LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)--Ask Aunt Josephine's relatives, and they'll say she was once saved, always saved. The reason: she walked the aisle at age 8. She may not have darkened the church doors in recent years. She may not have read her Bible in 50 years. But at least she was baptized. Many Baptists nevertheless say with certainty those fruitless Josephines are regenerate, saved, assured of heaven. But, is this the biblical teaching on perseverance? Is this understanding of baptism and "making a decision" any different from the sacramentalism of Catholicism? Not really, argues Thomas Schreiner and Ardel Caneday in their recently released book, "The Race Set Before Us," published by InterVarsity Press. Schreiner is professor of New Testament interpretation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. Caneday is professor of Bible at Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minn. "It's struck me lately that there is a danger that Baptists can be as sacramental as Catholics," Schreiner said. "Catholics may say, 'At least they were baptized, while Baptists may say, 'At least they came forward.' In both instances the physical act may be understood as saving. It is in this sense that there is a comparison between the sacramentalism of Roman Catholics and the view of some Baptists. We must beware of understanding faith as something that was expressed once and then no further fruit is evident." This covert sacramentalism stems from an unbiblical view of perseverance and assurance, Schreiner said. And it is the authors' hope that their book will stem the tide of this burgeoning misunderstanding. "Our goal is that people would have biblical understanding of perseverance and assurance," Schreiner said. "That's foundational to what we were trying to accomplish. ... I think many people have traditional understandings of one sort or another, but they're not biblically oriented." What is the biblical teaching? Schreiner and Caneday believe the Scriptures consistently teach that, just as a runner must strive to stay in the race with the finish line as the goal, one must fight to stay in the faith with the eternal goal in mind, always clinging to the cross of Christ -- hence the title of the book. "At every point of the race we must say to ourselves, 'I must run until the end," Schreiner said. "We strain to reach the goal that looms before us, just as a marathon runner strategizes on how to finish the race."