July 28, 2008

Dr. Charlie Bing Affirms the Meaning of the FGA Covenant

Dr. Charlie Bing is President of the Free Grace Alliance (FGA). In the current FGA E-Newsletter he shares what I consider an important clarifying announcement that has immense meaning and impact for the Free Grace community.

The subject of his notes has to do with the FGA’s Covenant. In particular he addresses the “obvious meaning” of the Covenant’s Affirmation #3, which states,

Faith is a personal response, apart from our works, whereby we are persuaded that the finished work of Jesus Christ has delivered us from condemnation and guaranteed our eternal life.
In Dr. Bing’s article the following appears in regard to Affirmation #3,
I think it speaks for itself about the content of what must be believed for a person to be saved. Since this is not a peripheral issue, there is a strong feeling among the FGA Executive Council that we affirm the necessity of believing in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for salvation. That is the message we want to work together to advance in the world.”
In my opinion, this clarifying statement from the FGA President effectively ends any further speculation over whether or not an advocate of the Grace Evangelical Society’s Crossless gospel can, in good conscience, sign agreement with the FGA Covenant. Lord willing this announcement signals the end of the “divisions and offences” that were introduced into the FGA through the “contrary” doctrine of the Crossless gospel.

With the FGA Covenant’s “obvious meaning” made clear the FGA can begin to advance the mission for which it was formed.

Please visit the FGA web site and read From the President for the full article.

Yours faithfully,

Lou Martuneac

July 27, 2008

4th Annual Grace Conference

Dear Guests:

The 2008 (4th annual) Grace Conference concluded on Friday, July 25th. Last year I brought to workshops on Lordship Salvation. I was asked to do those again this year, but family commitments made this impossible. I was, however, able to attend the Friday morning session, which was a blessing.

Upon my arrival I noticed that there were significantly more cars in the lots than in 2007. Conference organizers confirmed that there was a spike in attendance numbers, which was a surprise to them because of the escalating costs of travel in recent months.

It was able to meet and greet Dr. James Scudder, Conference host and pastor of the Quentin Road Bible Baptist Church, the site of the annual Grace Conference.

It was a pleasure to meet and greet a number of men whom I respect and appreciate. Dr. Charlie Bing was there and we had a chance to share some time together. I learned that he is an avid fly fisherman.

Dennis Rokser, Pastor of the Duluth Bible Church, and editor of the Grace Family Journal was also in attendance. It was special blessing to spend a few moments with him. Pastor Rokser is author of the continuing series, The Issue of Incongruity: Actual or Artificial?

Some of the notable speakers were Dr. Charles Ryrie and Dr. Robert Lightner, Dr. Larry Moyer and Dr. Robert Congdon.

Mr. Liam Moran, a regular visitor to this blog was at the Grace Conference. It was a special, although brief time of fellowship with him. Last night I asked if he would write a brief report of the Grace Conference from his perspective. That report follows and I appreciate his quick response.

Grace: The Foundation of Our Faith” was the biblical axiom written on the handbag I received when I checked in this year at the Grace Conference held at Quentin Road Baptist Church (QRBC) near Chicago, IL. This year was my second year attending and I was tremendously blessed again by the powerful ministry of this church and conference. I wanted to share a few of the highlights.

Dr. Robert Lightner opened the conference during the first main session. He is Professor Emeritus at
Dallas Theological Seminary and is also an adjunct professor at Dayspring Bible College and Seminary which are the schools that QRBC has. After Dr. Lightner spoke, we had lunch and then went immediately into a workshop. The first workshop I went to was by Dr. Larry Moyer. I believe that Dr. Moyer is one of the most gifted evangelists in the nation. There was an IFCA pastor there who shared during the Q & A time, how he as a student at Calvary Bible College had his life touched when Dr. Moyer came to speak there. In Dr. Moyer’s workshop he focused on “how to encourage your people to take the leadership in evangelism,” which is a much-needed workshop.

The Q & A session followed the workshop with some of the main speakers. The Q & A session included Dr. Ron Seecharan who is the Founder and President of Solid Rock International Ministries. Solid Rock Theological Seminary is in India. Also included on the panel were Dr. Lightner, Dr. Ryrie and Dr. Moyer. Many good questions were asked. The one that caught my attention the most was when someone asked the panel, “
What do you think of the Crossless Gospel Debate?” The panel kind of looked around at each other and really the only who answered was Dr. Seecharan. I do not recall all he said other than the cross and resurrection is what identifies Jesus Christ as Jesus Christ. While I would agree with this, I was disappointed that there was not further discussion on this important issue by the panel members, especially from Dr. Ryrie. There was obviously much more that could have been said.

After the Q & A session, we had dinner and then Pastor James Scudder, the Senior Pastor of QRBC preached at the main session. Pastor Scudder is, in my opinion, one of the premier grace-oriented expositors alive today. His radio and T.V. ministry Victory in Grace is reaching millions around the globe. He always preaches a clear gospel message. God continues to use him mightily.
Pastor Scudder powerfully addressed the false teachings of Calvinism and Lordship Salvation.

Specifically, Pastor Scudder addressed Calvinism’s teaching of
*double predestination.” He then did something I have never seen anyone do before. He had two grandmothers bring their two little grandchildren up on stage with him. They may have been three or four years old. He pointed out that Calvinists teach that these kids may have already been predestined to go to hell without any choice. His point was very clear. It is a horrible thought because it is not biblical. Pastor Scudder also spent time in his message refuting and exposing Lordship Salvation and John MacArthur’s teachings on the issue which he quoted him from his book Hard to Believe. He tied the two doctrines of Calvinism and Lordship Salvation together pointing out how both are simply not consistent with the Biblical teaching of grace.

On Friday, after breakfast, Dr. Moyer preached during the main session. He also gave a very powerful message on the importance of preaching the gospel boldly from Eph. 6:19-20.

Friday afternoon I went to a workshop by Dr. Ryrie. It was a privilege to hear him speak both at the workshop and then at the main session. His afternoon workshop was on “
Current Issues Facing the Church.” He spoke briefly on preterism, the emerging church, worship, open theism, etc. Dr. Ryrie is in his 80’s and still is as theologically sharp as ever. Dr. Ryrie always speaks with deep humility and grace. Dr. Ryrie also gave the last teaching message of the conference from Matthew 17:24-27.

Following Dr. Ryrie’s message was the long-awaited banquet. Last year Pastor Scudder said of the banquet, “
This may be the best meal you will ever have until the Marriage Supper of the Lamb!” I don’t think he was too far off from making that statement. The church recently hired full-time, the famous award winning Chef Dean Jaramillo from the University of Chicago. He headed up the food for the banquet, which was simply amazing. The banquet was the best food and the most professional banquet I have ever seen. They really work very hard and do an excellent job with the banquet and providing excellent food. The banquet alone is worth coming for.

Dr. Ryrie said in his last message that after speaking at conferences all over world, “
This is one of the best conferences in the world.” He further commented on how well they are organized and how well they execute the conference. Personally, the Grace Conference is the best I have ever been to. QRBC truly puts “a face to grace.” They are very professional, generous, and demonstrate true biblical servanthood. I have never seen a conference like this. Pastor Scudder made it clear that they offer scholarships to those who can’t afford to come and they will even help people pay for gas in order to get people there. No other conference or church I know of would do this. QRBC epitomizes graces in every way I know of. They know how to do ministry. This is one of the most impressive and biblical ministries I have ever seen.
In addition to this, they offer a kids camp during the day for the families who bring their kids. They have a swimming pool, horses, a petting zoo, jungle gym and the list goes on of all the activities for the kids.

I want to encourage anyone who has not been there to attend. It was very spiritually refreshing and revitalizing. It was a fresh reminder from going to the conference this year why I am Free Grace. I am Free Grace because the emphasis throughout the New Testament is God’s grace. And the greatest part of grace is that it is free. QRBC clearly recognizes this as well. I have never experienced a conference like this one nor have I ever seen a church like QRBC. The conference is packed with excellent Bible preaching and teaching sessions and workshops that are helpful for all areas of ministry. In addition to this, the networking and fellowship with other like-minded believers is a blessing.

I pray the Lord will continue to bless this conference and church as they continue to proclaim the clear message of God’s grace to the world and seek to train and equip others to do the same.

It is a blessing to see the growth of this particular conference and the balanced, biblical exposition of the Free Grace movement’s theology it represents. My thanks again to Liam for this encouraging report.


*I want to offer a comment on the matter of “double-predestination.” This view is as extreme a doctrine as there is in any Bible-believing circles. “Double-Predestination” teaches that God, in eternity past predestined some, the elect, for Heaven and all the rest He predestined to Hell. While this egregious error is rooted in Calvinism, my experience and interacting with Calvinists showed me there are very few Calvinists that hold to “double-predestination.” Nevertheless, my interaction shows that the Calvinist believes God predestined the elect to Heaven, but the rest He is “passive” toward. That is the un-elect start out on the road to Hell, and God takes no active role in drawing them to salvation in Jesus Christ.

For additonal notes on this subject see George Zeller's God's Sovereignty & Man's Responsibility

July 24, 2008

A Non-Free Gracer Reviews Bob Wilkins’s Scavenger Hunt

Dear Guests:

There are a great many men outside the Free Grace community who see the same errors that those of us in the Free Grace community recognize in the Grace Evangelical Society's Crossless gospel. Below I am posting one man’s review of Wilkins's Scavenger Hunt Salvation Without a List. The writer is blunt, but bases his review on the article by Bob Wilkin.
I know that this has been mentioned before, but Saturday I got the latest copy of the Grace Evangelical Society’s Grace In Focus news letter. While it is not news to me that Bob Wilkin is a heretic, the boldness of his heresy is shocking. In an article he titled “Scavenger Hunt Salvation Without a List,” Dr. Wilkin states:
To be born again, eternally saved, all one needs to do is believe that Jesus Christ guarantees everlasting life to all who simply believe in Him for it..(passage list)..What about the virgin birth, the Trinity, Jesus’ bodily resurrection, Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances, Jesus’' substitutionary death on the cross, Jesus’ sinless life, Jesus’ miracles, the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit, the convicting work of the Holy Spirit, the hypostatic union, and on son? Knowing these things certainly makes it easier to believe in Jesus for eternal life. But does it follow that we must believe these things to be saved? No.”
While most of us would agree that one does not have to understand the hypostatic union, the theology of the Trinity, or things like that to be saved, it does not follow that such things can be rejected and a person still be saved. Bob Wilkin has set up a straw man by defending his position by asserting that, “the apostles didn't believe these things when they were born again.” Some of the things Wilkin is referring to were not yet revealed when the Apostles were saved. Yet, once those things were revealed, the Apostles believed them. To assert that a person can deny those things and still be saved is error. At salvation a person may not have a full grasp of those things, but a person who is truly coming to faith in Christ will not deny them (2 John 9).

Now, we come to the biggest error of all. In his article, as seen in the above quote, Bob Wilkin denies that a person must believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus in order to be saved. He asserts that such belief is helpful, but not necessary. My friend, may I say up front, that his statement is nothing shy of soul damning heresy! The Bible is clear that in order to be saved we must, “believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead,” (Rom 10:9). In fact, when the Apostle Paul is defining the Gospel that saves he includes the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 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. 15:1-4).
Bob Wilkin is stripping the Gospel of its very heart by denying that a person must believe in Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection in order to be saved. In fact, the Apostle goes on to chastise some of the Corinthians for not believing those things (1Cor 15:12-19). The results of denying the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus are tragic (we are still in our sins, we are false witnesses of God, our faith is worthless, we will perish, etc). In fact Paul stated earlier that we are only saved if we, “hold fast” the Gospel he preached (1Cor 15:2). Therefore the people Bob Wilkin is “winning to the Lord” apart from the message that Paul preached are lost in their sins. Apart from faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord from the dead there is no salvation.

I want everyone here to know that, as of this point, I consider the Grace Evangelical Society to be heretical and under the condemnation of God (Gal 1:6-10). In this group I put Bob Wilkin, Zane Hodges, and others who teach their blasphemous heresy. I pray that the rise Lord would open their eyes, and the eyes of their followers, *before their error costs them their eternal souls.

*I asked the author about the last line in his review. My question was: Are you suggesting these men, who I believe are born again, could lose their salvation over this error? His reply, “As for whether I believe people can lose their salvation, I don't. I am a strong believer in the doctrine of the eternal security of the believer. It is my understanding that Gal. 1:6-9 refers to false teachers and not true Christians.”

July 16, 2008

New Articles Scheduled for Publishing

Dear Guests:

Beginning on Monday, July 21st the first of five new articles will be posted. These articles will be touching on themes that include Lordship Salvation and the Crossless Gospel.

One offering is a two part series provided by a well-known theologian in Free Grace circles. In his series, among other considerations, the writer documents from his own personal eyewitness perspective the slide of Zane Hodges into worsening reductionist views of the Gospel and related theology.

Another article, submitted by a non-Free Grace individual, will be a review of Bob Wilkins’s article Scavenger Hunt Salvation Without a List.

One will be on the theme of The Necessity of Forbidden Fellowship.

There will also be a new article that addresses a specific theme in all three editions of John MacArthur’s major Lordship Salvation apologetics The Gospel According to Jesus.

These artcles will be compelling, some will stir passions in the Lordship and Crossless camps. All will be very helpful discussions In Defense of the Gospel.

Yours faithfully,


July 13, 2008

Can God-Given Faith be Defective?

Dear Guests:

Brother *George Zeller has been on staff at the Middletown Bible Church (MBC) for 33 years. He currently serves as Assistant Pastor. He is probably best known for the MBC web site which he administers. The MBC site contains thousands of pages of study notes on numerous areas of Bible theology, nearly all of which are written by Brother Zeller. His written refutations of John MacArthur’s Lordship Salvation and The Troubling Teachings of Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin and the GES are among the most balanced and profound you will find anywhere.

The article I am highlighting below is reprinted by permission from Brother Zeller. Can God Given Faith be Defective is a sub-section from John MacArthur’s Position on the Lordship of Christ, which is a comprehensive review of some of the most disturbing aspects of MacArthur’s Lordship interpretation of the Gospel. In that article you will find chapters such as: Contradictory Teachings and What Must a Sinner do to be Saved?

Can God-Given Faith be Defective?

John MacArthur teaches that the God-given faith of a believer cannot be defective:

Scripture teaches that salvation is all God’s work. Those who believe are saved utterly apart from any effort on their own (Titus 3:5). Even faith is a gift of God, not a work of man (Eph. 2:1-5, 8). Real faith therefore cannot be defective or short-lived but endures forever (Phil. 1:6; cf. Heb. 11).” (An Introduction to Lordship Salvation by John MacArthur, from Grace Community Church’s The Distinctives of Lordship Salvation).

MacArthur’s reasoning is as follows: Faith is a gift of God. If God gives it, then it must be perfect. How could God give an imperfect gift? And if God’s gift is perfect, then it cannot be defective. The main problem with this view is that
it contradicts many passages of Scripture which show that the faith of believers can, at times, be defective.

When Peter denied the Lord three times in a moment of weakness, he certainly had a lapse of faith. His faith was defective. Because of our Lord’s intercessory ministry, Peter was assured that his faith would not ultimately fail: “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not” (Luke 22:32). On this one occasion Peter’s faith failed and was defective, but thanks to the faithfulness of Christ, his faith would not ultimately fail. Another example of Peter’s faith being defective is found in Galatians 2:11-14 when Paul had to strongly rebuke Peter because he was not walking uprightly according to the truth of the gospel.

Other passages indicate that the faith of believers can, at times, fail. How many times did our Lord say to His disciples who believed on Him, “
O ye of little faith?” The faith of Thomas was defective when he refused to believe that Jesus had risen from the dead. The apostles recognized that their faith was not everything it should be when they said to Jesus, “Lord, increase our faith!” (Luke 17:5).

But the biggest proof that the faith of believers can be defective is seen by each one of us when we think about our own walk with the Lord and how many times we failed to trust Him as we should have. If faith is God’s perfect gift which can never be defective, then why would a believer ever sin? MacArthur believes that “
Christians can and do sin, sometimes horribly” (same document), but how could this be true if the faith of Christians is not defective. Doesn’t every sin in some way involve some failure of faith?

MacArthur’s teaching that the faith of believers cannot be defective
fails the test of Scripture. The reason any of us persevere to the end is not due to our great faith, but due to the great faithfulness of our Saviour who is “able to keep [us] from falling, and to present [us] faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24). Amen!

*Pastor Zeller earned his Master of Divinity degree at the Grace Theological Seminary sitting under men such as John C. Whitcomb, Ivan French and James Boyer.

Pastor Zeller was once in membership of the IFCA. In 1996 Zeller, as well as most men in New England, resigned his IFCA membership because of the flap over MacArthur’s eternal Sonship position. A view MacArthur subsequently acknowledged was wrong and he repented of it. Please view
Why the Middletown Bible Church Left the IFCA for details.

The eternal Sonship issue has not been the only controversy MacArthur introduced into the IFCA. See my two part series:
The IFCA Statement on: The Nature of Saving Faith and Insights from the IFCA Interview with John MacArthur

July 8, 2008

Crossless “Communication Breakdown?”

Dear Guests:

I am noting a trend that is being perpetuated by Don Reiher of the Grace Evangelical Society (GES). Don Reiher has posted comments at a pro-Crossless gospel blog. IMO, he is laying ground work for the erroneous idea that there is really very little difference in doctrinal positions between the GES/ Crossless interpretation of the Gospel with the rest of the Free Grace community that has rejected the GES Gospel.

Reiher suggests that the doctrinal controversy is over nothing more than a misunderstanding and/or miscommunication of what Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin are teaching. He goes on to suggest that the problem may simply be a problem with the teaching style of Zane Hodges.

Reiher wrote that people should be, “…having private conversations with Bob and Zane. It takes more than an hour conversation to clear things up.”

First, Hodges and Wilkin have already refused to meet with FG leaders for “private conversations.” In October 2007 the Free Grace Alliance (FGA) proposed a private academic meeting so that the differing doctrinal views of the Gospel could be discussed. Hodges, Wilkin, and Stephen Lewis were invited. All three refused to participate! While, from the opposing view, Pastors Stegall and Rokser were more than happy to accept the invitation and make a commitment to participate. The FGA’s proposed roundtable discussion was canceled due to lack of interest on the part of any GES gospel representative to attend.

Second, if it is true that it takes, “more than an hour conversation to clear things up,” then Hodges and Wilkin are either incredibly poor communicators of their interpretation of the Gospel, or what they are communicating is unthinkable.

Reiher has also claimed that he is going to transcribe Zane Hodges’ 1999 two part series How to Lead to Men to Christ. Why is Reiher going to the trouble of transcribing Hodges’s teaching on this subject that is already available in print? (See- How To Lead People to Christ, Part 1 & 2 at the JOTGES). Why does he need to analyze the message and the style of Hodges’s teaching? Has the teaching of Hodges been beyond the ability of Free Grace pastors and teachers to comprehend and/or understand? Does Hodges teach in such a way that his views cannot be properly understood unless they are reinterpreted by a reviewer who is sympathetic to Hodges and employed by the GES?

IMO the problem Reiher is up against is that in the eyes of those with allegiance to Hodges and Wilkin, they (Hodges/Wilkin) CANNOT possibly mean what they mean, because that would be wrong. Therefore, we will see Reiher attempt to redefine and reposition the GES Gospel to give it the appearance of orthodoxy.

Let me caution every reader not to give these assertions by Reiher any credibility whatsoever. These are veiled attempts to find some way to reposition the GES and its egregious errors on the Gospel as if they never departed the mainstream of Free Grace Theology.

The GES Gospel of Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin has been exposed through their own writing and thoroughly refuted from the Scriptures. The advocates of the GES Gospel have no answers to the biblical refutation of their views. Pastor Dennis Rokser’s series The Issue of Incongruity has removed any lingering doubt about the untenable teaching of the Crossless gospel. The Crossless gospel is a reductionist, non-saving view that is wholly antithetical to the Scriptures.

Hodges invented and Wilkin has perpetuated a heretical view of the Gospel. It must be rejected and its advocates marked and avoided. That is the biblically mandated course of action (Rom. 16:17-18; 2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15).

There are several articles I have written that demonstrate the biblical cautions and mandates that forbid tolerance for and acceptance of teaching that is antithetical to Scripture. For your review I suggest these articles…

Perverse Things Draw Away Disciples
How Do I Address False Teaching From The Brethren?
Unity at the Price of Truth is Treason!

I am going to close with exactly what Hodges and Wilkin are “REALLY saying,” which is the crux of the doctrinal controversy. Hodges and Wilkin insist that the lost man does not have to be aware of, know, understand or believe in the deity and/or death and resurrection of Christ, but can still be born again. Anyone who say this is not what they are teaching is either patently dishonest, perpetrating a cover up or delusional.

There is no “communication breakdown” among the major figures in the debate. In his new book Getting the Gospel Wrong, J. B. Hixson got it exactly right.

In recent years, some theologians have departed from the biblical view of the gospel by suggesting that one can believe in Jesus for eternal life without explicit knowledge that He died and rose again for one’s sins. For these theologians, knowledge of Christ’s death and resurrection as a payment for one’s sins is optional as part of the content of saving faith.

The view that one can believe in Jesus for eternal life without knowing that He died and rose again has been variously termed the “crossless gospel,” the “promise-only gospel,” the “contentless gospel,” the “minimalist gospel,” and the “refined gospel.” This view is being propagated primarily by the Grace Evangelical Society (www.faithalone.org) and such notable theological scholars as Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin and John Niemela (www.mol316.com), to name a few. Their self-labeled view of the gospel is termed the “refined view,” indicating that the accepted view of the gospel throughout two thousand years of church history has been incorrect and that they have now provided a long-overdue corrective. Hodges refers to the traditional view of the gospel, as including the death and resurrection of Christ, as “flawed.” Cf. Zane C. Hodges, “How to Lead People to Christ, Pt.2,”
Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society 14 (Spring 2001): 9–18. Hodges elsewhere states, “The simple truth is that Jesus can be believed for eternal salvation apart from any detailed knowledge of what He did to provide it.” Ibid., p. 12. See also Zane C. Hodges, “How to Lead People to Christ, Pt.1,” Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society 13 (Autumn 2000): 3–12, emphasis added. (Getting the Gospel Wrong, pp. 152-153.)
Has there been a “communication breakdown” in regard to the teaching of a Crossless gospel from Hodges and/or Wilkin? No! These men are on public record with the views that are easily understood to mean the lost can be saved apart from knowing understanding or believing in the deity, death or resurrection of Christ.


July 1, 2008

Summary of Lordship Salvation From a Single Page

In each of the three editions of Dr. John MacArthur’s The Gospel According to Jesus there is a single page that summarizes the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel.

The page I refer to appears in the original and revised versions (pp. 218 and 252 respectively). In the 20th Anniversary edition, you will turn to page 250 and read,

One of the most comprehensive invitations to salvation in all the epistles comes in James 4:7-10... The invitation in 4:7-10 is directed at those who are not saved...
This is the passage Dr. MacArthur refers to as an “invitation to salvation.”

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up,” (James 4:7-10).
At this point I want to remind my readers that the crux of the Lordship Salvation controversy is with the requirement for salvation, NOT what should be the natural results of a genuine conversion. In this section on the James passage MacArthur is making his application to, “those who are not saved.”

Is the epistle of James, “
directed at those who are not saved?” The epistle begins, “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. My brethren, count it all joy…,” (James 1:1-2).  “Brethren” appears approximately 190 times in the New Testament, and when it does appear it is used almost exclusively in reference to born again Christians.

Dr. MacArthur views the carnality that James addresses as though it proves these “
brethren,” were never saved in the first place. He views them as “sinners…unregenerate…in desperate need of God’s (saving) grace.” MacArthur’s answer to the problem is that they need to be born again. He goes on to delineate what he believes are the ten “imperatives” for the reception of eternal life. The saving message to “sinners,” the “unregenerate,” according to MacArthur is,
...submit yourself to God (salvation); resist the devil (transferring allegiance); draw near to God (intimacy of relationship); cleanse your hands (repentance); purify your hearts (confession); be miserable, mourn, weep and let your laughter and joy be turned to gloom (sorrow). The final imperative summarizes the mentality of those who are converted: ‘Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord’.”
If MacArthur’s statement was shared as instruction to Christians on how they should live wisely as born again disciples of Jesus Christ that would be a fair application of what he wrote. He is, however, stating what he believes are the necessary conditions of saving faith that results in a lost man becoming a Christian.

What we have in this single page (250) of
The Gospel According to Jesus is the Lordship’s classic error of failing to distinguish between the doctrines of salvation and discipleship. Lordship Salvation frontloads faith with commitment to the “good works” (Eph. 2:10) one would expect of a mature born again Christian.

Do we find salvation by the grace of God through faith in Christ (
Eph. 2:8-9) anywhere in James 4:7-10? No, we do not, because James is addressing “brethren” some of whom behaved as “carnal” Christians.

The example from page 250 of
The Gospel According to Jesus typifies and exemplifies the error of Lordship Salvation. The crux of the Lordship controversy is contained in the three paragraphs of that single page. That one page is all one needs to know about John MacArthur’s Lordship Salvation to realize he has changed the terms of the Gospel into a non-saving, man-centered message that corrupts the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Cor. 11:3) and frustrates the grace of God.

I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain,” (Gal. 2:21).


For additional reading on the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel please proceed to any of the following articles.

John MacArthur’s Discipleship Gospel

How Does the Lordship Advocate Define Repentance?

Lordship’s “Turn from Sin” FOR Salvation

Can God Given Faith Be Defective?

Is Lordship Salvation a "Barter" System?

John MacArthur’s Mandatory Performance Guidelines for “Lordship” Salvation

Ominous Signs of Lordship’s Coming Storm

An Example of Lordship’s Man-Centered Message