A “lordship salvation” exercise

Ever heard of the “lordship salvation” controversy? Here’s a simplified version: Some believe if you’ve prayed a prayer of salvation you are a Christian. Others believe if your life shows no sign of following Jesus Christ, you’re not a Christian.


Wherever you fall on the “lordship salvation” spectrum, here’s an exercise* to get your students thinking about their own relationship to Jesus Christ.

Pick three students to stand up front. The student on the left represents a person who is following Jesus Christ. (Use your own anecdotes to describe what that looks like.) The student on the right has zero interest in Jesus Christ. Doesn’t believe at all. The student in the middle prayed a prayer of salvation when he was eight. Now he’s seventeen and not walking with Jesus.

Step 1 — Break everyone into small groups and ask each group to decide whether the guy in the middle is a Christian or not. Don’t let them just give opinions — make them defend their positions biblically.

Step 2 — This one is more intense — weigh it carefully before taking it on. Ask everyone to line up behind one of the three students up front. Whichever one best describes where they’re at. Then say something like this: “What if the middle guy is not a true biblical category? What if there is no such thing as a ‘lukewarm’ Christian?” Then remove the middle guy and ask those lined up behind him to pick one of the other two lines.

Both of these exercises will get your group thinking about their personal faith. Just be aware that it could get messy.

* Thanks, Kevin!

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