Lordship Salvation: What’s the Problem?

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:

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The Logical Problem of Evil, Plantinga’s Free Will Defense, and How It Relates to the Debate on Free Will

My recent posts have spoken a bit on the problem of evil, but I haven’t really fleshed out the logical problem of evil and Plantinga’s response to it because I did not think most readers would want to read that.  However, recently, a discussion with a pastor friend of mine showed me that people can still get very confused on Plantinga’s response: Not only did he mischaracterize the argument’s intent as a “best of all possible worlds” argument, he erroneously believed that Plantinga utilized compatibilistic free will in his argument when virtually no philosopher would say he was doing that, whether they are compatibilists or not (indeed, there is even an objection to his Free Will Defense called “the compatibilist objection…” clearly, compatibilists do not think Plantinga was using their version of free will).  In fairness to my friend, he is busy with doing great things in his ministry and he is not studying in the field of philosophy, but I think it would be good to offer clarification to people who read this.  I think, if I’m going to talk more about the problem of evil (I may not, but if I feel like it 🙂 ), then I should give a rundown on the logical problem of evil, Plantinga’s response to it, and how it might relate to the issue of free will.  Continue reading