Lordship Salvation’s Shell Game

By johninnc

From Wikipedia: The shell game (also known as thimblerig, three shells and a pea, the old army game) is portrayed as a gambling game, but in reality, when a wager for money is made, it is almost always a confidence trick used to perpetrate fraud. In confidence trick slang, this swindle is referred to as a short-con because it is quick and easy to pull off.

We refer to the Expreacherman ministry as an “oasis of grace,” because we want our readers to be able to learn about God’s amazing grace in an environment that steadfastly rejects any attacks on the integrity of the gospel of Christ.

Romans 1:16: For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

We are very happy when someone who is searching for truth comes to Expreacherman, because we exist to proclaim and defend the gospel, and we believe that God has used this ministry to plant the gospel and water the ground on which it has been planted. We also know that it is God who gives the increase.

1 Corinthians 3:7-9: [7] So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. [8] Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. [9] For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.

Because this is one of a very few ministries that preaches the gospel in its purity, we often find ourselves under attack from those who seek to soil, or corrupt the gospel message. People who are uncomfortable with grace, are the enemies of grace, or who consort with the enemies of grace either trot out – or are trotted out – to corrupt our readers from the simplicity of the gospel. They are both deceived and deceivers, whom we would like to be delivered from their deception.

Following are descriptions of three prototypical antagonists who venture onto Expreacherman in an attempt to lure us away from the truth:

1. The person who has never understood or believed the gospel message.

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 received seed by the way side.

2. The person who has believed in Jesus as Savior, but who has been subsumed by the teaching of Lordship “salvation.”

Luke 8:13: 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.

3. The person who believes in Jesus as Savior, but is willing to “go along to get along” with people who corrupt the gospel for some pecuniary benefit (such as selling books, leading a large congregation, having a prominent position in a “convention,” or having a comfortable social outlet for oneself or one’s children).

Mark 4:19: And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.

Like the shell game, Satan uses each one of these groups of antagonists to commit and perpetuate fraud.

All three groups are used to keep lost people from understanding and believing the gospel.

Luke 8:5: A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.

All three groups are used to bewitch believers.

Galatians 3:1: O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?

And, finally, all three groups play a part in hindering the fruitfulness of believers, thereby producing more worthless things in God’s eyes than those things worthwhile in God’s eyes.

1 Corinthians 3:15: If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

Antagonists, both at Expreacherman, and in other places to which the antagonists run to commiserate with fellow antagonists, have criticized us for not allowing them to have free reign at Expreacherman to teach their false doctrine.

We welcome questions, and will attempt to answer them. But, once we determine that someone is here to promote false gospels or to corrupt the gospel we will not allow them to continue to comment.

Galatians 2:5: To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.

We believe that this is both biblical, and vitally important to ensuring that Expreacherman remains an oasis of grace.

If you would like to know how to have eternal life, click here: THE GOSPEL

55 responses to “Lordship Salvation’s Shell Game

  1. It’s funny, this article reminds me of how false doctrine also uses different terms, hard to keep track of all of it. More and more names to identify the purveyors of false gospels. Can’t even keep track.

  2. Phil, I agree. Being justified from all sins, being reconciled to God, and receiving eternal life all happen when a person believes the gospel.

    And, while continuing to believe the gospel is no guarantee that one will always walk in the Spirit, it is impossible to walk in the Spirit if one stops believing or falls into a false salvation doctrine.

  3. Just to clarify: I believe that a person who has believed the gospel of his salvation (Eph 1:13-14) is justified from all his sins is saved and will have eternal life. God’s plan for our salvation is all in one and is not separated. With the exception of the misused Romans 10:9, in all other passages in Romans justification, reconciliation, and salvation,(Rom, 5:6 thru 11) are all part of the same gift to bring us to God forever. Faith in the gospel (Rom 1:16, 1 Cor 15) is how a person accepts and thus receives this salvation.
    I also believe that if a person stops believing or fall into a false salvation doctrine his walk can go adrift.

  4. Keith, I agree that for an unregenerate person, the gospel is the power of God unto justification from sin’s penalty. And, if a believer stops believing the gospel, he has no power for Christian living.

  5. John and RAS, I think that in a sense you are both right on Romans 1:16. To the unbeliever, the gospel is the power of God unto salvation from sin’s penalty in justification. To the believer, who is already and always will be justified, the gospel is the power of God unto salvation from sin’s power in progressive sanctification, as long as he continues to believe the same gospel which saved him from sin’s penalty. If he is bewitched by a false gospel, he remains saved from sin’s penalty but has “believed in vain”, or will not be saved from sin’s power since he is no longer walking by the spirit but by the flesh. 1 Cor. 15:1 and 2:

    “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
    By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain”.

    The unregenerate mind does not think the gospel has power unless works are added to it at the front end, the back end, or both. 1 Cor. 1:18:

    “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God”.

  6. I appreciate the discussion. I have learned from it.

  7. That was a joke. Why would you (John) expect a Christmas card form me when you have never received one? Just making sure people (and John) understand I agree to disagree, and really appreciate the platform John continues to provide.

  8. You are off my Christmas card list! How many years does that make?

  9. RAS, I thought you might disagree. That’s why I made the comment.

    We will have to agree to disagree.

  10. I disagree John. I think we (believers) need salvation and the Gospel is the power to salvation to those who (already) believe.

  11. I think “salvation” means “justification” in Romans 1:16.

  12. Clarification: only the justified (already) are saved (will be) in Romans: Didn’t want this wandering into some kind of dualistic sphere.

  13. BTW Keith I could not agree more with your take on Rom 10: 11-13 (saved =physical deliverance). Saved never means justified in Romans!

  14. Thanks everyone! I really appreciate the help! That verse, in particular, always gripped me with fear. I think I now know what it’s talking about. Our salvation, regardless, is always secure in Jesus!

  15. Very good Keith. I think your take also shows the uniqueness of the Church (union with Christ) within the family of God. Man, I love coming here but aint gonna miss it when we go…if you get my drift.

  16. For what it’s worth, I think that Rev. 22:18 and 19 are warnings which are given to Great Tribulation believers regarding adding to or taking away from the words of the prophecies in the Book of Revelation. The warnings pertain to blessings and curses rather than justification. The blessings which apply to church age believers are spiritual in nature (Eph. 1:3) and will be awarded or withheld at the Judgment Seat of Christ (1 Cor. 3:5-15, 2 Cor. 5:10). The blessings and curses of Tribulation age believers, on the other hand, will be largely physical in nature.

    The Great Tribulation, will take place after the rapture of the church and is recorded in Revelation 4-20. It will be a period of time when God metes out his judgment in physical form on unbelievers. These include the Seal Judgments (chapters 6-8), the Trumpet Judgments (chapters 8-11) and the Bowl Judgments (chapters 15 and 16). Christ implores the elect who are alive during the Great Tribulation to persevere to the end so that their physical lives would be saved (Matt. 24:13, 22) and they would be able to enter into and populate the earth during the Millennium. In Romans 10:11-13, Paul wrote that the physical lives of both Jew and gentile believers who call on the name of the Lord for physical deliverance during the time of the Great Tribulation will be saved.

    In Rev. 18:4, God warns those who have been redeemed (“my people”, or those who have believed the gospel) to come out of the one-world political, economic and religious institution which is headed by the Antichrist “that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues”. Evidently, for reasons which are not known to us during the church age, there will be a temptation to add to or subtract from the prophecies in the book of Revelation during the Great Tribulation. It may be that Satan will use those who are a part of the one-world system, and thus aligned with his purposes, to do this in order to cause confusion among God’s elect as to the timing of Christ’s second coming, as Christ warned in Matt. 24:5. In Rev. 22:18, those believers who do not separate from the one-world system will be complicit in its sins and in danger of the temporal physical judgment of receiving the plagues of the bowl judgments. In Rev. 22:19, those believers who take away from the prophecies of Revelation will be denied being rewarded with positions of privilege, authority and honor in the Millennial Kingdom which would follow Christ’s second coming and in the eternal age afterwards. Both types of believers, however, will be eternally secure, and thus, present in the Millennial Kingdom and the new heavens and new earth in the eternal state, having been spared from the lake of fire.

  17. Jonathan, I think these verses in Rev 22 have to do with adding or subtracting to change or twist the essential meanings of the inspired message of the book of Revelation. Translators of the Bible, such as the KJV, felt they had to add clarification phrases or words to the text to make the flow understandable from the best texts they had: you will see these in parentheses throughout the KJV. I think that John in Rev. 22 is alluding to heretical groups who would corrupt the inspired message, like the Gnostics. Today, the New World Translation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses have very much corrupted their Bible. If there is a culprit today for John’s warnings it’s the JW translators of the New World Translation.

    As to 2 Thess 2;3: I looked in Strong’s Greek under definitions of “falling away” and “apostasy.” It lists “abandonment” as one possible meaning for falling away or apostasy. This could essentially mean the same as “departure” Abandonment or departure of the believing church before the Anticchrist comes on the scene.

  18. Jonathan
    The plagues written in the book happen in time not eternity future so we can rule out loss of eternal life. Also Jesus uses the word “part” in John 13 when he explains to Peter that he (Peter) needs to have his feet washed even after being bathed. “Part” is used often in terms of inheritance and position within the family. Neither v18 or 19 speak of losing eternal life.

  19. Jonathon, I think it is talking only about the book of Revelation.

    But, whether it pertains to the book of Revelation only, or to the whole Bible, there is simply no way that a person who has eternal life could ever lose it. If there were, that would contradict the many passages that prove eternal security.

    Please see link to previous discussion, below.


  20. There is a verse that has troubled me recently…Revelation 22:18-19. Other verses I have been able to firmly interpret through eternal security, though this is the one verse that gets me. Could you help explain if this verse is talking only about the Book of Revelation, or the entire Bible? What if a Christian removed or added to the Bible? How does this verse go hand in hand with eternal security (always secure in Jesus)?

  21. Apostasy does mean “departure” and it can mean physically. Link up “departure” in v3 with “our gathering together to Him” of v1 and it makes even more sense that Paul is speaking of a physical departure. I have believed so for awhile now but I never use it in support of a pre-trib rapture when arguing with post-tribbers (they will never buy it). There is enough other evidence to over whelm them with.

  22. Phil, I think that could be the correct interpretation. That would lend additional credence to other strong scriptural support for the pre-tribulation rapture, such as the doctrine of imminence and the fact that the church is not mentioned for a big part of the book of Revelation.

    Pastor Tom Cucuzza had a good sermon on this topic a while back. It is linked below.


  23. 2 Thess 2:3 says “that day shall not come unless their be a falling away first….”
    It seems to be commonly interpreted that this falling away means an apostasy of the professing church. But that has been going on for centuries.
    But “falling away” or even “apostasy” can mean a departure, but a departure from what? It may simply mean a departure of the church, believers and the Holy Spirit that is with them, must depart–be taken up to be with the Lord in order for the restraining of the Spirit to leave for the Wicked deceiver to come onto the picture. To me this fits with what Paul is trying to get across. If this is the correct understanding of “failing away” in verse 3, then this is very strong in favor of the pre trib, pre seven year translation or rapture of the church.

  24. Brad, in addition to the points you have made, one of the main reasons the church will be gone is to keep church-age believers from having to experience the great tribulation.

  25. Seeing as God turns His focus back to Israel during the tribulation period, there would be no reason for the Church to still be around during that time. This would also explain why He will send two prophets back to earth during that time – in order to kick off the salvation of many people during the tribulation by grace through faith.

    Sounds about right to me, at least.

  26. Brad, you are right that there are a lot of views on the rapture, although the pre-Tribulation rapture is the only view that I can see is scriptural.

    And you’re right – believing in eternal life could in no way be a death cult.

    And, as you said, it will be interesting to continue to watch unfold.

    In any event, I would prefer not to use this site to speculate on the nationality of the antichrist.

  27. I know there are several different views out there on the rapture, but how could it be equated to a death cult belief? It’s not like we’ll be drinking poison kool-aid on that day.

    I wonder if any other countries will follow suit with the US in declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel. This will be interesting to see unfold.

    Also if I may post a video giving some more clarity to my previous post to anyone interested:

    (Link removed by administrator).

  28. Phil, the caterwauling by the media and the resultant comments have been interesting.

    I read a comment today that referred to people who believe in the rapture as a “death cult.”

    My comment: how does believing in Jesus for eternal life make one a member of a “death cult”?

  29. That is what I was thinking Phil. There are a lot of contentions with the Palestinians in particular about this US declaration. They have a hard enough time over there as it is even without this. Increasingly fertile ground for the “peacemaker”.

    My personal opinion is that the antichrist will emerge from the US (Israel’s strongest ally in the Middle East) so it raises my eyebrow that they are the first country to do this.

    Trump has spoken in the past about wanting to bring an end to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

    – 1 Thessalonians 5:3 or when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

  30. Phil, agree completely. Looking forward to the rescue before that comes.

  31. Brad and john. Trump’s action could cause lots of objections and even terrorist attacks. But this could set the stage for a great “peacemaker” to come in and work some great compromise and re-establish the Temple in Jerusalem and somehow temporarily make all sides happy. But if this is the person, the “Little horn’ or “king”,of Daniel 7, 9, 11 and 12 and Rev 13, it will turn into the worst nightmare after three and a half years. Fortunately, I believe we saved believers will be taken to Heaven before this “peacemaker” ever gets started.

  32. Brad, it could be. The reestablishment of the State of Israel and the gathering of the Jewish people there seem to be a very significant part of God’s plan.

  33. Does it seem significant to anyone that the US is about to officially declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel? They will be the first country in the world to have their embassy there, instead of Tel Aviv.

  34. Shannon, welcome and thanks for your comment.

    I think you may be right. In some cases, people want to rely on their own righteousness for eternal life. In other cases, people just believe and repeat the false gospel substitutes that they’ve heard.

  35. I have come to the conclusion that some people are just so self- righteous that they want to shut up the Kingdom of Heaven for those whom they think are beneath them. It’s really sad.

  36. John WI, forgive me, we have so many John’s and different names that don’t exactly differentiate, I forget who knows what 🙂

  37. I think I’d rather watch Star Wars, lol

  38. JohnWI, I am very wary of the movies and popular books that come out purporting to be biblically-based.

  39. Holly, Yes I am all to familiar with all 3 of those men. That’s why I called them wolves in sheeps clothing. I guy in our church was recommending that movie and I was going to take my granddaughter until I saw these names in it. The thing is if you watch the trailer for the movie, which was a very limited release, it looked very well done, but that’s how these guys draw the unsuspecting into there ranks.

  40. Tara – thank you, and good to see you here. I am revamping redeeming moments, or rather my daughter is. So I am taking a short respite. I’ve been out of town, but what a blessing to come here and drink in some of the new articles John is so faithful to share. Thank God for our faithful brothers and sisters in Christ who truly care to keep the gospel clear of encumbrances.

  41. John WI – I’ve been out of town but no, mark and avoid. Let me tell you a few things about the people you asked about.

    Ken Ham – Calvinist

    Ray Comfort – lordship – teaches ‘turn from ALL your sin’ to be saved.

    Voddie Baucham – hyper Calvinist who I believe is abusive in teaching to women and also families and hates Israel (I actually have a tape saying he does not love them). The reason? He says WE are Israel (replacement theology). So I’d suggest FLEE.

  42. Tara, it is good to hear from you again. We are glad that you find Expreacherman to be a blessing.

  43. Awesome article! So grateful that the Lord led me to this site & redeeming moments! Both have been refreshing drink of water in a desert of false doctrine! God bless & thank you!

  44. Brad, you are right that the new birth does not mean that we are guaranteed to live in a certain way. That is why we are told to walk in the Spirit (something not possible for someone who has not experienced spiritual birth).

    In addition to being baptized by the Holy Spirit into the universal church at the moment of belief, we are also regenerated by the Holy Spirit, and given a new nature.

    From our statement of faith:

    A child of God has two births; one of the flesh, the other of the Spirit, giving man a flesh nature and a Spirit nature. The flesh nature is neither good nor righteous. The Spiritual Man does not commit any sin. This results in a warfare between the Spirit and the flesh, which continues until physical death, or the return of the Lord. The flesh nature of the man does not change in any way with the new birth, but can be controlled and kept subdued by the new man as the believer is obedient to the Lord through His Word. John 3:3-7; Romans 7:15-25; Romans 8:8; Galatians 5:17; I John 3~9; I Peter 1:23; I John 5:18.

    You might be interested in the section on regeneration from Clear Gospel. It is linked below. You may have to copy and paste it into a Word document, due to formatting problems:


  45. We are new creations in the sense that we are now members of Christ’s body, which is the one true Church.

    We are not new creations in the sense that we are going to live a certain way after being saved.

  46. The few things that are automatic (eternal life and the new creature) are things that cannot be inspected. Yet inspectors will try.

  47. Jason, it never ceases to amaze me how religious people who are professing Christians will come to this site to try to convince us that we have it all wrong.

    Most of them will say something trite (while thinking it is new to us) like “true faith always results in …”

    The one thing that faith in Christ ALWAYS results in is eternal life that can never be lost or forfeited.

    It is hard to imagine how someone gets up every day thinking it is his job to “straighten out” the few people who teach the truth about how to have eternal life. The religious people just can’t stand it!

    I wonder if they troll other religious sites (RC, JW, LDS, etc.) with the same fervor?

  48. James 2:14-26 has certainly become a red flag in my mind. It’s a great passage to test whether a person is a false teacher or not.

    As Dr. Cucuzza said, faith without works is dead just like a car battery without any juice is dead – it still exists, but is not able to do anything.

    James 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

    This verse affirms that the faith is still present, but is simply alone, not being used. Rather than being wholly non-existent as so many errantly teach.

  49. Brad, so many in professing Christendom are out there doing the work of the accuser.

    You have probably already read it, but a friend of mine reminded me today about the Devil’s advocates. See link below:


  50. Has any one heard of that new movie, Genesis: Paradise Lost? (https://genesismovie.com). I was going to take my granddaughter and go see it, until I saw who is in it or part of it.
    Ken Ham, Ray Comfort, Voddie Baucham and others I am not familiar with. I don’t want to have anything to do with going to a movie that has the likes of these wolves in it.

  51. Chas, it’s interesting that the self-proclaimed discernment ministries often are not very discerning when it comes to the gospel message.

  52. Great article! Boy-howdy, was this ever a good place to stop by today; a breath of fresh air.

    This afternoon I had been reading some material about the Emerging “church”, particularly about Rick Warren’s involvement in its roots. In the process I came across a link to an article about RW’s teaching of contemplative meditation practices. The article itself–which was okay as far as it went–was from a discernment site that I’d never seen before, so I went to their home page to check out their “beliefs”. What do I find, but this statement:

    “God regenerates by the Holy Spirit those who confess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Repentant, regenerated sinners are forgiven by Grace Alone not by works but through Faith”

    So there it is, “Grace alone by faith alone” supposedly, yet one must be not only “repentant” but be “regenerated” before being forgiven “through Faith”. Sounds like a convoluted version of Calvinism to me. And this is on a self-described discernment site.

    I can’t help but wonder how many “discernment” authors will be horribly disappointed when they find out that in their extreme devotion they had given themselves over to preaching a false gospel.

  53. Good to see a sharp-minded post on the topic after a two months break. Nice tie-in with the four soils. I have been in both spots, having my joy stolen and being tempted by the in crowd.

  54. Great post John. False doctrines instill fear in people weak in the faith and keep people from the faith entirely.

    To tell a child of God who may be struggling with sin that they could lose their salvation is just going to send them into a spiralling state of worry and hopelessness. Whereas the Gospel of grace empowers the unfruitful child of God to stand up and walk in the Spirit with confidence, KNOWING their eternal destiny is secured in Christ.

    Thanks for all the work you do here and may God continue to bless this ministry.