Recently, a pastor friend sent me a blog with an interesting title, “10 Flavors of Works-Based Salvation.” It is by Pastor Ed Moore of North Shore Baptist Church in Bayside, NY. You can read the article here.
I agree with eight of the ten flavors Moore cites. The first four are salvation by philanthropy, works of service, works of ritual (confession, confirmation, communion, baptism, etc.), and works of comparison. Moore is right on the money on all these points.
I disagree with his points five and six because in those points, Moore essentially contradicts what he says in the other eight. More on that in a moment.
His last four points are salvation by works of restitution, works of affliction, works of meditation, and works of seeking affirmation. These are great points.
Moore’s conclusion is also great: “So come to Christ, but come to him with nothing.”
But then there are points five and six.
The fifth point has an odd-sounding title, “The Work of Comprehension.” That title puts up red flags for me. It would be fine if Moore meant that that it is not enough to comprehend or understand the saving message, we must also be convinced that it is true. But what he means is that believing is not enough:
Your elders listen as he or she describes trusting in Christ alone…
But then some time passes. And their life proves that all they knew were the facts. But truthfully, we could teach a parrot to say the facts. Jesus told us that not everyone who says ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven. We need to remember that. There are many today who are unsaved and on the way to hell and yet have a very correct understanding of the gospel (italics added).
Whenever someone says that a person’s life proves whether or not he really believes in Christ, he has contradicted the message of John 3:16—even if his whole point in a message is that salvation from eternal condemnation is not by works!
The sixth point is called “The Work of Decision.” I agree with Moore that decisionism is wrong. He is right that people are not born again by walking an aisle or praying a prayer. But while denouncing decisionism, Moore indicates that in order to be saved I must acknowledge Jesus as “my Lord and Savior.” The issue in salvation is believing in Jesus for everlasting life, not acknowledging Him as my Lord and Savior.
Overall, I like Moore’s article. But his fifth and sixth flavors are bitter. He undoes in those flavors the good points he made in the other eight.