Because of the importance of this ongoing disagreement, I plan on posting a series introducing and evaluating this controversy. We will begin by seeking to understand both sides. After this, their positions need to be examined and analyzed by Scripture and reason. Finally, we need to see the implications of this debate in evangelism and witnessing. This controversy is an important one--it covers the very nature of the gospel itself. Consequently, the discussion and understanding is an important one, and will be beneficial to all who serve Christ and desire to accurately share His truth with others.
One must begin by coming to an understanding of each position. The magnitude of this debate requires a careful consideration of the issues at stake. As one of the primary contemporary proponents of the free grace view asserts, "The 'gospel' that results from such theology [the lordship salvation position] cannot avoid the anathema of Galatians 1:8, 9. This is a serious charge. But it is made thoughtfully and with much grief that it is necessary to make it at all" (Zane C. Hodges, The Gospel Under Siege, 2nd ed., 144). In other words, Hodges argues that the lordship salvation view is a different gospel than that of the Bible and should be forever cursed or damned. On the other side, an advocate of lordship salvation, James Montgomery Boice, states, "This view [the free grace position] bends true biblical faith beyond recognition and offers a false assurance to people who may have given verbal assent to this reductionist type of Christianity but who are not in God's family" (James Montgomery Boice, Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace?, 141-142.). Boice maintains that the free grace view gives many individuals a false sense of security when they are not truly saved. As a result, it is a deficient gospel that does injustice to the true good news of Jesus Christ. While people from both positions admit the seriousness of their disagreements, they are due to the drastic differences between their views.
posted at 3:30 PM