The Case for Eternal Security from Five Key NT Passages -- By: Kenneth M. Gardoski
JMAT 9:1 (Spring 2005) p. 51
The Case for Eternal Security from Five Key NT Passages
Associate Professor of Systematic Theology
Baptist Bible Seminary, Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania
Within the broad evangelical community one encounters two approaches to the doctrine of salvation: Calvinism and Arminian-ism.1 Each incorporates many theological concepts—aspects of theology proper (God’s sovereignty, grace, and justice) and anthropology (sin and the ability and responsibility of a fallen human race to please God). Under soteriology fall discussions of election (how God chooses the believer), redemption (the work and extent of the atonement), conversion (the divine-human dynamic of salvation), sanctification (the life of the believer), and glorification (the final salvation of the believer).
Also within soteriology is the matter of security—that is, whether there is any guarantee that genuine believers will stay in the faith. Calvinists and Arminians each have distinctive views on the security issue. The Calvinist holds to the doctrine of unconditional or eternal security. The doctrine of eternal security means that, having experienced true conversion, the believer will be preserved until the end of his life by the power of God (Phil 1:6; 1 Pet 1:5) and will not ultimately fall away from God (Rom 8:38–39; 1 John 3:9). The Calvinist bases his position on a firm view of God’s sovereign superintendence of the believer’s salvation experience from start to finish (John 10:28–30; Rom 8:28–29).
The Arminian, on the other hand, embraces the doctrine of the conditional security of the believer. A genuine conversion experience is not sufficient to guarantee the final salvation of the be-
JMAT 9:1 (Spring 2005) p. 52
liever. Only “the one who endures to the end shall be saved”2 (Matt 24:13; cf. Rev 21:7). The Arminian’s position rests on a strong view of human freedom and the believer’s responsibility to persevere in his faith in order ultimately to be saved (Col 1:22–23; Heb 3:14). Consequently, the true believer can fail to persevere, lose his faith, and suffer eternal judgment (You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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