Wednesday, August 30, 2017

True and False Christians by Paul Washer and Tim Conway EXAMINED

I recently stumbled across this video compilation of Paul Washer and Tim Conway entitled True and False Christians. I believe it does a good job of revealing a number of problems lurking in their somewhat acerbic brand of Lordship Salvation Calvinism. Among those problems are:

1. An unscriptural view of regeneration,
2. A shallow, non-systematic approach to statements made in John’s first epistle,
3. A tendency to assert that they are able to discern another person’s state of grace, and
4. An unfortunate misinterpretation of the Lord’s intent in Matthew 7.

TETH's Standard Disclaimer

As always, TETH’s standard disclaimer applies. I do not deny Washer or Conway’s sincerity or profession of faith, nor do I believe that one holding their beliefs is of necessity a hell-bound unregenerate. Neither would I assert that Washer and Conway get everything wrong – they do make a number of good affirmations in their teaching from time to time, as we shall see. But I do believe that they stand in need of correction on some doctrinal matters and I believe it is profitable for us to convert brothers in Christ who err from the truth, and in so doing hide a multitude of sins and save them from the death that attends a brother’s state of error. (James 5:19-20) So with that by way of introduction, I give you Washer and Conway on “True and False Christians” along with my commentary.

Conway on I John 2:15

"If anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in him."  (I John 2:15) Period.(Tim Conway)
The promoters of Lordship salvation seem to revel in pressing their shallow and unsystematic, “plain meaning” interpretation of the apostle John’s statement upon their listeners as a means of striking fear in their hearts, presumably unto the eternal salvation of their souls. Their recipe usually takes the form of:
If anyone loves the world the love of the father is not in them. You know you love the world, don’t you, heathen? That means you’re going straight to hell because you’re unregenerate. You’d better totally commit your life to Jesus so you can obtain eternal life. (TETH paraphrasing Lordship Salvationists)
In all candor, it has proven to be a fairly effective means of adding to the ranks of Lordship Salvationists over the past two or three decades. But the larger question remains: is their short-sighted, unsystematic, “plain meaning” interpretation of the apostle John actually the correct interpretation of scripture?

We should start by recognizing that ALL regenerate people maintain some measure of love for the world throughout the remainder of their natural lives. This is an indisputable corollary of the fact of remaining sin that so easily besets us in this lifetime (I John 1:8). Indeed if the regenerate were totally devoid of love for the world then there would remain absolutely no motivation for sin nor would sin so easily beset us (Hebrews 12:1). That is an important observation that must shape our understanding of what is meant by John’s statement regarding love for the world. At a minimum it proves that what Conway implies by the “plain meaning” of I John 2:15 is false. To state that more clearly, the apostle John most certainly does NOT mean that regenerate people NEVER have any love for the world during their lives. That is an incredibly important systematic observation, apart from which one has radically misunderstood and misapplied the apostle’s statement. Let’s see what Washer has to say.

Washer on the Sad State of American Christendom

If you’re just the normal, typical evangelical you’re wrong about almost everything. We are so far removed from scripture, that if someone comes to us with scripture we think they’re out of their minds. (Paul Washer)
Well, it’s certainly hard to argue with Washer on that point. I believe it is indisputable that the garden variety evangelical in America is embarrassingly ignorant of the bible. Herein lies one of the dangers of the Lordship Salvationists, IMO. They make a lot of very valid observations about the lackadaisical state of visible Christianity in our time. But it is important to recognize that identifying an evident defect is not the same as correctly identifying either cause or cure. Let’s keep listening.
I know this is going to be offensive to you but you’re totally broken. We can’t tweak you. We can’t add a few little silly Christian clichés onto a secular life and that result in true discipleship. I’m sorry it’s not going to happen. I’m talking about following Jesus Christ. You say, “it’s not difficult in the United States.” The most difficult place I’ve ever followed Jesus Christ, the most costliest place is the United States. If it doesn’t cost you anything it’s because you’ve “bought in” to American Christianity. (Washer)
Well it’s certainly true that humanity is broken, and that there is a clichéd form of Christianity that is very popular in American society. The matter of America being the most difficult place to follow Jesus Christ, while admittedly anecdotal, seems pretty well ludicrous in light of the many places on earth where practicing one’s faith could result in persecution unto death. Nevertheless, I’m often inclined to agree with Washer’s descriptions of spiritual malaise in America, if not his insistence that this constitutes =ironclad proof of rampant unregeneracy among professing Christians.

Conway's "Absolute" Interpretation of I John 2:15 is Systematically Unstable

But listen to this, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in them.” One thing about scripture, it just drops it like a ton of lead right on you. So absolute. (Conway)
Brother Conway, do you sin? If you sin are you not following the course of the world? Is your sin not, in some sense, motivated by a love for the world that trumps your desire and commitment to serve God? If you are following the course of the world when you sin, and it is absolutely undeniable that you are, then you must possess some measure of love for the things of this world. That observation makes it clear that either brother Conway is a hell-bound, unregenerate, or that the apostle John’s statement is far less “absolute” than Conway would have you believe. Simply put, John is most certainly NOT saying that if someone exhibits some love for this world they are unregenerate. Not at all. Indeed if he WAS saying this, then he would likewise be either affirming the sinless perfection of the regenerate, or affirming that all men are unregenerate.

So we see that we must be very careful to deal with the apostle John’s statement systematically, allowing the full testimony of scripture to shape a proper understanding of what John intends and in so doing resist the urge to embrace hasty, systematically myopic plain-meaningism, and, worse still to press that wrongly divided nonsense upon the Lord’s sheep. To draw that out more clearly, any proper interpretation of I John 2:15 must also incorporate the testimony of Romans 7:15-23, Hebrews 12:1, I John 1:8, and Matthew 16:21-23. The exercise of reconciling those statements and shaping our understanding of them is right division and it proves that Conway’s “plain meaning” implication is false.

Conway and Washer's 18-Wheeler of Regeneration Misrepresents the New Birth

Conway’s subsequent mischaracterization of the nature of regeneration is more disturbing…
If you came in this door right now and you told us you just got hit by an 18-wheeler and you look just like you all look right now we’d all say you’re lying to us. I think that’s the basic weight of the matter. He’s saying, “Look. When you’re born again and when you’re indwelt by the Spirit of God it is so radical, and it so produces a love for God and a hate for this world that it is so stark, it is so real, it is so obvious. (Conway)
Conway uses this example of someone being hit by an 18-wheeler as an analogy for regeneration, even as Washer often has as well. But it is readily evident  to any sober reading of the bible that regeneration does NOT alter a man to this degree. A man hit by an 18 wheeler would be physically obliterated. It’s fair to say that his physical appearance would be so radically altered that one would need to examine the contents of his wallet in order to make a positive identification. This does not remotely resemble the change wrought by regeneration as evidenced by MANY, MANY examples in the bible wherein the saints of God lived in ways that were very inconsistent with obedience to God. While regeneration does impart a new nature, one with holy and godly inclinations, it does NOT eradicate the old nature. Stated another way, so long as the old man continues to hang around as a result of remaining sin, the man who has been hit by the 18 wheeler of regeneration may look a whole lot like his unregenerate counterpart. David was a regenerate man but his willful actions with respect to Uriah and his wife look an awful lot like a man who loves the world more than the Lord. He had undeniably been struck by the big-rig of the new birth, but his heinous actions made him appear no worse for the wear nonetheless. Simply put, David looked just like the world in how he was behaving – arguably worse given that he knew better, unlike the unregenerate Philistines he often opposed.
If you have believed in Jesus, if you truly have unto salvation you have been regenerated and your heart has been changed and that new heart had new affections and those affections are righteous and holy and Godward. And those new affections drive your will to a different life. (Washer)
Well, it’s certainly true that regeneration imparts a new nature unto men, which the bible refers to as “the new man.”(Ephesians 4:24) But this new nature does not absolutely dominate the man’s behavior to the extent that Washer and Conway insist. One need only mention Solomon, Samson, and Lot to prove that this is true beyond reasonable dispute. So I believe these brothers err in that they overstate the effects of regeneration in a way that cannot be reconciled with the testimony of regenerate saints in the bible, which is a clear indication that they are dead wrong on the issue. To the extent that they exhort men to good works in keeping with their regenerate state I applaud their efforts, but when they imply that the new birth so assuredly or frequently dominates man’s actions as to make rampant and persistent acts of heinous sin an impossibility, they are setting forth an unscriptural definition of the regenerate state that does a disservice to God’s people as well as to the bible’s testimony regarding the saints of God. Of course I believe a great deal of this is based on their gospel-means position with respect to regeneration. They honestly believe that if their preaching is not shocking and confrontational enough, it will fall short of achieving regenerative power.
You know what a lot of people think that Christianity is? They think Christianity is you doing all the righteous things you hate and avoiding all the wicked things you love in order to go to heaven. No. That’s a lost man in religion. (Washer)
I don’t doubt that such people exist. But I’m made uncomfortable by the implication that a Christian has NO LOVE for the world that remains in his old nature. Indeed, is not the fact that John warns against love for the world and idolatry a clear indication that God’s regenerate people struggle with these things and must be on guard against them? That point bears repeating – the FACT that John warns God’s people against love for the world and idolatry is proof positive that God’s regenerate people are totally capable of loving the world and idolatry.

Washer's Defines "Christian" as "Regenerate"

A Christian is a person whose heart has been changed. (Washer)
Well, not exactly, brother Washer. A regenerate man is a person whose heart has been changed by the immediate, regenerating power of God (John 5:25). A Christian is a regenerate man who has heard the gospel, believed it, and brought forth the answer of a good conscience in the waters of baptism, and joined himself to the NT church as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is an important distinction.*
They have new affections. But, like a child that’s been born they’re going, “I have new affections. They’re Godward. I love God. I want to be conformed to the image of Christ. But how do I do it?” And that’s where the word of God comes in. (Washer)
This is all true, but it is not the whole story. A regenerate man possesses divided affections in the form of the new man and the old man. Regeneration does not eradicate his desire for sinful things. Rather, it imparts to him an understanding that those things are evil and a desire to follow God. Regenerate men are creatures of conflict and they will experience spiritual warfare between the old and new man for the remainder of their days on this earth. That is the whole point of Paul’s testimony in Romans 7.

Conway's Teaches That The Man of Romans 7 is Unregenerate

It probably bears mention that I have heard Conway teach that the “man of Romans 7” is Paul speaking of himself as an unregenerate man prior to becoming a Christian. One wonders how an unregenerate man, who has no thought of God (Psalm 10:4) and who believes the things of the spirit of God are foolishness (I Corinthians 2:14) would have such a struggle in his conscience or a desire to do good. Conway’s unstable interpretation has become increasingly popular among the Lordship Salvationists over the years, no doubt because to admit that the man of Romans 7 is regenerate would completely undermine their unscriptural assertions regarding the behavior of the regenerate. But I digress. Getting back to Washer.
It’s not burdensome to you – forcing you to do what you don’t want to do and keeping you from doing all the rotten things you want to do. No. You’ve been changed. You just need to know how to walk now. (Washer)
It’s certainly true that regenerate men have a desire to obey God and that the Lord’s yoke is easy and the burden is light, however, this does NOT mean that we do not continue to have an old nature that inclines us to commit sin, nor does it mean that sin does not easily beset us. We find that the yoke is easy and light to the extent that we walk in obedience to God and begin to reap the manifold benefits that come from walking with the Lord rather than piling up the consequences of sin in our lives.

Washer's Diagnosis: A Weak Gospel That Fails to Achieve Regenerative Power

The problem is because the gospel presentation in America is so weak, “Pray this prayer. Ask Jesus to come into your heart. You’re saved.” So many people think they’re saved but their heart, their desires, everything has not been changed ever. (Washer)
I would not argue that the most popular forms of “gospel presentation” in the Christian marketplace are utterly deficient. In fact I’d go one better and say that the vast majority of what transpires under the “gospel” moniker in our time is not the gospel of the grace of Christ at all, but the false gospel of quid pro quo eternal salvation. Where I would take issue with Washer is in the embedded presupposition that lurks beneath the surface of his system – namely that the gospel, and therefore gospel ministers like Washer and Conway, are instrumental in imparting eternal life to men, and that they must employ the right gospel recipe in order for God’s regenerating work to transpire. I completely reject the notion that the gospel message is the means whereby eternal life is imparted to men, insisting instead that eternal salvation is the result of a direct, creative fiat of God himself, even as the Lord Jesus Christ taught saying, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” (John 5:25)
And so then you get them into a discipleship program and you try to force them to walk like a sheep when you’re still a goat. It doesn’t work. (Washer)
Still a goat? This seems to imply that Washer believes that regeneration turns goats into sheep. This is a completely unstable notion. The good shepherd is looking for his lost sheep, not looking to manufacture some sheep for himself from the goats. I’m inclined to believe that Washer probably does not believe that regeneration changes goats into sheep and that his words don’t really reflect his true beliefs. We all stumble over our words from time to time. It happens. Let’s listen on…
So the first thing is the gospel of Jesus Christ. The evidence that you’re a Christian is not that you confess faith in Jesus or you’re a part of some Christian ministry or anything. It’s that your affections have changed. They’re Godward. (Washer)
Again, while I would not deny that regeneration imparts new affections to a child of God, it does not mean that ALL of a regenerate man’s affections are Godward. They are not. The regenerate man has Godward affections and also ungodly affections that arise out of the old man – the remaining sin nature that stays with us until our dying day.

Washer Insists That Regeneration Means if Scripture Says It You Do It

You love Jesus Christ. And you have no bones about, if it says in scripture that you’re to do something – Ok, let’s do it. He said it. He’s master. That’s what Lord means. (Washer)
That’s certainly an ideal description of how a regenerate person OUGHT TO ACT, but it is not an accurate and necessary depiction of how regenerate men OFTEN DO ACT. “Love Christ and have no bones about it?” Well, regenerate Peter loved Christ and denied him thrice. “If scripture says something you do it?” Really? When God said, “Go to Nineveh!” - Jonah hopped the first ship to Tarshish. Time would not permit us to explore the innumerable examples of regenerate children of God who did not do as God told them to do. The bottom line is that the reality of remaining sin and the reality of the old man, as repeatedly taught to us in the bible, both reveal that Washer’s view of a regenerate man’s affections are hyperbolic and unscriptural.

Conway's Anecdotal Parts To The Whole Fallacy

The truth is this is so obvious when it happens to somebody’s life it takes them where they’re in this course and it totally spins them around so obviously that... brethren I’ve seen it.  I’ve seen this happen to people. The worldliness just starts to fall off. One after another it falls off. (Conway)
Here Conway provides anecdotal evidence of some regenerate people who changed dramatically. I do not doubt that this happens for some of God’s people, but the bible makes it certain that it does not happen for all of them, and insisting upon a few anecdotal examples to prove the broader case for regeneration doing this for ALL of God’s people is a classic composition fallacy.

Conway's No-Truth-To-It Test For Regeneration

And I’ll tell you this, people that have supposedly had this amazing transformation happen in their life in conversion and all of a sudden two, three, four, five years down the road the worldliness just hasn’t fallen off, brethren, there’s no truth to it. (Conway)
“Yeah, that Samson claims to have the spirit of God come upon him but look at him, hanging out with that Philistine whore against the clear command of God. Clearly he’s a false professor!” You see how when one applies this sort of logic to the saints of God found in the bible it proves incapable of refuting their state of grace. That should give us considerable pause when it comes to employing Conway’s no-truth-to-it test toward others in our daily lives. We should be clear that it is the Lord that trieth the hearts of men, and in so doing he sees things that we can never see through mere external observance.

Judging Another's State of Grace - It is the NeoCal Who Looketh Upon The Heart

And you say, “Well you can’t say that, you’re judging.” I can say that because God’s word says that. (Conway)
God’s word does NOT say that. In fact, it affirms that MANY who would fail Conway’s no-truth-to-it test will be in heaven nonetheless. Honestly there are few things more obnoxious than pharisaical Christians who believe they possess a god-like aperture on the hearts of men. It honestly makes me sick to my stomach. The Lord Jesus Christ’s harshest words were spoken to Pharisaical religionists who delighted in judging the eternal worthiness of others. God help us.

Conway's Mishandling of James 4:4

If that person shows by continuous ongoing lifestyle that they’re in love with the world they do not love God. They are those adulteresses and adulterers that James is dealing with (James 4:4) and they’re at enmity with God. (Conway) 
Brother Conway, James is addressing regenerate Jewish Christians. He is affirming, even as we Primitive Baptists do, that they most certainly CAN fall into a state of spiritual adultery and love for the world. As a result of that possibility, he is admonishing them to resist such things, not in order to obtain the eternal life they already possess, but in order to walk in a manner worthy of their calling. The notion that James is addressing the unregenerate is shockingly removed from the context and intent of James’ epistle.

More Judging The State of Grace of Others

Lay it down. Hands down, folks... You know what. I’ve got people in this room right now, you are as lost as anything . You are lost. You are still dead in your sins and you are following the course of this world. This is real. I know with this many people in the room, there’s any number of you that fit that description. So I’ve got one of two kinds of people here: I’ve got people that are following the course of the world now or I’ve got people who were. So this isn’t foreign to any of us. (Conway) 
Conway’s theology insists that regeneration is, at least in part, the result of telling those who are dead in trespasses and in sins that they are dead in trespasses and in sins, even though the bible says that such people are incapable of receiving spiritual truths such as this (I Corinthians 2:14).

Conway's Calvinism Insists There Are Few Regenerate Men

You know what. There’s a mindset in other countries that if you’re an American you’re a Christian. Well those people are sadly mislead. They don’t know our country. Our country is wicked and the Christians are few. Just like there are few in other countries, there are few here. There may be many churches and there may be church buildings on every street corner, and every corner in our cities across this country, but the true Christians are few. (Conway)
This is the calling card of the more acerbic forms of Calvinism in our day – namely the insistence that there are very few “true Christians” (by which they mean regenerate men) in this world. For all practical purposes, those who promote this doctrine are saying to their audiences, “I’m one of the few, and you probably aren’t.”

Washer Rings The Bell: American Christians Are Woefully Ignorant of The Bible

How much of your life is defined by what the word of God says? By what Jesus says? And how much of it is defined by culture? Think about that. How many Christians that you know can open up the bible and go down biblically, verse by verse, and show you why they do what they do in their relationships with the opposite sex? How many Christians you know could open up the bible and go verse by verse and tell you this is why I dress this way. This is why I talk this way. This is why I’m in college. Almost no one. (Washer)
Well, Washer’s certainly right about that. American Christians are astonishingly ignorant of the fundamentals of the Christian faith. But this is no proxy for determining the number of regenerate people in this world. Very few marathoners finish the race in a couple of hours, most take four hours and still others take six hours. This does not negate that they were in the race but rather proves that they had greatly varying degrees of diligence and ability. I know some very dear Christian people who are not very familiar with their bibles but who love the brethren and enjoy worshiping God and hearing the word preached. I do not believe that their lack of academic commitment to the matter of studying the scriptures is an indication of their unregenerate state at all. The bottom line is that Washer’s observations have bearing on the quality of one’s discipleship and instruction in the truth, and do not, of necessity, have bearing on one’s regeneracy.
Entering in the narrow gate is allowing him to define your life and not in general terms. See there’s your problem. “O, Jesus is everything to me, and Jesus is Lord.” Ok. Specifically, though, explain to me what that means. What has it cost you? How have you changed your life from the course the rest of the world is walking it? “Well, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Therein lies the problem. You don’t now what I’m talking about. (Washer)
Someone who is largely ignorant of the scriptures will likewise be ignorant of how they are to take up their cross and follow Christ in their lives in many ways. But again this has respect to one’s progress in discipleship, not necessarily to one’s regeneracy. Indeed, given the horrible state of teaching in most Christian churches today this deficiency is inevitable.

Conway's Sovereign Grace = Your Works Will Differentiate You On Judgment Day

This is true. That’s a reality. When you look at all the pictures of judgment day (Matthew 7:16-27, 25:31-46, I Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:19-21, Ephesians 5:5-6, Colossians 3:5-7, James 2:17-20, Revelation 20:12-13), what differentiates those who are saved from those who are lost on judgment day is the life they lived and how it was so drastically different from the life of those who didn’t’ have it. That’s always what it is. (Conway)
Brother Conway, if what truly differentiates God’s people from those who end up in hell is “the life they lived” then salvation is indisputably by works and most certainly NOT by sovereign grace. So one must be very careful in how they handle such passages to avoid this crass assertion that undermines salvation by the sovereign grace of God. The actions of God’s people are evidences of their state of grace, nothing more.
It’s never just a, “Did you claim to believe in Jesus?” “Well, yes, I did.” “Ok, you’re in.” It’s never that. It’s always, what did all your confessions of Christ actually yield in your life? Do they show that Christ was with you? DO they show that an evidence. (Conway)
Nevertheless the Lord Jesus Christ regularly affirmed that those who believe in him HAVE everlasting life (John 3:16, 6:47). Perhaps more to the point is that when asked “What shall we do that we might work the works of God?” the Lord Jesus Christ answered, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” (John 6:29) What is strange to me is that Washer and Conway both insist upon the concept of “salvation through faith alone.” But it is evident that their definition of “faith” includes works, even as their mentor John MacArthur’s does. Quoting WE Vine in his book The Gospel According to Jesus, MacArthur states defines faith as “a firm conviction… a personal surrender… [and] conduct inspired by such surrender.” (The Gospel According to Jesus, John MacArthur, p.173-174) Any rational person can see that this definition of faith includes works and in so doing completely negates the affirmation of “salvation through faith alone” that these Neo-Reformed types love to trumpet. Because if faith includes works, then “salvation through faith alone” is the same thing as “salvation through faith and works.”

Washer Jumps the Shark on Matthew 7:21-23

But Washer really jumps the shark with his hamfisted handling of Matthew 7:21-23. Let’s listen.
This is what he’s saying (Matthew 7:21-23). “Depart from me those of you who claimed to be my disciples but you lived as though I never gave you a law to obey.” (Washer)
Let’s look at that passage…
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. (Matthew 7:21-23)
But the “Lord, Lord” crowd is not living as though the Lord never gave them a law to obey. Rather, they are living as though their strict adherence to doing many good works is proof positive of their state of grace. Their behavior is much more in line with Lordship Salvation do-ism than with antinomianism. Notice the case they set forth for why they should be let into heaven. It makes no mention of the merits of Christ but rather appeals entirely to their own works as a basis for their righteous standing. No, these people were not antinomians who lived as though they had never been given a law to obey, they were religious zealots who thought so highly of their works that they believed those works could secure God’s eternal favor, irrespective of the work of Christ.
Now isn’t that frightening? How many of you are guiding your life based on principles, commands, and laws, and statements of wisdom that Jesus has given? How many Christians do you actually know that are living that way? Depart from me those of you who said “Lord, Lord” and considered yourselves to be my disciples but you lived as though I never gave you a law to obey. (Washer)
Jesus is not saying that at all. He’s saying, “Your zealous, mighty, and even miraculous works cannot procure God’s favor.” He is pointing out the abject futility of works-based salvation and underscoring the teaching that, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” (John 6:29) THe Lord, Lord crowd’s appeal for acceptance is based entirely upon their own works and makes no mention of the merits of Christ whatsoever. It’s the futility of works-based religion that Christ has in view, not the suggestion that they needed to be more zealous, dedicated, and committed to doing good works.
That’s something. And when he says, “you and I never had an intimate relationship.” “What? You went through that tract and then prayed the prayer at the end? What’s that? I never knew you. You didn’t come to me, seek me. We didn’t walk together, talk together. You didn’t seek me for counsel. You didn’t follow my law. You didn’t treat me as king. You weren’t a part of any of the principles or commands of the kingdom. Absolutely not. I don’t know you. Depart from me.” (Washer)
These people were not antinomian adherents of easy-believism. They were zealous religionists devoid of any conception of the merits of Christ. Washer’s seems to imply that had they done better: come to Christ more, seek him more, walk with him more, seek his counsel, follow his law more, treat him as king more they might have fared better. But this is just to double down on more of the same works that condemned them in the first place. Our salvation is not the result of or seeking, walking, law keeping, or any other thing that we do. It is based ENTIRELY upon the merits of Christ plus absolutely NOTHING else. Period. End of story. That people who promote “salvation by monergistic sovereign grace” do not understand this is nigh on incredible. I have often said that these former Arminian Baptists traded-in the easy-believism they were raised on for an acerbic-hard-believism and in so doing, missed the point once again – namely that salvation is based on the merits of Christ alone and not anything that we do, whether easy or hard.

From Easy-Believism to Hard-Believism

But you have to understand you come out of a Christianity that in its theology is absolutely despicable… We’re an aberration. I’m not saying this to hurt you. I’m saying it because it’s true. It really is and you need to be afraid about it. (Washer)
“So drop your easy-believism and become a hard-believist like me.” Oye. Why not preach the merits of Christ and teach that he did EVERYTHING required to fulfill the covenant for God’s chosen people.
And you need to get serious. If you are going to walk with Jesus Christ, you are going to be opposed by everything in the world, and by the great majority of evangelicals. You’re going to be opposed. (Washer)
Well, I’m glad that Washer ended with a good affirmation. I completely agree with his assertion that “If you are going to walk with Jesus Christ, you are going to be opposed by everything in the world, and by the great majority of evangelicals.” That is no small part of why I am a Primitive Baptist who affirms that Jesus Christ did everything required to save his people from their sins and that I have absolutely no confidence in the flesh.


So in summary, I believe that the Lordship Salvation view of Conway and Washer is wrong on numerous fronts:

1. It sets forth an unscriptural and hyperbolic doctrine of regeneration.
2. It insists upon an ability to determine another’s state of grace.
3. It insists upon salvation by faith alone but also defines faith as including works.

These errors all visit a great deal of vexation of spirit upon the flock of God and often result in a pharisaical and judgmental spirit among the Lord’s sheep. We should all commit to the Lord and endeavor to mortify sin in our lives, but we must do that without losing sight of the fact our performance in righteousness does nothing to merit God’s favor and that we are saved based entirely upon the merits of Christ alone, in spite of our poor performance in righteousness.

That is the gospel truth and it is the only way any of God’s people are ever saved.

*Clarification on TETH's comments at 12:23 in the video regarding the distinction between being a "Christian" and being a "Regenerate Man":
Christian (n.) - a biblical term applied to those who were disciples of Christ at Antioch (Acts 11:26). These were regenerate men, who had heard and believed the gospel, who had brought forth the answer of a good conscience in the waters of Baptism, and who were members of the Lord's NT church. 
Regenerate Man (adj./n.) - depicts a man who has been born of the spirit of God via the new birth, which is a sovereign act of God alone wherein eternal life that imparts eternal life to one who was dead in trespassess and in sins. 
All proper Christians are regenerate, but not all regenerate men are Christians. The OT saints were not proper "Christians" as they never were baptised nor did they join the Lord's NT church under a profession of faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. It is important to be clear about the definitions of these two terms and the distinctions that exist between them. The common practice of using them interchangeably is prone to breeding inaccuracy and misunderstanding. 


  1. Thanks for this article. Paul Washer and Tim Conway are both pretty wrong in their (not God's) definition of regeneration and salvation. They make salvation about works while at the same time claiming it's by grace through faith. They tell you it's about you, and not what Jesus did for you. Their teachings really hurt my walk with God and I'm sure have hurt many others. Read the Word and let God speak, not men. God bless you.

    1. UNKNOWN: Thanks for this article.

      TETH: Glad you liked it.

      UNKNOWN: Paul Washer and Tim Conway are both pretty wrong in their (not God's) definition of regeneration and salvation.

      TETH: Yes. I completely agree. Their view of the regenerate state cannot be reconciled at all with the man of Romans 7 nor of many of the saints of God in the bible such as Lot, Samson, Solomon, etc.

      UNKNOWN: They make salvation about works while at the same time claiming it's by grace through faith.

      TETH: That is precisely correct. They proclaim "Grace! Grace!" when there is no grace in their system, once you look at how they embed works into the matter.

      UNKNOWN: They tell you it's about you, and not what Jesus did for you.

      TETH: True. If you're not towing the line or "totally committed" then Jesus's work didn't get ANYTHING accomplished. It's really nonsense of the highest order and any simple reading of Paul in Romans 7 will prove their claims about the regenerate state to be completely false, IMO. That's probably why Conway insists that the man of Romans 7 is unregenerate - which is a completely untenable assertion. He must make this claim, however, if he is to remain logically consistent with his claims about what is means to be regenerate, because if the man of Romans 7 is regenerate, his assertions come crashing down in a major, major way.

      UNKNOWN: Their teachings really hurt my walk with God and I'm sure have hurt many others.

      TETH: Yes. I have witnessed this hurt among many others as well. Their Lordship Salvation doctrine is a very damaging form of NeoPharisaism. When you see it at work in a church body it's like being surrounded by the zealous secret police who are ever on the lookout for some slip-up so they can declare another false convert. Pretty ugly stuff.

      UNKNOWN: Read the Word and let God speak, not men. God bless you.

      TETH: God bless you as well.

    2. Revelation3:22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
      12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
      Do you have the ears to hear?

    3. God's people overcome "by the blood of the Lamb" and "the word of their testimony" is an affirmation of THAT truth. A proper understanding of THAT critical truth dispels the myth that one's personal performance in righteousness has anything to do with one's eternal salvation.

      God bless,

  2. "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

    I hear the testimony of the one eternal over-comer, the Lord Jesus Christ, whose love we cannot be separated from(Romans 8:31-39).

    That said, is there some particular statement in my analysis with which you take issue? I would be happy to examine it if you will bring it to my attention rather than launching vague, broadside implications against my beliefs.

    God bless, brother Henry,