Dear Guests of IDOTG:
There has been an on-going pattern of a certain few Lordship Salvation (LS) apologists demonstrating that they/he do not recognize or understand how Dr. MacArthur is writing and is teaching on the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel. This time the mistake is on MacArthur’s view of repentance. The LS apologist wrote,
“John MacArthur never says that to be born again a person must be ‘willing to turn from sin’.”This misunderstanding and error on the teaching of John MacArthur necessitates opening this new discussion to properly highlight the issue.
The Grace to You website posts an article by Dr. MacArthur, that is touted by one LS apologist as his (MacArthur’s) definitive statement on Lordship Salvation. The article begins with a paragraph that defines how John MacArthur views a lost man must be born again. The statement is written by MacArthur and it is discussing the Gospel, the plan of salvation, the Lordship Salvation interpretation of how a lost man receives the “offer (gift) of eternal life,” how he is born again.
“The gospel that Jesus proclaimed was a call to discipleship, a call to follow Him in submissive obedience, not just a plea to make a decision or pray a prayer. Jesus' message liberated people from the bondage of their sin while it confronted and condemned hypocrisy. It was an offer of eternal life and forgiveness for repentant sinners, but at the same time it was a rebuke to outwardly religious people whose lives were devoid of true righteousness. It put sinners on notice that they must turn from sin and embrace God's righteousness. Our Lord's words about eternal life were invariably accompanied by warnings to those who might be tempted to take salvation lightly. He taught that the cost of following Him is high, that the way is narrow and few find it. He said many who call him Lord will be forbidden from entering the kingdom of heaven (cf. Matt. 7:13-23).” (An Introduction to Lordship Salvation by Dr. John MacArthur)In my Can God-Given Faith be Defective article that I posted at another discussion board I included a link to an important article on Lordship Salvation by Pastor George Zeller. Some who are sympathetic to LS post comments that reveal an on-going lack of understanding of the LS message that they seek to defend. Ironically some of these admit they have never read any of John MacArthur’s major books on LS. To help all readers understand where LS takes some of its most serious doctrinal missteps I will again link to Zeller’s article, John MacArthur’s Position on the Lordship of Christ.
In that article, by Pastor Zeller, you will read additional documentation of MacArthur’s view that repentance for salvation requires a lost man to “turn from sin.” Here is that portion.
Dr. MacArthur tends to confuse repentance with the fruits of repentance, and to confuse faith with that which faith ought to produce. He confuses saving faith (which takes place in a moment of time--Rom. 13:11; Eph. 1:13) with discipleship (which is a lifelong process). As Miles Stanford has said, “Lordship salvation is not the childlike faith of John 3:16. It rightly insists upon repentance but wrongly includes a change of behavior IN ORDER TO BE SAVED. No one questions that there must be a sincere change of mind, a turning from oneself to the Saviour, but Lordship advocates attempt to make behavior and fruit essential ingredients of, rather than evidence of, saving faith.” (Miles Stanford, in his review of The Gospel According to Jesus).The writing of Lordship Salvation advocates confirm beyond any doubt that LS is a works based, man-centered message that conditions eternal life on an upfront commitment to change behavior and perform the “good works” (Eph. 2:10) that should be the result of a genuine conversion. Calling on a lost man to “turn from sin” FOR SALVATION is to condition salvation on behavior, not believing.
MacArthur defines REPENTANCE as turning from your sins (Faith Works, p. 74). He also teaches that true repentance “inevitably results in a change of behavior” (Faith Works, p. 75). But is not TURNING FROM SINS a CHANGE OF BEHAVIOR? Is MacArthur confusing the RESULTS of repentance with REPENTANCE itself? Is not he confusing the FRUITS with the ROOT? MacArthur is more accurate when he says, “true repentance involves a change of heart and purpose” (Faith Works, p. 75). The inner change will produce an outward change.
“Is repentance a condition for receiving eternal life? Yes, if it is repentance or changing one’s mind about Jesus Christ. No, if it means to be sorry for sin or even to resolve to turn from sin, for these things will not save.” (Charles Ryrie, So Great Salvation, p. 99.)
Originally appeared August, 2008.
For additional documentation of Lordship Salvation’s “leave (stop committing) sin, and follow Jesus at any cost” to become a Christian message please read, Is Lordship Salvation a “Barter” System?