Monday, September 13, 2010

A Valid Defense Part 1



Welcome to Part 1 of my review of Lou Martuneac’s In Defense of the Gospel (IDOTG). For the sake of disclosure; the author has been a friend of mine for 3 or 4 years now. I have all the same been ruthless in my examination of his work and found it worthy of recommendation. So, this review will not be so much of an evaluation as it will be an introduction and overview. It is a very rare thing for me to recommend a book to an individual, let alone introduce one to everyone who reads this blog.

In Defense of the Gospel: Biblical Answers to Lordship Salvation Revised and Expanded Edition is a conversational level, yet a complete and biblically accurate, response to the Lordship Salvation controversy which has engulfed Christendom. This controversy splits churches, cripples ministries, and grips many of the weaker Brethren with fear and loathing. IDOTG is written to and helpful for everyone touched by the controversy. Whether you hold to Lordship Salvation or not, IDOTG will accurately inform you of what both sides are actually saying. It’s easy to argue against a straw man, but Martuneac burns all the straw men on both sides of this controversy. One of the most anticipated additions to this revised and expanded edition is the brief but clear rebuttal of the much lauded “Easy Believism.” Martuneac rebukes the preaching of this theology, and explains why Lordship Salvation proponents are only too glad to accuse any who argue against their position of preaching it. In short, Martuneac gives a valid defense of the Gospel according to Scripture.

When I read the first edition of Martuneac’s IDOTG, which was published in 2006, I was struck with a feeling of shock that such a work was not more widely known. As I revisit his work in this new edition my passion is again enflamed to get the word out! To the point that I have a great desire to retype the whole book here so that you’ll read it. No matter how familiar you are with the topic, IDOTG is not to be missed.

In his foreword to IDOTG Dr Chris Shepler, Pastor of Victory Bible Baptist Church writes “What is the Gospel? and What must one do to be saved? are two questions that every born again believer in our churches should be able to answer doctrinally from the Scripture without hesitation.” Pastor Shepler’s point hits home, the stakes are very high, even the very salvation of those we witness to as Christians. Rev Martuneac puts it this way in his “A Note From The Author” when he writes “This is not a question of a weak gospel verses a strong gospel, but of the one true gospel standing apart from all other false gospels.” He follows closely with “All witnesses for Christ desire true conversions. In my zeal to secure more genuine conversions, however, I do not have the liberty to alter the terms of the gospel.”

As Martuneac continues to give preamble to the book he makes one point absolutely clear. “...the Lordship Salvation controversy primarily revolves around the requirements for salvation, NOT the results of salvation.”

While this work is written for the most part at the conversational level the scholarship and dedication to integrity is at a level far beyond what one might expect in an age of response books which seem more designed to make money than actually correct error. The first edition was written while the Rev was a missionary in South Africa, and for that edition and this new one he received assistance from the likes of Dr. Robert Lightner, Dr. Charlie Bing, Pastor Kevin Brosnan and Pastor Tom Stegall. Dr. John C. Whitcomb also provided much needed encouragement. Rev Martuneac himself has been a missionary, Vice President of the Calvary Baptist Theological College for 3 years, and taught at Pensacola Christian College for five years.

With regard to integrity, Martuneac explains the controversy is not about, or with any personality involved. In explaining the book to his readers he writes under the heading “Letting Them Speak for Themselves” about how the universal response to any criticism of Lordship Salvation is an accusation of misrepresentation. In an effort to avoid even the appearance of misrepresentation Martuneac quotes those who hold the opposing view almost too liberally.

Having given forewords, and an explanation of why he produced this work Rev Martuneac opens his work properly with a chapter called “Introduction” and by quoting that which is of first importance; the Gospel of Jesus Christ recorded in 1Cor 15:1-4. Stating the obvious, Martuneac comments on this passage which ought to end the controversy with This is the gospel message which the Corinthians received from the Apostle Paul.” But such a simplistic, yet true, argument would not be enough to persuade those who claim that this is not the Gospel that saves. More importantly though, this simple argument could not protect the millions who have fallen pray, and the many millions more who are likely to also fall prey to the fallacious Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel.

Lordship Salvation proponents claim that any Gospel that has had submission to the Lordship of Christ “removed from it” is a new and false gospel that is foreign to the Scriptures. They claim to trace their gospel back to the New Testament by interpreting such passages as Luke 9:23; 14:26-27 & 33 as evangelistic appeals meant for the unsaved.

The introduction of the book ends with this strong claim “The message is the same: salvation is not by works or the resolve to perform works, but by faith. Any message of faith plus works, real or promised, is wrong and condemned by the Lord Jesus Christ, as well as by the Apostle Paul.”

The stage has been set for a great argument. In the next installments of this review I will touch on some of the arguments that Martuneac engages with IDOTG and we’ll see if he can truly overcome the Lordship Salvation proponent’s claims of fidelity with the Scriptures. One thing is clear about the book and it’s author by the end of the introduction. Neither is shy about the fight, and neither is going to go quietly into the night.

11 comments:

James Kime said...

Kev, do you know of a single Lordship proponent who thinks that this book is actually an acurate representation of their position?

Kevl said...

Hi Again James,

Did you ever take Lou up on his offer to send you a copy of his book so you could read it?

If you ever do read the book you'll find that Lou quotes ALL the major LS teachers EXTENSIVELY... as I said in the article above it's almost too much.
There are pages and pages of quotes.

If this book does not accurately represent their views then they themselves are not accurately representing their views.

However, you may be interested in searching out the various LS discussions that have been had at this blog. I have yet to EVER see a LS proponent EVER admit that anyone understands their position. Even the various teachers don't agree on the doctrine... so I'm not sure the answer to your question is all that helpful to you. I'm sorry for that but it can't be helped.

Most famously a young man name Mark spent a couple of weeks engaging me.. when I quoted his entire gospel presentation he still didn't think that I accurately represented him...

What is probably as helpful to you as I can be is that I HONESTLY WITHOUT RESERVATION believe that Lou has accurately presented what these men teach.

There is absolutely no use in arguing against a strawman... it isn't only foolish it's a HUGE waste of time, money and effort.

I trust you'll continue reading the review and perhaps even read the book before you offer your opinions of it again.

Thanks,
Kev

Kevl said...

I was mistaken about Lou's offer. He had offered to refund Mr. Kime's cost of purchasing the book + 25% from Amazon (where Mr. Kime's original comments were made on 23 June 2010) if he could produce his receipt of purchase.

However, as of this evening Mr. Kime has not produced this receipt.

I'm not at all suggesting that the author will or even ought to refund anyone's money... but Mr. Kime's review was obviously based on his assumptions and not on an actual read of the book.

I am not authorized to make offers or even suggest offers for or from the author. Frankly I'm amazed that he was willing to offer what he did.

Kev

Kevl said...

James,

I got your other post discussing what you think Lou's argument is against LS. It's most obvious that you have not read his work.

If you want to discuss his book, then this would be a good thread to do it in. However, if you want to discuss the various arguments against or for LS theology there are many other spots on this blog and elsewhere that are much more appropriate.

I'm not going to get into debates over the theology in this thread.

Also keep in mind that this is part 1 of what should be 3 articles. I'm not going to produce the whole work here in comments.

I trust you understand that this is a logical decision. Also if you wish to discus Lou's theology with Lou himself his blog can be found here.

Kev

Lou Martuneac said...

Kev:

Thanks for clearing that up with James. Offer stands of a full refund, with his receipt dated prior to the note he posted at Amazon, plus 25% for his suffering. :-)


Lou

James Kime said...

Kev, it is fine that you don't post my post. My contention and something I tried to point out is that Lou does indeed quote, but still fails to accurately represent the position.

Kevl said...

HI James,

Your "point" would be valid if you had actually read the work you're making a "point" about. :) It is somewhat amusing to me that you're claiming a work you haven't read is bad because it misrepresents that which it argues against. Your behaviour is actually poetic in an odd, but typical, sort of way.

I think you've posted here enough.

Kev

Kevl said...

All,

Mr. Kime continues to attempt his posts in this thread. To be honest I would rather allow him to post because disallowing it could be misinterpreted. However, since I am most familiar with the work I am reviewing I am well aware when someone is making a complaint about something that is not in the book.

I would suggest that if someone is going to say that the author has misrepresented someone in the work that they ought to include an accurate reference and quotation from the book.

While I'm sure that someone could find some portion of the text online and use such in an attempt to make it look like they have read the book, no portion of the text of the book could possibly be used to show that the author has misrepresented those he is quoting.

It is obvious that some are upset by this book. I'm sure the author didn't write it to make people love it.. he wrote it to correct error and point people back to Scripture.

I'm about half way through writing part 2 of the review at this point. Today I revisited many of the arguments in the book and again I find the author most generous to those who hold the opposing position.

Kev

Lou Martuneac said...

Kev:

Appreciate your reaction to James. At my blog he got himself banned and then proceeded to misrepresent elsewhere about how he was treated. He will misinterpret and misrepresent your actions here. He was treated fairly at my blog, just as he was here by you. Treated no different than how I administer my blog with any guest. I ignore him and his tactics.

Anyway, you wrote, “While I'm sure that someone could find some portion of the text online and use such in an attempt to make it look like they have read the book, no portion of the text of the book could possibly be used to show that the author has misrepresented those he is quoting.”

At my blog are a few articles that are excerpts from the 300+ page book. One in particular is one of the most visited since I first posted it. It is Summary of Lordship Salvation From a Single Page.

I published that article at my blog in 2008 knowing it would be in the new edition of my book. It appears in the appendix. I wanted to float it as a trial balloon to see how those for and against LS would react to it. Well, the thread generated plenty of reaction, 135 comments.

Another excerpt from the book is The Rich Young Ruler: Mark 10:17-22.


Kind regards,


Lou

James Kime said...

Kevin, I don't care about posting anymore on your site. You have lied about me and made false accusations. You need to correct that.

Kevl said...

All,

For all parts of this review (I expect 4 parts now) criticism of the review and/or IDOTG is welcome. However, claims about the work MUST include the following -

An accurate page reference and quote.

If it is a claim of misrepresentation then a full and verifyiable quote from the same work that Martuneac is referencing must be given along with accurate reference information.

Each of the chapters in IDOTG have pages of references. Each time another work is quoted there is a subscript number at the end of the quote. Use this number on the references page and you will find the work that Martuneac is quoting.

Do not link to other material.

If these requirements are not met in your post it will not be published.

I do not want to dimmish conversation at all, however, I'm not going to make readers sift through foolishness.

Thanks!
Kev