Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Lordship Salvation Controversy

On this week's program I did an overview of the Lordship Salvation controversy within evangelicalism, and explained why from a Lutheran perspective, both sides of the debate are wrong. Here is the program.


skierace said...

I know what you are talking. I heard pastors when visiting churches creating a prayer for new believers. They were in non denominational churches. This was very sad to experience.

DavidC said...

Interesting to hear this from a Lutheran perspective

J. Dean said...

A good and balanced take on the matter.

I do have a question though, Jordan: You mentioned that one of the marks of the Lordship Salvation advocates like MacArthur is an attitude towards the Roman church that is extremely hostile. I take it that you mean this in a way different than the Lutheran perception of Rome? Because Luther at times had some pretty harsh things to say about Rome (and rightly so, as they did and still do teach a gospel mingled with works). While I would affirm that there are true Christians in the Roman church, I'd also voice strong opposition to the doctrines they hold which are contrary to Scripture, the failure to preach the true gospel being chief among them.


Jordan Cooper said...

Obviously I have issues with Rome, as did Luther. Primary here is our continued disagreement on the doctrine of justification; the Marian dogmas are a huge issue as well. But the difference between this and a fundamentalist/baptist take on Rome is that I am able to say positive things about Rome as well. I appreciate that they are sacramental and liturgical.

In certain fundamentalist baptist circles, it seems that the measure of what is true is "whatever is not Roman Catholic." I have heard MacArthur, in discussing infant baptism for example, simply say that the idea is Roman Catholic, as if that is somehow proof that it is a false practice. It is this type of approach that I have an issue with, not criticism of Rome in general.

Anonymous said...

When I was younger I became addicted to drugs and slept around before I met my wife. I'm ashamed of this behavior now and was then too. During this time I stopped attending church regularly and believed the lie that church isn't that important as long as I believed in God in my heart. I often prayed to have these desires taken away and they eventually were. I've always felt that I was a Christian, I can't ever remember not believing. Was I saved during this time? If not, did I only become a Christian again when I stopped these horrible sins?

Let's say I met a Lutheran pastor and a pastor who believes in "Lordship Salvation" when I was younger. What would be there two different approaches to me?

J. Dean said...

That makes good sense, and is not unlike what I've heard from even some in the stricter Reformed camp (for example, the hostility of some in the PCA toward the church calendar, going even so far as to not celebrate Christmas or Easter). Thank you!

RomGabe said...

Jordan, thank you for such a lucid and clear explanation. Thanks for mentioning that both camps start from the premises that OnceSavedAlwaysSaved (salvation cannot be lost).

Dear Anonymous, as a convert to Lutheranism this is how I see it. Lutherans read the Bible with Law&Gospel understanding and the salvation plan that God reveals to us in Jesus (Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Sola Scriptura). LordshipSalvation (and other Protestant groups) will burden you with the Law and you will hardly hear the sweet saving words of the Gospel.

Lutherans do not ask was I saved at this time or look at their works for confirmation. We look at the work of Christ on the cross, and the Means of Grace God gives us. If you trusted in Jesus alone for your salvation, you are Saved. Remember your Baptism!

J. Dean said...

BTW, Jordan, before I forget, I'd be more than happy to hear (and share) your thoughts about Paul Washer. I can't say I'm super-familiar with the guy but the more I read of his sermons, the more flirtations with Pelagianism I see.

Steve Martin said...

We are "cat theologians".

That's how we can believe that we continue in our sins and that we still are believers.

Anonymous said...

Jordan, I heard your program played on Fighting for the Faith. Have to say this is the first time I've heard any Lutheran do this and I've been out of Evangelicalism and in Lutheranism for a while now. Thank you. One thing I've discovered in my transition is not to assume that cradle Lutherans understand the perspective of those of us who grew up in Arminian/revivalistic/make no waves churches. For the record there is so much doctrinal debris floating around in my mind that Lutheran theology as a system has its work cut out for it as it slowly brings good order there. Thanks for taking on 1 John and the issues some of us have with it on.

Nick said...


Thank you for this podcast.

One thing I would propose or caution against is the idea that if someone believes in the "free grace" (i.e. rejects Lordship Salvation), then this automatically entails they are saying the person can go live as they please. Rather, I envision the more conservative proponents of "free grace" saying we should do good works out of appreciation and testimony to others, but not as a condition or sign that we're saved. This seems comparable to the Lutheran Augsburg quote you gave.

I find it humorous that Reformed say Catholics cannot have infallible assurance, but the "problem" I see from the Lordship Salvation end is that the Christian cannot really have 'assurance' since they don't know how many good works they need to 'prove' they were really saved. Plus, if they backslide into sin, then what? If good works are guaranteed to flow, and/or they must come if you're truly Christian, then backsliding (or even single sins) would naturally self-condemn the poor soul.

So there is no good "solution," but the Conservative Free Grace (as opposed to Libertine Free Grace) seems more consistent. And this seems close to the Lutheran view, except Lutherans teach salvation can be lost through sin.

Does this make sense? Am I wrong?

Nick said...

Also, you should edit the post by Anonymous above, since it has a LONG amount of white space that blocks proper view of this comment box. It pushed the other comments so far down the page that they don't appear and I thought comments were shut off since I couldn't see the comment box without scrolling WAY down. (delete this post)