Not Believing and still Get to Heaven?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by drfuss, Jul 8, 2006.

  1. drfuss

    drfuss
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    Years ago Chanles Stanley was president of the SBC, so I have been told. Charles Stanley's book entitles "Eternal Security" seem to be in conflict with the SBC BF&M.

    On page 74 of Stanley's book on eternal security the following is written:
    "The Bible clearly teaches that God's love for His people is of such magnitude that even those who walk away from the faith have not the slightest chance of slipping from His hand".


    In the SBC Baptist Faith and Message, the following is written on the same subject:
    "All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end."



    Stanley says a Christian who stops believing will still be saved anyway. He also said on his website some years ago that God will not take back the gift of salvation even if a Christian doesn't want it. This says a person who is not trusting Christ as Savior when he dies will still get to heaven if he once trusted.


    The SBC BF&M says a Christian will continue believing to the end, i.e. if a person stops believing, that person was not really a Christian in the first place. This says a person must be trusting Christ as Savior when they die to get to heaven.


    The criteria for getting into heaven is a most important aspect of any Belief. The Stanley and SBC statements seem to be in conflict on this vital issue. Which is correct and why?
     
    #1 drfuss, Jul 8, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 8, 2006
  2. Helen

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    No one who truly belongs to Christ can walk away from the faith! All who belong to Him are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9) who will finish the good work He began in each of us (Phil. 1:6), which is to transform us into the image of Christ (Romans 8:28-30).

    How can God walk away from Himself?

    We may be difficult to raise, like some kids are, but all of us who have been born again WILL be transformed by the Holy Spirit. Some of us will need more discipline (Hebrews 12) and some less, but our Lord has not lost one, and will not lose one.

    "Believe" as it was used in the Bible is not simply intellectual acknowledgement. The demons know God is for real! (see James). That does not help them a bit. Some claim to be followers and teach and 'do miracles' in Christ's name, but they are taking His Name in vain and are shamming (which comes from the word 'shaman'). Jesus will tell them plainly, "Depart from me...I never knew you." (see the Sermon on the Mount).

    Knowing that Jesus exists and believing that FACT is not the same as biblically believing HIM. To believe means to ignore all else and prefer Him, to follow Him, to give one's life to Him. Those who want that will be born again of the Holy Spirit and given a new nature. That new nature will not and cannot walk away from the faith! That person is now a slave to righteousness and is not his own, but belongs to Christ (read Romans).

    So Stanley must have been trying to either justify something to himself or trying to make someone else feel better about someone who died or something.

    The last point: we cannot judge one another's hearts. We daren't try. Actions and words, yes. The heart of a man, no. That is God's to do.
     
  3. webdog

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    I believe Charles Stanley is correct. If perseverance results in salvation, salvation is dependant on man. Once justified, man can "turn" in their relationship with God and live (and die) in a carnal state, and still remain justified.
     
  4. J. Jump

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    I think that is the new BF&M if I'm not mistaken. Not sure if the first one read that way or not, but I think that is an attempt to appease some of the Calvinists among the party faithful.

    It wasn't a full fledge endorsement of Calvinism, but it wasn't a full fledge denial of it either. I think the SBC is trying to be as politically correct as possible.

    Personally I fail to see what all the hub bub is about this. It seems to be all about politics, which is the last thing churches should be doing IMO.
     
  5. Hope of Glory

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    I would wager that's a newer BF&M. The SBC has been moving further and further from the truth for many years, and this is just one example. I'd also wager that most people are not aware of this statement in the BF&M and how it contradicts Scripture.

    I don't know who Charles Stanley is, but he's right on the money on this one.
     
  6. drfuss

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    JJ writes:
    "Personally I fail to see what all the hub bub is about this. It seems to be all about politics, which is the last thing churches should be doing IMO."

    I disagree.

    I think this is very important. We are considering the criteria for salvation when you die when someone stops believing. This sounds like a doctrinal difference to me.
     
  7. J. Jump

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    Drfuss I should have communicated my point better. What I was talking about is all the hub bub that people make about the overall convention and the president and blah, blah blah.

    I am in complete agreement with you that doctrine is CRITICALLY IMPORTANT.

    So please excuse my lack of communication!

    It saddens me that the BF&M took a step back from Scripture as far as I can tell, but I'm not sure what one would do about it.

    I think preachers should be studying the Truth and preaching the Truth from the pulpits. And we should be studying the Truth for ourselves and as we see issues arise that we should be able to discuss them.
     
  8. 2BHizown

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    This is error. Perseverance doesnt result in salvation.

    Perseverance demonstrates salvation. When scripture says that he who perseveres to the end will be saved it is true because only those whom the Lord saved will be able to persevere.
     
  9. J. Jump

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    Can you give your Scriptural evidence that perseverance is a guarantee. All I can see is that it is an optional command.
     
  10. pinoybaptist

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    Surprise, surprise ! I agree with webdog.
    Here's what the Bible says:

     
  11. SBCPreacher

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    The 2000 edition of the Baptist Faith and Message, section V, second paragraph states:

    All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves; yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.” In fact, you can view the BF&M at www.sbc.net/bfm/default.asp.

    This is the way this SBC pastor sees it: When I trusted Jesus as my Savior, I became a child of God. I will always remain a child of God just like my daughters will always be my daughters. I can fall out of fellowship with my heavenly Father (just as our children can do with us), but I will never stop being a child of my heavenly father. The relationship - Father/son - is eternal.

    Does the child of the heavenly Father who choses to be out of fellowship with Him go to heaven - you bet! That's what John 10:28-29 tells me.
     
  12. 2BHizown

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    Eph 6 : 18 ; Eph 1 : 13,14
    John 6 : 39
    John 5 : 24
    John 10 :28-29
    1 Peter 1 : 4,5
    Actually God preserves us, rather than that we persevere in HIm!
    How could perseverance be an optional command?
     
  13. Lagardo

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    This is not a scriptural justification but makes for a good sermon illustration. The Bible refers in many places to our new life in Christ as having been adopted. Being an adoptive parent, I can tell you there is something very different about adopted children and their relationship to their parents and biological children (aside form the obvious). An adopted child is from the time of adoption a legal heir to his or her adoptive parents. Assuming I had biological children as well, I could simply remove their inheritence with a will. Not so with our adopted son, because he is made an heir by the court adoption decree.

    In other words, from a legal standpoint, an adopted child has more security in his inheritance than a biological child.

    Happy to be an adopted child of God,
    Aaron
     
  14. J. Jump

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    Well right off the bat we see that in Ephesians Paul is addressing not all Christians, but those that are faithful. There are faithful and there are unfaithful Christians, so that eliminates some of the persevering ones.

    And I Peter is talking about a salvation that is to be revealed, not a salvation that we already possess, so I Peter doesn't prove your point either. Go down a few more verses and Peter tells you what the salvation is that is coming that is the salvation of the soul. Eternal salvation deals with the salvation of the spirit.


    The gospel of John is not dealing with eternal salvation, so those three don't prove your point.

    This is only true if we are obedient to Him. And not all Christians are obedient.
     
  15. J. Jump

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    Exactly!! Endurance and perserverance have nothing to do with eternal salvation. That is secure. But there will be age-lasting consequences for those that don't endure and perservere.
     
  16. 2BHizown

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    However, even Judas was a disciple of Christ! Which is what Christ refers to in John 17 when He declares that out of all the Father had given Him He had only lost one, that the scripture might be fulfilled. This shows that all that belong to the Father are then His forever, that He preserves them in Him.

    Some are professors but do not actually belong to Christ!

    Those who are posessors will persevere to the end!
     
  17. J. Jump

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    Again John's gospel is not dealing with eternal salvation, but kingdom principals. You are trying to tie two different messages into the same.

    If you view John's gospel as dealing with eternal salvation then there is no way you can accept eternal secruity, becuase the language structure won't allow it.

    John always uses the present tense when speaking of believing, so it is only those that continue to believe that will have life.

    Those that stop believing will not have life. Now I know in the twisted logic of Calvinism you will say that no one will stop believing, but that's not supported by Scripture.
     
  18. Martin

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    My History With Eternal Security, Charles Stanley, and Zane Hodges

    I have read Dr Stanley's book on several occasions. In fact it was the first Christian book I purchased several months after I was saved in 1995. I did not know what eternal security was but I knew I did not believe in "once saved, always saved". I once said that "once saved, always saved" was "wishful thinking".

    So given all of that, why did I purchase Stanley's book? Several reasons. First he was the only Christian author I knew of at the time (via my grandmother). Second I was looking for a book that dealt with salvation and the unpardonable sin. Third, I did not know that "eternal security" and "once saved, always saved" was the same thing. The book served its purpose. I was able to work through some questions I had even if my conclusions were slightly different than Stanley's. I really struggled with the issue of eternal security for some time. I started to drift towards belief in eternal security after reading the Gospel of John and the Epistles of Paul. However I had a strong, old fashion, John Wesley type presence in my life...my grandmother. To her eternal security was nothing but a license for sin. She loved Dr Stanley but would always say he was wrong on this point. She kept pulling me back to her conditional security view though I was no longer so sure she was correct. To make a long story short I came to believe in eternal security. My grandmother went to be with the Lord in the summber of 2000 still unsure about eternal security. However when she died, thanks to our hours of study together on the issue, she was moving towards a belief in eternal security.

    Time has passed and via study (etc) I have come to a more Calvinistic view of eternal security (perseverence of the saints). What do I think of Stanley's book now? I disagree with several of Stanley's conclusions including his understanding of Hebrews 6 and 10 and the issue of perseverence. However I still respect him and thank God for his wonderful ministry. IN TOUCH is reaching people all around the world for Jesus Christ.

    When Stanley wrote his book he was clearly under the influence of Zane Hodges (who he quotes several times). The only difference between Stanley and myself was that he wrote a book and I did not.

    In fact many of Stanley's arguments are almost identical to arguments Hodges makes in "Grace In Eclipse", "The Gospel Under Siege", and "Absolutely Free". Because of Stanley's book I did purchase the works of Zane Hodges. I was, for a short time between 1998 and 1999, semi-convinced of Hodges' arguments. That being said I was never one hundred percent convinced his conclusions were Biblical. (I will thank my grandmother for that sometime in the future! She is the one who gave me my first hermeneutics lesson about paying close attention to context.) Honestly I think Stanley fell into the same trap I flirted with. Zane Hodges' arguments make sense. He has a good explanation for every "problem verse" someone can throw at him. Some of those explanations are difficult to refute. For those who believe in eternal security Zane Hodges' view and teachings are a constant threat for that very reason. O, he has some good arguments. However they are only good on the surface. Below the surface there are serious Biblical problems. Do I think Hodges is a heretic? Not because of this issue, no. Hodges' mistake here is that he, like those who believe in conditional security, under estimates the work of regeneration. His major error is the lack of repentence in the "gospel" he preaches. For a good refutation to the ideas presented by Hodges I recommend "The Gospel According To Jesus" and "The Gospel According To The Apostles" by John MacArthur.

    I don't know Stanley's current view on this. I know he still believes in eternal security, however I am not sure he still agrees with Hodges. My belief is that if he has changed his view he should re-write the book with an explanation of why he would be re-writing it. I have certainly heard Stanley say things that are not in agreement with his book on this issue.

    I know that Tony Evans has fully accepted Zane Hodges position. Evans dedicates his book "Totally Saved" to Hodges. Like Stanley's earlier book many of Evan's arguments come from Hodges.

    Sadly Hodges now has an entire ministry and seminary behind him. I am talking about Bob Wilkin's "Grace Evangelical Society" and "Grace Evangelical School of Theology". I think Dallas Seminary, at least at one time, supported Hodges view as well (not sure about the present).

    The Bible teaches that those who walk away were not saved to start with (1Jn 2:12, Jn 8:31, Col 1:21-23, 1Thess 5:23-24, Jn 10:27).
     
  19. 2BHizown

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    This I totally agree with!

    Those who truly belong will persevere to the end!
     
  20. J. Jump

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    Well just like his gospel John is not speaking of eternal salvation, because of the language structure eternal security is an impossibility becuase he speaks in the present sense.

    Eternal salvation is not the context of his gospel of his first epistle.

    So that eliminates (Jn 8:31, Jn 10:27)

    Colossians is addressed to the faithful, so that eliminates at least some Christians, because not all Christians are faithful Christians, so that can not be used as evidence.

    The I Th. passage uses a subjunctive verb, which means that this may or may not happen before the coming of the Lord.

    However one day we will be complete before eternity begins. But most people forget there is an age that comes before we step into eternity, and that is the kingdom age.

    None of these passages guarantee perserverance.
     

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