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.