Heresy Hunting of Militant Fundamentalism
Today I bumped two really good articles by Matthew. Please read them, as they are very good:
Does God possess the power to make contrary choices?
A Sermon on Acts 19
Lou Martuneac seems to think that there is some major rift in Free Grace Theology. He believes it is fractured. The funny thing is that only he and a small handful of militant and cultish fundamentalists are making a stink causing themselves to be foolish spectacles to the Christian world. Charles Ryrie and Earl Radmacher are giants in the Free Grace movement. They remain friends of Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin, and although they may disagree with these men on certain items, they do not believe them to be preaching any heresy. Furthermore, men such as Charlie Bing and Fred Lybrand, who are on the executive board of the Free Grace Alliance, do not believe that Zane and Bob preach a false gospel either.
In reality, Lou wants to have a fracture. He is the boy who cries wolf. It seems to me and others whom I have talked to that in some bizarre way this is how Lou gets his purpose and enjoyment out of life. His behavior and activities in the blogosphere reminds me of this verse, "They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service" (John 16:2). Lou believes that he is on a mission from God, thinking that he offers God service. But in reality, he does not show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom (Jas 3:13). I am finding his comments everywhere on the internet spewing venom in his quest to character assasinate his opponents. He has become the blogosphere's gossip and busybody!
Lou is always out on the heresy hunt as a militant and strict fundamentalist. Those who are impartial, like Bob Topartzer, a fundamentalist himself (and an ex theology prof from an accredited seminary), who was quoted in a post a few days ago, have sought to understand Free Grace theology before making a judgement. Bob Topartzer is neither Free Grace nor Lordship, but understands that quotes are part of major contexts, and also that ideas surrounding the exact minimum content of saving faith is something that has been discussed for years. See his beautiful and commendable article: A Response to Lou Martuneac by a Gentleman
Lou wishes to speak of a fracture. The only real fracture is in his mind. The name-worthy leaders in the Free Grace world do not think there is. The sad thing is that Lou is not Free Grace at all. His view on repentance precludes him from being Free Grace. In all reality, Lou is a soft-Lordship Salvation proponent.
These are some very interesting thoughts and insights. I think you are onto something here.
I bought a copy of Lou's book "In Defense of the Gospel" hoping that it would be sort of a layman's version of Charlie Bing's "Lordship Salvation" classic.
I took both books to work with me hoping to study up on the subject of repentance before teaching on the subject. I began by reading the chapter on repentance in Lou's book. I thought it was confusing, weak, and yes, somewhat Lordship. The more I read, the more confused I became! "Is Lou Lordship or Free Grace?" I wondered. I actually had to read Charlie Bing's chapter on repentance to get the correct answers! [by Jonathan Perreault]
Jonathan Perreault wrote the above statement after reading Lou Martuneac's book and primer on soft-Lordship Salvation theology. He left it in a thread which showed that Lou Martuneac is not part of Free Grace theology. Here is part of that message:
Just about a year ago, the Pulpit Magazine, which is a web-magazine done by John MacArthur and associates, put out a series on Lordship Salvation. During this time, Lou Martuneac highly advertised his book and spent a considerable amount of time in discussions happening in the comments threads of these posts.
Nathan Busenitz, the managing editor of the Pulpit Magazine, read Lou Martuneac's book, and he had this to say about it:After reading his book, I am convinced that Lou Martuneac is, in actuality, a proponent of Lordship Salvation.
There, I said it.
I know, I know… this is probably not what most of you expected to read...
But it’s true… after reading his book, I’m convinced... the repentance Lou promotes is, essentially, the repentance of lordship advocates. Thus, because he sees it as necessary to saving faith, I am left with only one conclusion:
Whether he realizes it or not, Lou Martuneac is teaching a lordship gospel.
I can see where Nathan gets this. Lou Martuneac's definition of repentance is the same as Lordship Salvation. Here are some quotes from Lou Martuneac's book (remember, Lou regards repentance as necessary for eternal salvation):
“Repentance is an attitude that always results in action. ...Biblical repentance will produce a change of life evidenced by a new behavior as one yields to the working of God’s Spirit” (pp. 111-112).
“...biblical repentance... [is] [w]hen a man understands that he is a sinner, and makes a definite, on-purpose decision to confess that sin, and turn from the old ways...” (p. 121).
“Good works... are a by-product of repentance and saving faith. They are the evidences of genuine repentance and an unceasing gratitude for God’s mercy” (p. 123).
Lou Martuneac's comments about repentance could be found in any textbook advocating Lordship Salvation. Repentance has always been a huge battleground in the discussion between Lordship Salvation and Free Grace Theology. But Lou Martuneac sides with the Lordship Salvationist.
Let us end this post showing the great gulf fixed between Free Grace theology advocates and Lou Martuneac.
Lou Martuneac versus ALL Free Grace Theology leaders:
Is a willingness to give up one’s known sins (prostitution, smoking, etc.) required for salvation?
Lou Martuneac would say yes. Here is his answer in case you missed it. Lou Martuneac says, “If a person expressed their intention to hang on to their sin I would stop right there. I would not attempt to lead them to pray for God to save them. That person is far from biblical repentance." (Posted on August 18, 2006)
How would those in Free Grace community, even with the differences in the definition on repentance, answer the question, “Is a willingness to give up one’s known sins required for salvation?”
Charles Ryrie says no. He says, “I do not need to be willing to give up smoking in order to be saved.” (So Great Salvation page 39). “Is repentance a condition for receiving eternal life?...No, if it means to be sorry for sin or even to resolve to turn from sin, for these things will not save.” (SGS page 99).
Zane Hodges says no. He says, “Thus to repent is to rediscover our direction and to experience true "life" in harmony with our Maker. But repentance is not the means by which we acquire eternal life." (Absolutely Free Chapter 12)
Charles Bing says no. He says, “If it is asserted that repentance means resolving to forsake all known sin, then the absurd scenario emerges in which it would be best to keep people ignorant of their sins when preaching the gospel.”
Ron Shea says no. He says, “Accordingly, we deny that saving repentance is ever directed to sin, either by way of sorrow for one's sins, or the resolution or promise to "turn" from them.” http://cleargospel.org/topics.php?t_id=27
A. Ray Stanford says no. He says, “preachers have been going about earnestly trying to get men to quit their sinning, or at least to work up a genuine sorrow for sin. But is this the divinely appointed task of Christians--to get men to change their ways? No! This kind of preaching often leads to form of self-righteousness and self-reformation—not to salvation.” (Handbook of Personal Evangelism page 80)
G. Michael Cocoris says no. He says, “Repentance means a change of mind or attitude; it does not include tears or turning. To define repentance as being sorry for sin or turning from sin is dangerous, because it could cause people to think that they could do something that could in some way help them obtain salvation.” (“Repentance: The Most Misunderstood Word in the Bible” Pt. 2)
Joseph Dillow says no. He says, “their [lordship salvation] view is that a man must resolve to turn from all known sin and follow Christ absolutely. It seems that works enter through the front door, and another gospel is taught.” (emphasis mine) (The Reign of the Servant Kings page 10).
GES says no. Its affirmation of beliefs say, “No act of obedience, preceding or following faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, such as commitment to obey, sorrow for sin, turning from one’s sin, baptism or submission to the Lordship of Christ, may be added to, or considered part of, faith as a condition for receiving everlasting life” (emphasis mine).
Lewis Sperry Chafer and John Walvoord would have said no. “The divine message is not “believe and pray,” “believe and confess sin,” “believe and confess Christ,” “believe and be baptized,” “believe and repent,” or “believe and make restitution.” These six added subjects are mentioned in Scripture, and there they have their full intended meaning; but if they were as essential to salvation as believing they would never be omitted from any passage wherein the way to be saved is stated.” (emphasis mine). (Major Bible Themes page 187)
Dennis Rokser says no. "We reject the many contemporary phrases that are often stated as necessary responses or conditions to the Gospel for someone to be saved. Such statements include: ... 'repent of or confess your sins,'"
Lou Martuneac’s position that one needs to be willing to give up a known sinful habit (eg. prostitution) is outside the circle of those who advocate a Free Grace view of the Gospel.
Lou is spreading discord among brethren by his misquoting, character assasinations, exaggerations, misrepresentations, and his purposeful misunderstandings. This passage in the book of Proverbs ought to give Lou pause to consider:
A worthless person, a wicked man,
Walks with a perverse mouth;
13 He winks with his eyes,
He shuffles his feet,
He points with his fingers;
14 Perversity is in his heart,
He devises evil continually,
He sows discord.
15 Therefore his calamity shall come suddenly;
Suddenly he shall be broken without remedy.
16 These six things the LORD hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
17 A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
18 A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
19 A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.