The Lordship of Christ: The Crowning Truth of Faith -- By: Kurt Anders Richardson

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 12:2 (Spring 1995)
Article: The Lordship of Christ: The Crowning Truth of Faith
Author: Kurt Anders Richardson

The Lordship of Christ:
The Crowning Truth of Faith

Kurt Anders Richardson

Assistant Professor of Christian Theology
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, NC 27587

Jesus is Lord! is the great confession of faith from the believing heart made possible only by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3).1 Who says this and does not believe? Some recent evangelical interpreters have struggled over this very question. Can there be faith without obedience? How long can disobedience persist so that the claim of faith is nullified? But these are very old questions for the Christian churches. Not really about heresy, the question of Christian confession and disobedience is more about church discipline. There may be “politically correct”2 situations where some might make this confession without sincerity, but I will not comment on this problem here. This article will endeavor to lay out key features of Christian teaching about the lordship of Christ. The lordship of Christ concerns more than a single point in theology-it covers every theological point. As evangelicals we are most concerned about the soteriological one. Can one have Christ as Savior but not as Lord?3 My conclusion will be perhaps surprising: one can have Christ as Lord without having Him as Savior. In this essay, I wish to consider Christ’s lordship in an effort to answer such a question according to the sense of Scripture and the best of Christian theology.

Let us be very clear about the great acclamation: “Jesus is Lord.” It is meant to sum up the whole of faith: truth and life, its objectivity and subjectivity. Amazingly, Paul does not personalize this acclamation for us with the word “my” or even “our.” Why is this? Because Jesus is Lord with or without the faith of a particular person or people. Professing faith can never contribute to the fact of His lordship, but only offer its response in agreement and surrender to it. Clearly, through the many centuries, there are those who would take this “good confession”(cf. 1 Tim. 6:12) and attempt to add something to it, e.g., good works or traditional formalities. But this good confession does not call for something more; rather it calls for all about Him to be proclaimed to all for His sake. Paul became painfully aware that there would be perversions of the gospel of Jesus (cf. Gal. 1:6ft.). But this never prevented him from returning to the simple confession of His lordship. Never short on words, Paul struggled with all his abili...

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