April 20, 2007

Revised Version in the Works

To All:

There were several benefits from my (Fall 2006) interaction with the advocates of Lordship Salvation at the pseudo- fundamentalist Sharper Iron blog and John MacArthur's Pulpit Magazine.

In those discussions I was able to provide the Biblical Answers to Lordship Salvation to a very wide cross section of concerned Christian across a broad spectrum of Evangelical Christianity. To this day I still receive private contacts from folks who are interested in and concerned about this issue.

As the discussions wore on I was developing increasingly better ways to hone in on and articulate some of the issues and concerns with the Lordship gospel. As a result I began to feel that I needed to go back and do a revised and expanded version of In Defense of the Gospel. I have been working on that revision for well over a month and should wrap in less than 30 days.

There are no major overhauls, just some revisions and a few additions. Overall, this revision will make my exposure of Lordship Salvation and the biblical answers to it much more compelling. I will keep you posted as the revised version develops.

Here is a sample revision from the opening page of the chapter titled: What is Lordship Salvation?

As we begin to look at Lordship Salvation it is imperative that a clear distinction be drawn in regard to what the area of debate is, and is not. One of the central questions that fuels and defines the Lordship debate is: What is required of a sinner that would constitute saving faith, i.e. the faith that results in his receiving the gift of eternal life? We will see Lordship Salvation’s interpretation of the gospel, as defined by many of its advocates, is front-loaded with demands for commitment to the results of salvation as if these commitments are required for salvation. Those statements are the crux of the debate and have never been edited, explained, or eliminated by the men who make those claims. For me the main thrust of debate over Lordship Salvation does not revolve around the results of salvation. The debate is over the requirements for salvation.

Biblical saving faith is a faith that will grow and progressively mature. Daily submission to the lordship of Christ should follow a genuine conversion to Christ. Most men on both sides of the debate will agree in principle that a new creature in Christ will set out to do the “good works” (Eph. 2:10) expected of a believer, and that he will grow in the grace and knowledge of his Lord and Savior (2 Peter 3:18). Christians struggle with the flesh (Rom. 7:15-25) and the besetting sin (Heb. 12:1). Christians will flop and fail at times in their walk with God, but growth is seen to one degree or another.

Many share a common frustration over the examples we see in our churches today of people who profess Christ as Savior, but seem to live more like the Devil. There are, of course, people in Bible believing churches that are professing Christ, but never received Him as their Savior. These, Lord willing, shall one day get saved, or they will likely move on. No sinner can be born again if he prays a prayer to escape death and Hell, but he fully intends to go on in his sinful ways and in rebellion and defiance against the Lord. There is no genuine faith or repentance in that. Problems begin, however, when a commitment to certain expected behavior is made a condition for receiving the free gift of salvation.

As you read my book you are going to find, just as I did, that Lordship Salvation touches on numerous Bible doctrines. This makes arriving at a brief definition a difficult, but not impossible undertaking. One editor nearly insisted I provide a simple definition within the first two or three pages of the book. That editor also said if I did not give a working definition very early in the book publishers would read no more than the first few pages. Well, I never had it in mind to impress an editor of a publishing firm. My goal has been to inform readers at any level that the Lordship interpretation of the gospel is wrong and provide the biblical answers.

Because Lordship theology touches on a broad range of Bible doctrines, with practical ramifications, I decided to deal with each doctrine in turn allowing for a complete definition of Lordship Salvation come forth as the book unfolds. With that said, I also believe it is important to provide a brief definition in the early stages of this book. The following definition is not all encompassing of the Lordship position, it may not be one that all Lordship advocates would sign on to 100%, but it is a beginning.

Defined briefly: Lordship Salvation is a position on the gospel in which “saving faith” is considered as reliance upon the finished work of Jesus Christ. An indispensable condition that must be met to fully define Lordship’s saving faith, which results in salvation, is an upfront commitment to deny self, take up the cross, and follow Christ in submissive obedience.

That is close to final form.

By the way, I have visited for the first time, the Baptist Board site. A thread opened on Lordship Salvation, and I decided to drop in a few comments. The discussion has been pleasant thus far. You can view it here.


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