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Lordship Salvation, Free Grace, and Easy-Believism

I was watching a gospel presentation on the web the other day. You know, one of those dynamic slide presentations that have a nice piano playing in the background, warm colors, and leaves you wishy washy at the end. Well, this site walked people through the Gospel telling what Christ did and how it is we can have eternal life. At the end of the presentation people were called upon to say this prayer:

“Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner and don’t deserve eternal life. But I believe you died and rose from the grave to purchase a place for me in heaven. Lord Jesus, come into my life; take control; forgive my sins and save me. I repent of my sins and now trust in you to save me. I accept the free gift of eternal life.”

So far so good, right? Well, yes . . . but . . . I am not going to pick the prayer apart with a theological fine tooth comb, but I do want to show you what the next slide in the presentation said. Here it is:

  • If you have truly repented (turned away; forsaken) from your sins
  • Placed your trust in Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death
  • And received the gift of eternal life
  • You are now a child of God forever.

Now, I don’t know about you, but that first bullet point has me slightly concerned. Now I am not sure I am a child of God. Has anyone forsaken their sins? I have and continue to try, but no luck yet.

Yes, this is the infamous (and often nauseating) Lordship salvation debate. How much does one have to do, believe, and change to be saved? No, I am not a proponent of Lordship salvation or its so-called opposite extreme called “easy-believism.” I can be often found eating popcorn right in the middle. This does not mean that I don’t have any convictions about the issue or that I think it is unimportant, it is just that I think that both sides have their points. In fact, I hold to a more mediating position called “Free Grace.”

Let me give you some brief definitions:

Lordship Salvation: The belief that salvation involves both a belief and repentance of one’s sins. Repentance is the “turning away” from all known sin, giving complete (not partial) “Lordship” of our lives to Christ. Without this full commitment, one is only a nominal Christian and has yet to experience true conversion.

Free Grace: The belief that salvation involves a complete trust in Christ for salvation. Repentance is the changing of one’s mind about who Christ is and their general attitude toward sin (i.e. that sin is bad and we don’t like it). This change of the mind will necessary bring forth the fruit of a change life, but one cannot determine what aspects must change or when the Holy Spirit will bring certain changes about. Christ is our “Lord” in the sense that he is God, not in the sense that we have abandoned all known sins. The abandoning of all sins requires a life long process called sanctification.

Easy-Believism: The belief that salvation involves a complete trust in Christ for salvation. Repentance is the changing of one’s mind about who Christ is. This change may or may not bring change in the life of the believer. Christ is “Lord” in the sense that he is their God, not in the sense that they have abandoned all known sins. The abandoning of all sins requires a life long process called sanctification.

Back to the prayer . . .

Bullet point one: “If you have truly repented (turned away; forsaken) from your sin [you are a child of God]”

Do you agree with this statement?

Can one be saved without “forsaken” their sins?

Have you forsaken you forsaken your sins?

Thoughts?

56 Responses to “Lordship Salvation, Free Grace, and Easy-Believism”

  1. Lordship proponents do mean well, looking at the lack of proper discipleship among the new converts to Christ. But their emphasis is not Biblical. The Bible does talk about carnal Christians, and the solution is not in doubting their salvation (though that is possible), but in adequate theological education.

    And the Bible nowhere asks people to repent of sins to enjoy salvation. The call is only to come/believe/trust. The Lordship proponents, in my opinion, create needless issues in the life of a new believer.

  2. I have some sympathies with Lordship salvation but it seems to me that this debate is predominantly Calvinist. Being a non-Calvinist I am not certain the dilemma arises in the same way.

    I have mentioned this several times before, I see Salvation as a lifestyle, a direction one is walking in. So it is not about right belief or right behaviour (ie. a minimum number of either before salvation) rather a focus on Christ. You free grace option matches best. Whatever your current belief and current behaviour those who turn from walking from Christ toward him are those who are saved. They change their mind about sin even if they still struggle with sin.

    A (generally) orthodox or orthopraxic person rejecting Christ is not saved. A heterodox or heteropraxic person who is attracted to Christ and tries to become like him is saved. (And God will sort out their belief and behaviour in time).

  3. The Bible does talk about carnal Christians

    Could you please specify where?

  4. While Sanctification is a lifelong process, Justification is a one-time event. Abraham (who was a idol-worshipper), the Bible teaches, was counted righteous because he believed in the true God. There is no mention of him forsaking sins or even an willingness to forsake is missing!

  5. How do we then understand the following in light of your post?

    Act 17:30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,

    and

    Luk 13:3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.

  6. bethyada:

    Sorry I missed your question. Paul, in I Cor. 3, talks about fleshly (another word for carnal) Christians. He, of course, admonished them to grow out of it!

  7. Bullet point one: “If you have truly repented (turned away; forsaken) from your sin [you are a child of God]” Do you agree with this statement?

    If “having truly repented” means my attitude now agrees with God about my sin and sin in general, yes. The most important question when I trusted Christ is, “Did I really mean it, deep down in my heart?” In Romans 6:21, the apostle Paul refers to being “ashamed” of things done prior to salvation, reflecting a genuine change of heart. Yet moral weakness remains that is gradually strengthened due to the Holy Spirit’s work of sanctification, but one cannot persist in sin with the same ease of conscience as before.

    Can one be saved without having “forsaken” their sins?

    No. Your attitude toward sin must be changed deep down. This is what I believe forsaken means here.

    Have you forsaken your sins?

    Working on it. I’ll get back to you on that. ;)

  8. This is the debate that will never go away.

    As long as I have been a believer (three decades plus), people have been accusing one another of heinous exegesis and (usually) stopping just short of declaring the other group anathema. Much heat, little light.

    Holding to a Sufficient Grace position myself (I don’t like the word “free” in Free Grace), it strikes me that the Lordship Salvation proposition is actually quite soft on lordship. Repentance, in their view, means to be willing to turn away and give up all sinful practices – actual or potential, known or unknown – and not necessarily doing it.

    As long as you’re willing to do it, you’ve satisfied the LS demands. Of course, what they’ve allowed on the front end (mere willingness) they’ll cast out on the back end (failure to persevere). They’ll get you one way or the other: it’s a suffocating tight, Aristotelian concept they advocate.

    I much prefer Ryrie’s notion of lordship subsequent to salvation. Some of us are so ignorant at the moment of salvation as to not know what we’re getting ourselves into. But after getting a taste, we can then choose lordship or neglect it.

    In the end, however, the results seem to be the same: a pretty lukewarm church fumbling along towards the Tribulation. I don’t think LS produces any more committed Christians than Easy Believism, Free Grace, or Sufficient Grace. They just think they do.

  9. Steve in Toronto November 3, 2008 at 9:10 am

    I have been thinking a lot about the Federal Vision and New Perspectives on Paul controversies regarding Justification recently. The idea of a single “gracious convent of works” seems to provide a good way of thinking about these issues. I am not a Theologian put as someone who has a basically reformed world view but has problems with some elements of “Hyper-Calvinism” and is attracted to a Sacramental style of worship it seems like a very attractive “third way” Any Thoughts?

    God Bless
    Steve in Toronto

  10. Michael,

    I’m going to add to your nomenclature.

    Regeneration: the sovereign act of God alone whereby He himself regenerates the sinner. This is unobservable by the individual, except that the individual notices a change in his/her way of thinking and need for Christ and salvation.

    At this point the individual is eternally”saved”, sealed by the Holy Spirit unto the day of redemption.

    Conversion: This term is sometimes used synonymously with regeneration. In this post conversion is the outwork repenting and confessing and turning of the individual to Christ.

    Sanctification: This is the outward, visible fruit of righteousness that hallmarks the believer from the hypocrite, the nominal confessing Christian, et al.

    Vladimir

  11. One final note about sanctification. It is an invariable consequence of regeneration. Although it is progressive in nature, it is nonetheless supernatural.

    Vladimir

  12. I have to admit that I have difficulty understanding the distinction that is made between Lordship Salvation and Free Grace as put forth by the definitions. A nominal Christian – meaning Christian in name only – is no Christian at all as noted in the definition as not having been converted, yet. Both require the ongoing work of sanctification. Both require faith and repentance. Isn’t this a case of the already and the not-yet? We are both saved and being saved if we are truly born again.

    Before conversion, we sin because we are sinners. That is our nature. After being born again (conversion) we are given a new nature. We now do good because that is our nature(1 John 2:29, 1 John 2:6). We are still inhabitants of our tents of flesh and sin is still present(1 John 1:8), but our attitude towards that sin should be entirely different. The God we once hated, we now love and the sin we once loved, we nate hate.

    We are commanded to repent in multiple places in scripture – see Luke 13:3,5 “I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” Matthew 3:8-10 “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” 1 John 3:3 “Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” 1 John 3:6 “No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.”

    I believe that a lot of the confusion comes from the belief that “we must deny ourselves the things we desire (sin) and do the things we don’t want to do (righteousness)”. Romans 7:18-20 “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.” Paul here explains that his desires have changed. He still sins but he doesn’t want to. If we are born again – the Holy Spirit dwells in us – we will desire to do right and will no longer desire to do wrong (Ezekiel 36:26). We will still do wrong, but the Spirit will convict us (1 John 3:24).

    Bottom line, I do not believe that anyone can be a Christian without repentance. Regardless of your ordo salutis, repentance, faith, belief, trust, sanctification, justification, and glorification are all parts of it. Repentance and faith are two sides of the same coin. The timing and degree of the sanctifying process of repentance working itself out may vary, but it should be evident in the life of any true believer.

  13. Vlad:

    Your point is logical but not necessarily chronological: things happen simultaneously.

    You can’t change the meaning of words (e.g., “conversion”) just to make your argument appear chronologically sound.

  14. Bethyada,

    In # 2 you discuss walking towards Christ as the actuator of salvation (my words). If at some point you walk away, are you no longer saved?

  15. Michael

    I am very much with you on the “Free Grace” path my friend.

    My understanding of the word repent is that it is derived from the Greek word “Metanoia” whicv literally means “about turn”. So ,long as there is a radical change in direction towards God through personal faith in Jesus that is the main thing. That is where the conversion process comes in, that at some point a person teurns away from the directioon of their sin and tuens towards Chjrist and following him.

    Howe can anyone know or assess whther anyone has “truly repented ” 100%. Only God klnows our hearts and it is implying way too much.

    I would also argue that committment to Chriost as Lord might not fully be understood until later on the process Acknowleging him as Saviour icomes first, undersatnding and expeiencing his Lordashiop is a lifelong journey we embark upon,

  16. Michael,

    From your definitions, I would be agree with “Free Grace”. But there’s more to be said, and it’s not clear to me that you’re actually disagreeing with “Lordship Salvation”.

    “Forsaken” is a bad definition for “repent”. It implies that you successfully abandon the sin. As you say, that happens progressively, through sanctification. If Lordship people want to require successful surrender of sin at the beginning, then they go too far. Repentance is more along the lines of sincerely saying, “I have done wrong, I want to change, please help me change.” (The change that follows will be “fruit in keeping with repentance”.)

    But I don’t find obvious clash between that idea, and the definition you gave for Lordship proponents. Are you saying that (for instance) John MacArthur would disagree with that definition of repentance? When Lordship proponents talk about “giving complete Lordship”, are they talking about something like “producing immediate fruit of a radically changed life”? Or are they talking about the commitment & desire to change?

    Mind you, I’m sure that there are plenty of people who take “Lordship Salvation” so far that it really is works-righteousness. But is that the mainstream of the movement? Or are they twisting the movement?

  17. Thanks to Wayne in Frisco,

    “A nominal Christian – meaning Christian in name only – is no Christian at all…”

    Absolutely right, so why do we keep using this term? I think it relates to the essentials for salvation. I do not see the NT speaking of any true believer who is set free to live however they want. Indeed we have many encoragements to grow in faith and practice and this includes things like:

    17Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19They have become callous and) have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
    25Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27and give no opportunity to the devil. 28Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4, ESV

  18. I recently asked Dan Wallace about this subject. This was his response….

    Dan Wallace:

    “As for Christ’s Lordship, I think you said it well: ‘Is it not Biblical to say that we, as believers, should ‘submit to Christ’s Lordship’ ‘?
    Absolutely. We Should. But in JM’s soteriology, too often he says that we must do this in order to be saved. I think that’s going too far. My soteriology is pretty straightforward: We must repent and believe to be saved. Repentance is both a changing of one’s mind, and a genuine remorse over one’s sin. It’s looking back, but it doesn’t necessarily look forward. Once we are saved, and are in a relationship with Christ, we need to grow in grace. True salvation means, I believe, that one will grow in grace. I agree with JM, that fruit is the evidence of life. But where he has gotten muddled in the past, I think, is in assuming that fruit is the means of life.”

    Jugalum, ya know, I wasn’t going to include the name in that quote….. but since you brought him up, In threw in the initials :)

  19. I had been listening to JM’s series entitled: Salvation Survey
    when I had this discussion with Dan Wallace. In addition, Dan said:

    “Ultimately, I think that JM’s view was (but possibly no longer ‘is’) involved a defective pnematology. He didn’t give the Spirit credit for bringing us to repentance, nor for bringing us to submission of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Dan also commented: “…when we declare Jesus is Lord, more than anything else we are declaring that he is YHWH, God himself. Gotta run! I’m off to give a lecture in London tomorrow.” ( I included that salutation just for fun!).

    I can say definitively, that what I heard Mac Arthur say recently was that it IS the HOLY SPIRIT who brings us to repentance. Dan conceded that JM may have softened/changed his views.

    If I were to listen to that entire series (Salvation Survey) again, along with his series: The Gospel According to Jesus, with this topic of ‘Lordship Salvation’ in mind, I might be able to settle the question of where JM now stands on this issue NOW, with certainty.

    Suffice to say, It seems that MacArthur might have adjusted his teaching on this subject somewhat….. It would be wise to give him the benefit of the doubt for now anyway!

    Dan also said to me, that “When we share the Gospel, we should not put roadblocks in anyone’s way.”

  20. I have a question. I have been around people who hold onto the lordship position. I noticed they would say things like ” if you’re truly saved show me the fruit” and ” if you don’t have fruit you’re not truly saved”. Has anyone else noticed this? And also can lordship salvation lead to having a church where people are led to performance or where people feel pressure to bear fruit?

  21. Dr Mike,

    “Your point is logical but not necessarily chronological: things happen simultaneously.

    You can’t change the meaning of words (e.g., “conversion”) just to make your argument appear chronologically sound.”

    I didn’t change anything. The point I was pointing out was that some used the terms regeneration/conversion synonymously/interchangeably.

    I have advocated the indistinction in the terms for clarity sake.

    BTW, from a logical perspective, these events are now simultaneous, except in the person of Jesus on behalf of His sheep. In this respect, they are simultaneous in Him, although the historical progression in an individual’s daily walk with Him is chronological. Hence the ordo salutis.

    This is not at all difficult to grasp.

    Vladimir

  22. Susan,

    We’ll have to see if we can get a Pyromaniac in here to comment on the MacArthur Connection. :)

    I would be shocked if MacArthur didn’t give credit to the Spirit for bringing us to repentance and submission–he’s a Calvinist! I’m not sure what Dan had in mind.

    Hmm… I mostly agree with Dan’s criticisms… I just don’t know whether MacArthur was actually making those errors! (That’s because I haven’t actually read or listened to MacArthur on Lordship.)

    However, I disagree with Dan’s statement that repentance is “looking back, but it doesn’t necessarily look forward.” That doesn’t fit with what I read about “repentance toward God” in Acts. And I don’t see how you can “turn from” without “turning to”.

    But if I say that repentance looks forward to God, that doesn’t mean I’m saying that repentance means “accomplishing change”. It’s an odd critique for Dan to make.

  23. Nit-picker.
    :-)

    Here’s what I’d say:

    Jesus demands that you repent, believe and be baptized — you can’t escape these three words in the NT, and you can’t escape that each of these are “psychological”, “spiritual”, and “pragmatic” — that is, that there is something in your mind, something in your soul, and something in what you thereby do.

    So when you “repent”, do you never sin again? Prolly not — but you hate your sin, and as Paul says, you die to it daily: you fight it. You may not always win, but you’re in the fight someplace — even if it is in a prone position.

    And when you “believe”, you’re not just flicking a mental switch — when I “believe” the light is green, I go, I give the car gas. When I believe in Jesus, what ought I to do? If I don’t, what do I really believe?

    And then of course, there’s baptism … and we don;t want to start that here, do we Michael?
    :-)

    I think we do harm to the Gospel when we try to make everything mean some small part of what the NT or the whole Bible says it means, and this is a great place to show how badly that can go.

  24. P.S. OK, I retract what I said about “repent”–that “I don’t see how you can ‘turn from’ without ‘turning to’.”

    Based on the definition here, I can understand how repentance could be looking back without looking forward.

    But I still don’t see how “looking forward” implies “fruit is the means of life”.

  25. learning,

    “I have a question. I have been around people who hold onto the lordship position. I noticed they would say things like ” if you’re truly saved show me the fruit” and ” if you don’t have fruit you’re not truly saved”. Has anyone else noticed this? And also can lordship salvation lead to having a church where people are led to performance or where people feel pressure to bear fruit?”

    This phenomena of which you speak is based on two faulty notions.

    1. Somehow the individual thinks that they are the spure, touchstone, rule and measure of another. This idea obviates Christ Himself as Teacher, Lord, Saviour, Counsellor, Guide, etc.

    2. The defination of what constitutes fruit/good works is defined by God Himself in His word and not the whime and fancy of men. This usurpation by individuals of divine perrogatives has been the cause of many hurts within the course of Church history.

    The measure of fruit is relative – sort of. St Matthew and St Mark view the fruits of regeneration/conversion/sanctification as 30, 60 and 100 fold/times, whereas St Luke views the fruitfullness of a follower of Jesus as 100% – irrespective of quantity.

    It should be remembered that each individual member of the body of Christ differs just like the various members of the human body in capacity, purpose and use. This is determined by God Himself. We all don’t fit the same mold in our service within the body of Christ.

    In addition, many fruits of the Spirit are hidden from human perview. For example, prayer, the reading of God’s word, alms giving, tithing, many family functions whether with the children or the spouse.

    Vladimir

  26. I think that this whole Lordship Salvation issue is a response to many naming the name of Christ and living shoddy lives–and understandably so. Should we question when someone professes faith in Christ and there appears to be no change? Absolutely! Do we have a right to pronounce them unregenerate if they don’t “show us the money”? No way! Only God can make these judgements. We may choose not to allow someone in a position of leadership in our church if they are living sinful lives or appear to have no passion for God, but only God knows the heart. Will a person change if they are truly saved? Yes. But, it isn’t up to us to measure the change to determine if there supposed conversion was real. I think many question why the Free Grace camp is so passionate about this issue. Are they trying to defend themselves or others they know who want to live careless lives? Hardly. They simply have a passion to protect sola fide. To them (and to me) Faith ALONE means Faith A-L-O-N-E.
    This is the wonder of grace that we will probably never understand –even in eteranty.

  27. Do Lordship people believe that we should bear fruit ALL THE TIME while the Free Grace people believe that a believer will bear fruit but it might not be ALL THE TIME? Thats what i sounds like. If this is true of the Lordship positon it would then make sense as to why they would go around and start questioning if others are truly saved.

  28. No Jugulum, whatever you do, don’t call out the pyro’s!

  29. Tom In # 2 you discuss walking towards Christ as the actuator of salvation (my words). If at some point you walk away, are you no longer saved?

    Well one could argue whether or not he is able to turn away.

    But my view? Yes men can (choose to) reject God after coming to salvation and hence be damned. A very, very bad place to be.

  30. Leslie Paul, in I Cor. 3, talks about fleshly (another word for carnal) Christians. He, of course, admonished them to grow out of it!

    Michael said about Easy Believism Repentance is the changing of one’s mind about who Christ is. This change may or may not bring change in the life of the believer.

    and you said The Bible does talk about carnal Christians,… And the Bible nowhere asks people to repent of sins to enjoy salvation. The call is only to come/believe/trust.

    My concern here is that Michael’s 3rd option and you are implying that men can accept Jesus as Christ and be saved even if they continue in their life of sin, ie. carnal.

    I am not certain that the passage you quoted is using carnal in that way. Rather Paul is contrasting their soulish way of thinking with a spiritual way of thinking. Dividing over which man they follow when they should all follow Christ. He is rebuking them about having childish arguments over a non-existent issue, thinking like men without the spirit rather than men with the spirit. The word carnal here and in your quote do not mean the same thing.

    Now I am not saying that saved men don’t sin, rather that they have to choose a life that rejects sin. I see no biblical warrant for easy believism, and I see biblical arguments against continuing to sin for fear of people choosing apostasy and being rejected by God.

  31. bethyada:

    I am in no way implying that one can come to Christ for salvation, and yet choose to live a lifestyle of sin. Nor does Easy Believism say that. The argument is, there is a possibility for a genuniely converted Christian to live in sin (though that is not desirable).

  32. People like to play games with God; perhaps some may even “accept Christ” because they desire fire insurance with no intention of walking in a manner worthy of the Lord and His calling (Eph 4:1, Col 1:10, 1 Thess 2:12). Honestly, I doubt anyone is that calculating (claiming to be in Christ and actually looking for ways to sin and get away with it) but it seems to me that the challenge of the church today is not to judge people whether they are in or out, but to guide people toward ever deepening levels of commitment to Christ and His church. Rather than letting people slide toward nominalism, we should mentor new believers toward a dynamic relationship with God (which is life changing).

    Perhaps the phrase, “ignorance is bliss” allows us to remain carnal, believing that once the prayer is prayed, my reservation is eternally confirmed. Like saying, “Don’t tell me any more than what I need to know for salvation. Don’t confuse me with a lot of Bible verses, or talk about the cross, or being a living sacrifice, or bearing fruit.” I prefer to stick my fingers in my ears and yell, “I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you!”

    The community of faith must help those on the fringe to live out what they say they believe. At some point perhaps a nominal or even carnal Christian will make the conscious decision that following Christ is not really what he wants to do, or he will take up his cross daily and follow Christ wherever He leads. One thing is sure, when God gets a hold of someone, how can they remain unchanged?

    Forsaking all sin? A worthy goal, but it is much more effective when involved in an accountability relationship. It’s great that the church is a community of faith, coming together for worship and encouragement… but, sometimes just to bleed together.

  33. I’m surprised no one has brought in Paul Washer to this post!

    If you’ve never heard him…google “Shocking Youth Message”

  34. When a person takes the oath of allegiance they become US citizens.

    When a person pledges allegiance to Jesus they become citizens of His kingdom.

    You cannot lose your citizenship in the US (if I understand it correctly) through breaking the law. You are punished for that law-breaking as a citizen.

    You cannot lose your citizenship in Christ’s kingdom through breaking His law. You do lose honour, but as a citizen.

    The way to lose your citizenship in the US is to pledge yourself to another country and foresake your oath.

    The way to lose your citizenship in Christ’s kingdom is through forsaking your oath to Him and pledging allegiance elsewhere.

    Christ’s power is sufficient to hold us, even when we ourselves are not strong enough to hold to Him.

  35. What Christian doesn’t live in sin or deal with a particular set of sins that they are prone to succumb to and struggle with on a regular basis? I have a lust problem and struggle with it. There are times that I know great freedom and never have an inkling
    of temptation. I can feel great freedom for months and then
    get hit with a onslaught of lustful thoughts for days and weeks.

    I’m a christian and I’m a human so I deal with life as a committed
    Christian the best I can on a daily basis no better or worse than any of the above persons who commented.

  36. Suffice it to say, there needs to be a very great paradigm shift if the people in this comment thread will come to understand the truth.

    Eternal life is absolutely free! and recieved by simple faith in Jesus Christ, which is trust in Him for the gift of eternal life PLUS nothing. Saving faith is essentially entrusting one’s ETERNAL destiny into His hands. It is believing Him when He says, “Most assuredly I say to you, whoever believes in Me has everlasting life” (Jn 6:47). It is considering Him your eternal Savior.

    Temporal significance and value that transects into eternity where one will receive eternal rewards is attained through a synergy of God’s grace and Christ’s resurrection power and the saint. It will take hard works and perseverance.

    If you mix or meld these mutually exclusive considerations the result will be works salvation.

    Antonio da Rosa

  37. Brother Patton:

    On your definition of the Free Grace (FG) movement I’d like to offer a few observations. In regard to your notes on repentance, the GES faction of the FG community takes a view that is out of step with virtually any other biblically balanced movement. For example:

    Zane Hodges totally eliminated the necessity of repentance from the conversion experience. In his book, Harmony With God Hodges took the position that the process of repentance may be a preparatory step in coming to salvation, and should be evident in the life of a believer, but a lost man can be born again apart from repentance by any definition. Hodges also said he no longer held to the “change of mind” view of repentance. Hodges said there is only one answer to the question, “What must I do to be saved?” Hodges emphatically stated that repentance is not part of the answer.

    Ironically, Bob Wilkin’s 1985 doctrinal dissertation is titled Repentance as a Condition for Salvation in the New Testament. At that time Wilkin held the “change of mind” view and believed repentance was a condition for salvation.

    The influence of Hodges eventually led Wilkin to abandon the position he defended in his dissertation. At the 1998 Grace Evangelical Society’s National Conference Bob Wilkin revealed he had a “change of mind” about repentance. Hodges and Wilkin defined repentance as “turning from sin,” which is consistent with the Lordship Salvation view of repentance.

    Kind regards,

    LM

  38. Brother Patton:

    On your definition of the Free Grace (FG) movement I’d like to offer a few observations. In regard to your notes on repentance, the GES faction of the FG community takes a view that is out of step with virtually any other biblically balanced movement. For example:

    Zane Hodges totally eliminated the necessity of repentance from the conversion experience. In his book, Harmony With God Hodges took the position that the process of repentance may be a preparatory step in coming to salvation, and should be evident in the life of a believer, but a lost man can be born again apart from repentance by any definition. Hodges also said he no longer held to the “change of mind” view of repentance. Hodges said there is only one answer to the question, “What must I do to be saved?” Hodges emphatically stated that repentance is not part of the answer.

    Ironically, Bob Wilkin’s 1985 doctrinal dissertation is titled Repentance as a Condition for Salvation in the New Testament. At that time Wilkin held the “change of mind” view and believed repentance was a condition for salvation.

    The influence of Hodges eventually led Wilkin to abandon the position he defended in his dissertation. At the 1998 Grace Evangelical Society’s National Conference Bob Wilkin revealed he had a “change of mind” about repentance. Hodges and Wilkin defined repentance as “turning from sin,” which is consistent with the Lordship Salvation view of repentance.

    Kind regards,

    LM

  39. Re Jason’s comment (#36), “When a person takes the oath of allegiance they become US citizens.”

    That argument has no persuasive force, because God’s kingdom is not based upo n American law or consitution and has its own entrance and leaving requirements. Those requirements may be the same as the U.S. one’s, but any similarity would either be coincidental or because the “founding fathers” of Anmeric copied God.

    Furthermore, God no where and at no time ever stated that taking the U.S. oath of allegiance was in any way similar to professing Christ as one’s saviour. Again, any similarities are coincidental.

    God’s kingdom, and entrance into, came way before the American nation and its oath.

    regards

  40. Antonio:

    Your comment #38 above causes me some concern. There seems to be a disconnect that you may be able to clear up.

    At your blog you wrote an article titled, Believe in Christ’s Promise and You are Saved No Matter What Misconceptions You Hold. In regard to evangelizing the lost and the content of saving faith you wrote:

    If a JW hears me speak of Christ’s deity and asks me about it, I will say, ‘Let us agree to disagree about this subject.’

    At the moment that a JW or a Mormon is convinced that Jesus Christ has given to them unrevokable [sic] eternal life when they believed on Him for it, I would consider such a one saved, REGARDLESS of their varied misconcetions [sic] and beliefs about Jesus.

    I would never say you don’t have to believe that Jesus is the Son of God. This has the import of the gospel proposition which makes it salvific! If someone asks me point blank, do I believe that one must believe that Jesus is God in order to go to heaven, I would say ‘NO!’

    If you could answer the following questions I’m sure it would help clear up any confusion as to what you believe is the necessary content of saving faith. Antonio:

    MUST a person believe that they are a sinner, that Jesus is God, that He was here in the flesh and died on the Cross for our very own personal sins, that He was buried, that He rose to life again and was seen in the flesh by a multitude of people in order to be saved?

    Can anything in this “list” be unknown, unbelieved, or rejected at the moment of conversion and the person ACTUALLY be Eternally Saved at that moment?

    Thank you in advance for answering these questions.

    LM

  41. I always wander why people(such as this one) totally misrepresents Lordship salvation. In essence, a straw man is presented.

    I dare to say, name me one Lordship Salvation proponent who teaches that one must repent of every sin(which I doubt we even remember or know of all our sins) or that we are to make Christ Lord over every area of our life in order to find justification.

    Please show me which author, preacher, sermon actually preaches this as Lordship Salvation.

    I have read both of John Macarthur books on the subject and others who have written on the subject(including A W Tozer) and that particular message is not what they preach.

    What is preached is first, we cannot seperate the Lordship or deity of Christ over the beleiver from his actions as Saviour. That Lord is a title of deity, not merely Jesus’ pre first name.

    Ro 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

    Second, that when Christ saves you, he changes your life.
    A mere profession of faith without accompying sanctification is not salvation. If you look at Romans 8: 28, you will find that God predestined us to be “conformed to the image of his Son”.

    Christ even taught, if there was no fruit, no salvation.
    Mt 7:15 ¶ Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
    Mt 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
    Mt 7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
    Mt 7:18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
    Mt 7:19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
    Mt 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
    Mt 7:21 ¶ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
    Mt 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, 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?
    Mt 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
    Mt 7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
    Mt 7:25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
    Mt 7:26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
    Mt 7:27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

    James, the first Pastor even taught that faith without works is dead-which means it was not a saving faith.

    Some will say that I am teaching a works salvation. I would point to Ephesians 2:8-10 which shows that salvation is by grace through faith, not of works. Verse 10 tells us that God has made us his workmanship unto good works.

    Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
    Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
    Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

    Good works, sanctification, righteousness, faithfulness to the Lord, and holiness is the results of salvation, not the cause of it.

    This is Lordship salvation which also does teach repentance. Repentance from sin is only a part of it. It is repenting of that which you rely upon whether another religion or your own standard of righteousness which do(in my honest opinion include sins) The reason why I include sins is first, unbelief is a sin, second-we often allow sins in our standard of righteousness that Christ does not accept. Lastly, we are sinners!

    Heb 6:1 ¶ Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

    I should note that Christ seperated repentance from faith and belief.
    Mr 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

    As far as 1st and 2nd Corinthians, if carnal Christianity were acceptable to God, there would be no writing of these two epistles! The first one was written so that the Corinthian believers would “come out from among them” not to allow for the continuing of sin.

  42. C. Michael – Consider me as another “Free Gracer”. I had followed those who lead the Lordshippers for years, not realizing what the issues were. Many of these men were scholars amongst scholars, but it just didn’t wash with the Scriptures, which is our true authority for life and living. I feel ashamed that these dear brothers have pointed the accusing finger at DTS over the years (an unapologetically proud alum!).
    Thanks again.
    BHFLU – 1 John 4:19
    reo

  43. Ken Marchlenski April 15, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    The Lordship Gospel issue is the most of all difficult primary doctrine that I have tried to grasp, and straw men abound. The Gospel is the vehicle by which Salvation is transmitted. Mr. C.M. Patton defines “Easy Believism” as the Gospel that I do believe is the correct one. However, I always thought that it was synonyms with “License”, makeing it ‘another Gospel’. Looking at his definition (which may be the correct one), I have no problem with preaching ‘Easy Believeism’ exceipt there must be a change in ones life. However, as fruit enspectors, we are not consistant. I have led (I hope) many to Christ and sometimes I had to go back and ask again what they now believe and if they have had any changes at all in the way they live. Few in America allow you to go on to disciple them. They generally prefer to seek out their own teachers, usually via radio or television. Something that I dislike very much but what can I do but try and interact with them and pray for them. There has to be a change but it may not be perceivable to us. I agree with his defintion of ‘repentance’, I agree. In Acts 2:5, we have ‘God fearing’ jews that did not primarily need to repent of their sins, but needed to find another way of Salvation and that was The Lamb of God: Christ Jesus. About understanding Christ as God, we see the Biblical record showing Him primarily as Emmanuel and therefore God the Sovereign of the Universe and us. Can a person “believe in Christ” and not believe that He is Emmanuel? I do not think so. The whole point of differing with the Lordship Gospel is to keep the Free Gift of Salvaion free and not to have it become an exchange or trade-off. Where we committ our lives to Christ and He then Saves us through His atoning work upon the cross. On the other end of the spectrime is License. We need to remind anyone that the Gospel is not a light thing and that God does not hear anyone while they reguard iniquity in their heart (i.e. license). What is wrong with preaching “Lord and Savior”? Nothing really, as long as the believer candidate understands that he or she is receiving a ‘Free Gift’ and not entering into a trade. That is, not making promises to God inorder to be saved. What makes this so very hard to work through is all the strawmen and the fact that it is ‘right and just’ to love, adore, worship, submitt and serve Christ. It’s just that the Lordship Gospel may be putting the cart before the horse if understood wrongly and then you have a neverending ‘Works’ type of false salvation.

  44. I always go to Paul’s epistles for answers to GRACE and works questions. There are no other books in the Bible that fully explain the fine points of GRACE salvation like Paul’s!

    With all of the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself Paul goes forth and confronts the judizers–law keepers–gospel perverters without apology knowing who taught THE GOSPEL to him.

    Paul TWICE warns the Galatians about “ANOTHER GOSPEL” and calls those “accursed” who preached anything contrary to “his” Gospel that he preached to them when he first visited Galatia. He minced no words in the condemnation of the “WHO” (Galatians 3) that had bewitched the believers, leading them back into “bondage” which Christ had set them free from. If it wasn’t what Paul preached he said they are to be damned to the lake of fire! (accursed)

    It was Paul who went into in Arabia and was taught by revelation from the Lord Jesus Himself about the Gospel he preached to the Gentiles. The “LAW” was given to Moses in Sinia of Arabia and here Paul travels to Arabia is the taught “GRACE GOSPEL” by the Lord Jesus Himself!

    In Romans 3 Paul takes away all doubt how the Lord Jesus feels about ‘works’ (law-keeping) salvation. He boldy proclaims we are ALL under the condemnation of the LAW as “transgressors”, and that it is the “free gift” of Christ’s “righteousness” not our own that saves the soul! As Law breakers “works” have no saving efficacy. It is impossible for sinners to not sin (stop sinning) and gain ground for Heaven.

    In Romans 4 Paul teaches the Lord’s doctrine of justification in the sight of God by “FAITH” only. Abraham is the example he uses that “faith alone in Christ” is the vehicle by which we please God.

    In Romans 4:5 He makes the astounding statement–“But to him that WORKETH NOT, but BELIEVETH ON HIM, that justifeth the UNGODLY, his FAITH is counted FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” Righteousness is imputed NOT EARNED! (Romans 4:6)

    Lordship…

  45. I am sure that salvation comes through faith alone in Jesus Christ, not by our own works of righteousness in the flesh. I just wish everyone else could see this truth. I think they get hung up on the commandments of God and seek to keep them by their own works, and not by faith alone in Jesus. For those who do so, please consider this, consider your ways. The bible,for example, commands us not to lie. 1 John 2:22 tells us a liar is one who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Therefore, when we believe he is the Christ, we are no longer liars according to the biblical definition of a liar in 1 John. All the commandments are kept like this one through faith in Jesus. When we believe in him, we fulfill the commandments of God which are telling us to believe Jesus is the Christ, for example we are not to lie, or deny that JEsus is the Christ in unbelief. In other words, the commandment not to lie is a commandment not to deny JEsus is the Christ, but a commandment to believe he indeed is. For it is through faith we are saved. This is God’s commandment, to believe on JEsus and abide in the faith. To see other commandments according to the biblical interpretation by rightly dividing the word of truth, please visit this bible study website. Another example, we are commanded not to steal. If we steal, we are thieves, but if not we are not thieves. In John chapter 10, Jesus told us to seek salvation any other way than through him makes us thieves. THerefore, when we climb up through faith in Jesus alone, we are not theives who steal, spiritually speaking of course, for the law of God is spiritual according to Romans 7:14. The entire bible is spiritual and is not given for private intepretation based on our own natural wisdom and understanding. We are to let God define the words of the bible. Jude speaks of those who are carnally, or naturally minded.

  46. I just wanted to say that I totally agree with wayne in the aspect that without repentence, we cannot be a Christian. Indeed, except ye repent, ye all will likewise perish. Those who are disobedient with be punished with an everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his majesty.

  47. Question for Vladimir. How do you define nominal Christian?

  48. That John Piper link is horrifying. It takes an hour to read, and it goes into about a dozen things that you MUST have in your life, otherwise you are not saved.

    Now I know that John Piper is a false teacher. No way the Gospel was ever explained by the apostles the way he explained it. Nobody can be saved by Piper’s understanding of salvation. And nobody can get any assurance by Piper’s understanding.

  49. I just did a search thru my concordance of the word repentance. I would just like to ask how you can think repentance and salvation don’t go hand in hand? Mark 2:17; Acts 18; Hebrews 6:1-6; 2 Peter 3:9 Acts 17:30-31; mark 1:15; 3:2; Luke 13:1-5; 15:10; REVELATION 9:20-21; 16:11; 11:13
    God even grants us repentance: 2 Timothy 2:22-26
    Jesus first words when He began to preach…”Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”
    Hope this sheds some light into all of our hearts and minds.

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