Godly Preachers Oppose Lordship Salvation
By David J. Stewart
January 2010 | Updated September 2016
"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)
One thing that I have learned about preachers is that we all learn as we go. Unfortunately, once you've written a book or published any type of permanent media, it cannot be changed later on. I sincerely believe that cartoon evangelist Jack Chick knows his Chick Tracts are corrupt. Take a look at his website's statement of faith. This doctrine is 100% accurate (as of September 12, 2016). He never mentions the word “repent,” not even once. Then take a look at his FAQ page that addresses the question, “Why Chick Tracts Preach Repentance.” Please notice that Mr. Chick never defines “repentance” here as turning from your sins to be saved. Yet, in every one of the 800,000,000 Chick Tracts that he has sold over the past 50 years, he errantly teaches people that they must “Be willing to turn from sin (repent)” to be saved. THAT IS NOT THE GOSPEL!!!
Having said that, I have mixed feelings on Dr. Oliver B. Greene. It is my humble opinion that he began his ministry teaching heresy, but at some point changed his views. To show you evidence of what I am saying, please consider the following damnable quote from 1969 from Dr. Greene. Taken by itself, the following teaching is utter heresy...
“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).
I'd like to attempt to give Dr. Greene the benefit of the doubt, but I cannot. What he just taught is heresy! Repentance is NOT “TURNING FROM SIN” nor “FORSAKING SINFUL WAYS.” Biblically, repentance unto life is the Greek noun metanoia, which simply means, “A CHANGE OF MIND.”
Now just one year later in 1970, Dr. Greene changed his preaching 100%! I have a very good book in front of me by Dr. Greene titled, “BELIEVE and BE SAVED,” which teaches “the simplicity that is in Christ” (2nd Corinthians 11:3). It is a beautiful and 100% doctrinally correct book. In his awesome book, BELIEVE and BE SAVED, Dr. Greene correctly teaches:
“When we believe and are regenerated by the power of God through the miracle of the new birth, do we really receive the nature and life of God? The Word of God answers that question:
Jesus said, 'EXCEPT a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.' So all who enter the kingdom of God must be born again, and the Scripture clearly teaches that we are born of God (John 1:13), the Holy Spirit takes up His abode in the believer's heart, and we become 'partakers of the divine nature' (II Peter 1:4).”
SOURCE: Dr. Oliver B. Greene, “BELIEVE And BE SAVED,” p. 45; ©1970, THE GOSPEL HOUR, INC.)
I am convinced from reading Dr. Oliver B. Greene's writings that he changed his views. There is no way that you can reconcile Dr. Greene's heretic teaching on repentance as being a “TURNING FROM SIN” and “FORSAKING SINFUL WAYS,” with the following beautiful quote from his 1970 book, BELIEVE and BE SAVED. Lest you should have any doubt as to what Dr. Greene believed and taught, the following quote settles in my mind that he was indeed a born again Christian, and did NOT believe nor teach Lordship Salvation in his latter ministry:
“I know there are people who cry long and loud that believing on Jesus is not sufficient for salvation. It is true that intellectual belief is not saving faith. There are many who believe that a Man named Jesus lived—but that is not enough. Many believe that He was a great Teacher, a great Preacher, a great Healer—but that is not enough. Believing that He died a martyr's death is not believing unto salvation. James 2:19 tells us that even the demons believe—and tremble; but demons are not saved. The demons believe in that they know there is a God—omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. They know that one day they will be cast into the lake that burns forever with fire and brimstone.
But I declare on the authority of God's Word that believing as it is taught in the Word is sufficient to 'born' a sinner into God's family! Believing on Jesus for salvation means trusting Him wholly, entirely, placing your life and your eternity in His hands. Believing on Jesus for salvation is resting your case on Him, believing that He is able and willing to do all that He promised. Nothing less will bring about the new birth—and if you hope to enter heaven you MUST be born again. You must be born of the Word and of the Spirit.
If you have not believed on Jesus unto salvation, I urge you to believe NOW. Receive Him by faith NOW. Take Him into your heart by faith, and you will pass from death unto life eternal—for the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
SOURCE: Dr. Oliver B. Greene, “BELIEVE And BE SAVED,” pp. 53-54; ©1970, THE GOSPEL HOUR, INC.)
There you have it. We are saved by BELIEVING! Repentance is a change of mind that enables believing. If a man didn't repent, he'd never come to Christ at all (John 3:20). Repentance is admitting one is a guilty sinner in the sight of a holy God (Romans 3:19). A changed life is the FRUIT of the indwelling Holy Spirit in every believer, and not a part of the ROOT of saving faith. That is critically 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. Notice in the next Bible verse that James says “shew me” and I will “shew thee” my faith. James 2:18, “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” Clearly, James is speaking about justification by works in the eyes of men. But with God, a man is solely justified by faith.
Biblically, a changed life is the FRUIT of the indwelling Holy Spirit, 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!
What Did Pastor Charles Spurgeon Believe About Repentance? (God saves sinners AS IS!!!). Spurgeon is 100% correct—God only saves THE UNGODLY, as they are in their wickedness, without even the slightest improvement at the time of faith. We are saved by BELIEVING! John 6:28-29, “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” Thank you Lord Jesus!
Lordship Salvation is a false Gospel that requires a change of behavior as a part of salvation, and that's where the trouble starts, because that is works for salvation. As I have shown you, Dr. Greene's two writings between 1969 and 1970 drastically contradict each other, which clearly leads me to believe that Dr. Greene received much criticism from faithful preachers when his commentary was published. I could be wrong, but it strongly appears to me from the evidence I have shown you, that Dr. Greene wrote his book BELIEVE and BE SAVED to let his critics know exactly where he stands. I am not defending Dr. Greene's 1969 heresy, I am showing you that he 100% correctly taught in 1970 that salvation comes simply by BELIEVING, nothing else. Dr. Greene plainly teaches that solely BELIEVING on the Lord Jesus Christ IS SUFFICIENT enough to save a sinner. Amen and amen!
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...”
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...
“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.
Calvarythat 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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