July 30, 2010

Weekend Archive Series: The Merger of Calvinism With Worldliness

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

As you read this compelling polemic by Dr. Peter Masters please note that Dr. Masters, a Calvinist is writing to Calvinists and his “ministry of warning” is about the doctrinal aberrations and worldliness of Calvinists such as C J Mahaney, John Piper, Mark Driscoll, John MacArthur, Mark Dever, and Al Mohler, all of whom he (Masters) identifies by name in his article.

My Calvinistic brethren in IFB circles might prayerfully consider Dr. Masters expanded “ministry of warning” before they follow the influence of Kevin Bauder and Dave Doran to close ranks with and embrace the star personalities of the so-called “conservative” evangelicalism.

The Merger of Calvinism with Worldliness:
An alarmed assessment by Dr. Masters of the ‘new Calvinism’ promoted among young people in the USA


When I was a youngster and newly saved, it seemed as if the chief goal of all zealous Christians, whether Calvinistic or Arminian, was consecration. Sermons, books and conferences stressed this in the spirit of Romans 12.1-2, where the beseeching apostle calls believers to present their bodies a living sacrifice, and not to be conformed to this world. The heart was challenged and stirred. Christ was to be Lord of one’s life, and self must be surrendered on the altar of service for him.

But now, it appears, there is a new Calvinism, with new Calvinists, which has swept the old objectives aside. A recent book, Young, Restless, Reformed, by Collin Hansen tells the story of how a so-called Calvinistic resurgence has captured the imaginations of thousands of young people in the USA, and this book has been reviewed with great enthusiasm in well-known magazines in the UK, such as Banner of Truth, Evangelical Times, and Reformation Today.

This writer, however, was very deeply saddened to read it, because it describes a seriously distorted Calvinism falling far, far short of an authentic life of obedience to a sovereign God. If this kind of Calvinism prospers, then genuine biblical piety will be under attack as never before.

The author of the book is a young man (around 26 when he wrote it) who grew up in a Christian family and trained in secular journalism. We are indebted to him for the readable and wide-reaching survey he gives of this new phenomenon, but the scene is certainly not a happy one.

The author begins by describing the Passion, conference at Atlanta in 2007, where 21,000 young people revelled in contemporary music, and listened to speakers such as John Piper proclaiming Calvinistic sentiments. And this picture is repeated many times through the book – large conferences being described at which the syncretism of worldly, sensation-stirring, high-decibel, rhythmic music, is mixed with Calvinistic doctrine.

We are told of thunderous music, thousands of raised hands, ‘Christian’ hip-hop and rap lyrics (the examples seeming inept and awkward in construction) uniting the doctrines of grace with the immoral drug-induced musical forms of worldly culture.

Collin Hansen contends that American Calvinism collapsed at the end of the nineteenth century and was maintained by only a handful of people until this great youth revival, but his historical scenario is, frankly, preposterous. As one who regularly visited American seminaries to speak from the early 1970s, I constantly met many preachers and students who loved the doctrines of grace, preaching also in churches of solid Calvinistic persuasion. But firmer evidence of the extensive presence of Calvinism is seen from the fact that very large firms of publishers sent out a stream of reformed literature post-war and through the 1980s. The mighty Eerdmans was solidly reformed in times past, not to mention Baker Book House, and Kregel and others. Where did all these books go – thousands upon thousands of them, including frequently reprinted sets of Calvin’s commentaries and a host of other classic works?

In the 1970s and 80s there were also smaller Calvinistic publishers in the USA, and at that time the phenomenon of Calvinistic discount Christian bookshops began, with bulging catalogue lists and a considerable following. The claim that Calvinism virtually disappeared is hopelessly mistaken.

Indeed, a far better quality Calvinism still flourishes in very many churches, where souls are won and lives sanctified, and where Truth and practice are both under the rule of Scripture. Such churches have no sympathy at all with reporter Collin Hansen’s worldly-worship variety, who seek to build churches using exactly the same entertainment methods as most charismatics and the Arminian Calvary Chapel movement.

The new Calvinists constantly extol the Puritans, but they do not want to worship or live as they did. One of the vaunted new conferences is called Resolved, after Jonathan Edwards’ famous youthful Resolutions (seventy searching undertakings).
But the culture of this conference would unquestionably have met with the outright condemnation of that great theologian.
Resolved is the brainchild of a member of Dr John MacArthur’s pastoral staff, gathering thousands of young people annually, and featuring the usual mix of Calvinism and extreme charismatic-style worship. Young people are encouraged to feel the very same sensational nervous impact of loud rhythmic music on the body that they would experience in a large, worldly pop concert, complete with replicated lighting and atmosphere. At the same time they reflect on predestination and election. Worldly culture provides the bodily, emotional feelings, into which Christian thoughts are infused and floated. Biblical sentiments are harnessed to carnal entertainment. (Pictures of this conference on their website betray the totally worldly, showbusiness atmosphere created by the organisers.)

In times of disobedience the Jews of old syncretised by going to the Temple or the synagogue on the sabbath, and to idol temples on weekdays, but the new Calvinism has found a way of uniting spiritually incompatible things at the same time, in the same meeting.

C J Mahaney is a preacher highly applauded in this book. Charismatic in belief and practice, he appears to be wholly accepted by the other big names who feature at the ‘new Calvinist’ conferences, such as John Piper, John MacArthur, Mark Dever, and Al Mohler. Evidently an extremely personable, friendly man, C J Mahaney is the founder of a group of churches blending Calvinism with charismatic ideas, and is reputed to have influenced many Calvinists to throw aside cessationist views.

It was a protégé of this preacher named Joshua Harris who started the New Attitude conference for young people. We learn that when a secular rapper named Curtis Allen was converted, his new-born Christian instinct led him to give up his past life and his singing style. But Pastor Joshua Harris evidently persuaded him not to, so that he could sing for the Lord.

New Calvinists do not hesitate to override the instinctual Christian conscience, counselling people to become friends of the world.
One of the mega-churches admired in the book is the six-thousand strong Mars Hill Church at Seattle, founded and pastored by Mark Driscoll, who blends emerging church ideas (that Christians should utilise worldly culture) with Calvinistic theology [see endnote 1].

This preacher is also much admired by some reformed men in the UK, but his church has been described (by a sympathiser) as having the most ear-splitting music of any, and he has been rebuked by other preachers for the use of very ‘edgy’ language and gravely improper humour (even on television). He is to be seen in videos preaching in a Jesus teeshirt, symbolising the new compromise with culture, while at the same time propounding Calvinistic teaching. So much for the embracing of Puritan doctrine divested of Puritan lifestyle and worship.

Most of the well-known preachers who promote and encourage this ‘revival’ of Calvinism have in common the following positions that contradict a genuine Calvinistic (or Puritan) outlook:
1. They have no problem with contemporary charismatic-ethos worship, including extreme, heavy-metal forms.
2. They are soft on separation from worldliness [see endnote 2].
3. They reject the concern for the personal guidance of God in the major decisions of Christians (true sovereignty), thereby striking a death-blow to wholehearted consecration.
4. They hold anti-fourth-commandment views, taking a low view of the Lord’s Day, and so inflicting another blow at a consecrated lifestyle.
Whatever their strengths and achievements (and some of them are brilliant men by any human standard), or whatever their theoretical Calvinism, the poor stand of these preachers on these crucial issues will only encourage a fatally flawed version of Calvinism that will lead people to be increasingly wedded to the world, and to a self-seeking lifestyle.
Truly proclaimed, the sovereignty of God must include consecration, reverence, sincere obedience to his will, and separation from the world.
You cannot have Puritan soteriology without Puritan sanctification. You should not entice people to Calvinistic (or any) preaching by using worldly bait. We hope that young people in this movement will grasp the implications of the doctrines better than their teachers, and come away from the compromises. But there is a looming disaster in promoting this new form of Calvinism.

Why do some British Christians who hold the doctrines of grace give enthusiastic reviews to a book like this? There have been times in the past when large numbers of young people have suddenly become intellectually enthusiastic about solid Christian doctrine, only to abandon it almost as quickly. One thinks of the tremendous response the unique oratory of Francis Schaeffer secured on university campuses in the 1960s, and no doubt some young people were truly saved and established, but very many more turned aside. Gripped by the superiority of a biblical worldview, they momentarily despised the illogical, flaccid ideas of this world, but the impression in numerous cases was natural rather than spiritual. The present new, heady Calvinism, shorn of practical obedience will certainly prove to be ephemeral, leaving the cause compromised and scarred.

Has this form of Calvinism come to Britain yet? Alas, yes; one only has to look at the ‘blogs’ of some younger reformed pastors who put themselves forward as mentors and advisers of others. When you look at their ‘favourite films’, and ‘favourite music’ you find them unashamedly naming the leading groups, tracks and entertainment of debased culture, and it is clear that the world is still in their hearts. Years ago, such brethren would not have been baptised until they were clear of the world, but now you can go to seminary, no questions asked, and take up a pastorate, with unfought and unsurrendered idols in the throne room of your life. What hope is there for churches that have under-shepherds whose loyalties are so divided and distorted?

Aside from pastors, we know some ‘new’ young Calvinists who will never settle in a dedicated, working church, because their views live only in their heads and not their hearts. We know of some whose lives are not clean. We know of others who go clubbing. The greater their doctrinal prowess, the greater their hypocrisy.
These are harsh words, but they lead me to say that where biblical, evangelical Calvinism shapes conduct, and especially worship, it is a very humbling, beautiful system of Truth, but where it is confined to the head, it inflates pride and self-determination.
The new Calvinism is not a resurgence but an entirely novel formula which strips the doctrine of its historic practice, and unites it with the world.
Why have the leading preachers servicing this movement compromised so readily? They have not been threatened by a Soviet regime. No one has held a gun to their heads. This is a shameful capitulation, and we must earnestly pray that what they have encouraged will not take over Calvinism and ruin a generation of reachable Christian young people.

A final sad spectacle reported with enthusiasm in the book is the Together for the Gospel conference, running from 2006. A more adult affair convened by respected Calvinists, this nevertheless brings together cessationists and non-cessationists, traditional and contemporary worship exponents, and while maintaining sound preaching, it conditions all who attend to relax on these controversial matters, and learn to accept every point of view. In other words, the ministry of warning is killed off, so that every -error of the new scene may race ahead unchecked.
These are tragic days for authentic spiritual faithfulness, worship and piety.
True Calvinism and worldliness are opposites. Preparation of heart is needed if we would search the wonders and plumb the depths of sovereign grace. We find it in the challenging, convicting call of Joshua:
Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Endnotes
1 His resolution of the question of divine sovereignty versus human free will, however, is much nearer to the Arminian view.

2 A recent book entitled Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World by C J Mahaney and others, hopelessly under-equips young believers for separation from the world, especially in the area of music, where, apparently, the Lord loves every genre, and acceptability is reduced to two misleading and subjective questions.

(Italics his, bold and underline mine. Images have been added to illustrate some of that, which Masters warns of.)

Site Publisher Addendum:
The Merger of Calvinism with Worldliness is a clarion call to “young people in the USA” and especially timely for young American Fundamentalists. This is a sermon in print, a “ministry of warning” that has been nearly non-existent in American (Calvinistic) IFB circles in regard to the evangelical community. This is a much needed “ministry of warning” to men in Fundamentalism who are rapidly moving toward increased dialogue, fellowship with and tolerance for the “new” Calvinism of “conservative” evangelicalism.

LM

July 26, 2010

Maneuvering the “Differences” for Unity

Dr. Kevin Bauder is in the midst of a multi-part series under the title, Now About those Differences. This series is alleged by him to be a needed clarification of his incendiary, Let’s Get Clear on This (March 2010), which he believes was misunderstood.

In the eighth installment of Dr. Bauder’s on-going “Differences” series there is one very telling statement. He closes his article with this,
In both groups [Fundamentalism and Conservative Evangelicals], however, a small but increasing number is beginning to exempt itself from the pursuit of popular culture and relocate itself within the worship and ministry of ‘historic Christianity.’
I believe Dr. Bauder has started to make his case for a blending together of Fundamentalists and Evangelicals. In this effort he has sought pre-emptively to try to stake the high ground for this blended group by claiming that they are the ones who are seeking the “historic Christianity” position.

As if Dr. Bauder understands that this blending will cause a stir amongst Fundamentalists, he seems to have gone back in time eighty-eight years ago and taken a play from the liberals’ playbook. In the early twenties the Fundamentalist/Modernist-Liberalism battle was raging in the Northern Baptist Convention. The Fundamentalists sought to rid the convention of the modernists by seeking to adopt the New Hampshire Confession of Faith (1833) at their 1922 Convention in Indianapolis. The liberals used parliamentary procedures and introduced a substitute resolution, “that the New Testament is the all-sufficient ground of our faith and practice, and we need no other statement.” With a swift stroke the liberals had made it appear that a vote for the Confession was a vote against the New Testament. The liberals resolution won resoundingly keeping their unbelief firmly entrenched in the Convention (Dr. David Beale, In Pursuit of Purity, p. 206). Dr. Bauder has followed that same tactic by using the phrase, “historic Christianity” as if to imply that any that do not follow into this proposed blending is somehow not part of “historic Christianity.”

This coming together is nothing more than the compromising/undermining of the doctrine of separation. To this point in his series Kevin Bauder has not once spoken of the glaring doctrinal differences of the Conservative Evangelical crowd. Evangelicalism (conservative or otherwise) has consistently caricatured the Fundamentalist’s militant separatism (Dr. David Doran, Frontline, In Defense of Militancy, vol. 5, num. 5, p. 25).

Romans 16:17 and 2 Thessalonians 3:6 are still in the Bible. We are still commanded to avoid those who “cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned” and to “withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.” We must be ready and willing to do “battle royal” in our day as our Fundamentalist forefathers did in their day.


Pastor Brian Ernsberger, Lincoln Park Baptist Church in Wenatchee, WA.

For Related Reading:
There is a Difference and It’s a Name Changer!

Let’s Get “CRYSTAL” Clear on This: A Response to Kevin Bauder’s “Cannonball” Cogitations

July 22, 2010

Keswick: A Good Word or a Bad One? Evangelist John Van Gelderen


Occasionally, I hear people use the label “Keswick” in a derogatory way. Yet others use the term quite positively. Someone who did not know the term would wonder if “Keswick” is a good word or a bad one. The issue, of course, is not the term, but what one means by the term.

Historical Background and Theology

Keswick is a beautiful town nestled in the Lake District of England. In 1875, a conference began there which continued annually as “The Keswick Convention.” Its original stated purpose was for the deepening of spiritual life. To accomplish this purpose a definite theological position was taught—sanctification by faith, sometimes called holiness by faith.

The focus of the theology was on Christ as one’s life. This was sometimes called “The Higher Life” or “The Deeper Life” or “The Victorious Life.” Although in later years other ideas were attached to some of these labels, their original usage was Christ-focused.

In other words, the “Higher Life,” the “Deeper Life,” the “Victorious Life,” the “Spirit-filled Life,” the “Christ-Life” is not a new line of teaching. It is not a mere set of doctrines; it is not a set of motions; it is not a conference, a convention, or a movement—it is a Life. That Life is a Person, and His name is Jesus! Jesus is the “Higher Life.” Jesus is the “Deeper Life.” Jesus is the “Victorious Life.” How can it be otherwise? Sanctification or holiness by faith is simply accessing the “Holy Life” by faith. It is “I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me…by faith” (Gal. 2:20). Holiness by faith is accessing the Holy Life of Jesus to empower holy living and serving. It is becoming “partakers of His holiness” (Heb.12:10), not imitators.

Keswick theology teaches that “progressive sanctification” does not mean an inevitable gradual sanctification, but rather that sanctification is accelerated by faith choices and is hindered by choices of unbelief. Obviously, the Holy Spirit keeps working, but believers are responsible to cooperate in faith for sanctification to progress according to God’s will. Keswick teaches that just as justification is by faith, so also sanctification is by faith.

To help people understand how to “progress” in sanctification, Keswick emphasized a specific theme each of the five days of their convention: Sin (sin is the problem, both outer man sins and especially inner man sins), Provision (Christ is the answer through the cleansing power of His blood and the enabling power of His Spirit), Consecration (the access to Christ’s provision is through surrender, by yielding to Christ’s leadership, and faith, by depending on Christ’s enablement), the Spirit-filled Life (surrender/faith accesses Christ’s Life—the Spirit-filled life for holiness and service), and Service (the whole point of sanctification by faith is to then serve by faith primarily in the declaration of the Gospel).

The Keswick Convention began in 1875 and continues to this day. However, as with many movements, eventually the original focus was lost so that today the Keswick Convention no longer truly represents its original purpose. The first two generations of Keswick (the first eighty years) held to the original theology. In other words, Keswick theology stayed largely true to its beginning from 1875 through the 1950s. During this time Keswick guarded itself from the extremes of certain factions within the “Holiness Movement.” However, ecclesiastically, Keswick began to weaken during the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy of the 1920s and 1930s. Their motto of “all one in Christ” set them up for compromise when this controversy came on the scene. This compromise eventually eroded their theology in significant ways by the 1960s.

First-generation Keswick included as speakers Evan Hopkins (who spoke annually for 39 years), F. B. Meyer (regular speaker from 1887 to 1925), Handley G. C. Moule (regular speaker from the mid-1880s to his death), G. Campbell Morgan, A. T. Pierson, A. J. Gordon, S. D. Gordon, R. A. Torrey, Andrew Murray, Hudson Taylor, Jonathan Goforth, and W. H. Griffith Thomas. Second-generation Keswick was led by W. Graham Scroggie, and included Donald Grey Barnhouse and J. Oswald Sanders.

Notice how familiar many of these names are and how they are esteemed even to this day. R. A. Torrey was so respected in his day that he was the editor of The Fundamentals. The Fundamentals contain 90 articles. Speakers associated with Keswick theology wrote at least 21% of these articles. Of the authors used, at least 29% were associated with Keswick theology. This shows that Keswick was mainstream in the beginnings of Biblical Fundamentalism. Therefore, Keswick was clearly considered “orthodox.” To denigrate Keswick is to denigrate the roots of Fundamentalism.

I prefer to call Keswick theology “revival theology.” When one is awakened to the need to access the indwelling Life of Christ by faith and begins to appropriate that Life for the steps of obedience, personal revival occurs. Revival is a restoration to spiritual life—the Life of Christ in you accessed by faith as the animating power to your personality! This doctrine did not begin in 1875 with Keswick. It began in the New Testament (John 10:10, 14-16; Rom. 6-8; II Cor. 3:5,17-18; 9:8; Gal. 2:20; 3:1-5,14; Eph. 3:17; 5:18; Phil. 1:21; Col. 1:27; 3:4). This is revival theology! In fact, in The Flaming Tongue, J. Edwin Orr’s account of the early twentieth-century revivals which affected at least 57 nations, Orr repeatedly documents that Keswick-type conferences were used of God to either ignite revival fire or to greatly fuel it.

In the work entitled Five Views of Sanctification, J. Robertson McQuilken wrote the Keswick view, and John Walvoord wrote the Augustinian-Dispensational view. After each author presented his view, he then had opportunity to respond to the other views. McQuilken said there is no real difference between the Keswick view and the Augustinian-Dispensational view. Also, Walvoord said there was no real difference between the Augustinian-Dispensational view and the Keswick view. Dispensational theology is broader than just sanctification, whereas Keswick deals primarily with sanctification. But on sanctification, Keswick theology is Dispensational theology embraced by many today.

Inaccurate Accusations

Passivity

Some accuse Keswick of passivity. This is probably because Keswick emphasizes resting in Christ. However, the emphasis is not to sit back and do nothing, but rather trust to obey! The emphasis is not idle passivity, but active cooperation—the cooperation of surrendering to the Spirit’s leadership and depending on His enablement. This is walking in the Spirit, which obviously involves steps, not quietistic passivity. But the steps are steps of faith, not the mere motions of flesh-dependent activity. This is what brings rest, for when you yoke up with Jesus, He carries the load!

Keswick denounces “struggle theology,” which is flesh-dependence in an effort to live the Christian life, because works-sanctification is just as wrong as works-justification (Gal. 3:1-3). You do not get justified by faith, and then get sanctified by struggle. Sanctification is also by faith, for “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb.11:6). Obviously there are struggles in life, but flesh-dependence for frustrated Christian living is an unnecessary struggle. Faith for victory means you are depending on the victorious Life of Christ to enable you to obey. It is not a matter of you trying to live the Christian life (hollow motions), it is a matter of trusting the indwelling Christ to enable you for the steps of obedience (empowered motions). So victory without trying does not mean victory doing nothing; it means victory with trusting. True faith is not an inward, “navel-gazing,” self-focus; it is focusing rather on Christ, the true object of faith, that He might express His Life through yours. To accuse Keswick theology of passivity is simply not accurate.

Subjectivism

Occasionally Keswick theology is labeled derogatorily as being too subjective. This is probably because of Keswick’s emphasis on the reality of the Holy Spirit. However, Keswick emphasizes the subjective reality of the Spirit based on the objective boundaries of the Word. The emphasis is by no means the Spirit without the Word. Nor is it the Word without the Spirit. Rather, it is the Word and the Spirit. The Spirit without the Word is delusion leading to strange fire. The Word without the Spirit is deadness leading to no fire. But the Word and the Spirit is dynamic leading to true Holy Spirit fire.

Interestingly, Robert Thomas rightly deals with the dangerous subjectivism of evangelicals in his book called Evangelical Hermeneutics. He names many names in the evangelical world who are guilty of true subjectivism. But when he seeks to show a right approach, he often quotes J. Robertson McQuilken as handling matters biblically. McQuilken, who wrote several helpful books, is the writer of the Keswick view of sanctification in Five Views of Sanctification, which we noted earlier. Keswick teaches the subjective reality of the Holy Spirit based on the Word, not subjectivism which leaves the scriptural foundation. To accuse Keswick of subjectivism reveals an inaccurate understanding of Keswick teaching.

Second Blessing

Some accuse Keswick of second blessing theology. But this shows great ignorance of both true second blessing theology and Keswick theology. Second blessing theology speaks of receiving a once-for-all second blessing which puts one on a new stage never to fall back to a former stage. Keswick speaks of alternating between two conditions of either walking in the flesh or walking in the Spirit. It is not once for all. Second blessing theology demands a “second” event. Keswick teaches you were given the whole package at salvation and that you can access the whole blessing immediately (and some do), but that many because of a lack of understanding do not until later. Even then it is not a second blessing, but a second, and a third, and a fourth, and so on. Second blessing theology says that you receive something you did not yet have. Keswick theology teaches that you by faith access your First Blessing! Some early Keswick writers used the terminology of second blessing (which confuses matters today), but they do so only in the sense that I have described above, which is different from true second blessing theology.

Sinless Perfectionism

I suppose this charge comes because Keswick theology emphasizes the Victorious Life of Christ. Obviously, He is perfect. But Keswick makes clear that we still live in the “body of sin” (Rom. 6:6). The focus of Keswick is not that you cannot sin, but that you are able not to sin because of the indwelling Christ. Keswick makes clear that tragically Christians sin, but that the focus should not be on being defeated, but rather on victory in Christ by faith. The provision of the indwelling Christ is perfect, but our consistent access of that perfect provision is sadly imperfect. This is quite different from a Wesleyan position. There is no such thing as a Wesleyan/Keswick position. Rather, there is an Augustinian-Dispensational/Keswick position. To accuse Keswick theology of sinless perfectionism is simply not being honest with the facts of Keswick teaching.

Reasons for the Attack

Misinformation

Amazingly, I have been in several settings where speakers had just taught Keswick theology and then said, “Now I’m not talking about Keswick,” or, “I’m not talking about the Deeper Life.” This shows that they do not really know what the labels actually mean, but are functioning off of hearsay and concepts which have been attached to the term “Keswick” by the critics of Keswick. First impressions are mind-setting. Someone “bent their ear,” or they read the critics of Keswick without actually reading the Keswick authors themselves. Then, when they criticize the term Keswick, they are shooting themselves in the foot because they are undermining what they themselves taught. Obviously this is unintentional, but it still is harmful to that which they believe.

Thoroughgoing Calvinism

Not all proclaimed Calvinists clash with Keswick, but those of a thoroughgoing system often do. Keswick emphasizes man’s responsibility of faith (sanctification by faith). Some Calvinists claim this is man-centered. But how can God-dependence theology be man-centered? This is a clash between inevitable faith (Calvinism) and responsible faith (Keswick). Does progressive sanctification just inevitably occur for every true child of God, or can it be hindered by unbelief and accelerated by faith? Keswick claims the latter. Interestingly, responsible faith (Keswick) also clashes with the misfocused faith of unfettered choice (Arminianism). Responsible faith means you are responding to the convincing work of the Spirit based on God’s Word. It is not unfettered choice, nor is it inevitable. It is a true responsibility.

When I hear or read what some Calvinists claim Keswick teaches, I’m amazed at the inaccuracy. Perhaps some read the critics of Keswick and not Keswick authors themselves. Others may perhaps read Keswick authors but do so with such bias that they do not read what the authors are actually saying. The outcome is major misrepresentation.

Personal Defeat

Some may attack Keswick because they supposedly tried it, and it did not work for them. However, the problem is not with the provision of Christ, but with a misunderstanding of truth or a misapplication of surrender and faith. Some are not truly surrendering (giving up) their sin; they just don’t like their guilt. Some may have misunderstandings regarding faith, what it is and how it works. If you have a besetting sin or are ineffective in service, it is always easier to blame something other than your own responsible choices.

Satanic Attack

Satan attacks revival truth! He is the master deceiver. Revival theology (Keswick) threatens his turf. Much of the controversy is stirred up by his deceptions. When you understand that Keswick-type conferences were used to ignite revival fires or fuel them in the early twentieth-century revivals, it is no wonder that Satan has attacked Keswick theology in order to prevent another great wave of revival blessing.

Conclusion

Obviously, an article which is brief in its nature cannot deal with all the details of the present confusion around the word Keswick. May I suggest that you read the Keswick authors themselves. Read G. Campbell Morgan’s The Spirit of God, Evan Hopkins’ The Law of Liberty in the Spiritual Life, J. Elder Cummings’ Through the Eternal Spirit, Handley G. C. Moule’s Practicing the Promises and his treatment of Romans 6-8 in his commentary on Romans, F. B. Meyer’s many books, A. J. Gordon’s writings, A. T. Pierson’s works, and so forth. Steven Barabas quotes from many Keswick authors in his book entitled So Great Salvation: The History and Message of the Keswick Convention.

So, is Keswick a good word or a bad one? If you mean sanctification by faith thus accessing the victorious Life of Christ, that is gloriously good! However, I prefer to use the label “revival theology.” The issue, of course, is not a label, but truth.

Jesus Christ is the only one who can live the Christian life! Jesus is the Christian Life. But He lives in you so that you, yet not you, but Christ in you can live the Christian life! When you got saved, Christ moved in—to live His life, not yours! But this is not automatic. As you received Christ by faith, you also must walk by faith one step at a time (Col. 2:6). This is accessing the eternal Life as the abundant Life. This is sanctification by faith. Ultimately, this is revival reality.

For those of us who believe the theology of “Christ in you accessed by faith,” the derogatory slurs against this truth are not small matters. Jesus is the Victorious Life, the Higher Life, the Deeper Life, the Spirit-filled Life, the Revived Life, the Hidden Life,—the Christ-Life! To us, when holiness by faith—the Holy Life accessed by faith—is attacked, the attack is ultimately on the indwelling Life of Christ.


Evangelist John R. Van Gelderen
Originally published 31 October 2007. Reprinted by permission of Revival Focus Ministries, formerly Preach the Word Ministries.

You may print the PDF and/or e-mail this article from the
Baptist College of Ministry web site.

July 19, 2010

Dave Doran, “I’ve Never Read Any of MacArthur’s Books on the [Lordship Salvation] Subject

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

On Friday, July 16 Evangelist Gordon Phillips, at his Faith, Theology & Ministry blog published, There is a Difference and It’s a Name Changer! (I promoted and cited select excerpts from that article in the previous IDOTG article.)

This article discusses elements of a current series by Dr. Kevin Bauder. Brother Gordon asks,

What are the implications of changing Fundamentalism’s ecclesiastical separation away from the purity of the church to the purity of the Gospel and forging strategic alliances with Conservative Evangelicals around that Gospel?”
That Gospel” is Calvinistic soteriology in the form of the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel. Additional excerpts from the article include,
If you are going to change your stance on ecclesiastical separation, please do not forget to change your name, as the two go hand-in-hand. ...what he [Kevin Bauder] is presently doing appears to be giving the new life-filled movement of his “ideal” Fundamentalism the compromised thinking of Neo Evangelicalism rather than a greater degree of Biblical fidelity.
I posted a comment in the thread to bolster the article. Elements of my comment evoked a reaction from Pastor Dave Doran. If any wish to *read the exchange I had with Dave Doran you may visit the thread through the link below. From that exchange it was the following excerpt that is the subject of today’s article. Ps. Doran wrote,
“For the record, I’ve never read any of MacArthur’s books on the [Lordship Salvation] subject. If you want to know what I believe about the power of the gospel, then read chapter four of For the Sake of His Name.”
That statement prompted a query by Pastor Tom Stegall on Saturday afternoon in the thread. To date, Pastor Doran has not acknowledged or responded to what you are about to read. Without further delay this is Tom Stegall to Dave Doran.


Dr. Doran,

As the pastor of a large, conservative Baptist church and president of a conservative Baptist seminary, I am more than a little astonished to hear you say that you have never read ANY of John MacArthur’s books on the subject of Lordship Salvation (The Gospel According to Jesus, Faith Works: The Gospel According to the Apostles, Saved Without a Doubt, Hard to Believe, etc.). The Lordship Salvation issue has been arguably the most controversial and hotly contested soteriological subject within conservative evangelicalism and fundamentalism in the last two decades; and John MacArthur is the leading spokesman on this topic. This would be similar to living in 1530’s Europe and never having read anything by Calvin or Luther on the subject of justification.

That aside, I have personally read all of your book, For the Sake of His Name. On the whole, it is a very good book on missions in my estimation. I greatly appreciated and agreed with your position on missions and the local church and even your historical analysis about the detrimental effects of neo-evangelicalism and ecumenical parachurch organizations.

However, in your fourth chapter you plainly espouse Lordship Salvation. As one who has carefully read your fourth chapter, I have a question for you about salvation. In the chapter you maintain that when the lost believe the gospel they necessarily follow Christ thereafter as disciples; and if they do not, that means that they do not possess genuine saving faith and are not regenerated. While I also believe that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to all those who believe, you clearly require a life of service and obedience in order to make it to heaven.

For example, on pp. 84-85 you say, “The biblical gospel makes disciples who have turned to Christ, not simply added him to their collection of gods or squeezed Him into an unaltered life. This is why Paul cold express confidence in the salvation of the Thessalonian believers . . .” and then you go on to quote 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 about turning to God “to serve” Him, followed by Matthew 6:24 about not serving two masters. You use the word “serve” three times in that paragraph on p. 85. This leaves the distinct impression in the mind of the reader that people had better “serve” Christ or else they are not truly saved and they will go to hell. How is that not salvation by works/service?

You also close the chapter by saying on p. 92, “Christ commanded us to make disciples who would follow Him in baptism and obey all that He commanded, so our missionary efforts must settle for nothing less.” Few would deny that the Great Commission entails more than preaching the good news of how a person may be justified in God’s sight. It also involves teaching them Christ’s commands and baptizing them as believers.

But this leads to another problem and question I have in regards to your chapter on the gospel, discipleship and the Great Commission. If baptism and obeying Christ’s commands is part of discipleship (and it is), and discipleship is part of believing the gospel as you argue throughout the chapter, then how does one escape the conclusion that baptism and obedience to Christ’s commands are not ultimately necessary for eternal salvation?


Tom Stegall

SITE PUBLISHER’S UPDATE:
In the thread below I have reproduced the brief exchange between Pastors Tom Stegall and Dave Doran. The thread picks up with Dave Doran’s first response to Stegall’s comment/question to him which is the main subject of this article. Please view the thread for their exchange.

Pastor Stegall’s comment appears exactly here in the thread at the Faith, Theology & Ministry blog.

*My initial comment appears at this point in the thread. You can scroll down to read the brief exchange between Ps. Doran and myself that followed. You will also want to read Brian’s penetrating responses to select portions of Doran’s comments.

Related Reading:

Is the Term “Final Salvation” Necessarily Wrong?

Does “Final Salvation” Serves As a Cover for Works Salvation?

Is There a Second Definition for “Separation” in Academic Contexts?
“Whether Pastor Doran sees it this way or not, having conservative evangelical speakers [Michael Vlach], lecturers, etc., into the seminary is tantamount to having them come to Inter-City Baptist Church. If ICBC is the parenting agency and DBTS is a ministry of the church - it’s tough to reconcile the ‘academic freedom’ his article seems to be seeking.”

July 16, 2010

There is a Difference and It’s a Name Changer!

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

Today I am directing your attention to a new article by Evangelist Gordon Phillips. From his blog, Faith, Theology & Ministry Brother Gordon has just published, There is a Difference and It’s a Name Changer!

Let us examine what are what a few unashamed self-identified Fundamentalists have previously written on the subject of Fundamentalism’s ecclesiastical separation. It should not be missed that all of these men were associated with prominent Fundamentalist seminaries (Central, Faith, and Detroit)....

What are the implications of changing Fundamentalism ecclesiastical separation from the purity of the church to the purity of the Gospel and forging strategic alliances with Conservative Evangelicals around that Gospel? At least one Fundamentalist suggests that to do that should only come with a change of labels as one is no longer in accord with historic Fundamentalism....

If you are going to change your stance on ecclesiastical separation, please do not forget to change your name, as the two go hand-in-hand.

...what he [Kevin Bauder] is presently doing appears to be giving the new life-filled movement of his “ideal” Fundamentalism the compromised thinking of Neo Evangelicalism rather than a greater degree of Biblical fidelity.
Please, in it’s entirety, read this thoroughly documented new article, There is a Difference and It’s a Name Changer!

Yours faithfully,


Lou Martuneac
Isaiah 26:3

Site Publisher’s Addendum:
I encourage all guests to read the developing comment thread beginning here under There is a Difference and It’s Name Changer.

July 14, 2010

Lordship Salvation: Forgotten Truth or a False Doctrine?, Part 2

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

Last week we began with Part One of this two part series by Dr. Manfred Kober from 1989 as it appeared in Faith Baptist Theological Seminary's Faith Pulpit. This series is as compelling an exposure of and polemic against the egregious errors of Lordship Salvation for today as it was in 1989. I encourage you to read and prayerfully consider this important ministry of warning from Dr. Kober.

Several days ago my wife and I were discussing the matter of Lordship salvation. Our eleven-year-old daughter, Christa, overheard us and asked, “Daddy, what is Lordship salvation?” I replied that it is the view that believing in Christ as Savior is not enough. A person also needs to let Christ control every thought and action to be truly saved. Christa's perceptive reply was, “Well, Daddy, then no one can be saved, can he?”

And so it is. If God expects total submission of our body, soul, spirit, heart and mind for salvation, no one can possibly be saved. Total submission like complete sanctification is only achieved when the believer enters the presence of Christ.

It is difficult to conceive of a more crucial question in Christianity than this: What is the condition for salvation? What do I need to do to be saved? The answer that Paul gives to that question in Acts 16:31 is “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Over one hundred times in the New Testament faith is mentioned as the only condition for salvation. Yet a controversy is raging in evangelical circles. Shrill voices are telling us that individuals are not genuinely saved unless they believe and submit. In other words, salvation is dependent on faith plus dedication. One cannot be a Christian, we are told, without being a disciple. Salvation by faith alone is called “a notable heresy” (Tozer, “I Call It Heresy!” p. 9). It is labeled a "heretical and soul destroying practice" (Chantry, “Today’s Gospel Authentic or Synthetic?” p. 68). Men who teach that salvation is by faith alone are “wrongly dividing the Word of Truth” (MacArthur, “The Gospel According to Jesus.” p. 197).

In Part I we discussed I. The Contemporary Problem of Lordship Salvation, and, II. The Crucial Prerequisite for Salvation. Now let us note:

III. Some Compelling Proofs against Lordship Salvation:

MacArthur continually stresses the idea that the call to salvation is “a call to discipleship under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. To respond to that call is to become a believer. Anything less is simply unbelief” (p. 30). This position is easily refuted by Biblical examples.

A. The Example of Uncommitted Believers:

1. Lot:

The life of Lot affords an illustration of a life-long rejection of the Lordship of God. If it were not for the references to Lot as a just man in II Peter 2:7-8, one could seriously question his salvation. His continuous disobedience, compromise, and carnality did not prevent him from being positionally righteous.

2. The Ephesian believers:

The saints at Ephesus were unyielding at the time of salvation. As Christians they continued their pagan practices for at least one and a half years before they were willing to submit to the Lordship of Christ and burn their books of magic (Acts 18:19).

3. Peter:

The Apostle Peter demonstrates a definite lapse from total dedication. His words in Acts 10:14, “Not so Lord” were a sign of unyieldedness after he had been Spirit filled at Pentecost (Acts 2:4).

Lot, Peter, and the Ephesians are examples of carnal individuals who nonetheless were genuinely saved. In contrast, MacArthur says that “those unwilling to take on this yoke cannot enter into the saving rest He offers” (p. 112). He insists that “‘Faith’ that rejects His sovereign authority is really unbelief” (p. 28). MacArthur not only denies that carnal believers are genuinely saved, but he further accuses dispensationalists of inventing “this dichotomy carnal/spiritual Christian” (p. 30). “Contemporary theologians have fabricated an entire category for this type of person--‘Carnal Christian’” (p. 129).

In fact the Bible speaks of carnal believers. In I Corinthians 3, Paul addresses the Corinthian brethren as “carnal,” as “babes in Christ” who are “yet carnal . . . and walk as men” (vv. 1, 3). Genuine believers are called carnal and described as walking like the unsaved in envyings, strive, and division. Similarly, Peter says that genuine Christians can be guilty of gross crimes (I Peter 4: 15).

Why would MacArthur label this Biblical concept a contemporary invention? Is the category of carnal Christians really one of the “unwarranted divisions of truth” (p. 27) set up by dispensationalists?

B. The Exhortation of Romans 12: 1-2:

The Apostle Paul pleads with believers to submit to the Lordship of Christ. These individuals had been justified by faith (Rom. 5:1), were being led by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:14) and would never be separated from the love of God (Rom. 8:39). Yet these saints were enjoined to “present their bodies a living sacrifice” (Rom. 12:1) rather than to serve sin or let sin rule them (Rom. 6:6). According to the Lordship Salvation view, these individuals were never genuinely saved. MacArthur says “Salvation is for those who are willing to forsake everything” (p. 78). “Forsaking oneself for Christ’s sake is not an optional step of discipleship subsequent to conversion: it is the ‘sine qua non’ of saving faith” (p. 135). Paul says that submission, sacrifice, and service are incumbent upon every believer after salvation. MacArthur says they are indispensable for salvation.
Proper exegesis and personal experience do not support Lordship salvation.
Thomas L. Constable is correct in observing that while “surrender is certainly God's desire for every Christian, it is not a condition of salvation. If it were, it would be a work” (Walvoord: A Tribute. “The Gospel Message” p. 209).

C. The Meaning of the title “LORD”:

The term “Lord” can indeed mean Master, but in the New Testament it has various meanings. When used in the salvation passages, Lord especially emphasizes the deity of Christ. Paul’s statement in Romans 10:9-10 is “misunderstood when it is made to support the claim that one cannot be saved unless he makes Jesus Lord of his life by a personal commitment . . . Paul is speaking of the objective lordship of Christ, which is the very cornerstone of faith” (Everett F. Harrison, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary. Vol. X, 112).

Those who insist on Lordship salvation maintain that our position is one of “easy believism” or “cheap grace.” Ryrie rightly objects to this charge by noting that “it is not easy to believe, because what we ask the unsaved person to believe is not easy. We ask that he trust a Person who lived 2,000 years ago, whom he can only know through the Bible, to forgive his sins. We’re asking that he stake his eternal destiny on this” (Basic Theology, p. 339, emphasis in the original). Salvation is free. Lordship is very costly. Faith is a gift bestowed by God upon unbelievers. Discipleship is a commanded work of obedience for believers. Both faith and discipleship are absolutely important, the one for salvation, and other for sanctification. To deny the difference between saviorhood and lordship is to distort the gospel--and that is dangerous!

Reprinted by permission from the March and April/May 1989 editions of the Faith Pulpit, a publication of Faith Baptist Theological Seminary, Ankeny, Iowa. (bold added)

Faith Pulpit, Faith Baptist Theological Seminary, April/May '89 - Manfred E. Kober, Th.D.

For related study see- John MacArthur's Discipleship Gospel

July 12, 2010

Lordship Salvation: Forgotten Truth or a False Doctrine?, Part 1

If you were Satan, which doctrine would you want to undermine? Which area of theology would you pervert, to prevent people from being saved? An individual may be wrong about the doctrine of the church or deny the millennial kingdom and yet doubtless be gloriously redeemed. However, if a person is wrong on the doctrine of salvation, specifically, the prerequisites for salvation, he misses the very heart of the gospel. One would expect Satan to attack in the area of soteriology. Indeed, he has! The informed and discerning believer soon realizes that there is a battle raging among evangelicals and fundamentalists over the matter of the conditions for salvation.

I. The Crucial Problem of Lordship Salvation:

A. The problem:

On the one hand there are those who insist that salvation is God's gift and that trust in Christ is the only requirement for salvation. On the other hand, there are respected pastors and theologians who teach that unless an individual submits also to the Lordship of Christ at the moment of salvation, he is not really saved.

B. The positions:

1. Salvation by grace through faith alone:

a. Curtis Hutson in his book, “Salvation Crystal Clear”, has a chapter entitled “Lordship Salvation, A Perversion of the Gospel.” He begins with the following warning: Lordship salvation is an unscriptural teaching regarding the doctrine of salvation and is confusing to Christians, Hutson calls Lordship salvation “another gospel which contradicts the teaching of salvation by grace through faith” (p. 302).

b. Charles Ryrie cautions that “To teach that Christ must be Lord of life in order to be Savior is to confuse certain aspects of discipleship and confuses the gospel of the Grace of God with the works of men.” (Balancing the Christian Life, p. 178).

c. Lewis Chafer writes that Lordship salvation is a seemingly pious but subtle error that in addition to believing in Christ “the unsaved must dedicate themselves to the will of God” (Systematic Theology, III, 384).

d. *Zane Hodges clearly distinguishes between salvation and discipleship. Eternal life is free. Discipleship is immeasurably hard. The former is attained by faith alone; the latter by a faith that works (The Hungry Inherit. p. 114, underscore in the original).

2. Lordship Salvation:

a. J. I. Packer rejects the idea that all men have to do is to trust Christ as sin bearer . . . they must also deny themselves and enthrone him as their Lord. (Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, p. 89).

b. Walter J. Chantry says that salvation without Lordship is impossible: Practical acknowledgment of Jesus’ Lordship, yielding to His rule by following, is the very fibre of saving faith. It is only those who ‘confess with the mouth the Lord Jesus’ (Romans 10:9) that shall be saved . . . Without obedience, you shall not see life! Unless you bow to Christ’s sceptre, you will not receive the benefits of Christ’s sacrifice. (Today's Gospel Authentic or Synthetic? p. 60, underscore in the original). His words concerning those who preach simple faith in Christ are very strong: This heretical and soul-destroying practice is the logical conclusion of a system that thinks little of God, preaches no law, calls for no repentance, waters down faith to ‘accepting a gift,’ and never mentions bowing to Christ’s rule or bearing a cross (p. 68).

c. John R. Stott suggests that it is as unbiblical as it is unrealistic to divorce the Lordship from the Saviorhood of Jesus Christ (Eternity, Sept. 1959, p. 37).

d. A. W. Tozer labels the view of salvation by grace alone a notable heresy and a false teaching (I Call It Heresy! p. 9,19).

e. James Montgomery Boice calls the concept of salvation through faith alone A defective theology. This kind of faith is directed to one who is a false Christ (The Meaning of Discipleship, Moody Monthly, Feb. 1986, p. 34, 36).

f. John MacArthur champions Lordship salvation in his recent book, “The Gospel According to Jesus”. He attacks dispensationalists in general and Chafer, Hodges, and Ryrie in particular for wrongly dividing the Word of Truth (p. 197). No one can come to Christ on any other term than full commitment (p. 197). In his book, “The Parables of the Kingdom”, MacArthur writes that there is a transaction made to purchase salvation, but it’s not with money or good works. The transaction is this: You give up all you have for all He has (p. 108). How does one receive salvation? You give up all that you are and receive all that He is . . . A person becomes saved when he is willing to abandon everything he has to affirm, that Christ is the Lord of his life (p. 109).

Even in our Regular Baptist circles Lordship salvation has become an issue.

g. John Baylo equates the saviorhood of Christ with His Lordship. He holds that saving faith properly understood always involves trusting Christ with one’s life. . . confidence in Christ to both save and manage one’s life . . . superficial faith never saved anyone (Baptist Bulletin, February, 1987, p. 7). In contrast, Paul Tassell pleads that we not confuse the instantaneous act of salvation with the long process of sanctification . . . we must not make saviorship and lordship synonymous (Baptist Bulletin, February, 1989, p. 46). Ernest Pickering in his incisive review of MacArthur’s book states that Well over 100 times in the New Testament we are told that salvation is by faith or through believing. It is a very serious matter to add an ingredient to the gospel of salvation which is not found in the New Testament (Lordship Salvation, Central Baptist Seminary, p. 7). Ryrie cautions that the message of faith only and the message of faith plus commitment of life cannot both be the gospel; therefore, one of them is a false gospel and comes under the curse of perverting the gospel or preaching another gospel (Gal. 1:6-9). As far as sanctification is concerned, if only committed people are saved people, then where is there room for carnal Christians? (p. 170).

Which of these positions is right, which is wrong? They cannot both be scriptural. In theology we do not count noses. In many areas, such as this controversy, able men can be marshalled to support either position. The correctness of a position must be substantiated by a clear grammatical exegesis of the Biblical text.

II. The Crucial Prerequisite for Salvation.

What is the necessary condition for salvation, faith in Christ as Savior or faith plus commitment of life? It is true that some believers dedicate their lives to the Lord at the moment of salvation. The Apostle Paul immediately asked the question: Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? (Acts 9:6). With most believers, dedication takes place after a fuller understanding of their spiritual responsibility. Key soteriological passages such as Acts 16:31 and Ephesians 2:8-9 teach that faith in Christ alone is the prerequisite for salvation. Ideally, every saint should recognize the Lordship of Christ from the moment of salvation, but there is a great difference between being a saint and a disciple. It costs absolutely nothing to be a Christian. It costs everything to be a disciple. In Luke 14 the Lord distinguishes between salvation and discipleship while teaching two parables, side by side. In Luke 14:16-24 he related the parable of the great supper into which the entrance was free and unrestricted for all who followed the invitation. In Luke 14:25-33 Christ taught that discipleship was only for those who gave up all.

Being a Christian means following an invitation. Being a disciple means forsaking all. To confuse these two aspects of the Christian life is to confound the grace of God and the works of man, to ignore the difference between salvation and sanctification. The gospel of grace is Scriptural. The Gospel that adds the works of man to salvation is a counterfeit Gospel.

If it was ever necessary for believers to rightly divide the word of truth, it is now, and it is in this area!

Reprinted by permission from the March and April/May 1989 editions of the Faith Pulpit, a publication of Faith Baptist Theological Seminary, Ankeny, Iowa. (bold added)

Faith Pulpit, Faith Baptist Theological Seminary, March '89 - Manfred E. Kober, Th.D.


Please continue to Part 2 of this compelling series

Site Publisher’s Addendum:
*Zane Hodges, had since the 1989 publication of this article, originated and introduced an extreme reductionist assault on the Gospel. Hodges’s interpretation of the Gospel has come to be known as the Crossless and/or Promise- ONLY gospel. The reductionism of Hodges is almost universally rejected in the NT church outside the small cell of theological extremists in the Grace Evangelical Society (Bob Wilkin, Exec. Director) and a very few friends who still identify with GES.

July 8, 2010

Preface to: Lordship Salvation: Forgotten Truth or a False Doctrine?

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

In May 2010, at The Church for God’s Glory Conference, Dr. Kevin Bauder divulged details of merger discussions between Central Baptist Seminary and the Faith Baptist Bible College. I published and you may read my transcription of Dr. Bauder’s remarks on the merger talks at The Merger of Central Seminary & Faith Baptist Bible College: “Lordship Salvation” is Big Question #2

My commentary on his remarks included:

I. In regard to the Lordship Salvation question Dr. Bauder said, “So, what we are trying to do with Faith [Baptist Bible College] is to get past some labels…”



Dr. Bauder seems to want to brush aside the label “Lordship Salvation.” He should not be so hasty to do so. The label “Lordship Salvation” has a definite, definable theology attached to it and that label is accepted by some of Lordship Salvation’s most high-profile advocates.

II. Dr. Bauder said, “Question number two: How do we negotiate some of the differences between us that are minor differences, really in the big scheme of things, very small differences, but are nevertheless among us the sort of differences that can constitute land mines.”

He was referring to Lordship Salvation. IMO, the Lordship Salvation debate is no small matter. The Gospel IS the “big scheme of things” in the New Testament church. There is a vast chasm, major differences between the theology of Lordship Salvation and the one true Gospel of the Bible, which is salvation by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9).

III. Dr. Bauder identified “Lordship Salvation” as “big question number two.” The big question in any discussion of Lordship Salvation is Lordship’s requirements FOR salvation, which is where the heart of the debate and controversy resides.
Beginning Monday I will post the first installment from a two part series titled, Lordship Salvation: Forgotten Truth or a False Doctrine? The series first appeared in Faith Baptist Theological Seminary’s Faith Pulpit, March 1989 and was written by Manfred E. Kober, Th.D. Part one of the series opens with this paragraph excerpt,
If you were Satan, which doctrine would you want to undermine? Which area of theology would you pervert, to prevent people from being saved? An individual may be wrong about the doctrine of the church or deny the millennial kingdom and yet doubtless be gloriously redeemed. However, if a person is wrong on the doctrine of salvation, specifically, the prerequisites for salvation, he misses the very heart of the gospel.
I trust you will find this series as compelling a polemic today as it was 21 years ago in the effort to expose and resist the spread of Lordship Salvation.


LM

July 5, 2010

IDOTG Awareness Page at Middletown Bible Church Site

Dear Friends of IDOTG:

I am very pleased to inform you that Pastor George Zeller has added a new page to the Middletown Bible Church website to highlight the
revised and expanded edition of In Defense of the Gospel: Biblical Answers to Lordship Salvation (IDOTG).

You may be aware that Brother Zeller provided one of the two forewords that appear in the book. Here at my blog I highlighted his foreword earlier this year. You may read his foreword below.

In my opinion, George Zeller is one of the most prolific and penetrating writers in Bible believing circles today. He has written extensively on many doctrinal subjects including Calvinism and the works-based Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel. As I noted above he has added a new page to help visitors to his site become aware of
IDOTG. You can view the new page through any one of three links as follows:

Follow this direct link to Zeller’s page
Biblical Answers to Lordship Salvation by Lou Martuneac

Look under
Saved by Grace Alone (and Lordship Salvation)

The Doctrinal Studies main page, look under The Doctrine of Salvation.

The church purchased by Jesus Christ must have a clear understanding of salvation by grace through faith. It is the very heart of the gospel message. Some have turned the grace of our God into lasciviousness or unbridled lust (Jude 4), thinking that since they are saved and going to heaven they can live any way they please. Others, rightly concerned about rampant carnality in the church, have distorted the simple gospel message and have burdened the sinner with additional requirements that extend well beyond simple faith in the crucified and risen One. The unsaved person is told that if he does not turn from sin, surrender, have a willingness to obey, fulfill the demands of discipleship, etc., then he cannot be saved. Sadly, the focus is turned away from the all sufficient, finished work of Christ which is the sinner’s only resting place. Lou Martuneac has presented the biblical balance between these two erroneous and extreme positions. In this confused theological climate, his book is like a breath of fresh air and deserves a wide reading.

Pastor George Zeller
Available Now: What to Expect, Part 4