Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Once saved always saved?

I've always had an issue with the Calvinist doctrine, the one that says we are always on our way to heaven if we asked for salvation once upon a time. It believes we cannot backslide and fall away from grace...it's always agitated everything in me, but I haven't been able to quite put my finger on why (besides the fact that its so completely unbiblical)...then John sent me this quote by John Newton, the man who wrote "Amazing Grace" and scores of other hymns. And it nails so perfectly what the issue is with this stupid, arrogant, self-righteous doctrine...Yes God is gracious, a grace we could never fathom. But to assume we simply are ENTITLED to this never ending flow of turned heads and shrugged shoulders? As if God is a weak undecided little man who has no ability to say, you abused my grace and now it is not yours any longer. Well, thats so pompous it makes my blood boil. US humans, as weak and easily manipulated as we are, rarely let someone walk, and walk, and promise and break, and promise and break, without drawing a line where we say ENOUGH! And this righteous, holy, Father is far above our own weak will and inability to maintain healthy relationship. He simply says, this grace is free BUT, here are the standards you must keep to continue living under such awesome mercy. And its simple really; to just devote your entire life to him. To live in a way that glorifies Him; yes with glitches and bumps, we are human after all. But to come contritely before the throne of heaven and ask for pardon and to strive for a character that resounds the name of Jesus. It is free, but it is NOT to be assumed and toyed with. Anyway..here is that quote:
And I am afraid there are Calvinists, who, while they account it a proof of their humility that they are willing in words to debase the creature, and to give all the glory of salvation to the Lord, yet know not what manner of spirit they are of. Whatever it be that makes us trust in ourselves that we are comparatively wise or good, so as to treat those with contempt who do not subscribe to our doctrines, or follow our party, is a proof and fruit of a self-righteous spirit. Self- righteousness can feed upon doctrines, as well as upon works; and a man may have the heart of a Pharisee, while his head is stored with orthodox notions of the unworthiness of the creature and the riches of free grace.
John Newton, quoted in Credenda Agenda, Vol. 5 No. 2, p. 2, from The Works of John Newton, Vol 1, Banner of Truth, p. 272.

"the riches of free grace..." exactly.

okay, that might seem random, but its been coming up lately and I think there are some secret readers who ascribe to this doctrine. If you were wondering where I stand, now you know.

In other news...Illy sent me this amazing quote from Pastor K. Foley's sermon sunday night...made me simultaneously feel contrite and so cherished.
"The gospel...You're more of a sinner than you ever believed; and more loved than you ever dared to hope."


Pill said...

bada BANG bada BOOM! there it is ladies and gentlemen...nicely done sis...nicely DONE.

mrmeadowlark said...

I really don't know where I stand on this issue... I mean, the Fellowship seems to be against it, but I was saved in a non-fellowship church when I was 9 years old, and they told me that this is the only time I would ever have to accept Jesus as my Saviour, that it was good for life... and I have always been the type who believes the first thing he hears about any subject.
Also, I view Salvation as a free gift. You give someone a gift and you generally don't take it back later... some people decide to do this, to take back gifts they have given, but this is a very human style, and I am soooo glad that god is not like us... if he were, we would be in trouble ;) Anyway, on the subject of gifts, I always cherish gifts I am given, and my salvation is no exception... I cherish it and try to guard it with my life... so, in short, this is an issue that confuses me although it likely doesn't even pertain to me. I've gotten long winded, so I will close with this, You have given me much to think about, and that is what a good blog post should do ;) - Garr from Newport.

Patti said...

Garr- Unfortunately not everyone is as tender-hearted as you are...saying a sinner's prayer at age 9 and living for God ever since! Case in point- ME! I asked Jesus into my heart- and truly meant it- as a young teenager. Over time, just like the parable of the seeds and the sower, I let the cares of this world choke out that good seed. I went back into sin headlong, and there is no doubt in my mind that if the rapture or death would have come, I was NOT right with God.

But putting anectdotal evidence aside, there is complete scriptural support of the doctrine of falling from grace, and I'm sure Pastor Moss would do a Bible study with you on the subject. One of the scriptures that has really helped me is in Revelations 3:5, where Jesus says, "Anyone who is found victorious will be clothed in white and I will not erase his name from the Book of Life." Obviously there are those who WILL have their name erased from the Book of Life- or there would be no point in Jesus saying what He did.

Also, salvation is a free gift- but we can't use our own view or analogy of salvation (someone giving/taking a gift away) to support a doctrine...we have to have Biblical proof. Otherwise we'll end up like the JW's..who say things like "a loving father would never put his son's hand in the fire to punish him, therefore our heavenly Father would not send someone to Hell to punish him." You see what I mean? We can't use our own reasoning; we have to go by scripture.

Anyway, just my 2 cents for what it's worth:) I'm sure your pastor can do a much better in-depth study with you on this important doctrine. Because it IS an important one!

mrmeadowlark said...

Very good info Patti... I definitely have a lot to learn about how to base arguments regarding doctrine ;)... Incidentally, Pastor Moss did do a study on calvinism awhile back... I know that "Once Saved Always Saved" is probably wrong thinking, and y'all are probably right, but as I mentioned before, one of my character flaws, is this business of always believing the first thing I am told about any given subject... tell you what... since we are on the subject, could you pray for me that I could overcome this flaw, as it has gotten me in trouble in the past?

P.S., I did not mean to imply that this doctrine is unimportant, only to say that I feel that as someone who is saved, and is making an effort to do right by Jesus all the time, it does not pertain to me so much as it would pertain to someone, say, who claims to be a christian and yet parties all night every night.

Patti said...

Yes, of course I will pray for you- I wish everyone were as tender-hearted and willing to believe "first lessons"- pray for that for my kids!;)

TheFoleyFive said...

Garr, you make quite an interesting point. I can see where your confusion would come from...In my experience, every calvanist has been someone who has abused Grace past what is even tolerable and has ascribed to that doctrine to cover their lifestyle. I will pray for you for sure because thats an endearing quality but also can be a stumble as you pointed out. thanks for the comment!

mrmeadowlark said...

Thank y'all for the prayers... y'know, it just dawned on me, this quality of mine, while on the one hand it has been a stumblingblock for me through the years, is probably also what resulted in me being saved at such a young age... I heard the gospel and I believed it was true, and that was that... Recently, someone asked me why I am a christian... and I simply said, because I have seen all the evidence I need to see, and I am convinced there is nothing else for me to be but a christian ;)

TheFoleyFive said...

How sweet :) I would strongly encourage you to do a study on the children of Israel. They were God's chosen by blood, if there were ever people "pre-destined" to make heaven their home, they were it. And God tried and tried to save them, he spoke and moved and made every effort, but they continually complained and wandered and turned to other things until God said I will destroy you all. The Calvinist belief, in its absolute form, says, God will make us serve him whether we want to or not, because ultimately, we are either predestined to go to heaven, or predestined not to. It takes away free will...and really, the need or call to evangelism. It says, live as you will, God will choose who he chooses. Its a doctrine of fate and not grace and born again conversion. Honestly...understanding that Calvinism says, we are predestined..and then studying the children of Israel or even Adam and Eve will help you quickly realize, God indeed wants us all to be saved, but we have the ability in ourselves to reject him no matter how loud that knock at our hearts door. He gives a free gift, but we can destroy it and render it null by our choices. make sense?

ashley said...

Daaaang! Whoa look out!loved allit. ha! That quote is sweet i want to save that. The one from Pastor Foley is awesome too, I remembered that one. Once again... your writing is amazing. =)

Ashley said...

You should just start blogging on random subjects just for fun. I think you get the most comments out of it. ha! It's so fun to read.

lacy myers said...

Love it :) Just one more reason why you're awesome, Sophie.