November 2, 2009

The Gospel & Separation: Interim Discussion and Primer for the Balance

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

Last week I began a critical review of the on line series by Dr. Dave Doran, which appears at his Glory & Grace blog. The series under review is titled, The Gospel and Separation. The series at Glory & Grace continues, but has taken on some new sub-titles. The primary area under consideration here, however, is Part 3 of his series. However, before I continue with my review of Brother Doran’s comments I want to do a bit of important housekeeping.

In my reviews and/or publications of various doctrinal or practical issues- Personality has not been the issue. In my efforts to address and expose the twin errors of Lordship Salvation and the Crossless Gospel I have made every effort to avoid any appearance of a personality clash because there is none. For example, although I utterly reject the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel of *John MacArthur I can and do appreciate his good work with other concerns such as the Charismatic and Emergent movements and his public rebuke of Mark Driscoll for his (Driscoll’s) “filthy communication” (Col. 3:8).

When we discuss doctrine, personalities are involved and some will take it personally when the public statements of personalities come under scrutiny. Some men in our Christian circles are very popular and have a following. I understand how some can take offense when a man they love and respect has his public teaching come under legitimate scrutiny.

My desire is for all concerned to understand that in the review of Dr. Doran’s doctrinal statements there is no personality clash. We are reviewing, discussing and seeking clarification of statements from a man who is addressing the Gospel and separation in a public venue. That is all.

For those who may not be aware of it Dr. Doran and I have a long time personal relationship. It goes back to 1995, possibly 1994 when I was a deputation missionary to South Africa. I asked for and was given an opportunity to present my case or South Africa at Inter-City Baptist Church (ICBC) where Dr. Doran was and still is the senior pastor. That Sunday I spoke to the church about my call and preached from the Scriptures on the need of missionary effort to the uttermost parts of the earth. The next day I was able to go along with the ICBC youth group on a ski outing to Mt. Brighton. I had a great time, ICBC took me on for support and it continued until I came home from the field.

To be fair and transparent I want my readers to know that while I was on the field in South Africa I did begin writing critically of Calvinism and Lordship Salvation. In my book IDOTG: Biblical Answers to Lordship Salvation I explain why this became necessary at our Bible college. Dr. Doran contacted me about it and after some discussion he decided that because I had gone public in opposition to Calvinism, which he and his church holds to, that it would be appropriate to discontinue our cooperative effort, but not until I came home from the field so that my family would not be under any undue financial pressure while still on the field. Dr. Doran also said that he had not fully read the position paper on Lordship Salvation, but in his opinion he would likely have serious disagreements with it. I had no problem with his decision and thanked him and his church for their support. I sincerely appreciate the time we enjoyed together in a cooperative effort for the cause of global missions.

As we continue this series in review of Dr. Doran’s The Gospel and Separation, Part 3 I trust all readers will view this as a critical review of statements published in a public venue. The Gospel is the foundation of our faith. Good men can discuss the doctrine apart from a personality clash.

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? (Edited excerpt from IDOTG.)
In my next installment (to follow later in the week) I am going to address Dr. Doran’s use of the expression, “the promise of final salvation.” Late last week Dr. Doran responded from his blog to the question(s) raised here in the previous article about that expression. His reply to the requests for clarification raised here appear under the title, One Less Nit to Pick.

I appreciate Dr. Doran’s attempt to put in context and clarify the “final salvation” statement. I will also include a few remarks about his reference to, “the biblical gospel in its fullness.” Following my commentary on Brother Doran’s, “final salvation” I will then, in a new article, turn my attention to his reference of the “Lordship” of Christ in Gospel preaching.

Yours in His service,


*See John MacArthur’s Discipleship Gospel

Please continue to, Is the Term “Final Salvation” Necessarily Wrong?

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