I have to disagree with you about someone changing their mind on their belief in Christ. John 10:27-30 says that once you are saved , you are for eternity. Let me just say this, Jesus did the saving and he is in charge. Once someone comes to Him for Salvation ; He is NOT going to let them go, regardless. Look at it this way. If He was to let them go it would be as if he was saying , Ok, you Trusted me and since you do not want Heaven I will send you to Hell. He would more or less be giving in to the Devil and I can promise He would not do that. Here are some more verses. Look at them in the Authorized Version (KJV). Hebrews 6:4-6; John 1:11,12. This is my stand on this issue based on the BIBLE. I do not mean any offense by this. I am just stating my views. By the way, if you are saved I plan to see you in Heaven.
My response is in Green:
Well thanks for writing me. I did not take offense to anything you said with one minor exception. The way you said your stand is based on the BIBLE made it sound like you think my stand is not based on the Bible. I will try to show you where in the Bible I take my stand from. That will only be useful if you are willing to view the Bible without the prejudice of a doctrinal view. What I mean by that is that if you are willing to look at face value at what the Bible says and then make a doctrinal decision instead of making the decision and then finding verses to fit that view. Anyone can do that with almost any view.
I don't want to cover a bunch of ground that I have already covered so I would ask that you read two other pages on my site. I will try not to go back over the all of the information contained on them but yet it is pertinent to our discussion. The two pages are these: http://www.behindthebadge.net/osas/osas2.html and http://www.behindthebadge.net/osas/osas3.html. Both of these pages explain a little about my views on this matter. But I do want to address your message too. First off I am not sure why, but you seem to assume that if I read the 'right' version of the Bible it will be clear to me. You are mistaken. I usually quote from the NIV because it is easier for people to understand, but I read and study multiple versions and no matter which version you use it comes out the same.
Let me start with John 10:27-30. I totally agree with that passage, no one, no body, no being, can pluck us from His hand, or as the NIV says no one can snatch us from His hand. But then again that is not what we are talking about is it? You wrote me because you disagree that a person still has free will after conversion, which this passage does not address either directly or indirectly.
Now for Hebrews 6:4-6. I am amazed that you would use that passage to buttress your argument since in all versions of the Bible it says that if a person falls away they can't come back. Now why would it state that if it were not possible?. Let me quote the passage:
(Hebrews 6:4-6 KJV) 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,  And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,  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.
(Hebrews 6:4-6 NIV) It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit,  who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age,  if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.
(Hebrews 6:4-6 NRSV) For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit,  and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come,  and then have fallen away, since on their own they are crucifying again the Son of God and are holding him up to contempt.
Now I will admit there is more to this verse then just someone who backslides, but since you used it I will also.
John 1:11-12: (John 1:11-12 KJV) He came unto his own, and his own received him not.  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: I don't disagree, but again it does not say that we cannot later decide that we do not want to be part of His kingdom.
Now that I have addressed the verses you gave me let me ask you about a few. Again I listed many in my page about "Once Saved Always Saved" http://www.behindthebadge.net/osas/index.html So I won't go back over all of them here, but I would like to ask you to interpret a couple passages for me.
I want to first look at a couple of the parables that Jesus told. In Matthew 22 Jesus tells us that the kingdom of heaven is like a king who invites people to the wedding feast of his son. Now my question is who does the man who was at the wedding without wedding cloths represent? He was inside, so he must have been a believer, the non-believers did not bother to come to the wedding. Yet he was cast out into darkness.
In Matthew 13 Jesus tells the parable of the sower. There are two types of soil that I want to look at. The first one is the stony places as the KJV says. Jesus said the seed sprouted quickly but when the sun came out it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. Who is Jesus speaking about? The person He is speaking of accepted the message but did not bother to put down roots.
Next was the seed which fell among thorns. It too sprouted but was choked out by the thorns. Again who is He speaking of? It is people who again accepted the message but who were choked out by the world.
Starting in Matthew 18:23 Jesus again tells us what the kingdom of heaven is like. This is the story of the king who forgives the large debt owed to him by a servant but that same servant refuses to forgive a small debt owed to him by a fellow servant. Jesus says that His Father will treat us this way unless we also forgive our brothers. Now remember He is speaking to and about believers, who as the story shows were already forgiven. So how do you explain that passage? Doesn't it show that if we turn from God and become bitter and unforgiving He will cut us loose? I think it does. That is not to say that we lose our salvation, but by our actions and the hardness of our heart we can give it up.
In Luke 14:20-30 Jesus talks about building and how a person would first count the cost of the project so that he could be sure he was able to finish the work. Now He was talking to people about following Him, so what He was saying is that before someone follows Him they should count the cost and be sure they are able to continue and not fall away. Now why would He address that point if it were impossible for a person to start following Him and yet not finish? In this chapter there are a couple other points that Jesus makes which point to the same thing. He talks about a king making sure he can win a battle before engaging in it. He also talks about us being like salt but if we lose our saltiness (or savour in the KJV) we are worthless and good only for the dung heap. I can't believe He was describing heaven as a dung heap.
Okay, that is enough for the parables and sayings of Jesus, now let me turn to Hebrews. In Hebrews 3:12-19 the author speaks about those whom God has sworn will not enter His rest. And who were they? They were the Israelites whom God brought out of Egypt. The author goes on to warn us, whom he calls 'brothers' (brethren in the KJV) not to allow our hearts to become hardened through sin. He tells us to help each other so that none of us turn away (depart in the KJV) from the living God. Now my question is why tell us that unless it is possible to turn away (depart)?
I am not trying to say that I have all the answers, but I can't accept the doctrine of 'once saved always saved' with all these passages which seem to contradict it. I don't care what version you use to look up the passages they should make you stop and at least think about this doctrine.
I believe that anyone who repents and turns from their sins and allows Jesus to be Lord and Savior of their life is guaranteed a place in heaven. I just can't say that is true no matter what happens later, for example if they decide they no longer even believe there is a God, or the decide to reject Christ and live a pagan lifestyle.
Now the bottom line is this, if anyone is a Christian and wants to remain secure God will help them, there is nothing to worry about, but that does not mean we can go back to living like the world and still expect God to welcome us into His kingdom.
My last question is not a theological one it is a practical one. If I am wrong and once a person is saved it does not matter what they do or how they live, or for that matter whether they even want to be a Christian anymore, they will still get into heaven, what difference does my teaching make? Here is my point if I am saved and you are saved and I live like the world and could care less about God or anything to do with Him, and you on the other hand live a holy life (through Christ) and serve Him, and we both get to heaven... Well we both got to heaven, no problem. My telling people that they should continue in the faith won't make a bit of difference.
But now think of this, what if you are wrong? What if those who after true conversion later turn away from the faith, are lost for eternity if they die in that state? Under your teaching of it doesn't matter they will happily walk down the road to hell and be surprised when they don't get into heaven. Now if they happen to read my page or one like it and believe it and repent, their soul would be saved. So again I ask what is the danger of my teaching (or better put my questions) compared to the possible danger of your 'once saved always saved' teaching?
I would rather be safe then sorry.
You know when we both get to heaven maybe we will find that we were both wrong. All I know is that I trust God to be just and fair.
E-Mail Ralph (whose comments are in green)