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Theological Term of the Week

non-lordship salvation
The doctrinal position that what is necessary for salvation is faith (defined primarily as being convinced of the facts of the gospel) and an appeal to Jesus for salvation at some point of time in one’s life, and that repentance (defined as turning from sin) is not necessary for salvation; also called easy-believism or free grace theology.

  • Scripture used by proponents of non-lordship salvation as evidence for their position: 

    Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:30-31 ESV).

    And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness…. (Romans 4:5 ESV)

  • I can’t find a statement of non-lorship salvation in any historic church document, but here’s an argument for it found in Easy-Believism Defended by Pastor Steven L. Anderson:

    In order for verses like John 3:16, John 5:24, Acts 16:31, Romans 4:5, Romans 10:13-14, and others which declare that anyone who believes on Jesus Christ (i.e. puts their faith in him for salvation) shall be saved to be true, God must save a person who is unwilling to turn from sin but believes on Jesus Christ.  If not then God is a liar.

  • From A 15-Year Perspective on the Lordship Controversy by John MacArthur: 

    The doctrine of grace … is profoundly affected by no-lordship teaching. Defenders of the no-lordship gospel often refer to their unique teachings as “Grace Theology” and their movement as “the Grace Movement.” They are convinced that only their system preserves the gospel’s message of grace. That is precisely why they insist every opposing opinion is a kind of works-salvation.

    But they are working with an unbiblical notion of “grace.” Grace is not a liberal clemency or a passive indulgence that simply tolerates and coexists with sin. Divine grace doesn’t guarantee heaven in the afterlife while merely overlooking the evils of this life. Authentic grace is the undeserved favor of God toward sinners, delivering them from the power as well as the penalty of sin (Romans 6:14). Grace is dynamic, “teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:1)

Learn more:

  1. What Is Easy Believism?
  2. Sam Waldron: Easy Believism
  3. What is easy believism?
  4. Lordship Salvation Controversy (Recommended especially for the comparison chart at the end.)
  5. John MacArthur: A 15-Year Perspective on the Lordship Controversy

Related terms:

Filed under Defective Theology.

Do you have a theological term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it, giving you credit for the suggestion and linking back to your blog when I do.

Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms in alphabetical order.


The Passover and Penal Substitution

On the nature of the Passover as penal substitution, from Pierced for Our Transgressions: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution by Steve by Steve Jeffery, Michael Ovey, Andrew Sach: 

The first nine plagues present no danger to the Israelites. God’s judgment falls only upon the Egyptians, for as we saw above, God makes a distinction between them and his people. What is perhaps a little surprising is that in the tenth plague this distinction between Israel and Egypt is conditional. The firstborn of the Israelites are not automatically spared from death; a lamb must be slaughtered, and its blood applied to the door frame of the house. The clear implication is that the firstborn son of the Israelite families would die if this instruction were not followed, for the Lord had said, ‘when I see the blood, I will pass over you’ (Exod. 12:13; italics added). Thus the lamb becomes a substitute for the firstborn son, dying in his place.

…It is not only the firstborn sons who are involved in the Passover, however. The fact that the whole family shares together in the symbolic meal implies a wider application. Indeed, the striking emphasis on the proportionality between the amount of meat needed and the size of the Israelite household is between the amount of the meat needed and the size of the Israelite household is most likely intended to highlight this: ‘If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbour, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat’ (Exod. 12:4). This extended comment would seem somewhat superfluous if intended only as a piece of culinary etiquette to guard against wasting food. An enslaved people, about to flee on a long and arduous journey into the desert, would hardly need to be warned against that!

The substitutionary element in the Passover is therefore beyond dispute. Moreover, given that the plagues function unambiguously as instruments of divine judgment, penal substitution is plainly taught here. This might seem puzzling, for while it is obvious why God would decide to punish the Egyptians, why would he judge his people? This seems all the more surprising given that the plague on the firstborn is described specifically as ‘judgment on all the gods of Egypt’ (Exod. 12:12). According to Ezekiel 20:4-10, however, the Israelites participated in the idolatry of their Egyptian masters; they too were guilty, and were no less deserving of God’s judgment. Only by God’s gracious provision of a means of atonement, a substitutionary sacrifice, were they spared.

We learn in the New Testament that Christ’s death is the fulfillment of the Passover. Or we might say that the Passover stands as the background against which we understand the death of Christ. Christ “suffered in the place of his people in order that they might be marked out by his blood and thus spared from God’s wrath.”


A Catechism for Girls and Boys

Part II: Questions about The Ten Commandments

35. Q. What are the ten commandments sometimes called?
      A. God’s moral law.

(Click through to read scriptural proof.)

Click to read more ...


Sunday Hymn

Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart

Spirit of God, descend upon my heart;
Wean it from earth; through all its pulses move;
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art;
And make me love Thee as I ought to love.

I ask no dream, no prophet ecstasies,
No sudden rending of the veil of clay,
No angel visitant, no opening skies;
But take the dimness of my soul away.

Teach me to feel that Thou art always nigh;
Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear.
To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh,
Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.

Hast Thou not bid me love Thee, God and King?
All, all Thine own, soul, heart and strength and mind.
I see Thy cross; there teach my heart to cling:
O let me seek Thee, and O let me find!

Teach me to love Thee as Thine angels love,
One holy passion filling all my frame;
The kindling of the heaven descended Dove,
My heart an altar, and Thy love the flame.

George Croly

Other hymns, worship songs, sermons etc. posted today:

Have you posted a hymn (or sermon, sermon notes, prayer, etc.) today and I missed it? Let me know by leaving a link in the comments or by contacting me using the contact form linked above, and I’ll add your post to the list.


Round the Sphere Again: Just for Fun 

Camping Equipment
has history and some of it is quite interesting. Do you know why your flashlight is called flashlight? And where did the sleeping bag come from? Find the answers to these questions and more (mental_floss Blog).

Logical Punctuation
I’ve always thought commas and periods should be outside of quotation marks. I have to think hard to remember which way is correct, and I often get it wrong, because the right way seems to make less sense than the wrong way. I guess I’m not alone (Slate).