The following I directed to Pastor Harding, but it includes content for all. I end with a question for Dr. MacArthur.
You wrote, “I emphasize that submission is in principle (deny self, take up his cross) and that following Christ is the inevitable and necessary result (though not automatic). As they grow in Christ they will grow in submission.”
The “inevitable and necessary result” I heartily agree with because you emphasize “result.” Lordship Salvation, however, demands upfront commitments as a requirement for salvation.
You rightly point out and I agree that they are not calling for a fully mature Christian at the moment of salvation or to become a perfect Christians. They do, however, demand the upfront promise to obey, deny-self, follow in exchange for the free gift of God.
As for submission, one can speak of this in “principle,” but the surrender for salvation as defined by Dr. MacArthur goes way beyond “principle.”
At the end of your post you wrote, “My suggestion is that some of the quotes Lou has cited should be carefully evaluated and either edited, explained, or eliminated.”
Through the years and in his various books I have noted how Dr. MacArthur edits some of the more troubling statements. I mention and cite examples in my book. The revisions I have reviewed, however, do little or nothing to minimize the troubling implications of the originals. In recent days I provided examples.
Is Dr. MacArthur willing to say that he misstated his position on what he believes are the requirements for the reception of eternal life? I posted only five of the questionable statements from his various books. For example:
“Thus in a sense we pay the ultimate price for salvation when our sinful self is nailed to a cross. . . . It is an exchange of all that we are for all that Christ is. And it denotes implicit obedience, full surrender to the lordship of Christ. Nothing less can qualify as saving faith.”Is Dr. MacArthur willing to say that the reception of salvation is not conditioned on the sinner making an upfront commitment to full surrender, implicit obedience, submission, self-denial and following?
I recall John MacArthur’s public admission of having erred on the eternal sonship of Christ issue. It appeared on one of the GTY web sites, but I did not download it.
I believe it was in 2000 I wrote a letter to Dr. MacArthur to ask if he still held to the Lordship gospel as presented in The Gospel According to Jesus. I wrote to ask about this because someone said they heard or read that Dr. MacArthur had changed his position on the Lordship issue. Since I was reading and researching this issue I sent a letter of inquiry. I received a reply from an associate pastor. He assured me that Dr. MacArthur’s position remained unchanged.