Lordship Salvation in the Gospel of John

  • All who believe in Jesus Christ are children of God (John 1:12).

  • All who are children of God love Jesus Christ (John 8:42).

  • All who love Jesus Christ obey Jesus Christ (John 14:15).

  • Therefore, all who believe in Jesus Christ also obey Jesus Christ.


16 responses to this post.

  1. The golden chain of Lordship!

  2. Posted by Bobby on June 3, 2007 at 7:12 am

    I don’t disagree with the idea that all Christians obey Jesus Christ; the ambiguity comes when defining obedience. How much obedience, what does obedience look like, what place is there for disobedience, etc.? Not only that the assumption seems to be that belief is obedience, how does that apply to the appropriation of justification? Doesn’t this require an equivocation on “belief”, since clearly any Prot. would hold that appropriation of justification is an issue of fiducia or “trust” in Christ Alone for salvation; which would be defined by “ingression” into the “faith” (a starting point). If trust in Christ is synonymous with “active daily obedience”, it would seem that the Lordship gospel is not making a crucial distinction between justification and sanctification; viz. issues surrounding union with Christ and communion.


    how would you clarify this apparent equivocation on “belief”?

  3. Lordship salvation teaches that faith in Christ is synonymous with active daily obedience? Bobby, where do you come up with this stuff? If you agree that all Christians love and obey Christ, why not simply read the post, let out a hearty amen, and pray that God would enable you to love and obey Christ more faithfully? That would be so much more fruitful than asking me to clarify and defend something that (a) I never said and (b) I would condemn as a false gospel.

  4. Posted by Bobby on June 3, 2007 at 1:36 pm


    thank you for the clarification. I’m sorry to have put words or thoughts to your syllogism that you never intended . . . I’m just giving you feedback of my interpretation of your thoughts. Rest assured my points weren’t gratutious or intended to argue for the sake of argument, or to “win” anything. We obviously disagree at this point, unfortunately.

    I guess I have misunderstood the whole premiss of so called Lordshipism. I always understood it to be that justification and genuine appropriation of salvation comes when a person “submits” completely to the Lordship of Christ evinced in acts of obedience and good works. If there is no “perceived” obedience, evinced in good works, then that particular individual never truly was saved in the first place; isn’t this the premiss and dogma of Lordship salvation, Matt?

    Your last minor premiss:

    All who love Jesus Christ obey Jesus Christ (John 14:15).

    What if there is no perceived “obedience”? From the Lordship position isn’t safe to assume that this person is not truly a brother/sister in Christ?

  5. Matt

    I think Bobby has been reading Lou’s book.

    The scriptures you quoted are clear.

    I am not the person I was when the Lord saved me. Almost weekly I could give you examples that the Lord is Lord in my life. When I have said “I don’t want to do this?” (when asked about a ministry) The Spirit of the Lord will gently move in as Lord and I find myself obeying His Spirit’s direction.

    I believe the Lord gives us the ability to obey His Spirit, even when the flesh is fighting against the Spirit. He is LORD. He is LORD in the Life of a Believer.

    I have found myself at times not obeying, but He is still LORD. But I have never found myself not LOVING Christ as my Saviour and LORD.

  6. Posted by Bobby on June 4, 2007 at 12:14 am

    I’m not sure who Lou is, Charles; I’ve been reading the Bible though :) .

    If this was as simple as those scriptures make it seem, that would be one thing; but when I know that those scriptures are being framed by Calvinsim, it makes me pause and ask what “role” is being assigned to obedience relative to one’s assurance of salvation. The Bible makes clear that the basis of assurance is not works or obedience but trust in Jesus Christ’s works alone–Luther agrees.

  7. Bobby,

    First you agreed with my original post and now you disagree? I must confess that I’m a little confused. Rather than broadening the discussion into issues I haven’t addressed and ascribing to me things I haven’t said, why don’t you simply explain where you think I have strayed from either the clear teaching of Scripture or the sound use of logic in my syllogism?

    And if you are truly serious about understanding the position of “lordship salvation,” send me an email and I will recommend some books for you to read. I believe you have my address.

  8. Posted by Bobby on June 4, 2007 at 3:45 am


    I have read on Lordship, and think that I have a pretty good grasp of its most basic concepts–which is why you’re starting to confuse me. I’m not sure what you mean by broadening the discussion. I already said I was sorry for attributing things to you that you didn’t intend. I challenged you to define “belief” relative to “obedience” in your last premise, so I thought I already did what you’re asking me to do. And I agreed that Christians will obey the Lord, but what role this obedience plays in providing assurance of salvation would be at odds with the Lordship role, from my perspective–hopefully that provides denoument to your confusion (sorry that was my bad in not communicating clearly at that point).

    Next time you title a post with a “loaded” term like “Lordship Salvation” brings to the table you should expect it to be discussed, and “broadened”. Obviously I want to deconstruct the “framing” that “Lordship” theology implies towards the interpretation of those passages you cited.

    You still haven’t engaged any of my questions about defining obedience and belief, Matt?

  9. Bobby,

    It seems to me that you agree with the syllogism because you know it’s biblical, but something about it just makes you uncomfortable. Perhaps that something is the baggage that comes with the words “Lordship Salvation” in the title. I would suggest that most of that baggage consists of a radical misunderstanding of the position (as so clearly evidenced in your first comment above), but regardless, why not make things easier on yourself by simply ignoring the title, rereading the syllogism, and saying to yourself: “You know, even though Matt is one of those dirty rotten Calvinists who believes in works-salvation, I think there might be some truth in this.” On the other hand, if you’d prefer to continue the deconstruction process, I think I’ll leave you to do it on your own.

  10. Posted by Bobby on June 4, 2007 at 6:06 am


    I have many friends who are Calvinists, “off-line”; so no I don’t think you’re “dirty rotten”, I just disagree with you. Matt you’re right, Calvinists can make categorical distinctions between the cause of justification (grace) and the effect (works); I just think that the “broader” relationship between Law AND Gospel within the Calvinist framework (and the continuity therein) becomes problematic. It seems to me the problem is the relationship between the objective nature of justification and the subjective experience of that objective reality within the life of a believer. In other words Calvinism seems to set up a reflex action between justification and sanctification–i.e. one to one correspondence. If I’ve been justified, I will evince this in good works with a certain intensity; and if I don’t have a certain intensity in good works maybe I never was justified. That’s not a misunderstanding of Calvinism, Matt . . . go read on Puritanism and its project in England in the 17th cent.; what of concepts like the practical syllogism, divine pactum, temporary faith, etc. These are all realities loaded into your soteriological construct–and for folks like William Perkins and the laity who lived under such thought there was terrible unhealthy angst in regards to assurance of salvation and one’s election, which did lead to an “unfruitful” Christian spirituality. That will have to do for my deconstruction effort for now ;).

    You said:

    It seems to me that you agree with the syllogism because you know it’s biblical, but something about it just makes you uncomfortable. . . .

    I think its unbalanced, and does not give an account for disobedient Christians which the scriptures speak of; that’s what makes me uncomfortable. If I knew that the syllogism wasn’t being informed by Calvinism and its attendant components (the ones I mentioned above–Puritans); then my inclination would be to agree, as I originally did, that obedient Christians will obey, but with the caveat that its possible to love the Lord (be in relationship with Him), and be disobedient (much as my son just disobeyed me just a second ago ;)

    In Christ, you’re wishy/washy antinomian brother,


  11. I would like to remind everyone that this is not a debate blog. Discussion is one thing but endless wrangling is another. Also Antonio was banned from this site a year ago and the ban has not been lifted so he should not comment and others should not respond to him.

    As site administrator and owner it is my perspective that Antonio is a purveyor of another gospel (and I know he would feel the same toward us) so I will not allow him to use this blog as another outlet for his unique doctrines.

    Thanks to all for understanding even if you disagree.

  12. Every person(s) who has a blog has a purpose that they would like to communicate, and that is the privilege of those of us who have a blog.

    There are some non-negotiable that we all have.

    Paul’s has non-negotiables on this blog.

    Another non-negotiable: Christ is LORD.


  13. Lively discussion above. My only two cents is first good post – clear and concise and to the point. And second, the references from John’s Gospel remind me of the theme and power of his first epistle. 1 John makes such clear distinctions of what the life of a Christian will look like. John doesn’t give any room for any fuzzy middle center. Either you are walking in the light or walking in the darkness.

  14. I have no problem with the syllogism and linked to it on my blog. Looking over the comments, however, it seems that several of you have gone out of your way to silence Bobby. He has been polite, and so, for the most part, have those of you who have shut him up. I don’t get into long debates on my blog, either, but I should hope I don’t try to silence those with whom I disagree. I’m disappointed, frankly, that men whose thoughts on preaching I deeply respect show an apparent inability to deal lovingly with someone who doesn’t fall into lockstep with their thinking.

    I know it’s not my place to enter into this discussion, but if you’re going to leave the comments section open, then I do want to urge you to examine your hearts.

  15. Milton,
    Thank you for your comments and I hope I can clear up any confusion that may have ensued. If you’re referring to my comments above they were directed at someone else (not Bobby) who was banned from this blog long ago due to his interest in foolish disputes, contentions which all proved unprofitable (cf. Titus 3:9). I believe this much was made clear in my comments above. No one has shut Bobby down and from our vantage point he has had the last word on this matter.
    I hope this helps and if not I pray you will afford us another opportunity to try again.

  16. OK. Thanks for the reply, Paul. Peace.

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