The Great Salvation Debates: Lordship and Once Saved Always Saved

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Dr. Brown takes up the perennial questions of whether you can have Jesus as Savior while rejecting Him as Lord and whether it is possible for a true believer to lose their salvation. Listen live here 2-4 pm EST, and call into the show at (866) 348 7884 with your questions and comments.


Hour 1:

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: Take comfort, be assured in your relationship with The Lord, and fear not for if you have set your heart on serving Him, He will keep you faithful to the end. If you play games then fear!

Hour 2:

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: God who started the work will finish the work. Put your trust in Him, don’t try to push open the emergency door in the plane and commit spiritual suicide! Let Him get you safely to your destination.



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Other Resources:

The Once Saved Always Saved Debate

The Gospel of Martyrdom vs. The Gospel of Success

Is Repentance Necessary for Salvation? And, Holiness vs. Legalism

  1. Revelation says you can be blotted out of the book of life…if you’re in the book you’re saved…so you can lose your salvation

  2. One of my seminary professors used to talk about “theology from above” and “theology from below.”

    I found this very helpful in reconciling the seemingly contradictory verses on things like the permanence of salvation.

    The bible gives both the perspective of God “from above” or from the perspective of humans “from below.”

    “Once saved, always saved” is the perspective of God, who knows us now and in the future.

    But “working out our salvation” is a human perspective by us who live only in the now.

  3. Greg,

    While I can appreciate the idea that your seminary professor has posited in an attempt to reconcile the apparent contradictions, I do not believe the Bible presents salvation as such.

    The Scriptures present salvation from a synergistic standpoint – thus the reason why man is held accountable with the gift that has been granted to him. G-d’s relationship with mankind has been established on a conditional basis from the beginning of our existence in the garden of Eden, and has thus been continued with all of the prominent covenants throughout our generations on this earth.


  4. “He who disobeys the Son won’t see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” John 3:36

  5. Perseverance of the Saints and OSAS are two different things has I have heard you say Mr Brown, and Keith Thompson, an apologist and a friend of mine has said the same thing. I would differ with him on POTS, but he and I challenged a person on OSAS. Sadly, that person has gone into the idea of “You can go to a strip club every night”. It’s so sad. I mean this idea of living in sin so that grace will be abound, it is an absurd ideology. I pray some are freed from this idea.

  6. Dr. Brown,
    “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
    -Philippians 3:21

    If “salvation” isn’t finished today, and “salvation” is “not by works, lest any man should boast”, how does it not add exerting effort/works, and the sin of boasting, to say “you’ll go to hell if you don’t live a life of obedient living”?

    Aren’t I purchasing my salvation by working, then?

  7. “The Gospel of Martyrdom vs. The Gospel of Success”

    I know Im supposed to hold it in about fellow brothers in the cause but when I see them big ole Gary Busey smiles saying “if youre good with Jesus youll have a mansion and a lear jet”, that just cant be right.

    Im not saying that those with health and wealth havent burdens and temptations–in many ways theyve more–but to connect Messiah and some trendy idea of a path to material wealth, well, its too easy. Explain the 5 year old with cancer. Sure, some people earn their misery–overeating, alcohol, whatever–but a 5 year old? We often think what is it I did, but maybe we are being used at times to test others. Is that at all possible?

  8. Dr. Brown is unfortunately promoting Lordship salvation and that is heresy. He probably got it from John MacArthur. He wanted one verse, well, here’s one:

    Romans 11:6

    New King James Version (NKJV)

    6 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace.[a] But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.

    As you can see, grace and works are mutually exclusive. It is very disheartening to see someone I hold in high esteem promote and teach such a false doctrine.

    Dr. Brown in his Lordship teaching teaches that salvation is a free gift, but then claims you must continue to do works to prove yourself truly saved. That sounds more like a down payment to me.

    Also, if one were to lose his or her salvation after already accepting the death of the Messiah on the cross and that person accepts yet again the death of the Messiah then that person is doing what the Roman Catholics do — re-crucifying Messiah over and over because apparently once is not enough. (again, according to Lordship salvation teaching)

    Thank God our going to heaven is not based on what we have done based on our works after we accepted Messiah Yeshua! (otherwise who would make it?)

  9. If you listen to Dr. Brown’s radio show regularly then you would know that he preaches against Lordship-only theology.

    When I first started listening to his reasoning of the scriptures to explain why OSAS is a false teaching I was against this teaching and a number of other teachings as well. Though I might not agree with some of his teachings, I no longer support the OSAS theology because it leaves no accountability for practicing sin after becoming born-again; the very purpose for the process of sanctification is to remove rebellious behavior, but why?

    The Spirit of God began to work on my heart two years ago outside of Dr. Browns teachings especially since I stopped listening to him. God asked me to search the scriptures without any theological comparisons like the Bereans to see if what I hold to was truth or men’s traditions.

    The reason why it is so difficult for some to accept the lose of salvation is because it is misunderstood. Salvation in scriptures is an umbrella term used in context of tribulation, sin, and eternal life. Obviously salvation from tribulation can be lost, but salvation unto eternal life is a promise and an inheritance that is still future tense and cannot be won or lost. Salvation from sin slavery where we live in the practice of sin and refuse the conviction of sin then salvation from sin is lost because of returning to practicing sin; different from a struggle.

    Eternal life is inherited at the end of the course of life by the disciples of Christ whom abide in the Anointed One and though they may have fell into riotous living, repentance and forgiveness cleanses once again. Does this become works and deeds, nope. Because only God makes us holy when we abide in Him.

    If all future sin is forgiven without willful repentance then what purpose would sanctification serve? Fellowship with the Lord is severed you say? Fellowship in the Greek states that it is not just the interaction or communion with Him but the blessings of the Lord as well.

    Seek truth and He will set you free.

  10. Daniel,

    Thanks for your post, but it’s obvious you have some serious misunderstandings here. First, I got my beliefs from Scripture, not from John MacArthur (no disrespect to him). Second, this has NOTHING to do with salvation by works. Third, to call the NT message of salvation through the Lord Jesus “heresy” is to expose very serious ignorance on your end.

    Do you want the truth? Seriously? If so, I can help you find it. You might want to start by reading my book It’s Time to Rock the Boat. I wish you God’s grace!

  11. Salvation is “by grace through faith”. So very true. But to say one is saying completed by works if not believing in OSAS is not correct. A person who does not continue to follow Jesus does not believe even though he may say he does. The word believe in many places can also be translated obey. So it is not saved by works if you do not believe in OSAS,it simply means one has ceased to accept His grace any longer, falling away from faith. It is always grace and faith, not works. There is not contradiction.

  12. The comparison of a scholarship to Harvard and salvation is a really bad one. You can lose a scholarship if you are not maintaining your grades *Aka works* or if you commit misconduct. It is promoting a maintaining your salvation through obedience and not through simply trusting in Jesus’s sacrifice. I don’t think I have really heard anyone say being saved by accepting him as savior but rejecting him as Lord. Most argue that you aren’t saved by obeying him perfectly. Many say he is either Lord of all or not at all. I have yet to meet a person alive that is 100% obedient.

  13. The main issue that I sense here among the bloggers and their reaction to Dr Brown is how do we make sense of the spiritual conditions of people who profess to be Christians but do not seem to produce spiritual fruit? Are they phony apostates who are never really saved in the first place or are they carnal believers who seem very slow to learn to let their light shine before men so that they will see their good deeds and praise their Father in Heaven?
    There are two quotes that I particularly like which I would like to share.
    The first is by Dr Charles C. Ryrie:
    Every Christian will bear spiritual fruit. Somewhere, sometime, somehow. Otherwise that person is not a believer. Every born-again individual will be fruitful. Not to be fruitful is to be faithless, without faith, and therefore without salvation.
    Having said that, some caveats are in order.
    1. This does not mean that a believer will always be fruitful. Certainly we can admit that if there can be hours and days when a believer can be unfruitful, then why may there not also be months and even years when he can be in that same condition? Paul exhorted believers to engage in good works so they would not be unfruitful (Titus 3:14). Peter also exhorted believers to add the qualities of Christian character to their faith lest they be unfruitful (2 Peter 1:8). Obviously, both of those passages indicate that a true believer might be unfruitful. And the simple fact that both Paul and Peter exhort believers to be fruitful shows that believers are not always fruitful.
    2. This does not mean that a certain person’s fruit will necessarily be outwardly evident. Even if I know the person and have some regular contact with him, I still may not see his fruit. Indeed, I might even have legitimate grounds for wondering if he is a believer because I have not seen fruit. His fruit may be very private or erratic, but the fact that I do not see it does not mean it is not there.
    3. My understanding of what fruit is and therefore what I expect others to bear may be faulty and/or incomplete. It is all too easy to have a mental list of spiritual fruits and to conclude if someone does not produce what is on my list that he or she is not a believer. But the reality is that most lists that we humans devise are too short, too selective, too prejudiced, and often extrabiblical. God likely has a much more accurate and longer list than most of us do. Nevertheless, every Christian will bear fruit; otherwise he or she is not a true believer. In speaking about the Judgment Seat of Christ, Paul says unequivocally that every believer will have praise come to him from God (1 Corinthians 4:5).

    The second quote that I would like to share is from Dr John W. Follette:
    In being patient toward all men, we must bear with the young and immature lives. We exercise this grace in nature in everyday life. We are willing to let the green apples hang on and enjoy the sunshine and rain until autumn. We patiently wait, knowing that green apples do not necessarily mean poor apples. They are good apples in process. Young Christians (and even older ones) have moods and cycles of experience, and characteristic and perfectly normal phases of growth. We have to be patient while each passes through his or her period of testing. Failure on the part of a Christian is often his greatest blessing. It breeds tolerance in his heart. Having failed, he is not so quick to judge. He is more patient and more often stands in the shadow and prays. The older we grow the more mellow our spirits become, and tolerance and understanding come into their own. Does it not take faith? Such faith is choice in His sight since it has cost the Christian his price.

    My position is that we should expect true believers to bear at least some fruit; but when fruit is not forthcoming from an individual professing Christian, there is a need to suspend immediate judgement that such an individual is necessarily a phony false believer. As Dr Ryrie had rightly observed, we do not necessarily know a person’s life well enough to make judgement on whether he is saved or lost. We may have suspicion that a person without apparent/obvious spiritual fruit could be a false professor but we should be open to the possibility that we could be wrong and we should be more than happy when our initial assumptions of that individual are proven wrong! I hope that pastors in their enthusiasm to want to see their congregation bear fruit do not become too heavy handed in their approach (especially when they preach on James 2) and be mindful that there are sincere but weak believers in their midst listening to the sermons.

  14. Losing your salvation has nothing to do with works. When a Christian opens his life up to sin, he is in danger of The sinful heart of unbelief that may cause him to depart from the Lord. (Heb 3:12). He then begins to willfully sin and hence deny Christ with his life. The book of Hebrews speaks of this extensively and warns Christian to not harden their hearts to the Word. Sin always has dangerous effects : if it kicked Lucifer out of heaven, and Adam out of Eden, he can bring Christian out of his salvation.

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