Clarify The Question
Before You Answer
I’ve had many discussions about eternal security and the conversations often migrate to “what-if” questions, the philosophical nuggets that get thrown in after all the verses have been dissected without reaching a resolution.
Eternal Security is, again, the topic here and I mention it because the “what-ifs” unwittingly open the door to some very interesting questions:
Here’s how it works. Read more
Dogma Tells Us
What To Do
Philosophy Tells Us Why
I frequently take a philosophical approach to the Bible. I wasn’t taught to do this, it just came naturally, but it isn’t thought of as the right approach so some take offense.
Hand slaps aren’t unusual.
I’ve been called both liberal and unbelieving but there are many reasons why philosophy can be very useful in Bible interpretation. I’ve listed several below.
And I’m philosophical about it. Read more
God Has The Power
To Save Us
And Keep Us Saved
Just to be clear “Eternal Security” is a teaching that says:
Once a person is saved they can never lose their salvation. Or in other words, there is no sin they can commit that will cancel out God’s saving grace.
Or to say it more succinctly: Once saved, always saved.
Some people believe eternal security and some people don’t. I am one that does.
But when you promote this idea one of the first objections involves “what-if” questions. “What if a person does this or that terrible thing?” The assumption is there must be a point beyond which either God’s ability or willingness to save ends. For example:
- What if a person commits serial murder, e.g., Ted Bundy?
- What if a person commits genocide, mass murder – e.g., Hitler?
- What if a person traffics in slavery?
It’s hard to argue against such emotionally charged questions. A salvation that can endure such egregious sins sounds too good to be true. Makes one indignant. Not only that, it runs counter to human experience, seems a bit too “pie in the sky-ish” to accept and those who disagree, or have serious insecurities about it, struggle to find a place to fit in.
No Pat Answers
Admittedly, the questions are good ones and there are no pat answers. I nor anyone else can give you a quick hit that resolves the issue just like that. Read more
Only Two Possibilities:
Eternal security is one of those issues you can’t ignore.
It involves salvation and, more specifically, whether or not you can count on it when you need it most, at death.
Some people believe once you’re saved you’re always saved. You can never lose it so there is no need to worry about keeping it. Others think there is no guarantee. It can be lost by any qualifying misstep, although there is debate as to where that line is drawn.
Settling the issue isn’t easy. You can throw out a few verses to prove whichever side you take but for every verse you quote there are plenty of reinterpretations to confuse things.
So I’ve decided to come at this from a different angle. I think much of the confusion can be cleared by taking an analytical/philosophical approach and that is the point of this post. I want to ask and answer pertinent questions. What you learn from this process is that once you ask one relevant question it opens the door to another and then another and eventually you have an avalanche of un-answerables.
When you do this for both sides you realize that one side fairs much better than the other.
Those of us who believe in “once-saved-always-saved” (yes, I’m one of those people) are very happy that it’s true. Those who don’t believe it have a lot of questions to answer most of which are not directly addressed in the Bible.
That fact alone should give you pause. If you have questions about how to keep your salvation intact – a very serious issue indeed – but you don’t have specific answers, then how can you be certain?
It doesn’t make sense that God would give us a salvation we could lose and then refuse to give us very clear, obvious, easily accessed and straight forward instructions on how to keep it.
Living with that uncertainty everyday would be enough to induce a nervous breakdown. Would a loving God be so cruel?
Thankfully, the opposite, eternal security (once saved, always saved), is a lot easier to live with and enables more productivity. You don’t need to worry about keeping your salvation so energy can be channeled into better less selfish pursuits.
You’re secure. You can relax. God will take care.
Sounds too good to be true, I know, and it doesn’t parallel life as we experience it but we are talking about something that doesn’t claim to parallel life. It is impossible without God. Every theory about salvation is too good to be true. Eternal security just happens to be the most rational choice.
But, as I said, thinking you can lose salvation raises many questions that the Bible just doesn’t answer. Let’s take a look. Read more
Don’t Run From Pain
Or Wish It Away
God May Be The Author
It is quite normal to find God in church but that isn’t the only place we can expect to find Him. God is a little bigger than a church service (omnipresent) and I’m sure He is active more than one hour a week so we should expect to find Him mingling in all of life and by “life” I mean everything outside of church.
Since He created life for us, and us for life, we shouldn’t be surprised to find Him tagging along when we leave church.
Church does serve an important purpose but a very limited one. It is only a classroom and offers only theory. Life offers what the classroom can’t, experience. It is the lab where we learn to apply the theory and God is involved in both places. He instructs us in one and mentors us in the other.
God Isn’t On Emergency Standby
Most people do invoke God’s presence in their daily living but more as a protector or body guard or shield. He gets called for emergencies only.
Life can be hard and we don’t like “hard.” We much prefer easy and convenient. The ideal job is one in which productivity smoothly moves along and the people we work with are always agreeable but who has a job like that.
If you have a boss, and most people with jobs do, he or she is constantly expecting performance quotas to be met. Even if you work for yourself, bill collectors are there to remind you of the same.
And if you are fortunate enough to achieve financial security – that is you don’t have to work – you find you must still work hard and smart to maintain the value of your resources, whether they be investments or savings.
You can’t really get away from it. There is constant pressure and that pressure sometimes produces pain. Jobs aren’t the only source of pain but it one common to us all.
And the question is, where is God when the pain comes? In our thinking God and pain can’t be reconciled. Pain is a problem and God is the solution.
Well, Unfortunately, God is not Vicodin or a magic wand and Life, which can sometimes be painful, is His training ground. Read more