September 16, 2019

Addressing the FBFI’s Response to the Critical Review

From the Proclaim & Defend blog FBFI president Kevin Schaal reacted to my previous article’s response to Following Jesus, No ReservationsThe FBFI Proclaiming & Defending Lordship Salvation? You can read that article immediately below this article.

Dr. Schaal’s response included the following,
We must also remember that complete, 100% Lordship is a demand the scriptures clearly make of all of us as a RESULT of our salvation (Romans 12:1). We are not saved by works, but salvation does demand submission to Christ in every area AS A RESPONSE. (CAPS his)
No responsible Bible teacher would disagree with what should be the result of a genuine conversion (Eph. 2:8-10).

Previously, however, Dr. Schaal may have strayed into the trap of Lordship’s message.
True Salvation requires unbelievers to turn to Christ from idols (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10)
Turning from idols is a result of salvation, not a prerequisite. 2 Cor. 5:17 is a statement of fact, not a condition of salvation.
In my book, In Defense of the Gospel: Biblical Answers to Lordship Salvation, I dedicated an entire chapter to discuss a common misuse and misinterpretation of 1 Thess. 1:9-10. You can read that chapter, in it’s entirety here in this blog.  Following is an excerpt.
To be born again do the lost need to believe in the Second Coming of Christ? If we accept MacArthur’s view that the Thessalonians were saved by “turning from evil and the intent to serve,” then the Scriptures also demand waiting for the second coming of Christ as a third condition for conversion. 
There is, however, an even larger point with 1 Thess. 1:9-10. This passage is not even describing their initial, saving faith. The emphasis of the passage is clearly upon describing their faithful example in following the Lord subsequent to their initial, saving faith. In 1 Thess. 1:9 Paul is not speaking of how to become a believer; he wrote to them about their growth and testimony as believers.
Dr. John Van Gelderen from his Repent & Believe series, part 9, makes this observation, “To say one must 'turn and trust' to be saved, can mislead and confuse because it conveys not a single step, but instead, a two-step condition for salvation. This implication differs greatly from what Jesus said when He declared, 'Repent ye, and believe the gospel' (Mark 1:15).”

While Dr. Schaal’s attempt at clarification is helpful it does leaves concerns and questions. When addressing Lordship Salvation one must always remember that Lordship Salvation blurs the lines of distinction between salvation and discipleship. We would all do well to be reminded of how Dr. Ernest Pickering reviewed John MacArthur’s original TGATJ, for example.
John MacArthur is a sincere servant of the Lord, of that we have no doubt.... We believe in his advocacy of the so-called lordship salvation he is wrong. He desperately desires to see holiness, lasting fruit, and continuing faithfulness in the lives of Christian people. This reviewer and we believe all sincere church leaders desire the same.... But the remedy for this condition is not found in changing the terms of the gospel.”
There may be some interpretational ambiguity with what Jesus is saying in this discourse, but Paul makes it perfectly clear in Eph. 2:8-9 and Titus 3:5 that there are no prerequisites to salvation.  There are no conditions to grace. The gift of God is of free grace, and nothing added.  

Pastor Niedergall’s article exemplifies falling into the trap of Lordship Salvation’s message of front-loading faith with a commitment in exchange for salvation. There is enough ambiguity in his article that it might have been better had it not been published in its present form.

Kind regards,


LM

See- The FBFI: Proclaiming & Defending Lordship Salvation?

September 13, 2019

The FBFI: Proclaiming & Defending Lordship Salvation?

UPDATE (9/16): FBFI president Kevin Schaal Posted a reaction to this review.  See my response at
Addressing the FBFI's Response to the Critical Review

The Proclaim & Defend blog is edited by Don Johnson for the FBFI.  The FBFI site states, “Proclaim & Defend is the online voice of the Foundations Baptist Fellowship International.”

The FBFI’s “online voice” Proclaim & Defend has posted a new and troubling article titled, “Following Jesus, No Reservations.”  The author is Brent Niedergall, youth pastor at Catawba Springs Christian Church in Apex, North Carolina. He wrote,

“What good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” (Matt 19:16b). This young man wants to know how He can have the right relationship with God that we all need. He’s talking about what the Bible calls getting ‘saved’ or being ‘born again’.”
With that we know the author is speaking to what he believes is God’s plan of salvation for lost mankind. What is Pastor Niedergall’s answer, to how this lost man is to be born again?
“Essentially, Jesus is recruiting him. He says, ‘Follow me.’ However, just like Cookie Gilchrist, this man needs to be eligible for recruitment. Cookie wasn’t eligible to play pro ball because he was still in high school. This young man isn’t eligible yet because he has a divided heart. If he makes the right choice, he will be eligible. This is a choice confronting everyone. That is, not the choice to sell everything, but to choose if you will follow Christ. Even when a person makes that choice to become a Christian, there is still the recurring temptation to aim your following towards someone or something else.”
Pastor Niedergall within a football analogy is expressing John MacArthur’s Lordship Salvation.

To suggest a lost man must somehow become “eligible” for salvation is a departure from biblical truth.  Every person is born “eligible” for salvation because he was born with a sin nature. Every lost sinner, on his way to hell, is “eligible” for salvation by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9) believing in Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31) and what He did to provide salvation (John 3:16, 1 Cor. 15:3-4).


In my book, In Defense of the Gospel: Biblical Answers to Lordship Salvation, (pp. 171,175.) I dedicated an entire chapter to the Lord’s encounter with the rich young ruler. In it I made this observation,

“If this young man had recognized Jesus as God, he would have realized that he could not meet God’s standard of perfection. Jesus, the God-man, is that perfection, and all men fall short of it (Rom. 3:23)…. Jesus showed this rich young man that he could not earn Heaven through any good work. The Lord was going to show him that he was a sinner and condemned already (John 3:18).”

It is unfortunate that this article, which is Lordship Salvation’s works-based message appears at Proclaim & Defend, “the online voice of the Foundations Baptist Fellowship International.”  This sends the wrong doctrinal message to its membership. Publishing Following Jesus, No Reservations suggests the FBFI is Proclaiming & Defending Lordship Salvation.


LM

UPDATE (9/16): FBFI president Kevin Schaal Posted a reaction to this review.  See my response at
Addressing the FBFI's Response to the Critical Review

Site Publisher's Addendum:
Later we will examine another example of Lordship Salvation appearing where it had never been an acceptable interpretation of the gospel.

September 10, 2019

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address


This is an article that I reissue on the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack on our nation. Let us once again remember, but never forget, those who serve today, those who served throughout our nation's heritage and the fallen who gave their all that we might be free.


Our leaders and military responded to the 9/11 attacks with tenacity and determination. In the early years we dealt serious blows to the terrorists, nations that offered them safe haven and seriously diminished their capability to attack us here at home. There is much work yet to be done, but I am confident America, under principled leadership, will prevail and eliminate this threat to our nation and way of life.

For this commemorative moment I would like to focus our attention on another national tragedy, the American Civil War. There were many terrible battles in that war: Antietem, Fredericksburg, Chickamauga and Vicksburg. None was more costly, nor so much at stake than at the Battle of Gettysburg. After three days of battle there were approximately 50,000 American casualties.

One of the most endearing and treasured memories from Gettysburg was not forged on the battlefield itself. No, for we must go forward to November 19, 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln came to honor what had been done there and deliver his immortal
Gettysburg Address.


On June 1, 1865, Senator Charles Sumner commented on what is now considered the most famous speech by President Abraham Lincoln. In his eulogy on the slain president, he called it a “monumental act.” He said Lincoln was mistaken that “the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here.” Rather, the Bostonian remarked, “The world noted at once what he said, and will never cease to remember it. The battle itself was less important than the speech.” (From Abraham Lincoln Online)

With that I offer for your encouragement Lincoln’s
Gettysburg Address.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work, which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

September 3, 2019

Archival Series: Moderate Evangelicals, by Dr. Clay Nuttall

The following is a republication of an (2012) article by the late Dr. Clay Nuttall.  I draw special attention to his addressing Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology (CT).  Why? Because today, more than ever, CT is making inroads into some of our colleges and local churches.

Ecumenical evangelicalism is alive and thriving. Like a pack of wolves, the left leaners are devouring the stable theology of the right. There appears to be some kind of death wish on the part of those who feel driven to erase a theology that is biblical by merging it with all kinds of aberrations. This ecumenical activity is willing to set aside important doctrine in order to draw people together. Their argument is that only love, the gospel, unity, or any such singularity is all that matters, along with getting people together; as long as you have the central doctrines, whatever they are, you can trash the rest of the text. This is done by stealth and the redefining of such things as the gospel itself.

Defining the main players is easy; they regularly confess their participation in print. Placing them in categories is another matter altogether. There is no single category where everyone holds to the same views. Terms like atheist, agnostic, infidel, apostate, modernist, liberal, or neo-orthodox is one thing; dealing with evangelicalism, neo-evangelicalism, conservatism, and fundamentalism is something else altogether. Trying to sort them all out is like trying to pick up mercury. In general, each designation does have some major things in common; but none of these is equal to the others.

When individuals try to straddle the theological fence between liberal and conservative, they are most often referred to as moderates. This position of compromise gives credence to the views of both sides. It always means, however, that they have to give up something to the right of them. You cannot hold two contrasting views at the same time; one of them will have to be damaged or disrespected. Part of this problem comes from the desire to be tolerant. We ought to respect others in that they have a right to a view, but that does not mean they are right. The moderate, however, sees tolerance as allowing a broad range of theological positions with a focus on just a few things that are often unstable in themselves.

Recently, discussion has centered on a group called conservative evangelicals. The term alone admits that not all evangelicals are conservative, so this designation is an effort to build a bridge between two divergent positions. It is true that there will be some common ground between them, but they are two distinct views. In light of the forgoing discussion, those who stand in between the two views are really moderate evangelicals.


THE MODERATE PROBLEM

The moderate position has to surrender something. One cannot hold to a theology that is biblical and blink at the error of another. We don’t have to attack the persons who hold them, but we are obligated to state the contrast of biblical doctrine and to reject error. An example of this is what happened with the invention of progressive dispensationalism. Admittedly, it was an effort to build a bridge between standard dispensationalism and covenant theology, but that is impossible. The gulf between them is as wide as the Atlantic Ocean, and it is impossible to bridge the two. In this case, the moderates had to give up something. While they continued to claim to be dispensational, they departed from the true meaning of the word and developed something new. This, of course, leaves serious questions for them to answer; but this is the nature of the moderate position.

What brought them to this place? Why would anyone want to be caught in the middle? One of the reasons is an insatiable lust for intellectualism. The pseudo-intellectuals have painted fundamentalists and dispensationalists as being a little less than bright. The truth is that some of the finest minds we know are in the ranks of historical dispensationalists; many of these trusted scholars, however, have not felt the need to appease those on the left of the discussion. It is a serious flaw to “want to be like them” so much so that you would walk away from, or be embarrassed about, key doctrines of the faith, because you end up joining the moderates’ choir singing “the time of rapture is not something to separate over.”

I am frequently asked why so many of our young men are following the pied pipers of theological error. Immature students are apt to be fooled quite easily by intellectual gurus. They reveal their passion by repeating telltale buzzwords and questionable theological pretzels such as a “misguided kingdom theology.” Like their mentors, they are quick to discard such important parts of the theological puzzle such as cessationism and to adopt such things as the replacement theory. This not only identifies spiritual immaturity, but also shows that they have had poorly-taught biblical theology in their seminaries. The real bombshell, though, is the absence of the one biblical hermeneutic that would have prevented them from gulping their minds full of doctrinal error. This ministry tragedy can be placed at the feet of the moderates.


WHAT MODERATES ARE MISSING

Every doctrinal error and theological diversion comes from an erroneous hermeneutic. This is the heart of the moderate problem. The one biblical hermeneutic is exact; it is mathematical. Letting the text speak for itself will bring us to common conclusions. This process would exclude any moderate. On the other hand, the hermeneutical system used by moderates actually lets them conclude anything they wish - and they do. So why would anyone who is committed to a theology that is biblical, established by a biblical hermeneutic, want to hold theological hands with the moderate?

It is one thing for the authors of the “theological error of the month” to ignore the one biblical hermeneutic. Their bad hermeneutical habits go way back to the Jewish rabbis, Origen, Clement of Alexander, Thomas Aquinas, and – surprise! - to Luther and Calvin. To argue that some of them were right some of the time is to argue for the value of a stopped clock. It is true that some of them claimed to own a literal hermeneutic, but their writings tell us otherwise.

The most disturbing thing about this subject is that there are so few people among us who really understand what the plain, normal, consistent, literal hermeneutic is and fewer yet who actually use it. Using the biblical system will not let you agree with the wayward theological ideas that are being fed to young minds these days by the moderate evangelicals.


CONTRAST TO THE MODERATES

The liberal mind infects the moderate mentality. It will focus on form instead of content and meaning. It loves complication that creates a smokescreen for the infusion of human reason into biblical text. Such thinking is so well practiced that it is hard to peel the layers off. This is where the biblical system of interpretation is so valuable. When you are following the biblical system, it is impossible to arrive at the many theological errors that exist and are even now being created. On the other hand, there is real joy in knowing that we are allowing the text to speak for itself. Leaning on the grammar, the context, and the historical setting of the text will produce that purity of doctrine that our Lord desires us to have.


SHEPHERD’S STAFF – September 2012

A communication service of Shepherd’s Basic Care, for those committed to the authority and sufficiency of the Bible. Shepherd's Basic Care is a ministry of information and encouragement to pastors, missionaries, and churches.

Shepherd’s Staff is prepared by Clay Nuttall, D.Min

Site Publisher’s Commentary:
Dr. Nuttall’s timely article is much appreciated.  Within the article we read a clear definition of a “moderate,” or as I have identified, new wave Evangelicalism of Matt Olson, Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran and Tim Jordan. 
“Erase a theology that is biblical by merging it with all kinds of aberrations…. Their argument is that only love, the gospel, unity, or any such singularity is all that matters…. Straddle the theological fence between liberal and conservative…. The desire to be tolerant…. An effort to build a bridge between two divergent positions.”
Over the last several years we have examples of how Bauder, Doran, Olson and Jordan and their followers (at sites like Sharper Iron) will tolerate, allow for, ignore and excuse the doctrinal aberrations, ecumenical compromise and cultural relativism of the so-called “conservative” evangelicals to have fellowship and cooperative ministry with them.

August 24, 2019

Bob Jones University: It’s a Question of Doctrine


Dr. Steve Pettit
Today I am drawing your attention to a chapel message given at Bob Jones University (BJU) by its president Dr. Steve Pettit. The message was preached in BJU’s chapel on January 26, 2015.  Following are excerpts transcribed from the recorded message.

“What is the race? It is the whole of the Christian life of faith….  (4:15) When you start [the race] in faith you need to run and finish in faith…. (6:35) The race has to be faithfully run to the finish.” (10:15) Dr. Pettit goes on to say there is, “justification, sanctification and a glorification.” (11:12) Then, however, he said this, “If you lose, if you don’t finish you lose everything, you lose your soul.” (11:40)

Later in the message he references Old Testament saints from Hebrews 11 saying, “These Old Testament saints received God’s approval, they all died in faith, they were loyal, they persevered in their faith.” (19:10) He said, “If you run and don’t win then you are truly the biggest losers.” (21:35)
We run the race, we cross the finish line, and so what’s the prize? What is the award? Well, there are different viewpoints.  Some would have the viewpoint that the awards are crowns in Heaven. But as I read the book of Hebrews and see the whole gist of the book and the flow of the book, I don’t believe its referring to crowns in Heaven. I think it is referring to Heaven itself.” (22:10) 
“Now, there’s almost a dilemma that immediately arises up.  Fact is I’ve already had some statements on this to me. Because it almost gives the impression that you’re saying that you can lose your salvation, and I have not really said that at all. What I would like to say is…God’s people have to continue in the faith. They must persevere because perseverance is the testimony of the reality of your faith.” (23:30) 
“It’s almost like you have two rails as you’re running down this road, this Christian life.  One is I’m saved, but the other one is I’m not saved yet. I’m not in glory. It’s like you could say it this way, ‘I am in the race, but I have to keep on running, I’m not saved yet, I’m not in glory’.” (25:45)1 For the complete sermon audio see footnotes.
At the time a number of pastors were genuinely concerned with the message content and contacted Dr. Pettit about it.  With what did their concern lie?  For example Dr. Pettit said, “If you lose, if you don’t finish you lose everything, you lose your soul.” (11:40)  That theme is common among the advocates of Calvinism. For example,
John Piper
“There is no doubt that Jesus saw a measure of real, lived-out obedience to the will of God as necessary for final salvation.... What God will require at the judgment is not our perfection, but sufficient fruit to show that the tree had life-in our case, divine life.” (John Piper, What Does Jesus Demand of the World, pp. 160, 211.
“Endurance in faith is a condition for future salvation. Only those who endure in faith will be saved for eternity.” (R. C. Sproul, Grace Unknown, p. 198.)
“Not only is holiness the goal of your redemption, it is necessary for your redemption…. we are commanded to be holy, saved to be holy, and, in fact, we must be holy if we are to inherit eternal life.” (Kevin DeYoung, The Hole in Our Holiness, pp. 26, 30 italics his, bold mine.)
Dr. Pettit was teaching Calvinism’s 5th point of TULIP, which is “Perseverance of the Saints.”  That a saint will persevere, will finish the race faithfully, he will not fail. Steve Pettit’s message is virtually identical to that of Piper, Sproul, DeYoung cited above and MacArthur’s below. 
“The doctrine of the believer’s security is tied to the believer’s persevering faith…. the most important element in all the range of salvation doctrines is this issue of the perseverance of the saints.  It is, in the end, what makes salvation salvation because it is forever…. Any idea of salvation that leaves out security is a distortion of the truth.  And any idea of security that leaves out perseverance is a distortion of the truth.” (John MacArthur, “Perseverance of the Saints,” Part 2. September 5, 2004.)
“The doctrine of perseverance is the doctrine that believers persevere. . . . It is not at all that they will be saved irrespective of the [sic] their perseverance or their continuance, but that they will assuredly persevere. Consequently the security that is theirs is inseparable from their perseverance.” (John MacArthur, “Perseverance of the Saints.” The Master’s Seminary Journal4, no. 1 (Spring 1993): 5-24.)
What we’ve read means, “Perseverance is [being] articulated as the only way to ensure ‘final salvation’, i.e., glorification.” (In Defense of the GospelBiblical Answers to Lordship Salvation [Revised & Expanded Edition], p. 273.) Does what weve considered thus far make Dr. Pettit a 5-point Calvinist?  It does not! Like any other man only he can answer as to whether or not he accepts or rejects any of Calvinisms five points (TULIP).

Here I would like to examine a portion of the current BJU Position Statements: Calvinism, Arminianism and Reformed Theology. Under the subsection, With Regard to the Doctrine of Soteriology, paragraph one, this statement appears, “God offers this salvation freely to all men who are willing to repent and turn from their sins (Acts 3:19, 17:30) and place their full faith and trust in the atonement Christ made by His finished work on the Cross (Luke 24:46-48, Heb. 9:11-15, 10:10-14).”

An essential feature of Lordship Salvation’s interpretation of the gospel is encapsulated in that single sentence. Lordship’s gospel demands of the sinner faith in Christ, plus commitment of life, to turn from (stop) sinning and start obeying in “exchange” for salvation.   
“This is what Jesus meant when He spoke of taking up one’s own cross to follow Him. And that is why he demanded that we count the cost carefully. He was calling for an exchange of all that we are for all that He is. He was demanding implicit obedience—unconditional surrender to His lordship.” (Dr. John MacArthur: The Gospel According to Jesus: What is Authentic Faith, p. 202. Italics added)
Dr. John Van Gelderen explained why it is confusing to tell sinners they need to turn from their sins,
“Jesus said, ‘They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance’ (Luke 5:31-32). Sick people do not turn from their sickness to a physician. If they could turn from sickness, they would no longer need a physician. Rather, sick people turn to a physician for deliverance from their sickness. Similarly, sinners cannot turn from their sin(s) to Christ. If they could, they would not need a Savior. Sinners must turn to Christ, the Great Physician, for deliverance from their sin and its consequence.”2
Dr. Ernest Pickering (1928-2000) recognized Lordship Salvation as a departure from the biblical plan of salvation. Following are two excerpts from Dr. Pickering’s review of John MacArthur’s original edition of The Gospel According to Jesus.

“John MacArthur is a sincere servant of the Lord, of that we have no doubt.... We believe in his advocacy of the so-called lordship salvation he is wrong. He desperately desires to see holiness, lasting fruit, and continuing faithfulness in the lives of Christian people. This reviewer and we believe all sincere church leaders desire the same.... But the remedy for this condition is not found in changing the terms of the gospel.”
“One of the chief objections to the notion of ‘lordship salvation’ is that it adds to the gospel of grace. It requires something of the sinner which the Scriptures do not require. The message of salvation by grace proclaims to the sinner that they may receive eternal life by faith alone whereas the message of ‘lordship salvation’ tells sinners they must be willing to give up whatever is in their life that is displeasing to God.” (Ernest Pickering, Lordship Salvation: An Examination of John MacArthur’s Book, The Gospel According to Jesus.)
Lordship Salvation demands a commitment of one’s life, and a promise of surrender to the lordship of Christ in an up-front exchange for the reception of salvation (justification). Calvinism’s perseverance is keeping that promise, but if you fail, “if you don’t finish you lose everything, you lose your soul.” (Steve Pettit: What Does it Mean to Run the Race?)

Teaching that a soul, justified by faith, must perform the good works expected of a born again believer, throughout his lifetime to inherit eternal life (glorification) in Heaven at death is works salvation. That is “Lordship Salvation.”3

When Dr. Pettit told the BJU student body “If you lose, if you don’t finish you lose everything, you lose your soul” his message essentially left one of two conclusions for the students. First, although you have been justified, born again by faith in Jesus Christ, if you do not run the race of sanctification faithfully until death, you do not enter Heaven, you never see glorification.  Second, you were never saved in the first place.

The chapel sermon we’ve considered was not given by a mere guest speaker.  This was Dr. Steve Pettit, the president of BJU, teaching an element of Calvinism.  The BJU Position Statement legitimizes an integral part of Lordship Salvation.  This is a very serious matter because, “Lordship Salvation tears at the very heart of the gospel; it corrupts ‘the simplicity that is in Christ’ (2 Cor. 11:3), it is a man-centered message that frustrates grace (Gal. 2:21).” (In Defense of the GospelBiblical Answers to Lordship Salvation [Revised & Expanded Edition], p. 49.)

Calvinism and Lordship Salvation has made inroads into schools and churches that aforetime rejected this teaching. When a university president and that school's position statement bring elements of Calvinism and Lordship Salvation to the student body one might wonder if those teachings have been adopted as acceptable or possibly official doctrinal positions of the university.

The BJU Student Handbook (2018-2019) states, “The BJU Creed highlights the fundamentals of the faith. Based on these essentials, we strive to maintain unity among the student body. In the interest of this unity and in love and respect for each other, there is to be no proselytizing based on theological interpretations, such as Calvinism and Arminianism.” (p. 8). Yet BJU president Steve Pettit was preaching Calvinisms Perseverance of the Saints, “proselytizing Calvinism,” if you will, to the student body.

What Should you, as a Parent or Pastor, Do?
If you have questions, ask. You may reach out to Dr. Pettit, Dr. Horn or any Bible faculty to ask what their position(s) are on Calvinism, Lordship Salvation, Covenant Theology and Dispensationalism. You might ask, “Which of the 5-points of Calvinism (TULIP) or Doctrines of Grace, do you accept as legitimate or reject?” Ask their view of each of the 5-points in turn: Total Inability, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace and Perseverance of the Saints. You should also ask,
  • Do you believe regeneration comes before belief or at the moment of saving belief?
  • Is faith the fruit of regeneration or is regeneration the fruit of faith?
  • Explain why the Bible says Christ will preserve you in Jesus Christ (Jude 1) and God will keep you from falling (Jude 24), but the only use of perseverance refers to praying for the saints Eph. 6:18?  
Close:
This is hard because we love BJU and all it has contributed over the years. Seeing what has happened to many of our schools (Pillsbury, TTU, Calvary, Clearwater, Northland4) is disappointing. Dr. Pettit’s message, “What Does it Mean to Run the Race may signal a shift in the doctrinal stance of BJU. It pains us greatly that circumstances dictate an article like this could even be written.  It would, however, be a pity for pastors and families sending their young people to BJU thinking it is the same as it once was for them if it is not, if the university has changed.


LM

Special Attention: I have made a correction and edit to this article.  I had mistakenly equated Dr. Pettit’s Run the Race message excerpts to that of Lordship Salvation theology.  That error has been corrected.  I have instead solely identified the statement cited from the official BJU Position Statement as one that is consistent with the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the gospel.  I have offered my apology to Dr. Pettit for the mischaracterization on Lordship Salvation.

Footnotes:
1) For the complete recorded sermon, see- What Does it Mean to Run the Race?
Defined briefly: Lordship Salvation is a position on the gospel in which “saving faith” is considered reliance upon the finished work of Jesus Christ. Lordship views “saving faith” as incomplete without an accompanying resolve to ‘forsake sin’ and to ‘start obeying.’ Lordship’s ‘sine qua non’ (indispensable condition) that must be met to fully define ‘saving faith,’ for salvation, is a commitment to deny self, take up the cross, and follow Christ in submissive obedience. In Defense of the Gospel: Biblical Answers to Lordship Salvation, [Revised & Expanded Edition], p. 48.