Quotes in blue were taken from the book Totally Saved by Tony Evans.
I do not mean for this to be an attack on Dr. Tony Evans. I used to really enjoy his teachings on Moody Radio and I loved to read his books, however, when I found out what he was really teaching I just could not listen to him or read his books any longer. I believe he is wrong. I am often told by proponents of OSAS that they don't know of any teacher who claims that OSAS means you can sin all you want and still get to heaven. That was why I bought Totally Saved by Dr. Tony Evans and why I am posting things from it that bother me. I am not trying to attack him, but I am trying to attack what I believe are his false beliefs.
I am often told that I should not criticize another Christian. That sounds good, but I don't believe it is. We are to contend for the faith and to watch our doctrine. I believe it is my duty to bring false teaching to light. (1 Timothy 4:16 NIV) Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
(2 Timothy 4:2-4 (NIV)  Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.  For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
(Titus 1:9 NIV) He [an elder or overseer] must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.
(Titus 2:1 NIV) You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.
Judge for yourself using your Bible; is what Tony Evans is saying the truth?
Sanctification is the normal experience of every Christian. God set us apart for Himself the moment Christ redeemed us. In fact, anyone who isn't sanctified isn't saved. And every believer is a saint, a "holy one." So don't let anyone tell you that sanctification is a spiritual experience that we must seek after salvation, or a holy status only achieved by the elite. (page 127)
One reason that genuine believers tend to doubt their salvation is that we don't receive all of it at once. Our full redemption is "reserved in heaven for [us]" (1 Peter 1:4). (page 310)
God has saved us and sanctified us- and is presently sanctifying us- so that we become more and more like Christ. (page 129)
Sometimes it's hard to tell the saints from the "ain'ts" because some lost people live exemplary lives, while genuine believers can be capable of some really heinous behavior. (page 189)
Notice that on page 127 he says that a holy status is not reserved for just some believers but for all, yet on page 189 he claims you can't even tell the believers from the non-believers. I would certainly not say that a believer who is exhibiting heinous behavior was holy. On page 129 he says that we (believers) are being sanctified so that we become more and more like Christ. So how is it that a believer who is becoming more and more like Christ can exhibit really heinous behavior? Remember he is not just speaking of a believer who stumbles and does something heinous, he is speaking about someone whose lifestyle looks worse than a non-believers!
Look at what God's word has to say about this: (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.
(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 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.
The Bible never says that you won't be able to tell the believers from the non-believers because the believers are evil. Jesus taught about false teachers, but the principle is still valid for all believers: (Matthew 7:16-20 NIV)  By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?  Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
If you see bad fruit then the person is not a believer! The author addresses fruit also:
There are plenty of people who ought to be worried about whether they are saved because their lives are bearing no spiritual fruit or good works, which James says will accompany true salvation (James 2:14) (page 266)
That quote makes it sound as if he believes that the lack of fruit is a sign that the person is not saved, which I would agree is what James says. Yet look at the next quote from the very same page of the book:
But for the Christian, fruit is not a salvation issue, but a fellowship issue. (page 266)
That's right, he says that if your life exhibits no fruit you should make sure you are really saved, and then almost immediately states that fruit is not a salvation issue.
Again let me repeat I am not trying to attack Tony Evans, but if you believe doctrine which requires you to contradict yourself in order to prove your points you have a doctrinal problem.
Speaking about a believer's assurance of salvation he says the following:
Other people have unconfessed sins in their lives, which will always undercut assurance. (page 145)
Yet later in his book he says the following:
God's seal also represents ownership. When the Holy Spirit takes up His residence in our hearts at salvation, one of His ministries is to testify to us that we belong to God. "The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God" (Romans 8:16) And because we are His children, God takes responsibility for our future. (page 311)
My question is; if the Holy Spirit's job is to testify to us that we belong to Him and if unconfessed sin in our lives can and does undercut that assurance, shouldn't that tell us something? If sin in our lives is already forgiven and forgotten by God, then why would the Holy Spirit quit testifying to us that we are His if we refuse to confess any sins we commit? God's word should be read with common sense, not theological blinders!
When I say 'if sin in our lives is already forgiven and forgotten by God...' I mean that the OSAS teachers claim our sins are all forgiven, past, present and future when we are saved. Now look at what God says about sins He has already forgiven: (Hebrews 8:12 NIV) For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.
So if God doesn't remember our sin, even though we just committed it, why would He (the Holy Spirit) quit testifying to us that we belong to Him? In fact why should we confess a sin which has already been forgiven and forgotten by God?
The author talks about two extreme positions on the idea of the believer's security. He tries to explain those positions in the next two quotes. I will tell you that I don't totally agree with either of the positions as he explains them, but I want to address the implications of what he says.
The first extreme is that our salvation is only as good as our present level of experience. In other words, we can only be sure we're saved as long as we are obeying God and walking with Him. In this view sin leads to a loss of salvation. So we can be saved today and lost tomorrow. This "He loves me, He loves me not" theology shreds any real certainty. There is no ultimate assurance, only present assurance. (page 146)
Although I personally don't believe what he is trying to say, I will say this. I believe that when we sin as Christians and God convicts us and we refuse to repent of our sin and turn from it, we separate ourselves from Him. If this keeps up it will lead to a walking away from our faith and this constitutes a rejection of our salvation. So we don't lose our salvation as if it fell out of our pocket, but we can choose to turn from it. Now think back to the author's comment that unconfessed sin will always undercut a person's assurance of salvation; why? I believe because it undercuts their relationship with God and will eventually cause them to apostatize.
Another extreme teaching focuses not on sin and the danger of losing salvation, but on the importance of good works as the ultimate proof of salvation. Those who take this position would not take issue with the doctrine of security, but they argue that the only way we know we are truly saved is if we persevere to the end in a life of good works.
The problem with using perseverance as the basis of assurance is that we can't know for sure we're going to make it to heaven until we get there. It also raises the problem of how many good works we have to perform to please God and prove we are saved. (page 147)
I disagree with perseverance of the saints as taught by Calvinist, but even so, I disagree with the author's assertion. In both of his explanations he makes it sound as if we have no choice but to sin, so it is something that will overtake us and disqualify us from heaven unless God ignores it. I totally disagree, sin is a choice and it is a choice to either confess it and turn from it or not to. There is no fear nor lack of assurance for someone who believes that we must continue in our faith to get to heaven. Nor is this good works, it is just continuing in our faith and obeying Christ's commands. (1 John 2:3 NIV) We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.
Although I disagree with the Calvinistic idea of Perseverance of the Saints, I would agree that the true believer's life will show good works as evidence of true repentance and salvation. This is the subject of the book of James. My problem with the Calvinistic view is that if at the end of a person's life the person is found to have walked away from faith, they claim he was never saved to start with.
Phrases like "severed from Christ" and "fallen from grace" (Galatians 5:4) sound like it is possible for believers to lose their salvation, which if true would fly in the face of everything else the Bible says about our security in Christ. (page 161)
Let me quote the Galatians passage he refers to here: (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.
You will notice that I did not quote just verse 4, but included verses 2 and 3 also. I did this because it is very important to get the whole picture of what Paul is saying. Dr. Evans makes it sounds as if "fallen from grace" is not a big deal, but if you read verse 2 it is hard to dismiss these words: "Christ will be of no value to you at all." You might be able to explain away the idea of falling from grace as meaning something other than salvation, but if Christ is of 'NO' value to you, it is hard to content it does not have anything to do with salvation!! Yet you will notice that this is not even addressed.
So the very nature of the gospel as a gift of God's grace was at stake in this Galatian controversy. Those who were on the verge of "seeking to be justified by law" (5:4) were setting themselves up to be severed from the connection they had and to fall from the height they had reached. Did Paul mean that those believers would lose their salvation and fall back under God's judgment if they submitted to circumcision?
No, for at least two reasons. First, loss of salvation is not the subject under discussion here. (page 161-162)
Salvation is not being spoken of when Paul tells them that if they do this Christ will be of no value to them at all? So how are they saved if Christ is of no value to them? Some other way, some other path perhaps? Well let's see what Tony Evans has to say:
The issue Paul was addressing in Galatians 5 was not the loss of salvation for those who believed in Christ, but the ground or basis upon which a person is saved. In other words, we can choose either "works of the law" righteousness or "by grace through faith" righteousness to be acceptable to God. But the Bible wants us to understand that these two paths are so mutually exclusive that they person who chooses to try to work his own way to heaven is cut off from the grace of Christ. It has to be either/or, not both/and. (page 162)
Please reread that quote! He is claiming that this is not a salvation issue, it is just about what ground or basis upon which the person is saved!! Then he goes on to claim we can pick either "works of the law" or "by grace through faith" to be acceptable to God!! We can choose either works or grace by faith as the way we want to be acceptable to God? Jesus told us that He was the ONLY way to get to heaven. We are also told that the Law cannot save.
Now in Dr. Evans defense I will say I think he is trying to say that these people were already saved so this is just how they gain God the Father's acceptance, not salvation. The problem there is that is false teaching too. We are acceptable to God because of Jesus Christ. As far as being acceptable our good works are all 'filthy rags.' The author claims that people who believe as I do add works to what Christ did on the cross, yet reread what he just said.
I don't believe we have to do good works to be acceptable to God, nor do I believe all the good works in the world will gain a place for anyone in heaven. I do, however, believe that evidence of true saving faith is good works which will be manifested by the believer. (James 2:26 NIV) As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
The Bible urges us to believe in Christ and receive His offer of salvation, and we are responsible to believe. But nowhere does the Bible assign any saving merit to our faith. (page 178)
I guess the he forgot about this passage: (Luke 7:44-50 NIV)  Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.  You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.  You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.  Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven-for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little."
 Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."
 The other guests began to say among themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?"
 Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace." (emphases added)
Not only did he forget about that passage, but he contradicts himself later in the book:
Another side of the problem is that the Bible states unequivocally that people go to heaven based on their faith in Jesus Christ. The most famous verse in the Bible says that "whoever believes" in Jesus is the one who will not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16).
In other words, faith is given as the condition by which salvation is obtained. (page 353)
So which is it? Which way does he believe, are we saved by faith in Jesus Christ or does the Bible not assign any saving merit to our faith? This is a major problem I have with the teachers of OSAS, they are not consistent in their beliefs or in their explanations. The reason they are not consistent is obvious, if they take a hard line on one issue it will show their doctrine is wrong in another place.
That, I believe, is the problem here with faith. If we are saved by faith, then that opens the door for the idea that if we quit placing our faith in Jesus Christ we might forfeit our salvation. Because they don't want to even take a chance of opening that door, they make these contradictions.
Salvation is guaranteed, but not discipleship, because discipleship makes radical demands that some people are not ready to meet. There are Christians who are truly saved but do not continue on the road of discipleship. People in this condition certainly need to check their hearts and their standing before God, but this is not to deny that it is possible for a believer to fail to follow the Lord in discipleship. (page 206)
He is saying that you can be saved, and yet not follow Christ. I find that ridiculous. That ridiculous idea has to be made because otherwise you might look at this passage and think that there is a possibility of not finishing what you start: (Luke 14:25-30 NIV)  Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said:  "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters-yes, even his own life-he cannot be my disciple.  And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
 "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?  For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him,  saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.'
Do you begin to see the reason that OSAS has to separate following Christ (discipleship) and salvation? If they are the same thing, then what Jesus is saying is that before you decide to follow Him (be saved) you must count the cost and decide if you are willing and able to finish/continue. That alone would undercut the idea of eternal security for a person who quits believing. So they get around that apparent problem by saying that you can be a believer and not follow Christ. Of course they still have a problem and it comes from this passage: (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. Unless of course they can claim you can be saved and not even know Christ!!
Let me tell you something. If you have never made the decision to follow Jesus Christ whatever the cost... Don't be surprised if you don't see much answered prayer.
The reason for this is explained in an interesting passage at the end of John 2. We read in verses 23-25: (page 207)
(John 2:23-25 NIV)  Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name.  But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men.  He did not need man's testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.
This is amazing. These people believed in Jesus, but the Bible says that Jesus did not entrust Himself to them. Is it possible for there to be Christians to whom Jesus is not committed?
It is, because the issue is not salvation but discipleship. (page 207)
So there are Christians to whom Jesus is not committed!! Let me ask you a question, if Jesus is not committed to them, then why would He hold them eternally secure in His hand? This kind of teaching makes me sad. It also makes me mad, because I believe it is a personal attack on my Savior Jesus Christ.
Let me address the passage he is using to make this point. These people saw the miracles Jesus was doing and believed that He was the Messiah, but you have to understand what that implies. They thought that the Messiah was going to come and set up an earthly kingdom and throw the Romans out of Israel. Even the Disciples did not understand until it happened that He was going to die. Jesus did not entrust Himself to these people because He knew they wanted to put Him on the throne. These same people would eventually call for His crucifixion. To make this say that Jesus is not committed to every believer is to pervert the Word for the sake of a pet doctrine.
Praying in Jesus' name means that He has sign off on the requests we make. So when we ask for something, God the Father wants to know if His Son can agree with our request.
But for some of us, Jesus would have to say, "Father I can't trust this person with a better job because [h]e has been on his present job for ten years and My name never comes up in conversations." (page 209)
Praying in Jesus' name means we are praying in His will and for His will to be done. OSAS teachers that at the moment of salvation all our sins are forgiven, past, present and future and we will never be punished for any sins we commit after that point. Yet isn't this punishment, to not have your prayers answered because of something you have done or not done? I have the same issue with the idea that you can build up treasures in heaven but if you sin they are taken away from you as punishment.
There is one more difference between salvation and discipleship I want us to see. Salvation deals with our legal relationship to Christ, and is forever sealed. Discipleship has to do with the level of intimacy we have with the Savior who guarantees our eternal life. (page 210)
He again is making a point trying to separate following Christ and being a believer. I think it is sad to teach people that they can get a legal leg up on God and then do whatever they want and yet hold that legal document over God's head.
David is an example of moral failure in his adultery with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah (2 Samuel 11-12). David covered his sin for about a year until confronted by the prophet Nathan. Then David immediately confessed and repented... (page 217)
I would agree that David failed in his walk, but I would point to the same thing Dr. Evans is pointing to and that is that David confessed his sin and repented.
David's predecessor, King Saul, became spiritually insensitive and calloused. He disobeyed god and didn't think anything was wrong until Samuel confronted him (1 Samuel 15:1-31). Saul's life and reign went downhill from there, and god rejected him as king. (page 217)
What is the difference between David and Saul? David confessed and repented. Now let's look at what Saul did:
(1 Samuel 15:30 NIV) Saul replied, "I have sinned. But please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel; come back with me, so that I may worship the LORD your God."
Saul confessed to Samuel that he had sinned, but unlike David he did not confess and repent to God. In fact if you look at what is said his concern was not his sin against God but rather that the people might find out that he had been rejected as their king. Saul fell so far away from God that God's spirit left him and he ended his life by suicide.
King Solomon is another example of spiritual failure. He started his reign under God's unusual blessing and anointing, but then married many foreign women who led his heart away from God for an extended period of time (1 Kings 11:1-4). But I expect to see David, Saul, and Solomon in heaven. (page 217)
No where do we read that Solomon confessed his sins or repented before God. He may have and if he did then yes he will be in heaven, but if he didn't he won't be there. The point Dr. Evans is trying to make is that it does not matter that these three men forsake God and sinned against Him, they had eternal security.
It amazes me that he would use these three Old Testament kings to make a point. The reason it amazes me is that most often OSAS teachers try to stay away from the Old Testament and I will show you why: (Ezekiel 18:21-24 NIV)  "But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die.  None of the offenses he has committed will be remembered against him. Because of the righteous things he has done, he will live.  Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?  "But if a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked man does, will he live? None of the righteous things he has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness he is guilty of and because of the sins he has committed, he will die.
Do you see the problem? God clearly tells us that if a man turns from righteousness as David, Saul and Solomon all did, He won't remember their righteousness, they will die for what they did and their unfaithfulness. Only David as far was Scripture tells us comes under the first part of this passage in that he turned from his wickedness and therefore God would not remember his sins.
The early church also contained examples of spiritual failure. The incestuous man in Corinth fell into a deep moral failure (see 1 Corinthians 5:1-5), but as we noted in a previous chapter, even in this case the man's eternal salvation was not at stake. Paul pronounced his discipline with the expressed desire that the man's soul would be saved. (v. 5). (page 217)
Look at his last sentence: "Paul pronounced his discipline with the expressed desire that the man's soul would be saved." You know I can't find any fault with that statement, but I don't think he realizes what he is saying. If Paul's expressed desire was that the man's soul would be saved, wouldn't that show that there was a possibility that it wouldn't? If this man's sins which he was in the process of committing were already forgiven and he was on his way to heaven no matter what, then why would Paul's expressed desire be to save the man's soul?
Let me quote the passage: (1 Corinthians 5:1-5 NIV)  It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father's wife.  And you are proud! Shouldn't you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this?  Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present.  When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present,  hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.
Notice that it says "hand this man over to Satan, so that" not only his sinful nature may be destroyed but also so that his spirit be saved. The point of the discipline was to save the man's soul. If there was no danger of him missing heaven then why did Paul state it that way?
But believers who turn away from God can become so hard other people can't win them back, and their lives may end in spiritual ruin as far as their earthly service is concerned- even though they are saved. (page 228)
He is saying that a believer can so far apostatize that there is no way to win them back, yet they are still on their way to heaven. Paul disagrees with him: (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. If believing in Jesus is what saves us (agreed to by Tony Evans in some places and not in others) and if we don't hold firmly to that belief we have believed in vain, doesn't that mean we aren't on our way to heaven any longer? How could you believe in vain and still end up in heaven?
By now you shouldn't be surprised to know that God sometimes has to resort to putting a sinning believer to death to keep that person from embarrassing the kingdom. Death is a very severe consequence of persistent spiritual disobedience and unrepented sin. (page 229)
See if you understand what he is saying the same way I understand it. When we are saved our sins are forgiven including those we have not committed yet. No matter what we do or what sins we commit we will end up in heaven and never face judgment for those sins because the punishment was paid on the cross by Jesus Christ. But if we sin badly enough God might extract temporal punishment on us by taking our physical life. This makes no sense to me. I get many letters from people who claim to be Christians who are contemplating suicide. Many of them tell me that every night the beg God to take them home; to not let them wake up again. So what Tony Evans is saying is that God will take the life of a person who is living a sinful life in His name, but allow those who are struggling and want to go home continue to live. Does this sound right?
Maybe I should just start telling people who think this life is not worth living that if they will go commit enough sins God will take them home. On the other hand, why tell them that, why not just confirm in their minds that suicide is just an accelerated way to get to heaven? Just in case you don't see it I am being facetious. I would never tell anyone either of those two things.
We don't see this kind of judgment carried out very often, because God is gracious and it brings Him no pleasure to have to judge His erring children.
But He won't put up with His children abusing the gift of salvation indefinitely. If we trample the blood of Christ underfoot either by our words or our lifestyle, God will see to it that we are stopped.
That's why James said, "My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover over a multitude of sins" (James 5:19-20). The sinner here is a sinning saint, and the soul refers to our life. Death is severe but a possible means of judgment- but again, what's at stake here is a Christian's physical life and testimony on earth, not his or her eternal salvation. (page 230)
Notice that in the first paragraph he calls this judgment, so these people are being judged for their sin, although he claims those sins are already forgiven. In the last paragraph he really makes a leap. He says that although James says that if you turn someone from their sin you have saved their soul, that it only means his physical life. Look at what Jesus said: (Matthew 10:28 NIV) Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. I think we should take that warning seriously. Jesus made this statement when He sent the Disciples out preaching, so He was speaking to believers. When you turn a brother back from sin unto repentance you are saving his soul from hell not just his physical life on earth!
A third consequence of spiritual failure is disinheritance in the coming kingdom of heaven. Jesus said in Matthew 8:12 that the sons of the kingdom are cast in outer darkness at the start of the kingdom banquet. That is, they were not admitted to the banquet to enjoy this thousand-year party called the kingdom. They're still saved people, but they are the ones whose works burned up at the judgment seat of Christ and so they have nothing to present to Him from their time on earth. Their judgment is to be put outside, not of heaven, but of the kingdom banquet.
Jesus said this judgment would cause "weeping and gnashing of teeth." This isn't the suffering of hell, but the anguish of those how miss the greatest party of all time and eternity. (page 230)
This is another appalling teaching in my opinion. How can someone teach that 'outer darkness' is describing heaven? Or that a place of 'weeping and gnashing of teeth' could be in heaven? I believe this is a theological hoop that he is forced to jump through to defend eternal security.
He only quotes one passage about darkness and weeping and gnashing of teeth but Jesus made more then one reference to this place, so we should look at all of them. First the one he is speaking of:
(Matthew 8:10-12 NIV)  When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.  I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.  But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
The sad thing is that I don't think Dr. Evans even needed to explain this passage in reference to eternal security. I don't believe Jesus was speaking about believers here, but rather the Jews. Notice that He has just witnessed the great faith of the Roman Centurion and then He makes the statement that He has not seen that kind of faith in all of Israel. Then He talks about how people will come from the east and west (Gentiles) and take their place but that the subjects of the kingdom (the Jews) will be thrown outside. He is talking about their rejection of Him and therefore their rejection of salvation. They are lost.
(Matthew 13:40-43 NIV)  As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age.  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.  Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
This time that Jesus refers to the weeping and gnashing of teeth there can be little doubt He is describing hell since He also mentions the fiery furnace.
(Matthew 13:47-50 NIV)  "Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish.  When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away.  This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous  and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Here again He mentions not only the weeping and gnashing of teeth but the fiery furnace, so it has to be hell not heaven.
(Matthew 22:1-13 NIV)  Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying:  "The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.  He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.
 "Then he sent some more servants and said, 'Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.'
 "But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business.  The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them.  The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
 "Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come.  Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.'  So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
 "But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes.  'Friend,' he asked, 'how did you get in here without wedding clothes?' The man was speechless.
 "Then the king told the attendants, 'Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'"
Jesus mentions outside, darkness and weeping and gnashing of teeth, and also that this person was tied hand and foot. Could this possibly be describing heaven? Of course not!
(Matthew 24:42-51 NIV)  "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.  But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.  So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
 "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time?  It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns.  I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.  But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, 'My master is staying away a long time,'  and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards.  The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of.  He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Here there is not only weeping and gnashing of teeth, but the person is cut into pieces and assigned a place with the hypocrites. Now unless the hypocrites are in some dark corner of heaven this must be describing hell.
(Matthew 25:24-30 NIV)  "Then the man who had received the one talent came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed.  So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.'
 "His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?  Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
 "'Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents.  For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.  And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
This is the last reference. I find it hard to believe that after reading all of these references anyone could believe that Jesus is describing heaven in any of them. So is it just bad interpretation or outright ignoring of the truth to substantiate a doctrine which is in trouble?
If God was not too repulsed by our sin to reach down into the pit and save us, why should it be so hard to believe that He is not too repulsed by our sin now to keep us by His grace? Don't misunderstand. This is not permission to live unfruitful, lackadaisical Christian lives. (page 274)
It isn't a license to sin? I don't see it that way. When you tell people what they do ultimately doesn't matter you are giving them a license to sin. So God is not so repulsed by our sin to keep us in His grace, but He is repulsed enough to kill us physically and stand us in a dark corner of heaven and ignore (give us the silent treatment) for a thousand years? And all of that for sins He has already forgiven and forgotten!!
The prodigal son is like a lot of Christians who have been adopted and raised by a loving heavenly Father, but then go left on Him and use His money to get there. (page 292)
Since he says that the prodigal son is like a lot of Christians, let me show you what was said about the prodigal son: (Luke 15:31-32 NIV)  "'My son,' the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.  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.'" Was dead; was lost. He wasn't physically dead so it must refer to spiritually. This is a very clear refutation of 'once saved always saved.'
Was confession and repentance necessary on the son's part? Absolutely. Did he have to decide he was tired of the pigpen and turn back to the father? Of course. But when he came back, his loving daddy was looking for him and forgave him.
Aren't you glad that God didn't give up on you when you gave up on Him? Aren't you glad that when you turned away from Him, He didn't turn away from you? That's because you never stop being His child. What that ought to do is make you want to stay home when you come home. It ought to make you want to love your Father because He kept loving you. It ought to make you want to praise Him for His great salvation that remains secure forever. (page 292)
I must admit I am baffled by the first paragraph here. Why was confession and repentance necessary? I thought that we are eternally secure and all our sins have already been forgiven even if we have not yet committed them. How could his daddy forgive him of something that was already forgiven? Right after saying that, in the second paragraph he says that salvation remains secure forever. I would totally agree that when we sin if we will confess and repent God will gladly forgive us, I just deny that we don't need to confess or repent because our salvation is eternally secure even if we go on sinning and quit placing our faith in Jesus Christ.
The reason we need Jesus to defend us is that Satan is our accuser (see Revelation 12:10). The devil's self-appointed job is to bring our many sins and failures before God in the court of heaven to see if he can get our salvation reversed, so to speak, and get our acquittal in Christ overturned. (page 303)
My question here is why do we need Jesus to defend us if our names are in the Book of Life and nothing can remove them? Why can't God just tell Satan to take a hike because our ticket is punched? I will give you my answer, see if it makes sense. Jesus defends us because we are all capable of sinning and Jesus understands our struggles. We do not lose our salvation because we stumble and fall, our salvation is a relationship with our Father God. So if we feel remorse and confess and repent of our sin Jesus reminds the Father that we are His, but if we don't feel remorse and don't confess or repent then our relationship is damaged. The Holy Spirit will try to bring us back to repentance but if we continue to refuse we will eventually fall into apostasy and lose our faith in Jesus Christ.
Tony Evans is certainly not the only OSAS teacher who believes these things. I will post others as I can complete work on them. I hope you will go to your Bible and study this issue for yourself. Don't take your salvation lightly and believe you can live as a sinner and yet obtain a place in heaven. Don't be fooled into thinking you can be saved and yet not follow Jesus Christ, it doesn't work that way. God has given us a great gift but we have some responsibilities too.
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