Dear Guests of IDOTG:
There are two assaults on the Gospel that are of particular interest here at Lou’s blog. They are Lordship Salvation1 and the newer “Crossless Gospel,”2 also known as the Promise Only gospel. While the two are often seen as polar opposites, Tim V. P. has noticed an interesting similarity between them. Lou has asked me to introduce Tim’s article because I have noticed and commented in past months on this similarity. The connection is- they BOTH fail to bring the sinner directly to the cross of Christ for salvation.Tim posted a very articulate comment outlining this connection. In fact, I felt Tim had articulated the matter so well that I asked Lou if he would approach Tim about posting his comment on the blog as an article. Lou felt the same way I did and Tim was agreeable to the suggestion; thanks Tim! So without any further ado, here is Tim’s (updated) very important article. *Jan Hawthorne
*Jan is author of the two part series titled, If Anyone Eats of This Bread…
1) Summary of Lordship Salvation From a Single Page
2) The Hollow “Gospel” of the Grace Evangelical Society
This morning I received one note of concern from a friend in regard to this (guest written) article. What follows is an edited version of my personal reply, which I want to make available for consideration by all.
I posted this article on behalf of those who believe there is a similarity on this one point between Lordship Salvation (LS) and the Crossless Gospel (CG) in regard to the cross of Christ as they expressed it. I felt it worthwhile to post for consideration by all. The thread is open for any who want to challenge what this article alleges. Any legitimate concerns will be posted in this thread.
Most people in these discussions understand one another in that there is a vast chasm between LS and the CG on the necessity of belief in the Lord’s deity, resurrection and what He did to provide salvation on the cross. I do understand the frustration some may have with this paragraph (bold especially) with it suggesting LS men are opposed “faith in the cross work” of Christ.
“While they appear to be opposite sides of the same coin, it seems to me that they are joined at the hip at the point of opposition to faith in the cross work of our Lord Jesus Christ as the necessary first step for the sinner in receiving salvation. Both LS and CG advocates say in their own way that a birth relationship with God can be established apart from the cross of Christ, apart from the necessity of the death of Christ on the cross as the only point of contact between an absolutely holy God and the spiritually dead sinner…”Maybe I should reiterate that my chief concern in the Gospel discussions is over justification. The post-conversion experience in sanctification is an important discussion, but that is not where my main concern lies. I believe there should be genuine results following a genuine conversion. However, I do believe it is legitimate for some to question whether LS men present the cross as the central and primary theme in their evangelism.
In virtually every LS message I’ve been exposed to, the primary message to the lost (in various ways) is their being called upon for a commitment to do the “good works” foreordained for a Christian to become a Christian, i.e., to be born again.
The cross may be in a LS man’s evangelistic appeal, but in my experience belief in the cross work of Christ frequently becomes an underlying theme, losing its centrality to themes of cross-bearing, following and commitment as co-conditions for salvation that are inherent in LS evangelism. I have been in and/or heard services where LS was preached and belief in the cross FOR salvation was NEVER mentioned. Those are some examples of why I often refer to LS as “man-centered.”
What I would like is to have is an overwhelming amount of examples in which LS men like John MacArthur preaches the necessity of belief in what Jesus did on the cross at the central theme of the saving message. I want to read where LS men condition justification on acceptance of and belief in the cross work of Christ, apart from the lost man’s commitment to do the foreordained “good works” (Eph. 2:10) expected of a Christian. I would like examples of MacArthur preaching the cross and the necessity of belief in the cross for justification apart from a “wholehearted-commitment” to discipleship?
If it can be shown that JMac and the better-known LS men consistently preach the necessity of a lost man’s acceptance of and believing in the cross work of Christ as the central theme and focal point of the saving message and that he (the lost man) can be saved based on that belief (deity and resurrection being givens) apart from a personal commitment to do the works of a disciple then I’d be happy to post those examples in this thread.