Sunday, September 13, 2009

Debate Continues: A Lordless Salvation

The Professor Comments

"Both men preach the gospel of Christ." Both men preach (very different) gospels of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is very obvious or are have you not read JM's book/s??? and heard him?? my my.. does not take much.. they are different gospels.. like night and day!!! I was at DTS in the 80's when much of this happened.. Two very different gospels and you better understand that... most students of the Word of God do!!!!... I teach the very 'free gift'.... and He is the 'eternal Son'... both essential doctrine!!!! I teach the literal blood!!!! and still do!!! of these two does not??? guess who???? sad day!!!! but God said this would happen.... signing out ...


There are at least two fundamental issues at play here. First is the popular, modern view known as OSAS (Once Saved, Always Saved). This view is a modification of the biblical doctrine of the perseverance of the saints as I will show later. The second issue is the derogatory remarks about John MacArthur (JM). Previously I asked the professor to restrain from making such remarks about Dr. MacArthur (my favorite pastor), and he simply ignored my pleas and launch into a full frontal assault, choosing MacArthur's view of Lordship Salvation for his target.

My Response

The attack against MacArthur had nothing whatsoever to do with the discussion. The professor insisted on keeping it in the discussion because he had an agenda, a motive. He wanted to see if I am a Lordship Salvation adherent. He found out that I am.

To accuse Dr. John MacArthur of preaching a different gospel is, without question, a sin. This is a learned professor who has a number of earned degrees and he is intelligent enough to know that John MacArthur is not guilty of preaching a false gospel. After all, this is a very serious accusation. Not only this, but the professor goes back almost 30 years and brings up a view once entertained by MacArthur, that he has since repented of, and still wants to charge him for. Everyone who knows JM knows that he does not preach a works-based salvation. To argue that he does indicates you are either ignorant of MacArthur's views or you are being intellectually dishonest.

Secondly, I am not sure what the professor means when he says he believes that the "literal blood" is what washes away our sins versus the blood of Christ in death. The suggestion that John MacArthur denies the efficacy of the blood of Christ is nothing more than deceitful malevolence. This controversy erupted in 1986 at Bob Jones University who eventually ended up retreating from the controversy in embarrassment. Yet this professor, who should have full knowledge of this, insists on pinning this non-sense on MacArthur still. Utter foolishness, irresponsibility, and unfair. There is no excuse for a professor who has been around as long as this man has to engage in this kind of malevolent treatment of men like John MacArthur.

To assert that John MacArthur denies the eternality of the Son of God is imply not true and this professor knows it. I wonder how he would feel if someone drug up old sins from his past and even though he repented of them long ago, still wanted to pin them on him? John MacArthur long ago repented of this idea and the good professor knows it. Now, on to the other fundamental issue, Lordship Salvation.

Can a Christian cease bearing fruit and remain in Christ?

The thesis of OSAS is that a believer can cease to bear fruit and still be saved. More extreme forms of this doctrine assert that faith and works are completely unrelated to one another and it is quite possible for a person to have faith without any accompanying works. How do these views accord with what is taught in Scripture?

First, John 15:16 says, "You did not choose me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain..." It is very interesting that those anyone could claim that genuine faith may not produce abiding fruit when Jesus clearly says in this instance that it will. He says that you will bear fruit and that this fruit will remain. This was His purpose for choosing them! This nullifies both views that a genuine Christian may stop producing any fruit or that they may not produce any fruit at all. John 15:6 could not be clearer, "If anyone does not abide (remain) in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned." Of course the OSAS view interprets this to mean that disobedient Christians will be disciplined and potentially lose rewards. Of course something seems quite odd about viewing this as simple lose of reward. When one examines the harshness of the language and then examines the concept of being thrown into fire and burned, the image of loss of reward isn't in the forefront of most people's minds. But it is easy to see how this parallels with being tossed into the lake of fire. It should be pointed out that the Greek MENO (remain) and PHERO (bears) are both in the present tense which indicates on-going action. Therefore in John 15:5 is literally indicating, he who is [continually] abiding in me and I in him, he [continues] bearing much fruit.

The answer then seems to be no! A Christian who ceases to bear fruit seems to actually be proving that they were never really saved to begin with.

Is genuine faith always accompanied by Christian works?

First, those who are hearers of the word and not doers are described as self-deceived by James (James 1:22). There are numerous professing Christians out there who claim to know Christ, but outright reject His commands. For example, take a practicing homosexual: There are millions of homosexuals who believe they are genuinely saved because they have mentally assented to the gospel of Christ. To the OSAS proponents I would ask, "are they?" 1 Corinthians 6:9 says that homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God! How is it that OSAS proponents claim that they could if they ever professed Christ, and in some cases bore a little fruit and in other cases, not even that. So a 12 year old kid can profess Christ, attend Sunday School, graduate high school, head off the college, discover his is gay, live the gay lifestyle for 30 years, die of aids while remaining in his gay lifestyle and enter the kingdom as one of God's children?

Second, James says 2:14-26 asserts that genuine faith is faith that is accompanied by works. In fact, James says that faith which is not accompanied by works is dead faith. Dead faith is not genuine faith. Genuine faith is a living faith. It changes hearts, lives, and attitudes.

Paul said that he was crucified with Christ, that he no longer lived of himself, but that Christ lived in him and the life that he now lives, he lives by the faith of the Son of God who loved him and gave Himself for him (Gal.2:20).

John said that the one who claims to have come to know God and does not keep God's commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him (1 John 2:4). This seems to stop the mouths of those who would assert that indeed a person can violate all the commandments and still know God.

Finally John said, No one who is born of God practices sin (1 John 3:9)! I am not sure how a OSAS proponent reconciles these texts with their thesis. But it seems very clear that Scripture itself denies such a view in unequivocal language.

To be sure, the idea that one cannot lose their salvation is absolutely biblical. The two schools vying for truth in this are known as the perseverance of the saints or the view known as once saved always saved (OSAS). In reviewing this verses, it seems inconspicuous to me the Bible teaches that the saints will indeed bear fruit, that genuine faith is always accompanied by good works, and those who love God will indeed progress in their Christian growth and sanctification. Finally 1 John 2:19 says, "They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they were not of us." John clearly indicates that those who go out from the Christian community indicate that they were never really part of it in the first place.

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