April 26, 2011

The Spread of Lordship Salvation

Recently, at the church I attend, a deacon got up in front of the AWANA Sparks as a guest speaker. The children ranged from ages five through eight. What greatly saddened my heart was his message to the children, a message on Lordship Salvation. He began by asking the question: What must you do to be saved? Some of the children said, “Believe on Jesus,” and some said, “Trust Jesus as your Savior.” The teacher kept looking for a different answer. Finally he stopped after one girl said, “Accept Jesus into your heart.” The teacher looked at her, and said, “That’s not in the Bible.” What followed was a definition of repentance that included: Repentance equals change of mind, plus change of heart, plus change of purpose. “Jesus wouldn’t want to come into your dirty heart.” “You must clean it up!” He said that this should be done by, “forsaking and turning from your sin in repentance, only then can you believe on Christ.”

His basic point here was that they had to make Jesus Lord of their life to be born again. This was followed up by statements saying that unless you repent you will perish and that you can only be saved God’s way. These statements contained elements of truth, but were being used to perpetuate an error. The incredible thing of it all was that most of the children had it right, but the speaker changed the terms of the gospel negating faith and believing in Jesus Christ to be saved.

It truly is heart breaking to see the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the gospel spreading throughout many local fundamental Baptist churches. No church is totally immune. Lordship Salvation theology is reaching the unsuspecting through various mediums, primarily the Internet. Believers must be vigilant in watching for error concerning the gospel.

This brings up the question: What should be done about the intrusion of Lordship Salvation into Bible believing churches? The problem is complicated by several factors. This article will look at three.

First is the spread of certain Calvinistic or Reformed views. These views can cause a person to be more accepting of the Lordship position. One of the most egregious errors and pathway to Lordship Salvation is the extra-biblical teaching that regeneration must precede faith. That is a lost man must be regenerated, i.e., born again, prior to and apart from faith before he can believe in and receive Jesus Christ. (See articles below for additional study.)

I have friends who say that “Calvinism is Lordship.” We recognize there are a significant number of men who are largely Calvinistic in their theology, but reject Lordship Salvation.

“The lordship salvation view did not begin in the 1950s. In reality the view is as old as covenant reformed theology, with which it is very compatible, although not all who embrace a nondispensational theology subscribe to lordship salvation, and some dispensationalists embrace it. [Walter] Chantry was right when he said lordship salvation ‘is largely associated with Reformed theology (and rightly so).’ Supportive of this is the fact that the most recent full-scale defense of lordship salvation from one [John MacArthur] who claims to be a dispensationalist cites dozens of Reformed writers such as O. T. Allis, Berkhof, Boice, C. Hodge, J. I. Packer, Pink, and Warfield.” (Dr. Robert P. Lightner, Sin, the Savior, and Salvation, 1991, pp. 203-4.
It is important for church leaders and members to be able to recognize the spread of error regarding salvation in their own church. Churches may have to make tough decisions concerning the development of a more complete doctrinal statement if the existing statement does not provide adequate protection from error. Pastors should make sure that any teaching in the church aligns with the church’s doctrinal position so as not to cause confusion. This should include classes, discipleship, youth programs, Bible studies, and special events. It could only take one person to stir up division and offense within a local church through contrary doctrine if it goes unnoticed and unchecked (Rom. 16:17-18).

Second, there are many people in churches today who are not well-grounded in basic Bible doctrine. Men like John MacArthur and John Piper have written books that cloud, complicate and confuse the gospel. Apart from being equipped to read with discernment what is being taught, and testing those things against the Scriptures good people could be drawn toward and fall into the trap of Lordship Salvation. Some Christian colleges and seminaries are tolerating and/or teaching Lordship Salvation in classrooms and chapel. Advocates of LS are being recognized and honored. Pastors and parents are facing a tough decision. Has the time come to withdraw support of those colleges and seminaries that are content on blazing a path of compromise even on the gospel? We certainly need to redouble our effort to disciple new believers on the foundations of our faith. Our churches should be full of members who can recognize error, lovingly/effectively recover those in error and put up a militant defense against the spread of error.

Third, there is a growing resentment in my generation toward the past generation. Some remember their childhood and teenage years with all the rules yet with all of the inconsistency among parents and church leaders. Some students who I went to Northland Baptist Bible College with are now bitter against the fundamental Baptist church. Others never took hold of the doctrine that they were taught. They are now being drawn and welcomed by conservative, non-separatist evangelicals who are the prime advocates of Lordship Salvation and its insidious spread. The good news is that the Lordship Salvation error does not have to continue to spread to the next generation.

In conclusion we see that Lordship Salvation has intruded into our churches and it is aided by the advancement of Reformed views, the lack of doctrinally grounded church members, and the reaction to the failures of some within church leadership. Children must hear a consistent, Biblically correct, gospel message. They must see that we practice what we believe and preach. For that to be possible we must, by God’s grace and personal sanctification, be the Christians that we claim and God desires us to be. As Christians we must, therefore, stand against those doctrines and teachings that go against scripture whether the propagators of error are unregenerate or believers. We must contend for the faith once delivered (Jude 3) to expose, retard and reverse the spread of Lordship Salvation.

Your brother in Christ,

Jim Floyd

Brother Jim Floyd is a graduate of Northland Baptist Bible College with a degree in Biblical Counseling. He worked as a Christian camp counselor for three summers, participated in short term mission work, and helped with a church plant. He currently assists with the discipleship ministry in his local church.

Related Reading:
Can an Unregenerate Person Believe the Gospel?

The Danger of Reformed Theology

Impossible Decision, John 16:7-11

What is Lordship Salvation & Why Does It Matter?


  1. I rejected Lordship Salvation after grappling with it and listening to White Horse Inn and Reformed Michael Horton. Horton edited a good book on it, if you've not read it. Those who take a more Lutheran view of law/gospel distinction like Horton wouldn't agree with Lordship Salvation in general.

  2. John:

    FWIW, Michael Horton’s Christ the Lord is generally recognized as a pro-LS book.


  3. It is truly heartbreaking what was done to those poor children. That man was sowing seeds of confusion and doubt into their little hearts. Did he not rip up the wheat by telling these children who had been saved by faith in Christ that they were not really saved after all and needed to do something different to get saved?

    And, while I agree with him that it is not good to tell people to "ask Jesus into their hearts," did this man imply that it is possible for a man to clean up his own deceitful and desperately wicked heart so that Christ can enter into it? "You must clean it up"???? You can't believe on Christ until you forsake and turn from your sin in repentance? This is wrong! This man needs to become as those little children again and stop putting stumbling blocks in front of their childlike faith. :(

    Men like John MacArthur and John Piper have written books that cloud, complicate and confuse the gospel.

    God is not the author of confusion. His trumpet gives a certain sound. Those who have the Spirit of Christ testifying with their spirit that they are children of God must not be caused to disrespect and disagree with His witness to them by confusing teaching.


  4. Brother Floyd,

    Thank you for a clear, concise and cogent assessment of the dangers of LS. The dangers are great for this heresy invading our IFB churches, and we as pastors must be ever on guard to discern the subtlities of any such teaching.

    I believe it is time to draw a line in the sand against those churches and institutions who are poisoning the well, and say, "Enough is enough! Either you return to the truth or we will find other schools to send our young people."

    How much longer are we going to sit back in silence while the enemy steals our young people?

  5. “Jesus wouldn’t want to come into your dirty heart.” “You must clean it up!”

    This is not classic LS doctrine.

    David Oestreich

  6. Dave:

    The following quotes appear in the opening pages of my book.

    “The relationship with God starts always by acknowledging His supremacy, His Lordship. And this morning there is someone in here that needs to give God the throne and let Him rule. And when you do you will have from God exactly what you need to have, a relationship with Him…. You’ve got to have innocent hands and a heart empty of sin, and the only way is to have the righteousness of Christ, and that is a gift from God, when you admit, ‘God you rule in my life. The man who is willing to make an entrance for God is the man into whom Christ will come and rule.” (Evangelist Mark Kittrell)

    “Christ went to the cross, our sins were transferred to Christ and He bore them for us. He paid in full the entirety of our sin debt and there is nothing we can contribute to our eternal salvation. But you need to understand the terms for receiving this gift. If you want to receive this gift it will cost you the total committment of all that you are to the Lord Jesus Christ. ‘There are many here who think they are saved, but are not; they have never really done business with God…. I want to single you out in the midst of this crowd. Have you taken up a cross in order to follow after Christ? Have you recognized your own sinfulness, acknowledged that God’s judgment is true, have you acknowledged Christ’s right to rule your life? Have you submitted to the lordship of Christ? Have you really come to the end of self? Because Jesus does not begin until you end.’ Lawson’s message was as convicting an evangelistic appeal as I’ve heard in a long time. (Tim Challies on Steve Lawson at Resolved Conference)

    Those are samples of classic LS: Calls on the lost for a commitment to behavior in addition to believing for salvation. That is how people such as Brother Floyd cited (reading things like those) will tell chidren/adults to clean up to be born again.


  7. Excellent article!

    I once believed in and taught Lordship salvation myself. I have since repented and have embraced wholeheartedly the free grace position. I shudder to think of those I may have led astray because of the false teaching of Lordship salvation!

    It’s no wonder that James warns, “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.”

    Jesus rebuked His disciples saying, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Unfortunately, Lordship salvation places a stumbling block before these precious little ones that Jesus desires to come to Him. Yes, it does indeed seem that the AWANA children have a much better handle on salvation than the deacon did. AWANA has such a rich heritage beginning with its founder Lance Latham who was a strong advocate of free grace theology. If you have never read, The Two Gospels” by Doc Latham, I would HIGHLY recommend it. IMO it is a must read!

  8. Jesus wouldn’t want to come into your dirty heart.” “You must clean it up!

    It's like saying you can't go see the doctor until you're no longer sick!

    I guess you can't have a savior until you don't need one anymore!

    I thought Jesus didn't come for the well but for the sick???

    And anyway, even if I could get rid of what I DO (never mind that I can't, really), how am I supposed to get rid of what I AM???

    This is completely backwards!


  9. Jan,

    Yes the man did actually say “Jesus wouldn’t want to come into your dirty heart.” “You must clean it up!” I've heard people say things like, "You must make Jesus lord of your life," but never to that extreme. It seems though to be the logical end of that line of thinking. I don't know how we can continue to look past these things in our churches. There must be a more clear line drawn.


  10. Was the man who taught such nonsense removed from his position in the church and the issue addressed? If his position is contrary to the local church's doctrine, was he corrected? If he refuses to repent of his LS false doctrine, will the local church remove him from membership?

  11. Neither Challies, Lawson, or Kittrell say "you must clean it up". Kitrell does say you will recieve clean hands and a heart empty of sin if you accept Christ as Lord, and I might quibble with his definition of "empty of sin", but none say you have to clean up your heart.

    Also, the deacon was correct the concept of asking Jesus into our heart is not in the Bible and has no gospel content.

    David Oestreich

  12. Gary, Thanks for the compliment. Your son Randy was a roomate of mine at Northland for a couple years. I talked with him last summer about where all of this Lordship teaching is coming from. We concluded that a big part of the problem is that our Bible colleges and especially seminaries are either tolerating, or worse, teaching the Lordship view of salvation. I agree with you that enough is enough. I am quite sick of young believer's in Christ being told that they don't have salvation unless they: forsake their sins, make Jesus Lord of their life,clean up their hearts or whatever else LS proponents can come up with to add to the gospel. I will also not recommend any schools that are even tolerant of this view. The hard part is to get some schools to admit clearly what their view is on this matter.


  13. Lance,

    That all remains to be seen. I will be following up with Church leadership on this. I pray that something will be done or I may have to consider other options for church membership. I know that I could not continue to minister in a church where that kind of teaching is permitted.

  14. Jim:

    The hard part is to get some schools to admit clearly what their view is on this matter.

    You can’t even get many of the school’s leadership to be open and transparent in a public forum about their personal view on LS. Just try asking them if they believe Lordship Salvation (LS), as men like John MacArthur teaches it, is the one true gospel of Jesus Christ. Ask that kind of question and see if you can get a clear, unvarnished answer.

    Earlier I engaged Dave Doran at Gordon’s blog on that very subject. Doran’s answer was that he has never read anything by MacArthur on the subject- LS. You can read it HERE

    So, are we to believe that a seminary president, Dave Doran, has no idea what LS is as MacArthur, its most prolific advocate, defines it? Yet, Doran has hosted Michael Vlach from MacArthur’s seminary to lecture at DBTS. With all of Doran’s personal advocacy for the new paradigm “Gospel-Driven separation,” and Gospel-Centric fellowship, he puts a preacher of LS in his own ministry, allows him access to his students, and does not know what form of soteriology the man preaches?


  15. Dave:

    "Also, the deacon was correct the concept of asking Jesus into our heart is not in the Bible and has no gospel content."

    No one here would disagree with you on that, but to chide a child to replace it with LS into his/her thinking???

    Replacing a child's misunderstanding with LS's false interpretation of the plan of salvation (justification) is wrong and egregious.


  16. There are lots of questions that need to be asked of this deacon.

    How long has he had this view of the gospel?

    Is this a different view of the gospel than he held previously?

    How did he come to have this view of the gospel?

    Who has influenced him in this direction?

    How well does he understand what he is saying?

    Why does he think the usual way of understanding the gospel is wrong/inadequate? This can also be asked, why is faith in Christ's blood inadequate to save?

    Does he know these children and their parents?

    Does/did he believe they are/were saved before? (This assumes he previously held to the standard gospel.)

    Does he believe his church has been preaching a false gospel until now? If so, when, why, and how did he come to this conclusion?

    Does he really understand what he said when he said we must clean up our hearts before Jesus will come into them? Or was he just treating the child's words opportunistically, taking that ball and running with it to the goal of announcing the requirement of forsaking sin for salvation?

    What does "believe on Christ" mean?

    Why must one forsake sin before one can believe on Christ? Is one unable to believe until one has put sin away? How much sin must be put away before one can believe on Christ? Some? All?

    What does "forsake" mean?

    What does "turn from your sin" mean?

    How is this done?

    To what degree must this be done before one can believe on Christ?

    What are God's standards for holiness?

    Does the need to forsake sin mean we must meet those standards before we can believe on Christ? If so, how do we do that, being dead in Adam? If not, why not and how does that affect our view of God's holiness and our understanding of the word "forsake?"

    Does the reality of the continued presence of sin mean we are unable to believe on Christ, since we can't effectually put sin away totally in this life?

    I want to know how recent his persuasion is and how much of this he has really thought through.

    And for Jim,

    Has this deacon been known to hold to the standard view of the gospel prior to this time? Does this seem to be a recent change?


  17. Jan,

    I have only been a member of this church since November of last year. I do not believe that this is something new from this deacon. The church I'd say has about 500 people and there are some within that will learn toward a more Calvinistic view of things. There are many graduates there from BJ, Northland, and others. Some have even attended seminaries like Detroit. I imagine that anyone could pick up these views from these schools if they choose to go that path. He was very articulate and to the point. It didn't come across that he didn't know exactly what he was saying. That's part of why it was so alarming to me. My understanding is that this church has had to deal with these things from time to time. As far as your questions: I think they are excellent and I will be seeking those answers myself.

  18. David,

    Thanks for your observation on "accept Jesus into your heart." It is true that that is not how we should explain salvation to our children. However, I've seen many use this as a reason to then push Lordship salvation. The LS approach is even more dangerous because it complicates the gospel to the point of frustration. I agree that many Lordship proponents do not go this far but they do err in the totality of their view.


  19. To update the situation,

    The Pastoral staff will be meeting next Tuesday to discuss the matter of Lordship salvation. One pastor indicated that the deacon may have meant well. I'm willing to accept the possibility that he meant well, but I also know that much error can be passed along by well meaning people. I'm hoping that things can be resolved in a good way. It just goes to strengthen my point that our people (especially those who teach)must be grounded in the clear truth of scripture.


  20. We'll have to keep that meeting in prayer that all will be made clear and be resolved in a good way.


  21. Jim:

    I hope and pray that the meeting goes well in the sense that all of the men recognize and understand that Lordship Salvation (LS) is a departure from the gospel of Jesus Christ. A surprising number, who have not seriously studied LS theology are under the impression that LS is just another way of saying the same thing we all believe the gospel to be.

    Dr. MacArthur defines the core of Lordship theology with statements such as, “Salvation is for those who are willing to forsake everything.” (TGATJ, p. 78.)

    In one of the clearest expressions of portraying discipleship as though it is the key to salvation MacArthur wrote, “Anyone who wants to come after Jesus into the Kingdom of God—anyone who wants to be a Christian—has to face three commands: 1) deny himself, 2) take up his cross daily, and 3) follow him.” (Hard to Believe, p. 6.)

    Many John MacArthur apologists in IB circles excuse what he writes by saying he is only making “over-statements.” Those alleged “over-statements,” however, have been reiterated and reinforced by MacArthur since his first LS book in 1988.

    In LS- justification is conditioned on the lost man’s willingness to “forsake everything.” In LS faith is front-loaded with commitments to deny self, cross-bearing and following. This is NOT the Gospel of Jesus Christ! LS is late-comer that corrupts the simplicity that is Christ (2 Cor. 11:3) and frustrates grace (Gal. 2:21).


  22. Jim,

    Wonderful post. I will be praying for you, and that those who hear your appeal next Tuesday will be as thoughtful Bereans.

    I hope the following story will be encouraging to you, but I must start with the sad part: One month ago in our little town of 2000 people a local high school girl committed suicide. Her best friend, we'll call her Tiffiny, faced with the brevity of life began asking questions about eternal life to a friend of mine. She wanted to know she would go to heaven when she died. An aquaintence of mine was on the hearing end of this. He recounted to me how he shared the gospel with her, but wan't sure if she got it. I asked him what he told her. His words: "I told her Christianity is a 24 hour thing, not just on Sundays from 10 to noon. You've got to beleive in Jesus, turn from your sin, and live it every day of your life." My heart broke at hearing all these obstacles to faith he put before this young vulnerable girl.

    Here's the good news now! I printed off a chart from Middletown Baptist Church which contrasts, in very simple and staightforward terms using Scripture, the requirments for salvation (coming to Christ) with the requirements for discipleship (following after Christ once a person is saved). I sat down with this acquaintence and went through it slowly and gently. He got it! He realized he had taken the requirements for discipleship and mistakingly made them the requirments to be born-again. After some more discussion and some role playing where we shared the gospel with one another, he went back to that young gal and shared the true gospel with her. And she "got it". The gospel, when accurately adn clearly presented, is indeed so simple even a child can understand it.

    If you'd like to check out that chart, it's at http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/doctrine/sal-dis.htm

    You're in my prayers,

  23. Jimmy O-

    That is amazing and it certainly is hopeful. I am encouraged to believe that many of the folks who preach an LS gospel do so because they have not been informed of the issues, as was the case with your acquaintance. I know that's not true of all of them. Some of them are sold out to it and that is that. But it would seem that some at least are unaware of the issues and would not do it if they knew.

    I really hope that is the issue with this deacon and any others who have been leaning in the LS direction in Jim's church, and that he will see what he has been doing wrong.

    It is also interesting that the girl was apparently unable to process the requirements of the LS gospel. There is that confusion again. But she was able to grasp the plain, simple gospel (and, I take it, respond to it in belief).


  24. Jimmy,

    Thanks for the story. The girl was fortunate. Sadly, I can think of examples where people were confused by LS and are still lost.


    I agree with you and hope that that is the case with the deacon. I've just not known many Lordship proponents to be unclear about what they are saying. They however always seem to bring confusion.

    Thanks all, for the prayers. Pray for the pastors to have wisdom.


  25. Jan,

    It is interesting indeed that the young gal was unable to "process the requirements of LS". I'm guessing, though, that the person who shared the LS error with her shared more with her than what he told me. I in no way think he held anything back from me purposefully, but sometimes we forget all we say. It wouldn't surprise me to know that he presented Jesus as our Saviour who paid for all our sins on the cross, then contradicted himself by informing her that "turning from sin" and living a committed life were also necessary for eternal life. Classic example of mixing works and faith.

    "We don't get better to get saved, we get saved to get better" (Dr. Curtis Hutson)


  26. Jim-

    How did your meeting go?


  27. Jan,

    I met with the Pastor and he just thinks that the deacon may have over spoke. He told me that he was a good guy and that I should just sit down with him to discuss it. He did say that he personally would not have said some of those things. I have not heard back yet about the meeting yesterday.


  28. Anonymous:

    Resubmit your comment with your name and I will post it here. It is worthwhile posting what you submitted and resposnding to, but I rarely allow anonymous comments.

    It began, "Brethren, walk through Christ's words throughout the gospels and ask yourself..."

    If you need it e-mailed back to you, e-mail me at indefense06@gmail.com


  29. ...he just thinks that the deacon may have over spoke.

    I certainly hope that is the case.


  30. Jan/Jim:
    Just saying that every extreme from JMac on LS is excused as a mis or overstatement.


  31. Lou,

    Thanks, I understand what you are saying. Some try to excuse LS by saying that some just make overstatements. It also goes back to those who will not take a clear stand on the issue. I think that my church is a microcosm of what is going on in Fundamentalism. Some take a militant position on defending key truths, some have strong convictions but play peacemaker, some compromise, some cause trouble whether intentional or not,some are unaware of the issues,some are not yet believers, and the rest are too caught up in their daily routines to see the importance of the bigger picture.

    NIU is another example. Dr Olson told me that he just didn't like the tone of JMac's "The Gospel According to Jesus." This led me to believe that he indeed was in agreement with much of it or he would have said otherwise.


  32. Jim:

    On Olson/JMac- there is no way NIU would have Rick Holland in their chapel pulpit if he had any serious reservation about Lordship Salvation.

    On the other matter, my experience is that many just do not want to “contend for the faith,” over LS because it will mean lost friendships and all that comes with taking a clear, uncompromised stand for truth. The militancy for the whole counsel of God and the cost of following Him is just too much for many men when it comes to the LS debate. They’d rather agree to disagree even when they at least suspect or even know the Gospel is under assault through LS.

    Some, however, have never taken the time to study the LS theology out and come to any definite personal conviction about it. I know of men who have told me or said publicly that they do not want to know if it is truth or error because it will lead them to make difficult decisions that they do not want to have to make. I have two examples of this in my book.


  33. Lou,

    I have seen that frienships are affected by contending for the faith. I've had friendships that have lost closeness due to stand's I've had to take on certain issues. However, I've made new friends and saw other friendships strengthened due to the standing for the truth. I encourage others to put God first by standing for the whole counsel of His word. God will then bless you with the right friendships and beyond. God also blesses ministries that faithfully proclaim the whole counsel of God without compromise.


  34. I won't take sides on this one, because I believe that both are wrong to a degree. I think that both complicate the simplicity and purity of the true Gospel of Jesus. I have come to believe that the Bible teaches that we must be in Christ and not the other way around. We must be sincerely in departing from ourselves and enter into the example that Christ in His coming displayed for us. It is not about being saved or becoming unsaved/loosing salvation, but about being safe in the Lord Jesus Christ and since we are free indeed, it is our responsibility to remain in relationship and service of the Gospel message. I believe that one is safe and will be saved when they endure to the end (Matt. 24:12-13). Both have catchy titles and half truths that reel in its victims. As long as we have breath to breathe, we have the free will to choose what we will or will not do with Jesus. I do believe that those who support either/or are honest in their desire to bring people to the Lord, but while they are sincere, they, in my belief, are sincerely wrong. Quite simply, we must deny self and take up the cross of Christ, leaving our own will and entering into His.
    In my humble opinion, this honesty will bring more people to true faith in Christ, bring focus to Jesus and help those to stay on the straight and narrow path that leads to salvation. Far too many treat the Grace fo God like most do exercise equipment, they get and stick it under the bed, closet, or in a corner and never use it again until they look in the mirror honestly. Those who are sinning and it don’t bother them, are in danger of hell fire, I don’t care if they have made a thousand professions of faith and been baptized in the Pacific Ocean so many times that they know every fish by their first name. I don’t mean to suggest that we will be sinless, too late for that, but I do believe that we will sin less that the day before. The closer we draw to the Lord, the more sin will be become undesiring and uncomfortable in our lives. The less we we be concerned with man seeing or knowing and more about Christ knowing. I don’t collar/shackle myself with any denomination, not even non-denominations, I am just a Christian. It is my belief that by much, if not all, of the denominational beliefs in one way or another, add in their little crutch/pet pea for purposes known only to them (I suspect to please their following). Thank you for the opportunity to speak. I hope that all will be bless by it.

    God Bless
    Bro. James Thompson

  35. James, thanks for your comment. I'll respond in a couple posts. You said,"I won't take sides on this one, because I believe that both are wrong to a degree." What are you referring to here? Lordship/non-lordship or Calvinism/Arminian. If the latter then I agree with you.

    We are in Christ as believers and the Spirit indwells us as believers.

    There is something important about being saved, but that does not negate the truth that we abide in Christ.

    You said, "I believe that one is safe and will be saved when they endure to the end (Matt. 24:12-13)." What about before the end? How would they not endure? I view it more as preservation not perseverance. We are bought with a price, sealed unto the day of redemption, etc. What bearing would perseverance have on salvation? Is salvation in doubt until “the end”? death or the rapture?

    You said, "As long as we have breath to breathe, we have the free will to choose what we will or will not do with Jesus." I guess I agree with you here unless you mean that we can also choose at some point to reject Jesus and become lost again. More in the second post.

    Jim F.

  36. James, Here is the second part of my response to you. Please consider my questions to you. You said, "Quite simply, we must deny self and take up the cross of Christ, leaving our own will and entering into His." Is this the gospel?!

    "In my humble opinion, this honesty will bring more people to true faith in Christ, bring focus to Jesus and help those to stay on the straight and narrow path that leads to salvation." I don’t agree with this. How does this lead to salvation? What path? Discipleship? Discipleship is not a path to salvation. It is more of a result of obedience to God after salvation.

    "Far too many treat the Grace of God like most do exercise equipment..." This doesn’t mean they are not saved. Maybe they are untrained, immature, poorly discipled, temporarily rebellious etc. Your next statement is to subjective though I think I understand where you are coming from. Do you mean a lifetime of sin, one time, various sins, murder, laziness, gluttony, etc? disobeying the speed limit. I’ve seen some Pastors that may have to repent due to that one. There should be concern, but those who are saved and are concerned about their sin will usually respond to the Spirit. But say a believer dies before he gets to make that one particular sin right with God, he will still enter heaven. Correct? Say for example a saved Pastor that commits suicide. Christ’s blood covers past and future sins of the believer.

    Some believers have a lot of baggage to get through even after being saved. For example a child is saved at age five whereas a fifty year old pedophile is saved and faces more of a challenge practically moving forward due to the accumulated baggages and scars of a lifetime of sin.

    "The less we be concerned with man seeing or knowing and more about Christ knowing. " We must know the scripture, and that knowledge must be aided by the Holy Spirit.

    "I don’t collar/shackle myself with any denomination, not even non-denominations, I am just a Christian." Please do not be offended by this, but do you go to church?

    "It is my belief that by much, if not all, of the denominational beliefs in one way or another, add in their little crutch/pet pea for purposes known only to them..." I am a Baptist because I hold the Baptist distinctives by conviction. No other reason. Some who call themselves Baptist do not even do this. I’d even say that many “Baptists” sadly don’t even know what the Baptist distinctives are. Would you agree with them? If so, why not be a Baptist, if not then what part of them would you disagree with?

    Overall James, thanks for giving me an opportunity for me to think about these things.

    Jim F.