Is Protestantism the Greatest Lie of All Time?
For centuries, Protestants have joined churches and answered the altar calls in order to obtain “salvation.” The assumption has always been that salvation changes people. Pastors of Protestant churches even lament over people who lack commitment and only want “fire insurance.” They also call for a life testimony that matches their confession. Fed up with hypocrisy in the church, millions of Protestants sang the praises of John MacArthur Jr.’s “Lordship Salvation” movement spawned in 1988.
Curiously, this put MacArthur at odds with Bible-thumping Baptists who objected to MacArthur’s suggestion that a true confession requires a commitment to obey the Bible rather than a mere mental assent to gospel facts about Christ. Supposedly, a commitment to good works in one’s confession is tantamount to salvation by works and not faith alone, a Reformation no-no. Because few Protestants really know what the Reformation was really about, the Lordship controversy raged for years with no definitive outcome.
The Protestant Reformation was NEVER about individual transformation. Instead, it was about the extreme opposite. The real Protestant gospel was about growing in one’s understanding of how large the gulf is between God’s holiness and man’s depravity. This is a salvation process that begins with basic knowledge concerning man’s evil and God’s good (the knowledge of good and evil), and one grows in their salvation as they see the degree of discrepancy between man’s evil and God’s good. Therefore, one’s growth in salvation is determined by their increased appreciation of what Christ did for us, not anything we do. Growth in salvation is therefore determined by our “increase of gratitude” regarding the gospel. I believe this to be a form of the very religion that the serpent presented to Eve in the garden; the knowledge of good and evil.
True salvation, according to authentic Protestantism, begins with recognizing that man can only be evil, and only God can be good. Growth in salvation is determined by one’s understanding of the following: the degree of difference between the two.
Hence, according to the true Reformation gospel, God’s righteousness is purely substitutionary. This is Martin Luther’s “alien righteousness.” Now, what Protestants ASSUME is the following: “Well, but of course, before we were saved we had no righteousness of our own.” Um, no, the Protestant gospel demands an alien righteousness throughout the salvation PROCESS while salvation (being justified before God) requires a “righteousness outside of us.” Our righteousness (justification) is therefore said to be a mere “legal declaration.”
The new birth is then relegated to a mere gift that enables one to perceive (only) God’s holiness as set against our wickedness. That’s the Protestant gospel plain and simple and it’s not even arguable. And I do believe it is the “knowledge of good and evil” religion that eventually led to Platonism and Gnosticism. Am I saying that Protestantism is founded on Gnosticism? Well, that’s black and white church history for anybody to read at their convenience.
What are the results of all of this? Church. The message on the digital sign facing the highway in front of the church reads, “Real Christians Act Like Christians,” but inside in the milieu of debauchery we hear, “We are all just sinners saved by grace.” This is Martin Luther’s Simul Justus et Peccator or “simultaneously saint and sinner.” The deliberate deception using people’s assumptions suggests some kind of paradox, but what is really being stated follows: the righteousness of “believers” is only a legal declaration while the “believer” remains totally depraved. Your sainthood status is increased by seeing more of your totally depraved state of being.
Those who believe they are totally depraved will either act out accordingly or tolerate those who do. The church is therefore made up of four groups of people: the reprobate, the confused, the enablers (“But for the grace of God there go I”), and those who haven’t been caught yet.
The answer is a return to the true biblical gospel that recognizes a transformative salvation. This is the meeting together of God’s family in a true family setting as opposed to giving the family model lip service. This is a mutual edification that encourages good works that glorify our Father.