In Defense of the Gospel According to Jesus

by Mike Ratliff

[35] Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. [36] But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. [37] All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. [38] For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. [39] And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. [40] For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:35-40 ESV)

I received a heads-up email from my friend Ken Silva today about this post. I read and reread the points on that page several times and, to be honest, I am convinced that the author has some basic theological problems. He does not understand God’s Sovereignty and because of this makes many category errors in his theological understanding, as you will see. The first and foremost one is that he takes verses like John 6:40 out of context to support his thesis, while ignoring the immediate context (which I gave you at the top of this post). As you can see, put back into context, John 6:40 is actually a subordinate clause of what Jesus was saying in that statement. The point of what Jesus was saying to those people who wanted to follow him, but he ran them off with hard preaching, was that those who are truly his disciples are those given to him by the Father and each and every one of them serve him as Lord in faith and each of them will be raised up on the last day.

However as we go back to the thesis of the attack on Lordship salvation here, please notice some of the bullet points, which I pulled from it.

  • They have a correct theology in that they confess that Jesus is Lord. The title “Lord” is a title of respect, but also of deity when used of Jesus Christ. Its repetition here indicates an emphasis on who Christ is.
  •  They are submitted to Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives. By their emphatic address (“Lord, Lord”) and boast of miracles done in His name (v. 22), we could even say that these professors are ultra-lordship. There is no indication they err in their concept of who Christ is, nor is there any indication that they are not totally submitted to him in their ethical conduct. Indeed, they are very enthusiastic about following and serving Jesus Christ.
  • They have many good works—actually, great works. They have preached and spoken as prophets, performed exorcisms, and done many supernatural signs.

To say that these people were recognizing the Jesus was deity by calling him Lord, Lord or κύριε, κύριε, is not correct. This is no more than an oral confession, which can never be considered 100% proof of a repentant heart. Of course, to most people who teach against Lordship Salvation also play down the biblical teaching of the necessity of repentance in salvation, which I covered here.

In point two he states that these people are submitted to Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives. He bases this on their cry of κύριε, κύριε, which, again, is bogus. Anyone can call Jesus Lord and not be repentant. These are false professors who NEVER submitted to Jesus Christ as Lord. If they had, then they would have been walking and living in repentance within that Lordship and would not be under Jesus’ rebuke and judgment here.

In point three he talks about their good works. We point out on my blog, as do many of my friends, that the genuine Gospel has been coopted by false christian leaders in our time who have changed the emphasis to social justice, societal renewal, et cetera. Also, in the very city in which I live are two organizations that are famous world-wide for doing what he talks about here while claiming to be Christian, but I have shown in various posts that they are anything but. That would be the International House of Prayer and the World Revival Church. They practice divination, sorcery, and are heavily into the Word/Faith deception. What Jesus talks about in Matthew 7:21-23 fits groups like that very well.

I didn’t cover all the points in that post, but you get the idea.

Other posts on this subject from my blog are below.

Raised Us Up

Light and Darkness

A 15-Year Retrospective on the Lordship Controversy

A Response to an Antinomian

The Lordship of Christ Concerning Genuine Saving Faith

Bought With a Price to be Slaves of Christ

The Authority of the Christ of God

Soli Deo Gloria!

21 thoughts on “In Defense of the Gospel According to Jesus

  1. Why do some things from the word of God seem so crystal clear, but yet another will try to rip it apart? John Macarthur brings life to what the Bible is saying, this other post, and those who misinterpret so vehemently oppose something so edifying. Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. Why would we want to be saved and not submit to the Lordship of our Lord? Why would we think that allowing our Jesus to be Lord of our lives was somehow wicked? Would they listen if one of you contacted them to sit and talk this out? Thanks for the work you guys do Mike. Jesus prays in John 17 that we might all be one, just as He and the Father are one. hmmmm. I’m not thinking I am earning my salvation by submitting to Christ’s lordship. He IS Lord, and I was chosen by Him. How awesome is that?!

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  2. Nice post Mike. Happy New Year. Ah Social Justice. The Jim Wallis’ and Richard Stearns of the world recycling liberal ideology for a new generation without a historical perspective and lack of sound, theological training. It is all about deeds not creeds don’t ya know.

    Repentance is a grace and a beautiful word, the first word of the Gospel. I think the gentleman might want to re-read in Luke 18 the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican. Here is a short excerpt from John Owen: “In opposition hereto, the state and prayer of the Publican, under the same design of seeking justification before God, are expressed. And the outward acts of his person mentioned, as representing and expressive of the inward frame of his mind. “He stood afar off;” he “did not so much as lift up his eyes;” he “smote upon his breast.” All of them represent a person desponding, yea, despairing in himself. This is the nature, this is the effect of that conviction of sin, which we before asserted to be antecedently necessary to justification. Displicency, sorrow, sense of danger, fear of wrath, all are present with him. In brief he declares himself guilty before God, and his mouth stopped, as to any apology or excuse. And his prayer is a sincere application of his soul, to sovereign grace and mercy, for a deliverance out of the condition, wherein he was by reason of the guilt of sin. And in the use of the word hilaschomai, there is respect had to a propitiation. In the whole of his address there is contained (1) Self-condemnation and abhorrence. (2) Displicency and sorrow for sin. (3) An universal renunciation of all works of his own, as any conditions of his justification. (4) An acknowledgment of his sin, guilt, and misery.”

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  3. Without repentance, there is no salvation – amen. There is no repentance without it being given to man by God – we agree on this as well. Repentance and faith are required for one to be saved, and both are gifts from God – gifts that are without repentance on His part, gifts that He continues to give His children until He takes us home. Praise the Lord, oh my soul!

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  4. A simple count of the references to Jesus as Savior verses Lord in the bible should make their mistake crystal clear. But alas theirs is the reciepe salvation that often reference. It is pretty clear to me at least that the cry Lord Lord! is being done for the first time in their existance as they lived as if He gave them no rightious law to live by. Rather they lived by their reciepe and self rightiousness. Don’t Catholics, JW’s, Mormon’s, and all “reciepe salvation” “in name only” christians fill their lives with things they do in Jesus’ name?!?! Dead works are dead works…
    Their belief is kind of like keeping a beagle for a pet…but that dog just won’t hunt!

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  5. That’s right Mickey. It is religiosity by feelings rather than according to the clear evidence of scripture. In other words, I am right and you are wrong because I have this “burning in my heart…” regardless of what it says in the Word… Sad, so sad…

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  6. Philippians 2:10-12

    King James Version (KJV)

    10That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

    11And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    12Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

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  7. From above, “…most people who teach against Lordship Salvation also play down the biblical teaching of the necessity of repentance in salvation.”

    Allow me to reassure your readers and you that your comment above betrays a lack of understanding that many who reject LS have on the necessity of repentance for salvation (justification). The only non-LS group I know of among believers who utterly reject the necessity of repentance is the Grace Evangelical Society who follow the egregious reductionist heresy of the late Zane Hodges and current GES president Bob Wilkin.

    In my book the longest chapter is titled, “What is Biblical Repentance?” In that chapter I trust you would recognize I reject the way in which men like John MacArthur have forced into and extracted from the Bible definitions for repentance that check out on Scripture to bolster Lordship Salvation’s works based presuppositions. I then give the biblical definition for repentance from the Bible with no theological presuppositions brought to the discussion of this vital truth.

    Bottom line, there are many, who on solid Scriptural grounds, reject LS yet embrace and believe the lost man cannot be born again apart from repentance.

    When a lost man responds to the convincing and covicting work of the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-11) he can be born by God’s grace through faith believing in whom Jesus is and what He did to provide salvation. Front loading faith with commitments to behavior and the “good works” (Eph. 2:10) expected of a believer to become a born again believer, which is the core of Lordship Salvation, corrupts the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Cor. 11:3) and frustrates grace (Gal. 2:21).

    LM

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  8. Sorry Lou, but to turn to the Lord in repentance is to submit to Him as Lord. Its the same thing. You can’t take the Bible and chop it up into bits of sushi. You must keep it all in context. I am a student of not only John MacArthur, but also James White and Kim Riddlebarger,and Michael Horton and many others who would agree with me that it is you who are forcing an unbiblical interpretation on and your own presuppositions upon those Bible verses. – Mike Ratliff

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  9. Amen, Mike. I read a couple reviews of Lou’s book on Amazon; he teaches that one can be saved yet unchanged – with no evidence of being the new creature in Christ that Scripture says we are. Imperfect, but new – and growing as a result of God’s Holy Spirit within us. He will NOT leave us to mildew in our sinful flesh. And yes – none of us will go a day without sin until we die or the Lord returns. But there is this long term work in us, theologians call it sanctification, that will have us working with God as we are conformed to Christ.

    I know some folk write in such a way as to lead readers to infer the author teaches salvation by works. Any who do teach that are wrong. It is best summed by that wonderful phrase: “Saved by faith alone, but not by faith that is alone.” Praise the Lord, oh my soul!

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  10. LM, I have a couple of questions for you that may cut to the core of your arguments:

    1. Is it possible to be a practicing homosexual born again believer? Why or why not? (to be clear, this John Doe professes Christ, “accepts” Him as Savior, and continues in his habitual lifestyle of homosexuality)

    2. Are you a monergist or synergist?

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  11. Manfred:

    What you suggest for my position based on the comments of unnamed (by you) reviewers of my book at Amazon are, I am sorry to say, a gross distortion of my position on what should be the results of a genuine conversion.
    May I suggest you read my book in paperback or Kindle/Nook then you will be able to cite and react to my position from a first hand, knowledgeable understanding.

    Mike, thanks for hosting by brief participation here. I will, however, suggest that you to read my book, the chapter on repentance in particular. You not find the “sushi” as you’ve suggested. You would know this if you had read the book.

    To All: I find it interesting how many who have never read my book, In Defense of the Gospel: Biblical Answers to Lordship Salvation yet speak as if they have an intimate knowledge of my printed position. No actual quotes from my book, instead notes from unnamed reviewers who, in at least one case, I know never read my book either. Mike, you and your guests here can do better.

    Kind regards,

    LM

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  12. Lou, I have read and studied the Bible and I know what it says. I also read your article on your blog post and that was what I was going by and what I was comparing. Your scripture usage in that article as “proof texts” to support your positions disqualified your stance because you were “out of bounds” as I showed in my post. That was what I meant by chopping up God’s Word like sushi and using it like that. Lou, you seem offended that we take a Biblical position and defend it and since it is different than yours we must be “wrong” because we have not “read your book.”

    It matters not if we have or not “read your book” since you cannot come up with a position in your book that is different than the position we are defending and it be true. If you have a problem understanding that let me know and I will restate it for you in terms more clearly. I have been accused by others of “confusing Biblical Exegesis with truth.” There is no tolerance for Biblical eisegesis being claimed as truth here…none. That is why it matters not what source or sources you have. If you are holding a position that is unbiblical then we will stand against you and your position. Now, if you want to debate theology on Biblical terms then by all means do so, but saying, “read my book” is not going to fly.

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  13. Mike (and others), allow me this brief post.

    Lou self published his first book years ago. After a lengthy interaction with Nathan Busenitz (close to John MacArthur) about LS and repentance, Lou had to go back and correct his book, then republish it. Imagine being so ignorant of a position you are writing a book against, than after being schooled you have to go back and rewrite it.

    Sadly, Lou and those who post at his site actually think that Charles Bing posted something that disproves LS. Just read the comments. The whole site is a bastion of ignorance and the leaderless have crowned their king. They cannot put together a coherent article/argument as to what LS actually is. If any of you doubt me, look at some of the other articles he has written about it. They are basically the same template. As you have pointed out, there are so many fallacies in Bing’s article that it is hardly an exercise in thought to point them out.

    @Justin
    Those on Lou’s site have admitted you can be muslim and christian at the same time. I hope that helps you understand the level of theological knowledge you are dealing with.

    Dr. Ernest Pickering presently disagrees with Lou and would be ashamed of him.

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  14. With thanks to my host I am given an opportunity to respond to the comment above by James Kime. Such gross distortion and known misrepresentations need no response. Agenda driven men like James would never accept any truthful documentation or discussion of the facts and my friends need no explanation. For well over a year I have deferred to the Bible to guide my response to any and all posts from Mr. Kime. That passage is Proverbs 26:4, “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

    LM

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