A few weeks ago, in our young adult group, we went over Ephesians 4:17-32, and the question of Lordship Salvation came up because verses 17-25 talk about how a believer should be turning from their old self and putting on the new in Christ. Does that passage teach Lordship Salvation? Do others?
Some may be wondering what Lordship Salvation is. I’ll roughly define it as follows: For someone to be saved, they must knowingly and willingly submit all areas of their life to Jesus (thus, he is their “Lord”) and understand the full implications of salvation, including, perhaps, dying for him. If that understanding does not precede faith, they are not saved.
Like many theological debates, this one is wrapped up in logical nuances (which doesn’t make it unimportant, though). Basically, it is another debate upon the ordo saludis, or the order of salvation, similar to debates between Calvinists and others about whether regeneration logically precedes faith or the other way around (and it can actually be related to this one). Also like many theological debates, unfortunately, this one is wrapped up in a lot of name-calling and under-handed shots, with labels such as “false gospel,” “heresy,” “easy-believism,” and “semi-pelagianism” thrown around. A good example of that is this article, which unfortunately lists a lot of things that even opponents of Lordship Salvation would agree with and presents them as people who uphold “easy believism” and don’t care about sanctification.
Before I begin, I’ll enumerate what both sides agree with and discuss where the heart of the debate lies: