Recently I engaged in some discussion with Pastor and blogger Kent Brandenburg. He admittedly embraces a Lordship salvation view of the gospel. One of his more recent posts was titled “Lordship Salvation for Dummies”. In it, he explains what he perceives are his problems with not accepting a Lordship view of the gospel and what he believes Lordship salvation is.
This except from the long post pretty much sums it up:
“In Lordship salvation, belief includes repentance. Repentance includes self-denial. Repentance means turning from idols to serve the living and true God. Belief is more than just intellectual and emotional, but also volitional. In Lordship salvation, someone believes in Jesus Christ, and sacrosanct to a belief in Jesus Christ is that Jesus is God, Lord, and Savior. All sin is against Lordship. If someone turns from sin, that means he wants to do what the Lord says. That means that He wants the righteousness, which is in Christ alone.”
Brandenburg on his church’s website under the heading “Salvation” says:
“There is a kind of faith that will not save, that is only intellectual.”
“Part of what it means to believe is to repent. “Repent” means “to turn.” Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” We must turn from going our way to going Jesus’ way. Jesus describes it this way in Matthew 16:25: “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it..” We must give up our life, our own temporal life, in order to get eternal life. Jesus also said in Matthew 10:38, “He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.”
(We must give up our life in order to get eternal life? No sir! That is a barter exchange for salvation. We cannot purchase or merit our salvation in that fashion. We must accept it as the free gift that it is by grace through faith.
Matthew 16:25 is talking about our service to Him as believers. The result is rewards or loss of rewards. Look down at vs 27 where it says that every man shall be rewarded according to his works. For the believer this takes place a the Bema seat judgement of Christ. Matthew 10:38 is not saying that a person may not be worthy to be saved but they may not be worthy to follow and learn. Discipleship involves commitment and work. Obviously receiving the free gift of salvation does not require commitment and work otherwise it wouldn’t be free and it wouldn’t be by grace.)
One of the main things to understand is the Biblical definition of faith. Think about it. What happens if the definition of faith (pistis) is belief / trust and we read verses such as: Eph 2:8-9 or Romans 4:5? Now what happens if we take the words faith (trust, belief) and believe (pisteuo – to place faith in something) and add into those definitions the concept of obedience, willingness to obey, commitment to discipleship, change of direction. Reading the verses again will then give totally different meanings. The new definitions contradict the phrases “But to him that worketh not,” and “…that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Notice what happens when we change faith to include LS style commitment? Do you see how two different pastors could read the whole Bible through with two different working definitions of faith and come up with a different gospel? I think it is troubling indeed. The same thing can go for words like “repentance. ”
A lost man needs to repent (change his mind) trusting Christ for salvation. Once he is saved he can engage in: growing in Christ, walking with His Savior, learning more of His Savior, learning more of the Word, and adding to His faith the things mentioned in 2 Peter 1:5-7.
2Pe 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
2Pe 1:6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
2Pe 1:7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
2Pe 1:8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2Pe 1:9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
Notice verse 8. If these things be in you… It does not say if you have faith ye shall not be barren or unfruitful. In verse 9 a believer that lacks these things is not pronounced unsaved or never saved in the first place but is pronounced as one that has forgotten that he was purged. There are other parallels to this including James 1:21-27.
So make no mistake about the fact that the free grace advocates and LS advocates use different definitions of the same words. Making faith include works is a really good trick but a dangerous one. Beware.
One might ask, what is the big deal? Can’t we all just get along under one big tent? Honestly the answer is no, we can’t. See, one of the most important things is the gospel. If there is no agreement on the gospel then there really is no agreement.
For further reading please see the following: