November 10, 2006

Pulpit Magazine is “Bugged.”

To All:

Early in today’s article by Nathan Busenitz at Pulpit Magazine he wrote,

“If an evangelist today got up before a largely unbelieving audience and preached a message about the life to come that consisted of 'deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Christ,' Lou would accuse him of frustrating grace, preaching works, and adding to the gospel.”
When Nathan refers to “the life to come,” I can agree that it should include following Christ in discipleship, which includes: denying self, and cross bearing. All of us are weary of those who profess Christ, but evidence little or no interest in the things of the Lord. We probably have examples of these in each of our churches. I have written about the life that follows conversion, for example:

“One must always be careful not to bounce off one unbiblical teaching into another. This has sadly been the case of some people who have, with good cause, been frustrated by those who make professions of faith in Christ, but do not live for Christ. This writer shares the distress over those who call themselves Christians, but are weak and seem little interested in the things of the Lord. Certainly there are many Christians who do not live up to what they profess to believe. This frustration, however, does not warrant ‘changing the terms of the gospel.’” (In Defense of the Gospel, p. 41.)
Lordship Salvation, as Mike Harding and I contend “frontloads” the conditions of discipleship into the definition of saving faith. Upfront promises to follow, obey, commit, to deny self are required of a lost man, without which he cannot be born again. That is Lordship Salvation!

Why is Nathan, “bugged?” This is because In Defense of the Gospel and my comments in these threads have honed in on, and through the use of Dr. MacArthur’s own writing and the writing of other Lordship advocates, clearly defined identified the “works salvation” message of their system.

Nathan has drifted from a discussion of the requirements to receive eternal life back to the life of a person who has been born again and sets out to follow the Lord as a newborn disciple of Christ. We all agree that a genuinely born again person should demonstrate some evidence of growth in the Lord. There will, of course, be varying degrees of growth, but a desire and willingness “to grow in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” (2 Peter 3:18).

Here Nathan reveals one of the most serious errors in Lordship theology, when he wrote, “…by separating salvation from discipleship.” You see, Lordship Salvation blends the two into one, blurring the lines of distinction between salvation and discipleship. They believe the “good works” of discipleship are the requirements that must be met and/or agreed to for the reception of eternal life.

Remember this: Nathan did not venture into the issue of salvation and discipleship. They have no answer for their blurring the lines of distinction between the two doctrines. My chapter titled, Salvation & Discipleship: Is There A Biblical Difference shows the extremes to which Lordship advocates apply passages meant for the born again child of God as though they are the conditions which must be met and/or agreed to in order to be born again.
“Lordship advocates…attempt to redefine passages such as Luke 9:23; 14:26-7, 33 as though they are salvation messages. These passages are in fact meant to give instruction to born again Christians as to how they might live as a disciple of Christ.” (In Defense of the Gospel, p. 30.)

“Lordship Salvation sets upon the path to Christ a stumbling block. It makes rough and uncertain the sinner's path to Christ. It complicates and frustrates God's simple plan of salvation. Lordship Salvation teaches that to be saved a man must do more than place his faith in Jesus Christ. In addition to faith and belief in Christ, Lordship Salvation demands promises of surrender and commitment to fulfill what the Lordship advocates consider genuine saving faith. Surrender and commitment of life in exchange for salvation is the doctrine of Lordship Salvation. That doctrine adds to the Bible’s definition of saving faith.” (In Defense of the Gospel, p. 38.)
Nathan’s frustration over not being able to defend Dr. MacArthur’s writing from the criticism I have with it has resulted in his twice in two days misrepresenting me. Yesterday, I reiterated through Dr. MacArthur’s own writing, that he does indeed condition the reception of eternal life on promises of cross bearing, obedience and full surrender. Nathan has no answer other than to claim I don’t understand Lordship, or I misinterpret Dr. MacArthur’s meaning.

From yesterday, “I show only these (see five quotes from Dr. MacArthur in yesterday’s thread) to demonstrate that I am not misunderstanding or misinterpreting Dr. MacArthur’s position on the requirements for salvation. He conditions the free gift on a lost man’s willingness to ‘pay the ultimate price.’ This is ‘works salvation.’”

Placing demands on a lost man for upfront commitments of surrender, self-denial, and cross bearing, in exchange for salvation (the free gift), are false additions to the gospel and thereby grace is frustrated (Gal. 2:21).



  1. Lou,

    I say this in the sincerest intent of goodwill and fellowship, brother you are arguing against Jesus, Paul, Peter and John - are you really sure you want to do that? You say John MacArthur or Nathan Busenitz says this and that - yet you are completely ignoring the very present and glaring fact that it is not them, but God the Holy Spirit through the Apostles or Jesus Christ Himself who are saying the things you find so distasteful and unsettling.

    Identify the source of your dispute, in this case Jesus and the Apostles, and carry on your debate with them, because in truth they are who you are in opposition to - John, Nathan and those at Pulpit are just the messengers.

    Let me ask you Lou, Do you love Jesus? (I am going to respond as if you said yes because I am certain that would be your response). Then follow His commands and teach ALL THINGS that He commanded - not selectively choosing which sayings to apply, but willingly submitting to them all, despite the desire of the flesh to do otherwise.

    In Christ,

  2. Bill:

    I appreciate your concern. My quarrel is not with the gospels, it is with MacArthur's interpretation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    You may not have read my book. It is exhaustive in its presentation of what Lordship Salvation is as defined by MacArthur and other Lordship advocates.

    Thanks again and I do appreciate your concern.