June 25, 2007

Wrapping the Series on Zane Hodges

To All:

Zane Hodges is a major figure in the Lordship Salvation debate. Hodges is probably as prominent and well known a figure in the debate from the Free Grace perspective as John MacArthur is for the Lordship Salvation perspective.

In this series it has not been my desire to take anything away from the helpful contributions Zane Hodges has made to the Lordship debate. There are, however, serious concerns I have with some of the polarizing statements he has made in various books and publications, such as the kind I have noted earlier and will reiterate and expand on below.

When the Lordship Salvation controversy broke out following the release of John MacArthur’s The Gospel According to Jesus (1988) the Grace Evangelical Society (GES) was formed. Zane Hodges, Mike Cocoris, and to a lesser extent Dr. Charles Ryrie responded to the Lordship position. Dr. Ryrie’s book So Great Salvation is among the most reliable answers to the Lordship interpretation of the gospel from that period, and I cite it a number of times in the pages of my book.

Hodges rightly identifies reformed theology as the root of Lordship Salvation. There is, however, a serious problem in that Hodges eliminates repentance from the conversion experience. In his book Harmony With God Hodges takes the position that the process of repentance may be a preparatory step in coming to salvation, and should be evident in the life of a believer, but a lost man can be born again without repentance. Hodges also said he no longer holds to the “change of mind” view of repentance. For example:

“Many very fine grace people have held that the view the apostle John, at least in his Gospel, regarded repentance as a 'change of mind' that turned one from unbelief to faith in Christ. However, it is impossible to find such a doctrine of repentance anywhere in John’s writings.” (Harmony With God, p. 21)

“Thank God there is only one answer to the question, ‘What must I do to be saved?’ That, of course, is the answer not only of Paul and all the apostles, but of Jesus Himself. The answer is: ‘believe!’ Repentance is not part of that answer. It never has been and never will be.” (Harmony With God, p. 123.)

Another area for concern is that while Hodges believes the death (cross) burial and resurrection should be part of a gospel message, he also teaches it is not necessary for lost men to believe Jesus died for their sins in order to be born again. The core objective of Hodges’ gospel is for the sinner to believe Jesus grants eternal life, and this alone results in salvation from sin, death and Hell. According to Hodges, all a sinner needs to do is trust Christ for eternal life and he is born again. This teaching is found in an article by Hodges available through the GES website titled, How to Lead People to Christ, Part 1 & 2 (see links below). For example Hodges states,

“People are not saved by believing that Jesus died on the cross; they are saved by believing in Jesus for eternal life . . . Let us always point men to Christ Himself as the object of faith, rather than to some concept that must be theologically clarified before it can really be understood…. You see, as we noted previously, the facts surrounding the gospel message–such as the death and resurrection of Christ-are important facts for what they tell us about the reasons for trusting Christ. But believing these facts doesn’t save anyone. People are only saved when they believe that Jesus gives them eternal life the moment they believe in Him for that. The simple truth is that Jesus can be believed for eternal salvation apart from any detailed knowledge of what He did to provide it.” (Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society 14:1, Spring 2001.)

This teaching of a cross-less gospel by Hodges made a number of men in the GES very uncomfortable. A response was written by Pastor Gregory P. Sapaugh and appears in the Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society, A Response to Hodges: How To Lead A Person To Christ, Parts 1 and 2..

This passage is arguably the clearest definition of what constitutes the gospel of Jesus Christ. “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures,” (1 Cor. 15:3-4).

In the thread under The Teaching of Zane Hodges I am interacting with Antonio da Rosa. Antonio is passionately committed to Free Grace theology especially as it is presented by Zane Hodges.

Antonio wrote:
“Yes, I believe that a man can be born again who has not come to an understanding that Jesus died (was crucified) to pay the penalty for their sin.”
My reply is:
In that case you have a problem with Romans 10:9-10, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

You are teaching a "cross-less" gospel message. You believe and preach the cross, but find it not at all necessary for a lost man to believe this in order to be saved. Based on Roman 10:9 I have to conclude this is wrong!

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 defines the gospel. Romans 10:9-10 states believing these facts (defined in 1 Cor. 15:3-4) are conditional to be born again. Presenting these facts is essential, but to render them unimportant for the sinner to acknowledge and believe undermines the gospel.

I want to encourage you to read Dr. Kevin Bauder’s article at Sharper Iron titled, Thinking About the Gospel, Part 1. In the article Dr. Bauder addresses 1 Cor. 15:3-4 in a compelling way.

Zane Hodges takes what some, even in the GES camp, view as an extreme view of the Free Grace position. Hodges advocates that position, which insists a person, can profess Christ, but demonstrate absolutely no evidence of a new life in Christ, and still be counted as among those who are truly saved. His books, which present this position, are The Bible Knowledge Commentary, The Hungry Inherit, The Gospel Under Siege, Grace in Eclipse, and The Epistles of John, pp. 111-112,145.

Recently I discovered a paper titled, Sanctification Confused: Understanding the Controversy Being Created by the Free Grace Movement by Mr. Lenny Demers. The article cites Hodges from numerous sources that substantiate much of what I have been sharing of late in regard to the teaching of Zane Hodges.

[In the opening page of Brother Demer's article you will notice he refers to Dr. Charles Baker. Dr. Baker has made some very good contributions to the Lordship debate and I cite him in my book.]

Many have appreciated some of the helpful contributions Zane Hodges has made to the Lordship debate. There are, however, some polarizing statements and positions by Hodges, such as the kind I have noted above, that leave many disappointed and frustrated.

Hodges is very close to the heart of the Lordship debate, and I am not as comfortable with him as I'd like to be on several key points of doctrine. Because of the concerns I had and continue to have with Zane Hodges I decided it would be in the best interest of accomplishing my goals for In Defense of the Gospel to make only a brief mention of Hodges, with a caution to my readers about the direction the he has taken on certain key elements of the gospel.

I would like encourage good people on both side of the Lordship/Free Grace controversy to feel free to post some comments here on this short series on the teaching of Zane Hodges. I would be especially interested to hear from those of you in the Lordship camp. Or if you prefer, please write me via e-mail. Just click on the e-mail icon, which appears just above the Links section.

God bless you,


For additional reading on doctrinal concerns with Zane Hodges, Joseph Dillow, Bob Wilkin of the Grace Evangelical Society please visit George Zeller’s site.

For additional reading on the theology of Zane Hodges choose from the following links.
How to Lead People to Christ, Part 1:
The Content of Our Message

How to Lead People to Christ, Part 2:
Our Invitation to Respond

Harmony With God, Part 1

Harmony With God, Part 2

Harmony With God, Part 3

June 22, 2007

Final in the Series on Zane Hodges

To All:

On Monday morning I am posting a final in the series of articles on the theology of Zane Hodges.

BTW, I have recently been interacting with Antonio da Rosa in the thread under The Teachings of Zane Hodges.

Antonio is very passionate in his defense of Free Grace theology, especially as it is presented by Zane Hodges. After his initial entry you have to go pretty deep in the thread to find where Antonio picks up the discussion. There are several others who interact in that thread as well.

Antonio also posted a few comments under Free Grace Follow-Through.


June 20, 2007

Salvation & Discipleship Discussion

To All:

There is a discussion on at the pseudo-fundamentalist Sharper Iron blog that I am moderately involved in. The thread is titled Salvation/Discipleship Poll.

I entered the discussion at page four, post #24.

As many of you are aware one of the greatest errors in Lordship theology is the confusing and/or blending of salvation and discipleship. In October 2006 at the height of my on-line debates with Nathan Busenitz at Pulpit Magazine I wrote an article for my blog titled, John MacArthur's Discipleship Gospel.

You may find this article helpful in defining the salvation/discipleship debate. I invite you to read through the thread at Sharper Iron.


June 19, 2007

The GES Responds to Hodges

To All:

A friend directed me to an article titled A Response to Hodges: How To Lead A Person To Christ, Parts 1 and 2. It is written by Pastor Gregory P. Sapaugh. The article opens this way,

"I appreciate the opportunity given by Grace Evangelical Society to respond to the articles by Zane C. Hodges, How to Lead a Person to Christ.... While my admiration and appreciation for Mr. Hodges is of the highest order, I nevertheless feel constrained to reply to these articles, which I feel contain some issues that need to be addressed. Hopefully, this dialogue will lead to a greater understanding of the gospel, which we both hold so dear."

May I also add that I too appreciate many of the helpful contributions Hodges has made to the Lordship debate. There are, however, some polarizing statements and positions by Hodges, such as the kind Pastor Sapaugh identifes, that leave many disappointed and frustrated.

Later I will come back with what shoud be a summation.

God bless you,


June 16, 2007

Why I Did Not Cite Zane Hodges

To All:

Following is a continuation of what was not at first intend to be, but has become a short series.

In 1997, while I was VP of the Calvary Baptist Theological College in South Africa, I was asked to write an official position paper for the College. The purpose for the paper was to set down the college position in regard to the interpretation of the gospel commonly known as Lordship Salvation (LS). Lordship Salvation had been introduced by two American missionaries into the Bible College while the president was on furlough and I had not yet arrived. This situation lead to the decision to produce an official statement on the Lordship issue.

When I began to read and study in earnest for the college position paper I had no problem finding books by John MacArthur, for example, representing the Lordship gospel, but resources that answered LS were not plentiful. Many that I did find were somewhat helpful, but not comprehensive, some were not balanced. Eventually I did receive a copy of Dr. Charles Ryrie’s So Great Salvation. Later I was directed to Dr. Charles Bing. I shared with him my interest in the Lordship debate, and he sent me a copy of his dissertation Lordship Salvation: A Biblical Evaluation and Response. Bing’s and Ryrie’s books were, and remain very helpful resources. Through an internet search, I located the Grace Evangelical Society (GES) and consequently Zane Hodges.

The GES and Zane Hodges have made some helpful contributions to the Lordship debate. In my reading, however, I discovered several doctrinal issues that left me very concerned. As I continued to read Hodges it became increasingly clear that I was having more than just minor disagreements with what I was reading by him in the Lordship debate.

My concern with some of Hodges' doctrinal positions rose to a level where I decided it would not be in the best interest of my work on the Lordship controversy to include him as a source. I felt if I were to use Hodges as a source I would have to include a strong disclaimer and/or warning. Furthermore, I felt citing Hodges without expressing the concerns and reservations I had with him could give the impression that I might be in agreement with certain elements of his doctrine that clearly I was not then, and am not now. This is especially true in regard to his position on repentance as he defines it in Harmony With God.

The over-riding motive for my producing In Defense of the Gospel was to address Lordship’s corruption of the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Cor. 11:3). Hodges, in my opinion, takes a polar-extreme position in his answer to Lordship Salvation. Citing Hodges in my book had great potential for becoming a lightning rod, and a distraction from the main objective of my book, which was to explain, expose and refute Lordship Salvation.

A “distraction” is exactly what developed over my very brief mention of Dave Hunt's What Love is This: Calvinism's Misrepresentation of God. The mere mention of Hunt's book exposed a raw nerve with men who are Calvinistic in their theology. Over time I was able to deal with, and get everyone past that issue. It was a brief and unfortunate distraction from the discussion of Lordship theology. [The brief mention of Hunt's book has been deleted from the upcoming revised edition of my book.]

It is not my desire to take anything away from the positive contributions Hodges has made to the Lordship debate and in other areas. There are, however, serious concerns I have with some of the polarizing statements he has made in various books and publications. Today, I am especially troubled with what I am reading by Hodges on repentance. I am also very concerned with the comments I noted from Hodges on presenting the gospel invitation. See The Teaching of Zane Hodges.

Hodges is very close to the heart of the Lordship debate, and I am not as comfortable with him as I'd like to be on several key points of doctrine. Because of this I decided it would be in the best interest of accomplishing my goals for the book to make only a brief mention of Hodges, with a caution to my readers.

Later in the week I will post an article to very briefly review how Hodges defines repentance in the context of conversion.


June 13, 2007

Free Grace Follow-Through

To All:

Last week I posted The Teachings of Zane Hodges. One man, (Antonio da Rosa) who is very supportive of the Grace Evangelical Society, but doctrinally is well outside the main stream of the Free Grace community at large, did not appreciate it very much. He took exception in a single comment following the article.

Despite my best efforts here, and at another site where Antonio is a contributor, I have not been able to encourage him to interact with me on a two-way basis in regard to Hodges, Repentance and Free Grace theology. There has, however, been an up side.

First, Antonio posted his reply to my article at Unashamed of Grace (UoG) where he is a contributor. Several folks who frequent UoG are meeting me for the first time Several have contacted me through private e-mails as a result.

Second, I have been posting comments and questions at Unashamed of Grace. I think you may find my comments there worth reading. You’ll find some interacting with me, or speaking about me, my book and the Lordship Salvation issue. It seems my article on Hodges raised the level of discussion, and I mean that in a positive way.

Presently I am developing the second article on why I have kept the theology of Hodges at arm’s length in my work on the Lordship controversy.

In the meantime, visit Unashamed of Grace see the June 7 article that bears my name in the title, and scroll through the comments section.

You may find my interaction with the Free Grace advocates over there interesting.


June 11, 2007

How I was Drawn Into the Lordship Debate

Greetings to All:

There were two specific situations that drew me into the Lordship Salvation debate. The first occurred while I was on faculty at Pensacola Christian College (PCC) from 1987-1992. The second occurred while I was a missionary in South Africa (1996-1999). Today, I am going to share the details of those two situations. There was, what I will call, the “In Between” phase. This is a period of time from about 2000 until mid-2004, which I will conlude today's post with.

Portions of the following are from my book. I have edited much of it for posting here. The section from my book is titled History & Background, pp. 17-18.

It was on faculty at PCC 1987-1992. During the summer months of 1988-1991 I worked at the college radio station- WPCS. My role was station representative. This involved several levels of interaction with the listener base.

In 1988, Dr. John MacArthur's radio program Grace to You was part of the WPCS programming schedule. The doctrinal position on the gospel presented in his book The Gospel According to Jesus raised concerns with the administration, which ultimately lead to the station’s management deciding to drop Grace to You from the broadcast schedule. Once the decision was made, announced and the program pulled it fell to me to handle all contacts in regard to the station having dropped John MacArthur’s program. This required my having to become familiar with the Lordship interpretation of the gospel, and the doctrinal ramifications, which lead to the programming change.

As part of my study I did peruse some of the answers to Lordship Salvation. This is how I first became familiar with the writings on LS by Zane Hodges and a few select others.

Prior to my arrival in South Africa for missionary service in October 1996, it had not occurred to me that I would encounter the Lordship position there. Very shortly after my arrival, however, during the doctrinal exam of a candidate for graduation from our Bible College, I learned that fellow American missionaries had taught Lordship Salvation through subtlety in the college. Shortly thereafter, the college president, Pastor Kevin Brosnan, and I also learned that the Lordship position was beginning to gain ground in South African Bible believing churches.

As a result the college president, Pastor Kevin Brosnan, and I decided that this issue needed a biblical response. (Pastor Brosnan still serves God as a missionary to South Africa.)

Pastor Brosnan asked me to draft two documents that would state the “official” position in two areas of doctrine for the college. The first was to address Calvinism, the second Lordship Salvation. What I initially thought would be documents of about four to five pages each quickly became major works on the subjects. The position paper on Lordship Salvation position ultimately became In Defense of the Gospel.

From just after I returned to the States from South Africa until mid-2004 I was not very involved with the Lordship debate. There were, however, several occasions when I was contacted by various persons for help and information about Lordship Salvation. In 2004, however, there were two situations that arose, which greatly concerned me, and these things caused me to spend the next 18 months writing and editing for the book. I detail the two incidents that lead to publication of In Defense of the Gospel under a section titled, Why Did I Publish? pp. 20-21.

Later I will speak to why I did not address Zane Hodges in my book beyond the brief mention that is there now.


[I really want to throw this in, just for fun, OK? Just before I landed the radio station position I was headed for a long, hot summer in the ABeka Book distribution center. In the spring semester my Salesmanship class sold advertising for the College calendar. They did a great job and the top three salespeople, yours truly and his wife were invited to a dinner hosted by Dr. & Mrs. Horton. The meal was to celebrate and unveil the following year’s college calendar, and to recognize the student’s sales achievement. Somewhere between the tossed salad (with light vinaigrette) and the Dover sole Dr. Horton asked about some of my prior work experience. Among other things I mentioned my background in radio & television. Well, next thing I know, a note appears in my mailbox, and I had been reassigned to the radio station for the summer. That was great news! Air conditioned comfort instead of back aches and paper cuts. Later we’ll return to what we’re really here for.]

June 9, 2007

Where Have I Been With Hodges?

To All:

Since last evening I have been mulling over an idea. This evening I want to briefly announce that I am preparing a new article.

The June 7th article below titled The Teachings of Zane Hodges is the first time I can recall posting anything more than a brief mention of my cause for concern with some of Hodges' teachings.

I think it might be helpful for me to share some recollections, from up to 19 years ago, on two issues related to my involvement in the Lordship Salvation controversy. Some of that history is in my book, but I am going to expand those brief notes here. It will be a two-part installment.

One of the two subjects will be in regard to how I was drawn into the Lordship Salvation controversy specifically. The second subject will be a recounting of my first look at the doctrine of Zane Hodges. I will share why I did not quote him in my book, and why I did not pursue at length the concerns I have with some of his teachings.

That gives a general idea of what is coming.

In the meantime I encourage you to read Brother George Zeller's The Teachings of Zane Hodges. Zeller is charitable in his remarks, but he does document areas of serious concern many men have with portions of Hodges' theology.


June 4, 2007

From the Archives: Is Lordship Salvation an “Exchange?”

The following originally posted in November 2006. It was under the heading, Update on a Key Issue.

As I read through this article I felt the content was important enough to pull it forward and republish it. In this article you are going to read several quotes from the writing of Dr. John MacArthur. These are among the most disconcerting statements he has made in regard to what he believes the Lordship gospel is, and demands for the reception of salvation.

During my debates with Nathan Busentiz (Dr. MacArthur's personal assistant) at Pulpit Magazine he tried to diffuse the implications of Dr. MacArthur describing salvation as an "exchange."

Here is that previous article:

I have been reflecting on, and want to return to a part of the discussion I had with Nathan Busenitz at Pulpit Magazine.

In reply to one of my concerns with Dr. MacArthur's stated position, Nathan wrote,

“When John MacArthur speaks of an ‘exchange’ he is not saying that I offer God my obedience and he, in return, offers me His salvation. That is works salvation. It is a false gospel.”
Now I read this quote from The Gospel According to Jesus:
“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.” (p. 140.)
An objective, unbiased reading can lead to just one conclusion: Dr. MacArthur demands a promise of life long obedience in “exchange” for salvation. This is man being told he must “offer” what he will do or become in “exchange” for salvation. This is “works salvation.”

The Bible presents a much better, and a much different view of salvation than creating demands for an upfront commitment to life long obedience for the reception of eternal life.


Following is the original note I posted at Pulpit Magazine


You wrote,
“When John MacArthur speaks of an “exchange” he is not saying that I offer God my obedience and he, in return, offers me His salvation. That is works salvation. It is a false gospel.”
“The full title of John MacArthur’s original book is What Does Jesus Mean When He Says, Follow Me? The Gospel According to Jesus. The title alone should raise concern even before one opens the cover. The point made in the title is that John MacArthur and those who advocate Lordship Salvation believe the Lord’s words 'Follow Me' are a necessary component of the gospel and must be acted upon for salvation.” (In Defense of the Gospel, pp. 37-38.)
What Dr. MacArthur does is demand from a sinner the upfront, or as Pastor Mike Harding noted, “frontloading faith” (with) promises of surrender, self-denial, commitment to follow, to be willing to die for Jesus’ sake, in “exchange” for salvation.
“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. Seen through the eyes of this world, it is as high a price as anyone can pay. But from a kingdom perspective, it is really no sacrifice at all.” (The Gospel According to Jesus [Revised & Expanded Edition], 148.)
“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.” (The Gospel According to Jesus, p. 140.)
“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. . . . Those who are not willing to lose their lives for Christ are not worthy of Him. . . . He wants disciples willing to forsake everything. This calls for full-scale self-denial–even willingness to die for His sake if necessary.” (The Gospel According to Jesus [Revised & Expanded Edition], pp. 221, 226.)
In one of the clearest expressions of portraying discipleship as though it is the key to salvation Dr. MacArthur wrote,
“Anyone who wants to come after Jesus into the Kingdom of God, anyone who wants to be a Christian, has to face three commands: 1) deny himself, 2) take up his cross daily, and 3) follow him.” (Hard to Believe: The High Cost and Infinite Value of Following Jesus, p. 6)
These conditional elements of Dr. MacArthur’s gospel are inconsistent with your assertion that a sinner must come to God “empty and broken.” If a sinner is told he must come to God with a commitment to perform, and/or live up to the kind of behavior and acts of a born again disciple, which is what Dr. MacArthur's Lordship interpretation of the gospel demands, he has come with an offer of works.

There is no straw man! There is no way around it, no way to paint it in a different light. Dr. MacArthur says it plainly: without the frontloaded promise of “good works,” there is no “exchange” for salvation. This is a works based message. Lordship Salvation is a false non-saving interpretation of the Gospel!


June 1, 2007

How Does the Lordship Advocate Define Repentance?

To All:

Nathan Busenitz is the personal assistant to Dr. John MacArthur. In late 2006 Nathan invited me to enter a series of what grew into protracted discussions at the Pulpit Magazine web site over the Lordship interpretation of the gospel. (John MacArthur’s Grace to You ministry operates Pulpit Magazine)

As for Nathan personally, I have never met him, but he is one of the most pleasant men I have ever sharply disagreed with doctrinally. It was refreshing to debate the Lordship Salvation issue with Nathan at his site. I believe Nathan and I gave an object lesson on how men can disagree sharply, and yet charitably.

At the height of our discussions I encouraged Nathan to expand our discussion to other important and related doctrines, but he was not very interested in discussing anything other than repentance. That was a little frustrating because the Lordship interpretation touches on numerous Bible doctrines. The repentance question, however, became a very important and revealing discussion because it is with repentance that the Lordship advocate takes some of his most serious doctrinal missteps. Through my interaction with Nathan we get a clearer picture of Lordship’s view of repentance, salvation.

During our on line discussion Nathan stated,

Lordship sees repentance as more than just a change in dependence. It is also a change of allegiance. It includes a willingness to submit to the authority of Jesus Christ…. Lordship Salvation defines sin as rebellion or ‘lawlessness’ (which is how 1 John 3:4 defines it). To turn from (or forsake) one’s rebellion is (by definition) to begin submitting.”

If I truly hate my sinfulness, and am broken over it, I will be simultaneously inclined to stop doing it. And as I earlier pointed out, the inclination (or desire or willingness) to stop sinning is the inclination to start obeying. And an inclination to start obeying is a change of allegiance (from self to God).”
Nathan’s definition of repentance (representative of the Lordship position) requires a lost man to be inclined (i.e., make a decison) to stop sinning and “start obeying” to receive the gift of eternal life. This is to tell a lost man that he must turn over a new leaf to be born again. Nathan’s repentance is telling a lost man that he must make a commitment to change his behavior, which is telling a lost man he must repent toward good works. I am certainly not suggesting that a lost man who thinks he can pray for salvation, while at the same time is determined to continue his sinful ways, can be genuinely born again.

For the record here, and in my book,
I strongly object to the reductionist Crossless gospel associated with Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin and the Grace Evangelical Society. Nathan’s repentance, however, demands a commitment for reformation of life to receive the gift of eternal life.

Lordship Salvation’s repentance confuses sanctification (growth of a believer) with justification, (God declaring/making a sinner righteous). For Lordship advocates anything short of a commitment to obedience is not repentance, and would leave the lost man dead in his sins, no matter he believed about his guilt before God or the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Upfront commitment to the kind of behavior expected of a spiritually mature Christian is the Lordship advocates definition of repentance.

Referring back to Nathan’s comment above he wrote,
Lordship sees repentance as more than just a change in dependence. It is also a change of allegiance.”
As soon as I saw Nathan’s use of “allegiance” in his definition of repentance I had an immediate concern. I followed up with two questions for Nathan based from a passage of Scripture.

Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God,” (John 12:42-43).

The Bible says they were not open about, and would not confess a “change of allegiance.” Did they biblically repent; were they believers?

I posted the above twice to Nathan’s attention at Pulpit Magazine, but he never replied to it. It is a question Lordship advocates cannot answer! Lordship’s repentance, which calls for commitment, submission, and allegiance infringes on the finished work of Christ. A commitment to do what is right is misplaced dependence. That is depending on behavior for salvation. That is works dependence!

Nathan also wrote,
Lordship teaches that repentance includes a turning from lawlessness and rebellion, which necessarily means a willingness to surrender, and a turning to God.”
This is where Calvinism’s regeneration before faith is a key issue. Nathan’s order is wrong! Lost man cannot turn from sin, but he can turn to God to deliver him from sin and Hell. To be saved, must a man depend on a commitment to and promise of righteous living, or must he depend on the finished work of Christ? Must a lost man make a decision to stop sinning and commit to obedience and allegiance for salvation? To be born again, a man cannot trust both a personal commitment and the finished work of Christ.

Salvation comes by the total unconditional transfer of a man's dependence to God alone through Christ's atoning sacrifice and resurrection, and occurs apart from any personal upfront commitment to the “good works” (Eph. 2:10) expected of a mature born again child of God.

A proper understanding of repentance can only be drawn out of a study of its precise theological usage in the New Testament, and must be based upon its primary meaning, a change of mind.


The above is not meant to be an exhaustive treatment or discussion of the doctrine of repentance. I have posted Nathan's opinion on repentance, which is representative of most Lordship advocates. The revised and expanded edition of my book is nearly complete. In the book there are numerous pages dedicated to a thorough discussion of repentance.