December 5, 2011

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


  1. Thanks Lou for reposting this two part article. I think one of the hardest things for some to understand is that we are not denying the Lordship of Christ when addressing the errors of LS. It is as Kober brings out a difference of the use of the word "Lord" within the context of passages such as Rom. 10:9-13 which speak of the "Lord" Jesus in reference to believing in Him and His finished work for salvation. It gets serious though when we look at what these men (LS advocates) say salvation really is and again as Kober mentions in his opening, then no one truly could be saved.
    I know from my own life, that had I been exposed to LS teaching in high school I would have doubted my own salvation for God was not truly "Lord" of my life even though I had cried out to him to save me when I was in junior high. Kober hits on a key, I believe, when he touches on the different uses of the word "Lord."

  2. The author of this otherwise excellent article states, "Faith is a gift bestowed by God upon unbelievers." How tragically ironic. The author is unknowingly expressing one of the foundational errors that the false gospel he rightly opposes (LS) is built upon.

    Nowhere in Scripture do we read that saving faith is a gift. We do find that salvation is a gift, however (Eph. 2:8-9).

  3. Ephesians 2:8-9 expressly states that faith is a gift along with grace.

    Also, re: [LS] 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.

    This. Is. Not. LS.

  4. Dave:

    That IS Lordship Salvation! It is really tragic just how woefully ignorant so many who have fallen into the trap of LS are of exactly what LS is and how leading advocates of LS define their system. Dave, you're an example of those who do not understand LS.

    I can and have taken what the primary advocates of LS say, let them define their own terms and when you read what they say, stripping away all the logic, you come away with one only conclusion:these men are preaching a works based, man-centered message that is a corruption of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    I can give many examples, one of the most stark being from John MacArthur who wrote, "Salvation is for those who are willing to forsake everything." That is works salvation! That is Lordship Salvation.

    LS demands of the lost man a commitment to perform the "good works" of a born again Christian to become a (justified) born again Christian. Then LS demands the performance of those "good works" to guarantee "final salvation," (glorification).

    LS is a false gospel!


  5. Brian:

    I appreciate the input. Of course, none of us here are denying the Lordship of Christ, but the false charge is an oft repeated, deep seated straw man mantra. These younger men simply parrot what they heard or read from elder LS advocates . Too bad they don't bother to ask a clarifying question.

    Like Kober, but in much greater detail, I address the "Lord" in my book primarily from Romans 10:9.


  6. The parsing of Ephesians 2:8-9

    For by grace are you saved
    A. through faith (GRACE by faith)
    B. not of yourselves (not by self effort- GRACE of christ's atoning death)
    C. it is the gift of God (John 3:16- GRACE [salvation] is the gift)
    D. not of Works (GRACE is not by works) - precluding the boast of men

  7. George Zeller has produced excellent refutations of a number of extra-biblical views such as 1) faith is the gift of God and 2) regeneration precedes faith.

    You can read those and more by Zeller if you go to the link under Recommend Sites The Dangers of Reformed Theology.


  8. Jimmy,

    I'm glad you noticed that. It seemed odd to me as well that the author stated that faith was a gift.

    It is a commonly misunderstood verse but I must stress with those above that salvation is the gift. Not only is seeing faith as a gift in that verse incorrect, but it leads back to the theological ditch from whence it came.

    Jim F.

  9. Gentlemen:

    There are a number of men who are, to varying degrees, Reformed in their theology who do not embrace LS. In fact they recognize and reject LS as a corruption of the Gospel of grace.


  10. Thanks for the reminder Lou. I know some men myself, some friends included, who would say they are reformed yet don't take a LS view. I just think some of these men leave themselves and their churches vulnerable at times to LS teachers and extremes of the LS view because of their somewhat reformed stances.

    Jim F

  11. That some Reformed men oppose LS is refreshing, but respectfully misses the point. The Reformed in theology person opposing LS creates CONFUSION for reasons already stated.

    Such added confusion has consequences, especially where the topic of salvation is concerned. The perceptive LS advocate walks away saying to himself, "Man is that guy really confused. It's apparent he hasn't thought his own theology through." The LS proponent is partially right in this case, which only hardens him in his deadly position.

  12. Let's not forget Demas as an example of an uncommitted Christian. Demas was named as a "Fellow laborer" along with Mark, Aristarchus, and Luke in Philemon 1:24. He was also listed in the salutation greeting as ministering with Paul in Colossians 4:14. Later in 2 Tim 4:10 Paul say of Demas that he left him because he loved the present world,

    2Timothy 4:10 "for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica--Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia."

    We know from 1John 2:15 that "if anyone loves the world the love of the father is not in him. When a Believer lives in darkness and walks in an unworthy manner of their calling (Ephsians 4:1-3; Colossians 1:10) they do not have the direction and guidance of the Spirit of God, they do not have the "love of the Father" in them practically and effectually working to the glory of God.

    Demas is an example of a genuine believer who became distracted and choked by thorns of the world and became unfruitful in his walk (Mathew 13:22; Mark 4:18-19; Luke 8:14). Demas endured the Christian life for awhile but "bore no fruit to maturity." He was saved, he had eternal security in Christ, but sadly he gave up the good fight and fell away. There is no reason from Scripture to believe that Paul did not accept Demas as a genuine Christian brother. I often refer to Demas as an example when speaking with Lordship salvation proponents.

    Thanks for the article,
    In grace, Vince Cullen
    Word of Grace Bible Church

  13. Jimmy,

    What you said is right. I've had discussions with friends who are LS proponents and the one discussion came down to man being dead and needing the gift of regeneration before faith could be possible. They also argued that faith itself was also granted by God as a gift. Their proof text was Eph 2:8-9. If I had agreed with them on faith being the gift of God, then they would have had me in their argument. I know however, that many have studied the Greek and have concluded that "it is not of works" refers back to "are ye saved." If I were to agree with them on that point yet still insist that their Lordship view as they defined it was flawed then they would have had cause to claim that I was being intellectually dishonest.

    One problem is that some so called reformed men do not see the logical conclusions of their positions. Some don't see how other, less learned and spiritually less mature believers, could be influenced to take some reformed views and run with it to a position such as Lordship.

    Jim F.

  14. Vince, where does the Bible say that Demas was saved? That a man may think a person is saved is not proof of salvation and hardly is the basis of doctrine.

    Robert Santina

  15. Regarding Eph 2:8,9, I'd love to comment because this passage is indeed so badly abused but I rarely see it fully answered either so here's my stab at it.

    One -- faith can't be the gift because the gender of the pronoun doesn't match and, in Greek, that's a deal breaker. (faith is feminine, the pronoun is neuter).

    However, grace is also feminine so I can't really proffer that as a suitable alternative.

    Interestingly, salvation is ALSO feminine... so there's a problem with flatly stating that "salvation" is what it's referring to because it is, as a thing to itself, not a viable answer for the same reason as the others. (more on this later though because this one is closest and is somewhat resolvable in a way the others aren't)

    Another temptation is to attempt to resolve this by saying BOTH (or all three?) items are what the pronoun refers to, but therein lies another problem because the pronoun is singular and thus definitely refers to only a single thing, not a plurality of things.

    There is, in fact, nothing in the immediate context that quite matches the pronoun -- so what to do? The solution is simple in that Greek allows one to use the neuter when referring to an implied concept that isn't specifically mentioned. Namely, and please catch the distinction carefully -- "salvation by grace through faith" --- that one singular collective concept resolves the grammatical problem that all the most common answers run into.

    As said before, "salvation" is closest to the correct of the typical answers, but falls short as a flat answer. Also, if it were true that "salvation" as a thing itself is the gift of God then this passage could be said to support universalism. Thus it's not quite correct to flatly state that "salvation" is the gift of God but rather "salvation by grace through faith" -- a single grand concept that towers above any one or more the components. The grammatical implication of the singular neuter pronoun thus completely dismantles any attempt to isolate any of the individual components as being the gift.

    Though this is crystal clear in my own head I'm not sure I've actually written it as clearly so please do not hesitate to ask me to clarify where I may have been unclear.

    Good night all,

  16. This is not my cup of tea, but
    Gary Nebeker a small essay on the web states

    From a cursory reading of this verse, it appears that the relative pronoun that
    (v 8b) has faith (v 8a) as its grammatical antecedent. However, in its Greek
    construction that is a demonstrative pronoun with adverbial force used in an
    explanatory phrase. This particular construction uses a fixed neuter singular
    pronoun (that) which refers neither to faith, which is feminine in Greek, nor to
    any immediate word which follows. (See Blass, Debrunner, Funk, 132, 2.)
    What all this means is that the little phrase and that (kai touto in Greek)
    explains that salvation is of God's grace and not of human effort. Understood
    accordingly, Ephesians 2:8 could well be translated: "For by grace you have
    been saved through faith, that is to say, not of yourselves, it is the gift of God."

    I'll have to look into it more, but having other scripture to compare this passage to and the context to me indicates Grace or Salvation as the Gift as well as the many passages that define faith and what it is.

    And concerning the greek- which greek? is it stated the same in TR MT and WH? It always begs the question

  17. Additional there is another discussion from Berean Council Forum that states it this way concerning the greek:

    The reason for this is that, contextually, the referent of the pronoun “this” in this
    verse (Ephesians 2:8), which Paul says is God’s “gift,” is modified by the phrase “not out of you,”
    the meaning of this phrase being clarified in the very next verse (2:9), where Paul says, “not out
    of works.” Thus, the referent of “this” in Ephesians 2:8, which Paul says is God’s “gift,” is
    identified in verses 2:8-9 as being the thing that is “not out of works,” as opposed to a thing that
    IS “out of works.” Does this allow either God’s “grace” toward the Christian or the Christian’s
    “belief” toward God (his belief in the Lord Jesus) to be “this” thing (God’s “gift”) that is “not out of
    works?” No, it doesn’t, the reason being that there is not even a conceptual possibility of a
    “grace” or a “belief” that is “not out of works,” as distinguished from a “grace” or a “belief” that IS
    “out of works.” In contrast, there is a conceptual possibility of a salvation—Paul says that the
    Ephesians “are saved” in verse 2:8—that is “not out of works,” as distinguished from a salvation
    that IS “out of works.” Thus, contextually, the referent of “this” in Ephesians 2:8, which Paul says
    is God’s “gift” (verse 2:8), which he says is “not out of works” (verse 2:9), as opposed to a thing
    that IS “out of works,” has to be the salvation of which Paul speaks in verse 2:8, where he says,
    “... you are saved ....” Contextually, it cannot be anything else. Paul says, “For by the grace you
    are saved through the belief. And this (your salvation), not out of you (your salvation), God’s the
    gift (your salvation), not out of works (your salvation), so that not anyone would boast.”
    Although the idea that God’s “gift” to the Christian is the Christian’s ability to have “belief” in
    Christ is not inconsistent with what Paul says elsewhere in his epistles—Paul says in Galatians
    3:26, “... sons of God you are through the belief, in Christ Jesus,” and he says in 1 Corinthians
    1:30, “... out of Him, you, you are in Christ Jesus ...,” and he says, “... to you it was graciously
    given, the thing, on behalf of Christ, not only the into Him to believe, but also the on behalf of
    Him to suffer,” in Philippians 1:29—such an idea is not expressed here in Ephesians 2:8-9,
    where Paul’s point is that God’s “gift” is the fact that “you are saved,” which is “not out of you,”
    that is, “not out of works,” but which is “by the grace” and “through the belief.”

    Note I disagree even with this author concerning some of his view on faith, but have tried to put his context here to be fair.

  18. On the matters of what I am convinced are extra- biblical presuppositions namely, faith is the gift of God and regeneration precedes faith, I often defer to Brother George Zeller who has done the heavy lifting on these issues. I cite some of his work in the pages of my book.

    Please refer to The Danger of Teaching that Faith is the Gift of God

    "The fact that SALVATION (ETERNAL LIFE, RIGHTEOUSNESS) is the gift of God is taught repeatedly throughout the New Testament (see John 4:10; Rom. 5:15,16,17; 6:23). In the New Testament the word "GIFT" never refers to saving faith, though we certainly recognize that apart from God’s mercy and gracious enabling and enlightenment, saving faith could not be exercised (John 6:44,65; Matt. 11:27; 16:16–17; Acts 16:14; etc.)."

    There is an extended article by Zeller that you can go to from the one I have linked to above.


  19. My long standing policy is that my blog is never going to be a place where I allow for what I consider to be false doctrine to be taught from. I have allowed what I have above for fairness, but anything further trying to present faith as if it is the gift of God will not be allowed. You may add personal comments, but no new extended excerpts from other writers and no links to them.


  20. Lou, followed your link to Zeller's article, and then followed a link at the bottom of his article to a more detailed article on his own on the matter. His more detailed article states and affirms what I tried to say earlier, that 'The pronoun "this thing" [τοØτο] commonly takes a conceptual antecedent.'

    On the more detailed page I find that I agree with "view #2", not so much the variant he offers because, as stated above, simply stating "salvation" is the gift fails the gender rule of Greek grammar just as squarely as faith and grace do on their own.

    Rather, as Zeller's "view #2" states, it's this specific salvation and all it entails and requires (salvation by grace through faith) that is the gift of God. This is the only understanding I'm aware of that satisfies the most basic Greek rule that "Pronouns agree with their antecedent in gender and number." To claim faith and/or grace should be understood as the gift/s simply can't be stated and be faithful to the text.

    If one wants to argue the point I suppose you'd have to show a reliable/critically accepted manuscript in which the pronoun is feminine. Short of that, the grace/faith views can't honestly survive even basic Greek. Even so, as Zeller's article/s have pointed out so well, there is enough other scripture referring to "the gift of God" that never has faith in view.

    So, of all the possible answers Faith is easily the least likely of them all to survive any textual criticism.

    "Grace" is next least likely because it's somewhat obvious and redundant to state that "grace" (already a gift not of yourself by definition) would have to be further qualified as being a gift.

    "Salvation" is the only acceptable answer then which, when regarded as the overarching concept of Christian salvation specifically, satisfies the language.


  21. Jim,

    You hit the nail on the head with your observation that some Reformed men do not see the "logical conclusions of their own postions". If they did logically follow the Reformed error of predestination for salvation, they would not only have to (again, if they were logical and consitent) embrace faith as a gift, and regeneration preceding faith, but would also necessarily end up at the false gospel of Lordship Salvation. Such men, when attempting to extract someone from LS, often do more harm than good IMO.

    With the person trapped in the false gospel of Lordship Salvation in mind, who could argue with all sobriety that Lordship Salvation is not the SYMPTOM and Reformed theology (in most cases) the CAUSE?

    Moreover, who ever got cured by having only (or even mostly) his symptoms treated? It doesn't happen. Disease can only be cured by aggressively, and unremittingly attacking the CAUSE of that disease.

  22. Lou if you read the whole exerpt then you know that what I presented did not present faith as a gift according to Eph 2:8-9 which is what I think the discussion was about. I'm definitely not in the camp of faith as a gift- I too was trying to be fair. Hope I didn't upset the apple cart.

  23. DG:

    That was a hurried general announcement. I am using my phone today. (Stephen should be proud of me) Thanks for checking back in.


  24. What I find interesting is that a LS guy (Dave I am guessing) gets on here and says that this isn't LS, he is responded to that it is in fact LS.

    Either LS people don't know what it is, you don't know what it is, neither know what it is, or some other option I am not aware of.

    How will anyone correct others biblically about the false nature of something if it isn't presented correctly? This goes both ways.

    Samuel Orton

  25. "[LS] 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."

    I agree with Dave. This was simply made up and that poor girl was misled.

    NO LS preacher has ever said anything like this.

    Lou, to your point about forsaking everything, it is absolutely true. If your faith is in anyone or anything else but Christ, you can't be saved. You must forsake every other possibility and fully truth Christ. That doesn't prove works, that proves works can't help.


  26. Sam:

    The way to know what LS is is to read and discern what they mean by getting down to understanding how they define the terms they use.

    Over and over the LS men force into or extract from the Bible definitions that are not there to bolster their LS peesuppositions. Repentance, faith, believe are redefined by JMAC right down the list.

    Knowing the knives are going to come out for this- The subtitle of my book is, "Biblical Answers to LS." If you want a fair and accurate representation of LS as its advocates define LS and then the Bible answers that exposed the errors with the Light of infallible truths from the Bible, read my book.


  27. Joe:

    Direct question to you -

    Do you believe the lost man must make an upfront commitment to forsake all, to follow Christ at all cost or he cannot become a born again child of God; justified?

    We're not talking about someone who says I will never serve Jesus. Just a searching sinner. Must that lost man surrender his life to obey and serve the Lord in order to be born again?


  28. Lou, I did some research on your book and have found mixed reviews as to its accuracy. I see you essentially saying to trust you. Yet a LS guy says this isn't LS. Others on the web have said the same thing.

    This is just a sad state we are in.


  29. Rom 3 says that no one seeks God, so your premise is flawed.

    The sinner is in active and passive sin against God. The true response to God's free grace is in fact to surrender. He cannot truly be trusting in Christ if at the same time he is holding on to that which Christ is saving him from.

    There is no contract where each side offers something. Like I said in my first post though, you can't hold on to other possibilities and still truly trust Christ. He isn't some addition to one's life.


  30. Sam:

    Would you please be so kind as to direct me to the exact reviews you say your research has directed you to. I don’t mean blog comments, I am asking for reviews. Furthermore, why would you rely solely on a review? If you haven’t read the book then you have no real grounds for commentary, positive or negative. Six men who wrote a foreword or back cover review of the book. They read it, but don’t rely on them, read it for yourself. You can get it in paperback, Kindle or Nook. Just click on the book cover at the head of my blog and you will be at Amazon for the book in paper or electronic formats.

    Accuracy?” Well, if someone has a problem with accuracy in the book then he has a problem with the exact verbatim and in context quotes I have put throughout the book from some of the best-known advocates of LS. Quoted accurately and in context so that what they say and believe is expressed in their own words. FWIW, in the book I wrote,

    Whenever you engage the theology of Lordship Salvation you can count on mantra like cries of ‘misrepresentation’ from many of its advocates. You can quote verbatim and in context Lordship’s advocates letting the stark truth of their message unfold in their own terms without commentary and still you are going to hear cries of misrepresenting what they teach and/or believe. Throughout this book I quote liberally from some of Lordship Salvation’s best-known advocates. I quote them for a simple reason: I want them to speak for themselves. This way there is no possibility for misrepresenting what they believe. You can read from their own books and sermons what they believe, how they articulate what they believe and how they arrive at their conclusions. Through this approach any charges of ‘misrepresentation’ or creating a ‘straw man’ have no merit.”


  31. Joe:

    Romans 3, yes, quite right. So, let’s try that again. We’re not talking about someone who says I will never serve Jesus. We’re not talking about Jesus plus some other possibility the lost man is hanging on to. Here is a clear series of questions.

    Do you believe the lost man must make an upfront commitment to forsake all, to follow Christ at all cost or he cannot become a born again child of God; justified? 

    Is implicit obedience, full surrender to the lordship of Christ required to qualify as saving faith?

    To be born again must there be a willingness to forsake everything, wholehearted commitment, unconditional surrender and a full exchange of self for the Savior?

    Your answer…


  32. Joe:

    You wrote, "There is no contract where each side offers something."

    I encourage you to consider this, which appears on pp. 128-129.

    Classic Lordship Salvation contends that repentance is turning from sin(s) or the resolve to turn from sins. Repentance is viewed as a commitment to discipleship and fruit bearing. Scripture has a better answer. The Bible teaches that the Savior saves “the ungodly” (Rom. 5:6) in their sin, and believers from the power of sin (Rom. 6:1-ff; Gal. 5:16). Jurist theologian Ron Shea (Th.M., J.D.) explains that Lordship’s front-loading of the gospel is fundamentally a bilateral contract at law.

    “In this view, eternal salvation is not dependent on the performance of a work, but only the promise of future works. In the minds of those determined to adhere to salvation by works, this distinction supposedly allows the works of the law to be somehow added to the equation of salvation without annulling the doctrine of grace. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans would disagree. ‘For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise is of none effect.’ The…expression of “saving repentance” is nothing more than a specific form or expression of Bilateral Contract Salvation . . . ‘a promise for a promise.’ The lost sinner ‘promises’ future obedience in exchange for God’s ‘promise’ of eternal life. This errant understanding of the term “repentance” is the most common and pervasive form of ‘Lordship Salvation’ taught within Christendom throughout the world.”


  33. Joe,

    It's clear from your comments that you genuinely feel LS preachers are being either misunderstood or misrepresented (which, of course, can happen to anyone). I deduce, then, that you must have some insight into what they ARE saying. Please help me then:

    QUESTION #1: How would an LS preacher respond to the question in Acts 16:30 ("What must a man do to be saved")? NOTE: Some example quotes would be great.

    QUESTION #2: How would you personally respond to the same question?


  34. I think it is difficult to improve on Paul's answer to that question in Acts 16. But either the jailor already knew the full gospel or Paul filled him in on it after giving that answer because I think we'd all agree that if the onliest thing a person knew of the gospel was that one must "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ" one did not know enough to be saved.

    So, unfortunately, the question(s) you pose do not get at the heart of the matter.

  35. Dave:

    Those questions get right to the heart of the matter. Others very similar those do as well. But for the very reason they get to the heart of and problems with LS, you will almost never get a straight up answer to those questions from an advocate of LS. Instead questions like them that peel away the facade of LS are dodged or ignored.

    They are clear, unbiased and fact based questions drawn from LS friendly sources. Although they are directed to Joe, who I sense has no intention of hazarding a direct answer to, others are welcome to.


  36. Dave:

    My mistake, just realized you were responding to Jimmy's questions.


  37. I am using my droid which doesn't give me a full picture of threads the way I'd prefer like my home Mac does.

  38. But Dave, are you suggesting "believe, " as the word is defined in Scripture, and that the object of belief is the Lord Jesus Christ a lost man would remain dead in his sins? What else must a lost man do to be born again?


  39. The other thing I would like to know is how you define the "full gospel." In your opinion, what is the full gospel (you mentioned above) for the reception of salvation, justification?

  40. Dave,

    What then IS the "full gospel" this man already knew or heard about later from Paul?


  41. Lou, I'm saying if you go to an absolutely unreached land and tell someone that one sentence, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you'll be saved," that person will not have enough info to be saved.

    Jimmy, that Jesus, the sinless Son of God, died for our sins according to the scriptures, was buried and rose again, according to the scriptures. To "believe" this involves recognizing the holiness of God, one's personal natural and willful sinfulness and laying down the arms of one's personal rebellion against Him and casting one's self upon His promised mercies.

    That's as complete and concise as I can make it. That is also Lordship Salvation.

  42. I suspect the issue that most people will have with the answer I gave is the "Laying down the arms of one's personal rebellion" part.

    In partial support of that point I quote from Matt 19:

    And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
    He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
    Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
    But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

    This young man could not have eternal life because he would not give up his other lord, possessions for the Lord who gave the law he claimed to obey perfectly.

  43. Dave:

    "Laying down the arms of one's personal rebellion," is where you departed from the Gospel of grace and in your own words added a lost man's personal commitment to stop sinning, stop rebelling and commitment to replaced that with obedience and submission to doing the "good works" (Eph. 2:10) expected of and ordained for the born again Christian to BECOME a Christian.

    That is Lordship Salvation's corruption of the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Cor. 11:3) and frustrates grace (Gal. 2:21).

    You can sidestep my question, but with that to Jimmy you revealed one of the most egregious, insidious works based assaults on the Gospel and NT church in modern times from those who belong to Him.


  44. Lou, you are as much as saying that a person can anticipate a life of unbridled sinning even as they pray the sinners prayer and still be born again. What??

  45. Dave;

    Your referencing the Lord's encounter with the rich young ruler is a classic example of my noting earlier how LS men like John MacArthur force into or extract from the Scriptures whatever they must to bolster their theology.

    I wrote about entire chapter on the rich young ruler to expose LS's misuse of the passage and give the correct rendering where salvation, justification is concerned. Later tonight I will link to an article here at my blog which is an excerpt from that chapter.


  46. Dave,

    Do you want to stick with a theology that says if a rich man made an upfront commitment to give away all that he has he can receive the gift of eternal life? And what if years later he is asked to give away everything he has, but refuses? Never saved in the first place?


  47. Now see Dave, just so predictable. I already noted here that not me, not anyone here is saying that. Yet, since that is the strawman mantra from JMAC right on down you go right to it because you'll have no answer to what you've proven in your own words that you condition salvation on what man must offer God in exchange for the gift of eternal life.


    PS: Any repeat of strawman won't be posted here

  48. "Strawman" stalks both ways.

    I am not saying the act itself prevented the young man's salvation, but that it was indicative of his lack of repentance and faith.

    But I haven't gotten to that chapter in your book yet. I'll watch for the link you promised.

  49. Dave,

    Again I refer you to earlier in the thread. I included an excerpt from my book that explains that not only do I quote LS writers accurately and in context, but so that there is no possibility for strawman or believability that there are any strawman tactics in my refutation of LS's works based, man-centered message.

    Do you have an actual copy of my book in your possession?


  50. Dave,

    Thanks for your reply to my question.

    I cannot immprove on Lou's reply, but there is one thing you might keep in mind:

    If indeed your interpretation of Mt. 19 is correct, then you need to give up EVERY sin in your life in order to go to heaven.

    Friend, the rich young ruler was under the same misguided impression you are. He thought he had to "do" something in the way of works to get saved (v. 16). Jesus essentially said, "Ok, if that's how you want to try to obtain eternal life, then here's your impossible task...give up everything". Jesus wasn't giving the plan of salvation, he was simply trying to get the man to see the utter futility in his self-righteous plan of salvation...a plan which always involves a work of man.

    I've yet to see a more powerful illustration of getting a man lost in order that he might one day be saved by faith alone in Christ alone.

  51. I agree Jesus "got him lost" but I suggest the point was that he loved/had greater allegiance to something other than the only God.

  52. Dave,

    Everytime we sin we show "greater allegience to something other God". That's my point. If we had to stop sinning in order to obtain eternal life, which is exactly what the rich young ruler's plan of salvation entailed, not only would no one ever get saved, but the person who accomplishess the impossible (can't and won't happen) wouldn't need a Saviour in the first place!

  53. Dave:

    There it is again. Another term that has no place in the Gospel for the salvation/justification of lost men. "Allegiance!" What place does an upfront commitment to "allegiance" have to do with receiving God's free gift of salvation from the penalty of sin?

    That is works salvation! A bi-lateral contract at law, aka, a promise for a promise.

    I really hope you're beginning to see what you're trying to defend as faith alone is faith, plus commitment of life and that is not the plan of salvation.

    Incidentally, I deal with that very term "allegiance" in my book because it is a favorite of certain LS men I have spoken to, namely Nathan Busenitz.


    Btw, I asked earlier do you have a copy of my book, current edition? Do you?

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  56. Dave/Joe:

    I'll be gone from blogging for awhile so wanted to leave you both with some final thoughts...

    It's possible to be born-again and yet fall into the error of embracing and/or teaching a false gospel (Gal. 1:6). While the erring believer can never lose his salvation, he will certainly undergo the loving discipline of his Father (Heb. 12:5-11). Sometimes the form of chastisement is loss of health (1 Cor. 11:30). Sometimes it's loss of property (Amos 4:6-9). Other times it's loss of loved ones (2 Sam. 12:14), or loss of joy of salvation (Ps. 51:8,12). If these forms of discipline fail to get the believers attention, premature death can even result (1Cor. 11:30). Loss of reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ also awaits (1 Cor. 3:11-15).

    If you two have indeed trusted Christ alone to save you, but continue with the false gospel of Lordship Salvation, only God knows what form(s) of discipline you will endure...that is if you haven't already.

    I plead with you to leave the false gospel you've embraced behind.


  57. Jimmy, to answer your questions:

    1. "One must believe He is who He claimed to be (Jn 20:31) and believe in what He did (I Cor 15:3-4)." MacArthur Study Bible

    2. I would quote for them Paul's answer.

    I think what Dave was saying, and I agree, we only what was said. The soldier couldn't believe Jesus was some public drunk right? There are facts that define who Jesus is that would be wrapped up in Paul's answer. For all we knew, Paul had preached to that jailer before.

    Joe King

  58. No problem Lou. When you asked which ones specifically I had read, I was just trying to let you see, so you knew I wasn't just making something up. Get some rest.


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  60. Sam:

    This for now and more tomorrow. I trust you realize that my conversations with Nathan are over 5 years old and revolve around and just before the first edition (now out of print) edition of my book. The current revised and expanded edition was heavily revised in places in part due to the conversations with Nathan. (FWIW, Nathan was cordial and pleasurable to engage. Phil Johnson consistently lived up to his reputation as a blog thug and elitist snob.) The repentance chapter is the most heavily revised and expanded in the book.


  61. Gentlemen:

    The questions about LS I put to you above were crafted the way they were on purpose with a specific reason in mind. I actually either quoted or did an accurate paraphrase of the way John MacArthur defines his interpretation of Lordship Salvation. They are drawn from his books.

    I am asking men like you if their impression of and if they can accept those definitions of LS? Here they are again.

    Do you believe the lost man must make an upfront commitment to forsake all, to follow Christ at all cost or he cannot become a born again child of God; justified?


Is implicit obedience, full surrender to the lordship of Christ required to qualify as saving faith?

    To be born again must there be a willingness to forsake everything, wholehearted commitment, unconditional surrender and a full exchange of self for the Savior?

    Is that how the lost man receives Christ and the gift of eternal life? Through frontloading faith with commitment, surrender and promises of obedience, or by faith believing in whom Jesus is (Deity) and what He did (cross and resurrection) to provide salvation?

    From the section of my book under, What is Lordship Salvation?

    As we begin to look at Lordship Salvation it is imperative that a clear distinction be drawn in regard to where the core area of debate is, and where it is not. The major issue and crux of the doctrinal controversy is over Lordship’s definition of how the lost are born again. Concerns in regard to the discipleship of genuine believers are an important discussion, but for me that is not where the main controversy lies. The crux of the Lordship debate is over the requirements for salvation, not the results of salvation.


  62. Joe:

    I am not posting your most recent for reasons that are obvious to you.

    Earlier I posted to you that if you wanted your answers to appear you would have to tone down the first line. Maybe you didn't see that. If you resubmit your answers without that opening remark I am happy to upload it. I want to address your answers?

    I will not, however, allow for any harsh rhetoric towards me or any other guests here.


  63. Hello All,

    I'm coming in a bit late but I have a moment or two to ask a few questions.

    Joe you wrote:

    The sinner is in active and passive sin against God. The true response to God's free grace is in fact to surrender. He cannot truly be trusting in Christ if at the same time he is holding on to that which Christ is saving him from.

    How did you come to this conclusion? How do you know this to be true?

    D4v34x (David?)

    You wrote:

    I think it is difficult to improve on Paul's answer to that question in Acts 16. But either the jailor already knew the full gospel or Paul filled him in on it after giving that answer because I think we'd all agree that if the onliest thing a person knew of the gospel was that one must "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ" one did not know enough to be saved.

    So, unfortunately, the question(s) you pose do not get at the heart of the matter.

    You're right that they didn't have enough INFORMATION to be saved. They however had a full explanation fo the CONCEPT of how they would be saved. Belief was Paul's answer to the Jailer's question about what he had to do to be saved.

    Reading the very next verse we find that Paul told him and his family the "word of the Lord." For faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ. This "word of Christ" or "word of the Lord" is an expression of the Gospel that all the Apostles got from Christ and preached themselves. 1Cor 15:1-11, which the Corinthians received and were saved through receiving Acts 18:8 1Cor 15:1 for example.

    D4v34x you also posted:

    Jimmy, that Jesus, the sinless Son of God, died for our sins according to the scriptures, was buried and rose again, according to the scriptures. To "believe" this involves recognizing the holiness of God, one's personal natural and willful sinfulness and laying down the arms of one's personal rebellion against Him and casting one's self upon His promised mercies.

    That's as complete and concise as I can make it. That is also Lordship Salvation.

    Consider that this Lordship Salvation is not what Paul declares as the Gospel. 1Cor 15:1-11

    Nor does it match what the Holy Spirit convicts/convinces sinners of John 16:5-11

    So you may have presented your view of what Lordship Salvation is - but it doesn't matter. For the question is _ What does the Scriptures say?

    Abraham believed God (was assured by God's promise - see Gen 15:6) and it was accounted to him as righteousness. Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.

    Further, we find that Peter explains that we ADD TO OUR FAITH virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.

    So most obviously true saving faith does not "include" these sorts of things....