Lordship Salvation’s James Gang: Robbing the Gospel

The James Gang, also known as the James-Younger Gang, was a nineteenth century band of outlaws led by the notorious Frank and Jesse James, and Cole Younger. They robbed trains, stagecoaches, and banks.

According to linecamp.com:

James Gang Originally formed around 1866, with its leaders being, Frank James, Jesse James, and Cole Younger. From 1866 to 1881, the James Gang knew a fairly active life. James Gang members averaged around twelve men, formerly members of Quantrills Guerillas

 James Gang carried out stagecoach robberies with elaborate escape routes and knew the area, the lawmen and the communities. The Missouri southern sympathizers regularly sheltered from the long arm of the law the James Gang.

Within the spiritual realm, there is also a “James Gang” of sorts. Their leaders are not the James brothers or Cole Younger. Their leader is Satan. Their targets aren’t trains, stagecoaches, or banks. Their target is the gospel. Their weapons aren’t guns. Their weapons are Bible verses, always taken out of context, used to try to prove that one CANNOT be saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Their weapon of choice? The book of James.

Following is an observation on the misuse of the book of James by Lordship “salvationists” from Clear Gospel Campaign:

…those who believe that they, rather than Jesus Christ, are the Savior of their own souls, have, for centuries, sought from Scripture proof-texts to justify this conclusion.

 Perhaps no other passage in Scripture has been more abused to justify this belief than the second chapter of James.  As a result, unregenerate teachers claim that James teaches salvation by “faith plus works, and justification by “faith plus works,” and that evangelicals are preaching a half-truth when they preach that Jesus Christ alone is sufficient for man’s salvation.

The spiritual James Gang does not commit their crimes on horseback. They commit their crimes from the pulpit, from behind a keyboard, in Bible studies, in social media, and in the printing press.

Just like the James-Younger Gang had sympathizers, the spiritual James Gang has sympathizers who aid and abet their assaults on the gospel.   Some of the sympathizers do it knowingly, while others are unwitting.

Forms of sympathy for the evil works of the James Gang include: joining their churches, buying their books, maintaining Christian fellowship with them, and worst of all – agreeing with them IN PART.

Consider, for example, the following quote from Charles Ryrie, whom many would consider to be a champion for the purity of the gospel, 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.

The reality is, the book of James was written to believers, calling them to an active faith. It was written, because many of its readers need to be spurred by God’s Word to an active faith. It was not written to tell who the “real Christians” are. It was not a “test of life” to determine whether someone had, or had not, believed in Christ as Savior.

Following are some key points to consider, from Clear Gospel Campaign:

James is not speaking of being saved by “faith plus works.”

James is not speaking of a “faith that works.”  (As if works “automatically” follow eternal salvation.)

James is not saying that works will “automatically” follow eternal salvation.

James is not saying that works will “prove” whether or not someone has “really” been saved.

The reason, quite simply, is that James isn’t speaking about eternal salvation at all.  He is speaking of salvation from trials and hardships.

While the target of the spiritual James Gang is the gospel, the victims are the people who teach a false gospel and the people who believe it.   If you have been victimized by the James Gang, and would like to know how to receive the FREE GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE, please read the following link:


109 responses to “Lordship Salvation’s James Gang: Robbing the Gospel

  1. JannaG, I know what Roman Catholics do with that passage. They try to use it as “proof” of Purgatory. If you point out to them that the verse says it’s the works which are burned, not the believer, they’ll amaze you with rhetorical gymnastics which may make your head spin. If not well-schooled enough for that, they’ll say, “That’s just your interpretation.” They use that one a lot. Veiled legalism has been thoroughly honed and raised to a fine art in the RCC. Basically, your valid, well-reasoned point will likely fall on deaf ears.

    But the Word of God is powerful (Heb 4:12) so it just might get through eventually. I wouldn’t expect a Catholic to acknowledge it right away. Still, it may get them to be a-thinkin’.

  2. JannaG, you make a very good point.

    The false gospels of works for eternal life contradict the Bible in that instance and so many more.

  3. What I would like to know is what the James gang makes of passages like 1 Corinthians 3:15:

    If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

    So these people have been left with no real viable works. They’ve done nothing of lasting value. But, yet they are still saved. Somehow, they got their ticket without works.

  4. James 2 is something you just automatically know is coming next (when you talk to any loadshipper, Roman Catholic, Calvinist or Arminian). They are all consistent in their protesting when you proclaim that salvation is through belief in Jesus Christ and Him crucified for our sins, and risen again proving His Godhood, His victory over sin, death and the grave, and the truth that He too will raise us up again one day to eternal life.

    They love to say He did all the work in salvation, but all they mean is that we can’t believe because we are ‘dead’ and unable to believe. They have done violence to the power of the gospel, and lie against the truth, because He calls us to believe in the truth therefore we are able, He does not pretend, He is not deceptive, it is not complicated.

    I cannot imagine the fear in secret that has to accompany this ‘salvation’ that they possess. Even if they have been saved eternally, then they are bewitched and in bondage, and biting and devouring one another and not obeying the truth. Very sad the destruction this false gospel causes, and the damage it has caused in the walk of many, along with the death it has caused in those who have believed a lie.

  5. Keith, I sure enjoy both of those pastors as well as Hank Lindstrom (same site as Yankee). It is so freeing to be in His Word and come out from that kind of teaching. It changed my fellowship in so many ways with the Lord, and also with others, both believers and non-believers. It also helped so much with presenting a clear gospel and seeing people come to faith in Christ and Him crucified for them. So thankful… Good to know you ❤

  6. Johninnc and Holly, thank you for the welcome. The Lord led me here about a year ago and has used this website, along with pastors like Ralph Yankee Arnold and Tom Cucuzza, to clarify my understanding of the Gospel after having spent years under LS teaching. I always appreciate the spiritual insight in both the articles and the comments whenever I come here. Keep up the good work!

  7. Hi Keith, another good discussion. Welcome, nice to meet you. We can be saved/delivered from all sorts of things. On my blog on eternal security, some of the things we can be saved from are:

    Loss of Fellowship with God (1 John 1:3, 6,9)
    Loss of Fellowship with others (1 John 1:3, 7)
    Loss of Fullness of joy in or walk (1 John 1:4)
    Loss of Rewards at the judgment seat of Christ (1 Cor 3:10-16)
    Judgment upon ourselves in this lifetime (1 Cor 11:29)
    Loss of our physical life (1 Cor 5:5; Acts 5:1-11, 1 Cor 11:30)
    Loss of our health, be weak or sickly (1 Cor 11:30)
    Loss of our testimony or justification before men (James 2, Titus 3:8)
    Shaming the name of Christ for sins named among us (Eph 5:3).
    Face chastening (1 Cor 11:32; Heb 12:5-6)
    Face consequences for our actions (Gal 6:7-9)
    Others face things because of us, including loss of knowing Christ. (Gal 6:9)
    Saved from straying from the truth, and becoming dishonorable – (2 Tim 2:18-20)
    Being ashamed at His appearing – (1 John 2:28)
    Saved from losing the joy of our salvation (Ps 51:12)

  8. Keith, welcome and thanks for your contribution to this discussion!

  9. Long-time reader and first-time poster here. I think that one possible interpretation of what James meant by “saved” in 2:14 relates back to justification before men in verse 24.

    Proverbs 21:13 states, “Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard”.

    In writing to the Corinthian church regarding the gifts which they had pledged for the purpose of alleviating the suffering of the church at Jerusalem during the famine of that time, Paul wrote, “For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened. But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality”. (2 Corinthians 8:13-14).

    The believers in Galatia were exhorted to do good to all people, particularly to other believers (Galatians 6:10).

    Thus, James may have meant that if his readers would meet the physical needs of those believers who were suffering at their time of need, then in turn those believers who had been helped would remember to supply the needs of those believers who had previously given. On the other hand, if his readers ignored he plight of those believers who were in need, then those believers may be less likely to come to his readers’ rescue should they have the same need in the future.

    So faith without works would not save James’ readers from being rescued from a similar temporal need in the future and also would not save them from loss at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

    However, as you said, the “saved” in verse 2:14 cannot possibly refer to salvation from the eternal penalty of sin because justification before God is by faith in Christ alone (Romans 4:5). James repeatedly affirmed throughout that his letter was addressed to those who had already believed the Gospel and experienced the new birth (James 1:18).

  10. Preston, this is a great explanation, and it is completely consistent with salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

    Regarding James 2:14, I wonder when it says “what doth it profit” and “can faith save him” – who is the object of these questions? Is it the person who is neglecting those works or the person being neglected?

    In other words, is this a “what doth it profit” sandwich directed at the person being neglected.

    James 2:14-16:
    [14] What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
    [15] If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
    [16] And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

    Is it possible we have a pronoun problem here, in that we are assuming that “what doth it profit” and “can faith save him” refer to the erring Christian, when in fact they refer to the needful brother or sister? Those needful brothers and sisters need to be saved (delivered) from their dire poverty.

    In either case, “can faith save him” does not refer to eternal salvation.

  11. Preston – It’s funny, I look at your posts and enjoy reading as I see your humble attitude and willingness to carefully address each portion of what was said in Scripture.

    I know you are not debating and hope you know the same about me. Oh my — what is a better Christian? I don’t think we can compare, we’re all different, and sometimes the worst ones might just be the ones that need Him the most.

    Yes, the Pharisees were convicted by their conscience that they were not without sin. All I meant with the rich man to point out (forgive me if I didn’t quite word it as well, just additional thoughts), is that we don’t know if he was convicted of sin or not wanting to lose his possessions (or maybe both).
    I just came to my conclusion because of seeing in Scripture the two things that he didn’t do. He didn’t recognize that he had broken any laws (as you say, of course he had), so it seems he trusted he was good, and he trusted in his riches. He may very well also have been convicted of being a sinner, I just don’t know that sorrow necessarily indicates it, could be sorrow of not understanding what he needed to do.

    I want you know, all I was trying to add to your very well-thought out exposition, I have no idea if I am correct either, just sharing some thoughts.
    Please do not think of me of being smarter, that is not the case, I have a lot time on my hands so I study harder than others have to just to understand the same thing, likely because I’m not as smart as some might think at all. My blogs take me a long time and sometime develop over a very long time because I have difficulty with kids, work, and other things that distract, along with my own brain lacking at times.

    I believe God using me for anything, is a case of God’s lovingkindness towards using a weak and foolish person. My love for God, I don’t know what to say, we all fall short of the greatest commandment. My need has created more love, my dependence and sorrow puts me into His Word, and when you see who He is, how great He is, how kind — His tender mercies all over His works, His goodness and longsuffering, it pains me to know He loves me and I have not loved Him with extravagant love like the women who anointed His feet (I believe there were two different accounts). I am not a demonstrative person, so it’s easier here for me to express myself than in person. For those things I am very grateful to Him.

    But please know every part of the body is necessary and needed, and even if you think you are less honorable, that is not the case, and if it were so, the Bible says you deserve the greater honor. I respect you and love you very much as a brother in Christ, and am thankful for the time you spend to lay out the Scriptures as well as others here.

    I don’t think he understood eternal life – where is trust needed to be places as the just have always lived by faith. And yet we see trusting in his riches was a stumblingblock to his ability to get there. I agree with you, they do not see their need. And it’s also true that problems, sorrows, circumstances of life are what God uses to draw us.

    So it was just me sharing I agree, I’ve always understood that he does not see his need for Christ, and one of the reasons is a lack of acknowledgement that he’s even sinned, thinking he is good, and the other is trusting in riches, which as you say, can keep people from even experiencing a need to seek God.

    I also agree with you here, “being convicted of sin and being convicted of unbelief are two separate things”. Hopefully this young ruler was eventually convicted of the sin of unbelief, which I have great hope that he did.

    I don’t see you as arguing, always willing to discuss Scripture and unlearn something I might not have right. Hope that helps ❤ In Christ, Holly

  12. Preston, understood. I was not suggesting that you were taking the LS view. I went off on a little bit of a tangent in describing how this passage is often errantly taught.

  13. John,

    sorry if I was unclear.

    when the rich young ruler says “what must I DO….
    Jesus says “keep the commandments ” (or doing)
    Jesus tells him what to do to be perfect.
    He didn’t do what was needed to be perfect.
    Jesus simply says to his disciples “it is impossible for man to be perfect”.

    Galations calls the law our schoolmaster to teach us we are sinners.

    I believe Jesus used the law to say “you cant keep it perfectly” – thus you are a sinner (according to the law).

    remember, the young ruler THOUGHT he had kept the law since his youth”.

    point – the law is used to show man of his sinfulness. and that there is NO SALVATION for anyone when comparing to the law – since nobody can be perfect. – including this rich young ruler. At this time; he needed to be shown that he does not keep the law.

    I hope this made sense.

    I hope I did not send a “mixed” signal.

  14. Preston, this is interesting. I have heard this taught that each person has something they must give up that is more important to them than eternal life (in the case of the rich young ruler, it was his money. In other peoples’ cases, it may be some other weakness). This is the crux of the LS message: “if you can’t give up your (insert sin), no salvation for you!” Or, a “softer” version: “You have to be willing to give up your (insert sin) or no salvation for you.” Or, even a “softer” version: “you have to want to give up your (insert sin) or no salvation for you.”

  15. holly,

    not debating but I like discussion. 🙂

    one can be convicted of sin and not be saved. See the Pharisees before they were about to stone the adulteress. They were convicted. What about Judas before he hung himself. He was convicted.
    – Were they convicted of unbelief? if so, I don’t see it.

    I see it as when he “went away sorrowful”. This tells me he realized he couldn’t enter eternal life according to this “good teacher”; for he had many possessions.

    you could very well be correct. I have read many of your posts. you are definitely smarter then me. (as well as a better Christian) – NOT being vindictive BUT showing how much respect I have for you and your “walk”; your website, your experiences, your knowledge, your love for God (with which I am actually jealous, because I don’t seem to love him all that much compared to others). I am sure your rewards will be great; and well deserved.

    I just have a hard time seeing how one would trust their “riches” for eternal life UNLESS they gave most of it away, which they would be actually trusting in their works.

    I see it as “rich people” think they are in need of nothing, that they have “life” figured out. If you think you are in need of nothing THEN you wont look for a solution. I see people, who realize they have problems, are more likely to look to God. I think Jesus was showing him, “you have got a problem”. — otherwise, why would he go away sorrowful. He would have just went away.
    – his original question, “what shall I DO….” – Jesus brought up the law (doing) then he went away sorrowful, realizing there was something he couldn’t “do”. – give up all he had.

    being convicted of sin and being convicted of unbelief are two separate things.

    again, not arguing. just showing a possibility through a “free grace” perspective.


  16. Johninnc, what you said reminded me of the camel and the eye of the needle. The story I was told about the eye of the needle was it was the last gate left open when a city was closed for security. The only way to enter. And for a camel to enter, (because of the height), they had to unload the camel of all it’s burdens in order to enter.

    Lordship people want to load it up with all their wonderful works. And we know that load will keep people from entering the kingdom…

  17. Preston – I agree with your take on the rich man, obviously the point wasn’t to sell all his possessions and it is terribly ironic that the lordship people use this to bolster their case (or so they think). They have recognized Jesus as Lord maybe, but they do not trust on Him as Savior. They trust some in their own works.

    I too have asked the people that use that, have you sold all you have? (Along with have you hated mother, father, sister, brother, etc.?)

    You say below, and I thought that I might expound on a little, just a slightly different take on this one point:

    vs 22 – 22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions

    ME – now this young ruler was convicted of his sin.

    I don’t see Scripture giving us any indication that this young ruler was convicted of his sin, although that was the point of Jesus preaching law to him, not the gospel. If he had been convicted of unbelief, perhaps then He might have believed on His Savior. That is the one sin that keeps us from believing on Him, and the one that the Holy Spirit convicts the world of (Jn 16:8-9). Being sorrowful we all know doesn’t necessarily equate with understanding one’s need for a Savior.

    I believe if we look to the parallel account in Mark 10 vs. 23-27 , we have the answer for his sorrow, he trusted in his riches (at that point — don’t know what happened later).

    23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 26 And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? 27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

  18. Peter, Paul and Jesus all said the same thing. you cant keep they law.


    Acts 15:10 – 10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear
    – said in response to Acts 15:5

    meaning – we, nor our father, cant keep the law either.


    Gal 6 – 13 For NEITHER THEY themselves who are circumcised KEEP THE LAW; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.

    meaning – they cant keep the law


    John 7:19 – Did not Moses give you the law, and yet NONE OF YOU keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?

    The bible is not the easiest book to figure out. But what I cant understand is this, if one is a bible believer THEN, they must admit “the bible CANNOT contradict itself”.

    What grew my faith is when God showed me some answers that I could not figure out on my own (he answered a prayer of mine demanding knowledge). So I CAN understand mis-interpretation of scripture—what I don’t get is how they get around the other passages without thinking, “wait a minute. something is not right”?

    In other words, how can Jesus say “keep the commandments to enter life”. THEN say “you cant keep the law” in another. I would rather them just say “i don’t know” and then search for some truth.

  19. Preston, I interpret the story of the rich young ruler in the same way as you do.

    The account from Matthew is the clearest to me, because Jesus makes it clear that if one is to enter into life (receive eternal life), he must keep the commandments. This includes having always kept the commandments.

    This is why “being willing to turn from sins” in exchange for salvation won’t help. We simply cannot undo the sins we’ve already committed.

  20. Holly, if the baggage isn’t being loaded at the front-end, then it’s being loaded at the back-end.

    If Satan can get is to look to ourselves for assurance of salvation, he’s got us right where he wants us.

  21. The Rich Young Ruler.

    Matt 19:16-30

    verse 16 – And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

    ME – notice he didnt call Jesus Lord, Don of David, the Christ BUT “Good teacher”. Also, when Jesus brought up “do” he would lead to perfection; we will see this later.

    v17 – And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

    ME – there is none good but God. First hint that only God is perfect (good). Also, it is a response to Jesus being called “good teacher”.
    – Keep the commandments – when making the “law” a part of salvation, we will see that is “impossible”.

    v20 – 20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

    ME – first, he has not kept them all. he “thinks” he has. As we will see, Jesus will convict him of sin; which is what needs to happen if one claims to keep the commandments.

    vs 21 – Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be PERFECT, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

    ME – here Jesus equates salvation with the commandments; to be PERFECT.

    vs 22 – 22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions

    ME – now this young ruler was convicted of his sin.

    vs 25 – 25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?

    ME – I am sure they were really stumped. He was a jew; a seed of Abraham. He “attempted” to keep the commandments. God obviously blessed him for he was rich. The disciples were clearly, befuddled.

    Jesus gives us the answer in the next verse.

    vs 26 – But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is IMPOSSIBLE; but with God all things are possible.

    SUMMARY – Jesus was addressed as “good teacher”. When bringing up the commandments to enter eternal life he said “if thou wilst be perfect…”. Then Jesus clearly stated, “with Man it is impossible”.

    The problem with the jews at this time is they THOUGHT they were “good because they were of the seed of Abraham (Matt 3:9) and they had the law of Moses. So Jesus had to get them to repent (change their thinking).

    J mac – my question to him would be “have YOU sold all you have and given it to the poor?”. I am sure his lame response would be ,”well, one must be willing to sell all they had…..”. My immediate response, “when did Jesus tell the rich young ruler that he must be willing to……Jesus said, sell all you have….”.

    my two cents.

  22. John, you said, “All of the extraneous baggage such as having the right motive, having the right “posture”, wanting the power to have victory over sin in our lives, not wanting to sin anymore, being intent to not continue to sin, not being intent to continue to sin, putting Christ on the throne of our lives, etc. really confuses things.

    Your play on the word baggage made me think. It’s like packing for a trip. It’s what I did for so many years, trying to prepare in order to ‘get going’. Instead, it had me so overburdened, I just decided not to go. Forget it, it’s too hard, I cannot do it. So thankful He helped me, chastened me, let me deal with circumstances of life and of my own making, until I could not take one more step on my own. Praise God.

    Lordship = Load-ship

  23. The Gospel according to Jesus… what an awful, awful, works laden book. This is not about how to be a disciple, but how to become a believer, how to ‘enter in’. It’s like ‘Hard to believe’. Well, very true if you listen to MacArthur’s corrupted gospel, it would indeed be hard to believe. Listen to what Big Mac says below.

    Several years ago I began to study and preach through the Gospel of Matthew. As I worked through the life and ministry of our Lord, a clear understanding of the message He proclaimed and the evangelistic method He used crystallized in my thinking. I came to see Jesus’ Gospel as the foundation upon which all N. T. doctrine stands. Many difficult passages in the Epistles became clearer when I understood them in that light.

    This book grew out of seven years of study in the Gospels. As I have immersed myself in the Gospel Jesus taught, I have become acutely aware that most of modern evangelism–both witnessing and preaching–falls short of presenting the biblical evangel in a balanced and biblical way. On a disturbing number of fronts, the message being proclaimed today is not the Gospel according to Jesus. (Introduction, p. 15)

    (Took him seven years to understand the simple gospel?)

    The New Testament or Covenant went into force when Jesus died on the cross.

    15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
    16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
    17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. Heb 9:15-17

  24. Phil R. – Interesting you should say that about Johnny Mac. The Rich Young Ruler was used on me when I asked a Catholic several times what was the gospel of his salvation. He used that passage, and ignored all the Scriptures I gave him regarding us not being saved by works of the law, the purpose of the law (to point them to Christ) and how no one was ever saved by the law, and could not be unless they kept it perfectly.

    His answer? So Jesus lied? …

  25. Bryan, I think it’s because they see some verses that appear this why, as in showing other believers love, etc., but they are not asking themselves if it aligns with other Scripture that says we can KNOW that we possess eternal life the moment we believe. Scripture does give us assurance, but a person sees a verse, doesn’t research it prayerfully, and then they use it to bludgeon the brethren. I have to pray as I run across verses that have been used this way, that I have no distaste in my mouth for the Word because of the misuse and twisting of that particular Scripture. I have never, and I mean never, gotten an answer of how much? How much is enough proof? Are they satisfied they have enough proof? Have they asked their wife if she thinks they are saved? 🙂

  26. Phil, I agree.

    All of the extraneous baggage such as having the right motive, having the right “posture”, wanting the power to have victory over sin in our lives, not wanting to sin anymore, being intent to not continue to sin, not being intent to continue to sin, putting Christ on the throne of our lives, etc. really confuses things.

    None of these things is relevant, and each has just a hint of merit to it. The Bible is clear that it is not God’s will that Christians continue to sin. And, the Bible is equally clear that eternal life is received by grace through faith in Christ. Faith means believing that He paid the full price for our sins, leaving us nothing to pay. Faith does not necessitate believing that He will change our lives.

  27. john, although Graham is baptist, I can see how he hung onto his Calvinist roots and upbringing. Like MacArthur, Graham sees the whole of Scripture as having equal weight and importance for doctrine for the NT believer. That may sound right like the whole council of God but it leads to contradictions and conflicts between law and grace. There should be no conflict because the Christian believer is under grace alone and not any of the law or works. I think Graham and JM are aware of this and seem to avoid the subject and the book of Galatians. JM uses as his book title, “The Gospel according to Jesus” in which JM insists believers must be good Lordship disciples of Christ to be saved. That is not the real “Gospel according to Jesus” that saves. The gospel we are told to believe and be saved by is Christ’s death for sins, his burial, and his resurrection from the dead. This is our salvation plus nothing else. ( Eph 1:13; 1 Cor 15:1-4)

  28. Bryan, the churches really need to get away from trying to use works to prove salvation. We can encourage one another in good works without tying them as proof of salvation.

  29. Phil, the “spin” I’ve heard intimated regarding the rich young ruler is that everyone has something they have to give up in order to receive eternal life.

    That’s why I was so appalled to read Billy Graham’s quote from “The Reason for My Hope”:

    Giving up something to follow Christ is not earning salvation; it is giving up what keeps you from salvation. When we hold on to something that is dearer to us than receiving the greater gift of salvation in Christ, we lose.

    Eternal life is not the “greater gift”. It is the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23). Billy Graham makes it sound like a bilateral contract, in which we get the better deal. He’s saying that you have to give something up in order to receive eternal life.

  30. I sometimes think that the “James Gang” and the Johnny Mac gang might get their “gospel message” of “good news” not only from James chap 2, but also from Rich Young Ruler passage. Neither the James passage nor the Rich Young Ruler passage mention the saving work of the cross and resurrection. These legalists want to put the ball into the court of person to save himself, “life it out” with works, discipleship, keeping commandments along with faith in the cross to be saved.
    James 2, as mentioned above, is to saved believers to live their daily lives that others may see their faith in their works.
    The Rich Young Ruler is where Christ is addressing the futility of man working to save himself.
    Yet we have the James gang and the LS people with their false gospel of “faith-works” salvation.
    I heard a elder in my former LS church wrongly teach James 2 faith and works as necessary to have eternal salvation. I have never heard the Rich Young Ruler passage used in a sermon as the means of salvation. YET, LS preachers like Billy Graham and John MacArthur and others are actually using it indirectly in a way by insisting that submitting to Christ’s Lordship over our daily lives and faithfully following him in discipleship are also necessary to be saved and not just faith in Christ death and resurrection. Are they saying that Christ did not finish and complete our salvation when he said “it is finished?”

  31. John, Holly, I see it all too well where I live, I find many who are in agreement with me that salvation is not by works and that works don’t keep them saved, but when it comes to the issue of “proof of works for salvation” I can’t find much agreement in my surrounding churches.

  32. Holly, this is a sad reality. The infatuation with the “good works prove faith” heresy can really blind people to the gospel and can cause believers to turn to themselves for assurance. Truly sad.

  33. A lot of the religious sects kept the ‘lordship’ portion of Catholicism, they all understand James 2 the same…. Discuss James 2 with a Pentecostal Arminian and they will have the same conclusion as a Catholic and a Calvinist.

  34. Wow Titus 3:8. Profitable good works. Nice link there. I like it. Will steal that for future use.

    Preston, love your work. I laughed at least THREE TIMES! Caps gets me every time. Highly effective.

    Holly and John, thank you so much for your reply. 🙂

    If a person thinks faith without works is not faith in Christ, you would hope they’d be pretty quick to join the Salvation Army feeding the hungry and clothing the naked right?

    If it is indeed those ‘good works’ which are a true test of one’s faith.

    How simple is that? A few days a week at the soup kitchen:



    The longer I stay away from LS and its tentacles.. the clearer and clearer the Gospel becomes and the more grubby I feel as a sinner.

    I said to my better half last night:

    “I’ve never had such a genuine sense of my own sinfulness, since coming away from the LS system”.

    Amazing how a true understanding of mercy and grace can do that to a person.

    Praise God for his unspeakable GIFT.

  35. John excellent answer by the way, and Preston, I don’t know if we were writing at a similar time, but that helps too, I was going to use Titus 3:8, and forgot, so glad to see you used that. There is so much we can face besides chastening and loss of rewards too. A loss of fellowship with God and others, and what they were losing here too was their testimony before men, which could cost unbelievers their lives, and believers it could cost greatly in discouragement.

    John frequently uses a passage in 2 Pet 1:5-10, how it can affect us, not only in being barren and unfruitful, but blinded. These things never dawned on me, as I first was glad I was saved, I didn’t see a purpose for me. If you weren’t a missionary or a Sunday School teacher, etc., the purpose wasn’t apparent. But now I ‘see’ more. I wish someone would have emphasized the importance of sitting at the feet of Jesus hearing His Word. What that would do for my life with Him. I am sure someone told me to do it, but I am so glad I hit bottom and reached again for Him in prayer and through His Word.

  36. BeholdaSon – I marvel at the new ideas that come every day. Although there are wheat and tares in each ‘church’, some more than others (as we see in Revelation), in James, it is clear that it is brethren being rebuked here for many things. As John pointed out, Abraham was not justified before God when he offered up Abraham, rather his faith was justified before men.

    He already knew and believed God and the promises, so he knew God was to be believed and obeyed, and he trusted God to fulfill His promise even if it meant raising up Isaac from the dead. So many people don’t catch the justification spoken to in James 2.

    Tom Cucuzza has addressed this, I think it is here too but grabbed the link before I thought to check.


  37. My thoughts on James 2 verse by verse.

    Often times when discussing the bible with the “religious” about salvation, you will hear, “but faith without works is dead”! “What about James chapter 2”? Does James chapter 2 tell us that works are needed for salvation? No, James 2 is simply a book written to “already saved” people exhorting them to do good works. In this chapter we will examine James 2 and the statement, “faith without works is dead”.

    First, we need some verses that say we are saved without works.

    Eph 2:8-9 KJV – For by grace are ye SAVED through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:9 NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast

    Rom 3:27 – Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of WORKS? NAY: but by the law of faith

    Rom 4:5 – But to him that WORKETH NOT, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness

    Rom 4:6 – Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness WITHOUT WORKS

    Titus 3:5 – NOT BY WORKS of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost

    Rom 11:6 – And if by grace, then is it NO MORE OF WORKS: otherwise grace is NO MORE grace. But if it be of works, then it is NO MORE grace: otherwise work is no more work.

    I think you get the point. We are not saved by works. It is clear. But what about, “Faith without works is dead”. This is a “TRUE” statement. Dead does NOT mean “unsaved” it means “inactive/useless”. Let us start with verse 14.
    – 14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? (James 2:14)

    The first part of this verse uses the word “profit”. We have already seen that salvation is a GIFT (Rom 5:15-20) and not of works. As a result, you cannot “profit” salvation. The second part of the verse, James asks his saved brethren, “Can faith save him”? Well, the answer is NO. Stay with me!!! The question we need to ask is, “Save them from WHAT? It is NOT from hell as James is written to believers. (James 1:2 – brethren) Hell is NOT mentioned one time in this book. So what are they being saved from? JUDGMENT (see verse 13). Faith will NOT save a believer from judgment. There are 2 other forms of judgment mentioned in the bible.

    -The chastening hand of God. God will discipline His own. (Heb 12:5-6)
    -The Judgment seat of Christ where our WORKS are tested. (1 Cor 3:10-15)

    Let’s go to verse 18. Before I start, we have to realize who is speaking. IT IS NOT JAMES. Seriously!!!! James has created a fictional character that begins to speak…sort of like me telling you a joke….one guy said to the other; I HAVE JUST CREATED 2 FICTIONAL MEN.

    How do we know this? Verse 18 starts with, “ye a MAN may say”. James didn’t say, “Verily I tell you” or “I say unto thee”. James creates a fictional man (ye a MAN may say). It is THIS MAN that is now talking. James actually calls the man VAIN in verse 20. I will substitute BOB for MAN to show clarity.

    -Yea, BOB (a man) may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble 20 But wilt thou know, O vain BOB (man), that faith without works is dead (James 2:18-20)

    YES, IT IS HUMAN VAINITY THAT THINKS WE HAVE ANYTHING TO OFFER GOD FOR SALVATION . The bible is clear. Salvation is a FREE GIFT to anyone who believes the simple gospel message.

    – Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? (verse 21)

    The same question we asked about the word “save” in verse 14 is the SAME question we need to ask in verse 18. The question is,” Justified before whom?” It is NOT God.

    -Rom 4:1-2 KJV- What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? 2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but NOT before God

    -WORKS justifies us before MAN – Man looketh on the outward but God knoweth the heart. (1 Sam)

    Onto verse 22 which reads
    – Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made PERFECT

    Remember Jesus’s ministry. He said to his disciples many times “ye of LITTLE faith”, while telling the gentile centurion “I have seen no GREATER faith than this”? From this we know that there are different levels of faith. WORKS bring faith to perfection. Notice the word,” PERFECT”. We see this word “perfect” when talking about works in 2 Tim 3:16-17.

    -All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the MAN OF GOD may be PERFECT, thoroughly furnished unto all good works

    NOTICE, “the man of God” (ALREADY SAVED) may be PERFECT unto all good works. This is NOT saying that any flesh can be perfect. It is saying we are to be prepared UNTO all good works. This is confirmed in Titus.

    -This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God MIGHT be careful to maintain GOOD WORKS. These things are good and PROFITABLE unto men. (Titus 3:8)

    I Hope this helped explain “faith without works is dead”. It is a true statement. Faith that does not work is “useless or inactive”. It doesn’t PROFIT anything. It is NOT saying that works are necessary FOR SALVATION as that would contradict soooooo many passages of scripture. FAITH ALONE in the gospel of Jesus saves from hell, but, without works, that “saving faith” is UNPROFITABLE it is “USELESS”. It will NOT produce anything.

    This is book written to exhort “already saved” people to do good works.

  38. Beholdason, I have seen a lot of different interpretations of James.

    I received an e-mail a while back from a guy who seemed to think something along these lines – that “brethren” in James is referring to Jews, both saved and unsaved, rather than uniformly to believers.

    He did not seem to be coming at it from a Lordship salvation perspective. Instead, he seemed to think that “doers of the word” in James 1:22 were those who believe in Jesus and “hearers only” were those who heard, but did not believe.

    I don’t see it that way, because from the very opening of James, he is talking to believers:

    James 1:2-3:

    [2] My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
    [3] Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

    I have interpreted James 2 to mean that faith without works is ineffective, but faith nonetheless. Exhorting non-believers to good works would be pointless. And, I don’t really see a gospel appeal in James.

    The strong faith of the cloud of witnesses in Hebrews 12:1 is held out to believers to exhort us to run with patience the race that is set before us. This is similar to the language in James 5:10-11.

    So, it seems like both Hebrews and James use examples of faith in action to exhort fellow believers.

    Believing in Jesus as Savior does not necessitate believing that our faith will be manifested in good works. We may not even wish to do any good works when coming to faith in Christ. It is really not relevant.

    Romans 5:6-10:

    [6] For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
    [7] For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
    [8] But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
    [9] Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
    [10] For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

    I am not aware that Abraham was told he would be called upon to offer up Isaac, or do any other good works, before he received justification (eternal life by grace through faith).

    Romans 4:1-3:

    [1] What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
    [2] For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
    [3] For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

    And, the emphasis on good works to prove faith in Christ actually draws people away from Christ – both believers and unbelievers alike.

    For unbelievers hoping to be justified by works:

    Romans 4:4: Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

    For believers, Satan wants to turn their attention to their works for assurance, so that their eyes are turned away from Jesus. Once he is able to do this, he will be able to sow the seeds of doubt.

    We have a local celebrity pastor who runs a “service oriented” church. In one of his online sermons on James 2, he said that demon faith is the faith that has it’s doctrine down, but doesn’t want to obey Christ. He also said that good works are not optional, as he was appealing to the “Life Groups” to get busy.

    Following is a quote from his blog:
    (he is explaining things from Jesus’ perspective)

    Through my obedience, my Father has given me the final authority to execute judgment over all humanity. One day, everyone will hear my voice and appear before me in final judgment. Don’t marvel at this saying. It is true. This judgment will solely depend on those who have believed in me. John’s gospel repeatedly states this truth (3:16;5:24,25; 14:6). However, good and bad deeds will prove an individual’s faith. If good deeds aren’t there, it proves faith isn’t present. These people face eternal judgment. If good deeds are there, it proves faith is present and they are granted eternal resurrection life.

    Do you believe in me today? Do you believe I came from heaven, lived in human flesh as a man, lived the perfect life you’re incapable of living, died for your sins and rose from the dead to prove your righteousness and grant you eternal life? It’s a free gift, given by grace through faith. Accept this gift. Believe in me. Trust me for your eternal life.

    Then express your gratitude for what I’ve done by doing good works. You are not saved by your good works, but you are saved for good works. Your good works prove you truly know who I am and have accepted me as your Lord and Savior. And when you look into the faces of the poor, needy and oppressed, you are looking into my face. You are literally serving me. True religion is when you care for the widows and orphans of the world. Love your neighbor, as you love yourself. This is proof you love me!

    Give me your life today. Give away your life today. There is the path to eternal life.

    You can trust me today.

  39. Guys,

    I just had an email exchange with an older friend of mine. He seems to believe that James 2 is saying that ‘Faith without works is not faith in Christ’.

    I’ve never heard of that perspective. He is seeming to suggest that James 2 is talking about people who are putting their faith in something else… but the text doesn’t seem to be saying this at all. If the text is addressed to ‘brethren’, then they are saved people to whom James is writing. The purpose of the letter isn’t to make them question the genuine nature of their faith nor the OBJECT of it.

    My understanding from the context is simply that faith without works is useless and ineffective. It is of no benefit to anyone.

    If it is faith that saves, then James would be saying that ‘Those of you who are trusting in Christ but are not doing good works, your faith is dead (useless/not effective).

    Is this correct?

    What ought my response be to this man?

  40. John O – I was going to ask you about that 🙂

    John, that is sure a good passage, they do not believe His testimony. I also think of this passage.

    And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 1 Cor 2:1-5

  41. Holly, you said: “They either didn’t believe in the power of the gospel and felt they had to manipulate it into a more difficult proposition, or they didn’t believe the gospel at all and are corrupting minds from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

    My comment: When I think about all of the “great theological minds”, it reminds me of the following passage:

    John 5:37-40:

    [37] And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.
    [38] And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.
    [39] Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
    [40] And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

  42. Correction: Not Luke 12: 26 It’s Luke 14:26 (Tax season is frying my brain.)

  43. I have to admit that I have a legalism: I like to support doctrine with 3 passages.
    I think we collaborated very well to support the idea that we shouldn’t attend submit to false teachers/teachings/those using God’s name in vain..

  44. I think of Gal 2 and Peter and Barnabas confronted by Paul. If they will hear, address public corruption of the gospel publicly whether family, friends, teachers, etc. Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins. James 5:19-20

    If lawkeepers like the Lordship teachers, who will not hear, do not give submission for even an hour. Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage), to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. Gal 2:3-4

    Friends and family, kind of depends for me, besides the mark and avoid passage, there are many others, but here is one about not keeping company with them. I had to do it with a friend lately, she is blown about by every wind of doctrine, hung up (although she doesn’t seem to realize it) on a works gospel, does not believe in eternal security, posts about every different teacher whether Sproul or Wilkerson, and when corrected, defends her position for far too long while subtly attacking those who correct. I could not take the chance she might corrupt minds from the simplicity that is in Christ, plus, how could we walk together not being agreed?

    But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. 2 Thess 3:13-15

  45. FryingPan9

    You said, “9 out of 10 times it literally has a toxic effect on my spirit and is basically an inroad for the evil one to mess with my mind in a bad way.”

    On Lordship family or friends: Listening to the above people is like the fiery darts of the enemy, but so is friends or family, maybe worse in some ways. I have had difficulty with them all decision-wise. I can only tell you based on several different passages I’ve decided on a few things. One, it’s a spiritual battle, so I try to remind myself of that, since family has a way of making it personal (friends too). Then I try to determine if theirs is another gospel. It’s hard but we must explain that what they are teaching is not found in 1 Cor 15, and ask them to point it out. Stand firm with our armor on. We must keep in mind that they may be unsaved, so Col 4:5-6. And I know Titus 2 applies to elders, but sound speech that cannot be condemned will helpful for us all. If they are preaching works, they are either bewitched hypocrites that have been hindered from obeying the truth or worse, they are preaching an accursed gospel, and we don’t give them place for even an hour (Gal 2). Whereas before I used to ‘keep the peace’, I realize I am not a UN peacekeeper, but I am supposed to be a peacemaker, and that happens only with the truth of the gospel of peace. We can trust in the power too, reiterating it, whenever they errantly add something of their own.

    Btw, those reminders of brevity are for me 🙂 I too love everyone here, which is why I may comment a lot 🙂 there are such great comments here daily, meat, things to grow on… Just hard to skip over any.

  46. Bryan – it is both frustrating and a blessing isn’t it? But when you save one, and then see them later, sharing the clear gospel and seeing people come to Him, it’s so exciting. One good friend who came out of the Word of faith and Lordship position, has been so great. She hears, she studies, she just wants to know the truth. This last couple of weeks, she has led her 8 year old granddaughter to an understanding of the gospel and belief on Jesus Christ. A week later she did the same with her brother. Just an awesome, awesome blessing.

    Abe – Great info about Graham, I do not understand why people cannot just look at those facts and mark and avoid. Those people that teach doctrine is for the theologians have not fallen far from their predecessors the Roman Catholics that they are coming home too.

  47. Fryingpan,

    I am pretty sure all feel the same, but I can only speak for myself; the love I feel for other believers surprises me at times. And the gratefulness too that overwhelms me for the likeminded fellowship. I want to address your later comments in a bit, but don’t want to overwhelm the conversation 

    I used to wonder like your wife, why people would want to complicate the simple gospel. Men such as Washer, would not just preach the gospel. It seemed they might cover the aspects of the good news somewhere in their highly publicized sermon, yet only a few seconds or so, a cursory run through, and then it was surrounded and weighted down by the manmade restrictions and additions. I could only come up with two solutions. They either didn’t believe in the power of the gospel and felt they had to manipulate it into a more difficult proposition, or they didn’t believe the gospel at all and are corrupting minds from the simplicity that is in Christ.

  48. FryingPan9,
    2Cor6:14-18 & Rom16;17-20 are the clear answers.
    I had to pause about how to treat loved ones caught in LS. Luke 12:26 sheds some light.
    The question is How do we communicate the Gospel without contact? How you personally work out the details in your life is between you and the Holy Spirit.

  49. I had breakfast with a dear brother in Christ who preaches Grace through faith alone and we talked of those who have been set free are more sensitive to what they been set free from .

    I find myself sitting at home once again after finding out the pastor does not believe Justification by faith alone. I should of been more thorough before sitting under his pulpit but we did agree on the gospel and repentance going in.
    It all changed when a traveling evangelist was coming and i questioned the evangelist on “what a soul need do to be saved” and he got defensive so with more probing he revealed ” Works prove salvation”.
    so here i sit.
    I really did enjoy the fellowship there and feel i was growing or was it waking up the legalism in me once again ? Just like a drunkard after a fast with a drink.
    the pastor and assembly there used the phrase ” Trust Jesus as Personal saviour” which i never heard before and didn’t think to much about it till Holly said something above.

    But I also look at all this as the Holy Spirit moving me around . I know were to go were I can hear Grace with a clear gospel message but it is 1 hour drive one way. It don’t seem right to have to drive an hour to hear a preacher who believes the clear gospel ? .

    I don’t know if i will ever get to a place were i am not so sensitive to how words are strung together when it comes to receiving the gospel. I just know I can see all the other gospel’s from “THE” gospel vantage point.


  50. FryingPan9

    “Nightmarish maze of impossibilities.”

    Well said!

  51. John O,

    Yes, we are all saddened when we see a person believes not the Gospel, thereby rejecting our precious Savior who died for them and thereby remaining condemned. (John 3:18)

    That is the primary reason for ExPreacherMan — We attempt to implore the unsaved to understand and believe in Jesus. Likewise it is our desire to expose those who would take that wonderful, amazing Gospel of Grace and turn it into a nightmarish maze of impossibilities.

    Interesting about Cru. I simply pray they have corrected and clarified their erroneous “salvation” message and tracts. We will pray that is the case.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  52. “anyone attending a “church” that teaches “another gospel” is in sin and must stop attending immediately.”

    If they know “THE” Gospel and choose to sit under another gospel it would be sin.

    Jas 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

    Jer 5:30 A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land;
    Jer 5:31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?


  53. FryingPan9,
    No problem! ( As we say in So Cal ) I want everything that I say to be tested & accurate.
    There are probably more admonitions, but these came right to my mind – anyone else?

  54. FryingPan9

    Finally, I owe a special thanks to Holly Garcia. It wasn’t until last week that a light bulb went off in my head where I realized that I don’t have to cram everything I want to say in one long post as I’ve been guilty of doing dozens of times. Holly, I notice you post a lot of comments, but they’re all short, conforming to this blogs rules a lot more than a lot of my posts.

    No one here as ever admonished me for my long posts (not that I can remember) and for that I’m VERY appreciative

    But I also appreciate having a way to be a bit less tedious to you all going forward. Sometimes I can be a really slow study . . .

  55. FryingPan9

    Another thing on my mind, and this is totally asked in a spirit of, “I need enlightenment. I’m not trying to put anyone on the defensive,” could John O or anyone elaborate on John O’s earlier statement, “I’ll add this: anyone attending a “church” that teaches “another gospel” is in sin and must stop attending immediately.”

    I could really use some more encouragement and evidence for why I should agree with this as I’m inclined to do already. I left a church almost a year ago for this reason. I seek greater understanding on this because I believe the evil one sometimes uses it as a way of getting me to confuse my being principled with an excuse for not going to church.

    But it goes beyond that. What kind of responsibility do I have in terms of any ongoing friendships I have with people who still go there? And what kind of responsibility do I have in terms of making the leadership there clear on why I had to leave beyond what I already did when I served notice that I could no longer fellowship with them last year and moved on? If I have some unfinished business, I’d appreciate knowing if I have more work to do.

    Thank you!

  56. FryingPan9

    Hello again, everybody.

    First, (because I don’t say this enough, if ever) I love you all. Please don’t feel manipulated into reciprocating on my sentimentalism.

    Second, another thing I’ve been wanting to mention, though it’s probably best I forgot yesterday as most of my posts are too long anyway, is that I recently took the decision to stop watching ALL “religious programming” on television, indefinitely. If you’re thinking (or feel compelled to ask), “What TOOK YOU SO LONG?” you’re certainly within your rights.

    The main reason is because it ALL seems to spread false doctrine to one degree or another. The secondary reason is that I’m still too deep in “recovering LS victim” mode to be able to handle it. What I mean by that is that if I’m watching something and suddenly an LS message comes out, 9 out of 10 times it literally has a toxic affect on my spirit and is basically an inroad for the evil one to mess with my mind in a bad way. I’m a lot more equipped to deflect these fiery darts than in the past, but I still have a considerable ways to go apparently. I tell folks it’s like a recovering alcoholic who has to stay away from booze in every conceivable manner, as in, not only total abstinence of consumption, but abstinence of association as well. For now at least.

    I’d basically been sort of holding out and hanging in there with Hal Lindsey. He was the only thing I’d ever watch, at least when I was in my right mind and/or being disciplined. I think I took the decision to limit it to him about a year ago. But things were adding up in my memory since discovering this blog in Feb. of 2013, such as his endorsing John Hagee and Joseph Prince as examples of men blessed with the gift of preaching. Since then I’ve come to learn (mainly, but not exclusively at this blog) that those men should be avoided. Especially the former.

    But the final “no-brainer” straw was Hal’s using Billy Graham as an example of a gifted evangelist. And now that I look back, a lot of Hal’s “invitations” have LS elements in them such as the tired (and dangerous) clichés of “Come into my heart, I make you Lord of my life.”

    It’s really disappointing too, because a few years ago before I had my turning point (coming back from being “stuck” in LS for MANY years), it was Hal’s teaching on the doctrines of grace and eternal security in a program I watched in the summer of 2011 that helped me begin my journey o making it back to abiding in sound doctrine once in for all.

  57. Thanks Jack & John,
    I left out a word: …”as individuals in each individual [situation.]”
    When I first discovered justification through receiving the gift through belief-alone, I thought that I people were open to the Bible and more importantly, its Author. I was mistaken. I do 2 Timothy 4:2 & 1 Peter 3:15. It just that it doesn’t disappoint me or make me sad when people reject the Gospel.

    Also interesting: Cru is now targeting the United States as a country where people have not heard the Gospel.

  58. John O, I have a coworker who was talking about how great his new church was. It turned out to be an apostate affiliate of the apostate Southern Baptist Convention.

    I told him I was surprised that he would attend that particular church, since he seemed to be clear on grace. He told me something along the lines of “I can be the salt and light within that church.”

  59. John O,

    And yes, I do fail.. but I constantly pray I will be more faithful.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  60. John O,

    I’ll toss in a couple of verses of instructions about sharing our faith. These I love. They are inspired by God’s Holy Spirit, Who asks us to do this through His Word:

    2 Timothy 4:2
    Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

    1 Peter 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:

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  61. Holly,
    The failure of others to NOT accept the Gospel used to bother me. I’ve come to the conclusion that we just do what the Holy Spirit asks us to do as individual in each individuals – nothing more & nothing less. Of course we fail but the pressure is gone because God will not be thwarted because of my failures.
    …Is this a cop out? If it is – I’d like to be corrected. The road is narrow. Few are those who find it.

  62. What a wealth of contributions here by the way. I am very blessed as I read each person, thinking on our relation one to another. God bless you all this week.

  63. Sigh… one told me that she wanted to present the gospel correctly and prayed about it, so when I started talking to her about the meaning of repentance and the necessity of getting it right so that she didn’t wrongly convey what one must do, she let me know that was just ‘semantics’.

    I pointed out Jonah 3:10 and how turning from sin was actually a work, and using phrases such as ‘accepting Jesus as our personal Savior’ needed to be removed from our presentation and the correct Biblical terms. That we needed to be so sure we weren’t accidentally broadening the way, corrupting the simplicity that is in Christ. We do receive Jesus when we believe, but how is someone to take, “accepting Jesus into your heart”? How is that really what the gospel says?

    She listened a little bit, but I felt she was indulging me. Not the first time,, although slowly she seems to be hearing some, although she feels I am too nitpicky. She too is a missionary…

  64. Thanks for the greeting, FryingPan9,
    I have another story along those lines. We had close friends who lived in Simi Valley when Francis Chan started his ministry. Our friends claimed to believe the Gospel when we attended an EV cjurch together.
    I watched Chan on TV & told them that it was clear that Chan taught works-justification.
    If someone told me that my pastor was an apostate, I would say, “That’s the worst thing that you can accuse a man of being! I’ll set up a meeting with Chan & you need to prove it to all of us.”
    Our friends’ response was, “We like it there. We don’t think so.” – end of discussion. — No confusion/concern indicated. The gospel is irrelevant to most people going to religious gatherings.
    I’ll add this: anyone attending a “church” that teaches “another gospel” is in sin and must stop attending immediately.

  65. FryingPan9

    Great points, everyone. Thanks for the feedback.

  66. I like to think and say about it as “The” Gospel and “A” Gospel and drop the freegrace title I don’t like to pigeon hole “The” Gospel because it is “The” Gospel or pigeon hole Grace because it is By Grace we our saved.. There is only one Gospel message and it is “THE” Gospel message that saves. All the other gospel’s are another gospel.

    grace is grace revealed in the person of Jesus Christ full of grace and truth

    Joh 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

    Rom 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

    Heb_4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

    1Pe_4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.


  67. Franklin Graham is lordship. No bones about it. He might slip on occasion and actually give the right message. But he isn’t a free grace guy. He’s lordship through and through.

    Franklin said that his father’s (Billy’s) union with the catholic establishment was a good move (the catholic false gospel that leads to hell), and that he will continue putting the stamp of approval upon unity with catholicism. Franklin also is ecumenical as can be. Don’t forget that he was the one that said he was shocked to find that mormonism was considered a cult on his website, and he had it changed. Franklin also was the replacement easter day speaker for Bob Coy, who was removed from pastorship for adultery, and Bob Coy was as lordship as anyone you’d ever hear.

    As for those conversations you have with those that seem to accept free grace, but then later contradict it with promotion of Chan or Platt or what have you, yes, they don’t HEAR it. They don’t see any difference between any speaker, no matter who the speaker is. The speaker could say virtually anything, and they will be applauding it.

    For an example of this, just look at how Rick Warren now goes on EWTN (the catholic network) and says that catholicism is wonderful, and how he endorsed a book (“Catholics Come Home”), which outright says, if you believe in faith alone without works, you are not going to heaven. Rick Warren wrote a raving endorsement for that book.

    There is no discernment with some of “Christendom”. They can easily sit in a baptist, catholic, methodist, calvinist, or any other type place, and feel right at home in any of them.

    The problem is how the ecumenical movement has shamed people that care about doctrine. That shame is from the devil, because the Bible says to give doctrine the utmost of attention and care. And the ecumenical movement has also convinced some people that “doctrine is for the theologians”, thus allowing the so-called “theologians” to poison them every day.

  68. FryingPan9,

    You said:

    “One of us: “Would you like to have a copy of this booklet? It explains the Gospel in the plainest terms out there. It’s really awesome.”

    Friend, loved one, or acquaintance: “Sure! Thanks!”

    Same Friend, loved one, or acquaintance, days or weeks later: “Hey Facebook friends, check out this great classic sermon by Billy Graham!””

    I have the same experience, I talked to people who seem to understand and embrace free grace then weeks later those same people would praise the works of a book such as “Not a Fan” or “Crazy Love”.
    Others, whom claim to be saved, I gave the booklet so they can get a deeper understanding of the gospel in order for them to communicate the gospel more clearly to the lost and to help them grow spiritually. However, of all the people I gave it to, none have yet read the whole thing or not even started reading it at all. Frustrating, does anyone care? Even months after I gave it to them. This is after the fact that they took it enthusiastically, eager to read, so I thought. But praise God that at least one person came back to me thanking me for giving her the booklet, she said she now has a clear understanding of the gospel and now trusting only Jesus for her salvation.

  69. FryingPan9

    John O,

    First, welcome. I should have said hello a long time ago but ever since getting my first smart phone I do a lot more lurking than commenting . . .

    I really identify with your last comment here and really appreciate it, as I have many of your other contributions here. I was telling my wife recently that I really believe we (those who understand, stick to, and defend the pure gospel in all of its simplicity) are a REMNANT.

    Lest anyone “on the outside looking in”, so to speak, think that’s a boast, it’s not. It’s a LAMENT. But it is what it is. During the time of His ministry Jesus asked those listening (the hearing and non-hearing alike) if He “would find faith when He returns”. I paraphrase. For a while now I’ve taken that to mean that the world would be in such unbelief at the time of his return that one would have to hunt high and low to find anyone on earth preaching and believing the true gospel when He came back to take His church home.

    But more to the point about what you said, a few times over the past year or so since I’ve been posting here and sharing what I’ve learned and written with my wife, she’s said something to the effect of, “I can’t understand why people feel compelled to complicate what’s so simple (the gospel).”

    But the other thing that really stuck out for me was how people will often give the IMPRESSION that they “get it” and are free grace believers, but then subsequent comments and/or behavior betray such declarations. We share copies of Ron Shea’s THE GOSPEL booklet (Clear Gospel Campaign) with people in our lives and a recurring theme we are seeing is a scenario that repeats itself and goes a little something like this:

    One of us: “Would you like to have a copy of this booklet? It explains the Gospel in the plainest terms out there. It’s really awesome.”

    Friend, loved one, or acquaintance: “Sure! Thanks!”

    Same Friend, loved one, or acquaintance, days or weeks later: “Hey Facebook friends, check out this great classic sermon by Billy Graham!”

    The particulars are always a bit different, but the “message” is always the same. No one ever really seems to “get it.”

    Even after spending an entire evening with one friend who insists he or she is free grace all the way, they’ll hear a story about a believer who got depressed and took his or her own life and say, “I guess that negates the who deal they made with The Lord, huh?”

    No further comment needed at this time . . .

  70. John, yes, they are all over the place, (the Grahams) I don’t follow the daughter, but i can’t imagine it being much different, when they do not come out from among the organization itself, or denounce the faulty teachings, they are just as guilty.

  71. John O, one thing I find interesting about the Grahams, is in person, or on their web page, their message always seems to vary. Sounds vaguely grace oriented in one area, but then deceptively Lordship in another as in the ‘peace with God’ site.

    Of course the elder Graham has no assurance of his salvation, he has admitted so on television (he says he ‘hopes’ when he gets there he’ll be allowed in), and all that propagates is people crying out, “oh Mr. Graham, if you don’t get in, why you are so humble, SUCH a man of God, if you don’t go, then of course none of us have any chance”…

    Because people don’t do their proving, many just think you are lying to them when you tell them he sent supposed converts back to the Roman Catholic church and the Jewish synagogues as well….Sad….

  72. Jim Floyd, I understand this isn’t quite the right presentation, but years ago a Sunday School teacher explained what they thought to be the “eye of the needle” and the camel in the rich man being unable to enter heaven. She told me that this was the last opening left open when the big gates were closed. It was big enough for a horse and rider to enter, but a camel which had packs on it’s back, had to be unloaded of all it’s burdens before it could enter in. (Another story of how they got it in), but the point was, it didn’t really matter whether the burden was in front of the hump of th camel, in back of the hump or on top of the hump, all burdens had to be removed, the camel had to come in with nothing.

    That is way the gospel has to come, with nothing on our part. He did it all, and we either believe or we do not believe. Believing upon Christ alone, is the only way to enter. They have burdened up their animals, and they have made the entry hard, and believing hard, and they think that they have somehow narrowed the way, but they are on the broad way to destruction, taking many with them. Praying some will drop all the burdens and trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior. That they will stop trying to be a part of their salvation…. That they will let Him do the work that they supposedly give Him all the glory for….they have called Him Lord, but they have not believed on Him as their Savior… still seeking to establish their own righteousness…

  73. John,
    My opinion is that few actually understand what is being said at a religious gathering. After giving grace messages throughout my life, I’ve had people come up and say things like, “I gave my life to Jesus a few years ago” and “I asked Jesus into my heart 10 years ago,” thinking that they were in agreement with me.
    No matter what is said, people believe that whatever was said is what they believe.
    I can understand that LS is fashionable and the masses love it. Keeping a few rituals is more tangible than living by faith.
    If one wants to be a celebrity, he has to stay on the band wagon. … Too bad that Franklin changed his stance.
    During the Grahams’ presentations, my wife and I literally looked at each and said, “I can’t believe what we just saw.”

  74. John O, interesting story. That must have left people quite confused. To my knowledge, Franklin Graham has done nothing to separate himself from those teaching LS.

    According to the article “Grace Baiting” by our former administrator Bruce Bauer, Franklin Graham wrote the introductory tribute to one of the editions of John MacArthur’s “The Gospel According to Jesus.”

    Following is the pertinent excerpt:

    Recently, I was reintroduced to John MacArthur’s The Gospel According to Jesus in its updated version released in 2008 by Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.i Franklin Graham wrote the introductory tribute to the book and to its author.

  75. About 20 years ago, we went to a Billy Graham event. We thought we should see him once in our lives. To our shock, he gave a complete Lordship Salvation message. Equally shocking, Franklin Graham walked on stage to give the invitation for justification and contradicted everything that his dad had just said. Franklin gave a gift-alone by the works-of-Christ-alone received through belief-alone invitation to accept eternal life.

  76. “Front, top and backloading of the Gospel…”

    I agree Holly. Graham does this and those that defend him are actually defending this error.

    “Just like the James-Younger Gang had sympathizers, the spiritual James Gang has sympathizers who aid and abet their assaults on the gospel.”

    This is what supporters of people like Graham and others like him are doing. They are aiding and abetting gospel error.

    Jim F

  77. Great article, John. I knew within a nanosecond to what the title referred. We need to be reminded of what James is all about more often than some might suppose. Speaking for myself, at least . . .

  78. Jim, I’ve seen worse than that on Billy Graham’s site, when he did the recent tv special, “Hope across America”, wore his Mr. Roger’s sweater 🙂 and had all the homey items in the background, the fire, the Americana art, and the Rocking Chair, with his Bible in his lap.

    Anyways, on the site, he has a “how to know Jesus” link, which takes you to a four part ‘journey’ to peace. He uses sections from John 3:16 to make his ‘gospel’. Sounds like a good idea except he adds to the gospel.

    He gets the love part regarding God, but brings up how God has a plan for your life, the same as Rick Warren, he misuses Jer 29:11 as the proof (spoken to Israel).

    His second step does say He gave His only Son, but their own words on the reason for His life, death and resurrection, say it’s like those who go through life like a blank canvas, waiting for a ‘picture of purpose to be painted on us”. (Another Rick Warren colloquialism).

    Each step has a ‘pray now’ button on the bottom, if you don’t want to go to the next step.

    If you click on that, you will find that prayer you mentioned, but before that prayer, it says,

    The only way to find forgiveness from God and to begin a relationship with Him is to trust in Jesus’ sacrifice for you and repent—turn from your sins.

    In part 3, with seemingly no regard for proper use of Scripture, they apply the anointing of King Saul, and this particular verse (1 Sam 10:6) to say this is what will happen to believers.

    But they say that passage says, “The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you in power, … and you will be changed into a different person.”

    But Samuel said to Paul,“and the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.” See how they don’t seem to care how hey misuse His Word?

    The fourth step in their explanation (although they use Jn 1:12 and Acts 16:30-31), states that God isn’t waiting to judge them or condemn them, that He’s waiting to receive them with mercy, with love, with open arms, and forgive all your sins (I agree).

    He then says: “Will you come to Him? Will you turn from your sin and promise to live for Him?”

    Front, top and backloading of the Gospel…

  79. Russell,

    I would advise against any prayer for salvation. It took me a while to understand as a young believer that it was not my prayer that had anything to do with saving me but that I trusted Christ for my salvation. No matter what I said or prayer, I had to believe I had received it – salvation. I remember lots of people who thought they had to have an experience of conversion, or plead with God for salvation. In the end though it is better to see it that God is already extending to us the free gift of salvation and we must simply take it through faith. No need to ask for something that is being offered already. Actually it is the other way around. God is saying to us through the Spirit and the Word, Will you trust Christ as your Savior? Your response just needs to be belief that Christ died and rose again for you thereby providing you eternal salvation in Him.

    I think it is interesting about the idea of close the deal. Free grace gifts don’t need this type of thing but bilateral contracts do. Many times I see “salvation” prayers as nothing more than for an opportunity for a preacher to get someone to add in any of the following: turning from sins, penitence, pleading, begging, pledging to be better, commitments to discipleship, yielding to Lordship etc. Think of some of Billy Graham’s long suggested “salvation” prayers.

    This is one such example from his site:

    “Dear Lord Jesus,

    I know I am a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe you died for my sins and rose from the dead. I trust and follow you as my Lord and Savior. Guide my life and help me to do your will.

    In your name, amen.”

    Note that we don’t have to officially ask for forgiveness nor do we have to officially announce that we are following Christ as Lord. Think about trying to explain that to a child.

  80. Russell,

    Please forgive me again.. I was totally mixed up with your name..

    We are thrilled you led Gene to Christ. That is an eternal reward.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  81. You all know what I struggle with the most and pray about? All those years I thought I just wasn’t an ‘evangelist’, leave it to them, for I certainly wasn’t good enough..and those awful attempts where I botched it, added works both before and after that were impossible anyways, and even led people in a sinners prayer as a young girl. (My Jewish neighbor, who was in about my 3rd-4th grade class comes to mind. I’ll never forget her mother chastising me sternly for the ‘Christians that killed the 6 million Jews. May the Lord still send people into Nan’s life to share the true gospel.)

    Anyhow, all these conditions these men lay on the gospel are so intimidating and impossible, I cannot imagine people thinking there is even a reason to bother.

    What good news is the unattainable?

    Emotions may lead some to walk the aisle, or say a prayer to get someone to let it go, but I imagine just as many who wanted to hear the good news, were also turned away by the Pharisees burdens…i pray for those I may have misled.

  82. Russell,

    In answer to your question, yes, I have not only had that struggle, but other people have questioned me about why I didn’t lead someone in a prayer. I had to ‘undo’ that with my kids and explain all this to them. Not only that, recently, my husband’s last living best friend (there were two, and one died young and suddenly), I wrote a letter to when he was undergoing serious surgery. I probably shared far more than I would in person, but I knew he had already stated he just didn’t believe, and I felt the need to provide more information about why the Bible is reliable, what kind of prophecies were fulfilled, what kind of people were affected (i.e. Paul as an example), religion and how it keeps people from knowing what Christ did. My friend came to believe in August, and he is learning all the time. He went back to see his ailing mom, to make sure that he would be seeing her in heaven. What a blessing. But when I shared with one person, he questioned his salvation based on him just believing. And he spent the next few months bringing up things here and there about repentance and even though he believed it was a change of mind, he also believed that meant a 180 degree turn (of course we know that means performance). I also spent the next few months sending him things on repentance, and justification verses etc. He has been receptive and is understanding I believe.

    Here is what comes to mind. We do not ‘close the deal’ per se’ anyhow. The Lord does. One of us plants, another waters, but He gives the increase. It’s still hard as I’d like to just have my own assurance of someone else’s belief, however, I’m learning that continuing to commend them to the Word of His Grace, to spend time with Him hearing His Word, is the best thing I can do, and if I add something for my own peace of mind, I may soon be unwittingly changing the gospel, and I sure do not want to do that. Talking about aspects of the gospel, the prophecies of the death and crucifixion of Christ, prophecies of the fulfillment of the type of His burial, and also His resurrection, the witnesses, and the reasoning why this had to happen, sin, God coming in the flesh becoming the man who died for the sin of the first Adam and all others, (not all at once necessarily), but these things help not only them, but us too. Reminding them to also shod their feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace, as well as putting on the rest of His armor, we don’t always think to do each day. Forgive the length of my post here, so I’ll close with we need to assure them, that is exactly what they need to do, believe… And encourage them to pray, to thank God for the free gift, to acknowledge Him in all their ways, to confess their sins to remain in fellowship, but just not in order to pray a certain prayer in order to be saved 🙂

    In Him, thanks for sharing, and praise God for your friend’s salvation!

  83. My apologies John O and Ruseell I somehow mixed your name up with Gene. (and Russell). (past my bedtime).

    Wonderful story of you sharing Jesus Christ and His salvation with Gene… and you should rejoice in the fact that he indeed believed in Jesus for his everlasting Life.

    As you see, no need for a “sinner’s prayer” just faith/belief in the finished work of Christ. I personally have never struggled with the prayer issue but there may be some who have.

    We’ll be praying for you that you will continue to share the Gospel as clear as it is in scripture.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  84. Russell, it is great that you led your boss to The Lord. What a wonderful, joyous story!

    Regarding asking for salvation, or saying a salvation prayer, I am not a big fan of either one. The Bible says the sole means of receiving the free gift of eternal life is believing in Jesus as Savior.

    It is inherent in our world system to want to “close the deal.” But, since eternal life is a gift received by grace through faith in Christ, there is no deal to close. I feel that salvation prayers may even be counterproductive, because they may feed our fleshly desire to do something. This could have the undesired effect of leading one away from trusting in God’s Word for assurance, to trusting in God’s Word plus having closed the deal.

  85. Holly,
    Right on!
    If my human dad says that he will get me a bicycle for my birthday, he will get me a bicycle for my birthday. What more assurance is required?

  86. I have a question for everyone. I have commented before how I grew up in a free grace church but got away from that over the course of years. By Gods grace and a faithful believer I came away from the false teaching of Lordship Salvation (I would have considered myself a soft Lordship person but still Lordship) back to a free grace understanding of the Gospel about 1 1/2 years ago.

    Growing up saying a “sinners prayer” was a big deal to me and in every church I attended. It was important to take a step of faith and pray to receieve Christ. It was stated different ways like asking Jesus into your heart, life etc. Over time I started to put faith in a prayer more than Christ. But I remember through all those years that I would meet Christians who would remind me that saying a prayer for salvation was no where in Gods Word.

    When my wife was saved in 1992 I remember being bothered that all she did was believe and never asked Jesus to be her Savior in a prayer. I even doubted her Salvation for a time because she did not say the prayer. I know that sounds crazy and that was around the same time that I turned from free grace to a more Lordship view of salvation. I now know that it is believing in Jesus for salvation and not saying a prayer that brings about salvation.

    A few days ago I had a chance to share the gospel with my boss again. In the past he has been doubtful about Christ and very argumentative. I have been praying over the course of months that God would remove his pride and intellectual doubts and draw him to Christ. Last week he came to my office and we talked about the Lord and salvation. This time when I shared the Gospel he stated that he believed he was a sinner, beleived that Jesus was the Son of God (before he had doubted this), beleived that Jesus had died on a cross for his sins and had risen again. I quoted to him John 3:16 and asked what he had if he beleived or trusted in Jesus and he replied eternal life. He did not argue like in the past and was very open with me.

    He left and I felt very uneasy because I did not have him say a prayer. I was torn up because I had not “closed the deal” with him. Shortly after that I felt the Lord gently say to me, “dont you understand that I have answered your prayers for Gene. I have removed his intellectual issues. (Gene is about 67 years old and is highly intellectual and likes to argue. I knew that this was his big hang up)

    Today Gene stopped by and we talked again. I flat out asked him if he were to stand before God why God would let him in to heaven. Gene said because I beleive in God and in Jesus. We talked some more and he gets it. He has beleived. You all are saying what is your question? Here it is – Have any of you ever struggled over this issue of saying a prayer for salvation and how long did it take to get over it? Even today I had to stop myself from leading Gene in a “sinners prayer”. What have been your expierences with this. I would also like prayer that I would hold to the true Gospel and present it clearly. Thanks.

  87. Alan, shouldn’t everyone be given assurance at the moment of believing, by the person delivering the good news to them, sharing the truth of God’s Word seen in 1 John 5:10-13 and John 20:32 among others? The problem is even defining assurance as a fruit, is all the wolves out there, who are assistants to the accuser of the brethren, are out there to accuse believer’s daily, decimating many a believer’s assurance. We’d be worried constantly about having no assurance based on our feelings.

    But when we first believed we were given the gift of the Spirit, indwelt and sealed, baptized into the body of Chris. We passed from death into life, and darkness into light. So many are so busy fruit inspecting in our ‘churches’, they haven’t simply asked if the person believed the gospel, and if they aren’t sure the person understood the true gospel, that is the only reason one might have to doubt, not any performance.

    People inspecting someone’s ‘fruit’ (including their own), may not have understood that the free gift of salvation is solely based on believing what He has done, they have been bewitched themselves in trying to finish in the flesh, instead of the Spirit. Looking for their own fruits for assurance, instead of trusting in God who is not a man that He should lie. It can happen to any of us, our minds corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ, we can become hypocrites ourselves, not being straightforward about the truth of the gospel as Peter and Barnabas. We need to tell people that they can trust in God’s Word to be true. He promised it, He will perform it. He has given us eternal life from that moment on, and He will complete the good work He began.

    If someone isn’t being sanctified, we need to encourage them by pointing them to His Word, feeding His sheep.

    I am thankful for the Lord’s Word which cleanses, sanctifies, instructs, builds us up, gives us counsel, lights up our path give us wisdom, knowledge and understanding of the One who bought and paid for us with His sacrifice, with His precious blood.

    No matter how I feel about some good things that Ryrie wrote, we all have some error that we need to prove against the truth of God’s Word. No matter the teacher, I really do try to do that, in prayer, and by only one source.

    God bless your day!

  88. Jim, I agree that some study notes and commentaries are helpful.

    It’s just that there are so many study Bibles. And, since so many people get the gospel wrong, lots of these study Bibles will include notes that confuse, or even contradict, the gospel.

  89. I think I understand what you are saying there John but even traditional Bibles have the added things like verse numbers, cross references, and concordances etc. I have a couple study Bibles but tend to ignore most of the study notes. For example, The Scofiled Study Bible I have advocates the erroneous GAP theory in the notes on Gen 1:2.

    Jim F

  90. By the way – a “Study Bible” is no longer THE BIBLE. It is a book!

  91. Alan, I am open to correction, but I am not aware of any “fruit of saving faith” found in the Bible.

    I am aware of “fruits meet for repentance” (Matthew 3:8) and “fruits worthy of repentance” (Luke 3:8), both in reference to the ministry of John the Baptist. I object to the truncated version “fruits of repentance”, because it implies that fruits automatically manifest themselves in the lives of believers. And, the Bible never uses the term “fruits of repentance.”

    I am also familiar with the term “fruit of the spirit” (Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 5:9). Both times “fruit of the spirit” is used, it is predicated on walking in the spirit.

    We often inadvertently add or subtract seemingly unimportant words. In so doing, we can change the whole meaning. Scripture uses the term “fruits worthy of repentance” and “fruit of the spirit.” Scripture DOES NOT use either of the terms “fruits of repentance” or “fruit worthy of the spirit.”

    In the parable of the Sower, the people represented by the second soil are said to have believed. Therefore, they have eternal life that can never be lost or forfeited. There is no mention of their having borne any fruit whatsoever, as contrasted with soil three believers who “bring no fruit to perfection” (Luke 8:14), and soil four believers who “bring forth fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15). This is not a strong indicator that some believers will bear no fruit at all, but it is interesting that there is no mention of fruit for one of the groups of believers.

  92. Question: Is assurance of salvation a fruit of saving faith? Everyone who trusts in Christ’s death at Calvary for salvation should have assurance of salvation at some point in their life. That is not to say that the devil won’t use false teachers to snatch away the precious blessing of assurance from believers. Satan knows that if he can get believers to doubt their salvation he can render them ineffective and fruitless for the kingdom of God. How can they be passionate about spreading the Gospel if they doubt their own salvation?

    In reference to Matthew 7:15-20, many of you have, in the past, correctly noted that the fruit mentioned by Jesus are teachings- not works. Unbelievers can sometimes do good and noble deeds and Christians can sometimes commit horrendous acts.The truth of the Gospel is more precious than even a godly lifestyle. I mention this because I am struggling to come up with some explanation for Charles Ryrie’s perplexing comments which you have quoted. Years ago I read his book So Great Salvation and I found it to be such a refreshing departure from the works-based salvation being propagated by so many today. I just can’t lump him in with the likes of MacArthur, Chan, Platt and Piper.

  93. By the way, we often see wishy-washy language like Ryrie’s when people are trying to find common ground and compromise with works salvationists.

    That is why I used Ryrie’s comment on James 2:24 in the article on the “James Gang”.

    The problem is, it is impossible to tell where people who compromise really stand.

  94. Jack, I am really puzzled by Ryrie’s insistence that all Christians will bear fruit, based on 1 Corinthians 4:5, a verse in which fruitfulness is not even mentioned.

    This seems, for Ryrie, to trump 2 Peter 1:8 (in which “barren” and “unfruitful” are both used).

    The problem I have with people who insist on fruit, even those who “soften it up” like Ryrie, is that we cannot look to fruit we have borne for assurance of salvation. If we cannot look to fruit in our own lives as evidence of having eternal life, of what possible consequence is it to insist that “true believers” will bear fruit?

  95. John,

    Thanks for those quotes from Ryrie. They sound suspiciously like the voices of multiple other apologists for the lie of Lordship “salvation.”

    What a shame that free Grace folks who promote Ryrie are not aware (or worse if they don’t care). Well, we can only do our part to inform and warn. Thanks.

    That might shake some Grace folks if we include Ryrie in the title and those quotes in our next article at ExP.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  96. Jack, Ryrie also had a problematic explanation for James 2:19 that led to his further error in explaining James 2:24. Following is his note on James 2:19:

    The unity of God was a fundamental belief in Judaism. But if that belief did not produce good deeds, it was no better than the “monotheism” of the demons. = demons.tremble = shudder.

    Also, Ryrie interprets 1 Corinthians 4:5 to be conclusive that all Christians will bear fruit. Following is his lengthy explanation:

    Bearing Fruit

    Every Christian will bear spiritual fruit. Somewhere, sometime, somehow. Otherwise that person is not a believer. Every born-again individual will be fruitful. Not to be fruitful is to be faithless, without faith, and therefore without salvation.

    Having said that, some caveats are in order.

    1. This does not mean that a believer will always be fruitful. Certainly we can admit that if there can be hours and days when a believer can be unfruitful, then why may there not also be months and even years when he can be in that same condition? Paul exhorted believers to engage in good works so they would not be unfruitful (Titus 3:14). Peter also exhorted believers to add the qualities of Christian character to their faith lest they be unfruitful (2 Peter 1:8). Obviously, both of those passages indicate that a true believer might be unfruitful. And the simple fact that both Paul and Peter exhort believers to be fruitful shows that believers are not always fruitful.

    2. This does not mean that a certain person’s fruit will necessarily be outwardly evident. Even if I know the person and have some regular contact with him, I still may not see his fruit. Indeed, I might even have legitimate grounds for wondering if he is a believer because I have not seen fruit. His fruit may be very private or erratic, but the fact that I do not see it does not mean it is not there.

    3. My understanding of what fruit is and therefore what I expect others to bear may be faulty and/or incomplete. It is all too easy to have a mental list of spiritual fruits and to conclude if someone does not produce what is on my list that he or she is not a believer. But the reality is that most lists that we humans devise are too short, too selective, too prejudiced, and often extrabiblical. God likely has a much more accurate and longer list than most of us do. Nevertheless, every Christian will bear fruit; otherwise he or she is not a true believer. In speaking about the Judgment Seat of Christ, Paul says unequivocally that every believer will have praise come to him from God (1 Corinthians 4:5).

    So Great Salvation, Charles Ryrie, Victor Books, 1989, pp. 45-46

  97. Jerry Weinhausen,

    We do welcome you to ExP.

    Extrication from the James Gang has been a long tough journey for many who comment here but they have also expressed their joy and freedom to be found in the Grace of God.

    We will all appreciate your encouraging comments which will be helpful to some who may still be struggling with the bondage of Calvinism and Lordship “salvation.”.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  98. Hello Bob,

    Good to have you visit again and thanks for your question.

    My wife’s Ryrie Study Bible quotes exactly that, as he says, in answer to James 2:14:

    “James 2:24 [“Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only”] is the reply to the question of James 2:14. 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” (Ryrie Study Bible, comment under James 2:24

    That is a catchy phrase but is an un-scriptural shame and uncharacteristic of what I would expect from Ryrie. But I don’t know much about him either except a reputation as a free Grace advocate. That statement is certaiunly not reflective of free Grace.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  99. Jerry Weinhausen

    Good to meet you, seems like the truth has an amazing way of setting people free… I have many friends who have come out of reformed teaching for 10, 20, and 30 years. Of course Jack, he has his own story here having been raised in it. Thank the Lord for His Word, and the sanctifying power of it.

  100. Bob Gilbert – It is in the Ryrie Study Bible under that passage.

  101. One thing that I am reminded, is for certain, Jesus is Lord of all. They like to use the saying that goes somewhat like this, “If Jesus is not Lord of all, He’s not your Lord at all”. How many times, over and over, I have heard use the mental/intellectual assent argument, vs. a heart knowledge. They suggest you are similar to the demon/devils mentioned in vs. 19 in the same James 2 passage.

    Really did they miss that’s no problem at all for Satan to believe and know Jesus is Lord? Jesus is Lord. They ‘say’ they have believed on Jesus as their Savior by grace alone, but it is deceiving lip service. They turn right around, pad the gospel with works of turning from sin, repenting from sin, committing, submitting, abandoning, being sorry enough, promises, etc. etc.

    These people have not believed on Jesus as their Savior because they have not believed the gospel and continue to corrupt minds from the simplicity that is in Christ.

    If Jesus is not your Savior, I guarantee He is still your Lord. He is Lord of all, at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and confess He is Lord to the glory of the Father. He will say depart from me, I never knew you.

  102. Would you mind sharing the source of your Charles Ryrie quote? Privately, if you like.

  103. Good day,

    Romans 4:1-6

    What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?

    2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but NOT BEFORE GOD

    3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

    4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

    5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

    6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness WITHOUT works,

  104. John O, the author of the commentary that I excerpted in the article would agree with you.

    The author (Ron Shea) is, I think, referring to the use of the term “save” in James 2:14, including it in the context of James 2:14-16:

    [14] What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
    [15] If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
    [16] And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

    The same author, in another part of his explanation of James 2:14-26 has this to say:

    When James speaks of being “justified” by works, he is not speaking of being justified before God. He is speaking of being justified in the eyes of his fellow man. To be justified is simply to be regarded as “alright” by another person. It is not automatically directed to God any more than the word “save” is automatically directed toward salvation from hell!

    One is justified before God by faith in Christ.

    However, our fellow man is not capable of reading our minds. And many of them don’t really care what we believe about God. Our fellow man formulates his opinion of us by our character.

    And our character is reflected by how we repeatedly conduct the affairs of our lives. If believers who have financial or material resources allow impoverished and homeless Christian brethren to starve in the streets or freeze to death, those Christians having resources are not “all right” in the eyes of the watching world.

    They are selfish and cold hearted religious hypocrites. They claim that Jesus taught love and laying one’s life down for his brethren, but they won’t lift a finger to save their fellow Christians.

    The world does not think you are an “O.K.” person simply because you have trusted Christ. No unbeliever would be attracted to the church so they could make friends who would watch them starve to death or freeze to death in hard times.

    NOTE: Neither James, nor the above paragraph, should be understood as teaching that our good works or character “prove” that we have been “justified by God.” James is not discussing justification before God at all. James is talking about being justified in the eyes of our fellow man by our works.

    Contrary to popular teachings, not one verse of Scripture teaches that our works prove the authenticity of our faith in Christ.

  105. “The reason, quite simply, is that James isn’t speaking about eternal salvation at all. He is speaking of salvation from trials and hardships.”

    Let’s see if the author’s conclusion makes sense.
    James 2:24: “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.”
    Synonymously, it would read:
    “You see that a man is [declared righteous] by works and not by faith alone.”

    The author’s translation:
    “You see that a man is [saved from trials trials & hardships] by works and not by faith alone.”
    The author’s explanation doesn’t make sense & weakens the true argument.

    True explanation:
    “You [, a human] see that a man is [declared righteous] justified by works and not by faith alone [in the sight of other men].”

    I think that we over-think so many of the Calvinist ideas & confuse well-intentioned people. (Off-topic: pre-destination is so poorly explained by grace teachers that we lose credibility. Pre-destination is another simple-to-explain subject that Satan uses to weaken our cause for gift-alone through faith-alone.)

  106. Michael Branda

    Thank you for your article, John. Yes, Ryrie’s two-coupon ticket teaching has always bothered me. He starts out by saying that “the coupon of works is not good for passage.” Hearing this, people tend to let their guard down. After all, that sounds like he is being Biblical, that he is saying that we cannot get into heaven through our good works. Then he immediately contradicts himself, telling us that “the coupon of faith is not valid if detached from works.” That is a direct contradiction. But what I have found happens is that people hear that first phrase (“the coupon of works is not good for the passage”), and then they let their guard down, and accept what follows.

    I had this happen at a church that I use to attend. One Sunday, an assistant pastor preached on salvation. He began by stating that, though we are not against good works, good works don’t save us. He then went on to preach Lordship Salvation. When I talked to people after the sermon, I found that they heard that first part (“good works don’t save us”), and then let their guard down and accepted his Lordship Salvation teaching. I had to do damage control, and explain to my friends that they were the victems of a classic “bait and switch.” Though he said that good works didn’t save us, he went on to teach just that.

    And that’s exactly what Charles Ryrie does–that classic “bait and switch.” He begins by saying that good works don’t save us (“the coupon of works is not good for passage”), causing people to let their guard down. And then continues on to say that good works do save us (“the coupon of faith is not valid if detached from works”) So thanks for bringing this up John. This false teaching needs to be exposed.

  107. Jerry, welcome to ExP. We’re glad to have you here!

    A lot of us have come out of the darkness of LS and are passionate about advancing and defending the gospel.

  108. Jerry Weinhausen

    I was a James Gang supporter for over 25 years and I have the scars to prove it. (That’s a long story.) Thankfully, the Lord showed me and my wife the way out. Now we’re in a solid Bible College, training for ministry in whatever field He calls us to.

  109. John,

    Thanks. Unique and excellent comparison.

    LS folks are thieves and robbers of the Gospel…

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack