Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A Little Booklet on Lordship Salvation

There is a little monograph that was written shortly after the book The Gospel According to Jesus came out. It was written by Dr. Earnest Pickering and given to my husband by the man, who was a pastor at our church, Emmanuel Baptist in Toledo, Ohio. Earnest Pickering was an avid Calvinist. He was a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary.

He was the man that was very instrumental in my husband's conversion. He was the man who baptized me when I went to another church that he pastored while President of Central Baptist Seminary in Minneapolis (we lived there for 7 months in 1992). We loved the man! The last time I saw him, he visited Emmanuel and preached at our church's 100th anniversay while blind in both eyes. This was in 1999, I believe. His stance was just as austere as ever, even without his sight. He died just a couple of years after that.

The booklet consists of an introduction, 7 major points from Dr. MacArthur's book and Dr. Pickering's review and comments on these points, and a conclusion. I will be posting these points one at a time for your edification and reflection. Please feel free to comment on the content of the posts. The way Dr. Pickering saw this issue is just as I and my husband do. His comments are as pertinent today as ever.

Here it is:

Lordship Salvation
by Dr. Earnest Pickering

INTRODUCTION: John MacArthur's latest book, The Gospel According to Jesus, promises to be a "blockbuster" indeed and will no doubt further divide the evangelical community over the question of the exact terms of the sinner's salvation. This debate has been building for a number of years, but the publication of a work like this by a widely-read and respected Bible teacher will no doubt heighten the discussion con­siderably.

One always asks when reading a book of this nature, "Why did the author write it?" The answer can be found in one statement: "The superficial response is epidemic and is twentieth-century Christianity. . .Why? Because the gospel is usually presented with the promise of joy, warmth, fellowship, and a good feeling, but without the hard demand to take up one's cross and follow Christ" (p. 123). This is basically the main concern of MacArthur. The gospel has been made too easy. More stringent requirements are necessary than those normally presented in gospel preaching.

The essence of his argument is this:
"Eternal life is indeed a free gift. . .But that does not mean that there is no cost in terms of salvation's impact on the sinner's life. . .Obviously, a new believer does not fully understand all the ramifications of the lordship of Jesus at the moment of conversion. But a true believer has a desire to surrender. This is what dis­tinguishes true faith from a bogus profession. True faith is humble, submissive obedience" (p. 140).

MacArthur is espousing what has become known as "lordship salvation." A sinner, in coming to Christ, must exercise faith, but included in that saving faith is a conscious submission to make Christ the Lord of his life (cf. p. 28, footnote). Let us review some of his major points and make comments upon them.

More tomorrow...


  • Pickering seems like a good chap. As you know, I read his booklet on ecclesiastical separation.

    I doubt he took the Free Grace position of Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin.

    God Bless


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 10/12/2006 3:58 PM  

  • Thanks for posting this Rose. I intend to learn something from this. If anything as I am reading everyones posts... including Phil Johnsons...I had not clue to the depth of the history of all of this. It is fascinating to learn how all of this came about and the debate came to a head.

    I am realizing more and more now that as I grew up...differant preachers were postitioning themselves and there was a crossfire going on that was very confusing growing up...but thank God that my mother in 1974 didn't confuse the issue.

    Looking forward to more...

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 10/12/2006 7:19 PM  

  • BTW...Dr Pickering was a board memeber on my Mother and Fathers mission board. Thank God for his influence at the time. Dad often spoke of him and he told me he was a Calvinist.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 10/12/2006 7:21 PM  

  • Hi Matthew,
    A good chap? Yes, I would say that is true. He was a fine minister of the Word too.

    I doubt he took the Free Grace position of Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin.

    Interestingly, he does mention the name of Zane Hodges in one of the upcoming installments. You let me know what you think about that.

    I know you had said that your dad was friends with Doc Pickering. What mission board was it again?
    It is interesting - I am with you - to realize that there is a larger context for all of these arguments (especially when Bobby gives you the REALLY large context). It puts things into a frame.
    Yes, thank God for your mother.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/13/2006 8:58 AM  

  • Dad said that Pickering was on the board of A.B.W.E when they were based out of Cherry Hill N.J.

    It is GARBC.

    That is not the one he founded though. Actually Ketcham was instrumental in founding these mission boards of whom Baptist Mid Missions is also a part. Our board was a group of doctors who broke off of the Northern Baptist when told that they were to administer medicine and shut up about the preaching of the gospel.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 10/13/2006 3:11 PM  

  • Incidentily a lot of stuff go farther back than I realize. Dad was a friend of MacArthurs as well while he was at Bob Jones. They were in the same dorm, but they have not made contact since those days so I don't know how memorable John would be of Dad. Dr Bob Jones III is friends were friends in that day as well. He and John have patched up some old wounds I think that Bobs dad called John a false teacher and so we really have to approach this with carefulness. Remember that MacArthurs teaching is indeed Puritan based and similar to Charles Haddon Spurgeons...but not excactly identical. Phil and MacArthur are right to be concerned about some things but as Pickering rightly points out...we mustn't change the gospel invitation over symptomatic problems seen in America.

    I do wish MacAthur would be more open to this. I think they have cemented a position out of reacting to symptomatic problems in Christendom. They are right about some of the concerns...but wrong in tinkering with the gift of salvation so freely offered by God.

    I share some of MacArthurs concerns in other areas.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 10/13/2006 3:21 PM  

  • Ah, yes, he was on the board of ABWE. I have become well-versed in what mission boards we support through the GARBC. ABWE, BMM, and EBM.
    Pickering started "World Baptist Mission" but I have noticed that our church doesn't have any missionaries from that board. I wonder why? Maybe I will ask Tom Benefiel about it (one of our pastors who sorta oversees this thing. He is actually a former Brasillian missionary).

    I just got done putting together a pictoral directory of our supported missionaries for our church family. I noticed that we dont have anyone to India, Hong Kong, Japan or anything far east. We used to have one to Mongolia, but that family, the Pilets, had to leave the field because of a health issue I think.

    Our board was a group of doctors who broke off of the Northern Baptist when told that they were to administer medicine and shut up about the preaching of the gospel.

    Was it ABWE, BMM or EBM? Or am I being too nosey? Just tell me if I am. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/13/2006 3:26 PM  

  • Yes your church chose not to support us...but we love you anyway:-)

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 10/13/2006 7:18 PM  

  • It was ABWE. That was the start of ABWE. In fact Dad managed a clinic and pastored a church at the same time. The Doctor was chinese and that is how ABWE has primarily preached the gospel. Administer medical needs and pass out tracts and witness to those they were administering aid to.

    A good way to show that God heals and saves and that God is primarily a giver and we are the ones in need.

    I am so glad we didn't go out preaching what Pipers last book is titled,something like, "What God Demands From The World!"

    Well this whole Lordship thing has been interesting. Evidentily by Phil Johnson's own admission through his testimony..he did indeed draw first blood and get the ball rolling critiquing the Godly men that were preaching a free gospel to those in need. I am so glad God gives freely and that I can draw from his strength on top of that to learn to be a disciple. I am a very needy person. I would never met the criteria of the Lordship demands. I am so glad that my parents sowed the roots of what Christ did through a medical missions based gospel board that gave to those in deep need and taught that Christ heals and that we need to be healed before we can follow.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 10/13/2006 7:26 PM  

  • My Dad also did dental work in Mexico before I was born.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 10/13/2006 7:27 PM  

  • Thanks, Brian. I hadn't known that about ABWE, but now that I look at the missionary directory, I can ssee that all of them from ABWE (who are integrated in the book alphebetically) are doctors. Duh! I hadn't made the connection. Thanks for the history lesson. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/14/2006 8:43 AM  

  • Dad wasn't a doctor but he was trained in dental work. Dad was a preacher that worked with a doctor.

    You don't have to be a doctor anymore but many are doctors as well as nurses. There was a Registered nurse named Ruth Warner that worked in our clinic as well.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 10/14/2006 12:30 PM  

  • Sounds like a good introduction. I look forward to reading the booklet.

    More about history, JI packer's s book Evangelism and the soverignty of Go laid downthe gauntlet on the LS side. But I supsect he was glad when MacArthur took over the field. Tough I'm sure he wouldn't have stated it as sharply as MacArthur did.

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at 10/16/2006 10:26 AM  

  • Hi Jodie!
    I hope you will read more than just the introduction! It is good to see your cute avatar on my blog.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/17/2006 8:36 AM  

  • I'm coming in late on the subject, but I intend to read the rest of this series later. Sounds very interesting. Too busy at the moment. :-)

    By Blogger Dawn, at 10/24/2006 3:25 PM  

  • Dawn,
    I know what you mean - life is very busy!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 10/25/2006 11:17 AM  

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