Dr. Willis Newman, Esmeralda Newman, bible-teaching-about.com

Lordship salvation - Dr. Newman explains

QUESTION:

Hi. I’m Michael. Thanx for your site. I have just read about lordship salvation and you are right. Have you heard of Ray Comfort and Todd Friel. They are nice guys, but do you think they teach lordship salvation? thanx, mike.



ANSWER:

Michael:

I thank you for your comments. You ask me about Ray Comfort and Todd Friel. You would be better informed to ask them the question. Looking at Comfort’s website, he says this about salvation, “The gift of salvation is only through the belief in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Lord and is a free gift for the asking, a person can not "work" toward salvation.” That is a good statement.

Ray also advertises the “4 Spiritual Laws,” and, Billy Graham’s, “Steps to Peace With God.” Those are very legitimate voices in the Evangelical world. My wife worked with Campus Crusade for Christ for many years, and I was led to Christ and discipled in their fine materials. For new believers, I don’t believe there is a finer set of studies anywhere to start off the new Christian.  I wish Ray well in his work.

In the Q&A section, Ray may seem a little unclear on what it means to be a Christian, but you would need to ask him if he believes in Lordship Salvation. 

Regarding Todd Friel, I admire his boldness in taking on controversial issues, and to ardently defend the faith. In one of his articles, he makes this statement regarding salvation, “salvation (is) by grace alone through faith alone.” That is right on target. 

In another place, he mentions that salvation is through, “repent and trust.” By trust, as I understand it, he means, “belief.” He mentions favorable the names of Moody and Spurgeon. If he identifies with their doctrine, then he is very correct, as I understand the Bible. 

Now, let me digress a bit, and bring focus on the issue of, “repent and believe.” Sometimes people add “repent” to the formula along with “believe.” That is where the trouble starts with “Lordship Salvation.” 

An important part of the formula of, “repent and trust” is what repent means, and what one trusts in. Repent is, indeed, part of the salvation experience if one understands repent correctly. Repent (metanoia) simply means to change one’s mind about something. However, some believe that repent means to have an intense exertion of emotion and will power to quit sinning, turn from their sinful ways, and with great effort start following the commandments of Christ – generally the Ten Commandments. 

In order to remain a Christian, they believe, they must grind out the Christian life, force themselves to keep from sinning, be sure to confess sin if they do fail, heroically endure unto the end, then maybe God will let them into heaven. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

To repent simply means to change one’s mind on how to be saved. You see, everyone is trusting in something to be saved. Even the Atheist is trusting (believing) that there is no God. Some trust in church attendance, membership, philosophy, good works, being a good citizen, not killing anyone – or something. 

For example, while going door to door one time while evangelizing, I asked one young man this question, “If you were to die tonight, stand before God, and He asked you the question, ‘Why should I let you into my Heaven,’ what would you say?” After giving it some serious thought, he answered, “I don’t kick cats.” Well, at least he was honest – but sincerely wrong!

Let’s look at the second part of the formula: belief, or trust. The content and object of our trust (belief) is critical. Saving faith is needed.  For example, some people believe that there really is a God – even the God of the Bible. Well, even the devil believes that, and he is not saved. Some believe that God will heal them, or provide them finances or a good job. Sadly, that will not save them. Some might even believe that Christ died on the Cross to save sinners. That is accurate, but is not adequate for salvation. 

Repentance and faith means that one personally switches their mind from whatever it is they are trusting in to save them, and casting their faith wholly, solely and completely on a particular object for their salvation. That object is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He died to pay the penalty of our sins, and rose from the dead to give us eternal life. His work reconciles us to God, and turns us into new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17, 18).

Let me put it this way: Christ’s death and resurrection pays forever all the penalty of all the sin and grants eternal life to all those who place their faith in the DBR (plus nothing else) of Christ to save them.  It is as Peter said, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Paul added this clear statement, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved” (Acts 16:31). Salvation is never about what we do or don’t do, it is always about what Christ has done in and for us. We can do nothing to add or keep our salvation. 

And, even that saving faith is something given as a gift by the Holy Spirit to the elect to grant them power to believe. Paul wrote, “For by Grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast” (Ephesians 2:8, 9).

Paul made it more clear, “a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus…I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly” (Galatians 2:16, 21).

The Galatians were slipping into the idea that one is saved by faith, but kept by works. To this, Paul wrote, “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3). To put is simply, we are saved by grace through faith, and we are kept by grace through faith. 

Let me wrap this up by returning to Todd. His ministry seems to be exposing heresy within the church, which is good. However, when apologists approach that type of ministry, they can sometimes become critical of other believers their doctrine. Sometimes in their enthusiastic dogmatism they may overstate their case in a negative way. Attacking and name calling is not a good way to win arguments, but it can be a good strategy in gaining a following. Todd walks in the path of other great radio men, such as Walter Martin.

All the best, and God bless,

Dr. Newman

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