner to belief in Christ, deteriorates, almost inevitably, to the belief that the effects of grace, being sovereign or irresistible, will ultimately empower man to “repent of his sins,” to perform certain acts of righteousness, and/or to “persevere to the end” in faith and good works. Finally, we observe that the frequent conclusion of this heresy is that, if permanent and significant lifestyle changes are not manifest in the life of a sinner, God’s “grace” was never received.
As a consequence, we believe that such a corruption of the meaning of the word “grace” historically portends a grave likelihood, if not a virtual certainty, of a theological system deteriorating into a system of salvation by “Christ plus works,” (Romans 11:6-7, Ephesians 2:8-9), the very opposite meaning of the word “Grace.”b) Faith as a “Work”
We further note that the doctrine of “sovereign grace,” whereby grace is redefined as a vitalizing element empowering man toward faith often gives rise to the absurd doctrine that faith is somehow a “work,” or that the teaching that a man must make a free will decision to believe on Christ is to deny the doctrine of “grace.” To this end:
1. We affirm that the one requirement of Scripture for man’s salvation is to believe on Christ alone (John 3:16). Moreover, we believe that the requirement of faith on the part of man is specifically singled out in Scripture as being wholly consistent with God’s offer of eternal life by grace, that is, a free gift (John 6:28-29; Romans 3:28; 4:4-5; Ephesians 2:8-9; and see especially Romans 4:16).
2. We further reject as unbiblical the absurd teaching that a belief in “sovereign grace,” or the bondage of the will is, on any level, part of the gospel message unto salvation. We affirm that the logical and necessary conclusion of this absurd view of the gospel is that, for a lost sinner to exercise saving faith, he must believe that he cannot believe.
3. We further affirm that the drawing of man to God is an act of the personal Triune God (John 3:8; John 6:44; John 16:7-11; John12:32), and reject the belief that man is drawn to God by some impersonal mystical Aristotelian empowering substance that is infused into man. We deny knowledge of any such form of “grace,” in the Holy Scriptures.
Although we believe that the Triune God is active in drawing the unbeliever to Christ, we believe that faith is ultimately an act of the creature, not an imposition of the Creator.”
Thanks Jim F., I think I get it.
I get what you are saying. What I am objecting to is the idea of an exchange or a gift for a gift. Our gift of faith enabled by “preceding grace” that is given to God in exchange for salvation. I have seen it worded this way for example, “The lost sinner needs the Spirit’s assistance but he does not have to be regenerated by the Spirit before he can believe, for faith is man’s act and precedes the new birth. Faith is the sinner’s gift to God; it is man’s contribution to salvation.” I have trouble with the idea of the last line. I don’t believe faith should be seen as a gift to God nor should we go down the road of making it man’s contribution. To me the idea of a contribution on man’s part takes away from the total contribution of Christ. Man doesn’t really contribute anything in salvation.
We should also remember that the idea of prevenient grace traces back to Catholicism. “The issue of prevenient grace was discussed in the fifth chapter of the sixth session of the Council of Trent :
The Synod furthermore declares, that in adults, the beginning of the said Justification is to be derived from the prevenient grace of God, through Jesus Christ, that is to say, from His vocation, whereby, without any merits existing on their parts, they are called; that so they, who by sins were alienated from God, may be disposed through His quickening and assisting grace, to convert themselves to their own justification, by freely assenting to and co-operating with that said grace.” I am convinced that much of the errors n Calvinism and Arminianism can find their way back to some error in Catholicism.
Jim F., thank you for the explanation.
Regarding your statement:
“It is just that Arminians come close to making it a work because they describe it as something that man brings to the table. It can become to be seen as something that man offers God for salvation instead of faith that is simply receiving salvation.”
I am still a little confused. This seems like it could get into some semantical hair splitting.
The Bible promises eternal life to anyone who believes in Jesus. It also says that anyone who does not believe is condemned already.
So, are these two beliefs different?
1) I am going to heaven because I believe that Jesus paid the full price for my sins.
2) I am going to heaven because Jesus paid the full price for my sins.
I think that they are both the same thing. I don’t know how a believer would ever know the difference.
I agree faith is actually not a work at all. It is just that Arminians come close to making it a work because they describe it as something that man brings to the table. It can become to be seen as something that man offers God for salvation instead of faith that is simply receiving salvation. I have had Calvinists accuse me of works salvation because they were attacking what they perceived as a faith we offer God by which we would have something to boast in. Of course their solution was regeneration that then enables faith. Many Calvinists view faith negatively as a work if it was not brought about by God’s enablement.
As far as eternal security, I suppose that it would be impossible to trust God for salvation if you don’t think He can keep you. However, I would suppose that most Arminians would not share the part about losing ones salvation when they are attempting to lead someone to Christ.
I do think that it is possible to be saved and later be deceived by error. Not to the point though of losing ones salvation.
Let me know if I answered your question.
Jim F, regarding the discussion on Arminianism, I was perplexed by one of your comments. You said, in part:
“Part of the problem I see with both Arminianism and Calvinism is that faith becomes to be viewed as a meritorious work. For Armininans it is man’s part (positive) in conversion.”
I had always thought of Arminianism as denying eternal security. I don’t believe it is possible to have faith in Christ while denying eternal security.
It is man’s part to have faith/believe, in the sense that we must believe that Jesus did all of the work necessary to save us from our sins in order to possess eternal life. But, that doesn’t make faith a work. The Bible clearly distinguishes between faith and works.
Can you elaborate?
Thanks so much for joining us.
As Bruce has pointed out we have several articles and many comments detailing Spurgeon’s error. He was a person who preached a reasonably clear message occasionally and then the next thing you read he is promoting Calvinism and then another time Lordship Salvation.
Here is the actual text of one of his sermons, Turn or Burn.
We really appreciate your visit and pray you will return and add to our conversation.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Thanks for sharing your comments with us today.
Regarding the terms, “head faith” and “heart faith,” those are distinctions not found in the Bible. They are false qualifications placed upon faith by Lordship Salvation advocates. Read this quotation from Dr. Charlie Bing on the subject:
Dr. Charlie Bing similarly describes how Lordship Faith teachers cultivate a harmful inward scrutiny in believers by emphasizing that faith must be “qualified”: “And so you read Lordship Salvation teachers using a lot of terms to qualify faith, sometimes to disqualify faith with negative terms like “spurious faith,” ‟ counterfeit faith,” “intellectual faith,” “false faith,” insincere faith,” “pseudo faith,” “emotional faith,” and “head faith.” Yet none of these expressions is found in the Bible.” In addition he states, “If we grant to Lordship Salvation that faith must be qualified, that there are different kinds of faith, we surrender objectivity to subjectivity. And assurance becomes impossible.”
Regarding your comments about Spurgeon, I urge you to use much caution if reading his works [if you do so at all]. Some say that he waffled on the issue of Lordship Salvation, but he definitely preached the concept of Lordship Salvation in some of his sermons. One of our regular commenters at Expreacherman, John, has chronicled this fact in another discussion. Here is the link and below are the Spurgeon quotations:
Comment by John:
In addition to being unbiblical, [Paul] Washer’s sermon excerpts are simply re-hashes of Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s revered sermon entitled “Turn or Burn.”
[Washer] False definition of saving repentance as turning from sin:
Spurgeon: “Repentance to be true, to be evangelical, must be a repentance which really affects our outward conduct… All sin must be given up, or else you shall never have Christ: all transgression must be renounced, or else the gates of heaven must be barred against you. ”
Washer: “If you truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the one who can take away your sins, any [one] who truly believes and trusts in him, recognizes the depth, something in the depth of [their] sin, turns from it and believes in Jesus is saved.”
[Washer] False definition of saving repentance as sorrow for sin:
Spurgeon: “Furthermore; the repentance here described as absolutely necessary is hearty repentance. It is not a mock tear; it is not hanging out the ensigns of grief, whilst you are keeping merriment in your hearts. It is not having an illumination within, and shutting up all the windows by a pretended repentance; it is the putting out of the candles of the heart; it is sorrow of soul which is true repentance.”
Washer: “But, you see, a discerning heart would recognize after talking to the [child]. [They] were not weeping over sin.”
[Washer] False definition of saving repentance being perpetual:
Spurgeon: “And lastly, upon this point, this repentance must be perpetual. It is not my turning to God during to-day that will be a proof that I am a true convert; it is forsaking of my sin throughout the entire of my life, until I sleep in the grave.”
Washer: “They don’t realize that the evidence, the raw bone biblical evidence that there was one time in your life that you repented unto salvation is that you continue repenting until today and growing in repentance. They do not realize that if at one time in your life you believed unto salvation, the evidence of that will be you continue believing unto salvation and growing in faith.”
[Washer] False assertion that avoiding destruction is not a legitimate motivation for believing:
Spurgeon: “Legal repentance is a fear of damning: evangelical repentance is a fear of sinning. Legal repentance makes us fear the wrath of God; evangelical repentance makes us fear the cause of that wrath, even sin.
Washer: “. [They] were weeping over self-preservation. [They] didn’t want to die.”
T’was Grace that taught…
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear…
the hour I first believed.
Thanks again for joining us today.
Wow I don’t believe lordship salvation but I do like Spurgeon but I think that is because I can pick out the few sticks he throws in and take them gems. Of course I haven’t read lots of his books just a few so far.
In my personal experience there was a difference between head faith and heart faith. During my darkest time when I was on the verge of tossing God out the window thanks to messed us teachings like lordship salvation(didn’t know it had a name then) I told my husband I have a lot of Jesus knowledge in my head but I can never get Him into the dark parts of my soul. It wasn’t until I really learned about grace and true bible based salvation that all the pieces fit together and the darkness in my soul dissapeared. Knowing about the concept of Christ is far different from really grasping the truth of the gospel. I think that is where I was at. I agreed with the concept of Jesus but thought all the work of being good for God was all up to me.
One point you could add is the teaching that Jesus is some kind of gate into your salvation. Once you are through the gate the rest of your “walk” is up to you.
Thanks, Jim, for your well thought-out and comprehensive answer to Matt. I learned some things from you too.
I think Bruce covered much of it. Some of this can get very deep but I can elaborate on some of my issues with Arminianism. I don’t consider myself to be an Arminian in that I feel that they over emphasize man’s free will and that they advocate that a person can fall away from salvation after being saved. To me, they fall into a for perseverance of the saints just like Calvinists. It is just that they say that a person can fall away whereas a Calvinist would say that they were never saved to begin with. Another problem I have is with what is called “saving grace”. I don’t see grace itself as some force or spiritual substance that somehow works in us. ( For Arminians it is “prevenient” allowing free will and a possible response to the gospel. In Calvinism is it irresistable for the elect and will result in regeneration.) To me both of these notions are false.
I do believe that Christ has atoned for all men but that the actual benefits are only applied to a person if they repent and believe the gospel. This is the closest I would get to any of the original points of Arminianism. I reject that may play a part in salvation. Some Arminians would say that Christ’s atonement is God’s gift and faith is man’s. It would be like an exchange of gifts. I reject this flat out. Faith is simply trusting in Christ(God) for salvation. Eph 2:8-9. I feel that man has the ability to choose to trust something presented to them. They may also be able to trust God for salvation because 1) the Word of God is the light needed, and 2) the Holy Spirit works with God’s Word to convince, convict, and draw people to Christ. My view is not like prevenient grace where it says the a grace is given to all to nullify the effects of depravity so that a person can believe. (Effectively making all men partly regenerated so to speak.) Part of the problem I see with both Arminianism and Calvinism is that faith becomes to be viewed as a meritorious work. For Armininans it is man’s part (positive) in conversion. For Calvinist’s it is viewed as a work (negative) if you weren’t regenerated first whereby you were then able to believe. Calvinist’s use this logic to justify regeneration before faith.
The other thing for me is election. I don’t agree with Arminians that God exactly elects us based on the fact the He looked down through time and saw who would believe and then chose based on that knowledge. I think it is better to see it as conditional election based on Christ. Eph 1:4 Christ is key. Those who are in Him (believers) are the elect. I keep it at that and leave the metaphysics of how all that works out with an infinite God. The other thing I’ll say is that the elect are elect in Christ but predestined to good works. Eph 2:10, We should not go to the Calvinist extreme to say that some are predestined to salvation while others predestined to hell. There is also the idea of the predestinated adoption and inheritance for those in Christ. Eph 1:5 and 11. I again would reject the Arminian notion that one could be a believer predestined to adoption and inheritance and lose their eternal salvation. Eph 1:13 – We are not only predestined but sealed you the promise of the Holy Spirit. There can be no believer that ever loses salvation or the whole Bible is false.
Also realize like Bruce alluded to that there are those Arminians who hold to eternal security. I don’t happen to believe that they are then truly Arminian but whatever. There are also many who have views like I do but get lumped into the Arminian category by Calvinists etc though we are more Biblicists than anything.
Hope that helps a bit.
I appreciate your thorough response, califgracer. Thanks for the background on Arminianism as I was unaware of their inconsistencies. That was very helpful.
Thank you, brother.
Subject: The Five Points of Arminianism
Your posts were combined to make them easier to answer.
I’m glad that you liked Jack’s explanation of Calvinism on another article. The subject is discussed on several other articles as well.
Regarding your question about Arminianism, let me first say that the five points of Arminianism are not well defined and elucidated. And they seem to be not widely utilized or recognized, as are the five points of Calvinism, known by the acronym TULIP. Just to let you know where I stand first, I am neither an Arminian nor a Calvinist. I don’t like to be pigeon-holed into a manmade system of philosophical or theological belief. I prefer to just be called, “a Christian.” Jack, some other contributors to this site, as well as some others in the Free Grace community use the term, “Biblicist.” That’s not too bad of a description either.
Anyway, back to the question. I really have trouble pinning down what Arminianism teaches, exactly, because it depends upon whom you talk to. Even among Arminian circles there are vigorous debates over these issues. Some hold to early or classical Arminianism, a la Arminius himself. Others have a more modernized viewpoint. Some of what Arminius taught actually looks to me more like Calvinism, especially on the Calvinist notion of total depravity.
Here are a few things that I gleaned which very loosely could be called, “The Five Points of Arminianism”: 1. Free Will; 2. Conditional Election; 3. Universal Atonement; 4. Resistible Grace; 5. Falling from Grace. There are certainly elements of these categories with which I could agree and others which I would disagree, but, again, it depends upon how they are defined and by whom.
As to # 5, I would reject that category outright. The Bible teaches the eternal security of the believer (John 10:27-30; Romans 8:38-39). I do believe in Free Will, which kind of goes along with the idea of resistible grace; it is part of the image of God implanted in man, Genesis 1:27. Man certainly does have the free will to accept or reject Christ. This fact is born out by logic and common experience, as well as in the plethora of calls to believe in Christ throughout Scripture (Acts 16:31, many calls in the Gospel of John, for some examples). In Matthew 23:37, Jesus agonized over the people of Jerusalem (especially the leadership) in their rejection of his gift of salvation. But, again, I don’t like the way that some Arminians define that category as man only partially fallen and able to save himself without God’s help. I agree with your citation of 2 Thessalonians 2:13 about the necessity for the Holy Spirit to lead the sinner to saving belief. Unlimited atonement, again, is defined various ways; here’s one definition with which I agreed: “Jesus’ death was for all of humanity, and anyone can be saved by belief in Him.” (See 2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”) Regarding Conditional Election, (See Ephesians 1:2-9), the general idea that I see expressed is that we are elected by God based upon his foreknowledge. In other words, while God’s gracious offer of salvation is available TO ALL through his Son Jesus Christ, not all will accept his free gift of salvation. Many will reject him through stubborn unbelief. God knows who will believe and who will refuse him. Some commenters on this site view election in the sense of: election to serve God (following salvation through faith in Christ alone). I think that either is a valid option.
Regarding your citation of John 6 (various) and 12:32, John 6 states repeatedly that one must come to Christ by faith, believing in him to be saved. 6:39-40 speak of the keeping power of God the Father to guard those who have trusted in Christ by faith. The phrase, “of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing,” reiterates God’s keeping power of those who have trusted in Christ alone for salvation. The phrase, along with verse 44, also intimates God’s wooing of the sinner, through the Spirit, to come to a point of trusting in Christ for salvation. This goes along with your citation of 2 Thes. 2:13, regarding the leading of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the sinner to lead a man to saving faith in Christ. Verse 44 does not say, “the Father grants them the ability.” That misinterpretation comes from the Calvinist spin on the verse. It says, “No one can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him;” The Father draws him, leads him, woos him to believing faith, through the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Hope all of this is helpful. Perhaps others may comment as well.
Would you be able to list out the 5 points of Arminianism and clarify how you guys are not Arminian?
In addition, I am confused by some Calvinists and their interpretation of John 6:36-45 and 2 Thessalonians 2:13. According to John 6:36-45, is it true that no one can come to Christ unless the Father draws him? According to 2 Thess 2:13, God chose people to salvation through sanctification from the beginning? Please help me. Thanks for anyone who responds!
I want to clarify that I am neither Calvinist nor Arminian, but sometimes there are verses that are trippy and hard to exegete.
In addition to the questions on the top, I just saw from a different post about Shane’s “opinion” on John 6:36-45. What he said is exactly what many Calvinists argue in their point of view.
“If John 12:32 means that Jesus is drawing “all people” to Himself and not all “types of people” then there is a big problem. John makes it clear in verses 37-40, 44, and 65 that no one can come to Jesus unless the Fathers grants them the ability. In verse 44 Jesus says He will raise up all of those that the Father draws.
So if 12:32 means Jesus is drawing “all people” and not everyone is saved then Jesus is either a liar or a failure because Jesus said that He will raise up all of those that were given to Him by the Father and He came to do the Father’s will (v37-40) and that He would raise up those drawn to Him (v44).”
What is your opinion on that?
I think there are enough men and women struggling with the same issues and possess similar (or even the same) backgrounds to be asking the same questions. I have no affiliation with Dime. I have a non-reformed Baptist background, but I have many reformed friends who discuss the aforementioned points.
Thank you for referring me to that post. That was very helpful in refuting Calvinism. But my question was, what about all 5 points of Arminianism and why do you disagree with all of them? I am sure the reasons are different.
And still referring to “Shane’s” rebuttal back to Jack in my last post, is there an answer to that?
I’m not attempting to start anything other than to fully comprehend your view. Thank you in advance.
Regarding the LS/Calvinist argument #1 above: “Argument #1: Total depravity means that unregenerate man is as lifeless as a literal cadaver.”
I heard of an LS/Calvinist preacher who was trying to graphically prove to a young man that what he preached was true. So he took the young man to a funeral parlor. They walked around a bit and viewed a few corpses. “Now,” asked the LS preacher, “How many of those people lying in the caskets can respond in saving faith to Christ and become saved?” The young man was silent. He should have responded to the preacher with a similar question, “How many of those people lying in the caskets can sin?”
So the analogy breaks down instantly!!!
I forgot to provide a link to Hosler’s article. Please see below.
In reading this article, along with its excellent sourcing, I found overwhelming evidence that John MacArthur views obtaining eternal life as making an exchange, rather than as receiving a gift. Here goes:
From “The Gospel According to Jesus”:
P. 140 “Thus in a sense we pay the ultimate price for our salvation when our sinful self is nailed to the cross…It is a total abandonment of self-will,…It is an exchange of all that we are for all that Christ is, and it denotes implicit obedience, full surrender to the lordship of Christ. Nothing less can qualify as saving faith.”
In addition, John MacArthur acknowledges that Lordship Salvation and the Gospel of Grace cannot co-exist:
From “The Gospel According To Jesus”
P. xiv: “Several who disagree with my views have said in print that the lordship controversy is a matter of eternal consequence. This means that whoever is wrong on this question is proclaiming a message that can send people to hell. On that we agree. I went through a phase of thinking that the whole dispute might be a misunderstanding or a matter of semantics. But as I studied the issues, I discovered that this is simply not the case….I am now convinced that the two sides of this argument have distinctly different views of salvation.”
Click to access lordship_salvation.pdf
Pastor J.O Hosler of Napier Parkview Baptist Church has written an excellent article responding to Lordship “Salvation”. It is called “Attaching Personal Righteousness to the Back-side of the Gospel’s Requirements”. Hosler enumerates, and Biblically refutes, 31 false arguments used by LS advocates to contend that personal works of righteousness must be included within the Gospel’s definition.
Following is a sample of the false arguments in favor of LS, which I have cross-referenced to three of the points of the false religion of Calvinism. Note that EACH AND EVERY point of Calvinism is a LIE!
Argument #1: Total depravity means that unregenerate man is as lifeless as a literal cadaver.
(Argument 1 is the first of the five points of the false religion of Calvinism – the “T” in the “TULIP”)
Argument #2: Absolute holy obedience to all the commands of the NT is part of the definition of sovereign efficacious grace.
Argument #5: Just as efficacious grace is irresistible, so likewise is wholehearted holiness in every dimension of life.
Argument #7: Irresistible grace means that the believer no longer has his old nature with which to contend. Regeneration is a wholesale transformation of the whole person in every dimension.
(Arguments 2, 5, and 7 are grounded in the fourth point of Calvinism – Irresistible Grace – the “I” in the “TULIP”)
Argument 16: Some will refine their polemic by allowing temporary lapses and yet qualify themselves by affirming that any more than a temporary lapse would mean that salvation had never occurred in the first place.
Argument #17: An inventory of personal righteousness will determine if one is called and elected.
(Arguments 16 and 17 are grounded in the fifth point of Calvinism – Perseverance of the Saints – the “P” in the “TULIP”)
To Recent Contributor Matt,
If you formerly contributed under the pseudonym “Dime,” then we refer you to reread the comments made to you by Jack and others on the ExPreacherman site article:
In this article and its following comments, Jack painstakingly responded to “Dime,” explaining his position on Calvinism and Arminianism, in which he declared that he holds to neither of these man-made philosophies. There is no need to rehash all of that discussion here.
To behind-the-scenes contributor “Grace”Writer:
Thank you for joining our site today. It is the long-standing policy of the Expreacherman site founders and administration to disallow the propagation or preaching of views, such as Calvinism, Lordship Salvation, a.k.a., Lordship Faith or Lordship Probation, which are contrary to the stated Free Grace views of the administration and of the regular commenters. If one is making a brief honest inquiry and/or seeking explanation of a Bible text, that is fine (perhaps some of your comments fit into this category). But the site is not designed to become a platform for the propagation of Lordship Salvation or other viewpoints which stand in opposition to the Free Grace Gospel of the Bible (Ephesians 2:8-9; Acts 16:30-31; John 3:16-18; Romans 4:5; Titus 3:5, et. al.).
David Bibee, I have prayed for you. Specifically, that if you have never trusted in Christ alone that you will do that; and, that if you have trusted in Christ, that you will return to the simplicity of the Gospel.
I like what pastor Tom Cucuzza had to say in this sermon excerpt:
“Now, there are those who say that salvation is a gift, but you have to make a pledge to God that you’re going to live right. But, wait a minute. He never said you have to make a pledge. He realizes we can’t do it, that’s why He paid for our sins through Christ.
Some will say you have to repent of your sin. What does that mean? Do you know that nowhere in the Bible does it say repentance from sin brings salvation? Did you know that? It doesn’t say it one place in the Bible. I challenge anybody. See, that is man. Still he has to interject that: ‘well, I gotta do my part. I gotta do something to earn it. I have to do something to deserve it.’ But, that’s contrary to Grace. Grace is unmerited, undeserved favor. And the minute we try to put in our two cents it’s no longer grace, it’s works according to Romans 11:6.
See, this all may sound like a noble idea, but you will still fail to achieve it. And you are adding works to the finished work of Christ on the cross. You are adding your own merit and performance to salvation, which is works for salvation. You are trusting in yourself. If you have to live right to get to heaven, you’re trusting in yourself. You’re saying ‘I put confidence in myself.’
Now, people will say this: ‘oh no, salvation’s a gift, but if you don’t remain faithful then you’ll lose it. OK, now what did you just say if that’s what you believe? You said: ‘if you don’t remain faithful, you’ll lose it.’ That means the way you keep it is remaining faithful. Right? It’s just saying the same thing. One’s positive, one’s negative. So, what are we back to? We’re back to that same thing. It depends on you and not what Jesus did for you.
That’s a false religion. True Christianity is this: we are utter failures, incapable of saving ourselves. That’s why Jesus came – to die for our sins, make the full payment. And when we put our faith in Him, instead of ourselves, the moment we do He saves us and He gives us everlasting life.”
Judging from your rather sarcastic addition of point #22) and after perusing your web site, you leave no doubt that you are surely an unabashed Calvinist and advocate of Lordship Probation.
We appreciate your stopping in but be advised, we are here to teach the Truth of God’s Grace, not to promote and advertise the lie of LS and Calvinism.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Or maybe, 22) You think that the call to discipleship is the same as the call to repent and believe.
Good to hear from you. So sorry to hear of your accident.. We will pray for a speedy and complete recovery.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Wow, great to hear from you.. I was concerned whether you and yours were OK.
Your points are well taken.. The lie of works for and to keep salvation (Lordship “salvation”) has been around from the beginning, but has been refined lately with the proponent’s names John mentions in his article.
Anxious to hear from you again soon. Keep up your good work for the Lord.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
You forgot one: 22.) You believe what the Bible teaches and what Jesus and His apostles commanded.
Pastor, This is a great list. I am sure you have heard of the same debate was waged in the past. Recently, I came across a controversy that brewed up after Luther died. There was a sect which said good works are “necessary” for salvation after one is saved. A derivative of “perseverance” of saints. It was called “Majoristic” controversy. http://mb-soft.com/believe/txn/majorist.htm Or the Marrow Controversy – in the 17th century, Scottish Presbyterian Church tried to implement a “time of preparation” prior to conversion so that a sinner had to go through a sufficient time of preparing himself to be worthy enough for Jesus. The Marrow Men, including Erskine Brothers and Thomas Boston left the church in protest over it. I wonder when the folks in the “Reformed” camp read those controversies, do they side with the legalists or the grace people. I listened to Sinclair Ferguson, a staunch 5 pointer agreeing with the Marrow Men. But, his theology is totally contradictory to theirs.
20. You think Spurgeon did not teach Lordship salvation.
Wow, that is an especially good one.
How about, “It would be a shame to ‘almost’ miss being in heaven due to ‘almost’ being a Christian”?
Good to hear from You! Since July 16th. My right arm has been in a cast.
I broke my arm helping my wife hang curtains! The right wrist is shattered,
& my cast won’t be removed until August 28. I am typing with one finger of
my left hand. Allways enjoy your site!