The Contradiction Between “Perseverance of the Saints” and the Scriptural Warnings Against Apostasy

I’ve written plenty on this topic before, this is what I consider the strongest argument against inevitable perseverance/eternal security in a nutshell:

The primary purpose of a warning is to provide incentive to avoid its consequences.[1]

A warning that can’t provide such incentive is effectively nullified in its purpose as a warning.[2]

A warning can’t provide such incentive to a person who believes its consequences to be unrealistic.[3]

A warning is therefore effectively nullified with regards to a person who believes its consequences to be unrealistic.[4]

With that in mind,

The Bible sincerely warns believers against falling away from the faith and perishing.[5]

The crux of the doctrine commonly called “perseverance of the saints” (and its variants, e.g. “eternal security”) is that no true believer can ever fall away to the point of perishing.[6]

Because “perseverance of the saints” categorically denies that the consequences of the warning passages will ever be incurred by any saint, then the consequences of those warnings are unrealistic by such a view.[7]

With regards to those who believe it then, the “perseverance of the saints” doctrine effectively nullifies the biblical warnings against believers committing apostasy.[8]

Notes:

[1] Consequences may be stated directly or implied, and avoidance can be in the form of positive and/or negative action; e.g. “Save for your retirement, or you’ll have insufficient funds.” or “Avoid running into traffic.”

[2] One could doubtless always find some other contrived purpose for a warning; it could be claimed that it’s being used to just get peoples’ attention through shock value, or perhaps inflate the length of a writing if nothing else! But the fact remains that if something keeps a genuine warning from instilling its hearers with some incentive to avoid what’s being warned against, then it is ultimately being rendered without force and ineffectual in its purpose.

[3] This should be self-evident. There may be warnings against things that a person could theoretically suffer, but some consequence that can’t be realistically incurred won’t give any reasonable person incentive to avoid it. Take for example the fact that quantum tunneling (theoretically anyway) allows for an almost infinitesimally small chance for solid objects to pass through each other: someone could warn me to stay in bed and not get up to reduce the chances of my falling through the floor. Such a warning wouldn’t deter me in the least from getting out of bed, because I know the chances of such an event actually happening are too absurdly low to be taken seriously.

[4] Going off the example ridiculous warning from [3], since I don’t believe I can realistically fall through a solid floor, for whatever other tertiary purposes such a warning might serve, it doesn’t give me any incentive to avoid its consequence, and is therefore ineffectual as a warning where I (along with anyone else who understands probability) am concerned. Regardless of how sincerely any warning is made, if one doesn’t believe it’s consequences are realistic, then to expect some caution or action on the part of that hearer to avoid said consequences is absurd.

[5] Matthew 5:27-30, 10:33, John 15:1-7, Hebrews 4:9-11, 12:15-17, Revelation 22:18-19, Romans 11:19-22, 2 Timothy 2:11-13 for just some examples. One could perhaps attempt to impute different meanings to the warning passages, asserting that they’re just idioms or some other literary device, but a rather heavy burden of proof would be on him to demonstrate from the context that the very apparent warnings against believers committing apostasy are something otherwise.

[6] Some proponents of these doctrines may concede that it’s possible in some sense for believers to fall away, but all are agreed that the scenario of a believer actually suffering such a consequence will without exception, never occur. While there is some variation in what proponents of eternal security believe, those details are irrelevant to this argument, as all versions of the doctrine teach that no saint will ever truly fall away.

[7] Note that this argument assumes someone interpreting warnings consistently with his beliefs.

[8] While eternal security proponents may attempt to sidestep the problem by appealing to the fact that unbelievers and false professors will perish, this argument concerns warnings directed specifically to the saints, not the unsaved.

One may also appeal to uncertainty, i.e. that one can’t know with absolute certainty that he’s saved, and so he likewise cannot be absolutely certain that he can’t suffer the consequence of damnation. That defense doesn’t exactly address the issue however, since acknowledging that one could conceivably be lost doesn’t change warnings against forfeiting one’s eternal inheritance into warnings against never obtaining said inheritance in the first place. Were the latter point the message being conveyed, we’d naturally expect the consequences to be framed in terms such as “you never were/aren’t grafted in,” rather than “you will be cut off.” All these defenses really do then is replace one problem (that of nullifying the scriptural warnings) with another (making the text out to say something it doesn’t indicate).

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79 Responses

  1. Good post.

  2. Oh how often I have made the point that Eternal security really gives no true security at all, for one cannot really know whether anyone is saved at all! At least with conitional security we can have assurance NOW in Christ, and discern between others accordingly.

  3. “Wolf! Wolf! He cried, but everyone, heedless, went on doing what they were doing knowing he couldn’t be serious.

  4. By no means are the warnings of Scripture made null and void because of the fact that the blood of Christ has covered us for all eternity.
    In the first place, the Bible makes it perfectly clear that if there are no fruits in an individual, then saving grace is not present in their lives, for God manifests His work through the change that takes place in our lives. So then, we are to examine our selves, for if there are no fruits, then we have cause to worry. So these verses call us to make sure our salvation. God can use these verses to convict us of our sin.

    The root of the problem is this, that there is a lack of understanding about what these verses mean.
    Verses such as Hebrews 6:4-6 are not talking about the Elect of God at all, they are talking about people within the covenant community and in the visible church, who although given many gifts by their Creator, have not been granted Salvation.
    These are people who have no interest in the things of the Lord (see later part of chapter 5), people who have been shown many things about religion, and yet there is no true salvation there.
    They are the people of the parable of the Sower, those who the Gospel has reached but not saved.
    Furthermore an understanding of passages like this have to be reached with an understanding of theology in general, the Atonement in particular.
    Those who are covered in the blood of Christ CANNOT be reprobated, as they are and always will be holy in the sight of the God of justice, who will not condemn them. It is sheer blasphemy to say that the blood of the Lamb of God can be made ineffectual for those for whom it was intended.
    Keeping Sound Doctrine, in the Love of Christ,
    Arend
    SOLI DEO GLORIA

  5. Arend,

    @So these verses call us to make sure our salvation.

    I address this above, see the last footnote.

    @Verses such as Hebrews 6:4-6 are not talking about the Elect

    This wasn’t concerning examples such as Hebrews 6, but warnings to the saints where the consequence for violation is perdition.

    @Those who are covered in the blood of Christ CANNOT be reprobated

    One who is cut off from the Vine is no longer in union with Him and thus no longer covered by Him. Jesus said,

    “If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” (John 15:6)

    @It is sheer blasphemy to say that the blood of the Lamb of God can be made ineffectual for those for whom it was intended.

    There’s really no scriptural warrant for this claim. The blood of Christ does not save and will not profit those who are faithless to Him.

  6. Another warning passage clearly directed to believers:
    “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you and evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you become hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” Heb 3:12-13

    –These ‘brethren’ are the same ones the writer addresses as Holy brethren (back in verse 1) whom he assumes to be actual “partakers of the heavenly calling”, and not pretenders. THESE are the ones he warns to take heed lest in THEM there is found a heart of unbelief in departing from God…and one can’t depart from God unless he was with Him to begin with.

    The writer did NOT write: “Beware, brethren, lest there be some of you who SEEM to be brethren but who have a heart of unbelief thus showing that some of you were never really with God to begin and have never actually partaken of the heavenly calling nor have ever been actually holy like the ones who are REALLY ‘holy brethren’. Of course, you REAL ‘holy brethren’ can never actually become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin and thus never actually depart from God, so no worries.”

    DT

  7. Arend wrote:

    Verses such as Hebrews 6:4-6 are not talking about the Elect of God at all, they are talking about people within the covenant community and in the visible church, who although given many gifts by their Creator, have not been granted Salvation.

    That claim does not hold water. See Parts 5-10 in the following series:

    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/category/perseverance-series/

  8. Ben,
    Early in 2010 I set out to prove to myself the “once saved, always saved” theology of typical Evangelicalism. But after studying the matter carefully, I decided the Scriptures did not really support that doctrine. This came after an examination of the aorist (whose meaning itself is disputed by scholars) as well not finding a single, unqualified Bible verse describing belief in the verbal perfect (completed) tense, along with a promise of such eternal life in the future indicative. Last summer, I wrote up an article I hope eventually to put on my website. In fact, in it I quote an argument of yours re: false teachers in Peter. Anyway, though my article mainly addresses Scriptural points, its lead-in argument is straight semantics. I give it below. BTW you are so right to point out that if warnings are not realistic, they are no warnings at all.

    ….the attitude among many Evangelicals who watch someone leave Evangelical Christianity because they no longer believe, runs something like this: “Well, they really must have never believed to begin with. They may have had a head knowledge, but never a heart knowledge.” Frankly, that kind of thinking strikes me as disingenuous now. Why? Because those Christians who express this opinion apply a different standard of degree of belief to the case of the professing Christian who leaves the fold than to any other kind of belief. For example, one never hears a Christian say of a Mormon who becomes converted to Evangelical Christianity, “Well, you know, he never really believed in Mormonism. He may have had a head knowledge, but never a heart knowledge.” Or again, for the child who fervently believes in Santa Claus for the first six years of his life but then changes his mind and no longer believes Santa exists, we never hear it said of the child, “Well, he never really believed in Santa Claus. He may have had a head knowledge, but certainly not a heart knowledge—for had he really believed he never would have abandoned that belief.”

    So, again, the reason you don’t hear eternal security-believing Evangelicals [hereafter abbreviated as ESEs] say such things is because they believe that the nature of belief in Christ is different than the nature of belief in any other thing. That is, unlike any other belief, Evangelicals cannot bear to think that belief in Christ has the possibility of being temporary. But simply put, there is no reason or typical Scripture that is used by ESEs to defend the doctrine of eternal security (as we shall see) that suggests that the nature of belief, when Christ is the object, is simply different when belief is of an object other than Christ.

    In my opinion this attitude by Evangelicals points to perhaps the greatest failure of Evangelical Christianity in general—the misunderstanding that Choice defines sentient being, God included. In other words, Choice, individual sentient being, and individual consciousness are synonyms, for apart from Choice there can be no person, no consciousness, no free will, etc., and no God, in whose image and likeness man is made. And so, if ideologues speak of “we”, “them,” “people,” “individuals”, etc., while denying that Choice =individual sentient being, they are merely using word symbols to psychologically invoke meaning when, in fact, their system permits no meaning at all.

    Right now, for example [if to digress just a bit in order to show by analogy the chief Evangelical failure I’m talking about], I’m involved in an online exchange with an atheist who speaks of “individuals” and the “observer-perspective”, yet claims in the same sentence that consciousness and free will are illusions. Well, if there really is no consciousness, then there can be no “individuals” or perspectives of “observers.” Such statements are simply philosophically irrational….”.

  9. Dan,

    I am pleased to hear that you changed your mind on this issue after examining the Scriptures and seeing that the doctrine really has no Biblical support. Your opening point is well taken. I recently had a discussion with an Arminian who believes that God makes apostasy impossible. He said the same basic thing when I brought up the example of a specific person who repudiated faith in Christ. He said that such people demonstrate that they did not understand the gospel by their abandoning it. Of course, that is not a logical implication as you point out. Can we really say that whenever someone changes their mind about something that they didn’t understand the thing they changed their mind About? Not at all. The same is true for Biblical concepts. Christians routinely change their minds on finer points of theology (for example, I changed my view on eschatology several years ago), but this doesn’t mean that they simply didn’t understand the view they now reject. I look forward to reading your article in its entirety when it is complete.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  10. It has often been asserted (and I think for example James White makes this assertion) that–if I take a Calvinistic stance–the warning passages in the Bible attributed to believers and attributed to the elect as a means to an end; namely, they are a tool which ENSURE the persevereance of God’s people, reminding them of the need for holy living. The assertion of Perseverance of the Saints after all which distinguishes it from Once Saved Always Saved after all is that the former asserts that true believers will always persevere in holiness unto the end whereas the latter (which Calvinists deny) says that once you pray that prayer then you’re God’s no matter what (literally). Extreme forms of OSAS would even go to say that one may become a Hindu and worship many gods for example but still remain on of Jesus’ own!! Horrid teaching.

    So how would you respond to the assertion that these passages are a means to an end for the elect?

    Thanks!

  11. J.C., Good Post! I have been reading Shank’s Life in the Son and it is really a great book at addressing a lot of these issues related to perseverance. I would highly recommend it to anyone struggling with these issues. Regarding “The Contradiction Between “Perseverance of the Saints” and the Scriptural Warnings Against Apostasy” I believe that Shank destroys the assertion that the warning passages are a means to an end for the elect in Chapter 12 – If We Deny Him (I would recommend this book on the basis of this Chapter alone). I will quote from it here:

    “But is the peril real? Are believers actually in peril of apostatizing? Some do not think so. Many apologists for the doctrine of unconditional security in an attempt to reconcile the warning passages with their a priori doctrine, explain them as being only God’s means of ensuring that believers shall not fall away from the faith.”

    “One will not read long from advocates of the doctrine of unconditional security before encountering this “explanation” of the presence of so many urgent warnings against apostasy so obviously addressed to believers. The folly of their contention is seen in the fact that, the moment a man becomes persuaded that their doctrine of unconditional security is correct, the warning passages immediately lose the very purpose and value which they claim for them. Strong quotes Dr A.C. Kendrick on Hebrews 6:4-6: “The text describes a condition subjectively possible, and therefore needing to be held up in earnest warning to the believer, while objectively and in the absolute purpose of God, it never occurs.” But how can there be any “earnest warning” to the believer who is sufficiently “instructed” to understand that the “warning” is directed against an impossibility? How can something be subjectively possible for the person who knows it to be objectively impossible? The only possible circumstance under which the warning passages could serve the purpose and function which they claim for them would be the total rejection of the doctrine of unconditional security and inevitable perseverance.”

    There is a lot more that he writes on this. If anyone is interested, get the book! I saw a copy on ebay for $9 w/shipping, here is the link:

    http://bit.ly/fnFZgM

  12. I agree, ‘LIFE IN THE SON’ is an excellent book.

  13. Burnett,

    You wrote,

    So how would you respond to the assertion that these passages are a means to an end for the elect?

    See the quotes from Shank in JPC’s comment above. The real problem is that the Scriptures never present warnings as an infallible means to prevent true believers from falling away. That is not the normal way such warnings would be understood, so that presents a tremendous burden for those who want to make such claims. The other problem is that the Bible depicts examples of believers actually falling away, as well as warning against falling away. If you haven’t checked out my series yet, you may find it helpful.

    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/category/perseverance-series/

    God Bless,
    Ben

  14. JCT,
    Your line of argument is certainly correct.

    I just would like to add what to me by far outweighs and human logic .

    If God in His word warns ,like in Hebr.3:12-13 and many other passages , from falling away, and this is not really possible, that makes God a liar !

    God IS Truth and if He warns us that something can happen that can not occur , He would be lying!

    Rudi Kunz

  15. Hebrews 2:13 clearly sets the stage for the book of Hebrews: “Here am I, and the children God has given Me”

    There He is, with the Children given. Warning passages are a means to an end, to not understand this is to make numerous contradictions in Scripture. Just like God’s grace is done not only in Spirit but also with God’s use of natural means.

  16. I know I’m a little bit late in commenting on this post, and that there are other far more stimulating conversations happening on this blog, but I was wondering…are any of you folks familiar with Dan Corner’s work on conditional security?

    http://www.evangelicaloutreach.org/

    I am an Arminian (relatively new). Corner claims to be Arminian as well. But he teaches that one sin incurs immediate spiritual death. Is it just me, or is this a bit off from the classical Arminian position? Do Arminians take this guy very seriously?

    Or perhaps you’ve never heard of him; not sure how well-known he is.

  17. Dave, Dan Corner is moderately well-known in internet circles that study eternal security. His application of the texts attacking OSAS are generally correct from what I’ve seen, but if what I’m understanding you to say is correct about his views concerning spiritual death, then that appears to be off.

    I stopped reading his stuff because of how he treated some other Christians; he has the tendency to anathematize anyone who believes in eternal security. I agree with him that the doctrine is wrong, though this doesn’t make anyone who teaches or believes it an antinomian necessarily.

  18. P.S. Corner doesn’t appear to believe that every sin incurs spiritual death. From his website:

    “We do not believe we lose our salvation every time we sin. There are many sins that will not damn any Christian to eternal fire if committed, such as: worry, not being completely humble and gentle and not overflowing with thanksgiving. Never are such sins included in any Biblical list which states who will not inherit the kingdom of God and/or be thrown into the lake of fire such as the sexually immoral, drunkards, idolaters, murderers, liars, etc. (1 Cor. 6:9,10; Eph. 5:5-7; Rev. 21:8).”

    src: http://www.evangelicaloutreach.org/misconceptions.htm

  19. We believe that such only are real believers as endure unto the end; that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors; that a special providence watches over their welfare, and they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation 1 John 2:19, Phil. 1:6, Rom. 8:28

  20. There is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and sanctified by his Spirit, are truly righteous in his esteem; while all such as continue in impentence and unblief are wicked in his sight, and under the curse; this distinction holds among men both in and after death. Mal. 3:18, Rom. 1:17

  21. There is only one way to fall from Grace, You have to be married to her,roll out of the bed and hit the floor. Then you can say you fell from Grace. God’s Grace is impossible to fall from.

  22. Jess,

    You really need to interact with the posts if you are going to leave a comment. You do realize that your assertions here put you at odds with Scripture, right?

    “And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” (Gal. 5:3, 4)

  23. Jess,

    You wrote,

    We believe that such only are real believers as endure unto the end; that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors; that a special providence watches over their welfare, and they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation 1 John 2:19, Phil. 1:6, Rom. 8:28

    I know what Calvinists believe. I recommend you read my series on perseverance of the saints: https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/category/perseverance-series/

    God Bless,
    Ben

  24. Ben, I would love to ask you one thing, if I may. Did Christ die for all your sins or just a few of them? If you say all of them, you can’t fall away. If you say a few of them, then I could see a falling away in someone’s future. The N.T. teaches we are kept by the power of God, which is not law, but Grace. I thank God for Grace. Please don’t misunderstand me, I have been knocked down but not out, I have sinned and do sin, but I do not practice sinning. When I do sin the Holy Spirit convicts me of that sin and I genuinely repent and ask God to please help me not to do that sin again.The Holy Spirit leads me to perform truth and righteousness. I have been kept by the power of God for thirty four years, and I have no doubt by Gods Grace I will get to thank him in person one day.

  25. Jess, Christ died for all sins of all men, but we don’t receive the benefit of forgiveness unless we abide in Him. 1 Peter 1:5 states that we are kept by the power of God -through faith. Accordingly, the scriptures also warn us against allowing our faith to fail:

    “….keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme.” (1 Tim 1:19-20)

  26. Ben, I would love to ask you one thing, if I may. Did Christ die for all your sins or just a few of them?

    All of them, but that provision of of forgiveness and cleansing is conditioned on abiding in Christ as JCT just mentioned (John 15:1-6; 1 John 1:7).

    God Bless,
    Ben

  27. In Galatians chapter five beginning with verse one, the Bible is teaching the difference between Law and Grace. Circumcision represents the bondage of the law, and Grace represents liberty in Christ. The Galatians were under constant bombardment by false teachers, they were saying that you could be saved by the law (circumcision). This is why Paul said, Christ has become of no effect unto you, whosever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from Grace. I know you have probably raised some children, remember when they got too big for the high chair and started sitting at the table like the grownups. If your children were like mine it wasn’t long before they hit the floor. I would have to help my children up and tell then that I know that must to have hurt, but you will be ok now. They fell from old dad’s table but I loved them even more because they were mine, I told them that is part of growing up. This is the very thing Paul was teaching the Galatians, to get them back to the table, the table of Grace. I also understand that if the Galatians were not convicted by the Holy Spirit,after this wonderful letter from Paul, they did not belong to Christ to begin with. I thank God for his wonderful Grace. I remember in my early Christian life, I had made up my mind to quit serving God. I told myself that I can’t wait until the weekend so I can go and purchase beer, The weekend came and for some reason I didn’t make to the spirit store. I was furious, I told myself I bet I’ll go this comming weekend. The weekend came and I still didn’t get to buy beer. I had missed two Sundays from church. The conviction of the Holy Spirit was so strong in my heart that I was glad when they said let’s go to the house of the Lord. Did I mention that was thirty four years ago. I still haven’t made it to the beer store

  28. I have just one more comment on this subject, Jesus said to forgive men their trespasses as our Heavenly Father forgives us of our trespasses. I love the word forgive, don’t you? Are you ready to canvert yet?

  29. Jess,

    Paul was not saying this simply because there were false teachers attempting to spread their doctrine, but because some were truly in danger of falling. Also, if some of them had turned to Judaism and indeed fallen from grace, then that pretty well nixes your initial point about such an event being impossible.

    @I also understand that if the Galatians were not convicted by the Holy Spirit,after this wonderful letter from Paul, they did not belong to Christ to begin with.

    I must have missed that verse; where is that implied?

  30. First, let me say thank you for allowing me to chat with you. The verses are in John 3:20, Eph5:11:13, 1Tim 5:20, Jude:15, 2Tim4:2, Tit.1:13. There are many more verses that pertain to conviction. 1Cor. 3:16 tells us the Spirit of God is within us, Why wouldn’t he reprove us of sin? The soul don’t stay home and be a good little soul, while the body is out having a sinful time.

  31. Also john 8:46, 16:8, Some of the verses may be the wrong ones, But that is what I get for hurrying,

  32. Jesus also said everyone my Heavenly Father has given me I have kept and none is lost, Scriptures also teach no one can pluck us out of the Fathers hand. There is no power that can do it, Nothing can separate us from the love of God.

  33. Jess, none of those passages say anything even remotely like “those who aren’t convicted never belonged to Christ.”

  34. Jess,

    As JC mentioned, Paul is actually addressing a real possibility of falling from grace and being severed from Christ. You can’t deny that, but you insist that when we fall away from grace or get severed from Christ, He always brings us back. That is not in this passage or anywhere else. No one is denying that God convicts us when we sin or works to lead us back to Him when we begin to drift. The problem is your wrong assumption that such working and conviction is irresistible (i.e., always successful).

    Again, I highly suggest you take a look at my 13 part series on perseverance linked to in my above comment. Parts 1-11 deal with numerous passages that plainly teach that true believers can fall away. Part 12 deals with Biblical assurance, and part 13 deals with many of the passages you reference in support of eternal security.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  35. I’m not even sure what I sent you on those last posts. I was trying to do three things at once. This is my last post, I must move on, thanks again. In John 17:3, eternal life is a present possession. Not something to obtain at a future date, or lose at a future date. The greek word for know is ginosko, also John 3:36, 1John 5:13, John 5:24. Christ died for us taking the punishment we deserve. Did I tell you I was a sheep farmer. Jesus was one hundred percent right, when he said my sheep hear my voice and a stranger they will not follow. Even my family members the sheep ignore. When they hear my voice they perk up and come running. I believe there are extremes as far as Calvinism and Arminianism is concerned. We should seek the truth in the Scriptures, trust God and everything will be just fine. Thanks again and God bless.

  36. One last thing, my sheep are irresistible, to my voice.

  37. 1 John 2:19 explanes it all, they went out from us but they were not all of us…………… Think about it..

  38. Jess,

    @eternal life is a present possession. Not something to obtain at a future date, or lose at a future date.

    Contextually, that’s incorrect. Eternal life is something we have as our inheritance, but will reap in full at a future date.

    “…who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Mark 10:30)

    @my sheep are irresistible, to my voice.

    I’m sorry, where was that again?

    @1 John 2:19 explanes it all, they went out from us but they were not all of us…………… Think about it..

    (?) What exactly is a group of false converts leaving the church supposed to prove?

  39. It proves my point, they did not belong to God to begin with.- GOT-YA!!!!

  40. John 10:3-5. also Jeremiah said, I’ll not make mention of Him or speak no more in his name, but his word was in my heart like a fire shut up in my bones, and I could not stay.

  41. I really have posted my last comment, I must move on. I have really enjoyed talking with you guys. I am paying for this time on the computer with pain in my eyes. I am legally blind because of a brain tumor, I also have lymphoma, and sjogrens. There is no earthly way I still should be Pastoring a church. I’m not in an earthly way but a Heavenly. With God all things are possible. I have to prepare for my lesson tonight. Pray for me, May God richly bless you. Thanks again.

  42. Jess,

    On 1 John 2:19, see the following post: https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/does-1-john-218-19-support-the-calvinist-never-saved-to-begin-with-view-of-apostasy/

    What do you make of the numerous passages that seem to plainly teach that true believers can fall away, as illustrated in the series I have pointed you to? You really need to grapple with those as well. For example, regarding your point on “know”, Hebrews 10:26 uses an even stronger word for knowledge in describing those who fall away. 2 Peter 1:3 uses the same word to describe the knowledge by which we receive salvation, and then uses it again in 2:20 (“the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”) to describe the prior state of apostates. In other words, they escaped the defilements of the world through a knowledge of Christ and then became entangled again, something you seem to suggest is not possible with your beer store story.

    Furthermore, their state is said to be even worse than before they came to this saving knowledge. How can that be if they are still saved? And if you say that they were never saved to begin with, then you need to explain how these unsaved people escaped the defilements of the world without being saved and regenerated? Is there another way to escape the defilements of the world other than through faith union with Christ and the forgiveness and regeneration that results? See the problem?

    God Bless,
    Ben

  43. Sorry, I just realized you said it was your last comment. Maybe you will change your mind and check in again.

  44. Jess,

    It proves my point, they did not belong to God to begin with.- GOT-YA!!!!

    [facepalm] Seriously? I just stated,

    “(?) What exactly is a group of false converts leaving the church supposed to prove?”

    I wasn’t disputing that they were false converts. I in fact just affirmed that they were, so your game of “gotcha” doesn’t really make any sense.

    Try to follow the reasoning here: some people who left the church being false converts doesn’t equate to all people who leave the church being false converts.

  45. First, I would like to point out that there can be many reasons why a believer would leave the local congregation, or stop attending church for an extended period of time, you know this and I know it as well. Every place you have shown me deals with false teachers. In 2Peter Chapt. 2 verses 20-22, You are overlooking a very important word in verse 20. The verse begins with if, which must not be overlooked. Peter does not say these false teachers have escaped from the pollutions of the world. Peter views the statement as a premise which is contary to the fact. He says if it were true then they would be in a worse condition and be hopelessly trapped. if, if, if, The whole chapter warns the believer to secure the faith that had been preached to them by the apostles against the barbarbous attack by frauds who have shown themselves to be worthy of certain judgment of God. You are teaching that one can fall from Grace, show me one place where a Christian did fall from Grace I’m not talking about church disclipine, or unbelievers or false teachers but a Christian. Where is it?

  46. In Gal. 5:4, Please look what the Apostle is saying. Let me put it another way, Those of you that are justified by the law, have fallen away from Grace. Paul was teaching,…… teaching the word of God to the Gal. If a student has a math and science class, and the student drops the math class, they have fallen away from the math class and held to the science. This has nothing to do with becoming lost after one has become saved. Paul is trying to get the Church back on the right track, and to grasp Grace. Only God knows how many of these Judaizers changed from the law back to Grace, and how many that actually got saved, after Paul exercised his Apostleship. Remember the only way to fall from Grace is to be married to her, fall out of bed, and hit the floor. Only then you can say you fell from Grace. God would be a weak God if he couldn’t keep me after he saved me. Nothing can sever the ties afther one receives Salvation. Every time Paul said that one is handed over to the devil for the destruction of the flesh for the saving of the soul He is exercising his authority as an Apostle, (church discipline) If they are God’s they will come back, if they are not God’s they have to get saved by Grace through Faith in Christ to come to him. Please remember there are extremes in Calvinism and Arminianism. Sometimes true intelligence is looking, or should I say lurking outside the box.

  47. Jess,

    @Peter views the statement as a premise which is contary to the fact.

    No, conditional statements aren’t always counter-factual. Contextually, vs 22 (“But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb”) indicates that this actually occurred.

    @show me one place where a Christian did fall from Grace

    Hebrews 6:4-6 is one example, perhaps even more clear is,

    “…holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.” (2 Tim 1:19-20)

    @This has nothing to do with becoming lost after one has become saved.

    Unlikely, the usage of phrases like “You have been severed from Christ” is pretty clear.

    @God would be a weak God if he couldn’t keep me after he saved me.

    He keeps those who abide in Him. The idea of God as a nanny who compels you to remain in Him isn’t really a biblical concept.

  48. J.C.T. In the earlier post, I was talking about my sheep herd, that are irresistible to my voice. This is something to think about.

  49. Jess,

    You wrote,

    Every place you have shown me deals with false teachers. In 2Peter Chapt. 2 verses 20-22, You are overlooking a very important word in verse 20. The verse begins with if, which must not be overlooked. Peter does not say these false teachers have escaped from the pollutions of the world. Peter views the statement as a premise which is contary to the fact. He says if it were true then they would be in a worse condition and be hopelessly trapped. if, if, if, The whole chapter warns the believer to secure the faith that had been preached to them by the apostles against the barbarbous attack by frauds who have shown themselves to be worthy of certain judgment of God.

    First, the passage is likely not just addressing those who are false teachers (and why do you automatically assume that false teachers cannot be true apostates?), but those who are being led astray by them (vv. 18, 19).

    Second, the “if” in no way suggests that this second entanglement is impossible. That is a massive assumption you are reading into the text with absolutely no textual support. Why warn them against something that cannot happen? If the teaching of these false teachers cannot lead them astray, why make such a statement at all? It is contrary to the plain language and obvious meaning of the text. I contend that no one- NO ONE- reading this passage would ever draw the conclusion you have drawn unless they were desperately trying to defend the doctrine of ES at all costs. It is completely counter intuitive.

    Again, imagine the inspired apostle saying, “if you attach springs to your boots and use them to jump to the moon, you won’t make it back alive.” What purpose would such a warning serve, given that jumping to the moon with spring boots is no less impossible than falling away from grace, according to you? Somehow you have turned the apostles urgent warning into meaningless garble.

    Perhaps you mean to say that Peter is trying to show the absurdity of their teaching. But that makes no sense. They are not teaching that one can fall away. They are teaching that sin can have no permanent affect. They are teaching license to sin. That is the opposite of what Peter is expressing, and that is why Peter is expressing it. He wants his audience to know that if they return to a life style of sin, they will forfeit their salvation. Your zeal to defend ES has turned his words inside out, making them say exactly the opposite of what they are intended to teach. What a terrible shame.

    If you are saying that Peter is talking about the false teachers being again entangled, then your difficulty persists, for they escaped this defilement through a saving knowledge of Christ, as has already been explained.

    I highly recommend you look at the series I pointed you to. The post on 2 Peter 2:20-22 can be found here: https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2007/11/19/perseverance-of-the-saints-part-4-again-entagled-in-corruption/

    You are teaching that one can fall from Grace, show me one place where a Christian did fall from Grace I’m not talking about church disclipine, or unbelievers or false teachers but a Christian. Where is it?

    Look at the series for several examples, including those that have already been given you.

  50. Sometimes true intelligence is looking, or should I say lurking outside the box.

    What are you suggesting here?

  51. These false teachers were in danger of hell, this is why Paul and Peter warned them and the church about false teaching. Keep in mind the word false.. The false teachers were on their way to hell, unless they get saved. The apostles set the Church back in order with their warnings. False teachers may even receive a greater condemnation. On that little remark, all I was saying, all the peanuts may not be in the bag. You may have to look at the bigger picture to see them all.

  52. By the way, in 2Peter chapt. 2, the entire chapter is talking about false teachers. How can you take one verse out of context and say this is the smoking gun. Please remember the word If. You see these false teachers didn’t escape to begin with. I hope that you will realize Christ shed his precious blood one time. One time only for everyone, To lose salvation means there remains no more sacrafice for sin,seeing it crucifies the son of God afresh..

  53. Just one more little thing, in 2Peter chapter two verses 17 thru 19 Peter said these teachers had reformation without regeneration. They were clouds without water. I’m not despirately trying to hang on to eternal life on the contrary Christ is hanging on to meand I’m secure in his hand. So the little word if….comes into play again.

  54. Got-ya again, and you know it!

  55. Jess,

    @these false teachers didn’t escape to begin with.

    @in 2Peter chapter two verses 17 thru 19 Peter said these teachers had reformation without regeneration. They were clouds without water.

    Your contention doesn’t seem to comport with the evidence very well. Someone being described as a well (or cloud) without water doesn’t imply that they were never saved, since “without water” (present state) isn’t the same thing as “never had water” (all past states). The positive evidence that they were genuine followers at one time is far more numerous and cogent.

    vs 1, notice that they’d been bought by God, “…who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, [and] bring on themselves swift destruction.”

    vs 15, they were following the way of truth at one time, “They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the [son] of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness….”

    vs 20-21, vs 21 closely parallels vs 15 in describing their departure, which lends credence to the idea that the conditional (“if”) isn’t a strict hypothetical, “For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known [it], to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.”

    vs 22, notice the way that one escapes the pollutions of the world to begin with is through knowing Christ (vs 20); those described here once were washed, but now go back to their old lifestyle: “But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”” This indicates that what’s described following the “if” of vs 20 is not hypothetical, but, “it has happened to them” (the mood is indicative, i.e. it’s a statement of fact).

  56. I feel we both have made our points. I wish you the best and hope you don’t lose it before you get there.

  57. Jess,

    We have both made our points, but you have not grappled with ours, just ignored them and continued to make assertions based on “if”, assuming that the word “if” necessarily implies an impossible hypothetical without any contextual warrant, and, as was pointed out, making meaningless nonsense of what Peter is expressing. We can agree to disagree, but I implore you again to read my series. You may not change your mind, but at least you will see why we find your arguments both unconvincing and out of harmony with what Scripture is teaching. I would have no problem at all holding your view if I believed it was Scriptural. I would love to believe that I could never fall away. But I need to submit to Scripture and take the warnings seriously, warnings that become meaningless if your view is adopted.

    If you will read through my series, I am convinced that you will see why the “never saved to begin with” view simply cannot work when the language and context of these warnings are carefully examined. You may still cling to your view, but will see that to do so forces you to read Scripture in a very unnatural and forced way. What is so important about this doctrine that you would be willing to do that? If Scripture warns true believers against falling away as a very real possibility (and it surely does), why shouldn’t we submit to that reality?

    God Bless,
    Ben

  58. Ben, J.C. pointed me to 2Peter 2:1, These people only pretended to be bought. These men claimed to be authentic spokesmen for God, the basic meaning of the word prophet. Their messages proved them false. True believers can’t fall away (lose their salvation), this would make God a liar. o One of the things God cannot do, according to scripture, is lie. Can’t you see this entire chapter is about false teachers. Peter is warning the true church that these false teachers will make merchandise of them. and warning the false teachers that the judgement of God is upon them. We as Christians do take warnings seriously. Gods laws are written in our hearts and minds, and his commandments are not grevious to us. I can do exactly what I want to do and still go to heaven, because when the Lord saved me my want to’s changed. I simply cannot see what problem you all have with eternal security. To try to read into something that is not there, and to make up something that is not there to justify a doctrine or something that we got from a text book is wrong. Gods word is the ultimate reference. You may not understand this, but in my early Christian life, all I heard was eternal security, it almost made me sick. I thought how can anyone that is saved commit sin. I set out to prove eternal security wrong. I engaged in a long indepth study of Gods word. I even wanted to prove all the commentaries wrong by purchasing commentaries with different views. Gods word prevailed, I am a champion of eternal security and always will be. When God begins to look at my sin, all he see’s is the redeeming blood of Christ. Thank God. When we christians sin Gods Spirit in us convicts us to the point of being broken hearted and reaching to God in repentance. You see, we are not perfect but Jesus is, he is my attorney, I have him retained. I didn’t even have to pay a retainer fee, he waived it. Excuse me, while I go shout a few times……..

  59. These people only pretended to be bought. These men claimed to be authentic spokesmen for God, the basic meaning of the word prophet. Their messages proved them false.

    peter is not talking ‘They appeared to be bought by the Lord’

    This post is just the tip of iceberg:
    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2007/11/19/perseverance-of-the-saints-part-4-again-entagled-in-corruption/

  60. Let’s see, 2 Pet 2:1 says, “They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them–bringing swift destruction on themselves” (NIV).

    But Jess understands it as, “even denying the sovereign Lord who *they pretended* bought them.”

    Reading things into the text like this confirms Ben’s assessment: “You may still cling to your view, but will see that to do so forces you to read Scripture in a very unnatural and forced way.”

  61. On the contrary, do you realize if I tore every scripture out of my Bible that promises me eternal life, and tells me I possess it this very minute, I would be going to church with something as thin as a comic book under my arm. Don’t you realize the meaning of Heb. Chapt. 12 verses 6-8 mean? God corrects his own. If ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

    As a father corrects his own children with love and truth, the main word to keep in mind is correction. He knows how to put us back on the right path because of the love he has for us.

    If we are corrected, we belong to God, if we are not corrected we do not belong to God. Can’t you see, because of correction, and the Fathers love, We cannot lose eternal life.

    The false teachers in 2Peter never had eternal life to begin with, or else they would have been corrected.

    My understanding of Gods word is exactly the way he wants me to understand it. It is natural to me but may be unnatural to you.

    Sometimes, you have to look outside the box of denomination, and see the truth that surrounds you, or else you may not see truth at all. Religion binds us, Jesus sets us free. Thank God for his marvelous Grace.

    I was once told I was at odds with scripture,(humm, I wonder who told me that).But, I don’t have to spent the rest of my life worrying if I am going to make it to Heaven. My eternal destiny was sealed at the cross.

  62. But I believe what Scripture says, “They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them–bringing swift destruction on themselves” (2 Pet 2:1; NIV)

    whereas you seem to believe something other than Scripture says, “They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who *they pretended* bought them–bringing swift destruction on themselves” (Not 2 Pet 2:1 in the NIV or any other translation).

  63. Dear Arminian, Is that the best you can do? I forgive you.

  64. I am sorry you feel you need to forgive me. But thank you for doing so even if it should be unnecessary, since I was just pointing out the discrepancy between what Scripture says and what you say, drawing attention again to what seems to me to be you blatantly reading your view into the text of Scripture rather than deriving your view from the text. Why would you need to forgive that?

    May God bless you.

  65. Dear Arminian, I didn’t realize you were a novice, and couldn’t understand what I said. So I will be extra nice to you. Hang in there, you will make it. Heb. chapt. 6 verses 4-6 Must really be upsetting to you.

  66. Brothers, I have really enjoyed talking with you. I don’t plan to be back on this site. I feel my faith has been strengthened. I have given you all enough Gospel to save a whole bunch of Arminians four or five times.

    God bless you

  67. Jess,

    Ditto what Credulo and Arminian said, it doesn’t say they “pretend” to be bought, it says some will deny the Lord who bought them.

    One of the interpretive problems you appear to have is assuming that God’s promises of eternal life are unconditional. The scriptures reveal that His promises are provisional and covenantial. This is spelled out in numerous places in scripture (e.g. Matt 10:22, John 15:6, Romans 11:22). So if one ceases to abide in Christ, God is not a liar for revoking his inheritance, since that’s exactly what He’s said He will do. Eternal life is a present possession in the sense of it being our inheritance, but it’s not fully realized yet (cf Mark 10:30, Gal 6:8, 1 Peter 1:8-9).

    You also base much of your case upon the idea of God correcting believers. I don’t think anyone would contend that He doesn’t. The catch is that God giving correction does not amount to someone automatically receiving or acting upon it, hence we are commanded, “do not despise the chastening of the Lord” (Prov 3:11).

    I didn’t read conditional security from a textbook somewhere, I believe it because the warnings in scripture against believers falling away are simply too clear and numerous to write off as being absurdities. I cover that more in depth here.

  68. Further, Jess,

    I cannot remain silent on your behavior. Your condescending and insulting jabs against Arminian are quite frankly, laughable. Hebrews 6:4-6 is typically used as evidence against eternal security; so I’m wondering how in the world that’s supposed to be upsetting to someone who believes what that passage apparently teaches. Inane rhetoric like “I have given you all enough Gospel to save a whole bunch of Arminians four or five times” seem to indicate that you believe anyone who doesn’t share your beliefs on OSAS isn’t saved; and your childish and repetitive “got ya” taunts are the sort of stuff that most folks have outgrown by time they reached middle school. Your attitude is in need of a serious overhaul.

  69. J.C.T. Blatantly reading my view into the scripture, rather than deriving my view from the text, is very offensive to me. I am sorry for my part in this exchange. I can prove you wrong in so many places in scripture, but what’s the use. One last thing, since you brought it up, Heb. chapter 6 verses 4-6, The writer issues a strong warning to his readers. There has been an actual conversion experience. The author states those who met the above conditions (believers), If they should fall away, they cannot be renewed again unto repentance. This should worry you,because of your belief that you can lose salvation and get it again.

    Since those referred to in the passage have genuinely experienced salvation, it would be impossible for them to fall away and be renewed (reborn) again to repentance. A true believer is not in danger of losing his salvation, However there are those who merely profess Christ. Read the parable of the sower in Matthew 13. These false professors are in danger of apostasy and all apostates “go out from us, but were not of us”(1John 2:19) Thus the argument that a true believer cannot fall away from God.

  70. J.C.T. What is the very first word in verse 6? I am not going to say it. The last time I did I got a whole bunch of emails.

  71. I am sorry when I said I can prove you wrong, I should have said I can show you why I disagree with you in so many places. I may have a little too much zeal sometimes. I hope you overlook it. I will not apologize for Gods word. If you would like me to leave this site, I’ll understand.

  72. Why not assume the rest of what is said about them is just pretend too? They didn’t actually introduce destructive heresies, they just *pretended* to. But of course, all that is said of them is a simple statement of fact, including their being bought of the Lord.

  73. Jess,

    I wonder if you will take the time to actually read the series I pointed you too. It really addresses all of your protests and complaints.

  74. Jess,

    You don’t need to leave, let’s just all remember to behave like Christian brothers. I don’t think Arminian was trying to attack you personally, he gave a critique of your interpretation of a passage.

    @This should worry you,because of your belief that you can lose salvation and get it again.

    I don’t actually believe that. I believe a person is saved once, and is thereafter dealt with on the basis of the covenant of grace. He remains in that covenant unless he ceases altogether to abide in Christ (such as by growing to hate Him altogether), in which case he would be unredeemable.

    @What is the very first word in verse 6?

    The answer might actually surprise you: the first two words are “kai parapesontav” (literally, “and have fallen away”). The addition of an “if” is an oddity of some translations, but doesn’t actually appear in the Greek of verse 6 at all. Young’s literal words it as,

    “…for [it is] impossible for those once enlightened, having tasted also of the heavenly gift, and partakers having became of the Holy Spirit, and did taste the good saying of God, the powers also of the coming age, and having fallen away, again to renew [them] to reformation, having crucified again to themselves the Son of God, and exposed to public shame.”

    So it’s apparently not a hypothetical at all, this refers to people who already have fallen away.

  75. Ben…..True believers cannot fall from Grace, and you know it.

    credulo…..In 2Peter, chapter2 verse 1, you were right, it’s not in my KJV either. I did mis-quote that verse. I’m not perfect yet, and neither are you.

    arminian….You are a good debater, You are just on the wrong side.

    J.C…..You need to look at your greek dictionaries a little closer. Correct means to stand in an upright position. God corrects his children.

    Kangaroodort….I’ll miss you most of all. I hope you don’t have any allergies to straw.

    When I got on this web site I had no ideal I would be faceing five people at once. But I believe I made my point. Now I can leave.

  76. One last thing, I did visit your websites, and I was apalled. Dear people would ask you guys questions, seeking help,and all you guys would say is see my series pertaining to this. Have you ever heard of the K.I.S.S. approach. People want real answers for real problems. straight from your lips. We are called to help people, we are to represent Christ while we are in this world. People want plain talk and scripture to back it up. True wisdom, is being able to communicate your answers with a child. There are people on the milk of the word, and not on meat. I couldn’t understand some of your answers. How do you expect the average person to understand them?

  77. Jess,

    @You need to look at your greek dictionaries a little closer. Correct means to stand in an upright position.

    What are you citing exactly? In Greek, paideia (the usual term for chastisement) seems to refer broadly to general chastisement & instruction. Nothing about the noun appears to convey it bringing about some irresistible effect.

    @all you guys would say is see my series pertaining to this.

    That’s because KD’s series is a very competent and easy-to-understand explanation of the issue.

    @Have you ever heard of the K.I.S.S. approach. People want real answers for real problems. straight from your lips.

    I’m quite familiar with the approach. K.I.S.S. is only applicable to things that can be broken down easily -the catch is that not everything is easy to understand, and trying to oversimplify it is an invitation to disaster. Real-life issues are often not that simple, and requires a more detailed explanation.

    @True wisdom, is being able to communicate your answers with a child.

    Not necessarily. Children can’t understand every issue, so expecting easy “20 words or less” answers to complex questions is unreasonable. If there are babies who want to understand the more complex issue, there’s no shortcut that will get them around the necessity of learning.

  78. jess,

    It is too bad you can’t discuss these issues with a cool head. It’s OK to disagree, but we should do so with a proper level of maturity. Your last posts seem to lack that. You write,

    Ben…..True believers cannot fall from Grace, and you know it.

    So you keep asserting contrary to the plain teaching of Scripture. Galatians alone makes this very clear. You even concede that Paul is speaking to believers with your high chair analogy. You only assert that after falling God will always restore them, though Scripture never says such a thing. So Paul says that true believers (according to your own analogy) have fallen from grace, and yet you still somehow say that they can’t.

    arminian….You are a good debater, You are just on the wrong side.

    Assertions do not make your case.

    Kangaroodort….I’ll miss you most of all. I hope you don’t have any allergies to straw.

    Another very mature response. This comment also seems to demonstrate that you are not reading very carefully as Kangaroodort and Ben (me) are the same person. That should have been rather obvious.

    When I got on this web site I had no ideal I would be faceing five people at once. But I believe I made my point. Now I can leave.

    You made lots of points, but none of them were valid. We will just need to agree to disagree I guess.

    One last thing, I did visit your websites, and I was apalled. Dear people would ask you guys questions, seeking help,and all you guys would say is see my series pertaining to this.

    o you mean you visited the series I referred yout to? In that serious you will find many long discussions in those threads. However, there are times when it is better to refer someone to a post that has already been written and addresses the questions. I can’t imagine why you would be “apalled” by that. Jesus referred people to other Scriptures (John 5, for example). Are you “apalled” by that as well?

    People want plain talk and scripture to back it up.

    That is exactly what you have gotten from us, while we have gotten long explanations from you in order to cloud the plain meaning of Scripture, even plainly reading your own ideas into texts that say nothing of the sort.

    I couldn’t understand some of your answers. How do you expect the average person to understand them?

    Just because you didn’t understand them, that doesn’t mean they didn’t. And if they didn’t, we were happy to provide clarification. Most people who debate these issues are familiar with the subject matter and since you do not seem to be as familiar, it is no wonder some of it may have gone over your head. But we try to speak at the level of someone’s understanding. Did you have trouble understanding me here? What was difficult for you to understand in the other threads? I would be glad to help you understand.

    God Bless,
    Ben

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