In 1990 the IFCA International, of which John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church is a member, had several scholars do a study to interpret their statement of faith on salvation. It is my understanding that this statement was drafted in response to Dr. MacArthur's original edition of The Gospel According to Jesus, published in 1988.
The title of the IFCA statement is: The Nature of Saving Faith.
The IFCA statement appears to be very balanced and to speak against MacArthur’s Lordship interpretation of the gospel. The study committee is listed at the end of the paper. It is very impressive.
Dr. Robert Thomas of The Master’s Seminary was on the committee. Dr. Thomas is considered a world class New Testament scholar, he taught at Talbot for years (1959-1986) where John MacArthur was one of his students. Dr. Thomas has been at The Master’s Seminary since 1987.
This is just a sample from the statement:
Some suitable expressions equivalent to the reliance on Christ that brings salvation include “believe in,” “trust in,” and “depend on.” Other terminology that may be misleading in representing this relationship include “submit to,” “yield to,” “dedicate [oneself] to,” and “make Jesus Lord of one's life.” These are better reserved for a stage of sanctification that usually comes subsequent to saving faith. Two additional phrases, “make a commitment to" and “become a disciple of,” are ambiguous because they could or could not refer to reliance on Christ, depending on how they are defined. “Repent” is not a suitable way to describe saving faith, because it only partially represents what it is to rely on Christ alone.That paragraph addresses several of the controversial terms/phrases that are inherent in the Lordship gospel. They appear in The Gospel According to Jesus and in the later works by MacArthur on Lordship Salvation.
The sentence in bold is the key to the Lordship error. As I demonstrate in my book and in various articles here and at other sites John MacArthur, and the Lordship advocates he represents, conditions the reception of salvation on the upfront promise from a lost man to "submit, yield, dedicate" his life in "exchange" for eternal life. Lordship Salvation places demands on a sinner (requirements for salvation) that belong to the born again child of God in regard to growth as a disciple of Christ.
This IFCA statement was adopted by the Executive Committee (Board of Directors) in November 1990 and was affirmed by 93% of the individual members participating in a straw poll.
Incidentally, another Master’s Seminary faculty member, Dr. James Rosscup (retired June 2005), also wrote about his reservations with MacArthur’s expressions of his Lordship theology. See post #10 on page 2 by Bob Topartzer at Sharper Iron in my response to Pastor Todd Wood’s review of my book.