A Glimpse at Faithfulness
There are quite a few things that get people worked up in church. There are also quite a few doctrines that can start a straight up brawl. Sacraments, eschatology, soteriology and carpet color all come to mind. Some of the finer debates within these topics accomplish the grand finale of someone, somewhere using the "H" word.
Now I've never been called a heretic publically. But I definetly hold to some things that other people deem heretical. One only needs to spend a couple solid days on the internet to realize someone, somewhere thinks what you believe is crazy. If you're lucky you'll find out you're a "heretic" and you get to spend all day making jokes.
My mildly strong Calvinism aside, one of the bigger H-Targets on my back has been "Lordship Salvation". This is the idea that one cannot be saved without a full acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord. Romans 10:9 is typically the proof text quoted. Back in the day, the great irritant on the Lorship Salvation side was John MacArthur. Johnny Mac was responding directly to Dispensational Evangelicalism that resulted in "easy believism". Easy Believism is commonly summarized as salvation on the mere emotional or mental conclusion that one needs a Savior and that Savior is Jesus Christ.
Well I've been on the Lordship side for awhile. Our church has been on that side for awhile. And we've lost our fair share of members due to the "un-Biblical legalism" that is found in our teaching. Though at times this is funny it is also very sad.
No truly Reformed person could ever be accused of Easy Believism. But when the "heretic" (note the word again) Norman Shepherd began to teach Justification by a "living, active and obedient faith" he was accused of justification by works and a denial of the gospel. I am not here to make a defense for Dr Shepherd. His work speaks for itself; and for those who deem him a heretic, his works dug his grave long ago. But one of the fascinating verses in all of this is found within the letter to the Hebrews.
And being made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him. - Hebrew 5:9
This text is a problem for Easy Believism. Christ is only the source of salvation for those who obey. The book of Hebrews, I have found, is simply too Jewish for Christians to enjoy it. It's too "works oriented" for Protestants to teach it without controversy. It's too glorious in its exaltation of Jesus Christ to ignore it. And so we have here this little gem that sits as a crack in many modern theologies: "eternal salvation to all who obey Him".