Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Context of TRUE Salvation and Why "Lordship" Salvation is THE Biblical View

John MacArthur of Grace Community Church in the San Fernando Valley and the host of "Grace to You" radio program has often been accused of believing in "Lordship" salvation by his fellow Calvinists.

Although we completely agree with MacArthur's view, his problem arises from being identified as a Calvinist but believing in Arminian views. Hence, the Calvinists, especially the Hyper-Calvinists are on his case. Although I sympathize with MacArthur, he has to re-examine his personal theology which is really a Calminian or Arminist fence-sitting version (sarcasm and puns intended wholeheartedly!).

True Calvinism which espouses Unconditional Election and Irresistible Grace logically dismisses "Lordship" salvation because they believe that it goes beyond the legal or forensic view of salvation by Grace ALONE. Of course, we have pointed out in prior blogs that the Calvinist misses out completely on the meaning of "by faith". They seem to have either a re-written version of Scripture or a redefined view of it.

I have heard the Reformed slogan, "Sola Scriptura, Sola Fie". I do not see how that evolved into "Sola Scriptura, Sola Grazia". Anyway, enough of sarcasm.

OK John, why not accept that you are not Calvinistically logical, and make the next step - - - renounce Calvinism entirely like I did! Of course, you can remain a confused Calvinist like Norman Geisler who has to redefine terms to fit controversial issues of Free Will into his Calvinism, but... a point will come when you will no longer be funny nor entertaining.

Aside from the account of the Thief on the Cross (another blog on this site), I would like to offer the context by which First-Century Christians turned to Christ and were saved (and I believe that MacArthur clearly sees it this way too).

Note that the historical context of turning to Christ as Lord was the crux of persecution from both the Romans and the Jews of that time. The Romans wanted complete allegiance ONLY to Ceasar and no other "king". During the Passion of Christ, one Jewish leader even exclaimed to Pilate, "We have no King (Lord) but Caesar" (John 19:15), in order to advance their accusation against Christ along with their desire for the death penalty of crucifixion.

The Jews were also accusing Christ of blasphemy alleging that Christ claimed to be God or pretending to be co-equal with God. Implicit in the Jewish concept of God is Lordship, allegiance, worship, complete submission to, etc.

It would be interesting to see how little or negligible the opposition and corresponding persecution would have been if Christ were only talking about Him being Savior in a spiritual sense only. The Romans would just have laughed and the Jews would just have ignored Him like they did the Zealots. In fact, the only time the Jews started planning Christ's death was after He started claiming Deity. Until then Christ was talking about Himself as Savior, Redeemer. John the Baptist called Him the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, and all the Jews did was question His logic or scorn Him.

The turning point of Jewish behavior was during the time Christ forgave the sins of the the bedridden man hanging down through the roof of the building Christ was in. "Who can forgive sins but God alone", was their questioning response.

When it came to the very first converts in the first century until Constantine made Christianity a state religion (which, by the way, is the main culprit to the creation of this discussion), any Jewish convert knew that the implications of accepting Christ (as Lord implicitly at least) and being baptized (public declaration of a change in faith) could mean being disowned by their family, being ostracized by their society, perhaps even being fed to the lions or being burned at the stake.

Most of the time when the gospel was preached in the book of Acts, Jesus Christ was addressed as Lord and Savior - - - FIRST, as LORD, and secondly as Savior! It is quite unfortunate that we have become a "black and white" society. Unless something is written in black and white, our minds tend to refuse to think outside the box to derive obvious implications.

Even the interpretation of the US Constitution has these problems.
  1. Interpreters refuse to see substance and implications and just look at the words.
  2. Interpreters use today's meanings and context instead of the meaning and context of the author(s), their cultural-grammatical-historical settings, audience(s), etc.
And yet, one of the basic principles of communication is that, communication occurs ONLY when the receiver's mental picture is exactly (or close to) the sender's mental picture of what is being communicated! No more, no less. Then why do we have a moronic form of scholarship that says we can interpret a historical document only as it is understood in the current context? That is mainly what liberal interpretation does. (I seem to be digressing, but that is precisely the point of why some folks cannot interpret the Bible passages correctly!).

Hence, accepting Christ included the acknowledgment of a new Master and Lord and King in one's life. To claim that Lordship is NOT implicit in receiving Jesus Christ unto salvation is NOT a biblical view and basically heretic because one who says so preaches a false kind of salvation.

...under development. Come back soon.

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