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Theological Forum discuss Soteriology, Lordship Salvation, and Michael Horton's book in the Theology forums; Had a question about this book and the whole "Lordship Salvation" soteriology argument. Amazon.com: Christ the Lord (9781606083680): Michael Scott Horton: Books Is Horton's take ...

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    J. Dean's Avatar
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    Soteriology, Lordship Salvation, and Michael Horton's book

    Had a question about this book and the whole "Lordship Salvation" soteriology argument.

    Amazon.com: Christ the Lord (9781606083680): Michael Scott Horton: Books

    Is Horton's take on the matter decent? I've read MacArthur's "The Gospel According to Jesus" and thought it was a good, fair take on the controversy, but I'm not quite sure how Horton finds a "middle ground" between MacArthur and Hodges.

    If any of you have read the book and are better acquainted with the debate than I am, please feel free to weigh in. Thank you.
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    I haven't read those, but John Owen has a section in his book on justification that seemed to prefigure the recent debates. If I recall, the gist of it is that faith in Christ looks primarily to Him as Savior, but He can only be our Savior as He is Lord. Anyway, it's interesting to read. One can find many recent controversies reflected in books from the 17th century. There is nothing new under the sun.
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    I have only read a few sections of the book and found them most helpful. Here is the preface to the volume that Horton wrote to explain why the book was written:

    The purpose of this volume is not to provide an exhaustive defense of what we would regard as the biblical position on the 'lordship salvation' debate. Indeed both leading spokesmen on either side, Zane Hodges and John MacArthur, Jr., have offered some reason for discomfort over the terms lordship/no-lordship salvation. As James Boice, J.I. Packer, and others have argued in their works, no respected, mainstream Christian thinker, writer, or preacher has ever held such extreme and unusual views concerning the nature of the gospel and saving grace as Zane Hodges. In this book, there is no doubt that we are taking a firm stand against what I would rather label the "no-effective-grace" position. While Hodges insists that he is only following the Bible, apart from any theological system, it is clear that he is missing the point of the gospel itself--to make enemies friends, to reconcile sinners to God, to break the power of sin's dominion, and to bring new and lasting life to those who before were "dead in trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2:1).

    It is, in part, because of that tendency, sometimes evidenced on both sides in this debate, to pretend that one is reading the Bible without any theological influences or biases, that motivated us to get involved in this sensitive and emotional issue. Both Hodges and MacArthur claim the Reformers for support. In our estimation, there is not the slightest support for Hodges and Ryrie to claim the Reformers' favor for their novel views. The antinomians (that is, those who denied the necessity of Christian obedience) of the Puritan era so pressed the Reformers' defense of justification to the the point where there was no place left for sanctification. However, the modern antinomianism, represented by Ryrie and Hodges chiefly, appears not to be motivated by an unbalanced fear that any talk of human responsibility will take away from God's glory, but by fear that any talk of the effectiveness of grace will erode confidence in human responsibility and choice. In other words, the antinomians since the Reformation have erred by denying human cooperation to the point where every divine operation is while dependent on human willing and running, contrary to the words of the apostle Paul (Rom 9:16).

    Nevertheless, this book is not merely an endorsement of John MacArthur's position, either. We will argue that MacArthur at certain points risks confusion on some fundamental evangelical convictions, particularly, between justification and sanctification. It must be said, however, that MacArthur has been most gracious in considering our concerns and we have been in dialogue with him for some time now. Significant changes have been made, as he has fine-tuned his definitions and applied a more specific theological framework to his exegesis. Revisions will appear in forthcoming editions of The Gospel According to Jesus and we are grateful for MacArthur's eagerness to discuss these issues. While other differences remain, there is a great deal of discussion taking place and there is every reason to believe that the chief differences lie in the realm of definitions and pastoral practice rather than substance. MacArthur's humility has been a lesson to us and we hope that we will be able to show our critics the openness he has shown us.

    Nevertheless since we are reviewing a position, and not a person, and most readers of this volume will have read the earlier edition of The Gospel According to Jesus, we have retained our criticisms on these points for the reader's benefit, noting MacArthur's revisions at the appropriate places. Let me also say that John has graciously allowed me to read the draft of his book, The Gospel According to the Apostles, which should be released about the same time as this volume. The sequel is clear, precise, and cautious, and it ought to correct the misunderstandings not only of those like Hodges, who have misrepresented MacArthur's position through caricature and hyperbole, but even perhaps the misguided zeal of some "lordship salvation" disciples as well.

    It is because both positions claim to be echoes of the Reformation that we thought the debate was in need of a more historical treatment. For that reason, one will not find in Christ the Lord a comprehensive exegetical treatment. While there are chapters devoted to covering the biblical material (which is, after all, our "only rule of faith and practice"), the book has a decidedly historical tone to it. It is offered unabashedly as a "Reformation response" to the positions thus far presented, not because the Reformers and their successors were infallible, but because evangelical Protestantism owes a debt of gratitude to them for digging the gold out of the rich spiritual veins through the centuries so that we could learn from those who have gone before us. Theology, preaching, teaching, counseling, and pastoral care are not done in a vacuum; we are all influenced and shaped by our own traditions, upbringing, seminary education, and church curricula, and these are all shaped by certain theological systems. It is the goal of this book to help rub the sleep from our eyes, to drive away the naive assumption that we can just be "Bible teachers" without careful theological reflection from a particular systematic point of view.

    The Reformers were certainly not infallible--they would be the last to say they were--but they were wise, wiser than any of us around these days. And we would be poor stewards of the inheritance God has given us through them if we did not at least attempt to gain their counsel on these important debates.


    Hope you find this helpful.[COLOR="Silver"]
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    Looks like I'll be checking this book out! Thank you!
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    I've read Horton's book (and much of MacArthur's) and thought Horton's critique of MacArthur was mostly helpful. This is not to say MacArthur doesn't make many, many good points. But I think Horton helped refine those where MacArthur may have gotten a bit carried away.

    To like Horton's book you have to enjoy the fine points of theological debate and discussing the history of Reformed thought. Much of it is Horton defending what is and is not properly considered "Reformed," historically. That makes it quite different from Horton's more popular books where he looks at contemporary evangelical culture and critiques it biblically.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack K View Post
    I've read Horton's book (and much of MacArthur's) and thought Horton's critique of MacArthur was mostly helpful. This is not to say MacArthur doesn't make many, many good points. But I think Horton helped refine those where MacArthur may have gotten a bit carried away.

    To like Horton's book you have to enjoy the fine points of theological debate and discussing the history of Reformed thought. Much of it is Horton defending what is and is not properly considered "Reformed," historically. That makes it quite different from Horton's more popular books where he looks at contemporary evangelical culture and critiques it biblically.
    The problem is that I am currently do not trust Horton to be the correct on what is properly considered Reformed.

    CT
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChristianTrader View Post
    The problem is that I am currently do not trust . . .
    But can you haz cheezburger if all your base are belong to us?
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    I have had the experience of knowing a man sold out on Hodges' theology. He was extremely zealous to share the message and even seperated from attending church to hold family church at home. I have no idea if this is typical, just found it interesting. I was given a book by Hodges and did read it. I found his theology rediculous and quite typically his exegesis was atrocious. I don't know why but it is amazing to read work by men trained in biblical interpretation leave all their senses and use proof texts that are obviously being distorted.(I was struck by this in Geisler too in his work on freedom of the will) This can be detected by anyone with even little training in interpretation. Anyway Hodges is dangerous and it is worthy work for these men to pursue and expose his error.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ChristianTrader View Post
    The problem is that I am currently do not trust . . .
    But can you haz cheezburger if all your base are belong to us?
    Ahem...it's properly written "All your base are belong to us".
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChristianTrader View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack K View Post
    I've read Horton's book (and much of MacArthur's) and thought Horton's critique of MacArthur was mostly helpful. This is not to say MacArthur doesn't make many, many good points. But I think Horton helped refine those where MacArthur may have gotten a bit carried away.

    To like Horton's book you have to enjoy the fine points of theological debate and discussing the history of Reformed thought. Much of it is Horton defending what is and is not properly considered "Reformed," historically. That makes it quite different from Horton's more popular books where he looks at contemporary evangelical culture and critiques it biblically.

    The problem is that I am currently do not trust Horton to be the correct on what is properly considered Reformed.

    CT

    Like I say, if debates over what is and isn't properly considered "Reformed" is something you enjoy, you'll probably like Horton's book. If nothing else, the past year has shown once again (on a different issue) Horton's willingness to wade into such debates. For myself, I found his arguments concerning Lordship Salvation to be generally convincing and handled graciously, but the stuff about what is and isn't truly Reformed got tedious. Not that I disagreed with him; those sorts of arguments over the "Reformed" label just aren't my cup of tea.
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    Is the Lordship Salvation debate still going on? It's been a long time since I've encountered any of Hodges' defenders. Does Campus Crusade still talk about the carnal Christian?
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    Quote Originally Posted by SRoper View Post
    Is the Lordship Salvation debate still going on? It's been a long time since I've encountered any of Hodges' defenders. Does Campus Crusade still talk about the carnal Christian?
    I thought that was part and parcel, or it least it was in the late 1980's.
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    Lordship Salvation, and Michael Horton's book. This is one of my all time favorites. It helped me greatly seeing how I was in the Charles Ryrie, Zane Hodges camp.

    I try and reread it yearly. I still know quite a few people (Baptist) who still beleive that you have to make Christ the Lord of your life. Instead of Christ being Lord. you can be carnal all you life. Plus Lewis Sperry Chafer still has a large following in our area.

    Not to derail the thread but what is wrong with Horton?
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    Quote Originally Posted by SRoper View Post
    Is the Lordship Salvation debate still going on? It's been a long time since I've encountered any of Hodges' defenders. Does Campus Crusade still talk about the carnal Christian?
    Good question. I know a fairly influential ministry leader who still thinks in terms of the carnal Christian concept. But I don't hear it often, though I admit I also don't travel in the right circles to hear it much if it is out there.

    I the other side, I do know several people who, due to MacArthur, can't stand to hear someone mention something as non-threatening as, say, "grace alone" without feeling a need to interject that you better not think you can be saved if you don't obey. They're still debating that issue with a passion, though against whom, I do not know.

    I get a sense that MacArthur largely won that debate. The only quibbling I regularly hear these days is the occasional question among Reformed folks of whether or not MacArthur went a tad too far and ended up with a sort of works righteousness, as Horton contended. But they're nowhere close to arguing Hodges' side.

    ---------- Post added at 08:06 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:52 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by baron View Post
    Not to derail the thread but what is wrong with Horton?
    I don't think anything's wrong with Horton on the Lordship Salvation issue. But he's a hot topic lately due to the bickering between Westminster West and Westminster East over the place of justification in the ordo salutis. People wiser than me point to huge differences on that issue but, frankly, when I listen to both sides I can barely see it. I mostly see a difference of emphasis and pastoral application, but not of affirmed doctrine. Of course, maybe I'm slow. Or not judgmental enough.
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    The mixture of MacArthur and my nth degree conscience led to the volatile train wreck of my young faith for 15 years. What a miserable time that was...I'm so glad I finally met John Owen and Luther!

    Blessings!
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    Quote Originally Posted by baron View Post
    Not to derail the thread but what is wrong with Horton?
    Nothing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by baron View Post
    Not to derail the thread but what is wrong with Horton?
    I believe the technical term for it is "who-hearing".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andres View Post
    Originally Posted by baron
    Not to derail the thread but what is wrong with Horton?
    Nothing.
    Well that is good news!

    ---------- Post added at 11:48 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:47 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by py3ak View Post
    I believe the technical term for it is "who-hearing".
    "who-hearing" what?
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    Quote Originally Posted by py3ak View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by baron View Post
    Not to derail the thread but what is wrong with Horton?
    I believe the technical term for it is "who-hearing".
    I got it!


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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack K View Post
    I don't think anything's wrong with Horton on the Lordship Salvation issue. But he's a hot topic lately due to the bickering between Westminster West and Westminster East over the place of justification in the ordo salutis. People wiser than me point to huge differences on that issue but, frankly, when I listen to both sides I can barely see it. I mostly see a difference of emphasis and pastoral application, but not of affirmed doctrine. Of course, maybe I'm slow. Or not judgmental enough.
    Now see, I've heard this brought up before, and the impression I got was that the Ordo salutis issue Horton is addressing is more academic than practical in relevance.

    ---------- Post added at 06:16 AM ---------- Previous post was at 06:14 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by moral necessity View Post
    The mixture of MacArthur and my nth degree conscience led to the volatile train wreck of my young faith for 15 years. What a miserable time that was...I'm so glad I finally met John Owen and Luther!

    Blessings!
    You'll have to explain this one sometime, because from what I know of MacArthur he's quite fond of both Owen and Luther.
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    Quote Originally Posted by baron View Post
    "who-hearing" what?
    I think Ruben made a funny (it did actually make me spit a little coffee). He was referencing, Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nicnap View Post
    I think Ruben made a funny (it did actually make me spit a little coffee). He was referencing, Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss.
    Thanks for explaining! I was totally mystified
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    I think the problem with MacArthur, as Horton sees it and as I see it, is that in some of his works, he seems to think that you protect against easy-believism by making the gospel invitation more difficult, so that only those who are REALLY serious will respond. I'm not going to look up all the quotes right now, but I know his original definition of faith seemed to fold works into it under the volitional aspect. (Perhaps, in Westminster speak, I might say that he didn't seem to distinguish well between faith in general and the "principal acts of saving faith.") Also, his gospel appeals included lines like, "Turn from everything you know that displeases God." On the one hand I can see that, but on the other, gee, have I really turned from everything I know that displeases God? And he's telling someone that that is something they must do in order to BECOME saved? On the whole, it seems to make the character of saving faith more about what I do than about "extraspectively" looking to Christ.

    I also have seen a lot of damage done by MacArthur in the actual Fundamentalist and quasi-Fundamentalist crowd he runs in. Many MacArthur-influenced preachers made it a personal mission to undermine the assurance of every person in the room. MacArthur also makes statements to the effect that if you "got saved" when you were 12, but then your life was a mess for a while and now you want to turn your life around, you probably didn't really get saved when you were 12. Well, ok, maybe, but MacArthur gives the impression that he can pretty much tell, based on scant evidence, who is really saved. He even gives list of signs that people are deceived.

    I think the overall approach is unhealthy. It wounds weak consciences. It turns Christians into "fruit detectors," always demanding that everyone around them PROVE their salvation. It makes pastoral counseling difficult, because the stock response to someone struggling with sin is, "Well, this indicates you might not really be saved." I think MacArthur commits a basic theological error; he thinks that if he just preached the gospel exactly right, there would be no false conversions. Quality control on the front end. (In some ways I think this is a radicalization of the Baptist pure church perspective.) But that's not the way it happens. Church discipline in the context of faithful preaching and body life is the method for sorting out wheat and tares.
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    Quote Originally Posted by J. Dean View Post
    [/COLOR]
    Quote Originally Posted by moral necessity View Post
    The mixture of MacArthur and my nth degree conscience led to the volatile train wreck of my young faith for 15 years. What a miserable time that was...I'm so glad I finally met John Owen and Luther!

    Blessings!
    You'll have to explain this one sometime, because from what I know of MacArthur he's quite fond of both Owen and Luther.
    Charlie pretty much summed it up in his post above. Hey, Charlie, were you in my church all those years or something, or just in my conscience taking notes? Great insight!

    Blessings!
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlieJ View Post
    I think the problem with MacArthur, as Horton sees it and as I see it, is that in some of his works, he seems to think that you protect against easy-believism by making the gospel invitation more difficult, so that only those who are REALLY serious will respond. I'm not going to look up all the quotes right now, but I know his original definition of faith seemed to fold works into it under the volitional aspect. (Perhaps, in Westminster speak, I might say that he didn't seem to distinguish well between faith in general and the "principal acts of saving faith.") Also, his gospel appeals included lines like, "Turn from everything you know that displeases God." On the one hand I can see that, but on the other, gee, have I really turned from everything I know that displeases God? And he's telling someone that that is something they must do in order to BECOME saved? On the whole, it seems to make the character of saving faith more about what I do than about "extraspectively" looking to Christ.

    I also have seen a lot of damage done by MacArthur in the actual Fundamentalist and quasi-Fundamentalist crowd he runs in. Many MacArthur-influenced preachers made it a personal mission to undermine the assurance of every person in the room. MacArthur also makes statements to the effect that if you "got saved" when you were 12, but then your life was a mess for a while and now you want to turn your life around, you probably didn't really get saved when you were 12. Well, ok, maybe, but MacArthur gives the impression that he can pretty much tell, based on scant evidence, who is really saved. He even gives list of signs that people are deceived.

    I think the overall approach is unhealthy. It wounds weak consciences. It turns Christians into "fruit detectors," always demanding that everyone around them PROVE their salvation. It makes pastoral counseling difficult, because the stock response to someone struggling with sin is, "Well, this indicates you might not really be saved." I think MacArthur commits a basic theological error; he thinks that if he just preached the gospel exactly right, there would be no false conversions. Quality control on the front end. (In some ways I think this is a radicalization of the Baptist pure church perspective.) But that's not the way it happens. Church discipline in the context of faithful preaching and body life is the method for sorting out wheat and tares.
    Funny you mention this, because MacArthur just went through a series on his radio program about "taking the Salvation test."

    So it leads to a question related to this: what's the balance point? Obviously we don't want a works-righteousness salvation impression given, but it's just as dangerous to lean in the antinomian direction. Where does the principle of "making your calling and election sure" fit into preaching the gospel?

    (BTW, I am aware that Martin Lloyd-Jones once said that a good gospel presentation should be accused of being antinomian, but that can be carried too far as well, and I'm sure Lloyd-Jones would be the first to state this.)
    J. Dean, author
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    I'm lean more towards the side of letting the wheat and the tares grow together, so that we don't pluck up the wheat while trying to remove the tares. It was probably predictable that I would feel more inclined this way...

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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlieJ View Post
    I think the problem with MacArthur, as Horton sees it and as I see it, is that in some of his works, he seems to think that you protect against easy-believism by making the gospel invitation more difficult, so that only those who are REALLY serious will respond. I'm not going to look up all the quotes right now, but I know his original definition of faith seemed to fold works into it under the volitional aspect. (Perhaps, in Westminster speak, I might say that he didn't seem to distinguish well between faith in general and the "principal acts of saving faith.") Also, his gospel appeals included lines like, "Turn from everything you know that displeases God." On the one hand I can see that, but on the other, gee, have I really turned from everything I know that displeases God? And he's telling someone that that is something they must do in order to BECOME saved? On the whole, it seems to make the character of saving faith more about what I do than about "extraspectively" looking to Christ.

    I also have seen a lot of damage done by MacArthur in the actual Fundamentalist and quasi-Fundamentalist crowd he runs in. Many MacArthur-influenced preachers made it a personal mission to undermine the assurance of every person in the room. MacArthur also makes statements to the effect that if you "got saved" when you were 12, but then your life was a mess for a while and now you want to turn your life around, you probably didn't really get saved when you were 12. Well, ok, maybe, but MacArthur gives the impression that he can pretty much tell, based on scant evidence, who is really saved. He even gives list of signs that people are deceived.

    I think the overall approach is unhealthy. It wounds weak consciences. It turns Christians into "fruit detectors," always demanding that everyone around them PROVE their salvation. It makes pastoral counseling difficult, because the stock response to someone struggling with sin is, "Well, this indicates you might not really be saved." I think MacArthur commits a basic theological error; he thinks that if he just preached the gospel exactly right, there would be no false conversions. Quality control on the front end. (In some ways I think this is a radicalization of the Baptist pure church perspective.) But that's not the way it happens. Church discipline in the context of faithful preaching and body life is the method for sorting out wheat and tares.
    Good thoughts. Summarizes where the Lordship Salvation movement (though born of good intentions) has in spots gone too far.
    Jack K.
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    Quote Originally Posted by moral necessity View Post
    I'm lean more towards the side of letting the wheat and the tares grow together, so that we don't pluck up the wheat while trying to remove the tares. It was probably predictable that I would feel more inclined this way...

    Blessings!
    Right, but shouldn't the distinction between wheat and tares be proclaimed from the pulpit as well?
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    Quote Originally Posted by J. Dean View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by moral necessity View Post
    I'm lean more towards the side of letting the wheat and the tares grow together, so that we don't pluck up the wheat while trying to remove the tares. It was probably predictable that I would feel more inclined this way...

    Blessings!
    Right, but shouldn't the distinction between wheat and tares be proclaimed from the pulpit as well?
    I would say yes, in Biblical balance. There is far too much "boot strap" theology preached at every occasion in many churches.
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    Quote Originally Posted by J. Dean View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by moral necessity View Post
    I'm lean more towards the side of letting the wheat and the tares grow together, so that we don't pluck up the wheat while trying to remove the tares. It was probably predictable that I would feel more inclined this way...

    Blessings!
    Right, but shouldn't the distinction between wheat and tares be proclaimed from the pulpit as well?
    In my opinion, yes, but with great delicacy, so as to not break a bruised reed, or snuff out a smoldering wick. I would tend to be sensitive to always bring the sermon back to the good news of the gospel of grace, so as to not leave fragile consciences to despair.

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    Quote Originally Posted by A5pointer View Post
    I would say yes, in Biblical balance. There is far too much "boot strap" theology preached at every occasion in many churches.
    Oh, no argument there. You should have heard the horrendous sermon about love that I heard last Sunday. Not that the command to love shouldn't be proclaimed, but when you command to love without laying the gospel foundation for that love, it's just nice sounding legalism.

    I liked what our Bible study leader said last night: "The imperative follows the indicative, and the process is not reversible."
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    Thanks for the replies. I definitely see the need for some adjustment on the Lordship salvation side. One of my past elders would attack the idea of carnal Christianity and would emphasize that to have Christ as savior is to have him as Lord. I always wondered who his target was. I now wonder if he heard "free grace" and thought he needed to emphasize Christian responsibility lest someone get the wrong idea.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SRoper View Post
    Is the Lordship Salvation debate still going on? It's been a long time since I've encountered any of Hodges' defenders. Does Campus Crusade still talk about the carnal Christian?
    I see the Lordship Salvation debate as a continuation in a line of debates since at least the Marrow Theology controversy. It seems regularly such debates have come up in Reformed Circles. The recent sanctification/justification debate is in some ways a continuation of the Lordship salvation debate. I think if everyone can affirm what Ursinus says here - Why do Good Works? | Patrick’s Pensees , we would be well on our way to being a more unified group.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlieJ View Post
    I think the overall approach is unhealthy. It wounds weak consciences. It turns Christians into "fruit detectors," always demanding that everyone around them PROVE their salvation. It makes pastoral counseling difficult, because the stock response to someone struggling with sin is, "Well, this indicates you might not really be saved." I think MacArthur commits a basic theological error; he thinks that if he just preached the gospel exactly right, there would be no false conversions. Quality control on the front end. (In some ways I think this is a radicalization of the Baptist pure church perspective.) But that's not the way it happens. Church discipline in the context of faithful preaching and body life is the method for sorting out wheat and tares.
    This actually hits very close to home. My mom is a "fruit detector" and at the moment only thinks 2-3 out of the 5 in my family (including herself and my sister) are saved, and the other (me) is backsliding. 2-3 out of 10 if you include my wife and her family...even though all 10 profess. Mind you the reason she thinks I'm backsliding is because I am returning to the law by being a missionary. ?? Anyway, there's no reasoning with her because she just recently became a Christian and the light came on, so to speak, and now she is scared other people don't get that they are deceived - since she professed for 40-50 years before being regenerated. After she truly believed, she started talking about how all these people are deceived. I agree with her that many in the church are deceived and even recommended she read Religious Affections, but I now regret this because I see it just fueled this fire of fruit detecting. It deeply wounds my spirit to think that my own mom thinks my work here is a sin and every time I speak with her it drove the stake in farther...I have stopped speaking to her about theology, etc. which I used to enjoy.

    So personally, I think "fruit detectors" are dangerous as you said, but a question that has been on my mind for almost a year now (when all of this started happening), how should we determine if a man is chosen (1 Thess. 1:4). Obviously we cannot know those who are truly elect in this life, but for the sake of church unity and fellowship and the difference in conversation. My sister (one of the others who is saved in my mom's eyes) thinks we should treat everybody as unsaved and preach the gospel to everyone in conversation. I think this is ridiculous because the church would fall apart in her scheme (which in a sense our family is doing).

    sorry for the babbling, this is just really hard to deal with and I needed advice. If there are any book recommendations on this - maybe on qualifications for church membership? - that would be great.
    Chuck
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChristianTrader View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SRoper View Post
    Is the Lordship Salvation debate still going on? It's been a long time since I've encountered any of Hodges' defenders. Does Campus Crusade still talk about the carnal Christian?
    I see the Lordship Salvation debate as a continuation in a line of debates since at least the Marrow Theology controversy. It seems regularly such debates have come up in Reformed Circles. The recent sanctification/justification debate is in some ways a continuation of the Lordship salvation debate. I think if everyone can affirm what Ursinus says here - Why do Good Works? | Patrick’s Pensees , we would be well on our way to being a more unified group.

    CT
    I agree with CT. Read Patrick's blog and thoughts.

    I read all of the books that were mentioned so long ago. LOL. This is a 20 year old discussion. I have forgotten so much in 20 years. Back then I thought Horton was the most correct of the four. I also worked at a Christian bookstore back then. I remember Zondervan making displays that pitted the two books together as a proposal. My store was a CBA store and we refused to do it because we thought Hodge and Ryrie were just too antinomian. The weird thing about what I remember is that Ryrie was using some obscure work of Calvin's Institutes and he was butchering Calvin out of context. That is what I remember. LOL. You can sure forget a lot in 20 years.

    Actually there were 5 books. Richard Belcher also did a book called the Layman's guide to the Lordship Controversey. If I remember correctly it was my favorite. But I am biased because I love Richard Belcher. http://www.amazon.com/Laymans-Guide-.../dp/0925703133

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    Here is MacArthur's view of this matter A 15-Year Retrospective on the Lordship Controversy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack K View Post
    I get a sense that MacArthur largely won that debate. The only quibbling I regularly hear these days is the occasional question among Reformed folks of whether or not MacArthur went a tad too far and ended up with a sort of works righteousness, as Horton contended. But they're nowhere close to arguing Hodges' side.
    Definitely. The "Free Grace" (or Dallas teaching, as J.M. Boice called it) brethren have had to largely resort to self-publishing via outlets like Xulon Press of late. But part of that may be due to Moody Press not putting out much new material at all in recent years, perhaps coupled with the fact that the men who are writing now are largely unknown outside of their own circles, unlike Ryrie and Walvoord and even Lightner 20-30 years ago. The Dallas teaching (it's not what's taught there now, I'm given to understand) was an amalgam of Reformed and Keswick teaching, with maybe some Wesleyanism thrown in for good measure. This is pointed out in B.B. Warfield's classic critical review of Lewis Sperry Chafer's He That Is Spiritual, a book that is still in print almost 100 years later and which is probably the definitive book that sets forth the "Carnal Christian" view.

    It also should be noted that Ryrie and Hodges did not have the same views. MacArthur points this out in Faith Works (aka The Gospel According to the Apostles) which was the follow-up to The Gospel According to Jesus. Ryrie DID say that the believer will and must produce fruit, but that it may only be visible to God. However he did hold to the two-stage model i.e. the Carnal Christian. His book Balancing the Christian Life emphasized that and was apparently motivated MacArthur as well as Boice to issue polemics against it. Hodges on the other hand asserted that mere belief in the facts about Christ was enough and that no fruit whatsoever was needed. Sadly, near the end of his life he went further and taught that all one needed to understand was something like "Jesus Saves" and that one didn't even have to understand anything about the cross, etc. This led to a formal separation in the Free Grace camp a few years ago, with those who are basically in the Ryrie camp referring to Hodge's teaching as the "Crossless Gospel."

    I haven't read Horton's book. It's out of print but I think it's easily obtainable in the Amazon marketplace and similar outlets. But I think one thing that was the impetus behind it was the fact that MacArthur arguably did not clearly articulate justification by faith alone (JBFA) in the first edition (1988) of The Gospel According to Jesus. The late Dr. S. Lewis Johnson (who wasn't a "free grace" man in the Chaferian sense) pointed this out as well. Due to input from Dr. Horton and others, the book was revised in 1994 to include a chapter on justification as well as to perhaps clear up some other ambiguities. But unfortunately ca. 2003 Hard to Believe was published, and in one place in particular (IIRC it was Chapter 6) it seemed to contradict JBFA. The MacArthur people blamed it on an editor employed by the publisher and noted that Phil Johnson, who usually edits those kinds of books, didn't edit that one. But to my knowledge it wasn't revised and the original edition is still in print.

    ---------- Post added 02-19-2012 at 12:14 AM ---------- Previous post was 02-18-2012 at 11:54 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by CharlieJ View Post
    I also have seen a lot of damage done by MacArthur in the actual Fundamentalist and quasi-Fundamentalist crowd he runs in. Many MacArthur-influenced preachers made it a personal mission to undermine the assurance of every person in the room. MacArthur also makes statements to the effect that if you "got saved" when you were 12, but then your life was a mess for a while and now you want to turn your life around, you probably didn't really get saved when you were 12. Well, ok, maybe, but MacArthur gives the impression that he can pretty much tell, based on scant evidence, who is really saved. He even gives list of signs that people are deceived.
    Are you sure that you have men in mind that have been under MacArthur's tutelage i.e. at either Grace Church or The Master's Seminary? While there are certainly differences between him and some of the others, MacArthur mainly runs in the T4G and Ligonier crowd today. Prior to getting involved with the Ligonier conferences I don't think he traveled much at all and mainly focused on his local church.

    While he's an evangelical separatist in basically the Lloyd-Jones mold (which many American evangelicals see as "fundy" because he dares to criticize the likes of Billy Graham) MacArthur disavowed separatist fundamentalism 40 years ago. Do you think you may have revivalistic fundamentalist preachers who use the altar call and various manipulative techniques instead? If I'm not mistaken, that's the background you came out of. While I'm sure some in the MacArthur camp may arguably go overboard in the fruit inspection dept. (I don't know of any personally) I think it would be more likely in those legalistic IFB circles, some of which would consider MacArthur to be a "New Evangelical" to be separated from. In my experience that's (along with some Southern Baptists and similar types) primarily who badgers people in the way that you're indicating.

    Do you have a message or citation handy for your assertion that MacArthur "thinks that if he just preached the gospel exactly right, there would be no false conversions?" I think that's a caricature of his teaching.

    Nevertheless, I'm sure his emphasis on Lordship Salvation was taken to extremes by those of a more legalistic mindset. As noted, even his own books at times are not always that clear on justification by faith alone, even though he does clearly affirm the doctrine elsewhere.

    ---------- Post added at 12:27 AM ---------- Previous post was at 12:14 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by PuritanCovenanter View Post
    I read all of the books that were mentioned so long ago. LOL. This is a 20 year old discussion. I have forgotten so much in 20 years. Back then I thought Horton was the most correct of the four. I also worked at a Christian bookstore back then. I remember Zondervan making displays that pitted the two books together as a proposal. My store was a CBA store and we refused to do it because we thought Hodge and Ryrie were just too antinomian. The weird thing about what I remember is that Ryrie was using some obscure work of Calvin's Institutes and he was butchering Calvin out of context. That is what I remember. LOL. You can sure forget a lot in 20 years.
    Phil Johnson posted about this a year or two ago. Zondervan was the publisher of both MacArthur's and Hodge's books. (Prior to that Moody had been MacArthur's main publisher but IIRC they balked at publishing that broadside against Ryrie's teaching, who was one of their main authors at the time, including the Ryrie Study Bible.) Phil said they called Zondervan to complain about that display when they found out about it. He said the rep told him something like "You'll like it fine when the royalty checks start rolling in." That episode is why Zondervan didn't get the follow-up. I don't think they were the publisher for any further MacArthur books besides Charismatic Chaos.
    Last edited by Pilgrim; 02-19-2012 at 12:56 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tbordow View Post
    Here is MacArthur's view of this matter A 15-Year Retrospective on the Lordship Controversy
    This was really good Pastor Bordow. Thank you for posting this.

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