You will be shocked–SHOCKED!!–at who was one of the earliest promoters of “Lordship Salvation”. That is, the fact that if one is a Christian, they will grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and their lives will be marked by repentance and good works. Not works leading to salvation, but rather works springing from salvation.
All the “Easy-Believers®” who want to toss men like John MacArthur and Paul Washer under the bus for teaching that the life of a true Christian will be radically different from a Non-Christian because the believer’s life will be marked by repentance from sin, obedience to Christ, and “fruits worthy of repentance”–these “Easy-Believers®” will also have to consign the great Puritan preacher Jonathan Edwards to the same fate.
In the whole debate over “Lordship Salvation”, John MacArthur has had a big red target painted on him, and those who teach “easy-believism” have strung him up and flung him into the depths of Hell because of one paragraph of one book he wrote 7 years ago (“Hard To Believe”). See, the “easy-believer®” doesn’t want to hear the fact that if a person is saved, they will show evidence of their salvation through good works (even though the Holy Writ is clear in many places, such as James 2:14-24 and Ephesians 2:10) that believers are saved in order to perform good works–not that those good works save them. They are so focused on painting Johnny Mac as a heretic, that–well, why bother letting the facts get in the way?
Now, let me ask you this: who would give you a better and more accurate picture of what I believe–someone who heard me say something seven years ago–or someone who hears me teach every week, who knows me personally, and has heard me explain my beliefs over the last several years?
The same question can be asked of those who continue to bash Dr. MacArthur. Who would give you a better and more accurate picture of what he believes–someone who read one paragraph of one book written seven years ago–or someone who knows him personally, works with him every day, and in fact is the editor of most of Dr. MacArthur’s books?
Phil Johnson is the editor of Dr. MacArthur’s books, and is closer–much closer–to Dr. MacArthur than those who continue to smear Dr. MacArthur’s name with accusations based on a statement that Dr. MacArthur never made to begin with. The statement in question is:
Salvation isn’t the result of an intellectual exercise. It comes from a life lived in obedience and service to Christ as revealed in the Scripture; it’s the fruit of actions, not intentions.
Now, it certainly sounds like Dr. MacArthur is teaching salvation by works. But, here’s the kicker–Dr. MacArthur never wrote those words! Here is the explanation from Phil Johnson, posted over at Paleoevangelical (Phil Johnson’s words are in green, Lou Martuneac’s words are in blue, text pertaining to the revision is in purple)–
Is it necessary, for a person who is saved, to confess Jesus Christ as Lord? Well, the answer to that question is, of course–YES!! I have put together a couple videos, based on Romans 10:9-10, to show that if one desires to be saved, then confessing Christ as Lord is a necessary requirement.
There is a movement that has been around for quite some time now. It is based on the absurd belief that a person can be saved, even if they do not confess Jesus Christ as Lord. It is not new by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, John MacArthur preached a message on this very subject back in 1988. Allow me to share a couple of quotes from that message:
This view is so popular that recently when I was doing a Bible conference at one of the major Christian institutions in America, a man spoke to the student body every day for the week, as I did as well, he said to them, “The point at which you really become a disciple, the point at which you really make Christ Lord of your life usually comes some time in your thirties.” And I was shocked, to put it mildly, that he had just basically told a group of young people to put their spiritual commitment on hold until they reached their thirties. He was holding to a view that it’s enough to accept Jesus as Savior, take your forgiveness, take your guarantee of heaven and then live any way you want until you come to some crisis point, hopefully sooner than later, when you make Christ Lord.
I’ve had parents say to me, “I know my…my son is a homosexual. He has chosen that life style. I know my daughter has absolutely no regard for the things of Christ. But I know they were saved. I remember the time they made their decision.” Parents cling to this. Spouses may cling to this for their partner. Friends may cling to this for someone they love deeply. It conveys the idea that salvation is some momentary transaction that secures forever but doesn’t necessarily transform your life and does not involve acknowledging Jesus as Lord of your life and submitting your life to Him. That kind of thing is behind most contemporary evangelism. You listen, when do you hear someone say, “Are you willing to commit your life to following Jesus?” When do you hear someone say, “Are you willing to repent of your sin and bow your knee in submission to the Lordship of Christ?” “Are you willing to allow Jesus Christ to take over as King and ruler of your life?” What you hear is, “Accept Christ…receive Christ…make a decision for Christ.”
I watched a film this afternoon for the second time, I watched it a day ago because the first time I watched it I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was sent out to our church. It was sent to me because it was to be distributed all across this entire country to every church that had an AWANA program. It was a film designed to instruct people how to lead someone to Christ. The film used some graphics, posed some questions and then asked if they were true or false. Let me tell you what some of the questions were and what the answer was.
In presenting the gospel, the narrator of the film said, should you ever ask these questions? Here are the questions.
* Question number one: Should you say to someone, will you give your heart to Christ? Answer: False, you never want to say that to anyone. You never want to ask anyone to give anything to Christ. You don’t want to ask them to give their life to Christ, you just ask them to believe.
* Second question: Will you surrender your life to Christ? Answer: False, don’t ever ask anyone to surrender anything.
* Question number three: will you commit your life to Christ? Answer: False, don’t ever ask anyone to do that.
* Question number four: will you make Christ Lord of your life? Answer: Don’t ever ask anyone to acknowledge that He has to be Lord of their life.
* Question number five: will you repent of your sins? Answer: False, don’t ever ask anyone to repent of their sins.
* Question number six: are you willing to forsake your sins? Answer: False, don’t ask anyone to do that.
It is enough then, said the narrator, to ask them: do you believe that Jesus died for your sins? That is enough. That is enough? The devils believe and…what?…and tremble.
Another writer says, and I’m quoting, “It is possible, even probable, that when a believer out of fellowship falls for certain types of philosophy, if he is a logical thinker he will become an unbelieving believer. Believers who are agnostics are still saved. They are still born again.” Listen to this one. “You can even become an atheist. But if you once accept Christ as Savior, you cannot lose your salvation even though you deny God,” end quote.
He finishes up the message thus:
Jesus wanted the two things to come clear to that young man [The rich young ruler in Mark chapter 8–4*P]. When you want into the Kingdom, when you want eternal life, it is not as simple as just a decision, believing some facts. There must be an acknowledgment and turning from sin and there must be a willingness to submit to My authority even if I ask you to do the most difficult thing in your life…to give up that which you love the most. Let’s establish, number one, the depth of your sinfulness and, number two, the height of My sovereignty, that’s the issue. The man left.
So today we are starting a new series showing that whether or not you say Jesus is Lord, He still is! It is not US who make Jesus Lord–God has already made Him both Lord and Christ.
Romans 10:8-10 (NASB)—8 But what does it say? “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART”–that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.