Please note: this is not a political article. It is an article about the difference between the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ and the bad news of Lordship “salvation.”
Matthew 7:15: Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Following are selected definitions of “fake” and “news” (noun forms) from Dictionary.com:
- anything made to appear otherwise than it actually is; counterfeit
- a person who fakes; faker
- a spurious report or story
- a report of a recent event; intelligence; information
- the presentation of a report on recent or new events in a newspaper or other periodical or on radio or television
- such reports taken collectively; information reported
Matthew 7:15 refers to purveyors of fake news. I believe that it is meant to include those who turn the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ into false gospels of works. The verses that immediately precede Matthew 7:15 explain the only way to have eternal life, which is through faith in Christ alone:
Matthew 7:13-14:  Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
So, what is the narrow way that leads to life? Jesus explains this succinctly:
John 14:6: Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
And what is the strait gate?
John 10:9: I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
Lordship “salvation” is the false belief that Christ is necessary, but not sufficient, for eternal life. It teaches the bad news that the “straight and narrow” is our intentions, or our works., rather than the good news of God’s complete provision for our salvation through Jesus Christ.
Lordship “salvation” can be very subtle. But, one thing that can make it easier to detect is the focus of assurance. Lordship “salvation” turns the focus away from Christ and His righteousness to an unquantifiable and subjective inventory of one’s personal righteousness.
Following are some examples of Lordship “salvation” from both some well known and lesser-known sources:
- Just to say “believe in Christ” can produce a false assurance of the hope of Heaven. Jesus spoke often about the gift of eternal life. To make it clear, He said, “Count the cost.” –“Evangelist” Billy Graham
- I would ask them to consider whether the signs of eternal life are present in them. As John explains so thoroughly in 1 John, conversion does not bring sinless perfection, but it does begin to make fundamental changes in the human heart.” – Pastor J.D. Greear
- Another proof of the conquest of a soul for Christ will be found in a real change of life. If the man does not live differently from what he did before, both at home and abroad, his repentance needs to be repented of, and his conversion is a fiction. – 19th Century Preacher Charles Spurgeon
- I often wonder if those who espouse easy-believism have simply adapted their theology in order to try to get a sinning loved one into the kingdom. – Pastor and best-selling author John MacArthur
- We have to repent of our sins in turn. A person cannot stay in adultery and be accepted by God. You’ll have to repent. – Evangelist Franklin Graham
- So a dispassionate statement of belief, with nothing behind it, and no intention to serve God in any way is all it takes…interesting belief. Never heard that before. – Facebook Comment from the son of a Southern Baptist Minister
- 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. – David Chadwick, Pastor of Forrest Hills Church, Charlotte
- As such, repentance is a necessary precursor to saving faith. It means that a nonbeliever must admit his sin to God, acknowledge he is wrong, and be willing to seek a new way of life. – “Free Grace” theologian Joseph Dillow
- Repentance is a turning from sin, while faith is turning to Christ. – Theologian Dr. Roy Zuck
- Of COURSE salvation is a gift, not by works, so that no man may boast (Eph. 2:8), but it’s only to the repentant sinner (Psalm 51), to the thief on the cross who repented in Luke 23:32-42 (though both “believed,” only one was saved), to Zacchaeus in Luke 19:8 who repented and vowed to restore fourfold anyone he’d cheated, that the Lord said, “TODAY, salvation has come to this house” (Luke 19:9), only when the Lord saw remorse and repentance did He GRANT His free gift of salvation! – Commenter, Redeeming Moments website
The above comments each turn the focus of hope of eternal life, in some way, back to a person’s works or good intentions. This is not good news. It is fake news!
If you would like additional information on the real good news, click here: The Gospel
Jason, LS can coexist with almost anything – except grace.
Sometimes LS coexists with liberalism, as it did in Bonhoeffer.
Jason, yeah – and C.S. Lewis and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
I was once one of the Billy Graham defenders. I see similar hero worship with overseas churchians such as Nee and Solzhenitsyn.
Jason, you are correct. Bob Wilkin seems to have taken a very superficial look at Spurgeon, and jumped to the conclusion that Spurgeon taught grace. Spurgeon taught Calvinism/LS.
The late Jack Weaver challenged a couple of other well-known “grace expositors” who favorably quoted Spurgeon to think about the damage they were doing. Their responses were dismissive, and led me to believe that some people are more concerned about protecting the sensibilities of people engaging in hero worship than in maintaining the integrity of the gospel message.
We sometimes see the same thing with Billy Graham fans who otherwise embrace the gospel.
One of these people who do not think Spurgeon was LS is none other Bob Wilkin. I was perusing the site faithalone.org back in 2009. I had been aware of LS for some time. I had recently stopped listening to Hanegraaff. I was thinking contradictory thoughts about living the Christian life as if it made me a worthy citizen of the kingdom of heaven. I developed the foolish thought that works resulted in salvation but did not earn it. Then I repented of that notion, did some Google searches, and came to Wilkin’s site. I read plenty of articles supporting kingdom exclusion, which gave me a false understanding but no comfort. Wilkin also thought that Luther and Calvin did not teach LS.
Also, below is another comment from earlier. The comment I am addressing was written by the “Spurgeon apologist.” It is interesting that many people who don’t think Spurgeon was Calvinist/LS also do not realize they are.
Following is an excerpt from a comment on another site:
There is much of grace in James and I firmly believe grace alone saves and is not necessarily accompanied by works. Yet it is Christ’s will we produce “fruit” even “much fruit”. To have no fruit, especially after much time in Christ, is no doubt an aberration, a strong indication something is wrong…even a lack of true salvation through faith in Christ alone.
My comment: So, should we examine our fruit (or that of others) to determine whether or not we (or they) have “a lack of true salvation through faith in Christ alone?”
This is utter nonsense. This is fruit inspection 101. The source of assurance reflected in this comment is WORKS, despite the fact that the writer says that faith is not necessarily accompanied by works.
The writer is speaking out of both sides of his mouth, and muddying the gospel in the process.
Brian, agree regarding Spurgeon. I simply cannot understand his apologists and sympathizers.
Spurgeon here reads like the false prophets of the Mormon church. They teach the same thing. The Mormon book “The Miracle of Forgiveness” by Kimball has comments similar to Spurgeon on “forsaking of sin” for salvation.
More false doctrine from Charles Spurgeon:
Repentance to be true, to be evangelical, must be a repentance which really affects our outward conduct… All sin must be given up, or else you shall never have Christ: all transgression must be renounced, or else the gates of heaven must be barred against you.
Furthermore; the repentance here described as absolutely necessary is hearty repentance. It is not a mock tear; it is not hanging out the ensigns of grief, whilst you are keeping merriment in your hearts. It is not having an illumination within, and shutting up all the windows by a pretended repentance; it is the putting out of the candles of the heart; it is sorrow of soul which is true repentance.
And lastly, upon this point, this repentance must be perpetual. It is not my turning to God during to-day that will be a proof that I am a true convert; it is forsaking of my sin throughout the entire of my life, until I sleep in the grave.
My comment: No assurance with Spurgeon until you die, having forsaken all of your sin for the entirety of your life. Spurgeon was a dyed in the wool Calvinist/Lordship “salvationist.” Anyone who defends Spurgeon is either ignorant or deceived. I would advise running, not walking, away from Spurgeon’s false doctrine.
I found this excerpt from a comment on another site:
I would like to offer a word of defense for Charles Spurgeon as being different from His Reformed brethren in that although convinced (famous quote: ‘Calvinism is Christianity’) he did not preach like a Calvinist. The Spirit which empowered him was able to overcome his theological shortcomings to reach out and embrace lost sinners. Understand, Spurgeon had a Bible and a ton of Reformed books as his mentors. He never attended seminary and he would call out his fellow preachers for being to harsh in their teachings. He so loved sinners, he has been quoted as asking God to ‘send more elect’ to his church.
My comment: NONSENSE! Spurgeon’s preaching was the epitome of Calvinism. He was a Calvinist/Lordship “salvationist” through and through. Following are some of his quotes:
Another proof of the conquest of a soul for Christ will be found in a real change of life. If the man does not live differently from what he did before, both at home and abroad, his repentance needs to be repented of, and his conversion is a fiction.
If the professed convert deliberately declares that he know his Lord’s will but does not intend to obey it, you are not to pamper his presumption. Rather it is your duty to assure him that he is not saved. Has not the Lord said, “Whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:27)?
True conversion is in all men attended by a sense of sin (which have spoken of under the heading of conviction); by a sorrow for sin or holy grief at having committed it; by a hatred of sin, which proves that its dominion is ended; and by a practical turning from sin, which shows that the life within the soul is operating upon the life without.
This is salvation by works, plain and simple. Spurgeon’s so called “love for sinners” is not relevant. If he really cared about sinners, he would have preached the gospel accurately, and would not have contradicted the gospel by his Calvinist/LS messages.
I hate to even dwell on all the ‘stinkin’ thinkin’ that Load-ship injects into our lives. I don’t even want to put a number to the years I wasted — bewitched, in bondage, then giving up. I had to pray to even want to want to do the right thing, the needed thing, to choose the good part. The enemy wants to keep us away from the Word which is our sword that Jesus answered the enemy with (Matt 4). We may start off as Martha’s doing good things for Him but distracted vs. sitting at His feet hearing His Word (Lk. 10:38-42). Daily I get distracted by the tragedies in my life or just day to day living. Then I come under the accusation of the enemy and my sword is not sharpened. We all need ‘strong meat’(Heb 5:12-14), but when I was flailing about, I was seeking after teachers (heaping them up). Whoever was the flavor of the month — but there was no satisfaction there (praise Him for His mercy). Empty words of no lasting value. Just enough to bewitch. Thank the Lord for His Word which is truth and will wash us (Jn 17:17; Eph 5:26).
Brent, yes, religion, our flesh, and the evil one all want to point us to ourselves and away from Christ.
johninnc, hollysgarcia, Chas
Thank you for the welcome.
I am so thankful for the level of discussion on this web site. Whenever I have questions or hear comments about LS teachings that make me wonder what those Bible verses mean, I usually can find an explanation on this site with the Bible verse.
I am kind of ashamed to admit, but I trusted in Jesus for salvation about 17 years ago. I’m not ashamed of salvation, but that it is taking so long to get a clearer understanding of the Gospel and just how marvelous salvation is and how it is nothing I could ever do to obtain or preserve that. It really is freeing to realize I trust Christ alone. I tend to be a late bloomer in just about all of my life areas. Reading and studying the Bible is no different. Lately, I have found myself wanting to know more and more about the Lord. One of the things that has really drawn me to this thirst is the love that God showed me. In the past, my primary motivation for trying to “live right” would be fear based, because I would catch myself “examining” my life and not seeing much fruit. I would repeat the cycle I mentioned in my comment above about “really making sure I said or did the right things to get saved.” Looking back, it was a works based approach. As I mentioned above, I was saved when I trusted Jesus. After I was saved, for some reason, I just couldn’t wrap my mind around Christ alone and started trying to make sure I was “really saved.” That line of thinking crept in my mind and has been a strong hold for many years. I thought strong holds were only the “big” (sin) related items in my life that I would obviously know where to look to try and get rid of. However, I don’t think I ever thought about a false teaching being a type of strong hold. Talk about subtle.
It’s interesting that, in general, your experience with LS and the circular struggle resulting from it describes mine to a “T”. Seems the confusing doctrine of LS has the same effect on whomever it inflicts, at least with those who are honest with themselves about their own supposed “repentance”.
Otoh, those who are comfortable with LS–or at least “comfortable with their level of discomfort”–apparently are resting in their own supposed “repentance”. Talk about sinking sand…
I lost count on how many times I went through the “repentance” cycle, only to throw myself on Christ’s finished work again in desperation. It’s only in the last couple of years that I learned what to call the essential problem: Lordship Salvation (LS). Learning to identify LS and its purveyors has helped to stabilize my rest in Christ.
socalexile – yes, running into some of them has also been an eye opener for me. May the Lord just bring the Word to their remembrance in the areas they are in error as well as any of us too. More than glad to be able to fellowship with you all.
Russell, how touching that is, I have been blessed to see a little of that too, due to God’s goodness to let me see a part. I am so rejoicing with you. May you have much peace and joy in your Bible study and otherwise. God bless you.
Russell, thanks for the encouragement and reminder that our efforts are for His glory.
Holly, I’ve been good but busy. My bible study keeps growing and to see people being freed with the truth is probably the biggest “high” I have ever experienced.
I want to encourage everyone here that the battle is the Lords. He uses us and gets the glory. I was able to preach at church last month. A couple of weeks later an older guy came up to me and told me that he never realized how eternally secure we are in Christ by simple faith in Him. He was overjoyed. I live for those moments when Saints who have never been taught truth start to get real truth and their eyes are opened. In the Bible study I hear older men and women, one is 85, during our prayer time telling the Lord how amazing it is to hear these truths for the FIRST time.
One last thing Johninnic referenced an article at this site and I clicked on it to read it. I read it and then saw the date was from 2011. I got a little emotional. You see in 2011 I was still in bondage to Lordship teaching. It was not until 2012/13 that the Lord brought people into my life to lead me out of error. I thought about what my life was like in 2011 when that article was written. Thank God a man from the church I was attending started to show me the truth. Lets not grow weary in doing good!!!
Anyways have a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.
LOL I just left a Wilkinite FB group over their bashing when I mentioned that repentance is a change of mind, something I see as a given when placing your faith in Christ.
It’s a bit of a wake-up for me, as I’ve seen the difference between the Wilkin-ite view and our view as a “po-tay-toe/po-tah-toe” issue, since we both agree that faith in Christ’s work and not our work is what matters. I guess it isn’t.
Those people were worse than some of the Calvinists I run into.
I read, and I apologize if this is redundant because although I saw Jonah brought up, I didn’t see the point brought up that although the people turned from sin, it was a work. God saw their works, that it was good, however, we know it cannot be by works.
Maimonides classified the 613 commandments of the Mosaic Law. One of them is Numbers 5:6-7 which they see as turning from and confessing sin. Can a nonbeliever do any of these works to receive eternal life?
Ron Shea went through every single incident in the New Testament, I broke it up into articles on my site also. I do pray all would consider if they believe repenting of sin is part of receiving eternal life, to ask themselves, how much, how long, how sincere, etc. etc.
Turning from sin is a good thing to do, but we know it is not by works of righteousness we have been saved…
Russell, your post was excellent, actually a good stand alone article, well said. Haven’t seen you in awhile, hope all is well.
Brent, I think a lot of us not only understand but have been there. Hope you stick around with us and stay in His Word!
Interesting discussion about repentance. Here are my thoughts:
Repentance means “to change one’s mind”, “to think again” or “to think differently”. I agree with John that Luke 24:47 teaches that repentance is required for an unbeliever to receive eternal life. This is confirmed in Acts 20:21:
Testifying to both the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
For salvation, the object of repentance for the unbeliever is self-righteousness, or considering his sins to be less numerous than or not as bad as those of others. Changing his mind about his self-righteousness makes the unbeliever able to believe on Christ for eternal life. Because of Original Sin, the natural man seeks to “hold the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18). After the fall took place in Genesis 3:7, Adam and Eve sought to suppress the guilt of their sin (nakedness) by clothing themselves with fig leaves (their own righteousness). Thus, the natural man seeks to cover or suppress the guilt of his sin by justifying himself. He does this by self-righteousness, or by favorably comparing his own righteousness to that of others, as Christ described in Matt. 7:1-5 and as Paul wrote in Romans 2:1-6. In Luke 18:10-14, the Pharisee was not justified because he compared his own righteousness favorably to that of the publican. As long as he refused to repent, he would not be able to believe on Christ for eternal life.
In Luke 13:1-5, Christ warned that failure of the Jews to repent concerning their self-righteousness would prevent them from believing on Him, causing them to forfeit eternal life. Without eternal life, Israel would not produce the fruits of righteousness which God desired for the nation (Luke 13:6-9), consequently bringing their national destruction and the Diaspora, which occurred in A.D. 70.
In scripture, believers are also told to repent in several instances. In Acts 8:22, Peter told Simon the sourcerer to repent of the wickedness of wanting to sell the gift of God (the Holy Spirit) to make money. In 2 Cor. 12:21, some of the Corinthian believers where exhorted to repent of “uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed”. In Revelation 2:5, the risen Christ told the believers in the church at Ephesus to repent because they had “left thy first love” (v.4). The object of repentance for the believer who seeks to walk in fellowship with God is sin, since sin is no longer consistent with his identity or position in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17), breaks his fellowship with God (Romans 8:13), renders him fruitless (Gal. 6:8) and invites God’s chastisement (1 Cor. 11:30).
One of the errors of Lordship Salvation is that it requires the unbeliever to practice the repentance which is only meant for believers. The unbeliever who heeds the call to “repent of sin” or “turn from sin” and believe on Christ just remains in his self-righteousness rather than changing his mind about it. Consequently, he cannot put all of his trust and confidence in Christ alone and His finished work. In addition, he often will become even more resistant to the grace message and to those who teach it (Matt. 23:15). I think that is the warning which Christ gave His disciples in Matt. 7:6:
Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
Turning from sin and training and instruction in righteousness are only for those who have already changed their minds about their self-righteousness, and settled the matter of their eternal destiny by believing on Christ for eternal life. Then and only then are they ready to practice and reap the fruits of righteousness.
Sorry John I was not trying to cause problems and will not protract the discussion. We’ll just have to agree to disagree about the definition and usage of that word and I think that maybe the only point of disagreement about this topic.
If I may say one more thing— I see no difference in using Luke 24:47 to prove repentance as essential to receiving eternal life from another using Matthew 28:19-20 to prove baptizing (which is done by those who were commissioned and not the Holy Spirit) and commandment keeping as essential to receiving eternal life (same commission).
At least we agree that repentance is for all men. With that I honor your request and I am through with this subject on your cite.
Ras, please see our “Statement of Faith” for the views of this ministry on the subject of repentance.
You said: For the believer repentance from sin is more than a change of mind but less than sinlessness and leads to possessing everlasting life. If an unbeliever is in view, they might repent before they believe, or after they believes or never.
We will not entertain any protracted discussion that teaches either of the following:
1. Repentance is not essential in receiving eternal life; or
2. Repentance, when used in the context of receiving eternal life, pertains in any way to turning from sin.
One of the verses that I think establishes that repentance relates to RECEIVING eternal life is Luke 24:47:
And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
From Clear Gospel: http://old.cleargospel.org/topics.php?t_id=27&c_id=227
I will check out the Clear Gospel’s article at some point. I’m curious how he/they can say “The actual phrase “repent of your sins” never occurs in Scripture. NEVER!” and then say “Whenever sin is the object of repentance, the consequence of repentance is never eternal salvation.” —That kind of sounds like double speak to me. The quote “repent of your sins” does not appear in Scripture but obviously he/they see the concept that repent does at times mean turn from sin(s) immorality, evil ways, abominations, transgressions and iniquity. I would say that that means “repent of your sins” does occur in Scripture (Jer 25:5, Ezek 14:6; 18:30, Rev 2:21; 9:21).
I agree (I think we agree )that repentance never relates to receiving everlasting life (justification). For the believer repentance from sin is more than a change of mind but less than sinlessness and leads to possessing everlasting life. If an unbeliever is in view, they might repent before they believe, or after they believes or never. Or they may repent of immorality and evil ways yet never believe in Christ for justification.
But you are correct John (Clear Gospel also) repentance relates to what is in context of when the word is used. I’m curious to see where Clear Gospel sees it relating to “eternal salvation” and what they mean by that. Thanks for the direction.
RAS, repentance is not turning from sin. It is a change of mind. Sin may or may not be the object of repentance. You may have seen the following from Clear Gospel on repentance. I think they are a good overview:
Repentance has no intrinsic subject. Anyone can repent, even God!
Repentance has no intrinsic object. It is not automatically directed toward sin. One can repent about virtually anything. One can even repent from good to evil!
Repentance has no intrinsic consequence. It does not automatically result in eternal salvation. It can result in result in any consequence that naturally follows the exercise God’s free will, or man’s free will.
The actual phrase “repent of your sins” never occurs in Scripture. NEVER!
The Bible never teaches that one must repent of their sins to be saved.
Whenever sin is the object of repentance, the consequence of repentance is never eternal salvation.
Whenever eternal salvation is the consequence of repentance, the object of repentance is never sin.
In every passage on repentance relating to eternal salvation, the object of repentance is, in some way or another, the person of Jesus Christ, his eternal divinity, his atoning death, His resurrection, or the freeness of the eternal salvation he provides. The object of saving repentance is no different than the elements of saving faith described in other terms throughout Scripture
Regarding the people of Nineveh, I don’t think their repentance was to believe in Christ. Following is an explanation from Clear Gospel:
Although the phrase “repent of your sins,” never occurs in the Bible, it is certainly not unbiblical to do so. If you take two points from this discussion of repentance, they are this: sin is not the automatic or intrinsic object of repentance, and in verses dealing with eternal salvation, sin is never even the implied object of repentance. But one can repent of their sins.
For example, Jonah was commanded to “go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.” (Jonah 1:2) The wickedness of the Ninevites was widely known to the surrounding peoples. To demoralize their enemies in war, they skinned men alive and left them to die as an example to others. When they repented over their “wickedness,” God spared the city. However, that “repentance from sin” had nothing to do with personal salvation. It had to do with whether or not God would destroy the city for is “wickedness” (verse 2).
Regarding Zuck, repentance is not “a turning from sin”! A change of mind regarding sin may result in a change of action. So, we will have to agree to disagree on Zuck’s quote being accurate. We have reviewed some of his quotes here before, and they are highly problematic. See link below:
Great article John and with a timely title: Deception in all matters is rising; but that’s another topic as you say.
Concerning Matthew 5-7 the “Sermon on the Mount” I have had a change of mind (not repentance—more on that later) about what Jesus is teaching. I used to think that Jesus was using the letter of the Law to teach the multitudes the need for positional sanctification (justification). I now believe He is teaching His disciples (the believing ones Matt 5:1-2) the Spirit of the Law (practical sanctification). Of course Jesus is the “narrow gate” in regards to receiving everlasting life and possessing that life (John 10:9-10; 14:6, Rom 5:9-10, 2Cor 5:15, 2Peter 1:3, 1John 3:14-15). Just as the Children of Israel were given the Promise Land the blessing was to possess the land and they didn’t fare so well in that area but left valuable lessons for us (1Cor 10:1-13). Never the less, the LSers do not learn from Israel’s example and consistently conflate receiving life (the land) and possessing life (the land) and by doing so they become eerily reminiscent of the Pharisees who opposed Christ.
I realize that many people of the “Free Grace” persuasion believe repentance and a change of mind towards belief in Christ for justification to be synonymous. I do not however. One pastor I’ve heard used what I think is an apt analogy about washing one’s face and brushing one’s teeth: Both concern hygiene, both require clean water in and dirty water out yet both accomplish different ends and you can have one without the other. What did Nineveh repent of? Did they believe in God’s promise of everlasting life? I’m not so sure that was Jonah’s message. Also the disciples who were with Jesus at the wedding in Cana believed in Him after the first sign (water to wine) but Jesus did not preach repentance until John the Baptist was put in prison (John 2:11; 3:22-24, Matt 4:12-17). I’m not promoting Zuck or looking for controversy, I’m just saying that the quote by him seems accurate to me.
PS- Great observations Russell and Brent, I look forward to the article about clichés should the Lord lead John in that direction. Thanks for your service John and thanks to all commenters and contributors.
Brent, it is good to hear from you.
I am happy that you have found this site to be a blessing. I think many here can relate to your experience.
Hi, I read this blog regularly. I second the clichés article. It seems in these times, that people use clichés and never examine why they are used. I use to do so myself, but often found myself in a state of confusion and frustration because I couldn’t nail down what I believed exactly. I didn’t think that maybe those sayings are not even Biblical. I always assumed it was me and my lack of [insert lacking element here], “truly believing,” “really repenting of my sin(s),” etc.]. The biggest cliché I can think of for me was “Know you’re a sinner, repent of your sins, and ask Jesus into your heart.” I don’t think I could count the number of times I used to say similar words quoted above hoping God would really hear me this time because I really meant it (and because this time I was going to stop sinning). However, I could not find any assurance when I relied on my prayer and trying to stop sinning. It was really exhausting trying to “make sure” I said the correct phrase or did the correct thing (stop sinning mostly). This cycle would occur over and over. Then one day I found this site and begin to realize that I was focusing on my efforts to stop sinning and “remain” saved by trying to create good works. I thought I had to do both (stop sinning and prove my salvation by my good works) to be saved (even though I was taught salvation was a free gift, I was living like I had to earn it). In fact, if someone asked me about works, I would be very against them to be saved. But ironically, my thought process was relying on me trying to earn my salvation. Being exposed to LS messages in the past became tiresome, but thanks be to God that He sent His son to do something I could never do and to freely give me grace. It is quiet surprising to me that the more I understand about salvation, the more marvelous it becomes. The biggest surprise (to me at least) is the more about the Gospel I learn, the less I am involved. Hmmm, that sounds like a contradiction to LS teachings, but to me I rest in Jesus.
I’ve commented 2-3 times before, but I really like this blog. It has helped me in many ways.
Russell, that is a good suggestion that I may follow up on at some point.
Kate, I am so glad that you have found the truth. It does free us and allow us to rest.
Holly, you better be careful in criticizing the Protestant Pope MacArthur and the “Prince of Preachers” Spurgeon. They like, Billy Graham, are off limits no matter how Biblically off they are.
As I have thought about this issue of fake Gospel news it seems to me that the church in America suffers from three serious problems.
First we are Biblically illiterate. We don’t read or study our Bibles individually, the Bible is not taught verse by verse by preachers and Bible teachers and when our pastors/teachers do teach they teach in error. This lack of Biblical teaching leads to the other two problems.
The second problem is what I call the “cult of celebrity”. The cult of celebrity works like this: A person writes a book that takes off. This book is full of errors and false teaching but because of not knowing Biblical truth the church just swallows it up. The author becomes a celebrity in the church and becomes beyond questioning.
It does not have to be a best selling book it can be someone with a large church or ministry. Once the person gets this special status they cant be questioned or challenged. The list of these untouchables goes on and on but here are a few: Billy Graham, Charles Spurgeon, John MacArthur, John Piper, RC Sproul, David Platt, Francis Chan. Each of these men teach a false Gospel and each are allowed to say the most blatantly un-Biblical statements and get away with it. The statements that Holly quoted are, without doubt, false and can be proven false from Scripture. But try doing it to most Christians and you will get arguments and blank stares.
Here is one example. Francis Chan, a complete heretic, states that failure to help the poor can send you to hell. If a person came off the street and said that in church most would say that’s not right. But he says it and you get one of two responses. The person says that I am taking it out of context or he really means something different then what he says. He is famous so how can he be wrong?
The third problem is that the church is blinded by clichés. These clichés become Holy Writ. They are stated over and over and are never challenged and they become truths written in stone. This is only made possible because people don’t know their Bibles and have never thought these clichés through.
Some examples of un-Biblical clichés are these: “Ask Jesus into your heart”, “You can have a head faith but what is needed is heart faith”, “If Jesus isn’t Lord of all He isn’t Lord at all” and “You must repent of your sins to be saved”.
All of these are accepted as absolute truth and yet each one is Biblically in error. The last one about repentance is not even possible. I have explained it like this to people: Would you tell a person he has to keep the 10 commandments in order to be saved? Most people will say no. I then say that to tell someone to repent of their sins is to tell them to keep the 10 commandments. It is that simple.
One last thing. Johninnc have you ever thought of doing an article addressing these clichés and the scriptural answers to them? Just food for thought.
Deceiving and being deceived. I pray some may be recovered, and especially those they are deceiving. I pray that people will desire to be true Bereans.
Holly, exactly! The turn or burn crowd doesn’t seem to understand that we must rely on Christ’s righteousness, not our own. That is why it is important to teach that one has to be perfect to get into heaven, and that perfection has to be Christ’s imputed perfection.
Revelation 21:27: And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
John, your Spurgeon quote reminded me of the Turn or Burn sermon and his quote here:
In the next place, repentance to be sure must be entire. How many will say, “Sir, I will renounce this sin and the other. But there are certain darling lusts which I must keep and hold.” O Sirs, in God’s name let me tell you, it is not the giving up of one sin, nor fifty sins, which is true repentance—it is the solemn renunciation of every sin. If you do harbor one of those accursed vipers in your heart, your repentance is but a sham. If you do indulge in but one lust and do give up every other, that one lust, like one leak in a ship, will sink your soul. Think it not sufficient to give up your outward vices. Fancy it not enough to cut off the more corrupt sins of your life—it is all or none which God demands.
Did this man really think he gave up every sin?
Did this man really believe he solemnly renounced every sin?
Did this man expect us to believe he didn’t engage in just one lust?
Did this man ever believe he gave his all?
They either are so deceived, so blinded, or so proud and puffed up that they could believe they are saved by their own standards.
Kate– the blind can’t lead the blind anywhere but the ditch.
What you said made me think of this, they can’t help another when they are still seeking to establish their own righteousness.
For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. Rom 10:2-3
Holly, MacArthur and Washer are both purveyors of bad news. Both frustrating grace.
Sometimes, explaining the gospel clearly to someone who has been exposed to false gospels means explaining what the gospel isn’t.
Paul Washer in his ‘Entering the narrow gate’ sermon correctly identifies Jesus as the Gate. But evidently it is not enough to enter in by that way, Washer incorrectly describes the ‘way’ as how we walk. He says there are those who do what is right by their own way, they don’t consciously seek to walk according to His commandments, thinking about His will.
He flip flops later in the sermon to say that Christ is also the narrow way, then flip flops again to say the Narrow Way is about how we are walking. He says, “the evidence that you have ‘truly’ passed through the narrow gate is that you are seeking to walk in the narrow way; the way that is marked out by the commandments of Christ…the evidence that you believe is that you’re walking in a new direction. You’re no longer going with the crowd. You’re going against it.
He later talks about the ‘evidence’ and how serious it is to ask themselves if they’ve really passed through the narrow gate.
Here is his continued series of tests:
Do you walk on the narrow way?
Is your life governed by the commandments of Christ?
When you disobey the commandments of Christ does it bring you to repentance?
Do you seek to know the commandments of Christ so you may ‘walk more carefully’?
Or do you commit the heresy found in Judges where everyone did what was right in their own eyes?
Speaking of the fruit we will know false prophets and ravening wolves by, he says there is ‘wider application to us all’. In a nutshell he says what a man is on the inside is proven by what he does on the outside.
I’d say Paul Washer is a ravening wolf and a false prophet who preaches a gospel of Jesus as the Alpha (beginning) and us as the Omega, finishing somehow what He started in the Spirit and contributing to our own salvation, just like every single other false religion in the world.
I believe those who tried to help were well intentioned. Many of them had a deep need to help me but were at a loss. I find it telling and sad that all I needed was to be given the gospel clearly. Just a plain understanding regarding Salvation and justification. A person cannot have peace when they are seeking the law to justify them.
In John MacArthur’s sermon ‘the only Road to Heaven’, MacArthur talks about how hard it is to ‘enter in’ as you stand at that crossroads, and how it must be a life long decision of how you walk the narrow path (sort of a Pilgrim’s Progress). To MacArthur, the gospel of our salvation is hating ourselves, saying no to ALL of our desires, ALL of our ambitions, ALL of our hopes, ALL of our dreams, ALL self-control. We must abandon EVERYTHING, and humble ourselves. We must TURN from our sin. This is just one section of his corruption of the gospel.
MacArthur quite often will say, ‘the Bible says’ then go straightforward with a bold faced twisting of the truth. This is one example regarding MacArthur’s take on what we must do to be saved, starting with sin:
“You must forsake them, abhor them and ask the Lord to overcome them.” This is what the New Testament calls “turning from sin to serve the living God.”
For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. 1 Thess 1:9-10
Kate, I looked for help from people within churchianity also. Most were well-meaning, but really confused or deceived – duped by “fake news” of complicit with groups that promote it.
Excellent selection of quotes.
As I read them I was reminded of my earlier walk, and I mean about a year ago earlier, while entrenched in the lies of LS/Dominionism. I feel like a fool when I look back, and I was a fool lost in deception. The sad thing is when I was in the midst of the storm riddled with anxiety and scrupliosity, because I had absolutely no assurance of Salvation, that not a single person who claimed to be Christian that I talked with could help me. Not my mother, sister- in- law, pastors, evangelists, prophets (seriously, they called themselves prophets), Apostles (just as ridiculous but none the less they called themselves that too), theologians, laymen, no one……
Except a man named Grantley in Australia via email, and this site………
I have literally experienced rest in Christ. The understanding of what that meant while I was steeped in churchanity was lost in me.