Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS

The Bible which purports to be God's word teaches that God decides who goes to Heaven not the individual.  You only choose it yourself for God has chosen you so it is really all his choice not yours.

The Five Points of Calvinism, the Christian theology that teaches predestination by God are:
 
1 Total Depravity
2 Unconditional Election
3 Limited Atonement
4 Irresistible Grace
5 Perseverance of the Saints
 
The fifth of the Five Points of Calvinism is that the saints cannot lose their faith but always persevere. This seems to be a grave error for it is not taught in the Bible. Calvinists say that God manipulates the person to keep him true to the truth.

1 John 2:19 implies there are no apostates from Christianity just fake Christians who pretend to belong. They prove they are fakes when they walk away. That bigoted doctrine accuses ex-Christians of lying about being ex-Christians.  That is Calvinism's favourite text for saying that people who really turn to Jesus never leave him.

Some even teach the Lordship gospel which says that if you are not perfect after being saved then you are not really saved at all or lose salvation. There would be no rejoicing about being delivered from the Law of Moses in the Bible if that were the case. It would mean that salvation is utterly impossible and that the gospel is not a gospel at all. Saving faith induces repentance but that does not mean that afterwards you have to be a saint to get into Heaven.

Paul said that his Christian brethren were not perfect (1 Corinthians 3:1) and called himself the greatest of sinners in the present tense.

The Bible says we are all sinners and yet Paul said that nobody who is saved by Jesus can be condemned for sin and that nobody can condemn or bring any charge against anybody God has justified (Romans 8). God has declared the sinner innocent even though he is not. We see this from the fact that there have always been people who have nit-picked about the sins of the Christians but what Paul has in mind here is that if anybody could look into the soul of a Christian he could not accuse that Christian of any sin or of deserving punishment anymore for God will not let that happen for he has acquitted the sinner.

In 2 Timothy 2:13, we read that if we cease to believe God he will remain faithful to us for he cannot reject us. If the saved can lose their faith they do not stop being saved. Catholics who believe that anybody losing their faith cannot be saved for it is a mortal sin to lose it argue that this verse means that Jesus will continue to look after us and try and bring us back. He is faithful in this sense and not in the sense that he regards us as friends and saved no matter what we do. But the same verse says that Jesus will deny Christians if they deny or reject him. God must both remain faithful to you and reject you at the same time. He sees you are a sinner and holds it against you but then he pretends that you are not a sinner. That is the only way the statements can be reconciled. The verse teaches that once you are saved you cannot lose your salvation and are destined for Heaven for God preserves you.

It is thought that when Satan told Eve that she will not die if she disobeys God that this was the once saved always saved doctrine which shows it was a heresy. Death is taken to refer to spiritual separation from God and not death. But Eve was supposed to make a choice if she would be saved or lost to God. Christians are different for they are chosen by God. Eve was not in a position to get saved when the snake spoke with her for she had never sinned and didn’t need saving. So Satan did not originate the once saved always saved doctrine at that time.

In the First Epistle of John we read that we are not to pray for the person who commits the deadly sin and that not all sin is deadly. Catholics say that this is mortal sin which they do not believe because they pray for mortal sinners. When John bans such prayer it is plain that the sinner cannot repent. He must mean the sin of refusing to accept God’s salvation on one’s deathbed for what else could it be? The text says nothing about a saved person reverting to being an unsaved person. It could be that just as true faith and holiness is a sign of predestination, that certain sins are signs that the sinner is predestined to everlasting damnation and that God has no intention of giving that sinner the gift of faith and salvation.

Hebrews 10:26-31 allegedly says that Christians can lose salvation. But it never says, “Bad or apostate but real Christians will lose their salvation”.

James 5 promises that if a brother in the following of Jesus errs and we get him back on the right track we shall save his soul from death. But this death could be physical death for though we are going to die anyway God is supposed to punish grievous sinners by premature death – not necessarily dying young but dying younger than you should. Also, James said that faith that is accompanied by good works saves. So if a person shows no change even if they claim to be a follower of Jesus that person is going to suffer spiritual death. What he wrote does not prove that a true saved believer can lose his salvation.

In John 15, Jesus says that he is the vine and that the branches that do not bear fruit will be cut off and burnt. Whatever branch does not bear fruit in Jesus will be cut off. This seems to say you will lose salvation if you do not improve in goodness. It could mean that God will take your life quicker if you do evil. Though Christians believe that God counts them as righteous because of the blood of Christ they believe that they can cut themselves off from being friends of God. They are still friends in the imputed sense but in the real sense they are not and are cut off branches.

Calvinists should drop the doctrine of final perseverance and replace it with final preservation. The first means that the saints cannot stop believing and will not be able to go back to being unable to do good while the second means that God keeps the saints in union with him no matter if they apostatise or how much they sin and if they stop doing good altogether.

The Bible says that many will depart from the faith (1 Timothy 4:1). But you could speak that way of people who are not true Christians but who still uphold the faith and think they are true believers. Jesus prayed for Peter that his faith would not fail (Luke 22:32) but that does not prove that true Christians can stop believing. The true Christian can believe but still fail to trust God. Faith can fail you not by going away but by getting too weak to comfort you.

This doctrine of unconditional security appears to be confuted by Jesus’ assertion that the person who keeps his word will never see death (John 8:51). He means spiritual death for people will rise again whether they keep his word or not.

An extreme form of the perseverance doctrine says that true Christians cannot sin. This means that though they can do wrong actions they are not sinful anymore. God does not take offence. This is a form of antinomianism. It comes from a misinterpretation of the First Epistle of John. John wrote that whoever is begotten of God does not sin and he cannot sin because he is begotten of God. But before that John had written that if WE meaning himself and all Christians say we have no sin we are deceiving ourselves. He also said we have an advocate with God, Jesus, who prays for sinners.

Some say he only means that the person who is really saved is only God’s child when he is perfect.

Some say he only means that those who are of God do not need to sin. This does not fit the obvious sense of the words.

Some say he only means that those who are of God do not habitually sin. This does not fit the obvious sense of the words either.

I propose that John believed that we are born into God’s family and no sin can take us out of it so that we are spiritually begotten of God but he had another kind of begetting here, moral begetting. He was saying that a person who is God’s child by being moral cannot sin. There are many senses in which one can be a Son of God. This seems like a tautology like saying, “John went to Madrid because he went to the capital of Spain”. But some people write like that and John likes writing poetically.

Jesus said that whoever believes in him has eternal life (John 3:14-16). What about repentance? All Protestants claim that this faith induces repentance and the two happen simultaneously and necessarily for you if believe the word you will act as if you do. That is simplistic and false. They should know better. You have to believe first before you can consider repenting and it is when you realise you are saved you decide to repent. You cannot repent and receive Jesus into your heart as saviour and Lord unless you believe first and believe by the power of grace. Romans 4 says Abraham was saved by doing no good work at all and repentance is a good work. Even the sinner at the time of salvation is imperfect. “Whoever receives God’s gift of faith receives eternal life and will repent” would be a better interpretation of Jesus’ words. This interpretation would enable Jesus to say that salvation was by faith without mentioning repentance. If repentance isn’t necessary for salvation as this scenario shows, then neither are good works. It follows that one will be saved though a sinner and no sin can cost you your salvation.

Real repentance is acted out. For example, I can feel I really repent for stealing my friend’s ten dollars but I will have no reason to believe that my repentance is genuine until I actually give it back to him. If God required repentance for salvation then he would require good works which totally contradicts the gospel.


 
ANTI ASSURANCE TEXTS

The saved person can be assured that he or she will, not might, go to Heaven when he or she dies. The verses in the Bible that seem to deny this assurance of salvation, do no such thing. People who are against this doctrine believe that the Bible says that a saved person can so sin as to be eternally lost.

When the Bible seems to say that we are saved by avoiding such sin it is not meaning salvation from eternal torture by that. Salvation can be from the loss of grace or from sin or from error. When Paul told Timothy to be true to the doctrine to save himself and his people who hear him (1 Timothy 4:16) it is evident that he meant save them from error because not everybody who would hear would be saved from Hell but all would be saved from error.

Hebrews 6 says that anybody who believed in the gospel, tasted the word of God and went along with the Holy Spirit and had his gifts (the word is dorea which distinguishes the gifts from charismatic supernatural gifts which are charisma – page 419, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties) and then left the faith would not be restored to repentance. It says they are fit only to be burned but this is stated metaphorically for he describes their fate as being like that of land being burned for being no good. It is not said that these people will lose their salvation.

But they may not have been true Christians. They only tasted the word of God while a true Christians has assimilated it. The bit that calls them partakers of the Spirit merely means that the Holy Spirit was in them to convict them of sin. It is impossible to convert them because they are not granted any grace to save them and so are predestined to eternal damnation. Impossible is such a strong word it has to mean this. It is believed by Calvinists that the sinner is so deep in sin that he cannot repent in the godly way and turn to God by himself though he has the faculty of doing it.  He cannot use his free will for he deliberately traps himself in sin so that he cannot and only a miracle of God can end this slavery and prison so that he can be saved.  

In Hebrews 10, the author says that “we” meaning himself too, cannot be saved by a sacrifice for sins if we sin after learning the truth. The punishment will be worse than the death penalty meted out by Moses. The passage says nothing about the loss of salvation. When we are told that the punishment will be worse than being stoned to death it is evident that earthly punishment is what he means. No sacrifice can save you from that if you deserve it. He then says that we must be strong in this world and be confident which is a hint that he does not mean the true Christian can be lost eternally but that the true Christian will be punished for sin for the sake of discipline despite the sacrifice of Christ which only dealt with retribution. The Cross of Jesus paid the price for our sins meaning that man is to replace retribution for sin and lawbreaking with discipline. It would be nonsense to speak of the law of the land being able to take retribution.

Ezekiel 3:20,21 is about saving a man from death and not eternal loss. It simply says that the goodness of a man who commits a crime has to be forgotten in terms of the Law of Moses.

As for the possibility of being blotted out of God’s book we have no reason to think that this book need be the book in which the names of those who are fit for Heaven are enrolled (Exodus 32:31-33). One was blotted out of the book for sinning so the book was a record listing the holy. Moses did not believe in Heaven or everlasting salvation and he spoke of the book.

Revelation 22:19 says that anybody who interferes with the text of the Book of Revelation will not be put in the book of life. If you misrepresent the word of God you will not be saved. The verse could mean that anybody who does not believe the Bible will not have his name entered in God’s book. He or she will lose salvation for altering Revelation for there were plenty of other copies and it is not an important book. It is largely obscure.

Revelation 3:5 says that he who overcomes will not have his name blotted out of the book of life. But that does not mean that it is possible for this to happen.

You cannot work out your salvation like Philippians 2:12 commands unless you are saved already so this verse is not evidence that you can lose salvation if you neglect to do good works.

Also, Jesus said that he who endures to the end in faithfulness will be saved (Matthew 24:13). This says if you don’t persevere you will not be saved. But this is spoken in the context of tribulation and people hating God so it is most likely that Jesus means physically protecting people and spiritually making them holy by the word saved. Verse 22 says that nobody would be saved if the tribulation went on too long. It is not about salvation from Hell or the eternal loss of God at all. Besides, keeping true to the end could be a mark of being saved and not something they have to do for salvation.
 
Conclusion
 
The Bible teaches that once you are saved, you will never lose that salvation. A true Christian can die committing murder and still go to Heaven for Jesus has done all the earning of salvation for him in his place.
 
WORKS CONSULTED

A Catechism of Christian Doctrine, Catholic Truth Society, London, 1985
A Summary of Christian Doctrine Louis Berkhof, The Banner of Truth Trust, London, 1971
A Withering Branch, Joseph H Harley, John English and Co, Wexford, 1956
All One Body – Why Don’t We Agree? Erwin W Lutzer, Tyndale, Illinois, 1989
An Examination of Tulip, Robert L Sumner, Biblical Evangelism Press, Indiana. 1972
Apologia Pro Vita Sua, John Henry Newman, JN Dent & Sons Ltd, London, 1955
Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic, David B Currie, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1996
Can a Saved Person Ever Be Lost, John R Rice, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 1943
Christian Answers About Doctrine, John Eddison, Scripture Union, London, 1973
Doubt The Consequences Cause and Cure, Curtis Hutson Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 1983
Eight Gospel Absurdities if a Born-Again Soul Ever Loses Salvation John R Rice Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 1946
Encyclopaedia of Bible Difficulties, Gleason W Archer, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1982
Four Great Heresies, John R Rice, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 1975
How to be a Christian without Being Religious, Fritz Ridenour, Regal Books, California, 1970
HyperCalvinism, John D Rice, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 1970
Is it necessary for you to be baptised to be saved? Hoyt H Houchen, Guardian of Truth, Bowling Green, Kentucky
Legalism – A Smokescreen, Mike Allison, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 1986
Radio Replies, Vol 1, Frs Rumble and Carty, Radio Replies Press, St Paul Minnesota, 1938
Radio Replies, Vol 2, Frs Rumble and Carty, Radio Replies Press, St Paul Minnesota, 1940
Radio Replies, Vol 3, Frs Rumble and Carty, Radio Replies Press, St Paul, Minnesota, 1942
Reasons for Hope, Editor Jeffrey A Mirus, Christendom College Press, Virginia, 1982
Saved For Certain, John R Rice, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 1953
The Catholic Church has the Answer, Paul Whitcomb, TAN, Illinois, 1986  
The Catholicity of Protestantism Ed R Newton Flew and Rupert E Davies, Lutterworth Press, London, 1950
The Eternal Security of the Believer, Curtis Hutson, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 1982
The Grace of God in the Gospel, John Cheeseman, Philip Gardner, Michael Sadgrove, Tom Wright, The Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh, 1976
The Great Acquittal, Tony Baker, George Carey, John Tiller and Tom Wright, Fount, London, 1980
The Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin, Hodder and Stoughton, London,1986
The Other Side of Calvinism, Laurence M Vance, Vance Publications Pensacola, Florida, 1991
There is no Difference for all have Sinned, John R Rice, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 1939
Unitarian Christianity and Other Essays, William Ellery Channing The Bobs-Merrill Company Inc, Kansas, 1957
Why I Disagree with All Five Points of Calvinism, Curtis Hutson, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 1980
 
BIBLE TRANSLATION USED
The Amplified Bible