April 14, 2011

What is Lordship Salvation: And Why Does It Matter?

There is an on-going debate over a certain segment of fundamentalists preaching and practicing a new paradigm shift for separation commonly known as “gospel-driven separation” or “gospel centric fellowship.”

“There is today a very subtle shift that, on the surface, is very persuasive…. Rather than base separatism on the Bible, the whole counsel of God, we should use as our test the Gospel. There is a plea that says the only doctrines for which we should contend are those doctrines that impinge directly upon the Gospel…. That [Gospel-Centric separatism] broadens our fellowship incredibly to include organizations and individuals who are patently disobedient to the plain teaching of Scripture and yet are somehow tolerated, vindicated and even honored in some of our circles.”1
In recent articles we have been considering why there should be no fellowship or cooperative efforts with the so-called “conservative” evangelicals. The reasons include aberrant theology such as non-cessationism, amillenialism, ecumenical compromise, embracing the world’s music in the form of RAP, Hip Hop and CCM for ministry. All of these are grounds for withdrawing from and having no fellowship with believers who teach and do these things. All of this, however, is being tolerated, allowed for, excused or ignored by certain men who minister in fundamental circles, men who are forging fellowship and cooperative ministries with the evangelicals and influencing others to follow them. There is, however, one overarching concern that trumps all of these issues with the evangelicals combined. That is Lordship Salvation!
Defined briefly: Lordship Salvation is a position on the gospel in which “saving faith” is considered reliance upon the finished work of Jesus Christ. Lordship views “saving faith” as incomplete without an accompanying resolve to “forsake sin” and to “start obeying.” Lordship’s “sine qua non” (indispensable condition) that must be met to fully define “saving faith,” for salvation, is a commitment to deny self, take up the cross, and follow Christ in submissive obedience. (In Defense of the Gospel: Revised & Expanded Edition, p. 48.)
It is virtually impossible not to know that the evangelicals, almost to a man, believe, preach and defend Lordship Salvation (LS). When the T4G and Gospel Coalition conferences convene they gather around the LS interpretation of the Gospel. Certain men in fundamental circles, however, are drawn together in “gospel-centric” fellowship with evangelicals. They are gathering around a common acceptance of and bond in Calvinistic soteriology, primarily in the form of Lordship Salvation.

Dr. Kevin Bauder published a serious misrepresentation when he wrote that Fundamentalists and Evangelicals, “believe, preach and defend the [same] gospel.”2 Kevin Bauder has never edited or retracted that statement. Following are samples of Lordship’s corruption of the Gospel for justification.
Let me say again unequivocally that Jesus’ summons to deny self and follow him was an invitation to salvation, not . . . a second step of faith following salvation.” (Dr. John MacArthur, The Gospel According to Jesus: What is Authentic Faith? pp. 219.)

That is the kind of response the Lord Jesus called for: wholehearted commitment. A desire for him at any cost. Unconditional surrender. A full exchange of self for the Savior.” (MacArthur, Ibid, p. 150.)

If you want to receive this gift [salvation] it will cost you the total commitment of all that you are to the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ps. Steven Lawson, The Cost of Discipleship: It Will Cost You Everything.)

Salvation is for those who are willing to forsake everything.” (MacArthur, The Gospel According to Jesus, p. 78.)

This is what Jesus meant when He spoke of taking up one’s own cross to follow Him. And that is why he demanded that we count the cost carefully. He was calling for an exchange of all that we are for all that He is. He was demanding implicit obedience--unconditional surrender to His lordship.” (MacArthur, Hard to Believe, p. 6.)
Based on clear, unambiguous statements from advocates of LS thousands in Fundamentalism reject LS as a corrupt and false interpretation of the gospel.
When the Lordship advocate speaks of “following Christ,” he is speaking of the gospel. When John MacArthur refers to “The Cost of Following Christ,” he really means “The Cost to Receive Christ.” MacArthur believes there is a “Real Cost of Salvation,” or more accurately a “Real Cost for Salvation.” He believes that the gospel demands a commitment of one’s life, and a promise of surrender to the lordship of Christ in an up-front “exchange” for the reception of salvation. (In Defense of the Gospel: Revised & Expanded Edition, p. 82.)
Dr. Ernest Pickering recognized that LS, as MacArthur defined it, was a departure from the biblical plan of salvation. Following are two excerpts from Dr. Pickering’s review of the first edition (1988) of John MacArthur’s The Gospel According to Jesus.
MacArthur laments, ‘Contemporary Christendom too often accepts a shallow repentance that bears no fruit’ (p. 96). This theme recurs over and over again in the book. The recommended cure for this malady is to require more of the seeking sinner than the Bible requires. Instead of ‘merely’ believing on the finished work of Christ the inquiring soul must also be willing to have Christ as Lord over every area of his life. It seems evident upon an examination of this thesis that those who espouse it are adding something to the gospel that is not in the Scriptures. Charles Ryrie was certainly on target when he wrote, ‘The message of faith only and the message of faith plus commitment of life cannot both be the gospel…’” (Balancing the Christian Life, p. 70.)

“One of the chief objections to the notion of ‘lordship salvation’ is that it adds to the gospel of grace. It requires something of the sinner which the Scriptures do not require. The message of salvation by grace proclaims to sinner that they may receive eternal life by faith alone whereas the message of ‘lordship salvation’ tells sinners they must be willing to give up whatever is in their life that is displeasing to God.”
Several months after an April 2010 personal meeting with Dr. MacArthur NIU president Dr. Matt Olson announced that with MacArthur they “agree on the most substantive issues of life and ministry.”3 Then Olson hosted MacArthur’s executive pastor Rick Holland in the NIU chapel pulpit to address impressionable young people.4 NIU would not have had Rick Holland in its pulpit, or validated John MacArthur’s doctrine and ministry if the administration had any serious reservations over Lordship Salvation. With Olson’s statement on MacArthur and putting Holland in the chapel pulpit NIU stamped its approval on and endorsed a false gospel, namely “Lordship Salvation.”

Do Fundamentalists and Evangelicals, “believe, preach and defend the [same] gospel?” No, they do not! Men in fundamental circles who are converging with advocates of LS are either tolerating a known and egregious error or have themselves embraced the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel and are rallying around it with like-minded evangelicals.

It is high time for men like Dave Doran, Kevin Bauder, Matt Olson, Tim Jordan, et. al., to be transparent on the Lordship Salvation controversy. Are these men willing to state in unvarnished terms whether or not they believe LS as John MacArthur, John Piper, Steve Lawson, et. al., “believe, preach and defend” it is the one true Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Lordship Salvation is not the gospel! LS clouds, confuses and complicates the Gospel. LS corrupts the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Cor. 11:3) and frustrates grace (Gal. 2:21). Above all other considerations (aberrant theology, ecumenism and worldliness) we cannot fellowship, promote or cooperate with evangelicals who “believe, preach and defend” Lordship Salvation.


Related Reading:.
For a clear, concise example of the egregious error that is Lordship Salvation please read, Summary of Lordship Salvation From a Single Page. This article is a reproduction of an appendix entry by the same name that appears on pp. 284-286. In it I examine a statement by John MacArthur that appears in all three editions of The Gospel According to Jesus. You will find that there is no more clear example of how John MacArthur’s LS corrupts and redefines the Scriptures than this one.

What is the Fault Line for Fracture in Fundamentalism?
How can there be unity within a fellowship when two polar opposite interpretations of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ are accepted as legitimate?”
1) Pastor Marc Monte, Preserving the Separatist Impulse

2) Do Fundamentalists and Evangelicals, “Believe, Preach and Defend the [Same] Gospel?”
“There is no universal ‘mutuality in the gospel’ among evangelicals and fundamentalists. ‘Evangelicals and fundamentalists are [NOT] united in their allegiance to the gospel,’ because there is a vast difference between what evangelicals and non-Calvinists in Fundamentalism believe to be the one true Gospel. It is irrefutable, and Kevin Bauder is well aware, that many men in Fundamentalism reject Calvinistic soteriology in the form of LS as a false, works based Gospel. It is, furthermore, indisputable that virtually every man in “conservative” evangelicalism is a passionate advocate for Lordship Salvation, which Dr. Bauder is also well aware of.”
3) Dr. Matt Olson, Open Letter To Friends in Ministry, November 23, 2010.

4) Northland Int’l University Presents Executive Pastor of Grace Community Church to It’s Student Body


  1. Hello Lou:

    Good topic. I agree that lordship salvation teaching is one of the greatest threats to Christendom because it is so pervasive worldwide. It's sneaking in the side doors of many formerly sound Biblically-based churches. I think that MacArthur is much to blame for its spread through the vast publication of his books promoting this false teaching of LS [I call it "teaching" and not "doctrine" because it is not true Biblical doctrine]. Thank you for writing and publishing your fine book, "In Defense of the Gospel." It is the most straightforward and comprehensive expose that I have read on LS teaching.

    There is a really good discussion site that tackles various aspects of the false teaching of lorship salvation: "Expreacherman."

    Thanks for your defense of the true gospel.

    Your friend in the battle,

  2. Dear Bruce:

    Thanks for the kind remarks and link to ExPreacherman’s blog. Here is a direct link to one of the articles you refer to,

    ExPreacherman, Paul Washer, Lordship Salvation and Repentance


  3. Great article of your own, and at the ExP link as well. I posted the following on the ExP blog but thought I'd share it here too if that's okay.

    The books of Corinthians are a strong testimony against the claims of Lordship Salvation. Despite their problems such that Paul had to address them as "of the flesh" (1 Cor 3:1), not once did Paul call their salvation into question. We're studying 2 Corinthians at church and last week finished chapter 12 last week -- 2 Cor 12:21 in particular stands out as an especially blatant passage against the LS idea of saving repentance as requiring a turning from sin.

  4. A good and welcome comment Stephen, thanks.


  5. Fantastic and insightful article, Lou. This is one battle we can't be timid on or back away from. Since you quoted Marc Monte in the article, I would recommend a sermon recently preached by Marc on Biblical Separation. It is a barn- burner. No soft-pedaling or namby pamby pablum in it. He gets it right.

    Here's a link to it: http://www.ambassadors.edu/Resources/Sermons/play/2011-3%20Bible%20Conference/2011-03-22%20AM---Biblical%20Separatism---Dr%20Marc%20Monte---45---2%20Thessalonians%203.6-15.mp3

  6. Lou: The article on Lordship Salvation is excellent! It really gets to the heart of the issue and demonstrates that the so-called CE’s don’t really preach the Biblical Gospel at all. It make me wonder about the theological training of some of our men. Is it possible they can’t get John 3:16 right!

  7. Pastor Monte:

    It is truly disappointing that so many, with advanced theological training, can't see or will not acknowledge that the Scriptures are abused by John MacArthur to extract from or force them into conformity with Lordship Salvation (LS). Sadly, many of our men in fundamentalism have fallen into the trap that LS believing it is the Gospel message for the reception of eternal life/justification.

    JMac’s statements are often excused with claims that he is “over-stating” the case for LS. Rubbish! MacArthur has preached and written the same alleged “over-statements” for 20+ years. He has consistently reiterated and reinforced those statements. On John 3:16 Lordship Salvation adds to or replaces “believe,” with commitments to “behave” for the reception of the gift of salvation, i.e., justification.

    Dr. Ernest Pickering, were he with us today, would be writing to and admonishing men in fundamentalism to reject Lordship Salvation and to refrain from fellowshipping and cooperating with the evangelicals who” believe, preach and defend” Lordship Salvation.


  8. Bruce, rest easy. Matt. 16:18 assures us there are no threats to Christendom.

    There are only threats to our faithfulness

    David Oestreich

  9. "The reasons include aberrant theology such as non-cessationism, amillenialism, ecumenical compromise, embracing the world’s music in the form of RAP, Hip Hop and CCM for ministry."

    Lou, I agree with your thoughts here on music. Your other categories though go against what fundamentalism was. I have asked you about this before. Besides the music, the other issues are nonissues for fundamentalism. Do you really think that only IFB Fundamentalism exists and others are not fundamentalists?

    "Do Fundamentalists and Evangelicals, “believe, preach and defend the [same] gospel?” No, they do not!"

    Apparently they do. I would venture a guess that many thousands of Fundies, even IFB do in fact believe LS. Would it not be more accurate to simply say that fundamentalism is at a crossroads with regard to LS?

    As someone who has seen your blog though, I notice you seem to overstate your case sometimes and that hurts your argument with those more familiar with the history of the movement. Do we really know what Pickering would say today? How do we know he would not have changed his mind on this issue? Regardless, what Pickering says or doesn't say is not relevant to the truth. All that matters is what the Bible says.

  10. Josh:

    Thanks for your extended thoughts, I’ll go through some of them in the time I have this morning.

    The primary subject of this article is Lordship Salvation (LS). IMO, LS can hardly be considered a non-issue for fundamentalism, if that is what you suggested. Much more so than purely Calvinism, LS is, as I noted in the article with a link to above, The Fault Line for Fracture in Fundamentalism.

    It was not until JMac’s TGATJ (1988) that LS began to make serious inroads into fundamentalism. I was on the scene and in the ministry at the time and was tasked with addressing it then, which I explain in my book. LS made minimal gains early on, but grew over time. That spread was in part due to the fact that very few within fundamentalism wrote to expose and refute that false teaching. Dr. Pickering’s pamphlet was very helpful.

    “Men in evangelical and fundamental circles, who rejected MacArthur’s Lordship interpretation the gospel, began to respond. In Fundamentalist circles for example, Dr. Ernest Pickering wrote, Lordship Salvation: An Examination of John MacArthur’s Book, The Gospel According to Jesus. Although brief, it is, in my opinion, a must read and a very helpful critique of MacArthur’s book.” (IDOTG, p. 29.)

    After a good initial reaction in fundamentalism to LS most of us left the public debate. LS men, however, kept at an aggressive promotion of their views. We lost ground in the debate by defaulting the field of play to the advocates of LS.

    There were others in the broader fundamentalism that responded, but many of them were coming to the debate from the other extreme commonly known as “Easy-Believism,” which is as wrong as LS, but from the opposite end of the soteriology pendulum swing. I discuss this matter at some length in my book. I added a section to my revised book to deal with one the most egregious errors of the Easy-Believism, which is the Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin, GES “Crossless” gospel. I spent the better part of three years battling that assault on the Gospel primarily within the Free Grace community. Here is one of approximately 70 articles at my blog on that subject,

    Is the “Crossless” Label, the Right Label?


  11. Josh:

    You wrote,

    Do you really think that only IFB Fundamentalism exists and others are not fundamentalists? Not necessarily, it depends on who/what others you would identify as “fundamentalists.” And I think one of the absolute necessities is fidelity to biblical separatism in principle and practice both to the unsaved and the disobedient/erring brethren. FWIW, did you know that Dave Doran has dropped for himself the title, moniker, label (what have you) “fundamentalist?”


  12. Josh:

    You asked, "Would it not be more accurate to simply say that fundamentalism is at a crossroads with regard to LS?"

    I have been saying that publicly for at least five years. See,

    What is the Fault Line For Fracture in Fundamentalism?

    "Reasonable men can get along over differences of opinion over Reformed theology. Many men who reject Calvinism have cordial personal friendships with IFB men who are Calvinistic in their theology. There is the desire to work in cooperative efforts and I understand that desire. It is, however, antithetical to the Scriptures to call for unity in any fellowship at the expense of compromise with Lordship’s message, which has changed the terms of the Gospel."


  13. Josh:

    You wrote, “Do we really know what Pickering would say today… Regardless, what Pickering says or doesn't say is not relevant to the truth. All that matters is what the Bible says?”

    Taking the latter first.

    All that matters is what the Bible says.”

    You’re right. We look to the Bible to form our theology. It might encourage you to read this excerpt from my book.

    In the pages to follow we will consider many things both doctrinally and practically. My final authority, however, is the Word of God.” (IDOTG, p. vxii.)

    Lordship Salvation fails the test of Scripture. From the samples of LS teaching I cited from MacArthur and Lawson in the article it is plain that they have forced into or extracted from the Scriptures things that are not there to bolster their LS teaching. They have come to the Bible and are forcing it to conform with Lordship Salvation. This is an egregious, inexcusable assault on the Scriptures.


    More for you (Josh) later…

  14. Lou, the whole history of fundamentalism is a bigger tent than I think you are allowing for. Amill/premill, cal/arm, baptist/paedo, etc, all existed within fundamentalism. To just claim that those are issues to separate over I would agree with but it also means that fundamentalism has yet another fracture or divide. At what point is it really still fundamentalism? I have often wondered that.

    What do you say to those people who think that all nonLS is easy believism? Aren't they demonstrating the same militancy against easy believism?

  15. Josh:

    Yes, thank you, I understand there have been an array of issues that resulted in division, some necessary, others maybe not. Men must follow their conscience and convictions. For this discussion article, however, I have zeroed in on Lordship Salvation. There must be a divide over LS. Both the gospel of salvation by grace through faith and LS’s promise to perform in “exchange” for salvation message cannot both be the Gospel.

    Many LS advocates are militantly against any non-LS message, by any label. If they truly believe they have in LS the one true Gospel then they should be unashamedly open about it and militant.

    Where I have a problem is with men in Fundamental circles who will not in transparent, unvarnished terms say one way or the another if they personally believe the teaching commonly known as “Lordship Salvation, is the one true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Just try asking around and see if you can get a clear, unequivocal answer.

    I’m totally sincere about that. I suggest you start with the men who are leading the way to converging with non-separatist, evangelicals who “believe, preach and defend” Lordship Salvation.


  16. Hi Josh,

    Great questions! May I step in with one quick answer?

    You asked:

    What do you say to those people who think that all nonLS is easy believism? Aren't they demonstrating the same militancy against easy believism?

    Generally my response to claims that I preach "easy believism" because I don't recognize any "hard requirements"the Bible requires a person to meet (or have met for them through super-regeneration) in the reception of Salvation is to ask them to preach their message to me and then point out that they preach Easy Turnism.

    Check out my blog article Bad Kool-Aid: Easy Turnism for an explanation.


  17. I have to say that it certainly does matter that we stand against Lordship salvation errors. I agree with Kevl on the idea of easy-turnism. Lordship proponents however are usually very good at overlooking the illogical nature of their own position.

    I've often wondered why those like Dave Doran don't just come out and say what they believe on the matter. It may be that they don't want to ward of potential members or students. I've noticed that some pastors seem to take a middle of the road approach. I'd rather that more would take a stand one way or another.


  18. Jim you said : I'd rather that more would take a stand one way or another.

    OH that it would be so! I fully agree. I am so tired of finding LS theology in places I never expected it... breaks my heart.


  19. Josh:

    You wrote, “Do we really know what Pickering would say today… Regardless, what Pickering says or doesn't say is not relevant to the truth. All that matters is what the Bible says?”

    I am coming back to that comment from you for a follow-up on my first reply to it above.

    What Dr. Pickering might say today is irrelevant because we have a solid, reliable body of work from him on our book shelves today. We can read what he said and apply the biblical principles he articulated today. And those works speak to use today as clearly as they did in his lifetime, because he was articulating the timeless truths of the Word of God. We know what he would have said today because he said it all (already).

    We are witnessing a repeat of history, which is a replay of the 50’s-60’s slide into New Evangelicalism. Dr. Pickering’s Biblical Separation, The Tragedy of Compromise and a number of pamphlets on separatism like Should Fundamentalists & Evangelicals Seek Closer Ties makes unmistakably clear that Drs. Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran, Tim Jordan, Matt Olson, et.al., are acting contrary to the biblical separatism that of Pickering articulated. Those works are his lasting legacy to a generation, some of whom are abandoning much of the application of the God-given mandates in favor the “NEW” New Evangelicalism under the mantra “Gospel-Centric Fellowship.” Contending (Jude 3) for the whole counsel of God is set aside for Gospel-centric fellowship.

    The following two paragraphs appear in my previous article,

    (see next comment…)

  20. (continued from the previous comment)

    This is the “NEW” New Evangelicalism and it is making serious inroads into fundamental circles. Among the first I noted who introduced the new separatism is Dr. Dave Doran in his 2009 series on Gospel-Driven Separation. This new paradigm is a shift away from the biblical separatism such as Dr. Ernest Pickering articulated in his classic Biblical Separation: The Struggle For a Pure Church. As Pastor Marc Monte noted in Preserving the Separatist,

    The idea is essentially this: Rather than base separatism on the Bible, the whole counsel of God, we should use as our test the Gospel. There is a plea that says the only doctrines for which we should contend are those doctrines that impinge directly upon the Gospel…. I do not have the right to pick and choose among clearly revealed truths which ones I will contend for and which ones I will not.”

    In reading Dr. Pickering’s extended review of MacArthur’s TGATJ, even as little as the excerpts I cited in the article, coupled with his books Biblical Separation, The Tragedy of Compromise and the pamphlet Should Fundamentalists & Evangelicals Seek Closer Ties, one understands that today he could not in good conscience share in any cooperative efforts with men who preach what he saw as a message that changes the terms of the Gospel.

    His body of works indicate that Dr. Ernest Pickering would not encourage or participate in the new trend to tolerate, allow for and excuse the aberrant theology, especially Lordship Salvation, worldliness and ecumenical compromises of the evangelicals.


  21. If you could please tell me how you believe someone becomes saved? You certainly have a strong opinion on what you believe are false views, but what do you believe?

  22. Nick:

    First, understanding that Lordship advocates equate discipleship with salvation is very important. They require, from a lost person, an upfront promise to perform as a committed disciple of Jesus Christ as a condition for becoming a born again disciple of Jesus Christ.

    The Bible teaches that all may receive the gospel, all may choose to believe the gospel, and all may receive Jesus Christ by faith and be born again. John 16:7-11 and 2 Corinthians 4:3-6 show that the Bible clearly teaches that through the ministry of the Holy Spirit a lost man can come to understand his condition and need of salvation. According to the Bible the light of the glorious gospel of Christ can and does shine without exception on them, which believe not. Some respond in repentance, faith and believing on the Son of God and are miraculously born again. The Bible could not be clearer! A lost man, who hears the Word of God, comes under the convicting and convincing work of the Holy Spirit, can respond, if he so chooses, with repentance toward God, faith toward and belief in Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21) and thereby be regenerated, i.e. born again.

    Isaiah 45:22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

    John 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

    John 3:15-16 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

    John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

    John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

    John 20:31 . . .that believing ye might have life through his name.

    1 Tim. 1:16 . . . to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

    Gal. 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

    Rom. 10:9-10, 13 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation…. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

  23. What would you then say to a passage like Luke 14:26-27? It seems apparent that some commitment needs to be made in order to receive Christ. Those are not the words of John MacArthur, but are the very words of Christ.

    What about a passage like Romans 10:9-10? Seems pretty clear that Jesus has to be your Lord for salvation. How can Jesus be just your Savior and not your Lord? Is Jesus just our fire insurance or get out of jail free card? I think he would want something more out of us.

    And then what about Philippians 2:9-11? God has given Jesus a name and it seems like that name is Lord. At this very name every knee will bow. Also every name will confess that this Jesus is Lord. Does it not make sense that when we receive Christ as Savior we also receive him as our Lord?

    These are just some things I have been asking myself.

  24. Nick:

    You have asked some excellent questions that touch on he LS controversy. I’ll address each in turn through the day. I will, at the outset, suggest you get a copy of my book because these things are addressed and answered in detail within its pages. I will cite select excerpts for you.

    What would you then say to a passage like Luke 14:26-27? It seems apparent that some commitment needs to be made in order to receive Christ. Those are not the words of John MacArthur, but are the very words of Christ.”

    In my book is a chapter, Salvation & Discipleship: Is There a Biblical Difference? I deal with the Luke passage and related passages. The words of Christ are infallible! The interpretation and application of His words in Luke 14:26-27 (as well as Luke 9:23-24), by MacArthur is in error. The error of LS (MacArthur) is that it/he reinterprets passages meant for the born again disciple of Christ and twists them into Gospel appeals meant for the lost.

    “One of the most significant errors with Lordship Salvation is reinterpreting passages meant for the born again disciple of Christ and presenting them as though they are evangelistic appeals directed to the lost. It is from this error where much of the Lordship interpretation of the gospel flows. This error leads to a faulty definition of faith, redefines the role of biblical repentance in salvation, both of which result in a gospel message that frustrates grace.”(IDOTG, p. 73.)

    “How can the Scriptures teach that salvation is a free gift of God if the human cost to become a disciple, that is, to be born again, is very great as Lordship Salvation advocates insist? Salvation is either the free gift of God, or it is costly to man. The Bible teaches that ‘the gift of God is eternal life’. (Romans 6:23), but discipleship or following Christ is costly (Luke 14:26-27).” (IDOTG, pp. 73-74.)

    More later,


  25. Nick:

    You wrote, “What about a passage like Romans 10:9-10? Seems pretty clear that Jesus has to be your Lord for salvation. How can Jesus be just your Savior and not your Lord? Is Jesus just our fire insurance or get out of jail free card? I think he would want something more out of us.

    Again, I have a major chapter on Romans 10:9 alone (pp.188-204). That is a key passage and one that again is abused by LS men to force it into conformity with their presuppositions. The two questions you posed are LS mantra speak. He is Lord AND Savior! Jesus delivers men from sin, death and literal Hell (fire).

    Dr. Charles C. Ryrie asks: “Do these verses [Romans 10:9-10] mean that one must confess Jesus as Master of his life in order to be saved . . . is Paul saying in this passage that in order to be saved a person must receive Christ as the Sovereign of the years of his life on earth?” [SGS, pp.70-71.] No! Romans 10:9-10 does not demand a personal upfront commitment to Jesus as Master of life for salvation! This passage does not require “unconditional surrender” to the lordship of Christ in order to be saved. Romans 10:9 requires a confession—literally “to speak the same thing”— that Jesus Christ is Lord, that Jesus is deity. (IDOTG, p. 198).

    You said, “I think he (Jesus) would want something more out of us.” Here is where we need to go back to my previous reply: Are we talking about what He wants from the lost or what He wants from the born again? There is a difference.

    To the lost man He says, John 3:16.

    To the born again disciple He says, Luke 9:23-24; 14:26, 27, 33.

    More later…


  26. Nick:

    To briefly address your final point- Phil. 2 is not an evangelistic appeal. It is yet another example of how LS men force into or extract a gospel message where there is none to bolster their LS theology.

    Do we find the cross, His resurrection in the passage? No. What MacArthur, et. al., does is take what should be the results of salvation for the born again disciple of Christ and twist these into evangelistic appeals. LS demands an upfront commitment to the “good works” (Eph. 2:10) expected of a disciple in exchange for the reception of eternal life. This corrupts and changes the terms of the Gospel.

    Dr. Ernest Pickering reviewed MacArthur’s TGATJ and noted,

    “John MacArthur is a sincere servant of the Lord, of that we have no doubt.... We believe in his advocacy of the so-called lordship salvation he is wrong. He desperately desires to see holiness, lasting fruit, and continuing faithfulness in the lives of Christian people. This reviewer and we believe all sincere church leaders desire the same.... But the remedy for this condition is not found in changing the terms of the gospel.”

    You asked very good and poignant questions. I’m hopeful what I’ve shared in reply will be profitable.


  27. To All:

    An understanding of John MacArthur’s Lordship Salvation (LS) is why any appearance of approval or association with him and his pastoral staff is detrimental to young, impressionable Bible college students.

    It was no small, insignificant thing for NIU to seek association with John MacArthur and bring Rick Holland to the NIU chapel. The LS emphasis is a departure from and a danger to a proper understanding of the Gospel.


  28. Josz:

    You are new to this blog so I need to give you some guidance. The comment you submitted would have been allowed to appear if you had not included links to sites/persons that I believe teach false doctrine. I feel responsible for what I expose my readers to. I do not want my blog to be a conduit/link to sites where they will be exposed to and possibly fall into the trap of false teaching such as Lordship Salvation.

    If you were to resubmit without the links I will be happy to discuss your concerns.

    Kind regards,