A Disturbing Article on the Possible Effects of Some Versions of Eternal Security Doctrine

This article by Jeff Patton is truly disturbing.  It reminds me of a tape I listened to once of a young woman who called the Bible Answer Man show and said she was contemplating suicide.  She had concerns about Scriptures like Hebrews 6 and 10.  It seemed that those passages were the only things keeping her from following through with her plan to kill herself.  She wanted to get thoughts on those passages stating plainly that if she knew she would go to heaven, she would commit suicide.  To their credit, the radio hosts counseled her not to go through with it.  However, when pressed, they admitted that they firmly believed that if she ever trusted Christ as Savior she would go straight to heaven after committing suicide.  Who knows if that girl was talked out of her decision to commit suicide, and who knows how many others who were suicidal may have taken their lives after listening to that program.

I have personally seen this doctrine encourage sin in the young people that I counsel.  I even knew someone who went on to commit a heinous murder who believed that it really didn’t matter how we live since we cannot be saved by “works”.  Who knows if such a belief may have helped to embolden him to kill.  One can only speculate, but I have seen again and again how this doctrine can lead to a license for sin, despite the fact that those who teach it often rail against sin.  In the end, the logical implication of the doctrine is that sin cannot ultimately harm you with regards to your eternal destiny (even going so far as to teach that a believer can become an unbeliever and die in that state and still be guaranteed heaven).

I believe that God is truly grieved over this teaching (Jude 1:4) and one can only wonder how such teachings have harmed the church, harmed people, and ruined many Christian witnesses and testimonies.

A good book on the issue is Daniel LaLond’s The Lying Promise: Testing the Gospel According to Chuck Swindoll, Tony Evans, and Erwin W. Lutzer

Two good articles on the subject are The Meaning of Eternal Life and Who Possesses It and Is Perseverance in Faith Necessary to Obtain Final Salvation?, by Steve Witzki.

Advertisements

83 Responses

  1. For a minute there your first line threw me off. I thought you didn’t agree with the article, but it was the story within the article you found disturbing. Gotcha 🙂

    I’ve said it before, but this confusion always stems back to a misunderstanding of faith.

    Faith in many groups is preached as anti-works, and for obvious reasons. The system of faith is opposed to the system of works in regards to our salvation through Jesus, as noted in Romans 4 and Ephesians 2. But is the biblical, saving faith an active one, or a passive one?

    The Word paints a picture of saving faith as one that now lives for God, knowing that our labor is not in vain. (Galatians 6)

    If a passive faith was all that was needed, repentance wouldn’t be necessary. Yet changed hearts were commanded to be followed by changed lives.

    It’s a shame “Eternal Security” is preached in so many pulpits around the country. It only tells us half the story. Without discipleship, without repentance, without a real active, biblical faith, people are being led to lifestyles that look no different from any other person in the world. So much for being salt and light.

  2. I too have seen the effects of eternal security teaching in the life of people. I know of a brother who struggled for years with sexual sins. I often counseled with him to fight his sin and hate his sins lest he fall from grace (Hebrews 10:19-39). However, he embraced Calvinism and mainly eternal security. Soon he plunged head first into sexual sins and today is a wreck.

    Another brother I know would argue with me that not believing in eternal security amounted to heresy. He attended Charles Stanley’s church in Atlanta. Sadly, this guy fell away and today is completely against Christianity yet Stanley would claim this guy is signed,sealed, and delivered to heaven.

    Jude 4 warns against turning the grace of God into a license for sin since we are to be dead to sin (Romans 6:1-23). To me, modern OSAS teachers are teaching not perseverance of the saints but preservation of the sinner.

  3. Seeking Disciple said: “To me, modern OSAS teachers are teaching not perseverance of the saints but preservation of the sinner.”

    A very astute statement.
    Tim

  4. Ideas have consequences. Men also will live according to what they believe.

  5. I believe salvation can be lost, however, I don’t think it is simply a sin away. Though, I do believe it is dangerous to fall into sin because that could very well lead to ignoring God and a continual practicing of sin or the ultimate: losing one’s faith completely.

    I’m wondering, if someone dies in their sin will they go to hell? Let’s say someone has been unintentionally, slowly disregarding their bible reading and church attendance and then something bad happens in their life and they get a little depressed and go out and get drunk and get killed in a car accident because they hit a tree. Will that person go to heaven or hell? Maybe only God knows that one? I can see it going both ways.

  6. Dawn,

    You seem to have changed your perspective on this.

    Let’s say someone has been unintentionally, slowly disregarding their bible reading and church attendance and then something bad happens in their life and they get a little depressed and go out and get drunk and get killed in a car accident because they hit a tree. Will that person go to heaven or hell? Maybe only God knows that one? I can see it going both ways.

    Good question. Just curious, what do you mean by “unintentionally” in your comment? How does that happen exactly?

    I think it comes down to the attitude of the heart at the time. Is the person in rebellion towards God in His drunkenness or was it a sin of weakness? In both cases the sin would be intentional to some degree (one doesn’t go and get drunk by accident), but there can still be a difference. However, if someone were continually getting drunk and not even struggling against it as the Spirit continued to convict, then one would eventually come to a place of being an unbeliever in practice, even if that person still maintained some sort of head belief (i.e. one who claims to know God, but his actions deny Him). So, as you say, it is tough call without knowing all the variables, but simply slipping into sin does not constitute a loss of salvation. If one begins to sin habitually and rebelliously to the point of purposely ignoring the conviction of the Holy Spirit, no longer struggling against sin, and refusing to repent, then we have good reason to question their present standing with God.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  7. People getting so caught up in “Grace” (which is very real and active) but do away completely with personal responsibilty. It’s an attractive thought to say the most.

  8. Ben,

    Thanks for your thoughts on the matter.

    For the majority of my Christian life I believed one could lose their salvation. About the time I discovered you guys (Arminians) I had come to believe that one, if truly saved, could not lose their salvation, however, I still had “some” doubt about that. I guess I would say that I leaned very heavily toward not being able to lose one’s salvation. Even though there are some scriptures which seem to say one cannot lose their salvation, I believe there are more scriptures that say that you can lose your salvation.

    When I use the word “unintentionally” I mean that the person didn’t one day decide they no longer wanted to obey the Lord ever again; rather, they simply allowed other things to come before the Lord and soon it grew into never opening the bible and no longer attending church. Maybe that wasn’t a very good choice of words? I agree there is a degree of intention to everything we do.

  9. First, let me say I appreciate the post and the comment thread.

    A couple of thoughts…
    1 Corinthians 5:4 and 11:32 make me believe that falling away is not all that easy. I do think it is not only possible but actual occurrences are referenced (e.g. 1 Tim 1:19, 5:15). It can be abrupt or the result of drift. I don’t think we would be warned about it if the possibility did not exist.

    I don’t think it is helpful to think of this in terms of retaining or losing one’s salvation. The issue is faith, and so the point is retaining or losing one’s faith. As long as one has faith, that one will also have salvation.

  10. slw, on April 8, 2010 at 4:31 pm Said:
    “I don’t think it is helpful to think of this in terms of retaining or losing one’s salvation. The issue is faith, and so the point is retaining or losing one’s faith. As long as one has faith, that one will also have salvation.”

    This is very well said!
    The issue should never be about our salvation it should be about whether we have a continuing faith in Jesus.
    The focus should be on Him and an ongoing, day to day relationship with Him here and now and NOT upon the type of destination we assume is guaranteed.

    As slw said “As long as one has faith, that one will also have salvation.”

  11. I don’t think it is helpful to think of this in terms of retaining or losing one’s salvation.

    I understand what you are saying, but it is still accurate to say we can lose our salvation. It simply reflects the truth that we had something previously that we no longer have. Just as you mentioned “losing” faith. It expresses the same thing. You no longer have something you previously had.

    I actually prefer to speak of forfeiting salvation or abandoning faith. But I don’t have a problem with the language of losing salvation either.

    As long as one has faith, that one will also have salvation.

    I like this, but I think we can improve on it even more by saying:

    “As long as one has Christ (through faith), that one will also have salvation.”

    God Bless,
    Ben

  12. […] has drawn the attention of Ben, who goes by kangaroodort on the blog Arminian Perspectives. Ben has noted an item from Jeff Paton on the August of 2009 George Sodini debacle. Ben and Paton both believe […]

  13. On the same note, I have met many people who are literally torn apart by the fact that they think that they can loose their salvation. The doctrine of Eternal security is a precious one, and rightly taught shows men the power of God, not themselves, in His promise to bring them into the Kingdom.

    The argument that this doctrine leads people to be lax in their sin just because a few have done it, cannot be used to substantiate that this will always be the end result. This only happens when a person is ignorant of the other Scriptures that teach us that the Christian life is not passive and that a lackadaisical attitude shows forth an unregenerate person (cf, Rom 6).

    However, I certainly agree that the teaching has been grossly misused, and that my friend, is where the destructive habits and attitudes creep in to a person’s life. Thanks for listening to me ramble.

    Blessings & peace in Christ our Savior,
    Steven

  14. Steven,

    Thanks for stopping by. How would you say eternal security is “rightly taught”? Do you hold to the version of ES that says that one can be a “carnal Christian”, which basically means that a Christian can live as wickedly as any unsaved person and still be guaranteed heaven, but just with less rewards? Do you hold to the version that says that a Christian can even abandon the faith, die in unbelief, and still go to heaven? That is the version I was specifically addressing in this post, and the logical implications of that version certainly give license to sin, regardless of how it is taught.

    If you hold to the version of ES that says that such people who fall away were “never really saved to begin with” then I think you are quite wrong to think that such a view provides solid grounds for salvation assurance. To the contrary, such a doctrine significantly undercuts assurance:

    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2008/10/29/perseverance-of-the-saints-part-13-salvation-assurance/

    God Bless,
    Ben

  15. Hebrews 10:39

  16. Hebrews 10:39

    How about Hebrews 10:32-39?

  17. I absolutely agree!

    You cannot have understanding of 39 without the other verses and you cannot have understanding of the other verses without 39.

    The key is what is the relationship. Which do you view the other through? Or rather how do you view them together – which qualifies the other? Like 1 Corinthians 5:7.
    * Which is it? Are you unleavened?
    * Or are you trying to become unleavened?

    In 1 Corinthians 7 Paul discusses marriage, and makes the statement that “if you do not have “self-control” then marry”. He says that because of Immorality (Porneia) each man is to have his own wife and each woman is to have her own husband.

    Is this the “reason” for marriage? Or do you take the rest of scripture into account to have a fully rounded view of the issue of marriage? We know that you take the “Whole” of scripture into account. And we understand that Paul was addressing specific questions from these specific Christians, which follow and outline further very clear principles.

    The point is again that we take the “whole” of scripture together. And in doing so we come to the complete understanding.

    Without verse 39 the verses prior have a different “feel”. When the cherry of verse 39 is put on top – we see the character of the scenario which Paul is presenting. Like he does in many other portions of scripture – especially in his use of his “if” phrases.

    Wrestle with it all, and include v39 in the wrestling. 🙂

  18. George,

    Did you read the post I linked to above which carefully examines the context?

  19. Yes I did.

  20. So how do you interpret verse 39?

  21. How should we?

  22. Goerge,

    If you read my post on Heb. 10:32-39 then you already know how I interpret it. My question is how do you interpret it, since you are the one who brought the passage up initially and without comment. If you think the verse is important and relevant to the topic of the post, please explain. Tell us why you thought it important to reference it.

    Thanks,
    Ben

  23. Who is the “we” referred to?

    and what is the difference between “are not of” and “have not to this point been of”?

  24. Goerge,

    It would be really nice if you stopped beating around the bush and just gave your interpretation of the passage. You already have mine.

    Thanks,
    Ben

  25. You did not specifically address the “are not of” in your exegesis.

  26. Goerge,

    You wrote:

    You did not specifically address the “are not of” in your exegesis.

    And what does that have to do with you giving me your interpretation?

    Tell you what, you give me your interpretation and I will address your questions. Briefly, as for “are not of”, see my treatment of Heb. 6:9 here:

    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2008/02/07/perseverance-of-the-saints-part-5-hebrews-64-9/

    I think the warnings in Hebrews 6 and 10 are parallel and 6:9 and 10:39 should be understood the same way. As far as “we” I suppose you are suggesting that “we” means “we believers”. If so, I agree, but that does not mean that believers cannot succumb to the things being warned against. Indeed, that is the point of the warning (notice Paul’s use of “we” in 10:26).

    Beyond that, I will wait for you to share your interpretation before answering any more of your questions.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  27. BTW, I did address the “are not of” in my exegesis of 10:32-29:

    In verse 39 the author expresses confidence that his intended audience has not presently abandoned the faith and is given as positive encouragement in order to complement the negative encouragement of the previous warnings. The inspired author is not expressing infallible confidence that they will persevere since even in Calvinism no such infallible assurance can be given to another. While he is supremely hopeful that these “justified servants” will not shrink back, he cannot be certain. Such uncertainty is the basis for the dire warnings and urgent encouragements which preceded verse 39.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  28. You wrote: “supremely hopeful that these “justified servants” will not shrink back,”

    “Are not” and “Supremely hopeful” are different phrases with differing meetings.

    The word “currently” is no where implied in the phrase that we “are not of those” – whether in the English translation or the original Greek.

  29. Does “are not” not imply a CURRENT state of an individual?

    Or did I miss the point when “are not” was changed to mean “never will be” or “never was”?

    What else does it express but their present justification?

    Also, who are those who “drew back”? What did they draw back from, if not Christianity?

  30. Steven,

    To interpret that “are not of those” means that the author is “hopeful” that they “will not” is not an accurate exegesis.

    This statement in verse 39 seems to stand in contrast to the former statements, and as such forces you and I to see to step back after the long thought and evaluate appropriately how they can go together.

    This is a pattern in scripture. Jesus will at one time weep over jerusalem saying how many times He wanted to gather them as chicks under the mother’s wing but they would not have it, and then at another time pray Father thank you for keeping the truth from them. They stand in a seeming contrast. And we are forced to evaluate both on their merits and appropriately. But, we cannot change the grammatical structure to suit our desire for meaning. That would be a strange hermeneutic for sure.

    “but, (word of contrast) we are not ‘of those’ (words of contrasting position)”

    The exegesis I pointed out was : “supremely hopeful that these “justified servants” will not shrink back,”

    That is not what it says.

  31. “We are not of” is a strong statement, and I will say again – that the word currently is not in the statement. 🙂

  32. Basic English grammar:

    “ARE” is present or CURRENT tense.

  33. Onesimus is correct. The word for ‘are’ (esmen) in vs 39 is present indicative.

  34. George,

    It’s like you didn’t comprehend what I said at all.

    Saying they ARE something is in no way implying what they might be in the future.

    It is their CURRENT state. You can’t change ARE to mean WILL NEVER, and be true to your statement of exegesis fitting your belief.

  35. When did I say that “are” means “will never”?

  36. I am reading between your lines, since you refuse to say much of substance.

  37. Steven,

    I am not sure what the intent of the substance comment is.
    It sounds a bit aggressive, and I feel no aggression toward you.

    And the reason that I wrote: “When did I say that “are” means “will never”?” was to point out that your comments do assume more than has been said. In fact each of the comments in regard to my original and subsequent comments have been assumptive and defensive and truly not yet responsive to the particular point made.

    The same way in which each of you seem to be approaching the verses in question. You have a “bent” toward a particular interpretation and it is revealed in your treatment of the text.

  38. Onesimus and J.C.,

    You both are correct and I need to further clarify my statement from earlier where I wrote : “the word “currently” is no where implied in the phrase that we “are not of those” – whether in the English translation or the original Greek.”

    What I intended was in meaning – not tense. You are accurate that it is present indicative, and it is in the active voice to be exact – which is an important thing to note as well. The word “currently” not being in in the verse was my point. To say that it is not at all intended is an inaccurate statement.
    My point is that the idea of currently is not the sole indication. The adversative of “but” makes the clear contrast of who was being spoken of and then who is now being referred to. The use of “esmen” has meaning in terms of essence of being which would obviously include current state as well as future state. This is supported by the rest of the statement with the next adversative or continuative but that “we are of”. The idea is that the “we” referred to are not like what has been referred to in the previous verses, but in fact different in the sense stated.

    To say that the writer is expressing some form of “hopefulness” is incorrect. It is a definitive statement of fact. And not just in the sense of a present precarious fact. The operative agent in the statement is the “faith” which the “we” “have”. The proof will obviously be in the continued expression as is his point moving into chapter 12 (which we know was not originally a chapter, but a continuation of thought).

  39. should have been Chapters 11 and 12 – typo. 🙂

  40. George,

    To say that the writer is only speaking to those who will never fall away – as you insinuate – is to ignore the entire content of the previous verses.

    Verse 23 – “Let US hold fast our confession…”
    Verse 26 – “For if WE go on sinning…”
    Verse 35 – “Do not throw away YOUR confidence…”
    Verse 36 – “For YOU have need of endurance…”

    He is address the a group of people in general. The same people that could let go of their confession, the same people who could throw away their confidence, are the exact same people he is writing verse 39 to. Or do you think the writer knew every individual who read verse 39 was an elect Christian who would never fall away? In what sense could the writer have known that everyone who read that would never be lost?

    It is using that context that we can confidently say the writer of Hebrews expressed a desire for those same people to not fall away from the faith, to not shrink back.

    The same RIGHTEOUS ONE in verse 38 could SHRINK BACK.

    They are not two separate groups of people.

  41. Steven,

    I appreciate your point, but do you see the abrupt contrast from the verses which you list and verse 39?

  42. Absolutely. So what are our options as to the conclusion?

    Let’s say I am a first century Christian reading this for the first time. What is the appropriate response when reading through chapter 10?

    “Whew I don’t want to turn away from Christ’s sacrifice by sinning willfully… oh wait, verse 39! He’s not talking about me, he’s talking about someone else.”

    OR

    “Whew I don’t want to turn away from Christ’s sacrifice by sinning willfully…I want to be one of those who perseveres to the saving of the soul.”

    It would not have it’s intended effect on the reader unless the reader could be both those in danger of losing their faith as well as those who heed the warnings and persevere to the end.

  43. Many times throughout the New Testament the inspired writers write to their immediate audience and use direct language such as in the following verses:
    Romans 6:12 ,12:1, 13:12, 1 Corinthians 4:5, 4:16, 5:7, 6:20
    Galatians 5:1 Ephesians 4:1, 4:25, 5:7, Philippians 3:15-16
    Colossians 3:1 1 Peter 1:13, 4:7 2 Peter 1:10, 3:14

    In these places and a myriad of others – instruction is given and then a direct statement to the effect of “now because of this either (do) this or (don’t do) this.”

    In the text under scrutiny (Hebrews 10) The writer instead of following this kind of pattern transitions from the “warnings” into such an interesting and emphatic statement. Not one which says now “don’t do these things”, but instead – a statement which in essence affirms who they are and a statement of endurance for them.

    We also cannot ignore the totality of the chapter, and the whole book for that matter. The chapter begins by affirming the inability of the Law & it’s man-offered sacrifices to make one right and clean before God. Then we are transitioned to our “confidence” in the blood of Jesus, and in it our “full assurance of faith having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience.” With this as fact we are to “hold fast the confession” (the holding fast obviously the result of the “assurance of faith,…by the blood of Jesus)”.

    Then the writer embarks on the series of “if” statements.
    The climax of the “if” statements being in verse 38
    “But My righteous one shall live by faith; And if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.”

    “Shall live by faith” Shall. Will. seem telling enough, but then crinkled brow is brought to bear when the “if he” is brought up – referring to the “righteouss one” aforementioned.

    Then we get the interesting verse 39 – the other piece of bread for the whole sandwich.
    “But, we are not of those who shrink back.” In contrast to the “if” – the writer identifies a group who do not shrink back and identifies with that group.

    The “ifs” and then the adversative statements before and after must be seen together.

    And together they make a resounding point. “But, we are not of…..but of those….”

  44. Steven,

    I am a believer in Christ Jesus. I have been sprinkled clean of an evil conscience.
    I do not fear Hell – nor am I motivated by Hell.
    I, like Paul, press on to the higher calling.
    I am enamored with Christ and as Jesus said – ” if you love me you will keep my commandments”.

    I am free in Christ, and that freedom is freedom not only from something (sin, Hell, and death) but freedom to something (righteousness and life).
    Christ freed me from the slavery of sin to being His doulos (bondslave). Like Jeremiah – I go at His call not because they will listen, but because He calls. It is now my nature to “live as I am called”. It is my “reasonable service” – to willingly crawl upon the altar as Isaac did. as Paul stated “I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God Who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

    The writer of Hebrew’s words have tremendous power in me – not because they frighten me about “losing my salvation” – because I have no such fear. They impact me greatly because He has changed my nature – and as His I am a new creature.
    And as His new creature, indwelt by the Holy Spirit. As such I “want” His way.

    The truth of my possession of His faith will obviously be the perseverance to the end – as is the writers point in Hebrews 11 and James’ point. 🙂

  45. George,

    Thanks for the reply. I agree and feel the same way about my relationship with God through Jesus.

    The fact of the matter is, a level of caution is warranted and justified by the scripture.

    Many scriptures could be given to provide ample warning for Christians who might be tempted to stray from the faith. You do not seem to need instructed on where those verse are. My question to you is this:

    Could anyone who is saved ever turn their back on their salvation? I say Hebrews 10 (among other passages) teaches that one can. This does not in any way diminish the blessings of grace or mercy from God.

    Rather, “For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.” – Hebrews 2:1

  46. I cannot guarantee the salvation of any certain person. No man knows another’s heart – we merely judge the outward appearance. The writer of Hebrews himself cannot, and is not guaranteeing anyone’s salvation. The guarantee of salvation is truly seen at “the end” – “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”.

    But, there is the reality that when a man is truly saved, he/she in fact is eternally secure.

    If I or you look at another person and say “without any doubt I know that you are saved” – we run great risk. If I or you say to another “based upon your profession of faith, and evidenced by your fruit which is “in keeping with repentance” I see that you evidence the presence of the Spirit of God, and as that is evidenced to the end – you will prove surely to be His – Then I or you follow the Apostoplic example.

    Taking the whole of scripture into account and in context it is the overwhelming fact that a man is “saved by grace through faith, which is a gift of God not of works. And with that it is the overwhelming testimony of all of scripture that a man’s faith will be evidenced by his works. “Faith without works is dead” and most certainly alone from God.

  47. So I or you can have absolutely NO assurance of our own salvation because we have absolutely no idea until the end whether we stand.
    Unless of course we are elitist enought to think WE are different to all of those others who were at one time convinced of their own salvation and yet later departed from the faith they thought they had.

    Personally I prefer the biblical view. That if we continue in faith we will be saved. That is an encouragement to keep believing and also an assurance that I have an ongoing benchmark by which I can assess my spiritual state.

    I don’t have to fear that I’m wasting my life THINKING I have been personally elected for salvation but later finding out I was mistaken and can do nothing about it – having be predestined for damnation instead of for salvation.

    Thank God that salvation comes through faith in Jesus and not through an unconditional, arbitrary divine decree.

  48. Onesimus,

    Do not misinterpret my statement.
    Notice I did not discuss my personal, or your personal recognition of God’s saving work in you as an individual.

    I was speaking in reference to giving others a “false sense of security”. I cannot tell you that you have saving faith – that is between you and your God. Jesus spoke often in regard to the kingdom of heaven, and gave mutliple illustrations of a group seeming to be “believers” but who would be weeded out. Wheat and tare, Catch of Fish, etc. He even spoke of the various soils – two of which produced something, but which proved to have no root and growth – showing it to be not what it seemed to be. The Pharisees looked pretty righteous and religious on the outside – and many of the time would have said “for sure these are men of God!”, but then our Lord stepped in and called them sons of their Father the devil!

    I assign no man – salvation. I must be prophetic and give the good with the bad. If you shrink back you are not of faith. If you do not shrink back you are. You can have assurance of that, but I cannot confer it upon you.
    I can tell you what the Bible teaches in regard to salvation and its surety in faith. I hope that you recognize the difference.
    I can communicate like the writer of Hebrews that “we” the ones in reference “are not of those who shrink back”.
    Like Jesus said: “This is the will of Him Who sent Me, that of all that he has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.” “everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.” “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.”

    To some in earshot of these words – He affirmed that they were not those who believed, and not to grumble. To some in earshot – they received it as those who did believe – like Peter – who said “Lord, to whom shall we go You have the words of eternal life” [!]

    I affirmed in my note to Steven earlier – what my knowledge of my security is.

  49. To all,

    It is my experience that the majority of “Christians” have not read the entire Bible straight through.

    There has been a great “Piece-mealing” approach utilized by most. This chapter here or that chapter there. 😦
    This verse here and that verse there. 😦
    The problem is – that if you read any other boom that way – you would obviously not receive the full meaning.
    That is the same effect which has been generated by this approach or at least practice in the “church”.

    We have “soldiers” for denominations and theological/doctrinal positions. Unfortunately they fight without the knowledge and experience of the whole.

    What allowed Paul to say “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men.” ?
    It was the fact that “For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.”
    Note: “WHOLE COUNSEL”.

    I beg everyone who is reading this – To pick up your Bible and begin at Genesis 1:1 and read to Revelation 22:21.
    I do not beg you as a preacher pounding a pulpit telling you what you “oughta” do. But, as a lover of Jesus, who wants you to know the “WHOLE” story, and not just the bits of argument slung back and forth between those dug into a fox hole.

    There are things difficult to understand, and as you cross those bridges – pray and meditate, and then keep on reading. Do not disregard the leaders which God has placed over you for your care, but please read HIS Word!
    And please do not be satisfied with the “sampler plate” – get the “WHOLE meal”. 🙂

  50. George,

    You stated earlier:

    ““Shall live by faith” Shall. Will. seem telling enough, but then crinkled brow is brought to bear when the “if he” is brought up – referring to the “righteouss one” aforementioned.

    Then we get the interesting verse 39 – the other piece of bread for the whole sandwich.
    “But, we are not of those who shrink back.” In contrast to the “if” – the writer identifies a group who do not shrink back and identifies with that group.

    The “ifs” and then the adversative statements before and after must be seen together.

    And together they make a resounding point. “But, we are not of…..but of those….”

    and now you say:

    “I cannot guarantee the salvation of any certain person. No man knows another’s heart – we merely judge the outward appearance. The writer of Hebrews himself cannot…”

    So I don’t understand how your statements fit together. Either they SHALL or WILL always endure, or he CANNOT know if they will or not. It is in that sense that Ben wrote what he did – that the writer is “hopeful” that the faithful continue to endure so that the promise of His rest may be realized.

    And again you initially stated:

    ““Are not” and “Supremely hopeful” are different phrases with differing meetings.”

    So do you feel that the writer is hopeful for the Christian’s salvation, or is he certain?

  51. George,

    I do not disagree that everyone needs to read their Bible and learn everything about God that they can. I still do not take issue however, with the idea that we can take the book of Hebrews as intended – a section of text written for a specific purpose, with a specific audience in mind, with specific themes and conclusions.

    Can we agree that the entire of Hebrews is written to encourage Jewish Christians not to abandon their relationship with Jesus for an “inferior” system of things that God designed to be “done away with”?

    Many times Calvinists in saying “we need to take the whole bible into consideration” simply mean we must not forget about Romans 9 and their interpretation of it. If we have taken anything out of its intended context please expound upon it. I think the explanation on the text is accurate and fits within the framework of the theme of Hebrews.

  52. Let me ask my question this way. Matthew 24 says the following,

    “At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.”

    Do you feel it is possible for someone who is currently saved to ever stop enduring to the end?

    Not “truly” saved. You are either saved or not. Not extra saved, or really saved, or super saved. Just saved. Is it possible for any saved individual to not endure?

  53. Steven,

    Your comment about not understanding how my statements fit together is important. It is important in seeing to the “thought process” difference. Logically and Theologically the statements cohere.

    As to the reference to reading the whole Bible: You went to a particular chapter – Romans 9. I said the opposite of that. I said the Whole Bible.

    As per your statement that “your are either saved or not.” – Yes!! Many of those who use the phrase “truly saved” are attempting to communicate this fact.

    BTW – I have said nothing about any “isms”. My comment about “soldiers” is intended to include all kinds of “isms”. 🙂

  54. God is Sovereign and not subservient to me in any way. 🙂

  55. I exist for His good pleasure.
    I exist for His purposes.
    I breath because it is His desire that I breath.
    My atoms are not scattered because He willfully holds me together.
    I am finite He is infinite.
    I am created while He alone is Uncreated.
    I am not necessary whereas he alone is necessary.
    I would not want Him had He not revealed Himself to me.
    I react, He alone can pro-act.
    I respond, He alone sets all agenda.

    My friends be careful that you do not take unto yourself what is not and cannot be yours.

  56. What have I said that is not true?

  57. George,

    “But, there is the reality that when a man is truly saved, he/she in fact is eternally secure.”

    The scriptures warn several times against those who are saved falling away (one such warning is in close proximity to that verse you mentioned we should read to). To say that they have no applicability to the real world would be reducing said warnings & their consequences in scripture to ineffectual absurdity, as I detail here.

  58. Admin note: David J. Buzulak attempted spamming our combox with the entire body of this post. Not much substance, mostly cheap cliches and non-sequiturs. In it he asks how Lot could have committed sin, yet Peter refer to him as a righteous man; and boasts,

    “That is why Lot is mentioned in 2 Peter the way he is. That is why NO, I repeat NOT ONE conditional preacher will answer my questions regarding Lot.”

    Hmmm… let’s see, why was any imperfect human ever called righteous? Ooh! I know! Because while he was far from perfect and sometimes exercised the poorest of judgment, he was still repentant when he sinned and his heart was still inclined to serving God. Answering questions that no conditional security preacher has ever answered before -I feel like such a pioneer! 🙄

  59. Just a sampling. 🙂

    Genesis 6:5
    Genesis 8:21
    Psalm 14:1-3
    Psalm 51:5
    Psalm 53:1-3
    Proverbs 16:5
    Jeremiah 17:9
    Ezekiel 11:19
    Matthew 7:17-18
    Matthew 13:14
    John 3:3
    John 6:37,39,44,65
    John 15:4-5, 16
    Acts 13:48
    Romans 3:10-18
    Romans 8:7-8, 29-30
    Romans 9:6-26
    1 Corinthians 1:18,21
    1 Corinthians 2:14
    1 Corinthians 12:3
    Ephesians 1:4-5, 11
    Ephesians 2:3, 8-10
    Philippians 1:6
    Philippians 2:12-13
    Colossians 2:13
    1 John 2:12-14
    1 John 3:1-2
    Romans 5:1-11
    Romans 8:28-32
    Hebrews 9 & 10
    Romans 3:25
    Hebrews 2:17
    1 John 2:2, 4:10
    2 Corinthians 5:20
    Galatians 3:13
    2 Corinthians 5:14-15
    Romans 6
    John 10:16
    John 3:36
    John 5:24
    John 6:51
    John 11:25
    John 6:39
    John 10:28-29
    Ephesians 1:13-14
    Ephesians 4:30
    1 Peter 1:4-5
    Romans 6:14

  60. Forget Lot – why not talk remember Lot’s wife, like Jesus asked us to?

    I wonder why He wanted us to remember her. Probably as an example of someone who never had a relationship with God to begin with.

    The moral of the story, “God may want to turn you into a pillar of salt to, for His good pleasure and glory. Look out!”

  61. George,

    I have honestly tried to have a good discussion with you. I really have. And yet I want to say this to you, just so you don’t leave here thinking I didn’t try…

    …you are by far the most difficult person I have ever interacted with in an online setting.

    I last asked you a simple question, I asked where you disagreed with what I have stated. Your reply with a list of verse, with no explanation, is frustrating to say the least.

    As it stands, Hebrews 10 speaks to the danger of a Christian losing their salvation by turning their back on Christ and willfully sinning, and you have said nothing of substance to address that fact.

  62. George, you’re not even qualifying what this is supposed to be a sampling of. I can only assume you meant them as general Calvinist proof-texts, but you don’t even bother to explain how any of them would prove Calvinism to the exclusion of anything else.

  63. Steven and JC,

    There is a consistency in all which I have written – from the beginning til now.
    I have had and do not have a desire to argue “points” – whether they be five or 25. I again have never mentioned any “isms” and I have not attempted to put forth any “proof texts” for a particular position. My opening comment was a desire for a real treatment of the text in question. Not from a “position” but taking it on its own merit and from the context of the whole of scripture. Explore the verses which I have listed and evaluate their bearing on this discussion.

    There is a perception difference between many which goes beyond interpretation of certain texts.

    If we, as believers in Christ, get locked into one verse “proving” this and another verse “proving” that we end up with these camps that intractabley fight from the fox hole which we have dug for ourselves. We are all easily “of Paul or Apollos…”

  64. If your desire is for a real treatment of the text, you have failed to treat it at all, that is what I am saying.

    You ask us to go to other passages to understand this text better. But what if, when you go to those other passages, I ask you to not treat those, but read something else? If we couldn’t learn from reading this one passage, how could we learn from ANY passage?

    So I ask you again, what have we said about this text that is wrong?

  65. George, both Ben and I have studied this issue in the context of the entirety of scripture for several years now. I evaluated the verses you listed and many more with regards to the subject long before I ever started writing articles on it, so I’m not exactly sure what you’re wanting.

  66. Steven and JC,

    If you would, go back and read the entire thread inclusive of the posts before I jumped in.

    Take some time and really consider the difference between statements of mine and Ben’s, Steven’s, and JC’s.
    See the topic which I address in its “immediacy” and then see the responses and compare the difference – not just in theological position – but in character and treatment. As you recognize that – you will then recognize the point of this whole interchange.

    I do not have as goal to be difficult. 🙂

  67. Considering that I have done that – and still fail to see your point – please elaborate and be specific.

    Neither Ben nor J.C. have grasped what you are implying, so you would do us all a favor if you explained what you were trying to say.

  68. George,

    That was even more vague and inexplicable than your previous post.

  69. What was my first comment in this thread?

  70. (?) Are you having trouble remembering?

  71. I am trying to clear up the vaguery. 🙂
    Would you humor me?

  72. You’re not likely to clear up vagueness by dropping vague hints. If there’s a point to this cryptic insinuation, it would be nice if you just stated it in plain language.

  73. “Vague hints” & “Cryptic insinuation” What are you talking about?

    I have insinuated nothing. Nor have I attempted to “hint” at anything.

    This was Steven’s post:
    “Considering that I have done that – and still fail to see your point – please elaborate and be specific.
    Neither Ben nor J.C. have grasped what you are implying, so you would do us all a favor if you explained what you were trying to say.”

    So I am trying to explain it and not insinuate or hint at anything. I want to walk you through what I am saying. But, I am getting the impression that you do not want to know what I am saying.

    J.C. – Why would you respond to my question with: (?) Are you having trouble remembering?”

  74. George,

    “I want to walk you through what I am saying.”

    Then please just say what you mean rather than beating around the bush.

    “…I am getting the impression that you do not want to know what I am saying.”

    And why exactly would I be asking you to get to the point if I didn’t want to know what your point was?

  75. Hey guys,

    I have made specific statements which attempt to communicate a point, and they are seen from the beginning.

    You are locked into a thought process, notice that I did not use the phrase ‘theological position”, but rather a thought process. I used that because I am not referring to your theological position here, but rather to your way of thinking revealed in discussion. Which to be honest is not discussion.

    Go back and look at where I made a statement and then look at the responses. See if you gave treatment to everything which I said. Not, simply what you thought was the point – but rather all that I actually said.

    I have yet to deny that God gives warning in scripture, and that the “warning passages” are real and pointed to believers. See if I have once denied that. I have not. Yet your responses to me have attempted to pin something on me which I have not stated.

    Until that is resolved then you will not see the point that I have expressed in this thread. 🙂

  76. George,

    We are hear for dialogue. We are here to comment and to read other people’s comments. We are hear to discuss scripture.

    If we have all collectively failed in some way to understand your comments, then perhaps it would be best if you restated them. It is unclear, even upon re-reading, what you are trying to say.

    And if you ask me to read it again, it will only serve to prolong the issue, which as it stands is your clarity to communicate. Perhaps you have no point that needs stated. If you feel you want us to understand something that we are missing, feel free to comment.

  77. Here is how the conversation started. Does this seem like beating around the bush and being vague to anyone?
    From here you can read on and see the points that I make.

    George, on April 27, 2010 at 7:05 pm Said:
    Hebrews 10:39
    kangaroodort, on April 27, 2010 at 7:41 pm Said:
    Hebrews 10:39
    How about Hebrews 10:32-39?
    George, on April 28, 2010 at 1:30 pm Said:
    I absolutely agree!
    You cannot have understanding of 39 without the other verses and you cannot have understanding of the other verses without 39.
    The key is what is the relationship. Which do you view the other through? Or rather how do you view them together – which qualifies the other? Like 1 Corinthians 5:7.
    * Which is it? Are you unleavened?
    * Or are you trying to become unleavened?
    In 1 Corinthians 7 Paul discusses marriage, and makes the statement that “if you do not have “self-control” then marry”. He says that because of Immorality (Porneia) each man is to have his own wife and each woman is to have her own husband.
    Is this the “reason” for marriage? Or do you take the rest of scripture into account to have a fully rounded view of the issue of marriage? We know that you take the “Whole” of scripture into account. And we understand that Paul was addressing specific questions from these specific Christians, which follow and outline further very clear principles.
    The point is again that we take the “whole” of scripture together. And in doing so we come to the complete understanding.
    Without verse 39 the verses prior have a different “feel”. When the cherry of verse 39 is put on top – we see the character of the scenario which Paul is presenting. Like he does in many other portions of scripture – especially in his use of his “if” phrases.
    Wrestle with it all, and include v39 in the wrestling.
    kangaroodort, on April 28, 2010 at 1:35 pm Said:
    George,
    Did you read the post I linked to above which carefully examines the context?
    George, on April 28, 2010 at 4:27 pm Said:
    Yes I did.
    kangaroodort, on April 28, 2010 at 4:38 pm Said:
    So how do you interpret verse 39?
    George, on April 29, 2010 at 1:21 pm Said:
    How should we?
    kangaroodort, on April 29, 2010 at 1:56 pm Said:
    Goerge,
    If you read my post on Heb. 10:32-39 then you already know how I interpret it. My question is how do you interpret it, since you are the one who brought the passage up initially and without comment. If you think the verse is important and relevant to the topic of the post, please explain. Tell us why you thought it important to reference it.
    Thanks,
    Ben
    George, on April 29, 2010 at 5:47 pm Said:
    Who is the “we” referred to?
    and what is the difference between “are not of” and “have not to this point been of”?
    kangaroodort, on April 29, 2010 at 6:20 pm Said:
    Goerge,
    It would be really nice if you stopped beating around the bush and just gave your interpretation of the passage. You already have mine.
    Thanks,
    Ben
    George, on April 29, 2010 at 6:57 pm Said:
    You did not specifically address the “are not of” in your exegesis.

  78. George,

    “I have yet to deny that God gives warning in scripture, and that the “warning passages” are real and pointed to believers. See if I have once denied that. I have not. Yet your responses to me have attempted to pin something on me which I have not stated.”

    I never said you ‘denied’ them. I pointed out that you’re making them inapplicable to the real world.

    “I used that because I am not referring to your theological position here, but rather to your way of thinking revealed in discussion.”

    Such pseudo-psychological fluff is inconsequential.

  79. “From here you can read on and see the points that I make.”

    Which Ben did address, and I did as well concerning using all of scripture.

    As discussed already, “are not of” in vs 39 doesn’t necessarily imply “will never be,” meaning the passage won’t lend itself as evidence for eternal security, so I’m not sure what points you think we’re supposed to be seeing here.

  80. Hey guys,

    Let’s tie this up and move on.
    It’s your blog and I am stepping into your backyard.
    With that the are expectations of how conversations will go.
    🙂

  81. I wasn’t trying to spam, I apologize, i’m not that computer literate. I apologize.
    What I was stating is simply if we can lose our salvation why didn’t Paul address that in 1 Corinthians? He didn’t. In fact, he stilled called them brothers and other like minded words.

    Is the following true?

    All of the following are spoken of in the present tense; this is the present condition of each true believer (1) Forgiven (Ro 4:7; 1Jo 2:12). (2) Justified (Ro 5:1,9; Tit 3:7) (4) Reconciled (Ro 5:10). (3) Risen with Christ (Ro 6:3-6; Col 3:1-2). (4) A child of God forever (Ro 8:15; Ga 4:4-7; 1Jo 3:1). (5) Sanctified in Christ (1Co 1:2). (6) New creation (2Co 5:17). (7) Accepted in the beloved (Eph 1:6). (7) Saved (Eph 2:8-9; 2Ti 1:9). (9) Light in the Lord (Eph 5:8). (10) Made fit for Heaven (Col 1:12). (11) Complete in Him (Col 2:10). (12) Citizens of Heaven (Php 3:20). (13) Children of light (1Th 5:5). (14) Elect (1Pe 1:2). (15) Born again (1Pe 1:2,23). (16) Sanctified once for all (Heb 10:10). (17) Perfected forever (Heb 10:14). (18) Passed from death unto life (1Jo 3:14).

    You are confusing the flesh with the spirit. Your spirit is sealed; perfect and secure. Not so with your flesh. Notice what Paul stated:
    Romans 7:14-24 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

    Dave

  82. David,

    Even if Paul never addressed the possibility of falling away in 1 Corinthians, this doesn’t imply that there is no such possibility -lack of evidence doesn’t constitute evidence. Secondly, Paul in fact does make it clear in 1 Corinthians that those who continue in such wickedness will not obtain final salvation.

    “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Cor 6:9-10)

    Present conditions of all believers don’t militate against the possibility of one committing apostasy in the future. And no, I’m not confused at all about flesh and spirit, you’re taking Romans 7 out of context, especially when chapter 8:1-14 is considered, e.g. “For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” (vs 13-14)

  83. David,

    You may want to check out this book by distinguished scholar B.J. Oropeza:

    Paul and Apostasy: Eschatology, Perseverance, and Falling Away in the Corinthian Congregation (Paperback)
    by B. J. Oropeza

    http://www.amazon.com/Paul-Apostasy-Eschatology-Perseverance-Congregation/dp/1556353332/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280272688&sr=8-1

    He comes to a very different conclusion than you concerning the topic of apostasy in the Corinthian epistles.

    God Bless,
    Ben

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: