Following are two direct quotes I transcribed from a talk given by Rick Holland* at the 2008 Resolved conference. The talk was titled The Three Most Important Facts of Life. I first heard this talk in June of 2009:
Come to Christ tonight. Believe who Jesus is and what He did tonight. Don’t wait. We’re not going to have a big altar call on Monday night and hold hands and sing Kum ba Ya. Come, I beg you, come to Christ tonight. I have every confidence that there are people here—and maybe you’ve never heard the gospel before—but even a greater confidence that there are people in this room who perhaps have grown up in a church, heard the gospel a THOUSAND times, can recite the gospel themselves but have never embraced Jesus as Lord.... Please, please, please receive, receive Jesus as Lord and He will become your Savior.Somehow, the obedience of believing Christ’s shed blood for salvation is not enough obedience on your part to save you. Though this is what God specifically asks for time and time again, clearly indicating this is the obedience He wants from us (John 3:14-18, 36; 6:29-58; Acts 16:30-31; Romans 3:25; Romans 10:16), it is not enough. That's right. This recognition of God’s right and authority to both to judge you and credit Christ’s finished work to your account is not submission enough! In fact, in Holland’s comments, this option is not even considered. You must receive Him as Lord, implying if not outright stating a promise on your part to obey Him in all things always (compare this with the warning in Ecclesiastes 5:1-7), or else you are not really saved. If you never received Jesus as Lord, no matter what other response you had to the gospel message, it wasn't the right one. Without this commitment on your part, you are not saved.
The problem is, in actuality, the obedience God desires is inherently in the command to believe the gospel. To believe the gospel is to both obey and submit because that is the command God gives to sinners for salvation. Nothing else is necessary for salvation. In other words, unbelievers who become believers are already doing what Holland, et. al., deny they are doing. This quote in particular leans strongly in that direction. When Holland says you may have heard the gospel a thousand times but have never embraced Jesus as Lord, he completely discounts the salvation of those who have “heard the gospel a thousand times” and obeyed it1by responding to it in the simple childlike faith of believing Christ’s death really did satisfy the wrath of God against them, but who did not specifically “embrace Jesus as Lord” at the time of their salvation. Romans 10:16 clearly identifies the obedience sought as believing the gospel message, “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias [Isaiah] saith, ‘Lord, who hath believed our report...?’”
In short, Rick Holland’s message strongly implies that unless and until you specifically embrace Jesus as Lord, by which he means sell your life to Jesus to be His slave, you are not saved. Thus, if you ONLY believed Jesus died for your sins and trusted Him to save you on that basis, THAT IS NOT ENOUGH AND YOU ARE YET DEAD IN YOUR SINS. You must ALSO embrace Jesus as Lord and unless and until you do, YOU ARE NOT SAVED.
*Executive pastor Grace Community Church. Resolved is the brainchild of Rick Holland.
1) 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.
The active word in this verse is believe. If a man will believe on the Son (of God), he will have eternal life. John MacArthur cites this verse in a footnote on p. 33 of The Gospel According to Jesus. The meaning of the verse, however, is distorted to favor the Lordship Salvation view. He cites the verse as follows: “He who does not obey the Son shall not see life. . . .”Related Reading:
John MacArthur chooses John 3:36 to support the Lordship gospel by citing the second usage of the word “believeth” (from the KJV) as “obey,” but he does not cite the first half of John 3:36, which is the key to the context. The first usage of the word “believeth” in John 3:36 is identical to the word “believe” in the Romans 10:9 passage. While the word “believeth not” apeiqwn, (apeithon) is a different word than the first usage of the word “believeth,” and can mean “obey” in some cases, the context of John 3:36(a) demands unbelief, not disobedience. The correct meaning of “believeth not” (apeiqwn) is to refuse or withhold belief. Or, we could say that disobedience in itself is unbelief. Taking the whole context into consideration, the second part of the verse cannot be referring to a person’s actions, but rather to his unbelief….
Obey is a legitimate translation of believe, but to render it thus in this verse does not clearly convey what sort of obedience is required. Refusing to believe in Christ is, in essence, disobedience. (In Defense of the Gospel, pp. 190-191.)
Northland Int’l University Presents Executive Pastor of Grace Community Church to It’s Student Body
“Rick Holland, pastoral staff at John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church, which distinctives include the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the gospel. Lordship Salvation is a man-centered, works based message that corrupts the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Cor. 11:3) and frustrates grace (Gal. 2:21). Northland has dropped the defense of the gospel by opening its doors for its students to be exposed to a purveyor of a false gospel. Clear enough?” (Response to question in discussion thread)Lordship Salvation’s Submission Gospel
Let Your “Yes,” Be “Kinda, Sorta”, by JanH