The expression “easy believism” is used by Lordship Salvation teachers (e.g. John McArthur, R.C. Sproul, Greg Laurie, etc.) to mean that more than believing in Christ for everlasting life is necessary. Lordship Salvation proponents insist that turning from sins, commitment, obedience, and perseverance in good works must accompany belief in Christ in order to obtain eternal life. If this is true, why would the Gospel of John, the only book of the Bible whose express purpose is to tell non-Christians how to obtain eternal life (John 20:31), repeatedly say that believing in Christ is the only condition necessary for receiving the gift of eternal life (e.g. 3:15-18, 36; 4:10-14; 5:24; 6:40, 47; 7:38; 11:25-27; 20:30-31)? Are Lordship Salvation advocates saying that God was making it too easy for people to get saved by emphasizing the word “believe” as the only condition for eternal life?
Is the phrase “easy believism” even logical? The opposite of “easy believism” would be “hard” or “difficult believism”. How hard or difficult must believing be to be genuine or saving? How hard of a life must one have to avoid “easy believism”?
Is the label “easy believism” even true? Is it easy to believe the contents of the Gospel? We are asking an unsaved person to believe in a man they have never seen before who lived two thousand years ago and claimed to be fully God and fully man. The written records we have about Him were preserved by His followers. There are no living eyewitnesses today who can attest to the accuracy of His claims. Is it easy to believe in an unseen Savior for the forgiveness of all your sins and the gift of eternal life on the basis of what He has done for you (His death and resurrection) and not what you have done for Him? On top of that, this is to be done in Satan’s world where all the forces of darkness are resisting the necessary change in the non-Christian’s mind (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4). There is nothing easy about believing this especially when you consider that human nature tends to rely on one’s own efforts instead of the efforts of another person.
If believing in Christ for eternal life is easy, then why do the majority of people depend on something or someone else to take them to Heaven? Why do so many depend on believing in Jesus plus their water baptism, their good life, or turning from all their sins? Man by nature is very self-reliant. That is, man has a propensity to rely on his own efforts in order to gain acceptance before God.
Lot would be a likely candidate for the label of “easy believism.” Although Lot chose the easy path of living in the plain of Sodom and had little godly influence there, yet Peter says he was righteous before God (2 Peter 2:7-8)! While none of us would say a believer is to live a carnal life as Lot did, nor should we say a non-Christian must avoid that kind of life in order to be saved because that would contradict what the Bible says is necessary to get to Heaven (John 3:15-16, 36; 6:40; Acts 16:31; Ephesians 2:8-9)! We tell the non-Christian to trust in Christ alone for His gift of eternal life. After he comes to Christ in faith, then we instruct him to live a holy life in order to glorify God now and earn eternal rewards in eternity (Matthew 5:16; Colossians 3:23-24).