January 14, 2019

Archival Series: The Faith of the Gospel Dr. Bob Jones, III

Last week [May 2011] I participated in a discussion at one of the Gospel Coalition blogs. There was some confusion there over whether or not Bob Jones, Sr., Jr., and the III preach the same gospel message as John MacArthur's Lordship Salvation. Below is a transcribed sermon excerpt from Dr. Jones that I posted there to help settle the question. That was followed by my own personal commentary, which I have expanded for this article.

“Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,” (Phil. 1:27).
Our behavior as citizens of Heaven is what Paul is dealing with here. Our personal behavior, our worship behavior, everything pertaining to the redeemed Christian life is at stake here in what Paul is saying. Let your behavior as citizens of the kingdom of Heaven be as it becomes the Gospel of Christ, the saving message of Christ. Are you washed in the blood of Christ, His death, His resurrection? The Gospel of Jesus Christ. First Corinthians 15:1-3, the nutshell of the Gospel, the saving Gospel. There is a difference between the saving Gospel, which starts it all and without which there is no faith in the Gospel. We love the saving message of the Gospel. It’s to be on our lips at all times and in all places wherever we go. But Paul is dealing here [Phil. 1:27] with the governing gospel. That which governs us, as members of the household of faith, citizens of Heaven, AFTER we have received and believed into the Gospel of Jesus Christ.1
The crux of the LS controversy is not over the post-conversion issues such as sanctification, discipleship and following Christ. There is very little disagreement over what should be the results of a genuine conversion. The controversy is over the requirements for how to be born again, justification. Is a man born again by faith, believing in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:1-3) what He did to provide salvation or by faith, plus commitment of life to perform the “good works” (Eph. 2:10) expected of a born again disciple of Christ to become a born again Christian, which is the demand of Lordship Salvation?

In his opening remarks you have all you need to know that the saving message that Dr. Bob Jones III preaches and the Lordship Salvation message of Dr. John MacArthur are not one and the same. Following are just a few of many examples in which MacArthur is teaching salvation, how he believes the lost man must come to Christ for salvation, i.e., to be born again.
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.”

And he [rich young ruler] needed to be willing to submit to the Lord Jesus, even if it meant he had to give up all his earthly possessions. He might not ask, but the requirement for eternal life is the willingness to give it all up if he does.”

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

Salvation is for those who are willing to forsake everything.”
Dr. Jones recognizes and articulates the separate and distinct biblical doctrines of salvation (the saving Gospel) and discipleship (the governing gospel). John MacArthur, however, insists salvation and discipleship are one and the same, which is why he frontloads faith with commitment to do the “good works” expected of a born again disciple of Christ to BECOME a born again disciple of Christ.

In an elongated series from 2010 Dr. Kevin Bauder included this statement,
Both fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals believe the gospel, preach the gospel, and defend the gospel.... This mutuality in the gospel leads to a question. Since conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists are united in their allegiance to the gospel, should they not be able to cooperate at the level of the gospel? To put it positively, should fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals get together for the gospel?”2
Many Fundamentalists do not believe, preach and defend the [same] gospel as the evangelicals. Most first year Bible College students would know there is no mutuality, unity or allegiance to a single interpretation of the gospel. The evidence strongly suggests that Dr. Jones and Dr. MacArthur do not believe, preach and defend the same gospel! There is, furthermore, a clear divide in fundamentalism over the interpretation of the Gospel commonly known as Lordship Salvation.


1) Dr. Bob Jones, III, The Faith of the Gospel, Part 3, March 3, 2011 which can be heard in its entirety at Sermon Audio. I encourage all guests to listen to Dr. Jones’s message (27:30) in its entirety. At 13:30 he begins to address the new trend of an “inappropriate conveyance of the gospel.” For example he says,
“We’ve been taking in some of the last messages about the error that can result from those whose credo is, ‘Well, it’s all about the gospel, as long as a man is preaching the gospel I can go to that church…and I don’t have to worry about all the rest of it…. If we take the attitude that it’s only about the preaching of the gospel and that makes everything else acceptable we’re going to embrace a lot of error. How we convey the gospel is a very important part of how we preach the gospel…. Is there a conveyance that is appropriate and is there an inappropriate conveyance to this sacred, holy message sent from the holy God in heaven to save poor sinners like us…? You’re going to have to make your mind up about the kind of Christianity that you practice, the kind of churches you will join, the kind of expression of the gospel that you accept. You see, if it’s only all about the preaching of the gospel and if that is all that matters then you can accept almost any other kind of manifestations of the gospel…then we have formed our own opinions and practiced them more than going to the Bible to see what God says is acceptable.”
2) Now, About Those Differences. Please refer to, Do Fundamentalists & Evangelicals, “Believe, Preach and Defend the [Same] Gospel?”

Related Reading:
Summary of Lordship Salvation From a Single Page

The Fault Line for Fracture in Fundamentalism

John MacArthur’s Discipleship Gospel
Lordship’s “Turn From Sin” FOR Salvation

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