Posted on March 22, 2011
|What’s the Answer for a Culture in Decay, Decline, or Despair?|
On Saturday, March 19th, an article came across my Google Reader titled, What Is Wrong with Lordship Salvation? by Dr. Andy Woods of Sugar Land Bible Church. The article was posted at Bible Prophecy Blog, which is generally a good resource for keeping up with end-times happenings. Unfortunately, because of this non-lordship salvation article and its rejection of the biblical doctrine of “lordship salvation”, I had to remove it from my Blog Roll as I do not want to cause confusion to the Body of Christ or lend to the false assurance of salvation of false converts. Instead, Lord willing, I will be rebutting Dr. Woods’ 5-part argument for his non-lordship position and show why he is in danger of preaching another gospel – one that does not save.
Due to the length of Dr. Woods’ article and the many errors within it, I will break my response into at least 6 articles with Part 1 being a response to Dr. Woods’ introduction. If you would like to read Dr. Woods’ article in its entirety, you can do so here: What Is Wrong with Lordship Salvation?
If this is your first time hearing of “lordship salvation”, you might find the following article helpful to you: Lordship Salvation – It Will Cost You Everything.
Part 1- Introduction
Dr. Woods begins his article with the following:
Lordship Salvation is the idea that an unbeliever must commit all areas of his life to Christ as a condition for being saved.
A common tactic I have found of those refuting lordship salvation is their use of logical fallacies, such as the Straw Man fallacy above. I do not know of any person who believes in the unadulterated Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, otherwise known as “lordship salvation”, who suggests or teaches that one must consciously commit all areas of his life to Christ as a condition for being saved. The implication with Dr. Woods’ packaging in the above statement is that one must consciously consider every area of one’s life before coming to the cross, and surrender it to the Lord if they are to be saved. This means, according to Dr. Woods’ understanding of lordship salvation, that one must repent from every single sin and surrender absolutely every element of a person’s life in conscious consideration, if they are to be forgiven. That is a false representation of the lordship salvation position.
The truth is, one must indeed surrender all to the Lord Jesus Christ. Biblically speaking, this means one forsakes everything to be a disciple of Christ (Luke 14:33). Practically speaking, when one is born again of the Spirit, they give up ownership of themselves and their belongings, and they let go of the world and the chains of sin around their neck, broken by the power of the Holy Spirit. Ultimately, when one forsakes everything for Christ, they forsake control of themselves and put on the gentle yoke of Christ that leads them in sanctifying grace (Matthew 11:29). As humble servants of their Master, the Christian, from the moment of salvation, will begin a journey that leaves their old life behind in increasing measure as they are transformed by the renewing of their mind (Romans 12:2).
Dr. Woods continues in his introduction,
Another way of articulating Lordship Salvation is, “if Jesus is not Lord of all then He is not Lord at all.”
Yes, Jesus is the sovereign Lord over all creation. He is Lord of nonbelievers and believers alike. The only difference between the nonbeliever and the believer is that the believer has acknowledged His lordship, which is to say the believer submits to Christ’s authority simply by professing Him Lord from the core of their new heart (Romans 10:9). The believer has discovered the preciousness of Jesus Christ as Divine, Sovereign Ruler and Master. The believer has valued Christ more than anything else in the world, including their sin and pride. This does not mean that the saint has perfectly repented, but it does mean he acknowledges his sinfulness, is mournful over it, and submits to the authority of His Master to be taught by His grace to deny worldliness and ungodliness (Titus 2:11-14). What results is obedience to the commands of Christ and a relationship of servanthood out of love for a King. Dr. Woods’ position divides Christ into a Savior and a Lord, meaning one can receive one (Savior) without acknowledging the other (Lord). If one only wants half of Jesus, how could they possibly receive all of Him?
Continuing his discussion, Dr. Woods explains,
Lordship Salvation began to significantly enter the American evangelical community in the 1980’s through the ministries of various prominent theologians and pastors. The movement began with the well-intentioned concern to address too much carnality in the Christian world.
Not exactly. As a result of antinomian influence in the American church (namely dispensational and no-lordship antinomianism), which has resulted in countless false conversions due to “cheap grace”, easy-believism and decisional evangelism, certain ministries began to take a stand and recapture the Gospel according to the Lord Jesus Christ. One such ministry is that of John MacArthur, who is often vehemently attacked by opponents to the point of declaring him a heretic. It is arguable how the term “lordship salvation” came about, but the fact of the matter is the doctrine is an essential element of the Gospel and has been taught as such down through the ages of church history. Why? Because “lordship salvation” is nothing less or more than the Gospel. The concern of “too much carnality in the Christian world”, as Dr. Woods suggests, has been the concern of godly men since the Apostle Paul addressed the Corinthians and warned them about carnality.
Dr. Woods continues,
However, the proposed solution to this legitimate concern was to increase the sole requirement for salvation in an attempt to argue that carnal Christians were never really saved in the first place since they had never initially yielded to Christ’s Lordship.
What is the “sole requirement” for salvation, Dr. Woods? According to your next two sentences, your definition of saving faith is severely lacking:
Sugar Land Bible Church does not believe in or teach Lordship Salvation. For example, Position Statement #6 in our church constitution says, “…repentance, as in a person willfully turning from sin, cannot be a condition for salvation.”
This distorted view of repentance has no Gospel-saving power. What he suggests has been added to the “sole requirement” of salvation has, in fact, always been part of the “requirements” of salvation – that is, repentance and faith (which of course are gifts from God, not “requirements”). Dr. Woods, your position allows for a professing Christian to remain in their sins for the totality of their “walk”. Your position allows for a justification that does not necessitate sanctification. Your position allows for an infinite gap between justification and sanctification, eg, sanctification may never occur. Your position divides believing and discipleship. Your position allows for one to ultimately walk away from the faith, yet still be considered a Christian because, by golly, they *once* believed. Finally, your position allows for the “christian” to hold on to their sin, continue in the world, continue to love the world, and continue to be a friend of the world as long as they once “asked Jesus into their heart”. This, Dr. Woods, is contrary to the Gospel that is the power of God to salvation for all who believe (Romans 1:16). The Gospel not only saves people, Dr. Woods, but it changes them – without fail (Romans 8:29-30). Your position is one of the very causes of “too much carnality in the Christian world.”
Many people look at the Lordship controversy as merely semantics. They believe that this issue has no real significance for practical living or ministry.
Indeed, Dr. Woods, this controversy is not mere semantics and its significance is monumental for practical living and ministry. Ultimately, your gospel is a man-centered distortion of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The latter Gospel, on the other hand, is a sovereign plan of God to redeem a people for Himself, according to the counsel of His own will, to the praise of His glorious Son, and to conform a holy and blameless Bride to the image of the Lamb of God who is King of His Church and who will be King of all kings. The Gospel according to God not only saves people from the wrath to come, but it saves them from the bondage of their sin, which is to say the Truth sets us free, it sets us free indeed (John 8:34-36).
In closing his introduction, Dr. Woods says,
In actuality, Lordship Salvation introduces at least five problems into the life of a church.
The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel. – Mark 1:15
Dr. Andy Woods of Sugar Land Bible Church was recently featured on the Bible Prophecy Blogwith his article titled, What Is Wrong with Lordship Salvation? He provided 5 arguments for why lordship salvation is wrong, and as I informed you in the introductory article, What Is Wrong with NON-Lordship Salvation? – Part 1, I will be addressing each of his flawed arguments in a series to be sure to cover all of Dr. Woods’ errors in a thorough manner. My aim is to provide clear evidence from Scripture for why “lordship salvation” is nothing short of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, to clear up confusion for those perplexed by Dr. Woods’ article, to give clarity of the lordship salvation doctrine for those who have been deceived by teachings such as that provided by Dr. Woods, and to edify the Body of Christ and encourage the brethren to boldly proclaim the unadulterated biblical Gospel. I pray this endeavor will honor and bring glory to my God and King, for whom I owe my life as a humble servant because of His love and sovereign grace (Romans 12:1).
Dr. Woods’ position truly hinges on his first argument, and likewise crumbles under it. Because he and many others like him in the evangelical church hold to a low view of God, which is to say that man holds greater sovereignty over himself than the Omnipotent Creator, it is difficult for them to comprehend God’s work in our salvation. Moreover, Dr. Woods inherently charges those who believe in the unadulterated Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ as preaching another gospel with such statements as,
Lordship Salvation changes the very heart of the Gospel, which only requires a child-like faith.
My challenge to Dr. Woods and every person reading this article who agrees with his assertion of lordship salvation – are you prepared to declare men and women who adhere to “lordship salvation” as heretics? After all, if lordship salvation “changes the very heart of the Gospel”, would that not be another gospel? Would this other gospel not be accursed according to Galatians 1:8-9? Are you prepared to mark godly men such as Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, Martin Lloyd-Jones, George Whitefield, John Bunyan, A.W. Pink, B.B. Warfield, John Knox and the Puritans, J.C. Ryle, Leonard Ravenhill, Steven Lawson, John MacArthur, Ray Comfort, Al Mohler, C.J. Mahaney, Ray Comfort, Paul Washer and many other stalwarts of the faith as heretics? Because I tell you, these men believe in none other than the Lordship of Christ and our surrender to Him at salvation. Or perhaps you were a bit irresponsible with your words, Dr. Woods? If you truly believe these men, who represent historical Christian orthodoxy, are preaching a message that is contrary to the heart of the Gospel, do you stand by these implications? Why or why not?
Dr. Woods continues in his first argument:
There are probably somewhere between 150 to 200 New Testament passages which singularly condition a lost person’s salvation upon belief alone in Christ (John 3:16; 6:28-29; Acts 16:31; Rom 1:16, etc…). Belief is a synonym for faith or confidence or trust in God’s provision. The moment a lost person exercises trust in Christ is the moment he is saved.
So the devils are then saved, Dr. Woods? If all saving faith requires is to believe, then what of these devils who believe there is one God and tremble (James 2:19)? Clearly, it is more than just intellectual assent to a list of facts of who Christ is and what He has done. After all, faith without works is dead (James 2:20). Therefore, it is the type of belief one has that results in saving faith, and it is not of ourselves lest we should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Dr. Woods continues,
Why has God made salvation so simple? God has designed salvation as a free gift (Rom 4:4). If there were some human action to be performed beyond belief then salvation becomes something that we do rather than what God does. Such a human insertion reduces salvation’s free gift status by making it something we earn. In other words, under the Lordship Salvation model, surrender or commitment becomes a work that one does to earn salvation despite the fact that the Scripture is clear that salvation is not by works (Eph 2:8-9; Isa 64:6). Also, God has specifically designed salvation so that the principle of human boasting is eliminated (Rom 3:27; 4:2). Yet, if the unsaved could do anything to merit salvation beyond simple belief, such as commit or surrender, then he has contributed to the salvation process and thus has something to boast over. God cannot allow this to happen given His aversion to pride of any sort.
Dr. Woods has it backwards in terms of working and boasting. Because a position such as Dr. Woods’ reduces belief to a human work, it is no wonder there is an attempt to reduce faith to simple intellectual belief. By adding any type of commitment or repentance to this type of belief, from their perspective, it adds works to salvation. And I would agree with them if salvation was indeed left up to man’s own choosing or natural ability to choose God in faith.
But, as we were completely spiritually dead in our trespasses (Ephesians 2:1) and blinded by the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4), it is only by the absolute sovereign grace of God who shines His light in us, thus breaking the power of darkness and lifting the veil from our blinded eyes (2 Corinthians 4:6), that we are enabled to believe with conviction. God must perform open-heart surgery on us that we would love Him with all of our mind, soul, heart, and strength (Deuteronomy 30:6) , and when He does, we will come to the cross! (John 6:37, 17:2) Our salvation, therefore, is wrought out of the will of God, not man (John 1:13, Romans 9:16), because He is rich in mercy (Ephesians 2:4-5) and wills to bring glory to Himself through His perfect plan of redemption (Ephesians 1:3-14).
Having established that salvation is of the Lord (Jonah 2:9; 1 Corinthians 1:29-31), and it is impossible for natural man to discern the things of God (1 Corinthians 2:14, Romans 8:7-8), we may now move forward in defining saving faith.
The simplest definition of saving faith is:
It is authored by God (Hebrews 12:2, Philippians 1:6). It is solely His work (Philippians 2:13). Saving faith is meek (Matthew 5:5, Matthew 11:29). Saving faith obeys (Hebrews 5:9, 1 John 5:2). Saving faith bears fruit (Luke 3:8, 8:15). Saving faith loves God and people (Matthew 22:36-40).
Saving faith is trusting that Jesus is both God and Lord (John 20:28), who alone has the power to forgive sins (Luke 5:24, John 8:58), has also the power to save us from our sins (Romans 5:10) and destroy the dominion of sin over us (Romans 6:5-11; 1 John 3:8). So yes, I agree with Dr. Woods that the moment a person exercises trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross, he is saved because he is justified, sanctified, and washed by the blood of Jesus (1 Corinthians 6:11, 1 John 1:7). But this is not mere intellectual assent to a list of facts, it is a faith that actually trusts that God can do what He promises to do – that is, to save us from His own wrath and to save us from the bondage of our sin.
In closing his first argument, Dr. Woods tells us,
Lordship Salvation perverts this divine order by making salvation something we do for God rather than something He does for us. It is Christ who saves us rather than our surrender or commitment to Him.
No, Dr. Woods, your misconception about lordship salvation perverts this divine work of God. And about God doing something for us – every single person reading this article and every single person who has ever carried oxygen in their lungs deserves the just punishment of eternal hell (Romans 3:23, 6:23). We have all broken God’s Law, therefore none of us are righteous (Romans 3:10). The Sovereign Lord would still be good and would still be just if He saved none of us and we all perished in hell for our iniquities. However, before the foundation of the world, He chose to redeem a people for Himself through His own Son because of His great mercy (1 Peter 1:2, 20-21). So it is completely and absolutely, from start to finish, something He does for us. He chose a people for Himself, He purchased them with His blood, and He reconciled them through the Spirit – despite our wickedness and to the praise of His own glory.
The reason why faith commits, surrenders, and obeys is because faith is a gift and a work of God in us. He changes our heart and our attitude, which gives us the desire to submit to His will and enables us to comply. The childlike faith Dr. Woods mentioned is precisely what we must have in order to receive the gift of eternal life (Matthew 18:3). A child’s faith is humble and submits to authority. In humility, they are able to be taught and obey the commands of authority. Likewise, without this humble submission to the authority of Christ, no one will see the Kingdom of God.
The following excerpt is from Charles Spurgeon, the prince of preachers, who delivered this divine message on June 13th, 1862 titled, Faith and Repentance Inseperable (transcript). This must-listen sermon can be downloaded at Sermonaudio. Here, Spurgeon warns of a type of belief that does not save (paragraphs created for easier reading):
Faith means trust in Christ. Now, I must again remark that some have preached this trust in Christ so well and so fully, that I can admire their faithfulness and bless God for them; yet there is a difficulty and a danger; it may be that in preaching simple trust in Christ as being the way of salvation, that they omit to remind the sinner that no faith can be genuine but such as is perfectly consistent with repentance for past sin; for my text seems to me to put it thus: no repentance is true but that which consorts with faith; no faith is true but that which is linked with a hearty and sincere repentance on account of past sin.
So then, dear friends, those people who have a faith which allows them to think lightly of past sin, have the faith of devils, and not the faith of God’s elect. Those who say, “Oh, as for the past, that is nothing; Jesus Christ has washed all that away”; and can talk about all the crimes of their youth, and the iniquitous of their riper years, as if they were mere trifles, and never think of shedding a tear; never feel their souls ready to burst because they should have been such great offenders—such men who can trifle with the past, and even fight their battles o’er again when their passions are too cold for new rebellions—I say that such who think sin a trifle and have never sorrowed on account of it, may know that their faith is not genuine.
Such men as have a faith which allows them to live carelessly in the present who say, “Well, I am saved by a simple faith”; and then sit on the ale-bench with the drunkard, or stand at the bar with the spirit-drinker, or go into worldly company and enjoy the carnal pleasures and the lusts of the flesh, such men are liars; they have not the faith which will save the soul. They have a deceitful hypocrisy; they have not the faith which will bring them to heaven.
And then, there be some other people who have a faith which leads them to no hatred of sin. They do not look upon sin in others with any kind of shame. It is true they would not do as others do, but then they can laugh at what others commit. They take pleasure in the vices of others; laugh at their profane jests, and smile at their loose speeches. They do not flee from sin as from a serpent, nor detest it as the murderer of their best friend.
No, they dally with it; they make excuses for it; they commit in private what in public they condemn. They call grave offences slight faults and little defalcations; and in business they wink at departures from uprightness, and consider them to be mere matters of trade; the fact being that they have a faith which will sit down arm-in-arm with sin, and eat and drink at the same table with unrighteousness. Oh! if any of you have such a faith as this, I pray God to turn it out bag and baggage. It is of no good to you; the sooner you are cleaned out of it the better for you, for when this sandy foundation shall all be washed away, perhaps you may then begin to build upon the rock.
My dear friends, I would be very faithful with your souls, and would lay the lancet at each man’s heart. What is your repentance? Have you a repentance that leads you to look out of self to Christ, and to Christ only? On the other hand, have you that faith which leads you to true repentance; to hate the very thought of sin; so that the dearest idol you have known, whatever it may be, you desire to tear from its throne that you may worship Christ, and Christ only? Be assured of this, that nothing short of this will be of any use to you at the last.
A repentance and a faith of any other sort may do to please you now, as children are pleased with fancies; but when you get on a death-bed, and see the reality of things, you will be compelled to say that they are a falsehood and a refuge of lies. You will find that you have been daubed with untempered mortar; that you have said, “Peace, peace,” to yourselves, when there was no peace. Again, I say, in the words of Christ, “Repent and believe the gospel.” Trust Christ to save you, and lament that you need to be saved, and mourn because this need of yours has put the Saviour to open shame, to frightful sufferings, and to a terrible death.
I’m thankful that Christ saved me, but I’m not ready to obey Him. Jesus is my Savior, but I do not love Him enough to hate my sin and flee from it. Jesus died for me and I appreciate that, but demanding that I follow Him is a little too much right now – maybe later. I love God with all of my heart, but I still love my sin. That’s ok, right? I believe God is in control of all things, except me – that’s why I want to retain control of my life and do things the way I want to do them. God’s will for my life is nice, but my will still be done, at least for now. Jesus came into my heart, but I’m not ready for Him to teach me yet. Christ forgives me because I believe, but thirsting for righteousness and being holy is for disciples. I’ll be a disciple one day, but for now I’m happy with just being saved – after all, obedience is for “super Christians”. In short, I will not bow to Christ, at least not yet – but praise God for grace, yes? – John “no-lordship” Doe
Ridiculous, isn’t it? This is the implication for those who reject so-called “lordship salvation”. These are the things they allow with the position that one only has to believe, but not follow the Lord Jesus Christ in obedience and love for the cross and the person of Christ. Such a person is Dr. Andy Woods of Sugar Land Bible Church who was recently featured on the Bible Prophecy Blog with the article, What Is Wrong with Lordship Salvation?
In Part 2 of this series titled, What Is Wrong with NON-Lordship Salvation?, I addressed the matter of saving faith. Dr. Woods teaches that all one needs for salvation is an intellectual assent to facts about Christ and His work on the cross. He also believes the following words are synonyms of each other: belief, faith, trust, confidence, and repentance. So with that, let’s tackle the differences between Dr. Woods’ definition for repentance and biblical repentance.
Dr. Woods begins his second argument against lordship salvation with the following:
Second, Lordship Salvation places an impossible requirement upon the unsaved. The unsaved person is dead in his trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1) and thus incapable of doing anything of spiritual value, such as obey, submit, forsake, etc…By making these other things the conditions of salvation rather than simply believing, obstacles are placed in front of the unbeliever that he or she is incapable of fulfilling.
Perhaps Dr. Woods is referring to Jesus, when He said:
If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. – Luke 14:26
And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. – Luke 14:27
So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. – Luke 14:33
He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. – Matthew 10:37
And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. – Matthew 10:38
He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. – Matthew 10:39
Impossible? Absolutely – for the carnal mind:
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. – Romans 8:7
Who then can be saved? Who then can meet these impossible demands of Christ?! The disciples asked Jesus these very questions after they witnessed the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:16-22 walking away from Christ because he was not willing to forsake all that he was and all that he had for the Kingdom of God. He loved his riches more than he loved God. They were his idols and he was not willing to forsake them. But Jesus answered them in Matthew 19:26,
With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.
Oh but for the sovereign grace of God, none would be saved! It is indeed utterly impossible for the flesh to submit to the authority of Christ, but by grace, we are willing to do so – and will do so.
Continuing, Dr. Woods says:
The lost are capable of doing only one thing that is pleasing to a holy God: trusting in His provision for salvation.
No, Dr. Woods, the lost are not even capable of doing that. It is because we are dead in our trespasses as carnal men that we can do nothing but rebel against God. We cannot please Him, period (Romans 8:7). So, even our faith, even our trusting and the ability to do so is a gift of God, lest we should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Corinthians 1:26-31).
Finally, on the doctrine of repentance, Dr. Woods suggests:
What then shall we make of the numerous biblical commands for the lost to repent (Acts 2:38; 17:30; 2 Pet 3:9)? The Greek word translated repent is metanoeō. It comes from two Greek words meta and noeō. Meta means change, as in metamorphosis. Noeō means “to perceive.” From the word noeō we get the English word notion, which refers to an idea emanating from the mind. Thus, repent or metanoeō means to change one’s mind about Christ rather than to change one’s behavior in order to come to Christ. In this sense, repentance is a synonym for faith. Position Statement #6 captures this idea when it says, “With respect to salvation, repentance is a change of mind regarding the Person and work of Christ.”
From my experience in learning of the non-lordship salvation position, the two major points of contention are the sovereignty of God (sovereign grace creating saving faith) and the definition of repentance. Dr. Woods has echoed what most contend from his position that repentance is nothing more than a change of mind about who God is and what Christ has done. Further, they misrepresent true repentance by asserting that Gospel preachers and teachers teach that repentance means to change one’s behavior before coming to Christ. On the first hand, Dr. Woods definition is biblically insufficient. On the second hand, biblical repentance does not mean to change one’s behavior before coming to Christ, but biblical repentance always results in changed behavior.
The Blue Letter Bible features the 19th century Anglican Archbiship of Dublin, Richard C. Trent, to explain the different forms of repentance. Trent sums up biblical repentance that leads to salvation as follows:
It is only after metanoeō has been taken up into the uses of Scripture, or of writers dependant on Scripture, that it comes predominantly to mean a change of mind, taking a wiser view of the past…a regret for the ill done in that past, and out of all this a change of life for the better…μετανοεῖν and metanoeō gradually advanced in depth and fulness of meaning, till they became the fixed and recognized words to express that mighty change in mind, heart, and life wrought by the Spirit of God (‘such a virtuous alteration of the mind and purpose as begets a like virtuous change in the life and practice,’ Kettlewell), which we call repentance.
In other words, while metanoeō does technically mean “to change one’s mind”,its usage and context in Scripture is deeper than that. Biblical repentance, therefore, involves a change in the mind (intellect), in the emotions (heart), and the will (volition leading to changed behavior).
One such evidence of this can be found in the Beatitudes of Matthew 5, where we see that only the poor in spirit, the mournful, the meek, and those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will see the Kingdom of Heaven. The poor in spirit recognize they have broken God’s Law and have sinned against a holy God. They understand their lost condition, and recognize their desperate need of a Savior. For having offended God, they are contrite in spirit and mourn over their sinful behavior against God (Psalm 34:18, 51:17; Isaiah 57:15, 66:2). This leads to a resolution to turn their back on the very thing that hung Christ on the cross, a changed attitude toward sin and a desire to obey the One who saved them. This kind of repentance is a change of mind, a change of heart, and a change of the will. Please see Blessed Purity for further explanation.
Another piece of evidence for repentance that results in a change of attitude and behavior is found in 1 Thessalonians 1:9:
For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,
What do we see in this passage? The Thessalonians turned to God, from idols, to serve God. In other words, they could not serve God unless they forsook their idols. Repentance, therefore, is a turning away from sin and turning to God to love Him and obey Him. To make this point even more clear that repentance is turning from sin to God in faith, we see in Acts 14:15 where Paul and Barnabas rebuke the men of Lystra for worshiping idols,
Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them,
Notice Paul did not charge them to only turn to God. He clearly tells them to turn from their idols and to turn to the living God. Those who teach that men do not have to forsake their sin are those who do not value the law of God. They often use Romans 7 to show that “even Paul” sinned and did not do what he wanted to do, but rather did the things he did not want to do. It sometimes comes across that they may be looking to minimize, excuse, or justify their own sinful behavior. However, what they fail to understand is that Paul hated his sin and saw himself as wretched:
O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! – Romans 7:24-25
And because the born again believer has the mind of Christ at the moment of conversion (1 Corinthians 2:16), he will go on to bear fruit in keeping with repentance (Luke 3:8). Martin Lloyd-Jones said of repentance:
Repentance means that you realize that you are a guilty, vile sinner in the presence of God, that you deserve the wrath and punishment of God, that you are hell-bound. It means that you begin to realize that this thing called sin is in you, that you long to get rid of it, and that you turn your back on it in every shape and form. You renounce the world whatever the cost, the world in its mind and outlook as well as its practice, and you deny yourself, and take up the cross and go after Christ. Your nearest and dearest, and the whole world, may call you a fool, or say you have religious mania. You may have to suffer financially, but it makes no difference. That is repentance.
Interestingly enough, in his second argument Dr. Woods did not share the statement that follows “With respect to salvation, repentance is a change of mind regarding the Person and work of Christ.” Position #6 actually closes with:
That being said, we just as strongly maintain that salvation in Christ will result in a changed life (2 Cor. 5:17, 1 Cor. 6:11).
Precisely, Dr. Woods, which is why your theology is a mess of contradiction. Why do you think it is that salvation will result in a changed life? It is only because salvation is a work of God alone from grace alone whereby He gives to us the gifts of faith and repentance (Ephesians 2:8; 2 Timothy 2:25). The new heart He gives us, at conversion, is wrought with godly sorrow and a turning from sin (2 Corinthians 7:10), a saving faith (Matthew 13:23), and a love for His commandments (1 John 5:2-4).
In closing, Scripture is clear that not just any faith and not just any repentance (Judas, for example, had merely a repentance of the mind alone) is enough for salvation. Moreover, faith and repentance are not synonyms, but rather two sides of the same coin. What God requires is a repentant faith, which is only possible as a gift from God. This type of faith, or trusting in God, is a contrite faith, with a heart’s desire to obey in love the commands of Christ. It is love for the One who saved and delivered them from their sin, and it is love for the King, Ruler, Master, Sovereign, and Lord who rules over them, not with a rod of iron, but with pierced hands and feet.
Posted on March 28, 2011
There’s only one proof of the Holy Ghost in your life and that’s a holy life. – Leonard Ravenhill
In this series rebutting Dr. Andy Woods’ article titled, What Is Wrong with Lordship Salvation?, we have covered the issues of saving faith and repentance, which could be condensed to repentant faith as being a necessary part of salvation. Dr. Woods has a very unbiblical view of salvation, yet this view is common among the contemporary evangelical church today. The ramifications of this erroneous theology, which fundamentally is classic easy-believism, is the creation of an unorthodox category of “carnal Christians”, a distorted view of sanctification, and a distorted view of assurance of salvation and perseverance of the saints (also known as “eternal security”). These latter three positions represent the final three arguments against lordship salvation by Dr. Woods and will be covered in the coming days.
That being said, we just as strongly maintain that salvation in Christ will result in a changed life (2 Cor. 5:17, 1 Cor. 6:11).
Not only does this statement contradict Dr. Woods’ view of repentance as it relates to salvation, but it contradicts his position of “carnal Christianity”. If “salvation in Christ will result in a changed life”, which it most certainly does, how does Dr. Woods account for this statement at the end of his third argument:
While carnal Christianity is obviously not God’s perfect will for His children, such a categorization is a legitimate possibility.?
According to Dr. Woods’ inconsistent theology, “simple belief” in Christ allows for a continually habitual lifestyle of unrepentant sin, such as homosexuality or adultery. This category is one that allows for no viable spiritual change in the life of the professing Christian. It constitutes that the professing Christian can continue living as an unbeliever despite the many references in 1 John to the contrary. Yet, according to his own Position #6, salvation will result in a changed life. You cannot have it both ways, Dr. Woods.
|Have you believed the deception?|
To open up his third argument against lordship salvation, Dr. Woods makes the claim:
Third, Lordship Salvation ignores the possibility of a carnal Christian.
This is an untruth. Lordship salvation proponents – that is, believers in the unadulterated Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ – do not ignore the possibility of a carnal Christian, per se; but they do deny the possibility that one can remain carnal all the days of their Christian walk. Further, Dr. Woods concludes,
If complete commitment and yielding to Christ is an initial prerequisite for salvation, then there is no such thing as a believer who is carnal or not completely surrendered to Christ.
This is another misrepresentation of what faithful servants of the Gospel teach. To teach otherwise, one would have to believe in the heresy of sinless perfection. Moreover, it is not possible to be perfectly surrendered to Christ, but what Christ calls us to is radical submission to His will, which will result in habitual obedience as opposed to habitual disobedience to the Word of God (1 John 3:4-10). Additionally, Dr. Woods’ statement further reveals his misunderstanding of the sovereignty of God in our salvation, as he believes any such commitment to Christ results in some kind of works-based salvation, when in fact, this radical submission to Christ is wrought of the Spirit of God through regeneration (Ephesians 2:1, 5; Colossians 2:13).
As a proof-text for biblical claims of carnal believers, Dr. Woods tells us:
Yet the Bible contains numerous examples of carnal believers. For example, Lot, who is called “righteous” three times (2 Pet 2:7-8), exhibits perpetual unrighteous behavior (Gen 19:30-38).
Perpetual? Merriam-Webster defines perpetual as:
continuing forever; everlasting; valid for all time; holding for life or for an unlimited time
Dr. Woods takes one example from Lot’s life and extrapolates a whole category of Christians who live in continuous, wanton sin. However, just as he did point out, Lot was declared righteous by God (2 Peter 2:7-8). If Lot was called righteous by God, his life would have been marked by the habitual practice of righteousness (1 John 3:4-10). We cannot take one instance in Lot’s life and develop an entire doctrine around it, such as perpetual carnal Christians. This is a gross abuse of the Scriptures. The truth is, Lot hated lawlessness and was “greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked” and tormented “his righteous soul over their lawless deeds”. That does not sound like a man who habitually practiced a lifestyle of sexual immorality, lest he was a hypocrite and had no right to judge the acts of these wicked men.
Dr. Woods continues with the example of the Corinthians:
Similarly, the Corinthians are called saints (1 Cor 1:2) yet the rest of 1 Corinthians reveals their un-saintly behavior. Thus, Paul refers to them as carnal believers (1 Cor 3:1-3).
These “carnal believers” were operating according to their flesh in this one area regarding the resolution of personal conflicts, but nowhere in this text do we see they continued to operate as carnal believers in the whole of their life. On the contrary, we see in chapter 1 that Paul thanked God for their faithfulness and acknowledged they lacked no spiritual gift (1 Corinthians 1:4-9). In this particular instance, Paul was admonishing and instructing them as infants in Christ because they were acting in the flesh with regard to conflict.
Another admonishment from Paul is found in 1 Corinthians 5:11-13, where he instructs the Corinthians in what to do with so-called brothers, eg. professing Christians, who willfully engage in a sinful lifestyle:
But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judgesthose outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
Some may consider this to be harsh, especially in this age of tolerance within the visible church. But the Apostle Paul is not playing games, and neither is God. The so-called brother was living like an unbeliever, one who was still under the dominion of Satan (Ephesians 2:2). Paul instructed the Corinthians that the proper thing to do is address their sin and expose it to the light of Scripture, and if they refuse to repent, we are to cut off fellowship with them “for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord (1 Corinthians 5:5)”. There are three possible outcomes in this situation:
1) There will be no repentance because this so-called brother is, in fact, not a child of God. 2) There will be repentance and reconciliation (2 Corinthians 2:6-8), which is the result of the Father’s discipline (Hebrews 12:4-11). 3) The so-called brother will die in their sin, and we may have no assurance that they were born again believers.
If number 2 proves to be true, then this temporarily “carnal Christian” will no longer be so, or it could be that a false convert became born again as a result of conviction through the Holy Spirit and the loving discipline from the Body of Christ in the local church.
The bottom line is this: Christians do sin, but Christians do not practice sin as a lifestyle. Christians may act carnally, but they will not remain carnal. The evidence and assurance that one is born again is a continual progression in the conformity to Christ, while the evidence that one is not born again is a continuous state of carnality. And why is this so? Because as born again children of God, we are new creations in Christ. We have been purchased and are now owned by our Master, Jesus Christ, and are thus no longer slaves to sin but have become slaves of Christ. While we have been freed from the bondage of sin, we have now come under the freeing bondage of Christ’s righteousness. We are no longer slaves of unrighteousness to obey it, which leads to death, but are now slaves to God to obey Him. These are marvelous truths that can be found in Romans 6:1-23, which can be summed up in verses 20-23:
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This is God’s promise to us: freedom from the bondage of sin, bought into slavery to God, obtaining divine fruit that leads to sanctification, which results in our glorification – eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In conclusion, there is no such thing as a category of Christians who continuously and habitually practice a lifestyle of unrepentant sin. Scripture shows us that Christians can live carnally, but carnal living is not the brand or recognized mark of the born again believer. On the contrary, the life of the believer is marked by holiness and a hatred of sin, though we may and will fall to temptation. Should a professing believer sustain a habitual lifestyle of unrepentant sin, they are to be cut off from fellowship for the sake of their souls. God has promised that He sanctifies every blood-bought child of God until the day He glorifies them (Romans 8:29-30; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8; Titus 2:11-14)); therefore, no child of God can remain in a continuous state of carnality as this opposes the will of God (our sanctification).
Dr. Woods teaches that a professing Christian can live any lifestyle they choose, and at the end of the day, they are still saved if they once professed faith in Christ. In today’s carnal church, this false teaching contributes to the damnation of many poor souls in assuring them of salvation when they could biblically have no assurance according to their lifestyle of sin.
My friend, Mike Ratliff, posted an article earlier this month on sanctification showing that sanctification is a divine work of God that is rooted in the divine work of the Holy Spirit. I believe this gives us an excellent transition into Part 5 of this series, which addresses the relationship between justification and sanctification. Mike writes:
Regeneration is birth; sanctification is growth. In regeneration, God implants desires that were not there before: desire for God, for holiness, and for the hallowing and glorifying of God’s name in this world; desire to pray, worship, love, serve, honor, and please God; desire to show love and bring benefit to others. In sanctification, the Holy Spirit “works in you to will and to act” according to God’s purposes; what he does is prompt you to “work out your salvation” (i.e., express it in action) by fulfilling these new desires (Philippians 2:12-13). Christians become increasingly Christlike as the moral profile of Jesus (the “fruit of the Spirit”) is progressively formed in them (2 Corinthians 3:18; Galatians 4:19; 5:22-25). Paul’s use of glory in 2 Corinthians 3:18 shows that for him sanctification of character is glorification begun. Then the physical transformation that gives us a body like Christ’s, one that will match our totally transformed character and be a perfect means of expressing it, will be glorification completed (Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Corinthians 15:49-53).
Regeneration was a momentary monergistic act of quickening the spiritually dead. As such, it was God’s work alone. Sanctification, however, is in one sense synergistic—it is an ongoing cooperative process in which regenerate persons, alive to God and freed from sin’s dominion (Romans 6:11, 14-18), are required to exert themselves in sustained obedience. God’s method of sanctification is neither activism (self-reliant activity) nor apathy (God-reliant passivity), but God-dependent effort (2 Corinthians 7:1; Philippians 3:10-14; Hebrews 12:14). Knowing that without Christ’s enabling we can do nothing, morally speaking, as we should, and that he is ready to strengthen us for all that we have to do (Philippians 4:13), we “stay put” (remain, abide) in Christ, asking for his help constantly—and we receive it (Colossians 1:11; 1 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 1:7; 2:1).
Indeed, which is to say “carnal Christianity” is a myth and tradition of men, as sanctification begins immediately at justification as a result of the new birth.
Posted on March 31, 2011
Had it been possible for you to have had salvation without sanctification, it would have been a curse to you instead of a blessing. If such a thing were possible, I cannot conceive of a more lamentable condition than for a man to have the happiness of salvation without the holiness of it; happily, it is not possible. – C.H. Spurgeon
Lordship salvation is one of the most hotly debated topics in the evangelical church today. The dividing line is generally made along the lines of monergism and synergism, which house the set of beliefs of Calvinism and Arminianism, respectively.
Monergism is the biblical view that regeneration (our being born again) is the work of God alone. There is nothing that we do to add to this work of the Holy Spirit, lest we be contributors to our salvation. Therefore, because our rebirth into new creations is a work of God alone, God alone may get the credit for our salvation, thus making no room for anyone to boast (Ephesians 2:9).
Synergism, on the other hand, is the non-biblical view that man’s will cooperates with God’s will in the work of regeneration. It assumes that God’s sovereign work of redemption is ultimately limited by man’s sovereignty of his own “free will”. Therefore, man can boast in his salvation as having done something (believing by his own will and ability). This view posits that God wants to save all but can’t, and he wants to make them holy but can’t.
Simply put, monergism declares salvation is for the glory of God alone (Soli Deo Gloria), while synergism puts man in a position to share the glory with God.
With this basic foundation laid, we can now move forward into the doctrine of sanctification and its relationship with justification in this series titled, What Is Wrong with NON-Lordship Salvation?
In his article posted at Bible Prophecy Blog titled What Is Wrong with Lordship Salvation?, Dr. Andy Woods of Sugar Land Bible Church argues that lordship salvation proponents – that is, biblical Gospel proponents – blur the lines of justification with sanctification. In his fourth argument, Dr. Woods wrongly suggests,
Fourth, Lordship Salvation confuses sanctification with justification.
To be clear, justification is the judicial decision of God to declare sinners not guilty in His holy courtroom. Because of the perfect obedience of Jesus Christ, which is to say He is the only righteous man to walk the earth having perfectly kept the Law of God, He was fit to be a substitute on our behalf to atone for our sins against God (2 Corinthians 5:21). The theological term for the unblemished Lamb of God taking our punishment for us is substitutionary atonement (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24, 3:18). When sinners turn to God in repentant faith, having trusted in the Person and finished work of Christ alone, they are immediately declared righteous before the throne of God (Romans 3:21-26). This righteousness is the righteousness of Jesus Christ whereby God looks at the saved sinner as though perfect in His eyes because they are clothed by Christ’s righteousness having been justified freely by His grace. This is justification and it comes by faith alone (Romans 5:1).
Sanctification means to be set apart, to be made holy. When we are justified by faith, we are immediately sanctified positionally (1 Corinthians 6:11). This means we are set apart by God as a holy new creation born of Himself (1 John 5:1, 2 Corinthians 5:17), having been washed by the blood of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:14, 22; 1 John 1:7). This positional sanctification means we have been eternally separated unto God as a holy people (1 Corinthians 1:30; Hebrews 10:10, 14).
Neither justification or sanctification can occur without regeneration. As mentioned in Part 2, sinners are spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 2:13). They can no more make themselves alive or raise themselves from the dead than Lazarus could have raised himself from the dead (John 11:43-44). Jesus called the dead man Lazarus to come forth, and he did. So it is with every sinner who is spiritually dead, who cannot possibly please God (Romans 8:7), who cannot discern the things of God (1 Corinthians 2:14), that must be called forth from the spiritual grave by the voice of the Son of God (John 5:25). Without Jesus calling sinners forth, they cannot be made alive (Ephesians 2:5), and every single sinner He specifically calls forth, will hear and live. This is the authority given to Him by the Father (John 17:2). When Jesus calls us forth and the Holy Spirit makes us alive, this is what it means to be born again (John 3:3-8). And as we can see in John 1:12-13, being born again is not something we do by a decision to choose God and believe:
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
and it is according to the mercy of God:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, – 1 Peter 1:3-5
He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit. – Titus 3:5
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” – John 6:63-65
It is important to explain each of these elements of salvation (regeneration, justification, and sanctification) because it becomes clear that salvation is a work of God alone for His glory alone (Ephesians 1:3-14). We can no more choose or cause ourselves to be born again than a baby can choose or cause himself to be born from his mother’s womb. We can no more choose to become adopted children of God than orphaned babies can choose their adoptive parents. This is therefore imperative to understand when deconstructing a position such as Dr. Andy Woods’ position against lordship salvation.
When Dr. Woods makes the unbiblical claim:
After coming to Christ, God issues another call for His children to pursue practical sanctification or discipleship,
he does so with a synergistic understanding of Scripture. What Dr. Woods means by practical sanctification, at least in the biblical sense, is the working out of our positional sanctification into every day holiness. But Dr. Woods considers such practical sanctification an option for the professing believer and not necessarily something that is guaranteed to follow justification. This is what we know from Scripture:
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. – Philippians 2:12-13
There are some who take verse 12 to mean we must work to keep our salvation, but that is not what the text is saying at all. Looking to verse 13, we see that it is God who is working His good pleasure through us according to His will. Paul is telling us to be submitted to the will of God and yield to the purifying work of the Holy Spirit. Our sanctification is a cooperative effort with the Holy Spirit to fulfill God’s will for our lives – our sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8) – and the works we do are the works God has predestined us to work (Ephesians 2:10). Most assuredly, these plans of God (His will for us) cannot be stopped:
“I know that you can do all things,and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” – Job 42:2
So to assert as Dr. Woods that sanctification or discipleship is second-tier Christianity or an optional second calling of God for us to become practically righteous and holy is to fundamentally misunderstand that
he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. – Philippians 1:6
and that Jesus is
the founder and perfecter of our faith… – Hebrews 12:2
Even Dr. Woods at some level understands this by his contradictory Position Statement #6 that “…salvation in Christ will result in a changed life (2 Cor. 5:17, 1 Cor. 6:11).” Why? Because God is the author of our faith and He is the perfecter of our faith, which is to say He makes us alive to hear the Gospel to respond in repentant faith to be conformed to the image of Christ to finally be glorified with Him in heaven (Romans 8:29-30).
Moving along to the remainder of Dr. Woods’ argument, he tells us concerning discipleship:
For example, those whom Christ called to be His disciples, like Peter, were already believers (Matt 16:24-25). We see the same salvation pattern at work through Old Testament Israel. First, the nation was redeemed through the Passover Lamb and then, sometime later, the nation was put under the Mosaic Law for purposes of sanctification (Exod 19:1ff). Thus, submission to Christ’s Lordship is prerequisite for this second step of sanctification rather than for the initial step of justification. Therefore, the Scripture teaches Lordship Sanctification rather than Lordship Salvation. Lordship Salvation confuses this two-step approach by reading the principles for sanctification back into what is required for justification. In other words, what is the result of salvation mistakenly becomes the initial requirement for salvation. This mistake is tantamount to putting the cart before the horse.
Hogwash, Dr. Woods! Every born again Christian is a disciple from spiritual birth! The very goal of evangelism is to go out and make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). There were many people following Christ at the time He gave the call to be disciples (believers). The crowd had gotten so large (Luke 14:25) that Jesus turned to them and said,
If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple…So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. – Luke 14:26-27, 33
Not everyone in the crowd is a believer. In fact, 85% of Americans profess the Christian faith, but how many of them actually live as though they are disciples of Christ? A mere profession of faith is absolutely worthless in spiritual matters. The one who has not counted the cost to follow after Christ with what has been revealed to them, yielding to His Lordship, cannot be His disciple. This is why Jesus actually upped the ante because He knew there were many just following the crowd.
Just as it was then, there are many today who follow the crowd through their easy-believism because of empty promises of a temporally rich life, to buy fire insurance, to add Jesus as a fad or accessory, to be part of a “church” social club, or any other number of reasons that church or religion might appeal to them. But these people could care less about pursuing holiness, loving God with all of their heart, mind, soul, and strength through obedience, and following Christ at all costs. These are those who Scripture refers as living as enemies of the cross, whose god is there belly, and who have their minds set on earthly things (Philippians 3:18-19). These are false disciples who consider the cost of discipleship too high and are not willing to follow Christ (John 6:66).
This, therefore, is the biblical view of sanctification:
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. – 1 John 3:2-3
Do you see that? Because we are children of the Most High, we will purify ourselves as He is pure. We are being transformed into the glory of the Lord by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18), which means we will increasingly manifest the fruit of His Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). The spirit He has given us is one of love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7), enabling us to become holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:14-16), holiness without which no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).
It is with these promises that we see there is no gap between justification and practical sanctification. The same God who works grace in us to believe is the same God whose grace teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldliness (Titus 2:11-14). Lost people are carnal people, and when they are consumed by the grace of God, they are promised to become increasingly less carnal as they increasingly become more holy. That is why carnality as a stagnant state for the Christian is a myth, and it is why Dr. Woods’ argument that there are second level Christians who have yielded to “Lordship Sanctification” is blasphemous to the sovereignty and reputation of God Almighty.
From the moment of salvation, God continues to work His salvation in us through the new desires He has planted in our hearts (Psalm 37:4; Ezekiel 36:25-27). And just as the grave clothes were removed from Lazarus giving him freedom to walk in newness of life, our spiritual grave clothes will be removed as we obey the Lord Jesus Christ to put off the old self and walk in newness of life:
But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. – Ephesians 4:20-24
This takes us into the final argument from Dr. Woods against lordship salvation, which he suggests destroys the assurance of salvation for the born again believer. Having thus covered saving faith, biblical repentance, the myth of the continuously carnal Christian, and God’s work of sanctification in this article, it will become clear why it is so important to examine oneself whether we are truly in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5) by studying Scripture to ascertain biblical assurance of salvation. Please then continue to Part 6.
In the meantime, I invite you to add the following message from Paul Washer to your mp3 player as he preaches on true conversion: Paul Washer: True Gospel – Conversion
Sanctification is the outcome and inseparable consequence of regeneration. He who is born again and made a new creature receives a new nature and a new principle and always lives a new life. A regeneration, which a man can have and yet live carelessly in sin or worldliness, is a regeneration invented by uninspired theologians, but never mentioned in Scripture. – J.C. Ryle
Posted on April 5, 2011
Chosen vessels of mercy, notwithstanding their backslidings, are brought back; but ah! remember that nine out of ten of those who backslide never were God’s people. – Charles Spurgeon
In this series addressing the erroneous arguments in Dr. Andy Woods’ article against lordship salvation titled, What Is Wrong with Lordship Salvation?, I have attempted to biblically counter each of Dr. Woods’ points with regards to saving faith, repentance, carnal Christianity, and sanctification. In each of these articles, it has been shown that Dr. Woods has a flawed view in these respective areas and significant misunderstanding as to what lordship salvation actually is. The reason for this, of course, is primarily because Dr. Woods adheres to a low view of God’s glory in our salvation, which causes him to attribute any type of repentance or committing one’s life to Christ as works-based effort to achieve salvation. With a biblical view of salvation, one understands that eternal life begins and is completed with God, and it is His work, not ours, that causes us to be born again and subsequently progress into holy living, without which no one will see God (Hebrews 12:14).
The common theme throughout the articles in this series (as is the common them throughout Scripture) has been the view of the glorious sovereignty of God in our salvation. God’s sovereignty is so critical in understanding the doctrine of salvation (soteriology) that if one fails to grasp its fundamental truths, then the rest of their understanding of salvation will crumble or not make any sense. The doctrine of biblical assurance of salvation is no exception to this and will be the final argument addressed in Dr. Woods’ article.
Dr. Woods opens his fifth and final argument with the following:
Fifth, Lordship Salvation destroys the believer’s assurance of salvation.
On the contrary, NON-lordship salvation gives false converts false assurance of salvation whereas lordship salvation exhorts one to examine himself in the mirror of God’s Word:
Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. – 2 Corinthians 13:5
Whereas NON-lordship salvation condemns any such self-examination because it assures potential false converts that as long as they were once sincere when they “asked Jesus into their heart” they are saved, Scripture tells us in Jeremiah 17:9,
The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?
The truth of the matter is, biblical assurance of salvation cannot be destroyed when one entrusts himself to the promises of God by engaging these promises in the objective truth of God’s Holy Word. Too often, men and women depend on their feelings and subjective experiences to give them assurance of salvation, and what’s worse, they have easy-believist pastors of the false modern evangelical gospel potentially leading them down the path of destruction instead of encouraging them to examine themselves in the Scripture.
Dr. Woods continues,
Lordship advocates never precisely define what kind of commitment to Christ is necessary in order to become a Christian.
I find this to be an interesting false premise as I never have a hard time telling people what kind of commitment is necessary to become a Christian. Jesus was pretty clear in this regard when He said,
whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. – Luke 14:33
Salvation costs us everything, Dr. Woods. Whatever has been revealed to us is what we must forsake. If there is anything for which the cost has been counted and we are not willing to lay it at the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, then we do not want a Savior any more than we want a Lord. Let’s use a practicing homosexual as an example.
Joe is a practicing homosexual and has just been exposed to Dr. Woods’ gospel message, which according to his article, might be something like this:
Jesus loves you and wants to forgive you of your sins. All you have to do is ask Him to forgive you and trust Him to be your Savior. If you ask Jesus to come into your heart, He will!
So Joe prays a prayer to ask Jesus into his heart, then Dr. Woods might say something like this,
If you just said that prayer and are sincere in believing in Christ as your Savior, then you’re saved and I welcome you to the family of God!
Now Joe, being that he knows nothing of repentance, the holiness of God, the judgment of God, and the power of God in our salvation to change the hearts of men, continues to practice homosexuality. When Joe said the “sinner’s prayer”, he was not broken over his sin and certainly did not repent of it, yet believes himself to be saved because he believes in Jesus to have forgiven him of his sins. Years later, Joe, still an unrepentant homosexual, runs into Dr. Woods and expresses doubts that he is saved. Dr. Woods might tell Joe he remembers him coming to the alter a few years back and as long as Joe was sincere in believing in Christ, he is saved. If given the chance, Dr. Woods might also tell Joe that he needs to submit to the second part of God’s plan for his life and commit his life to Jesus as a disciple. In the end, Joe continued as an unrepentant homosexual and never turned from his sin, but because he “changed his mind about God and Jesus”, Joe will die a homosexual saint.
Blasphemous! Can you see the obvious error in this false gospel? I used the sin of homosexuality because it is often seen by the evangelical church as a “worst-type sin”. But the same verses that condemn homosexuality, are the same verses that condemn drunkenness, adultery, fornication, idolatry, thieves, liars, revilers and more (1 Corinthians 6:8-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:5; Colossians 3:5-6). It is for this reason that one cannot remain in their sin and abide in Christ (1 John 3:6). When God justifies us, He also washes us and cleanses us from these sinful lifestyles (1 Corinthians 6:11) so that this will be true:
Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. – 1 John 3:9
To be clear, this verse is not saying Christians do not sin. The Apostle John is referring to living in a habitual pattern of practical righteousness rather than living in a habitual pattern of sin. The Christian walk, therefore, is a lifestyle of repentance where one is continuously repenting (out of godly remorse) as they are progressively sanctified (2 Corinthians 3:18; Colossians 3:10) and directionally conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29; 12:2). This is why John says the following in 1 John 3:10,
In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.
And as if it could not be any more clear:
Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. – 1 John 3:7-8a
Even though these Scriptures make it abundantly clear that the Christian does not and cannot habitually practice a lifestyle of sin, there are many in the easy-believist camp who might say all Christians habitually sin because we are sinful creatures. They twist the Scripture to fit their agenda or misunderstanding of salvation and sanctification, or perhaps to justify the grip that sin has on their own lives, yet we see in the Word of God that sin no longer has dominion over the believer (Romans 6:14) and Christ came to destroy the work of the devil (1 John 3:8). What’s more, those who have been set free by the Truth have been freed from the bondage of sin (John 8:34-36; Romans 6:17-18) to where it no longer controls us (Romans 8:1-2; Galatians 5:16-26). Therefore, an assurance of our salvation is whether or not we are controlled by sin to obey it or controlled by the Spirit of God to obey Him (Romans 6:22).
Dr. Woods asks,
How much surrender is required?
That’s also an easy question to answer, Dr. woods. Total and absolute surrender is required. When Christ purchased us with His precious blood, we became His exclusively (1 Corinthians 6:20). This means our money, our time, our possessions, our family, our bodies and our very life are now His. He owns us. We may not realize at the time of our salvation just how much He owns us, but He owns us nonetheless. The evidence that one is born again, therefore, is the willingness to continue to surrender to the Lordship of Christ (Luke 9:23). This total and absolute surrender is simply devotion and unwavering allegiance to Christ the King. It’s as simple as giving up control of one’s life and submitting to the will of God in as much as one knows what that means at the time of salvation. As God conforms us to Himself, we will increasingly understand what it means to surrender to His will, and as He destroys our idols one by one, we will all the more surrender to His Lordship.
Dr. Woods also asks,
How long is this surrender to last?
Another easy question to answer. Surrender is to last forever, Dr. Woods. The evidence of this can be found in Scriptures that tell us we must abide, finish the race, persevere, and live in the Spirit such as 1 John 2:24, Colossians 1:23, 1 Corinthians 15:1-2, Hebrews 12:1-2 and Romans 8:12-14. These, of course, are only possible by the hand of God who will allow nothing in all of creation to snatch His children out of His hand (Romans 8:38-39; John 10:27-29). Every Christian, then, abides, finishes the race, perseveres, and walks in the Spirit as a pattern of life.
Dr. Woods, again, has another easy question to be answered:
How much fruit must this surrender produce?
Jesus tells us this fruit will be a hundredfold, sixty, or thirty (Matthew 13:23). How much is this? I don’t know exactly, but the point is there is fruit indeed. By this we know there is no such thing as a continuously fruitless Christian.
Dr. Woods asserts,
Because these questions are never precisely answered, the believer spends the rest of his Christian life wondering if he truly made enough of a commitment to become a Christian.
It seems I have answered these questions, Dr. Woods. In any case, the Christian does not spend the rest of his life wondering if he has committed enough to become a Christian. The false convert, on the other hand, may never have biblical assurance of his salvation if he does not examine himself in the Scriptures to know whether he has the Spirit to testify with his spirit that he is a child of God (Romans 8:15-17). Yet, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matthew 5:6) and diligently seek God (Hebrews 11:6) through the Word of God do not have to worry about whether or not they are saved. This is because their hunger and thirst for the things of God through the application of the Living Word will manifest the fruit that gives evidence of one’s salvation.
On “backsliding, Dr. Woods points out,
Because of the believer’s potential for “backsliding,” the Christian can never really know until his dying day if he is a committed Christian.
It is important to define terms here. If by “backsliding” Dr. Woods means one can remain “backslidden”, then no, there is no such thing as a backslidden Christian. Such a person needs to be born again. But if by “backsliding” Dr. Woods means one can fall into sin and be restored unto fellowship with God by the discipline of the Father through the Holy Spirit, then yes, Christians can “backslide”. Lordship salvation does not teach otherwise.
Assuming that Dr. Woods’ definition is of the first definition, he sets up another false premise to suggest lordship salvation causes one to never know “until his dying day if he is a committed Christian.” (On a side note – “committed Christian” is redundant as all Christians are committed followers of the Lord Jesus Christ). This is ludicrous as the born again believer, eg one who has surrendered to the Lordship of Christ, most certainly may have biblical assurance of salvation during the extent of their Christian walk. It is when the born again believer falls into sin that their assurance might be shaken, which is why we are called to make our calling and election sure to see that we are progressing in our sanctification (2 Peter 1:5-11; Philippians 2:12-13). Under the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the continued exposure to the Word and believers to hold us accountable, we will be brought to repentance and restoration of our assurance. This is all part of the loving discipline of the Father to assist His children to becoming more like Christ. If one never undergoes such discipline, God Himself says they are not His child:
But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. – Hebrews 12:7-11
Lastly, Dr. Woods concludes his argument stating,
Thus, Lordship Salvation steals the joy that accompanies the knowledge that one’s eternal destiny is sealed. Far from such a guessing game, Christ gives all believers instantaneous assurance of salvation at the point of justification (John 5:24; 6:47).
The true Gospel, Dr. Woods, yes, the true Gospel according to so-called “lordship salvation”, actually gives rest to the souls of men. By obtaining assurance of salvation through objective examination in the Bible, the souls of men and women can rest in the grace of God as they begin to see their reflection in the mirror of God’s Word. This, of course, is quite different than giving mere lip service for the assurance of salvation. Do you suppose God gives instantaneous assurance of salvation to the rocky soil and the thorny soil hearers? Of course He doesn’t as they are not saved (Matthew 13:20-22).
The evidence of our salvation does not come from prayers or emotional experiences; rather, the evidence of our salvation comes through God’s preservation of our souls as we continue in the faith and can see the progression of the work of grace in our lives (Titus 2:11-14; 2 Peter 1:5-9). And why is this case? Because salvation is of the Lord and it is He who is perfecting His work in us through the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit. If one can see no evidence of grace-bearing fruit in their life, then they have every reason to believe they may not be saved.
Whether one is truly born again or has surrendered to the Lordship of Christ can perhaps most easily be seen in asking this question: have I entered into the yoke of Christ to be taught in the way of righteousness? (Matthew 11:29-30)
This is true rest for our souls. And what is the condition of our finding rest for our souls? To bow in humility and put on the yoke of Christ. To be lowly in heart and meek, which is to say to be submissive to the authority of one’s master. Christ, our Master, has called us to a life of obedience, so when one confesses the Savior as Lord (Romans 10:9-10), he is confessing to God that he is willing to obey Him and trust that He will direct our paths.
Submitting to the Lordship of Christ means nothing more and nothing less. Out of love for the Sovereign King and Pierced Savior, we commit our lives to Jesus because this is our reasonable service (Romans 12:1). The evidence that we love Christ is whether we obey Him (John 14:15, 23; 1 John 5:3; 2 John 1:6). If one is not willing to obey Christ, then how could they possibly have assurance, much less be saved? Even more so, how can one claim to love authority when they do not obey them or have the desire to learn from them? That is as ridiculous as it is absurd.
Dr. Woods and those of his persuasion are the very cause of the false conversions and continuously carnal Christians who hold faulty fire insurance policies. They base the assurance of one’s salvation solely on mere profession and attempt to make the narrow gate as wide as possible. The Word of God is clear, however, that those who are born again and love Christ have departed from wickedness (2 Timothy 2:19) and yield to the command to “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22). The blood-bought believer is committed to righteousness, holiness, and newness of life (Ephesians 4:24; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; Romans 6:4). The believer desires to please the Lord in everything (Ephesians 5:10) and constantly seeks to understand what the will of the Lord is (Ephesians 5:17).
The believer is zealous for good works (Titus 2:14) and has a heart to see lost souls saved (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15). The believer loves the brethren (1 John 3:14) and does not forsake fellowship with believers (Hebrews 10:24-25). The believer increasingly manifests the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 5:8-10) and puts off the old man and the works of darkness (Ephesians 4:17-24; Colossians 3:1-17).
These are just some of the evidences or marks of one who is now a slave to righteousness – a born again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. These things will become realities in the life of the believer in increasing measure as God perfects His righteousness in the life of the Christian until the day of Redemption (Ephesians 1:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Romans 8:29-30). It is because God has planted His seed in us that we can no longer live according to the flesh and remain lovers of our sin to live in it (1 John 3:9), but rather we will increasingly love the things that God loves (righteousness) and hate the things that God hates (evil). As Paul tells us in Colossians 3:1-4,
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
The only alternative to the person described above is found in Philippians 3:19-20,
For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.
Believers set their mind on heavenly things as a pattern of life, while nonbelievers set their minds on earthly things as a pattern of life. There is no middle ground, regardless of what Dr. Woods and others might teach.
That brings us to the end of Dr. Woods’ arguments against lordship salvation. We have covered saving faith, repentance, carnal Christianity, sanctification, and biblical assurance of salvation. In an effort to tie up loose ends, I will hopefully conclude with Part 7 by the end of the week.
In the mean time, I highly recommend going through the following series from Paul Washer titled, Biblical Assurance of Salvation. It is a 5-part series that will help you understand further the contrast between the born again believer and a mere professor of the faith.
If any man be not sure that he is in Christ, he ought not to be easy one moment until he is so. Dear friend, without the fullest confidence as to your saved condition, you have no right to be at ease, and I pray you may never be so. This is a matter too important to be left undecided. – Charles Spurgeon
Posted on April 7, 2011
On March 19th the Bible Prophecy Blog posted an article by Dr. Andy Woods of Sugar Land Bible Church refuting the biblical doctrine of “lordship salvation” titled, What Is Wrong with Lordship Salvation? I’m very thankful this was posted and praise God for the opportunity to carefully examine critical and essential doctrines of the Christian faith that are under attack by modern evangelicalism. As a result of Dr. Woods’ article and by God’s grace, I was able to sharpen my understanding of God’s work in salvation and hopefully provide you understanding of what this doctrine does and does not teach. The series was broken up into the following 6 previous parts:
Part 7 – Conclusion
In my own experience in discussing these issues with various people and reviewing the work of those on both sides of the debate, I conclude that much of the controversy is derived from a gross misunderstanding of what lordship salvation teaches, which gives birth to misconceptions and misrepresentations when dismissing or condemning this doctrine. At root, as I understand it, whether or not one adheres to lordship salvation is the view through which one sees the work of salvation. On the one hand, those who view salvation as a work of God alone for the glory of God alone (monergism) accept “lordship salvation” as nothing more or less than the pure Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. While through the lens of synergism, on the other hand, believers view salvation as a work of God with the cooperation of man to achieve salvation, which lends to the misunderstanding that any type of commitment to Christ or repentance from sin are additional works instead of gifts from God.
Even within this theological divide, there are those who profess such biblical truths that faith and repentance are gifts from God, yet this reality does not permeate their subsequent understanding of soteriology (doctrine of salvation). For example, one might claim that faith is a gift from God, but they would deny that God chooses to give faith to those He elected from eternity past, but rather each individual must exercise their faith out of their human ability to do so in order to be saved. These two ideas are diametrically opposed to one another, yet one might resign to say they don’t understand how it works out exactly, they just know God’s sovereignty and man’s free will somehow work together. Sadly, this is theological laziness.
It is one thing to not understand a biblical doctrine and continue seeking God to reveal His divine mysteries to us, it is quite another to incessantly remain ignorant on a doctrine because one is bent on remaining stuck in traditions of men and therefore has no desire to search the Scriptures for themselves. It is then out of this seemingly willful ignorance that one tosses around falsehoods and fallacies about the teaching of lordship salvation proponents. This is why it is imperative that we study to show ourselves approved in order that we might bring glory to God (2 Timothy 2:15) and refrain from falsely accusing the brethren.
With that said, many who supposedly reject what is known as “lordship salvation” simply do not understand what it actually means. They rely on others to tell them what it means rather than study the issue and the biblical doctrines themselves. This is damaging to the proclamation of the Gospel because the message going forth is one that is not complete, such as a gospel defunct of biblical repentance (turning away from a sinful lifestyle to God in faith).
Dr. Woods is one such person from what I have researched through his church’s website. As far as I can tell, Dr. Woods is a sincere man who may love the Lord, but he is significantly confused in his theology. Reading through Sugar Land’s statement of faith, they have elements of the sovereignty of God and work of the Holy Spirit to sanctify those God justifies. If sanctification is an absolute and direct consequence of justification, then Dr. Woods’ positions from his article on saving faith, repentance, carnal Christianity, and assurance conflict with his statement of faith. This type of confusion is rampant in the visible church, which has left many sheep disillusioned and giving perhaps many more nominal christians false assurances of salvation. Especially around the doctrines concerning salvation, the following Scripture from James 3:1 is ever so important:
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
This applies to preachers and teachers of the Gospel, and preachers and teachers of false gospels. I do not know the heart of Dr. Woods nor would I assume anything about him, but I would call him to repent from the repentant-less gospel he is preaching, to humbly submit himself to the Lord that he might gain the knowledge of the truth in matters of soteriology, and contend for the faith that was once delivered to him. At the end of the day, the message we preach will be out of the abundance of our hearts, so it is critical we examine what we believe lines up with the Word of God, most especially in matters of salvation, lest we deceive ourselves and deceive those who listen to us. The consequences for not doing so could be damning if we fall outside of orthodoxy into heresy (Galatians 1:8-9).
To close this series out, I’d like to briefly outline what lordship salvation is and what it is not.
What Lordship Salvation Is NOT
- Lordship salvation does not teach that one must change their behavior before coming to Christ.
- Lordship salvation does not teach that one must consciously assess every area of one’s life and consciously forsake every single sin and idol before coming to Christ.
- Lordship salvation does not teach that there is no such thing as a Christian living carnally.
- Lordship salvation was not developed as a response to fight carnal Christianity.
- Lordship salvation does not teach salvation through justification by faith plus works.
- Lordship salvation does not steal the joy of salvation or take away assurance of salvation from born again believers.
- Lordship salvation does not teach that one must be perfectly obedient or is sinless after one is saved.
- Lordship salvation does not confuse sanctification with justification.
What Lordship Salvation IS
- Lordship salvation teaches salvation is monergistic (a work of God alone) whereby God is the absolute author and the absolute finisher of our faith for which He may get the glory alone.
- Lordship salvation teaches that saving faith is more than an mental assent to knowledge about Christ, but rather a trust in the Person of Christ and His work on the cross to not only save us from the wrath to come but also to save us from the bondage of our sin.
- Lordship salvation teaches that repentance is more than just a change of mind about sin and Christ, but it involves a change of mind, a change of heart, and a change of attitude toward sin. The result of genuine repentance rooted in godly sorrow will be a change of behavior. In essence, the faith that saves is a repentant faith where one turns from a sinful lifestyle towardGod in faith.
- Lordship salvation teaches that this repentant faith is a gift from God whereby the Holy Spirit changes the heart of the sinner, thus enabling the person to respond positively to grace through repentance and faith. God actually plants new desires in the heart of the new believer where they will increasingly hate sin and love God.
- Lordship salvation teaches that love for God will be evidenced by a life of obedience and a lifestyle of repentance.
- Lordship salvation teaches that because salvation is of the Lord, the regenerated believer will submit to the authority of the Lord and Master of all creation to live a patterned life of habitual obedience.
- Lordship salvation teaches that the believer will be gradually conformed to the image of Christ in cooperation with the Holy Spirit through sanctification. This sanctification begins at the moment of justification.
- Lordship salvation teaches there is no distinction between a disciple and a believer. All believers are disciples.
- Lordship salvation teaches that while a Christian may act in carnal ways, carnality will not be the patterned lifestyle of the believer and such carnality is only temporary. All Christians are disciplined by God and convicted by the Holy Spirit to repent from their sinful behavior.
- Lordship salvation teaches biblical assurance of salvation by examination of one’s life through the objective Word of God, not based on past emotional experiences or prayers.
- Lordship salvation teaches that believers will continue in the faith as it is God who keeps us. This means the believer will continue to surrender to the Lordship of Christ in increasing measure.
- Lordship salvation is the historical and biblical doctrine of orthodox Christianity.
Much confusion can be cleared up if one honestly assesses what is being taught by lordship salvation proponents and considers the clear teaching of Scripture on these matters. Some folks are fundamentally ignorant of the truth of this doctrine, while others work as pawns of Satan to destroy souls by blurring the lines of truth and illusion. A significant reason for why there are so many false converts in American churches today is because of the diluted and polluted message taught from pulpits and the decisional evangelism so rampant today. This has led to a distinctly unbiblical category of “carnal Christians” and will contribute to many professing Christians burning in hell for all eternity under the wrath of a God they did not know.
If you are still struggling with this doctrine or even still deny its truth, please ask yourself:
Have I, myself, surrendered to the Lordship of Christ?
If you have not or do not know the answer to this question, then please, by all means, post a comment below or message me privately. This is no matter to take lightly as it is of utmost important for you to know that Christ is your Lord as much as He is your Savior. After all, Jesus Himself said in John 10:27,
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
Do you hear His voice? Does He know you? Do you follow Him? All sheep do, so please be sure you have this assurance by biblical examination of your heart.
If you have questions about any information contained within these articles, please post your comments in the appropriate parts of this series.
May God alone be glorified by these efforts to contend for the faith, and may the Body of Christ be stirred proclaim the unadulterated Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ!