Antinomian, Billy Graham, Bruce Bauer, Calvinism, Errors in Lordship doctrine, Franklin Graham, Free Grace, Free Grace Theology, Heresy, John Macarthur, Lordship salvation, T.U.L.I.P., The Gospel According to Jesus
This is an article by a friend, that spells out well, the way of the opponent, their lack of sound speech that cannot be condemned. If you have had discussions with lordship (loadship) teachers or Calvinists, consider reading this article, to understand their tactics.
by Bruce Bauer, Lancaster, CA
Recently, I was reintroduced to John MacArthur’s The Gospel According to Jesus in its updated version released in 2008 by Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Franklin Graham wrote the introductory tribute to the book and to its author. For years I have considered MacArthur to be the modern-day granddaddy of the Lordship Faith (a.k.a. Lordship Salvation) movement. I think that few would disagree that he is the most well-known spokesman and ardent advocate for Lordship Faith teaching on the evangelical scene today.
As I read the introduction and the first few chapters of the book, I was reminded afresh of the way that Lordship Faith writers and bloggers frequently belittle and satirize all who refuse to hold to their stringent theological views. A waft of arrogance often accompanies their words. I have witnessed just a bit of such mean-spiritedness from the Free Grace camp, but it seems to come wholesale from the Lordship Faith side. Perhaps the movement takes its lead from MacArthur, who certainly shows no restraint in disparaging his opposition(more on this later).
Although there is no blue-print employed by Lordship Faith writers to trivialize or caricaturize opposing viewpoints, I have noticed the use of the following tactical tools. This list may be thought of or entitled as: “A Lordship Faith Guide for Denouncing Free Grace Theology” (Rejoinders to these allegations will follow the points being made. Bible quotations are taken from the New International Version).
1. Stress that the modern evangelical movement has gone astray and that there is a great need today for change in Evangelical Christian theology. Imply that the driving force of the movement is heretical, but rarely label individuals as “heretics.” This reminds me of how Obama campaigned on America’s need for fundamental change: “America needs change” he would change over and over. Our country is certainly getting change now, for better or worse. Regarding the alleged impact of Free-Grace theology on the Evangelical community, listen to the deprecating words of John MacArthur:
“The now-pervasive influence of the no-lordship (read that Free-Grace) doctrine among evangelicals reflects the shallowness and spiritual poverty of the contemporary evangelical movement. It is doubtless one of the main causes for evangelicalism’s impoverishment. You cannot remove the lordship of Christ from the gospel message without undermining faith at its core. That is precisely what is happening in the church today. EQ
Comment: How’s that for MacArthur’s throwing down the gauntlet?
2. Extend the range of the opposing camp. Be sure to link them with other evangelical groups, such as the self-esteem movement, whose famous leaders never mention anything negative, like hell, Satan or sin.
Response: broadening the target makes it much easier for the mud slung to stick.
3. Declare that the core theology of the contraposition is false and therefore damning to those who hold exclusively to its precepts.
Again, listen to MacArthur: “The church in our generation has reduced all of saving faith and Christian discipleship to a thoughtless (but more politically correct) cliché: ‘a personal relationship with Jesus.’ The ambiguity of the phrase reflects the destructive vagueness with which evangelicals have been handling (and mishandling) the gospel for the past several decades. As if Christ could be someone’s intimate friend without being that person’s Lord. That is, after all the whole gist of the no-lordship message: you can have Jesus as Saviorand Friend here and now and decide later whether you really want to submit to His authority or not. It is hard to imagine a more disastrous twisting of what it means to be a Christian.”
Response: MacArthur misrepresents the Free Grace position (see ensuing categories for answers to his indictments).
4. Employ the antinomian allegation. Accuse your opponents of advocating lawlessness in the Christian community. Charge them as the ones who regularly condone or promote sinful behavior.
Response: This is a silly and specious argument—of course neither side would truly espouse or excuse such behavior!
5. Routinely label your opponents as “no lordship”:
Response: This is a totally inaccurate representation, a slam implying that Free Grace adherents believe that Jesus Christ is accepted as Savior but not as God! It reminds me of how abortion-rights advocates mislabel pro-lifers as “anti-choice.” A tit-for-tat retort would be to call them “anti-life!” Charlie Bing answers the “no lordship” accusation well: “It is only because Jesus is in the position of Lord God that He can save us and gives us eternal life. While Lord speaks of His position of deity, the name Jesus speaks of His humanity and role of Savior, because Jesus means Savior. In the name Jesus Christ, Christ means Messiah, the One anointed or chosen by God to be the Savior and King. So Lord is a title that primarily conveys Jesus’ deity. What this means for salvation is that Jesus has the power and authority to save sinners because He is God. What this does not mean is that sinners can only be saved if they submit to Him as the Ruler of their lives.”
I don’t know about any of you, but I have experienced all of these and more. Please see fifteen more points on Bruce’s Excellent Article at Free Grace Alliance.