Lordship Salvation and Vacation Bible Schools: Clueless, Careless, or Callous?

By johninnc

Ephesians 4:14: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

It is that time of year again when the advertisements for Vacation Bible Schools (VBSs) start showing up on church marquees. Unfortunately, the VBSs are only as good as the churches that sponsor them.

Many of the churches that sponsor VBSs are either unclear, inconsistent, or just plain wrong on the subject of how one receives eternal life. As such, they are completely unsuitable for teaching God’s word to anyone, including our children.

A couple of years ago, we featured an article on summer Bible camps and VBS, which is linked below. We still believe it provides a useful framework for evaluating these programs.

Camp Lordship Salvation: Are Your Kids Safe?

In addition to the Biblically unsound churches that sponsor VBSs are the commercial purveyors of VBS supplies to the churches. I recently came across one such purveyor whose complete list of “frequently asked questions” was as follows:

  • What Bible translation does Group VBS use?
  • Is Group VBS associated with a denomination?
  • What are God Sightings®?
  • Is there a missions component to your VBS programs?
  • How do preschoolers tie into Group VBS?
  • How can I easily manage my VBS?
  • Who do I contact if I have questions or issues?
  • What are the main differences between the programs?
  • Do I have to follow Group’s suggested format?
  • Where can I go to find decorating ideas?
  • How many volunteers do your vbs programs take?

Please note that none of the questions had anything to do with how one receives eternal life. When I drilled down into the first question regarding Bible translation, I was dismayed to find that they use exclusively the NLT (New Living Translation), which contains a lot of error that is central to the gospel message. I also find it astounding that a company would actually purport to trademark “God Sightings”!

I would strongly advise against allowing your children to go to any VBS sponsored by a church that is clueless, careless, or callous.

Clueless means any church that is not absolutely clear regarding the gospel message. That would include any church that teaches salvation by works, either directly or by implication. It would include any church that teaches that water baptism or public confession of Christ are required to receive eternal life. Or, that eternal life can be lost or forfeited. And, it would include any church that insists that “a true Christian will ___.”

Careless may mean that the church is affiliated with a group, such as the Southern Baptist Convention or the Presbyterian Church USA, that distorts the gospel message. It might also mean that the church allows the teaching of books like “The Fan,” that contradict the gospel, or that the church allows false teachers, such as Charles Spurgeon or Billy Graham, to be quoted favorably.

Callous means that the church isn’t really concerned whether or not your child has eternal life. Instead, they may be focused on promoting false social gospels, on ill-conceived missions, or on the performances of  good deeds.

Of course, in order to be able to determine whether a church, or its VBS are sound, you must know the gospel and be well-grounded in it.

If you would like to know where to start click here: The Gospel

37 responses to “Lordship Salvation and Vacation Bible Schools: Clueless, Careless, or Callous?

  1. Phil, very well said.

  2. I know something that trumps all their pet passages, twisted interpretations of words like grace, and the teachings for their itching ears like from Aquatis and Augustine: and that is the gospel of our salvation.-that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and was raised from the dead. That when we believe this we receive this salvation. Our salvation is complete; we died with Christ, buried with him, and have been raised with him to new and everlasting life. It’s a done deal and cannot be lost. And it is all by grace; a gracious gift. All one has to do is accept it by faith.
    These teachers, Calvinistic, RCC or whoever, are silenced by the gospel of salvation that was TOTALLY accomplished on our behalf by Christ. The Calvinist teachers, just like the rest of us, have nothing to stand on: their sins condemn them and their works are never enough. All they or any of us can do is claim by faith the grace and redemption of Christ’s finished work that the gospel says is our eternal salvation.

  3. So both the potter and the clay must have their freedom. Interesting.

  4. Holly, as I was thinking about all the Calvinists’ efforts to undermine the gospel, I came across a great comment from Ron Shea from several years back. It describes what elements something must possess to constitute “grace.” Those include the free will of the giver of a gift to offer the gift, and the free will of the recipient to receive it as a gift.

    Please see link below:


  5. Cal4U

    You say once you were born again you realized that “Sunday schools, choirs, bible reading and studying, and a baptism did NOTHING to make the Lord Jesus REAL”.

    I would say that the Bible itself assures us that the Scriptures are able to make one ‘wise unto salvation’ (2 Tim 3:15) and that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Rom 10:17) so Bible reading and studying does indeed make the Lord real, not being born again first by pre-regeneration.

    We receive His Spirit after we believe the Word of truth (Eph 1:13). By the reformed way, you can NEVER know if you are truly born again, because you could be confused by evanescent grace.

    Also if people are gifted as teachers that would be for all people, not just some, that would include children, and Paul even taught the young, even Silas too with the jailer’s children, so did Jesus, and we see the example in Scripture even of Jesus being 12 and in the temple without his parents (although He was teaching), so we have to be careful about this kind of thought. It sounds like A.W. Pink the hyper Calvinist telling us what celebrations, or ‘traditions’ etc. are ‘Romish’ vs. being ‘authorized by the apostles’. If the Scripture doesn’t forbid it, and our conscience allows it, we shouldn’t be judging another in that regard (also from the Word).

    I pray you’ll be willing to drop your own teaching for the moment, until you come to a ‘knowledge of the truth’ (see 1 Tim 2:1-6) which is not a bad thing. Drop your books and reformed teachers, and pray and get into His Word. Start with John which was written with the express purpose that people might come to know that Jesus was the Christ and that in believing they’d have life (eternal) in His name.

  6. More rich irony. Since cal4u is a Calvinist, he is part of the world church.

  7. I know very little about Henrietta Mears. I had one of her books in my collection. Optimistic platitudes about raising the next generation’s world leaders no longer thrill me.

    I wouldn’t go the extreme of condemning every form of classes or education in the churches. Parents are not infallible teachers, either. No one is.

  8. cal4u, I suspected, from your previous post, that you were a doctrinaire Calvinist.

    Having looked at your site, I have confirmed what I suspected.

    Thanks for dropping by, but we are not on the same page.

  9. cal4u, thanks for your comment.

    One is born again and regenerated once he believes in Jesus as Savior, of his own free will. That requires knowing that Jesus is alive.

    You are right that none of the trappings of organized religion have anything to do with whether or not a person has eternal life.

    As to whether or not Billy Graham has eternal life, there is no way I can know. I can tell that his version of how one receives eternal life is not consistent with the gospel.

  10. Greetings, I do strongly agree with your assessments.
    First I would like to state, that I was as a child, sent to many various “Sunday schools”, some Vacation Bible Schools as a young teen. Though I did enjoy them, they however did not bring me closer to the Lord, but did place a desire for me to be at “my best” until I went again the following day or week. I in my own “little Mind” did desire to love Jesus, but traditions of men did not to “bring me to Christ”, I only had a “knowledge” of Him, and once I was truly born-again. of God’s Spirit by HIS WILL and purpose, I realized that all the Sunday schools, choirs, bible reading and studying, and a baptism did NOTHING to make the Lord Jesus REAL, it was all in my emotions, and feelings. All that did nothing to help me have a relationship IN HIM! Because I did not truly believe He was alive! But once I was born-again I then realized He was REAL, and ALIVE. I had religion and tradition, but NOT His Birth, not His Spirit, I was lost! But all was NOT lost, for the Good Lord above KNEW he was going to bring me to Himself in His Time and His way.

    Secondly, I agree Billy Graham is not a true believer, he was a plant by the “One World Church”, mentored by “Henretta Mears” with connections with the Masonic Order.
    His compromise with the Harlot of all churches, the RC church back in the late 50’s early 60’s.

    Thirdly I would like to state that “Bible Schools” Vacation Bible School, or any type of “Bible training University, college, etc., are not based upon the Foundation of how the Body of Christ is to function. If we read the New Testament, the Parents are the only ones who have authority over their children, and were NEVER taught to allow anyone else to teach them the ways of the Lord.
    To surrender children to the “Sunday School” classes within the church is not supported by Scripture…..period.
    You see the breakdown is the Parents learn from the pastor or teacher, then the Parents pass on these teachings to the Children. Parents should never surrender their children to strangers.
    Eph 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
    Eph 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
    Eph 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
    Eph 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
    Eph 5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
    Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
    Eph 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
    Eph 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
    Eph 5:28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
    Eph 5:29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
    Eph 5:30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
    Eph 5:31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
    Eph 5:32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
    Eph 5:33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

    Everything we see within the so-called Christian world, how churches function, to the buildings, and schooling are all based upon Old Testament traditions, brought about by the Roman Catholic church. As Christians separated themselves from the RC church once seeing the truth and becoming born-again, they COPIED the traditions of the RC Church while throwing away the IDOLS, and being simple in their churches, they still held on to their ways: Tithing, Church building, Pastors with “doctorates” or Diploma’s from an acceptable College or bible institutions. Since when and where did the Apostles allow this, it all depended upon the “Calling” of each believer, and what the Lord desired for them, and how it would affect the Body of Christ.
    The powers that be are “manufacturing” pastors, teachers who may not even have the call of God upon them in these positions.
    Church is a BIG business, they are registered with Governments, and eventually must push the “government’s agenda” to keep their standing for “tax exemptions”!
    The selling of books to spread the Gospel, and teaching people the Gospel, where is that ever mentioned that the Gospel and the Doctrines of the Lord are to be SOLD for profit?! The Gospel and our Lord’s Doctrines are FREE! How many of these false teachers make huge amounts of money selling their Gospel wares?
    Eph 5:5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
    Eph 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
    Eph 5:7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them.
    Eph 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
    Eph 5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
    Eph 5:10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
    Eph 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
    Eph 5:12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
    Eph 5:13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.
    Eph 5:14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
    I’m sorry I’ve continued on too much. I am open for discussion “if” any would like, we are all learning to have the “traditions of men after the rudiments of the World” eradicated from our lives, minds, and habits, bit by bit, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little, until we grow in the maturity our Lord desires.
    In His love,

  11. Well, it was actually a border patrol confrontation incident. It wasn’t exactly like Ferguson. Border patrols probably do go to far. Just seeing someone carrying a chip on his shoulder just doesn’t sit well.

  12. Lots of disturbing facts about Anderson are mentioned on Wikipedia. I didn’t go there until yesterday. He has defied cops and provoked them to violence, like Michael Brown in Ferguson.

  13. Anderson teaches that the pre-tribulation rapture is a deception.

    I vigorously disagree.

  14. Anderson has issues with ANDERSON and it comes out sideways…as it does with all of us:

    Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.—Romans 2

    Anderson and all the other crackpot preachers are fitting examples of how terms such as “fellowship”, “church”, “elders”, “deacons”, “authority”, etc. have NO MEANING apart from a sound basis given by the Word of God.

    Has anyone here been in a church where the “elders” followed the “pastor” off a cliff? If the elders held firm to “the form of sound words” a crackpot pastor would bail out of frustration or be removed. Yet we live in a time where God’s wise protections are thwarted, usually under the guise of some “good” that is NECESSARY. They all work together in error, mimicking the ungodly in our government.

    Have a blessed Memorial Day holiday everyone!

  15. But he has been an infant. I forgot that I heard of his infantile rants against Obama. Sadly, I confess I once committed the same sin in my heart, as I was not happy about his 2008 election. I was getting paranoid about marxism and taking it to excessive levels, under the influence of talking head Mark Levin. Obama was a disgrace but my worst worries did not come true. Now I think God’s purpose for Obama was to hold back the dominionists, lol. I never heard of Mrs Anderson’s blog, thankfully.

  16. Anderson is from my area, and he does great harm to the name of Christianity by his railing behavior, and he judges the world (in disobedience to Scripture) and if one is KJV preferred, his RIDICULOUS arguments (like from 1 Sam 25:22, 34, etc.) to prove than any man sitting down to urinate is not a man. I guess he has not been infirm yet, injured or older. He teaches hatred, and his wife’s blog also. Been a number of years since I first was curious when he was praying for the assassination of Obama. The enemy must love these types for how the world loves to mock the church because of them, and how the way is maligned.

  17. I appreciate it. Hovind is now part of the god hates gays crowd and advocates that gays, along with delinquent children, be forcibly sterilized. Anderson is worse than lordship when it comes to gays, since he doesn’t accept their repentance. This is dominionism, too. So much for his stand for the gospel.

  18. Jason, I’m not sorry you brought him up, I appreciate it. Naming people causes known error to come out and I’ll save what you said for when someone asks me in the future. Thank you.

  19. And part of Kent’s problem is that he seems to have had several sites, and his comments are scattered. He has a criminal record, including at least three distinct charges, one of which is structuring, from which he is said to have been cleared. He has made scores of bad arguments that other creationists will avoid. He is situationally ethical and does anything in the name of defending creationism. He has actively promoted tax evasion. He is now an Andersonite, which I found out just yesterday. It seems that having fallen out with the lordship crowd, he now panders to the fringe IFB elements for attention, hence recent comments denouncing Ray Comfort. Worst of all, Hovind is now a eugenicist. I’m sorry I brought him up.

  20. kat…….

    I can so relate to these comments on FB, but the entrance of His Word brings light. I’ve been on posts where it literally seems as if the people swarm like bees to attack, if you disagree with their loadship stand, but I remember it’s not me, and it’s the Lord and His Word, so I try to keep grace and salt in my speech, while at the same time not giving place or subjection to the lawkeepers. Sometimes it seems like no one hears, but it’s not for us to worry about it, God’s Word does accomplish what He sends it to do, and it either is going to give seed to the sower or food to the eater. We do not know if either of those two are in the audience, but it’s a blessing to have someone come to you later with questions who hadn’t even participated in the conversation.

  21. Jason – we all make mistakes on people we like or admire. I wish Kent Hovind’s gospel was sound but it is not. On his 2Pet3 site on ‘Are you saved’, if you click on the button, here are some of the misleading and even errant things you will find:

    > Give your heart to the Lord.
    >He says repentance means two things: 1)To turn from your sin and 2) to turn to God.
    >He has them asking for forgiveness and asking to be saved, and cites Romans 10:13, but of course if he had looked at 14 he’d know that’s not quite how it’s meant.

  22. Well, I saw the camp as an extension of the church, not the other way around. Yet I felt safer at camp. My mind was unformed at that age.

  23. Jason, I think part of the danger of Bible schools is that they make children think of the churches that sponsor them as safe places. Sometimes they are, sometimes they are not.

  24. At the age 8-12, I was involved with Boys’ Brigade, which held camping trips. Their devotions were centered around a clear gospel in every instance in my impression of memory. They used illustrations, such as a dead cork baseball to represent a believer’s deadness to sin. It was clear that repentance of sin was not what they meant, and such heretical notions would never have occurred to me back then. It was a lot like Ralph and Tom’s use of the wallet.

    I have fond memories of playing informal sports and movie nights at the camp lodge. Videotapes included football bloopers, cartoons played forward and backward for amusement, and the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; concerning which we did not waste our time analysing authors but simply enjoyed the story for the type of the substitutionary atonement that the Lion seemed to represent.

    It was from the church, and with Sunday School and VBS, and there were a few voices of doubt, but Boys’ Brigade was not a source of them. Some from the church raised concerns about surprises awaiting the afterlife, namely that some did not truly believe. Saying Jesus is Lord was sufficient and not sufficient in different instances where the lordship of Christ was brought up. Such subtle lordship and anti-lordship teachings confused me and contributed to my plunge into lordship salvation at age 12.

  25. I guess I’ll have to eat my words.

  26. Interestingly enough, there are comments from Kent Hovind denouncing Lordship Salvation and pointing to a clear gospel. Hovind has issues, but this isn’t one of them.

  27. Kat, the second commenter’s assurance of salvation is his/her behavior.

  28. katmazdobelieve

    This is a comment I took from Answers in Genesis Facebook:

    Original commenter- “And how many Christians today are truly leading the type of life that Christ wants them to lead? Well I think they would be in the slim minority anyway and their numbers are probably dwindling. It’s easy to claim to be a Christian but actually very difficult to be one.”

    Second Commenter- “The path is narrow and few will find it”

    Third Commenter- “Do you mean easy to become a christian, hard to live like one?”

    Second Commenter-“You must do the will of the Father and forsake your own will in all things. A Lot of “easy believism” in the world today. People think they can live however they want and they are just “saved” by believing. But even the demons believe and shudder, even the devil knows for a fact that God exists, will he be saved? No because he does not submit to the will of God.”

    It’s heartbreaking to see that what they believe is the broad-way and the easy believism is the narrow way.

  29. Holly, me too. Maybe, also, that they will learn to look to the Bible for the truth, versus the religious traditions of men.

  30. Repent of sin is in the NLT but I guess sodomy isn’t one of them. Phew, that stinks.

  31. John, such a timely article. This was on my mind/heart, and in my prayers. So many children will be subjected to so much error. Just praying they’ll hear John 3:16, and somehow not retain the rest that is error.

  32. Jerry the biggest error (in my estimation) is the addition of ‘from sin’ to ‘repent’. It’s a paraphrase, not a translation, so it has additional words that are not in the original manuscripts and is subject of course to men’s understanding of Scripture, so if repent = repent from sin in the NLT, we can assume there is much more error elsewhere.

  33. New Lordship Translation.

  34. Wow, the New Liberal Translation. Liberal, Ecumenical. Lordship.

  35. Welcome Jerry
    see below and let us know how accurate the 32 ommisions if they are correct. I did not do this research myself for i am not interested in the NLT..
    Curtis M

    “Here are 32 of the most severe errors I could find in the NLT (New Living Translation) Bible.”

    1 Kings 15:12 – “sodomites” replaced with “shrine prostitutes”
    2 Kings 23:7 – “sodomites” replaced with “shrine prostitutes”
    Matthew 17:21 – entire verse omitted
    Matthew 18:11 – entire verse omitted
    Matthew 19:9 – half of the verse is omitted
    Matthew 23:14 – entire verse omitted
    Mark 6:11 – half of the verse is omitted
    Mark 9:44, 46 – entire verses omitted
    Mark 11:26 – entire verse omitted
    Mark 15:28 – entire verse omitted
    Mark 16:9-20 – entire passage is questioned by a footnote that says, “The most reliable early manuscripts conclude the Gospel of Mark at verse 8”
    Luke 4:8 – “get thee behind me Satan” is omitted
    Luke 17:36 – entire verse omitted
    Luke 23:17 – entire verse omitted
    John 3:13 – “which is in heaven” is omitted
    John 3:16 – the all important word “begotten” is omitted, thus denying the deity of Christ
    John 5:4 – entire verse omitted
    John 7:53 – 8:11 — entire passage is questioned in a note which says, “The most ancient Greek manuscripts do not include John 7:53 – 8:11”
    Acts 8:37 – entire verse omitted
    Acts 17:29 – completely removes the “Godhead”
    Acts 28:29 – entire verse omitted
    Romans 1:20 – completely removes the “Godhead”
    Romans 16:24 – entire verse omitted
    Philippians 2:6 -removes the word “equal,” thus denying Christ’s deity
    Colossians 2:9 – completely removes the “Godhead”
    1 Timothy 3:16 – “God” is omitted thus denying the deity of Christ
    1 Timothy 6:5 – “from such withdraw thyself” is omitted
    Hebrews 1:3 – the all-important words “by himself” are omitted
    1 Peter 4:1 – “for us” is omitted
    1 Peter 4:14 – half of the verse is omitted
    1 John 4:3 – the all-important words “Christ is come in the flesh” are omitted
    1 John 5:13 – half of the verse is omitted

  36. Jerry, we do not have any articles on the NLT. However, we have had some comments.

    One was from me on the NLT treatment of Luke 13:3: Not at all! And you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God.

  37. Jerry Weinhausen


    Do you have articles on this site that showcase the problems with NLT in respect to LS? I’ve never heard anybody express difficulty with it apart from the translation theory by which it was produced.