What is Lordship Salvation?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Herald, May 23, 2012.

  1. Herald

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    A definition of terms is helpful in any theological debate. In many of the debates on this board I witness two people arguing according to different definitions. They're not debating the same thing. Considering the present Lordship Salvation thread I think it's helpful to know what each side believes.

    From the perspective of those who are adherents of Lordship Salvation, this soteriological view is divided into two distinct categories:

    1. What transpires during the process of salvation, vis a vie the Lordship of Jesus Christ?

    2. What dynamic does the Lordship of Christ play in the life of a believer?

    What transpires during the process of salvation?

    Both sides of the debate believe that salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8, 9). Works of man play no part in salvation. When a sinner comes to faith two things happen. First, the sinner becomes a saint. The old man dies and is replaced by a new man (Rom. 6:3-4; 2 Cor. 5:17). Secondly, the former sinner's allegiance and affections change. No longer is the new saint a child of wrath following the "prince of the power of the air" (Eph. 2:2-3). The new saint is a son of God (Gal. 3:26), and a citizen of the kingdom of light (1 Peter 2:9).

    During the process of salvation repentance takes place. This repentance is both negative and positive. Negatively it is a turning from self and sin. Positively it is a turning towards God (Acts 11:18). Lordship Salvation does not teach that a new believer must exhibit Christian maturity or good works before they can be considered a bona fide believer. There is no waiting period before a professed believer can start their journey of discipleship. Lordship Salvation does teach that Jesus Christ has the proper legal standing over His church, made possible by His purchasing the Church, through His blood, on the cross. Jesus Christ is Lord whether the new believer understands that or not.

    What dynamic does the Lordship of Christ play in the life of a believer?

    There is a Christian doctrine called progressive sanctification. Phil. 1:6 states, "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." Christians are a constant work in progress. From the moment a sinner is regenerated the Holy Spirit is working to confirm that person more and more to Christ. Rom. 8:29 states that the elect of God are being conformed to the image of His Son. Eph. 2:10 states that believers were created for good works. All of these things are positive markers of an obedient servant. If these things are lacking then the professed believer may be illegitimate. There is an old saying, "not every professor is a possessor."

    Progressive sanctification does not teach that a believer is immune to periods of disobedience or stagnation. In fact, that is exactly how we grow. God often tests us. We invariably fail the test and are driven to confession and repentance. Hopefully we learn our lesson and progress in our sanctification. That is the Christian life. Christ-likeness is perfected in our failures through the Spirit's work in our life.
     
    #1 Herald, May 23, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: May 23, 2012
  2. DHK

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  3. SolaSaint

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    So if one doesn't follow or agree with Lordship salvation, does that person not believe in sanctification? I do see a lot of easy believism today where seeker churches just get someone to sign a profession of faith or raise their hand to agree to be saved, then it is up to the believer to follow the Lord. If that person was never changed by the Holy Spirit then they will not have a desire to follow Christ and want to please Him. I think we see a lot of this today. I used to belong to a Seeker church where they had classes for unchurched people to attend to see what this church had to offer. Then once a person was saved they were encouraged to join a small group, but no discipleship training at all. It seemed as if they added Jesus to their lives just as they would add a second car to the garage. Maybe that is why we have the 80/20 principle?
     
  4. Herald

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    I would say they don't believe in progressive sanctification until such time as they surrender their life to God. In some ways they may view sanctification as "on hold." The person who believes in Lordship Salvation would consider progressive sanctification to have begun at the moment of regeneration.
     
  5. DHK

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    No, we believe that salvation is progressive; that it continues throughout a person's life.
    If a person has genuinely trusted the Lord, is it not up to that person to follow the Lord, ideally with the help of the local church and those in the church to help disciple him.
    No matter what your view of salvation, if a person does not have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit he is not saved. That is what happens at salvation, isn't it? We change because we have the Holy Spirit, not in order to have the Holy Spirit.
    I agree that there is a lack of discipleship training in our churches today.
     
  6. freeatlast

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    Lordship salvation embraces both repentance and faith unlike Savior only salvation which only deals with believing.

    Repentance is not summed up in turning from sin. It is not what we turn from but Who we turn to. There are many people who want to be free from the consequences of sin but do not want to turn from the sin that causes the consequences.
    There are a many a person who hears of the loving Jesus and are willing to accept Him in that, but have no intention of turning to God.
    Savior salvation leaves the person not only in their sin but with their sin.
    Lordship set them free from both.
    Lordship salvation is when the person is ready to get right with God on His terms no matter what it may cost them. It is a heart/spirit attitude brought about by brokenness because of their sin. That is repentance, they are turning to God. At that point they are pointed to take that heart and place it on Jesus as He has paid for their sin and faith is born and they are born again.
    This false claim of accepting Jesus as Savior and getting saved and sometime later accepting Him as Lord is a false gospel. If He is not received as who He is “Lord” then He does not enter in.
     
  7. jonathan.borland

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    What's the Lordship Salvation take on backsliding (possibility, variety, degree, length of time, still saved? etc.), which is a fairly baptistic and practical doctrine (e.g. Peter as opposed to Judas Iscariot) and in my opinion not in conflict with once saved, always saved?

    Jonathan C. Borland
     
  8. Herald

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    Jonathan,

    Not every Baptist believes in backsliding; however it is quite possible for a person to have period(s) of disobedience. Such occurrences don't change their standing in Christ, hence they have not backslidden (i.e. gone backwards). Their position in Christ is not dependent on their own works but on the finished work of Christ.
     
  9. saturneptune

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    You said "Lordship salvation is when the person is ready to get right with God on His terms no matter what it may cost them. It is a heart/spirit attitude brought about by brokenness because of their sin." A person is never ready to get right with God on His terms. We are all in a fallen state, and without a touch from God, we will never turn to him. We dont turn, He draws. Another flaw in that statement is that everything to become Christ like is instantaneous. We are sanctified as the Lord sees fit. The evidence is quite clear, since we continue to sin in thought, motivation, or action after salvation. If being like Christ, turning from all sin, and becoming more spiritually mature were instant, then the word sanctification could be set aside.

    In your last statement you say "getting saved." How does one get saved? Again, it implies action of the sinner, not the work of a merciful God. Since the Lord does the work, the very concept you talk about in that last sentence of "sometime later accepting the Lord" is a strawman. The Lord does not have a handy dandy two stage process. So, to argue against something that does not exist is a mute point.

    At another point, you say "they take that heart and put it on Jesus." This is the third example of the effort of a sinful man "doing things" for salvation.
     
  10. jonathan.borland

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    I would define a backslidden state as that period of time where a child of God grieves and quenches the Holy Spirit through disobedience and unconfessed sin. I think I would not minimize its consequences, since I believe it changes not only one's eternal position in terms of eternal rewards but also one's temporary position in terms of being Spirit-filled, qualified for certain ministries, reception of God's favor as opposed to his chastening, etc. My main question as regards Lordship Salvation remains: Is there room in it for backsliding as I have defined it? If so, doesn't it kind of create a paradox with the primary premise of Lordship Salvation?
     
  11. freeatlast

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    Lordship salvation embraces both repentance and faith unlike Savior only salvation which only deals with believing.

    Repentance is not summed up in turning from sin. It is not what we turn from but Who we turn to. There are many people who want to be free from the consequences of sin but do not want to turn from the sin that causes the consequences.
    There are a many a person who hears of the loving Jesus and are willing to accept Him in that, but have no intention of turning to God.
    Savior salvation leaves the person not only in their sin but with their sin.
    Lordship set them free from both.
    Lordship salvation is when the person is ready to get right with God on His terms no matter what it may cost them. It is a heart/spirit attitude brought about by brokenness because of their sin. That is repentance, they are turning to God. At that point they are pointed to take that heart and place it on Jesus as He has paid for their sin and faith is born and they are born again.
    This false claim of accepting Jesus as Savior and getting saved and sometime later accepting Him as Lord is a false gospel. If He is not received as who He is “Lord” then He does not enter in.
     
  12. freeatlast

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    KJV Dictionary Definition: backslide

    backslide


    BACKSLI'DE, v.i. back and slide. To fall off; to apostatize; to turn gradually from the faith and practice of christianity. Jer.iii. Hos.iv.
    backslider

    BACKSLI'DER, n. An apostate; one who falls from the faith and practice of religion. Prov.xiv.
    2. One who neglects his vows of obedience and falls into sin.
    backsliding

    BACKSLI'DING, n. The act of apostatizing from faith or practice; a falling insensibly from religion into sin or idolatry.

    It is impossible for a believer to be an apostate. The term is for the lost. Backsliding is only used for a nation in scripture and never an individual and it is used for a people who were apostate (lost) comparing them to past generations who were saved. A believer cannot backslide from a biblical stance. A backslider is an apostate and all apostates are lost.
     
  13. Judith

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    I would say that Lordship salvation is coming to Jesus for who He is to get saved.
     
  14. saturneptune

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    God does the saving, not man. There are no half steps. Either one is saved or they are not. Since God is in charge of the act of salvation, I doubt God creates a senario where a person is saved and continues in blatant sin. That is a man made invention. There is no need to create a new type of salvation called Lordship. The one described in the Bible does just fine.
     
  15. Herald

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    First, "backslidden" is not even a New Testament term. It's used twice in the Old Testament; Proverbs 14:14 and Jeremiah 8:5. In Proverbs it's difficult to ascertain a doctrinal point, although it suggests strongly the actions of an unbeliever. In Jeremiah the term clearly means apostasy on the part of the nation of Israel.

    As far as your main question, about whether backslidden (according to your definition) creates a paradox within the primary premise of Lordship Salvation; I see no paradox or quandary. It's already been established that Christians go through periods of obedience and disobedience. The Christian's position in Christ is not dependent on his level of obedience but on the finished work of Christ. 2 Cor. 13:5 tells to, "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you-- unless indeed you fail the test?" Grace, and transforming work of the Holy Spirit, are either evident in their life or they aren't.
     
  16. freeatlast

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    Of course God does the saving but man has his part to accept the saving God will do. God does not save people who want to continue in their rebellion. Man must repent. Lordship is not a new type. It is simply an another way to say what the bible says instead of what man is saying in just accepting Jesus as savior to be saved which is false.
     
    #16 freeatlast, May 24, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: May 24, 2012
  17. Havensdad

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    From John Macarthur:

    "Christians can be carnal. That is, they can behave in carnal ways. But "carnal Christian" is not a plane of existence where one can remain indefinitely. Carnality is never spoken of by Scripture as a perpetual state for believers. In other words, while Christians can be carnal in their behavior, they are never carnal in their nature."

    Yes, Christians can "backslide" to some degree. But the scriptures say that the person who practices unrighteousness IS unrighteous (not justified). So it is not a permanent state of existence.
     
  18. Havensdad

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    Something that I wrote to illustrate the differences... Hope this is helpful:

    [​IMG]
     
  19. jonathan.borland

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    Repentance is part and parcel of salvation. There is no saving belief in God without repentance. The theological bifurcation of faith and works is not really healthy, since in reality they are inseparably intertwined. The problem is that this old body ain't glorified yet and must be crucified daily and beat into submission through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within. But if I remember MacArthur correctly, at points of failure Jesus Christ is not "Lord of all" and thus not "Lord at all." I think such terminology is unfortunate and easily misinterpreted. Sinning and confession/repentance remain daily activities.
     
  20. Havensdad

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    That would NOT be in accordance with what I have read and heard Macarthur say...LS proponents would affirm that the Christian walk includes daily failure, confession and repentance.
     

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