Rock-Paper-Scissors: Calvinism/Lordship Salvation’s Game of Deceit

From Wikipedia: Rock-paper-scissors is a hand game usually played by two people, where players simultaneously form one of three shapes with an outstretched hand. The “rock” beats scissors, the “scissors” beat paper and the “paper” beats rock.

In trying to defend the gospel against Calvinism and Lordship “salvation” (LS), many are playing a theological game of rock-paper-scissors, in which their tepid defenses of the gospel are vulnerable to defeat.

LS is the unsupportable belief that the PERFORMANCE of good works, the PROMISE of good works, or the EVIDENCE of good works MUST accompany faith in Christ in order to make that faith result in eternal life.

Performance-promise-evidence are the rock-paper-scissors of Calvinism/LS. A defense of the gospel that allows room for any of these, either directly or indirectly, is no defense at all. It is an attack.

So, how is this game played? Unfortunately, Satan plays hard. There is no end to the number of ways he tries to deceive people into attacking the gospel. I will cover three of them.

Allies who attack the gospel.

This so-called “defense of the gospel” brings in “allies” who want to maintain only part of the integrity of the gospel.   For example, a teacher can rail against the evils of promising good works in exchange for salvation, but then endorse the evidence of good works as being a necessary result of salvation.

Some other examples are:

Using LSers to defend against Calvinism;

Using Calvinists to defend against evolution;

Using LSers to defend against the dangers of reformed theology.

Calvinism and LS share the same theological roots. The point at which they intersect is the Calvinist tenet of “perseverance of the saints.” Anyone who embraces any of the tenets of Calvinism or any of the tenets of LS is not a dependable ally in trying to advance or defend the gospel. Using any such people in defending the gospel will only lead to further blurring of the gospel message.

 Pretending that LS is new.

Another half-hearted “defense of the gospel” includes the notion that somehow Calvinism/LS is relatively new – that it came into vogue, and was popularized by John MacArthur. Imbedded in this argument is that Biblical Christianity has only recently become subsumed by LS. This might also include the notion that some of the “big names” in the past were teaching Biblical Christianity, but that their modern adherents have deviated from their teachings. For example, some defenders of the gospel believe that John Calvin wasn’t really a Calvinist!

But, the attempts to insert works into the gospel have been around since they early church. It is discussed at length in the book of Galatians. Most of what passes for “church history” is really false works for salvation.

Depicting Calvinism/LS as something new gives the impression that older teachers (such as John Calvin and Charles Spurgeon) are dependable, when in fact they were false teachers.

Giving some people a pass.

I am really mystified by this. Someone can give a full-throated denunciation of John MacArthur’s false teaching, but treat others who have written and said the same things as sacred cows.

It should be obvious that giving anyone a pass for distorting the gospel, while calling others to task, is no defense of the gospel at all.

Romans 1:16:  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

As we each strive to advance and defend the gospel message, let us be particularly vigilant against the tactics outlined above, and the dangers they present to lost people, babes in Christ, and even to mature believers.

108 responses to “Rock-Paper-Scissors: Calvinism/Lordship Salvation’s Game of Deceit

  1. Very nice post hollysgarcia – thank you!
    I understand the principle of studying the counterfeit.
    But every principle comes with balance.
    In Mathew 23 for example, Jesus takes the time to outline and detail some key indicators of the counterfeit.

    I’m sure there are specific errors that you are aware of in the church, and you discern them in manifestations sometimes which are much more difficult to discern than others. And you identify them by looking for key indicators.

    For me – looking for key indicators within Calvinism’s unique Language serves the same purpose. And fellow believers with whom I’ve shared those key indicators have been sincerely thankful, because they would have otherwise assumed a counterfeit as real. I believe the Lord blesses us when we seek to know truth. And as he says – the truth sets one free.
    I sincerely appreciate this site – and the kind and considerate believers here! My thanks!, br.d

  2. One thing I’ve noticed with the ‘debates’ between Calvinists and non-Calvinists is the lack of real honest handling of His Word. They all know each other’s ten cent theological words and try to one-up the next with their knowledge.

    But His Word instructs us to be clear. To not corrupt minds from the simplicity that is in Christ. We are supposed to be pointing others to Christ, and instead we have people holding themselves up for their wisdom, knowledge or big words, and we watch as they get sucked into that dark vortex, a famine in the land for the hearing of God’s Word. One of my favorites is this:

    Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech. 2 Cor 3:12

  3. br.d – I’m reminded of what Paul said in Rom 16, ‘I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.

    I agree with Johninnc, Rom 16:17-18 is the wisest approach when it comes to too much time with these types.

    Although we ‘prove all things’ (1 Thess 5:21), I believe we do best not studying the counterfeit, but by knowing the true. This is the way for us to know the certainty of His Word of Truth and answer with words of truth when people send for us (Pr 22:17-21).

    When I felt like I should do an article on one, I really had to balance the time knowing what they were teaching with His Word. It’s like getting dirty just hearing it in some ways. I don’t care about their terminology anymore. I hope I’ve forgotten more than I learned 😊

  4. Dialectic Materialism!
    I’ll have to study to see what that is.
    Very interesting!

    Thanks jasonc65 for that insight :-]

  5. Jason, what these things have in common is that they are just philosophy and vain deceit.

  6. Calvinists are trained marxists. Predestination is dialectic materialism. MacArthur is no better than Patrisse Cullors.

  7. Thank you johninnc – and good wisdom!
    Just in case you have someone who would be interested in an analysis of why the Calvinist is forced into the dilemma he is in – the URL I’ve provided is always there as possible info to look at.

    My best to you!

  8. br.d, we appreciate your interest in the deceptiveness of Calvinism. We believe it is deceptive as well. You make an interesting point about Calvinists spending a fair amount of time trying to escape the logical consequences of this belief system.

    Once we know someone is teaching Calvinism (or Lordship “salvation”), we mark and avoid them and move on.

  9. Thank you johninnc, that is very kind of you!

    If you are interested – there is more on this subject here:
    (link removed by administrator)

    Not that you’ll agree with all of it. But if you’ve been observing Calvinism for a while, you may take note of how many people over the years have observed certain characteristics which are consistent with Calvinist language. It dawned on me at some point that language serves as an excellent thermometer of what is going on inside the Calvinist psychology.

    So for me, analyzing Calvinist language provides an insight into how and why Calvinists think the way they do, that we would otherwise not understand. One will eventually discover that the Calvinist spends a fair amount of his time trying to find ways to mentally escape the logical consequences of his belief system. His language provides indicators of those aspects he’s trying to escape.

    And I hope this finds you and your family well

  10. br.d, you are right that both Calvinism is both non-biblical and logically incongruent. The same goes for LS.

  11. Calvinism is a DOUBLE-MINDED belief system – in that its core underlying foundation is Universal Divine Causal Determinism. Reformed thinkers who came after Calvin didn’t take long to discover that Stoic/NeoPlatonic determinism is a hard product to sell to a Christian consumer. And thus the TULIP was created as a marketing tool – in the attempts to make Calvinism appear biblical – while hiding its underlying core of Stoic/Determinism. Take the “P” in the TULIP for example.

    According to the underlying doctrine, an individual’s election is either infallibly/immutably true or infallibly/immutably false. And it is a logical impossibility for something that is infallibly/immutably true to ever be false. Therefore, the notion that something infallibly/immutably true needs to “Persevere” in order to keep itself from becoming false is no more rational than a married bachelor. The idea of apostasy or falling away in this context is an illusion, and the typical resolve concerning an individual in that situation, is that he was never really elect in the first place. And that individual’s perception of election and salvation as infallibly/immutably true, would have been a predestined illusion.

    So the P in the TULIP is actually a FALSE marketing tool designed to draw associations with scripture that are LOGICALLY incoherent with the core underlying doctrine.

    I consider Lordship Salvation to serve the same exact purpose for Calvinism. Blessings – and thank you!!

  12. Funny John, I just thought on that passage and commented about John 21 but in a different manner. The only one that accuses His sheep is the accuser of the brethren, and he has lots of people he has accusing the brethren for him. I think on Israel, they forsook the fountain of Living Waters and as it says in Jer 2, they ‘hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.’

    Goes with the old idiom, what they teach just doesn’t ‘hold water’….

  13. Here is something I was thinking about today:

    When Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him, and Peter answered in the affirmative, Jesus once said “feed my lambs” and two times said “feed My sheep.”(see John 21:15-17).

    Jesus never said “accuse My sheep” or “feed My sheep poison.”

    The teachers who use 1 John 5:2 (or any other passage) to falsely teach that “a true Christian will…” are not feeding His sheep. They are feeding them poison. And, they are implicitly teaching unsaved people salvation by works.

  14. Holly, it is great to look back and see vestiges of Jack.

    It will be good to see him soon.

  15. Looking for articles on Calvinism, and to come in this one and read, and come to the comments and see that I missed this from Jack, kind of sweet to come and read his wisdom here.

    We were just speaking of this, I don’t remember where though, but it wasn’t too long ago some of us were talking of the money these pastors make through fear mongering. Or through back door loadship, people are out doing good works to prove they belong. I am floored by the amount of people who do not understand James 2 and use it as an accusation. It is a vicious cycle. Hoping to see my dear brother Jack soon.

    In Jesus Christ eternally ❤

  16. Holly,

    Yes, it seems the Mega- LS teachers/preachers have a deep well of circular finances. And if “doing good” were the proof of being a believer, Catholics, Methodists, Pentecostals, Mormons, SDAs, SBC, Habitat For Humanity (“Christian” Jimmy Carter) 😎 and virtually every religiously inspired organization would be right in line proving themselves worthy by their works. It is a self perpetuating and vicious cycle of misinterpreting the Book of James.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  17. Jack, what always strikes me, is the people defend them by saying, “Look how much good they’re doing!”

    They obviously haven’t considered the “good” they do is from their spoils taken from fleecing the sheep. They give back their salaries to their church, but no one seems to consider their mega-book sales, conference appearances, etc.

  18. Holly,

    You are right — the “busine$$” of mega-churche$ with a false me$$age. And they pros$per.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  19. John and Jack, together you kind of collectively spoke on not knowing whether someone who is Loadship has ever trusted Christ, but that we do know they do not believe it now.

    I was also pondering several years back, Paul Washer. One who disagreed with his message, still thought he was a ‘sincere man’ who desired people to live sanctified lives. So as I was thinking on that, one thing I knew, is that Paul Washer (and others) do not believe in the power of the gospel. They do not have faith God’s gospel can save without their help. Both in their businesses and in their personal life obviously. (Yes, I meant to say businesses, for that is truly what their mega-empires have become).

  20. Michael, I don’t know if you ever watched the JMac rap song, I forget the title, but affirms completely what you said, But one thing that I want to make clear, is that at John MacArthur’s church, they do not believe in the Lordship of Christ, but the Lordship of MacArthur.

    Hero and idol worship is all I saw.

    Interesting you also said this, And so, for me, the battle with Lordship Salvation has been one of trying to convince people that Jesus Christ is Lord (ironically enough).

    I too find it ironic that they do not believe He is Lord or Savior, even though they honor Him with their lips, they are trying to help Him save by their ‘works’.

    Glad to have you with us, good to meet another thankful believer in His free gift actually being free.

  21. Michael, being “snatched up by a mega-church” is kind of a red flag. It often takes compromise to appeal to a broad cross-section of people.

  22. Michael Branda


    Thank you for the links. When I knew Kyle (14 years ago), his teaching was very different. In fact, he considered John MacArthur’s teaching to be a works salvation.

  23. Michael Branda


    What do you mean Kyle Idleman has fallen away? I haven’t spoken to Kyle in years, but back in 2000, we worked together to start a new church in my home town. He didn’t last long. After a couple of years he was snatched up by a mega-church in Kentucky.

    But when I knew Kyle, he preached the Gospel of grace. In fact, I was so impressed on his clarity and accuracy when he presented the Gospel. What happened? Are you saying that he fell away? This is the first that I’ve heard of it, though, like I said, I haven’t spoken to Kyle in years. What do you know?


  24. Michael Branda

    Hi John O

    You forgot to tell the story about how you got kicked out of our college fraternity because of your stand for salvation by grace. In college, John and I belonged to a “Christian” fraternity. The problem was that the fraternity had a number of individuals who followed John MacArthur’s teaching. So John and I always took a stand for the grace of God against Lordship Salvation. And it caused a lot of friction in the fraternity.

    The year after I graduated, John and another brother were kicked out of the fraternity due to their stand for salvation by grace. But understand, they weren’t just kicking them out of a club, but out of the fraternity house (where they lived). It was a real ugly event. But I am so proud of the two of them for their uncompromising stand for Christ.

  25. Jack, you bring up a great point about not knowing whether someone who is professing LS beliefs ever trusted in Christ alone as Savior.

    What we know about someone who professes belief in a false LS gospel is that they do not believe THE GOSPEL now!

    The Bible is clear that some believers fall away (Luke 8:13). So, we simply cannot know whether someone like John MacArthur, Kyle Idleman, or Billy Graham were never believers (Luke 8:12), or if they are believers who have fallen away (Luke 8:13).

    The irony is, that most LSers would tell you that the “second soil” believers described in Luke 8:13 never “truly believed.”

  26. Michael B,

    Wonderful testimony.. and it is interesting that you recall times when JMac was preaching a clear Grace message.

    That can illustrate a very vital point of God’s Grace in the Biblical doctrine of Eternal Life, Eternal Security.
    “Jesus said: “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall NEVER perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (John 10:28)

    Let us assume that JMac at one time in his early life had made the decision that by Grace alone through his own Faith decision alone to believe in Jesus Christ alone, we know his simple faith decision would mean JMac is Heaven bound — in spite of his being accursed (should be excommunicated, anathema [not lost]) because of his sin of preaching “another gospel” of works (Galatians 1:8-9) THAT possibility illustrates God’s unbounded and unfathomable Grace!!

    Of course we do not know JMac’s original testimony… it could be the works message he is still preaching.

    Interesting doctrine – Our one time decision to believe in Jesus alone for our eternal life GUARANTEES ETERNAL LIFE!

    You and other readers here at ExP may be interested in our article “Why We Can’t Judge Whether Or Not Someone Possesses Eternal Life”:

    Thanks for your testimony and participation.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  27. Michael Branda

    Hi Jack

    Regarding my testimony, I actually accepted Christ as my Savior my junior year of high school. I was brought up in church, so I tried to be the best Christian that I could be. And I spent a lot of time studying the Bible to learn how to live a life that was pleasing to God. But the harder I tried, the more I felt like a failure. I discovered the Gospel of grace through reading the book of Romans. I knew that I needed all grace, since I had tried my hardest to earn salvation on my own, and I knew that my best wasn’t good enough. So it was through my own failures that the Gospel became clear to me.

    Later, when I was 19, I started attending John MacArthur’s church. But as I mentioned in my previous post, the church was still in a transition stage regarding Lordship Salvation. Some Sundays MacArthur would preach Lordship Salvation, and some Sundays he would preach grace. At that time, it was hard to determine what he really believed. But over time, his teaching got clearer, and it became obvious where he stood regarding salvation. That’s my story.

    God bless

  28. Thanks John O,

    Sounds like a battle royal for the Truth. Glad you survived the ordeal and are enjoying God’s free Grace.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  29. Welcome Michael!
    Our experiences and our personalities are very different. Therefore, our testimonies/perspectives can be very different. Since, I wasn’t a member of JM’s church, the cult of personality wasn’t as strong. However, JM was the final decider on all doctrine.
    I was 100% LS going into college. I attended “Mecca” only once every couple months to reassure myself that my home “sister church” was in line. If I stayed at school over a weekend, I’d go to JMac’s “church” with friends.
    I believed in the true Gospel when our CRU friend said in passing, “Jesus came to earth to die for a sins.” It was that simple.
    I have cassette tapes from my home church and remember attending the big So Cal conservative summer camp where the invitation to salvation was to “stop sinning and follow Christ.” (Same message as Billy Graham’s in his later years.) I thought I was doing that 100%.
    I remember 1 invitation where the speaker said, “If you’re smoking weed or doing things like that, you have to stop before God will accept you.” I just saw a friend from my HS youth group who said that the pastor who told us that is still preaching the same message, today. Sadly, that pastor was one of our best friends growing up.
    A few years ago, I was chairman of an elder board at a Christian Church. We had a great statement of faith written by an old quaker friend of mine on the Board. Stupid me, I didn’t read the CC Constitution until it was thrust in my face by a newly hired deceptive pastor who taught from the pulpit that no one who was not baptized and had not taken communion would be allowed into Heaven. Fortunately, with the support of the Elder Board 4-2, I called a vote of the congregation to amend the Constitution to delete the communion/baptism requirements. Congregation voted to keep the Constitution and abolish the Statement of Faith by a 9-1 margin. 4 elders resigned. God quickly shuttered that church and the property was sold.

  30. Michael Branda (Michael B)

    Welcome — we are happy to have you visit our humble Oasis of Grace.

    You and John O have very interesting testimonies about your experiences with JMac and we are interested in hearing them (in installments preferably).

    It seems MacArthur rules with an iron fist of fear. What a relief it must have been to depart that cesspool of false doctrine.

    Truly it sounds like JMac’s church and the associated environs are ruled by the “Lordship of MacArthur” rather that the true Lordship of Christ.

    We would be interested in a short testimony about when and how you (and John O too) understood the Gospel clearly and made the decision to believe in Jesus Christ alone as your Savior… Was it before, during or after JMac?

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  31. Michael Branda

    Hi Everyone

    My name is Michael Branda, and I’m an old college roomate of John Opferman. I attended John MacArthur’s church for three and a half years back in the early and mid 1980’s (back when his church was making the switch to Lordship Salvation). I, too, have many scares that I received from the battles over Lordship Salvation.

    Reading through all of your posts, there is so much that I want to comment on. But one thing that I want to make clear, is that at John MacArthur’s church, they do not believe in the Lordship of Christ, but the Lordship of MacArthur. When I was confronted for my belief in salvation by grace, at no time did they tell me that my belief was contrary to Scripture. I would intentially imitate Martin Luther, and point to my open Bible and say “show me my error!” But they would make it clear that it wasn’t about my contradicting Scripture, but about my contradicting MacArthur.

    The basis of Lordship Salvation, at MacArthur’s church, was that people were more interested in pleasing men than in pleasing God. And this applies to many churches, here, in the Los Angeles area. For John MacArthur is very powerful in our area.

    And so, for me, the battle with Lordship Salvation has been one of trying to convince people that Jesus Christ is Lord (ironically enough). Because here in the LA area, people who hold to Lordship Salvation tend to be people who are more interested in pleasing men than in pleasing God due to John MacArthur’s influence. Just my observations.

    Thanks, everyone
    Michael Branda

  32. John O,

    Normally we do not allow links to apostate sites — but in this case we will.

    DISCLAIMER to all of our readers: John MacArthur is an articulate preacher of lies. We recommend care and discernment when reading/viewing the actual sites of apostate teachers.</B

  33. John O wrote

    “In the 1970′s JM took a troubled young man into his home. The young man professed belief in the Gospel but continued to mess up. Finally, the young man took his own life and devastated all at the church who invested in him. I can understand JM or anyone thinking, “This gospel that I’m preaching must be incomplete. I fail. (I sin.) I gave this young man a loving, stable home + the gospel and it failed.” After reading the “great” Puritan authors, JM realized that faith in the gift of God was insufficient. .. After all it couldn’t save a man from bad behavior & depression.”

    Looks to me JM allowed himself to be indoctrinated while he saw the Gospel right in front of him. God doesn’t deal with the Old nature He gives us a new one 2 cor 5:17 . Religion wants to clean up the Old Nature and that’s not going to happen. In reality the need for others to see performance in the young mans life could of been what pushed him over the edge. Religion puts a large strain on the emotions.
    The fact that a person can Trust Jesus as their Saviour for eternal life then go out and hang themselves die and go straight to heaven is the Gospel.


  34. Holly,
    I found it. I was wrong. JM simply denies 1Cor3:15 as false:
    “So Paul here shows that all believers are building a building. And they’re building that building out of certain materials and there’s coming a fiery test and the fire will be applied to their building and only what is left will be rewarded, but every believer’s going to have something left. It might just be a little tiny piece.”
    God says, 15 “If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”
    Like I said, this is everything. This one verse is the achilles heel of LS (& catholicism&Mormonism&Jehovah’s Witness).
    The 2nd key verse against all cults is MT 5:48:
    “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

  35. John O,

    Good for your extensive research. I will take your word for it.

    Whether or not you are a seminarian is irrelevant to the cause of the Gospel of God’s Grace. Good exegesis does not require seminary training but, as Holly Garcia so often quotes, by Scripture “Prove All Things.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

    In fact seminary training has ruined many a good Bible student. Often Seminaries become theological Cemeteries for sound doctrine. There are only a few exceptions, very few.

    Because I am an ex-preacher does not necessarily qualify me as a person to whom others should listen. The Lord gets credit for blessing this ministry at ExP with wonderful commenters, readers and friends. We are blessed with brilliant and Biblically discerning writers such as John, ExP’s Co-Administrator, Bruce Bauer, one of our past Co-Administrators, my former Assistant Pastor from many years ago, Dr. Tom Cucuzza, Pastor, Teacher and College Lecturer. We thank the Lord daily for His blessings and for each of you.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  36. Jack,
    I cataloged every book in the Bible looking for the Gospel (OT & NT). It’s in almost every book. If my memory is correct James is in the very small minority. Repeated letters, I counted as 1 letter. The list is buried in my attic. (Yes, I may have invested too time much in this. Since I did not graduate from Dallas or Talbot, my research doesn’t carry much weight.). Since you are a pastor, my hope is that some will listen to you.

  37. John O,


    We do know that James is giving instructions to believers as to how they SHOULD live and behave, but I have never spent time looking through any book of the Bible to see if the Gospel is unmentioned.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  38. JM’s delusion or dishonesty to pervert Scripture never ceases to amaze me (even after all these years that I stopped listening/reading his works).
    Please correct me if I’m wrong: THE GOSPEL IS NOT FOUND IN THE BOOK OF JAMES because James is instructing us on how to be justified IN MAN’s SIGHT, NOT JUSTIFICATION BY GOD. – disgusting.

  39. John O-

    MacArthur calls this portion (not including vs. 5 or 11, in James 4, the greatest call to the gospel.) How do they not see the Scripture in front and back which in context is clear is a chastisement to believers?

    5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? 6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. 11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.

  40. John Opferman

    You got it. Through progressive revelation, 20th & 21st Century “christians” have the whole Bible and more fulfilled prohecy to rely on than even Paul ! We have the greatest prophet of all – JM. therefore, we have the ability to live the 100% Christian Life. Paul did not (maybe 95%). 🙂
    I don’t recall JM’s explanation of 1Cor3. I just remember that it makes no sense. I’ll look it up for you.

  41. Jack – even if John Mac studied Romans 7, he would not admit it deals with Paul speaking in present tense. MacArthur says this is Paul in his old life. It is why they (load-ship) do not believe in two men, they believe only in one new man as you know.

  42. John O-

    John MacArthur may not comprehend the ‘disconnect’ between professing Christians and their ‘carnal behavior’ but I cannot comprehend the disconnect with these Loadship teachers and the plain teaching of 1 Cor 3 regarding carnal believers unfortunately being a reality. Or the very clear facts of 1 Cor 5 that immature believers do have a ‘disconnect’ with their carnality, not even mourning it or disciplining the immorality.

    What are they missing if indeed they understood the plain gospel? Sanctification. Being fed.

    What happens in these Loadship churches if they believed at one time the plain gospel? What are they missing? Effectiveness, assurance and growing in grace. Their growth is stunted as the accuser of the brethren stands accusing them daily. Their assurance is wilted, they are discouraged and depressed as you say, because an honest person realizes they cannot do it. These others are deceived and deceiving sadly, we can keep speaking the truth and praying they will hear.

  43. Thanks John O,

    Your efforts may be the start of something good happening for the Lord at CRU. I would love to be able to declare to the world that CRU has a clear Grace Gospel salvation message.

    I will be praying for you as you speak with your daughter and friend.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  44. John Opferman

    Great Point! I’ll talk to my daughter and friend about how to make some changes.

  45. John O,

    No problem, you are not dominating ExP. Others are welcome and do comment on many other articles as they see fit.

    Referring to CRU, Founder Bill Bright, had a Lordship “Salvation” message on his original tract and writings. You may remember it. His message was to “Take self off the throne of your life and put God/Jesus on the throne of your life.” They have changed that message somewhat since Bright’s death.. but it could certainly be clearer.

    I thank the Lord for you and all who may have believed in Jesus Christ alone for their salvation through Campus Crusade in spite of their official message.

    It would be wonderful if someone of influence could get into the CRU organization leadership and clarify their message to comport more accurately with Scripture.

    Here is the CRU Lordship “Salvation” prayer last time I looked:

    “Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. […] Take control of the THRONE of my life. Make me the person You want me to be.”

    Mixing their version of salvation by “opening the door of one’s life” for eternal life (where do they get that “salvation” message?) and then, as if it were part of “salvation,” they mix that with discipleship (an act of the Believer’s will and determination) such as “take control of my life…. and make me the person….you would have me to be,”

    Thanks for your comments.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  46. John Opferman

    My intent was never to dominate this Board. It just brings back so many bad memories that I had forgotten. It’s so bad that I don’t want others to fall into this.
    I need to thank God, the Holy Spirit for taking them out from among them using my roommate in CRU (fka Campus Crusade for Christ). He told me that Jesus came to die. I believed him. Before that, I believed Jesus came to show how to live. I’m happy to say that my friend is still a missionary for CRU & my daughter is a proud member of CRU.

  47. John O.

    JMac’s is a total “lose-lose theology.”

    It is so great that you now see the Truth of God’s Grace, are “not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ” and proclaim it!!

    To “come out from among them” doesn’t happen very often.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  48. John Opferman

    Yes! As we get deeper into this, the Cult of John Mac gets further from the simple truth of the Gospel. JM’s nickname among my UCLA & Master’s College friends was “The Pope.” He was sinless in his decrees and behavior. Those of us who worshipped JM believed 1 of the 2 following “facts:”
    1. We were living the “100% Christian Life.” in fact, we surpassed Paul in Holiness and were fully “Justified” in the way JM defines it and fully “Sanctified” in the way Baptists define it. (I was in this state of delusion.)
    2. Some of my friends were the opposite. “I SIN. I am not saved. I can never get saved. I am depressed. Christianity is a futile burden and I must suffer until I figure out how to give God everything.”

  49. John O,

    JMac needs to study scripture — particularly Paul’s account of his struggle with sin. MacArthur chooses scripture that will fit his mantra$ and ignores the obvious:

    Apostle Paul: Romans 7:14-25
    For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
    [15] For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
    [16] If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
    [17] Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
    [18] For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
    [19] For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
    [20] Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
    [21] I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
    [22] For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
    [23] But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
    [24] O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
    [25] I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
    So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  50. John Opferman

    Thanks for the encouragement – and likewise to you.
    JM said something to the effect that he could not comprehend the disconnect between professing Christians and their carnal behavior. They are supposed to be NEW creatures in Christ. (I can look up the citations later.) The logical question became: They are unchanged. What are they missing? JM’s Answer: Those people never made the transaction (sale) of “giving all that they are for all that He is” as illustrated in the Parables (citation needed).
    The True Believers response beyond what we all have stated above: JM has confused the distinction between a “Christian (Disciple)” and a person who has received the gift “Believer.” JM goes on to even mock those who believe the plain meaning of 2 Timothy 2:13 (citation needed).
    -John O



  52. John Opferman,

    It is so disturbing that as soon as man puts his trust in man, (as John MacArthur has obviously done years ago), the chance of them understanding truth becomes dimmer. I am so weary of the ‘great’ authors that require so much energy to even wade through their intellectualism or whatever you want to call it, wise in their own eyes,,.

    How did he progress to say that the parables say that men did buy their own salvation? Must be why he believes it is ‘Hard to believe”… I think he made an open sequel for himself, a horror story that people are riveted to, waiting for the next book as they don’t know if they are going to make it to eternal life or not…sad…

    Glad you are fellowshipping here with us 🙂

  53. Curtis, it can certainly be stressful at times in the battle can’t it? Keep your armor on as Jack already mentioned. We sometimes (or at least I do) go out there for battle and haven’t quite gotten our armor totally on. Revive and strengthen yourself in His Word (Ps 119:25, 28).

    I love the passage in Micah 6. Simplicity in what He asks, and so thankful He is there to help me, weakling that I am. Such a great love. May I honor Him. But I sure am more able walking in His grace than in bondage and constant accusation. Praise God that He keeps us and will let no one, most especially these men, snatch us out of His hand.

  54. Mary, I understand what you are saying about when it dawned on you, it shook you up. I didn’t know much about Calvinism until I ran into a die-hard ‘scholar’, and he didn’t identify ‘what’ he was, but after a long conversation went sour, I began to see the same pattern over the years with them. Flattery would seem to be the first line of defense, then a form of elevating themselves through length of time being saved, amount of books read, church fathers and history known, education, etc. If that didn’t work, then a flat out accusation campaign that ramped up.

    I agree with you that it is a mission to speak against this false gospel they have propagated everywhere, growing like weeds. It might seem hopeless, but greater is He that is in us… 🙂

    One thing that I am no longer afraid to do is speak out against John Macarthur or any of them, because it’s not about me. If it were, then I need to pack up and go home 🙂 It’s His truth, not mine, and they are lying against the truth. Yes, he has his own Bible and his seminary and his 150_ books. All I can say to them is, “woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

  55. John Opferman

    I agree completely – We are free to do good and be joyful in it. The unbeliever is in bondage.
    ooops, I meant Jim.

  56. sorry I didn’t listen to that .

    For me LS is a constant reminder of our sinfulness instead of our focus being on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. Of who we are in Christ Jesus. LS is like AA meetings they remind everyone they are Alcoholics but if they be In Christ Jesus they are free from Alcohol .
    Once I raised my hand during a prayer meeting bible study focused on sin and sin management and asked ” may I be called a saint once ” why is Paul the only one that calls me a Saint ? ( cricket sound ) .
    When we fellowship we should be reminding one another of who we are in Christ Jesus and what His death burial and Resurrection has done for us.

    Gal 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

    what does the Lord require ? , Do Justly , Love Mercy , Walk in Humility with thy God.

    Mic 6:6 Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?
    Mic 6:7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
    Mic 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

    2Co 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

    2Co 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.


  57. John Opferman

    Hi Curtis,
    Thanks for the link. Obviously the sermons were chosen carefully for publication.
    Please help me out. I listened to -33 to -28 & can’t hear the LS part. (I was an unsaved LordShipper for about 4 years. I would have made JM proud!) I believe that we are called to a sinless life so that we may gain rewards in glorification-salvation (Heaven)(1Cor3). Though we have brief moments of time that we behave sinlessly (1John) through the Holy Spirit, we are NOT free from the power of sin until glorification.

  58. Mary if I may say from my own experience , the battle is not ours , I am responsible for my own soul first. Few very very few come out of indoctrination ( teaching’s of men) Jesus said Beware of the leaven of pharisee’s . Unfortunately there are many souls in the world who don’t want to think for themselves but are happy to have someone tell them what to think and do for salvation / eternal life. There are many who take advantage of that.
    I myself manage to get myself all worked up over trying to get leaders to see the simplicity of Christ all it did was land me in the hospital and took 5 days to get my heart beat back in rhythm from all the stress.
    I love the zeal here on expreacherman for the simplicity of Christ in salvation just remember its all about Jesus . What He has already done for us for eternal life.
    The simplicity of salvation in Christ Jesus don’t sell a lot of books . Now ten thousand instructors that is a lot of books and a lot of $$$$$$$.

    1Co 4:15 For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.


  59. John Opferman

    Thanks for the welcome. I’ve had the same experiences. (I had a joke for you but it was disallowed.)

  60. People have become so scared to take John Mac on or too scared to call him a false teacher. They think because his ministry is so big and he is so intelligent that surely god is blessing his ministry. They say he has gods favour on him, just like Hinn and Copeland do too. The World Council of Churches and the Mega Churches have lots of money too, that doesn’t mean god is pleased with them, especially if they promote a false gospel.
    We certainly have a battle on our hands to save the (saved??) in the churches. Its hard to come to terms a lot of churches seem like their christian, but preach another Jesus and gospel.

  61. Curtis,

    That is a pitiful situation… the influence of one man, JMac, destroys a church and its families. But it happens everywhere.

    BTW, it is sad to realize that the IFCA is now known as the “IFCA International” and is represented literally all over the world, Africa, Europe, etc, etc.

    The IFCA, with the power and promotion of JMac, is a force to be reckoned with for those of us who believe salvation is God’s free Gift to mankind.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  62. Here in PA JMac teaching came in and swept a IFCA church elder board right off its feet except for 2. The church we had attended had a 40 year doctrinal statement that stood the test of time till JMac came along. Sunday school classes turned into lectures on the last book on calvanism the teacher read. All material had to have the JMac stamp or it didn’t get taught. If you were to question the elders you were of satan and being divisive. We saw families split when the group left to start their own church.
    one of Dave Hunt’s last vidioes on calvanism was a response from that church split here over calvanism.


  63. John Opferman

    Thanks Jack – I didn’t know that JMac had such far-reaching influence beyond So California. That’s awful.

  64. John O,

    One of the many problems with JMac is that he MAY have started out with a clear message but when he deviated into the lie of LS and Calvinism, he had many followers who did just that, followed his error without question. And they still do.

    Now his flourishing school and seminary teach and propagate lies as facts.

    And for years now while teaching false doctrine, he remains a member in good standing and a big bucks supporter of the formerly reputable IFCA (Independent Fundamental Churches of America) and the IFCA allows JMac’s school and seminary to advertise in the large, expensive, full color centerfold of their “Voice” magazine.

    This falsely advertises to other IFCA churches worldwide, saying to them, “John MacArthur is sound and we of the IFCA recommend you send your preacher-boys to Southern California to JMac’s schools so he can teach them to do it right.”

    This is Biblically WRONG and the IFCA should know better.. but they cruise along and accept the terrible twisting of God’s Word with a blind eye. And false teaching is propagated from one IFCA church to another.

    So sad that no IFCA member refuses to challenge their organization’s errant support of JMac. (Or maybe they do and it is suppressed. We may never know).

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  65. Hi John O,

    Thankfully most everything is online anymore. You can go to the site, click on “John’s sermons” at the top of the page, then click on the date tab to choose the year. They have them all the way back to 1969. (Normally I don’t recommend going to this site for anyone.) If you want to hear what I was referring to, listen to the 1969 sermon on Mark’s of God’s Children mins 29 – 33 or so. This type of sermon can still be heard today in just about any “Fundamental” Baptist church in America. IT has parts where it sounds like grace but also parts where it is clearly not grace.

    Jim F

  66. John Opferman

    Thanks Jim – That’s a shame in that thousands of souls may have been lost in the early years at Grace Community as well. Where did you find the old recordings? I have old cassette tapes (but no cassette player)

  67. John Opferman

    Your desire to deliver the Gospel to the church is a real encouragement to me. Pray for me that I gain back that same desire. I’ve spent countless hours trying to get to the roots of the problem. I think that you are correct in that one of the foundational issues is understanding their false gospel. What separates true Christianity from all other religions? or What makes the LS (or Catholic or LDS or JH, etc) gospel false?” Every person who understands the Gospel correctly answers the following question with, “yes:” EVERY unbeliever answers “no.”
    Is it possible to enter Heaven directly without 1 single good work? (1Cor3:14-15).
    Another question is: “Is love for God required for justification-salvation?” JM said, “When a person is truly exercising saving faith, I believe that there is a great love for God in his heart.”(Which way to Heaven, p. 81).”I do not believe that these are human efforts. I believe that this is what God does in your heart. God gives you a love for Himself. … They are not pre-salvation human works. They’re inherent in God’s saving work.”(The LS of Christ, Sermon 1987)
    The key to the correct answer is that IT DOESN’T MATTER if God causes the love for Him or we cause it. Love for God is a Work of the Law (Commandment #1). Therefore, LS teaches salvation through the Law. Romans 3:28 clearly excludes obedience to Law for salvation. (In fact, our motivation to accept the gift of salvation is selfish fear of going to Hell.)

  68. Thanks John O,

    I just listened to parts of a sermon from MacArthur that was preached in 1969 called The Marks of God’s Children. He seemed to be advocating a back door Lordship message. Maybe all he did over the years was go from backdoor to front door LS.

    I’ve seen the same “progression” happen in friends of mine who grew up with backdoor LS type teaching at their home churches only to go to Bible college and seminary and end up out and out Reformed, Calvinistic, front door, up front, Lordshippers. Or there would be the traumatic experience while at a revival meeting and some Lordship style turn or burn guy would convince everyone they weren’t saved based on fruit inspection and sucker everyone into “turning from sin” and really getting saved. I remember one such preacher always came to a camp I worked at and I always hated it but din’t know exactly why. Now I know why. He was pushing a total grace squelching works “turn from sin” gospel.

    Jim F

  69. Mary,

    You have no need to fear or be scared. If you trusted Jesus Christ alone as your Savior today, a week ago, a year ago or 16 years ago, you have ETERNAL life right now. Jesus Himself promises you:

    John 10:28
    And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”

    Don’t dwell on the past. Face the future with a new resolve, put on the whole armour of God and go forth sharing the Gospel of God’s Grace.

    Ephesians 6:10-16
    Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. [11] Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. [12] For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. [13] Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. [14] Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; [15] And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; [16] Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.”

    Ours is a rare and precious fellowship of believers here at ExPreacherMan and we are happy to have you here as a beloved Sister in Christ.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  70. Thanks John O about Macarthur, this is what we are dealing with, a works salvation gospel he is either a really deceived man or he knows what he is doing. He certainly is marching down the road to rome, and I have said to Calvanists out there that their gospel is no different to Rome. They say to me we don’t acknowledge the pope and we think he is false. They are under this deception and cannot even see it. Think about it if we didn’t have Calvanism to deal with, this site would not probably even exist. Grace is under attack in the last days, I do call it the monster of the day as it has crept into all the colleges and its dividing us into all different camps. When we get to heaven, there will not be all this infighting and differences.

    Even so come lord jesus, we tire of all these debates.

  71. Thats very disturbing to hear Ryrie, thinks like this, the doctrine of justification is truly a doctrine in crisis, we really do have to define our words in the days we are living in. As satan has subtely redefined their meanings, and if god is going to judge us for every word we say, then it is important. The independent Baptist church I attended all used Ryries, bibles and comments and thats what I have been saying if Ryries commentaries and bibles cannot be fully trusted, how can I really know that I am on the right road. It seems there are so many schools and camps out there. If you are a new christian, you just don’t know who to believe. Sometimes I think am I really a christian and will I be one of those that Jesus will say to me, I never knew you.
    No one can even agree on the simplicity of the gospel, I have only been a christian for 16 years and now I think, was I truly a christian all those years ago, I have only come to this clear understanding of the gospel until recently, and that scares me as I never truly understood Calvanism and Lship salvation until god put a Calvanist in my home and I saw how differently he interpreted the scriptures.
    I realised it just wasn’t a matter of semantics but that they had a different gospel, and when it dawned upon me it absolutely shook me.
    Now we have a mission just in the church, of getting people to understand and dismantle this false gospel they are all under. Macarthur has a lot to answer for. As he is classed as the best solid teacher out there, that he is the great.

  72. John Opferman

    Hi Jim,
    I don’t want to libel JM, so, this is just a theory that was prevalent back then based on some of his sermons, comments from those close to him, and a news magazine on a major TV network. If I am incorrect, I will gladly retract any of this.
    JM said in a 1969 fiery sermon at GCC, “… One thing God cannot tolerate is a mixture of law & grace in salvation because it does a disservice to the finished work of Christ on the cross and that’s the most damning heresy of all. If a man is not preaching the Biblical Christ, if he’s not preaching the divine son of God, the unique Christ whose blood atonement paid for sin and which payment received in full is by faith alone, then God have mercy on his accursed soul!” [ AMEN!]
    In the 1970’s JM took a troubled young man into his home. The young man professed belief in the Gospel but continued to mess up. Finally, the young man took his own life and devastated all at the church who invested in him. I can understand JM or anyone thinking, “This gospel that I’m preaching must be incomplete. I fail. (I sin.) I gave this young man a loving, stable home + the gospel and it failed.” After reading the “great” Puritan authors, JM realized that faith in the gift of God was insufficient. .. After all it couldn’t save a man from bad behavior & depression.
    His sermons began to include anecdotal stories of professing believers who failed. Being intellectually honest, he progressed to the logical extreme of Calvinism: “Justified means, we are not only declared righteous , we are made righteous.”(1984). “True salvation comes to those who understand that they are giving all they are for all that He is.”(1987) “In a sense, the parables say the men did buy their salvation.”(1988)
    … Sad

  73. John Opferman

    This is the Gospel in its entirety. Just preach it:
    Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast [a]the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
    3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures

    It’s not possible to undercut it. There’s no correct way to add to it that does not render it worthless.

  74. John O,

    Welcome. I for one would be interested in JMac’s “progression” to Puritanism / Reformed theology. I remember reading something about it before but can’t remember where.

    There are some still standing for Grace. I decide a little over a year ago to start a blog of my own. I also attend the Grace conference every year in Chicago and there are many Grace pastors that attend.

    Jim F

  75. Austin,

    A works gospel is not the gospel of the NT. Works didn’t save in the OT either.

    Jim F

  76. Austin,

    Welcome and thanks for commenting.

    Your statements reflect that you are a devotee of Reformed teaching and Calvinism through your quoting Murray J. Harris. He is a darling among Calvinist elites. Some of your quoted list from Harris makes God’s FREE Gift of salvation a litany of works – not His Gift..

    It is odd that you assume we here at ExPreacherMan do not believe that Jesus IS the Lord God Almighty. We do so emphatically!!

    Perhaps had you taken time to read our Statement of Faith or our articles defining Lordship “salvation” you would better understands our sound Biblical positions.

    From our Statement of Faith

    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 to 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

    Lordship “salvation” Defined

    Austin, if you are depending upon your behavior in any way to prove or justify your salvific faith before The Lord, such is counter to God’s Grace. We suggest you simply make the one time personal decision by God’s Grace through your personal faith decision, to believe in Jesus Christ alone as your Savior. All the fancy words and repetitive mantras in the world cannot save, ONLY faith alone in Jesus alone (without any works) saves. (Titus 3:5)

    We will pray for you.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  77. Welcome John O and thank you for your testimony . Thanks for holding the line when I didn’t know there was a line to stand firm on with LS.
    Thanks to all who proclaim the simplicity of Christ here.

    My wife and I attended a IFCA church for 8 years she was secretary. We left when the senior pastor retired and my wife joined me in business. I did 3 tours with New York Gospel outreach City Vision and proclaimed Grace . I got side tracked into Calvinism and legalism from a mentor and didn’t even know it and took calvanism with my own self deception to the point of denying the trinity and divinity of Jesus. Aug 2010 I had a road to Damascus type encounter. then fall 2011 ironically it was at a IFCA revival service I heard the expression “repent of sins” and I knew it was wrong. Next I am fending off elders of that IFCA church were I was mentored over it.
    I started searching for the simplicity of Christ and went down the Pauline dispensation trail then the free gracer’s who deny the old nature and most venture into Gnosticism I found its just system’s of thought.
    I discovered some hard hitting preaching and teaching on youtube of Grace through faith and some digging on internet found EXpreacherman .
    sad to say to me there is very very little grace preaching out there that does not mess with “Justified Freely” but ads a element of works to eternal life. so from what I have experienced personally just these passed years 11 out of one thousand would be about right who communicate clearly the Gospel. it sure is something the pastors and lay people I have talked to looking for an assembly to attend want to make sin the issue for eternal life and try to make sin the focus when I bring up ” Justified freely by His Grace” . the conversation turns time after time about homosexuals. seems like we can get saved ourselves and then can get a dose of the prodigal son’s brother. Not showing mercy to a soul whom it may take decades to come out of a offensive lifestyle what ever it maybe name your besetting sin.


  78. John Opferman

    Thanks Mary – My impression with him was that he put it in the category of “Is Scripture inerrant?” Yes, it’s important to believe in the inerrancy of Scripture but we can be brothers in Christ and disagree on that topic.
    You’re probably familiar with Ryrie’s comments on James 2:24:”Unproductive faith cannot save because it is not genuine faith. Faith and works are like a two-coupon ticket to Heaven. The coupon of works is not good for passage, and the coupon of faith is not valid if detached from works.” If that’s not LS, I don’t know what is. (The Thief & 1Cor3 prove the contrary).
    Mr Ryrie, What is James truly saying? It’s really simple: Justification before MEN requires good works to prove your faith to them because MEN cannot see faith. Good works have nothing to do with getting into Heaven. Good works will cause other HUMANS to look at you and say, “Mary is righteous.” I would say that Mother Theresa is “saved” (righteous)(justified) but I have no idea whether she is in heaven. So, yes, Mother Theresa is justified/saved in my sight. God looks at my trust in the Good Work of Christ and declares me righteous based on that alone.

  79. Pastor, the lordship of Christ is an important doctrine. It meant something to the early Church. In his Second Corinthians commentary, Murray J. Harris writes that whenever worshipping Christians repeat the Church’s confession “Jesus is Lord,” they are:

    1. Implying that the Christ of faith was none other than the Jesus of history (Acts 2:34-36),
    2. Acknowledging the deity of Christ (John 20:28; Phil. 2:6-11),
    3. Admitting the Lord’s personal rights to absolute supremacy in the universe, the church, and individual lives (Acts 10:36; Rom. 10:12, 14:8; 1 Cor. 8:6; Jas. 4:15),
    4. Affirming the triumph of Christ over death and hostile cosmic powers when God raised him from the dead (Rom. 10:9, 14:9; Eph. 1:20-22; Col. 2:10, 15) and therefore also the Christian’s hope of resurrection (1 Cor. 6:14; 2 Cor. 4:14),
    5. Epitomizing the Christian message (kerugma- Rom. 10:8-9; 2 Cor. 4:5) and defining the basis of Christian teaching (didache- Col. 2:6-7),
    6. Declaring everyone’s accountability to the Lord, the righteous judge (1 Cor. 4:5; 2 Tim. 4:1, 8),
    7. Making a personal and public declaration of faith (Rom. 10:9), which testifies to their being led by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3), and
    8. Repudiating their former allegiance to many pagan “lords” and reaffirming their loyalty to one Lord through and in whom they exist (1 Cor. 8:5-6; 1 Tim. 6:15).

    If you preach a “gospel” that undercuts any of those foundational aspects of the lordship of Christ, it isn’t the Gospel of the New Testament.


  81. John Opferman

    Thank you all for your welcome. I grew up in Southern California and even attended John Mac’s church a few times as his church was our “sister church” in the Conservative Baptist Conference. If you don’t know and are curious, I can help explain what is held to be the history behind John Mac’s switch to Puritanism/LS.
    To my knowledge, the early voices for truth have passed or given up. I have curiosity as to who, if anyone, is representing grace currently.

  82. John O, welcome!

    Like you, I have found very few who can articulate what being a believer in Christ really means. It is great to have you here, and your first-hand knowledge of Ryrie’s error is consistent with my impression, after having read an astoundingly bad Ryrie quote a couple of years ago.

  83. John O, good to have you and your wife here with us.

    Lots of us have been battle scarred in different ways by this teaching. I believe Lordship permeates most churches to varying degrees, some worse than others, although a little leaven certainly leavens the whole lump. And it seems if you try to suggest someone be careful in delivering the gospel, they can oddly be cavalier about such a matter of life and death. They are unafraid of adding something that is not there… May I not add or take away one whit from His Word, I am so thankful for Him setting me free in more ways than one, may we continue to share the truth so that others too may be made free indeed…

  84. John O.,

    (Our ExP co-administrator is John, so if you don’t mind we will address you as John O).

    You are certainly welcome to bring your battle scars to our humble web site and carry on the battle for God’s Free Grace in Jesus Christ alone. You will find many regulars here who have likewise suffered disappointment and battle scars trying to uphold Bible Truth. We welcome you and your family to our online fellowship.

    We are aware of Ryrie’s errors or compromise, whatever we call them but it is good to have first hand information about him (and JMac for that matter). I am sure your input will be valuable to our readers and commenters.

    As someone suggested, ExPreacherMan is indeed an Oasis of Grace. Not many of us around. A few remaining are represented here and comment regularly. You will recognize them by their comments.

    Come back often, read our previous articles — we appreciate the encouragement.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  85. John Opferman

    My wife, kids, and I are battle-scarred veterans of the LS war. We appreciate your ministry and direct others to your web page for the truth. “The road is narrow…” I have discussed the topic with John MacArthur and many others while being a believer in LS-saturated So Cal.
    With respect to your section about “Giving some people a pass:” When I was a young man in the 1980’s, I met with Charles Ryrie in the hopes of gaining an ally and confirmation that justification is a pure gift resulting only from the good work (shed blood) of Jesus and received exclusively through faith alone. I was disappointed to find that Ryrie looked at it as semantics and MacArthur, he, and I are all saints. Later, I read his comments on James and understood that he too is LS. I’ve known thousands of people who profess belief and can only count 11 who have personally communicated the Gospel to me: Jesus is God in human flesh. He died/shed his blood to pay for my sins (past, present, & future). He was raised by the Holy Spirit.
    I am justified (perfect) to God for I must be perfect as God is perfect to enter Heaven. In addition, God, the Holy Spirit, has sanctified me. I am justified, I am sanctified. I still sin, so I long for the future day that I will be completely sinless (glorified) and have the honor to meet you in Heaven.
    Keep up the good work! If you need help with your ministry, we’d love to help.
    John & Family

  86. Curtis, I recently saw a teacher I know say that it was the lesser of two evils basically (the backloading of the gospel)… If both are false and corrupt minds from the simplicity that is in Christ, how can it be a lesser problem? I pray I watch my words when I speak on anything that His Gospel, His Word says differently. The evidence of our salvation is knowing ourselves whether we have believed God’s testimony of His Son. Whatever I believed before and had corrupted, I am so thankful that He made me see I could do nothing. He had done it all. I only had to believe His Word or I could make Him a liar. I never want to make God out to be a liar.

    Praise the Lord it’s not about us.

  87. “This so-called “defense of the gospel” brings in “allies” who want to maintain only part of the integrity of the gospel. For example, a teacher can rail against the evils of promising good works in exchange for salvation, but then endorse the evidence of good works as being a necessary result of salvation.”

    Works is evidence of my faith not for salvation (eternal life) . The evidence of my salvation (eternal life) is by faith receiving Jesus Death burial and resurrection paying my sin debt in full. past ,present ,future permanently no matter what.
    . Its not about me. its all about Jesus
    to teach or preach a soul must show evidence of salvation for eternal life is to say Jesus did not pay my sin debt in full.


  88. Great ones Curtis!

    For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.
    Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech. 2 Cor 3:11-12

  89. Amen Sister

    here is a passage in proverbs to that goes along as well. The Plain answer to a soul who ask’s ” What must I do to be saved” . There was no hesitation just a response.

    Act_16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

    Pro 8:9 They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.

    Pro 8:7 For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
    Pro 8:8 All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.
    Pro 8:9 They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.
    Pro 8:10 Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.


  90. Curtis, I have asked them that question, using those verses. I know because of what you said earlier about falling in love again with His Word, and searching the Scriptures, and pondering small bits of it, that you get my bewilderment at their lack of love and respect for the Scripture.

    One day I was reading Proverbs 22:17-21, and it says for us to bow down our ears and hear the words of the wise, and apply our hearts to His knowledge. How that it is pleasant if we keep them within us, and they will always be upon our lips, and then this part seemed as if He was speaking to me, like, yes Holly, even you 🙂

    20 That thy trust may be in the Lord,
    I have made known to thee this day, even to thee.
    20 Have not I written to thee excellent things
    in counsels and knowledge,
    21 that I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth;
    that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?

  91. Holly said “Curtis, you’d think people would jump on the opportunity to share the gospel anytime anyone asks.”

    2Ti_4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

    1Pe_3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:


  92. John, I believe I understood the gospel when I was young, I know I do now and am very thankful for that, but what is so concerning is even those who claim to preach the gift as being free, are compromising by either vacillating, or by associations, or by quoting men that ought not be shared ever…. very upsetting….

    Very few seem to see the significance of just a favorable quote…. I dare them to quote Satan favorably. They would never dream of it.

  93. Holly, you said: “…this compromise is truly making young ones stumble, but the worst part is those who will not hear the clear gospel, because they chose not to defend the gospel, but to compromise it.”

    My comment: We agree! I grew up going to church, but didn’t understand the gospel until I was 49.

  94. Sam,

    The Pope and Billy Graham…

    You are so right…speaking about Billy Graham got me ‘uninvited’ to a Bible study…

    A lot of the older people just don’t understand. For them, he was the ‘champion’ to them regarding carrying the banner of Christianity in the world. Some say they were saved at one of his ‘crusades’ (interesting choice for his public gatherings isn’t it?)

    They would defend him with “he’s not perfect, nobody is, he’s doing a good job”…. Do these people just not ‘hear’ his gospel? Or are they unclear on what the gospel is? Have they ever understood it themselves?

    These are some questions I ask myself, and try to tell myself, “remember the mercy you were shown”, and I just keep trying along with all of you to share the truth in love with others, walk in wisdom redeeming the time (many are likely without) using grace and salt in my speech hopefully. Feeding His sheep because I love Him, helping prepare them with an answer too, and their feet with the beautiful gospel. And then call a false gospel what it is, so others will be warned, instead of being wishy washy and making friends with the enemy of our souls.

    (I know, they think I am too dramatic)…

  95. Curtis, you’d think people would jump on the opportunity to share the gospel anytime anyone asks.

    I have had the same resistance when asking them to provide the gospel. All they seem to do is stall in giving it, or they’ll provide the gospel, then they’ll qualify it with their own parameters.

    What you said about ignorance, reminds me of this again:

    For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. Rom 10:3

  96. Jane and John, this compromise is truly making young ones stumble, but the worst part is those who will not hear the clear gospel, because they chose not to defend the gospel, but to compromise it.

  97. So true, they are the majority of the ‘discernment’ sites. I agree completely about the Lordship outing or defending against the Calvinist, i.e., Chris Pinto debating James White, or unfortunately we see the Creationists, I actually am not aware of any who are not one or the other.

    I see so many who supposedly know better who quote Spurgeon, or Augustine, it’s frustrating and disheartening when they act as if they do not understand what your problem is with it.

  98. I had breakfast with a dear sweet brother in Christ who Preaches Christ Crucified , by Grace Through Faith. this am and we talked of that Sam . about what apostle Paul was thinking and what he saw when he said I marvel …., Who bewitched you ? …

    Gal 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
    Gal 1:7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
    Gal 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.
    Gal 1:9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

    Gal 3:1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
    Gal 3:2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?


  99. The pope and billy graham are the main leaders at the present time and if you say anything critical about either of them in most circles you better be prepared.It truely is a spiritual battle for the truth of a clear Gospel now also as it was back in galations when Paul was preaching.I can only imagine what he went through besides what we know about.Its unfortunate these guys today don”t see the error of adding works to the gift of salvation that Christ purchased with his own blood for all who believe.I guess if they taught the truth they wouldnt have the following they have now.Its to bad most people dont put forth the effort to see if what they say is correct especially since nothing matters more than this.Thanks Johninnc and all of you guys that stand up for the truth.

  100. For me right on the money about discernment . I wished I would of studied scripture for myself as a young man and young believer. I was a truck driver in my youth and would blindly listen to any preaching on the radio as I drove truck. I should of been seeking scripture what I heard to see if they were so.
    after all I have been through the passed several years now being 50 years old. I made myself a personal promise that I choose not to sit under any preacher or teacher unless I am sure of their doctrinal position towards Salvation and Repentance. It has taken me a long time to fall in love with God’s Word once again and I love to search out the Scriptures and ponder small bites of it.


  101. Jane,

    Thanks for your enlightening comment.

    You said: “The problem comes when sharing the few correct views of an LS writer with the masses of people whose discernment is not well-developed.”

    That is the BIG problem. John and I were discussing the exact thing earlier by email — George Zeller (Middletown Bible Church) sounds like JMac in his explanations of Grace but then Zeller is then recommended by a well known “Grace” site who endorses the terrible sermons of Spurgeon.

    “Round and round the mulberry bush” we go..

    Thanks for your contribution!!

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  102. Curtis,

    Thanks for that story — a great illustration of John’s point. Sad but true and too prevalent.

    I guess saying “willfully ignorant” is giving some of these folks too much credit.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  103. Curtis, exactly!

  104. I just went through this with a traveling evangelist who when asked by email “what a soul needs to do to be saved ? ” would not give me the gospel but wanted to know who i was , my background, how i found his email, what is my motive for asking, am I a genuine seeker of Truth?.
    It took awhile for me to finally get a response but he did admit finally to we are saved by grace in Eph 2:8-9 but however and I quote :

    ” I do not believe works purchase salvation at all, but works prove salvation! Faith without works is dead, James 2. So you do not have to fear me teaching LS. ”

    so I hope you all see this subtle twist of another gospel and how mixed up this gentleman is teaching LS and don’t even know it and or is willfully Ignorant.


  105. I think that using LS/Calvinist allies to defend the gospel also leads one to assume that it is OK to be in communion with such and to compromise.

  106. This is Jane, John’s wife.

    This “game of deceit” to which you refer reminds me of the adage “a broken clock is right twice a day”. I know there are statements which LS writers have made that make good points, or say something exactly the way you may have said something. Sharing this information between discerning, mature believers who are aware of the inadequacies of their source of information should be OK. The problem comes when sharing the few correct views of an LS writer with the masses of people whose discernment is not well-developed. When the LS writer’s comments are used, the less discerning or new believer (or “weaker brother”) may assume that if one statement from that source is correct, that they all must be correct. Trying to explain why some of a writer’s comments are acceptable and others are not can lead to a great amount of confusion for the less-discerning Christian. I think that’s why it is important to either use only the Bible to make a point, or writers and sites who share the same free grace message that we believe.

  107. John,

    Excellent article and an interesting concept! The clever deceit continues so we who oppose that foul game of deceit MUST also continue.


    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack