I had never come across the concept of “Lordship Salvation” until a few years ago. My first encounter with “Lordship Salvation” was a simulcast ata church I was involved in.
It was David Platt and Francis Chan. Apparently they’re very popular in some Christian Circles now. When I heard their speaking I was troubled.
Taking the sermon on the mount as a “performance measure” they indicated that a Christian and Disciple were synonymous terms. To be a Christian and not be a disciple was not possible, and if you were not a disciple, there was a good chance you were not a Christian. Therefore, they said, many “Christians” are Christians in name only, having deceived themselves.
I agree that there are many Christians who are Christians in name only. But when it gets down to it, you find that many do not believe the Gospel. Salvation comes to us because we have heard a message and believed it under the Holy Spirit’s conviction and enlightening. The simple message is that Jesus died for our sins according to the scriptures and was raised from the dead for our justification. When the Holy Spirit convicts us of this reality, we believe with our hearts that God raised Him from the dead and confess the Lord Jesus with our mouth and we are saved(Rom 10:9-10).
The heart believes unto righteousness (which the same right standing that Jesus has with God and is given to us as a gift) and the mouth confesses unto salvation. The scripture says that none who believe in Him will be disappointed and all who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
I have been in and out of many things as a Christian, and have seen much failure and defeat, many trials, much suffering and also persecution. However, the one thing that has never changed has been my faith. From the day I believed, that faith has been there.
This is because the Spirit in me testifies that God is true and continually bears witness in my heart that I have received eternal life (1 John 5:10. Sometimes when I have looked at my life, at my works, at my sins, I have come into doubt that I was saved, and that maybe I didn’t really believe fully, but I never doubted that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and rose again for my justification.
No matter how weak my faith was, or how it was assailed with accusations and doubts, I couldn’t “unbelieve” these facts if I tried. This is the work of God.
Salvation is entirely of the Lord, and not of works, so that no man can boast. Paul says “He who works NOT, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted to him as righteousness.”
So I had a real problem with the message that Francis Chan and David Platt gave based on what I already knew about salvation. We should not look inward at ourselves too much for assurance of salvation, we should look to what we believe, which sets the focus where it belongs – on Christ and His finished work.
A couple of months after the simulcast, the church mandated the materials that had been produced for “discipleship” by David Platt and Francis Chan. It really felt “off” to me. But it was a mixture, hard to pin down.
They spoke the language of faith in Christ, grace, and salvation being of the Lord. Yet all of their questioning and admonition led the believer to focus on themselves and what they’re doing.
I tried talking to a pastor about it but could not put my finger on it. He said “see, they’re talking about grace and faith here. This isn’t works salvation.” And at the time I had to admit “yes I can see that”, but it still felt “wrong” and I was confused.
So I started digging into the matter – who these guys are and what is their background. that’s when I learned about “Lordsihp” salvation. To put it in a nutshell, this is very much like the roman catholic view of salvation.
They speak the language of grace and faith, but faith means something different. They say that mere “mental assent” to a list of “facts” about Jesus is not enough to qualify as saving faith. We must count the cost, surrender ourselves fully, turn from all known sin, and commit ourselves entirely to Christ.
Basically they load the word “faith” and make it into a work. They say that those who believe the simple gospel as I believe it are just into “easy believism”. They say we’re just lazy and want to get out of obedience to Christ, and have not fully surrendered to Him as Lord, or “made Him the Lord of our life.”
In the end, it is all on you. Have you surrendered ENOUGH? Have you really turned from “all known sin”? Have you really made Jesus Lord of EVERY area of your life? If not, you might not even be saved – you might be deceived.
So this “Lordship Salvation” message is a direct attack on the believers assurance of salvation. They say you can’t look to the message you have believed for assurance, even though John said “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
The message of Lordship salvation attacks the assurance of salvation by focusing the believer’s attention on works, rather than on Christ.
The sublety of the message is that it is rooted in the synoptic gospels and on the words of Jesus Christ. For those who are not aware of dispensational distinctions, they will be convinced that it is Biblical.
This teaching is flourishing in ground where certain distinctions that have come about as a result of the finished work of the cross have not been taught.
For instance, there is nothing in the sermon on the mount that teaches about justification by faith by believing in the finished work of Christ. (That message is found in Romans, often called the “5th Gospel” or “Paul’s Gospel”)
This message was not clearly and fully proclaimed until after Jesus was resurrected. Paul says that this is because it needed to remain a mystery (because if the principalities and princes of this world had known and understood the result of it they would never have crucified the Lord!) (1 Cor 2:8).
The message of Jesus to the Jews in His earthly life was given by One who lived under the law to those who were also under law. He used the law of Moses to convict their conscience and to show them their need of a salvation.
He was preparing them to believe and trust in Him after He had been raised from the dead, while keeping the nature of His work a secret until it had been accomplished.
When we read the Gospels, we need to read them in the light of what Paul reveals to us about how to be saved. Peter says we need to be established in the “present truth (2 Peter 1:12)”
Often the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels are presented apart from an understanding of the impact of His Work on the cross, and this leads to great loss and confusion among Christians. Lordship Salvation finds great entrance where the focus is not placed on the finished work of Christ!
I recommend the following read http://www.faithalone.org/magazine/y2006/06so1.html