Monday, September 17, 2012

Lordship Salvation Dialogue

In a recent YouTube dialog regarding a video by Paul Washer, I engaged in the following discussion on the doctrine of Lordship Salvation.  It is all too common for Christians to defend the patron saints of their theological camps in the manner that this brother does, and not upon the validity of the doctrinal truths these men promote.  I'm passing this dialog along as an example of how these conversations tend to go.  


TETH:  Paul Washer's teaching on human depravity is among the very best that I have ever heard. It is unfortunate that he teaches the self-contradictory theology of Lordship Salvation, which conjoins law with grace and back-loads the gospel of salvation with conditionalism.

YOUTUBE LORDSHIP SALVATIONIST (YLS):  I would have to disagree with you on this, Washer understands, as I do, that Christ is Lord, Master over those whom He saves. The true regenerate follows after their Master because He empowers us to do so thru the regeneration process. MacArthur has been hammered with this false accusation as well. Christ is our Lord, regardless of whether someone acknowledges this or not. This is not essential in being saved, it is revealed to the saved.

TETH:  I agree that Jesus Christ is Lord, whether someone believes that or not. No argument there. But when Washer, Lawson, and MacArthur use language that says that a "total commitment" of one's life to Christ is REQUIREMENT for obtaining eternal life, logically they must also either (1) affirm sinless perfection or (2) define "total" as "partial."

The self-contradictory assertions of Lordship Salvation are its undoing.

YLS:  I have never heard Washer, Lawson, or MacArthur directly state a total commitment to Christ is a requirement for salvation; could you provide evidence for this accusation? 


TETH:  "Yet the exchange [eternal salvation] is not bartered or bought with real money, but IT IS PURCHASED WITH THE TOTAL, COMPLETE SURRENDER of your life to Christ." (Steve Lawson, It Will Cost You Everything)

I have posted a full transcript of the 11 minute clip from this sermon that is posted on YouTube under the same title, along with my commentary on its many self-contradictory assertions and doctrinal errors on my blog. I invite you to read it. :)
God bless

YLS:  In all fairness to Dr. Lawson, I think he simply used a poor choice of words. Have you contacted him personally? I really cannot defend or speak in any way against this; in all fairness to him, he should be contacted and given a chance to explain himself. If he states that to be his position using clear language, he would be in error. BTW, I have seen that video as well. Surrendering your life to Christ is evidence you have been saved and understand Christ is Lord over you.

TETH:  Your defense of Lawson is a common one. My observations of his teaching, however, are not the result of an isolated slip of the tongue, made in a careless moment, but of the consistent tenor of his teaching, across many years, which I have observed:

1) In person as a member of a church he pastored
2) Through published sermons online
3) In writing through his books, and
4) Through his close association with MacArthur's ministry.

Have you read my commentary?

YLS:  I am not defending him, I refuse to make accusations based on what you state from a video. It is a serious matter to do so; again, have you contacted him concerning your accusation of his doctrinal error? After reading his doctrinal statement, I do not find sound evidence in what you state.

No, I have not read your commentary; I will make an effort to contact him and ask his position on this before I go any farther on the matter.

TETH:  I admire your willingness to not immediately assume that Lawson is wrong and to defend him on the basis of some of the "good things" that he affirms. I too have made direct inquiry of many of those who preach Lordship Salvation and have found one of two results:

1) A complete affirmation of the statements they have made (such as Lawson's) - or
2) A referral to their many published works and sermons.

I look forward to picking up our discussion after your investigation.
God bless

YLS:  I see no reason to continue on in the matter. I would suggest you avoid listening to or reading anything by men whom you are in disagreement with. It is better to part company with such men. If you believe they are your brothers in Christ, you have to follow biblical guidelines concerning your accusations; if you believe they are apostates, avoid them.

TETH:  I have parted company with the Lordship Salvation camp and I no longer have church fellowship with them based on our differences. I do not believe they are unregenerate. Having observed their lives, they have many fruits that make me believe that they are regenerate men, albeit in error on some points of doctrine. It is in the spirit of 'earnestly contending for the faith once delivered' that I am commenting upon the manifold self-contradictions of Lordship Salvation. (Jude 3)

YLS:  Is Christ Lord and Master over every part of your life?

TETH:  Christ is Lord and Master over everything. But his Lordship and Mastery DOES NOT result in TOTAL COMMITMENT to Christ. All sin is rebellion against God (Romans 8:7), and all believers sin (I John 1:8). It is impossible to maintain that one is "totally committed to God" when the very sin that remains in their lives is so manifestly evidence to the contrary. (More detail in my commentary) The total commitment that saves us is Christ's total commitment, not ours; else we would NEVER be saved.

YLS:  Romans 10:9, "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Lord, defined by Thayer's Greek Defintions, 'he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord; the owner; one who has control of the person, the master, the possessor and disposer of a thing'. To confess Christ as 'Lord' is to acknowledge Him as your master, you being His doulos - slave.

TETH:  Regeneration imparts eternal life to God's people (Ephesians 2:1) and precedes faith in time (I John 5:1). It follows that both confession of the mouth and belief in the heart are too late to the party to ever account for the acquisition of eternal life on the part of one of God's children. They are evidentiary fruits (Hebrews 11:1, Galatians 5:22) not prerequisites to obtaining eternal life. Your Greek lesson has no bearing on the force of the assertion I'm making about the error of Lordship Salvation.

YLS:  I am done responding to your theology

TETH:  May God bless our understanding.

YLS:  Indeed.


This pretty typical of how it goes these days. Proponents of Lordship Salvation agree with and defend their patron saints without respect for whether their positions are scripturally and logically consistent. Any attempt to correct bad doctrine that is liberally espoused by such men is seen as out of order. To that I can only say, if these men will stop preaching and publishing self-contradictory bad doctrine in public forums, theearstohear will stop addressing their manifold errors in a public forum.

1 comment:

  1. Even if Arminian Southern Baptists can’t agree with Calvinist Southern Baptists about regeneration being before faith, or about regeneration being purchased for the elect by Christ, they can still all unite in faith that the Jesus who died for everybody and the Jesus who died only for those who are saved are in the end one and the same Jesus.

    Because in the end, it’s not the death that matters. It’s regeneration, and most of us think we can see that! And even if Paul Washer doubts that you personally are regenerate, at least we all can see that those who teach a non-Lordship gospel are not yet regenerate.

    With Paul the Apostle (not the Washer), I want to say something in my sarcasm: “then let the knife slip, cut the whole thing off”.

    Or this, praising the true and only Jesus: “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has died to me, and I have died to the world.” Galatians 6:14.

    Walk by this rule.