Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Never Ending Lordship Salvation Debate

I just have a few things to say about lordship salvation. I understand why there is opposition. I may offend some of you here but hang in there. The term itself is a misnomer, and its opponents are fighting for the purity of "Faith Alone". For that I tip my hat. There are problems with their thinking that I will explain in a little bit.

Lordship salvation has yet to be clearly defined, and showing both sides of the debate it is like walking on a tightrope. John MacArthur "An Introduction to Lordship" article is the closest, but those opposed would argue that it doesn't articulate the gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-5) which is the power of salvation (Romans 1:16). How could a term with the word "salvation" in it not explain the gospel? To an extent I can see their point. To be honest, I've never been crazy about the term "lordship salvation".

Jesus Christ is Lord whether we surrender to Him or not. We cannot surrender to Him anymore than Lazarus could in death without supernatural intervention. We were dead as Lazarus in our sins. (Ephesians 2:1-10) Surrendering to His Lordship can't be a choice, because He is Lord and He will divinely call His elect to surrender to Him as Lord through the proclamation of the Gospel. If it were our choice to surrender to His lordship in order to get saved, then it would be a work of the flesh and not of the Spirit.

On the other hand, I understand the tough love language of Lordship Salvation proponents. There is a dire need to counteract the heresy of easy-believism.  "Asking Jesus in to your heart", "Make a decision for Christ" or "The sinner's prayer", "Accepting Him as savior", etc., and continue life as though nothing happened has spread throughout the last 50-70 years like a wild deadly cancer. These unbiblical methods have created a flood of false converts and it has reeked havoc in churches, and trampled Christ's finished work on the cross.  

The gospel of easy-believism has been reduced salvation to a mere mental assent.  If we understand God's sovereign grace, then there is nothing in our human ability that can cause our own salvation. "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of worksso that no one may boast." Ephesians 2:8-9.

Here is a thought for those who hold to non-lordship doctrine. If you believe salvation is the work of the spirit, which is what I believe (Titus 1:1), and if you say the call to repent and believe (Mark 1:15) is mixing law and gospel, then you have to ask yourself this question, is faith a work too?  Pause and think about it for a minute. If you believe that someone like me who believes that repentance (The changing of mind about God, sin, the Bible, suddenly loving other Christians, etc., and being compelled to turn away from the old life) is all works of the flesh, then logically you would have to come to the conclusion that faith is a work as well.

"The pivotal doctrine in the lordship debate is justification by grace through faith alone (sola fide). No-lordship doctrine is a corruption of sola fide. The leading proponents of the no-lordship view err because they tend to make justification practically the only work God does in salvation, and they omit or downplay the doctrines of regeneration and sanctification." John MacArthur (emphasis mine); full article here.

Related articles:

Paul Washer Addresses His Critics in Lordship Salvation

Sandemanianism: Something to Avoid?

The Gospel of Satan ~ AW Pink

Sermon: Regeneration v. The Idolatry of Decisional "Evangelism" (Paul Washer @ the Deeper Conference 2008)