Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A Logical Defense of Eternal Security (aka Perseverance of the Saints)

Just yesterday my wife was confronted with the notion that Christians could genuinely lose their salvation. Having been indoctrinated in solid biblical teachings for a few years now, and having spent most of her time around reformed folk, she was aghast. In order to help her better interact with that question the next time it comes up, I took about 30 seconds and asked her two questions. This post, albeit very short, is designed to provide a logical rather than an exegetical challenge to anyone you may encounter that believes that true Christians who have been born again can actually lose their salvation. That is to say that Christ paid for all their sin but somehow He did not pay for all their sin are both true statements that can be uttered at the same time regarding the same person. Here are the two questions and syllogism that follows it.

1. Can a born again person ever go to hell?

2. Can a born again person ever become un-born again?

I have never had anyone answer these two questions in the affirmative until they feel the force of the argument by way of its conclusion. And by then, it is too late.

1. A born again person cannot go to hell.
2. A born again person cannot become un-born again.
3. Therefore, no person who has ever been born again can go to hell.

It is a simple method with a simple argument and it is designed to get people to stop and think about their claim that Christians can lose their salvation. The argument progresses by defending the major and minor premises by way of biblical exegesis. This argument is both valid in that the conclusion necessarily follows from the premises. It is sound in that both premises are true.

What usually happens in response to this argument? Generally, people will back up and try to claim that a born again person can actually go to hell even though they may not be able to ever become un-born again. If the discussion moves in that direction, you need to prepare yourself to explain what the Bible teaches about being regenerated and what the biblical doctrine of justification actually affirms. But at a minimum, this will cause the errant person to pause and think about what they are claiming. As a young Christian I used to think this way as well. I moved from pentecostal theology as a young teenager, to a hybrid pentecostal as a young man, to a more traditional view, and finally to a confessing reformed covenantal baptist view which is where I am today. Christians who are earnestly interested in knowing Christ and who are willing to put in some energy will benefit a great deal from this method. I did. As for apathy in the others, they have much bigger problems than fine-tuning the doctrine of eternal security.

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