November 27, 2009

Al Mohler Signs The Manhattan Declaration: Is This a Clear Case for “Gospel-Driven Separation?”

In recent years Roman Catholics and evangelicals have made common cause in the political arena, uniting forces in struggles over the abortion issue, homosexuality, etc. These joint efforts have brought together leaders from both sides who had never worked together previously. Personal friendships have been formed, and, as a result, serious doctrinal differences have begun to be down-played. Since there is agreement on some social issues, and since these issues are so important in the life of America today, many leaders on both sides are willing to minimize doctrinal conflicts on the plea that we need to cooperate in ‘saving America’.

Today I had scheduled publication of a new article that continued the discussion of whether or not Lordship Salvation has any “Crossless” elements in its evangelistic message. We'll resume that series at a later date. The recent revelation of *Rev. R. Albert Mohler signing The Manhattan Declaration and its disturbing implications for the Gospel takes precedence.

This event is significant on several levels, first and foremost for the cause of Christ. Second this development is significant for the Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) community, the Reformed IFB faction in particular. Mohler’s controversial action is concurrent with and highly relevant to Dr. Dave Doran’s on-going blog series on what he believes are the “biblical obligations regarding separation” for every believer. “Obligations” for what Doran has defined as, “Gospel-Driven Separation.”

Upon reading the opening quote to this article you might have thought it was published in the last week and it was in regard to The Manhattan Declaration. You would be wrong. It was written by Dr. Ernest Pickering and appears in, Holding Hands with the Pope: The Current Evangelical Ecumenical Craze, which was published nearly 16 years ago. You would, however, also have been right. Dr. Pickering’s commentary is as applicable today as it was in 1994. The “Evangelical Ecumenical Craze” then was over **Evangelicals and Catholics Together; today the application fits just as perfectly to The Manhattan Declaration.

What is The Manhattan Declaration?

The Manhattan Declaration (TMD) has been defined by its chief architect Chuck Colson as,
a wake-up call—a call to conscience—for the church…a crystal-clear message to civil authorities that we will not, under any circumstances, stand idly by as our religious freedom comes under assault.”
Al Mohler is among the original signatories of TMD, which was released to the public at the National Press Club on Friday, Nov. 20th. From his personal site under Why I Signed The Manhattan Declaration. Mohler offers a lengthy explanation for why he signed the document.

Signatories to The Manhattan Declaration include evangelical leaders, as well as leaders from the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox churches. In addition to Mohler other notable evangelical signatories include: Dr. Mark L. Bailey- President, Dallas Theological Seminary; Dr. J. Ligon Duncan- Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church; Rev. Jonathan Falwell- Senior Pastor, Thomas Road Baptist Church; Dr. Wayne Grudem- Research Professor of Theological and Biblical Studies, Phoenix Seminary; Dr. J. I. Packer- Board of Governors, Professor of Theology, Regent College; Dr. Joseph Stowell- President, Cornerstone University; Dr. John Woodbridge- Research professor of Church History & the History of Christian Thought, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; Dr. Michael Easley- President Emeritus, Moody Bible Institute; and many more. These added their names alongside a host of Roman Catholic signatories.

Signing on to TMD in fact has these men, including Mohler, Packer and Duncan holding hands with the Roman Catholic Church (RCC). This action is a betrayal of the Scriptures that forbid ANY such an unholy alliance (2 Cor. 6:14-17). Joining hands with the RCC does not honor the Lord or His Word. For sake of unity in defense of vital social issues of the day Mohler signed TMD. With that he has embarked on the slippery slope of compromise with the RCC. The Bible says, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers...” That is a mandate from the Lord God and it is not open to selective interpretation or application.

Just where does Mohler’s first loyalty lie; to God and His Word or
to a well-intended social agenda?

Well known evangelical Dr. John MacArthur expressed public opposition to TMD and by inference frustration with, “a few men whom (he) loves and respects (who) have already affixed their names to it.” You can read his extended commentary at The Shepherd’s Fellowship blog. This is one of those times I can appreciate John MacArthur for taking a stand on the right issue to take a public stand over. I posted several comments there on this issue and in those comments I referenced…

Dave Doran’s: “Gospel-Driven Separation

At his Glory & Grace blog Independent Fundamental pastor Dr. Dave Doran has been posting a series addressing The Gospel and Separation. One of the latest installments in his series is highly relevant to Mohler joining the Roman Catholic signatories to TMD. I draw your attention to Starting at the Right Spot, Part 1 (Nov. 23, 2009) Pay particular attention to the bolded sections.
My goal through these posts on gospel-driven separation has been to lay out what I believe are the biblical obligations regarding separation that are explicitly stated in or implied by clear biblical texts. I’ve tried to summarize these obligations with the following three statements:
1) For the sake of the purity of the gospel, believers and churches must separate from those who deny essential doctrines of the faith (Jude 3; 2 John 9-11; Rom 16:17).
2) For the sake of the clarity of the gospel, believers and churches must separate from those who compromise the faith by granting Christian recognition and fellowship to those who have denied essential doctrines of the faith (Rom 16:17; Phil 3:17-19; cf. 2 Thess 3:6-15).

3) For the sake of the credibility of the gospel, believers and churches must strive to reflect God’s holiness and to live differently than those who have not experienced the saving grace of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:15-16; Eph 4:17-19).
Dr. Doran followed his three obligations above with this powerful statement, which IMO could not be improved upon or more clear in its meaning,
It is important to note the difference between what I am calling obligations and other decisions regarding the extent of our ministerial cooperation and fellowship. My understanding of these obligations is that they are necessary for our church’s obedience to Jesus Christ—we don’t have any other option if we desire to be obedient to our Lord. We cannot extend Christian fellowship to those who deny fundamental doctrines of the Faith. We cannot ignore the disobedience of those who do so. We cannot blur the line between the church and the world.”
As Dr. MacArthur noted from The Shepherd’s Fellowship- The Manhattan Declaration itself (and furthermore with Mohler adding his signature) essentially:
1) “obscures both the importance of the gospel and the very substance of the gospel message…
2) “
tacitly relegate(s) the very essence of gospel truth to the level of a secondary issue
3) “
constitutes a formal avowal of brotherhood between Evangelical signatories and purveyors of different gospels
All of which makes a perfect test case for a clear and determined application of Dave Doran’s 2nd of three Scripture based mandates for Gospel-Driven Separation toward those, “who compromise the faith by granting Christian recognition and fellowship to those who have denied essential doctrines of the faith.”

With Mohler being counted among the star personalities of the so called “conservative” evangelicals, whom Reformed IFB men have been eager to formalize fellowship with, his signing TMD must surely be problematic. Mohler’s signing The Manhattan Declaration to essentially hold hands with the Roman Catholic Church for social justice irrefutably “compromise(s) the faith by granting Christian recognition and fellowship to those who have denied essential doctrines of the faith.” The only question is whether or not Doran himself would follow through on his own defined “biblical obligations” toward exactly what Mohler has done.

Will Dr. Doran make the application of his own counsel on Gospel-Driven Separation? Does he “admonish” (2 Thess. 3:15) Mohler. If Mohler refuses correction would Doran “mark” him and warn men to “avoid” him (Rom. 16:17)? Or would Mohler’s action be given a pass and the “biblical obligations” ignored for the sake of fostering fellowship around the “contemporary fundamentalist-evangelical spectrum?”

In the next installment we will see that Dave Doran has answered these questions. In the next installment we will, furthermore, review the history of Al Mohler in regard to similar questionable decisions. Signing TMD is not his first.


Please continue to the next installment, Al Mohler Signs TMD: Was This a First Time Foray Toward Ecumenism?

*Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., serves as the ninth president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary-the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention.

**A group of Roman Catholics and Evangelical joined together in 1992 to seek unity between their two groups. They decided this step as “essential for continued missionary expansion into the third millennium.” They viewed past conflicts as crippling the progress of the Gospel. “Involving, as it did, both evangelical and Roman Catholic leaders, it was truly a monumental was an ecumenical document of supreme importance since it represented a combined effort by leading spokesmen to ‘bury the hatchet’...and work together as ‘teammates’ instead of antagonists...It laments the division between them and proposes a moratorium on Catholic / evangelical conflict.” (E. Pickering: Holding Hands with the Pope) Mohler has embarked on the slippery slope toward compromise with the RCC for sake of unity in opposition to social issues of the day.

November 23, 2009

Lordship Salvation and the Crossless Gospel: “Joined at the Hip.

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

There are two assaults on the Gospel that are of particular interest here at Lou’s blog. They are Lordship Salvation1 and the newer “Crossless Gospel,”2 also known as the Promise Only gospel. While the two are often seen as polar opposites, Tim V. P. has noticed an interesting similarity between them. Lou has asked me to introduce Tim’s article because I have noticed and commented in past months on this similarity. The connection is- they BOTH fail to bring the sinner directly to the cross of Christ for salvation.

Tim posted a very articulate comment outlining this connection. In fact, I felt Tim had articulated the matter so well that I asked Lou if he would approach Tim about posting his comment on the blog as an article. Lou felt the same way I did and Tim was agreeable to the suggestion; thanks Tim! So without any further ado, here is Tim’s (updated) very important article. *Jan Hawthorne

Its been some time since I have commented, but this article (The Gospel of the Christ: The Dilemma of Muslim Evangelism) focused my attention on something that has been brewing in the back of my mind for some time as I have followed the Lordship Salvation (LS) and Crossless Gospel (CG) issues.

While they appear to be opposite sides of the same coin, it seems to me that they are joined at the hip at the point of opposition to faith in the cross work of our Lord Jesus Christ as the necessary first step for the sinner in receiving salvation. Both LS and CG advocates say in their own way that a birth relationship with God can be established apart from the cross of Christ, apart from the necessity of the death of Christ on the cross as the only point of contact between an absolutely holy God and the spiritually dead sinner (Jn.12:24; Eph.2:1,5 etc.)

An LS advocate would put a sinner’s surrender and total “commitment to Christ as Lord” ahead of trusting His work of dying on the cross for his very own sins/sinful self. This is a position very much like that of the crowd in the New Testament (NT) who “believed in Him” because they were convinced of His Lordship powers, or that of “total surrender” to His Lordship rule during His Millennial reign by those born naturally in that time. In both cases, such “surrender/commitment” is exposed as an inadequate basis for eternal salvation just as soon as Satan’s power is unleashed.

Crossless Gospel proponents, on the other hand, deny the cross by asserting that bare belief in an undefined person called “Jesus” is enough to save apart from any accurate understanding of His person or work. No misconception, faulty belief or even a complete lack of belief concerning His substitutionary death on the cross is deemed as standing in the way of eternal life. LS and CG are probably far apart on many things, but in this subtle (in the case of LS) and blatant denial of the necessity of the cross as to first point of contact between God and the sinner, they seem to be in complete agreement. All true order is God’s order and Gospel truths put forth out of His order constitutes a faulty witness at best. When these truths are completely set aside as unnecessary the witness is not faulty, but false.

In view of the prominence and centrality of the cross of Christ in the Bible as a whole and the NT in particular, it is hard to accept or believe that those who tenaciously hold to either view (LS or CG) can be accepted as sincere in their service for the One Who died there and rose again out of that death.

*Jan is author of the two part series titled, If Anyone Eats of This Bread…

Summary of Lordship Salvation From a Single Page

The Hollow “Gospel” of the Grace Evangelical Society

Editor’s Note:
This morning I received one note of concern from a friend in regard to this (guest written) article. What follows is an edited version of my personal reply, which I want to make available for consideration by all.

I posted this article on behalf of those who believe there is a similarity on this one point between Lordship Salvation (LS) and the Crossless Gospel (CG) in regard to the cross of Christ as they expressed it. I felt it worthwhile to post for consideration by all. 

The thread is open for any who want to challenge what this article alleges. Any legitimate concerns will be posted in this thread.

Most people in these discussions understand one another in that there is a vast chasm between LS and the CG on the necessity of belief in the Lord’s deity, resurrection and what He did to provide salvation on the cross. I do understand the frustration some may have with this paragraph (bold especially) with it suggesting LS men are opposed “faith in the cross work” of Christ.
While they appear to be opposite sides of the same coin, it seems to me that they are joined at the hip at the point of opposition to faith in the cross work of our Lord Jesus Christ as the necessary first step for the sinner in receiving salvation. Both LS and CG advocates say in their own way that a birth relationship with God can be established apart from the cross of Christ, apart from the necessity of the death of Christ on the cross as the only point of contact between an absolutely holy God and the spiritually dead sinner…
Maybe I should reiterate that my chief concern in the Gospel discussions is over justification. The post-conversion experience in sanctification is an important discussion, but that is not where my main concern lies. I believe there should be genuine results following a genuine conversion. However, I do believe it is legitimate for some to question whether LS men present the cross as the central and primary theme in their evangelism.

In virtually every LS message I’ve been exposed to, the primary message to the lost (in various ways) is their being called upon for a commitment to do the “good works” foreordained for a Christian to become a Christian, i.e., to be born again.

The cross may be in a LS man’s evangelistic appeal, but in my experience belief in the cross work of Christ frequently becomes an underlying theme, losing its centrality to themes of cross-bearing, following and commitment as co-conditions for salvation that are inherent in LS evangelism. I have been in and/or heard services where LS was preached and belief in the cross FOR salvation was NEVER mentioned. Those are some examples of why I often refer to LS as “man-centered.”

What I would like is to have is an overwhelming amount of examples in which LS men like John MacArthur preaches the necessity of belief in what Jesus did on the cross at the central theme of the saving message. I want to read where LS men condition justification on acceptance of and belief in the cross work of Christ, apart from the lost man’s commitment to do the foreordained “good works” (Eph. 2:10) expected of a Christian. 

I would like examples of MacArthur preaching the cross and the necessity of belief in the cross for justification apart from a “wholehearted-commitment” to discipleship?

If it can be shown that JMac and the better-known LS men consistently preach the necessity of a lost man’s acceptance of and believing in the cross work of Christ as the central theme and focal point of the saving message and that he (the lost man) can be saved based on that belief (deity and resurrection being givens) apart from a personal commitment to do the works of a disciple then I’d be happy to post those examples in this thread.


November 17, 2009

Final Salvationis Dependent on Christ’s Life

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

Last week I received an e-mail from a preacher in which he comments on the previous discussion of “final salvation.” See- Does “Final Salvation” Serve as a Cover for Works Salvation? I asked for and received his permission to repost that e-mail here although anonymously. What follows is for your consideration.

Ironically, years ago while listening to the radio I happened upon MacArthur’s program and in that broadcast he mentioned that he thought that Romans 5:1-10 was the proof text for eternal security. That statement led me to look at that particular passage to see if that indeed was the case. Since then, I have preached from that Romans passage many times. It says,

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

Keeping to the point of the current discussion, this passage deals with the assurance of what is commonly referred to as ultimate sanctification or glorification that some are now inclined to call “final salvation.” Paul’s repeated phrase “we shall be saved from wrath” and “we shall be saved” speaks to this future aspect of our salvation. However, it must be noted, contrary to *John Piper’s doctrine, the outcome of this part of our salvation is not dependent upon our own means but upon Christ’s work. Paul begins by reminding us that it is the death of Christ that takes us from being “ungodly,” “sinners,” and “enemies” of God to “being now justified” and “being reconciled” to God.

Reading the comments of the Lordship Salvation men about their understanding of the requirements for salvation, one seriously has to wonder if they would have us put our ultimate confidence for salvation in our commitment to be crucified with Christ than just solely in Christ’s death. Likewise, according to this passage “final salvation” is dependent upon “Christ’s life” not mine! Can they not understand what it says, “we shall be saved from wrath through him” and “we shall be saved by his life?”

Sadly, these Lordship Salvation men would have us to be consumed with minding our Christian life, our obedience, and our faithfulness in order to have confidence rather than relying on Christ’s life.

From beginning to end salvation is all of Christ.

If it depends upon me, how could any of us (those that are really acquainted with our personal failures and pretences) ever be sure that we had been obedient and faithful enough to exhibit to ourselves that we had ever truly been saved?

I love the way that Paul tells me that since God did the greatest thing He could do for me in saving me when I was nothing but His enemy I can have “much more” confidence that now that I am His child He would never cast me away!

*There is no doubt that Jesus saw a measure of real, lived-out obedience to the will of God as necessary for final salvation.” (John Piper, What Jesus Demands From the World, p. 160).

Endurance in faith is a condition for future salvation. Only those who endure in faith will be saved for eternity.” (R. C. Sproul, Grace Unknown, p. 198.)

November 10, 2009

Does “Final Salvation” Serve as a Cover for Works-Salvation?

In the scores of articles at this blog each is accompanied by a discussion thread. Some articles generate no comments, some a few comments others can exceed 100 comments. Unfortunately every thread comment is lost over time as new articles push the preceding article and its thread further down into the archives. Among these hundreds of thread comments occasionally a comment is posted that in my opinion merits repeating as a main page article. Just such a comment was posted in the thread under the previous article, Is the Term “Final Salvation” Necessarily Wrong?

Pastor Tom Stegall is the author of The Gospel of the Christ: A Biblical Response to the Crossless Gospel… .
This year I ran an extended series of excerpts from The Gospel of the Christ beginning with Stegall’s introduction to the series, then ironically closed with the Foreword to his book. The “Lordship Salvation” Label was one of my personal favorites and it has some bearing on our current discussion.

Pastor Stegall has been reading the articles in which I’ve been discussing Dr. Dave Doran’s The Gospel and Separation series from his personal blog. In the “Final Salvation” article/thread he posted an extended comment with a Q&A exercise that I believe was a helpful contribution to our previous discussion of the close proximity of Lordship Salvation and Roman Catholicism. The most disconcerting statement and arguably closest to Romanism among many coming from advocates of Lordship Salvation is the following by John Piper.

There is no doubt that Jesus saw a measure of real, lived-out obedience to the will of God as necessary for final salvation.” (What Jesus Demands From the World, p. 160).
For the record on this matter I am repeating here a comment I made in the previous thread.
It is statements like these…where some men find MacArthur and Piper in their LS message treading dangerously close to a Roman Catholicism like message. I don’t believe they have gone there, but these statements are very alarming and by and large given a complete pass by Reformed men in IFB circles. Not one of these extreme statements have ever been explained, edited or eliminated. They have in fact been reiterated and reinforced by the men who make them such as MacArthur, Piper, et. al., for two decades.
With that I offer for your consideration Ps. Tom Stegall’s thread comment turned article.

Does “Final Salvation” Serve as a Cover for Works-Salvation?

I am so grateful that this topic of “final salvation” is being addressed here. This is a critical subject. So often this phrase serves as a cover for Works-salvation. Bible-believing Christians need to be far more discerning these days than we have been. It is truly disturbing to read the statements of so-called “evangelical, fundamental” or “Protestant” leaders these days that sound perilously close to Romanism.

Kev raises a great question, “
Isn’t this usage of ‘final salvation’ by Lordship Salvationists just the ‘escape clause for closet Catholicism’?!” I would say, technically “No,” but practically “Yes!”

As one who was saved out of Catholicism and who was definitely trusting in his own works and righteousness before being born again by God’s grace, I will tell you it sure hits me as diluted Catholicism when I read the Lordship Salvation statements of leaders like John Piper, John MacArthur... .

Here is an interesting spiritual exercise. Try to guess whether the following quotes come from a Calvinist author, Arminian, or Roman Catholic (the answers are found at the bottom):
1) “Endurance in faith is a condition for future salvation. Only those who endure in faith will be saved for eternity.”
Arminian, Calvinist or Roman Catholic?

2) “
The Scriptures repeatedly exhort us to persevere, to ‘hang in there.’ It is only the one who endures to the end who will be saved.”
Arminian, Calvinist or Roman Catholic?

3) “
There is no cleansing from sin, and no salvation, without a continual walking in God’s light.”
Arminian, Calvinist or Roman Catholic?

4) “
We cannot ‘earn’ our salvation though good works, but our faith in Christ puts us in a special grace-filled relationship with God so that our obedience and love, combined with our faith, will be rewarded with eternal life.”
Arminian, Calvinist or Roman Catholic?

5) “
The kingdom is not for people who want Jesus without any change in their living. It is only for those who seek it with all their hearts, those who agonize to enter. Many who approach the gate turn away upon finding out the cost. Lest someone object that this is a salvation of human effort, remember it is only the enablement of divine grace that empowers a person to pass through the gate.” . . . “While justification and sanctification are distinct theological concepts, both are essential elements of salvation. God will not declare a person righteous without also making him righteous.”
Arminian, Calvinist or Roman Catholic?

And Now for the Answers:
1) [Calvinist] R.C. Sproul,
Grace Unknown, 198.

2) [Roman Catholic] Joseph Kindel,
What Must I Do to be Saved?, 79.

3) [Arminian] Guy Duty,
If Ye Continue, 141.

4) [Roman Catholic]
Tract, Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth, p.23

5) [Calvinist] John MacArthur,
The Gospel According to Jesus (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988), 183, 187.

By showing this, I don’t mean to deny that legitimate differences exist between Protestants (Arminian or Calvinist) and Roman Catholics, especially over the role of the sacraments in salvation, but I think any honest reading of these quotes also shows that their respective doctrines of salvation ultimately end up in the same place: you better have works that go with your enduring faith if you want to arrive at “
final salvation.”

The modern state of affairs among Evangelicals (such as Piper & MacArthur), Reformed Fundamentalists..., and Roman Catholics is so abysmal and confusing these days regarding salvation, perhaps a new theological term ought to be coined to lump them all together:

Roman Calminians!

Please continue to, Final Salvation” is Dependent on Christ’s Life

Editor’s Note:
In the original thread comment there was a reference to Dr. Dave Doran. In a follow-up conversation with Ps. Stegall prior to posting this article we agreed that the references to Dr. Doran from the original thread comment should be dropped for this article. Dave Doran leaves no blatant statements like the examples above. There are none of the extreme statements from Brother Doran, which can be easily demonstrated from MacArthur, Piper, Washer, Chantry, Lawson, et. al.

November 4, 2009

The Gospel and Separation: Is the TermFinal SalvationNecessarily Wrong?

In my previous article I included the following edited excerpt from IDOTG: Biblical Answers to Lordship Salvation.

It would seem reasonable to me that men who claim the Bible as their sole authority should be willing to openly discuss their doctrinal positions. This at least allows for a better mutual understanding, if not reconciliation of any differences. The Bible teaches that doctrine is the basis for all unity and practice. How then can men call for unity (or biblical separation) if there exists an unwillingness to openly discuss their doctrinal positions and define their terms with precision?
Today we are returning with the third in the series in which I am reviewing select excerpts from Dr. Dave Doran’s series, The Gospel and Separation, Part 3. In the first installment of this review, among other important considerations, I discussed his usage of the term, “final salvation.”

Dr. Doran recognized clarification of the term was sought and he responded with a brief reply here from his blog, Glory and Grace. I have read and also referenced his reply in my previous article, Interim Discussion and Primer for the Balance.

The following is a compilation of my thoughts on the subject plus discussion points drawn from several men I communicated with who have considered Dr. Doran’s Part 3 of The Gospel and Separation and his clarification article on the usage of “final salvation.”

Is Dave Doran in Error When He Uses the Phrase “the promise of final salvation?”

I would say the term “final salvation” in itself is not necessarily wrong, but I have been noticing a tendency of Calvinist/Lordship Salvationists using this term in such a way that raises a red flag. John Piper used it in his book What Jesus Demands From the World, in such a way that disturbing implications are evident, which will be referenced below.

An analogy to “final salvation” might be the term “full gospel.” While “full gospel” may be a valid concept in that nothing should be detracted from the gospel, that term has found a common usage among Pentecostals who claim their version of “tongues” and “spiritual gifts” should be included in the preaching of the gospel. In the same way “full gospel” raises a red flag, so may the term “final salvation.”

Biblically, there is a salvation, which we await (Rom. 13:11; Heb. 9:28; 1 Pet. 1:5). This is not salvation from Hell, but salvation from everything involved in living under the curse (Rom. 8:18-23) including sufferings, unglorified bodies, *possession of the sin nature (Rom. 7:23), living under corruption, and even the time of wrath that is coming upon the earth unto glorification with Jesus Christ (1 Thess. 5:9). In other words, this “final salvation” is “glorification.”

In recent days I have been communicating extensively with a friend about various elements of the Gospel, Dr. Doran’s commentary and my initial review. Knowing I would post at length on “final salvation,” in his most recent e-mail he shared the following with me, which I appreciate:
It sounds like Dr. Doran is espousing the basic doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. Arminians taught that the saints would be saved if they persevered. Calvinistic men teach that since believers are justified, they will persevere in the faith. Salvation is a term that covers foreknowledge – glorification and everything in between those two items. Final salvation, therefore, is another term for glorification. All justified people will persevere and be glorified = final salvation.”
Scripturally, glorification is inherent to the package of blessings guaranteed with our salvation from hell or justification. In other words, glorification is guaranteed with salvation from hell with no other conditions (Rom. 5:9; 8:29-30; 8:32-39; 1 Cor. 15:51-57; 2 Cor. 1:22; 5:1-5; Eph. 1:13-14; 2:5-8; 4:30; 1 Thess. 5:4-10; 2 Thess. 1:10). It is simply a matter of time before the blessing is actually realized-- partially realized upon death (Phil. 1:23) and fully realized at Christ’s return for the church (Phil. 3:20-21).

The problem is when Lordship Salvation advocates say or imply there are conditions, requirements, or things necessary leading up to “final salvation” in addition to the person’s initial faith through which he was saved, i.e., born again (Eph. 1:13-14; 2:5-8). For example John Piper wrote:
There is no doubt that Jesus saw a measure of real, lived-out obedience to the will of God as necessary for final salvation.” (What Jesus Demands From the World, p. 160).
Since glorification is part of the package deal of salvation and is guaranteed along with justification, which is by grace through faith apart from works, how can “lived out obedience to the will of God” (i.e., works) be “necessary for final salvation?”

Piper’s statement clearly implies obedient Christian living is “necessary for final salvation.” The implication being if the foreordained “good works” (Eph. 2:10) are not performed then “final salvation, i.e., glorification will not be realized. While I appreciate Dr. Doran’s clarifying response to the question(s) raised here he might consider distancing himself from, rejecting Piper’s expression of “final salvation” and admonishing him for it.


There are Calvinists, who advocate Lordship Salvation, that think they have escaped the charge of works based salvation by saying the “good works” (Eph. 2:10) are required for “final salvation,” but not “initial salvation.” If the works of a disciple **promised or performed are required in any sense to reach Heaven with Jesus Christ, how can one truly say salvation is “by faith…not of works”?
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast,” (Eph. 2:8-9).


Please continue to Does “Final Salvation” Serve as a Cover for Works Salvation?

*In one sense, all believers have already realized salvation from the sin nature in that we’ve died to it so that it no longer has the right to control us (Romans 6:2; 11), but at the same time we still possess it and may give into it (Romans 6:7; 12) until death or rapture.

**See- John MacArthur’s Performance Guidelines for “Lordship” Salvation

November 2, 2009

The Gospel & Separation: Interim Discussion and Primer for the Balance

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

Last week I began a critical review of the on line series by Dr. Dave Doran, which appears at his Glory & Grace blog. The series under review is titled, The Gospel and Separation. The series at Glory & Grace continues, but has taken on some new sub-titles. The primary area under consideration here, however, is Part 3 of his series. However, before I continue with my review of Brother Doran’s comments I want to do a bit of important housekeeping.

In my reviews and/or publications of various doctrinal or practical issues- Personality has not been the issue. In my efforts to address and expose the twin errors of Lordship Salvation and the Crossless Gospel I have made every effort to avoid any appearance of a personality clash because there is none. For example, although I utterly reject the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel of *John MacArthur I can and do appreciate his good work with other concerns such as the Charismatic and Emergent movements and his public rebuke of Mark Driscoll for his (Driscoll’s) “filthy communication” (Col. 3:8).

When we discuss doctrine, personalities are involved and some will take it personally when the public statements of personalities come under scrutiny. Some men in our Christian circles are very popular and have a following. I understand how some can take offense when a man they love and respect has his public teaching come under legitimate scrutiny.

My desire is for all concerned to understand that in the review of Dr. Doran’s doctrinal statements there is no personality clash. We are reviewing, discussing and seeking clarification of statements from a man who is addressing the Gospel and separation in a public venue. That is all.

For those who may not be aware of it Dr. Doran and I have a long time personal relationship. It goes back to 1995, possibly 1994 when I was a deputation missionary to South Africa. I asked for and was given an opportunity to present my case or South Africa at Inter-City Baptist Church (ICBC) where Dr. Doran was and still is the senior pastor. That Sunday I spoke to the church about my call and preached from the Scriptures on the need of missionary effort to the uttermost parts of the earth. The next day I was able to go along with the ICBC youth group on a ski outing to Mt. Brighton. I had a great time, ICBC took me on for support and it continued until I came home from the field.

To be fair and transparent I want my readers to know that while I was on the field in South Africa I did begin writing critically of Calvinism and Lordship Salvation. In my book IDOTG: Biblical Answers to Lordship Salvation I explain why this became necessary at our Bible college. Dr. Doran contacted me about it and after some discussion he decided that because I had gone public in opposition to Calvinism, which he and his church holds to, that it would be appropriate to discontinue our cooperative effort, but not until I came home from the field so that my family would not be under any undue financial pressure while still on the field. Dr. Doran also said that he had not fully read the position paper on Lordship Salvation, but in his opinion he would likely have serious disagreements with it. I had no problem with his decision and thanked him and his church for their support. I sincerely appreciate the time we enjoyed together in a cooperative effort for the cause of global missions.

As we continue this series in review of Dr. Doran’s The Gospel and Separation, Part 3 I trust all readers will view this as a critical review of statements published in a public venue. The Gospel is the foundation of our faith. Good men can discuss the doctrine apart from a personality clash.

It would seem reasonable to me that men who claim the Bible as their sole authority should be willing to openly discuss their doctrinal positions. This at least allows for a better mutual understanding, if not reconciliation of any differences. The Bible teaches that doctrine is the basis for all unity and practice. How then can men call for unity (or biblical separation) if there exists an unwillingness to openly discuss their doctrinal positions and define their terms with precision? (Edited excerpt from IDOTG.)
In my next installment (to follow later in the week) I am going to address Dr. Doran’s use of the expression, “the promise of final salvation.” Late last week Dr. Doran responded from his blog to the question(s) raised here in the previous article about that expression. His reply to the requests for clarification raised here appear under the title, One Less Nit to Pick.

I appreciate Dr. Doran’s attempt to put in context and clarify the “final salvation” statement. I will also include a few remarks about his reference to, “the biblical gospel in its fullness.” Following my commentary on Brother Doran’s, “final salvation” I will then, in a new article, turn my attention to his reference of the “Lordship” of Christ in Gospel preaching.

Yours in His service,


*See John MacArthur’s Discipleship Gospel

Please continue to, Is the Term “Final Salvation” Necessarily Wrong?