July 11, 2006

Introduction by the Author

The Lordship Salvation controversy continues to provoke debate across a broad spectrum of Evangelical Christianity. For much of the last 15 years advocates of Lordship Salvation have dominated the forum. Few resources have been available to those who are alarmed over the spread of the Lordship interpretation of the gospel.

A defense of the gospel has been sorely needed. This book is that defense!

I have dealt extensively with this subject since 1996, and been involved with the debate since 1989. In this the book I answer many questions that comprise the debate from a balanced biblical perspective. Key Bible passages and major doctrines such as: faith, repentance, and belief are studied in depth. Related issues such as: Calvinism, carnality, discipleship and contending for the faith are given serious consideration.

At the outset of this blog I want to make clear several important matters so there is no misunderstanding or misinterpretation of my doctrinal positions.

First, many have been alarmed at the increasingly meaningless presentation of a gospel that seems to ignore the person of Christ, the sinfulness of man and the pending judgment of God. This gospel calls men to salvation when they have been given only a vague idea of just what they need to be saved from. This is the so-called Easy-Believism gospel. Let me say I do not hold to an Easy-Believism approach and would admonish those who seek quick, easy decisions for Christ to rethink their position. My book, however, has been produced to address the other extreme, namely, Lordship Salvation.

Second, in regard to Calvinism and Arminianism: I reject the erroneous suggestion that one must be Arminian or Calvinist. Stated plainly: I do not identify with the theology of John Calvin (Calvinism) or Jacobus Arminius (Arminianism). My desire is to simply stand where the Bible stands, whether or not that identifies me with a particular system of theology.

Third, I do not identify with many of the doctrinal positions of the Grace Evangelical Society championed by Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin. I even go so far as to warn my readers about Zane Hodges and name some of his books to be careful with.

Fourth, I make no room for and do not stand for the loose living of some professing believers. There will always be carnal Christians in our churches. These need to be counseled, prayed for and guided to live a life that is a shining testimony of the grace of God in their lives. I believe in the eternal security of every genuine born again child of God. I believe there ought to be evidence of regeneration and a new life born of the Spirit. The loose living of some professing believers has frustrated many of us. It has, however, caused some men to react by changing the terms of the gospel, which has lead to a rise in the advocacy of the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the gospel, and this is wrong. You won't make the problem of carnal Christians go away by changing the terms of the gospel.

May I suggest before you begin to post comments or reviews take the time to read my book. Do not let another reader form an opinion, and then adopt that opinion as your own. Read and reflect on what I have written, then state your opinion. I understand that since I have written this book I am fair game. Take the time to read what I have written and let your posts be from your own reading and drawn conclusions. This way you are less likely to post something that you might be embarrassed about later.

In Defense of the Gospel is thoroughly researched, well organized, well documented, and clearly presented. This volume will be a valuable study and reference tool for the pastor, layman or college classroom.

May God bless you and I trust you will receive some blessing from what I have presented in my book: In Defense of the Gospel.

8 comments:

  1. Brother Martuneac,

    I'm a pastor in French-Roman Catholic country in the St. John valley of northern Maine. I pastor a church of around 80 in the most northeastern town in the USA called Madawaska Gospel Church. The town of Madawaska is officially considered one of the four corners of the US. Even in this remote area, Lordship salvation teaching has been found. I for one deeply appreciate your work in publishing a book dealing with this issue. I just received a copy and have begun to read it. In looking through its pages, I see a major blessing: it's loaded with Scripture! I'll continue to post comments as I read through it. Here's praying for a wide readership of your work. God bless!

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  2. Dear Ps. Brown: I trust you will be helped and equipped to deal with Lordship and its advocates in your area. Glad you appreciate my wide use of Scripture, 2 Timothy 3:16 is vital when we deal with doctrine. I am also hopeful for a wide readership among those who want and need what I have compiled in my book.

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  3. What is your problem with Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin?

    I believe they present a most blessed system of doctrinal truth.
    Since I started reading Zane Hodges, so much more of the Word of God makes more sense.

    God Bless

    Matthew

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  4. Hi Matthew:

    Here are some excerpts from Zane Hodges found in the GES Journal. Aftre reading these I trust you will agree there are serious problems with his position.

    Just be careful not to bounce off one unbiblical teaching into another.

    LM


    Zane Hodges wrote an article located in the Grace Evangelical Society Journal entitled How to Lead people to Christ (Part 2). Hodges makes it clear that the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ is the normal context of his gospel presentation, but it is not a necessary part of the content of saving faith today.

    "The gospel message about the death, burial, and resurrection is the normal context for our presentation of this core objective. But at the end of the day, anyone who trusts Christ for eternal life is born again." (JOTGES 14:1, Spring 01, p. 10)

    "In recent years I (Hodges) have become aware of a way of presenting the gospel invitation that troubles me. I believe I have heard it from my earliest years, and I admit it didn't really bother me for a long time. Now it does. I have heard people say this: 'In order to be saved you must believe that Jesus died on the cross.' . . . . usually implied is the idea that Christ's work on the cross is sufficient to provide for our salvation. Thus they mean to say that we are trusting in the sufficiency of his work of atonement. Let me be honest, I don't like this way of presenting a gospel invitation." (p. 11)

    "People are not saved by believing that Jesus died on the cross; they are saved by believing in Jesus for eternal life . . . . " (p. 11)

    "Let us always point men to Christ Himself (minus his Lordship) as the object of faith, rather than to some concept that must be theologically clarified before it can really be understood." (p. 12)

    "The simple truth is that Jesus can be believed for eternal salvation apart from any detailed knowledge of what He did to provide it" (p. 13).

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  5. I do not disagree with Prof Hodges about that. I think he is absoutely right and I find it hard to understnd why people find this so shocking.

    The NT does not give us any specific list of facts that need to be believed to receive eternal life.

    The NT rather identifies saving faith with trusting in the person of Christ for eternal life.

    While a person who rejects the truth of the cross or the resurrection is unlikely to believe in Jesus for eternal life, a person who is ignorant of these fundamental truths could certainly be saved.

    To require belief in some hypothetical list of Christological truths is to make doctrinal knowledge into a kind of de facto self-righteousness.

    I agree with Zane Hodges on this one.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

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  6. The Lordship issue is very serious. John MacArthur has many good aspects of his ministry, such as his strong stand for inerrancy and emphasis on expository preaching, which is sadly missing today. The failure to make no distinction between salvation and discipleship, in a subtle way adds works to the finished work of Christ. The problem is not rectified by going to the opposite extreme of Zane Hodges, but by rightly dividing the word of truth.

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  7. Baron:

    Well said! I appreciate many aspects of Dr. MacArthur's ministry. He has held the high doctrinal ground on a number of issues.

    But as you correctly noted he has made a serious error with the doctrines of discipeship and salvation. He is as wrong on this as Hodges is in his error.

    Keep checking here and in Pulpit Magazine. I have directed several posts to Dr. MacArthur on the discipleship/salvation issue. He has not yet responded.

    LM

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  8. This is the revised portion of point #1 above as I noted in The Best of 2006.

    The Crossless interpretation of the gospel was originated by Zane Hodges (1932-2008). In recent years by Bob Wilkin primarily through the Grace Evangelical Society has done the most to perpetuate this teaching. Later I will have more to say about the teaching of Hodges and Wilkin. While I do not hold to any reductionist approach to evangelism and would admonish those who seek quick uninformed decisions for Christ to rethink their position, this document has been produced to address the other extreme, namely, Lordship Salvation.

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