In the Fall of 1982 I was sitting in a classroom at New Tribes Language Institute near Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. Our chapel speaker that day was Lance Latham who brought a series of lectures on the book of Hebrews over the week. At the time, I had no idea who Doc Latham was. I recall watching a white-haired gentleman, who was nearly 90 years old, saunter down the aisle and take a seat at the piano. My jaw nearly dropped to the floor as he began to play the William Tell Overture. Lance was a musical prodigy. He began taking piano lessons at age three. Although his performance of the William Tell Overture was impressive, I was even more captivated with his exposition of Hebrews. Lance Latham was a student of the well-known Bible teacher William R. Newell. Like Dr. Newell, Lance was also an excellent teacher of God's Word. Doc Latham’s knowledge of God’s Word and explanation of God’s grace had a profound effect on my own life.
Acts 17:10-11 says: “Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”
Through Doc Latham’s series on Hebrews I was challenged, like the Bereans of old, “to find out whether those things were so.” As I began to dig deeper into God’s Word, I soon discovered my own understanding of God’s grace was quite deficient when compared to the writings of the apostle Paul and the other New Testament authors. That was the beginning of a life-long quest to explore various doctrines proposed by Bible scholars and compare them with the teachings of scripture.
As I look back over the years, I can see how this journey has prepared me to participate as a member of the NTM Theological Consultation Group. My quest to understand the teachings of Calvinists has certainly equipped me to work on the revision of NTM’s resource paper on Calvinism. Our NTM members website has a number of doctrinal papers on various topics. Over the years I have enjoyed contributing to the papers posted there. Recently, Bold Grace Ministries (http://boldgrace.org/) has asked me to help develop some theological workbooks. They are involved in training national pastors in Africa. That is another ministry opportunity that I would love to help with. I would appreciate your prayers as I consider various avenues of ministry relating to writing and research.
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The Sole Basis of Salvation
by Lance Latham
There is something within the heart of a man which constantly presses to make a perverse addition to the sole basis of our salvation, the work of Christ on the cross. Constantly pressed by the sin of pride, the mind of the natural man is ever reluctant to admit its sinful, helpless condition.
Many who understand the gospel refuse to come to Christ because they will not admit that they lack a shred of goodness, righteousness or desirability within themselves that God can accept.
Religious leaders try to add baptism, church membership, faithful living, personal sacrifice or some other human work to the work of Christ to the hope of salvation for the believer. Such philosophies may have filled the coffers of religion but have confused the issue of salvation and thus damaged countless souls.
One who discovers the gospel will instantly realize that the sole basis of his salvation is the work of Christ on Calvary’s cross. Saving faith depends alone on the value of Calvary. All other possible sources for the assurance of salvation are counterfeit.