Monday, September 12, 2011

The Lordship Salvation Controversy

By Justin Edwards, airō blog, reprinted with permission

Lordship salvation continues to be a controversial topic in evangelicalism.  The battleground tends to take place mostly, it seems, in dispensational circles where easy-believism or “free grace” theology has firmly taken root.  Opponents range from those who believe the “sole requirement” for salvation is an intellectual assent to the facts about Jesus and His death, burial, and resurrection to those who might consider themselves to be in the middle between the “extreme” of lordship salvation and the extreme of easy-believism.  Such is the case for Caryl Matrisciana of Caryl Productions, a “middle ground” proponent who hates lordship salvation and hates the doctrines of grace, otherwise known as Calvinism.

In Caryl’s newsletter for September 11, 2011 titled Repentance and Lordship Salvation, Brenda Nickel exemplifies this “middle ground” camp with its strawmen of Calvinism and lordship salvation and its common inconsistencies, gross misconceptions, misrepresentations, and, quite frankly, ignorance.  As Nickel’s article is such a mess of absurdity, I’d like to stick to a few brief points about her words regarding lordship salvation before I issue you, the reader, a challenge.  She writes:
"While it is true that real faith fully turns to God and yearns to please Him by obeying, no one can make promises of obedience in exchange for salvation…"
Ms. Nickel, your statement above provides evidence you believe in lordship salvation because you have just agreed with proponents of lordship salvation, who teach nothing more or less than what you have stated.  The second part of your statement is irrelevant to reality – obedience is merely the necessary fruit of saving, repentant faith.

Nickel continues:
"According to the Bible, which Mark Cahill [insert - please see Mark Cahill - Sad and Shocking News] takes his teachings from, repentance is surrender to God and turning from sin1, “And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost..… and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thess 1:6,9). Repentance is a forsaking of sin to present the body, soul and spirit as a living sacrifice to Christ for the furtherance of His kingdom2 (Ro 12:1)…Fully surrendering to God and turning away from sin doesn’t guarantee a person won’t sin, but reveals a deep desire not to sin and to be united with the Lord (2 Cor 5:9)…"
Fully surrender? Forsaking sin? Turning away from idols to serve God? Ms. Nickel, you believe in lordship salvation.

Lastly, Ms. Nickel points out:
"Repentance is a full turning to God by faith that is willing to turn from sin, albeit imperfectly. Lordship salvation insinuates a person can’t know they’re saved until they provide a lifetime of proof through obedience."
Fully turning from sin to God, Ms. Nickel?  Here in these two sentences you show you believe in lordship salvation yet also show your ignorance of it.  I know full well that I am saved by the grace of God and I’d like to explain to you and every reader how this is the case, despite your gross misrepresentation of lordship salvation.

A few months ago I embarked on a short journey to refute many of Brenda Nickel’s familiar arguments against lordship salvation in a series titled, What Is Wrong with NON-Lordship Salvation?  As many of you follow the Bible Prophecy Blog, you may recognize the title as it was a rebuttal to Dr. Andy Woods’ article titled, What Is Wrong with Lordship Salvation?  Over the next week I will be posting each article here on the Christian Research Network as an effort to reach out to the many readers who have been caught in the crossfire of this controversy.  I am aware of much of your confusion as you may have submitted to supposed teachers who claim to own the market on truth from the “middle ground” island they have constructed in their minds.  I was once a part of this island until God showed me through His Word there is no middle ground, so I understand where you are.

The challenge is this:  let’s go through these issues in a calm, rational manner examining what the Lord Jesus Christ has revealed through the Word of God.  Perhaps you have not been able to ask questions in the environment in which you fellowship because of the extreme bias and hatred toward Calvinism and lordship salvation.  Perhaps you are only directed to other biased sources and have no opportunity to discuss material from proponents of lordship salvation due to risk of excommunication.

Whether you are opposed to lordship salvation, are confused on the matter, or quietly embrace it and desire to learn more about it, I invite you to a study and discussion in an open forum.  As each article is linked from CRN, just head over to airō to post your comments under the appropriate article.  Just be sure to leave the strawmen at the door (if you own any) and bring your Bible.  This is a time to learn, study, and grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, doing so in humility and love for the brethren.

Here is the first article by way of introduction:  What Is Wrong with NON-Lordship Salvation – Part 1.
"These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so." (Acts 17:11)