Monday, December 18, 2017
There are some different views on whether once a person has been saved by faith in Christ, if he can lose his salvation. Calvinists say that since God chooses who to elect for salvation we have nothing to say in the matter and therefore will always be saved. Meanwhile, other groups like the Church of Christ say one can become entangled in sin and lose salvation until they’ve repented and rejoined the assembly. Catholics declare that if you’ve committed a “mortal sin” and have not confessed it to a priest and received absolution prior to death, then you have lost your salvation. Some people (e.g. Calvinists) say if YOU chose to accept Christ by faith, then you can also choose to leave the faith. So what is the truth—can one truly saved lose his salvation? I say “no.”
What I believe the Bible teaches is that once someone truly by faith accepts the fact that Jesus died as an atonement for our sins, and that he arose from the dead as proof that his sacrifice was accepted, that person is saved and always will be; he will not walk away from it because he knows how very serious the faith is and wants to live his life the best he can for the Lord. However, there are a great number of people who accept such facts intellectually and consider themselves saved but never accepted the faith in Christ into their lives, and when things don’t go in their lives as they think they should, then they turn their backs on the doctrines of the Christian faith and deny their necessity. They didn’t lose their salvation—they never were saved!
If falling into sin caused a loss of salvation, then how does one account for King David’s sin of adultery and murder being forgiven by God and restored to fellowship? And how does one account for the fact that we all sin daily? And how does one then account for the fact that Christ died for ALL our sins, not just the ones we committed before we became believers?
Some people even claim that “once saved, always saved” (OSAS) theology gives a license to sin, but my answer to that is Romans 6.
Let’s look at some passages which I believe substantiate my belief, and then we can look at some passages which are used to say that salvation can be lost. (All passages will be from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.)
First, I have to say that there are numerous passages which specifically state that salvation is available to ALL (not just the Calvinist’s “elect”), and many of those are noted in my article about Calvinism. Not a single one of those passages say that it is a salvation you can lose once you’ve accepted it, and I think if that was a possibility then at least one or two would have such a warning!
Matthew 13, the parable of the sower. Jesus describes three types of soil on which the seed fell and what the result was.
The first important soil for this article is the rocky ground: This is the person “who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy. Yet he has no root in himself, but is short-lived. When pressure or persecution comes because of the word, immediately he stumbles.” The man was not truly saved; he accepted it intellectually but never took it to heart and left the faith when persecution or pressure became too tough.
The second important one is the seed falling among the thorns. “this is one who hears the word, but the worries of this age and the seduction of wealth choke the word, and so it becomes unfruitful.” I once had a very good friend who I invited to the Navigators Bible studies when I was a new believer, and he became on fire for the Lord and accepted the faith. I “knew” he was a Christian, but then after so many months he was seduced into transcendental meditation and decided that was where the truth was. He was never saved, just took the word and had it choked. I’ve known others who claimed to have accepted the faith and become Christians but their lifestyles never changed as they were more and more seduced into sexual immorality and hedonism, all the while still intellectually agreeing that the Christian faith is true. I know a young woman who said she had accepted the faith at an AOG assembly, but there was so much mistreatment that she strayed until she became involved with the American Indian culture and marrying into it, and then syncretized Christianity with American Indian spirituality; she still talks all the same “Christianese” and claims to be saved, but it is obvious that she has no real understanding of the word, having it all chocked out by mistreatment in the Church and acceptance of pagan spirituality. I’m sure just about everyone has heard stories of people who “grew up in the faith” and believed themselves to be saved, even speaking of going down for altar calls, but then things happened in the church which turned them sour on it, or things happened in their lives which they think should never happen if one follows God, etc, and they leave the faith, saying that they discovered it wasn’t what it claimed to be; these people may have accepted the Christian teachings intellectually, but never took them to heart. They didn’t lose their salvation—they never had it.
Romans 10:9: …if you confess with your mouth , ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Not “you might be saved,” but “you will be saved.” But notice it says to believe in your heart, not just intellectually. Believing it in your heart means you accept it as bonafide truth, and no one would leave such a faith knowing it is true.
Romans 11:16-25: A lengthy passage so I’ll let you look it up. Again, it is not talking of loss of salvation, rather it is speaking of those who have not fully accepted the faith while claiming to be part of the Church — they will be pruned off!
1 John 12-13: “The one who has the Son has life. The one who doesn’t have the Son of God does not have life. I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you man know that you have eternal life.” Notice that John says, “so that you may know you have eternal life.” Know you already have eternal life, not that you might have it if you don’t walk away.
At this point I can’t think of any specific passages demonstrating that salvation is forever, except as I noted above with the myriad of passages of which none warn you can lose what you get. So let me look at the “if” passages used to deny that one is always saved if they really were saved.
Romans 11:22: “Therefore, consider God’s kindness and severity; severity towards those who have fallen, but God’s kindness toward you—if you remain in His kindness. Otherwise you to will be cut off.” This really addresses the rocky and thorny grounds; those people are cut off, so if you don’t want to be cut off, you need to re-evaluate your faith to see if you’ve taken it to heart rather than just intellectually.
1 Corinthians 15:2: “You are also saved by [the gospel] if you hold to the message I proclaimed to you—unless you believed to no purpose.” I think this passage is misused for the OSAS debate. Paul is talking about if the message itself was believed to no purpose because there will be no resurrection; his argument is to prove that without the resurrection our faith is worthless because it is based on a lie.
Colossians 1:22-23: “But now He has reconciled you by His physical body through His death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before Him—if indeed you remain grounded and steadfast the faith, and are not shifted away from the hope of the gospel that you heard.” Again, this is the same concept as Matthew 13. Accept the faith to the heart and not just intellectually, otherwise it is not a saving faith. 2 Corinthians 13:5 speaks to this very thing—TEST YOURSELF to be sure you are indeed taking the faith to heart and not just intellectually.
1 Timothy 5:11-15: “But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when they are drawn away from Christ by desire, they want to marry and will therefore receive condemnation because they have renounced their original pledge. At the same time, they also learn to be idle, going from house to house; they are not only idle, but are also gossips and busybodies, saying things they shouldn’t say. Therefore, I want younger women to marry, have children, manage their households, and give the adversary no opportunity to accuse us. For some have already turned away to follow Satan.” Here we are not talking about people who lost their salvation, but rather have been led into temptation and sin, i.e. “following Satan.” A Christian man or woman who gets caught up in adultery (whether physical or pornography) has not lost their salvation by follow Satan’s temptations, but they are certainly out of fellowship with God and the Church until such time as they repent.
Hebrews 2:1: “We must therefore pay even more attention to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away.” All this is saying is that one can drift away into being lax in their faith, not drifting out of salvation.
Hebrews 3:6: “But Christ was faithful as a Son over his household, whose household we are if we hold on to the courage and the confidence of our hope.” Again, check your faith to see if it is real (2 Cor. 13:5)
Hebrews 3:12-14: “Watch out, brothers, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that departs from the living God. But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception. For we have become companions of the Messiah if we hold firmly until the end the reality that we had at the start.” Another passage about checking our heart to see if our faith is a true saving faith.
Hebrews 6:4-8: “For it is impossible to renew to repentance those who were once enlightened, who tasted the heavenly gift, became companions with the Holy Spirit, tasted God’s good word and the powers of the coming age, and who have fallen away, because, to their own harm, they are recrucifying the Son of God and holding Him up to contempt. For ground that has drunk the rain that has often fallen on it and that produces vegetation useful to those it is cultivated for receives a blessing from God. But if it produces thorns and thistles, it is worthless and about to be cursed, and will be burned at the end.” Notice he said the individuals were “enlightened” and “tasted” the message, but didn’t fully accept it into their hearts—they were never saved and have rejected the message.
Hebrews 10:26-29: “For if we deliberately sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire about to consume the adversaries. If anyone disregards Moses’ law, he dies without mercy, based on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment do you think one will deserve who has trampled on the Son of God, regarded as profane the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and insulted the Spirit of grace?” This speaks to those who live a lifestyle of sin after proclaiming that they accepted the faith; but notice he says that the received the knowledge of the truth, not that they took it to heart. They have received the intellectual knowledge but their behavior shows they haven’t accepted it into the heart. It’s a warning to take it to heart if you want to be saved.
James 5:19-20: “My brothers, if any among you strays from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his life from death and cover a multitude of sins.” I see this as pointing out how to handle one who has fallen into sin, by leading him back to repentance. The death discussed is physical death, which we see has been used by God in the N.T. to punish Christians who were, shall we say, “misbehaving”? (Acts 5:1-11; 1 Cor. 11:30).
2 Peter 2: This chapter is discussing false believers; false teachers and false prophets. It is not discussing people losing their salvation.
As for blotting people out of the “Book of Life,” I see that as EVERYONE has their name in the book at the beginning but only remain there if they accept the salvation offered to them.
Again, if one really, truly accepts the Faith to heart, knowing exactly what it means and what it requires, he will never turn his back on it. He may be sidelined by tragedies, may have some doubts, become ineffective as a worker for the Lord due to temptations, etc, but he will never leave the faith. When he deliberately sins the Holy Spirit continue to make him feel guilty until he repents and leaves the sin behind, but he does not lose his salvation because of it.
Saturday, December 16, 2017
Just last week I had a discussion about this topic with Pulpit & Pen on Facebook. I came to the very same conclusion as does Michelle! No, a nativity scene is NOT idolatry.
A fellow blogger pointed me to this excellent resource for responding to skeptics. I skimmed a lot of areas and there are a few places where I disagree with the author (such as the Sabbath and whether it was ever for Christians), but overall I think it is beneficial.
Another excellent resource is “Answering Catholic Claims.” This blogger does excellent work exposing the false teachings of Roman Catholicism.
Alexander Hislop’s book, The Two Babylons, published in 1858, is a favorite text of KJV Onlyers and other legalists, who very often use Hislop’s material to “prove” that Easter and Christmas — and all the associated decorations, etc — are from pagan origin. As well, the book is a rant against Roman Catholicism but misrepresents a lot about that organization. I used to have my own copy but finally tossed it as being worthless. A good, but short, examination of Hislop is by Ralph Woodrow. I recommend you order his book, about which you can find information at the bottom of the page of this article.
Christmas time also brings out the myths of pagan origin from many sources. Here’s one helpful source to counter some of the nonsensical claims.
Is Jesus Simply a Retelling of the Horus Mythology?
Wayne Grudem has an excellent article about angels. (even though, as a charismatic, he has many bad teachings)
James White has long been a good apologist (even if he is a 5-point Calvinist), but lately he’s been doing some weird things. Something really surprising is his unqualified support for Michael Brown’s false teachings.
Charismatic Tarot cards and “Christalignment”. This is about as occult and heretical it gets.
A “Top Twenty” list of “Christians” to follow on social media is predominantly a list of false teachers and heretics.
More warnings about Michael Brown, Todd White, et al.
Bethel Redding is really a very ugly institution pretending to be a Christian assembly. And if this isn’t enough information for proof, try this one. Then the plot thickens. And thickens again.
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
I read this paragraph by Tim Challies and liked the way he puts it. This is indeed why we apologists do what we do.
I would like to ensure that people realize I am not just pointlessly raging against these men to make myself feel better or to fulfill a need to complain about other professed Christians. I believe God calls us all to be Bereans and to evaluate every teaching by the unchanging standard of His Word. That is what I intend to do . . .
Friday, December 8, 2017
An excellent video demonstrating why December 25th is a likely date of the birth of Jesus.
Addressing the myth of the “pagan origins” of Christmas.
An examination of the New Order of Latter Rain, and how it led to the New Apostolic Reformation.
Historic Heresies Related to the Nature of Jesus. There heresies continue in many groups today, so it is good to know about them and understand them.
A good article about the cult of Scientology.
The “diseases” plaguing women’s ministry.
A good analysis of Beth Moore. Then there is a new one-stop “shopping list” for dozens of articles exposing Beth Moore’s false teachings.
The Church of Sweden has bowed to political correctness.
An example of why Michael Brown is dangerous to Christianity.
More attacks on the true faith from those who are supposedly Christians.
This horrid trash is considered “worship” at Hillsong. Notice in the article that the lead “pastor”’s wife is his partner “pastor."
Thursday, December 7, 2017
This is a song I haven’t seen for a few years (thankfully) but this past Sunday it invaded our assembly. It is based on charismania, which is why it gets everyone feeling good instead of thinking about what they are singing. Let’s take a look:
Shine Jesus Shine
By Graham Kendrick
Lord, the light of your love is shining
In the midst of the darkness, shining
Jesus, Light of the world, shine upon us
Set us free by the truth you now bring us
Shine on me, shine on me
Shine, Jesus, shine
Fill this land with the Father's glory
Blaze, Spirit, blaze
Set our hearts on fire
Flow, river, flow
Flood the nations with grace and mercy
Send forth your word
Lord, and let there be light
Lord, I come to your awesome presence
From the shadows into your radiance
By the blood I may enter your brightness
Search me, try me, consume all my darkness
Shine on me, shine on me
As we gaze on your kingly brightness
So our faces display your likeness
Ever changing from glory to glory
Mirrored here may our lives tell your story
Shine on me, shine on me
I’m not sure how Jesus can “shine upon us,” but I’m willing to allow poetic license.
“Blaze, Spirit, Blaze” — what is that supposed to mean? This goes along with the charismatic crowd’s praying (more like shouting) to the Spirit, which is totally unbiblical. Still, how does the Spirit “blaze” for us? And setting “our hearts on fire”? Well I understand about being “on fire” for the Lord (or for whatever one’s cause), but with the charismatic crowd they are always shouting, “Fire, Lord, more fire!” Which doesn’t make sense.
“Flow, river, flow”: HUH?!? What river is flowing, what river do we want to flow - that we are calling for to flow? Charismania, again, is always talking about the river of the Holy Spirit, regardless of how unbiblical that idea is. And the song calls for this “river” to “Flood the nations with grace and mercy,” so I think that proves that the “river” is supposed to be the Holy Spirit. But this takes poetic license too far, into the esoteric phraseology of charismania.
Other than these issues, the lyrics of the song are acceptable, but the unacceptable, nonsensical chorus puts this song as not being something to bring into the assembly, not matter how much emotion it raises!
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Shall we judge of matters of the Christian faith by the fathers or primitive writers for three or four hundred years after Christ? But they often contradicted one another, and themselves too; and what is worse, they sometimes contradicted Scripture itself.
Isaac Watts, Logic: The Right Use of Reason in the Inquiry After Truth, pg.217
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
A Nazi swastika is not an inherently evil symbol. Apart from its association with Hitler’s oppressive totalitarian regime, it could serve as a sign for a variety of wholesome and decent enterprises, for example a logo for an insurance company, a daycare center, or a bakery. Nevertheless, due to its immediate association with Nazi Germany and white supremacy, it would be foolhardy to attempt to rehabilitate the insignia to take on new positive meanings, even if the purpose was to use the symbol to attract modern Nazis in order to eventually convert them to non-Nazis. Such attempts would lead to countless misunderstandings, alienation, and reprisals until the meaning of the swastika, if possible, could be reversed. I say, “if possible,” because the swastika is not simply a forgotten artifact of history, but an ever-present reminder of the senseless carnage of the Holocaust. Further, if it was used to attract Neo-Nazis, skinheads, or white supremacists, it could not do so without misleading them (at least initially) since the external referents that these groups would connect with the swastika would be the opposite of those intended by its new promoters.
CCM faces many of the same obstacles in its attempt to contest and reverse predominately negative associations between the sounds of rock music and their counter-Christian referents. This is because rock music is an omnipresent entertainment medium that dominates western culture (even eastern culture) and continues to thrive, develop, and reinforce its codes with far more volume and intensity than its stepchild CCM can ever hope to do.
Sunday, December 3, 2017
Our society’s addiction to pleasure, amusement, and entertainment is likewise celebrated in the church. It is painfully evident that Christians in the West are comfortably able to conceive of the Godhead and Christianity through the prism of entertainment. After all, much ministry today, evangelistic or not, is entertainment or based on entertainment-type formats. Even in the pulpit, many pastors and evangelists are unable to finish a sermon intermittent infusions of (rehearsed) humor to keep the congregation amused and attentive.
Saturday, December 2, 2017
There is every indication that the world has proselytized the church in several critical areas, including theological liberalism, feminism, pragmatism, pop psychology, materialism, and music and entertainment. Sadly, today’s evangelical church resembles a spoiled teenager with an unlimited expense account and no sales resistance.
Friday, December 1, 2017
There are some Catholics who wrongfully state that their church does not teach "purgatory" anymore. Little do they know, it is an infallible dogma that can never be rescinded or revoked. Catholics may also not know that the month of November is dedicated to the souls in purgatory. The Catholic Exchange published an article stating the souls in purgatory need your help more than you realize. Following are some incredible statements from the article that continue to hold Catholics in bondage to religious deception.
Catholics are called to be intercessors, for both the living and the dead to offer up prayers, sacrifices and sufferings on behalf of the poor souls in purgatory. The souls in purgatory have to make recompense for their sins to satisfy the perfect justice of God. Catholics can assist them in that. The Catechism (CCC 1032) quotes an example from the Apocrypha saying, "Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin." (2 Macc. 12:45) And so, how can we make atonement for the dead? We can offer the sacrifice of the Mass, and indulgences granted by the Church, for souls in purgatory. Thus, it is within our power as members of the Communion of Saints to assist the poor souls in purgatory in the process of their purification and sanctification. Our prayers and sacrifices can help pay off their debts. We can be assured that our efforts, prayers and sacrifices are efficacious and capable of mitigating the suffering of those in purgatory (CCC 958).
Pope Benedict XVI reminded Catholics in his encyclical letter ("Saved in Hope") that we are each bound to one another "through innumerable interactions" so that: "No one lives alone. No one sins alone. No one is saved alone.” He exhorts us to ask, "what can I do in order that others may be saved? Then I will have done my utmost for my own personal salvation as well."
Purgatory is one of the many damnable heresies that is taught by the Roman Catholic Church. It denies the sufficiency and efficacy of the Lord Jesus Christ. According to Scripture, "When He (Jesus) had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Hebrews 1:3). Only the truth of God's Word will set Catholics free from the bondage of religious deception (John 8:31-32). Purgatory is a terrible hoax that keeps Catholics utterly dependent upon their unbiblical, sacerdotal priesthood in this life and even after death. Catholics need to know the truth, "the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).
Mike Gendron, Proclaiming the Gospel email news, 12/1/17