Dear Guests of IDOTG:
In my previous article I included the following edited excerpt from IDOTG: Biblical Answers to Lordship Salvation.
“It would seem reasonable to me that men who claim the Bible as their sole authority should be willing to openly discuss their doctrinal positions. This at least allows for a better mutual understanding, if not reconciliation of any differences. The Bible teaches that doctrine is the basis for all unity and practice. How then can men call for unity (or biblical separation) if there exists an unwillingness to openly discuss their doctrinal positions and define their terms with precision?”Today we are returning with the third in the series in which I am reviewing select excerpts from Dr. Dave Doran’s series, The Gospel and Separation, Part 3. In the first installment of this review, among other important considerations, I discussed his usage of the term, “final salvation.”
Dr. Doran recognized clarification of the term was sought and he responded with a brief reply here from his blog, Glory and Grace. I have read and also referenced his reply in my previous article, Interim Discussion and Primer for the Balance.
The following is a compilation of my thoughts on the subject plus discussion points drawn from several men I communicated with who have considered Dr. Doran’s Part 3 of The Gospel and Separation and his clarification article on the usage of “final salvation.”
Is Dave Doran in Error When He Uses the Phrase “the promise of final salvation?”
I would say the term “final salvation” in itself is not necessarily wrong, but I have been noticing a tendency of Calvinist/Lordship Salvationists using this term in such a way that raises a red flag. John Piper used it in his book What Jesus Demands From the World, in such a way that disturbing implications are evident, which will be referenced below.
An analogy to “final salvation” might be the term “full gospel.” While “full gospel” may be a valid concept in that nothing should be detracted from the gospel, that term has found a common usage among Pentecostals who claim their version of “tongues” and “spiritual gifts” should be included in the preaching of the gospel. In the same way “full gospel” raises a red flag, so may the term “final salvation.”
Biblically, there is a salvation, which we await (Rom. 13:11; Heb. 9:28; 1 Pet. 1:5). This is not salvation from Hell, but salvation from everything involved in living under the curse (Rom. 8:18-23) including sufferings, unglorified bodies, *possession of the sin nature (Rom. 7:23), living under corruption, and even the time of wrath that is coming upon the earth unto glorification with Jesus Christ (1 Thess. 5:9). In other words, this “final salvation” is “glorification.”
In recent days I have been communicating extensively with a friend about various elements of the Gospel, Dr. Doran’s commentary and my initial review. Knowing I would post at length on “final salvation,” in his most recent e-mail he shared the following with me, which I appreciate:
“It sounds like Dr. Doran is espousing the basic doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. Arminians taught that the saints would be saved if they persevered. Calvinistic men teach that since believers are justified, they will persevere in the faith. Salvation is a term that covers foreknowledge – glorification and everything in between those two items. Final salvation, therefore, is another term for glorification. All justified people will persevere and be glorified = final salvation.”Scripturally, glorification is inherent to the package of blessings guaranteed with our salvation from hell or justification. In other words, glorification is guaranteed with salvation from hell with no other conditions (Rom. 5:9; 8:29-30; 8:32-39; 1 Cor. 15:51-57; 2 Cor. 1:22; 5:1-5; Eph. 1:13-14; 2:5-8; 4:30; 1 Thess. 5:4-10; 2 Thess. 1:10). It is simply a matter of time before the blessing is actually realized-- partially realized upon death (Phil. 1:23) and fully realized at Christ’s return for the church (Phil. 3:20-21).
The problem is when Lordship Salvation advocates say or imply there are conditions, requirements, or things necessary leading up to “final salvation” in addition to the person’s initial faith through which he was saved, i.e., born again (Eph. 1:13-14; 2:5-8). For example John Piper wrote:
“There is no doubt that Jesus saw a measure of real, lived-out obedience to the will of God as necessary for final salvation.” (What Jesus Demands From the World, p. 160).Since glorification is part of the package deal of salvation and is guaranteed along with justification, which is by grace through faith apart from works, how can “lived out obedience to the will of God” (i.e., works) be “necessary for final salvation?”
Piper’s statement clearly implies obedient Christian living is “necessary for final salvation.” The implication being if the foreordained “good works” (Eph. 2:10) are not performed then “final salvation, i.e., glorification will not be realized. While I appreciate Dr. Doran’s clarifying response to the question(s) raised here he might consider distancing himself from, rejecting Piper’s expression of “final salvation” and admonishing him for it.
There are Calvinists, who advocate Lordship Salvation, that think they have escaped the charge of works based salvation by saying the “good works” (Eph. 2:10) are required for “final salvation,” but not “initial salvation.” If the works of a disciple **promised or performed are required in any sense to reach Heaven with Jesus Christ, how can one truly say salvation is “by faith…not of works”?
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast,” (Eph. 2:8-9).
Please continue to Does “Final Salvation” Serve as a Cover for Works Salvation?
*In one sense, all believers have already realized salvation from the sin nature in that we’ve died to it so that it no longer has the right to control us (Romans 6:2; 11), but at the same time we still possess it and may give into it (Romans 6:7; 12) until death or rapture.
**See- John MacArthur’s Performance Guidelines for “Lordship” Salvation