The heresy that saving faith does not involve commitment or surrender to the Lordship of Christ is, sadly, very influential in a variety of fundamental Baptist circles. It is very easy to refute this heresy. The following five points will be brought forth.
1.) Saving faith involves repentance, and repentance requires turning from sin to Christ as Lord. This fact is demonstrated in my paper here and is also simply evident from many texts such as: “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11). “For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10).
2.) The idea of committal or entrustment in the common New Testament verb to believe, the verb found in texts such as John 3:16, is evident. The verb is translated in a form including the word “commit” in Luke 16:11; John 2:24; Rom 3:2; 1 Corinthians 9:17; Galatians 2:7; 1 Timothy 1:11 & Titus 1:3. “He that believeth in me hath everlasting life” (John 6:47) includes an act of committal or surrender to Jesus as Lord.
3.) Furthermore, the common Biblical phrase for saving faith in Christ, pisteuein eis auton ("believe in/on Him"), involves submission and surrender. In the words of a standard Greek grammar:
Deissmann in Light From the Ancient East gives several convincing quotations from the papyri to prove that pisteuiein eis auton meant surrender or submission to. A slave was sold into the name of the god of a temple; i. e., to be a temple servant. G. Milligan agrees with Deissmann that this papyri usage of eis auton is also found regularly in the New Testament. Thus to believe on or . . . into the name of Jesus means to renounce self and to consider oneself the life-time servant of Jesus. (pg. 105, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament, H. E. Dana & Julius R. Mantey. New York, NY: MacMillan, 1955. Greek characters have been transliterated.)
4.) All believers are disciples, and discipleship involves surrender to Christ's Lordship. Here at "What is Truth?" we posted a study of the word "disciple" to see if disciples were a subcategory of believers. It is here:
It is very clear that "disciple" and "believer" are synonymous categories from a study of the word "disciple. No clear texts contrast "believers" as a bigger category and "disciples" as an elite subcategory, while in many passages disciples are contrasted with lost people and in other passages Christ calls lost people to become disciples and thus receive salvation. For that matter, the Greek of Acts 11:26 equates as identical categories "disciple" and "Christian," so anti-Lordship people should exhort saved people to become Christians by a post-conversion act of surrender if they really were consistent with their denial that all believers are disciples.
5.) The most commonly used Baptist confessions teach that salvation involves turning from sin to surrender to Christ's Lordship. For example:
“Unfeigned repentance is an inward and true sorrow of heart for sin, with sincere confession of the same to God, especially that we have offended so gracious a God and so loving a Father, together with a settled purpose of heart and a careful endeavor to leave all our sins, and to live a more holy and sanctified life according to all God’s commands” (The Orthodox Creed, Baptist, 1679).
“This saving repentance is an evangelical grace, whereby a person, being by the Holy Spirit made sensible of the manifold evils of his sin, doth, by faith in Christ, humble himself for it with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and self-abhorrency; praying for pardon and strength of grace, with a purpose and endeavor by supplies of the Spirit to walk before God unto all well-pleasing in all things” (Philadelphia Confession of Faith, Baptist, 1742).
There is no historical evidence at all of other Baptists criticizing such statements as supposedly teaching works salvation or corrupting the allegedly true anti-Lordship doctrine of the gospel. The true gospel was not lost, and all the Baptists of past centuries are not burning in hell because they allegedly believed in works salvation, the supposedly true, anti-Lordship gospel not having yet been discovered by men like Zane Hodges and Curtis Hutson. Biblical Baptists have embraced the true gospel from the time of Christ their Founder until today (Mt 16:18). The anti-Lordship gospel is a recent and modern innovation and corruption of the gospel and deviation from Biblical and Baptist orthodoxy.
Thus, it is clear that saving faith involves commitment or surrender to the Lordship of Christ. Denying this plain Biblical fact is a rejection of a core element of true saving faith and a serious corruption and perversion of the gospel of Christ (cf. Galatians 1:6-9). Reject this heretical corruption and separate from those who are unwilling to stand for the true gospel of justification by repentant faith alone in Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior.