Updated: Nov 29, 2022
False professions are at a pandemic level. Many children growing up in some realm of Christianity are without understanding of the true gospel. What is being presented as the gospel is mostly not, including what is found in most “gospel” tracts. Some of what you’ll read is bad and then there’s what’s missing that is necessary to represent what the Bible teaches.
Is there a faith that doesn’t save? We know there is. We can see that throughout scripture, e.g. Jam 2:14-26, Simon in Ac 8:13-24, Demas in 2 Tim 4:10, false believers or disciples in Jn 2:23-25; 6:60-66; 8:30-59, most Jews in the wilderness (e.g. Ps 78; 106; Ac 7:51-53; 2 Cor 3:7-16; Heb 3:7-19), etc.
And what is the faith that does not save? There are different elements to it, but essentially it is the faith that demons have (Jam 2:19). Their faith is intellectual, that is, mere assent to facts. Demons know who God is, know who Jesus is, they know the scriptures, and tremble. The demons trembled when Jesus came on the scene and walked upon the earth. They cried out in fear, and fell down before Him. Why? Because they knew who Jesus was. So a change of mind isn't a faith or repentance that saves. It isn't a faith produced by the Word of God. I'm not sure what is a more dangerous false gospel (Gal 1:6-9), the one that adds to grace or the one that is merely intellectual.
2 Peter deals with this type of false gospel. The lascivious, those walking after their own lusts, have trouble with having a Lord, with having an authority over them like a Boss. They deny the Lord who bought them (2 Pet 2:1), which characterizes the apostate. They want a salvation that doesn’t include Lordship. And the term "Lord" in 2 Pet 2:1 is a uniquely authoritative term. It is “despotes,” the strongest word for "Lord." These unsaved turn the grace of God into lasciviousness (Ju 1:4). They want salvation without a Boss. Having that Ultimate Boss clashes with their lust. And this is a denial of the Word of God, which presents Jesus as the King, Messiah, God, Creator and the One having dominion, that is, the Son of Man of Dan 7:13-14.
What we see today is the gospel dumbed and watered down to where Jesus only needs to be received as Saviour, not Lord. The two biggest ways that both "believe" and "Jesus Christ" are perverted today are related to one other. The gospel is corrupted when "believe" does not include true repentance and "Jesus Christ" does not include Him as Lord. If repentance is mentioned, its typically false where it becomes a mere change of mind or synonymous with faith. Jesus’ Lordship is thrown to the curb-side, and He becomes “another Jesus” (2 Cor 11:4). Jesus is the way to the Father (Jn 14:6). You can't get there going your way, and your way happens to be idolatrous and rebellious until then (Rom 1:18-32).
Jesus will save indeed. He's the Saviour (2 Pet 3:18) but the thrust of His saving message was about Him as King (Jn 12:13), Lord (Phil 2:11), God (Jn 20:28), the Son of God (Ps 2:6-12), and the promised Messiah (Jn 1:12-13). The lost who genuinely desire salvation can’t receive a divided “Christ” who is only Saviour; they must receive Him as God, Lord, King, and Saviour — both as Redeemer and Ruler. The emphasis in Scripture is on receiving Christ as Lord. He is Saviour no doubt but the specific title Savior (“Soter”) is found only 39 times in the entire Bible (24 in the NT), not once in Romans and only twice in Acts (we don’t get “Saviour” till 5:31) while the title of "Lord" 675 times in NT alone.
“Lord” is the Greek equivalent to the Hebrew “Yahweh” or “Jehovah.” This is the Divine name for God. 90 times in Acts Jesus is called Lord and only twice Saviour. The preaching of Lordship of Jesus is all the way through the gospels, Acts, the epistles, and OT as well. In all of those initial messages of Peter in the book of Acts, it was Lord—Ac 2:20-21, 25, 34, 36, 39; 3:19, 22; 4:24, 26, 29, 33. Throughout Acts on every page you‘ll see the Apostles thundering "Jesus is Lord.” And what was John the Baptist preaching in Jn 1:23? “Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.” So we see its the same message as the OT prophets. Of course it would be! Salvation has never changed.
This is also noted everywhere in scripture in all the testimonies found therein, along with all these passages where Christ is preaching His gospel to the lost multitudes: e.g. Matt 10:32-39; 14:24-26; Mk 8:34-38; 10:17-31; Lk 5:1-10; 9:23-26, 57-62; 18:10-30; 19:1-10, 12-27; Jn 12:24-26; etc. This is not mere semantics or lip service, it is the difference between the true Jesus of the Bible and “another Jesus” (2 Cor 11:4) and between true salvation and false salvation. This subject, which dovetails with repentance, is the major cause of false professions today and they are many. The sinner must be willing to relinquish control of his life to be a follower and servant of Jesus Christ.
There aren’t two types of salvation in the Bible. “Lordship salvation” is the only saving message, it’s the old paths (Jer 6:16) of the apostles and our forefathers (Baptists/Anabaptists) over the last two millennia. You can easily see that in their doctrinal statements (those that survived Rome’s wrath): e.g. Schleitheim Confession (1527), The Baptist Orthodox Creed (1679), London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689), Baptist Philadelphia Confession of Faith (1742). The title “Lordship salvation” was actually given as a pejorative by inventors of a new salvation to replace the Biblical plan of salvation historically taught. The new salvation denies or undermines repentance and Christ’s Lordship.
Nowhere in the Bible is anyone being saved by calling upon Jesus only as Saviour. True repentance stems from Lordship. Jesus said that if you did not repent, you would perish (Lk 13:1-9). He said if you believe, you won't perish (Jn 3:15-16). True repentance is the catalyst to saving faith (Ac 3:19 and 4:4; Matt 21:28-32). They are two separate doctrines, but they go together for salvation and they dovetail with Christ’s Lordship. When someone confesses Jesus is Lord, he isn't lord anymore, but Jesus is Lord (Rom 10:9-10; Phil 2:10-11). This isn't mere words. When he confesses Jesus as Lord, he's relinquishing control of his life. He loses his temporal life for eternal life (Jn 12:24-25).
True saving faith is faith that is founded upon true repentance which involves the volition (the will), emotions and intellect (Ac 20:21; Mk 1:1-20; 1 Th 1:9). It is faith that submits to and obeys the gospel (Is 1:18-20; 2 Th 1:7; Rom 10:16; 1 Pet 4:17); that surrenders to the Lordship of Christ (Lk 14:25–15:32; Phil 2:13-14); that loses ones life, dies to self and denies self, for Christ and the gospels sake (Jn 11:25; Matt 10:39; 16:25; Mk 8:35; Lk 9:24); that exchanges masters (Matt 6:24); that puts on the cross of Christ (Matt 10:38; 16:24; Mk 8:34; Lk 9:23; 14:27); that originates from a poor, broken and contrite heart (Matt 5:3) that seeks to be cleansed and purified (Jam 4:8; 1 Cor 6:11).
Many professions of faith will be gotten by means of false gospel that isn’t focused on repentance and Christ’s Lordship. People are willing to get “salvation” for intellectual assent. They are fine with that. So what happens? This less than saving gospel is presented and then received, which produces a “decision.” The decision is called salvation. The professions validates the work and message of the false preachers. They think they're more spiritual and obedient because they get more decisions. For the leaders, it is easier to get workers, because it reduces preaching to a human effort. You can have an unsaved person present the false gospel.
It doesn't take faith and obedience to present it, it requires no godly wisdom, and yet it is given credit as being faithful. It really is a bait and switch. Someone is offered something said to be salvation, but it's actually a placebo. The whole system glorifies man, is man-centred and makes false professors two-fold children of hell. For someone to be truly saved, he believes in Jesus, he receives Jesus Christ Who is Lord, Saviour and God. You aren't receiving one or two selective attributes of Jesus and still receiving Him. If He isn't Lord, then He isn't Jesus. Leaving out Lordship is turning the grace of God into lasciviousness. Yes this is a false gospel. It’s a grace and a faith that doesn’t save.
Is it possible that non-Lordship or Saviour-only evangelists" have simply spread apostasy throughout the land, explaining the many “professions,” and yet so much godlessness? Indeed it is. They’ve inoculated or turned people from the true gospel. The no Lordship with the false repentance is actually a diabolical attack on the gospel and uncovers the heresy of easy-believism that doesn’t save. It’s a lie that should be rejected wholesale. What it has also produced is a pandemic of child false “professions.” Though their fruit may eventually reveal itself (though it may be deceptive, i.e. Matt 7:22-23), sometimes it can take years because of the nature of the child and the parent/child relationship.
The requirements for true saving faith doesn’t change between adults and children, yet the tendency is to dumify the gospel message into something that is easier palatable by children; and a quick “decision” prayer later, they are certified as saved. A sinner has "repented," so, I guess, heaven is rejoicing too. Even when the professions don’t stick, apparently that doesn't mean they weren't saved, since salvation doesn't come by works. Then hopefully in the future, some fruit will show after the professor is dedicated and Jesus becomes his Lord, that is, he participates in some sort of “sanctification repentance." However, this is no prodigal returning, not even like the prodigal's return.
Almost any problem in a church that takes this position on “repentance” can be chalked up to a lack of dedication. There isn’t an expectation of biblical living, because here's a person who has made it only through the first tier, where Jesus is his Saviour. And then along comes the unrestrained day their true nature and rebellion has opportunity to express itself, but then salvation is even further corrupted by treating them as one temporarily fallen away and out of “fellowship” with God. The answer then becomes “rededication” or “revival.” He can't get saved by works so works are not expected, because works can't be "front-loaded." His continued carnality occurs because he hasn't yet grown enough. At some point in the future hopefully he will, after he gets dedicated. This also is evil. Noted is that salvation is corrupted and perverted in all its realms, from means of salvation to its effects, in what it produces, along with the consequential false sanctification. Yet many rejoice in the profession of faith. These “decisions” do not have “fruit meet for repentance” (Matt 3:8) but corrupt/evil fruit grown on a corrupt tree (Matt 7:15-20) regardless how much they attempt to hide their unconverted estate, and lest they be truly converted, they shall be “hewn down, and cast into the fire” for Christ’s “axe is laid unto the root of the tree” (Matt 3:10).
Much gospel preaching today is focused on Jesus as Saviour. Faced with the alternative, people very often want to go to heaven — they want to be saved from hell. Jesus will save them and it's free, so they don't have to work for it and really can't work for it. They just take the gift by “accepting Jesus as Saviour.” The alter call is made, elevator music put on, guilt poured on those not walking the sawdust trail, eyes are closed hands are raised (those desiring salvation), sinners prayer offered (by self and preacher) to “receive Christ as Saviour.” Conspicuously absent in all this is repentance and Lordship. This was recently heard in a sermon by Reg Kelly (“Hell of Hell”). This represents the serious issue I’m addressing here. Receiving a divided Jesus with a false faith. Fabricated and artificial finish lines. In that same sermon by Kelly it was said that “America’s in trouble because preachers quit preaching the whole counsel of God.” Thats only partially true. Americas in trouble because of all the false believers secondary to the rampant false gospel preaching, but that is not what he meant. The result is masses of mostly unsaved people playing church, including pastors. Unregenerate people pretending to be something they’re not. We are seeing the effects of a false salvation that has been spreading like a malignant virus, so they’re not hearing and receiving the true gospel, but a placebo. And most like to have it so.
If a person has prayed the sinners prayer to accept Jesus as His Saviour, according to the above presentation, he's saved. According to many, he has also repented, because he isn't trusting in himself any more and that's about which he needed to change his mind in order to be saved (a perverted definition of repentance). In many gospel presentations, the sinner changes his mind about the direction of his faith — not himself or his religious beliefs anymore but now Jesus. This is how it reads on many tracts and website offerings from the many churches advocating this position. This is not repentance. Men design “plans of salvation” that will be to varying degrees more acceptable to someone.
They fall short of a biblical gospel, but many think people will grasp them easier and more likely accede to their requirements. Just praying a prayer is very easy to grasp and requires nothing, except perhaps a small amount of mental assent to certain propositions. Turning the gospel into repeating a prayer corrupts the gospel. The adherents to this method would call it “simple.” The plan of salvation isn’t too hard to understand, but scripture doesn’t call it “simple.” It isn’t simple in the sense they mean it. Praying a prayer is simple, but that’s also not what the gospel is. Chapters 1-11 of Hebrews and chapters 1-5 of Romans are the plan of salvation. Those two sections aren’t “simple”, as explained by those who simplify to the extent that it isn’t the gospel any more. Making it “simple” doesn’t make it more Biblical or gracious or loving to the sinner. People who make it "hard" apparently don't love as much. Hard, difficulty also allegedly speaks of works and that isn't grace. Love and grace are both what the Bible says they are. If they're not hard, it's because God is working and enabling. It's not loving, however, if they aren’t actually biblical and if it isn't actually salvation, and God's grace doesn't purvey something short of the truth. Salvation is impossible for a human being, so everyone needs grace to be saved. It's easy insofar that the yoke is Jesus' yoke and the burden is Jesus' burden to carry.
Much erroneous preaching is taking a very selective reading of passages out of context and then extrapolating a tactic from it. Even if such are convinced now that what they’re saying is true, it is deception of the worst possible kind. Anyone who believes this, and then later goes to hell, I'm pretty sure will be thinking it was a false gospel while he's serving his eternal sentence there.
What I am presenting here is fairly normal preaching and practice in most churches today including the IFB, including Pembina Valley Baptist Church and Canadian Baptist Bible College (pastored and presided by Mike Sullivant). Of course “evangelical” churches are even further removed from all this, preaching an even more corrupted gospel, one that entwines lasciviousness (Ju 1:4).
Since sin is against God, we want to go His way. We don't take His life and keep ours too. The disconnect of Lord from Saviour and dumbing down of repentance — I get how people will like it more. Their biggest problem is having a Boss, so not having one is good news to them. Eternal life, plus their own way. Yes? No! It’s heresy, damnable heresy! And it’s the major cause of the monstrosity of false professions that fill the churches today. People need to take heed to this if they care about souls.
I honestly can’t react to this false gospel harshly enough. We are commanded to shun and expose false doctrine (Rom 16:17). No one should have any association with this false doctrine but immediately separate from it and churches and teachers that teach this. By not, you’re only enabling a corrupted perversion of the gospel to spread like a blight with its proselytization making lost people two-fold children of hell. “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways” (2 Pet 2:1-2).
We must preach true repentance and Jesus as Lord, not only as Saviour. People have to accept Jesus as Lord, which requires surrender, and show repentance. People have to know what they're getting into. They must count the cost (Lk 14:25–15:32). They have to know Who Jesus is to truly believe in Him. They must repent. Repentance is a change of the will that results in a change of action, which is a wholesale turning from sin/self/stuff/people, with the will and mind and emotions involved, and the will (volition) correlates to Lordship. Salvation includes the kingdom of God and the eternal state. Jesus will be King, in charge, and we give into that now. That's the threshold by which we get forgiveness that we desperately want. If unsaved people will one day give into that, by bowing the need and “confess[ing] that Jesus Christ is Lord,” how much the more today if one wants to be saved (Phil 2:10-11)?
Seek that Gospel which rips up and tears and cuts and wounds and hacks and even kills, for that is the Gospel that heals and comforts and makes alive again. And when you have found it, give good heed to it. Let it enter into your inmost being. As the rain soaks into the ground, so pray the Lord to let his Gospel soak into your soul.
Are you unsaved? Read here how you can be truly saved and stop pretending.