Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What about Lordship Theology?

Have you ever heard someone say that Jesus must be Lord of all or he is not Lord at all? Have you ever heard someone say that if you do not make Jesus your Lord he will not be your savior? These are two statements that can be often heard from those who teach Lordship theology. Again, like in the last post of the leaven of the Pharisees, so too, there are Lordshippers in both the Pentecostal and Cessationist movements. This is a serious error in my view. Why? Because when you really think about it, if obedience to Christ proves that he is Lord or it is the way that you make him Lord then, without perfect obedience no one can be saved.

It finds its roots in the following passage that used alone is taking it out of its context. Luke 6:46  "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do what I tell you? The result of using this particular verse alone is that it robs the context. Literal context is very important in interpreting what an author or a speaker is saying. Equally important is the audience that is being addressed and the situation that is being addressed. This was spoken to Jews before the cross. Why is that important you ask? The answer is found in the situation or occasion that was being addressed. Look at the historical occasion; it was spoken to Jews who were expecting an earthly deliverer that would gather the people into a Jewish army that would expel Rome from Israel and Jerusalem. As he was calling the Jewish people to his Messiahship there was an anticipation of his kingdom. He was advocating a peaceful kingdom and many of them wanted to use the army of Israel under their anointed king to take the kingdom by force.

The real answer however comes into play after the cross and the day of Pentecost. Look at this verse from the Acts; 10:36  As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all),” after the resurrection no one can make Jesus Lord… He IS Lord… Lord of ALL! And further, look at what Paul wrote. Php 2:10-11  “so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,  (11)  and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” It should be obvious that no one can make Jesus Lord of their life. He is Lord period. The important question to ask is this; is he your savior?

Think about it saint. In this year of the Lord 2013, who is your president? The answer is Barak Obama. If I ask the same question to a Tea Party supporter the answer is the same. We cannot make Barak Obama president. It does not matter whether we like him or not he is still the president. Conversely, had Mitt Romney won the election, no matter how much we liked Barak Obama we could not make him our president. So then, quit telling people that they must make Jesus Christ their Lord. He simply is the Lord and he is the Lord of all. Trust him to be your savior and the love that you have for the Father will help you to submit to him as Lord.
The transformation process flows from love that is birthed by the gospel of unconditional grace. Peace with God through Jesus Christ is the way in which God changes our stony heart into a heart of flesh. Lordship theology works in the opposite way. It forces us to legalistic obedience and therefore is obvious error.


  1. I've considered this topic for many years. I read John MacArthur's book in the late 80s, and his reasoning makes sense to me. As you state Jesus is Lord of All, he ascended to this position, sitting on the right hand of the father.

    What I see in this, and I'm sure some have gone to extremes now with this idea, is a response to the "only believe" gospel vs. the gospel of the kingdom.

    Only believism makes saying a simple prayer the only requirement to enter into a redemptive relationship with Christ. This is normally accompanied with a once saved always saved doctrine, that says that no matter how a person lives after their salvation prayer, they are saved. Therefor there is no need for a person's life to change, no need for works of repentance, no need for holy living, just confess with your mouth, and you are saved and on your way to heaven.

    Often these same easy believism teachers teach a second work of grace, where later, some time after a person accepts Jesus as savior, they make Jesus lord of their life also, in some kind of deeper surrender.

    What I got from John's book is that when we are saved, we come to Christ who is Lord and Savior. We come for the whole kingdom, not just to be saved. His thesis is that we should be teaching the whole gospel of the kingdom.

    I did not get from him some idea that one had to do works of obedience to be saved, but rather that saving faith produces works of obedience and righteousness. At least that is how it has worked in my thinking.

    In my view, if we teach that Christ is our Lord and Redeemer, that when we are "saved" we enter into the kingdom relationship that has great benefits and requirements, we teach a discipleship that encourages the learning of what our Lord requires of us.

    It is not a matter of making Jesus Lord, or even of making his Savior. HE IS LORD AND SAVIOR, that is a fact that can not be changed, whether one accepts it or not. Being saved is a matter of entering into a kingdom relationship with the one true Lord and Savior. That is what I think is the heart of lordship theology. Again some may have taken this to extremes in their theology.

  2. Hi Kent,
    Thanks for reading. I don't find much that I disagree with in what you have written. There is a big difference between easy believism as you call it and real faith. Real faith is not easy... it is impossible for us without the Father's intervention. However, clinging on to Jesus no matter what is the way that we persevere. Any love obedience that is demonstrated is the result of peace with God from the unconditional gospel of grace. I am not nearly so accepting of John MacArthur and his meanings and motives in "The Gospel According to Jesus."

    As a whole, I think that evangelical/orthodox Christian doctrine has totally missed the mark in transformation and obedience. Thanks again for the comment.


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