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.
The above verse is a direct quote from Jesus Himself. It stands in opposition to what is taught by many groups purporting to represent Him. One such group that teaches doctrine contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ is the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).
The SBC fancies itself as “reaching the world for Christ,” but in reality it hews to the false gospel of Lordship “salvation” (LS).
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.
Following are excerpts directly from the group’s website, SBC.net:
The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is a body of like-minded local churches cooperating together to reach the world with the Good News of Jesus Christ. There are currently more than than fifty thousand Southern Baptist cooperating churches and church-type missions...
What Southern Baptists Believe
Southern Baptists believe that the Bible is God’s revelation of Himself to mankind, with His ultimate revelation being the Gospel message of redemption through Jesus Christ. For that reason, Southern Baptists have summarized their biblical convictions in a statement of faith called The Baptist Faith and Message. Southern Baptists are not a creedal people, requiring churches or individuals to embrace a standardized set of beliefs; but we are a confessional people. The BF&M represents the confessional consensus of “certain definite doctrines that Baptists believe, cherish, and with which they have been and are now closely identified.”
So, what does this “confessional consensus” include? Following are some excerpts from the Baptist Faith and Message (BF&M):
A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace.
Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour.
Under “God’s Purpose of Grace”:
All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end.
My comment: This all seems pretty confusing and errant. There is nothing in the Bible that conditions receipt of eternal life on either “turning from sin to God,” nor “commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Savior.” Further, the Bible does not say that “all true believers endure to the end,” nor “persevere to the end.”
Maybe the SBC clarifies it elsewhere? Perhaps to provide clarification, or to add further detail to the BF&M, SBC.net has the following under “How to Become a Christian”:
Are you ready to accept the gift of eternal life that Jesus is offering you right now? Let’s review what this commitment involves:
I acknowledge I am a sinner in need of a Savior – this is to repent or turn away from sin
I believe in my heart that God raised Jesus from the dead – this is to trust that Jesus paid the full penalty for my sins
I confess Jesus as my Lord and my God – this is to surrender control of my life to Jesus
I receive Jesus as my Savior forever – this is to accept that God has done for me and in me what He promised
My comment: Acknowledging that one is a sinner in need of a Savior does not require one to “repent or turn away from sin”. There is no biblical requirement to “confess Jesus as my Lord and my God” in order to receive the free gift of eternal life. Nor is there any requirement to “surrender control of my life to Jesus” in order to receive eternal life. And, what does “to accept that God has done fore me and in me what He promised” even mean?
Maybe one of the top leaders of the SBC could help explain some of this. J.D. Greear is the former SBC president (2018-2021), and pastor of Summit Church in North Carolina. Following is an excerpt from a February 21, 2013 interview with Jonathon Merritt:
Neither the great Baptists of the past nor the Bible describes eternal security as a one-time ritual that produces a guarantee of salvation no matter how you live your life. They described it as the knowledge that if God had started a true work in you, he would complete it. And the way that you show your salvation is genuine is by persevering for the rest of your life.
Persevering in the faith is proof that you have the salvation you could never lose; failing to persevere shows that you never had it to begin with.
My comment: “How you live your life” has absolutely no bearing as to whether or not you have eternal life. Anyone who does not understand this has no business attempting to teach the gospel to others. We find that the “perseverance” error from the BF&M is shared by Greear. And, note the alacrity with which Greear equates church tradition with the word of God (“Neither the great Baptists of the past nor the Bible…”).
Next are some excerpts from one of Greear’s articles entitled “Don’t Be A Fundamentalist (Calvinist Or Otherwise)”:
Some people give such enormous weight to minor issues that the gospel itself is obscured.
Calvinism is one such issue. We only have so much “bandwidth” as a church, so I choose rather to be known for the gospel than for a tough stance on particulars of Calvinism that are less important than the heart of the message...
So at The Summit Church, I often say, “Calvinism is not an issue to me until it becomes one to you. But when it becomes one to you, it becomes one to me… and I’ll probably take whatever side you are not.”
My comment: Greear’s errant view of perseverance is one of the false tenants of Calvinism, which intersects with the false gospel of LS.
Finally, here is an excerpt from Greear’s Facebook page under “How do I know I am saved?” It draws on a quote from his book, “Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart”
Do you believe that Jesus has paid it all? Do you know that He is Lord, and are you in a posture of submission to that Lordship? Then rest in Him.
My comment: It’s hard to know what this even means, but it sounds an awful lot like “allowing Jesus to be Lord of your life” or some similar false gospel add-on that is prominent within LS. In any event, Greear’s advice on how to have assurance of eternal life is not consistent with God’s word, as expressed in John 5:24.
So, the SBC has false gospel doctrine embedded in its “confessional consensus” and this false gospel doctrine is embraced and expounded upon by one of its most recent top leaders.
For someone who understands the gospel and who has believed in Jesus as Savior, the SBC offers a better mission field than it does a church.
And, if you have grown up in, or attended an SBC church, and still aren’t sure how to have eternal life, click here: THE GOSPEL