Answers to Your Questions
Why are so many saying now that “The Greats,” Spurgeon and Pink (both five point Calvinists) believed in Lordship Salvation? Are they reading something into their writings? Were they into Lordship Salvation?
I have a collection of the old Calvinistic writings, including the ones you mentioned in your question. And you could not come up with Lordship Salvation from their writings. The term did not come along until John MacArthur published his book The Gospel According to Jesus. MacArthur admits why he came up with the saying and this teaching. He saw so much carnality in churches that he deduced many must not have claimed Christ as Lord when they made a “profession.” In fact he goes on and writes that one can not be saved unless he claims Christ as Lord!
His deduction is wrong! Christians can be carnal, and as Paul says, “walk like mere men.” What MacArthur did (though he would deny this) was to put an additional requirement upon simple and basic salvation faith. Over forty times “belief” is mentioned by itself for salvation in the book of John. What MacArthur was trying to do was screw the nut down tightly in order to “force” Christians to live a sanctified life!
I have been accused of not reading his “Gospel According to Jesus” but this is not so. I have over fifty dog-ears on the pages where he is intellectually and biblically misleading the reader.
In their doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints, the old Puritans and Calvinists wanted to add to the doctrine of Eternal Security the “near” perfect walk of the saints. For example the old giant Puritan Baptist John Gill writes in his theology volume:
"By Perseverance God keeps the believer from sin, not from the indwelling of it in the hearts of believers; nor from all acts of sin in their conduct; but from the dominion, power, and tyranny of it; and from a final and total falling away through it."
While there is absolute truth in this statement it could be interpreted that Christians will never sin “bad,” but only slightly bad! What Gill wrote is basically true but anyone in the pastorate knows that the sheep can sin and do terrible things. Paul of course teaches the same thing: “Brothers (Christian brothers), even if a man is caught in any trespass (bad, bad sin), you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted” (Gal. 6:1).
Read what MacArthur writes: “Christ is Lord, and those who refuse him as Lord cannot use him as Savior. Everyone who receives him must surrender to his authority, for to say we receive Christ when in fact we reject his right to reign over us is utter absurdity.
What MacArthur writes is absurd! I have been in the ministry almost fifty years and I have never seen a new believer in Christ “refuse, refuse to surrender to his authority, reject” Him as Lord! We all do that when we rebel and sin! That shows our carnality! I have never known anyone who consciously “refuses” Christ in the way MacArthur is claiming.
In his book MacArthur also takes to task Lewis S. Chafer for pointing out from 1 Corinthians 2-3 that Paul describes two types of Christians: those who walk spiritual and those who walk carnal. This is what Paul writes. MacArthur jumps on Chafer for simply quoting Paul! MacArthur must not believe Christians can walk carnal!
Lordship Salvation will fade away as all error finally does. It is an aberrant position and won’t last!
Thanks for asking,
Mal Couch, Ph.D., Th.D.