PDA

View Full Version : Eternal Security: Can You Be Sure?


standingfirminChrist
09-04-2007, 05:46 PM
I am going through my copy of Eternal Security: Can You Be Sure? by Charles Stanley and am disturbed at this statement on page 126-127:

Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth
Now, back to our original question. Where is this place represented by the "outer darkness" in Jesus' parables? To be in the "outer darkness" is to be in the kingdom of God but outside the circle of men and women whose faith*fulness on this earth earned them a special rank or posi*tion of authority.
The "outer darkness" represents not so much an actual place as it does a sphere of influence and privilege.2 It is not a geographical area in the kingdom where certain

men and women are consigned to stay. It is simply a fig*ure of speech describing their low rank or status in God's kingdom.
The reason there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth by those who find themselves in this position becomes obvious once we eliminate some confusion over the phrase "gnashing of teeth." This figure of speech does not symbolize pain as many have thought.
The best example of what it really denotes is found at the end of Stephen's sermon in Acts. Stephen had been falsely accused of blasphemy. After his long defense, his accusers were "cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at him" (Acts 7:54). Why? Because they were in pain? No, because "they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking" (Acts 6:10). Those men heard the truth, knew they were in er*ror, and could not take it. They were extremely frustrated with themselves. But instead of repenting, they silenced the voice of truth.
Now, imagine standing before God and seeing all you have lived for reduced to ashes. How do you think you would feel? How do you think you would respond? Picture yourself watching saint after saint rewarded for faithful*ness and service to the King—and all the time knowing that you had just as many opportunities but did nothing about them.
We cannot conceive of the agony and frustration we would feel if we were to undergo such an ordeal; the real*ization that our unfaithfulness had cost us eternally would be devastating. And so it will be for many believers.
Just as those who are found faithful will rejoice, so those who suffer loss will weep. As some are celebrated for their faithfulness, others will gnash their teeth in frus*tration over their own shortsightedness and greed.
We do not know how long this time of rejoicing and sorrow will last. Those whose works are burned will not weep and gnash their teeth for eternity.

He totally throws away the gnashing of teeth in hell that we see in Matthew 13 pictured as a 'furnace of fire'.

The teaching that the outer darkness is in the kingdom of God is a heretical doctrine.

TCGreek
09-04-2007, 06:32 PM
1.Thanks for the quote. I was awaiting the quote from someone. Thanks for going through the trouble. It really helps to put things into perspective with Dr. Stanley.

2. But I'm afraid, I cannot agree with him at this juncture.

standingfirminChrist
09-04-2007, 07:25 PM
I bought my copy of the book at amazon.com for a penny.

I am still reading it, but I can see when I finish it will go on the fiction shelf in my bookcase.

TCGreek
09-04-2007, 07:31 PM
I bought my copy of the book at amazon.com for a penny.

I am still reading it, but I can see when I finish it will go on the fiction shelf in my bookcase.
..........:laugh:

Martin
09-06-2007, 03:13 PM
I bought my copy of the book at amazon.com for a penny.

I am still reading it, but I can see when I finish it will go on the fiction shelf in my bookcase.

==I have had a copy of Stanley's "Eternal Security" book since 1995. I believe it was the first Christian book I ever purchased. Having said that I believe his book suffers from several major problems. His view of the outer darkness is just the start. His understanding of the warning passages in Hebrews leaves much to be desired. In the chapters he devotes to those passages he is certainly guilty of very sloppy Bible study. I am also concerned that his book opens the door for the license to sin argument. Having read his book several times over the years I think someone who reads it could certainly come away with the impression that they can live in sin and still enter heaven. That is certainly not Biblical, in fact I would argue that it is a perversion of the Biblical doctrine of the Perseverence of the Saints. I am also troubled by Stanley's persentant teaching that people should never doubt their salvation. I think that is a dangerous teaching. Scripture advises us, on several occasions, to examine ourselves to see if we truly are Christians. A person who thinks they are saved and starts to doubt their salvation, due to sin, needs to examine themselves. Maybe God is putting the doubts in their heads, warning them to truly repent before it is too late.

I do not recommend "Eternal Security: Can You Be Sure" to anyone. There are much better books on assurance.

GloryImSaved
09-23-2007, 06:17 PM
I remember reading a quote very similar and I too disagree with the statement you placed emphasis on. I wasn't sure who was quoted the last time I remember it being brought up.

pops
10-01-2007, 10:45 AM
Fiction? Are you serious ? What is your position on Eternal Security?

Better books on subject? - Which ones give reasons and titles and authors please.

No understanding of Hebrews? He has a pretty good background what is yours that you can make a flame like that?

It seems to me that if a person has a problem with a book they should be more specific and not start taking down the individual! If you don't like it fine. If you wish to claim the book falls just short of Heresy you need to tell your qualifications to make these bold statements and your reasons for such a bold statement.

standingfirminChrist
10-01-2007, 11:01 AM
The book is fiction. Any book that states that outer darkness is within the kingdom of God is fiction.

The Word of God tells us where Jesus is, there is no need for the sun for Jesus is light. One who is in the kingdom cannot be in outer darkness.

Stanley's view of the gnashing of teeth is also wrong. He has the people in the kingdom of God gnashing their teeth because they are angry at themselves... not because of the obvious pain and torment the Word of God tells they are in.

Yes, the book is fiction.

Martin
10-01-2007, 01:13 PM
Fiction? Are you serious ? What is your position on Eternal Security?

==Eternal security is a Biblical doctrine only in that it reflects the fact that salvation is forever. Many eternal security teachers, however, neglect the perseverence angle. The Bible teaches eternal security, but it also teaches that those who are secure will endure (Col 1:21-23).


Better books on subject? - Which ones give reasons and titles and authors please.

==Sure:

"Saved Without a Doubt (http://www.amazon.com/Saved-Without-Doubt-Salvation-Macarthur/dp/0781443377/ref=sr_1_93/102-3775125-5320919?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1191261875&sr=1-93)" By John MacArthur (because he focuses on security and perseverence).

"Once In Christ In Christ Forever (http://www.amazon.com/Once-Christ-Forever-Biblical-Believer/dp/1882701437/ref=sr_1_1/102-3775125-5320919?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1191261921&sr=1-1)" By William MacDonald (same as MacArthur)

No understanding of Hebrews? He has a pretty good background what is yours that you can make a flame like that?

==While I don't think I made the statement to which you are refering, I would agere with it. Stanley's understanding of the passages in Hebrews leaves much to be desired. The idea that 10:26-31 or 6:4-6 talks about believers is difficult to defend in light of the passages and their context.

I am not sure that Stanley has any background in Hebrews beyond basic seminary courses. I am in the same boat, but my understanding of those verses take into account the historical situation of the book and the larger context. I am not sure that Stanley does that. He seems to be more intereseted in fitting "once saved, always saved" into the Bible.

It seems to me that if a person has a problem with a book they should be more specific and not start taking down the individual!

==Stanley is a Godly man who has been use by the Lord, but that does not mean he is beyond error/mistakes. That is what has been pointed out in this thread.

If you wish to claim the book falls just short of Heresy you need to tell your qualifications to make these bold statements and your reasons for such a bold statement.

==Stanley's discussion of the outer darkness is weird. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth in heaven? Darkness in heaven? That does not fit what the rest of Scripture says about heaven. I would also argue, from passages like Matthew 8:10-12, that the Bible clearly teaches that the outer darkness is hell (not any porition of heaven or the Kingdom).

Stanley's book on eternal security leans strongly on the teachings of Zane Hodges (formerly of DTS). Hodges is a antinomian who denies the need for repentance, perseverence, and obedience in the life of believers. Stanley probably got his understanding of "outer darkness" from Hodges. It would be interesting to know if Stanley still stands behind his statements in that book on the "outer darkness". I will see if I can find out.

pops
10-11-2007, 09:21 AM
My book on this subject by Dr Stanley is titled 'Understanding Eternal Security' and was written later then the book in question and in a slightly different format. So I bought the other book to see what the problem pages was all about.
If we look at the chapter title we get a hint at what is going to be covered. His emphasis is on 'rewards' and lack thereof and not if you are going to get kicked out of heaven.
Next I went to the commentaries that I have and looked up this section of Matthew. One commentary took a similar approach as Dr. Stanley and the other one took the viewpoint expressed above.
So no real conclusion was made my me except a lot of time when you are reading and studying the bible you will get a different perspective then when you last read the same verses.
In any case it does not justify giving personal attacks.

Martin
10-12-2007, 02:02 PM
It would be interesting to know if Stanley still stands behind his statements in that book on the "outer darkness". I will see if I can find out.

==Just an update, I am working on finding out if Dr. Stanley still holds to this position or not. I will post the answer when I find out.

pops
10-13-2007, 06:08 PM
While you are doing your research you might also research Dr J. Vernon McGee's Commentary 'Thru The Bible Volume IV page 136.'

Chessic
10-14-2007, 08:21 AM
The book is fiction. Any book that states that outer darkness is within the kingdom of God is fiction.

The Word of God tells us where Jesus is, there is no need for the sun for Jesus is light. One who is in the kingdom cannot be in outer darkness.

Stanley's view of the gnashing of teeth is also wrong. He has the people in the kingdom of God gnashing their teeth because they are angry at themselves... not because of the obvious pain and torment the Word of God tells they are in.

Yes, the book is fiction.


Or....maybe he's just mistaken...

standingfirminChrist
10-14-2007, 08:30 AM
No maybe about it... Stanley is mistaken.

And his book is fiction.

Chessic
10-17-2007, 09:05 AM
Labeling any Christian work that doesn't fit one's beliefs 100% as fiction makes for a very small non-fiction section of one's library. I submit that no matter what we believe, the Bible has at least one or two teachings that we struggle with or do not fully understand or ignore. And the Bible is not fiction, whether you agree with it or not.

standingfirminChrist
10-17-2007, 09:15 AM
The teaching that "outer darkness is in the Kingdom of God" is contrary to the Word of God, and therefore it is fiction.

AAA
11-06-2007, 07:35 PM
I am going through my copy of Eternal Security: Can You Be Sure? by Charles Stanley and am disturbed at this statement on page 126-127:



He totally throws away the gnashing of teeth in hell that we see in Matthew 13 pictured as a 'furnace of fire'.

The teaching that the outer darkness is in the kingdom of God is a heretical doctrine.

I read this to my wife some time last week and we both agree with you that Dr.S. interpretation is wrong...Weeping and gnashing of teeth is in referance to hell....

Martin
11-21-2007, 11:07 AM
I wrote In Touch Ministries about Dr. Stanley's position on the outer darkness. The statements in his book do not match what he has said elsewhere and, to my surprise, In Touch agrees:

With regard to your question, we have reviewed Dr. Stanley 's definition of "outer darkness " in Eternal Security: Can You Be Sure? which reads: "To be in the 'outer darkness ' is to be in the kingdom of God but outside the circle of men and women whose faithfulness on the earth earned them a special rank of position of authority. "

This seemed to be different than what he has said in the past, so we conducted a search and reviewed every sermon where Dr. Stanley talked about "eternal security " and everywhere he uses the term "outer darkness. " We found that in every instance he always refers to "outer darkness " as a description of eternal separation from God as he does in his study guidebook Understanding Eternal Security, and not as in Eternal Security: Can You Be Sure?

We can only say that we honestly do not know why or how this contradiction occurred in this one instance. It may have been in the editing process or some other process of the book's publisher, Thomas Nelson. We are looking into other possibilities.

Thank you for allowing us this word of clarification and we pray this "mistake" has not hindered your spirit. It is our prayer that we will continue to serve you as a source of spiritual growth and encouragement.

righteousdude2
11-21-2007, 04:31 PM
If my name's written :type: in the Lamb's book of life, I have confidence that I have the security of eternal life. I just remind myself that God does not own an eraser.

Pastor Paul:godisgood:

standingfirminChrist
11-21-2007, 04:55 PM
I think there needs to be better clarification from "In Touch" and Dr. Stanley.

For one thng, from their quote,

" We found that in every instance he always refers to "outer darkness " as a description of eternal separation from God as he does in his study guidebook Understanding Eternal Security, and not as in Eternal Security: Can You Be Sure?
it is not denying the statement in "Eternal Security: Can You Be Sure" at all.

Those who live in England can readily tell you that although they are in the Queen's kingdom, they are not in her presence all the time..

Can You Be Sure implies that people are in the Kingom of God but not in the Light Jesus Christ. They are there, but in outer darkness. They are not in His presence according to Can You Be Sure.

I do not think In Touch answered the question, but rather skirted the issue.

Martin
11-21-2007, 08:14 PM
I do not think In Touch answered the question, but rather skirted the issue.

==I don't think the gentleman who answered my letter skirted anything. Personally, I don't think he knows the answer to my question. He seems confused about Dr. Stanley's position on this issue. Keep in mind that in order to give me the answer he did, he had to search and review "every sermon where Dr. Stanley talked about eternal security and everywhere he uses the term outer darkness". So, it seems to me, that there is real confusion about Dr. Stanley's position on the outer darkness. That, of course, should not be the case. A good Bible teacher's position should be consistant and clear. If, or when, a good Bible teacher changes their position a clear explanation should be offered. While I enjoy the teaching ministry of Dr. Charles Stanley, I think this issue is a problem. Somehow I doubt we will ever really get to the bottom of Dr. Stanley's contradicting statements on this issue.

I would also note the difference in tone between "Can You Be Sure" and "Understanding Eternal Security". In the first Dr. Stanley sounds a lot like Zane Hodges, in the latter he sounds more like John MacArthur. It seems, to me, that Dr. Stanley's view changed between the writing of the first book ('90) and the writing of the second ('98). If this is the case, the "Can You Be Sure" book should be updated to reflect Dr. Stanley's current position.