Category Archives: Joy

Ray Stanford… Home to His Savior Today

By Jack Weaver

What a glorious time in Heaven for Ray Stanford today.. at age 95, taken instantly from this corrupt earth of pain and problems to the presence of our Savior he so loved. He will be meeting with hundreds if not thousands who are there because of his faithfulness and clarity in sharing the Gospel of salvation by Grace through personal faith in Jesus Christ alone.

I thank the Lord often, remembering that Ray presented the Gospel of salvation in Christ clearly enough for me, a former atheist to trust Christ as my Savior. It was December 15th, 1964 at a Florida Bible College (FBC) Christmas Concert at the old Grove Community Church in Miami, FL. I am eternally grateful to Ray, who founded and was President of FBC.

Ray was a dear friend. Now at almost 83, and relatively soon, I will  join him and the throngs rejoicing and praising our Savior. On this web site and via private emails, I regularly hear from folks all over the country who regret not having had the opportunity of attending FBC or having the privilege of sitting under Ray’s Bible teaching. He had the God given gift of a master soul-winner, evangelist  and teacher — which he used at every opportunity.

He will be missed by those who knew him and loved him and by those who were directly or indirectly under the influence of his Bible teaching. For those of us who have made the decision to trust Christ alone as our Savior, this separation is but temporary and we will sooner or later join him and our Brothers and Sisters in Christ in Heaven. And I pray we are all also looking up anxiously awaiting the coming Rapture. ^^^

Please be praying for all of Ray’s family as they reminisce and celebrate the life and graduation to Heaven of a faithful soul-winner and teacher. Please be praying that the Gospel and an invitation to trust Christ will be clearly explained at the services — for souls to be saved for our Savior.

For those who may wish to attend, the viewing will be Wednesday 5/23/2012 in the evening from 6 to 8pm. at the Shannon Maloney Funeral Home, 4084 Halifax Drive, Port Orange, Fl (near Daytona Beach)

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Do Lordship “Salvation” Folks Deny the Resurrection and Christ’s Proclamation, “It is finished”?

By Jack Weaver

As Resurrection weekend approaches let us analyze the terrible lie and denial by those who teach Lordship “Salvation.” Do their false teachings deny the Resurrection and Christ’s very words?

God’s salvation requires no more than believing the Gospel and then believing in Jesus Christ alone for our salvation. Therefore we conclude that the Lordship “salvation, faith, probation” (LS) folks cannot sincerely believe Christ’s last statement on the cross, “It is finished…” John 19:30b

They must deny the death, burial and resurrection as being Christ’s all sufficient sacrifice for sin for every person in the world, past, present and future. The Lord God sealed His Promise of Christ’s words, “It is finished”  when He raised Jesus Christ from the grave three days later. The Resurrection is proof. LS folks therefore deny His Gospel of Salvation by Grace through their teaching. They demonstrate their misery not knowing that JOY that comes with God’s assurance.

Here is such a denial, according to the guru of Lordship “salvation” :

Salvation isn’t the result of an intellectual exercise. It comes from a life lived in obedience and service to Christ as revealed in the Scripture; it’s the fruit of actions, not intentions. There’s no room for passive spectators: words without actions are empty and futile…The life we live, not the words we speak, determines our eternal destiny (John MacArthur, Hard to Believe, p. 93).

Heresy !!! Thus says JMac as he proudly denies the sufficiency of God’s Grace alone, our faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, to save all who believe in Him. He is claiming null and void Christ’s last words on the cross, “It is finished.”  (“Finished” is the Greek word Teleo meaning complete, executed, concluded, discharged (a debt) :- accomplished, make an end).

And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain [useless, empty)]” 1 Corinthians 15:14

You may have “heard” the Gospel and you may have “come to the knowledge of Christ” or “know” the Gospel but you alone must, at some time, make the decision to believe in Jesus Christ, that He died and was resurrected as your substitute, in your place, for your sins, that He is your Savior. Then, He freely GIVES you the Gift of eternal Life (forever)..
Study John 3:16-18 “.. He that believeth is NOT condemned…”

Christ died, that’s history, Christ died for ME, that’s Salvation.

Christ IS RISEN and coming again!!!

But what if, after Jesus was crucified, dead and buried, He had not been resurrected from the grave? There would be no salvation.. There would be no proof that Jesus is indeed God in the flesh. That is Satan’s message. We see such a lie touted by “liberal” theologians from the time shortly after Jesus was put to death by the Roman court.

Matthew 28:1-8

  • “In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers [guards] did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead; and, behold, He goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see Him: lo, I have told you. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring His disciples word.”

Luke 24:6-7

“He is not here, but is risen: remember how He spake unto you when He was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”

GREAT JOY” is an understatement!! Imagine yourself being there with them. Imagine their circumstances, the Person they trusted, worshiped and followed had just been humiliated, crucified was dead and buried. They visit the tomb expecting to complete their mourning. Then they see the tomb empty and hear the words, He is not here: for He is risen.” HE IS RISEN! Just imagine the JOY!

The following has been called “The Gospel in a Nutshell”:

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.1 Corinthians 15: 3-6

Witness after witness after witness is certainly additional evidence of His resurrection.

Salvation by God’s Grace is understanding and believing that we are imperfect; that God calls this sin and that our sin requires a death penalty. But God with love beyond infinity, loved us so much that He sent His Perfect Son, Jesus Christ, to make that death penalty for the whole world. He came to the Jew first and then the Gentile so that all who would believe or trust in Jesus would have everlasting life in Heaven with Him. Jesus, He fulfilled the law and paid the death penalty we humans owe. He did that and arose from the grave just as He promised. Now the responsibility is upon us. Do we trust Jesus alone as our Savior, our complete and all sufficient Savior, apart from depending upon our good works, our promises, our commitment to serve or a life lived in obedience? If we do trust Jesus alone as our Savior, God’s Word says we HAVE everlasting life, guaranteed.

  • John 3:16-18
    “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. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Dear friend, at this time of year when we remember the death, burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, perhaps you do not know for sure you possess eternal life in Christ. If you are not sure, please believe Him and trust or rely upon Jesus alone as your Savior to deliver you to Heaven; to give you eternal life. It is not thorough an organization, behavior, church or your good works, but simply Jesus alone. I pray you will make this one time decision as it is the most important one you will ever make during your entire life on this earth.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope [guarantee] by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,“ 1 Peter 1:3

HE IS RISEN — GREAT JOY!!!

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Hope Defined, Hope Declared: What is Hope? (Vintage Expreacherman)

by Jack Weaver (reposted article)

For centuries man has misunderstood or misinterpreted many words in God’s Holy Scripture. “Scholars” debate the meanings of Biblical words and we must determine whether such interpretations are errors or truth. If errors, whether they are accidental or deliberate. Let’s take the wonderful and exhilarating word “Hope” and see if we can understand it. Of course this writing will be an abbreviated explanation of the word but it is a start.

One may say, “I hope it will not rain today.” “I hope my car will start when I have an emergency.” “I hope my children will grow up to be great citizens.” “I hope. I hope. I hope.”

The standard dictionary definition, and one that is generally accepted by most of the world is “to FEEL that something desired MAY happen:” The words “feel” and “may” are two very indefinite and vague words, but such a definition of “hope” exemplifies the thinking of most people.

The dictionary definition of the word “hope” is NOT the Biblical Hope of which we speak.

Let us investigate the Old and New Testament meanings of the word “Hope.”

Psalm 33:22

“Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.”

Hope in this verse is the Hebrew word, “yachal” meaning “trust.”

Psalm 130:7

Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption.”

Again this is the same Hebrew word, “trust.”

Psalm 39:7

“And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee.”

Here we see a slightly different Hebrew word towcheleth but with the same root but meaning “expectation.” These and many, many more verses illustrate the Psalmist’s reliance upon the trustworthiness of the Lord. The Lord CAN be trusted. He WILL keep His promises.

Now, in the New Testament we see the word “Hope” in several verses. This word “Hope” is an absolute, a guarantee without a doubt. It is the Greek word “elpis” meaning “to expect or anticipate with pleasure.”

Romans 5:2

“By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

We rejoice in the glory of God, not with uncertainty but with joyful anticipation — guaranteed.

Colossians 1:5

“For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;

The Hope of Heaven is not a maybe — but an absolute and definite guarantee by the Word of the Truth of the Gospel.

Titus 1:2

“In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;”

Eternal life — guaranteed and promised by the God of the Universe. He cannot lie.

Titus 2:13

“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;”

Every believer in Jesus Christ may look with confidence to the glorious appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ. No doubt!

Titus 3:7

“That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

We are Justified by God’s grace, guaranteed — Rendered innocent or free by God’s Grace, eternal life guaranteed!

As you read this, I want you to have that Hope or guarantee personally. God offers you this by His Grace.

Just briefly, no one deserves to live in Heaven or have eternal life with the Righteous God (Revelation 21:27). We are all sinners by nature and deed. Simply put, we have all sinned and come short of the mark of God’s righteousness (Romans 3:23). All sin requires a payment that must be paid — and that penalty is spiritual death, being apart from God in Hell (Romans 4:23).

By God’s Grace and Love He provided a Sin Bearer in the person of Jesus Christ who was crucified for our sin, was buried and rose again. This Grace is available to the whole world — including you personally (John 3:16). It is not determined by how good you are — or how hard you try — or by your good works, but by Grace alone, which means “undeserved mercy.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

How can we KNOW that Hope is real?

1 John 5:13

“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may KNOW that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

You can KNOW. God promises Heaven, the Hope (guarantee) of eternal life is when you trust that Jesus paid the death penalty in your place. He promises — and all you need do is to trust Jesus as your Savior. Believe His Word — He died for you.

If you have never trusted Jesus alone as your Savior, do that right now. Believe His promises of eternal life which are yours the very moment you trust Jesus as YOUR Savior.

Remember and believe this:

Jesus died — That is history. Jesus died for ME — that is salvation.

When you make that simple decision, your eternity in Heaven is secure in Jesus Christ. It is God’s guarantee, thus your HOPE of Heaven is guaranteed eternal. You are immediately declared righteous before a Holy God with no possibility of losing His Gift of salvation. Eternal life is ETERNAL — without end, beginning the moment you trust Christ as your personal Savior.

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 [gentile].”

Please, trust Jesus Christ as your Savior NOW! God has no strings attached! Claim that wonderful HOPE.

Learn How to Have Eternal Life.

A Gospel With a Hole or a WHOLE Gospel? Does the Gospel of the Bible Really Have a Hole in it?

A Brief Look at the Book, The Hole in Our Gospel, Nashville:  Thomas Nelson, 2009, 2010, by Richard Stearns

Recently, I was given a copy of a best-selling “Christian” book entitled, The Hole in Our Gospel:  The Answer that Changed My Life and Might Just Change the World.  The author is Richard Stearns, President of World Vision U.S.A.  My instant reaction upon reading the title, “The Hole in Our Gospel,” was OUTRAGE!  How dare this author declare that the beautiful saving gospel of Christ Jesus, of God’s magnificent magnanimous loving offering of his only begotten Son to die IN OUR PLACE FOR OUR SINS ON THE CROSS, the good news of salvation, the blessed hope declared in the Bible could in any way be deficient?  What a slur, what a terrible affront, I thought!  I read on to see if some way, somehow, I could be mistaken.  Perhaps Stearns didn’t really mean it that way.  Perhaps he just used the title simply to kindle some attention.  Maybe he will explain his way out of the title.  Sadly, he meant what he said and he expanded upon his position. 

I will cite a few quotations from the book to demonstrate the objective of the author, but first let me state that as a relief organization, World Vision has done much good around the world in helping to alleviate starvation, illiteracy and poverty.  I have no beef with that organization.  I have a number of family members who have supported World Vision children.  Second, let’s look at how the Bible defines the Gospel and later we can compare Stearns’ “gospel” with the Biblical Gospel.

The Gospel of the Bible

Ephesians 2:8-9:  (We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.)  “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.”

John 3:16-17:  “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.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

Acts 16:30-31 “And brought them 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.”

1 Corinthians 15:1-8 “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures; and that he was seen of Cephas [Peter], then of the twelve; after that he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.  After that, he was seen by James; then of all the apostles; and last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.”

Richard Stearns’ Lordship Salvation/Social Welfare “gospel”:

Quotations from the book The Hole in Our Gospel:

P. 1 “I am a Christian—perhaps you are too.  But what does that mean exactly?  To even be Christians, we must first believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  That in itself is no small idea.  If it is true, it changes everything, because if Christ is God, then all that He said and did is deeply significant to how we live our lives.  So we believe.  But God expects more.  . . .  What is God asking for, really from you and me?  Much more than church attendance.  More than prayer too.  More than belief, and even more than self-denial.  God asks us for everything.  He requires a total life commitment from those who would be His followers.”  [My comment:  This brand of justification is called “commitment salvation.”  It is characteristic of many lordship salvation teachers like Francis Chan.]

P. 2  “The idea behind The Hole in Our Gospel is quite simple.  It’s basically the belief that being a Christian, or follower of Jesus Christ, requires much more than just having a personal and transforming relationship with God.  It also entails a public and transforming relationship with the world.  If your personal faith in Christ has no positive outward expression, then your faith—and mine—has a hole in it.”  [My comment:  Standard addition of works added to faith to truly be saved, common to all lordship faith teaching.]

p. 3 “Belief is not enough.  Worship is not enough.  Personal morality is not enough.  And Christian community is not enough.  God has always demanded more.”

P. 5 “The whole gospel is a vision for ushering in God’s kingdom—now, not in some future time, and here, on earth, not in some distant heaven.”  [A “Kingdom Now” gospel]

P. 15 “So how can our gospel have a hole in it?  As I mentioned in the prologue, the word gospel literally means glad tidings, or good news.  It is shorthand, meant to convey the coming of the kingdom of God through the Messiah.  . . .  The amazing news of the gospel is that men and women, through Christ’s atoning death, can now be reconciled to God.  But the good news Jesus proclaimed had a fullness beyond salvation and the forgiveness of sins; it also signified the coming of God’s kingdom on earth.  This new kingdom, characteristics of which were captured in the Beatitudes, would turn the existing world order upside down.”  [Comment:  Stearn’s reveals his perceived deficiency in the true Gospel of the Bible]

p. 17 “More and more, our view of the gospel has been narrowed to a simple transaction, marked by checking a box on a bingo card at some prayer breakfast, registering a decision for Christ, or coming forward during an altar call.  . . . we just had to get them to pray the ‘sinner’s prayer’ and then move on to the next potential convert.  In our evangelistic efforts to make the good news accessible and simple to understand, we seem to have boiled it down to a kind of ‘fire insurance’ that one can buy.  Then, once the policy is in effect, the sinner can go back to whatever life he was living—of wealth and success, or of poverty and suffering.  As long as the policy is in the drawer, the other things don’t matter as much.  We’ve got our ‘ticket’ to the next life.  There is a real problem with this limited view of the kingdom of God; it is not the whole gospel.  Instead, it’s a gospel with a gaping hole.”  [My comment:  It only has a gaping hole because you misdefine and caricaturize the TRUE GOSPEL of the Bible, as laid out at the beginning of this article.  Mischaracterizing and belittling the Christian gospel is the standard operating procedure of lordship faith teachers.  John MacArthur, in particular, frequently caricaturizes and berates the biblical Christian gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.  His book The Gospel According to Jesus is chock-full of such slanderous false statements.]

p. 21 “When we talk today about proclaiming the gospel, we typically mean evangelism, a verbal proclamation of the good news of salvation and how it can be received by anyone by asking God’s forgiveness and committing his or her life to Christ.  But this is not the whole gospel.”  [My comment:  This statement of Stearns’ is stunning!  I am left in disbelief and his callous disregard for and rejection of the Biblical gospel.]

Final note:  I could go on and on with more quotations from this unbiblical book, this declaration of a false gospel, but I think that you have seen enough to get the point!  Your comments, as always, are welcome.

Bruce

 

 

Calvinism: Futile Hope and “Christian” Despair

I received an email today from a very dear, long time personal friend, Richard, with whom I have been sharing my faith continuously for probably 15 or more years. As yet, he has not made the decision to trust Jesus Christ alone as his Savior. He is a brilliant man, conservative politically and former military. We have had some wonderful personal conversations (at our home) and by email for years. I will share his email (with his permission – anonymously, of course) and let you, my readers, comment on it for his benefit.

Hi, Jack,

I need help in understanding the appeal of Calvinism, please.

I don’t see what its inherent appeal is.  Ok, I get it if I can sign on to a doctrine that says the Elect can be saved, PROVIDED I know that I’m for sure one of the Elect.

As I understand it, however, a Calvinist DOESN’T know that he’s saved.  All he knows is that he might be.  Why sign on to that?  It’s like enlisting in the Army in the hope that one MIGHT be paid and fed but having no guarantee.

There appears to be or have been a kind of frantic or, at least, anxiety-ridden, life that the Calvinist then leads not knowing his fate.  Apparently, as a way to deceive oneself, the Calvinist then works hard to achieve material success in life to kid himself that success is God’s way of saying, “Don’t worry.  You’re one of the ones I’ve chosen.”

But this apparently isn’t sanctified by official Calvinist doctrine.

Even before one embraces and embarks upon a hamster-in-the-wheel life, the new or would-be convert is still faced with the stark doctrine that the Elect are on a list that only God can see, which list, at least official/doctrinally, he may not be on at all.

Why would anyone jump on that initially?  If it’s unknowable what gets one onto God’s list, you live a life of Christian despair.

Do I have this right?

Stay warm!

Richard

Richard, you have nailed one of many problems of Calvinism, “Election.” I am so happy to read that you see the inherent errors in that teaching and will not fall for it. Obviously, by your question, you have done some serious thought and reading about Calvinism.

It is clear to any serious student of the Bible that the Calvinists have manufactured their teaching by taking God’s Word out of context and by building a religion based on men such as; John Calvin and Augustine of old days, and then the more modern purveyors, John MacArthur, John Piper, R.C. Sproul, Francis Chan and many more. Their words seem convincing to the naive or the dedicated followers until they honestly investigate the teaching in light of a contextual study of God’s Word. It is no wonder that this theology so often morphs into a commitment or lordship type “salvation” message.

Calvinism seems to be growing by leaps and bounds which is not understandable since it has NO appeal to an honest, dispensational student of the Bible. From my experience it seems most folks who become Calvinists have either been raised in it or perhaps they trusted Christ in a Biblical environment and then chose the “appeal” of Calvinism as an easy way to shun any personal responsibility for themselves.

I will limit my comments for now as I am anxious to see what our discerning and faithful readers will have to say. We have covered this subject in several ways in past posts but this one is unique and personal to both of us Richard, and as you know Shirley and I pray daily that you will see and believe the Truth.
“And ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free. … If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:32, 36

That word “free” in the original Greek means “exempt (from obligation or liability) :- free (man, woman), at liberty.” One who is under the uncertain yoke of Calvinism can never be sure they are “elect” (their definition of the word) and thus they can never honestly say, “I am free (and secure) for all eternity.”

We can be FREE when we decide to believe that Jesus Christ, God in the Flesh, died on the cross for every sin of mine for all eternity.. History confirms He was buried and arose from the grave. Scripture confirms that and Jesus is alive today as an advocate for every one who has put their trust in Him for eternal life.

Richard, thanks for your note and the idea for this post.

Eternal Life IS FREE!!!

John MacArthur’s New Apostate Book: Slave

This review by Bruce Bauer is from: Slave: The Hidden Truth About Your Identity in Christ (Hardcover), by John MacArthur
The back paper jacket to the book caught my attention: “A COVER-UP OF BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS: Centuries ago, English translators perpetrated a fraud in the New Testament, and it’s been purposely hidden and covered up ever since. Your own Bible is probably included in the cover-up!”

WHAT? Are we to understand that Bible translators for centuries, hundreds if not thousands of highly-trained knowledgeable men of God, have kept a well-guarded secret about the true meaning of the Bible that only NOW Dr. MacArthur will be the one scholar who will bring us the real scoop?

Yes, this is exactly what the book would have us to believe, that the common Greek term “doulos” has been mistranslated in every major version of the Bible since the earliest of printed Bible translations. According to MacArthur, “doulos” should be translated primarily if not exclusively as “slave.” Most modern translators (NASB, NIV, KJV, NKJV, ESV) as well as common Greek-English lexicons interpret the term in a variety of ways as, “servant,” “slave,” “bond servant,” “bondman,” or “attendant.” MacArthur also states on pp. 29-30 that the proper meaning of the Old Testament’s nearest equivalent term, “‘ebed” has also been hidden by modern translators:
“The King James Version, for example, never translates ‘ebed as ‘slave’—opting for ‘servant’ or ‘manservant’ the vast majority of the time. But contrast that with the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Old Testament from before the time of Christ. It translates ‘ebed with forms of ‘doulos,’ or ‘slave’ more than 400 times!”
WHAT?? The LXX translated the Old Testament from Hebrew to Greek, NOT to English! So MacArthur is leaping to an inappropriate conclusion about the meaning of the Hebrew in this case.

My greatest problem with the book was that the author, MacArthur, took the ancient images of slavery and superimposed them onto modern Christianity with the intent to create the notion that our normative relationship with God and our service to God should be that of a slave to a master, instead of that of a child of God responding out of love and gratitude to an omnibenevolent (all loving) Father God. Romans 8:15 says, “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba,” Father.”

With this slave-to-master representation set into place, the author proceeded to promote his standard lordship salvation doctrine dressed in new clothes, slave garb. He even used much of the same argumentation that he used in “The Gospel According to Jesus.” And, once again, he freely denigrated and caricaturized Free Grace theology, especially in chapter five.

Eternal Life For You

Lordship Salvation’s Hidden Secret: Grace Under Fire: The Fallout of Lordship Salvation Teaching

This is a wonderful expose’ of “Lordship Salvation,” by my friend Bruce Bauer. He  exposes the lie and strips the false teaching down to its barren roots. [Excerpt]: “Some Christians live in a constant state of tension and dread, always ill at ease, restless, uncertain, never knowing when they’ve done enough; they’re never quite able to get a grasp on assurance.” Read on and be enlightened.

 

By: Bruce Bauer,  Lancaster, CA

 

 

Introduction

 

Recently I attended the funeral of an elderly Mormon lady, a dear friend of mine and of my family’s for several decades.  I’ll refer to her as “Jane.”  In one of the eulogies given the speaker commented that in her dying days Jane had expressed fears that her church tithes might not have been paid up to date.  As I pondered what had just been said, I thought, how tragic, how sad that a person should have to live in such bondage, doubt and fear right up to the point of death.  I silently felt grateful to God that at least we, as evangelical Christians, don’t have to live our lives in such enslavement to duty shrouded by panic and uncertainty of salvation.  My thoughts raced to John 10:27-30:  “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one.” [NIV as are all refs.][i] I rejoiced in the warm snuggling grasp of our Lord’s hands, saving and preserving each and every person who comes to salvation by faith in Christ alone.  But, I reflected, don’t many Christians live out their lives under precisely the same cloud of insecurity, apprehension and angst experienced by Jane?  Do all evangelicals really act so differently than she?

What, then, is the defining distinctive hallmark that sets evangelical Christianity apart from Mormonism, the JWs, Roman Catholicism, and indeed, every other religious belief system?  Free Grace theology states it best:  “We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone” (Ephesians 2:8-9).  Every other religious structure has a works-based salvation plan at its core.  But aren’t many evangelical writers and pastors guilty of promoting a similar type of works-for-salvation system of their own?  Certainly, proponents of Lordship Salvation have been accused of teaching just such a salvation plan despite their vehement denials. Much has been written on this debate.  I will not rehash it here; however, this paper will describe some of the pernicious fallout of Lordship Salvation teaching on the lives of believers especially and on some unbelievers as well.  For additional study of the Lordship debate, I refer the reader to some of the best works that I have read on the subject:  1. Charles C. Bing, Lordship Salvation:  A Biblical Evaluation and Response, GraceLife Edition (Burleson, TX:  GraceLife Ministries, 1992, 1997).  2. Fred Chay and John P. Correia, The Faith that Saves:  The Nature of Faith in the New Testament (Phoenix, AZ:  Grace Line, Inc., 2008).  3. Charles C. Ryrie, So Great Salvation (Chicago:  Moody Press, SP Publications, 1989, 1997).  4. Fred R. Lybrand, Back to Faith:  Reclaiming Gospel Clarity in an Age of Incongruence (San Antonio, TX:  Fred R. Lybrand, Xulon Press, 2009).  5. Thomas M. Cucuzza, Secure Forever!  God’s Promise or Our Perseverance? (St. Cloud, MN:  Thomas M. Cucuzza, Xulon Press, 2007).  6. Lou Martuneac, In Defense of the Gospel:  Biblical Answers to Lordship Salvation (LaVergne, TN:  Lou Martuneac, Xulon Press, 2006, 2010).

The Fallout of Lordship Faith Teaching

Battered! The Father Serra Syndrome

 

Father Junipero Serra was an 18th century Franciscan priest who is famous for founding the Roman Catholic mission system throughout western Mexico and California.  He is known to have been a flagelist, that is, one who would regularly pummel himself with a whip in order to exorcise his personal demons (sinful thoughts and attitudes).  In a California history course in college, I learned that on more than one occasion Father Serra had to be physically restrained by his assistants to prevent him from flogging himself to death.

Do some Christians today beat themselves up as Father Serra did?  Oh, maybe they don’t do so physically, but do they torment themselves mentally and emotionally over their struggles with sin?  Listen to the following composite of one who is caught up in such a pattern of conflicted self-deprecating thinking:  “James is a young man with a different set of problems, the greatest one being lust.  Though he has never actually committed fornication, James struggles continually with impure thoughts.  He lives in dread that his Christian friends will discover what is happening inside his brain.  Attached to this mental impurity is a sense of deep shame, a shame that permeates his feelings about himself and his position before God.”[ii] James desperately needs a regular healthy dosage of the preaching of God’s abundant awesome gift of grace in the believer’s life.  He also would benefit tremendously by the warm understanding embrace of fellow Christian brothers and sisters.

The teaching and preaching of Lordship Salvation can foster a tremendous state of anxiety and doubt for some believers because its precepts demand a high level of purity of thought and lifestyle undergirded by the constant threat of not having been blameless enough or virtuous enough to merit salvation.    Recently I witnessed a heart-wrenching testimony from a young Christian man whose assurance of salvation was decimated by the reading of a best-selling book which promulgates a very condemning form of Lordship Salvation doctrine.  Out of respect  for the young man I’ll share just a brief portion of what he said without giving his name:  “there is no hope for most of us to ever be like the one who is not lukewarm.  There is no hope for me anymore, for I thought I was a Christian for over 15 years, but I am according to the scriptures ‘lukewarm’ and will not be accepted into heaven . . . .  May God have mercy on us all . . . .”  Hearing a sad profession such as this reminds me of why it is so crucial for Free Grace teachers and writers to proclaim strongly the message of God’s grace and to counter the harmful repercussions of Lordship Faith preaching.  I wonder if any of these popular Lordship pastors and writers ever pause to consider the fallout, the damage and pain that they might potentially inflict through preaching and publishing their judgmental diatribes.  Who will pick up the broken pieces of shattered lives?

Driven! When is Enough Enough?

 

Some Christians live in a constant state of tension and dread, always ill at ease, restless, uncertain, never knowing when they’ve done enough; they’re never quite able to get a grasp on assurance. One of the consistent marks of Lordship Faith teaching is that it sets very lofty (some would say unattainable) standards of normative Christian achievement.  After all, their teachers might say, didn’t Jesus establish the ideals for us in the Sermon on the Mount?  Pity the average churchgoer who may not appear to be very dedicated to God or to be very active in serving him.  She might find herself listed among the ranks of the half-hearted or, dare I say, the “lukewarm”; if so, certain Lordship Faith leaders would almost certainly brand her as unsaved.  But who sets the criteria for Christian attainment and who gauges the hearts and motivations of the congregation?  How many years must one actively serve God?  Ten, twenty, thirty, fifty?  Must good works be obvious to men or can they be quietly noticeable before God?  Are any periods of failing allowed?  For how long?  Is working in a secular job acceptable or must one quit her job and go to the mission field?  Do true “on-fire” believers have to sell their fancy cars and houses and live like paupers?  The questions are endless and the answers are few.  And, one of the saddest questions of all is, how many unbelievers are put off by Lordship teachers’ unreasonable up-front demands of commitment, surrender and change of lifestyle in order for one to be allowed into the kingdom?  Rather, shouldn’t Christians be giving them the good news, the grace news of John 3:16, Acts 16:30-31 and Ephesians 2:8-9?

Listen to the story of a driven believer:  “Betty is as reliable as Mother Teresa, as dedicated to Christ as one can be.  . . .  But no matter how much Betty does, she always feels she’s not doing enough, because she also feels that somehow she isn’t quite pleasing God.  This haunting sense of God’s disapproval drives her from Bible study to prayer group, from buying each ‘New and Improved System for Personal Devotions’ at her local Christian bookstore and joining every church outreach program to standing at every opportunity to recommit her life to Christ.  In spite of her ‘gold-medal performance’ as a Christian, Betty continues to feel that God considers her a failure.”[iii] Is this really the way that God wants Christians to live?  Wouldn’t God want us to live lives characterized by confidence, freedom and grace?….

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