Source: “The Gift Nobody Wants,” True Disciple 2008, by Paul Washer, Preached at Grace Community Church, San Antonio, TX, December 4, 2008. Available for download at SermonAudio.com, Online Sermons: http://www.sermonaudio.com/gcc
The following are some quotations from Paul Washer’s sermon listed above, along with a few associated comments. At the end of this post is an excerpt from Dr. Charlie Bing’s Doctoral Dissertation on Lordship Salvation. That section deals with the true biblical meaning of the term “repentance.”
Paul Washer Quotations:
In a not-so-veiled mocking caricature of the common invitation for people to trust in Christ alone by grace through faith for salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9;), Washer says the following (pp. 1-2):
“‘Who would like to repeat this prayer after me? Oh, I see that hand. Come forward.’ We see none of that [in Scripture]. But the message of our Lord we see, ‘Repent and believe.’ . . . It is only until we come into this modern time that we hear nothing of repentance and faith unless it is redefined in the context of receiving Jesus which means pray this prayer and ask him into your heart and if you have done that sincerely you can stand on the fact that you have been born again. Now that is serious, folks. This is serious.”
Comment: In actuality, the biblical gospel of grace never says to simply say or recite a formulaic prayer or to “come forward” to be saved. It says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).
Washer continues: “The reason there were just as many people and still are just as many people going out of the church as coming into the church is because the gospel that we are preaching is not the gospel. It is a truncated version of the gospel and the invitation we give cannot even be found in the New Testament. Now does anyone have a problem with that? The reason why they are leaving, well, they went out from us because they were not of us. They were not truly converted.”
Comment: This is the standard “out” for Lordship Salvation teaching. If anyone, true believer or not, ceases attending church, becomes lukewarm, or seems to have strayed from the faith, the standard LS response is to simply write them off as, “never having been genuinely saved to begin with.”
Paul Washer discusses (p. 4) Mark 1:15:
“‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’ Now both of these commands are in the present tense imperative and I believe there is an issue here. I believe that there is something going on that will cure the malady that is so frequent today in America. It is almost as if Christ is saying, ‘The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand. Now spend the rest of your life repenting and believing.'”
Response: In reference to Mark 1:15 above, as well as John 3:16, the present tense usage in no way mandates that pisteuo must be interpreted as continuous ongoing belief (the default position of Lordship Faith teaching). Quoting Bible scholar, Fred Chay, PhD, “Continual belief is no more in mind in John 3:16 than continual baptizing [also present tense usage “the baptizing one” meaning that John’s baptizing would have to continue while he was imprisoned and even after his death!] is in view in Mark 6:14. With this in mind, it becomes clear that it is dangerous indeed to assume that the normative use of the word pisteuo is always continuous action, especially in the light of the fact that it cannot even be assumed that the present tense in general assumes continuous aspect” (Chay and Correia, “The Faith that Saves,” Grace Line, Inc., 2008, pp. 48-52—available from Free Grace Alliance) http://www.freegracealliance.com/ .
Washer continues, as he describes a man who claims to have trusted in Christ alone as his Savior some ten years earlier:
“They don’t realize that the evidence, the raw bone biblical evidence that there was one time in your life that you repented unto salvation is that you continue repenting until today and growing in repentance. They do not realize that if at one time in your life you believed unto salvation, the evidence of that will be you continue believing unto salvation and growing in faith.”
Comment: the standard Lordship Faith tactic or approach is to place the onus of salvation back onto the person; the individual must continue repenting and believing in order to validate or to prove his true belief; he can never rest in the finished work of Christ on the cross on his behalf. Mr. Washer, your approach decimates assurance of salvation! (we are kept by the grace and power of God—John 10:27-30).
Paul Washer Quotation (p. 5): “A person who can show no mark of the sanctifying work of God in their life has no assurance that they have been justified. Now that is biblical teaching.”
Comment: Again, assurance of salvation is placed, not upon the finished work of Christ on the cross of Calvary (see Corinthians 15:1-8), but back upon the individual to prove or maintain his or her salvation—a standard teaching of Lordship Salvation and a real assurance killer!
Washer Quotation (p. 20): “People ask me, ‘Is there free will?’ I say, ‘Let’s not even answer that question. Let’s just go a little bit farther.’ The question is not: Is there free will? The question is: Is there good will? You are free to will, but will only [act] according to your nature and your nature is evil, so what you are going to do is evil unless God comes in and gives you a new heart, unless God regenerates you.”
Comment: Standard Calvinist unbiblical plan of salvation, that is, God must regenerate the sinner prior to his coming to faith. This false teaching flies in the face of the multitude of calls to salvation in the Bible (to be received—through free will—by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone), e.g., John 3:16, Acts 16:31; 19:4, John 11:26 (calls to believe in Christ for salvation are throughout the Gospel of John), 1 John 5:13.
Washer’s example of a child: Washer uses the example of a young child regarding the plan of salvation [no name or gender will be given] (pp.24-25). The child was concerned with life and death; “I don’t want to die,” they said. He assured the youngster that, although death is always a possibility for everyone, that they were young and healthy and although no one knows the future, we trust in God. But the child pleaded, “I want God.” Washer asked, “You do?” “Yes, I want God,” the child replied. Washer said, “Well, you have heard the gospel . . . You know that you are to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The child responded, “Oh, . . ., I believe. I believe in Jesus.” Washer pondered what to say next: “Now, what do I do with them? Do I sit there and go, ‘[name withheld], you don’t believe. You just don’t believe. You are not fully understanding what is going on here’? But do I say, ‘Oh, [name withheld], you believe and you are saved. Let’s go tell [name withheld]’? That is what most people would do. 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.”
Response: read the story of the Philippian jailer in Acts 16. There was a violent earthquake. The prison doors had broken open. He was distraught that the prisoners might have fled and he feared for his life. Verses 30-33 tell of the man’s miraculous conversion, along with his family: “And brought them [Paul and Silas] out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.”
Observation: notice that when the jailer and his family trusted in Christ alone for salvation, Paul and Silas accepted them IMMEDIATELY as brothers and sisters in Christ and then baptized them as an outward symbol of the new inward reality. Paul and Silas did not say that they were going to watch the jailer and his family to make sure that they were truly saved.
Repentance and Salvation
The following is a brief excerpt from Dr. Charlie Bing’s Doctoral Dissertation on Lordship Salvation. This review section deals with the topics, “Repentance and Salvation.” In it, Dr. Bing highlights some of the errors of the Lordship Salvation position on repentance. Below is the excerpt and the associated link to read the chapter in its entirety:
Repentance and Salvation
The controversy over repentance concerns the scope of its meaning in soteriological contexts. The Lordship Salvation position takes repentance to mean a turning from sin and sins which is necessary for salvation.
By association with metamelomai and epistrepho it is argued that the word metanoeo denotes both regret for sins and turning from sins. The study concluded that this argument is not supported from biblical usage. Furthermore, “repent” is not an accurate translation of metanoeo, which has the basic meaning “change the mind.”
Key Bible passages considered did not substantiate the Lordship understanding of repentance. An evaluation of the passages that concern the offer of salvation by John the Baptist (Matt 3:2, 11; Mark 1:4/Luke 3:3; Acts 13:24), Jesus Christ (Matt 4:17/Mark 1:15; Matt 11:20-21/Luke 10:13; Matt 9:13/Mark 2:17/Luke 5:32; Matt 12:41/Luke 11:32; Luke 13:3, 5; Luke 15; 16:30; 24:47), and the Apostles (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 8:22; 14:15 [with 1 Thess 1:9]; 17:30; 20:21) showed that metanoeo should be taken in its basic sense of “change the mind.” In these passages, that about which the mind changed was not always sin or sins, but could also be God or one’s opinion about Jesus Christ. Turning from sins is more accurately a result of repentance in some of the passages and should not be confused with repentance itself.
When sins are closely associated with repentance in Bible passages (2 Cor 12:21; Heb 6:1; Rev 2; 3; 9:20-21; 16:9), it is usually Christians who are in view, not unbelievers. Turning from specific sins is not required of the unbeliever in order to secure salvation. The exception of the unbelievers in Revelation 9:20-21 and 16:9 is not an offer of salvation.
Passages used by Lordship proponents to define repentance in terms of its fruits or works (Matt 3:8/Luke 3:8; Acts 26:20) did not support that understanding. It was argued that though there is a logical relationship between repentance and its fruits, the term repentance itself does not require resultant works for its meaning.