Once Saved, Always Saved? (Part 1)
There’s nothing new, exciting or late-breaking surrounding the debate about eternal security, or the related teaching called “perseverance of the saints,” or, “preservation of the saints.” For many, the debate is old-hat and most that have taken sides are unlikely to change sides.
The debate can be traced back hundreds of years, and is basically rooted in the two major theologies that sprung from the Reformation – Calvinism and Arminianism. Those Protestant churches that have historically been influenced by Calvinism (Presbyterians, Baptists, and others) generally affirm perseverance of the saints or the similar doctrine of eternal security. Those Protestant churches that are more rooted in the Arminian tradition, such as Churches of Christ, Methodists, Pentecostals and others, generally deny such teachings.
Is eternal security an important issue for Christians today? I think so. It’s an important because it influences the way we view God, ourselves, the Bible and our salvation and it impacts our day-to-day walk with God.
This will be the first installment in a series on why I believe all true Christians are eternally secure/preserved and address some of the challenges to this doctrine. If you are a Christian that does not believe you are eternally secure, I encourage you to hang around and consider what I have to say. I too once rejected this teaching, but then found myself quite surprised at how much biblical support there is for it.
Most who oppose eternal security do so based on one or more of the following objections:
·The belief in eternal security leads Christians to take their walk with God less seriously, feeling they can freely sin and still be saved.
· Eternal security violates the concept of “free will.” If eternal security were true, God would, in effect, cause people to remain saved, even if they later decided to reject their faith and/or choose to return to a life of sin.
· Certain passages in the Bible indicate that people can lose their faith/salvation (e.g. 1 Cor 9:25-27; Heb 3:12-14, 6:1-6; 2 Pet 2:20; Rev 3:3-5).
In my next post, I will deal with each of these issues before moving on to an examination and analysis of the scriptures that seem to teach that Christians are eternally secure.