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?
The Marshall Tucker Band has a song by the name of Bound and Determined that starts with the line: Well she’s bound and determined to make a fool out of me.
Proponents of Lordship “salvation” (LSers) are bound and determined to foist their false gospel on others, thus making fools of them. In many, if not most cases, such proponents don’t even realize they’re working against God, rather than for Him. Some LSers have eternal life, some don’t. It’s impossible to know which is which. However all people who teach LS are under God’s curse.
Galatians 1:8-9: But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
Lordship “salvation” (LS) is the unsupportable and unbiblical belief that the PERFORMANCE of good works, the PROMISE of good works, or the EVIDENCE of good works MUST accompany faith in Christ in order to establish, or provide evidence, that such faith has resulted in eternal life.
LS keeps people from understanding the gospel message, so that they might believe and be saved (Matthew 13:19). It can also undermine the faith of believers who fall under its spell. LS frustrates grace!
For believers, some of the ways we weaken our defenses against false LS teachers are:
- Failing to mark and avoid them
- Consulting them for insights into biblical prophecy
- Looking to them for spiritual advice on Christian living
- Using them to make points in proving the existence of God or the truth of the Bible
- Supporting their churches or other ministries
- Confusing any of our common affinities with spiritual fellowship
LSers are happy to use any of the above ties to try to bind us.
The Bible tells us that eternal life is received by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
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.
The Bible also tells us that we have eternal life that can never be lost or forfeited, from the moment of belief in Christ.
Ephesians 1:13-14: In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
And, the Bible tells us that we can have assurance of eternal life from the moment of belief in Christ based on God’s word alone, without reference to our motives, behavior, perseverance, or anything else.
John 5:24: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
Anyone who contradicts any of the above clear tenets of the Christian faith, either explicitly or implicitly, may be bound and determined to make a fool out of you.
If you think you may have been fooled as to how to have eternal life, and would like to know the real story, click here: The Gospel
Holly, I think all of these things make people more susceptible to false teaching. The favorable quotes from works “salvationists” really irk me.
This is such a good article Johninnc.
Your list here has been one of major frustrations, even with those who are grace teachers but still share platforms with lordship teachers and NEVER mark them. Their excuse? They’re sharing a good gospel.
These particular points you made really hit home:
Failing to mark and avoid them (quoting errant men or sharing platforms with them, all while not marking them or warning their audience. These are two things that really bother me, that if you talk to pastors about it, they get snarky).
Consulting them for insights into biblical prophecy
There is this pastor named J.D. Farag. He has the ABC method of the gospel, is a Calvary pastor who has also publicly said Catholics are our brothers and sisters (somewhat like his parent church of Calvary Chapel Chuck Smith used to do). People listen to him and I wonder why. If he can’t get the gospel right, why share his stuff?
Looking to them for spiritual advice on Christian living
Sigh….yes. A lot of hurting people do this too, and they don’t realize that the fluffy feel good teachings or even the self-righteous hard teachings will do nothing but cause them more harm.
Using them to make points in proving the existence of God or the truth of the Bible
Yes this is unfortunate. I see this often with ‘creation’ or ‘apologetic’ ministries. But again, people get led into bondage.
They are certainly ‘bound and determined’ to make others bound.
Thanks Foreigner Chris.
Holly, I know about most of these things in Nee’s background and teachings. But, yet, I saw no need to avoid him in general as I found much of his teaching helpful and beneficial. I know that his views sometimes are controversial. Maybe I have to change my mind on him and should avoid him because at least he’s suspicious.
It is not my intention to recommend him here.
Jimfloyd12, thanks for the offer. Where at your blog can I contact you? Somewhere in the comments or is there an email form?
I apologize in advance for missing some comments before I commented.
Alan, I sure hate the argument about belief being contrasted to mental assent (what is belief if not mental assent)?
I agree regarding what Alice said concerning not believing only upon Christ and Him crucified, but that’s not the same thing as what they’re trying to imply.
To me, they are like those spoken of in Galatians 2, false brethren who sneak in. I don’t know if they ever simply mentally assented to the facts 🙂 but their gospel is false. Like John said it undermines the assurance of believers and often renders their gospel ineffective or outright false (if they’ve listened to these false teachers). And if that’s the only ‘gospel’ unbelievers hear, it will keep the lost lost.
Good for you standing up and walking out!
Foreigner Chris, I usually save documents and start bullet points on people I know have false teaching. On Watchman Nee here are a few points:
Baptism of the Holy Spirit, somehow being a second experience.
Mysticism of Jesse Penn-Lewis, Catholic mystic Madame Jeanne Guyon
Partial Rapture theory
Led by ‘inner leadings’
Plymouth Brethren teachings
@Phil R, thank you.
Watchman Nee is one to avoid. If you want you, can ask me the question at standforthefaith.com and I can email you an answer. Or discuss it there.
J.Dex, yes, Jesus is Lord!
If you would like to know more about what we call Lordship “salvation,” please see link below:
Thanks Hobbs, very encouraging. Gal 5:1
ive never heard of lordship salvation? jesus is lord right? your just another false teacher. i pray that you will repent
Hobbs, you are right – we can always rejoice in the fact that we are eternally secure in Christ Jesus, no matter what may happen throughout our lives.
Lordship “salvation” invites fruit inspection for evidence of eternal life, which is intended to take peoples’ eyes away from the sure foundation and back onto themselves.
Yes, exactly why the Bible is saying: ‘Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.’ We can always rejoice in the wonderful good news of the gospel whatever situation we are in in our lives, God freely ‘entitles’ us to that through Jesus, even if we are tied up in some grievous sin, which God certainly doesn’t want for our lives and He will work to free us from that bondage too, but the moment we remember the sure foundation on which we stand, some glimmer of our eternal hope can come into view again. We are secure, that IS the good news.
Hobbs, yeah, lots of people preach false gospels by trying to change the meanings of words like “faith” and “grace.” Such people try to turn the good news into bad news.
Heard similar recently, preacher saying believing is not enough, that faith is a word of action. So… help the chicken cross the road, then you’ll be saved? No, I think it’s just believing as the Bible says, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved’. It’s such ‘good news’ precisely because it’s simply believing. God makes it free.
Alice, I think that Alan’s objections to the preacher’s comments were based on the false dichotomy between faith and “intellectual assent” and works as necessary for evidence of eternal life.
Your statement about people who have never believed in the sufficiency of Christ is absolutely valid. People who believe that Jesus isn’t enough haven’t believed the gospel. They have believed a false gospel.
Alan, you said:
“Recently I attended a service where the preacher stated that you could believe that Jesus is the Son of God who lived a sinless life, and that He is the Christ who died on the cross for your sins, and that He rose again the third day, and that He is coming again to judge the world, and still not be saved!”
Even Roman Catholics would agree with every one of those statements above but if they have not trusted in the finished work of Christ on the cross alone apart from any works for their salvation, 1 Corin 15: 1-4, then they are not saved. Eph :2: 8-9
As Tom Cucuzza says: ‘ they all agree in the necessity of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, but they deny the sufficiency of the Jesus.’ In other words, believing in Jesus in not ‘enough’. You have do good works too.
Having said that, I disagree with the preacher’s statement that “that unless your works authenticate the genuineness your faith, you are merely giving intellectual assent to a set of theological facts or constructs’.
As a child who grew up in a ‘Christian’ home and went to church most of my life, I knew all the ‘facts’ of the Gospel, only I never trusted in Christ alone, without any works on my part for salvation. I was always taught to look at my performance for assurance of salvation and to prove that my faith was genuine. So to some degree, I was looking to myself as ‘saviour’ adding to what Christ has already accomplished on the cross 2000 years ago.
He finished the job, He bought and paid in full my eternal life, He totally atoned for every one of my sins from birth to death and I have complete forgiveness and redemption through His blood. Period. To Jesus be the glory.
Thanks for the response, Johninnc. I understand and avoid the subject. As I said before, I am not entirely comfortable with Nee’s teachings in general, too.
Foreigner Chris, the comments we have had at this site regarding Watchman Nee are from several years ago.
An example of error that Watchman Nee taught, with which I am very uncomfortable, was the “partial rapture of believers,” in which “unprepared” believers were left behind.
I am willing to risk missing out on the possible benefits of some of his teaching.
I would prefer that we not delve into Watchman Nee’s teachings at Expreacherman.
Hello, I hope you’re all well.
I have a question regarding the above mentioned Watchman Nee. Since his writings have interested me so far, I would like to know more specifically what is wrong with him and why he should be avoided. I’ve always remained a little uncertain about him as his teachings are certainly kind of peculiar. But why should he be rejected from a biblical point of view? As far as I can see, he preached the biblical Gospel of grace, and his emphasis was, briefly said, the Christian’s spiritual walk. I know he also had a few weird parts in his teachings which I avoid (according to 1 Thess. 5:21: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good”).
Alan, the SBC has had false doctrine for as far back as I can find.
Platt is part of their new generation of false doctrinaires.
A lot of people believe that Christ died and was raised from the dead, but don’t understand that He died for (in complete payment of) their sins, and believe they have to augment His work with their own.
But this false dichotomy between faith and “intellectual assent” to the truth of the gospel is just another way to keep non-believers from coming to faith in Christ and to rob believers of assurance.
A common cliche among Southern Baptists today is to say that one can believe the “facts” of the gospel and not be saved; we can credit David Platt for that! Recently I attended a service where the preacher stated that you could believe that Jesus is the Son of God who lived a sinless life, and that He is the Christ who died on the cross for your sins, and that He rose again the third day, and that He is coming again to judge the world, and still not be saved! He said that unless your works authenticate the genuineness your faith, you are merely giving intellectual assent to a set of theological facts or constructs. I was so disgusted I just got up and walked out. It just so happened that they observed the Lord’s Supper that week, but there was no way I could stay and break bread with them after such a revolting disparagement of the Gospel message. I was deeply depressed over his comments for days, but one day I happened to be reading the passage in John 20 where Jesus reveals himself to doubting Thomas. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through his name. (verses 29-31).
After reading that passage, I felt renewed and exhilarated. Still, it saddens me that I live in the buckle of the Bible belt and yet there doesn’t seem to be a church in this area that treasures the life-giving message of the Gospel of Christ. Baptists look down on the Methodists for not believing in eternal security, but at least Methodists don’t seem to go around planting the idea that someone may be a false believer the way Baptists do, simply because they fall short of perfection- as we all do. As I have said before, those who believe in salvation by works would rather destroy the assurance of all than give “false assurance” to one perceived lost person. In contrast, the Gospel was given to us for both our salvation and our assurance (1 John 5:13).
Jason, yes, people really glom onto celebrity preachers. His books seem to make the rounds every so often. I avoid him.
I also don’t understand why freely justified people quote Watchman Nee, a Chinese fake pastor. His teachings were straight out Rhema and NAR.
What baffles me, is how many freely by grace people and preachers, will quote Spurgeon. I have a friend who use to teach at New Tribes, who as helped me a lot, but lately, has been putting Spurgeon quotes on facebook. I have been considering calling him to ask him why. Yes Spurgeon has some good quotes, and so does MAC, but what about their Gospel. As Paul says in Gal 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you. let him be accursed.
I was even surprised to hear Yankee quote Spurgeon, on one of his podcasts, that was about prayer.
And now we have a new pastor taking over at the church we are going to, and when we had question and answer time, I asked him who are is 3 favorite Christian authors (it was a veiled way for me to get some idea of were he is coming from, with out causing a big uproar in church with asking a more pointed question) he said: Spurgeon, Eugene Peterson and C. S. Lewis.
Don’t they realize that if they are quoting these preachers, they are putting there stamp of approval on them, and new believers, or even people who haven’t yet trusted in Christ alone, for eternal life, will be all the more confused.
Mike, thanks so much for commenting.
I am very thankful that you found the article and comments to be encouraging!
Yet another excellent and life-affirming article! Thank you for putting these on here. And I always read the comments – more excellence! Thank you so much for the encouragement!
Chas and Jason, they all claim to be grace alone. They lie. Have a happy 4th 🙂
John, I have definitely seen that commentary by Paul Washer. For awhile I paid for transcripts on Sermon index so I didn’t have to listen to his voice, and if I had to check the transcript against the sermon, I knew where it was.
Sickening he would tell a child that.
Has he heard of a millstone?
Jason, good point.
Spurgeon and MacArthur are very similar in their false Calvinistic/LS doctrine.
I wonder how many statements of faith read “repent of sins”, with no other error, just to keep John MacArthur from badmouthing them? Well, it doesn’t work. Spurgeon said you have to utterly abhor your sins, and MacArthur absolutely agrees.
chas, I agree that the more subtle ones are the more worrisome.
I think about MacArthur and Washer as being like the $800 sweaters in a department store. They are there to make the $300 sweaters seem more reasonable.
In the same way guys like MacArthur and Washer make other false teachers, such as Billy Graham and J.D. Greear, seem reasonable by comparison.
If people would consider all scripture in light of grace, eternal security, and assurance, it would eliminate much of the false doctrine – including the near-ubiquitous “repent of your sins to be saved” (i.e., “repent of your sins to receive the free gift of eternal life”) error. If one has to repent of sins to receive the free gift of eternal life, then eternal life is not a gift, but a trade.
Great article, johninnc.
For all the damage they do, at least people like J-mac and Washer are up-front about it. Even more worrisome are “teachers” who insist that they teach salvation by grace alone, but when you dig into their belief statements they say one must repent of sins to be saved. I think that one point was the key to my confusion for over several decades. I had come to the belief that only resting in Christ’s sacrifice alone was necessary for my salvation a few years after tapering off of my “church” attendance and getting into the Bible myself, without “evangelical” influences. I had to file away my “what about repentance” questions, trusting that I would eventually find the answer in the Bible that was consistent with grace. If I’d only known from the beginning how simple the issue was, that my understanding of “repentance” in salvation was corrupted by decades of evangelical–and before that, Roman Catholic—influence. It boiled down to “Repentance in salvation doesn’t mean turning from sin, but turning from unbelief.”
How few pastor/teachers–especially those with big congregations–don’t know that, and continue to press people to “REPENT OF YOUR SINS TO BE SAVED!!!” I keep looking for those who get it right, but so far in my search the ones who do can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
Holly, your comment about John Piper reminded me of a heartbreaking article that Bruce Bauer wrote several years ago about Paul Washer (Bruce was criticizing Washer’s false doctrine and pointing out its many errors). There was an extensive section about salvation of a child. I read some of this aloud to my wife just the other night, and we were both shaking our heads in disgust.
Before I provide any excerpts, I think it is helpful to understand the false doctrinaire underpinnings of Paul Washer’s twisted “theology.”
“Although I am leaning more toward, I guess I call myself a five point Spurgeonist, I want you to know this.”
Following is a telling excerpt:
But, you see, a discerning heart would recognize after talking to the [child]. [They] were not weeping over sin. [They] were not weeping over an offense against God. [They] were weeping over self-preservation. [They] didn’t want to die. And so what did I do? I said, ‘[name withheld],’ I redirected [them]. I said, ‘[name withheld], I want you to know something. If you truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the one who can take away your sins, any [one] who truly believes and trusts in him, recognizes the depth, something in the depth of [their] sin, turns from it and believes in Jesus is saved. And if you are doing that, if you are really doing that, that has really happened to you, you are saved. But now let me tell you something. The evidence of your salvation is going to be God beginning to work in your life, directing you towards Scripture, pointing out sin in your life, making you contrite and things such as that over disobedience to your parents. And [certain people] are just going to watch you, [name withheld]. And [they] are going to use the Scripture and just help you as you go through these next months and years to discern whether you have truly come to know him.
My comment: Lots of error here, with very little truth. One does not have to “weep over sin,” “turn from sin,” nor provide any evidence of God “beginning to work in his life,” in order to have eternal life.
These false teachers are all on the same page when it gets right down to it.
I was trying to find a way to convey, through the comment about common affinities, that we may agree with some “religious leaders” on any number of things (political, etc.), but if they don’t have the right gospel, they are to be avoided for any spiritual matters.
Paul – what a tender comment. How many of us have shed many a tear in frustration and sadness over not knowing exactly what was right, but somehow we couldn’t get there?… Thank the Lord for His truth.
Lou, you forgot the ladies 🙂
Isn’t it interesting how Calvinism and loadship often merges well with emergent and contemplative practices of people like Piper and DeMoss? Piper is one that will just destroy a young believer. Seduce them in with his ways and then condemn them with his list of requirements. These people sicken me.
It stymies me that they actually think they can earn holiness, it still leaves me at a loss. They don’t believe in the two natures (that I know of) and they don’t seem to understand positional vs. practical. John Mac wrote a sermon on the ‘only road to heaven’ (I’m sure you’ve heard of it). He tends to recycle his sermons so you can find identical messages over and over.
Anyways, I just cut and pasted a large majority of the requirements to ‘enter in’.
These blind men leading the other blind into the ditch… Such a long list of ‘to-do’s’ in order to just enter.
By their own requirements, these heretics are self-condemned.
Johninnc, another good one, thank you for your faithfulness. I liked your list on how people weaken themselves (and others). Sharing platforms with them, using their commentaries, reading their posts on FB, watching their youtube videos etc., I know have hurt many. They are searching for someone sound, but in the process they run across a lot of false and become confused.
John 6:47 made a good comment on Cain and Abel. God’s way or man’s way. THEY insist they are doing in His way.
Paul, I forgot to add that your comment was very encouraging to me.
Thanks for the reply. You can essentially expect that every person, leadership in particular, of the T4G, Gospel Coalition, Ligonier and Desiring God advocates for LS. That’s not to mention many of them vary in their unbiblical beliefs in such things as amil, non-cessationism, ecumenical compromise and Covenent theology to name a few. I speak of DeYoung, his generation and before him: MacArthur, Piper, Dever, Mohler, Sproul, Mahaney and a host of lesser knowns. Very disconcerting that they have a platform as large as they do. And most men who know the dangers essentially say nothing. Thanks again.
Lou, thanks for the informative article on DeYoung. I’d heard him years ago on TV, but never knew about his Calvinist/LS teachings. Thanks for the warning.
Paul, all I can say is welcome to our Heaven bound fellowship here who have simply believed the good news of salvation thru Christ.
Paul, it’s great to hear from you.
I am so thankful that you find this site to be a blessing, and that you have become grounded in the truth of the gospel.
Thank you John for another encouraging, truth-affirming article. I can’t tell you how much this ministry means to me. After discovering expreacherman last year and digging in, YEARS of confusion, doubt, and many shed tears were washed away. The blessed peace of clarity via the true, unspeakably amazing Gospel.
God bless you and everyone here eternally.
Lou, thanks for the warning about DeYoung and his associations.
These guys all seem to coalesce against the integrity of the gospel.
If I may I’d like to make contribution to demonstrate the on-going insidious spread of Lordship Salvation (LS). I refer you to a book, The Hole in Our Holiness, by Kevin DeYoung.
In the early pages of the book you recognize a definite Calvinism, Lordship bent to the book. Virtually all of the citations are from Calvinist and Reformed men.
The Hole in Our Holiness is endorsed back cover by John Piper, Randy Alcorn, and Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. Those names, including Kevin DeYoung, attach to them doctrines and practices that are very disconcerting.
As for the LS message in the DeYoung’s book please see pp. 26-30. DeYoung presents as truth Lordship’s works-based message for salvation, “redemption.” DeYoung cites MacArthur and Piper to bolster his pro-Lordship polemic. DeYoung begins the section with this,
“Not only is holiness the goal of your redemption, it is necessary for your redemption,” (p. 26, italics his).
And ends with, “…we are commanded to be holy, saved to be holy, and, in fact, we must be holy if we are to inherit eternal life,” (p.30, bold mine).
Kevin DeYoung is one of the defacto heirs apparent to the old guard of the so-called “conservative” evangelicals, the original advocates of Lordship Salvation. Men such as: MacArthur, Piper, Mohler, Sproul, et, al. DeYoung as well as his endorses and sources bring with them leadership positions with The Gospel Coalition, Piper’s Desiring God, Ligonier Ministries (Sproul) and T4G.
Keep up the good fight of exposing the egregious errors of Lordship Salvation’s works-based message that corrupts the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Cor. 11:3) and frustrates grace (Gal. 2:21)
Levi, I’m glad you liked the article and thanks for the encouragement!
Awesome article! Hope everyone is going strong in the Lord. Let us keep running the race in faith (Hebrews 12:1-2).
fryingpan, it’s great to hear from you!
I’m glad you liked the article.
Another great article!
Thank you, johninnc!
John 6:47, yeah – it has been with us through the ages.
I also thought about Matthew 23:15 as I was writing the article.
Great article! The battle between grace vs. works is THE conflict of the ages, dating all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Immediately after the fall of man in Genesis 3, what did Adam and Eve do? They sewed some fig leaves together to try and cover their sin. That of course was entirely inadequate to cover their sin. God had to step in and clothe them with animal skins (Genesis 3:21). Even with the first children that were ever born in the Bible, you got the first free gracer and first lordship salvationist. And the conflict between Jesus and the religious leaders of his day (and also in the first century church) was grace vs. works. Satan keeps using the same heresy, packaged in different flavors.