1) I’m praying for you Rick! and 2) contemplating the Lordship salvation-Antinomianism/no-guilt debate

As I’ve mentioned before, I listen to the “Calling All Catholics” daily talk radio show (The Station of the Cross, WLOF, 101.7 FM, Buffalo, NY) just to stay abreast of what’s going on within Catholicism. The most entertaining host, by far, is Catholic priest, Rick Poblocki, who is regularly featured on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Rick shoots from the hip and has very little patience with the “separated brethren” and especially with evangelicals who witness to Catholics.

Yesterday, I was listening to the 4/27/17 podcast and at the very end, Rick abruptly announced it was his last show. He indicated that he hadn’t even given the station’s management the courtesy of informing them of his decision prior to the public announcement so I suspect there was more to the tale than he was divulging. I’ll miss listening to Rick because of his outrageously entertaining brand of militant Catholicism. I pray someday he accepts Jesus Christ as his Savior by faith alone. It’s notable that Rick claims to have received the charismatic gifts of the spirit (speaking in “tongues”), yet he embraces a false gospel of sacramental grace and merit as do many/most charismatic Catholics. But how could the Holy Spirit indwell an unbeliever? Does not compute.

Christians get their backs up, and with good reason, when they hear mention of obedience in association with the gift of salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone. Grace and works absolutely do not mix. But a Christian saved by grace through faith will want to follow the Lord in obedience.

Over the last few months, I’ve encountered some discussions regarding Lordship Salvation versus Antinomianism. This was a HUGE debate a couple of decades ago when one camp of Christians, led by John MacArthur, argued salvation is totally by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ alone BUT that a genuine conversion to Christ will lead to a changed life and good works, so when a person accepts Christ as Savior, they also accept Him as Lord. The “free grace”/antinomian camp, led by Zane Hodges, argued that obedience cannot be even remotely associated with the Gospel of salvation by grace through faith otherwise grace stops being grace. It’s an interesting debate. MacArthur agrees that salvation is an absolutely free gift of God through Christ, but that a genuine Christian will want to follow Jesus and obey Him, albeit imperfectly. He says a person who professes to have accepted Christ but gives no discernible evidence of change/fruit in their lives is almost certainly still an unbeliever. It’s correct that obedience has no place in the salvation message, salvation is all by grace, but obedience definitely has a place in the subsequent sanctification/”Christian living” message.

In witnessing to Catholics, I usually only write about the Gospel of grace through faith in Christ alone. I don’t emphasize works in my messages at all because works are the antithesis of grace. This may give some people the wrong idea. That’s right, no one can possibly merit their way to Heaven but if a person genuinely accepts Jesus Christ, they will want to follow Him as Lord in obedience. I know many Catholics say, “Oh, those born-agains came forward or raised their hand at a youth service when they were a teenager and think they can live like the devil for the next sixty years. Talk about cheap grace and easy-believism!” No, my Catholic friend, a person who has been genuinely redeemed by Christ will want to follow Him as Lord. But we obey Him out of love, joy, and gratefulness, not as a part of a religious system in an attempt to merit our salvation. No one can earn salvation by trying to follow the Law as do Catholics, who say they must “cooperate with grace” as part of their salvation theology.

Some “free grace” proponents say a Christian should never feel guilt, shame, or remorse because Christ has already forgiven all of our sins. “Guilt” and “repentance” are bad words in “free grace” circles. Popular TBN, prosperity “gospel” preachers, Joel Osteen and Joseph Prince, encourage their followers to live an entirely “guilt-free” life. Have these people ever read the New Testament? Yes, even though we are saved by Christ, we still have sinful natures and we fail Him. While the Lord surely doesn’t want us to dwell in guilt and defeat, He does confront sin and disobedience in our lives and encourages us to conform ourselves to Him through the power of the Holy Spirit.

“And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.” – 1 John 2:3

“But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.” – Romans 6:17-18

“But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” – 1 Corinthians 9:27

If you say you are a Christian but have little or no desire to follow Jesus as Lord, if you feel no guilt or remorse after you sin, if you live your life like an unsaved person, you may not know Jesus as Savior.

What is lordship salvation?

Postscript: If you pay attention to “Christian news,” you probably understand why one of the leading proponents of the “free grace”/no-guilt movement, ex-pastor, Tullian Tchividjian, was so eager to “free” Christians from guilt and repentance.


10 thoughts on “1) I’m praying for you Rick! and 2) contemplating the Lordship salvation-Antinomianism/no-guilt debate

  1. From what I heard of Tullian Tchividjian’s teaching, I do think he’s downplayed the implications of the Gospel and grace to the point of it being dangerous. I think his lifestyle though really reveal much. I’m a Lordship guy but I try to make it very clear to everyone we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Because of Christ’s work we are saved! And being saved flows implications for our sanctification.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What MacArthur proposed is no different than what all who have genuinely accepted Christ would say, that in accepting Christ as Savior we also intend to follow Him as Lord. But this Lordship concept seems to imply in the minds of some that works are being added to salvation grace, which is a wrong interpretation.

      I became interested in this whole Lordship controversy because of some comments to my blog a few months ago from an anti-MacArthur guy, from some comments I heard from Joseph Prince recently advising Christians not to feel guilty about their sin, and from a recent CD from MacArthur expounding on the issue. J Mac singled out Tchividjian as one of the main opponents of Lordship salvation and promoters of “free grace”/no guilt. It’s dangerous to even bring up this Lordship debate because some Christians are ill-informed and are assuming you are trying to add works to grace. Yet they will wholeheartedly agree with Ephesians 2:10, James 2:14-26, Titus 3:8, etc., that genuine conversion will produce fruit.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “It’s dangerous to even bring up this Lordship debate because some Christians are ill-informed and are assuming you are trying to add works to grace”<–I have to correct a few people over the years who thought Lordship meant works righteousness for justification or that it was a denial of faith alone. Had to correct it for both spectrum, those who were against Lordship salvation and those who thought they were for it. The name is unfortunate, I think it was first coined by those who against it which made it sound…so problematic.
        You have a blessed Sunday!

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Good post, Tom, and an interesting subject. I’m with John MacArthur, you and brother Jim up there. I supppose if I had to say…I would say I am a Lordship guy too. Nonetheless, it remains critical to not tie those works INTO our salvation. It’s complicate, and above my pay grade honestly LOL. I will just agree with MacArthur and say that a “salvation” with absolutely no evidence externally might be questionable. On the other hand, we all come to it from different places, and my evidence might not be your evidence. For example, it was probably easier for a big change to happen in a guy like me, as much needed changing. On,the other hand of THAT, change could have been much slower in me, but my salvation quite real. A 12 year old child coming to Christ? Well, not so much. I hope that makes sense.

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    1. Thanks, Wally, and I appreciate your chiming in on this. Perhaps this whole controversy began because SO MANY were claiming to have “made a decision for Christ” and then lived as if they didn’t know Christ at all. You bring up a very valid point, our walk with the Lord is always going to be imperfect so who can judge at what point the fruit of genuine salvation is being manifested? It will be more obvious in some than in others. Only God knows our hearts. MacArthur would have a very tough time categorizing me because I walked away from the Lord for such a long time, yet I know that He still had me in His hand. But the argument for grace can go to an unbiblical extreme. Antinomianism/”no guilt” seems to be a popular theme among some televangelists (Osteen, Prince) these days and that’s certainly a concern and I can understand why J Mac devotes so much energy against that. People say they are “resting in Christ” as an excuse to do whatever they want with no remorse or repentance. That’s becoming very popular.


      1. Well I also thank you for this lesson in Antinomianism, Tom. Yeah, and those folks who teach that are really quick and loud about hurling the “legalist” label at somebody like me, when that would be so unfounded as to be laughable. But, it sure shuts down conversation quick, which I suppose is the goal of a person who want to have the “get to heaven” ticket punched and still be who they have always been. Sadly, that position only shores up the position of the far other extreme, that being that none of us has any choice on anything ever.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m also wary of aligning myself with “Lordship salvation” because it’s misunderstood and maligned by so many, which is why I may not ever mention it again, but the rising popularity of antinomianism bears watching.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Yes, I see much of that mindset on WordPress in fact. Funny you posted this as I work my way through Church Discipline LOL. I suspect at some point I will be in trouble over this.

        Liked by 1 person

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