Dr. John R. Rice's Rebuttal Of 'Lordship Salvation'

By David J. Stewart | August 2013 | Updated July 2016

       I was recently reading one of Dr. John R. Rice's books titled, Dr. Rice... Here Are More Questions, in which he beautifully refutes the heresy of Lordship Salvation. The following is a question submitted to Dr. John R. Rice (1890-1985) concerning professed Christians who live in sin...

"We have young folks in our church who are supposed to be saved and who giggle and whisper all during church services and who say they 'just hate' church and 'can't stand' to listen to our pastor preach. They attend movies and worldly amusements. I feel that as pastors and Sunday school teachers we do not warn those enough who think they are saved but are not born again. Shouldn't we plead with them to go to the alter again?"

SOURCE: Dr. Rice... Here Are More Questions, by John R. Rice, pg. 76, Sword of the Lord Publishers; ISBN: 0-87398-157-X

The following is Dr. Rice's response to the preceding question...

"Being saved, born again, is one thing; learning to live a consecrated Christian life is an entirely different thing. There is not any way you can judge whether people are born again except as you take their testimony that they have put their trust in Jesus Christ and depended on Him for salvation. Some of these young people indeed may not have been taught to trust in Christ. If they were looking for "an experience," a certain kind of feeling or emotion, then they may have been misled. But if they honestly turned their hearts to Christ and depended on Him for salvation, they were saved.

Now a Christian should live a consecrated Christian life but that does not automatically follow. People who are saved will find, like Paul, "When I would do good, evil is present with me . . . . So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin" (Romans 7:21,25). 

Every saved person still has the old carnal nature and often-times has the same kind of temptation he had before. Some people who have truly been born again have a desperate fight to quit tobacco, and some have never seemed to get the victory over that or other bad habits. Some Christians have never learned to trust the Lord enough to bring tithes and offerings, and some have never learned to win souls. When a baby is born, he is not born grown. Being born is one thing; growing is another thing entirely.

So the thing to do is to take for granted that people are saved when they trust Christ for salvation. Then one should set out to teach them to read the Bible daily, to learn to pray about their daily needs, to confess their sins and failures and grow in grace day by day. It is as foolish to expect young Christians to be good Christians by themselves as it is to expect a child, born in the family, to automatically be a great credit to the family without any rearing—whether they are spiritual babes or physical babes. I assure you that unless people are taught to be consecrated Christians, taught to read the Bible and pray, they are not likely to be good Christians, even if they are truly born again. [emphasis added]

SOURCE: Dr. Rice... Here Are More Questions, by John R. Rice, pg. 76,77, Sword of the Lord Publishers; ISBN: 0-87398-157-X

Dr. Rice is 100% correct... "Being saved, born again, is one thing; learning to live a consecrated Christian life is an entirely different thing." A changed life comes from growing in grace as a result of genuine repentance; and not as a part of saving-faith itself. Salvation is receiving; NOT giving.

There are many ministers today, such as John MacArthur, who falsely teach that one's salvation is CONDITIONAL upon the life we live. MacArthur states:

"Submission to the will of God, to Christ’s lordship, and to the guiding of the Spirit is an essential, not an optional, part of saving faith" (EPHESIANS, p. 249).

Don’t believe anyone who says it’s easy to become a Christian. Salvation for sinners cost God His own Son; it cost God’s Son His life, and it’ll cost you the same thing. Salvation isn’t gained by reciting mere words. Saving faith transforms the heart, and that in turn transforms behavior. Faith’s fruit is seen in actions, not intentions. There’s no room for passive spectators: words without actions are empty and futile. Remember that what John saw in his vision of judgment was a Book of Life, not a book of Words or Book of Intellectual Musings. The life we live, not the words we speak, reveals whether our faith is authentic. [emphasis added]

SOURCE: Dr. John MacArthur, Grace To You, an updated quote from his book 'Hard To Believe', page 93.

The Word of God calls John MacArthur a liar in Romans 4:5, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Could the Bible be any plainer? The Scriptures speak plainly that we are saved by Jesus' righteousness (Romans 10:3-4; 2nd Corinthians 5:21), and not any self-righteousness of our own (Isaiah 64:6; Ephesians 2:8,9; Titus 3:5). We are sinners; Jesus is the Savior. Dr. MacArthur errantly teaches that salvation is hard, and that it'll cost you everything to get it. That is “another Gospel,” not “the simplicity that is in Christ” (2nd Corinthians 11:3-4). Don't forget that eternal life and forgiveness of sins is a free gift, paid for in full by Christ's sacrifice on the cross, by the blood applied to the Mercy Seat in Heaven (Hebrews 9:12, 24; 12:24; 1st Peter 1:18-19).

John R. Rice is correct... “So the thing to do is to take for granted that people are saved when they trust Christ for salvation.” Proponents of the Lordship Salvation heresy expect new believers to live a consecrated Christian life from the get-go of salvation. This is not reasonable nor Biblical. New believers need to be taught and discipled. To require a person to “be willing to turn away from sins” to be saved is wrong. It is adding the keeping of the law to the Gospel (Galatians 3:2).

Dr. Rice states in his excellent book, Dr. Rice... Here is My Question...

When you get saved, you get saved not because you deserve it, but because you simply let God save you and because you confess your own poor sinful state and your inability to save yourself.

SOURCE: Dr. Rice... Here is My Question, by Dr. John R. Rice, pg. 304; 1962, Sword of the Lord Publishers; ISBN: 0-87398-158-8

I couldn't agree more. This is what the Bible teaches. Dr. Rice also states in his Gospel tract, What Must I Do To Be Saved...

“The change in your heart, sinner, is God's part and you may be sure He will attend to that. Your part is to simply believe in Him. Whatever else is necessary in your eternal salvation, the Lord attends to when you trust in Him, or believe in Him.” [emphasis added]

SOURCE: What Must I DO To Be Saved, by Dr. John R. Rice

Amen! Dr. Rice is correct. Who are we to judge whether or not a person is sincere. There's a self-righteous group today in our churches, who demand a changed-life as a prerequisite for salvation. This is unbiblical, a heresy, and a perversion of the simple Gospel of Christ Jesus. The thing to do is to take for granted that people are saved when they simply trust Jesus Christ for salvation. 

Read A Similar Soul Winning Situation By Dr. Curtis Hutson

“Nobody can love God who doesn't love sinners!”
(a quote by Dr. Jack Hyles classic MP3 sermon, “The Happiest Man” (happiest is the man who will not impute sin to others!)

“God never leads anyone anywhere for money.” —Jack Hyles

FORGIVENESS (MP3 by Dr. Jack Hyles, “The mark of the child of God is that he loves everybody!”

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Lordship Salvation” was rightly called by Pastor Hank Lindstrom (1940-2008), “FRONTLOADING THE GOSPEL” (i.e., requiring everything of the Christian life upfront at the time of salvation). Lordship Salvation is certainly not the Gospel.

Here are some excellent, doctrinally sound, helpful, Biblical sermons . . .

Dr. Hank Lindstrom

Dr. Ralph Yankee Arnold

Ye Must Be Born Again! | You Need HIS Righteousness! | Believe The Gospel