"Most of our ‘one, two, three, pray after me’ fellows would have dropped his [missionary in Poland] support a long time ago!"

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Chip Van Emmerik's picture

What struck me most was how much Cloud seems to support Lordship Salvation. For instance, his description of repentance under point one:

Quote:
"Repentance is not a change of life; it is a change of mind that results in a change of life (Acts 26:20). It is a surrender (1 Thess. 1:9). “Believing” without surrender is not salvation."
I don't think MacArthur could have said it better.

Latter, his fifth point was thoroughly filled with the same concept. A few quotes:

Quote:
"God promises eternal life to those who are born again, but He certainly does not promise eternal life to those who merely pray a sinner’s prayer. Verses 27 and 28 in John 10 are connected. Verse 28 says Christ gives eternal life to His sheep, but verse 27 says His sheep follow Him. Verse 27 is the evidence of salvation, while verse 28 is the eternal blessing of salvation. You cannot take the promise of verse 28 unless you display the evidence of verse 27."

and

Quote:
Those who are reconciled to Christ and who therefore have eternal life are those who continue in the faith and are not moved from the gospel. Those who merely pray a sinner’s prayer and do not continue in the faith demonstrate that they have never been born again.

and

Quote:
Note that there are “things that accompany salvation.” An empty profession is not biblical salvation, and those who have an empty profession, who do not care about the things of God, do not have eternal life no matter how many prayers they have prayed or how many times they have been baptized and no matter who has given them assurance. True salvation is accompanied by works and labours of love, which are the products of the indwelling Spirit.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

MShep2's picture

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:
What struck me most was how much Cloud seems to support Lordship Salvation. For instance, his description of repentance under point one:
I'm not sure if your statement is ironic or you are criticizing Cloud.

I found the article to be very refreshing considering he spends most of his time defending quasi-biblical positions and causes. As sometimes said, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.....

MS
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Luke 17:10

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Ironic

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

MShep2's picture

Chip: OK, that makes sense. I do not consider his statements at all to be LS but I know others of his tribe (LM, etc.) would pounce on anything like this written by MacArthur or Piper and declare that they were heretics for "frontloading" the Gospel.

MS
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Luke 17:10

Alex Guggenheim's picture

This quote from Cloud...:

Quote:
Those who are reconciled to Christ and who therefore have eternal life are those who continue in the faith and are not moved from the gospel. Those who merely pray a sinner’s prayer and do not continue in the faith demonstrate that they have never been born again.

...represents a classic fallacy from some Lordship or Perserverance proponents, namely that there are only two choices in the matter.

One has to accept only two soteriological narratives:

1. Continues in the faith after believing and are not moved from the gospel (presumably he is arguing perseverance or some form of it).

or

2. They have merely prayed a sinner's prayer...and subsequently do not continue in the faith and demonstrate they have never been born again.

Such narratives in describing those who reject Lordship or Perseverance tenets as being those that begin with leading others to "merely" pray a sinner's prayer certainly does not represent those who thoughtfully and theologically reject L/P while clearly teaching that God does not call unbelievers to "merely" pray a "sinner's prayer" (though it may be true for a minority of "gospel-hustlers") . Those thoughtful students and teachers that reject the L/P view generally hold to the teaching that the gospel is the call to receive forgiveness from and reconciliation to God which is contained in the gospel and received through faith.

This positioning by Cloud is further illustrated in this second quote:

Quote:
Note that there are “things that accompany salvation.” An empty profession is not biblical salvation, and those who have an empty profession, who do not care about the things of God, do not have eternal life no matter how many prayers they have prayed or how many times they have been baptized and no matter who has given them assurance. True salvation is accompanied by works and labours of love, which are the products of the indwelling Spirit.

What is prominently missing in his attempt to address the issue is that of faith or belief. Notice again what he says about those with whom he takes issue:

Quote:
no matter how many prayers they have prayed or how many times they have been baptized and no matter who has given them assurance

Cloud, here, is right. But no one is making this argument. No one is saying it is prayer (or even a certain prayer), it is baptism or it is that someone has assured you a hundred times (let me qualify this, no one within his circles or the circles in which he gains an audience and to which he generally responds). The argument by most is not that "prayer", "baptism" or "assurance" is the source of one's confidence, rather that it is the integrity of God who keeps a man saved and that salvation is received, "by faith". So to whom Cloud is arguing, I don't know other than a fundamentalist microcosm.

But to my point. What I do find interestingly missing, of course, is his not saying something like this:

"No matter that a man has believed the gospel...true salvation is accompanied by works and labours of love, which are the products of the indwelling Spirit."

Now he might say this somewhere else or his simply might include this, presumptively, in the context of those with empty professions but clearly he does not say so at this point. I would not be surprise that somewhere he has attempted to address it and I have no doubt it would echo, in many ways, the erring views of the L/P position which generally assert "they really didn't believe".

But it must do your hearts good, those of you who have attached yourself to the L/P view, to find on this occasion you find agreement with Cloud.

MShep2's picture

Alex: I am not sure from Cloud's article if he would consider this his doctrinal position or he is simply writing in frustration of the methods of the "number counters" and preachers of easy-believe-ism. I am not sure if we can conclude one way or another from his article.

You are right - there are more than two options, but I do think his "one or the other" statement might refer to ends of a spectrum. I basically agree with your post:

Alex wrote:
Such narratives in describing those who reject Lordship or Perseverance tenets as being those that begin with leading others to "merely" pray a sinner's prayer certainly does not represent those who thoughtfully and theologically reject L/P while clearly teaching that God does not call unbelievers to "merely" pray a "sinner's prayer" (though it may be true for a minority of "gospel-hustlers").
However, I do not agree that the "'merely' pray a 'sinner's prayer'" crowd is simply a "minority of 'gospel-hustlers.'" We see them in the U.S. as well as in missions. If all of the people who had raised their hands and "prayed the 'sinner's prayer'" here in Liberia (and now are sure they are Christians) were true believers, churches would be overflowing on Sunday, crime would be non-existent and our work here would be done. However, in hundreds of "rallies," "crusades," evangelistic film showings, etc. done by everyone from fundamentalists to evangelicals people are told again and again that all they have to do is pray a prayer, "believe" and they will become Christians. Liberia truly is a place where most people have been "vaccinated" with a "gospel-lite" and therefore feel immune to the real thing when it is offered to them.

MS
--------------------------------
Luke 17:10

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

MShep2 wrote:
Alex: I am not sure from Cloud's article if he would consider this his doctrinal position or he is simply writing in frustration of the methods of the "number counters" and preachers of easy-believe-ism. I am not sure if we can conclude one way or another from his article.

This was how I perceived the article- not as a doctrinal statement on salvation per se, but a critique of what is wrong with a very dangerous and widespread soul winning approach. I recognized quite a bit from some of the soul-winning 'courses' I've taken and books read over the years- almost as if you can trick someone into getting saved, and you can pat yourself on the back for getting them 'in' whether they liked it or not. Sort of like hiding pureed carrots in spaghetti sauce so the kids will get their veggies.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Susan R wrote:
Sort of like hiding pureed carrots in spaghetti sauce so the kids will get their veggies.

E-W-W-W-W-W :Sp

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Actually MShep2, I am a part of the LS tribe. I'm not sure why you would NOT think Cloud's statements represent LS theology.

Alex, I would never use Cloud to support my propositions. Even if he agreed with me wholeheartedly on LS, I would never turn to a heretic for support on anything he may hold accurately. Reminds me of the KJVOer I talked with once who used the Mormons as an example of fidelity to the KJV - sooooo much wrong there.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Alex Guggenheim's picture

MShep2 wrote:
Alex: I am not sure from Cloud's article if he would consider this his doctrinal position or he is simply writing in frustration of the methods of the "number counters" and preachers of easy-believe-ism. I am not sure if we can conclude one way or another from his article.

You are right - there are more than two options, but I do think his "one or the other" statement might refer to ends of a spectrum. I basically agree with your post:

Alex wrote:
Such narratives in describing those who reject Lordship or Perseverance tenets as being those that begin with leading others to "merely" pray a sinner's prayer certainly does not represent those who thoughtfully and theologically reject L/P while clearly teaching that God does not call unbelievers to "merely" pray a "sinner's prayer" (though it may be true for a minority of "gospel-hustlers").
However, I do not agree that the "'merely' pray a 'sinner's prayer'" crowd is simply a "minority of 'gospel-hustlers.'" We see them in the U.S. as well as in missions. If all of the people who had raised their hands and "prayed the 'sinner's prayer'" here in Liberia (and now are sure they are Christians) were true believers, churches would be overflowing on Sunday, crime would be non-existent and our work here would be done. However, in hundreds of "rallies," "crusades," evangelistic film showings, etc. done by everyone from fundamentalists to evangelicals people are told again and again that all they have to do is pray a prayer, "believe" and they will become Christians. Liberia truly is a place where most people have been "vaccinated" with a "gospel-lite" and therefore feel immune to the real thing when it is offered to them.

While it is not a formal doctrinal position, I agree, it does appear to contain the elements of L/P, but it might be one of reaction, so I understand your point. Still, I do not agree that even in a reaction he is right on the points I covered.

As to the minority I referred to, it was only "within his circles or the circles in which he gains an audience and to which he generally responds" that I had in view. Outside of that then I agree that the percentage of gospel hustling practices might grow.

I was unaware of the lack of gospel circumspection being practiced in Liberia. Clearly it can result in a misunderstanding of both the gospel and the means of its reception, namely faith and instead allow such essentials to be replaced by techniques or other forms of hustling. That is sad.

However, I will say I am not one who is persuaded that a person's salvation is a guarantee of anything other than that, that they are saved from eternal judgment (with respect to the use of the word guarantee I mean in the context of what we are talking about and not as if other guarantees when one is saved such as the baptism into the body of Christ, being positioned with Christ and so on, are not true). The desires and behaviors subsequent to one's salvation, while intended by God's design to be one of fellowship in the Word and growth, can also be one that is squandered and spent in devotion to self. So it may be true that if many people get saved there will be a noticeable social adjustment, but it is quite possible that a large number could choose to persist in their immaturity.

But you do make an important point about vaccinating and immunity. There are people that have jumped through a hoop that Christian proselytizers have taught them is what will result in their eternal life and that hoop, in essence, was not truly the gospel and its call to exercise faith, rather it was some kind of exercise, technique and so on. Therefore any further spiritual exercises are rejected seeing they have meet whatever criteria was demanded of them. I have seen more than once, myself.