Lordship Salvation: Talking Turkey

By: johninnc

Romans 6:23:  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us once again, I found myself musing about the origin of the idiom “Let’s Talk Turkey” and thought I would look into it.

Here’s what I found at the website writingexplained.org:

Let’s Talk Turkey Meaning

Definition: To engage in a frank and practical discussion about a matter (usually a business matter).

Origin of Talking Turkey

This expression was in use by the first half of the 1800s. Its origin story is said to come from an apocryphal tale about a white man and an Indian hunting.

In the story, a Native American and white man are trying to divide some game from a hunt. The white man offers that he (the white man) can take the turkey while the Native American man can take the buzzard. Alternatively, the Native American can take the buzzard and he (the white man) can take the turkey.

These two offers sounded different because the white man reversed the order. However, in both instances the white man would walk away with the larger prize. The Native American realized this and said to the white man, “Now talk turkey to me.”

There is no evidence that this exchange actually happened. However, this story appears in multiple first hand sources throughout the 1800s. This seems to mean it was a popular origin story for the idiom.

This origin story, whether true or not, reminded me of two of the ways in which Lordship “salvationists” (LSers) misrepresent the gospel, and in so doing, serve to keep lost people lost and to confuse believers.

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.

First, LSers present the gospel as some sort of business transaction that entails a lost sinner giving something to God in exchange for the receipt of eternal life. The variations on this are endless, but examples include:

  • “Repent of your sins”
  • “Turn from your sins”
  • “Be willing to turn from your sins”
  • “Put Christ on the throne of your life”
  • “Give your life to Christ”
  • “Commit to follow Christ”

Consider the following quote from the late Billy Graham:

Giving up something to follow Christ is not earning salvation; it is giving up what keeps you from salvation. When we hold on to something that is dearer to us than receiving the greater gift of salvation in Christ, we lose.

Graham subtly changed salvation from a “free gift” to “a greater gift.”  In this way, Graham suggests that what man “brings to the table” in exchange for salvation is but a pittance, compared to the greater gift of salvation that he receives in return (kind of like “I’ll take the turkey, you take the buzzard”).  This view denies the work of Jesus as being sufficient to save us, and changes the nature of Grace from being a gift to being a trade.

Here is a less subtle example from Steve Lawson:

If you want to receive this gift it will cost you the total commitment of all that you are to the Lord Jesus Christ. There are many here who think they are saved, but are not; they have never really done business with God

He will agree to terms of peace and surrender, but they are His terms of peace, not ours. His terms are this: you must love Him more than anything. If you cannot do this, you will meet Him in the final judgment and glorify God in your destruction.

Like Graham, Lawson denies the sufficiency of Christ and misrepresents the gospel .

These would be “evangelists” may have thought they were “talking turkey” to their audiences with these false messages, but they were really just teaching false gospels of salvation by works.

Second, like the white man in the idiom, LSers say the same thing in two different ways. This takes the form of either front-loading or back loading the gospel with works.

The following quote from prominent pastor David Chadwick is an example of this double-speak:

(note that Chadwick writes as though he is Jesus giving first-hand information)

Through my obedience, my Father has given me the final authority to execute judgment over all humanity. One day, everyone will hear my voice and appear before me in final judgment. Don’t marvel at this saying. It is true. This judgment will solely depend on those who have believed in me. John’s gospel repeatedly states this truth (3:16;5:24,25; 14:6). However, good and bad deeds will prove an individual’s faith. If good deeds aren’t there, it proves faith isn’t present. These people face eternal judgment. If good deeds are there, it proves faith is present and they are granted eternal resurrection life.

This pastor is encouraging his audience to look to their works for assurance of eternal life. The Bible does not teach this. In fact, the Bible is clear that one can have assurance of eternal life without waiting around to see if good works manifest themselves.

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.

The above examples of false gospel messages remind me of another Turkey-related idiom: Jive Turkey.

From Dictionary.com: A jive turkey is someone who is unreliable, makes exaggerations or empty promises, or who is otherwise dishonest. The phrase is so associated with 1970s culture.

Whether or not they intend to, LSers are unreliable because they run afoul (pun intended) of the gospel.

If you have been exposed to false gospel messages and would like to know the truth about how to have eternal life click here: THE GOSPEL

12 responses to “Lordship Salvation: Talking Turkey

  1. Holly, it is hard to believe that Jack went to be with the Lord almost five years ago. It will be great to see him in full vigor.

    You are right about Steve Lawrence’s claim sounding like the rich young ruler’s specious claim. It’s amazing that he can’t see it.

  2. Great article Johniinc. So thankful that you have faithfully maintained this for the Lord and in love for Jack. He won’t just have one eye that day we see him. I remember him talking about hunting and pecking to try to type something.

    What Steve Lawson said just gave me the chills:

    “He will agree to terms of peace and surrender, but they are His terms of peace, not ours. His terms are this: you must love Him more than anything. If you cannot do this, you will meet Him in the final judgment and glorify God in your destruction.”

    Steve Lawson CANNOT and never has done this. They are the Rich young ruler that they declare was never saved, but they are the same. They think they have kept the two greatest commandments since they’ve surrendered….

    I want to love Him more than anything, and I learn all the time when I think I am, I am failing, because I’m being selfish, or I’m loving another. They are so terribly deceived. Deceiving and being deceived…

  3. Aristotle, we’re glad you found us!

    The late Jack Weaver created this site back in 2006. He went to be with the Lord almost five years ago. We miss him, but strive to continue his work in advancing and defending the gospel.

  4. Aristotle L Vargo

    Thanks for making this website

  5. John 6:47, thanks for your reminder for us all to be thankful for God’s complete provision for our salvation on a daily basis.

    We are also very thankful that you found the expreacherman site and that it is a blessing to you.

  6. Interesting phrase, and even more interesting story of origin.

    As Thanksgiving is fast approaching, I am reminded of how grateful I am for this site, for it was almost 3 1/2 years ago that I finally understood the clear Gospel and trusted in Jesus Christ alone as my Savior. For all my life up until that point, I was trusting in my good works to some degree to get me to Heaven. I wore the Christian label, but was never really saved. May we all always be thankful about our salvation and what God did for us to provide the free gift of eternal life every day of the year. May we never take that for granted.

    1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

    Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

  7. chas, yeah, I really don’t know how Lawson could ever think he would qualify.

    Channeling Jesus in the first person is creepy, in poor taste, and confusing to the intended audience. Interestingly enough, Chadwick is an icon in the Charlotte religion biz, having played basketball at the University of North Carolina and officiating the funeral for legendary UNC basketball coach Dean Smith.

  8. Another great article, John. I was familiar with the expression “talk turkey” but never heard the background on it. Interesting.

    I can’t help wondering if Lawson has really given “the total commitment” of all that HE is to the Lord Jesus Christ. Talk about delusions. But if he doubts his own salvation at all, he probably regards that as “humility”. Roman Catholics sure do.

    Out here in L.A. there’s a guy who hosts a Sunday morning call-in radio program called “The Jesus Christ Show”. (No, I’m not kidding.) The host talks to callers as though he–the host–reallyis Jesus, giving them advice on all kinds of things. So this Chadwick is another guy using the same schtick? I find it blasphemous, not to mention way creepy.

  9. Mark, it’s good to hear from you.

    As the late Jack Weaver used to say of false teachers “the woods is full of em.”

  10. LD, I have prayed for you to grow in grace, that you would keep an eternal perspective, keep from being distracted, and be bold in sharing the gospel.

    Thanks for the reminder to be thankful for God’s gracious gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus and to be thankful in all things.

  11. Amen! This was excellent, John– you nailed it on the head. The Church is filled with jive turkeys pretending to be evangelists. They should all be marked and avoided, Romans 16:17

  12. Hope you are well Johninnc and all my brothers and sisters! Great article as always. I may have heard of the phrase long ago, but haven’t given much thought since I was very young. Interesting story of its origin.
    I want to make personal prayer request. I have been getting distracted a lot more than before (in carnality) and, therefore, stunting my spiritual growth. My prayer request is that I daily and firmly set my eyes and affections on the things above and discipline myself to do what God wants me to do (one of which is sharing the gospel). To finish the race in faith well as a good soldier of Christ is my desire (and all of ours too).
    I want to say that as we approach the day of Thanksgiving (and something that we ought to do everyday in love), may we give thanks to our God who has given us the precious free gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. In addition, let us be thankful for everything (in the good and bad times) because God is for us and with us and in us as we live our lives for the Lord.
    I thank you Johninnc for being faithful and taking the time in posting edifying articles.
    I wish you all Happy Thanksgiving in Christ.
    – 1st Corinthians 10:31 – Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
    – 1st Thessalonians 5:18 – In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

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