Is Belief In Eternal Security Necessary For Justification? -- By: David R. Anderson
CTSJ 13:1 (Spring 2008) p. 47
Is Belief In Eternal Security Necessary For Justification?
Dave Anderson graduated from Rice University in 1967 and subsequently earned his Th.M. and Ph.D. degrees from Dallas Theological Seminary in the Greek New Testament. He has served as a pastor, church planter, and professor for over thirty years in the Houston area. While an adjunct professor for Dallas Seminary, he taught in three departments: English Bible, Systematic Theology, and Greek New Testament. He has taught in more than fifteen countries outside the United States. In 2001 he founded Grace School of Theology and serves as its president. He is also president of the Free Grace Alliance and founder and president of the Greater Houston Bible Church Association. He serves as the Senior Pastor of Faith Bible Church in The Woodlands, Texas. He and his wife, Betty, have raised four children. His e-mail address is [email protected]
“Has anyone ever taken a Bible and shown you how you can know for sure that if you died today you would go to heaven?” This is one of the opening questions utilized by EvanTell Ministries to present the gospel. It is an excellent question. In fact, at the outset of this discussion let me clearly state that I believe the best way to present the gospel is with a statement concerning one’s assurance of salvation. I have been training people that way for decades, and our church has been a poster church for utilizing EvanTell materials in our evangelistic training. So I believe opening a gospel presentation with the issue of assurance and ending the presentation with the same is the very best way to evangelize. For me, that is not the question. The question is whether that is the only way. Must we address the issue of assurance in order to lead someone to Christ? And a corollary question might be, must one believe in eternal security to be justified?
Someone will say, “Wait a minute, you just changed the discussion midstream. Assurance of salvation and eternal security are not necessarily the same.” And I would agree: they are not the same. Nevertheless, it is not uncommon for discussions on justification to morph from “assurance is of the essence of faith” to “belief in eternal security is a sine qua non of justification.”1 At a recent2 conference I attended, a question was asked, “I trusted Christ as my Savior and asked forgiveness for all my sins four years before I came to believe in eternal security. When was I justified?” The answer? “When you believed in eternal security.”
Because of such an answer, I wish to address in this article the issue of eternal securi...
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