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