Continuing where I left off last time, here is part two of my reaction to Kyle Idleman’s book. Idleman, Kyle (2011-06-07). Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
Kyle is the pastor of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky.
Quotes from Not a Fan continued:
“That’s a lot different than the invitation to which many of us responded. At the end of the sermon the preacher said something like, “I want everybody to bow their heads and close their eyes. If you want to become a Christian then just raise your hand … I see that hand … I see that hand …” But Jesus makes it clear that you need to count the cost. (p. 66)
My Comments in blue:
(False, Jesus does want you to count the cost of discipleship, but that cost counting comes after conversion and has no bearing on your actual salvation. It has a bearing on things like the speed and quality of your Christian growth in sanctification or rewards in heaven etc.)
“That’s a picture of what happens to a lot of fans. If you asked them, “Are you a fan or a follower?” they would confidently respond “follower.” It’s not a question of their effort or desire. They are following hard. Here is the problem; it’s not Jesus they are following. Without realizing it, they are aiming at the wrong target. Instead of following Jesus they are following religious rules and rituals. They have confused the targets. (p. 69)
(Sadly, this is also what Lordship salvation can do. It can get people missing the key point of faith and skipping on to “attempts to follow” i.e. good works and rule keeping – sometimes even in an attempt to prove they are one of the elect.)
“Maybe when you were born your parents handed you a mask, and you grew up acting like Christians act, talking how Christians talked, listening to the music Christians listened to; but you never fell in love with Jesus. Your faith has always been more about honoring your heritage than surrendering your heart.” (p. 71)
(The thing here is that yes, many were handed a mask or a mold to conform to, but what they missed out on was the person to believe in – that being Christ. They never came to a point of faith. Everything was performance based and appearance driven.)
“As children we may play pretend— but the problem Jesus had with these religious leaders is that they were professional pretenders.” (p. 75)
(The pretenders were the Pharisees and Sadducees. The problem is that popular Reformed theologians or “culturally relevant” lordship Salvationists can easily be just like the Pharisees in that they make everything about rules keeping and commitments. This is especially true when they skip over the part of believing in Christ alone for salvation to run straight to a faith plus model.)
Speaking of Pharisees:
“They made it hard for people to come to God. They taught that God’s favor and salvation was something that had to be earned, not just by keeping God’s law, but also by keeping a bunch of other laws they added to it.” (p. 76)
(So do lordship Salvationists. Let’s recount what other things LS advocates like Idleman add to the single requirement of faith: counting the cost, commitment, dying to self, repenting of sins, forsaking all and on and on. Really? Who is more like the Pharisees? )
“Fans are all about the “do,” but followers celebrate the “done.” (p. 80)
(False, Pharisees are all about the do. Praise God, free grace believers understand that that they are saved from the very moment they believe the gospel trusting Christ alone to save them. They are the ones that can celebrate the “done”. A Calvinist has to toil through “perseverance of the saints” to hopefully prove that he will be saved in the end. Any failure could mean that he was not one of the supposed elect. There is not much to celebrate there. The difference in celebrating something that is done vs something that is potential. Getting LS proponents to understand this is difficult.)
“If she was going to get an “A” she was going to earn it. And a fan says, “I’m not taking any handouts— I can do this on my own.” They spend their lives carrying around the heavy burden of religion and making sure others carry that weight as well. (p. 81)
(Actually, most Calvinists and Lordship Salvationists carry around the heavy burden of religion making sure others carry that weight as well.)
“To those who are weighed down with the fear and guilt of religion. To all the fans who are worn out on religion, Jesus invites you to follow him:” (p. 81)
(The invitation to the lost is to believe the gospel, not an offer of discipleship.)
“But the truth is you cannot be a follower unless you are filled with the Holy Spirit.” (p. 88)
(So let me get this straight. One must commit to become a follower to be saved but must first be filled with the Spirit? This sounds like regeneration before faith to me. It is circular logic.)
“Fans who try to follow Jesus without this power will start to show signs. Sooner or later they will reach a point where they are frustrated by failures.” (p. 88)
(Now I ask, who is more frustrated than a Lordship Salvationist that lives with failures? Or an Arminian that thinks he can lose his salvation and then fails. If you miss the part about faith in Christ alone and operate on the faulty foundation of faith plus, then you will surely find failure and frustration trying to live a Christian life without the Spirit. Now it should be noted that a believer has both a new nature and the old nature and can become miserable if he walks in the old nature but it is a different kind of misery.)
“People surrendered their lives to Christ and accepted his free gift.” (p. 93)
(Salvation is not a matter of life surrender.)
On Bill Bright’s spiritual breathing:
“The basic idea is that you live with a moment by moment awareness of the Spirit until walking in the Spirit becomes as natural —as habitual— as breathing. It’s just part of who you are. Here’s how it works: the moment you become aware of sin in your life you exhale. (p. 95)
(Walking in the Spirit can become more and more natural for the believer as we grow in sanctification. We don’t need this “Spiritual breathing” nonsense though. We need to put off the old man and put on the new, be filled with the Spirit, walk in the Spirit, feed upon God’s Word, learn more about God and His Word, and see His truth in our lives as we apply the Word. We don’t need to make up new terms like “Spiritual breathing”.)
“And then you inhale. When you inhale you breathe in and pray to be filled with the Spirit and you surrender control over to him.” (p. 96)
(That all sounds quaint but is pointless if you are not saved. I will note that walking in the Spirit is often even easier than Bill Bright makes it sound. A more mature believer can actually be tempted, reject it, and move on in the Spirit’s control all in one instant. It can be quick as a blink of an eye if you are growing in Christ and walking in the Spirit. It might not always be that way but the point is that it can. There doesn’t have to be some specially learned “spiritual breathing” technique.)
“It never occurred to me that I was going the wrong way. The road I was on felt right to me. I’m sure there were signs and markers along the way indicating that I was on I– 75, but they never got my attention. It never occurred to me that I might be going the wrong way. I had the radio turned up, and I was singing along to the music, completely oblivious. I never allowed for the possibility that I was on the wrong road.” (p. 102)
(That is sadly ironic. I wonder if Lordship Salvationists ever consider that they just may be on the faith plus path that leads to separation from God?”
“This teaching of Jesus is the conclusion of his sermon known as “The Sermon on the Mount.” It’s a sermon that has been all about raising the bar of the commitment for those who would follow him. It’s a narrow road, but it’s a road that leads to life.” (p. 103)
(There are many good principles in the Sermon on the Mount but you better consult all of scripture for the basis and method of salvation. This is also a key point about the narrow road that so many get wrong. Some presume that the narrow road is referring to a few that are able to be truly committed but it is actually referring to the minority that place their trust in Christ alone for salvation. See, the majority will either put their faith in the wrong person/thing, or add to faith in Christ with works.)
“We have convinced ourselves that our beliefs are sincere even if they have no impact on how we live.” (p. 104)
(Here is again a misunderstanding of salvation. The key is not sincerity but the object of our faith. Either you trust Christ for salvation or you don’t. Trusting Christ plus yourself is not salvation.)
“We are saved by God’s grace when we believe in Jesus and put our faith in him, but biblical belief is more than something we confess with our mouths; it’s something we confess with our lives.” (p. 104)
(We are saved by God’s grace when we trust Christ as Savior from our sin based on the gospel message. We don’t need to say a prayer, confess him to people publicly, or live out our life as a living confession to be saved. Living a Spirit filled life does however glorify God and is a good testimony but has no bearing on salvation.)
“The book of James in the Bible addresses this. James wants his readers to understand biblical belief: What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? (James 2: 14– 16).” (p. 105)
(This is a classic Calvinist misunderstanding of James. Faith in Christ alone for salvation always saves eternally. James is urging believers to use their faith for good works.)
“We don’t often think of it this way, but here’s an important truth that needs some attention in circles of faith: A belief, no matter how sincere, if not reflected in reality isn’t a belief; it’s a delusion.” (p. 106).
(This is one of Kyle Idleman’s more awful quotes in this whole book. The reality is for him that a belief in Christ alone for salvation saves a person because the Bible says so! Or does He think that the Bible is a delusion too? You absolutely do not have to prove your salvation to others by your works in order for your salvation to have been actual! Being saved means that you are saved from the eternal penalty of sin, that you have been born again with a new man, that you can now walk in the Spirit, that you have an inheritance in heaven, that you have an eternal heavenly Father, but none of that means that you will necessarily do anything with what you have been provided. It is a sad and shameful thing for Christians to not do much with their Christian lives given all that is theirs in Christ. The reality is that some don’t do much and ultimately there will be some that stand before God at the Bema Seat judgement for believers and have virtually nothing to show for themselves but are yet saved. Plus why have rewards for faithfulness if the Spirit supposedly just makes everyone do everything good?)
“In Revelation 3 Jesus says to the Christians in Laodicea, ‘You are neither hot or cold but because you are lukewarm— I’m about to spit you out of my mouth.’ Jesus doesn’t say, ‘Everything in moderation’; he says you can’t be my follower if you don’t give up everything. His invitation is an all or nothing invitation.” (p. 112)
(This is a misunderstanding of Rev 3 and is common amongst LS proponents. Ask me about this later if you are not sure why.)
“It’s not unusual to go to a sporting event of some kind and see someone holding up a sign that says “JOHN 3: 16.”* But I’ve never seen someone hold up a sign that says “LUKE 9: 23.” Quick, say that one without looking. That may be a little tougher. But Luke 9: 23 also records the words of Jesus. In fact, unlike John 3: 16, these words of Jesus in Luke 9: 23 are recorded in three of the four Gospels. Here they are: If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (pp. 115-116)
(It could also be that the person is holding up the sign understands the difference between salvation and discipleship.)
“Those two things must necessarily go together. There is no believing without following. There is no John 3: 16 without Luke 9: 23.” (p. 116)
(This is false for obvious reasons. Idleman provides no proof that this is so.)
“Even after we decide to follow Jesus, we continue to need his grace for the journey. There are plenty of days where I find myself living as a fan, but each morning I receive the same grace-filled invitation that Jesus spoke to Matthew: “Follow me.” (p. 125)
(That is sad, so now one has to make this commitment daily? Wait, I thought you were saying that our lives would prove that we are saved? How can they if you say you wake up everyday as a “fan”? Wouldn’t that cast doubt on your salvation? So then are you getting saved again each morning? Is that what you are saying it means to persevere? What if you stop committing to follow each day? Are you not really saved that day? See why it all doesn’t make any sense Biblically?)
“He’s afraid that if he makes that kind of commitment it will require too much of him or somehow he’ll miss out on something better. So he makes the suggestion, “Hey, why don’t we move in together?” Translated: “How about I get all the benefits of marriage without having to make any of the commitments and sacrifices?” That’s the approach fans take. Fans say to Jesus, “Hey, why don’t we move in together?” (p. 134)
(Seriously? He is comparing this to the salvation of someone that believes but has little fruit? I feel that God’s grace is being belittled here. It is rather offensive. Yes, a person can be saved regardless of what he latter does with that reality but that is not a direct comparison to what Idleman suggests. Seems like a man’s tactic to sound convincing but fails the Biblical test of accuracy. We must be careful not to determine our theology from human examples.)
Speaking of the Rich young ruler:
“He’s faced with the choice of following Jesus or keeping his stuff, but he couldn’t do both”(p. 144)
(Wrong. He needed to trust Christ alone for his salvation and not himself or his works. He had the opportunity to be saved the very same way as everyone else – by faith.)
“You won’t be able to take the path of following Jesus without walking away from a different path.”(pp. 144-145).
(True but you have to first be a believer. Salvation is not a change of life paths.)
“There are no exception clauses. You don’t get to say, “I follow Jesus— but when it comes to this area of my life, I do things my way.” If you call yourself a Christian, by definition you are committing to following Christ with every area of your life. It doesn’t mean you will follow perfectly, but you can’t say, “I’m a Christian” and then refuse to follow Christ when it comes to certain people or places or practices.”(p. 147)
(This quote illustrates the deception that is works salvation. Committing to follow Christ in discipleship is a work, not faith. Remember there is no merit that we can bring to the table that obligates God to give us salvation. He is not impressed when unbelievers try to make a commitment to follow Him. He first wants to save them by grace through faith.)
“I sat down and explained that you don’t have to have your life together to become a Christian or be a part of the church, but you must be willing to repent of your sins.”(p. 147).
(False, you don’t have to repent of your sins to be saved. An unbeliever can’t do that anyway. All they can do is respond to the gospel message by faith in Christ alone. That is repentance.)
“One of Christ’s followers who is a hero to me is Bill Bright. He was the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. He wrote the tract called The Four Spiritual Laws that presents the gospel.”(p. 150)
(Sadly it appears that you should have chosen a better teacher.)
“Choosing to become a bondslave was an act of complete self-denial. A bondslave gave up all their rights to the Master. He is agreeing to give up all his possessions to the master. A slave couldn’t pick and choose what was part of the deal. He couldn’t say, “I’m going to be a slave but I want to keep the car, and I need every other weekend off. I need to have a room with a view.” It wasn’t a negotiation. A bondslave would say, “Everything I have, everything I am, I sign over to you.” That’s what Jesus was wanting from the rich young ruler.”(p. 152)
(Now does everyone see the problem that comes in with confusing salvation with discipleship? It adds works to the gospel.)
When Jesus invites us to follow there’s not a lot of paper work involved, but he’s looking for some kind of a quitclaim deed. When you decide to follow him you are signing over your house, your car, your bank accounts, your career, your marriage, your children, your future, and anything else that you once laid claim to. You have no more rights and nothing can be withheld. You deny yourself and sign a quitclaim deed on your life.(p. 154)
(Salvation is not like a quitclaim deed. Nor is it a bilateral contract for that matter.)
“As Bonhoeffer put it, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”(p. 159)
(I am not surprised to see Bonhoeffer mentioned. Actually the gospel call is look to Jesus now and live! It is discipleship that that includes self denial. Big difference.)
“Jesus invites followers to die to themselves. We die to our own desires, our pursuits, and our plans. When we become followers of Jesus, that is the end of us.” (p. 161)
(Really, is that then why you said earlier that you were a fan every morning and had to re-commit each day? )
“In Mere Christianity C. S. Lewis puts it this way: Christ says, “Give me all. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want you. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there. I want to have the whole tree down. I don’t want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out.”(p. 166)
(The old man is not annihilated upon salvation. Progressive sanctification should not be confused with the decision to trust Christ for salvation.)
“Every day we make a decision that we will die to ourselves and live for Christ. Dying to ourselves is not a one-time decision. It’s a daily decision. That’s the most challenging part of dying.”(p. 168)
(There he goes contradicting himself again. Didn’t he just say this: “We die to our own desires, our pursuits, and our plans. When we become followers of Jesus, that is the end of us.” Also, if the decision to die to self in committing to be a disciple is a daily thing and becoming a disciple is the same as becoming a believer, then we need to be getting saved over and over again as we go each day through our lives? False! See how this amounts to no salvation at all. It is just a continual process of works commitments.)
“That’s the hardest part of carrying your cross … it’s so daily. Each morning by the grace of Jesus, I am invited to take up a cross and die. That’s the only way I will follow him that day. Every morning we crawl back on the altar and die to ourselves.”(p. 170)
(See the previous comment. I rest my case.)
“It’s much easier to speak about following Jesus when you are making a general statement without any specific commitments. But the most obvious and basic definition of following Jesus will mean making some significant life changes. Following Jesus literally means that you go where Jesus goes.”(p. 176)
(Huh? So Jesus would go to a church that teaches works salvation and teach people works to be saved? Isn’t Christ in heaven seated on the right hand of the Father? Isn’t He also omnipresent because God is Three in one(Father, Son, Holy Spirit). )
“Or what about this, what if God points to a place like Burma or Thailand and says, “What about there?” Anne Judson was the wife of America’s first foreign missionary, Adoniram Judson. Adoniram was 24 when he decided to leave America and sail to Burma.”(p. 178)
(I have heard this tactic of coercion used before by preachers to get people to commit to missions.)
“But the most obvious and basic definition of following Jesus will mean making some significant life changes.”(p. 176)
(So in essence you are saying that salvation means you have either make life changes to be saved or at least commit each day continually to making life changes? Wow. That is the opposite of the clear Biblical gospel.)
“I’m not sure how you can call yourself a follower of Jesus if you refuse to go where Jesus went.” (p. 185)
(So I have to go to Samaria, Jerusalem, Bethlethem or do you mean in principle? I want to remind people here that part of the purpose of following a master was to learn from them. We can all as believers learn from Christ through the Word.)
“Many fans say to Jesus, “I will follow. Anything and everything I have, I give to you.” But Jesus points to what you’re hiding behind your back and says, “What about that?” For Nicodemus it was a religious reputation. For the Rich Young Ruler it was his stuff. For this man it seems to be his family relationships that held him back. They are willing to follow Jesus, but the relationship isn’t exclusive.”(p. 202)
(False, they both had to be born again by grace through faith.)
“He will settle for nothing less than your undivided attention and complete commitment. (p. 204)
(Well, there goes your re-commit daily idea.)
“Trading everything we have for all that he offers is the best deal we could ever make.”(p. 205)
(Salvation is not a barter deal.)
“They have become too important and they keep us from following Christ with our whole hearts. Augustine referred to these things as “disordered loves.” They may very well be legitimate, but they are out of order in our lives.”(p. 206)
(Hmm, Augustine, CS Lewis, Bill Bright, Bonhoeffer… does anyone see the picture here?)
“Until you really have surrendered anything and everything over to Jesus and truly put him above all else in your life, you will not know the joy and satisfaction that finally comes when you go all-in.(p. 207)
(Really, well how do you know when you have reached that milestone? This illustrates why it is foolish to based our salvation off of fruit inspection. How can one be sure if there is enough?)
In conclusion, let’s remember some key things:
Salvation is not equal to discipleship.
Salvation is by grace through faith.
We can add nothing to faith in Christ alone.
If we do add anything to faith it amounts to no faith at all.
Stay away from those who preach and teach a false gospel.
Please also consider the following verses and their surrounding passages starting with Titus 3:5-7.
(Eph 2:8-10, John 3:16, I Cor 15:1-4, Gal 1:3-4, Rom 3:22-28, Rom 5:1-2, Rom 5:18, Eph 1:10-15, Phil 3:9, Rom 4:3-5, Col 1:4-5, Eph 1:7, Eph 2:13, Col 1:14, Rom 6:4, 11-13, 2 Cor 5:14, John 14:21, Rom 12:1-2, Tit 2:11-12, I Pet 2:1-3, I Cor 3:15)
Please see also:
Thanks for stopping by. I am so glad that you found this to be useful and were encouraged by it.
Wow, just wow. I thank God for this research. On a side note, I was encouraged about God and wonderfully reminded of His finished work on the cross as I read through your detailed account regarding this book. Also thank you for your faithfulness in laying this out in a way not to win an argument but to expose errant and potentially detrimental teaching.
gliles, please see my longer explanation as well. I have made it a stand alone page for this site so that I don’t need to repeat every time someone brings it up.
Response to gliles,
“Sorry Jim, but your desire for simplicity is leading you to ignore the words right on the Word’s page.”
Please understand that no one is trying to deny words. We are attempting to see those words also in context both in the specific contexts and as compared to the rest of God’s Word.
“In the James passage, his inspired word is not merely talking about fruitfulness, but justification: “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” – James 2:24
“You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe-and shudder!” – James 2:19”
Yes, verse 24 is talking about justification… but before who specifically? God? Or is it in context of men – as in our testimony? Likewise, which better squares with the rest of scripture?
I find it ironic that you are quick to accuse one of ignoring God’s words yet you are content to take verse 2:19 out of context. Remember that James is using that argument to motivate believers (already eternally saved people that He is writing to) to be inspired by God enough to do good works. His argue is look, even the demons shudder given what they know about God… so why can’t you given what you know about your savior, do good works not having a dead ad in useless faith, but a productive faith. One that is lively and active bringing forth fruit according to God’s will for us as believers. At no point is James suggesting that they didn’t “really” believe or that they had somehow lost eternal life.
You also said,
“There are many other verses that make this clear, but Jefferson cut out the miracles, and others cut out the verses that don’t fit their soteriology.
To summarize, faith alone saves, but to maintain that faith is a simple matter is to refuse to mature as Paul and the author of Hebrews wrote for us to do (1 Cor. 14:20, Ephesians 4:13, Hebrews 5:14).”
I fail to see what Jefferson has to do with this. Yes he denied things he didn’t like but is that what I am doing? Or what you are doing? Now I do mean to accuse you but for you to think again on this. The proof goes back to what does the Word say objectively. Yes faith alone saves. It is simple though as far as the faith used at conversion. Now to grow in your faith as a believer is tougher, though it still is a rather simple concept in essence, it is tough because of the constant battle with our flesh nature. Quoting verses that talk about maturing in the faith is not a help to your point. There are two separate issues at hand. One will people trust Christ alone as Savior. Two will they then grow as is God’s will for their Christian lives. Failing in the second does not mean they are unsaved but that they are disobedient believers just as in those rebuked in James.
I MUST UNDERSTAND FAITH
There is no merit in faith, or it could not be a channel for grace. It not only excludes merit, it actually includes the idea of helplessness and hopelessness. It calls upon another for help. Faith is a non-meritorious means of receiving this gift from God. (Rom. 4:5, 16; 5:1).
God designed salvation (peace with God justification) to be so easy anyone can obtain it by simple childlike faith. A child uses faith even learning to walk, even their first words saying mommy or daddy it takes faith. Eternal Life is guaranteed because it is God who guarantees it. it is a gift. Faith and belief are the same. When a soul drinks poluted water they can not see being spiritually drunk. Just as religious Nicodemus when Jesus said “you must be born again… Nicodemus asks another question” How Can? …… ” sadly there will be many souls in the lake of fire over something so simple and easy as Believing that Christ died for the ungodly and that qualifies me. Christ death burial and Resurrection His Finished Work is the guarantee of eternal life as a gift by receiving.. Now as a believer soul the Christian Life is lived by an identification principle guided by Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does everything for the believer that counts for eternity. Water Baptism does not im power a person to live the Christian Life. We must understand Spiritual Baptism. Water baptism is an identification principle of what has happened spiritually.
The legalist gets birth truth (spirituality) and growth truth all mixed up at best. Spirituality being born again happens in a fraction of time. Growth Takes time. they need to be kept seperate in our thinking.
On Tue, Apr 11, 2017, 11:37 PM Stand For the Faith wrote:
> jimfloyd12 commented: “So is it me that has oversimplified things or > Catholics and Calvinists and the like that over the years that had added to > the concept of faith to stretch it to cover or include whatever element > they wanted to add in. Some add a little and some add a lot.” >
Sorry Jim, but your desire for simplicity is leading you to ignore the words right on the Word’s page. In the James passage, his inspired word is not merely talking about fruitfulness, but justification: “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” – James 2:24
“You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe-and shudder!” – James 2:19
There are many other verses that make this clear, but Jefferson cut out the miracles, and others cut out the verses that don’t fit their soteriology.
To summarize, faith alone saves, but to maintain that faith is a simple matter is to refuse to mature as Paul and the author of Hebrews wrote for us to do (1 Cor. 14:20, Ephesians 4:13, Hebrews 5:14).
So is it me that has oversimplified things or Catholics and Calvinists and the like that over the years that had added to the concept of faith to stretch it to cover or include whatever element they wanted to add in. Some add a little and some add a lot. But what texts justify such things. They end up creating paradoxes where none needed to exist. And overtime it just becomes par for the course and excused away with “well His thoughts are higher than our thoughts” however they forget that He has clearly given us what we need to know if we’ll just deal with it straightforward and honestly comparing scripture with scripture and leaving agenda out of it.
Gliles, it isn’t about what I want but what the Word says. If anything I want to properly understand the Word. And yes, interesting of you to mention it but the Bible is theologically tidy. You may presume that I am adding in my own rhetoric but is that actually. Take your James 2 example … for example. Is James 2 written to believers? Yes. Are these believers as in all believers eternally secure? Yes. Then can they ever lose their salvation? No. If they have in essence “dead” faith (lacking good works i.e. Useless practically for good works) , does it mean they are unsaved or that they lost their salvation given by God based on Christ’s righteousness? No. It does mean that they have a bad testimony before men. Abraham by contrast had justification before men die to his actions. Is it a shameful thing for believers to live shallow lives of sin? Sure, but remember that being justified in God’s sight through faith the moment you believe is the way positional justification is received. Justification before men however requires action. It is the same as discipleship. Jesus told Nicodemus to believe and the illustration given was a look of faith (a look to the cross just as in the serpent in the wilderness). Jesus told people that wanted to follow after and learn from Him that it would require action and forsaking…. two different things.
Thank you for your thoughtful reply. You definitely have a simpler view of faith/belief than I do, and I think it does oversimplifying violence to the testimony of scripture. If I understand you correctly, you think that anything beyond simple trust in the mission of Christ and HIS work will inevitably lead to works-based or “faith plus” salvation. I think this fails to really think deeply about what it actually MEANS to trust in his work. Bluntly, your rhetoric is not consistent with James 2:14-26, particularly verse 24. You seem to want the truth of a real relationship with God to be simpler, more theologically tidy than it is.
And I humbly disagree. Faith is not the gift of God as many Lordshippers would presuppose. Also, what does faith mean at conversion? That you believe the gospel trusting in God alone to save. Am I arguing for intellectual assent? No. One must him personally to be their savior based on who He is and what He has done. LS advocates confuse and muddle all this because they (based on their presuppositions) have to have a way to see if faith is “real”. For me it is real if it is in the right object. For them there can be a range of qualifications added (depending sometimes who you ask). The thinking is if you belief then you will…. (fill in the blank with an element of Christian living). However the Biblical answer is that if you believe (repent), then you receive eternal life that very moment. So is that childish? Something to mock? Something to be ashamed of? Paul wasn’t ashamed of the gospel of grace. I see no reason why I should be.
Why is this such a problem? Because once you start saying faith mean… or faith will… or the like you end up with gospel additions either to be saved or to prove that you are saved.
We must remember that the Bible talks about the idea that we can know that we are saved, not by our own works but by whom we have believed. When some of these preachers change the tests of ongoing fellowship in our Christian walk in I John with tests of salvation itself then they do everyone a great disservice. Because assurance goes out the window because it is now squarely attached to performance. This is exactly why guys like MacArthur, Sproul, and Piper will even themselves lack assurance at times and look back to things like their works or their progress for comfort. However if you don’t have the delusion that faith is only gifted to the elect (and only the truly elect will have true obedient enduring faith), then you will be able to simply think back to whom you have believed when doubts come due to sin or failures.
I humbly suggest that you show a destructive tendency to dismiss “faith means” as “faith plus.” If you think faith is simple, I would further suggest that you have missed the child-like faith we are called to and landed in a childish faith. Faith and belief mean more than intellectual assent, and I think many that you reject as LS are trying to explain their understanding of what true faith means in and for a person’s life.
Here are the verses listed at the end for your consideration. I am creating a new post to explain them further in comparison to what Kyle is saying.
Tit 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Tit 3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
Tit 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Tit 3:8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Joh 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
Joh 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
Joh 3:16 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.
Gal 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
Gal 1:7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
Gal 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
Rom 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Rom 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
Rom 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Rom 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Rom 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
Rom 3:26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Rom 3:27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
Rom 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Rom 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
Rom 5:2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Rom 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
Eph 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
Eph 1:12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
Eph 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
Eph 1:14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Eph 1:15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,
Php 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
Rom 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
Rom 4:4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
Rom 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
Rom 4:6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
Rom 4:7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
Rom 4:8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
Col 1:3 We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
Col 1:4 Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,
Col 1:5 For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;
Col 1:6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:
Eph 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
Eph 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
Eph 1:14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
Eph 2:14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
Eph 2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
Col 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
Rom 6:4, 11-13
Rom 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Rom 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Rom 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
Rom 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
Rom 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
2 Cor 5:14
2Co 5:14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:
2Co 5:15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of
your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.,
I Pet 2:1-3
1Pe 2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
1Pe 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
1Pe 2:3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
1Co 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
1Co 3:12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
1Co 3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
1Co 3:14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
1Co 3:15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
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Please listen to Dr Cucuzza explain the gospel.
Is this or is this not the exactly way to receive eternal life? I’m saying it is and it is the only Biblical method – through faith in Him alone.
You ask a good question concerning the Holy Spirit. My answer, which really shouldn’t surprise you, is that I don’t believe LS is taught in the Word as described by Idleman and therefore it isn’t Spirit led. Same goes for the latter day saints despite their claims. There really is no way to compare notes three ways and get it right. Most often what happens is that anyone disagreeing with scripture has to change their view to align with scripture. I have had to do this in places over time due to things that were taught in error over the years. The proof is in the Word itself and not in a combined compromise. There is only one way of salvation and we can know it objectively and believe it or reject.
I sincerely hope and pray you have personally trusted Christ as your Savior.
You say we have the Word of God and the Holy Spirit to help us see the light (truth). I totally agree with that statement. Well how can you and Kyle both have the Word of God and the Holy Spirit to help you see the truth BUT THEN disagree with each other after examining the Word of God and asking the Holy Spirit to help you understand the truth??? That’s where my “story” comes in. God’s truth is way too big for us to totally comprehend. You see part of the truth, Kyle sees part of the truth, I see part of the truth. We can either put our parts together in friendship and mutually increase our wisdom, or we can “disagree” and argue and “put down” each other’s “truths” and make Jesus ashamed of us. I don’t think the 3 of us are really very far apart as far as what we believe. At least compared to Latter Day Saints (who also claim that THEIR truths come from the Bible with help from the Holy Spirit!)
I did use a lot of questions in my comments. They are not meant to be sarcastic. I respect the person Kyle Idleman but reject the views that he holds as mentioned above.
I was also young (5) when I was saved. My mother witnessed the truth of the gospel to me and I believed. It is not so much as “opening the door of your heart” but as receiving the free gift of salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone. I remember this was a little bit of a tough concept to understand as a child. I had to get past the part of thinking that my prayer itself would save me or merit my salvation. Many do talk to God when they believe but it is best to make sure people understand that it is faith in Christ alone to save you that saves. This is based on the truth of the gospel. I Cor 15:1-4.
I am confused as to how Idleman and I are both correct. We are saying opposite types of things.
You said, …“lose your salvation if you don’t watch out”… This is not salvation. Eternal life is eternal and cannot be lost or it wasn’t eternal. There is no such thing as temporary eternal life.
I think I do understand your story but I don’t believe it fits. See, we have the Word of God and the Holy Spirit to help us see the light (truth). This is what is so precious about the Word of God. Jesus Christ is the light of the world. Because of Christ’s death on the cross, God is calling all men everywhere to repent. As we know Christ didn’t stay dead. He is risen and we may all trust in Him for our personal eternal salvation from the penalty of sin. People like Idleman will say that too but they have a different meaning of the words believe and faith. To them it includes willingness to follow and other demands of discipleship. They’ll say that if these things aren’t present then your faith was not the right kind.
Jesus said, “Love your enemies” and he also said to his disciples, “Love one another.” Jim, Kyle is either one or the other, and you do not sound very loving. By loving, I mean respectful. It seemed to me like the whole “part 2” was sarcasm.
I am not a pastor. I have never been to Bible school or seminary or anything like that. I asked Jesus in my heart when I was 4 years old, and it was presented to me by my mother as “open the door of my heart to let Jesus come in.” He came in. It’s been 60 years this spring, and He is still there; He never left.
I must be really stupid, because I believe you are BOTH right. When it comes to “lose your salvation if you don’t watch out” vs “eternal security”, I think they are BOTH right also.
Are you familiar with the children’s story, “The Blind men and the elephant?” 6 blind beggars in India were best friends. One night they were talking about elephants and they all admitted that they had never seen an elephant. They decided they would go all together to “see” an elephant. Of course, they were blind, so all they could do was feel the elephant. One felt the trunk, and thought the elephant was like a snake. The other five felt the ear (fan), tusk (sword), leg (tree) tail (rope), and side (wall). Well, it destroyed their friendship. Now that they had all “experienced” the elephant, they disagreed with each other about what the elephant was really like.
The point I am trying to make? Salvation is the elephant and we are all blind men.
Hey no problem, I was glad to do a review of this book. Though I did find it oppressive at times as you mention. The think is for me that I notice it more now that I am not in churches that promote LS. I have had quite enough of that Spirit frustrating error. If anyone is in a church that teaches Idleman’s errors, I would run, not walk, away from it.
Thank you for enduring the tedium that enabled you to write this post, Jim.
I felt the oppressive spirit to which you referred just getting through this post, so I can only imagine the degree to which you had to deal with it to study the book and write about it here.
Yes, I really feel like he was just repackaging the error of others in the past like Augustine and Bonhoeffer. The minds of many people, especially the “Y” generation, are being captured by LS snare through men like Idleman, Chan, and Piper who continue to promote ideas that originated with men and not with scripture.
Yeah, he was contradicting enough in the just the quotes that I pulled. It is sad that his church has over 20,000 and that his book is used by so many.
Yeah it was a bit tedious at times. It was definately something you had to take breaks from. You could feel the oppressive spirit of it all. I also had to wade through the meaningless talk about relationships and salvation testimonies that didn’t really seem to be about salvation.
Jim, I like your pointing out Idleman’s references to other false teachers. This is a veritable “Who’ Who” of people to avoid.
Wow, that must have been a depressing, tedious job recording all of that heresy. My hat is off to you for enduring that torture.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
What a disastrous false gospel that Idleman is teaching. First, he is nothing but tons of contradictions. Then, he can’t give anyone security about anything. Since he himself could never find security for himself if he really believed the stuff he writes.
Great expose’, and just showing the nonsense that is out there. To think that there are “churches” which dumped Bible studies to study this Idleman book.