Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Once Saved - Always Saved: False teaching?

It is with regret over several friendships lost, and at the same time, great joy in proclaiming the True Gospel, that I write this post.  As some readers (all three of you) may know, I have over the past six years with great affection supported DL Foster’s ministry (The Gay Christian Movement Watch blog and Witness Ministries).  Today, I can no longer do so with any confidence – I hope that changes.  The reason is the same reason I recently left a ten year membership and leadership position at my church:  Teaching that Salvation can be lost.  The Truth: Salvation cannot be lost. 

Other ways of expressing the same lie: 

·         “Salvation is not a static, one-time event in our lives.  It is the ongoing experience of God’s gracious presence transforming us into whom God intends us to be.” [Official United Methodist Church statement].

·         “We work out our salvation in partnership and guidance of the Holy Ghost.  If once saved, always saved excludes sin and repentance of the believer, then it is a false teaching.” DL Foster. [Notice the words “We work out our salvation in partnership”, as if the Biblical Jesus was looking for “partners” and as if His work on the Cross was somehow insufficient and needed more work].

Any ministry / church that speaks of the exclusivity of Christ in salvation, uses orthodox language, teaches salvation by grace, and proclaims the authority and sufficiency of scripture, yet denies salvation is secure, or that it is conditioned upon man’s continued obedience, is quite simply – very dangerous.   It could actually be more dangerous than the common cults of our day who also teach of “another” Jesus and “another” Gospel, simply because it is much harder to discern.  

Let’s break this down:
Justification (God declaring man righteous) is NOT a repeated process.
"To the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness" (Romans 4:5).  That is justification.

Therefore, because of justification, believers not only are perfectly free from any charge of guilt (Romans 8:33) but also have the full merit of Christ’s sinless record reckoned to their personal account (Romans 5:17).

The results are crystal clear:
·         We are adopted as sons and daughters (Romans 8:15)
·         We become fellow-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17)
·         We are united with Christ so that we become one with Him (1 Corinthians 6:17)
·         We are henceforth "in Christ" (Galatians 3:27) and He in us (Colossians 1:27)

Just as our physical birth can never be undone, so too our spiritual birth can never be undone. Christ said “You must be born again” (John 3:7), not “you must be born again and again and again.” In Philippians, Paul praises God for the confidence that “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion” (1:6). 
Conclusion: one cannot “fall from grace” – loose their salvation because salvation is NOT a process – it is a divine act of God.  Salvation is wholly and entirely a work of God, not man. 

The god who saves men, but says it is up to them to lay hold and keep said salvation, does not exist.  It might make for a profitable ministry in fulfilling folks desires to be spiritually fulfilled in their own works (since a works based salvation is always attractive to the unregenerate / unsaved/ natural man), however it is absolutely foreign to scripture.   Think about it, even true believers can get caught up in their "good" works to the point that are actually offending the imputation of Christ's work (His blood) on the cross. 

I pray God leads His faithful to renounce these teachings in no uncertain terms in order to transform perhaps some leaders to recognize their error and correct their teachings so as to not to continue to mislead others.  Many men and women (Saints of the past) have been brutally tortured and killed defending this very doctrine.  It is NOT splitting theological hairs – I ask you to pray-fully consider and search scripture to verify.

From a personal perspective, as much as DL Foster has touched my life (he continues to deserve much credit for his orthodox stance in defending sexual purity) and the many (minority as time goes on) Methodist Pastors remaining true to a biblical teaching of faith alone; anyone who teaches salvation is progressive or dependent on man - teaches another gospel and condemns himself.  Galatians 1:9, “As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” 

Yes, it is indeed that serious.  Paul was specifically addressing this very topic: Man is “justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law” (Galatians 2:16).  Faith plus works is another gospel, and if any man or Christian denomination teaches a works plus faith based salvation, no matter how “slick” they try to be using  orthodox language, God’s wrath remains upon them.  The whole of scripture concurs with this Truth.  It is real easy to teach "eternal security," and at the same time deny it with works - and nobody notices.     

What about continuing in sin after salvation? 

First, please understand this Biblical Truth: Jesus' death was absolutely sufficient to pay for all of our sins—past, present, and future, pre-salvation and post-salvation (Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21). 

Second, the Bible makes it clear that a true Christian will not live "any way he wants to." Believers are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17), they will demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), and not the acts of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). Lastly 1 John 3:6-9 clearly states that a true Christian will not live in continued sate of willful or unrepentant sin.  A life patterned by willful unrepentant sin, is a life that is still lost. 

Two key points that should / must be drawn here:  1. there is a difference between how a person is to live, and how a person is saved.  2. Faith and repentance are the result of salvation, not the cause.   

Two book recommendations for further study:


brdavision said...

Excellent post Brother Mark. I now who you really are lol. I remember you came on my blog and pointed out my error regarding a statement I made about women. I didn't know that you were that same Mark from Facebook. Let me make some points here:

Salvation in by Grace Alone through Faith Alone in Christ Alone!

Nobody and I don't care who you are can teach otherwise and get a free pass from God. We are saved by God not by our works. This is a dangerous heresy and one that is prevalent in the Roman Catholic Church. A false religious system designed by satan to condemn men to an eternity in hell.

This news makes me very sad, just as you have been touched by Pastor Foster, so have I. It was he who helped me come out of the Apostate COGIC denomination but it was God and Him alone who saved me from the deadly un-biblical teachings of "PENTECOSTALISM". Which is nothing more than an Arminian lowered view of God. My allegiance stay with my God and in no man.

Anything that pumps up man is dangerous and salvation by works does just that. Oh how my heart goes out for him and all those trapped in false teaching. I thought I was so bold in my teaching that I could rebuke anybody but when it struck close to home I got weak. As I talked to DL on the phone I was stumbling all over my words and not being my usual bold self.

But I stood on scripture nonetheless. I will not back down from this. Salvation by works is dangerous and un-biblical and it must be dealt with swiftly, uncompromisingly, and firmly. I will cut off all ties with Pastor Foster until I hear Him say that salvation is solely a work of God.

Good article and please continue to stand for the truth my friend....

with a broken heart,

Brother Brandon from Touch ya Neighbor Ministries

brdavision said...

Ok so check out my facebook page and see my spirited convo with brother foster on the matter. This should clear up all this mess....

Anonymous said...

I believe that God does require something of us in order to remain saved. I'm saddened and have gotten really tired of hearing from many people who claim to be Christians because they had a "salvation experience" (said the sinner's prayer) and then later reverted to their old ways because they believe the grace of God will cover it all anyway. Just about always, sexual sin has crept into their lives and they wind up excusing it because they "have the grace of God". And they are encouraged by spiritual leaders who have turned the grace of God into lasciviousness just as Jude 1: 4 it- ("For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.")

A couple of things to think about from these verses:

"And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. Matt. 24:12, 13

Question: What happens to those who do not "endure to the end"?

"For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard...." Colossians 1:19-23

Question: Can you acknowledge that God lays our a condition here that is preceded by the big little word "IF" - "if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard..."

Is it not true that we must "continue in the faith"?

And of course there's that one condition that God has for us and which is rarely taught today - REPENTANCE. As Jesus said Luke 13:3 - "...but unless you repent you will all likewise perish." And that repentance is not a one time change of direction, but a lifetime of walking in the light of Jesus Christ. If we do not do that, the Bible is clear that we do not have the assurance of salvation. And if we are continually in the Word, we will find much about that. Until next time....

Contending for the faith,

Mark said...

Question: What happens to those who do not "endure to the end"?

They will be judged.

Question: Can you acknowledge that God lays our a condition here that is preceded by the big little word "IF" - "if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard..."

Elaine, the mark of true justification is indeed the perseverance in His righteousness to the end. If you don't hold on to your faith, it shows it isn't real. It is not a condition of salvation, is is quite simply a repeated them in the NT; what we do and how we endure does matter. It shows genuine faith from false faith. True faith is characterized by enduring obedience.

Repentance is also gift (Acts 5:31; 11:18 and 1 Cor 4:7). True faith, again results in a transforming commitment to Christ for a life time, anything else is less than True faith.

Salvation is not the work of men, it is entirely and solely the work of God. I think you and I would agree, salvation is not a one time prayer or even a decision - True salvation is evidenced in our lives lived in obedience and to His glory, but not the cause.

Blessings and thanks for the feedback!

Mark said...

Elaine - you stated I believe that God does require something of us in order to remain saved.

I think this is very important to address, sorry I overlooked it. Nothing in scripture says we have to maintain salvation. As I stated in the post - there is a difference between how a person is to live, and how a person is saved. Faith and repentance are the result of salvation, not the cause.

How many folks "do" all the right things and then when adversity or total submission to God and His word hits home abandon the faith? Many many do! In fact, we see how the Lordship of Christ is being utterly diminished in churches today. We must never doubt what God has promised, and we must never affirm a false faith that is rooted in unrepentant sin. Only God knows who are His; we are warned in the scriptures to identify a false gospel (faith plus works)and proclaim the True gospel - Faith alone.