Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Controversy That Just Won’t Die

The controversy over Lordship Salvation just seems to keep popping up from time to time. I left comments over at TeamPyro the other day in response to a post entitled “Sectarianism and Separation”. The article dealt with division within the body of Christ and some of the valid reasons for separation for the sake of doctrinal purity, and was a kick-off for a series that Phil is going to be posting on concerning what Jesus meant by unity. A guy by the name of Lou Martuneac left comments in response to the comments that I had left in response to Phil’s post. While I appreciate Lou’s complementary comments in response to mine, I am afraid that he and I are on the opposite side of the proverbial fence concerning the lordship debate. Not to mention that it appears that we also do not see eye to eye on the subject of Calvinism; he is opposed to Reformed theology. I believe that Scripture teaches nothing less than Christ’s lordship over our lives if we are truly His followers. This does not in any way imply perfection, since no one will ever achieve perfection in this life. And the charge by many Free Grace people that those who embrace Lordship Salvation are implying perfection is simply bogus.

And by the way, the subject of Lordship Salvation has been discussed before over at TeamPyro in a post entitled “Why the Lordship Debate Died”.

Before I comment further on this matter, I want to make it clear that I am not intending to slam Lou. It seems that Lou is a very gracious individual. Nathan Busenitz mentioned this about his own interaction with Lou in his series of articles at Pulpit Live, “Lou and Lordship”. What is ironic is that after Nathan finished reading Lou’s book “In Defense of the Gospel”, he is convinced that Lou is really a proponent of Lordship Salvation. It seems that while Lou is attempting to maintain a middle ground (which simply cannot be achieved), his reasoning appears to be more in line with the Lordship view. I have not had the opportunity yet to read this book, but when I get a chance I likely will as I am curious to read first hand what Lou’s views are. You may want to read Nathan’s series over at Pulpit Live. It is an interesting response to Lou’s book.

But I have to admit that I am vehemently opposed to the way many of the Free Grace people present salvation. While these folks believe repentance is important after conversion, they deny that it is an integral part of saving faith.

I remember when John MacArthur came out with his book, “The Gospel According to Jesus” and the controversy that was stirred over that book. The pastor of the church that I attended back at that time read the book and was very touched and influenced by it. It really prompted our church to clarify and proclaim with clarity what it meant to be saved and become a follower of Christ.

I really do not understand why this debate continues, especially since Scripture is clear that Christ is indeed Lord of our life if we have a saving relationship with Him.

Scripture is clear that those who love Jesus are those who keep His commandments.
John 14:15, 21, 23
John 8:31

If we have embraced saving faith in Jesus Christ, we have been set free from slavery to sin.
Romans 6
Ephesians 2:1-3
Titus 2:14

If we are enslaved by sin, and our lifestyle is characterized by a pattern of sin, then that is an indication that we have not entered into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
1 John 1:5-6
James 2:19

Scripture also teaches that we are to “make our calling and election sure”, to examine ourselves to be sure that we give evidence of saving faith.
2 Peter 1:10
2 Corinthians 13:5

What got me was that my comments over at Pyro had absolutely nothing to do with the debate. No mention of the Lordship Salvation debate was included in what I wrote, yet somehow, the discussion got launched at least momentarily in the direction of that never-ending controversy that seems to rear its ugly head from time to time.

I guess the reason I feel strongly about the subject is that as I observe the Christian landscape today, I can see the outcome of years of preaching a truncated Gospel that downplays repentance and the Lordship of Christ. Churches are filled with people who have jumped on board to get their felt needs met, but have no interest in being devoted followers of Christ. Churches have fallen for the lie that they need to follow this seeker-sensitive approach if they are going to win people to Christ. Scripture is clear that we don’t win anyone to Christ, but it is a sovereign work of God working in the hearts of men to receive the truth, the truth that can only come by simply and boldly proclaiming the message of saving faith. We desperately need to get back to preaching the pure Gospel which includes repentance and the recognition of Christ’s Lordship.

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