Friday, June 07, 2002

Posts are in reverse chronological order.

Lordship Salvation

Remember the debate about Lordship salvation? It was cast, in my opinion, along the ridiculous lines of whether Christ can be your Savior without being your Lord. Since he is Lord, it all seems a bit silly. What it really was about, in my opinion, is easy believism. One position, whose proponent’s claim is the only view true to the reformation, is that one is saved by virtue of believing in Christ and His finished work, period. The counter view (the Lordship Salvation position) is that one must also be a disciple of Christ. This is viewed by its detractors as preaching a salvation by works.

John MacArthur, a leading proponent of Lordship Salvation, stated:

"Now, let me say something that is very, very important for you to understand. I do not believe that an incomplete presentation of the gospel--in other words, if you just present the gospel that Jesus died for your sin and rose again and graciously offers you forgiveness by faith in his name; if that’s all you presented, and you didn’t talk about Lordship, and you didn’t talk about being a disciple, and you didn’t talk about repentance, and you didn’t talk about turning from sin-even an incomplete presentation of the gospel-now listen-could not prevent someone from being saved whom God was saving. Got that? Because if you didn’t talk about sin, they’d be feeling the conviction. And if you didn’t talk about submission, they’d be coming to that submission.

"What I am saying is that when we present a shallow gospel, we don’t prevent the elect from getting saved; we make people think they’re saved who aren’t. That’s the issue. Do you see the distinction? That’s the issue. And so what we have-just imagine this now!-what we have then are a lot of people who think they’re Christians. And we have a lot of churches that are run by congregational rule, which means that a lot of churches are being run by what? Non-Christians! That’s a frightening reality. I’m quite sure there are Christian organizations being operated by non-Christians."
(Emphasis added)

I agree with MacArthur. To summarize

  • Both views agree that salvation is by faith alone (although some will insist on the more complete By grace through faith or By faith alone through grace alone.

  • One group says that this saving faith is sufficient. And they argue that this simple message is what should be presented to non-believers.

  • The other group, e.g., MacArthur, agree that faith is sufficient, but that any saving faith will always and necessarily (by grace, not through self righteous works) result in a person not “just believing” but also becoming a disciple of Christ, and so you might as well tell people the truth (as Christ did): it will not be easy to pick up your cross and follow Him.

Funny Prayers

Do you have any stories about humorous prayers? A few months ago, during our after-dinner family devotion, we told our 12-year-old son that it was not too soon for him to start praying for his spouse. We neglected to tell him how to do this. So when it was his turn to pray I could tell the wheels were spinning, and finally he blurted out: “Lord, send me a good woman!”

More on the Sabbath

The Joyful Christian took me to task for my post on The Sabbath. In some weird way that must ultimately reflect my own struggle with this issue, I am in general agreement with him even though, according to his words: “[we are in] complete disagreement.” However, I would like to comment on a couple of points.

  • I do treat the Sabbath and Sunday as synonyms. Mostly because I think what we call the seventh day is arbitrary. My view is that one day in seven should be set aside and by convention, for most churches, it is Sunday.

  • If I were in Jeffrey’s father’s church, I would not have been among those complaining about his Sunday yard work, even though I have been convicted (wasn’t hard, just like my boys' music practice) that I should not do it.

  • In retrospect, my post reads like a nasty ole list O’ rules made by men. In fact it is -- but not a list I intended to apply in general, but rather what my conscience dictates to me. I do not think it is proper or wise for a church to establish a set of rules for proper conduct on the Sabbath (Sunday) with the exception that every Christian is still obligated to obey the 4th commandment.

  • The question of eating food sacrificed to idols is not an idle one (pun intended). When we go to Taiwan to visit my wife’s family, we have to deal with this issue.

Puzzling Passages

Speaking of the Joyful Christian, he has a great post on some biblical brainteasers. Perhaps we should collect more of these (I would pitch in Jacob's wrestling match) and gather responses from various Christian bloggers and then publish a book on the results. The Collective Wisdom of the Christian Blogosphere.

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