Sandemanianism refers primarily to an aspect of theology regarding the nature of faith promoted by Robert Sandeman (1718-1781), from which it derives its name, and his father-in-law John Glas (1695-1773) in Scotland and England during the mid 18th century.

To the Sandemanians, the nature of saving faith reduces to mere intellectual assent to a fact or proposition. This is illustrated rather clearly in the following quote. “In a series of letters to James Hervey, the author of Theron and Aspasia, he [Sandeman] maintained that justifying faith is a simple assent to the divine testimony concerning Jesus Christ, differing in no way in its character from belief in any ordinary testimony.”^[1]^

Those who hold to the concept of Lordship salvation argue that the view espoused by proponents of Non-Lordship salvation is essentially the errant view of the 18th century Sandemanians.

? Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition (1911), now in the public domain; s.v. Glasites, or Sandemanians, bracket added.


Tom Ascol in an article entitled Old Error Rediscovered writes:

Recently, when surveying the scene of contemporary American Christianity, one of evangelicalism’s foremost theologians made the following confession:

If, ten years ago, you had told me that I would live to see literate evangelicals, some with doctorates and a seminary teaching record, arguing for the reality of an eternal salvation, divinely guaranteed, that may have in it no repentance, no discipleship, no behavioral change, no practical acknowledgment of Christ as Lord of one’s life, and no perseverance in faith, then I would have told you that you were out of your mind. Stark, staring, bonkers, is the British phrase I would probably have used.[1]

What J. I. Packer found unthinkable ten years ago, has become a tragic, pervasive reality within American evangelicalism today. Through the influence of erudite theologians and eloquent preachers the view that one may own Jesus as Savior and not own him as Lord has gained wide currency in conservative, evangelical churches. Challenges to this perversion of the gospel have given rise to the modern “Lordship Debate.”

Basically, the debate may be framed by the following questions: Must Jesus be Lord of one’s life in order to be Savior of one’s life? Is it possible to believe savingly in Christ without submitting to his Lordship? Are receiving Christ as Savior and receiving Christ as Lord two separable experiences in the life of the believer? How you answer these questions reveals on which side of the debate you stand.

The issue is an important one. Nothing less than the gospel itself is at stake. If the “non-Lordship” proponents are right, then the “other side” is guilty of adding to the gospel of salvation by grace through faith. If advocates of the “Lordship” position are correct, then those who oppose it are guilty of cheapening grace and reducing faith to little more than a mental exercise. Continue reading