June 28, 2008

John MacArthur’s Mandatory Performance Guidelines for “Lordship” Salvation

Dear Guests:

As an interim article between reviews of the
20th Anniversary edition of The Gospel According to Jesus, I am presenting another example of Lordship Salvation as expressed by Dr. John MacArthur.

The saving faith in Jesus Christ that the New Testament teaches is much more than a simple affirmation of certain truths about Him…. Saving faith is a placing of oneself totally in submission to the Lord Jesus Christ, and it has certain indispensable elements that the New Testament clearly teaches. Saving faith in Jesus Christ involves the exercise of the will. Paul told the Roman believers, ‘Thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed’ (Rom. 6:17). Salvation begins (from the human standpoint) with a person’s willful obedience in turning from sin to follow the Lord Jesus Christ. Saving faith also involves the emotions, because, as in the verse just mentioned above, it must come from the heart as well as from the mind.” (Romans, pp. 204-5, bold added)
Dr. MacArthur is stating what he believes are necessary requirements to be born again. The use of phrases such as, “salvation begins…” confirms this. His Lordship message to the lost is that for salvation they must make an up-front commitment of absolute “submission” to live in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ. John MacArthur’s Lordship Salvation conditions the free gift of God on a commitment to performance of the “good works” (Eph. 2:10) expected of a born again disciple of Christ.

In his new book,
Getting the Gospel Wrong Dr. J. B. Hixson (Executive Director of the Free Grace Alliance) addressed the above quote by MacArthur. Hixson’s response is found under a chapter titled, The Performance Gospel, pp. 304-5.
“MacArthur’s citation of Romans 6:17 in support of the notion that willful surrender and obedience must accompany saving faith is unconvincing. To be ‘obedient from the heart’ is simply another way of expressing what it means to believe. The ‘form of teaching’ to which Paul referred was the very teaching he had been putting forth, namely that righteousness comes by faith rather than keeping the Mosaic Law. The verse cited says nothing about obedience vis-à-vis turning from sin and submitting to the Lordship of Christ. Furthermore, the suggestion that saving faith involves emotions, based on Paul’s reference to heart is a strained appeal to the alleged distinction between the heart and the mind that is common among proponents of a performance gospel.
There are numerous examples, such as the one here from John MacArthur, that remove any doubt that Lordship Salvation is a man centered message that frustrates grace (Gal. 2:21).


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