Monday, August 30, 2010

The Evil of Anti-Lordship Teaching

The noun doulos occurs 127 times in the New Testament. The verb form douleuo is used 25 occasions. In the King James, those two words are almost exclusively translated "servant" and "to serve." Those are accurate translations. However, people often still miss what doulos and douleuo are about. As a result, they miss what is a relationship to Jesus Christ. The believer's relationship to Jesus is as a "slave." A doulos is a slave. It always means "slave."

Anyone hearing the word doulos in New Testament times, would have thought "slave." That's how people would have understood doulos who were hearing it in that day. If you were a slave, you were owned. You had a master, an owner. He owned you. You would have forfeited your own personal rights. You would have been expected to obey everything the owner said. The slave-owner relationship is what describes the relationship of the believer, the saved person, to Jesus Christ.

When Jesus said that no man can serve two masters, He was saying that no man can be a slave to two owners. The servant of "well done thou good and faithful servant" is a slave. That's easy to see in the context. His owner is who says "well done" to him. Jesus doesn't become owner at some point into someone's salvation, but at the point a person believes. He believes that Jesus is his new Owner. Everyone is a slave to something. People who are saved became slaves to Jesus the moment they believed on Him.

Saved people are slaves to Jesus because He bought them. 1 Corinthians 7:22-23:

For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant. Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.

A person who is "called" is saved. "The called" are always saved people. They are all His slaves. "Servant" here is doulos. They "are bought with a price" (also see 1 Cor 6:19). What was the price? It was the "precious blood of Jesus" (1 Peter 1:18-19).

The companion word to doulos in the New Testament is kurios. If you have a slave, you have an owner or lord. The lord owns. Kurios is found 717 times in the New Testament. You get these two words together in the same verse 47 times. Consider these:

Matthew 10:24, "The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord."
Matthew 24:45, "Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?"
Luke 12:37, "Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them."
John 13:16, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him."
Acts 4:29, "And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word."
2 Timothy 2:24, "And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient."

Christians are called "slaves" all the way through the New Testament---apostles, pastors, and those with no office.

Jesus is Savior, no doubt. 37 times in the whole Bible do we have the word "Savior." The Greek word is soter. We have that word 23 times in the New Testament. How many times is the term "Savior" in Romans? Zero. It's once in John (4:42) and once in Acts (5:31). So Savior 23 times and Lord 717 times in the New Testament. How many times is kurios in Romans? 42 times. John? 53 times. The message written and preached by the Apostles is that "Jesus is Lord."

In the title, I said the anti-Lordship teaching is evil. And I mean anti-Lordship teaching regarding salvation. That's what Lordship teaching is about---salvation. If someone is to come to Christ, he must deny himself. He must relinquish self as Lord for Jesus as Lord. That means He must become a slave to Jesus. He recognizes that. Preachers shouldn't leave that out of the presentation.

No Lordship in "evangelistic" preaching is now standard fare, in part because of ant-Lordship teaching. It goes something like the following sample phraseology.

"If you ask Jesus to save you, He will."

"Ask Jesus to be your Savior and He will be."

"If you pray for Jesus to save you, He will."

"If you trust Jesus as your Savior, He'll save you."

"If you believe in Jesus as your Savior, He'll save you."

Those are now the norm in modern evangelistic methodology. You don't see Jesus or the Apostles do this at all. Nothing even remotely like it. It isn't a method derived from the Bible. It isn't of God. Try to find "as Savior" in Scripture---you won't find it; it isn't in there. Again, nothing even like it is in the Bible.

What's evil about the anti-Lordship teaching is that it is not at all in the Bible and yet it is presented like it is, totally misrepresenting God. It gives people a false presentation of salvation. It falls short of telling people Who Jesus is. It gives them a false impression about the relationship with Jesus that they are being invited to or are entering into. It offers salvation without revealing how to obtain that salvation.

Very often the incomplete and, therefore, false message exempt of Lordship perverts the teaching of Scripture even more so by also twisting the doctrine of sanctification. Professors of faith go on serving themselves, thinking they are saved, understanding that their disobedience is somehow justified by reality of some future date of dedication. They're saved, just not "dedicated." Jesus is Savior to them, but not quite Lord. At some later date, they might bump themselves up to that higher plateau of spiritual existence, perhaps when they get "revival." "Lordship" is just one of the steps of Christian growth. This too is evil.

45 comments:

Don Johnson said...

I don't know, Kent, I think you are mis-characterizing 'anti-Lordship' teaching.

However:

1. I am against easy-believism.
2. I am against demanding that someone must submit to Christ as Lord in order to be saved.
3. I am for the believer understanding that genuine faith demands obedience going forward.

You say:

Try to find "as Savior" in Scripture---you won't find it; it isn't in there. Again, nothing even like it is in the Bible.

What about Acts 16.31?

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Kent Brandenburg said...

Don,

1. Good. I like easy-prayerism better as terminology.
2. This is where you are loaded with two words: "demanding" and "submit." Christ does demand that you believe He is Lord. Believe is a command. That involves the will, volitional. It isn't just intellectual. And when the man said he wanted to go home first to say goodbye to his family, Jesus said that he wasn't fit for the kingdom of God.
3. Good.

Acts 16:31 fits what I wrote here. You believe in the Kurios Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. That doesn't say "Believe in Jesus as Saviour." It says believe in the Lord. Who? The Lord. You don't believe He is the Lord and remain in rebellion against His Lordship.

Thanks.

Gary Webb said...

Kent,
Good article. I know that people are going to object because it is so contrary to what they are hearing. I have been preaching to our church somewhat about this issue. We are looking at how Jesus dealt with the "rich young ruler", & the title for the series is "The Savior's Soulwinning Method". The young man earnestly wanted to know how to have Eternal Life. However, Jesus did not lead him in a prayer. Jesus taught him theology: "There is none good but one, that is, God." Then Jesus dealt with his sin. When the man thought he had been good enough, Jesus dealth with his root sin by saying, "God sell everything you have, and come, follow men." Looks like Jesus demanded repentance and a faith that required following Jesus. Jesus did not say anything about "believing." But the ruler sure would have had to have believed that Jesus was God, the Messiah, & the only Savior IF he were to make that kind of commitment to Jesus. He would, as you have said, become a slave to Jesus.
Of course, some will try to discount this by asking, "How much understanding & surrender does a person have to have before he can get saved?" My answer would be that, if the person deliberately withholds something in his life, he is not repenting. He will not know all that the Bible teaches about this, but he will know that particular sin that the Lord puts His finger upon. Jesus did that with the young ruler, & was willing to let him walk away ... rather than get him to pray a prayer.

d4v34x said...

Bro. B., For me the no-Lordship approach fails to address the problem sin creates between man and God. The heart of the (insurmountable, from our perspective) problem is our rebellion against Him, the Soveriegn Creator Lord.

If our repentance doesn't have that in view, what good can it be? It fails to acknowledge who God is and what our sin is in light of that.

Thanks for writing this.

Josh Wroten said...

Having been a drive by reader for the past year or so, I have finally found a post upon which we are in total agreement :). It is very worrisome to me, as an evangelical, that belief in Jesus and discipleship are presented as two separate things. Theologically speaking, in order for Jesus to be your Savior He must by necessity also be your Lord. Over the years, I have stopped using the term "saved" and instead use "follower of Jesus Christ." I think that does a better job of describing the life of faith.

palabraspuras said...

Kent,

Great post. Do you know if historically this was an issue pre-Hyles? Did Finney teach something like this? I can believe he did.

If a person is not submitting themselves to Christ to be saved, they are saying please take my sins away from me and then I'll take them back right afterwards. Sin is simply rebellion.

Don Johnson said...

Kent, the following two statements come from a brochure available on MacArthur's Grace Community church website. The brochure promotes Lordship salvation. Do you think these statements are accurate?

Second, Scripture teaches that salvation is all God’s work. Those who believe are saved utterly apart from any effort on their own (Titus 3:5). Even faith is a gift of God, not a work of man (Eph. 2:1-5, 8). Real faith therefore cannot be defective or short-lived but endures forever (Phil. 1:6; cf. Heb. 11). In contrast, easybelievism teaches that faith might not last and that a true Christian can completely cease believing.

I object to this one because I don't agree that faith is a gift from God and also that many who teach easy believism don't teach what they say they teach.

Fifth, Scripture teaches that God’s gift of eternal life includes all that pertains to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3; Rom. 8:32), not just a ticket to heaven. In contrast, according to easy-believism, only the judicial aspects of salvation (e.g., justification, adoption, and positional sanctification) are guaranteed for believers in this life; practical sanctification and growth in grace require a post-conversion act of dedication.

Is that what Scripture is saying? 2 Pt 1.3 seems to refer to God's word, not eternal life, as the source of everything that pertains to life and godliness. I am not sure that Rm 8.32 is teaching this either.

In this debate, I think that the Lordship position makes repentance more than it is and confuses justification with sanctification. However, I believe that true faith in Christ will produce visible changes in the life. It is legitimate to challenge a profession of justification on the basis of no evidence of sanctification, but if we present 'evidences' as necessary, it is easy to slip into a works-oriented justification.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Kent Brandenburg said...

Gary Webb,

Your paragraph was a nice addendum, because I think you hit some important things for people to think about related to this. I like the deliberate withholding sentence/scenario.

D4,

I agree that the problem is a rebellion one. You can't go your way and be saved. Your way ends in death.

Josh,

Thanks.

Palabraspuras (Don),

Your question is a good one and I don't have the answer to it. I'd like to read something good on that though.

Don Johnson,

I believe faith is a gift. We're not saved by works. Faith and works are mutually exclusive. And then Philip 1:29. So I don't have a problem with that first paragraph in MacArthur's presentation. 1 John 5:4, "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."

I don't think the second paragraph is as good as the first one. I can't imagine MacArthur wrote it. I think the statement is true because saving knowledge and eternal life are interchangeable. The knowledge is life and the life is knowledge (John 17:3). But that connection wasn't made. However, that saved people have all that they need at the moment of justification, I agree with. All things is all things, not some things.

I believe all of our sanctification comes out of our justification (Rom 8:29-30). We have all the righteousness of Christ to live in our justification (2 Cor 5:18-21). We see that in 2 Peter 1 too.

I've now preached through the whole NT with the exception of a little bit in Luke after chapter 20, and my take is that what I read in the two paragraphs is right on. I can't speak for everything that MacArthur says, but I've read a lot of old salvation presentation (1600-1800) and they are more like this than what I'm reading now.

Would you be saying that evidences are unnecessary? What do you do with James and 1 John and Matthew 7:21-23, etc.?

I haven't read a Lordship position that I thought made repentance more than what it is. I have read a lot that makes repentance less than what it is.

Thanks Don.

Bill Hardecker said...

In times past people were made slaves by being conquered in war, being sold into slavery or born into slavery.

Sin conquered the human race when our first parents fell. We owed a debt we could not pay, and was sold in the market place of sin. We are also born sinners. So by all accounts we were indeed slaves to sin.

But the Lord Jesus conquered sin on the cross. He bought us with His blood. And through His work of Salvation we are born again into the family of God. Praise the Lord, we are now and indeed slaves to Christ.

I'm glad to be a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Charles E. Whisnant said...

So often, we give the Romans Road to salvation, and walk away hoping they really did get saved.
Herein is the reason I have come to believe, we should be careful in asking a lost person to be saved, until we have told him before hand about the gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe a person should be presented with the whole gospel of salvation. Before asking a person to come to Christ he should know what that really means.

Of course I believe, when the Lord saves a person, that person will have Jesus Christ as Lord, and will serve Him as Lord.

Jesus will be at the helm of the saved persons life. Where He leads I will try to follow and serve.

d4v34x said...

Don,

Eph. 2 states, "For by grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves . . ."

What does the pronoun that refer to?


Bro. B.,

So do you have an ordo salutis? If so, I'd love to hear what it is. Rest assured, you can safely post it without any contrary response from me.

Thanks,

David

Anonymous said...

It seems to me our salvation is what "that" refers to.

Headcoverings were worn in the OT (Gen. 24:65, Num. 5:18). Go find some church photos from 100 years ago and see what the ladies were wearing. Headcoverings get some 15 verses in th NT, seemingly equal to or more than say elder qualifications. That is a big chunk of Scripture. Can you remember the last message you heard on 1 Cor. 11:3-16? Good discussion.

John Gardner

d4v34x said...

"Salvation" is not a noun preceding "that" in the English. Bro. B. and Don can probably confirm that the greek could be translated "these" and may well refer to both grace and faith.

Don Johnson said...

Regarding faith as a gift...

D4, the pronoun 'that' is neuter. Faith is feminine. Can't refer to the same thing. 'That' refers to salvation as a whole, not to individual parts.

Kent, Rm 4.5 proves that faith is not a work.

Romans 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

Note: to him that worketh not

Instead of working not, he believeth.


Faith is not a work.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Kent Brandenburg said...

Don,

Rom 4:5. Excellent verse for this. But it is agreeing with my point. Grace is no more works and works is no more grace. If faith is not a work, then it is grace. There is no workish grace or gracish works. It is either/or. And Philip 1:29 again. But also 2 Peter 1:1, where it says: "have obtained like precious faith." "Have obtained" is "to receive by divine allotment." God has allotted faith to men. Repentance too. Acts 11:18.

D4,

I do think about order of salvation, and I know in a major way because of Rom 8:29-30. And what does Rom 8:29 start with? "whom he did foreknow" The order starts with "He knew ahead of time." Calvinists take "foreknowledge" and twist it into something Scripture does not say, and in order to fit Calvinism. I do not believe regeneration precedes faith, because I don't have any scriptural basis for that either.

d4v34x said...

Bro. B,

If God is the one who grants faith and repentance to men, what is it He foreknew about them that prompts him to do so.

Put another way, if repenting and believing is what men "do" to be saved, yet God is the actual "doer" of those in men's hearts, what argument do you still have with a Calvinistic understanding of foreknowledge?

Kent Brandenburg said...

D4,

Excellent question. When we look to Scripture to find that answer, we see verses like Romans 10:17. Revelation provides the grace for faith. Those who do not believe, we know why? They "hold (suppress) the truth in unrighteousness." So God keeps giving and giving and giving revelation.

The Word quickens (Heb 4:12; 1 Pet 1:23-25) and begats (John 1:18), makes wise the simple, restores the soul. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation.

Everyone has a question they cannot answer, but I'm fine with that. I don't know that Calvinists are fine with it. They seem to assume they can answer everything. The question I can't answer is why some people believe and some people don't. Condition of soil. By why that condition? I don't know.

I guess the Calvinists would say, without any scriptural prerogative, that God consigns a vast majority of individuals to hell. And yet Jesus in time feels compassion and sympathy for those He had already consigned there.

I can't think a position could be true that causes so many internal contradictions. It also stretches words beyond their capacity---like foreknowledge. They say it isn't just knowing ahead of time, but loving ahead of time, because "know" is a euphemism for intimate relations. That is a stretch.

Don Johnson said...

Kent, just to continue on the 'faith as gift' point, in Rm 4.5, the subject of 'believing' is 'him'. It isn't something imposed on the believer, it is something he does. But it clearly is not a work, because the verse says so.

The grace necessary for faith to begin is revelation, I agree. Rm 10 is filled with this teaching. We believe because we hear the Word. But not all who hear believe. The parable of the sower and the soils comes into this to illustrate the effect.

So to get back on topic, I still disagree with MacArthur's point two, quoted above.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Kent Brandenburg said...

Don,

I do think it is his faith once he receives it, and he receives it by grace through God's Word. We might think the same way about this. I haven't found "faith is a gift" to clash with anything else that Scripture says. The Bible says it and then it has nothing that contradicts it.

I agree that I don't see "eternal life" language in 2 Pet 1:1 so in that way I disagree with that second point, but I do believe that saving faith receives all things that pertain to life and godliness. And I agree that easy-believism doesn't expect enough.

Robert said...

Doesn't Romans 10:17 have to figure into the discussion of the source of faith somewhere?

Terry McGovern said...

Hey Kent,

I can’t say that I disagree with the main point of the article as I read it, but I do disagree with Lordship salvation. Let me explain below.

Many years ago I was caught up in easy prayerism. I was seeing people “saved” every week. I began to grow greatly concerned however, because 99% of them never even wanted to come to church! I followed the teaching I received, and went back every week, begging them to come to church. I did not understand what was going on. I knew when I trusted Christ, I desired to go to church, and nobody ever had to beg me to come. I knew something was wrong. I went to my pastor and he challenged me to the Bible and see what Jesus and the apostles did. (He was against easy prayerism, but I did not know it.) Easy prayerism is all I knew. That is how I was taught when I was a teenager. I began to see I was focusing on the “prayer” and not the gospel itself. I certainly covered the gospel in my presentation, but my goal was to see them prayer a prayer, not necessarily put their faith in Christ.

I changed how I presented the gospel and things changed. I was not seeing “decisions” weekly, but now over half of those making a profession where coming to church on their own, following the Lord in Baptism and seeing their lives changed. Here on the field I would guess around 60 to 70% of those who make decision, go on to follow the Lord. I would love to see that number go to 100%, but even Jesus had a Judas.

It seems to me, you believe if one does not believe in Lordship salvation, then he must believe in easy prayerism. I believe both are wrong and dangerous. I do believe a born again person will desired to serve God, but this is a result of salvation, not why the person was saved. Can a person deny Jesus is Lord and be saved? No. Can a person say “let me pray this prayer so I can go to heaven regardless, I have a lot sinning I want to do.” No! This person does not understand the gospel. When a person realizes how wicked they are before God, and they see what Jesus Christ did for them, and he chooses to put his faith in what Christ did, with repentance, they will desire to serve Him. How could you not! The change comes as a result of the Holy Spirit dwelling within. I believe much of the teaching of Lordship salvation puts the cart before the horse. (By the way, I do believe true faith will always carry repentance. Faith produces action.)

The answer to my problem of easy prayerism was not Lordship salvation, as I understand Lordship salvation. I have read McArthur on this and I believe his view leads to a works based salvation. I believe he is making a requirement of something that is simply evidence of salvation. If one is saved, he will have a desire to follow the Lord. All though, I do believe one can fall into to sin to a point where God kills him. This person would not have “persevered” as McArthur defines it. For example I do not believe Ananias and Saphire would fit Macarthur’s definition of “perseverance” or “saving faith” nor would many of the believers at the church at Corinth who the Lord killed because of sin. These failed in their Christian life and the Lord killed them as a result. I am starting to go on a rabbit trail so let me stop now. I am mixing two subjects that are closely related, and I do not want to confuse the issue.

phil said...

Pastor Brandenburg,
On Sovereignty over Sovereignty: you aswere a question I asked about how faith can be a gift by basically saying that faith is given through revelation(Rom 1:18-21)and just like you said here(Rom10:17). I asked this in response:"So that faith that is given has to be turned to Jesus upon hearing the gospel or rather repentance and faith?" Faith has to be turned to the word of God the gospel would that be correct?

Kent Brandenburg said...

Robert,

I mention Rom 10:17 in a comment above. We're on the same page on that.

Terry,

Thanks for dropping by again. I can't really critique what you think Lordship salvation is, because you seem to say the MacArthur version of it, but I don't know what you think the MacArthur version is. Of course, we don't want works frontloaded. However, a Ryrie and a Hodges, evangelicals and fundamentalists, have pushed an intellectual, non-volitional repentance. They see something volitional as works. Losing your life isn't a work---it is believing in Christ.

I think someone can cherry pick MacArthur's material on salvation and come up with works, but I think if he's taken in context, he isn't saying that. I've not had anyone show me statements that have convinced me of that. David Cloud has an article against Lordship Salvation, but when I read his presentation of Lordship salvation, he doesn't quote anyone who believes it, and then presents a strawman of it. I'm against his strawman, like anyone should be. MacArthur would be against Cloud's strawman of him.

What you read above in my post is my understanding of salvation. Not all of it, but this aspect of it. You said you agreed. I think this is also what MacArthur would say. Love rejoiceth in the truth. Evangelicals and fundamentalists are not generally the same. They generally rejoice in the truth told or held by the theologically or politically correct person.

I think that when the terminology "Lordship salvation" came out, it was promoted by the cheap grace evangelicals and the easy-prayerism fundamentalists. Nobody wanted to believe their fake version of it, so the terminology "Lordship salvation" became anathema. I see that when I read David Cloud.

I'm not saying that's the case with you, but if you really do agree with my post, then we are preaching the same gospel.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Phil,

I'm not quite sure what your question is, but I think that repentance and faith are both a gift. God's revelation gives this gift culminating in the gospel for someone who keeps receiving the revelation God gives.

Bill Hardecker said...

Pastor Brandenburg,
When men like Zane Hodges and Charles Ryrie teach wrong doctrine about the repentance, grace and works, faith and fruits, regeneration vs. carnal Christians, how much damage is done to the nature of the Gospel itself? Are they erring brethren or are they false teachers (blind leading the blind)? In your mind did they "redefine" repentance and reduced it to a work (like penance) or did they totally reject the Biblical position on repentance? If so, what does that say about their faith? How far does bad doctrine go?
I have read others that seem to follow along with Hodges and Ryrie - - Curtis Hutson and Dwight Pentecost seems to have reduced repentance into something like "works" or "penance," and I can see where they are coming from. I don't agree with them, but I understand how one can make a gross mistake in doctrine.
BTW, I am in agreement with your article here, I am just curious about the consequences of Free Grace theology.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Charles,

I think I missed your comment. Thanks though.

Billy,

You sound like you've read on this issue with your names and terminology. My opinion is that someone can be saved with a Ryrie or Hutson type of presentation, but some people won't because of what they leave out or change.

Your question is a tough, that is how are we to judge the actual men. All the guys listed are people I wouldn't fellowship with anyway, because of what I believe Scripture teaches on separation. I can't judge who is a believer and who is not, but with the doctrine they teach, I personally treat it as a false gospel.

Terry,

Even when we teach a true gospel with the right presentation of repentance, Jesus gave at least a 25% result in the parable of the soils. I wanted to add that.

Bill Hardecker said...

Fair enough. Thank you.

d4v34x said...

Terry McGovern wrote: When a person realizes how wicked they are before God...

Brother McGovern, I read this statement as entirely consistent with Lordship salvation. Our guilt before a holy God is demonstrated in our violation of His authority. This is why we use the commandments when sharing the gospel. The show us two things. 1: That we fall short of God's glorious holiness. 2: We do so because we are in rebellion against him, both natively and volitionally. I think it is consistent with Scripture that people must have at least a basic grasp on this before they can truly repent. Otherwise they don't know what to repent of.

To go just a little farther, 1 above confirms that we need to be saved. 2 shows us we can't save ourselves.

These kind of discussions are why I still think some of this Lordship "controversy" is just semantics.

Anonymous said...

I mentioned earlier I believe "that" in Eph. 2:8 refers to our salvation.

Paul uses similar language in 1 Cor. 6:6.

1Cor 6:6 But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.
What does "that" stand for?



Blessings.

John Gardner

phil said...

"God's revelation gives this gift culminating in the gospel for someone who keeps receiving the revelation God gives."

Thanks, I think you answered my question.

So everyone who is unsaved is a vessel of wrath and supresses the truth right? Do you think there is a certain age God reveals himself to a person(the so called age of accouttability)?

Terry McGovern said...

Bro Kent,

I have not read the David Cloud Article but I will. I am primarily referring to Macarthur’s book "The Gospel According to Matthew” He makes statements in there that I do not believe can be justified in any context. IMO, his belief is based on his view of Calvinism, and the need to persevere in order to be saved. A complete falsehood. I truly believe this is more than semantics. I do agree with you that McArthur would agree with my statement, but he takes it much farther. I will post some comments from his book. This might be cherry picking, but I can’t see how anyone can make such statements regardless of context.

D4,

I use the law every time I witness, literally. To show exactly what you said. However, my understating of Lordship salvation (based on McArthur) goes much farther than you pointed out. If that was all Lordship salvation was saying, then I would agree with the teaching.

I could not find quotes I had, so I had to google these quickly.
Here are some quotes:

Saving faith is "unconditional surrender, a complete resignation of self and absolute submission"

“Salvation is for those who are willing to forsake everything"

"Saving faith is a commitment to leave sin and follow Jesus Christ at all costs. Jesus takes no one unwilling to come on those terms"

(By the way I use the rich young ruler every time I witness. His problem was one of refusing to see his own wickedness. He had the audacity to even say he has always followed the law! Not true! The first step in salvation is to see your need of Christ. Jesus trying to show him this, then pointed out how wicked he was by telling him to sell all that he had, knowing he was sinner like all of us, and he would not do it. Instead of seeing his wickedness and need of Christ and begging for mercy, he turned and walked away. He failed to see how wicked his own greed and self pleasing life was. Remember even the disciples asked after this, “who then can be saved?” Jesus let them know they CANNOT do it, It is only possible with God. The point of Jesus’ discussion with the young man was to make him see his wickedness and need of savior, which he refused to do.

Bro Kent,

Would agree with McArthur statements written above?
If so, was Peter willing to follow Christ at all cost in Luke 22? He was not
Was John Mark willing to follow at all cost in Acts 13? He was not


The Lord had to change them and do a work in their lives, which He did. This happened after salvation not before. McArthur says it comes before.


I think if he uses wording like the above when witnessing, the person hearing could easily start believing the only reason God will save him is if he works for it though a submitted life. That the key to his salvation is that in itself, not what Jesus did on the cross and through his resurrection. Much like easy prayerism focuses on the prayer instead of the gospel, which sinners do pray, Lordship salvation focuses on the fruit of salvation instead of the gospel. Both are dangerous.

Romans 1:16 proclaimes the power is in the gospel itself, and I belvie both detract from the gospel.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Terry,

I am in an inenviable position of defending MacArthur when I would rather just defend what I mean by "Lordship salvation" versus "no-Lordship salvation."

First, the book is Gospel According to Jesus. He did refer to Matthew in there.

I'm not assuming you would attempt to cherry-pick. I don't believe MacArthur thinks salvation requires any works. I think his doctrine of perseverance, albeit Calvinism to him, is about what one would expect of someone genuinely converted (cf. 1 John 2:19). He will overcome. Overcoming doesn't save, but someone who doesn't overcome should examine himself whether he be in the faith. See Rev 2 & 3.

Regarding the first statement, that is pulled from his description of the return of the prodigal son, which I believe is a fitting place to look for soteriology---a fuller context reads: "He had made a complete turn-around. His demeanor was one of unconditional surrender, a complete resignation of self, and absolute submission to His father. That is the essence of saving faith." When you pull out of its context, it does look rather different. Notice he says "essence" of saving faith. I use the word "essence" when I'm explaining the gist of something. MacArthur is saying that this is what faith looks like.

As far as salvation being for those willing to forsake everything, I believe that too is a scriptural understanding. You must lose your soul or your life to gain eternal life. Paul counted all things as loss that he might win Christ. And I think MacArthur is being careful in this instance by saying "willing." Not forsake everything, but willing to forsake everything. Man's volition must be involved. MacArthur however was using that in the context of what happened with the rich young ruler.

Here is the last statement of MacArthur in its context:

"Salvation is by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8). That is the consistent and unambiguous teaching of Scripture. But people with genuine faith do not refuse to acknowledge their sinfulness. They sense that they have offended the holiness of God, and do not reject the lordship of Christ. They do not cling to the things of the world. Real faith lacks none of these attributes. Saving faith is a commitment to leave sin and follow Jesus Christ at all costs. Jesus takes no one unwilling to come on those terms."

For the last statement, consider the end of Luke 9---vv. 57-62. It is a salvation context. Look at what he says in v. 62 to show that this is the case. I would say that this simply describes repentance, which again, is not a work.

Notice also MacArthur says "unwilling." He doesn't say will not do that, which is a work, but someone "unwilling." We're again talking about something volitional. I think of the pearl of great price. How does one get it? I'm asking.

Regarding Peter, I don't believe MacArthur would see Peter like you are describing. He's not talking about specific acts of rebellion, but someone who will relinquish his will, which Peter did. I think Peter was willing to follow the Lord, but he failed. Same with John Mark.

MacArthur doesn't advocate sinless perfection. I believe that the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the work of the gospel results in the alteration of a man's will. He turns from himself to God. I believe MacArthur would be the same on this.

I've found that when I'm evangelizing people understand the concept of Lordship and turning over one's life. I haven't found anyone confusing that with sinless perfection or having to clean up your life before God will save him.

I'm not really too concerned if someone understands all of MacArthur. I never mentioned him in the post I wrote. However, I think I should defend him if I think he isn't being represented properly, especially when I go after him when I believe what He says or does is unscriptural.

Thanks Terry.

Kent Brandenburg said...

John Gardner,

"That" and "gift" agree in gender, and the far demonstrative pronoun, "that" refers to "salvation," it seems, in light of the feminine "grace" and "faith." That's why I don't think Eph 2:8-9 prove that faith is a gift. Good example with 1 Cor 6:6.

Phil,

Yes to first question. I think there is a so-called age of accountability.

Gary Webb said...

Terry,
In Luke 22 Peter was not making a salvation decision. He was already saved & possessed Eternal Life. You do not get saved or stay saved by always making the right choice. But, when you come to Christ for salvation, you cannot come without "forsaking all." This is a very important point. We must not confuse trusting Christ with true repentance with the issue of Christian living ... in which we all fall short.

Terry McGovern said...

Bro Webb,

I am aware Peter was already saved. That was not my point. If you notice I pointed out John Mark as well who was already saved. My point was he was a Christian who was not willing to forsake all, and yet he was saved.

Let me understand your point. A person must be willing to forsake everything at any cost at the time they get saved or they CANNOT be saved, but they do not have to live it out when the going gets tough/every day life. Is that a fair statment of what you believe? (I am not trying to be sarcastic. Sometimes you can tell in this forum.)


It is not enough to see yourself wicked before a Holy God and knowing He is going to judge you; your only escape is though the righteouness of Christ which was made possible by his death and ressurection, and that if you one through repantce and faith truns to Christ he will save you? That is the gospel I see through out scripture.

Gary Webb said...

Terry,
I do not believe there is ANYTHING in my post that is of this nature: "they do not have to live it out when the going gets tough/every day life."
I believe that God demands of us that we obey every command - no matter how tough it is. However, He does not demand it for us to STAY SAVED. We are kept by the power of God.
You do not seem to be able to separate the issue of believing upon Christ for salvation (a faith that is unreserved, though not fully knowledgeable of all the Bible teaches) from living for Christ (a faith that is imperfect in its obedience). I am not trying to attack you in that statement, but that seems to the problem.
Did Christ tell the "rich young ruler" to sell all & follow Him? What did that mean? Was Jesus joking when He made that demand?

Don Johnson said...

Gary,

re the rich young ruler...

So you are saying that you have taken the vow of poverty? You have no earthly possessions?

Is the rich young ruler a normative mandate or an example of the Lord pointing out a particular man's idolatry?

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Terry McGovern said...

Bro Webb,

I will try and be more transparent in the point I am trying to make. I understand the difference between placing faith upon Christ and living for Him. I am trying to point out a major inconsistency within Lordship salvation. You stated one must be willing to forsake all and follow Christ in order to BE saved. I was trying to point out examples of saved men (saved already being the key) who were not willing to forsake all. Thus I asked you to help me understand your point. A lost man must be willing to forsake everything he has in order to be saved, yet he does not have to live it out? Obviously that statement is full of problems. That was my point. So Peter at the moment of salvation has to be ready to die, but after he is saved he can forsake? I am trying to show problems with Lordship salvation, as well as pointing out that it has the potential to lead one to believe there are things besides faith he MUST do to be saved. I am fearful some in this group one day will be saying, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

As far as the Rich man goes, I do believe that is very misunderstood, even the disciples were worried when they heard what Jesus said to the young man, thinking no one then can be saved. Here is what I wrote earlier on this: “…I use the rich young ruler every time I witness. His problem was one of refusing to see his own wickedness. He had the audacity to even say he has always followed the law! Not true! The first step in salvation is to see your need of Christ. Jesus trying to show him this, then pointed out how wicked he was by telling him to sell all that he had, knowing he was sinner like all of us, and he would not do it. Instead of seeing his wickedness and need of Christ and begging for mercy, he turned and walked away. He failed to see how wicked his own greed and self pleasing life was. Remember even the disciples asked after this, “who then can be saved?” Jesus let them know they CANNOT do it; it is only possible with God. The point of Jesus’ discussion with the young man was to make him see his wickedness and need of savior, which he refused to do.”

Had he been perfect, without sin, he would have sold all and followed. His did not want to see how wicked he was. He did not want to see his need for begging for mercy because he was to prideful. He was not looking for true salvation, but an “attaboy” from Jesus. He did not get it. Remember he wanted to “do” something to get to eternal life. He did not ask to be saved. He, like many Jews, was trying to establish his own righteousness apart from Jesus Christ, thinking he could follow the law entirely. Jesus quickly showed him how short he falls by telling him to sell everything he had. He should have said “Lord help me I am wicked man and have mercy”. To prove my point on this, notice when the young man asked what he must “do”, Jesus told him to follow the law, “keep the commandments.” You and I know that is not possible. No one will be saved that way, unless one was entirely without sin. Jesus, being God, knew this man’s heart and his thoughts. He knew this man was full of self-righteousness. Jesus then, doing as he always did when witnessing, took a course of action that would show HIM how wicked he truly was.

Terry McGovern said...

To sum up my point Jesus was telling the young man what he needed to "do" if he chose to follow the law in order to receive eternal life. Remember Jesus said “If THOU shalt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast..."

Terry McGovern said...

Bro Kent,

Sorry it has taken me awhile to respond. First do you believe Ananias and Sapphira overcame? How about the believers in Corinth who died because of sin? Do you believe God will kill a Christian because he does not repent from a sin? I don’t think any of these would fit Macarthur’s definition of perseverance, yet they do fit in just fine with I John 2:19 as true believers. One day you and I need to sit down and discuss this particular issue (perseverance). It is too hard in the forum. Hopefully we can before we get to heaven because by then you will see I am right already. :) To see McArthur’s true belief about perseverance you need to read his writings on the book of Hebrews.

Once again there was much you wrote that I agree with. Parts of the statements of McArthur I agreed with. However he does not clearly separate between essence of faith, or what I would say the results of faith, and faith itself enough. I think that is dangerous. To say one must be willing to forsake everything at all cost, in order to receive eternal life is not correct. If one actually presents that when witnessing, wow, how does that not lead to a works based salvation. The person’s salvation is based on what he is willing to give up, not what Jesus did on the cross. The focus is wrong. A result of faith is a willingness to follow Christ completely, but that does mean the person must be thinking, in order to be saved I have to be ready to sell everything and live on the street. The fact is, although many saved people might say they are ready serve God regardless, they are not ready at all. I know from experience. When the Lord called me to New Guinea, I did not want to come! No kidding. I was scared to death. I always said Lord whatever you want, but when it was New Guinea, I did my best to get away from it. I wanted to remain in the ministry in states. Of course since then, God has given a love for it here even in a remote location. My point is this: God knows we are not TRULY ready to forsake all at any cost, yet he will still save us.
I am not sure if we differ on Luke 9:57-62 or not. When one truly sees who Jesus is and what he did, there is no looking back. There is no else to look to.

What do you mean by one MUST lose his own soul or cannot be saved? (I know the corresponding verse)

I did not mean to imply McArthur believed in sinless perfection. I know he does not.

Gary Webb said...

Don,
The Lord did not ask me to take a "vow of poverty", & I don't even think He required that of the "rich young ruler." That is a Roman Catholic idea foreign to Scripture. Many have given up all, but had the Lord reward them with earthly riches later.
But, to deal with the ruler's sin of covetousness (idolatry & violation of the 1st commandment), Jesus required that of that man.
I was not living for money when the Lord convicted me of my sin. But the Lord definitely made it clear that I had to fully yield my life to Him ("die to self", "repent", whatever you want to call it). I did not at that time know all He would require, but my decision to trust Him as Lord & Savior was just that.
How about you? Did you come (or has anybody) come to Christ in faith while holding on to some sin that the Lord has addressed in that person's life?

Don Johnson said...

Hi Gary,

Well I came to the Lord at a very early age. The issue for me was admitting I was a sinner. I think that is the essential issue for everyone.

Yes, I have known people who came to the Lord while still holding on to sins, not really realizing, perhaps, that they were sins they must give up. But they truly came to the Lord, then as a matter of growing awareness (discipleship)gave up those sins.

It is possible to realize you are a sinner and must repent of your sins while not entirely realizing all the ramifications of that decision.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Gary Webb said...

Don,
Thanks for agreeing with what I have written in all my previous posts.
I have never said that they had to know everything, but I have said that someone cannot coming to Christ deliberately, willfully holding on to sin.

Don Johnson said...

Gary,

I think we are basically in agreement, the seeming difference is just in the way things are expressed. My objection to the Lordship position as such is that it seems to add a requirement that goes beyond the Bible and tends towards a works-orientation. At least the positions could be better expressed. At worst the Lordship position finds people teetering into false teaching.

As a result, I think one should avoid claiming the Lordship position and simply preach faith and repentance.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Kent Brandenburg said...

Everyone,

I don't see how that the yielding of your will to Jesus as Lord could be confused as a work. You take the will out of it and you are left with an intellectual decision. Either that or you have rebellion against Jesus.

When you look at the gospel Jesus and the 12 and 70 after that preached, it was the gospel of the kingdom. What is a kingdom? It's an absolute monarchy in which Jesus is King. If someone is under an absolute monarchy, he doesn't do what he wants any more. He understands that.

Anyway, I think I've explained this as clearly as possible. What I am reading is that people want to see a "willingness to obey" actually means "obey." There is a difference. And since some make it the same, they exclude the willingness part of it too, and then it is just easy believism. We all agree that it's not salvation by works nor keeping saved by works. But it does involve the will.