Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Failure to Profit from Lordship Salvation's Interpretation of the Parables

Dear readers, I wish to finish up with James. Life is busy! In the meantime I hope that this article which is the introduction of a paper I am doing on parables will be of benefit to you.

Much confusion arises from the interpretation of parables. Error and bad doctrine are expounded from them. The presuppositions of deductionistic theology are inserted into the parables in the form of secondary assumptions in order to twist the meaning of these stories to fit one’s doctrine.

Parables contain a simple message, yet it is granted there may need to be much study to arrive at it. Careful attention to the words of the parable in conjunction with an analogy of faith that has been constructed from the simple affirmations and passages of the Scriptures will net good results.

Lordship Salvation Reformed soteriologists interpret the parables in light of their false doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints. It is presupposed that all true Christians will persevere in faith and good works until the end of their lives. This doctrine they bring to the text of the parables. For instance, in the parables of the talents and the minas (Mt 25:14ff; Lu 19:12ff, respectively) the last of the servants is considered unsaved because they failed to persevere, even though Jesus calls them the master’s “own servants” (doesn’t Jesus know who His true servants are? See 2 Tim 2:19), and even though the master imparts unto them gifts (which has correspondence to the spiritual gifts that the Son and the Spirit impart to believers; does Jesus impart unto false professors spiritual gifts?). In the parable of the faithful and evil servant (Mt 24:45-51) the evil servant who says within himself that his master delays his coming is considered unsaved because he wasn’t ready when his master came, in other words, he didn’t persevere until the end. Yet the text is clear that the servant is the same servant considered in the first portion of the parable. The parable reads “but if that self-same [ekeinos: a demonstrative pronoun used with a reference previously mentioned] servant says in his heart…” (Author’s translation of Lu 12:45a). Also, he is a servant of the master, and as we have pointed out, he is no spurious servant merely pretending; the master knew him! More can be said about this from the parables of the wise and foolish builder (Mt 7:24ff), the marriage feast (Mt 22:2ff), and the ten virgins (Mt 25:1ff), etc.

What these Lordship Salvationist interpreters have done is import into these parables their own doctrine with disastrous results. Assurance is robbed from those who are weak in the faith or need encouragement because their works do not meet with the subjective criterion laid out to them by these Reformed advocates. Furthermore, there is a failure to profit from these parables. Much of the teaching in these parables are for warning the regenerate from backsliding, cautioning them to be vigilant in waiting for the Lord and being about the duties of investing in His business. Reformed people believe that perseverance is inevitable for the elect, therefore it is impossible that they should fail to persevere. The warnings are therefore not directed to the elect, but to the spurious saint whose works betray an unregenerate state. The bottom line is that there is no remedy for any case. The elect will persevere, undoubtedly and inevitably, therefore any warning is superfluous and erroneous. But the spurious reprobate has no recourse whatsoever. He can try to work and endure to the end, but he has been chosen for hell and any form of godliness that he has will prove in the end to be merely evanescent. The real irony of the matter is that no one can tell for certain if they are elect, for he 1) does not know if Christ died for him personally, and 2) he has not reached the end of his life, therefore there is still an opportunity for him to “fall away,” proving that he had never been regenerated; that he was only a spurious saint who had a “temporary faith”. It truly is a no-win situation. What, therefore, is gleaned from such an understanding of the parables? Exactly this:

One must strive with all endurance to persevere until the end in faith and works or he will wind up in hell.

In other words, the effect is, “bear fruit and endure in it or burn.” But this is nothing but works-salvation, a works-righteousness! A failure to truly profit from these parables is evident. The fear and caution of these parables ought not to be that if one does not persevere in one’s confession and good works he will go to hell, but if one does not persevere to the end, that he will suffer shame and eternal loss at Christ’s glorious appearance.


Blogger Mike Messerli said...

I just found your site. Thanks for the thoughts. I will be back.
By the way...just to make you a little jealous...we have Bob Wilkin speaking at our church for a few weeks....it's been great fun.

June 11, 2007 7:00 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...


Great to have you here. I really love Bob. I have had the pleasure of meeting him a couple of times. Please come again!


June 12, 2007 8:03 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

You did keep us waiting a long time for this Antonio, but thanks for finally writing a new post.

God Bless


June 13, 2007 12:24 AM  
Blogger Jon Lee said...

Great post Antonio!

June 15, 2007 5:11 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

The bottom line is that there is no remedy for any case.

No kidding! That is the glaring problem with the whole system for me. I just can't get past the lack of remedy. It is all over the place.

June 18, 2007 10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey Antonio, I promised that I would drop in on your blogsite someday. sadly, I have not had time to read your lexical studies, but I'll do my best. also, I have re-posted my critique of "Hodgism", the one you couldn't finish. I tried to make it shorter, more readable, and more to the point. have another go and let me know what you think. I notice that self-described Free Grace folk are wrangling over the question of what one has to believe to be saved. does this mark the emergence of hyper-Hodgism? I think that there are also some who think that faith is a choice, but are afraid to come out of the closet. any thoughts?

June 20, 2007 8:06 PM  

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