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I'd like your views on "once saved, always saved." (2009)

Part I.  Background.
Part II.  The Doctrine of Eternal Security.

Part III.  Appendix.

1.  Primary Scriptures Read to Support Both “Once Saved, Always Saved” and “Not”

As I said previously, this doctrinal point apparently cannot be settled by reading the scripture.  I firmly believe that everything you or I need to know about God’s plan for salvation is not only abundantly clear but also just plain abundant - the plan is explained numerous times in various ways in many places throughout the Bible.  Therefore, since scholars, theologians, and denominations can’t agree on this particular point, it must not be important to God’s plan for salvation that we know, much less agree on, the answer. 

I didn’t find an example of a single verse used by all four authors to support their positions; however, I did find quite a few cases where one author cited one verse and another cited another one just a few verses away.  I’m giving you some passages in John, Romans, Philippians, Hebrews, and 2 Peter that are cited by all four authors.  While it is remotely conceivable to me (although I’ve never seen it) that John might contradict Paul, for example, it is inconceivable to me that John, or Paul, or the writer of Hebrews, or Peter would contradict himself within the space of a few verses.  So I have to believe that at least some theologians have taken verses out of context to support their positions.  Do you remember the line from Simon and Garfunkel, “A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest”?

I urge you to read all these scripture passages for yourself (including at least 10 verses on each side of each passage, so that you understand the context), and then make up your mind what you think.  If you already believe or disbelieve in eternal security, I urge you to do the reading with your assumptions firmly in mind.  That way, you can continually ask yourself, “Have I drawn my assumptions from the text, or am I reading my assumptions into the text?”

Here are a few, selected passages cited in whole or in part to support the Classical Calvinist, Moderate Calvinist, Reformed Arminian, and Wesleyan Arminian doctrines related to “once saved, always saved; or not”:
2.  Selected Denominational Points of Doctrine

Presbyterian Church of America - Calvinist

Southern Baptist - accepts eternal security (see point IV), but apparently not the other four points of Classical Calvinism. 

American Baptist - apparently neither Calvinist nor Arminian

Roman Catholic Church - neither Calvinist nor Arminian
The theology of the Roman Catholic Church predates the whole Calvinist/Arminian debate, which is a doctrinal disagreement among Protestants, Baptists, and other non-Catholic denominations.  The Roman Catholic catechism does teach, however, that an unrepented mortal sin brings eternal death.

Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod - appears to teach both Arminianism and Calvinism.  The section on Redemption states, "The resurrection of Jesus is proof that God has accepted what Jesus did as payment for the sins of all people." The section on Saved Through Grace states, "The Bible and Lutherans teach that already before the world was created, God chose those individuals whom he would in time convert through the gospel and preserve in the faith to eternal life."  Remember that (1) there’s a lot of different Lutheran denominations, but (2) Lutherans as a group also predate the whole Calvinist/Arminian debate.

General Association of General Baptists - Arminian

Church of the Nazarene - Wesleyan-Arminian; see Section VII, p. 31.

United Methodist Church - Wesleyan-Arminian
The doctrine of the UMC consists of The [25] Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church, The Confession of Faith of the Evangelical United Brethren Church, the Sermons of John Wesley, Explanatory Notes on the New Testament by John Wesley, and The General Rules of the Methodist Church.  Needless to say, I didn’t review all of this material, but I think we can safely assume that the UMC church is Wesleyan-Arminian in doctrine. 

Copyright 2008, 2011 by Regina L.  Hunter.  All rights reserved.

Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the Bible-study participants.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers for their support and enthusiasm.  All errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.

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