Saturday, June 26, 2010

Dr. Bing's Dissertation on Lordship Salvation (1991)

I haven't read Dr. Bing's dissertation yet, but I've seen it quoted and referenced a number of times. Dr. Bing is a highly respected theologian who is known to rightly divide the Word of Truth.

Check it out, and make sure you install the Greek and Hebrew fonts he offers. This was written in 1991.

If you wonder about the practical impact that this theological and sometimes "heady" subject has here is a quote from the first page of Dr. Bing's work.

Practical ramifications

One’s view of the gospel and how its saving effects are appropriated by the sinner will determine not only the message of evangelism proclaimed but also its methods. The Lordship Salvation presentation of the gospel is necessarily more involved as seen in J. I. Packer’s comment: “In our own presentation of Christ’s gospel, therefore, we need to lay a similar stress as Christ did on the cost of following Christ, and make sinners face it soberly before we urge them to respond to the message of free forgiveness.” 6 Accordingly, Charles Price relates this story to illustrate how the gospel should be presented:

After we had talked for a couple of hours, the young man seemed to be prepared to give himself to Christ. My friend, no doubt sensing that asked him a question: “In light of all we have talked about this evening, can you think of any reason why you should not become a Christian tonight?”
The young man sat for a few minutes, then looked back at him and replied, “No, I cannot think of any reason.”
I was excited by this, but to my amazement, my friend leaned across the table and said, “Then let me give you some!” For the next few minutes he began to explain the cost of being a Christian. He talked about the young man’s need to surrender his whole life, his future, his ambitions, his relationships, his possessions, and everything he was to God. Only if he was prepared to do this, my friend explained, could Christ begin to work effectively in his life.
… My friend then leaned even further across the table and asked, “Can you still not think of any reason why you shouldn’t become a Christian tonight?”
After another moment, the reply came, “I can think of some now.”
My friend responded, “In that case, do not become a Christian until you have dealt with every one of those reasons and are willing to surrender everything to Christ.” 7

Lordship Salvation teaching also has an inevitable effect upon the assurance of the believer. Assurance from the objective promise of God appears to recede in importance to the subjective assessment of the quality of faith of the one professing faith and the equally subjective evaluation of visible fruits of obedience in one’s life. This makes absolute assurance impossible in this life, so it is taught, “Doubts about one’s salvation are not wrong so long as they are not nursed and allowed to become an obsession.” 8

It can also be shown how the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the gospel has shaped the Church Growth movement and modern missions. Suffice it to say that including discipleship and lordship obedience in the gospel of salvation has significantly altered methods of evangelism and exalted social concern over traditional missionary evangelism. No longer is the emphasis on gospel proclamation as “only” salvation from sin, because it is believed the gospel itself demands that people and societies be brought under the lordship of Christ.