June 30, 2011

Top 10 Most Viewed: #7 Dr. Matt Olson UnInvited from BJU Baccalaureate

In recent weeks several prominent persons, including members of the Bob Jones University (BJU) board, have individually confirmed that Dr. Matt Olson, BJU graduate and president of Northland International University (NIU), was canceled as the 2011 BJU baccalaureate speaker.

This decision sets BJU apart from those men and institutions that are drifting sharply away from the timeless moorings of authentic biblical separation. While not everyone endorses all things BJU, fundamentalists will appreciate and ought to applaud this difficult decision.


Suggested Reading:
Is NIU “Unchanged?”

Originally published May 2011-
Dr. Matt Olson UnInvited from BJU Baccalaureate

June 29, 2011

Top 10 Viewed: #8 Northland Int’l University Presents Executive Pastor of Grace Community Church to It’s Student Body

On Tuesday, October 5th Northland International University (NIU), formerly Northland Baptist Bible College, hosted Pastor Rick Holland, executive pastor of John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church (GCC), and presented him in chapel to address its student body.

To verify I viewed NIU’s web site and called Northland. NIU’s site and a representative at NIU confirmed that Rick Holland spoke to the student body in chapel on Tuesday. From the Leadership page at the GCC website the following biography appears for Rick Holland.
In addition to his role as Executive Pastor, Rick serves as the college pastor at Grace Church. He is the director of the doctor of ministries program and a faculty associate in homiletics at The Master’s Seminary. Rick is also the founder and executive director of the *Resolved Conference. A native of Tennessee, he has earned degrees from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga (B.S.), The Master’s Seminary (M.Div.), and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (D.Min.). (bold added)
Does the appearance of Rick Holland signal a new direction for NIU? You can draw your own conclusion and furthermore view Northland’s line up for modules in their Doctor of Ministry program. There you will find names such as Dr. Bruce Ware who teaches at Southern Seminary and contributed a chapter to a new book For the Fame of God’s Name: Essays in Honor of John Piper.

When a man’s shoes are pointed west, he is headed west; pointed east, he is headed east. When you look at a man’s friends, fellowships and conferences he attends; whom a man opens his pulpit, chapel ministry or seminary to, whom he shares platforms with, it tells you something about him. It tells something about an institution. It tells you what he and the institution is now or what they soon will be.

Names and labels can give an indication of where a man comes from, his heritage.  Names and labels can also indicate what direction a man and/or his ministry is headed toward. When a man or a Bible college changes or sheds a label it may indicate what he/it is headed toward or what he/it is headed away from. Not much different than a church that once had “Baptist” in its name, but dropping it for “community” church. It tells you something.

When Northland adopted its new name, Northland International University, it was IMO a sign telling the Christian community that Northland would be moving in a new and different direction, which is just now coming into full view.


Please continue to the second installment, NIU’s Convergence With Evangelicalism: What Does It Mean For Impressionable Students?

For an extended treatment of the changes that have been introduced at NIU please read, Is NIU “UnChanged?” Northland Baptist Bible College Position Statement on Contemporary Issues in Christianity

*“The new Calvinists constantly extol the Puritans, but they do not want to worship or live as they did. One of the vaunted new conferences is called Resolved, after Jonathan Edwards’ famous youthful Resolutions (seventy searching undertakings). But the culture of this conference would unquestionably have met with the outright condemnation of that great theologian.  Resolved is the brainchild of a member of Dr. John MacArthur’s pastoral staff [Rick Holland], gathering thousands of young people annually, and featuring the usual mix of Calvinism and extreme charismatic-style worship. Young people are encouraged to feel the very same sensational nervous impact of loud rhythmic music on the body that they would experience in a large, worldly pop concert, complete with replicated lighting and atmosphere. At the same time they reflect on predestination and election. Worldly culture provides the bodily, emotional feelings, into which Christian thoughts are infused and floated. Biblical sentiments are harnessed to carnal entertainment. (Pictures of this conference on their website betray the totally worldly, showbusiness atmosphere created by the organisers.)” The Merger of Calvinism With Worldliness by Dr. Peter Masters. (bold added, italics his)

Originally published October 2010-
Northland Int’l University Presents Executive Pastor of Grace Community Church to It’s Student Body

June 28, 2011

Top 10 Most Viewed: #9 Northland International University’s Music Department to be Dissolved

A major change has been announced at Northland International University (NIU). In his Open Letter to Friends in the Ministry Dr. Matt Olson wrote, “Our Music Philosophy: Philosophically, it is unchanged. Let me say it again... unchanged.” He went on to note that,
Our Director of Fine Arts, Kevin Suiter, has recently informed us he does not believe he can take us forward in this way and thus has announced his plans to move on. We wish Kevin and Grace the best and thank them for the investments they have made here.”
We are now learning that news of the Suiter’s departure was merely a precursor to what has just taken place at NIU. On Monday, January 31 NIU informed the faculty, staff and students that the Music Department will be disbanded and reorganized. Music will no longer be offered as a major at NIU.

To break the news about changes to the music program a meeting was called for the music majors and minors on Monday. According to NIU faculty who were there this meeting was conducted by VP for Academic Affairs Antone Goyak. Students were assured that they could finish their degrees if they wanted, but he did not offer a plan for how that would happen. Presently it is uncertain whether any qualified music faculty will stay on to finish those needing to complete degrees.

Some NIU staff and faculty leaving NIU have signed the intent not to return. Kevin and Grace Suiter, as well as voice teacher, Shelli Beeman left of their own volition. Other music faculty members have been notified they will not be retained for the 2011-2012 school year. It appears nearly the entire music faculty is departing, one way or another, over the new way of doing music at NIU. To date, I have not ascertained whether faculty/staff departures are with immediate effect or with closure of the current academic semester.

The change at NIU calls for the Music program to be offered through the Bible Department, converting it to a minor and/or an emphasis on philosophy and song writing, rather than a degree program. Dr. Olson’s intention is to implement this change with the Fall 2011 semester.

Music is one of the highest cost majors for small Christian colleges to provide. Its remote location is one of NIU’s biggest challenges to a music program. Largely because of NIU’s remote location it would never be able to offset the cost. No real adjunct or part-time teacher base exists such as can be found and utilized in a city. The ratio of 1 to 1 for lessons is cost prohibitive. There is little opportunity for concert revenue. Larger schools like BJU and PCC located in more densely populated regions are able to infuse funds into their music department by selling tickets to big events like concerts and artist series.

Others indicate there are additional reasons, beyond cost cutting, for the change in the Music Department. It may be that NIU wants to make music instruction accessible to all students. The change in Fine Arts at NIU has not touched the Speech program.

There are colleges where students once were taught a conservative philosophy of music that focused on uplifting the Lord and not the performer or the personal listening tastes of the hearers. Today they have become an environment where music has no moral quality, style is supposedly unaddressed in the New Testament, and institutional standards are a hindrance. Is it possible NIU is on that track?

John MacArthur (Calvinism, Lordship Salvation), Rick Holland (LS, CCM, Resolved), Bruce Ware (compromised SBC theologian), Wayne Simien (CCM and dance), Broadway’s WICKED song and dance routines in chapel, disbanding and realigning the Music Department to accommodate differing cultures. Are these the signs of a Baptist, separatist Christian college committed to its roots, or of changes in philosophy, trajectory and practice to what evangelicalism has to offer to impressionable undergraduates; your young people? (See, Is NIU “Unchanged?”)

Significant changes are being made and put into affect at NIU. There are important questions that every parent and pastor of a current or perspective student might consider asking the NIU administration. You might contact NIU Music Department faculty to ask questions you may have.

Parents and pastors sending their young people to NIU is a sacred stewardship. Imagine the shock and disappointment to find those same young people, in as little as one semester, were changed from the views their parents and pastor spent years cultivating.


On Feb. 4th Dr. Antone Goyak e-mailed to all students a copy of NIU’s new music program, which is known as, Emphasis in Church Music. I have been forwarded a copy of NIU’s Statement of Vision: Enriching Christ’s Church with His Word through Music, which you may download from the link provided. In a cover e-mail Dr. Goyak wrote, “This brief communication relays a summary of what has already been communicated to those involved in our Music programs.”

For additional documentation verifying the changes at NIU see, Northland Int’l. University’s Convergence with Evangelicalism: What Does it Mean for Impressionable Students?

Originally appeared Feb. 2011- Northland International University’s Music Department to be Dissolved

June 27, 2011

Top 10 Viewed: #10 Pious Drudges

It was my ninth grade year at Fourth Baptist Christian School in Minneapolis, MN. I had finished classes for the day and was just stopping by to see my youth pastor. He was a good youth pastor, and in many ways, one of the best that I would have. He took these few moments to disciple me. We chatted for a while and somehow began discussing the Bible.

In the course of conversation the Version Issue came up. He began waxing eloquent on the “pros” or “cons” of different Bible versions. Because of the training he was receiving from Central Baptist Theological Seminary, he believed that all Bible versions in spite of their omissions and additions were the Word of God. He failed to consider the possibility that the Devil just might be interested in polluting and distorting God’s Word, and he dismissed the concerns of those who by conviction held to the King James Version. As he was expressing his far reaching knowledge of Biblical languages, he stopped short and motioned for me to come behind his desk. When I did, he pointed to his open Bible where he had turned to Acts 8:37. I looked down to see where, with a black pen, he had completely blotted out these essential words. In the course of his discourse he said, “You see, Dwight, this verse is not in the original manuscripts.” Who knows what practical benefit he hoped to impart by believing and then teaching this to me. I didn’t think to ask if he had ever seen a copy of the original manuscripts. I didn’t know that he had received this “profound” information from some liberal, Christ-denying author. He was simply parroting what he had heard some seminary professor (naïve at best, deceptive at worst) say about the Bible. In his mind, it was only the logical step to completely mark out portions that “did not belong” in the Sacred Text. For these and a myriad of other Biblical reasons, I have chosen to hold to the Received Text and the King James Bible, and to reject the Westcott & Hort Text and all modern translations. This happened in the 1980’s. Apparently at Central, not much has changed.

The current president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Kevin Bauder, has been offering, for all who care to read, a wide smorgasbord of self-conflicting and Bible-deficient tomes. In part 22 of his series he dismissed the need to expound on 2 Thess. 3. This is a sad display of what happens when a man or institution turns to human reason instead of the Bible for their moorings. In his most recent installment, he levels another illogical attack against anyone who holds to the King James Bible and its underlying Received Text. To his credit, he did differentiate between those who simply hold to the above mentioned position and those who believe in double inspiration, or that one can only be saved from the King James Version, and a few other aberrations. However his most recent diatribe is flawed on several counts.

If there were time, we could show that his attack misses the point of why some brethren have come to these convictions. We simply believe that this issue is a part of defending the great doctrines of the Inspiration of the Scripture (I Timothy 3:16-17, II Peter 1:19-21), the Preservation of the Scripture (I Peter 1:23-25, Psalm 12:6-7), the Infallibility of the Scripture (Proverbs 30:5-6) to name a few. We believe that the Devil has, since Genesis 3, tried to alter, distort, confuse, and pervert God’s Word (Genesis 3:1, 4-5; Luke 4:10). We believe “That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). We believe that adding to or taking away from the Word of God is a direct violation of Deuteronomy 4:2, Proverbs 30:6, Revelation 22:18-19 and brings the severest of God’s judgments. We believe that every generation has had and will have a perfect copy of God’s Word available to them (Isaiah 59:21). This is the point Bauder completely misses of why we hold to this conviction.

If we cared to, we could at length address Kevin Bauder’s cloaked love for and affinity to the founder of his institution, Richard V. Clearwaters. Bauder attempts to quote Clearwaters as being on his side of the argument. In fact, Clearwaters was not. He said on page 86 of his autobiography On the Upward Road, “All of the Bible is important. Jesus referred to even jots and tittles. We cannot say this part is important in the Bible and this part isn’t important. If we were to remove some part of the Bible at some time and place, it will be missed.”

Again on page 87 he stated

Every word is important, a Biblicist will appeal to the words and all the words of Scripture.” On page 88 he declared, “If you violate one part, you violate it all. It’s all a solid unit put together. So I think a Biblicist gets to be a lonely person first of all because he is called a ‘literalist’ or a ‘worshipper of a black book’. He believes the whole Bible is inspired, every word and every jot and tittle…Many translators do violence to the Word of God. For instance ‘Through the blood of His cross’ Phillips omits the word ‘blood’, so that it reads, ‘Sacrifice of the cross’. These self-styled translators are diluting (polluting might be a better term) the Bible by twisting it to accommodate their updated theology.”
It doesn’t sound like Bauder and Clearwaters are on the same page.

If we so chose, we could highlight his misunderstanding or misrepresentation of a “middle of the road” position. He, along with others of his ilk, is trying to redefine terms such as Historic Fundamentalism, New Evangelicalism, Conservative Evangelical, etc. In other words, he is attempting to shift things to the left while claiming all along that it is just the center he is calling people toward. This sounds like some political double speak I’ve heard recently.

If we wanted, we could underline that, while he is for the time being president of a Theological seminary that claims to be Biblical in every way, and while he is allegedly instructing men in the ministry both onsite and online concerning pertinent Biblical topics, he does not cite one verse of Scripture, KJV or otherwise, to back up his arguments. This absence of an appeal to and from Scripture is a common characteristic of Kevin’s writings though the school over which he presides claimed Isaiah 8:20 as its founding and theme verse. We could underline this discrepancy if we wanted to, but we won’t.

If there were enough space, we could emphasize that he never once mentioned that this is a textual issue at its core. One would expect more intellectual understanding from the current president of a seminary. If there were more space, we would address this, but space is limited.

If we desired, we could note Bauder’s papal like edict to “in his opinion” tell us all when, where, and from whom to separate without one Biblical reason to do so. Again this seems strange coming from one who professes to know so much (23 installments at this point) about the matter of our “differences.” If we desired, we could note this, but desire is waning.

What we’d like to highlight is a couple of significant matters. First, Kevin Bauder, tells us that he prefers the King James Version, that he preaches and teaches from it, has memorized it and even quotes it. He declares the King James Version to be the Word of God, states that it is authoritative, and holds it in high esteem. However, when someone else says they too prefer the King James Bible, but for reasons other than Kevin Bauder’s, we are to separate from them. This is just arrogance!

Second and most interesting are the implications of his call for wholesale separation from those who believe the Bible. When naming several good churches and institutions, Kevin summarily lumps them into a hyper-fundamentalist category. Then he associates them in the same broad brush with Billy Graham and Harold J. Ockenga? He then declares that these “hyper-fundamentalists” should be separated from with more speed and more publicity than even the “grandchildren” of the above mentioned compromisers.

Just what does this mean, Dr. Bauder? There are thousands of young people who matriculate each year to Bible-believing schools such as Ambassador, Baptist College of Ministry, West Coast, Heartland, PCC, Crown, New England Baptist, Golden State, and others. Have they missed the will of God for their lives? Should the students attending these schools immediately sever their enrollment? Should they then come flocking to your bastion of life and “truth?” Should the pastors who support and preach for these institutions refuse to do so immediately at your word? What about the evangelists who hold to the King James Bible for reasons different from your own? Should the pastors who have them scheduled cancel their meetings on the spot? Should the missionaries who hold to a King James Bible position be dropped because they haven’t checked in with and been cleared for support by Kevin Bauder or Central Seminary?

And what of the many good men who have given us helpful, solid, and balanced information on such a crucial subject as the Word of God? Should men like Bud Calvert, Dell Johnson, Joel Mullinex, Rick Flanders, Ron Comfort, Sam Davidson, Kevin Folger, John Goetsch, Lloyd Streeter, and a host of other wise men be cut off, ignored, and rejected because they don’t line up with your line of thinking? How about the creationist, Henry Morris, who in his life not only defended creationism, but also the King James Bible? Should his writings and teachings on this subject be ridiculed and dismissed?

Should we follow your lead to separate from, ignore and disdain the “hyper-fundamentalists” who in spite of graduating from Central, came to their own personal conviction that the Received Text and the King James Bible should be embraced and the modern Eclectic Text and its offspring versions should be rejected? These would include such godly men as David Sorenson and Charles Surrett to name a few. Are you calling for separation from these men as well?

Are you implying that Bob Jones University should no longer host their long time friend Ian Paisley who wrote “My Plea for the Old Sword?” Though he is not even a Baptist he has enough sense to note the folly of embracing modern versions and their underlying false text.

Does this mean that you are even calling for those who worship at the altar of the French theologian John Calvin to immediately halt their study of his writings? After all, even he held only to the Traditional Text that underlies the King James Version. Kevin Bauder, just what exactly do you mean by this call for a full-blown separation from the proponents of the King James Version and the Received Text?

The irony of this whole matter is this. While Dr. Bauder is trying to tell Independent Fundamental Baptists to separate from those who simply believe the Bible and denounce the Devil’s attempt at perverting it; he is, along with others, leading an all out charge back into the realm of the New Evangelical camp! He has an undeniable affection for the conservative evangelicals, and claims they are not like their “grandfathers.” A compromiser is still a compromiser even if he is called a “conservative.”

Consider for a moment these “conservative evangelicals.” These are the ones who accept and overlook pedo-baptism (John Piper, Ligon Duncan). These are those who play rock music in their public worship services and teen gatherings (John MacArthur, John Piper, Al Mohler, Mark Dever, etc. ad nauseum). These men associate freely with liberals and new-evangelicals such as Billy Graham (Al Mohler) and such as Rick Warren (John Piper). These are the conservative evangelicals who remain in a denomination that promotes women preachers (John Piper). These so-called conservative evangelicals who teach that the Charismatic sign gifts are active and should besought after today (Piper, Mahaney). All of these men and others, who Kevin instructs us to welcome with open arms, are constantly promoting the aberrant heresy called Lordship Salvation. One question being asked is, “Which is more grievous, to believe the King James Bible for reasons different than Kevin Bauder or to promote the Amillenialism of Mark Dever and his allegorical interpretation of Bible prophecy? This is just to scratch the surface of their errors, and yet we’re being lectured by an out of touch seminarian on why we should embrace these men and separate from those who just believe the old Black Book! What gives?

A well respected pastor friend of mine shepherds a church in a northern state. The former pastor of this church was a young Central graduate, who sat under the tutelage of Kevin Bauder. This former pastor was teaching about the Bible during a Sunday school class. Because of his aforementioned training and the unbiblical bias that accompanies it, he was teaching that the Words of God are here, there and everywhere, lost in the sea of extant manuscripts and various and sundry translations. Needless to say, this created confusion amongst the church members. Some of them began to question him and his conclusions. One converted Catholic church member held up his King James Version and asked, “If what you are saying is true, is this the Word of God?” The former pastor responded, “No!” That church member shrugged and said, “What’s the use?” Then he walked out and hasn’t darkened the door of any church since. If what the former pastor is teaching is true, why should he? Brethren, the answer of this former pastor is wicked unbelief, and it is time we call it just that!

Now when unbelief calls for separation from belief, and at the same time leads the naïve to unite further with unbelief, all under the guise of belief, someone should stand and clarify the matter. Kevin Bauder, let’s settle this here and now. Those of us who happen to believe that God did inspire his Word and preserve it for every generation; those of us who unashamedly hold to the Received Text and the King James Version of the Bible and reject all modern translations that flow from the Westcott & Hort Text; those of us who do believe that the Devil is and has been working to pervert, omit and add to God’s Words; we have long since been suspicious of your direction and motives. Now we know who you really are. If you and your friends want to leave us to hold hands with and draw those you seek to influence into the chilled night air of New Evangelicalism, the door is wide open and they will happily receive you.

Just don’t claim on the way there that you are standing in the old paths.

On September 6, 1977, Ronald Reagan spoke in his daily two minute radio broadcast on the subject of the Bible. What he said was fascinating. He showed such simple child-like faith in the Word of God that all would do well to emulate. As he showed the King James Bible to be the best-selling book in the entire history of printing, he questioned the newest attempts made to improve it and “make the Bible more readable and understandable.” He went on to compare the beautiful and accurate language of the King James Version with the cheap, inaccurate, and irreverent language of the modern versions. He concluded by saying,
“The sponsors of the ‘Good News’ version boast that their Bible is as readable as the daily paper – and so it is. But do the readers of the daily news find themselves moved to wonder, ‘at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth’? …Sadly the tinkering and general horsing around with the sacred texts will no doubt continue as pious drudges try to get it right. It will not dawn on them that it has already been gotten right.”
Mr. President, another “pious drudge” in Plymouth, MN, has officially decreed that it has not been gotten right. In fact, according to him, folks like you and me should be immediately severed from his world. Mr. President, thanks for the warning.

Evangelist Dwight Smith – dwight@dwightsmith.org

Evangelist Dwight Smith Ministries

For Related Reading:

A Letter from Dr. R. V. Clearwaters to Kevin Bauderby Evangelist Dwight Smith
It is astounding to me that in many of your recent writings on a professedly fundamental, Baptist site, you seem to constantly extol the ‘virtues’ of evangelical Protestants while, at the same time, deriding the ‘vices’ of Fundamental Baptists…. I have observed an inordinate affection towards pseudo-intellectual teaching and a disdain for old-fashioned, confrontational, Bible preaching…. I am grieved when I see you lauding extreme Calvinists who are not even Baptists. Brother Bauder, they and their ilk are not responsible for founding the school called Central…. Dr. Bauder, all given appearances seem to indicate you are intentionally trying to lead those who follow your writings, the students of Central, and even Central itself away from the Testimony upon which it was founded and into the compromising orbit of protestant evangelicalism.”
Muddying the Clearwaters by Ps. Marc Monte
Kevin’s charge that ‘the most forceful defenders of the gospel are no longer to be found within the Fundamentalist camp’ constitutes nothing short of slander. Perhaps Dr. Bauder does not know the fundamentalists I know. I can name scores of pastors who regularly and rigorously defend the gospel…. Dr. Clearwaters understood that the local church was charged with the propagation of the truth. He founded a seminary, not to undermine local church authority, but to bolster the prestige of pastors in their efforts of defending the faith.”
Kevin Bauder: It Won’t Fly With Those of Us Who Know

Kevin Bauder and Dave Doran to Join Mark Dever at Lansdale: Is This a Fundamentalism Worth Saving?

John MacArthur Refreshes Kevin Bauder’s Short Term Memory: “Conservative” Evangelicals Extended Christian Recognition to Roman Catholics

Site Publisher’s Note:
My personal preference for preaching/teaching and study is the KJV, believing it to be the most reliable version of God’s Word today. I do, however, allow for other believers soul liberty and autonomy of the local church to choose as they feel lead.

Originally appeared December 2010 as-
Pious Drudges” Evangelist Dwight Smith Responds to Dr. Kevin Bauder’s Now, About Those Differences, Part 23

June 20, 2011

Getting on the Mark With James 2

The following article is a revised and expanded version of a thread comment posted by Brother Stephen Stark under the (June 8) article Obeying the Gospel vs. Lordship Salvation
There is a great deal that we could address in the Book of James. This article is admittedly focused on the second chapter of James and even then makes no pretense to be exhaustive even with regard to that single chapter.

So, to kick off then: I used to take the view that a faith that saves is a faith that works, and in years passed I supported and even taught this view from James. Of course, I frequently referenced James 2 to do so. As I’ve grown in the grace and knowledge of the Lord, the Bible, and the Gospel of Salvation by grace through faith (Eph 2:8) I have since come to see that my prior understanding and application of James 2 was off the mark. Although I could credit many influences, I would like to single out Jim Kahler, the pastor and teacher at Beth Haven Bible Church in Kansas City, MO for providing the tipping-point in correcting my overall understanding of James, particularly James 2, which is so often misused and misunderstood. This article is simply to address at a high level the two most common erroneous arguments from this passage, arguments that I more-or-less made myself to varying degrees.
#1 - To correct the claim that James teaches that saving faith is only a particular “type” of faith.

#2 - To address the claim that James teaches a faith without works is non-salvific.
These claims are “supported” only by a superficial reading of the text, and disregard both the immediate and larger biblical context. Several verses in James 2 are cited to allegedly support these claims.

First, appeals are often made to the demons of James 2:19, for example, as proof that “mere mental assent” is insufficient for salvation -- “After all, even demons believe but they aren’t saved, right?” -- or so it goes. However, this overly-simplistic comparison to what demons believe dodges several biblical realities, the following two are just the low-hanging fruit.

1) It dodges the contextual reality that what the passage shows the demons believe is that “God is one.” Yet neither Free Grace nor Lordship advocates claim believing “God is one” is salvific. So appeals to what these demons believe as proof of the insufficiency of “mental assent” burns only a straw man that neither side is claiming. If you make an argument along this line and get a few moments of blank stare in return it’s not because your point is so overwhelmingly powerful, rather that it is so overwhelmingly off base that it’s meaningless.

2) More powerfully, it dodges the reality that the reason demons aren’t and can’t be saved has nothing to do with their “type” of faith. Rather, the biblical reality is that demons can’t be saved no matter what they believe or how strongly they believe it because Christ did not atone for the sin of Satan and demons! Rather, Jesus atoned for the sin of Adam. Read Romans 5:12-21 as a starter. You surely will not miss the parallel between Christ and Adam.

There are many other points that could be made but these two alone kill this common use-and-abuse of the “faith of demons.”

Second, verses like James 2:24 are sometimes referenced to support the claim that a faith that saves is a faith that necessarily works. This verse is right on the heals of using Abraham’s faith as a point-of-reference so let’s take a closer look at Abraham’s faith and when the Bible says it was credited as righteousness.

James 2:23 is a reference back to Genesis 15:6 so let’s look right to the source.
And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”
The Genesis reference tells us clearly that Abraham’s faith was credited as righteousness, immediately, when Abraham believed. If one tries to force the “faith that saves is the faith that works” view from James 2 however, then it should be noted that, according to James 2, Abraham did not unite his faith to action until he offered up Isaac in Genesis 22. If the “faith that works” view is correct then Abraham’s faith wasn’t credited as righteousness in Gen 15 as the Bible says, but only in Gen 22, perhaps decades later.

If that is not enough, then look at Galatians 3. To the one that says faith must unite with works of the flesh to be effective, Paul offers Galatians 3:3 in response to that view.
Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”
Rather, Galatians 3:6-9 points us to Abraham and away from such foolishness.
Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham

Stephen Stark

For related reading see:
Summary of Lordship Salvation From a Single Page
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. Yet a well-known advocate of Lordship Salvation says this passage in James 4 is, “one of the most comprehensive invitations to salvation in all the epistles…[and] is directed at those who are not saved….
Other articles at IDOTG by Stephen Stark include:

IDOTG Review: This Really Clears Things Up

Reasoning on Rose, “We Just Can’t Know?”
IMO, saying Rose is crossless is truly not a correct label to saddle her with... her actual position is, IMO, worse than crossless in that it is couched in comfy post-modern terms -- ala ‘we just can’t know.’ Rose may think she is a harbinger of peace and reason with such a position, but she is, probably unwittingly, chipping away at the idea of objective knowable truth. No wonder she is on the fence so often in this regard; she seems to think ‘the fence’ is a reasonable position, at least in regard to this topic. This kind of lukewarm view of objective truth is central to what I have read in J. B. Hixson’s book Getting the Gospel Wrong. My heart breaks with compassion for Rose and those like her who have bitten the apple of post-modernism’s uncertainty.
You might also enjoying visiting Stephen’s blog, The Land of Reason, for articles, that in large part address the Grace Evangelical Society’s reductionist assault on the gospel, such as:

Paul and the Holy Spirit at Odds with “Redefined” Free Grace
…attempts of Redefined Free Grace [Grace Evangelical Society] to appease it's naysayers by claiming they always present this information is revealed as nothing more than that -- an attempt to appease men and appear more orthodox than they really are. It is language to try to appear in harmony with Christianity when in fact they are ravaging it from the inside and destroying the very Free Grace message they claim to hold so dear.
Clearing the Haze of “Always”
Really Consistent?

June 14, 2011

From the Archives: What is Lordship Salvation- And Why Does It Matter?

Introduction: On June 8 I published an article by IDOTG regular contributor JanH. Please refer to Obeying the Gospel vs. Lordship Salvation. That article was powerful as a stand alone refutation of Lordship Salvation, but it generated a discussion thread of just over 100 comments. With new articles in development I decided that this is a good time to remind readers why the debate over Lordship Salvation in fundamental circles matters. I, therefore, went to the April 2011 archives for that reminder, which follows for your consideration.

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

Dr. Kevin Bauder published a serious misrepresentation when he wrote that Fundamentalists and Evangelicals, “believe, preach and defend the [same] gospel.”2 Kevin Bauder has never edited or retracted that statement. Following are samples of Lordship’s corruption of the Gospel for justification.
Let me say again unequivocally that Jesus’ summons to deny self and follow him was an invitation to salvation, not . . . a second step of faith following salvation.” (Dr. John MacArthur, The Gospel According to Jesus: What is Authentic Faith? pp. 219.)

That is the kind of response the Lord Jesus called for: wholehearted commitment. A desire for him at any cost. Unconditional surrender. A full exchange of self for the Savior.” (MacArthur, Ibid, p. 150.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

June 8, 2011

Obeying the Gospel vs. Lordship Salvation

Following are two direct quotes I transcribed from a talk given by Rick Holland* at the 2008 Resolved conference. The talk was titled The Three Most Important Facts of Life. I first heard this talk in June of 2009:

Come to Christ tonight. Believe who Jesus is and what He did tonight. Don’t wait. We’re not going to have a big altar call on Monday night and hold hands and sing Kum ba Ya. Come, I beg you, come to Christ tonight. I have every confidence that there are people here—and maybe you’ve never heard the gospel before—but even a greater confidence that there are people in this room who perhaps have grown up in a church, heard the gospel a THOUSAND times, can recite the gospel themselves but have never embraced Jesus as Lord.... Please, please, please receive, receive Jesus as Lord and He will become your Savior.
Somehow, the obedience of believing Christ’s shed blood for salvation is not enough obedience on your part to save you. Though this is what God specifically asks for time and time again, clearly indicating this is the obedience He wants from us (John 3:14-18, 36; 6:29-58; Acts 16:30-31; Romans 3:25; Romans 10:16), it is not enough. That's right. This recognition of God’s right and authority to both to judge you and credit Christ’s finished work to your account is not submission enough! In fact, in Holland’s comments, this option is not even considered. You must receive Him as Lord, implying if not outright stating a promise on your part to obey Him in all things always (compare this with the warning in Ecclesiastes 5:1-7), or else you are not really saved. If you never received Jesus as Lord, no matter what other response you had to the gospel message, it wasn't the right one. Without this commitment on your part, you are not saved.

The problem is, in actuality, the obedience God desires is inherently in the command to believe the gospel. To believe the gospel is to both obey and submit because that is the command God gives to sinners for salvation. Nothing else is necessary for salvation. In other words, unbelievers who become believers are already doing what Holland, et. al., deny they are doing. This quote in particular leans strongly in that direction. When Holland says you may have heard the gospel a thousand times but have never embraced Jesus as Lord, he completely discounts the salvation of those who have “heard the gospel a thousand times” and obeyed it1by responding to it in the simple childlike faith of believing Christ’s death really did satisfy the wrath of God against them, but who did not specifically “embrace Jesus as Lord” at the time of their salvation. Romans 10:16 clearly identifies the obedience sought as believing the gospel message, “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias [Isaiah] saith, ‘Lord, who hath believed our report...?’”

In short, Rick Holland’s message strongly implies that unless and until you specifically embrace Jesus as Lord, by which he means sell your life to Jesus to be His slave, you are not saved. Thus, if you ONLY believed Jesus died for your sins and trusted Him to save you on that basis, THAT IS NOT ENOUGH AND YOU ARE YET DEAD IN YOUR SINS. You must ALSO embrace Jesus as Lord and unless and until you do, YOU ARE NOT SAVED.


*Executive pastor Grace Community Church. Resolved is the brainchild of Rick Holland.

1) John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
The active word in this verse is believe. If a man will believe on the Son (of God), he will have eternal life. John MacArthur cites this verse in a footnote on p. 33 of The Gospel According to Jesus. The meaning of the verse, however, is distorted to favor the Lordship Salvation view. He cites the verse as follows: “He who does not obey the Son shall not see life. . . .”

John MacArthur chooses John 3:36 to support the Lordship gospel by citing the second usage of the word “believeth” (from the KJV) as “obey,” but he does not cite the first half of John 3:36, which is the key to the context. The first usage of the word “believeth” in John 3:36 is identical to the word “believe” in the Romans 10:9 passage. While the word “believeth not” apeiqwn, (apeithon) is a different word than the first usage of the word “believeth,” and can mean “obey” in some cases, the context of John 3:36(a) demands unbelief, not disobedience. The correct meaning of “believeth not” (apeiqwn) is to refuse or withhold belief. Or, we could say that disobedience in itself is unbelief. Taking the whole context into consideration, the second part of the verse cannot be referring to a person’s actions, but rather to his unbelief….

Obey is a legitimate translation of believe, but to render it thus in this verse does not clearly convey what sort of obedience is required. Refusing to believe in Christ is, in essence, disobedience. (In Defense of the Gospel, pp. 190-191.)
Related Reading:
Northland Int’l University Presents Executive Pastor of Grace Community Church to It’s Student Body
“Rick Holland, pastoral staff at John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church, which distinctives include the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the gospel. Lordship Salvation is a man-centered, works based message that corrupts the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Cor. 11:3) and frustrates grace (Gal. 2:21). Northland has dropped the defense of the gospel by opening its doors for its students to be exposed to a purveyor of a false gospel. Clear enough?” (Response to question in discussion thread)
Lordship Salvation’s Submission Gospel

Let Your “Yes,” Be “Kinda, Sorta”, by JanH

June 3, 2011

John Piper’s Interview With Rick Warren

One of the clearest evidences that “conservative evangelicals” are anything but safe spiritual guides today is witnessed by John Piper’s close relationship with Rick Warren. Conservative evangelicals like Piper are enablers of heresy by their refusal to deal with error plainly enough and to cut off association with it decidedly, and they therefore allow and even facilitate its spread. Piper is held forth as a passionate Reformed Baptist who is zealous for doctrinal truth, but his staunch theology has given him very little spiritual discernment…. Piper spent a lot of time bragging on Warren, even praising incredibly unscriptural P.E.A.C.E. plan. Piper took a cheap pot shot at Warren’s detractors, pretending that they have slandered him by taking things out of context. And Piper didn’t challenge Warren’s answers…. This strange interview reminds me of when Christianity Today examined Robert Schuller in 1984 and determined that he “believes all of the fundamental doctrines of traditional fundamentalism.” (Please continue to Friday Church News Notes, June 3, 2011 for David Cloud’s complete review of the Piper/Warren interview.)

Will another high profile compromise by a so-called “conservative” evangelical pass without comment from self-described “militant” separatists in fundamental circles who are converging with evangelicals and influencing an entire generation to follow them in that convergence? Will men like Drs. Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran, Matt Olson and Tim Jordan tolerate, allow for, excuse or ignore John Piper’s actions and endorsement of Rick Warren? Will the pattern of toleration, allowing for, ignoring and/or excusing a growing assortment of doctrinal aberrations, ecumenical compromises, cultural relativism and worldliness of John Piper just as they have with men like CJ Mahaney, Al Mohler, John MacArthur, Mark Dever, et al., continue unabated? Or has the veritable straw that broke the camel’s back finally occurred that just might elicit a serious warning about the man John Piper and his egregious ministry of compromise?

In a recent series of timely chapel messages Dr. Bob Jones III said,
“We’ve been taking in some of the last messages about the error that can result from those whose credo is, ‘Well, it’s all about the gospel, as long as a man is preaching the gospel I can go to that church…and I don’t have to worry about all the rest of it…. If we take the attitude that it’s only about the preaching of the gospel and that makes everything else acceptable we’re going to embrace a lot of error.... You see, if it’s only all about the preaching of the gospel and if that is all that matters then you can accept almost any other kind of manifestations of the gospel…then we have formed our own opinions and practiced them more than going to the Bible to see what God says is acceptable.” (The Faith of the Gospel, Part 3)

“We have tried to make it clear in these messages that those who say, ‘Well, it’s all about the gospel.’ If it’s all just about the gospel then we’ve missed the whole point of the gospel…. There is the saving gospel, which introduces us to the faith of the gospel. And if we embrace the philosophy that it’s just about the gospel we can put our arms around about every wrong, unbecoming Christian behavior in all the world. We can put our stamp of approval on counterfeit Christianity. If they’re preaching the gospel… no matter what else is going on in those ministries, no matter what endorsements and involvements they have with liberal unbelieving religion, no matter what ecumenical reach they may have, no matter what distortions they may have, no matter what tolerance for the intolerable…we can embrace all of that and say that’s fine, that’s good they’re preaching the gospel.” (The Faith of the Gospel, Part 4)
Drs. Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran, Matt Olson and Tim Jordan are among the originators of and the driving forces behind the new mantra, “it’s all about the gospel.” That theme is the driving force behind their cooperative efforts with and endorsement of so-called “conservative” evangelicals apart from virtually any ministry of warning.

I am hopeful they have finally seen enough to say, “enough of this!” Have they seen enough to make a personal application of and encourage those under their watch care, who are being influenced by them through various venues, to withdraw from (2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15) mark and avoid (Rom. 16:17-18) John Piper?


For Related Reading:
John Piper, “I’m Going to Need Help to Know Why I Should Feel Bad About This Decision”

Al Mohler Signs the Manhattan Declaration

Kevin Bauder Excusing Al Mohler’s Signing the Manhattan Declaration
To dismiss Al Mohler and Ligon Duncan signing the Manhattan Declaration as merely a, “wrong decision based on bad judgment,” (Doran) and “occasional inconsistency…single episode,” (Bauder) has the look and feel of a “downward drift toward compromise” of Scripture…in the form of tolerance for the sake of fellowship.
The RAP on Mark Dever: What is the “Militant” Separatist to Do?

Is NIU “Unchanged?” The Northland Baptist Bible College Position on Statement on Contemporary Issues in Christianity