I was looking though your website and particularly in the OSAS section and ran across this in one of your responses to someone:
"We must remain in the faith, and stand firm. Don't let anyone tell you that you can get your ticket to heaven punched and never have to worry about your faith or your lifestyle. We must be awake and alert for our Bridegroom is coming soon!"
Now Brother, I hold the view of Eternal Security. However, I don't hold the Eternal Security view that promotes anything close to what you are talking about. Frankly I don't personally know anyone who believes in Eternal Security that would agree to a "ticket punch, never-have-to-worry faith/lifestyle" idea. I hear that argument frequently from those who don't agree with Eternal Security. "You mean I can get saved and then live anyway I want and still be saved?" Or "you mean I can sin as much as I want and still go to heaven?"
I sin as much as I want to. Actually, I sin a lot more than I want to! Sort of like Paul in Romans 7:14ff
Your posting of the message by Keith Drury is very good. I don't know if you agree or disagree with his thoughts, as you have posted it with no comments. The comment you made and I quoted in this note falls under the extreme unconditional security section of Drury's comments. I don't know of any faithful, honest, Bible-believing Christians that hold to Eternal Security who would advocate that view of Eternal security. Eternal Security is not a license to sin!
Allow me to quote Drury:
"But the chances of a real Christian eventually losing his own soul are slim. Why? Because "His seed remains within us." At conversion we experienced a sort of "spiritual gene splicing." God's nature was planted inside us. We received a tendency to be Godly. Sure, it is possible for us to disobey Him. But spiritual rebellion--the hardened set-chin spiritual defiance which breaks a relationship--is a very unlikely happening for a truly born again Christian."
There are several keys here.. two important phrases; "a real Christian" and "a truly born again Christian". Not just people who made a profession of faith, walked an isle, prayed a prayer, said something, did something, ect, and count that as salvation.
People who are born again, saved. True believers. Those who have experienced the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Those who are in Christ, new creations. That is the kind of folk we are talking about.
Drury is extremely close to a view of Eternal Security. He uses words like "slim, unlikely" ect to describe the possiblity of a true believer losing his soul. Mighty close, Ralph! I am not going to quote all the Scripture verses, because you have seen them and responded and I have seen them and responed to your responses.. ect, ect, yada yada, on and on.
I just think my view of Eternal Security and your view on the subject are very close indeed. I don't use the term OSAS because it gives the wrong impression of Eternal Security. It carries with it in the minds of so many people the implication of a license to sin; the idea of a "ticket punched, sin as much as you want" salvation. I do not hold to that view. I don't believe that is what Eternal Security is all about. Those that endure to the end will be saved. Steady endurance is the mark of true salvation. A salvation that does not change your life is no salvation at all. To walk away from your "faith" turn your back on God, reject Jesus ect, is not the action of a saved individual. It is, in my view, the actions of one who was never saved at all.
If I understand your view correctly, you don't believe that one can lose salvation, but can walk away from it in rejection. I agree with the first part. Salvation cannot be lost. I also believe that one who walks away in rejection never had it to begin with.
One more thing. I read the following statement in a response you gave:
"I will try to address your questions, but I won't try to answer all of Stanley's statements. The reason is that his arguments are from a theological point of view and I want to answer with scripture."
Now Ralph... What's up with that? Dr. Stanley's theological point of view comes from Scripture! He did not make it up out of thin air! Every answer you give is from your theological point of view and your view of Scripture. You did not make your view out of thin air either. You answer with Scripture, Stanley would answer with Scripture. This is an issue of intrepretation
Most people who reject Eternal Security would fall into the problem of salvation by works. If you have to do something to keep it, then you have to do something to get it, and that is works. Continued salvation is performance based... don't perform up to par and you loose you salvation.
I see that you do not fall in that category.
What is the bottom line? Be saved and be faithful.
May the Lord bless you
My response is in Green:
Thank you for writing to me. You misunderstood my statement about Stanley. Yes he uses scripture but he does it from a theological point of view that I find disingenuous. By that I mean that he will take literal verses and make them say things they do not say, because of his theological views. He happens to be one of the people I was referring to who claim you can do anything, and I repeat anything you want after you are saved and you will still go to heaven. He has made statements that as long as you placed faith in Jesus Christ for one instant in time it never matters later if you believe or not or how you live. I find that offensive. From what you wrote I think you will find it so also. That is why I refused to answer all his statements, because he is blinded by his own theology instead of taking what God's word says.
For example God's word says that if you keep on deliberately sinning you are not going to heaven. Period, but to Stanley that verse does not mean what it says. You can argue that if a person keeps on deliberately sinning they were never saved. Okay at least we both agree they don't have a ticket to heaven that is not revocable, but to say as Stanley does that it doesn't matter is just wrong.
I personally think that it is too pat an answer to say that someone who continually sins was never a believer in the first place. There are a lot of passages which talk about guarding your salvation and being careful to follow Christ. This is not works, it is continuing in the faith. But still I think you and I are very close to the same position. I liked what Drury said, I just did not think to comment on it.
You said you have never heard pastors preach that you can get your ticket punched. I think that is great, but you have not been listening to the same preachers I have. I will list just a couple: Stanley, Tony Evans, Swindol and more. This is what they call a carnal Christian. They make statements like you can't tell the believers from the unbelievers by their actions because they might both be doing the same things. Pardon me but Jesus said we can tell them by their fruit. Tony Evans has gone so far as to say that the utter darkness is in heaven but outside the marriage supper. His point is that some believers won't be allowed into the Lamb's marriage supper because of their actions and they will be outside in utter darkness where there is gnashing of teeth. Now understand he is claiming that is in heaven.
It was hearing these men whom I used to respect teach this stuff that got me to speaking out about OSAS. I would agree that OSAS is not always the same as eternal security, but they are often lumped together.
Thanks again for writing. I have told several people in the past if you continue in the faith and keep Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior it really does not matter what you believe as far as eternal security, because you are going to heaven. God bless,
Below are three quotes from Charles Stanley. The man who wrote me did not think anyone taught that salvation was s license to sin, yet if you read what Charles Stanley says it is hard to come up with any other conclusion:
"And so, sometimes out of ignorance or whatever it might be, they attempt to gratify and meet those needs the same way they did before they were saved, and therefore, you can't tell a carnal believer from a lost man. That is, you can't tell the cold from the carnal because the truth is, they're both acting the same way. Now, one of them is in Christ and one of them isn't. One of them is lost and the other one is in Christ. One of them knows about God and knows him in the experience of salvation; the other doesn't know him at all." (Spiritual Vs. Carnal -- Study in 1 Cor., Tape #8, PQ092)
"A believer who commits suicide is already forgiven. Now I didn't say it was gonna be good for him, I said they're forgiven. They are pardoned of that sin."(Charles Stanley, Eternal Security Can You Be Sure?, Oliver-Nelson Books, 1990)
"No matter what you do as a child of God, you are forgiven. You say, 'Murder?' Forgiven. 'Stealing?' Forgiven. 'Adultery?' Forgiven. 'Worshiping idols?' Forgiven."(Grace: God's Second Chance -- Grace and Continuing Sin, Tape #4, MC213.)
E-Mail Ralph (whose comments are in green)