Perseverance Of The Saints

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by Mark Osgatharp, Oct 28, 2005.

  1. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
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    The debates over Calvinism usually center around the predestination, limited provision, and unconditional elections heresies. Another Calvinistic fallacy that is not so readily recognized is the "perseverance of the saints" fallacy.

    This fallacy teaches that all true saints persevere in doing good and that final perseverance is the evidence of a true conversion experience. This doctrine is a bastard plant derived from a hybridization of the heresy of unconditional election and the Catholic/Arminian doctrine of "falling from grace."

    The Calvinist, while holding to the doctrine of eternal security of the pre-selected (which he cannot deny without also denying unconditional election and predestination), stumbles over the same Scriptures which the Catholics/Arminians stumble; namely, those Scriptures which warn believers against falling.

    So the Calvinist, rather than admitting the plain Biblical truth that a believer can fall, reasons that if a man professes faith and then subsequently "backslides" that he never had real faith in the first place.

    While applied with even a smidgen of honesty and humility, this sordid philosophy robs a man of any real sense of assurance and security. Accordingly, the old original Calvinites, who lived in a day when integrity was valued moreso than now, were careful to say only that they "had hope" they were of God's elect.

    The modern Calvinites feign no such humility. They proudly proclaim they have assurance of salvation while preaching to others that they should evaluate their lives to see whether they are good enough to consider themselves saved.

    I recently heard a student from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky preach on this subject in Hamilton, Ohio. He actually made the ridiculous assertion that if you smoke cigarettes and it doesn't bother you you might not be saved! Which statment is not even lucid, much less Biblical and the man who accepts such thelogical trash could never have any assurance of eternal life.

    The young man, in fact, told me that "examining" our salvation should be a life long experience. So much, I suppose, for "I know whom I have believed" and "that ye may know that ye have eternal life."

    I might add that there are many Baptists who, though they reject the other heresies of Calvinism, accept this foolish doctrine of "perseverance of the saints."

    The honest student of the Bible knows that God's elect committed all sorts of abominations and knows that the Bible flatly warns God's people against backsliding. As a matter of fact, there can be no doubt that the Bible teaches a real believer can, indeed, "fall from grace."

    The error of both the Calvinite and the Catholic/Arminian teachers is in assuming that "fall from grace" means "lose the gift of eternal life."

    In it's Biblical use, the idea of "falling from grace" means nothing other than getting out fellowship with God or backsliding. It happens when a believer fails to utilize God's grace in his life and therefore fails to enjoy God's blessings.

    The Catholics and Arminians are at least honest in their approach to this class of Scriptures that warn believers against backsliding. The Calvinite, on the other hand, must make these passages do hermenutic backflips in order to twist them into their "eternal security of the pre-select/if you are really saved you will persevere" heresy.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  2. Helen

    Helen
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    There are a lot of points there I am sure someone will respond to other than me, but I side with the OSAS folk here. My salvation is not in my hands. I did not earn it or accomplish it, and there is nothing I can do to 'preserve' it. I am the responsibility of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:28-30 and Phil. 1:6, etc.) who is at work within me to transform me to the image of Christ.

    He is faithful to complete the work He began and nothing, not even my own ornriness, can snatch me out of His hand.

    As the Holy Spirit accomplishes His work in me (and although He has come a long way from where I used to be, there is still quite a ways to go, I am ashamed to say), my actions, or 'works', will reflect the changes going on inside of me. Therefore it is not my works that have anything to do with preserving my salvation, but they are simply the evidence of the work going on inside of me by God Himself.

    That is, when I don't get in His way with my own ideas!
     
  3. BobRyan

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    The 3 and 5 point Calvinists believe in the Bible doctrine of the perseverance of the saints - and for good reason. It is all throughout the NT (post to follow).

    Arminians also accept a form of this. Certainly from the ARminian view if you take a person at the end of their life who is saved and work your way backward you will come to a moment where they were justified - where they accepted Christ and they will be shown to have remained - steadfast, firm, fixed throughout that entire time.

    It is just that ARminians (such as myself)will also say that the SAME is true of some lost people except at the end of their life - they were not saved. But if you go back far enough some of those lost people will have a saved - born again experience.

    This is the model of Matt 18 and "forgiveness revoked" where all the sins -- all the debt owed is returned and the individual has to pay them.

    In any case - I know that both Arminians and Calvinists here will claim OSAS so I don't claim that rejecting it - is something that all the Arminians do. I certainly do not accept OSAS and Matt 18 shows why (and Gal 5 "Fallen from Grace" etc are reasons why) -- but others here do.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  4. BobRyan

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    But BOTH Arminian and Calvinist do agree on one thing - the Bible does teach that ONLY those who persevere to the END are ultimately saved.

    Under 5 point (TULIP) Calvinism you can't really know if you're saved today until you know if you will persevere tomorrow.

    In Arminianism you CAN know you are saved today no matter WHAT you choose to do tomorrow.

    So is it true that scripture leaves them "without excuse" for thinking that there is "no such thing as failing to endure"??

    =========================================

    Stated that REAL Examples of such failure exist.

    And then there is always “Forgiveness revoked”!!
    These texts do not describe a defacto “drift into heaven”.

    But rather a “pressing on” as in Phil 3 and a “buffeting” as in 1Cor 9.

    Simple Question for Calvinists and OSAS promoters – who is the “WE” and the “US” in the following text?

    What is the meaning of “He Also will deny US”?

    The OSAS doctrine guts the very core of the “motivation” we see in 1Cor 9 as Paul EXPLICITLY says “LEST after preaching the Gospel to others I MYSELF should be disqualified”. OSAS goes after that point – directly, explicitly and without remorse.
     
  5. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
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    BobRyan,

    You have made an excellent case against the Calvinite doctrine of "perseverance of the saints." You have proved exactly what I was trying to say - that saints can fail to persevere.

    However, you err in assuming that a failure to persevere means a forfeiture of eternal life. That fallacy contradicts the Scriptures which teach that all believers are predestinated to be conformed to the image of Christ.

    The reality is that, no matter how far a believer backslides, in the end - that is in the resurrection - he will be raised up and conformed to the image of Christ. As Jesus promised,

    "Of all which He hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again in the last day."

    Blessed assurance, I am His eternally!

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  6. BobRyan

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    Well we agree at least on some of that - certainly it is clear that the NT warns against the very real problem of failing to persevere!

    The point where we differ is what the NT declares to be the "consequence" of such failure in the text above.

    In Rev 2 and 3 referenced above there is the promise to those that "overcomes", do you see the promise as being "eternal life"?

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  7. billwald

    billwald
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    The problem with OSAS is that there is not test for salvation in the first place. The Dispy says, "I invited Jesus" and the Reformed says, "I am elect."
     
  8. Helen

    Helen
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    And John says

    We KNOW that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit...If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we KNOW and rely on the love God has for us....This is how we KNOW that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.

    ...I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may KNOW that you have eternal life.

    from 1 John, chapters 4 and 5

    Eternal life is not temporary life. And knowing is not supposing. We KNOW we have ETERNAL life in Christ.

    We can lose our rewards; our works themselves can be burned up. But we, ourselves, cannot be removed from His hand. Salvation is salvation and eternal life is eternal life. It is the rewards that can be won or lost, not salvation.

    One last point, forgiveness is NOT the same as justification or atonement. "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us" does not have things in the wrong order!
     
  9. AresMan

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    Please read the context and understand what "fallen from grace" actually means:
    What was the idea that Paul had been trying to get across to the Galatians?

    All throughout the Galatians Paul was trying to correct their doctrinal error of salvation by faith plus works. Apparently they were being caught up in Judaism, which was causing them to slowly but surely lean toward preaching salvation by faith plus the deeds of the law.

    Notice Galatians 5:4: "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law." These people were making the grace of Christ of none effect because they were teaching that one needed to follow the law to be justified. "Ye are fallen from grace" means they were falling from the teaching, preaching, and application of grace in their lives, not that they had actually escaped the saving effect of God's grace. That is impossible! Please read the context carefully! There is overwhelming context that indicates such an interpretation. Let's not choke on phrases like this without understanding context.
     
  10. TC

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    John also says They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. 1 John 2
     
  11. AresMan

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    OSAS:
     
  12. Mark Osgatharp

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    Amen! And anyone who seriously believes the Calvinite idea of "perserverance of the saints" can't possibly know if he is saved, because he must wait and see if he backslides (or not) to find out for sure.

    Paul warned,

    "Therefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."

    A Calvinite cannot possibly take such verses seriously without totally abandoning the assurance of eternal life.

    Believing in the Bible doctrines of once saved always saved as well as the real possibility of a saved person backsliding, we can take Paul's warning with sincere fear and trembling, and yet knowing that whatever we do the Lord will not condemn us to eternal damnation.

    That is the true doctrine of Christ. That is the good old Baptist way in which I was nurtured and will believe till the end.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  13. billwald

    billwald
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    ...I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may KNOW that you have eternal life.


    Write what things? Doing the good works mentioned in the letter.
     
  14. Helen

    Helen
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    Try counting the number of times John mentions that we may KNOW in his first epistle. Look at what we may know -- not suppose, not hope for, not pray for, but know.

    Then look at Phil. 1:6 and see if God will leave anyone half-done.

    Then look at Romans 8 and see if there is any indication that once we are His we can be otherwise.

    He BOUGHT us. We are NOT our own, even that we should try to walk away! We are NOT our own to do that. We are His. He could, I suppose give us away or sell us, but He does not. Instead, by the power of the Holy Spirit, He transforms each of us into images of Himself. A person can argue about backsliding all they want, but if someone belongs to Christ, they belong to Christ, period. If they don't, they can pretend and fool a lot of us, but they cannot fool Christ!
     
  15. BobRyan

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    In 1 John we see a lot of "By THIS WE KNOW" --

    In Christ,

    Bob
     

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