March 22, 2013

Let’s Get Clarity on This: What is Kevin Bauder’s “Strongly-Worded Version of Lordship Salvation?”

Earlier we consider Kevin Bauders peculiar statements on Lordship Salvation. Please see, Let’s get Clear on This: Kevin Bauder, T4G & Lordship Salvation

There is a theme in Kevin Bauder’s series, Why I Do Not Join Popular Gospel-Only Organizations. Seven times in the series Kevin makes reference to the interpretation of the gospel commonly known as “Lordship Salvation.”The recurrent theme articulated by him first appears as follows.
“I admit that I do not know every person on the council, but of those I do know, none appears to be an Arminian. All affirm a fairly strong [strongly-worded] version of Lordship Salvation. None definitely holds (for example) a Chaferian or Wesleyan rather than a Reformed understanding of sanctification.”
Sanctification is Not the Crux of the Lordship Salvation Debate
Sanctification is not where the controversy and true danger of Lordship Salvation’s theology lies. Your experience might be different, but in many of my discussions with Lordship Salvation (LS) advocates I find them very reluctant to define and discuss LS in terms of justification, how the lost man is born into the family of God. LS advocates typically try to keep the discussion focused on sanctification, to the near exclusion of justification. We see that trend repeated by Kevin. In any discussion that you have about Lordship Salvation it is imperative that you get on the subject of justification and stay on that subject. You’ll find the LS advocate trying to redirect away from justification to discuss sanctification, the growth in Christ of a born again believer.
“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…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.” (IDOTG, p. 47.)
“Lordship Salvation’s repentance confuses sanctification (growth of a believer) with justification (God declaring/ making a sinner righteous).” (IDOTG, p. 127.) 
“As we begin look at ‘saving faith’ in light of Lordship Salvation we must remember when the Lordship advocate speaks of ‘saving faith’ you must determine if he is speaking in terms of what he believes is required for salvation or what should be the result of salvation…. Lordship advocates confuse sanctification with the event of justification, which is why they define ‘saving faith’ in terms of commitment and surrender. There is little disagreement that true faith in Christ for salvation should result in a genuine desire to live for Christ. James 2:14-26 is very clear; a genuine conversion should evidence itself in genuine results.” (IDOTG, pp. 151-152.) 
“…the Lordship debate revolves around the requirements for, not what should be the results of salvation. Lordship Salvation places demands on the sinner for salvation that the Bible does not. A new life through submission to the lordship of Christ should come as a natural result of salvation, but the Scriptures never identify submission as a requirement for salvation, justification.” (IDOTG, p. 259.)
What is T4G’s “Strongly-Worded Version of Lordship Salvation?”
In 2010 Kevin Bauder declared the evangelicals to be the “foremost defenders of the gospel today.”2 Kevin Bauder says, “fundamentalists and evangelicals believe, preach and defend the [same] gospel.” We have already discussed how this was and remains a distortion of known facts in the Lordship salvation debate.3

It is widely known and indisputable that almost to a man the so-called “conservative” evangelicals “believe, preach and defend” the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the gospel. Kevin, therefore, lauds them as defenders of Lordship Salvation. Now, however, he finds some discomfort with an undefined “strongly-worded version of LS.” Until Kevin shows us where and how the T4G men define what he considers a “strongly-worded version of LS” we are not going to know what that is and why he lauded them for being the foremost defenders of what we all know is Lordship Salvation.

T4G Affirmations & Denials
The T4G Affirmations & Denials (A&D)4 were drafted by J. Ligon Duncan, Al Mohler, Mark Dever and C. J. Mahaney (April 2006). Kevin Bauder has worked in cooperative ministry with Mark Dever and Al Mohler. Kevin suggests he may not be welcomed into T4G because of a “strongly-worded version of LS.” If that is the case why is Kevin participating in cooperative ministry with the men who wrote T4G’s “strongly-worded version of Lordship Salvation?”

Al Mohler: Kevin Bauder co-wrote a book, Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism, with Dr. Mohler. Kevin shared the platform with Dr. Mohler at the 2012 Evangelical Theological Society’s annual meeting to discuss/hype his rather obscure book.5 Al Mohler is co-author of the T4G Affirmations & Denials. Does T4G’s A&D contain the “strongly-worded version of Lordship Salvation?”
KB has been in cooperative ministry with Mark Dever. Mark Dever is co-author of the T4G Affirmations & Denials. Does T4G’s A&D contain the “strongly-worded version of Lordship Salvation?” Surely, Kevin has discussed the gospel with Mark Dever. Has Kevin asked Dever for clarification on the alleged “strongly-worded version of Lordship Salvation?” Can Kevin show us in T4G’s Affirmations & Denials where he finds a “strongly-worded version of Lordship Salvation?”

Kevin says T4G, “effectively excludes non-Calvinists and (evidently) even moderate Calvinists who might dispute a strongly-worded version of Lordship Salvation.” Kevin Bauder might not join and/or be unwelcomed by T4G for various reasons. It is, however, clear he has no problem working in cooperation with and heaping lavish praise on men who founded T4G and drafted its Affirmations & Denials.

The Rallying Point is Lordship Salvation
Make no mistake about it: The rallying point for the Calvinistic segment of men in fundamentalism with the so-called “conservative” evangelicals is around the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the gospel. Lordship Salvation is the magnetic attraction for both groups. Men such as Dave Doran, Matt Olson, among others have advocated a new “gospel-driven separation6 and/or gospel-centric fellowship. Because they base their fellowship with evangelicals around LS Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran, Tim Jordan and Matt Olson have repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to tolerate, allow for, ignore or excuse aberrant doctrine, ecumenical compromise and cultural relativism for the sake of that LS fellowship. We have men who once were committed to the Biblical principles of separation, who would not compromise for the sake of fellowship with the non-separatist evangelicals. That is all changed now. We see men like Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran, Matt Olson and Tim Jordan working in close cooperation with a collection of non-separatists, including New Evangelicals.

For your consideration I offer the following quotes from some of the better known advocates of Lordship Salvation.
“Salvation is for those who are willing to forsake everything.” (John MacArthur: TGATJ, p. 78.)
“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: TGATJ: What is Authentic Faith? p. 150.)
“If you want to receive this gift it will cost you the total commitment of all that you are to the Lord Jesus Christ…. Have you submitted to the Lordship of Christ? Have you really come to the end of self? Because Jesus does not begin until you end.” (Steve Lawson: The Cost of Discipleship, It Will Cost You Everything, Resolved Conference, Feb. 2007.)  
“If you want to receive this gift it will cost you the total commitment of all that you are to the Lord Jesus Christ…. Have you submitted to the Lordship of Christ? Have you really come to the end of self? Because Jesus does not begin until you end.” (Steve Lawson: The Cost of Discipleship, It Will Cost You Everything, Resolved Conference, Feb. 2007.) 
“There is no doubt that Jesus saw a measure of real, lived-out obedience to the will of God as necessary for final salvation.... What God will require at the judgment is not our perfection, but sufficient fruit to show that the tree had life-in our case, divine life.” (John Piper: What Jesus Demands From the World, pp. 160, 221). “Endurance in faith is a condition for future salvation. Only those who endure in faith will be saved for eternity.” (R. C. Sproul, Grace Unknown, p. 198.)
Those are among some of the most strongly-worded versions of Lordship Salvation I am familiar with. Do statements like those appear in T4G’s Affirmations & Denials?

Kevin Bauder does not define for or link us to where he finds T4G’s “strongly-worded version of Lordship Salvation?” Why doesn’t he define for us what he feels is a “strongly-worded version of Lordship Salvation?” Does he have a definition of his own that he feels is a fair representation, less “strongly-worded” Lordship Salvation that we can compare to T4Gs version?
Kevin Bauder, Would you do us the courtesy of defining Lordship Salvation in your own words to show us why you believe T4G’s LS is a “strongly-worded version?”
In Dr. Ernest Pickerings critical review he defined what must have been for him John MacArthur’s “strongly-worded version of Lordship Salvation.” He wrote,
“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.” (Lordship Salvation: An Examination of John MacArthurs Book, TGATJ, p. 7.)
Changing the terms of the gospel,” is about as blunt in gracious terms as one can be when you tell a man that he has corrupted the gospel of Jesus Christ, which Lordship Salvation in fact does. Lordship Salvation does change the terms of the gospel.  Lordship Salvation corrupts the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Cor. 11:3) and LS frustrates grace (Gal. 2:21).
“Kevin’s charge that ‘the most forceful defenders of the gospel are no longer to be found within the Fundamentalist camp’ constitutes nothing short of slander. Perhaps Dr. Bauder does not know the fundamentalists I know. I can name scores of pastors who regularly and rigorously defend the gospel. Ah, but therein lies the rub. Note, I said ‘pastors.’ You see, Bauder’s concern is that professional scholars defend the gospel, not lowly pastors.”
“Pastor Doran says that ‘gospel separation is primarily at the level of relationships between churches, ministries that serve churches, and those who are recognized as ministers among the churches.’ Doran leaves the door open to violate his own premise when he allows for a broadening of fellowship in order to allow some form of academic freedom or scholarly exposure. The Premise is Violated in Three Ways: •DBTS is a ministry of ICBC, •DBTS is a ministry to serve local churches, •Dave Doran is a recognized minister in and among the churches. Remember, it’s one thing to read a book critically. It’s another thing entirely to tacitly extend the hand of fellowship because a person is a ‘scholar.’ Exposing impressionable students to compromised Christian leaders and scholars is not only dangerous it is an act of disobedience.”

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