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: