So why did I start this website? Part 1

So why did I start this website?? Part 1

So why did I start this website? Part 2

So why did I start this website? Part 3

So why did I start this website? Part 4

It’s been a busy year writing comments on a number of topics, mostly to do with the heresies of calvinism, although I cover many other topics in other ways. For example, in our home church we completed our studies in Hebrews, then looked at Revelation Ch.4 – 22 in detail, and are presently studying the first 11 chapters of Genesis. (Most of these have been posted on our website although some may be a few weeks late arriving online.)

I have posted 26 comments so far during 2018, an average of 1 per fortnight, not necessarily evenly spread, though. Posts generally get written when I notice something not quite right with doctrinal issues in whatever we are involved with at the time. In fact, this website commenced because of a need to expose some of the doctrinal heresies being used to control good Christian people in our local allegedly biblical, fundamentalist churches. Our area (on the edge of a state capital city of Australia) has a large immigrant population, and a wide range of beliefs, many of which are not remotely Christian. And many who claim to be Christian fail to believe what the Bible teaches.

When we moved to this area over 20 years ago, even then there were only a few local churches that had beliefs we felt comfortable with. Before this we had spent many years in an independent Baptist church in a small rural town, and had considered its doctrine to be good, and although not perfect, it was very good. It was a conservative church, with preaching expected to be from the Bible alone (fundamentalist, not calvinist), and the music reasonably free from rock music influences (we didn’t have the ubiquitous rock band out the front, and we avoided Hillsong-type hype music like the plague).

When we moved to the city we found a limited number of churches that matched what we were used to. And, as some of these added loud rock bands with earth-shaking drums, that number of acceptable options decreased. I could never see how such music could honour the creator God of the universe – it all seemed so disrespectful. And, rock music’s origins were very anti-God into the bargain. The old (and much-loved) hymns were being replaced by Hillsong rock, and the organs and pianos turned into drums and amplified guitars.

Note that I do play the guitar (both 6 and 12 string acoustic, non-amplified) and I don’t mind a bit of beat in music. But the off-beat of rock music (like people clapping on the off-beats in some songs) was off-putting indeed. I had been church organist for many years at our rural church and felt that rock bands had done away with so much good music. (I had also been secretary of this church which, more often than not, hadn’t had a pastor, so in many ways I had been doing much of the day-to-day running of this church, including a lot of preaching when needed.)

So when we arrived at our present location, we commenced at one church, only to leave after a year when the rock music became too pronounced (that is, painfully loud; it hurt my ears!). We went to a second fundamentalist church (Living Springs which my sons attended) only to find them creeping inexorably toward the rock band model as well. We then went to the local Presbyterians who, at this stage, were actually evangelical, with a pastor who genuinely believed in the free will of man to choose his salvation. (In fact, too evangelical, it seems, because they then replaced him with one who better-supported their calvinist origins.) At that time the Presbyterian church in Australia was going through a renewing of its Westminster catechism foundations, and is now back firmly in the clutches of calvinism. When they asked us (after being absent on a 6 month outback trip) if we could give any reason why they shouldn’t remove us from their membership roll, we agreed to resign. (In the Presbyterian church, you are not permitted to be a good Christian if you happen to not go near your local Presbyterian church for 6 months, because that somehow proves you are no longer a good puritan. It matters little that you are just not in the area for that 6 months!)

So, on the recommendation of a pastor-friend, off we went to yet another allegedly biblical fundamentalist church, Open Door. (The list of possible options in our area was growing rather thin by now!) For a little while we were reasonably happy and satisfied there. The music was not loud, not rock, and the old hymns were appreciated. The preaching appeared to be reasonably on the ball, although occasionally a bit vague. However, after a year or two, this vagueness soon clarified itself into calvinism rumbling just below the surface. The previous pastor (who had stayed on until a replacement was found) finally admitted that he believed MacArthur’s brand of calvinist heresy to be really quite scriptural (according to him, anyway). I asked him what was the point of the Great Commission then – to preach the gospel to all nations. His answer was simply that Christians did that because that’s what Christians were commanded to do. (It was the typical calvinist statement on this passage, because, to the calvinist, there is no point to preaching the gospel to anyone unless they have already been regenerated (born again) by the Holy Spirit. Their only justification for it is that God commands them to do so.)

We stayed there for a bit longer, however, because the calvinism wasn’t obvious, and at this point in time we hadn’t seen the full picture of what calvinism really represented. At that time, calvinism was, to us, an awkward doctrine that had some incorrect beliefs about evangelism. However, we were still prepared to declare calvinists fellow-Christians even though we could not believe in it ourselves.

Then I was told that the church where two of my sons still attended (Living Springs) was looking for a pastor, and had advertised for one, in fact. So I applied, having done my apprenticeship in running a church in a country town for many years, including much preaching and pastoral care work. One of the deacons at Living Springs then invited me to preach, after which I was told they’d get back to me. But, eight months went by without any getting back to me, so I contacted them again. This appeared to stir up some immediate action: (a) Living Springs started making their building available to a near-by calvinist church (GraceWest), apparently through contact with the deacon, and (b) I was offered some preaching, firstly being asked to name as many days as I wished, an offer that was quickly downgraded to: Here’s four Sundays in the next few months that we haven’t managed to fill yet; take your pick. (I picked all four!)

I was also told that I was applying for a part-time position, and therefore it would be unworkable. Yet, this same deacon who had said this then put his own name down for the pastor position just a month later. I did my four services and then was told that they’d selected that church deacon as pastor. (And, yes, it was still a part-time position, apparently only unworkable if someone other than the current pastor were appointed!)

By this time it was ultra-clear that the local calvinist church (GraceWest) was getting quite involved with Living Springs, including regular use of their property for meetings and services, and providing pastoral messages on some Sunday mornings. So, with Living Springs doctrinally unacceptable now, and because the options for local Bible-believing churches were fast disappearing, I started up our home church. We were small then, and are still small, yet we have managed to learn Bible truths more effectively now we aren’t encumbered with doctrinal hindrances from established church dogmas. I also started to look more seriously at calvinism, because it was clear that calvinism had been able to infiltrate Living Springs so effectively that not long after this, the Living Springs website declared GraceWest to be a like-minded sister church. Therefore, if GraceWest is MacArthur calvinist (which it is, having an almost identical doctrinal statement to MacArthur’s church), then Living Springs, being like-minded, must also be a calvinist church (after the doctrines of MacArthur) now. (Of course, they denied this, but then, why are they like-minded sister churches?)

Since then we have had communications with one of Living Springs’ members who has become so full-on with calvinism that he has now spouted forth MacArthur heretical teachings in an effort to try to convert us. We have also been told (by Living Springs officialdom) not to have any contact with Living Springs members; all communications must be made to the pastor alone (who then, to my knowledge, has never answered any of the enquiries made). It is indeed a strange situation, where a church (Living Springs) that allegedly disapproves of hyper-calvinism should be so much in agreement with the MacArthur calvinism of GraceWest.

And what of the last church we left? We left Open Door (in September 2013) initially to commence our home church. At that stage we had intended returning once we had sorted out things through our home church. We had enjoyed attending their services. However, a few months after we left, their newly-appointed pastor came to visit us, apparently with one aim in mind: to pressure us to send our son back to Living Springs (which he had left to attend our home church). The pastor offered to be mediator between my son and the Living Springs pastor so that my son could return without prejudice. When I said that Living Springs had loud rock music, he said that was unfortunate but nevertheless my son should return. (This, of course, was from the Open Door pastor who just 2 months earlier had informed me that he was doing a series of studies on the problems of rock music!) It was clear that we would not come to a satisfactory agreement on this issue.

Then, after some more disagreements, he then accused me of having the imaginations of an over-sensitive nature. (I wonder if that is legalese for “You’re mad!”) I said that perhaps it would solve all our problems if we resigned from membership of Open Door. (He did not appear to be happy about this.) After we finished our “discussion”, he left. Just over a week later we sent in our resignation email. No response was ever received to this. We have never returned.

Then in 2016 I was informed that Open Door was doing studies by Paul Tripp, a neo or new calvinist who is heavily involved with Biblical Counselling, an active arm of the new calvinist movement (with its foundations largely at Westminster Theological Seminary in USA). After making enquiries I was told (14/05/16) that “Pastor took material on recommendation of another church pastor” and “Pastor is trying to repair damage in Sunday School by going over the material again but no admission of why as yet.” I then questioned why a pastor would want to go over this material again; why not just throw this heretical material in the bin where it belongs? However, I backed off at this point in time, willing to give maybe some benefit of doubt. But, earlier this year I noticed that Open Door now had Biblical Counselling advertised on their website. If the counsellor is affiliated with Biblical Counselling Australia, then he or she would probably have done their training through CCEF (closely affiliated with Westminster Seminary USA), or one of the Presbyterian theological colleges in Australia, or through a person allegedly qualified to train such counsellors (such as the current calvinist pastor at GraceWest might indeed be, having allegedly done Master of Arts studies in Biblical Counselling through The Masters College in Los Angeles). All these options have calvinist or reform doctrines. Therefore, if the counsellor at Open Door is registered with Biblical Counselling Australia, then he has probably studied new calvinist doctrine such as that which Paul Tripp adheres to. Of course, there might be an alternative, even innocent, explanation for all of this, but if the Biblical Counselling is registered with Biblical Counselling Australia, then it could look like the alleged Tripp studies in 2016 might be connected here.

So, how many churches in our area are untainted by happy-clappy dancing, and/or unbelievably loud rock music, or the calvinist threat to many of our biblical fundamentalist churches? The answer is that very few even moderately acceptable churches now remain within out local area (encompassing a population of maybe ½ million). No wonder home churches are popping up all around the world, in an effort to escape the doctrinal pollution being taught by so many churches today, claiming to be Christian, while preaching another gospel. And even if your church claims to be non-calvinist, does it have Biblical Counselling available? If so, then it is likely to be affiliated with Biblical Counselling Australia which is a very active tool for the spread of new calvinism. Even biblical churches can be deceived by the insidious heresy of calvinism, accepting it at face value. If only they had tested (proved) all things according to the scriptural admonition!

So now I run a small home church, and I constantly research what appears to be the biggest danger facing our fundamentalist biblical churches in our part of the world today (other than loud rock music). Calvinism has the appearance of being ultra-Christian on the surface and many good Christian people including church leaders are being hoodwinked by its devious claims of sola scriptura (the Bible alone), when they actually rely more upon calvinist authors for doctrine than they do the Bible. I believe God has let me see the danger of this heresy labelled calvinism, reform belief etc. This website is now my means of warning those Christians who genuinely seek the truth of the Bible, warning them of the danger of accepting at face value the teachings of any person just because they say they are biblical (and use biblical-sounding terminology). This is clearly happening to churches around the world. And the worst thing about it all is that most people who are deceived never actually see what is happening to them until it is too late. So often calvinists enter your church by stealth, pretending to be good biblical Christians, only revealing their real agenda after they have built a good support base in that church. They pretend to be ultra-fundamentalist biblical Christians, they use all the right terminology, yet most of their doctrine is not Bible-based, but instead defined by Calvin and other writers. Once they have revealed their calvinist standing, they quote their calvinist authors and teachers as if they are infallible, and when anyone disputes their views, they fall back upon the teachings of such as MacArthur who is far from being scripturally correct.

They will often come into the Bible-believing church, appearing as mature Christians who are willing and able to take up leadership roles in the church, such as deacon, elder, study-group leader, prayer-group leader, or even pastor. They avoid declaring their support for the more extreme doctrines of calvinism, preferring to appear moderate in their beliefs. They often seek out immature Christians, offering to mentor them toward a higher view of God’s sovereignty, a more biblical view of doctrines, in fact, offering to lead young Christians to be better Christians. All this is attractive to those young Christians who genuinely desire to be better Christians, to be better used in service for God. Calvinism appears to offer all this, yet deceives instead. I have personally witnessed such a change in one of the local Christians who probably desired to be a better Christian yet is now brainwashed with all the doctrines of MacArthur. And the worst thing is that he just cannot see that his calvinist beliefs do not make biblical sense at all.

Calvinists do not make many converts through their calvinist teachings. Their doctrines don’t make Christians; instead they make good puritans (who are not necessarily Christian, just doers of pure or good works). Most calvinists who are also genuine Christians became Christians before they were converted to calvinism. If you belong to a Bible-believing fundamentalist non-calvinist church, watch, be vigilant, for this attack is being carried out on churches like yours in many places already.

So why did I start this website? Part 2

So why did I start this website? Part 3

So why did I start this website? Part 4

List of all my posts on this site.

If you wish to read documents on the heresies of calvinism, please use this link.

Sermons and Messages

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Calvinists declare their God to be a liar!

Calvinists declare their God to be a liar!

The God of the Bible gave man free will when He created him, and gave him dominion over the earth with the command to subdue it. Then how can calvinists say that their God created man with dominion over the earth, commanding man to subdue it, yet declare that their God never gave man the free will to enable him to do so? This deception makes the calvinist God a liar!

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” So commences the Biblical record of creation. On the sixth day God created man, an event that went far beyond any other act of creation, for man was created in the image of God. This is a stupendous statement that focuses upon man as something quite different from anything else that God created. For, to be created in the image of God meant that in man we could be able to see something of the nature of God Himself.

Of course, when Adam sinned, this image of God was broken down, corrupted and subverted by satan who took over the rule of earth on man’s behalf. Man, by sinning, had obeyed satan rather than God, and now satan had somehow taken charge of mankind. Man was now sold out to satan, and it was to take the sacrificial death of Christ – God as the perfect man – to buy back – redeem – man from the power of satan. God’s special creation in His own image had been alienated from God by one single act of rebellion from man who was made in God’s image. Of course, God knew (by His perfect knowledge of the future – “foreknowledge”) that Adam would sin, despite being created the perfect man in God’s image. Therefore, before Adam was created, the plan of redemption was already in place to buy back (redeem) man from the bondage of satan.

But man was indeed created perfect, in the image of God, in fact. As part of man’s special place in God’s creation, he was given dominion (rulership) over the earth and its animal-life. And, not only was man given the rule over the earth, but he was also to subdue it, something that would require the taking of control of the earth, by force if necessary, for this is what that word “subdue” involves.

Genesis 1:26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Genesis 1:28And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

have dominion – to have dominion; rule; subjugate. That is, Adam (as the first man) was to be ruler over all creatures, plant life and the earth in general, and through Adam, all mankind (“and let them have dominion”) were to be rulers.

let them have dominion – and let them be rulers over. This in itself is a statement of free will, for how may anyone govern without the freedom to make decisions for that which he then is to take responsibility? Is it even possible to rule over something yet have no freedom of will to make decisions? We have a word for a ruler who can’t make free will decisions concerning his rule: we call him a puppet ruler; puppet king; puppet government etc.

subduekabash (to bring into bondage; make subservient; subdue; force; violate; dominate; tread down)

If one is to subdue anything, it requires the ability to consider the options. “subdue” has to firstly assume that an opposing force or will is being applied. “subdue” also has to assume that this opposing force or will is not under your control and that it is required (by you, of course) to be under your control. The word involves bringing something or someone under bondage, by force if necessary. You do not need to subdue that which is already under your control. You subdue in order to bring something under your control. Control involves the ability to manipulate that which is controlled, like a puppet is controlled by its strings. Control therefore means having the strings to pull on whatever you are controlling. The puppet dances to the tune of the puppeteer. Likewise, all creation on earth was to dance to the tune of man the puppeteer. And, a puppeteer is the will of the puppet! What a ridiculous idea to consider that man, the puppeteer, is likewise manipulated by strings attached to him by God, that man himself is both puppeteer and the puppet of God!

And God said (Vs 26 & Vs 28 above) – That word “said” is ‘amar (to say; to answer; to say in one’s heart; to think; to command; to promise; to intend). The term “emir” (ruler; leader; commander) appears to be a related word derived from the same root word as ‘amar.
An emir, sometimes transliterated amir, amier, or ameer, is an aristocratic or noble and military title of high office used in a variety of places in the Arab countries. (Wikipedia).
Here in Genesis, ‘amar demonstrates that God, as sovereign of all, said it as an order that could not be disobeyed. The speaking of the order is the same as the action being carried out.

God said to man: subdue the earth! That is, God commanded it with every expectation that it would be carried out without question. This is an order that cannot be countermanded. Man is ordered to subdue the earth, and therefore man is to be given the authority to do so. You don’t order a puppet to do anything; you just make it do it and it will do it. There can be no suggestion at all that the puppet could ever oppose the will of the puppeteer. The order itself clearly demonstrates that man is not a puppet, that he does have a choice to obey or not to obey.

In the same way, God said “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2:17) If man is merely a puppet, then God would have to pull the strings that prevent man from eating of that tree (or else He lied). Anything that is a puppet cannot oppose the puppeteer. But man opposed God and ate of that forbidden tree. It is ridiculous to assume that God in some way made man sin, because that also assumes that God pulled the “sin” string on man to make man sin. God is not a puppeteer who just pulls the strings and man moves accordingly. And a puppet itself can never be blamed for any of the alleged “crimes’ it commits, for, like Punch and Judy, the puppet just does what it is manipulated to do. Likewise, man, if merely a puppet, can only do that which he is manipulated to do, without any option of his own will being imposed, ever. (A puppet has no will at all.)

Just as Calvin said: If God merely foresaw human events, and did not also arrange and dispose of them at his pleasure, there might be room for agitating the question, how far his foreknowledge amounts to necessity; but since he foresees the things which are to happen, simply because he has decreed that they are so to happen, it is vain to debate about prescience, while it is clear that all events take place by his sovereign appointment. (Institutes, Bk 3, Ch 23, Section 6) That is, God has no need for foreknowledge (= prescience) because He has already decreed everything that is to happen. All events for all time take place by God’s sovereign decree. Thus the calvinist God is the puppet-master, and man is the puppet!

A puppet may have no life and will of its own, unless God should give it life, and order it to have dominion over the earth, and to subdue the earth (by force if necessary). And, therefore, man has to have the freedom of will to make his own decisions, even if they oppose God’s will, for unless he can have the option of opposing God’s will, then man is merely a puppet in the hands of God.
Of course, if God is to remain absolutely sovereign, then ultimately His will cannot be denied. If He should permit man to have free will, then He must also demand a full accounting of man as to every free will decision man has made. And God does indeed demand that.
2 Corinthians 5:10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things [done] in [his] body, according to that he hath done, whether [it be] good or bad.

Calvinists do make such a song and dance about man having no free will (although some in an effort to placate those who know their Bibles well, will say that man has free will but not unto salvation, which is pointless, for unless a man has free will in salvation, there is no point in having free will otherwise!). But, if man has been given dominion over the earth, and is commanded by God to subdue the earth, then either man has free will to do so, or else he is a puppet who cannot be responsible for any of his decisions, for the puppeteer makes all decisions for him. And a puppet cannot be truthfully accused of disobeying his puppet-master (and therefore cannot be justly punished for such). And, if God is truth (like His word), then God will not unjustly accuse man of crimes that He, God, has made man do. For if God were to make man sin against Him, and then called such sin an abomination against His holy nature, then such a God himself is to be accused of the sin against himself! Either man sins by his own free will or God must be punished for the sin He makes man do.

However, the God of the Bible who created man did not demand to be puppet-master of man. He gave man some measure of free will to decide for himself, and to take responsibility for every one of his free will decisions. In this way, man has freedom of will to rule, yet God remains totally sovereign in requiring a complete accounting for all man’s free will choices. Man is held responsible for his decisions, and God justly and righteously punishes man for the wrong choices he (man) has made. (Even to the extent of sending His own Son to die in order that he might buy back mankind after mankind sold himself to satan.) God is sovereign.

Tozer wrote wisely when he said: God sovereignly decreed that man should be free to exercise moral choice, and man from the beginning has fulfilled that decree by making his choice between good and evil. When he chooses to do evil, he does not thereby countervail the sovereign will of God but fulfills it, inasmuch as the eternal decree decided not which choice the man should make but that he should be free to make it. If in His absolute freedom God has willed to give man limited freedom, who is there to stay His hand or say, “What doest thou?” Man’s will is free because God is sovereign. A God less than sovereign could not bestow moral freedom upon His creatures. He would be afraid to do so. (Knowledge of the Holy, Tozer, P 76)

If man has free will to determine his eternal destiny, then God will honour all free will decisions by man: obedience to life, and rebellion to death.
Deuteronomy 30:15; 19See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; …..
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, [that] I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
If man is created in God’s image and given dominion over the earth and told to subdue it, then man can only do this with free will decision-making. If the calvinist God cannot permit man to have free will to choose between good and evil, then either man cannot be permitted to have dominion over the earth and to subdue it, or the calvinist God is deceiving man, promising dominion with one hand and taking it away with the other.

Any who believe that I have not stated Scriptural truth are welcome to challenge anything I have said, using the Bible alone as their authority (sola scriptura). Please attempt to keep your arguments consistent with all Biblical truth, and please do not resort to childish name-calling. Silence, name-calling, and derogatory statements are always taken to mean an inability to properly refute my statements. I present my views on Biblical grounds, both clearly and openly, but not one calvinist has yet been able to present his views likewise.

For example, when I stated to one calvinist that God chose His elect according to His foreknowledge based on 1 Peter 1:2 (Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father), he wrote back saying that this foreknowledge could not be defined as God’s perfect knowledge of the future, and that if I could present just one verse that clearly said that God chose His elect according to His perfect knowledge of the future, then he’d back down completely. You just can’t get through to some people!

List of all my posts on this site.

If you wish to read other documents on the heresies of calvinism, please use this link.

Please feel free to comment. However, my replies won’t be on this page. Comments and replies are recorded on the Comments page.

Eternal security? or Can you lose your salvation? Part 3

Eternal security? or Can you lose your salvation? Part 3

(Eternal security? or Can you lose your salvation? Part 1)

(Eternal security? or Can you lose your salvation? Part 2)

In Part 1 I looked at some of the more-quoted passages often used to demonstrate the eternal security of the believer. The question was raised as to whether or not the believer could still exercise freedom of will, not only to accept salvation, but to also reject it after accepting it.
In Part 2 I looked at the passages that are used to demonstrate that a person may lose his salvation. I decided that, while it appeared possible for a Christian to lose his salvation, it wasn’t a clear-cut conclusion. It did appear that it might be possible for new (or immature) Christians to be drawn back into the world which they may not have fully let go of.

In the Hebrews 6:4-6 passage it is clear that The Writer to the Hebrews considers it possible for them to lose their salvation through God not permitting them (Hebrews 6:3) to renew their repentance, after falling away from what clearly looks like a description of a born-again Christian. But The Writer also makes it clear that a certain type of Christian is at risk here: the new-born baby Christian (Hebrews 5:12-14). The Writer also teaches that going on toward perfection will probably remove or at least greatly minimise the risk of losing salvation (that is, apostatising).

Of course, some will claim that an apostate is an unbeliever who has rejected the gospel, yet the word “apostasy” comes from the Greek word apostasia which is translated “a falling away” in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. An apostate is someone who falls away from belief in the gospel and his salvation; it doesn’t define someone who never believed in the first place. You can’t fall away from where you never were in the first place!

The Writer to the Hebrews is teaching that in order to not fall away, one must grow as a Christian, and continue to grow, for it is the lack of growth that he associates with a falling away. On this basis, a more mature Christian should be better protected from falling away. But is this teaching consistent with other passages? In 2 Peter 2:18 it describes those who fall away as having firstly “clean escaped from those who live in error”. That word “clean” means clearly or obviously, yet some dispute this, claiming that the original word was “barely”. That is, those who have “barely escaped”. Either way, however, it is clearly talking about those who have escaped, either cleanly or barely. However, “barely” would be more consistent with Hebrews 5:12-14 which describes these people as new-born babes, ones who had barely escaped the world and its error.

But, are there passages that teach that less mature Christians are somehow more at risk than those of mature age? Look at Luke 9:23-2523 And he said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? Look at the choice in Vs 25 which is clearly part of taking up your cross daily and following Jesus. This passage (similar to passages in Matthew 16:24-26 and Mark 8:34-37) does tie this choice to whether or not you take up your cross.

Jesus also said that if you didn’t take up your cross and follow Him, you were not worthy of Him (Matthew 10:38) nor could you be His disciple (Luke 14:27). It is clear that taking up your cross somehow takes you across some line drawn in the sand that commits you fully to the task. So, what does it mean to take up your cross and follow Jesus?

Tozer wrote some very thought-provoking words on this in Ch.10 (The Old Cross and the New) of his book “Man – The Dwelling Place of God”.
The new cross is not opposed to the human race; rather, it is a friendly pal and, if understood aright, it is the source of oceans of good clean fun and innocent enjoyment. It lets Adam live without interference. His life motivation is unchanged; he still lives for his own pleasure, only now he takes delight in singing choruses and watching religious movies instead of singing bawdy songs and drinking hard liquor. The accent is still on enjoyment, though the fun is now on a higher plane morally if not intellectually.
The old cross is a symbol of death. It stands for the abrupt, violent end of a human being. The man in Roman times who took up his cross and started down the road had already said goodbye to his friends. He was not coming back. He was going out to have it ended. The cross made no compromise, modified nothing, spared nothing; it slew all of the man, completely and for good. It did not try to keep on good terms with its victim. It struck cruel and hard, and when it had finished its work, the man was no more.

It seems that there are two kinds of Christian: (a) those who take up their crosses (thus they can be Jesus’ disciple and are worthy of Him) and (b) those who don’t take up their crosses (thus they cannot be Jesus’ disciple, nor are they worthy of Him).

There’s a choice that all Christians must make in order to be a disciple of Jesus, and to be worthy of Him, and that is to take up their crosses and follow Him. For unless you take up your cross and follow Him, you are what I would call a de facto or P-plate Christian, one who still has significant desires for the world (1 John 2:15-17). Too many become Christians for the benefits to themselves: forgiveness for sins, eternal life, heaven forever, etc, but fail to do it for what they can give to God. (See Romans 12:1-2) They want their salvation, but aren’t yet ready to give up the world. They will continue to have conflict in their lives, between Christ and the world. At some point they’ll have to make up their minds which one they really want, Christ or the world. This is the choice associated with taking up your crosses and following Jesus. To take up your cross you must make a choice to forsake the world. If you cannot forsake the world, then you cannot take up your cross and eventually you are likely to succumb to the love of the world (that is, you will have traded your soul for the world). “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26)

People today want to have Christ without losing the world. But we may only be a true follower of Christ by taking up our crosses and turning our backs on the world. Until a Christian turns his back on the world, it will always be there, tempting him and demanding his return. Such a Christian is unworthy of Christ, and is always going to be at risk of returning to the world (at the expense of his soul). Such a Christian cannot be Christ’s disciple, for he loves the world too much. He might declare himself to be a Christian, having repented with godly sorrow, and prayed the sinner’s prayer for salvation (2 Corinthians 7:10aFor godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of).

His name is written in the book of life. He is one of God’s children, having called upon the name of the Lord to be saved (Romans 10:13). But he still has friends and a social life in the world, and so he shares his Christian life with those of the world, not to win the world for Christ, but to keep those things of the world that which he cannot afford to let go of yet. Note what Hebrews 2:1 says – Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let [them] slip. That “let slip” has the idea of having hold of a boat rope in your hand, yet through being distracted by something else, we let it slip out of our grasp without realising that it has gone. We then look up and notice the boat is drifting down stream, already out of reach. Too late!

Many teach that this applies to those who have heard the gospel, yet let it slip through not giving it the importance it deserves. They then quote Hebrews 2:3aHow shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation. But that word “neglect” refers more to a careless disregard of something already in your possession, something which is a responsibility of yours, rather than being careless of something you don’t have yet. You either neglect your responsibility, or you ignore something that is not your responsibility. You have hold of your salvation, your eternal life, your future in heaven – it’s in your grasp right now. Yet, your attention is drawn back to the world that you never really left, and you fail to notice that your grasp on your salvation is slipping. Your love for the world is strong and quenches your love for Christ, and, when faced with the decision to take up your cross and really follow Jesus, you decide that your love of the world is more important. Like Demas who loved this present world, you gain this present world, yet lose your eternal soul, your salvation. That which was once yours is no longer in your grasp.

Demas, that one who, along with Paul and Luke, sent greetings in Colossians 4:14. Demas, that one whom Paul called a fellow labourer (Philemon 1:24). Demas of whom Paul then declared “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world” (2 Timothy 4:10). Demas, who had now regained the world he had forsaken when he accepted salvation in Christ. Demas who gained the world yet lost his soul! Demas who let slip his salvation because of his stronger grip on the world. Demas who could never come back again to Christ!

Becoming a Christian is easy! Just receive Christ into your life and all your problems are over, forever! Or are they? Are you growing in Christ or are you constantly going back to new-born status through your love of the world? Have you matured enough to be able to test all things, especially the lies of the false teachers? Do you suffer as a Christian, keeping in mind that this is what Christians are called to do (1 Peter 2:21)? Remember that those who live Godly lives in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). Is the Christian life so tough that you would rather give it up?

Like the Hebrews who were hard-hit with persecution such that they desired to go back to the temple worship which they had left behind when they became Christians. In fact, this is a major theme of Hebrews, the need to fight on in spite of the persecution.
… let us run with patience the race that is set before usHebrews 12:1. Note that the word “race” actually means fight, conflict, contention, and is translated “fight” in 1 Timothy 6:12 and 2 Timothy 4:7.

Paul told the Romans, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2) Being a Christian means all or nothing. You don’t hand over a part of your life; you hand over all your life! You take up your cross daily (that is, take up the suffering to which you were called). You give God the right to choose what happens in your life, much like giving someone an Enduring Power of Attorney to control all your assets. No longer should you demand the right to have a say in your future; commit to God everything in your future. (You should be, after all, “a living sacrifice“.)

In particular, this means giving up the right to choose what you should do or say. God does not force Christians to hand this right over, but if you give Him this right willingly, then he will take control and you will then see the victory God has planned for you. You may (and will) fall at times, but you will always turn to God for help at those times, knowing that He is in total charge. And it is hard to see how you would ever be able to give up your salvation now. (I would say impossible. For such people their eternal salvation should indeed be secure.)

It’s like grasping your salvation with one hand while grasping the world with your other hand. It’s a tug of war, and sooner or later one side will win the battle. And the other side losing out. For the Christian, it should be the world that he lets go of, to then grasp his salvation with both hands. But, what if he should let go of his salvation to grasp the world with both hands? (Like Demas did!)

Thus, my conclusions on eternal security? I have already outlined them in this Part 3. If you want to hold onto the world, want to keep your options open, want to keep your worldly friends and social life, and don’t want to suffer as a true disciple of Jesus, then you are at risk of losing your salvation. And, if you gain salvation and then forsake it again, there can be no second option, for if Christ’s first and only sacrifice were perfect yet still insufficient for you, then no further sacrifice can ever achieve any more. Your repentance can never be renewed again. It would be better to have not known the way of righteousness than to have known it and then turn away from it (2 Peter 2:21).

However, if you wish to be eternally secure in your salvation, to know beyond any doubt that you have a place in heaven because your name is written in the Lamb’s book of life, then you must take up your cross daily, follow the example of suffering set by Christ, forsake the world (that means burning all bridges that permit your return), and hand over to God all (that means all) your decision-making, that is, give to God an Enduring Power of Attorney. What you control, you can lose; what God controls, you can never lose!

Like the song (in part) says: I have decided to follow Jesus, No turning back, No turning back; Though none go with me, still I will  follow; The world behind me, the cross before me. 

Yes, you have free will to choose; sovereign God has given you that right. And it is as easy as believing in your heart that God has raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 10:9) and calling upon the name of the Lord to be saved (Romans 10:13). If you genuinely desire salvation in Christ and desire to fully serve Him, then you are saved from this point on. You may fall again and again, confessing your sins for God to restore you to fellowship with Him (and He will do so, again and again!). But if your desire is to be holy as God is holy (and this means turning your back on the world and its pleasures), then you will remain saved to the uttermost, eternally.

If you desire to keep hold of your salvation, you must hand over your right to free will here. That is, by your own free will decision you must choose to forego any further free will decisions on your eternal future. You must give this right back to sovereign God. Permit God to lock down every option that could cause you to let go of your salvation (or even to think about it). Instead, let go of the world and its pleasures forever! “No turning back, No turning back!”

And, with God’s guidance you must grow toward perfection. (Despite never being able to be perfect in this life, you must nevertheless still strive for that perfection, or rather, give God the decision-making to get you there, to be conformed to the image of Christ – Romans 8:29.)

It really comes down to who is making the decisions in your life, you or God? It comes down to what your life is built upon, your dreams and aspirations, or God’s will for your life?

What you choose you can fail in. What God chooses for you can never fail you.
What you build, you can lose. What God builds, you will never lose.
Psalm 127:1Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh [but] in vain.

Eternal security? or Can you lose your salvation? Part 1

Eternal security? or Can you lose your salvation? Part 2

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Eternal security? or Can you lose your salvation? Part 2

Eternal security? or Can you lose your salvation? Part 2

(Eternal security? or Can you lose your salvation? Part 1)

(Eternal security? or Can you lose your salvation? Part 3)

In Part 1 I looked at some of the more-quoted passages often used to demonstrate the eternal security of the believer. Other passages also include Philippians 1:6 and Hebrews 13:5. However, while even more passages may be added in support of eternal security, the general premise as stated above is still relevant: that ultimately God will not remove you from that salvation, nor can anyone or anything else, for that matter. And, if God is the only will concerned here, then that’s the end of the story – once saved, always saved! However, the question was raised as to whether or not the believer could still exercise freedom of will, not only to accept salvation, but to reject it as well, even after accepting it.

In this Part 2 I will look at the passages that are used to demonstrate that a person may lose his salvation; passages that may be used to show that eternal security is not a doctrinal truth.

1/. Hebrews 6:4-64 For [it is] impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put [him] to an open shame.

Of course, the immediate context of this passage really commences at Hebrews 5:11 and ends at Hebrews 6:9. The Writer (of Hebrews) tells them (Vs 5:11) that they are dull of hearing (that is, they lack understanding). “Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.” He says (Vs 5:12) that by now they should have had enough understanding to be teachers, yet they continue to have to be taught the first principles (concerning what God says). In Vs 5:12-14 The Writer tells them that they are still as new-born babies drinking milk when they should by now be mature enough to get their spiritual teeth stuck into some solid meat of the Word. The context strongly suggests that the Hebrew recipients of this epistle were born again Christians, yet many remained spiritual babies in Christ, backsliding and returning over and over again. They just weren’t getting anywhere spiritually. They weren’t growing spiritually.

This sets the scene for Ch.6 where The Writer then urges his readers to move on from this new-born stage, to go on toward perfection. He makes it clear that the solution to their seemingly constant backsliding into the world lies in growing as Christians, maturing toward full-age (Vs 5:14). He also makes it clear that this can only happen if God should permit them to mature in their faith (Vs 6:3). He then spells out (in Vs 6:4-6) what will happen if God should not permit them to go on from here. “For it is impossible for those who (a) were once enlightened, and (b) have tasted of the heavenly gift, and (c) were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and (d) have tasted the good word of God, and (e) (have tasted) the powers of the world to come, and then falling away, to renew them again unto repentance” Note that “if” in Vs 6:6 is not in the original language. The Greek word is kai which generally translates as “and”. In Hebrews Ch.6, the only occurrence of “if” in the original Greek is in Vs 6:3 (“if God permit”).

Those who believe in eternal security have a number of possible explanations for this passage:-

(a) These people are not born-again Christians, but merely adherents. They can’t lose their salvation because they were never saved in the first place. The problem with this view is that the actions of these people [see (a) to (e) in above paragraph on Vs 6:4-5] are most likely to be associated with born-again Christians, not just unsaved adherents. For example, “have tasted” (Vs 6:4 & 5) doesn’t mean just a little nibble, but actually means a lot more. It is the same word used in Hebrews 2:9 where Jesus “should taste death for every man.” Dying on the cross isn’t just a little nibble but a much more complete tasting!
In order to demonstrate that you can’t lose your salvation, they would have to demonstrate that these people are not likely to be born-again Christians. In fact, these people do seem far more likely to be born-again Christians than unsaved adherents!

(b) These people are born-again Christians, but the situation is hypothetical, and doesn’t represent the reality. Again, there’s a problem with this, in fact, two major problems. (1) Hypothetical situations are based upon real-life circumstances. For example, medical students are given hypothetical problems to solve before they are set loose on real people-problems (for very good reasons). and therefore (2) Hypothetical doesn’t deny reality!

(c) These are born-again Christians, to whom the warning of loss of salvation is given, but no-one actually falls away. Proponents of this belief point to The Writer saying that he is “persuaded better things of you” (Vs 6:9). The problem, though, is clear: why give a warning against something that will never happen? And to be persuaded of better things in this case is most likely to be a form of encouragement to the Hebrews to do the right thing. Even if not one Hebrew to whom The Writer wrote ever fell away, it still cannot prove that it cannot happen. Also, note that The Writer says in Vs 6:3 that they can only go on if God should permit. That is, he appears to consider it possible that some may not be permitted.

(d) These people are born-again Christians, but they are falling away from repentance, not their salvation. Now this is ridiculous, considering that repentance is the process toward the end goal of salvation. (See 2 Corinthians 7:10) They cannot really be separated.

The wording and context of this passage does support these people being born-again Christians, especially if a consequence of falling away is to crucify afresh the Son of God and put Him to open shame (Vs 6:6). Vs 6:7 then appears to discuss the consequence of obedience (which is blessing), while the consequence of disobedience in is to be rejected and cursed (Vs 6:8). (The actual Greek word used for “rejected” is adokimos which is generally translated “reprobate” or to be rejected by God as unfit for use, disqualified for running the race.)

Therefore, this passage at the very least supports the belief that Christians could, under certain circumstances, lose their salvation; however, if it can be lost, it can only happen once! This passage does appear to strongly support the belief that one can have the free will to choose to lose one’s salvation. But not all is as straight forward as that, for in this passage The Writer has also proposed what appears to be a course of action designed to prevent such a falling away – more on this in Part 3 of this series.

2/. Hebrews 10:26-2926 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

A straight-forward interpretation here would make Vs 10:26 the equivalent of Hebrews 6:6. Sinning wilfully would seem consistent with falling away, and no more sacrifice for sins would be consistent with crucifying to themselves the Son of God afresh (Hebrews 6:6). And, consistent with my considerations of the freedom of will of the Christian to reject his salvation in Part 1 of this series, Vs 10:26 above does also emphasise wilful sinning (as opposed to sinning through ignorance). Wilful sinning indicates a strong desire to sin in opposition to the commandments of God. It has to mean a decision of the will to disobey God, not just once, but in an ongoing sense. Such people probably enjoy disobeying God. Therefore, this is probably not something your average genuine born-again Christian is likely to do.

Some will teach that the receiving of the knowledge of the truth is merely head-knowledge; that these people are not actually genuinely saved at any time. (The same argument is used for 2 Peter 2:21: that those who “turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them” were never Christians in the first place.) This interpretation requires that lost sinners really have only one definite chance to be saved, after which they will not be given a second chance to hear and respond to the gospel. MacArthur says of Hebrews 10:26 that the person described here is an “unbeliever who’s an apostate” and that “If you walk away from that, that’s the end. It’s impossible to be renewed unto repentance.” (from Apostasy: The Negative Response to the New Covenant, Part 1) But God is indeed patient with mankind, not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). Why would God then give only one serious chance at salvation? That is, one strike and you’re out! On the other hand, there are many Christians who refused the gospel many times before being saved.

Vs 10:29 also clearly teaches that if a person who has been sanctified by the blood of the covenant and then despises that same blood as unholy (koinos = common; unclean according to Levitical law; defiled), is worthy of serious punishment. Some people, in an effort to support the eternal security of the believer, claim that it was not the person who was sanctified by the blood of the covenant, but Jesus who was thus sanctified. [MacArthur teaches this in (Apostasy: The Negative Response to the New Covenant, Part 2).] This is not an acceptable interpretation at all. If the blood of the covenant sanctified Jesus, that has to assume that He was not sanctified at some stage, and there was never a point in time when Jesus was ever unsanctified!

The people in this passage are clearly born-again Christians, sanctified by the blood of the covenant (of the Cross of Jesus). The teaching is clear: If genuine Christians sin wilfully, there is a penalty “of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” (Hebrews 10:27) If the first (and only) perfect sacrifice of Christ were insufficient to redeem them the first time once for all time, then there could be no second better sacrifice to permit a person to be born again a second time. If the perfect sacrifice were insufficient, then there can be no more option for an even better that perfect sacrifice! These people, after being washed in the blood of the Lamb, have then turned against that same blood, declaring it unclean and defiled.

This passage does teach that a Christian who sins wilfully against God, trodden underfoot the Son of God, and declared the blood of the covenant to be dirty, will be rejected from his salvation without a second chance to come back. But, would a Christian commit such sin? This will be looked at in detail in Part 3 of this series.

3/. 2 Peter 2:18-2218 For when they speak great swelling [words] of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, [through much] wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. 20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known [it], to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog [is] turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

In fact, you need to read the whole of 2 Peter 2 to get the correct context to this passage. Vs 2:18 is talking about the false teachers of Vs 2:1. These false teachers sound like great speakers but their words are swollen with vanity (devoid of truth; swollen with emptiness). They allure (entice) through the lusts of the flesh those who had clean (truly) escaped from those who lived in error in the world. That is, these false teachers are trying to entice people back into the world from which they had escaped. The false teachers promise freedom, yet they themselves are still in bondage to the corruption of the world.

Then in Vs 2:20 we read of those who had escaped from those in error, those who have also escaped (through the knowledge of Jesus Christ as Saviour) the pollutions of the world. That is, these clearly appear to be Christians. But, after these false teachers have enticed them with their great swelling words of vanity, those who had escaped such worldly pollutions are now again entangled with (involved with) that same world from which they had previously escaped. It would have been better for those who were enticed back into the world to have never known the way of righteousness in the first place (Vs 2:21).

The usual explanation from those who believe in eternal security is that these are not Christians but merely adherents who have a good, even deep knowledge of the way of righteousness. This is the same argument as used concerning the knowledge of the truth as in Hebrews 10:26. But, it does appear much more straight-forward to accept these who turn away from the way of righteous as Christians who reject their salvation (see following paragraph). Otherwise I have to accept that a rejection of a full presentation of the gospel will be worse than never hearing the gospel, for this has to assume that you really only get one definite chance to be saved. On the other hand, Biblical teaching has to assume that God gives many people many opportunities to be saved before some of them are actually saved!

In Vs 2:20 we read of “the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ“. That term “knowledge” is epignosis which describes the fullest form of knowledge. It is used of the Christian’s (a) “knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord” (2 Peter 1:2); (b) “knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3); and (c) “knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:8). The verb form, epiginosko, is translated “known” twice in 2 Peter 2:21. Because Peter has written this letter to Christians (“to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” – 2 Peter 1:1), then “the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 2:21) must define these as genuine Christians.

There are more passages that are regularly used to demonstrate that you can lose your salvation, but the passages I’ve covered here do seem to be the major ones used. So far it might seem like I’m trying to shoot down the once-saved-always-saved argument, by saying that (a) the free will of the Christian could be a factor, and (b) these passages do appear to promise Christians that if they fall away, there’s no second chance, and (c) that it might have been better to not be saved in the first place, rather than be saved and then lose it again. However, this issue is not as clear as all that, with one, perhaps two, of the passages in this post appearing to also demonstrate some support for the eternal security of the believer.

I’ll deal with my conclusions in the next post, Eternal security? or Can you lose your salvation? Part 3.

Go back here to Eternal security? or Can you lose your salvation? Part 1

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