Lordship Salvation correspondence

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by IfbReformer, May 25, 2005.

  1. IfbReformer

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    Jun 24, 2002
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    I have been having an interesting discussion with a seminary student who has been emailing me. I will not give his name so he can remain anonymous.

    He was disagreeing with me about my views against Lordship Salvation, specifically against the teachings of John MacArthur in this area.

    I thought you might find it interesting reading, if not more food for discussion.

    Here it is:

    Seminary Student:
    I wish it were true that you and MacArthur were only talking about what real faith looks like, even then we would disagree, but that would not be has critical.

    But MacArthur is not only saying what he believes real faith produces, he is saying what the gateway to real salvation is, whether it(the Gospel) is presented fully or not:

    Listen to these quotes from MacArthur:

    This one I think you quoted earlier:

    So it is more than what you said "Yes it is by
    simple faith, yes it is all of grace, and all of His mercy". MacArthur would disagree with you in his words "In other words, salvation is purely grace, you don't commit to anything and you don't repent from anything" - look at the context of how he said this statement, it was in disgust!

    Salvation is "purely grace" whether MacArthur or many other good Christian teachers now or in the past realized it. Yes you do not have to commit to anything, you do not have to pledge your life to the Lord in exchange for salvation. You do not have to turn from your sins, because you cannot until you are saved and then God calls upon you to turn from your sin.

    We have not redefined "repentance as changing your mind about who Jesus is, or changing your mind about whether you can save yourself", that is simply what it means. MacArthur and many other good intentioned Christian leaders of the past added turning from your sins into the repentance that leads to salvation.

    You do have to confess your sinful state, but that is implied in your acceptance of Christ as your personal Savior, because you accept why he had to die(because you sinned) and what he saves you from(the penalty of your sin). One of the first things I look for in a potential convert is the recognition of their own sin, if they do not think they are sinner, if they do not see there sin for the wickedness that it is, they cannot be saved. How can you accept a Savior when you do not believe what he saving you from, that you are sinner destined for hell?

    The other straw man MacAthur throws out is his opposition that we find it "abhorrent " to "to affirm the Lordship of Jesus Christ, in spite of the fact that Paul said that you have "To confess with your mouth `Jesus as Lord". We do not - what I believe and many other good Bible believing Christians believe is just that, that you must affirm Jesus Christ's Lordship and his being your Savior - But his Lordship is implied in the very fact that he is Savior and Messiah - he is God. But affirming it(his being God, Master and Lord) and pledging(commiting) submission to his authority are two different things. My son can affirm that I am his father and his authority. But he does not always submit to my authority as his father, in fact many times he does not. In fact, in the worst case scenario, if my son constantly disobeyed me, and rarely if ever submitted to my authority would that make him any less my son?

    Here is MacArthur again:
    So lets look at MacArthur's words here:

    This "an incomplete presentation of the gospel" in MacArthur's view:

    "Jesus died for your sin and rose again and graciously offers you forgiveness by faith in his name"

    Lets see if this incomplete according to the Bible:

    "They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household."
    Acts 16:31

    28Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" 29Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."
    John 6:28-29

    "9That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."
    Romans 10:9-10

    Does not sound incomplete to me. believe in our heart that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, that he died and he rose from dead for our sins -thats it. It is one thing to affirm(and believe in our heart) Jesus's deity and soverignty and his place as our Savior and advocate(that saves us) - it is another to make a pledge(commitment) of one's life and a pledge(commitment) of obedience in exchange for salvation.

    Should we make a commitment to Christ? Absolutelty! Should we obey his commands? Absolutely! This is how we demonstrate our love for him for what he has done for us. Does God demand our obedience? Absolutely! But not in exchange for our salvation. If we are his children(saved) and we do not obey him, we will losse reward and we may be disciplined by him, but there is now no more condemenation toward us who are in Christ Jesus.

    So in other words, if we don't talk about submission and discipleship and turning from sin we have presented a half Gospel in MacAthur's words - you would agree at this point with him right?

    Ok lets add these in to the "incomplete presentation of the gospel" as MacArthur calls it so we can complete it in his view:

    "Jesus died for your sin and rose again and graciously offers you forgiveness by faith in his name AND if you not only believe and acknowledge him as your Lord God and Savior, but you make a commitment to submit to that Lordship in obedience and pledge to turn from your sin(not only acknowlege your sin, but stop doing it), start becoming more and more like him each day then he will save you."

    So what is wrong with this presentation of the Gospel? This is what MacAthur believes is a complete Gospel presentation.

    You see it is more than an argument about what real faith produces, its about about what it takes to get God's salvation.

    Seminary Student:
    No I do not believe Christians are free from the moral law of God because we are saved by grace and faith alone. We are still bound by God's moral law, but our disobedience to it does not negate our salvation. Our disobedience to God's moral law has different consequences, now if we are saved. We loose rewards, and we may suffer the discipline of God in this life through many different ways. But our eternal salvation is in no way attached to, or dependent on our obedience to God's moral laws. That is not antinomianism, thats the truth of the Gospel.

    As I have said, I believe change will occur, as you do, in the life of any true believer. However, that change might be very little, or very great, depending on this new believers submission to God's working progressive sanctification in their life. But that is between that person and God. Only they and God know if there has been change and if they truly believed. God knows who are his, we do not always.

    This is not to say Preachers should not preach on submission and obedience to God. Again every week we who teach out to call our hearers to obedience and submission to Christ. But if we confuse obedience and submission to Christ with what it takes to be saved we have errored from the Gospel. The complete Gospel is "Jesus died for your sin and rose again and graciously offers you forgiveness by faith in his name" whether John MacArthur thinks its incomplete or not.


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