There may not be any problem more common
among men, even good men, than their being inconsistent. All men say one
thing and then fail to always live by what they have professed. It is a
problem of a different kind when men try for whatever reason to join together
two things that are not compatible. While in this life inconsistency in
itself is unavoidable, attempts to force a conjoining of incompatible
properties or principles is not necessary.
In Fundamental circles there are two growing trends. The first trend is for a man to begin to espouse a Gospel message that curiously has the same tints and shadows cast from one of Dr. John MacArthur’s The Gospel According to . . . books. The second trend is for a man to publically reveal that he has been awakened to a Gospel-centric orientation concerning his Christian fellowship. Rather than just re-examine whether the Biblical focus concerning fellowship is a pure Gospel or a pure church I would like to draw attention to these questions: How can someone claim a belief in a narrow Lordship-defined Gospel and also claim that they fellowship around a broad non-Lordship defined Gospel? Likewise, how can someone claim that it is all about the Gospel and not care enough about the definition of the Gospel that would publically place them in agreement with or against Lordship salvation?
How a Lordship Gospel and a Gospel-centric Fellowship are Incompatible
Lordship Salvation Defined
Thus in a sense we pay the ultimate price for salvation when our sinful self is nailed to a cross. . . . It is an exchange of all that we are for all that Christ is. And it denotes implicit obedience, full surrender to the lordship of Christ. Nothing less can qualify as saving faith. (John MacArthur, The Gospel According to Jesus, p. 140.)
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. It is the only response that will open the gates of the kingdom. (John MacArthur, The Gospel According to Jesus [Revised and Expanded Edition], p. 148.)
There is no doubt that Jesus saw a measure of real, lived-out obedience to the will of God as necessary for final salvation. (John Piper, What Jesus Demands From the World, p. 160)
If It Only Were About the Gospel of Christ
If it were all about the importance of the Gospel then variations of the Biblical Gospel would matter. No man could truly believe in the utmost importance of the Gospel, but then walk in the shadows when it comes to matters of a Crossless or Lordship Gospel. His voice would be clear and distinct defining with great clarity where he stood.
It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. . . Matthew 20:28It seems inconceivable that someone who understands the message of the cross would use that message as their justification to ignore wrong. No man should believe that the same God, who will so richly reward us for the smallest deed done for Him, will ignore and pass over our variations from sound doctrine and practice. If in this truth men were willing to live all about the Gospel, all would be well.
Evangelist Gordon Phillips
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