August 3, 2008

Is Lordship Salvation a “Barter” System?

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

Following is John MacArthur’s definition of saving faith from the original edition of The Gospel According to Jesus:

Saving faith is a commitment to leave sin and follow Jesus at all costs. Jesus takes no one unwilling to come on those terms.”
In his Revised & Expanded Edition, John MacArthur reworked the above statement as follows,
Saving faith does not recoil from the demand to forsake sin and follow Jesus Christ at all costs. Those who find his terms unacceptable cannot come at all
In the 20th Anniversary edition of The Gospel According to Jesus the section appears this way,
Saving faith does not recoil from the demand to forsake sin and self and follow Christ at all costs. Those who find His terms unacceptable cannot come at all. He will not barter away His right to be Lord
The message MacArthur conveys is consistent in all three editions of The Gospel According to Jesus. Only in the third edition, however, does the final sentence appear as shown above. The Lord most certainly will not “barter away” His lordship or sovereignty. Neither is eternal salvation something that can be gained through barter, but is Lordship Salvation’s interpretation of how a lost man is born again a barter system? We will see if it is.

In each of the quotes above notice Dr. MacArthur is speaking in terms of coming to Christ. The obvious implication is of a lost man coming to Christ
for salvation. You can read those quotes, apply them to a personal evangelism setting, and you have a lost man being told that he must come to Christ with a promise to “leave (stop committing) sin,” and follow Jesus at any cost to receive the gift of eternal life. These quotes, which appear in all three editions of The Gospel According to Jesus, remove any doubt that MacArthur conditions the reception of eternal life on a definition of “saving faith” that includes an upfront commitment to performance. That theme, which runs like a thread through each of his three major Lordship apologetics, is a works based message that frustrates grace (Gal. 2:21).

Again from his original edition, MacArthur writes,
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.”

Dr. MacArthur says the reception of salvation is based on an “
exchange.” That is how he defines the way in which a man must come to Christ to be born again. Lordship’s terms for salvation are: “wholehearted commitment, a desire for him at any cost, unconditional surrender,” in “exchange” for the gift of eternal life.

Barter is defined this way:
As to exchange in trade, as one commodity for another.

Therefore, we see “
exchange” and “barter” are essentially interchangeable. Dr. MacArthur says salvation, the reception of eternal life, is an “exchange.” Dr. MacArthur believes if there is no “exchange” there is no salvation. What is the exchange Dr. MacArthur calls for? He says the gospel requires an exchange of “wholehearted commitment, surrender, self-denial, cross bearing, a willingness to die for Jesus’ sake” for the reception of salvation, the free gift of God.

Does the Bible call on the lost to, “pay the ultimate price FOR salvation?” (emphasis added) Is receiving the gift of eternal life based on “an exchange” of “obedience” and “surrender?” Dr. MacArthur’s saving faith not only implies, it demands the “exchange” of a commitment to life long obedience and submission to the Lord, to receive His free gift of salvation. At salvation there only has to be surrender to what the Holy Spirit is convincing and convicting of at the moment. Future issues may not even be on one’s mind.

Lordship Salvation, according to John MacArthur’s definition of saving faith, is a barter system. In my book, and in my on line debates with the advocates of Lordship Salvation, I have documented from Dr. MacArthur’s own books that his interpretation of the Gospel does indeed demand an “
exchange” of “obedience” and “full surrender” for the reception of eternal life. Lordship advocates are, however, quick to cry, “straw man.” The straw man argument is a logical fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position.

To set up a straw man or set up a straw-man argument is to create a position that is easy to refute, and then attribute that position to the opponent. The call for upfront promises to stop sinning, for “
obedience” and “full surrender” in “exchange” for salvation is found in Dr. MacArthur’s books, which I have cited. Lordship’s exchange/barter system does not need to be artificially attributed to Dr. MacArthur because it is his position.

There is no misrepresentation, no mischaracterization. There is, therefore, no straw man! Claiming “straw man” does nothing to negate the clear, incontrovertible evidence of Lordship Salvation’s barter system.


LM

For related reading see, Lordship Salvation: “The Great Exchange”

82 comments:

  1. Dear Guests:

    At another discussion board I am commenting at an individual posted a great comment that goes nicely with this article. The individual goes by the handle, “Goldie.” Here is Goldie’s comment.

    I’ve been reading up on Lordship Salvation recently, and the way I see it, it's obviously a works based salvation - and one sees a lot of it in churches and on various forums and websites, as opposed to true saving faith through the grace of Jesus Christ. What I’ve come to learn is that all one really needs to do is believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved - Jesus has done all the work. So simple, anyone can be saved, yet sadly, many people take the “you must repent of your sins” route first - which equates to works salvation, i.e., Lordship Salvation.

    Biblical repentance means a “change of mind”, i.e., to turn from unbelief to belief in the Lord Jesus Christ, yet this word (repentance) is greatly misunderstood and misinterpreted to mean that one has to turn from ones sins. So in effect, if you really think about it, if one can effectively turn from one’s sins in order to be saved - then why would you need a Saviour?

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  2. Hi Lou, got a couple of posts to make here.

    Goldie, if you're reading this (and I hope you are) here's something to put some "fia pwr" in your question.

    You asked if one can effectively turn from one’s sins in order to be saved - then why would you need a Saviour? GREAT QUESTION!

    Answer - you wouldn't need one at all.

    Ezk 18:21-23 NKJV

    21 “But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 22 None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live. 23 Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord GOD, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?

    If a person could turn from their sins and obey God - which is what John MacArthur's "hard demands" for Salvation are then YES the person would in fact be saved. So in a way "Lordship Salvation" has some element of truth in it.

    However, it is seeking Salvation by some means other than Jesus Christ. We know the futility of such an attempt from the words of the Apostle Peter in Acts 4:12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

    Kev

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  3. As I've been talking with Bridget over at my blog http://onmywalk.blogspot.com/2008/07/power-of-god-to-salvation.html she has been VERY revealing. To the point that works are clearly seen in Salvation, but because they are "God's" Works through us they don't count as a "works based salvation"

    I remembered Rom 4:6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:

    The word translated "apart" there is χωρις or "choris" and it means "separate from." God doesn't just save not based on Works, but God saves "separate from" Works. Works have NOTHING to do with Salvation. It doesn't matter if you want to ascribe them to God or yourself. God does not save with Works. He saves "separate from" them.

    There are no works involved in Salvation. If there are then Scripture lies.

    Therefore... there can be no "hard demands" for Salvation. There can be no "improvement" there can be no becoming "more Christ-like"

    There can only be Salvation by Grace through Faith - the Gift of God.

    I quoted my last reply heavily here because it is relavent to your article Lou.

    It's all well and good to talk about God's righteousness and how people "should" act... but the fact is that God says He declares people righteous "apart" from Works. They are not involved... neither as a requirement, nor as accompaniment - no matter who's "really" doing them.

    Kev

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  4. Kev:

    Thanks for the contribution.

    Lordship advocates use Calvinistic presuppositions such as regenereation, i.e., salvation, occurs prior to and apart from personal faith in Christ, to negate (steer around) the obvious works based message of Lordship Salvation.


    LM

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. Bro. Kevl,

    I deleted my first post because of typos!

    Excellent point about salvation being totally APART FROM works! And praise God that it is, because I know myself all too well. God knows me even better, so no wonder He put Isa.64:6 in the Book!!
    God Bless.

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  7. David:

    I appreciate your input and contribution.

    Lordship Salvation is a false gospel through addition. I encourage a balanced biblical defense against the inroads it is making into evangelical circles.

    Kind regards,


    Lou

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  8. Hey David,

    It's amazing how little things in the Word and refute huge theological systems. Try to get someone to engage you on this point (or others like it) though... they would rather talk about many other things.

    Kev

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  9. Lou,

    What they teach, mixing faith and grace with works and law, is not grace at all:

    "You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen away from grace."
    gal 5:4

    Abraham's example in Romans 4 illuminates that he was credited righteousness not after he was obedient to the law, but before! This is what faith is -- it is righteousness granted yet devoid of any opportunity to prove itself.

    "It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless...."
    rom 4:13-14

    "Worthless."

    Michele

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  10. Michele:

    Thanks for pointing these things out.


    LM

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  11. "As I've been talking with Bridget over at my blog http://onmywalk.blogspot.com/2008/07/power-of-god-to-salvation.html she has been VERY revealing. To the point that works are clearly seen in Salvation, but because they are "God's" Works through us they don't count as a "works based salvation"

    Hi Lou,
    Since kev is out of town, I was hoping that I could respond to this comment he made about me and that maybe you could answer on his behalf. I found it interesting that Kev would imply that I am promoting a “works-based” salvation, so let me state something and then ask you a question:

    I believe that salvation is dependent upon faith because without faith in Jesus Christ it is impossible for one to be saved. Would you say that from my statement I am promoting a “works-based salvation”?

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  12. bp:

    I observed some of the conversation you had with Kevin. You can pick it with him again if you like at his blog.

    As for me I reject all five points of Calvinism. I reject the extra-biblical extremes that flow from the circle logic of 5 point Calvinism.

    That is all I have to say at this time about Calvinism and its contribution to the egregious errors of Lordship Salvation.


    LM

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  13. But Lou, I didn't even mention or ask anything about Calvinism. It was just a simple question that had to do with Kevin saying on your blog that I was promoting a "works-based" salvation.

    Can you answer it? Thanks.

    Bridget

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  14. Bridget,

    Hi, I'm away and can not respond in a timely manner, nor do I have time to respond properly.

    You said plainly that Faith is a work, quoting John 6 as your definition ( a definition I would have previously agreed with before I studied more). You said that the works done for Salvation are those done by God through you, that you can't claim credit. However, you clearly stated that Faith is a work and that Salvation is By Grace Through Faith... you claimed agreement with those who say Regeneration preceedes Salvation so a person can do these works....

    That is a "works-based" Salvation. It is not Salvation "apart from" works.

    I am not twisting your words, the context of what you have said remains pure. Through our conversation you were very detailed and explained this concept in several ways.

    Looking forward to being home!
    Kev

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  15. Thanks for showing up to respond, Kev. You are right that I believe that faith is a work. I believe it is a work of God. But I’m not even asking whether you believe it is a work or not. I’m just asking you if you would say that I am adhering to a “works-based” salvation if I said the following:

    I believe that without faith in Jesus Christ it is impossible to be saved and therefore my salvation is dependent upon my having faith in Jesus Christ.

    That’s the question I was hoping you could answer.

    But after you answer that, I do have another question. You said:

    “Works have NOTHING to do with Salvation. It doesn't matter if you want to ascribe them to God or yourself. God does not save with Works… He declares people righteous "apart" from Works. They are not involved... neither as a requirement, nor as accompaniment - no matter who's "really" doing them.”

    Are you saying that God saves us apart from any works on His part?

    Thanks.
    Bridget

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  16. Bridget:

    I did not read with precision the thread at On My Walk. I am glad to see Kev provided some clarification.

    What I am going to share are general comments:

    Faith is a work of God” is Calvin speak for the teaching of regeneration prior to and apart from faith. This is how Lordship advocates attempt to divorce the call to works from their belief that, as John MacArthur states, “salvation is for those who are willing to forsake everything.” That screams works! So, the answer is Calvinism’s extra-biblical regeneration before faith.

    May I suggest you read these two articles, which will expand on the above.

    Lordship’s (out-of-Order) Salvation

    Impossible Decision

    Thanks for stopping by.

    Kind regards,


    LM

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  17. Thanks Lou. I read both articles. In-fact, I’ve done a lot of reading on this blog and read through long debates on Lordship (back and forth, back and forth), and I find it incredibly (and sadly) ironic that the very thing that you accuse those of us who ascribe to what is called “Lordship” of, namely- depending on something that we do in order to be saved, is the very thing that you are unknowingly doing.

    I could jump in the argument and go back and forth about whether the Bible teaches that saving faith = submission, forsaking sin, loving Christ etc, but it is easier to go right to the root of your argument. The root of your argument is that receiving eternal life is not dependent on anything you do. And in order to uphold this belief, you say that “receiving” or “believing” isn’t a work like submission or forsaking sin is. You said Kev, that we are saved “apart from works”.

    So my argument is this: Believing IS a work. The question is: Whose works are we saved apart from?

    Believing is a work:

    “Then he brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved”’ And they said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.’”-Acts 16:30-31

    “Then they said to him, ‘What must we do, to be doing the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’”-John 6:28-29

    “I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”-John 8:24

    To believe, to trust, to have faith in, to love, to have a heart that forsakes sin and submits…, these are all action words, they are all verbs. You said before Kev that believing isn’t a work, it’s like breathing, it just happens. Well, I’d agree with you that it is similar to breathing if you believe that our faith just happened in the same way our breathing just happened (God’s work). But this isn’t accurate in your belief system because you don’t believe that God was the cause behind your faith, you believe that there is a choice (a free will choice) that comes into play, which doesn’t happen with breathing. If two people hear the gospel and one believes and the other doesn’t believe, the one that believed DID something that the other didn’t do.

    Whose works are we saved apart from

    You said above that we are saved “apart” from works, no matter who is actually “doing” the works, even if it’s God. You said on your blog, “There are no works involved in Salvation. If there are then Scripture lies.” But I know you can’t believe that, Kev. When Eph 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not of yourselves. It is a gift of God, not of works so no man can boast”, do you think that God meant “not of anybody’s works including His own”? Of course you don’t. He did A LOT of works in order to save us, such as sending Jesus into the world to humbly lay down His life, pouring out His wrath on the Son, raising Him up on the third day, and a thousand other incidentals in making it happen…the whole GOSPEL is God’s work of salvation. So this passage obviously means that we are saved apart from any works “we do”, not apart from any works at all.

    Faith is “somebody’s” work. It doesn’t just happen (just as breathing doesn’t just happen and a baby being born doesn’t just happen). So it is either a work of man or a work of God. And you do not attribute your faith fully to God, you attribute it to yourself. And this is where the very root of all your arguments against Lordship fall apart, because, again the very thing you accuse Lordship adherers of doing (looking to/depending on something they do to save them or aid in saving them) is the very thing that you really(if unknowingly) do.

    And just to clarify unless you would suggest that I'm saying we don't actually "do" the believing, God does this for us. This is not what I'm saying at all. I DO believe, but God did/does the work that enables my belief, in the same way that it is "I" who breathes, but it is God who did the work to enable me to breathe.

    Bridget

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  18. And Kev, just in case you are tempted to reply by saying once again that believing isn’t anything you “do”, that it’s not a “work” you do, which would result in being able to take credit for it, let me just post some of your own words that show you believe the opposite so that you can see underneath the surface:

    Please converse about what must be done to RECEIVE Salvation

    We can talk about what a saved believer ought to do, but here and now we’re talking about what a Sinner must do in order to be Saved

    Does the person in the water drowning need to be smarter than the next man to grab the floatation device?

    It's like if I asked God, What must I do to do the works of God? And He answered "this is the work of God that you swing a hammer" and I swung the hammer, it would not be God swinging the hammer. It would be me, obeying God, and swinging the hammer.

    My point is the Bible requires that one believes, and then states that we are saved because we believed.

    I put my faith in Christ and He saves me

    It says, we heard, we believed and then we were saved and sealed with the Spirit. No regeneration first, no enabling by the Spirit first, no what we did was heard and believed and were saved
    -----------
    It’s a serious thing Kev. It makes me fearful to read your words. Look at them again: “no enabling of the Spirit first. No, WHAT WE DID was heard and believed and were saved” Please brother, prayerfully consider these things.

    Bridget

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  19. Bridget:

    The various extra-biblical Calvinistic presuppositions you rely on do not change the obvious implications of the Lordship interpretation of the Gospel. As MacArthur stated, “Salvation is for those who are willing to forsake everything.” That identifies LS as a works based message that frustrates grace (Gal. 2:20).

    Would you consider yourself a hyper-Calvinist?


    LM

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  20. No I would not.
    Tell me Lou, why does "having a willingness" to forsake everything constitute a "work", but "having a willingness" to believe the gospel does not?

    Bridget

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  21. "Willingness to forsake everything" is a promise, a resolve to perform; that is works!

    Believing is receiving what has been done.


    LM

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  22. "Willingness to forsake everything" is an attitude of the heart. It is a change in desire that comes with the change of mind (repentence). It is not a promise.

    Did you read my comments above?

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  23. If I believe the gospel...that I'm a sinner and that Christ died for my sin..He took my punishment for my sin at the cross...if I hear this gospel and belive it, along with believing this, my heart will automatically overflow with love for Christ and the desire of the heart will want to turn from sin.

    Are you implying that a person could be converted and then walk away without love for Christ or any desire to forsake sin?

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  24. But don't let the conversation steer you away from realizing that "believing" is something you DO in your heart Lou (If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead-Rom10:10), just like "loving God" is something you DO in your heart and submitting to Christ is something you DO in your heart.

    You just gotta ask yourself: What is the causation behind my "doing"?

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  25. Anyways, I was hoping we could converse, but I know it's late, so maybe tomorrow.

    God bless,
    Bridget

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  26. Bridget:

    I appreciate your desire to share what you believe, but I am not going to agree with you, which is quite obvious.

    I’ll address this question, and then close. You asked, “Are you implying that a person could be converted and then walk away without love for Christ or any desire to forsake sin?”

    Genuine salvation should be followed by a genuine desire to serve and live for Jesus Christ. The problem with LS, which makes it works, is that the lost are told they must make a commitment to, show a resolve to “turn from sin” to stop sinning and “start obeying” to BECOME a Christian.

    That is promising future works FOR salvation!


    LM

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  27. Lordship Salvation (LS) is what I have shown it to be from the writing of men such as John MacArthur. LS is a man-centered, work based non-saving message that frustrates grace (Gal. 2:21).

    The many extra-biblical presuppositions from the circle-logic of Calvinistic theology that are brought to that discussion do not negate or change the disturbing works based theology of LS.

    LS conditions salvation on what a sinner is promising to “DO.” Lordship’s Gospel is a promise to perform in exchange for the promise of eternal life. The Bible teaches that if the sinner believes in what has been “DONE” he is born again. Since through believing he is born again, and the Bible says that salvation cannot be received by doing, then believing is NOT doing.

    Believing is relying on Jesus and what He has done. Believing is depending on Him to do for you what you cannot do for yourself.


    LM

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  28. Bridget:

    I am not open to having my threads turned into a soapbox for Lordship Salvation or Calvinism. I do not mind discussion and debate, but you have made your point quite clear and I have addressed it.

    By way of fair warning, if you continue the same line of reasoning, “‘believing’ is something you DO” and equating that to LS’s promise of submission for salvation, I will delete those comments.

    Some blogs don’t administer that way, but I do for very specific reasons.


    LM

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  29. Hi Lou,
    Thanks for responding. I'm short on time this morning (it's my birthday and we're going to a friend's for dinner), but I will make time later to respond.

    Thanks.
    Bridget

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  30. "Genuine salvation should be followed by a genuine desire to serve and live for Jesus Christ. The problem with LS, which makes it works, is that the lost are told they must make a commitment to, show a resolve to “turn from sin” to stop sinning and “start obeying” to BECOME a Christian.

    That is promising future works FOR salvation!"


    No. This is upholding the truth that saving faith is a faith that affects the heart in such a way that they love God and desire to turn from sin.

    You even said above that the problem was that Lordship requires one’s “Willingness” to forsake everything, which I would agree with because it is an issue of the heart. When I am sharing the gospel or if someone asked me, “What must I do to be saved?” I would never say:

    "Well, you need to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. You have to show me that you’re resolved to turn from your sin by making a commitment to do this and start obeying right now, and you need to love God with all your heart. And if you do all these things then…wait, I might have forgotten something…well if I did, I’ll add that on later…" hehe. This is not Lordship at all!

    Lordship is about loyalty of the heart, and how this change of loyalty happens in conjunction with genuine repentance and faith. It is not a list of things I promise to do. This theme of loyalty runs throughout the Old and New Testaments. In Jer 2:13, the LORD declares, “My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” It is always an issue of a heart loyal to God versus a heart loyal to idols. Isaiah 45:22, “Turn to me and be saved all the ends of the earth! For I am God and there is no other!” The first commandment is: “You shall have no other gods before me.”

    And the New Testament is no different. In Eph 2, Paul talks about the Saints in Ephesus, about how they were once sons of disobedience, following Satan and the world. Vs 13, “But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” In John 8:44, Jesus tells the Pharisees “You are of your Father, the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.” It is ALWAYS an issue of loyalty to God versus loyalty to gods (idols).

    Paul says in Acts 26:20, “I preached that they should repent and turn to God…” What are they turning from? Their sin and idolatry. Can they mentally assent to the fact that they’re sinners separated from God and that Jesus died on the cross to take the punishment for their sin while at the same time their hearts are loyal to Satan and sin? That’s called hypocrisy. The Pharisees were hypocrites. They mentally assented their belief in God, but their hearts were far from Him. Their hearts were to do the will of satan.

    If I’ve been sharing with someone about sin and what it is, namely a turning to idols, following the world and our own sinful lusts instead of following God, I would certainly say, “turn from your sin and believe the gospel” because these are just two sides of the same coin and they are both changes that take place in the mind and heart first. To have a change of mind and believe the gospel is to also have a change of affections and loyalty from sin and idols to God, and to Christ. It is not just some mental assent I make that Jesus died for me.

    “For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.”-1 Thes 1:9

    At conversion you cannot be double-minded. You cannot have a heart and mind that believes and embraces Christ and a heart and mind that believes and embraces Satan.

    But I'm afraid I've done exactly what I said I didn’t want to do. Namely, jump in and debate whether or not believing = submitting, loving, and forsaking sin because I see it's been debated ad nauseam here. But maybe, by God's grace, you will see something in this you haven't before.

    Bridget

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  31. LS is a man-centered, work based non-saving message that frustrates grace (Gal. 2:21).

    I’m not sure what you call this belief you have (free grace?), so I’ll call it Non-Lordship Salvation (NLS). NLS teachings that a person changes their own mind and chooses to believe the gospel of their own free will is a man-centered, works-based non-saving message that frustrates grace.

    LS conditions salvation on what a sinner is promising to “DO.” Lordship’s Gospel is a promise to perform in exchange for the promise of eternal life.

    NLS conditions salvation on what a sinner is promising to “DO” (choose to believe). Non-Lordship’s Gospel is a promise to perform in exchange for the promise of eternal life.

    the Bible says that salvation cannot be received by doing, then believing is NOT doing.

    If believing wasn’t “doing” then the Bible wouldn’t say, “What must I DO to be saved?” If believing wasn’t doing, it wouldn’t say “What must I DO to be doing the works of God?”

    But the Bible is meant to be read with the understanding that God’s sovereign grace under-girds and is the foundation of everything we do and have (including our faith). This is evident throughout the entire Bible. “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.”-John 3:27

    In Phil 2:12-12. Paul says, “work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is GOD who works in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” We DO the working, but behind that is God WILLING us to work and enabling us to work. If God’s grace is behind it, it is not us who gets glory, it is GOD who gets glory.

    If my little girl put her hands on 100 lb weights and lifted them up over her head, but my husband’s hands were under the weights doing the actual lifting, who is it that should get credit for what she is “doing”? Is she lifting the weights over her head? Yes! But HE is behind the work she is doing, enabling her. If my little girl were to insist that it was HER that really did the lifting, THAT is what it is like for Christians to insist that it is THEIR free will choice to believe that ultimately decided their fate.

    Believing is relying on Jesus and what He has done. Believing is depending on Him to do for you what you cannot do for yourself.

    You may be relying on Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins, but under-girding that reliance is a belief that it was YOUR decision to (as Kev said), GRAB the flotation device, which was THE final determining factor in whether you were saved.

    We are not saved through faith in Jesus, we are saved BY GRACE, through faith in Jesus. It is a gift, not of works that we do lest any man should boast.

    Thanks you for considering these things.

    Bridget

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  32. bp:

    While I am open to discussing Lordship Salvation with you we need to hone in on a few themes and be concise in the posting.

    Blog articles and discussion do not go well when long comments are posted. I don't have time to dissect and sort through the issues when you write these LONG posts.

    You wrote, “You even said above that the problem was that Lordship requires one’s “Willingness” to forsake everything, which I would agree with because it is an issue of the heart.”

    John MacArthur’s documented position on LS is that the lost must be willing to forsake all FOR salvation. If I understand you correctly you disagree with hat just as I do.

    That being the case you are one among a growing number who are sympathetic to some form of LS, but disagree with John MacArthur’s extremes.


    LM

    ReplyDelete
  33. Well no, I don’t think that you do understand me correctly because I don’t disagree with MacArthur. Let me try to explain this as clear as I can.

    When you use the phrase “must be willing to forsake all FOR salvation”, great clarification needs to be made, because through I agree, it can be wrongly understood. The reason I do agree with him is because the ONLY people who will “be saved” are people who:

    Deny self and follow Christ (Luke 9:23, 2 Tim 2:11))

    Continue in faith (Col 1:23, 1 Peter 1:5, James 1:12)

    Love God (James 1:12, John 14:21))

    Perform works (Eph 2:10, James 2:14, Acts 26:20)

    Endure to the end (Matt 10:22, 2 Tim 2:12)

    This doesn’t mean that I’m saying we are saved BECAUSE we do these things. Justification of the believer DOES happen at conversion by grace alone through faith alone. But only those who had/have “genuine faith” resulting in genuine conversion resulting in all the above things will in the end be saved. And for this reason we can't say that we don’t have to be willing to forsake everything FOR salvation.

    The Bible is clear that in a very real sense we HAVE been saved (Eph 2:8), ARE BEING saved (1 Cor 1:18) and WILL BE saved (Matt 10:22).
    We can never divorce the beginning from the end from the “means”.

    I hope that makes it clearer (and that it wasn't too long :)

    Bridget

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hi All,

    I don't want to interrupt the conversation but I thought I would add some things at the risk of being repetitive.

    When one makes a case for what is required for salvation one must be sure to use Scripture that is making such a requirement.

    All who have "received" the Gospel are in fact absolutely Saved. 1 Cor 15:1-2

    This happens instantly and in that same instant it becomes an unchangeable fact. Abusing other Scriptures to imply that Salvation is by, maintained, or conditional on anything other than having "received" the Good News of Christ's finished work is a works based and man centered message that is no Gospel at all.

    That the Spirit dwells in and works on those who have "received" the Gospel is abundantly clear in Scripture. What is not in Scripture is that an unsaved, unindwelled (word?) sinner must (by any means) be willing to have these things happen through, to or by him.

    Jesus actually IS Lord. We need not be willing to submit to Him so that He'll save us. EVERYTHING was accomplished on the Cross for salvation. That's why it was "finished" there. There is no more "work" needed for Salvation.

    You asked if I believe God saves a sinner appart from works even He does. Scripture is CLEAR that God saves "apart from" Works. It does not just say the "works of men" but "apart from works."

    Salvation is based on the Cross. Not on it's affects. Did Christ die on the Cross? Your sin is paid for, and you are baptized into His death - you have died. Did Christ raise to life? Then you will also have life because having been baptized into Him you can now be alive in Him as well.

    That's the Gospel... nothing we must be willing to do could be the "Good News" of Salvation.

    Sorry this got longer than I intended Lou.

    Kev

    ReplyDelete
  35. When one makes a case for what is required for salvation one must be sure to use Scripture that is making such a requirement.

    I think I gave you clear Scriptural proof in my last post that we will not be saved apart from works (I can give a lot more though if that wasn't satisfactory).

    All who have "received" the Gospel are in fact absolutely Saved. 1 Cor 15:1-2

    Agreed! All who have "genuinely" received the Gospel HAVE been saved (Eph 2:8), ARE BEING saved (1 Cor 1:18) and WILL BE saved (Matt 10:22).

    Abusing other Scriptures to imply that Salvation is by, maintained, or conditional on anything other than having "received" the Good News of Christ's finished work is a works based and man centered message that is no Gospel at all.

    Kev, even you said in one of your other posts that your faith needed to be maintained. Are you now saying it doesn't?

    Jesus actually IS Lord. We need not be willing to submit to Him so that He'll save us.

    I strongly encourage you to read my last post again Kev. Submitting, loving Christ and hating sin aren’t things we do SO THAT He’ll save us. They are DEFINATE RESULTS (not arguable results) OF a saving faith that results in justification. And so can you SEE why we cannot tell people that you can be saved without them? You are divorcing the middle and the end from the beginning. “Genuine” saving faith at conversion WILL produce works and so if these works don’t manifest in your life, you should have NO assurance that you are or will be saved!

    BTW: We can debate about what one must do to be “justified” (what saving faith really is and how it changes the heart’s affections), but to tell a person that they can be saved without loving God or hating and battling sin (which means they can hate God and love sin) encourages false security and stands in the way of the “very means” God uses to bring people to true saving faith and keep them there.

    Bridget
    p.s. I'm sorry, but it's so hard to make these short when there's so much to cover.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi Kev:

    I appreciate your input on this vital doctrinal issue.

    You wrote, “Salvation is based on the Cross. Not on it’s affects. Did Christ die on the Cross? Your sin is paid for, and you are baptized into His death - you have died. Did Christ raise to life? Then you will also have life because having been baptized into Him you can now be alive in Him as well. That’s the Gospel... nothing we must be willing to do could be the ‘Good News’ of Salvation.

    That was a very good summation to your comments above.

    Our salvation is possible because of what Jesus did for us that we could not do for ourselves.


    Lou

    ReplyDelete
  37. bp:

    You wrote, “I hope that makes it clearer (and that it wasn't too long

    That was better.

    My primary concern in the discussion of the Gospel is NOT over what should be the natural result of a genuine conversion. My primary concern is how the lost man is born again, how he becomes a Christian.

    You’ll get little argument from me that the saved should deny self, bear the cross and follow Christ. However, Lordship’s demand for a commit to the results of salvation FOR salvation is a non-saving false interpretation of the Gospel.

    Couching the terms of Lordship Salvation in the presuppositions of Calvinistic theology do not negate or make right what is clearly a call on the lost for a promise to perform the way a Christian is expected to behave to become a Christian.


    LM

    ReplyDelete
  38. Hi Lou,
    I just answered on Kev's blog and what I said pertains exactly to your point about talking about what we must do TO BE saved instead of what the results are, so I'm just going to copy that portion here:

    do you realize that the Bible speaks of salvation in terms of “having been saved” (conversion), in terms of “being saved” (continual perseverance in faith), and in terms of “will be saved?”

    I keep hearing from you guys that we are constantly talking about what "results" from faith instead of what one has to do to be saved, and I know it seems that way, but I really AM talking about what one must do to be saved. Because when you ask what a person must do to be saved, you are "meaning" what does a person need to do to be "justified", but I'm looking at it from a three-pronged perspective:

    -Unless you endure to the end you will not "be finally saved."

    -Unless you are producing works in keeping with repentence you are not "being saved."

    -And unless you have repented and trusted in Christ for the forgivenss of your sins, you have not "been saved."

    By grace alone, through faith alone we are saved at conversion. We are justified before God and forever His. His Spirit in us keeps us persevering, and we are being saved. And He will keep us persevering to the end and we will be saved.

    I hope that makes it a little clearer.

    Too long, I know :(

    Bridget

    ReplyDelete
  39. bp:

    At his blog (On My Walk) Kev answered your various assertions. I will post them here and then offer a separate reaction.

    Unless you endure to the end you will not be finally saved.

    KEV- Moses, Solomon.. these two men did not endure to the end. Are they not saved? We've already talked about Moses at the Mount of Transfiguration.... we could talk about some other men who did not "endure to the end" but do we really have to?

    Unless you are producing works in keeping with repentance you are not being saved.

    KEV-Is that so? You’re not “being” saved if you’re not doing the work? That doesn’t seem to match with Scripture AT ALL. Heb 12, the chapter I oft reference seems to state that if we don't respond that the Spirit will just keep going in us. And seeing as a person is “Eternally Saved” the instant they “receive” the Gospel it seems very strange that one can’t be “confirmed” or “have assurance” unless they are “good enough” for the rest of their life.

    And unless you have repented and trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, you have not “been saved.”

    KEV- If one has repented to trust that Christ paid their price and has risen they are in fact eternally saved. No other discussion needed.

    By grace alone, through faith alone we are saved at conversion. We are justified before God and forever His. His Spirit in us keeps us persevering, and we are being saved. And He will keep us persevering to the end and we will be saved.

    KEV- Scripture tells us a different story. It says that God preserves us. Not that we persevere, either enabled or not. Mat 9:17 Luke 5:38 1 Thes 5:23 2 Tim 4:18 Jude 1:1

    We are preserved not enabled to persevere. Scripture shows us the failings of all the men of God. Even the great Apostle Paul who openly mocked the Corinthian's "super apostles" did not lay claim to having "persevered" only that he had fought and "kept the faith." Not that he had been "faithful" but that he had "kept the faith"

    Paul found no reason to brag. He would not judge himself. Why? Because he is not justified by what he can see in himself. He answers it himself. 1 Cor 4:1-5 Paul NEVER looked to works for the assurance of his or anyone else's Salvation. Neither do I. Works neither earn you Salvation nor confirm it. Many will do “good works” and in the end will be cast into outer darkness. Mat 7:21-23 They will call Him "Lord" and they will "do good works" but they will never have trusted Him and He will never have known them.

    A Christian will do good works, that seems pretty clear in Scripture. However the sinner is ALWAYS told not to work when he asks how to be saved. He is NEVER told to expect to work, want to work, promise to work.. he is told to "receive" and that is it.


    Kev:

    You have given Bible based answers to the extra-biblical presuppositions from the circle logic of five-point Calvinism that bp is bringing to the discussions.

    Thanks,


    Lou

    ReplyDelete
  40. Bridget:

    Your Calvinistic presuppositions are woven into your various statements. The problem is that you are trying to force into or extract from the Bible whatever you must to float the positions you are articulating. Furthermore, if you hold to a Calvinistic view of soteriology you need to consistently, clearly define your terms and meaning.

    For the benefit of my guests I am going to clarify your final statement with the Calvinistic presuppositions that you did not identify.

    You wrote, By grace alone, through faith alone we are saved at conversion. We are justified before God and forever His. His Spirit in us keeps us persevering, and we are being saved. And He will keep us persevering to the end and we will be saved.

    That first sentence (in bold) needs clarification from you if you are a Calvinist. Now, I am going to clarify that first sentence from the Calvinistic presuppositions.

    By an act of God’s irresistible grace the lost are saved. He is first regenerated, made spiritually alive, born again, apart from and prior to personal faith in Christ. After he has been regenerated God gives him the gift of faith.

    IMO, the only way to hold to that kind of view is by trying to force the Scriptures into conformity with the presuppositions of five point calvinism.

    In clear unvarnished terms that is how the Calvinist views soteriology; right? Do you believe regeneration precedes faith and that faith is a gift?


    LM

    *I am going to caution once again, I am not open to a soapbox for Calvinism at my blog.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Bridget, I'll be interested in your answer to Lou's question. Try not to see this as a personal thing, theology should stand on it's clear presentation in Scripture or it should be deleted.

    Kev

    ReplyDelete
  42. Hi Lou,
    You know I am Calvinistic in my theology. Yes, I do believe that regeneration precedes faith and that faith is a gift. In-fact, I believe the whole of salvation is a gift, not just part of it. When I read Scripture, I see crystal clearly that a lost, dead, enslaved sinner cannot bring anything to the table (including a reformed mind and heart that would turn to Christ) in order to commend himself to God. I find it the height of irony that you keep trying to prove that I am trusting in something I DO “TO” save me, when that is precisely what you are doing.

    Anyway, since you know what my theology is and yet you keep giving me warnings that you will delete my comments if I talk about them, then maybe we should just agree to disagree here and now.

    I would like to know how you interpret Matt 10:22 when it says, “the one who endures to the end will be saved" though.

    God bless,
    Bridget

    ReplyDelete
  43. bp:

    I do not mind a discussion of theology, but I will not tolerate presenting Calvin's theology without disclosing that it is Calvinistic presuppositions that under gird your comments.

    With that said, I think we can drop any further discussion of Calvinism in this thread.


    LM

    ReplyDelete
  44. Hi Lou-

    I see this comment thread has gone in a different direction than the content of your blog article. Sorry to barge in on the current conversation, but I have a question about these quotes of MacArthur’s I hope you (or someone) can answer for me. Here are the quotes again:


    “Saving faith is a commitment to leave sin and follow Jesus at all costs. Jesus takes no one unwilling to come on those terms.”

    “Saving faith does not recoil from the demand to forsake sin and follow Jesus Christ at all costs. Those who find his terms unacceptable cannot come at all”

    “Saving faith does not recoil from the demand to forsake sin and self and follow Christ at all costs. Those who find His terms unacceptable cannot come at all. He will not barter away His right to be Lord”

    Here is my question. Is MacArthur writing this to believers for our instruction or is this supposed to be evangelical? I am having trouble interpreting his intent.

    Thanks,

    JanH

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  45. To My Guests:

    bp holds to the extra-biblical beliefs that regeneration (salvation, the new birth) occur prior to and apart from personal faith in Christ. br furthermore believes faith is a gift.

    Both of these views can only be arrived at by forcing the Scriptures into compliance with the Calvinistic presuppositions that lead to the view that regeneration is before faith and that faith is a gift.

    Brother George Zeller has written extensively on the topics. I invite you to read

    The Danger of Teaching that Regeneration Precedes Faith

    The Danger of Teaching that Faith is the Gift of God


    LM

    ReplyDelete
  46. Hello Jan:

    Thanks for checking in. I believe you are new guest, welcome.

    These are among the quotes that even those who are sympathetic to MacArthur wish he would edit, explain or eliminate them.

    MacArthur views the demands of discipleship, the results of salvation, as the requirements FOR salvation. Not so much the performance of what is expected of a disciple, but he absolutely calls for a commitment of surrender and obedience to perform what is expected of a disciple FOR salvation.

    MacArthur looks at passages in Scripture that are clearly meant as instruction to the born again disciple of Christ on how he should live for and grow in Christ and he interprets them as strictly evangelistic. he views the call for cross bearing, self denial and following as necessary to be committed to in exchange for salvation.

    Look at his statement, “Saving faith is a commitment to leave sin and follow Jesus at all costs.” He is calling on the lost man to make a commitment to forsake committing sin and pledge allegiance and obedience to Christ FOR the reception of eternal life.

    That is a class ‘A’ example of how LS frustrates grace and corrupts the simplicity that is in Christ.

    Thanks for asking.


    Lou

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  47. Lou, I gotta say that I think it is quite unfair of you to tell your guests that I hold to Calvinistic presuppositions and then lead them to two links, the first of which has almost nothing to do with Calvinism and everything to do with Hyper-Calvinism, and the second of which takes quotes from MacArthur totally out of context and twists them to mean something I'm sure MacArthur would never have intended.

    I don't know you, but from all of the study you supposedly have done on Calvinism, I would think you would have a better grasp of it than this.

    Bridget

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  48. Faith is not a work. Romans 4:5 - "to him that worketh not but believeth."

    ReplyDelete
  49. Bridget:

    There is nothing unfair about naming the doctrine you have been basing many of your comments on. Plus, you just wrote, “Yes, I do believe that regeneration precedes faith and that faith is a gift.”

    Both of those links address teachings you admit to believing and they flow specifically from Calvinist theology.

    I interact with Calvinist regularly and have been for 20 years. I know for a fact that most all of them believe regeneration precedes faith and they will tell you they came to that conclusion from their Reformed/Calvinistic view of soteriology.

    Then I see you find the two links that address the teaching of regeneration before faith and that faith is a gift belongs to what is known as “hyper-Calvinism.” If you think those views define hyper-Calvinism then I must kindly tell you that you do NOT know what hyper-Calvinism is as my Reformed friends define it.

    As for MacArthur’s quotes: I have been dealing with and addressing his LS view since 1988. I know exactly what he is teaching and what he is referring to. It is the LS apologists such as yourself that are trying to repackage his views by burying them in Calvinistic presuppositions, the very same that MacArthur holds to and contributes to his LS interpretation of the Gospel.

    There is absolutely no doubt that MacArthur views the results of salvation as the requirements FOR salvation. He does not call on the lost to perform works for salvation. He DOES call on the lost to promise to perform the “good works” (Eph. 2:10) expected of a mature disciple of Christ FOR salvation. No question and based on many of his clear statements to that effect.


    LM

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  50. Hello Art:

    Thanks for the simplicity in that Scriptural truth.

    The Calvinist cannot allow even for faith in Christ because it does not fit their teaching of Total Inability. Therefore, they must dismiss the clear teaching of Scripture or redefine it. For example they twist Ephesians 2:8-9 to force it in compliance with their idea that regeneration must occur prior to and apart from faith in Christ.


    Lou

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  51. Hi Art, you said:

    Faith is not a work. Romans 4:5 - "to him that worketh not but believeth."

    Then the question you need to ask yourself is: “Am I NOT working, but believing?” This passage needs to be looked at with the proper Biblical perspective, which is through eyes of GRACE (we are saved by grace).

    In other words, IF you could say to me, “I believe, but GRACE is the foundation of my faith”, THEN you would be looking at this passage correctly and I would agree with you that you are not working, but believing.

    But since (correct me if I’m wrong), you believe that salvation is conditional upon your faith in such a way that you can choose of your own free will to believe or you can choose of your own free will not to believe, and if you choose the right thing then you’ll receive forgiveness and life, then I can not say you fit the bill of “NOT WORKING, but believing”, because your believing is not resting on a foundation of God’s grace, but rather on a foundation of your choice to believe. And that makes it a “IF you do this, THEN you’ll get this” sort of deal and that means it is merited. Grace is the FREELY given, UNMERITED favor and love of God. It isn’t based on anything we do (a foundation of our doing), but on what God does (a foundation of His grace).

    That Romans 4 passage you brought up goes on to say later in vs 16, “that is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace…”

    Paul repeats this concept in 1 Corinthians 2:3 when he says, “And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

    Bridget

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  52. Hi Lou,
    I'm disappointed to hear that you have been debating this for 20 yrs and and that you would still give links to sites that have so much misunderstanding mixed in with truth. I didn't say I disagreed with regeneration preceding faith on those sites, it's other stuff that so obviously misrepresents Calvinism.

    Bridget

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  53. Bridget
    The words of the text are really plain enough. "Worketh not but believeth." Opposites! Reading your remarks, I think you are mixing grace and works. So see Romans 11:6 - "And if it be of grace then is it no more works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work." Same with faith - Romans 3:27, "Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law of works? Nay; but by the law of faith."

    ReplyDelete
  54. bp:

    I'd appreciate your refraining from the "misunderstanding" claims against Zeller. I know the the next step will be "misrepresenting."


    LM

    ReplyDelete
  55. Hi Art,
    Yes, I completely understand that faith and (our) works do not mix.
    That is why I have been trying to show that the foundation of our faith is God’s grace, not what we decide to “do”. And that IF you believe that the foundation of your faith is your decision to believe then you are mixing grace and works just like you said.

    Look at the passage before in Romans 11 (verse 5), “So too, at the present time there is a remnant, *chosen by grace. (onto verse 6), "But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace would no longer be grace.”

    *We are chosen by grace, not on the basis of our decision to believe. Again, grace is the "freely given" and "unmerited" favor and love of God.

    God bless,
    Bridget

    ReplyDelete
  56. Hi Lou,
    Is Zeller the guy who wrote those two articles you linked? (I'm not familiar with him). Because if he is then he HAS misunderstandings of Calvinism. Just to point out a couple of things. He said:

    The Philippian jailer once asked, "WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?" (Acts 16:30–31 and compare Acts 2:37–38). Some extreme Calvinists, if they had been in Paul’s place, would have answered as follows: What must you do to be saved? Nothing! Absolutely nothing! You are spiritually DEAD and totally unable to respond to God until you are regenerated!

    No Calvinist I know would ever say that to someone asking how they can be saved. But maybe a Hyper-Calvinist would. I totally uphold man’s responsibility to repent and believe the gospel.

    He also said:
    They would say that a person must have eternal life before he can believe

    Again, no Calvinist that I know believes that. Regeneration does not = eternal life. It’s exhausting to have
    misrepresentations continuously repeated even after they’ve been corrected.

    Bridget

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  57. Briget, how can Matthew 23:37 fit with your theory - I would and you wouldn't?

    ReplyDelete
  58. Matthew 23:37 only affirms the total unwillingness of man to turn away from sin to Christ. It doesn’t give explanation as to why or how some DO turn to Him (But John 3:19-21 does). If you look at that passage Lou, and you think that this is not a description of you before God graciously drew you to His Son, then you are thinking wrong. A Biblical perspective would be to say, “There go I but by the grace of God”.

    You may not notice the undertones of works here…the undertones of being able to boast about something you did, but they are there and very noticeable to anyone who knows that God’s grace is the foundation of everything we have, including our faith.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Bridget,
    You seem to only be considering the part of the sentence that says "would not." Observe please, Matthew 23:37 isn't just "you would not" but both "I would" AND "you would not." What are these two "woulds" and how do they fit with your theory?

    ReplyDelete
  60. I would say that the “I WOULD” is Jesus’ sincere desire that they would turn to Him and be saved.

    Here’s two questions for you Art:

    Did God sincerely desire that men would not crucify His Son?

    Did He ordain that they would?

    ReplyDelete
  61. Bridget,
    Wait, I'm still on Matthew 23:37. You are now saying the "I WOULD" is Jesus' sincere desire that these people would turn to him. Doesn't this show that was God's choice for them, His will, and that they were the ones to blame, not God, for wrongly using their own wills?

    ReplyDelete
  62. Bridget:

    "...misrepresentations continuously repeated even after they’ve been corrected."

    And there is that word I knew was soon to follow. I'll have more for you later today.


    LM

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  63. Thank you for your warm and gracious welcome, Lou. I am indeed a new guest. :)

    I appreciate your answer to my question, especially since there is clearly a more pressing issue going on here right now.

    Perhaps there will be better opportunity to hear from the Lordship side on my question at a later time. (I do hope to hear the Lordship view from the Lordship adherents themselves on these quotes at some point. They may have a different take and should be allowed to defend themselves.)

    JanH

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  64. Art:

    Thanks for interacting with Bridget. I trust she will work through the specifics you are addressing from Matt. 23:37.


    Lou

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  65. Jan:

    Thanks for he reply.

    Actually your opening comment has more to do with Lordship Salvation than what Bridget is discussing, which is Calvinism.


    Lou

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  66. Hi Lou,
    Thanks so much for all you do here at your blog.

    ReplyDelete

  67. Wait, I'm still on Matthew 23:37. You are now saying the "I WOULD" is Jesus' sincere desire that these people would turn to him. Doesn't this show that was God's choice for them, His will, and that they were the ones to blame, not God, for wrongly using their own wills?


    Yes, I would agree that this shows that it was His will that they turn to Him and be saved, and also that they were the ones to blame, not God for refusing to turn to Him. But I asked you those questions because I was trying to show that there are many instances in Scripture where God wills something in one sense that He does not in another sense. For instance:

    His will was that men not break His moral law and murder His Son

    His will ordained that they would

    His will was that Joseph’s brothers would not mistreat him and sell him into slavery

    His will ordained that they would
    “So it was not you who sent me here, but God.”-Gen 45:8 (Joseph speaking to his brothers)

    A judge can have compassion and “will” that a condemned man repent of his crimes and be free from the prison he deserves. But that doesn’t mean that he “wills” him to go free. For the greater good, his will of decree (that he do the time for his crime) over-rides his will that he be free.

    Yes, Jesus was truly lamenting over the people of Jerusalem, but earlier in chapter 11:25, He says, “I thank you Father, Lord of heaven and earth ,that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children.”

    So He is lamenting over these people, and He is also thanking God that He has hidden these things from them.

    Everyone would agree God wills in one sense and not in another. It's just a matter of WHY? If you have a belief in "free will", then you'd probably say that God wills (or desires) that they turn to Him and be saved, but that He has a higher will (greater desire) that their free will remain in-tact, and for that reason He doesn't over-ride it.

    My belief is that He wills ( or desires) that they turn to Him and be saved, but that He has a higher will (greater desire), that He be glorified in the full display of both His grace and His judgment.

    I hope that helps Art. I know it's a lot to chew on.

    Bridget

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  68. In time I pray MacArthur will see these points you are making here. He is very good on those interviews with Larry King though. I know he knows the truth. He has simply been trying to compensate for the crossless advocates who have been perverting the gospel for a long time now, but we musnt put discipleship before salvation. The message must always be look and live, not pick up your crosses daily to live or to see if you really are alive or not.

    Still...I know he is my brother and knows the truth. He is a faithful witness when put before unbelievers. The fruit of the Lord comes out of him in a very good way.

    Grace upon grace,

    Brian

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  69. Brian:

    Thanks for the note. I appreciate your heart for MacArthur.

    You touched on one of the reasons for the development of Lordship Salvation. MacArthur is trying to answer the obvious problems with the Grace Evangelical Society’s “Crossless” gospel. MacArthur often targets the teachings of Zane Hodges, which are legitimate targets because they are heretical, reductionist views of the Gospel.

    Dr. Pickering said, “John MacArthur is a sincere servant of the Lord, of that we have no doubt.... We believe in his advocacy of the so-called lordship salvation he is wrong. He desperately desires to see holiness, lasting fruit, and continuing faithfulness in the lives of Christian people. This reviewer and we believe all sincere church leaders desire the same.... But the remedy for this condition is not found in changing the terms of the gospel.”

    Frankly, he has been teaching the LS view for so long I think his conscience has been seared from recognizing he has departed biblical orthodoxy. He has lost his balance and apart from a genuine working of the Holy Spirit he is going to keep teaching LS’s works based message.

    The few times I have seen him on Larry King I have appreciated much of what he says on various topics. However, he is not sharing the whole picture for salvation as he teaches it in his books. That is the problem with TV sound-bytes. You have little time to speak your full mind.

    His books are the definitive documents for LS and in them you find the egregious errors of making a commitment to the results of salvation (discipleship) the requirement for salvation.


    Lou

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  70. Bridget,
    Reading your remarks, God must have His fingers crossed when declaring His will. Can He be believed? And withholding information He jugdes people for not having it. This glorifies Him?

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  71. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  72. Sorry Bridget:

    That last post by crossed the line and I deleted it. I will not tolerate any links to material by John Piper. Why?

    Piper is a self described 7 point Calvinist, which includes double-predestination. Piper believes the miraculous sign gifts are still in operation, such as tongues. Piper supports the Toronto Blessing. Piper has had RAP artists perform in his church (I saw the video of it).

    There is more, but those are reasons enough for me to block any link to his teaching ministry.

    I will attempt to e-mail your comment back to you for reposting MINUS any links or presentation of Piper’s teaching.


    LM

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  73. Yes, Bridget, according to your view it does appear that God has His fingers crossed. But I don't agree with your premise and don't think that. What I think is this - that you consider saving faith to be a gift from God, that humans themselves are unable to believe, that faith is given to select people only, and desiring support and defense for theories related to this, you are mischaracterizing God's plan for the crucifixion of Christ. While the crucifixion most certainly was ordained of God, individuals participated, not because they had to, but by choice, and were held accountable for what they did. Jesus plainly said, "It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come" (Luke 17:1). So God Himself was consistent in both planning the crucifixion and denouncing those who did the evil. And if God was consistent, so much for your argument about that.

    All of that is a rabbit trail. My disagreement with you centers in your claim that saving faith is a gift from God and a work. You insist that faith is a work despite Romans 4:5 - "to him that worketh not but believeth;" you claim human faith is meritorious despite Romans 3:27; and after reluctantly facing the "I would" and "you would not" of Matthew 23:37 you seek to neutralize Matthew 23:37 by casting God's secret will against His revealed will. You are impossible. It is MAN who does the believing - "with the heart MAN believeth unto righteousnes" and this is why "I would" and "you would not" matters. Faith is activity on the inside, "the heart," and is not considered by God to be working for salvation - "he that worketh not but believeth." And due to its non-meritorious character (boasting excluded by the law of faith), being unlike works, faith is compatible with the meaning of grace (Rom. 4:16, 11:6). Injecting your idea of faith as a work of God at Romans 4:5 is totally uncalled for. It is true that God works in people's lives, giving opportunies to believe, but in no way does this mean saving faith is created by God within anyone. John 6:29 does not say "this is the work of God, your belief" but rather "this is the work of God, that ye believe." Like Phil. 1:29, "given to believe" does not mean "given belief." This is why "he that believeth not shall be damned" makes sense and which could make no sense at all if God were to blame for not giving faith.

    Bridget, Monday was my day off and is why I was able to respond to you repeatedly that day.

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  74. Hi Art,
    I have never said that God was not consistent in both planning the crucifixion and denouncing those who did the evil. I uphold both! I was simply sharing with you the truth that in one sense God did not will (desire) that those offenses be perpetrated against His Son and in another sense (for the greater good) He did. That’s all. And in the same way, God can will (desire) that all would turn to Him and be saved and in another sense (for the greater good) not. This doesn’t mean that God is rejecting those who would ever sincerely come to Him, because they “would not”.

    And again, I agree faith and works don’t mix. That’s why I’ve tried to show that if you believe that the foundation of your faith is your own decision, then you are doing just that. You are mixing your works with faith.

    “So too, at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace would no longer be grace.”-Rom 11:5-6.

    “And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”-1 Cor 2:3

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  75. Bridget,
    Your arguments and denials don't make sense. You have indeed put God at odds with Himself in trying to explain Matt. 23:37. Nor do I view faith like you do as simply "based upon" grace, but instead, grace and faith are fully compatible principles in the texts discussed. Your claim to agree with things I'm saying just isn't so. You DON'T mean what I do and you know you don't. How can you possibly not see that I am disagreeing with you about faith as one's own decision being works? It is not! We absolutely do not agree. With you, man has no choice, just goes to hell because God doesn't give him faith. No thank you! You have some novelty slants. I see that, but you are a Calvinst, plain enough, and don't agree with what I've been saying about grace and faith and works.

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  76. I'm sorry for the confusion Art. I do agree with many things you are saying, including that faith and works do not mix. And you are right, I don't agree with your interpretation that choosing of your own free will does not add any work into the mix. Namely because Scripture teaches that sinful man does not have the ability in our blind/dead state to respond. Not because we're poor lost orphans that God won't adopt, but because we're rebellious, defiant sinners who want nothing to do with God, and everything to do with our own lustful sins. John 3:19-21 and other passages make it very clear that sinners love the darkness and hate the light. It makes it clear why it is that some do what is true and come to the light. Nothing to do with a decision we make, but with a decision God makes. That's what grace is. The unmerited, freely-given favor and love of God.

    I'm going out of town this afternoon for several days. I don't know if I'll have the opportunity to respond back or not, but I'll check and see if it still going when I get back.

    God bless you,
    Bridget

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  77. Hi Bridget,
    I hope you had/are having a nice vacation this week.

    I’m afraid I have to disagree with you on something. This is from your post to Art:

    “And again, I agree faith and works don’t mix. That’s why I’ve tried to show that if you believe that the foundation of your faith is your own decision, then you are doing just that. You are mixing your works with faith.”


    The only way to conclude someone is mixing faith with works if the man is the one doing the believing is to make the defining character of faith contingent upon something other than the essential nature of faith. It is not the foundation of faith that determines whether or not it is a work, nor does whether or not the man is doing it make it a work. Faith is not a work because of its very nature. Faith can no more be a work than rest can be labor. Who is responsible for faith happening does not determine whether it is a work. If that were the case, then no matter what it would really be a work because no matter what someone or Someone has to do it. The only difference would be whether it was God or the man doing it. But it would either be God working or the man working. So faith would be a work regardless. The foundation of it would not change that. On the contrary, if the foundation were the issue, that would establish faith as a work. There is not some kind of technicality that can cause faith to be confounded with works. It simply isn’t work by its very nature just as rest by its very nature is not labor. The differences are inherent and do not need a source outside them (i.e.- the foundation) to define them, nor can a source outside them confound the inherent definitions. Their mutual exclusivity is evident. To take any view that makes faith a work makes the teaching in Scripture that faith is not work nonsense. Paul would have no grounds to contrast faith and works if faith was really a form of work, however that came to be or whoever was doing it. Rather than keep the individual doing the working or believing the constant in Romans 4:5, he would have had to say that faith is a work and therefore God must do it. But instead he identifies the person as doing either work or believing. The person doing something is the constant. What the person is doing changes.

    The underlying premise that I disagree with is that if the man does the believing, it must be a work simply because it is something being done. It is evident by considering rest contrasted with labor that the same person may do both. But that the one excludes the other is evident by the very nature of the thing being done.

    JanH

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  78. Art:

    Thanks for dealing with Bridget's comments here. Your replies and note were very helpful.

    As you noted she comes to these discussions from the presuppositions of Calvinism, including the extra-biblical view that faith is a gift.

    Thanks again,


    Lou

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  79. Jan:

    You wrote, "Faith is not a work because of its very nature. Faith can no more be a work than rest can be labor. "

    That was a good point and I appreciate your extended comment. Many of comments from Bridget are because of the belief that man can in no way participate in salvation. He cannot even respond to the Gospel.

    Plus, if we allow for the biblical truth that man can believe (Rom. 10:9-10) that there is human freedom to choose and be saved she views that as an assault on God's sovereignty.

    Thanks for the notes.


    Lou

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  80. Art,

    I'm just getting caught up here. Your post of 8/06/2008 9:36 AM was very good.

    Kev

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  81. It should be mentioned that at my blog Bridget posted James 2:14-26 in defense of her position that people are not justified "apart" from works.

    Jan, you gave a very strong description of the contrast of Faith and Works. I want to thank you for this description, I intend to use it often. You got to the point of the difference, bot that it doesn't mater who's working, if it's work then it's work. AND that if Faith IS work then the Apostle Paul's writing is nonsensical.

    Thank you for this. I'm not sure if you know what a stab in the heart of the Additionist's gospel you have just accomplished. Even if only us few see this description you have written here there will be bountiful fruit from it. I'm very thankful to God for His leading you hear for this discussion. You've put words to thoughts that have been plaguing my mind.

    Kev

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  82. To All:

    This has been a good discussion.

    Jan, I echo Kev's reaction to your penetrating comment above. Please feel free to comment here as often as you like.

    This seems to be a good place to close this thread. If any want to include an additional note, e-mail it to me and I will review it for posting.

    Thanks to all,


    Lou

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