John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
I have a Christian friend who was relating a conversation he had with someone who said “I don’t believe in Lordship Salvation, but I don’t believe in Easy Believism either.” My friend’s excellent response was “well, pick one!”
I define Lordship Salvation (LS) as follows: LS is the unsupportable and unbiblical belief that the performance of good works, the promise of good works, or the evidence of good works MUST accompany faith in Christ in order to establish, or provide evidence, that such faith has resulted in eternal life.
LS can be overt (one must forsake all of his sins and follow Christ in obedience and discipleship in order to receive eternal life) or VERY SUBTLE (one’s behavior will change once he has received eternal life, one must desire to get better in order to receive eternal life, one must want to have a relationship with Jesus in order to receive eternal life, or one must go beyond mere intellectual assent (head faith vs. heart faith) in order to receive eternal life.
Following are some quotes containing LS concepts from influential pastors/evangelists:
Greg Laurie: Jesus essentially said the only way your sins are forgiven and to know you will spend eternity in Heaven is by putting your complete trust in Him. And there will be tangible results to show you have done that...
You must admit you are a sinner, repent of that sin, and put your faith in Christ.
(Laurie’s definition of “repent of that sin”: To repent means to “change” or to “turn.” It’s like driving down the highway, pulling a U-turn and heading the other direction. More than simply being sorry, it is a word of action. Many people feel remorse for their sin but never truly repent. Remorse is being sorry, repentance is being sorry enough to stop.)
My comment: The Bible says that a person receives eternal life when they believe in Jesus as Savior (see John 3:16, above). The Bible also says that a person can be assured of having received eternal life upon believing in Jesus as Savior.
John 5:24: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
Notice in John 3:16 and 5:24 there is no mention of stopping sinning being a requirement for eternal life, nor is there any mention of any tangible results to show that you have received eternal life. Jesus spoke the words in John 3:16 and John 5:24. Greg Laurie gave the above quotes that contradict Jesus’ words.
The late A.W. Pink: There is a faith in Christ which is saving, and there is a faith in Christ which is not saving. Possibly, the reader says, “But I know that mine is the former: I have seen myself as a lost sinner, realize I can do nothing to gain acceptance with God, and have put my trust in the finished work of His Son.”…
Dear friends, others who were equally sure as you are now in Hell! Suffer us to enquire, Have you tested your faith by Scripture? Have you taken the trouble to ascertain whether your faith is accompanied by those evidences which are inseparable from a saving faith?
My comment: A.W. Pink contradicted Jesus’ words from John 3:16 and 5:24. Jesus gives no requirements for self-introspection for evidence of eternal life.
The late Billy Graham: As I approached my 95th birthday, I was burdened to write a book that addressed the epidemic of “easy believism.” There is a mindset today that if people believe in God and do good works they are going to Heaven. But there are many questions that must be answered. There are two basic needs that all people have: the need for hope and the need for salvation. It should not be surprising if people believe easily in a God who makes no demands, but this is not the God of the Bible. Satan has cleverly misled people by whispering that they can believe in Jesus Christ without being changed, but this is the Devil’s lie. To those who say you can have Christ without giving anything up, Satan is deceiving you.
My comment: The Bible never says that believing in God and doing good works are how one receives eternal life. The Bible says that a person receives eternal life when he believes in Jesus as Savior. It makes no mention of “giving anything up.” If we had to give something up in order to receive eternal life, then eternal life would not be a gift. It would be a trade. Billy Graham contradicted Jesus’ words.
Not surprisingly, advocates of LS denigrate faithful preaching of the gospel using terms such as “easy believism,” “cheap grace,” “greasy grace,” “sloppy agape,” and the like. Such denigration is in keeping with their contradiction of the truth. To add further weight to their attacks on the gospel, LSers often falsely conflate the faithful teaching that a person receives eternal life by believing in Jesus as Savior with teaching that a person can receive eternal life in other ways, such as “raising a hand,” “walking an aisle,” or “saying a prayer.”
I personally have no objection to the term easy believism, because simply believing the gospel always results in eternal life that can never be lost or forfeited. Always. Belief in the truth of the gospel message means that a person understands and believes that Jesus is not only necessary for eternal life, but that He is enough. If you want to call that easy believism, then I am guilty as charged!
As my friend would say, “pick one!”
If you would like to know more about the gospel click here: THE GOSPEL