Wednesday, September 05, 2007

R.I.P. to O.S.A.S.

My faithful readers may recall that in an earlier post I provided a list of Scripture passages that speak against "Once Saved, Always Saved" (OSAS), the belief that once God saves you, it's a done deal, you're going to heaven and nothing can stop that.....that is, unless you sin in a way that your church considers grievous, in which case it will be declared that you were never saved to begin with. That doesn't seem like much of an "assurance" to me, but what do I know.

At any rate, I posted this list of verses at the HCR forum (scroll down to post #26) and "Crossover" attempted to refute it. Here is my response to that attempt. It's pretty long, but also very informative, especially to anyone who is new to this debate and to the various Scripture passages that come to bear upon this topic. Also, you may want to have the list open in another window or tab b/c we will be referring to it in the debate.

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

ps: Like my tombstone? Haha! To make your own, go here.
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Romans 11 prooves my point, because those who were cast out werent even believers to begin with.
How can you say that? The image is one of branches on a tree, like actually on the tree. A branch can't be broken off unless it was connected to the tree to begin with. Also, vs. 23 says that God has the power to graft them in again. In other words, you can be grafted in, fall, and then be grafted in a second time. Being grafted in "again" means two separate moments of being connected to the tree. Verse 23 would make no sense if the branch was never connected to the tree to begin with, or if once it was connected it never fell off. See what I mean?
Both 1 Corinthians scripts have nothing to do wih salvation.
They most certainly do! In 1 Cor 9, the race is life and the prize is salvation. Thus, life is seen here as requiring perseverence, running the race to the end. But, there's no need for perseverence in the OSAS worldview. Also, look at what Paul says vs. 26-27. Does that sound like a man who believes in an assurance of salvation? Of course not! Even Paul, a man of great wisdom and holiness, knew that he could lose the race if he wasn't careful (note that when you are disqualified from a race you are inelligible to receive the prize).

As for 1 Cor 10, this is Paul's message to everyone who believes that his salvation is already secure. Take heed my friend, lest you fall. Why fear a fall if you have an assurance of salvation?
The verse from Galations is telling those who think they are jstified by the law are not jsutified because only faith justifies.
But, there's more to it than that. Notice he says to not submit "again" to a yoke of slavery. This means that they were once slaves, they aren't now, but there's the risk that they could become slaves again. This risk does not exist in the OSAS worldview. This passage also speaks of being "severed from Christ" and "falling away from grace." You can't do either one if once you're saved it's a done deal.
Most of the ones from Hebrews we've already thouched on, the others have no bearing on this convo.
It's amazing to me how you are able to just dismiss these passages with a wave of the hand. Read them closely my friend. They are damning to the OSAS position.

As for 1 Tim 4:1 and 1 Tim 5:15, do you think it's possible for an honest-to-goodness Christian to "depart from the faith," "give heed to deceitful spirits," "stray after Satan" and yet not lose his salvation? Paul is referring to actual Christians in the churches that Timothy is in charge of. Christians are doing these things, and they can fall away if they're not careful. 1 Tim 6:10 is another example.

Don't tell me, "Well they must not have been saved to begin with" b/c it doesn't hold. You can't "depart from the faith" unless you were of the faith to begin with. In vs. 6 Paul refers to them as "the brethren." They are his true brothers in Christ.

Heb 3:12 says that a christian can actually fall away from the living God. There's no room for that in OSAS.

As for Heb 4, read verses 1-11 again. The previous chapter tells us what the author means by "the rest." He is quoting the Father's words in the OT regarding the Promised Land, which is for us symbolic of salvation. He is saying that some can enter into God's rest but then, by disobedience, fall from this rest. There's no room for that in OSAS.

As for Heb 6, I'm sorry, but anyone who has "been enlightened," "tasted the heavenly gift," is a "partaker of the Holy Spirit," and tasted the goodness and power of the word of God is saved as far as I'm concerned. I don't see how he couldn't be. They've tasted the heavenly gift for crying out loud. What do you think the "heavenly gift" is, a fruit basket? The people in question here were truly united to Christ and then they fell.

Also, note that "apostacy" itself presupposes former membership. You can't fall away from something that you were never a part of. The author says that they must be restored to repentance "again." What is "restoration" but the return to a former state?

Heb 10 rejects OSAS as well. Look at it again:
  • Heb 10:38-39 but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him." 39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and keep their souls.
The righteous are shrinking back. Not the quasi-members of the Church, or the pretend or make-believe members of the Church. No, we are speaking here of the righteous. When you shrink back, you are destroyed (vs. 39). The righteous are shrinking back and being destroyed. There is simply no room for that in OSAS.
James 5:19-20 is talking about falling into carnality. If it was talking about a loss of salvation, then it would be a direct contradiction to Hebrews 6, assuming hebrews 6 was talking about loss of salvation also.
Well, first of all, James 5 is talking about a loss of salvation b/c James says that wondering away from the faith equals death to the soul. "Whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death" (vs. 20). So, this passage is definitely relavent.

Now, it may appear that this passage contradicts Heb 6. After all, Hebrews says that any person who falls away cannot be brought back but James says that he can be. But, there is in fact no contradiction here. That's b/c apostasy is more pertinacious than falling into sin or false belief. Apostacy is a total repudiation of Christianity, not just a lapse in one particular area.

Apostasy also implies persistence and stubbornness. As long as someone willfully separates himself entirely from the Church and willfully keeps himself in that state, he cannot be saved. But, when this person who had previously separated himself entirely from the Church then has a conversion of heart or is compelled by his brother to return again to the Church, he will certainly be forgiven and reconciled. "A broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise" (Psa 51:17).
The first script from 2 Peter has nothing to do with loss of salvation.
It honestly blows my mind how you can say that. Read the 9 verses leading up to vs. 10. Peter is referring to people who have "obtained a faith of equal standing with ours in the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ" (vs. 1), to he who "was cleansed from his old sins" (vs. 9). Why warn them of a fall from this state if such a fall was not possible? Why bother "confirming your election" if your election is already secure? OSAS makes no sense in light of this passage.
The second one is in the same boat as Hebrews 6, you can look back in this convo to see what we've sadia bout that.
Peter specifically says that a person can "escape the defilements of the world" and then become entangled in them again (2 Pet 2:20). This escape can only take place when we are saved by the grace of God.

Furthermore, people can "know the way of righteousness" and then turn back from it. They truly knew it, not in some intellectual sense but in an experiential way. They knew it by experiencing it. You can't "turn back" from the direction you've been walking if you're not actually walking, or not walking foward.
From 2 John, just read the verse right after that and you'll see what I would have to say about that.
When John says, "Any one who goes ahead and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God" he doesn't mean that the person never had God to begin with. He means that the person loses God as soon as he becomes unfaithful. All this verse does is prove my point b/c it shows that you can have God and then lose him. "Having God" is salvation, right? What else could it be that they have "worked for"? (vs. 8)
Revelation 2...on the surface this would seem to proove your point. But look a little deeper. Let's break this into parts.
1. The command (repent).
2. The threat (or else I will remove you)
See, the command is repent, and the threat depends upon the filling of the command. If the command isnt filled, the threat will be. BUT, you'll notice, that if the command isnt followed, then they were never saved to start with, because if you never repent, you can never be saved. So if they dont repend, they were never saved to start with.
Where does it say that? Nowhere does it say that they were never saved to begin with. If that were the case then they would not have a lampstand to begin with. Their lampstand is their salvation. When you fall and don't repent, God takes it away. You lose the salvation you once possessed. It's all very clear in this passage, and I think you know that b/c you can see how it proves my point.

Finally, you never responded to Rev 22, which I think is one of the clearest passages against OSAS. Look at what it says again:
  • Rev 22:19 and if any one takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
There's pretty much no way of getting around that one, from what I can tell. These people have a share in the tree life and God is taking it away. If that doesn't mean that they are losing their salvation, I don't know what does.

For an extensive list of articles refuting the OSAS position, go here.

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

1 comment:

revprodeji said...

Good work.

A major theme in Hebrews is a warning against "falling away" falling away isnt an issue unless it is a possiblity. Classic calvin response would be to claim God predestined them to fall, but thats a catch-22 because than why would they need a warning? Why even teach and preach to them?

The only issue is the issue of apostacy in regards to this part.

"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, 5and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6and then have fallen away, since on their own they are crucifying again the Son of God and are holding him up to contempt."

-impossible to restore..Not "its hard" or "its unlikely" but it is impossible
-enlightened and "tasted the heavenly gift" and shared in the Holy Spirit, tasted the goodness of God and powers of age to come" lots of implications can come out of this. Could this be the requiem of faith? Enlightened is a knowledge that causes change, "tasted" makes me want to think it is eucharistic but protos will disagree. Goodness of God can mean multiple things, but powers of age to come would imply the ressurection and promise of heaven.

So in this passage these things are what someone who is "saved" has. So when they "fall away" they are falling from a legit faith. Once the person has seen/felt/lived the promise of God and falls away what can bring them back? That promise does not change. You can not "recrucify" Christ and have a secondary conversion if the first one was legit.

So this verse isnt an OSAS, but rather could it imply that if the faith was genuine (under the requiem of above) that once the sheep is lost it can not come back? I would like to say "outside of the divine stepping in"

The historical context of this is when faced with martyrdom. But what can we bring it to us today? How can someone have a legit faith that has tasted/lived the faith and fall away?

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