Author Archives: johninnc

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

Lordship Salvation? Here Are Some Signs

By johninnc

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.

One of the restaurants that my wife and I frequent received a recent score from the health inspector of 87.5%. We figured it was an anomaly, but after suffering from a weekend stomach bug, I’m not so sure.

Anytime an institution deviates from standards that have been set for our health and well-being, the consequences can be serious – even deadly. This is particularly applicable to “churches” purporting to represent the Word of God.

To that end, I did an internet search under “church marquee sayings” and found quite a few that confuse, or misrepresent the gospel. Following is a sample. My comments are in parentheses.

1. Belief in God will not earn you a spot in Heaven. Obedience will. 

(Eternal life is never earned. It is received by grace through faith in Christ. The only context in which this saying is accurate is if they mean by obeying (believing) the gospel.)

2. You cannot have a testimony without going through a test.

(Our Christian testimony should focus on the gospel and how we came to believe it.)

3. If you don’t have enough of God in your heart to bring you to church, I doubt you have enough of God in your heart to get you to Heaven. 

(Implies that eternal life is earned by church attendance.)

4. Turn or Burn

(Implies that turning from some behavior is required to have eternal life.)

5. If you don’t go to God’s house, what makes you think He will take you to His????

(Implies that eternal life is earned by church attendance.)

6. Need a new life? God accepts trade-ins.

(We receive eternal life when we believe in Jesus as Savior. This slogan could be easily misinterpreted to imply that one must give up something to receive the free gift of eternal life.)

7. Famous last words: “I’ll get right with God later.”

(Implies that one must do something (such as “turning from sin,” or “putting Christ on the throne of his life”) in order to receive the free gift of eternal life.)

8. To have your name written in the Book of Life, you must ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins .

(The Bible never conditions receiving eternal life on asking for forgiveness.)

9. FAITH – Forsaking All I Trust Him.

(Could be accurate, if they mean forsaking all other confidences, and trusting in Christ alone for eternal life. But, this could also be misconstrued to mean that one must forsake sins, etc. to receive eternal life.)

10. If you don’t try hard enough then you made the devil happy .

(Could be interpreted to mean that erternal life is earned by self-effort, or that the Christian life is lived that way.)

11. Good works are the fruit, not the root, of salvation.

(Implies that good works are automatic in the lives of believers, which is not scriptural.)

12. By perseverance — the snail reached the ark.

(Teaches that we receive eternal life by our perseverance versus by God’s preservation.)

13. Law says, “Do, and you will live.” Grace says, “Live, and you will do.”

(Implies that good works are automatic in those that have eternal life.)

14. Jesus Christ came to make bad people good.

(Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. When we believe in Jesus as Savior, we receive His imputed perfection.  One has to be perfect to get into Heaven. Otherwise, how good is good enough?)

15. Try Jesus. If you don’t like Him, the devil will always take you back.

(Wrongly implies that one can lose eternal life.)

The one component that each of the above church marquee sayings has in common is a lack of clear focus on the gospel.

If you have been being fed false or confusing messages such as the ones above, is it time to reassess your spiritual diet?

If you would like to know how to have eternal life click here: The Gospel

Lordship Salvation: Following the MENyouscript

By johninnc

John 18:34: Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?

As believers in Christ, we are stewards of the gospel message. We are called to proclaim the gospel, and to defend it against it against a seemingly endless supply of substitutes.

One of the bigger challenges we face in defending the gospel is the reliance people seem to place on error being taught by so called “experts” in theology, “giants of the faith,” “princes of preachers,” “great men of God,” and so on.

Following are some examples I have gleaned from the ExPreacherman archives of people following man’s “wisdom” versus the Word of God. These examples are from laypeople who are arguing against salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, and from well-known religious leaders of the past and present.

Please note that I have not researched all of the names mentioned. However, many of the quotes below contain at least one name of someone that I know to have taught horrific errors that are an affront to the gospel message, such as Calvinism, Lordship “salvation,” or Arminianism. And, all of the quotes demonstrate an over reliance on the teaching of men versus the teaching of God.

  1. I believe that you sincerely believe, to some degree, in the error you propagate. It just happens, brothers, that you are wrong. I refer you to more prominent and well-respected men than all of us here to prove it. I care little about L.S. as a term. Research how we are saved, according to respected men like Alistair Begg, R.C. Sproul, A.W. Pink, Spurgeon, James White (AP, commenter at ExPreacherman)
  1. I have found spiritual gold in many different places throughout my life. Outside of my dear parents and Leslie’s parents, there are twenty-six greats (from the past two centuries) that have most influenced my Christian thinking and living in our modern times. And since their thoughts are found speckled throughout these notes, I wish to honor them here, as a reminder to all the students gleaning wisdom from this training, that the strongest Christian leaders are but a consecrated quotation of the giants of faith that have proceeded him – C.T. Studd, Hudson Taylor, George Muller, Rees Howells, AW Tozer, William Booth, Amy Carmichal, Richard Wurmbrand, Leonard Ravenhill, Paris Reidhead, Corrie Ten Boom, George Whitefield, John Wesley, David Brainerd, Charles Spurgeon, EM Bounds, John Hyde, Jim and Elizabeth Elliot, Keith Green, Jackie Pullinger, DL Moody, Major Ian Thomas, Gladys Aylward, David Wilkerson, and Oswald Chambers. I dearly desire my life to be a quotation of such an audacious band of mighties. (Eric Ludy)
  1. To Tim Keller, whose thinking has so permeated my own that I can no longer really tell where his stops and mine starts. I am heavily indebted to him for many of the ideas in this book, particularly in chapters 2, 3, and 6. I have listened to and read Tim Keller so much that I tend to plagiarize his interpretation of a passage before I even hear him teach on that passage. (Pastor J.D. Greear)
  1. I would quote John Bunyan as an instance of what I mean. Read anything of his, and you will see that it is almost like the reading the Bible itself. He had read it till his very soul was saturated with Scripture; and, though his writings are charmingly full of poetry, yet he cannot give us his Pilgrim’s Progress — that sweetest of all prose poems — without continually making us feel and say, “Why, this man is a living Bible!” Prick him anywhere — his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the Bible flows from him. He cannot speak without quoting a text, for his very soul is full of the Word of God. I commend his example to you, beloved. (Charles Spurgeon)
  1. Although I don’t agree with the heresy of Lordship Salvation, I don’t agree with you either. I have been a fan of Stewart’s website and I’m so sure that he does NOT teach the crap of Lordship Salvation. Stewart is right, stop falsely accusing him. Stewart is saying that forsaking one’s sin is NOT the prerequisites of salvation, but the fruits of salvation. We don’t forsake our sins in order to be saved, indeed we forsake our sins because we ARE saved! (DQ689, commenter at ExPreacherman)

Each of the above commenters, authors, or preachers is purporting to be representing the Word of God in his comments and “shout outs” to his sources of inspiration. But, those sources are not the inspired Word of God. They are “MENyouscripts.”

I will close by saying that there is not a problem with quoting preachers or others when teaching the Word of God. It becomes problematic when those quotes are based on something not taught in scripture. And, quoting someone who distorts the gospel message can serve to frustrate grace. Let us all be reminded to be cautious when quoting others, particularly when those quotes are not supported by scripture or if we know the person we are quoting has been complicit in corrupting the gospel message.

Galatians 2:21: I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lordship Salvation and the Four Corners Offense

By johninnc

Galatians 2:21: I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

According to Wikipedia: The four corners offense, technically four corner stall, is an offensive strategy for stalling in basketball. Four players stand in the corners of the offensive half-court while the fifth dribbles the ball in the middle. Most of the time the point guard stays in the middle, but the middle player would periodically switch, temporarily, with one of the players. It was a strategy that was used in college basketball before the shot clock was instituted. 

In basketball, the four corners offense was used to frustrate opponents and run out the clock. In the world of professing Christendom (also known as churchianity), there are four common perversions of grace that serve to frustrate grace and impede the spread of the gospel.

Each of the perversions of grace tries to add works- either the promise of works, the performance of works, or the evidence of works – into the means by which someone may receive eternal life, or to prove someone has received eternal life.

The Bible is expressly clear that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ without works.

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.

(Please note: the following are based on The Grace Chart, by Ron Shea of Clear Gospel)

The four common perversions of grace are:

1. Basic salvation by works (examples include water baptism or public confession of Christ as requirements for receiving eternal life).

2. Denial of eternal security (Arminianism, which holds that good works or avoidance of sin must be maintained in order to stay saved).

3. Bilateral Contract Salvation (Lordship “salvation,” which conditions receipt of eternal life on making a contract with God to  repent of sins, make Christ Lord of your life, etc.)

4. The Perseverance of the Saints (Backdoor Lordship “salvation”, which maintains that one can know he – or someone else – is saved only if his life – or their lives- begin to change for the better).

Each of these perversions of grace has the potential to render believers powerless for Christian growth and ineffective in spreading the gospel. In addition, each of the perversions can keep lost people from understanding the gospel. And, if someone doesn’t understand the gospel, they won’t believe the gospel.

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 receiveth seed by the way side.

While the four corners offense went away with the introduction of the shot clock in college basketball, Satan is still trying to run out the clock on the spread of the gospel. The four perversions of grace are one of his favorite strategies, and he is getting lots of help from professing Christians and their organizations.

There is a good chart from Clear Gospel that describes the four perversions of grace in more detail. Please click here: Grace Chart

If you would like to know how to have eternal life, click here: The Gospel

 

 

 

 

Good Tidings of Great Joy

By johninnc

Luke 2:10-14: [10] And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. [11] For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. [12] And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.[13] And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, [14] Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

The Christmas story from Luke proclaims the message of salvation found in Christ the Lord!

Please notice what it says, versus the bad news that is so often substituted by the world of churchianity:

Good tidings of great joy – the gospel is good news – the best news ever. It is about the gift of eternal life offered freely (without cost or obligation to the recipient) through faith in Christ:

Ephesians 2:8-9: [8] For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: [9] Not of works, lest any man should boast.

If the gospel that you have heard requires anything of you in return (such as the false Lordship “salvation” teaching that turning from sins, resolving to turn from sins, publically confessing Christ, persevering in faith and good works to prove you are saved, obeying the Ten Commandments, etc. are required in order to have eternal life) it is not good news. It is not the gospel!

Which shall be to all people – this means that eternal life is available to anyone on the same terms. It is not reserved for those whom God has chosen to receive eternal life.

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.

1 Timothy 2:3-4: [3] For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; [4] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

Nor is there anyone who has eternal life who has not understood their need for salvation.

Romans 3:19-20: [19] Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. [20] Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

This includes Mary, mother of Jesus. Please note that she did not lead a sinless life, and was therefore in need of a Savior, just like the rest of us.

Luke 1:46-47: [46] And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, [47] And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

If the gospel that you have heard tells you that God chooses some to believe, while relegating everyone else to hopelessness, it is not the gospel – it is Calvinism. And, if your gospel tells you anyone has received eternal life some other way, it is not the gospel.

A Savior – please not that it doesn’t say “ a helper.” Jesus is not only necessary to save us. He is enough! No one is saved by believing in Jesus plus anything else.

Acts 4:12: Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

If the gospel you have heard teaches that faith in Christ must be accompanied by something else, it is not the gospel.

Which is Christ the Lord – this means that Jesus is God in the flesh. The only begotten Son of God.

John 4:25-26: [25] The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. [26] Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

John 11:27: She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

If the gospel that you have heard teaches that Jesus is simply a prophet, or a created being, it is not the gospel.

 On earth peace, good will toward men – this means that those who have trusted in Christ alone as Savior have peace with God. This peace is permanent. It is not probation, it is eternal salvation!

Isaiah 9:6: For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Romans 5:1: Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

If the gospel you have heard teaches that you can have peace with God any other way than through faith alone in Christ alone, it is a false gospel.

If the gospel that you have heard contains anything other than good news, it is not the gospel! Please click here for more information on the Christmas story: THE GOSPEL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lordship Salvation: Fake News

By johninnc

Please note: this is not a political article. It is an article about the difference between the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ and the bad news of Lordship “salvation.”

Matthew 7:15: Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

 Following are selected definitions of “fake” and “news” (noun forms) from Dictionary.com:

Fake:

  • anything made to appear otherwise than it actually is; counterfeit
  • a person who fakes; faker
  • a spurious report or story

News:

  • a report of a recent event; intelligence; information
  • the presentation of a report on recent or new events in a newspaper or other periodical or on radio or television
  • such reports taken collectively; information reported

Matthew 7:15 refers to purveyors of fake news. I believe that it is meant to include those who turn the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ into false gospels of works. The verses that immediately precede Matthew 7:15 explain the only way to have eternal life, which is through faith in Christ alone:

Matthew 7:13-14: [13] Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: [14] Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

 So, what is the narrow way that leads to life? Jesus explains this succinctly:

John 14:6: Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

And what is the strait gate?

John 10:9: I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

Lordship “salvation” is the false belief that Christ is necessary, but not sufficient, for eternal life. It teaches the bad news that the “straight and narrow” is our intentions, or our works., rather than the good news of God’s complete provision for our salvation through Jesus Christ.

Lordship “salvation” can be very subtle. But, one thing that can make it easier to detect is the focus of assurance. Lordship “salvation” turns the focus away from Christ and His righteousness to an unquantifiable and subjective inventory of one’s personal righteousness.

Following are some examples of Lordship “salvation” from both some well known and lesser-known sources:

  • Just to say “believe in Christ” can produce a false assurance of the hope of Heaven. Jesus spoke often about the gift of eternal life. To make it clear, He said, “Count the cost.” –“Evangelist” Billy Graham
  • I would ask them to consider whether the signs of eternal life are present in them. As John explains so thoroughly in 1 John, conversion does not bring sinless perfection, but it does begin to make fundamental changes in the human heart.” – Pastor J.D. Greear
  • Another proof of the conquest of a soul for Christ will be found in a real change of life. If the man does not live differently from what he did before, both at home and abroad, his repentance needs to be repented of, and his conversion is a fiction. – 19th Century Preacher Charles Spurgeon
  • I often wonder if those who espouse easy-believism have simply adapted their theology in order to try to get a sinning loved one into the kingdom. – Pastor and best-selling author John MacArthur
  • We have to repent of our sins in turn. A person cannot stay in adultery and be accepted by God. You’ll have to repent. – Evangelist Franklin Graham
  • So a dispassionate statement of belief, with nothing behind it, and no intention to serve God in any way is all it takes…interesting belief. Never heard that before. – Facebook Comment from the son of a Southern Baptist Minister
  • 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. – David Chadwick, Pastor of Forrest Hills Church, Charlotte
  • As such, repentance is a necessary precursor to saving faith. It means that a nonbeliever must admit his sin to God, acknowledge he is wrong, and be willing to seek a new way of life. – “Free Grace” theologian Joseph Dillow
  • Repentance is a turning from sin, while faith is turning to Christ. – Theologian Dr. Roy Zuck
  • Of COURSE salvation is a gift, not by works, so that no man may boast (Eph. 2:8), but it’s only to the repentant sinner (Psalm 51), to the thief on the cross who repented in Luke 23:32-42 (though both “believed,” only one was saved), to Zacchaeus in Luke 19:8 who repented and vowed to restore fourfold anyone he’d cheated, that the Lord said, “TODAY, salvation has come to this house” (Luke 19:9), only when the Lord saw remorse and repentance did He GRANT His free gift of salvation! – Commenter, Redeeming Moments website

The above comments each turn the focus of hope of eternal life, in some way, back to a person’s works or good intentions. This is not good news. It is fake news!

If you would like additional information on the real good news, click here: The Gospel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charities that Aren’t Charitable


By johninnc

Matthew 6:21: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 

I saw an article today at RNS entitled “Ministries and money: Christian charities that use your money wisely.”

According to this article, almost a third of the $373 billion given to charity by Americans last year went to religious organizations.

There was a quote by Rusty Leonard, founder and CEO of MinistryWatch, with which I agree: Donors should recognize they have a serious responsibility to give as wisely as they can, as it is not their money they are giving but the Lord’s.

RNS evaluated a number of nonprofit Christian ministries to determine:

  • What percentage of their budgets the ministries spend on their core ministry programs.
  • How transparent the ministries are in sharing their financial information.
  • How charity watchdog agencies rate various ministries.

While the first two of these criteria are important, they are missing a much more critical question:

Do the so-called Christian charities promote and defend the gospel of Jesus Christ?

The purpose of this article is not to vet specific charities or ministries for our readers. Rather, it is to advocate the primary responsibility of Christians to advance the gospel message.

To that end, I would encourage our readers to be diligent in knowing whether the Christian charities and ministries to which they are considering giving are clear on the gospel. It may tug at our heartstrings to help  people in need, but if the “help” we are sending them includes false gospel messages, are we really doing them a service?

Please be aware that some of the larger, more prominent charities are run by people who teach false gospels such as Calvinism, Lordship “salvation,” social justice, and Arminianism.

Following are some thoughts from Clear Gospel:

  • We believe it is the duty of every Christian to make diligent inquiry into the doctrine of a church or ministry, particularly with respect to the doctrine of soteriology, before financially supporting it.
  • We believe that those Christians who tithe or support doctrinally aberrant ministries are partakers of the evil deeds of those teachers and “evangelists” (2nd John vs. 11).
  • We believe that the eternal rewards that God gives for sacrificial tithing (Matthew 6:1-4, 6:19-20) will be diminished or lost when those tithes and offerings supported ministers or ministries that are not straight with the gospel (2nd John vs. 8).

If your treasure is with ministries that clearly advance the gospel, your heart will be there also.

If you would like to know more about the gospel, please click here: The Gospel