Editor’s Note: Gary read an article we published by Dr. Adrian Rogers on the matter of Eternal Security. Perhaps he read other articles here on our site where we boldly declare without apology that salvation results in the Christian having everlasting life, eternal life. Gary is of the erroneous opinion that our understanding of the Scriptures is wrong and our applications using eternal life and /or everlasting life are not only wrong, but doctrines of the devil. The Editor has carefully read Gary’s email and the statement from the Lutheran paper he included. The following is the Editor’s answer to Gary. NOTE: Gary’s complete email to me is found at the end of this article.
First, I am pleased you found our website here at www.salvationlinks.com . I am also pleased you wrote to share your concerns on the subject of Eternal Security which you characterized as “Once saved, always saved.” Apparently these terms trouble you and your understanding of the Scriptures. The term, “Once saved, always saved,” does not appear in the Bible. The truth of that statement is found in the Bible. While I regret you have spent so much time trying to prove God is a liar and His Book is not to be trusted that you have overlooked one of the most precious truths in all of Scripture.
Now you set out in your brief email to report many examples of people who fit your description of those who once were saved and eventually lost that salvation because of gross sin. I don’t know how old you are, but you seem to have encountered a great number of “sex offenders,” “murderers,” those “living lives of sexual immorality,” etc. And somehow you have taken this host of despicable characters to come along side of you to challenge the authority and truth of the Word of God. Shame on you.
Apparently you had the good fortune to grow up in churches where winning people to Christ was an important theme of the ministry since you say, “I grew up evangelical. I witnessed many persons pray the Sinner’s Prayer or go forward during an Altar Call and make what seemed to be very genuine professions of faith. These people then went on to witness to others about salvation through faith in Christ, attend Church and prayer meetings, etc. for a number of years.” Those are your words. They reflect you were in a church that emphasized getting sinners saved. That surely was a good practice. You even report that some of those went on to witness to other sinners and attempt to get them saved. Indicating some evidence they had been under sound teaching.
Then for some reason you are throwing these Christians under the bus and, if your doctrine be true, into the fires of hell, because they apparently drifted away from their earlier teaching and convictions and quit witnessing and you say, “They NOW (your emphasis) never darken a church door or read a Bible.” While I don’t know how you would know that depth of their personal life, but be that as it is…I let it stand as you wrote it. You go on to illustrate your twisted teaching by giving an unfortunate example by telling the story of a young Christian woman who abandoned her church teaching and faith to convert to the Moslem faith. You report, “One person has converted to be a Muslim to marry her Arab husband, completely abandoning the Christian faith.” Then you continue to use examples of others who have fallen as though you are adding proof that a true believer can so sin as to lose his or her salvation. You say, “I know of others who became murderers and child molesters and are unrepentant. I know others who are now living lives of sexual immorality and believe that there is nothing wrong with their behavior.”
First, I am happy you do not believe that the actions of those you describe is acceptable behavior in any Evangelical Church, whether Baptist or Lutheran. It certainly is not. Secondly, if you read and believe the Scriptures that kind of sin would not be tolerated in the early church without having those guilty of such being brought before the congregation. Thirdly, it would be a rare congregation where that many examples of gross sins would be represented in a single church or even several churches where you have served. You have to admit that would be strange.
Probably the most outlandish example you put forth to further prove your faulty charges against Eternal Life and Everlasting life has to do with the young woman, the daughter of a Lutheran mother where you say, “I know one Lutheran mother who’s (your word) daughter became an evangelical and had a “born again” experience. A short time later the daughter started living with her boyfriend. Her mother warned her that what she was doing is sin, and that ongoing willful sin against God places her salvation in jeopardy. The daughter replied, “Don’t worry, Mom. I’m covered. I was born again, and if you are born again there is no way you can lose your salvation no matter what you do. Lutherans are wrong.”
Praise the Lord the dear Lutheran mother was wise in warning her daughter of her sinful ways. Too often such warnings are not leveled and the child is left to go on in sin with no rebuke. Nothing you have quoted has, in the least, addressed Scripture. You give examples, apparently out of your own experience, but do not show at all where such examples shred Scripture. This is foolishness on your part and faulty interpretation of one’s understanding of the Bible.
You would have me believe that your limited understanding of the early church fathers not having embraced eternal security in some way does away with the clear teaching of the Word of God. It does not. I think you would agree (I do not wish to put my words in your mouth) that the Bible is the inerrant, inspired Word of God. If so that Word trumps any teaching of early church fathers…recent church fathers, or even trumps what you may claim to believe where it differs with that precious Word. The Apostle Paul says in Romans 3:4, “God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.” God’s Word is truth.
Now do you think one little girl…a young woman bent and determine to disobey her mother and run off with a wayward man and live in open sin…do you for one moment believe that young woman was ever taught that lifestyle in any Lutheran Church or Baptist Church? I think not. I would be ashamed to quote her as a proof text for your faulty belief. Her lifestyle is wicked and her words are far from any church teaching I am aware of and surely you know it is far from what God’s Word teaches.
I will refer to what you quote as her statement, “I’m covered. I was born again, and if you are born again there is no way you can lose your salvation no matter what you do.” She does not act as one who was ever truly “born again.” But she may have been. There is no way I can know her soul’s condition. But I will tell you that your pushing her story into your email note about the wrongful teaching on Eternal Life and Everlasting life is never taught in Scripture and, as far as I know, neither is it taught in any sound, Fundamental church.
I will say that words have meaning in Scripture. For the true, blood-washed child of God, Everlasting life means you have life that will never end. Eternal life means you have life that will never end. When one is born into the family of God…He is in. He is a Child of God. You can no more get out of the Family of God through your actions than you can get out of your earthly family. Sin has consequences…Christians who sin will answer to God. If a child of God cuts his or her arm off in a sinful act that arm is gone. That Christian will go forward in this earthly journey with a limb missing. That is common sense.
Let’s say you are right…the girl in your story was a genuine Christian and later gets into this foolish discourse with her mother and defends her wicked actions by claiming she has been “born again.” Let me ask you a question…How many of her sins did Jesus die for on the cross? If you are honest you will have to say all of them. And He did. Would you imply that Jesus had no idea this young woman would later be physically born (because when Jesus died on the cross this young woman was yet totally future), get saved and then do the foolish and wicked things you report? Again, an honest view would say that Jesus did, indeed, know all. He knows the end from the beginning. Still He accepted her and forgave her of her sins. She became a child of God. I hesitate to use David as an example here because his story predates the Crucifixion, but his story addresses issues you bring up. David committed adultery and murder. But what did he lose in committing those horrible sins? Not his salvation…He lost the Joy of his salvation. God did not throw him out. And he would not through you out either.
No sane person would take from that there is no penalty for doing wrong. No there is plenty of guilt and joyless days ahead for the Christian who sins. But did Jesus die for those sins. Yes…Oh, yes He did.
I think there is no limit to your willingness to cast aspersions onto the Bible and the blessed teachings that Jesus Christ so earnestly and lovingly inspired via the Holy Spirit. You join the foolish and wicked who haphazardly misquote Scriptures and make up others when you say, “Neither infant baptism nor an adult “born again” experience is a “Get-into-heaven-free” card! Salvation only occurs by the grace of God, received through faith. No faith, no salvation.” And imply rather overtly that this has a bearing on salvation through faith. It does not and you know it does not. “Get-into-heaven-free card!” God never…I repeat never…conditioned salvation for the Church age sinners on baptism. I am not too familiar with the Lutheran teaching on the subject but I seem to recall they might teach a baptismal regeneration doctrine. If so, that is not a true Bible doctrine. Baptism does not save, does not help save and has no efficacy in helping the sinner stay saved. Water baptism is a picture of what the Holy Spirit does at the time of your salvation when He baptizes you into the Body of Christ. A picture is not salvation.
I have often heard ill-informed people refer to salvation as the act that gives the Christian the right to do any act he or she might choose to do and that person is covered under the Everlasting Life benefit of Scripture. That has never been a doctrine of any church where I have been a member. The Apostle Paul says, “38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” –Romans 8:38-39
Now, Friend, is there some sinful act that you can dream up that might “separate that Christian from the Love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord?” I think not.
One thing you should learn and think on over the rest of your life, “Your salvation is not yours to lose.” Before God declared you saved, he transferred something to you…His righteousness. Look at 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”
When you became a Christian you were made as righteous as Jesus Christ is righteous in the eyes of God the Father. Again the Apostle Paul speaks, “3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. 5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:” –Colossians 3:3-5
You have the mistaken idea that Eternal Life and Everlasting life originated with John Calvin. How ridiculous is your thinking and how errant is your study. You say, “The doctrine of Eternal Security is an invention of the Calvinists, codified at the Synod of Dort. It is false teaching. It did not exist in the Early Church. It is a license to sin! The Doctrine of Eternal Security is not scriptural!” Whoa there, friend. You might be guilty of taking away from the Word of God. There is a curse involved with that. You should rethink that and repent of your gross error.
It is unfortunate that John Calvin in his paper where he puts forth the TULIP acrostic with each letter representing one of the five points of his position. He has as his last point the “Perseverserance of the saints.” I say this is unfortunate because it is not the saints that persevere…it is the blessed Holy Spirit. Surely you are familiar with Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”
Then you close your email by suggesting we read the Lutheran statement on this issue. I did read it and do not intend to dissect it here for there is surely no need for it. I noticed you drew one or two of your main points from that Lutheran statement. Your premise is wrong from start to finish. No amount of appealing to the Lutherans will redeem your position and cannot whitewash your errors. Sorry.
Gary, I pray you will go back to the Bible and on your knees prayerfully read it and study it and confess your sin of unbelief to Almighty God. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” -First John 1:9
Ron English, Editor of SalvationLinks.com
I posted this article on my Facebook and a reader there suggested in a way that I should have posted Gary’s email in its entirety so the readers could read and compare. That is something I should have done at the start. So here is Gary’s email: I do not provide his email address for obvious reasons. He didn’t provide his last name, or his address. -Editor
Don’t you think that it is a problem that there is no evidence in the Early Christian Church of the belief that “once saved, always saved”? In fact, quite the opposite. There are plenty of early Christian pastors and theologians in the first three to four centuries AD who warn Christians not to be complacent in their faith and live a life of willful sin…lest they perish to eternal damnation.
I grew up evangelical. I witnessed many persons pray the Sinner’s Prayer or go forward during an Altar Call and make what seemed to be very genuine professions of faith. These people then went on to witness to others about salvation through faith in Christ, attend Church and prayer meetings, etc. for a number of years.
They NOW never darken a church door or read a Bible. One person has converted to be a Muslim to marry her Arab husband, completely abandoning the Christian faith. I know of others who became murderers and child molesters and are unrepentant. I know others who are now living lives of sexual immorality and believe that there is nothing wrong with their behavior.
Do you really believe that if one of these former believers dies…he or she will go to heaven???
I know one Lutheran mother who’s daughter became an evangelical and had a “born again” experience. A short time later the daughter started living with her boyfriend. Her mother warned her that what she was doing is sin, and that ongoing willful sin against God places her salvation in jeopardy. The daughter replied, “Don’t worry, Mom. I’m covered. I was born again, and if you are born again there is no way you can lose your salvation no matter what you do. Lutherans are wrong.”
Neither infant baptism nor an adult “born again” experience is a “Get-into-heaven-free” card! Salvation only occurs by the grace of God, received through faith. No faith, no salvation.
The Christian whose faith and trust is in the Lord need never worry about his eternal security/his salvation. Our salvation is not dependent on how many good works we do. But, the believer who takes his salvation for granted, turns his back on God and lives a life of sin is endangering his soul and very well may wake up one day in hell!
The doctrine of Eternal Security is an invention of the Calvinists, codified at the Synod of Dort. It is false teaching. It did not exist in the Early Church. It is a license to sin! The Doctrine of Eternal Security is not scriptural!
I encourage evangelicals to read this Lutheran statement on this issue:
Luther, Baptists, and Evangelicals