Monday, April 24, 2023

The Lordship Salvation Controversy

Acts 16:30-31, "And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."

The Kingdom Alert Update believes in salvation by grace through faith (i.e. belief) alone. By "belief" I mean "belief" as it is used in the English language! I mean "believe" as it is used for the first time in the King James Bible in Genesis 15.
Genesis 15:5-6, "And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he BELIEVED in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness."
Romans 4:2-5, "For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham BELIEVED God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but BELIEVETH on him that justifieth the ungodly, his FAITH is counted for righteousness."
I mean "believe" as it is used the second time in the Bible:
Exodus 4:1, "And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not BELIEVE me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee."
I mean "believe" as it is found for the first time in the NT:
Matthew 9:28, "And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, BELIEVE ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord."
Did Jesus mean "commit yourself and turn from your sin" in Mark 9? There is no English dictionary on the face of the earth that I know of (and I have a fair collection of new and old) that defines the word "believe" as meaning "commit," "work," "be good," "turn from sin," "ask Jesus into your heart," "confess," "pray," etc. Yet John Macarthur and other "Lordship Salvation" advocates tell us that "belief" really means "commit" or some other term signifying "works." (They cannot stand it when you call "crossbearing," "committing," "surrendering," "confessing," et cetera, "works.") I trust that the KJV translators understood the original languages better than modern scholars. They knew that words in any language must often be translated various ways depending on the context. When they translated a word as "believe" they were not re-inventing or redefining the word "believe" into some Gnostic, theological definition.

There are many good, fundamental brethren who are rightfully displeased with the state of professing "Christendom." They see the great number of people that are willing to make a decision, but they notice how few there are who are willing to take up their crosses in commitment to Christ. But I do not think the answer to this problem is to re-invent the word "believe." The answer is to present the BIBLICAL truth about the Judgment Seat of Christ for Christians (and the truth concerning the future Kingdom of God) with the same consistency and force that Christ and the Apostles continually presented it. Great Baptist preachers such as Robert Govett, James Graves, D.M. Panton, R.E. Neighbour, W.F. Roadhouse, etc., in one degree or another, knew how to preach responsibility to Christians.

Yet these truths concerning the fear of God practically disappeared in the 1960's among Baptists and other fundamentalists. So the answer is not found in making the Gospel "hard" and thereby destroying the logical possibility for absolute assurance (no one can know for sure they are saved if they have to wait their whole life to make sure they don't one day lack "commitment" for an extended period of time and thereby prove to be only empty professors!). 

The reason professing Christians are so doctrinally flawed today is because the Gospel of salvation by grace through faith alone in Christ's finished work is so often "helped" by preachers, because they are afraid it is too simple when left alone. But if they would preach a Biblical Judgment Seat (2nd Corinthians 5:10) they would find all the warnings and responsibility truth needed to stir people to holiness; and the Gospel could be left pure.

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