Though the Lordship Salvation doctrine (hereafter LS) has many distinguishing characteristics, the one I want to address is its view of the gospel and the unbeliever’s response to it.
What Is The “Lordship Salvation”
Doctrine?In brief, LS regularly teaches that unbelievers must submit to Jesus the Lord. They call sinners to yield to Christ’s authority. “Surrender” is a key to unlocking the essence of LS. They often include the call to discipleship, “the gospel.”
One popular LS Internet site states,
The gospel that Jesus proclaimed was a call to discipleship, a call to follow him in submissiveobedience, not just a plea to make a decision or pray a prayer … Scripture teaches that Jesus is Lord of all, and the faith He demands involves unconditional surrender… Surrender to Jesus’ lordship is not an addendum to the biblical terms of salvation; the summons to submission is at the heart of the gospel invitation throughout Scripture. (emphasis added)
Certainly, most proponents of LS have admirable desires and motives. They properly see the problem of a temporary faith and assess it rightly. They notice and call out the morass of carnal, corrupt false professors of nominal Christianity. Cultural “Christians” are legion, and they perceive the need for deceived “Christians” to truly believe Jesus. They, with John Bunyan, in The Pilgrim’s Progress, warn, “Then I saw that there was a way to hell, even from the gates of heaven, as well as from the City of Destruction!” LS teachers accurately caution people from a 1 Corinthians 6:9–10 deception. I appreciate the LS desire for false converts to truly believe and to awaken sinners to their peril. I applaud their concern over a false, spurious faith that does not save (a demonic faith--James 2:19). I agree with their call for Christians to live holy and faithful lives. I also commend LS teachers because they do teach sola gratia, repentance as a gift of divine grace, the person and work of Jesus, the need for holy living and much more.
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Mike Abendroth (MDiv, DMin) is Senior Pastor of Bethlehem Bible Church (West Boyleston, MA), where he has served since 1997. He is host of No Compromise Radio and author of Jesus Christ: The Prince of Preachers (2007), The Sovereignty and Supremacy of King Jesus (2011), Things that Go Bump in the Church (2014), Discovering Romans (2014), Sexual Fidelity (2015) and Evangelical White Lies (2016). He is married with with four children. When not enjoying his family he is often found on a bicycle.