Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
The above passage is an excerpt from the parable of the sower, taught in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. We know, from all three accounts of the parable of the sower, that people represented by soils two through four believed in Christ as Savior, and therefore received eternal life that could never be lost or forfeited.
But, most Calvinists and Lordship “salvationists” (LSers) will steadfastly deny the clear word of God regarding the spiritual position of believers represented by soil two (Luke 8:13).
Following is an example of the false teaching that soil two represents unsaved people, promulgated by budding Southern Baptist star J.D. Greear:
In his parable about the different types of soil, Jesus spoke of a group who heard his word and made an initial, encouraging response of belief, only to fade away over time. These are those, Jesus explained, who hear the gospel and respond positively to it—pray the prayer, walk the aisle, get baptized, or do whatever new converts in your church do. They remain in the church for a period of time. But they do not endure when the sun of persecution comes out and will not in the end be saved.
Greear’s comments are indicative of the mainstream of the Calvinist/LS community that prefers the teaching of men even when it contradicts God’s clear word. In this case, it is belief in the false Calvinist tenet of “perseverance of the saints,” which maintains that all “true believers” will persevere until the end of their lives in faith and some degree of holiness.
The irony of Greear’s comments is that LSers are represented by either soil one or soil two.
In his sermon entitled “Life Lessons from the Dirt,” pastor Tom Cucuzza explained how Satan uses pastors that teach false doctrine to keep people from understanding the gospel message. Following are excerpts that address soil number one:
Minutes 18:59 – 19:12
“How does Satan blind the mind of the lost? With false messages. You can sow the truth, and Satan will bring a false message to that person and it will keep them confused. Or, it will keep them lost.”
“But you see, Satan blinds the minds of people by giving them a heavenly way to go to hell.
And the most dastardly of all false gospels is what we call Lordship “salvation” or discipleship “salvation.” Who says ‘Jesus is necessary, but He’s not enough.” You must also be committed and follow the Lord if you want to get to heaven. That’s mixing grace and works. It does not save. It only further deceives people and makes their blindness deeper, and deeper, and deeper. Be careful! Be careful!
So, the first soil that we see is the soil of pride. And pride of course – have you ever witnessed to somebody and they’ll say ‘I can’t believe that’. Why not? ‘It’s too easy. Oh that’s easy believism’. Or, the new one that they’ve come out with makes me want to throw up. They’ll say: ‘that’s greasy grace’. Greasy grace! You’re disgusting! How could anybody put the word ‘greasy’ with the word ‘grace’? Friends, let me tell you something. If you’re not saved by grace, you’re not saved. It’s nothing but amazing – grace! Amazing grace.”
But, not all people who have fallen for false gospels, including LS, are unsaved.
Some are those represented by soil two, who once believed in Jesus as Savior, but have fallen away. Such people may be actively involved in Church, trying to lead Godly lifestyles. Others may have “thrown in the towel” and given up on Church and Christianity altogether.
Following are some of the ways that believers become soil two believers:
- Not staying grounded in the gospel
- Failing to put on the full armor of God
- Misplaced trust in men, man-made institutions, or church history
- Trying to “eat the meat” and “spit out the bones” of false teachers
- Desire for fellowship
- Willful blindness to error being taught
We simply cannot know whether those who have fallen for false gospels such as Lordship “salvation” are saved (soil two believers) or unsaved (soil one).
Either way, they need to be introduced, or re-introduced to the truth of the gospel.
If you would like to know from the Bible how to have eternal life, please click here:
Chas, sorry, I just saw this, but basically both.
I don’t do facebook or I’d look it up myself, but what “wine” in Scripture were people on fb suggesting was just grape juice? Was it wine in general, or the wine that Paul suggested Timothy “take a little” of for his ailments?
Russell, you are right. I just left a question on the ‘difficult verses’ blog, there are more coming, but you cannot have fellowship with those who are preaching a false gospel, losing your salvation is one which is a false gospel.
Phil, interesting you should mention IFB and their stance on forbidding drinking. I understand responsible use, and also not making someone stumble, but for some reason this is a subject that recently has come up on Facebook and some stating that the wine was grape juice, not fermented.
Russell, I know what you mean about the clichés. Many of them have found their way onto bumper stickers and church marquees.
Here is what I have come to think on the subject of churches: If you can find one that is right on the Gospel get on your knees and give thanks to God because you have just found something more unusual/rare than if you went to the beach, turned over a piece of wood, and found a perfect diamond worth millions. I teach a Bible study to a small group of like minded believers and as far as I am concerned THEY are my church family. Don’t go to Christian radio thinking that will feed you – even teachers who are known as “Free Grace” will teach a mixed up and confused gospel many times. I would avoid the radio. I do not think it is possible to have any fellowship with or in Calvinist Churches, LS Churches or churches that teach you can lose/leave your salvation. People will say so and so is a good solid teacher on so much of the Bible but teaches you can only be saved if God picked you (Calvinist) or you only prove your saved by the evidence of fruit (LS) or you can lose it (Arminian/Most Calvary Chapels). I want to scream because if the Gospel is not right than nothing else matters. Who cares if I can agree with the teacher on the rapture, creation, the flood, etc. None of that matters if they are teaching a false gospel. One on one I can talk to people who hold these views and try to persuade them but as an organization I want nothing to do with these false churches. The church that I still attend is Baptist. I can honestly say that the reason I stay there is only to be a witness and to encourage others there who are free grace (there are still a few) It is my mission field. As a side note one of the things I have been finding out is how trapped people are to the clichés they have been subjected to. The clichés are like the Bible to them. Anyone else experience this. Oh well – Be ready in season and out of season.
Phil, those are tragic examples of teaching of men keeping people confused and lost.
In this one Independnent fundanmental baptist church this woman I knew would refer to getting saved as “going forward.” I guess that was what she thought getting saved involved: responding to an altar call. And I fear that is what she was taught in this church was necessary: “to walk the aisle in order to get saved.” They also use altar calls for saved people who have “backslidden” into sin. The Nazarines, who believe you can loose your salvation by unbelief or serious sins, use this a lot on their members. In several Nazarine services I have a seen people come forward any time in the service crying and upset over falling into sins, I guess hoping God will take them back.
If Christian teaching are a mess, it is because their leaders have absorbed some messed up teachings and their congregations have bought into these unscriptural teachings.
I was in several IFBC’s ” repentance toward God” for salvation ( eternal life ) it was the parable of the soils ( only one true beliver )that got my attention to leave . also brought in a traveling evangelist that taught works is evidence of salvation. Also the traveling evangelist would not give me a Gospel presentation when asked.
If the IFBC would preach clearly the Gospel of Grace as demonstrated by Curtis Hutson . I’d be there.
Phil, when I see Romans 10:9-10 used in “invitation,” it is often followed by a suggested “sinner’s prayer,” that embeds commitments on the part of the petitioner. I am highly cautious about ministries that use Romans 10:9-10 as the mainstay of their gospel message.
After doing some research on IFB churches online, they are similar to SBC churches. They insist on tithing, following the “Roman Road” salvation formula, and may insist on it which includes confessing verbally to be saved, a misuse of Romans 10:9-10, you would probably be expected never to consume alcohol beverages or engage in selling it–and may have to sign a church agreement promising not to do so. (nothing in the Bible forbids responsible drinking) And while I use the KJV, they will probably insist on it, From my assessment they sneak in LS stuff with “repent of your sins” as part of the condition for salvation. And i would expect lots of “this church needs revival” regularly where they end up putting doubts in the minds of their saved members as to whether they are “really saved’ and so perfectly saved member end up walking to the altar periodically to make sure they are really, really, really saved.
Every Baptist church that calls themselves independent fundamental that I have attended, to them repentance does not just mean change your mind and believe the gospel, no, to them it means repent= turn from and forsake your sins as part of getting saved. I would avoid getting involved with them.
Phil, excellent points!
I agree that Lordship “salvationists” confuse law and grace.
Some may have never even heard the gospel in its clarity, and some may have heard so many false gospels that they don’t know what to believe.
They need to hear the clear gospel, and they need our prayers, but the worst thing we could do is to make them think their errors are just semantic differences, or otherwise compromise by joining them.
Excellent article john as usual. It think the tag, “Lordship salvation and discipleship salvation” are indeed interchangeable., and I might add Phariseeship salvation is also interchangeable.
I think that Jesus in the Gospels is showing who are truly his disciples, not who has become a believer and is saved. If the Prodigal left his father and never returned would he still not be a son to his father?
We must remember that the Gospel accounts bring Christ to us as our God and Savior, but Jesus still had to preach it under the law of Moses (ie the Sermon on the Mount and its humanly unattainable requirements.) And this is where the LSers try to mix law and grace and keep the church under both; they tell us that we are saved by God’s grace through faith., but then they burden us with telling us we must keep the requirements of the law which Christ had to still teach under before his death and resurrection.
You will never hear the LS’ers tell you that you are always under the saving grace alone and never point you to Paul’s clear explanation in Galatians chapter 3 where he says that we can never keep any requirements of works, discipleship and perseverance enough to be eternally saved. That all fruit bearing, seed sewing, works, persevering are NEVER enough to make us worthy of salvation. What I learned, and I hope all of us have learned, and what Paul is clearly saying in Galatians is that our works, discipleship, repenting of sins, perseverance will NEVER be enough to meet the requirements for salvation. All of the teachings of the law were to show us our total inability to keep the law for works, discipleship, perseverance–to lead us to the end of ourselves and our merits. And we must turn to our only means of salvation: the finished saving work of Jesus Christ, dying and rising to save us to eternal life His work ALONE on our behalf completes our salvation and eternal destiny.
I am afraid the Lordshippers are guilty of everything that Paul speaks out against and warns against in Galatians. The Lorshippers are just a modern version of legalizers and Pharisees.
Welcome to the blog 🙂
We do have one independent fundamental Baptist church in my area, however, the doctrine is incorrect. Like many churches today, they typically misunderstand and incorrectly define what Biblical repentance is, as well as they also quote Romans 10:9 as a proof text for what is required by a sinner to be saved. Ie. you have to “confess” with your mouth.
But of course we know the Lord Jesus says in John 6:47: “47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life”.
Holly, I would agree that Greear is insinuating that people prove they are saved “by sitting in between their walls” for the long-haul.
John — good article. Greear is pretty cavalier here, He says: …”Jesus explained, who hear the gospel and respond positively to it—pray the prayer, walk the aisle, get baptized, or do whatever new converts in your church do. They remain in the church for a period of time.”
Jesus didn’t say they ‘respond positively to it’, He said they believe.
Then comes the strawman, we ‘pray the prayer’, ‘walk the aisle’, ‘get baptized’… Total diversion from what the Word says — BELIEVE.
He continues, ‘or do whatever new converts in your church do’. That says a lot. So he calls them converts but obviously sets up his audience with his salesman’s pitch. They’re all agreeing with him that no one is saved by praying a specific prayer or walking an aisle, or getting baptized. Then the most typical of these loadship purveyors.
They remain in the church for a period of time. Obviously there are only two choices here, he believes you prove you are saved by sitting in between their walls. Or two, he believes you can be removed from the body. I’m guessing as a reformed teacher it is the former. Either way he needs marked and avoided, thank you for that John.
L Vandre, it is good to hear from you again.
Yes! It is very comforting to me also that Christ promises believers that we have eternal life that can never be lost or forfeited. No one can pluck us from His hand – not even us!
This article is very good. In response to being a soil that “will not in the end be saved” , whosoever believeth in Him HAS everlasting life. That is very comforting to me.
sagebrush, welcome and thanks for your comment.
Some of our long-time readers who are very discerning have had mixed experiences with IFB churches.
If the IFB churches are indeed independent, then I cannot give them a blanket endorsement. One would have to evaluate the doctrine of any specific church to determine whether its teachings are consistent with the gospel of grace.
Can i suggest that all of the above churchless ones above – check out an Independent, Fundamental, Baptist church? Otherwise known as an IFB? While there are less and less around, I know the chances of finding a New Testament group is likelier at an IFB than just about anywhere else.
Finally some preaching on this parable that makes some sense! Thank you, johninnc. This is one of those passages that is so widely mis-taught, it’s no wonder there are so many church-goers who don’t understand free grace.
I also sympathize with Sam, Curtis and Adam in their search for a fellowship centered around the biblical gospel. I live in an area where churches grow like weeds, but still haven’t found one that doesn’t harbor serious heresy of some kind. Still looking, though.
Excellent article John. As we know, so many love to use this particular parable as “proof” that one “needs to bear fruit” for salvation, or to somehow demonstrate a difference between “head faith” and “heart faith” so-called.
Sam and Curtis M, I empathize with you both as I also have had the same experience. Sam, you were very right when you mentioned that most churches don’t even seem to care about what the truth is. However regrettable this is though, we cannot afford to give any space or credence to those who would preach a false Gospel by attending their churches in the name of “fellowship” or “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves….”. Souls are stake and we are accountable to Him.
His Grace is always sufficient.
I hear you Sam , about the same experience here . I have exhausted all the churches within 30 minute drive of me . Its to the point now of how much would I compromise on the truth of the gospel for fellowship ?
I have been attending church online most churches on this blog have live streaming.
Sam, it’s great to hear from you.
I have prayed that God will provide a group (however large or small) with whom you can meet in His name.
Johninnc yes this parable is clearly explained by Jesus which makes it impossible for them to honestly come up with those foolish conclusions.As far as giving up on the established man made churches yes I have given up as they dont seem to really care whats true.I can barely walk in one anymore, only go when I have to for funerals etc. I know thats bad to say but Im just being honest. Thanks