August 24, 2009

Lordship Salvation: Lordship Advocates, Tell Us Who Defines LS in a Way You Would Agree With?

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

In my previous article(s) on the personal testimony of Charles Haddon Spurgeon it is clear he did not endorse Lordship’s salvation by faith, plus commitment of life evangelism. See-

Lordship Salvation: Charles Spurgeon’s Personal Testimony Speaks Against It

Lordship Salvation: Charles Spurgeon Speaks (more than once) Against It

In the most recent of the two articles I opened with an extended commentary on the “
mantra like cries of misrepresentation” that attach themselves to any discussion of Lordship Salvation (LS) that is not in agreement with the primary advocates of LS. Following that abbreviated commentary I am going to give you, the advocates of LS, the opportunity to name any writer, commentator, preacher who openly rejects Lordship Salvation, but you believe accurately represents LS in his refutation of it.

Whenever you engage the theology of Lordship Salvation (LS) you can count on mantra like cries of “misrepresentation” from its advocates. You can quote verbatim and in context the advocates of LS, allowing them speak for themselves without commentary, letting the stark truth of their message unfold in their own terms and still you are going to hear cries of misrepresenting what they teach and/or believe.

From the writing of its chief advocates you can demonstrate Lordship’s message of eternal salvation through an upfront commitment to discipleship and surrender of life expected of a born again Christian to BECOME a Christian.

In Spurgeon’s personal salvation testimony there is no hint whatsoever of the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel. In the comment thread I followed Spurgeon’s personal salvation testimony with quotes from John Macarthur, Lordship’s most recognizable apologist. Predictably, an advocate of LS (in public and in private) complained that LS and Spurgeon were being misrepresented and that the use of selective quotes from Spurgeon misleads readers about Spurgeon’s thinking.

Brother George Zeller shared some thoughts with me on the complaint raised by that LS advocate in regard the Spurgeon’s testimony article. The complaint was that posting Spurgeon’s salvation testimony does not accurately reflect Spurgeon’s “
entire train of thought.” With Brother Zeller’s permission I am sharing his response to that concern. He wrote,

It was a lengthy quotation from Spurgeon himself. It was not taken out of context. It is his conversion account in his own words. His main point is that he was saved by simply looking to Christ (not to himself), and by simply trusting Christ.

In his account,
there is not a hint of Lordship Salvation (though Spurgeon certainly taught Lordship sanctification, as we all should). This is in complete agreement with his teaching elsewhere, as the following quotation shows.
Now, it is your turn. The thread is open for you, anyone who agrees with LS’s message. You are welcome to name any person who is on public record rejecting Lordship Salvation (LS) that you believe is fair and accurate as he defines LS in his refutation of it. No commentary is needed unless you would like to briefly mention why you believe the source is a fair and accurate representation of LS.

I have three names and sources that come immediately to mind, but for the moment we’ll not consider my inclusions. Please take a moment to post a name and citation, with link if available, of the source(s) that contain what you believe accurately represents LS while it is being refuted by the author.

Yours faithfully,


LM

August 17, 2009

Lordship Salvation: Charles Spurgeon Speaks (more than once) Against It

Whenever you engage the theology of Lordship Salvation (LS) you can count on mantra like cries of “misrepresentation” from many of its advocates.* You can quote verbatim and in context the advocates of LS, allowing them speak for themselves without commentary, letting the stark truth of their message unfold in their own terms and still you are going to hear cries of misrepresenting what they teach and/or believe.

From the writing of its chief advocates you can demonstrate Lordship’s message of eternal salvation through an upfront commitment to discipleship and surrender of life expected of a born again Christian to BECOME a Christian. Lordship’s commitment and surrender in “exchange” for salvation message for example **runs like a thread through all three editions of John MacArthur’s The Gospel According to Jesus and still the LS people cry, “misrepresentation” when this is demonstrated.

Last week I posted the personal salvation testimony of Charles Spurgeon. See- Lordship Salvation: Charles Spurgeon’s Personal Testimony Speaks Against It. In his testimony there is no hint whatsoever of the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel. In the comment thread I followed Spurgeon’s personal salvation testimony with quotes from John MacArthur, Lordship’s most recognizable apologist. Predictably, an advocate of LS (in public and in private) complained that LS and Spurgeon were being misrepresented and that the use of selective quotes from Spurgeon misleads readers about Spurgeon’s thinking.

Brother George Zeller shared some thoughts with me on the complaint raised by that LS advocate in regard to Spurgeon’s personal testimony article. The complaint was that posting Spurgeon’s salvation testimony does not accurately reflect Spurgeon’s “entire train of thought.” With Brother Zeller’s permission I am sharing his response to that concern. He wrote,

It was a lengthy quotation from Spurgeon himself. It was not taken out of context. It is his conversion account in his own words. His main point is that he was saved by simply looking to Christ (not to himself), and by simply trusting Christ. In his account, there is not a hint of Lordship Salvation (though Spurgeon certainly taught Lordship sanctification, as we all should). This is in complete agreement with his teaching elsewhere, as the following quotation shows.
Following the “quotation” Zeller referenced above I will close with some personal commentary.

Looking to Christ and Not to Self
The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon entitled A Sermon for the Worst Man on Earth (based on Luke 18:13). See www.spurgeongems.org. [Sermon #1949]
Then, dear Friends, remember, if we begin to preach to sinners that they must have a certain sense of sin and a certain measure of conviction, such teaching would turn the sinner away from God in Christ to himself. The man begins at once to say, “Have I a broken heart? Do I feel the burden of sin?” This is only another form of looking to self. Man must not look to himself to find reasons for God’s Grace. The remedy does not lie in the seat of the disease—it lies in the Physician’s hands. A sense of sin is not a claim, but a gift of that blessed Savior who is exalted on high to give repentance and remission of sins. Beware of any teaching which makes you look to yourself for help! You must, rather, cling to that doctrine which makes you look only to Christ! Whether you know it or not, you are a lost, ruined sinner, only fit to be cast into the flames of Hell forever. Confess this, but do not ask to be driven mad by a sense of it. Come to Jesus just as you are and do not wait for a preparation made out of your own miseries. Look to Jesus and to Him alone.

If we fall into the notion that a certain sense of sin has a claim upon God, we shall be putting salvation upon other grounds than that of faith—and that would be false ground. Now, the ground of salvation is—“
God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” A simple faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the way of salvation! But to say, “I shall be saved because I am horribly convicted of sin and driven to desperation,” is not to speak like the Gospel, but to rave out of the pride of an unbelieving heart. The Gospel is that you believe in Christ Jesus; that you get right out of yourself and depend alone on Him! Do you say, “I feel so guilty”? You are certainly guilty, whether you feel it or not! And you are far more guilty than you have any idea of. Come to Christ because you are guilty, not because you have been prepared to come by looking at your guilt! Trust nothing of your own, not even your sense of need. A man may have a sense of disease a long time before he will get healing out of it. The looking-glass of conviction reveals the spots on our face, but it cannot wash them away. You cannot fill your hands by putting them into your empty pocket and feeling how empty it is! It would be far wiser to hold them out and receive the gold which your friend so freely gives you. “God be merciful to me a sinner” is the right way to put it, but not, “God be merciful to me because I sufficiently feel my sinnership, and most fittingly bewail it.”
The personal testimony of Spurgeonis in complete agreement with his teaching elsewhere” as Zeller just demonstrated.

His conversion testimony devastates Lordship Salvation’s message of faith, plus commitment of life to receive the gift of eternal life. There is no hint of Lordship’s promise to perform plan of salvation anywhere in Spurgeon’s account of how he was born again. Spurgeon’s personal testimony and his later works are consistent with the Scriptures in that Spurgeon insisted that a sinner is saved by looking only to Jesus, and not to SELF.

The true crux of the controversy lies in what LS insists are the REQUIREMENTS FOR (justification) salvation, not what the natural results (sanctification) of a genuine conversion should be. Man is not saved by becoming a disciple of Christ or promising to become a committed disciple of Christ; that is works salvation! That is Lordship’s assault on the simplicity that is in Christ and a message that frustrates the grace of God.
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ,” (2 Cor. 11:3).

I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain,” (Gal. 2:21).
The egregious errors of LS flow from a variety of doctrinal mis-steps, one of which is the failure to distinguish between the doctrines of salvation and discipleship. Pastor George Zeller wrote an article titled, The Relationship Between God’s Grace and Lordship Legalism. Following is a brief excerpt.
“Don’t confuse saving faith with that which saving faith ought to produce. Don’t confuse repentance with the fruits of repentance. Behavior and fruit are the evidences of saving faith but they are not the essence of saving faith. Don’t confuse the fruit with the root. Before you can “come after” Christ in discipleship (Luke 9:23; Matt. 11:29-30), you must “come unto” Christ for salvation (Matthew 11:28). Discipleship is not a requirement for salvation; discipleship is the obligation of every saved person.”
When a man tries to carefully introduce verses about discipleship as part of God’s plan for salvation, remember that the Bible teaches we come to Christ for salvation and that we come after Christ in discipleship. It is wrong to present discipleship verses as salvation verses. We must not use verses intended to teach discipleship to try to lead a man to Christ. (See- John MacArthur’s Discipleship Gospel)

The effects and danger of LS is far more pervasive than many might realize. Wherever you are, in whatever sphere of ministry and/or influence you have, determine take your stand against Lordship Salvation. Stand in defense of the one true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Alert, warn and teach others so that they will recognize the errors of LS then teach and warn others also.


LM

*A new article gives every advocate of Lordship Salvation the opportunity to name any writer, commentator, preacher who openly rejects Lordship Salvation, but he believes also accurately represents LS in his refutation of it. To date (8/25) there has been one offsite taker. See that discussion at Lordship Advocates, Tell Us: Who Defines LS in Way You Would Agree With?

**Summary of Lordship Salvation on a Single Page is an irrefutable example of the recurring theme.

UPDATE (8/19): There is a very good and on-going discussion taking place in the previous Spurgeon article thread. The later portion is addressing some of the Calvinistic connections to LS. I encourage you to visit the first article in this series and review that thread.

August 10, 2009

Lordship Salvation: Charles Spurgeon’s Personal Testimony Speaks Against It


The following is taken from Spurgeon: A New Biography by Arnold Dallimore (Moody Press, 1984), pages 18-20.

The story of Spurgeon’s conversion is widely known, but it may well be repeated, and it cannot be better told than in the words in which he himself presented it:

I sometimes think I might have been in darkness and despair until now, had it not been for the goodness of God in sending a snowstorm one Sunday morning, while I was going to a certain place of worship. I turned down a side street, and came to a little Primitive Methodist Church. In that chapel there may have been a dozen or fifteen people. I had heard of the Primitive Methodists, how they sang so loudly that they made people’s heads ache; but that did not matter to me. I wanted to know how I might be saved....

The minister did not come that morning; he was snowed up, I suppose. At last a very thin-looking man, a shoemaker, or tailor, or something of that sort, went up into the pulpit to preach. Now it is well that preachers be instructed, but this man was really stupid. He was obliged to stick to his text, for the simple reason that he had little else to say. The text was—
“LOOK UNTO ME, AND BE YE SAVED, ALL THE ENDS OF THE EARTH” (Isa. 45:22).

He did not even pronounce the words rightly, but that did not matter. There was, I thought, a glimmer of hope for me in that text.

The preacher began thus: “This is a very simple text indeed. It says ‘Look.’ Now lookin’ don’t take a deal of pain. It aint liftin’ your foot or your finger; it is
just ‘Look.’ Well, a man needn’t go to College to learn to look. You may be the biggest fool, and yet you can look. A man needn’t be worth a thousand a year to look. Anyone can look; even a child can look.

"But then the text says, ‘Look unto Me.’ Ay!" he said in broad Essex, “many on ye are lookin’ to yourselves, but it’s no use lookin’ there. You’ll never find any comfort in yourselves. Some say look to God the Father. No, look to Him by-and-by. Jesus Christ says, ‘Look unto Me.’ Some on ye say ‘We must wait for the Spirit’s workin.’ You have no business with that just now.
Look to Christ. The text says, ‘Look unto Me.’”

Then the good man followed up his text in this way: “Look unto Me; I am sweatin’ great drops of blood.
Look unto Me; I am hangin’ on the cross. Look unto Me, I am dead and buried. Look unto Me; I rise again. Look unto Me; I ascend to Heaven. Look unto Me; I am sitting at the Father’s right hand. O poor sinner, look unto Me! look unto Me!

When he had . . . . managed to spin out about ten minutes or so, he was at the end of his tether. Then he looked at me under the gallery, and I daresay with so few present, he knew me to be a stranger.

Just fixing his eyes on me, as if he knew all my heart, he said, “Young man, you look very miserable.” Well, I did, but I had not been accustomed to have remarks made from the pulpit on my personal appearance before. However, it was a good blow, struck right home. He continued, “And you will always be miserable—miserable in life and miserable in death—if you don’t obey my text; but if you obey now, this moment, you will be saved.” Then lifting up his hands, he shouted, as only a Primitive Methodist could do,
“Young man, look to Jesus Christ. Look! Look! Look! You have nothing to do but look and live!”

I saw at once the way of salvation. I know not what else he said—I did not take much notice of it—I was so possessed with that one thought . . . . I had been waiting to do fifty things, but when I heard that word, “Look!” what a charming word it seemed to me. Oh! I looked until I could almost have looked my eyes away.

There and then the cloud was gone, the darkness had rolled away, and that moment I saw the sun; and I could have risen that instant, and sung with the most enthusiastic of them,
of the precious blood of Christ, and the simple faith which looks alone to Him. Oh, that somebody had told me this before, “Trust Christ, and you shall be saved.” Yet it was, no doubt, all wisely ordered, and now I can say—

E’er since by faith I saw the stream

Thy flowing wounds supply,

Redeeming love has been my theme,

And shall be till I die. . .

That happy day when I found the Saviour, and learned to cling to His dear feet, was a day never to be forgotten by me . . . . I listened to the Word of God and that precious text led me to the cross of Christ. I can testify that the joy of that day was utterly indescribable. I could have leaped, I could have danced; there was no expression, however fanatical, which would have been out of keeping with the joy of that hour. Many days of Christian experience have passed since then, but there has never been one which has had the full exhilaration, the sparkling delight which that first day had.

I thought I could have sprung from the seat in which I sat, and have called out with the wildest of those Methodist brethren . . . “I am forgiven! I am forgiven! A monument of grace!
A sinner saved by blood!”

My spirit saw its chains broken to pieces, I felt that I was an emancipated soul, an heir of heaven, a forgiven one, accepted in Jesus Christ, plucked out of the miry clay and out of the horrible pit, with my feet set upon a rock and my goings established . . . .

Between half-past ten o’clock, when I entered that chapel, and half-past twelve o’clock, when I was back again at home,
what a change had taken place in me! Simply by looking to Jesus I had been delivered from despair, and I was brought into such a joyous state of mind that, when they saw me at home, they said to me, “Something wonderful has happened to you,” and I was eager to tell them all about it. Oh! there was joy in the household that day, when all heard that the eldest son had found the Saviour and knew himself to be forgiven.
(Taken from Iain Murray, ed., The Early Years (London: Banner of Truth, 1962), p. 87-90).


OBSERVATIONS (by George Zeller)

1) Notice how Christ-centered the gospel presentation was.

2) Notice that due emphasis was placed on the death and resurrection of Christ, the all-sufficient Saviour (
1 Cor. 15:3-4).


3) Notice how God used the “
foolishness of preaching” to save Spurgeon, and that the focus was on Christ and Him crucified (compare 1 Cor. 1:20-25).

4) Notice how Spurgeon was instructed to look away from SELF and to focus on the SAVIOUR.


5) Notice that the emphasis of the sermon was upon LOOKING, not DOING. He was to look in the direction of Christ and he was not told to focus on fulfilling any requirements. The only requirement was that he LOOK.


6) Notice how simple the terms of salvation were: “
Look and live!” “Trust Christ and you shall be saved.”


7) Notice that the substitute preacher did not say anything about the terms of discipleship and the demands that are incumbent upon every saved person to follow and obey Christ.

8) Notice that the substitute preacher did not tell Spurgeon to “
submit to Christ’s Lordship” or “fulfill the terms of discipleship” or “turn from and forsake all sin” or “hate father, mother, wife, children, etc.” These things are the rightful results of salvation but not the simple terms of salvation.


9) Notice Spurgeon’s joyful conclusion: “
Simply by looking to Jesus I had been delivered from despair.” “Oh, that somebody had told me this before, ‘Trust Christ, and you shall be saved.’

For a wonderful sermon by Spurgeon dealing with the question of what a person needs to do to be saved, see his sermon entitled, “The Warrant of Faith” available from Pilgrim Publications, Box 66, Pasadena, TX 77501.

Reprinted by permission from George Zeller.


Spurgeon’s personal testimony and the observations above by Brother Zeller devastate Lordship Salvation’s message of eternal salvation through an upfront commitment of life.

With the reading of Spurgeon’s personal testimony I am reminded of the beautiful hymn Look and Live, (William A. Ogden, 1887). Following are the four stanzas and refrain:

I’ve a message from the Lord, hallelujah!
The message unto you I’ll give,
’Tis recorded in His word, hallelujah!
It is only that you “look and live.”


Refrain
Look and live, my brother, live!
Look to Jesus now, and live;
’Tis recorded in His word, hallelujah!
It is only that you “look and live.”


I’ve a message full of love, hallelujah!
A message, O my friend, for you,
’Tis a message from above, hallelujah!
Jesus said it, and I know ’tis true.


Life is offered unto you, hallelujah!
Eternal life thy soul shall have,
If you’ll only look to Him, hallelujah!
Look to Jesus who alone can save.


I will tell you how I came, hallelujah!
To Jesus when He made me whole:
’Twas believing on His name, hallelujah!
I trusted and He saved my soul.


If you’d enjoy singing this treasured hymn with a piano accompaniment see Look & Live


Please continue this series at- Lordship Salvation: Charles Spurgeon Speaks (more than once) Against It

August 2, 2009

Free Grace Theology: What Every Advocate of Lordship Salvation Should Know, Final- Charting the Fault Line of Fracture

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

We have seen that the teachings of Zane Hodges and the Grace Evangelical Society (GES) are a radical departure from the Gospel of grace. There has never been this level of egregious reductionist error introduced to the New Testament church by one of its own until the late Zane Hodges developed his *
Crossless & Deityless interpretation of the content of saving faith.

I am closing Bob Nyberg’s article
The Free Grace Fracture by publishing and providing a downloadable PDF (from his article) showing how the teachings of Zane Hodges and the GES are radically different to that of Charles Ryrie and Robert Lightner. In the image below topics are shown down the left column followed by the views of Ryrie/Lightner, then Hodges/GES respectively. I see this as a helpful chart illustrating the fault line of fracture in the Free Grace community.


Bob Nyberg closes his (2007) article by stating,

Free grace theology is not new. It’s been around for a long time. An element of free grace theology seems to be moving away from the more traditional wing, as represented by men such as Dr. Ryrie and Dr. Lightner. Only time will tell whether this free grace fracture widens or eventually resolves itself. The lines are being drawn and voices on both sides of the issue are expressing their opinions. Where we go from here remains to be seen. If nothing else, this debate should serve to clarify the essential elements of the gospel message.”
Over the last two years opinions have been clearly expressed. The result has been the appearance of a clear and deep line of fracture, which has isolated the shrinking cell of Hodges/GES Crossless gospel advocates far outside the mainstream of balanced Bible-believing Christians.

See-
Contrasts in Free Grace Theology for a downloadable version of the chart above.

I am hopeful this short series will help advocates of
Lordship Salvation to understand that the troubling teachings of Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin and the GES do not represent or speak for any Free Grace believer outside the GES’s shrinking cell of theological extremists. Through the teaching of Zane Hodges the GES has become an isolated, cult like, fringe element in the body of Christ.

Below my signature you will find links to additional articles that further clarify the reductionist heresies of Hodges that are propagated solely by Bob Wilkin and the GES.

Yours in defense of the Gospel.


LM


*Is the “Crossless” Label the Right Label?


GES Reductionist Affirmation of Belief

Is “REDEFINED” Free Grace Theology; Free Grace Theology?

The “CHRIST” Under Siege (at the hands of Zane Hodges)