Salvation Is By Having The Right Opinion About Christ?
The tragedy within Christianity today has become an excessive reliance upon right salvation doctrine rather than what Jesus stressed: repentance-from-sin and obedience to Him (and the Law given Moses by the Father).
The church today stresses the doctrine of salvation as what saves. If there is the slightest variance from right doctrine at the onset and in how it is conveyed thereafter, then you supposedly are damned to hell.
For example, R.B. Thieme, a fundamentalist pastor and author of over one-hundred books, dogmatically expunges anything Jesus taught about salvation. Thieme, in fact, stresses the new convert to not take the steps Jesus demanded for salvation Such as cutting body parts off that cause sin or otherwise go to hell. See Mark 9:42-49. Thieme writes:
If all you’ve ever done is to add Lordship [i.e., turning in obedience to Christ] to faith, you probably are not saved, and you ought to make sure, and that is simply tell God the Father, and don’t make it long. Take about ten seconds at the most. Father, I believe in Jesus Christ. And the moment you tell Him that, you are saved. But if you add something you have cancelled it out. (R.B. Thieme Jr., Doctrine of Grace: Eternal Security (May 19, 1988) lesson 814.)
Likewise, the famous Ryrie Study Bible says that repentance from sin is “a false addition to faith” when added as a condition of salvation. (Charles Ryrie, The Ryrie Study Bible (Chicago: Moody Press, 1976) at 1950.)
Thieme and Ryrie are telling you that if you say anything more than “I believe in Jesus,” like “I submit to Jesus as Lord” (known as Lordship-salvation) or God-forbid you thought you needed to repent from sin to be saved, you are still supposedly lost. According to Thieme, you are lost for taking these allegedly false steps in addition to affirming your ‘faith in Jesus’ if you did so for salvation-sake. Thieme and Ryrie are examples of Marcionism modernized -- an heretical doctrine as long as you use Jesus as your litmus test of what is heretical or not.
However, Thieme and Ryrie are categorically wrong. Their mistake is precisely the kind of error to expect when you make ‘faith’ alone’ all there is to the salvation message.
As Kierkegaard said in 1855, the mainline churches today teach that “eternal blessedness can be bought for a song [i.e., for cheap]....a brilliant transaction.” In comparison to what Jesus taught, one can readily see these ministers’ “price is cheap, a regular selling-out price.” (Kierkegaard, Attack upon [False] Christendom (1854-55) at 51.)