Monday, September 18, 2023

What Is Lordship Salvation?

Matthew 7:21-23, “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. 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? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

Here is Pastor Ralph Yankee Arnold's helpful definition of 'Lordship Salvation':
“Lordship Salvation is the unsupportable and unbiblical belief that the performance of good works, the promise of good works, or the evidence of good works, must accompany faith in Christ to establish or provide evidence that such faith has resulted in eternal life.” —Pastor Ralph Yankee Arnold, "Jesus Versus John MacArthur"
God’s Word clearly states that salvation is by Grace alone, through Faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. 
Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
As Dr. Yankee Arnold said, Lordship “salvation” is the unsupportable and unbiblical belief that the PERFORMANCE of good works, the PROMISE of good works, or the EVIDENCE of good works MUST accompany faith in Christ in order to establish, or provide evidence, that such faith has resulted in eternal life:
  1. Lordship Salvation can be overt (i.e., one must forsake all of his sins and follow Christ in obedience and discipleship in order to receive eternal life);
  2. Or it can be VERY SUBTLE [i.e., one’s behavior will change once he has received eternal life, one must desire to get better (sometimes expressed as one must want to be delivered from the power of sin, or that one must want to be freed from the practice of sin) in order to receive eternal life, and one must want to have a relationship with Jesus in order to receive eternal life].
Nowhere in the Bible does it say that any of these man-made conditions are necessary for a lost sinner to receive eternal life. And yet, such things are sadly taught today by many churches, ministries and pastors throughout professing Christendom. Lordship Salvation is a perversion of the Gospel.

Christians must expose the people who promote 
Lordship Salvation because, they:
  1. Keep people lost (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 8-12; 2nd Corinthians 4:3-4)
  2. Subvert whole houses (Titus 1:9-14)
  3. Preach another gospel (Galatians 1:6-7)
  4. Are accursed by God (Galatians 1:8-9)
  5. Deceptively appear as ministers of righteousness (2nd Corinthians 11:13-15)
  6. Obscure the truth (Matthew 7:13-14; 2nd Corinthians 4:3-4)
  7. Negate God's grace (Romans 11:6)
  8. Frustrate God's grace (Galatians 2:21)
  9. Make salvation of Debt instead of by Grace (Romans 4:4)
  10. Bewitch churches with a counterfeit gospel (Galatians 3:1)
  11. Have fallen from grace (Galatians 5:4)
  12. Are to be marked and avoided (Romans 16:17-18)
In addition to the above, Lordship Salvation causes people to focus on themselves, rather than on Christ, for assurance of salvation.

We cannot know whether or not someone influenced by Lordship Salvation is saved. In some cases, they may have never even heard the Gospel presented clearly, and may have never believed on Jesus as their Savior (Acts 15:1). In other cases, they may have believed in Jesus as their Savior, and are saved, but have received bad teaching that causes them ongoing confusion (Acts 15:5). We cannot tell which is which. But, in any case, they need our prayers and they need a clear presentation of the Gospel.

Although the following list is by no means complete, these are some of the terms which are commonly associated with Lordship salvation (taught as being requirements for receiving eternal life):
  1. “Repent of your sins”
  2. “Turn from your sins”
  3. “Forsake a lifestyle of sinning”
  4. “Be willing to turn from your sins”
  5. “Put Christ on the throne of your life”
  6. “Surrender all to Christ”
  7. “Give your life to Christ”
  8. “Change your behavior to prove you've repented to be saved”
  9. “Become a Christ follower”
  10. “Commit to follow Christ”
  11. “Invite Christ into your life”
  12. “Invite Jesus into your heart”
  13. “Give the steering wheel of your life to God”
  14. “Live a lifestyle of repentance”
  15. “Pray a sinner's prayer”
Most proponents of Lordship Salvation will claim to believe that salvation is by Grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone; but then they will insist that a saved person will show signs of being saved, such as sinning less and doing good works. If these “signs” are not present, they will insist (or at least heavily suspect) that a person has never believed in Christ as Savior. This thought process can never lead to assurance of salvation, because it is always dependent on how one thinks he is DOING at any given point in time (I put DOING in all cap letters, because it is a WORK). Jonah 3:10b says that
God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way... Turning from one's sin is WORKS!!!

Other folks may think that God knows whether or not they are TRYING (we put TRYING in all caps, because it is also a WORK). Trying to turn from sin will not help you attain eternal life. Eternal life is a free gift, which Jesus paid for with His precious blood, freely received when someone trusts in Christ alone for it. You must simply BELIEVE that Jesus did it all for you.

If you think you may be under the influence of Lordship Salvation, and would like to read a clear presentation of the Gospel by Pastor Ron Shea, click here: 'The Gospel'

Here is a related blog that I wrote.

Here is Pastor Jack Hyles explaining and refuting the false teaching of Lordship Salvation.

Pastor Curtis Hutson authored a helpful book titled, "Salvation Crystal Clear." The last chapter in his book is titled: "Lordship Salvation: A Perversion Of The Gospel."

Those resources should answer the question: 'WHAT IS LORDSHIP SALVATION?' Lordship Salvation is adding lordship to faith. The Bible teaches that a person gets saved by coming to God as a guilty sinner (Romans 3:19-20), and BELIEVING the GOOD NEWS (Gospel) that Jesus died on a cross to pay our debt of sin, He was buried, and then He bodily resurrected three days later (1st Corinthians 15:1-6).

In sharp contrast, Lordship Salvation requires MORE. Those who preach Lordship Salvation require that a person turn away from their sinful ways, surrender 'all' to Jesus as the supreme "Lord" (Master) of one's life, so that their life and behavior will improve.

I knew a Christian lady who attended the incompetent Family Baptist Church on Guam. At church on a particular Sunday, when people were asked to share testimonies, she stood up and shared with the church how she led 3 co-workers to Christ that previous week. The ungodly intern pastor corrected her, saying that she doesn't really know if they are saved yet, until we have watched their lives for a couple years to see if their lives have changed. That is false doctrine.

You see, that is Lordship Salvation. That terrible wannabe pastor is errantly teaching people that we cannot know if someone is saved without monitoring their behavior. That is works! When 3,000 souls were saved in Acts 2:41, nobody's life was watched and monitored to see if their behavior had changed. They simply GLADLY RECEIVED the Gospel Peter preached and they were all immediately saved. That is the simplicity that is in Christ.

We hear a preacher preach the Gospel and we receive THE TRUTH and are saved. Galatians 3:2, "This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or 𝗯𝘆 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗵𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗼𝗳 𝗳𝗮𝗶𝘁𝗵?" I love that! We get saved by putting our faith in the Gospel as we hear it preached (Hebrews 4:2). That is the hearing of faithIt is that simple to get to Heaven.

Unfortunately, Lordship Salvation says faith is not enough to be saved. In addition, proponents of Lordship Salvation falsely claim you must also follow Christ as "Lord" of your life. You must be willing to do whatever Jesus wants you to do. You must turn away from the world, and forsake your former sinful ways which results in a changed holy life. Anybody who claims to be saved, but is still living a lifestyle of sinning, is wrongly accused of not being saved. That person is told they have never repented of their sins and are not truly saved. Of course, none of this is what the Bible teaches.

To clarify, there is also a false teaching called Misunderstood Repentance, which is similar but sometimes taught separately from Lordship Salvation. Usually the lies of Lordship Salvation and Misunderstood Repentance are combined, but some pastors actually reject Lordship Salvation, while still preaching the error of Misunderstood Repentance. Sam Adams is one such corrupt preacher. David W. Cloud is another. Please don't fall hook, line and sinker (like so many do today) for the Devil's lie of Lordship Salvation. Remember, Satan is a beautiful liar.

We do not have a part in God's free gift of salvation. Our part is to cease from our own WORKS (as God did from His on the 7th day of creation), and to completely REST in what Jesus did to pay for our debt if sin through Calvary's cross. Hebrews 4:10-11, For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” The man who has ceased from his own works, and is resting solely in the finished redemptive work of Jesus Christ is saved. ...
“More people will die and burn in Hell, because they're trusting too much!”—Pastor Jack Hyles, “Yea, Yea, And Nay, Nay!

“Everything that's hard and complicated about salvation is God's side of it!”—Pastor Jack Hyles, “Yea, Yea, And Nay, Nay!

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