I appreciate your taking a stand for Christ on your web site. The only significant area I would disagree with you on is that concerning the doctrine of eternal security. Since this is a subject that has been vigorously debated by solid Christians on both sides of the argument, it is one we should not divide over. My own personal research, reading and study of the Bible and the works produced by theologians like John McArthur, John Waalvoord, Hadden Robinson, Norman Geisler, Charles Ryrie, Craig Blaising, John Hannah, Ravi Zaccarius, J. I. Packer, D. L. Moody, J. Dwight Pentecost and many others has led me to believe firmly in the doctrine of eternal security. As concerns Bible doctrine, the main things are the plain things and the plain things are the main things. Eternal security is clearly taught in many places. Despite the fact that there are a few not as clear passages that Arminians use to support their views, the majority of the clear teaching areas favors the doctrine of eternal security. I think there are a lot of people who call themselves believers, who are not truly saved. Indeed, many of the so-called "carnal Christians" fall into this category. However, one cannot read Romans without realizing that we each sin every day to some degree or another in thought and/or deed. Hence, we must ever confess and ask for forgiveness and cleansing on a regular basis per 1 John 1:9. Some have referred to this as spiritual breathing. We lose fellowship and grieve the Holy Spirit when we sin, and risk chastisement by God, but our eternal security is never, ever in question. Jesus saves us and keeps us and no one, not even ourselves, can take us out of His hands. He is the sovereign ruler of the universe. We are but miniscule contingent beings at best.
My response is in Green:
I am afraid I can't agree with you or the people you listed. I go by what the Bible says, not what people say it says.
Let me give you just a couple of examples. Read them for what they say, not what someone else says they say:
(John 15:6 NIV) If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
If we 'remain' in Him.
(Galatians 5:2-4 NIV)  Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all.  Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law.  You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.
"Fallen away from grace" so it must be possible.
(Matthew 13:41-42 NIV)  The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.  They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
If a so called Christian is doing evil, why would this not apply to them? Why would this passage not apply to someone who teaches that you can sin with immunity after being saved? Now if you read Tony Evans book, he claims that the place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth is in heaven!!
(James 1:13-15 NIV)  When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;  but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
James was speaking of believers, yet he says that when sin is full-grown it gives birth to death.
(1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NIV)  Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders  nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
Who was this letter written to? It was the 'church' in Corinth. Doesn't that make you wonder why Paul mentioned this?
(1 Corinthians 15:2 NIV) By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
Again this passage is from the letter to the 'church' in Corinth. Common sense tells us that you can't hold firmly to something unless you believed it in the first place. How can a person believe in vain and still go to heaven?
(James 5:19-20 NIV)  My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back,  remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
If one of you "should wander from the truth" then he goes on to call this brother who wandered from the truth a sinner and says the person who brings them back will save them from death.
There are many more passages which say the same things. Look at the parables that Jesus told, they almost all deal with salvation. Look at the parable of the Prodigal son. People will claim that we are sons, adopted into God's family, and therefore can never walk away. Yet Jesus told the parable of the Prodigal son, who when he returned the father had this to say:
(Luke 15:32 NIV) But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.
That seems pretty clear to me, when the son walked away he was dead and lost but when he came back then and only then was he again alive and found.
Oh you can find these all 'explained' away by those teachers you mentioned, but that reminds me of the Catholic church. "You can't understand God's word, so let me tell you what it means." Read God's word for what it says.
You say there are clear teachings of eternal security in the Bible, I would agree with you, as long as the person is a believer, and remains a believer. One of the arguments I hear all the time is that eternal life can't be eternal if you can have it today and not tomorrow. I disagree, it depends on what happened to it.
Let me give you what I know is a very poor example, but yet one which I think illustrates the point.
Let's say that I give you a car. I give it to you free and clear. I tell you that it is totally yours, no one can take it away from you. Nothing at all can happen that would make the car not yours anymore, because it has been paid for and is free and clear. It is a gift and I will never talk it back or allow anyone else to take it from you.
Okay you have the picture? Now lets say that you drive that car for a few years and you decide you want a different car. You take the car down and trade it in on a new car. Now my question is this; was this a truly free gift that could never be taken away from you? Or is the fact that you traded the car in evidence that I lied and it was not truly yours to start with?
That is the argument people use for eternal life. If you decide that you no longer what to serve God and you walk away, it does not matter because eternal life means it can never be given up. Sorry that does not make sense to me. And many passages of Scripture bare this out.
You named a lot of teachers and said you have read their writings and they have convinced you, but you then go on and say that you believe that the so called carnal Christians are not really saved. I think you better go back and read some of those teachers writings again, because that is exactly what at least half of them teach - that a person who is living like a sinner is a carnal Christians and it does not matter because their eternal security is taken care of. That flies in the face of Scripture. Some of which I have already quoted. And this one:
(Hebrews 10:26-27 NIV)  If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,  but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
(1 John 2:3-6 NIV)  We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.  The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him:  Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.
I thank you for writing and expressing your opinion, but I will continue to follow what the Bible clearly teaches. I will tell you that I am always a little bothered as to why a Christian would have such a problem accepting the idea that they must continue in the faith to be saved. We don't have a problem telling sinners that they can't get into heaven unless the place their faith in Jesus Christ, but so many seem to have a problem believing that we must live for Christ. Look at verse 6 above, "Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did." Seems pretty clear to me. I am just as secure in my salvation as anyone who preaches OSAS. As long as I place my faith in Jesus Christ He will be with me and help me, it is only if I 'choose' to walk away that I need to worry.
E-Mail Ralph (whose comments are in green)