Lordship Salvation and the Four Corners Offense

By johninnc

Galatians 2:21: I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

According to Wikipedia: The four corners offense, technically four corner stall, is an offensive strategy for stalling in basketball. Four players stand in the corners of the offensive half-court while the fifth dribbles the ball in the middle. Most of the time the point guard stays in the middle, but the middle player would periodically switch, temporarily, with one of the players. It was a strategy that was used in college basketball before the shot clock was instituted. 

In basketball, the four corners offense was used to frustrate opponents and run out the clock. In the world of professing Christendom (also known as churchianity), there are four common perversions of grace that serve to frustrate grace and impede the spread of the gospel.

Each of the perversions of grace tries to add works- either the promise of works, the performance of works, or the evidence of works – into the means by which someone may receive eternal life, or to prove someone has received eternal life.

The Bible is expressly clear that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ without works.

Ephesians 2:8-9: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

(Please note: the following are based on The Grace Chart, by Ron Shea of Clear Gospel)

The four common perversions of grace are:

1. Basic salvation by works (examples include water baptism or public confession of Christ as requirements for receiving eternal life).

2. Denial of eternal security (Arminianism, which holds that good works or avoidance of sin must be maintained in order to stay saved).

3. Bilateral Contract Salvation (Lordship “salvation,” which conditions receipt of eternal life on making a contract with God to  repent of sins, make Christ Lord of your life, etc.)

4. The Perseverance of the Saints (Backdoor Lordship “salvation”, which maintains that one can know he – or someone else – is saved only if his life – or their lives- begin to change for the better).

Each of these perversions of grace has the potential to render believers powerless for Christian growth and ineffective in spreading the gospel. In addition, each of the perversions can keep lost people from understanding the gospel. And, if someone doesn’t understand the gospel, they won’t believe the gospel.

Matthew 13:19: When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which receiveth seed by the way side.

While the four corners offense went away with the introduction of the shot clock in college basketball, Satan is still trying to run out the clock on the spread of the gospel. The four perversions of grace are one of his favorite strategies, and he is getting lots of help from professing Christians and their organizations.

There is a good chart from Clear Gospel that describes the four perversions of grace in more detail. Please click here: Grace Chart

If you would like to know how to have eternal life, click here: The Gospel





17 responses to “Lordship Salvation and the Four Corners Offense

  1. Amen, brother– great article.

  2. Sure is so true John. Good analogy, but as always, tragic. These people do have them running in all directions, frustrated, never able to really grasp the ball. It is maddening to see with those who teach it, and those who don’t check what they are saying against the Scriptures, although oftentimes they think they do as they take certain proof texts (generally out of context) and feel they have made their case. All you can do is answer with the Word, pray that they might have a desire for His Word if they know Him and if they do not, that they heard the gospel we presented.

  3. John,
    The Grace Chart was very helpful. Holly, what frustrates me are the preacher/teachers who are 90% free grace and 10% works. In other words they are not consistent. (repent of sins or you must have a changed life are the parts they seem to get hung up on) I was talking to a local free grace pastor friend of mine and he says that he sees an issue with pastors who don’t want to be seen as too critical or as being divisive. I asked what Paul would say to a Chan or Washer and he basically said that Paul already has answered the question in Galatians.

  4. Fitting title. It’s an offense, all right.

  5. fryingpan, it’s good to hear from you. Yes, it is an offense.

  6. Russell, the ones that get hung up on repent of sins or a changed life as proof of being born again, just don’t have the gospel right. Whether they ever did, who knows? The thing that really bothers me right along with you is the compromisers who give these people a pass, call them ‘brother’, quote them or host them at their church. I just would rather be really careful, I’ve made my own mistakes even citing a source I didn’t prove first, so I try not to quote too many if I can help it. People want referrals and it’s a lot of work to try to be sure the place/person you refer to is sound (as much as you can possibly know).

  7. Fryingpan9… hate to laugh, but it most certainly is an offense against the Lord and His Word. It’s good to see you again!

  8. My problem (s) is that my walk is so bad. I know salvation is a gift, but I have a hard time getting past the idea that how I live reflects whether or not I truly believed. I am a depressed person, bad. And I often feel angry at God, which makes me feel more guilty and doubtful. Sometimes I just think I’m quitting God, but I always come back to Him and ask forgiveness. Also, I wonder if my faith itself is really sincere. I just believe what it says in John, “It is finished.” And I know that my sins are paid for because Jesus rose from the dead.

  9. Rob, Satan loves to have us look at ourselves for evidence of eternal life. Just know that God accepts believers on the basis of Christ’s righteousness.

    Satan loves to confuse and taunt believers. We need to put on the full armor of God to withstand Satan’s wiles.

    If you haven’t already done
    so, please consider reading “The Gospel” booklet – particularly pages 20 and 24 – linked below:


  10. Hi Rob,

    +1 to what johninnc said.

    One of Satan’s nastiest tactics is to convince us that “everyone else is so much holier than we are.” Believe me, PLENTY of true believers (believers who have heard and accepted the truth, that is) have (and often, if not intermittently) fall back into ALL the things you confess to struggling with, and more and worse. Way worse even.

    The whole “sincere in our belief” thing was a pet confusing doctrine of Dave Hunt, who I don’t wish to beat up on, but it is what it is. That’s just another false belief: “Well, if someone professes Christ and then continues in sin, I would question their sincerity at the time they believed.”

    Think about how false that premise is in light of how CLEAR the Bible is in terms of what we must do to be saved (hear, understand and believe the gospel).

    And consider this: Look at how Jesus interacted with most of the religious leaders during his ministry. Was he primarily focused on the level of sin in their lives? Not really, though obviously they were guilty of the sin of rejecting him as their messiah. Jesus mainly addressed their UNBELIEF. They didn’t believe in him, therefore they didn’t believe God, His word, the prophets, etc.

    It’s not your walk that defines your eternal destiny in terms of being saved. It’s your BELIEF that determines that.

  11. Welcome Rob
    I hope you would check out the The Gospel on this website and study the scriptures on your own as the Bereans did.
    What you stated there just about sums up my experience of what I have been through even after 8 years as a member of a IFCA church. My wife and I were there about every time the doors were open. I would feel better because I attended church but following morning would wake up angry and depressed not knowing why. I was trying to earn God’s Favor in all my doing while God’s favor was already done and there in our identity in Christ Jesus. It was the doctrine with my lack of study on my own causing my anger and depression.
    Yes I still can get angry but most times I am able to find a cause.
    There are physical elements that can cause anger and depression the first is are you getting enough Sleep ? If you are sleeping do you feel like you have rested ? a check up at doctor maybe in order.

    The Christian Life does work, The Faith rest Life and believer people can live a charmed Life.

    Below are 3 messages that I have found that have helped me and continue to help me in My Walk With Christ the same as being Filled with the Spirit. The filling of The Spirit is Key.. We need to hear the Word of God Preached soundly and clearly along with personal study. In my area we are surrounded by churches and megachurches yet there are none clearly preaching the Clear Gospel of Grace along with the growth doctrines of the 3 tenses of salvation.
    Justification, Sanctification, Glorification.
    The gentleman preaching in below links is at times loud and preaches to deliver Doctrine We need to endure sound doctrine.

    Pastor Leonard Radtke
    1 John 2:1-9 Date: 11/30/1977

    Living the Christian Life Date: 1/17/1979

    Why Christians Can’t Live for Christ Date: 8/13/1981

  12. Hi all
    To Curtis, thanks for the links. And yes, I have sleep trouble due to mild apnea. Treatment is tricky.

    There are so many mixed messages out there, and hearing some of them all my life has taken a toll. I have an OCD type mind, so you can imagine what that might be like in regard to assurance of salvation. One thing I do recognize is that in the NT, Paul several times says that its the assurance of salvation that leads to good works, not the other way around. The lordship advocate says “look to your works for assurance;” while Paul says, “you are saved; let that motivate you to do good works.” At least that’s how I read it. What do you all think of that?

  13. Rob, we walk in the Spirit by focusing on who we are in Christ. When we walk in the Spirit, we manifest fruit of the Spirit.

    You are absolutely right that looking to our works for assurance is fruitless.

    The Bible tells us to be careful to maintain good works, so we all need to remember to do that and to encourage one another.

  14. Rob,

    I to suffer with OCD. I used to ask Jesus into my heart over and over and over again, trying to get the words just right. When I would fall into sin I would think that I was not saved. I reasoned that I must not have been sincere enough so I would repeat the process. A few years ago, about 5, the Lord brought an older man into my life who introduced me to the free grace gospel. I was so trapped in a works mind set that when I first heard the phrase, “Free Grace” it sounded wrong. I started reading free grace material, comparing it to scripture, and came to the belief that salvation is really free and obtained simply be believing or trusting Jesus Christ for it. Did I get instant peace? Well as I said I suffer from OCD as well so you know the answer to that.

    I would think that the offer of salvation and forgiveness applied to everyone but me. I would think – do I really believe in Jesus or do I just think I believe in Jesus. As a fellow sufferer of OCD you will know exactly what I mean. OCD mostly affects my confession of sin. Did I say it right or did I miss a sin etc. OCD is insidious and can rob us of our joy.

    I started to ask God to strengthen my faith and a strange thing happened – He did! He started to teach me things like this: I have never deserved or will never will deserve His love for me. I have never and will never deserve His forgiveness of my sins. I have never and will never deserve His grace towards me.

    One time the Lord spoke to me in my spirt and told me that by refusing to accept His love and forgiveness I was calling Him and His Word a liar.

    He has continued to teach me and He is so gentle with us. My advice to you is this: Pray for increased faith, pray that He will reveal Himself to you. Claim the promises of His Word. You may not feel loved or forgiven but claim the truth that God is not like us – HE DOES NOT LIE! He can be trusted and His Word is true regardless of how we may feel at the time.

    One other suggestion. I take medication that helps with my OCD. Our brains are organs, like our hearts, and sometimes they just need some help. This may not be for you but its something to consider and pray about. Also counseling with an OCD expert can be of some help.

    Mostly come to Jesus with your fears. Remember He is gentle and you are His sheep, not by being good, but by simple faith in Him.

    One more thing, Rob. I sin – a lot sometimes. Ugly sins. Evil sins. My faith waivers and is weak. I struggle. Rob, every person who is on this site does as well. If they say they don’t there either liars or are deceived. I come back to the cross, I come back to Gods grace and I go on. Its harder with OCD but that is the cross you and I have to bear. Remember what Paul said, three times He asked God to take away his thorn. Maybe it was OCD, who knows. God said no and that his grace was sufficient. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. I will commit to pray for you daily, Rob. God bless.

  15. Guys, my mom passed away last Monday (13th). She was just a week short of 85 and had a good life. She was a strong believer and is with the Lord and my Dad. I was able to be there before her passing and prayed with her and read her scripture. It was a special time. Her service is this Saturday (25th) and the Free Grace Gospel will be given. Please pray that hearts will be prepared to hear and believe and that people will be saved. Thanks.

    PS Isn’t it odd that I grew up in a home where the free grace gospel was believed by both of my parents and presented and in a church where it was presented but somehow fell into error as I grew older. Man, the enemy of our souls is a pain.

  16. Russell, thank you for letting us know about your mother.

    I have prayed for you to be comforted, and for the people attending the funeral.

    You may have seen this article a couple of years ago, but if not, please find it linked below:


  17. Beautiful words, Russell.

    Thanks for sharing the story about your family and mom’s recent passing. I know it’s a very hard time even knowing she’s in heaven.

    I also struggle with OCD tendencies as well as fear. I also struggle with worry a lot more than I sometimes would like to admit. I sometimes joke, “You should have seen what I was like before I believed.” I also tend to over think many things and paralyze myself through procrastination and a fear of failure and a fear of being criticized. I’m 50 and have never been successful in any career I’ve tried to work in. I have skills and abilities and know that anything is possible with God but it gets very trying at times.

    So no, you’re not alone in your struggle . . .

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