Men Who Opposed Lordship Salvation

By David J. Stewart

"But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." —Romans 4:5

Pastor Oliver B. Greene (1915-1976)

Dr. Oliver B. Greene taught that genuine repentance brings a changed life, as a FRUIT of genuine repentance; but not as a part of the ROOT of saving faith...

“True repentance is sorrow for sin committed against a holy God and not only sorrow for sin, but TURNING FROM SIN, FORSAKING SIN AND TURNING TO GOD. Sin nailed the Savior to the cross and certainly that fact alone is sufficient reason why ALL WHO HAVE GENUINELY REPENTED HATE SIN AND FORSAKE SINFUL WAYS” (Oliver B. Greene, Commentary of Acts of the Apostles, Acts 2:37-38, 1969).

Carefully notice that Dr. Greene says, “ALL WHO HAVE GENUINELY REPENTED...” It appears that Dr. Greene is teaching Lordship Salvation when he says that sorrow is not enough, but that a sinner must also turn from sin. But notice very carefully that Dr. Greene says “ALL WHO HAVE GENUINELY REPENTED HATE SIN AND FORSAKE SINFUL WAYS.” He is speaking AFTER THE FACT here. He is speaking about the evidences of those who HAVE (already!) repented. He is not teaching Lordship Salvation, which requires a person to change as a prerequisite to being saved.

Some ministers have wrongly accused Dr. Greene of teaching Lordship Salvation, but it's not true. If you carefully look at everything he says, it is clear that Dr. Greene is saying that genuine repentance brings about a changed life (i.e., the FRUIT). A changed life is the FRUIT of genuine repentance, and not a part of the ROOT of saving faith. That is critcally important to understand concerning salvation. The Apostle Paul speaks about the ROOT of a believer's faith in Romans 4:5-6; but the Apostle James speaks concerning the FRUIT of a believer's faith in James 2:18-21. Abraham was saved in Genesis 15:6 by faith alone in the Lord; but Abraham's faith was validated in the eyes of men in Genesis 22:10 when he offered up Isaac his son in obedience to God.

A changed life is the FRUIT of genuine repentance; and not a part of the ROOT of saving-faith. A man's faith is COUNTED for righteousness. Why? It's because God imputes the righteousness of Jesus Christ to us by faith (Romans 4:6). Amen!

Dr. Oliver B. Greene is correct. Those who have genuinely repented should hate and forsake their sinful ways. This is what the Bible teaches. However, Lordship Salvation requires the change as a part of salvation, and that's where the trouble starts, because that is the Works Salvation heresy. Dr. Oliver B. Greene is talking about the changed life that comes as a result of genuine repentance (2nd Corinthians 5:17).
 

Evangelist John R. Rice (1895-1980)

Dr. John R. Rice, founder of The Sword Of The Lord, is another good example. By itself, the following quote would seem to indicate that Dr. Rice taught Lordship Salvation; but he certainly did not . . . 

To repent literally means to have a change of mind or spirit towards God and toward sin. It means to turn from your sins, earnestly, with all your heart, and trust in Jesus Christ to save you.

SOURCE: What Must I DO To Be Saved, by Dr. John R. Rice

Considering this quote by itself, one could be misled to believe that Brother Rice was teaching Lordship Salvation; BUT, he certainly is not. Dr. Rice goes on to state...

The change in your heart, sinner, is God's part and you may be sure He will attend to that. Your part is to simply believe in Him. Whatever else is necessary in your eternal salvation, the Lord attends to when you trust in Him, or believe in Him. [emphasis added]

SOURCE: What Must I DO To Be Saved, by Dr. John R. Rice

Did you read what Dr. Rice said?, “The change is in your heart...” Salvation is of the heart; not of works. Salvation is of God, not man. Our part is simply to believe, but it is God who changes our heart. Dr. Rice is Biblically correct, our part is simply to come as guilty sinners and believe on Christ, the rest the Lord attends to.

Dr. Rice Refutes Lordship Salvation
 

Pastor Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)

Charles Spurgeon Biblically states concerning repentance...

"You must not expect that you will be perfect in "repentance" before you are saved. No Christian can be perfect. "Repentance" is a grace. Some people preach it as a condition of salvation. Condition of nonsense! There are no conditions of salvation. God gives the salvation himself..."

— Charles Spurgeon

SOURCE: http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0044.htm (from a sermon preached at the New Park Street Chapel, Southwark, on September 23, 1855)

Clearly, Charles Haddon Spurgeon DIDN'T believe that forsaking one's sins, or grieving, or feeling sorrow, or being willing to turn from them, was necessary to be saved.  Rather, Spurgeon believed that they were evidences of genuine repentance.  Spurgeon did in fact teach, as have other great men of God, that a sinner ought to turn from his or her sins as evidence of genuine repentance; but this is after-the-fact, and not a requirement for salvation itself.  Spurgeon plainly taught "there are no conditions of salvation," which is what the Bible teaches.  We are sinners and Jesus is the Savior!

Here is a lengthy quote by Charles Spurgeon concerning Biblical repentance...

You know there are degrees of faith, and yet the least faith saves; so there are degrees of repentance, and the least repentance will save the soul if it is sincere. The Bible says, "He that believeth shall be saved," and when it says that, it includes the very smallest degree of faith. So when it says, "Repent and be saved," it includes the man who has the lowest degree of real repentance. Repentance, moreover, is never perfect in any man in this mortal state. We never get perfect faith so as to be entirely free from doubting; and we never get repentance which is free from some hardness of heart. The most sincere penitent that you know will feel himself to be partially impenitent.

Repentance is also a continual life-long act. It will grow continually. I believe a Christian on his death-bed will more bitterly repent than ever he did before. It is a thing to be done all your life long. Sinning and repenting—sinning and repenting, make up a Christian's life. Repenting and believing in Jesus—repenting and believing in Jesus, make up the consummation of his happiness. You must not expect that you will be perfect in "repentance" before you are saved. No Christian can be perfect. "Repentance" is a grace. Some people preach it as a condition of salvation. Condition of nonsense! There are no conditions of salvation. [emphasis added]

SOURCE: http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0044.htm (from a sermon preached at the New Park Street Chapel, Southwark, on September 23, 1855)

Spurgeon plainly taught that he believed repentance "includes the man who has the lowest degree of real repentance."  You'll never hear this quote from Ray Comfort, Paul Washer, John MacArthur, Jack Chick, or others today who are sinfully teaching Lordship Salvation.  Biblically, repentance is a "change of mind."  The changes that follow are the result of true repentance at work; and not repentance itself. 

Also, notice that Spurgeon stated: "Repentance is also a continual life-long act."  Spurgeon was not teaching that salvation is a process, because it's not.  Spurgeon simply meant that once a person initially repents, thus acknowledging their guilty sinful condition and trusting the Lord by faith to be forgiven, those same elements of repentance and faith will work in the believer's mind and heart for the rest of their life.  Salvation is more than being saved.  When God saves us, the lifelong process of growing in the Lord begins.

Clearly, Spurgeon taught a Free Grace view of the Gospel; and not a false gospel that requires lost sinners to forsake personal life to be saved.  Who can do that?  Even the best of Christians still sin every day!  Even our ignorance is part of our sin.  Like it or not, Charles Spurgeon plainly taught the truth that "there are no conditions of salvation."  Eternal life is a free gift (Romans 5:15; 6:23), freely received (Revelation 22:17), and without works (Romans 4:5; Ephesians 2:8,9; Titus 3:5; Romans 10:3,4; 2nd Corinthians 5:21).  Salvation is without works of self-righteousness.  Romans 4:5 plainly teaches that a man's faith is COUNTED for righteousness, i.e., the righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed to one's heavenly record by faith.
 

Pastor Harry A. Ironside (1876-1951)

Pastor Harry A. Ironside excellently stated...

Harry A. Ironside“Repentance is the very opposite of meritorious experience. It is the confession that one is utterly without merit, and if he is ever saved at all it can only be through the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ, 'who gave himself a ransom for all.' Here is firm footing for the soul who realizes that all self-effort is but sinking sand. Christ alone is the Rock of our salvation.”

SOURCE: Harry A. Ironside; Except Ye Repent, pg. 36
 

“Nor is the Gospel a demand that you give up the world, that you give up your sins, that you break off bad habits, and try to cultivate good ones. You may do all these things, and yet never believe the Gospel and consequently never be saved at all.”

SOURCE: Harry A. Ironside, from the sermon: What Is The Gospel?

Clearly, Ironside taught a Free Grace view of the Gospel.  H.A. Ironside correctly recognized repentance as the confession that "one is utterly without merit" and that if one is "ever saved at all it can only be through the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ."  Salvation is without works of self-righteousness.  Romans 4:5 plainly teaches that a man's faith is COUNTED for righteousness, i.e., the righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed to one's heavenly record by faith. 

“Repentance is the recognition of my sinnership — the owning before God that I am as vile as He has declared me to be in His holy Word.”

SOURCE: Except Ye Repent, by Dr. Harry Ironside, chapter 3
 

“When anyone comes promising salvation to those ‘who make full surrender' of all that they have to God, and who 'pay the price of full salvation' he is preaching another gospel, for the price was paid on Calvary's cross and the work that saves is finished. It was Christ Jesus who made the full surrender when He yielded His life on Calvary that saves us, not our surrender in any way to Him.

SOURCE: Harry A. Ironside, from the Gospel tract, Another Gospel.

Repentance and faith are inseparable.  The Gospel of John mentions the word "believe" 85-times; but the word "repent" is never mentioned even once.  In genuine salvation, one who believes on Jesus Christ has repented; and one who repents has believed.  If you turn to Jesus Christ to be forgiven of your sins, you HAVE turned your back against sin.
 

Pastor Curtis Hutson (1934-1995)

Pastor Curtis Hutson, former editor of the Sword Of The Lord, has it 100% correct...

Several years ago, after I finished preaching a Sunday morning service, several people trusted Christ as Saviour, including a lady and her five children. I noticed a man sitting on the same pew who did not respond. After the service, I spoke to him, while many of the members of the church were shaking hands with the lady, her children, and others who had trusted Christ that morning.

"Sir," I said, "is this your wife and children?"

"Yes," he replied.

I said, "Isn't it wonderful that they have trusted Christ as Saviour!"

"Yes," he replied.

Then I asked, "Have you trusted Christ as your Saviour?"

He dropped his head and said, "I'm afraid I haven't."

"May I ask why you haven't trusted Christ as Saviour?"

"Well," he said, "to be honest with you, I'm afraid I can't live it."

I suspected that this man had an idea that in order to be saved, he must promise God that he would never sin again, or he thought that repenting was turning from sin. So I pressed the issue. "What do you mean, you can't live it?"

"Well," he said, "I know that I will probably sin again."

I said, "Sir if getting saved is promising Jesus you will never sin again, then I would never get saved, because I know I cannot live a sinless life." I explained that to be saved one simply had to trust Jesus as Saviour. I opened the Bible to John 3:36 and read, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life." Then pointing to the verse, I asked, "Does the verse say 'He that believeth on the Son and lives it has everlasting life'?"

"Oh, no," he replied.

"Then what does the verse say?"

"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life."

"Then must one believe on the Son and live it in order to be saved? Or must one simply believe on the Son, as the Bible says, to have everlasting life?"

"Well," he said, "I suppose that one must do what the Bible says - believe on the Son."

"Then will you trust Jesus Christ right now as your Saviour?"

With a smile on his face, he answered, "I certainly will." In a moment he joined his wife and children as the church members came by and shook hands, rejoicing with them in their decision to trust Christ as Saviour.

SOURCE: Repentance: What Does the Bible Teach?

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." —John 3:16


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