A friend, Paul, wondered at a comment I made that I use commentaries by people who hold to Lordship Salvation:
I was reading your most recent blog Recommended Bible Study Tools, and at the conclusion of listing several lexicons, concordances, Bible dictionaries and commentaries, you indicated that many of these resources do not come from a Free Grace perspective. I have personally struggled often with the concept that scholars such as yourself and others who spend their lives interpreting, dissecting, reading, and praying over the understanding of the Scriptures can come to a completely different understanding of the most important decision (believing in Christ) a human being makes in this life. It often creates doubt in my assurance, questioning God as to why confusion is allowed on such an important decision pertaining to faith in His Son?
I remember that in seminary, I had an assignment to read various journal articles and write brief summaries. On many of them I wrote something like, “His perspective is so skewed by works-salvation thinking as to make this article practically worthless.” My professor thought the comment was funny, but he thought I should learn to find little nuggets even in authors who held to works salvation.
Paul’s reaction is understandable. I do not read the writings of the cults (unless I’m writing an article about them). But it is possible for a person to be wrong about the saving message and yet be orthodox in most of the rest of his theology. People who hold to Reformed Lordship Salvation, which is mainly the commentators I read, are typically conservative. So, while they are wrong on the most important issue, the message of life, they will likely be right in their comments on many verses of Scripture.
But the question is a good one. Why, indeed, does God allow confusion on the faith-alone message when this is the most important message?
Based on the way that the Lord Jesus interacted with the Pharisees, it seems that God allowed such confusion because He wanted people to be willing to believe in the Lord Jesus. Note John 5:40, “But you are not willing to come to Me (= you are not willing to believe in Me, John 6:35) that you may have life.”
God has given us a Bible that is clear but which is capable of being distorted. The Pharisees misread the OT. Lordship Salvation people misread the NT. God wants people to seek Him (Acts 10:1-48; 17:27; Heb 11:6).
God could have given us a Bible that had 660 books. There could be books on Mormonism, Catholicism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Eastern Orthodoxy, Lordship Salvation, evangelism (oh, wait, He already gave us that book, the Gospel of John), inerrancy, the Pretrib Rapture, Dispensationalism, faith, eternal security, contemplative theology, and every subject we will ever encounter. But He only gave us 66 books. We have what we need. But we need to seek to find.
The majority of people are not normally right.
I think the majority of people we hear in the media are wrong about the police, Covid-19, socialism, communism, abortion, sexual ethics, economics, etc. Why should it be any surprise that most Bible commentators are wrong about the saving message? In all aspects of life, we need to be discerning.