March 19, 2021

Embrace Trials, Hold Joy, God is Near You

 In recent days reports on my physical health have begun circulating the Internet. Here are the details.

One month ago I was diagnosed with cancer. It was found while being treated for another minor issue. It is a Metastatic Kidney (Renal Cell) Carcinoma. The tumor is in my left kidney.  It is Stage 4 having spread to my left lung and liver. This particular cancer is incurable.

My oncologist started me this week on a course of medications, which targets and kills cancer cells, works to shrink the tumor and help manage my symptoms. In June a new CT scan will be done to measure the effectiveness of this treatment. There is no prognosis. We simply let the Lord work out his plan for me, while we wait on the results of the next scan.

In 2010 I had colon cancer. That tumor was surgically removed and I recovered over time. This, however, will be a different process.

I was born again in April 1979. Since then I have known two things: 1) I am on my way to Heaven, and 2) I can trust God’s will for me. On the former the only thing I never knew was how I’m going to get there. On the latter, I do not have to be afraid of God’s will for my life. He has never thrown me a curve.

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God,” (2 Cor. 1:3-4).

I am trusting in God’s perfect way for me. The hymn writer captures how I can have “Strength …to meet my trials here,” “That every day the Lord Himself is near me,” Our protection…is a charge that on Himself He laid,” “He will help me…in every tribulation,” “Till I reach the promised land.” Day By Day, lyrics by Lina Sindell (paraphrasing mine).

What we all learn in time is that you may not truly experience these things to the fullest until you are in a time of trial and tribulation. Embrace it, hold joy, God is near you. The blessed hope is our future.


LM

February 1, 2021

Surrender & Salvation: Q&A with Dr. John Van Gelderen

Dear Brethren:
Dr. John R. Van Gelderen
 
With this initial posting a Q&A Surrender & Salvation I am beginning to post articles, and related materials, from Dr. John Van Gelderen’s Revival Focus website.  Like so many believers around the world I trust you will be edified, encouraged and challenged by the written ministry of John Van Gelderen.


Question: In regard to salvation, what must be surrendered? Would it be accurate to say that one must only surrender his soul to be saved by Jesus?  And that surrendering anything else would be a works-based salvation? Isn’t this what lordship salvation teaches? You must be willing to surrender and be willing to turn from individual sins, pride, etc.? What is involved in “surrendering” to salvation? Would it be correct to say that the ONLY sin one must surrender would be the sin of unbelief (not trusting in Christ)? I have heard if one isn’t willing to publicly confess Christ, then they haven’t totally surrendered. But if that is the case, wouldn’t this be works based?
 
John Van Gelderen Answers:

Insightful questions! There is much misunderstanding in this area. Several questions have been submitted along these lines revealing the confusion that is prevalent. See also Question #14 and Question #18 among others.
 
The issue is not between soul and body. Soul-focus can be off-based too. The issue is the object of faith and the condition of salvation. The lordship salvation debate is not a debate on whether Jesus is Lord, but on what constitutes the condition of receiving salvation.

If surrender is made to be anything more than the flip-side of faith, it becomes works. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin as the problem, judgment as the consequence, and the righteousness of Jesus as the answer. [John 16:8-11] Being convinced of these three truths, when someone surrenders to them, they are trusting in Christ as the righteousness needed to be saved from sin and judgment. This is faith. Yet this is surrender in the correct sense. The only sin that cannot be forgiven is not believing in Jesus. Therefore, the core issue of surrender is believing on Jesus Christ.

When surrender is defined as turning from your sins or being willing to turn from your sins (your commitment to do right), grace is violated. This definition unwittingly places your dependence on yourself—your commitment to do right, your willingness to turn from your sins, instead of on Christ (the object of faith) to save you from yours sins. The focus of surrender must be on Christ, or the surrender becomes works-oriented.

Regarding the public profession of faith, what is stated above applies. Joseph of Arimathea was a secret disciple. This means he was in fact a believer, and his being labeled by the inspired text as a disciple was contingent on his faith in Christ, not his public confession.


John
Originally appeared June 1, 2018
 

FOOTNOTES
Question #14 Faith, Repentance & Salvation

Question #18 Secret Believers

Related Reading:

January 18, 2021

RACISM” by Dr. Rick Flanders

“Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond or free: but Christ is all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.”
(Colossians 3:9-14)
Dr. Rick Flanders

When a black man was elected president of the United States, it seemed that a thick barrier had been destroyed that marred American life for many years. Progress in relations between the races in this nation had apparently come to the point where white people were not unwilling to vote black people into high office. It appeared to be a break-through. However, distrust and anger over race matters have clearly worsened since 2009. Who can deny it? Some of the problems come from confusion over the issues of race, with faulty ideas gaining favor with passionate people “on both sides.” The situation is dangerous as well as distressing, but there is a solution to it in the Bible.
Let us learn or re-learn five facts about this subject in order to help ourselves and our countrymen finally get past this unhappy and unnecessary strife.
  1. NOT EVERYTHING THAT IS CALLED “RACISM” IS REALLY RACISM!
Originally the term “racism” had a much more specific meaning than it does in common usage today. A racist is a person who believes that certain people’s actions and habits are determined by their “race.” Flaws in character as well as admirable characteristics are rooted in the D.N.A., and genetic causes for good and bad are carried in races. Racist views are those that were propagated by the Nazis and by the Ku Klux Klan. Racism is an ideology; it is not just unkindness or prejudice toward people of a different color or belonging to a different race. Lack of love for anyone is wrong according to God’s “royal law” (James 2:8-9), but not all unloving words or actions constitute racism. The reason this distinction is important is that more and more voices today are raising the alarm that racism is rampant in this country, and that something radical must be done about it. The fact is that true racism, although more available to more people because of the internet, is considerably less influential and widespread than it was even fifty years ago in America. When certain famous people were recently punished for using an unkind racial slur, they were accused of racism. But there is little evidence that they actually espouse Klan or Nazi doctrine because they used the hurtful word. Seeming mistreatment of anyone because of racial bias is called “racism,” although it really isn’t. It is unchristian and unkind, but it isn’t racism. Racist ideas have been spread for many years, and actually prominent leaders have espoused and propagated some of them, but every kind of racial bias is not racism.
  1. ETHNIC PREJUDICE AND PREFERENCE IS ALMOST UNIVERSAL.
The truth is sad, but it is the truth, that preference for one’s own group is an almost universal human characteristic. To set the goal of wiping out racism in the United States, while defining racism as preference for one’s own perceived ethnic group, is to aim at an unreachable target and to excuse the rapid and unwarranted spread of government power. It can also be the means of fomenting further racial hatred and even violent behavior. Although prejudice is not Christian, and racial bias can be hurtful and ugly, they will not be eradicated by mobs or laws.
  1. PREJUDICE AND RACISM CAN ONLY BE CURED BY GOD.
The royal law, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” is God’s law (James 2:8) and it can only be fulfilled when God’s love enters the human heart.
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.”
(First John 4:7-12)
The Source of love is God, and God is love. He sent His love to sinful man by sending His Son to be our Savior. Those who receive Jesus, also receive love into their lives. This is how the hatred in human nature is counter-acted. Before regeneration (the experience of being born again), a man is prone to hate.
“For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
“But after the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness that we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour…”
(Titus 3:3-6)
Insisting that wrongs be righted, that we must be treated with respect, or that racial injustice must be punished seldom rises out of love for others, and often engenders hate. The Bible teaches us to think about things that are true, honest, just, and pure (read Philippians 4:8) in order to maintain peace of mind, but we are constantly reminded of wrong, impure, dishonest, and unjust things that have been inflicted upon our perceived group throughout history. And such thoughts create outrage and anger in our hearts and minds, to our detriment. This is how black people, women, Muslims, Mexicans, and Native Americans are being taught to think, and the regular reminders of injustice only bring more hate. It is God that puts love into hearts. When we have been “justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” and “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us” (Romans 5:1-5).
  1. THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN FREED FROM SIN CAN OVERCOME HATE.
The New Testament speaks of a life of liberty that is experienced by the believer in Jesus Christ (see John 8:30-36). Jesus not only saves men from Hell, but also from their sins, including the hatred in the human heart. Colossians 3 is a passage of scripture that says the Christian is “risen with Christ” (verse 1), that “Christ…is our life” (verses 2-4), that “the new man…is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him” (verses 9-10), that “Christ is all, and in all” (verse 11), and that “charity [love]…is the bond of perfectness” (verses 12-14). Jesus breaks the chains of sin and hate, and brings love into the life of one who trusts in His salvation. No political or ideological movement or revolution can do that. His love in the heart breaks down the barriers of prejudice (read Colossians 3:1-14 again).
  1. JESUS CHRIST IS THE ANSWER FOR HATE AND THE AUTHOR OF LOVE.
So Colossians 3 concludes that in Jesus Christ the distinctions of ethnicity, class, race, or group, no longer mar the love in the family of God, but instead “Christ is all, and in all” (read verse 11 again). It is amazing how revived Christians get along. The need of our nation is not a renewal of old racial offenses, but rather a revival of the Christian religion. Evangelical revivalism turned the tide of American opinion against slavery in the nineteenth century, as it also did in England in the previous century. The love of God and not angry agitation will be the cure to our racial problems, and will give racial harmony a deep and practical application on a personal level in every town and community. Let the Gospel of Jesus Christ be preached, and the love of Christ be lived and spread by those who believe in Him!

Dr. Rick Flanders

(Originally Published November 2015)

January 8, 2021

An Analysis of Bob Jones University’s Position Paper on Calvinism, Arminianism and Reformed Theology

Dr. Robert Congdon
As a follow-up to Lou Martuneac’s article of November 14, 2019, entitled “This is Not Your Father’s Bob Jones University,”[1] I have been asked to review Bob Jones University’s position paper on “Calvinism, Arminianism and Reformed Theology.”[2] The following is a brief analysis of that paper.[3]

After reading BJU’s position paper, I feel that it reflects a style commonly employed by many New Calvinists[4]. Their writing typically skirts issues to avoid offense or exclusion, while maximizing inclusivity. They achieve this by allowing the reader to supply his or her own theological definitions rather than offering clear-cut ones that would reveal Calvinist views. The fact that BJU’s paper appears to use a similar strategy concerns me.

I see this tendency throughout the paper. For example, it contains the term “exercise faith” four times. A standard dictionary definition of “exercise” is “an act of bringing into play or realizing in action.”[5] While this term could apply to an action resulting in salvation, fundamentalist Christians typically select a phrase such as “receive Christ by faith as your Savior” in this context.  Once upon a time, BJU used phrases such as “believe,” “put your faith in” and “ask Him into your heart,” to describe one’s salvation response.

As used by New Calvinists, the phrase “exercise faith” fits within the dictionary definition of “realizing in action.” Calvinism’s teaching on election is that one is regenerated prior to faith. Later on, that person "exercises faith" or “acknowledges” or “realizes” that Jesus is his or her Savior. Ligonier Ministries, a major outlet for New Calvinist teaching, says:

If the Lord has changed our hearts, giving us the disposition[6] to love Him, we will certainly exercise faith and persevere in it to the end (Phil. 1:6). But that we exercise faith at all is due to God’s sovereign grace.[7] 

A writer for The Gospel Coalition, a New Calvinist group, also uses this term, “exercise faith.”

Objectively speaking, faith is a gift from God (Eph. 2:8, although the “gift” is the whole work of salvation, not just the faith). Subjectively speaking, the person exercises faith in the gospel (Eph. 1:13). [8]

Interestingly, if you google the phrase, you’ll also find that Brigham Young University uses it:

To exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is to accept Him as Savior and live in accordance to His will through repentance and obedience to His commandments. Learning to act in accordance with one’s faith in Christ is fundamental to enjoying deep, life-changing learning. [9]

It is rather sad that a Mormon school offers a clearer definition of “exercising faith” than BJU!

Contrary to the Calvinist teaching of regeneration before an act of faith, the Bible teaches that a person hears the Scriptures (Rom. 10:17), after which the Holy Spirit convicts that person’s heart, revealing the sinful condition and the need for a savior (Rom. 3:23). The person then responds by receiving, accepting, and trusting Jesus Christ alone as Savior (John 1:12).

BJU potentially reflects a Calvinist viewpoint when it says, “God’s invitation of salvation is freely offered to all men . . . and available to anyone who desires to be saved.” [10] I take this to suggest that an unsaved person has a desire to be saved. But in my experience, and in the experience of others holding similar positions, it is not desire but rather the conviction of being a sinner in need of a savior that drives a person to ask for God’s gift of salvation.

On the other hand, I have read several New Calvinist statements implying that when one is elect, and therefore regenerated prior to faith, he or she develops a desire to exercise faith or to acknowledge or recognize Jesus Christ as Savior. BJU’s phrase could be interpreted in either way and is therefore ambiguous, potentially satisfying both Calvinists and Biblicists.

Similarly, consider 2 Peter 3:9:

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

The Calvinist considers “all” to mean “all the elect,” while a Biblicist believes that “all” should be taken literally as referring to all human beings. Clearly, the Bible reflects this in its use of “whosoever will” in salvation passages (John 3:16; Rom. 10:13; Rev. 22:17). Again, BJU’s statement is very weak in its terminology. 

Further on in the position paper, BJU says that our sanctification “will be completed when we stand before God in our resurrection bodies.”[11] This appears to be drawing from Reformed terminology. The Biblicist position teaches that our sanctification will be completed when we appear before Jesus Christ, our Bridegroom, at the Bema. But the phrase, “stand before God” comes directly from Revelation 20:12 and refers to those at the Great White Throne Judgment.

Calvinists believe that all people from all ages, both saved and unsaved, will stand before God at this judgment event (Rev. 20:11-15). Here, God will assess who is elect and who is not. Biblicists believe that the Bema (2 Cor. 5:10) is a time of accounting (Rom. 14:12) with Jesus Christ, our Bridegroom, and not a judgment for “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…” (Rom. 8:1). The English word, “condemnation,” is a translation of the Greek word for “judgment.”[12] Again, BJU uses weak and ambiguous phrasing.

BJU says, “We believe that Scripture presents certain great paradoxes concerning salvation which we gladly embrace as belonging to God . . .”[13] It’s curious that here BJU uses the word, “believe” but speaks of exercising faith earlier.

Interestingly, Calvinists often use similar phrasing about “paradoxes,” yet I do not find “great paradoxes” in the Bible with reference to salvation. Surely, this is the most elementary and crucial issue of mankind. Does God truly leave this issue as a paradox unresolvable by mankind? If so, then why present it in the Scriptures at all, rather than deferring it as a matter to be dealt with in eternity?

My booklet, An Alternative View of Election offers no “paradox” but a straightforward interpretation of the biblical use of the term “election.”[14]

Finally, BJU’s view on the “doctrine of the Second Coming and Reformed Eschatology” is worded in the New Calvinist style. Reformed Theology is very weak on eschatology. It blends the catching up of the church, the Rapture event (1 Thess. 4:16ff), with the Second Coming (Matt. 24:30; Rev. 19:11), claiming that these events occur together.

Similarly, BJU says that “we believe in the visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ at His Second Coming (John 14:3; Acts 1:11; 1 Thess. 4:16; Heb. 9:28; 1 John 3:2-3)”[15] Notice, they combine references associated with the Rapture (John 14:3; 1 Thess. 4:16; 1 John 3:2-3) with references associated with the Second Coming (Acts 1:11 and Heb. 9:28).

BJU appears to favor this combination when it declares that “we acknowledge that there are interpretative differences . . . related to the timing of this glorious appearing . . .” [16] They continue by referencing Titus 2:13 that specifically speaks of the “glorious appearing” as the Second Coming of Christ to the earth. This strategy subtly combines what the Biblicist sees as two distinct events into a single “glorious appearing.”

Interestingly, the BJU Seminary Catalog stated in the front matter that “The seminary faculty holds to...a pretribulational, premillennial approach to eschatology.”[17] By its very definition, “pretribulational” distinguishes the catching up of the church prior to the 7-year Tribulation from the Second Coming of Jesus Christ at the end of the Tribulation. What has changed since BJU’s Dean Stephen Hankins quoted this statement in an email in 2011? BJU’s present usage therefore reflects either carelessness or a Reformed/Calvinist interpretation of these verses.

BJU may not officially be a Reformed or Calvinist school. But its recent publications suggest an awareness and apparent endorsement of Reformed/Calvinist thought and teaching. Perhaps its lack of precision and ambiguous use of Scripture stem from ignorance or a poor understanding of the current meanings of these terms and phrases. If so, we could excuse it and ask that the school become more informed. If, however, BJU is following the pattern exhibited by New Calvinist writing, then there is a much deeper problem at work requiring immediate action to reverse this intrusion of Reformed and Calvinist theology.

Analysist: Robert Congdon

Originally Published November, 2019.



[1] Lou Martuneac, “This is Not Your Father’s Bob Jones University” In Defense of the Gospel blog, Nov. 14, 2019.  https://indefenseofthegospel.blogspot.com/2019/11/this-is-not-your-fathers-bob-jones.html
[2] Position Statements, “Calvinism, Arminianism and Reformed Theology” (Greenville, SC: Bob Jones University, nd.) retrieved from https://www.bju.edu/about/positions.php on 08/21/19.
[3] The above views reflect observations by the analyst acquainted with Bob Jones University and its many graduates but who is not an alumnus. This analysis is presented as a call to BJU to rethink its position paper and also to alert BJU students and alumni to a possible trend. Presenting this analysis is at the request of some BJU alumni.
[4] New Calvinism is a repackaged form of classic Calvinism that is presented in a form more appealing to the present generations. This analysis uses the terms “Calvinist,” “Reformed,” and “New Calvinist” as essentially equal when speaking of these doctrinal statements in the BJU paper. Today, New Calvinists represent the vast majority of Calvinists.
[5] “Exercise” Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exercise on 08/21/19.
[6] Calvinism teaches that the “changed heart” is the result of regeneration before faith, thereby an elect person is now predisposed to love Christ and exercise faith about Him.
[7] “Faith and Assurance” Ligoner Ministries website, retrieved from https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/faith-and-assurance/ on 11/18/19.
[8] Eric McKiddie, “How to Call for a Gospel Response Like a Calvinist” The Gospel Coalition November 24, 2011, retrieved from https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/how-to-call-for-gospel-response-like-a-calvinist/ 11/19/19.
[9] “Exercise faith” Learning Model – Brigham Young University, retrieved from http://www.byui.edu/learning-model/5-principles/exercise-faith on 11/18/19.
[10] Position Statements, “Calvinism, Arminianism and Reformed Theology.”
[11] Position Statements, “Calvinism, Arminianism and Reformed Theology.”
[12]κατάκριμα” Joseph Henry Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1977), 332.
[13] Position Statements, “Calvinism, Arminianism and Reformed Theology.”
[14] Available at www.CongdonMinistries.org website.
[15] Position Statements, “Calvinism, Arminianism and Reformed Theology.”
[16] Position Statements, “Calvinism, Arminianism and Reformed Theology.”
[17] BJU Seminary and Graduate Studies Catalog (Greenville, SC: Bob Jones University), 38. This was confirmed in a private email from Dean Stephen J. Hankins, July 21, 2011.

November 14, 2020

How to Have Peace in Anxious Times, Dr. J. Vernon McGee


God is moving in history and if you listen to the news media you will become discouraged. Beside that you’ll get brainwashed. And you look at Washington today and you feel like giving up or throwing up. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of panel discussions of politicians, educators, the military, and athletes and the movie colony. I don’t think they have any message for us right now. Perhaps you can hear the still small voice of God in these visions [in Zechariah]. God’s purpose will prevail. God is moving in history to accomplish His purposes.”

How many years ago Dr. McGee spoke those words? Indications from earlier in his lesson suggests he was speaking at the time of the 1979 Arab oil embargo. Dr. McGee’s thoughts above are as applicable today, maybe more so than they were those four decades ago.

Remember to keep what happens on the political stage in perspective. We are, after all, “strangers and pilgrims on the earth”, (Heb. 11:13; 1 Peter 2:11). You are to be “casting your care upon Him for He cares for you”, (1 Peter 5:7). The hymn writer tells the believer,

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

In the light of His glory and grace.

Less comforting than what the Bible promises us, but none-the-less encouraging: We still live in America. We should recognize that American citizens are in far better shape today than most peoples in virtually every other nation on earth.  Just ask any foreign missionary.


Dr. J. Vernon McGee

Thru the Bible Radio

Zechariah 6:9-15

A study guide by Dr. McGee. You may read on line or download as a PDF.

September 18, 2020

Archival Series- What is Lordship Salvation: And Why Does it Matter?

There is an on-going debate over a certain segment of fundamentalists preaching and practicing a new paradigm shift for separation commonly known as “gospel-driven separation” or “gospel centric fellowship.”

“There is today a very subtle shift that, on the surface, is very persuasive…. Rather than base separatism on the Bible, the whole counsel of God, we should use as our test the Gospel. There is a plea that says the only doctrines for which we should contend are those doctrines that impinge directly upon the Gospel…. That [Gospel-Centric separatism] broadens our fellowship incredibly to include organizations and individuals who are patently disobedient to the plain teaching of Scripture and yet are somehow tolerated, vindicated and even honored in some of our circles.”1
In recent articles we have been considering why there should be no fellowship or cooperative efforts with the so-called “conservative” evangelicals. The reasons include aberrant theology such as non-cessationism, amillenialism, ecumenical compromise, embracing the world’s music in the form of RAP, Hip Hop and CCM for ministry. All of these are grounds for withdrawing from and having no fellowship with believers who teach and do these things. All of this, however, is being tolerated, allowed for, excused or ignored by certain men who minister in fundamental circles, men who are forging fellowship and cooperative ministries with the evangelicals and influencing others to follow them. There is, however, one overarching concern that trumps all of these issues with the evangelicals combined. That is Lordship Salvation!
Defined briefly: Lordship Salvation is a position on the gospel in which “saving faith” is considered reliance upon the finished work of Jesus Christ. Lordship views “saving faith” as incomplete without an accompanying resolve to “forsake sin” and to “start obeying.” Lordship’s “sine qua non” (indispensable condition) that must be met to fully define “saving faith,” for salvation, is a commitment to deny self, take up the cross, and follow Christ in submissive obedience. (In Defense of the Gospel: Revised & Expanded Edition, p. 48.)
It is virtually impossible not to know that the evangelicals, almost to a man, believe, preach and defend Lordship Salvation (LS). When the T4G and Gospel Coalition conferences convene they gather around the LS interpretation of the Gospel. Certain men in fundamental circles, however, are drawn together in “gospel-centric” fellowship with evangelicals. They are gathering around a common acceptance of and bond in Calvinistic soteriology, primarily in the form of Lordship Salvation.

Dr. Kevin Bauder published a serious misrepresentation when he wrote that Fundamentalists and Evangelicals, “believe, preach and defend the [same] gospel.”2 Kevin Bauder has never edited or retracted that statement. Following are samples of Lordship’s corruption of the Gospel for justification.
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.” (Dr. John MacArthur, The Gospel According to Jesus: What is Authentic Faith? pp. 219.)

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.” (MacArthur, Ibid, p. 150.)

If you want to receive this gift [salvation] it will cost you the total commitment of all that you are to the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ps. Steven Lawson, The Cost of Discipleship: It Will Cost You Everything.)

Salvation is for those who are willing to forsake everything.” (MacArthur, The Gospel According to Jesus, p. 78.)

This is what Jesus meant when He spoke of taking up one’s own cross to follow Him. And that is why he demanded that we count the cost carefully. He was calling for an exchange of all that we are for all that He is. He was demanding implicit obedience--unconditional surrender to His lordship.” (MacArthur, Hard to Believe, p. 6.)
Based on clear, unambiguous statements from advocates of LS thousands in Fundamentalism reject LS as a corrupt and false interpretation of the gospel.
When the Lordship advocate speaks of “following Christ,” he is speaking of the gospel. When John MacArthur refers to “The Cost of Following Christ,” he really means “The Cost to Receive Christ.” MacArthur believes there is a “Real Cost of Salvation,” or more accurately a “Real Cost for Salvation.” He believes that the gospel demands a commitment of one’s life, and a promise of surrender to the lordship of Christ in an up-front “exchange” for the reception of salvation. (In Defense of the Gospel: Revised & Expanded Edition, p. 82.)
Dr. Ernest Pickering recognized that LS, as MacArthur defined it, was a departure from the biblical plan of salvation. Following are two excerpts from Dr. Pickering’s review of the first edition (1988) of John MacArthur’s The Gospel According to Jesus.
MacArthur laments, ‘Contemporary Christendom too often accepts a shallow repentance that bears no fruit’ (p. 96). This theme recurs over and over again in the book. The recommended cure for this malady is to require more of the seeking sinner than the Bible requires. Instead of ‘merely’ believing on the finished work of Christ the inquiring soul must also be willing to have Christ as Lord over every area of his life. It seems evident upon an examination of this thesis that those who espouse it are adding something to the gospel that is not in the Scriptures. Charles Ryrie was certainly on target when he wrote, ‘The message of faith only and the message of faith plus commitment of life cannot both be the gospel…’” (Balancing the Christian Life, p. 70.)

One of the chief objections to the notion of ‘lordship salvation’ is that it adds to the gospel of grace. It requires something of the sinner which the Scriptures do not require. The message of salvation by grace proclaims to sinner that they may receive eternal life by faith alone whereas the message of ‘lordship salvation’ tells sinners they must be willing to give up whatever is in their life that is displeasing to God.”
Several months after an April 2010 personal meeting with Dr. MacArthur NIU president Dr. Matt Olson announced that with MacArthur they “agree on the most substantive issues of life and ministry.”3 Then Olson hosted MacArthur’s executive pastor Rick Holland in the NIU chapel pulpit to address impressionable young people.4 NIU would not have had Rick Holland in its pulpit, or validated John MacArthur’s doctrine and ministry if the administration had any serious reservations over Lordship Salvation. With Olson’s statement on MacArthur and putting Holland in the chapel pulpit NIU stamped its approval on and endorsed a false gospel, namely “Lordship Salvation.”

Do Fundamentalists and Evangelicals, “believe, preach and defend the [same] gospel?” No, they do not! Men in fundamental circles who are converging with advocates of LS are either tolerating a known and egregious error or have themselves embraced the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel and are rallying around it with like-minded evangelicals.

It is high time for men like Dave Doran, Kevin Bauder, Matt Olson, Tim Jordan, et. al., to be transparent on the Lordship Salvation controversy. Are these men willing to state in unvarnished terms whether or not they believe LS as John MacArthur, John Piper, Steve Lawson, et. al., “believe, preach and defend” it is the one true Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Lordship Salvation is not the gospel! LS clouds, confuses and complicates the Gospel. LS corrupts the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Cor. 11:3) and frustrates grace (Gal. 2:21). Above all other considerations (aberrant theology, ecumenism and worldliness) we cannot fellowship, promote or cooperate with evangelicals who “believe, preach and defend” Lordship Salvation.


LM

Originally appeared- April 14, 2011

Related Reading:.
For a clear, concise example of the egregious error that is Lordship Salvation please read, Summary of Lordship Salvation From a Single Page. This article is a reproduction of an appendix entry by the same name that appears on pp. 284-286. In it I examine a statement by John MacArthur that appears in all three editions of The Gospel According to Jesus. You will find that there is no more clear example of how John MacArthur’s LS corrupts and redefines the Scriptures than this one.

What is the Fault Line for Fracture in Fundamentalism?
How can there be unity within a fellowship when two polar opposite interpretations of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ are accepted as legitimate?”
Footnotes:
1) Pastor Marc Monte, Preserving the Separatist Impulse

2) Do Fundamentalists and Evangelicals, “Believe, Preach and Defend the [Same] Gospel?”
“There is no universal ‘mutuality in the gospel’ among evangelicals and fundamentalists. ‘Evangelicals and fundamentalists are [NOT] united in their allegiance to the gospel,’ because there is a vast difference between what evangelicals and non-Calvinists in Fundamentalism believe to be the one true Gospel. It is irrefutable, and Kevin Bauder is well aware, that many men in Fundamentalism reject Calvinistic soteriology in the form of LS as a false, works based Gospel. It is, furthermore, indisputable that virtually every man in “conservative” evangelicalism is a passionate advocate for Lordship Salvation, which Dr. Bauder is also well aware of.”
3) Dr. Matt Olson, Open Letter To Friends in Ministry, November 23, 2010.

4) Northland Int’l University Presents Executive Pastor of Grace Community Church to It’s Student Body