More on Lordship Salvation
I want to make sure it is understood I am not out to "get" John MacArthur or to discredit him on a personal level. I do not know him so I cannot honestly say one way or the other that John is this or that...
I am critiquing his teaching of Lordship Salvation... Which to me seems to miss some basic teachings of scripture ever so subtly. I do think John is true believer and unlike many out of the “MacArthurite” camp I am not stating he is a heretic/false teacher/not saved or whatever else that is often thrown at the "emerging church/emerging conversation".
Over all I see john as a faithful teacher who at times becomes over zealous and often overlooks that Grace and mercy mixed with humility, respect and gentleness will do more than hot rhetoric.. Alas I too often fail in that area and so must "administer” grace and mercy to John... I also see believe that one can critique another’s theology and ideas without malice and taking an active stance to discredit or harm that person.
One of the basic issues I see is that as someone recently railed against me about, "no true follower of John MacArthur would believe..." showed one of the first fatal mistakes we can do in general as Christians... and that is follow a man. Any man, not just John... but say Billy Graham, the Pope, the Bishop of Durham, and/or Brain McLaren... We are not called to follow a man, but we are called to follow Jesus. I suggest that if one is following a man, then you are not behind the One who can save you. This is one deception that can mess one's spiritual life up badly.
In an article on Biblical Discernments Ministries which is pro MacArthur, the author of the article states:
“Those who reject lordship salvation (e.g., Ryrie), believe that someone may have genuine faith in Christ, but the fact that he continues in his sin demonstrates that he has not made Jesus his Lord, only his Savior. According to Ryrie, just because someone sins or acts in disobedience (even habitually) doesn't mean he doesn't have saving faith.
But the issue is not whether we sin or not; the issue is our attitude toward our sin. And this is where MacArthur is careful to point out that it is willful rejection of Christ's Lordship that proves one's confession of faith not valid.”
First off if one does not know as I did not, Ryrie is trying to refute LS, yet I do think in this attempt he misses the mark also. So I am not taking one side over the other. It is in the second paragraph that I see the issue I have with the view of Lordship Salvation.
What is the issue to me is that if one “willful rejection of Christ's Lordship that proves one's confession of faith not valid” then they simply are not a follower of Jesus and are not saved or at best a very immature believer who has not grown to their understanding, yet it is impossible for one to be saved and possess a faith in Christ… where Go does not grow them in their faith… (1 Corinthians 3:5-7) For it is God that makes things grow… this is not anything we produce ourselves.
We are saved by grace through faith and not of works… that is one of the foundations of the Christian faith. To accept Jesus as savior, in itself is a response to that Grace and in what faith is… a response. So in the end one is only saying that “believing” is not enough to save in itself (which JM whole heartily will agree and aggressively fight for as he should), yet the proof of accepting Jesus the Person is in the out flowing of His works that are done in and through us. The issue is outside of this, one may not be saved if they are trying to do the works to be a workman approved. They are being deceived into believing their works of righteousness are their own.
The very idea of “submissive obedience” run contrary to the scripture also as it implies one is the producer of the works… and we are not as I have already said.
Again from the same article:
“"The gospel Jesus proclaimed was a call to discipleship, a call to follow Him in submissive obedience, not just a plea to make a decision or pray a prayer. Jesus' message liberated people from the bondage of their sin while it confronted and condemned hypocrisy. It was an offer of eternal life and forgiveness for repentant sinners, but at the same time it was a rebuke to outwardly religious people whose lives were devoid of true righteousness. It put sinners on notice that they must turn from sin and embrace God's righteousness. It was in every sense good news, yet it was anything but easy-believism" (p. 21, GATJ).”
Jesus calls us to something deeper than what John is settling for here… Jesus is calling us into intimacy in Him… We are not just “submissive obedient” followers of Jesus but now are as he called us, His friends and even richer, His brothers! So as Jesus walked the earth in obedience we now walk in His obedience and not our own. (Roman 5:19)
We again deceive ourselves thinking we can now be as obedient as Jesus… and are denying Christ’s very righteousness in not walking in His obedience which is the only obedience that is acceptable to God.
The result of LS is that people become concerned with their “works” or “fruit” and live in fear of not being acceptable to God.
In an article by Frank Minirth, M.D., he goes into the damage LS can cause in a person’s life. Worse than this one of the effects that I have personally witnessed and been a victim of is that many become more concerned with other’s “works” and “fruit” and use their won as the standard to judge others. All one has to do is look at SOL and AM and see what I mean.
This also leads one to believe their “works” are scoring points with God. Or as one person expressed to me “You should come to Nashville and do ministry here” as he put down my ministry. While saying that he was directly implying that his “works” were greater than mine! Again, he was judging my by “his” works righteousness” and not realizing God is doing His works in and through me also. The standard was not the righteousness of Christ, but some standard he had imposed on himself and then was imposing on others.
The end result of Lordship Salvation is that it does not trust that the Holy Spirit is at work in the pre-believer as well as the believer. Instead of being a natural out flow of the Holy Spirit saving some one in His process, LS demands obedience to works… not Jesus and then offers them to God as some sort of sacrifice… the issue is the same as in Cain and Able. God does not care for “our works”, He desires His will and purpose to be done in and trough us.
A true believe will find that this is in no way “easy-believism”. It is THE NARROW PATH and can only be done as we totally depend on the Father through the Holy Spirit by the sacrifice and LIFE of Jesus.
My motto is this:
Let He Who gave His Life for you, give His LIFE to you, to LIVE HIS LIFE through you.
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