[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Unescapable Logic that Proves Lordship Salvation and Perseverance Theology = Works Righteousness

by Antonio da Rosa

We always hear Lordship Salvation proponents say that works are not a condition for heaven (actually, there are some who indeed admit it, like John Gerstner and John Piper). They say that works are merely the necessary and inevitable result of saving faith. But in this they qualify what faith is by works! Faith becomes defined by works, thus, for Reformed theology, ipso facto works-righteousness.

Necessary results for which we are responsible are the same as conditions. If works are a necessary result of saving faith and if a man cannot be saved without them (the inevitable works), then the works are, in fact, a condition for salvation.

Faith that has been qualified by works adds works to faith for the enactment and fruition of the intended results: the works becoming indispensible to the result, thus are a very real condition!

Compare two equations based on Reformed theology

Faith ----> Works = Heaven


Faith w/o (or apart from) Works ≠ Heaven

This is obvious works-salvation.

Let us say that a man was getting married to a woman. They love each other and have mutually decided to get married. Let us propose that in their state it is a requirement for marriage to get a blood test. The necessary results of their love and decision to get married is an inevitable trip to the doctor for a blood test. The blood test, viewed in this way, is a necessary result. But viewed in another perspective, it has become a CONDITION for marriage, for they cannot get married without the blood test. It must be, then, both a result AND a condition! The Lordship proponent cannot escape this air-tight logic.

The same goes for works that are the supposed necessary result of faith. Looked on from the Reformed perspective they are the necessary results. But looked on from another persective, the angle of heaven and eternity, which they overlook, they become a condition for heaven, for without the works there is no heaven.

The qualification of faith by works is a huge danger, and poisons the gospel! It is de facto works-righteousness!

One who is neither Reformed nor Free Grace, who nevertheless is symphathetic with both theologies, has suggested that the works are merely "required evidence" (Joe from Joe's Jottings). Yet this leaves them in the same conundrum, no? It begs the question, "Required for what?" It is works required for heaven!



  • Antonio, while there are many of us who see the obvious double standard in that logic, I seriously think the reformed folks are going to lay off this debate for a while.

    They were not able to present biblical exegesis that was convincing and I think perhaps they are tiring or leery of being cornered.

    Perhaps it would be wise to start discussing some other aspects of covenant theology and how they relate to a works based soteriology.

    By Blogger Jim, at Monday, November 20, 2006 7:33:00 PM  

  • Clearly they are by implication separating justification from final salvation. Faith alone... but faith that is never alone... justifies.

    But works are more explicitly considered necessary for final salvation. Again Piper's blurting out what has long been implied.

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Monday, November 20, 2006 9:08:00 PM  

  • Erasmus said the whole debate about justification did not matter that much, as both Catholics and the Reformers said that good works were necessary.

    Very logical post, Antonio.

    God Bless


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, November 21, 2006 1:32:00 AM  

  • Great Erasmus quote.


    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Thursday, November 23, 2006 10:19:00 AM  

  • Antonio,
    The following is part of a comment I posted in response to a comment you left at my blog. Go there for the entire comment

    I have a challenge for you! I have written approximately 60 photo meditations that are brief, not complicated and illustrate basic doctrinal points. Fifty-two of them were written before I ever had a blog or knew anything about FG theology. I say this to point out that there have been no revisions to prepare for issuing this challenge.

    THE CHALLENGE………… Search the Jazzycat blog and all of these photo meditations and copy and paste a direct quote in context showing where I present justification (eternal life) as requiring works or deeds. If you fail to meet this challenge, then I will consider your caricatures of reformed theology as a failed attempt at mischaracterization. I will defend my blog and my Photo Meditations only. I am not interested in quotes from books or reformed theologians.

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Thursday, November 23, 2006 9:15:00 PM  

  • Jazzy,

    quite spamming your 'challenge' all over the place, for goodness sake!

    What a challenge! Read 60 posts and comment on them! Why would I want to do that?

    You spam your "challenge" in the comment section of this post, yet you do not comment to it? This post charges Lordship Salvation with works-conditionality for entrance into heaven, yet you will not refute it?

    Why should I go spend the time pulling your words out to show you the logical conclusion that your front-loading and back-loading of the gospel = works-salvation, when you won't even respond to this article?

    Do you believe that repentance, surrender, commitment are necessary for eternal life? You believe in works-salvation.

    Do you believe that perseverance in faithfulness, obedience, and works are required for final entrance into heaven? You believe in works-salvation.

    If someone does not persevere in faithfulness, obedience and works, they go to hell, right? Well inasmuch as you agree with that contention, you attach conditionality of works on entrance into heaven.

    This post conveys inescapable logic. Do you respond?

    No. You want to place a burdensome task on me as a challenge. I don't play that game.

    By Blogger Antonio, at Friday, November 24, 2006 2:41:00 PM  

  • Antonio,
    My response is that you have two choices.
    (1) Punt and run from the challenge. This will allow you to continue to tell people in your opinion what lordship Calvinist believe about justification.
    (2) Actually copy and paste a quote from a real live active lordship Calvinist from his concise work on all the major doctrines and show it is like you say about justification.

    If you choose option 2, I will respond at my site only since that is where your first comment in this string all began.

    I have no interest in tearing down your straw men. I am weary of refuting caricatures.

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Friday, November 24, 2006 7:36:00 PM  

  • Jazzy,

    Do you think Anne Hutchinson couldn't have been an antinomian because whe didn't articulate herself as one? Isn't it legitimate to have disagreements about the meanings of our very different beliefs? For instance I don't articulate myself as a semi-pelagian but I don't think it is straw man polemics to call me one. What are your thoughts on this?...


    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Friday, November 24, 2006 8:38:00 PM  

  • Jodie,
    Disagreements certainly, but we should attempt to be accurate in our characterizations of what others believe. I even had one blogger (not an UOG contributor) try to tell me that I really believed his concept of my belief system rather than what I was saying. How arrogant can one get!

    My beef has been with the continual portrayal of ‘lordship Calvinists’ as requiring works for justification. I have seen many successfully refute this charge and give massive amounts of Scripture references explaining the true position. Explanations that explain grace alone, the power and effects of regeneration, eternal security, repentance and so on. However, the caricatures continue and I have simply decided to issue a challenge to Antonio or anyone to glean my Photo Meditations and copy and paste a direct quote showing where I say that works are meritorious to justification.

    All of you on the UOG blog are very knowledgeable and I especially like Matthew’s commenting style because he stays brief and to the point. My meditations are also brief and to the point. Photos are used to illustrate points and they are not intended to be comprehensive. However, if I held to works as a requirement for justification it would have shown up in there somewhere.

    Hence the challenge: SHOW ME. I will be following your debate over at the Debate blog. I will have to read up on Anne Hutchinson to comment on that.

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Saturday, November 25, 2006 6:46:00 AM  

  • Jazzy,

    Thanks for your comments on UAG's bloggers. You are a very knowledgable commentor, so I appreciate hearing you comment specifically (and elaborately, for you) on this issue.

    To you works are truly not needed for justification, but at a practical level they are needed for final salvation. Is that areasonable way for me to state it?

    Did you see Matthew's comment on the Erasmus idea?

    "Erasmus said the whole debate about justification did not matter that much, as both Catholics and the Reformers said that good works were necessary."

    For me there is a lot of insight packed in that.

    I don't think you teach works justification but a distorted faith justification. I know this is a core issue for all of us, but it's good we can at least bat around ideas.


    PS If you were obsessed with Free Grace as I am you would have heard about Anne Hutchinson who has been called the first important woman of North America. She was charismatic and free grace. Big controversy!

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Saturday, November 25, 2006 5:20:00 PM  

  • Jodie,
    First, I want to say that I have come to appreciate your gentle and non-aggressive attitude.

    You said.........
    "I don't think you teach works justification but a distorted faith justification."

    Even though that seems to be somewhat of a retreat, I do not believe my view is distorted at all. I believe the Bible teaches that grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone are what appropriates justification. I think my Photo Meditations make that very clear and is why I issued the challenge.

    My views on how repentance, regeneration, good works, etc. fit into the process are also covered in my Meditations and I also feel they are Biblical. If they are distorted, show me. What Erasmus or Piper believe has not formed my thinking. I am no more responsible for what Erasmus thought than I am anyone else.

    I had never heard of the Free Grace movement or Hodges until about 7 months ago.

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Sunday, November 26, 2006 5:44:00 AM  

  • Antonio,

    There is a problem with your analogy.

    What is the requirement for going to heaven? Justification. Justification is caused by faith. At the moment of justification, if the believer dies, the believer will enter heaven. If the believer does not die, but lives on, then a logical consequence will be good works.

    So, going to the marriage analogy, we see that the analogy does not fit. In this analogy love stands for faith, the blood test stands for works, and marriage stands for justification. If you look at my Ordo Salutis diagram, you see the analogy does not fit. You might be referring to marriage as entering heaven, ultimate salvation. In that case there is a little confusion going on. The condition to enter heaven is justification. Once justification occurs, the believer can enter heaven at any moment, even before the first work occurs. The blood test analogy to works simply does not fit.

    By Blogger Earl, at Wednesday, November 29, 2006 8:52:00 AM  

  • ...also, your equation is incorrect. More correct is:

    Faith ----> Justifcation = Heaven


    Faith w/o (or apart from) Justification ≠ Heaven

    Now, faith has as a result, works. But works is not part of the equation. How do I know? If a person exercises saving faith and dies at that instant, where no works are done, she goes to heaven.

    Therefore, the cause of entering heaven is justification. Justification is caused by faith alone.


    By Blogger Earl, at Wednesday, November 29, 2006 11:07:00 AM  

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