The Foolish Doctrine of Lordship Salvation
By David J. Stewart
What a foolish doctrine! Lordship Salvation is the false teaching that a sinner MUST cease (or be willing to cease) from a sinful lifestyle to be saved. No such hellish doctrine is taught in the Word of God. A changed life is the FRUIT of genuine repentance; and not a part of the ROOT of saving-faith. The change is the FRUIT, the result, of repentance; not repentance itself.
Proponents of this heresy pervert the Biblical meaning of the Word “repent.” Whereas the Greek meaning of the word “repent” is METANOIA, meaning “to change one's mind”; Lordship Salvationists claim that it means "to cease from living in sin." If a person has to stop committing sin to be saved, then a certain degree of self-righteousness is required for salvation.
My question to you is: Are there 2 Gospels?
- The Gospel of John MacArthur, Ray Comfort, Paul Washer, Jack Chick, Aiden Tozer, David Cloud, and others, requires that a person forsake (or be willing to forsake) their lifestyle of sin, make amends, and change their ways, as a prerequisite to saving faith.
- The Biblical Gospel teaches that we are saved solely by Christ's righteousness (Romans 10:3-4), and that no self-righteousness of any kind is required (Titus 3:5), because we have none to offer (Isaiah 64:6); neither does a person have to quit any sin to be saved (Romans 4:5-6).
A lot of Christians have brushed the issue aside as a matter of semantics, but the difference between the 2 Gospels is day and night. One includes a certain degree of self-righteousness, which is a false Gospel; but the other is solely based upon Christ's righteousness, which is by the precious literal, physical, blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Even without looking at the Greek, the English King James Bible never tells us to repent from sin to be saved. The Bible always speaks of repentance TOWARD GOD, and not from sin. Acts 20:21 says, "Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."
Mark 1:15, “And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” Carefully notice that the Bible doesn't say to repent and stop living in sin. No, rather, God says to repent and believe the Gospel. Repentance is the recognition of my sinnership—the owning before God that I am as vile a sinner as He hath declared me to be in His Word. This is Biblical repentance. Repentance and faith are inseparable. This is why we find the word “believe” in the Gospel of John 85-times, but the word “repent” is never mentioned even once. Thus, one who believes on the Son of God for forgiveness of sins has repented. Amen!
We read in Mark 1:4, “John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” Carefully notice that the Bible does NOT mention water baptism; but rather, the baptism of repentance. It is repentance that brings the remission of sins. Yes, repentance is absolutely necessary for salvation; but it is repentance toward Jesus Christ, because one realizes their GUILT of sin under God's Law. This is vastly different than the demented Lordship Salvation heresy which requires a sinner to cease from living in sin to be saved.
REASONS WHY LORDSHIP SALVATION IS FOOLISH:
- Because the Word of God clearly teaches that a person is saved by FAITH ALONE in Christ. This is evidenced by Romans 4:5; Ephesians 2:8,9; Titus 3:5 and hundreds of other Scriptures. Romans 4:5 states... "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." The Bible couldn't possibly be any clearer on this matter. Salvation is through faith in Christ's righteousness alone (Romans 4:5-6). This has nothing to do with Christian living. James 2:18 speaks of the FRUIT of a man's faith, which should be evident in every believer's life; BUT, that is completely separate from the ROOT of a man's faith, which is by faith alone in Christ. Lordship Salvationists confuse the two, tragically to their own damnation.
- Because Lordship Salvation doesn't allow for backsliding. Lordship Salvationists DON'T allow for a Christian to backslide. As far as they're concerning, a backslidden believer is no believer at all. This is adamantly refuted in the Word of God by numerous references, to heroes of the faith who backslide into horrible sin (such as king David who committed adultery and murder). The foolish doctrine of Lordship Salvation leaves absolutely no allowance for a believer to backslide. Like it or not, there is an ongoing raging battle in EVERY believer between the sinful flesh and the Spirit of God (Romans 7:22,23; James 4:1). Even the Apostle Paul said in Romans 7:19, "For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do." Now why would the Apostle Paul DO EVIL if Jesus were his Lord and Master? Hmmm? This Scripture alone proves the willing ignorance and hypocrisy of the proponents of the Lordship Salvation heresy. Even the best of Christians, such as the Apostle Paul, commit sin.
- Because Jesus Christ is already the Lord and Master of every saved person. When you place your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior, He immediately becomes your Lord and Master. Now whether you acknowledge Him as such in your daily life is up to you. But you don't make Jesus Lord; He is Lord! Proponents of Lordship Salvation pervert the meaning of “Lord” in the New Testament to mean “surrender in obedience.” However, the Greek word for “Lord” when referring to Christ is always KURIOS, meaning, “Supreme in Authority.” We read in John 13:14, “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.” The word “Master” here is the Greek didaskalos and simply means, “Teacher.” Jesus never asked us to recognize Him as our teacher to be saved. The heresy of Lordship Salvation is rooted in a corrupted understanding of Biblical terms, specifically the meaning of the Words: repent, Lord, and Master. Look up the Biblical Greek meaning of these words and the foolishness of Lordship Salvation crumbles away. Every believer recognizes Jesus Christ as the One who is Supreme in Authority, i.e., God Almighty. This is a quite different meaning than the nonsense which Lordship Salvationists teach.
Just because a believer backslides doesn't mean that they've not acknowledged Christ as their Lord and Master, i.e., God and Teacher. What it DOES mean is that they don't love Jesus like they should (John 14:15). We read in Revelation 2:1-4 the message concerning the church of Ephesus. We read in Verse 4, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” The believers at Ephesus had backslid, and wandered away from the Lord; but they were still saved. This is why every church needs to have revivals from time to time. Whether a believer lives for Christ in obedience, or backslides into sin, is irrelevant to the FACT the Christ is still the Lord and Master of every saved person. Christians who choose to live in unrepentant sin will be judged by God (Romans 12:19). 1st Thessalonians 4:6 is also clear evidence of this... “That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.” Lordship Salvationists need to let God do His job.
- Because Lordship Salvation eliminates growth in grace. 1st Peter 2:2 states, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” A new convert is a babe in Christ. They need the MILK of God's Word if they are to grow strong in the Lord. The Apostle Paul states in 1st Corinthians 3:1, “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.” Carefully read through 1st Corinthians and you'll be surprised just HOW BAD these believers were. They were suing each other (6:6). They were coming to the Lord's Supper drunk (11:21). They were divided amongst each other in quarrels (1:12). Fornication was openly allowed in the church (5:1). They even ate meats offered to idols (8:4). According to the Lordship Salvation crowd, there's no way these rascals could be saved; but the Apostle Paul called them BABES IN CHRIST.
"But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." —Romans 4:5
Please read the best explanation I've ever read concerning the Gospel and repentance, by Pastor Harry A. Ironside (1876-1951). Clearly, Ironside taught a Free Grace view of the Gospel...
The Curse of Lordship Salvation
The Hypocrisy of Lordship Salvation
Scriptural Proof that Lordship Salvation is a Lie
Lordship Salvation Ignores Babes in Christ and the Backslidden