Perseverance: It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over -- By: Stephen R. Lewis

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 22:43 (Autumn 2009)
Article: Perseverance: It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over
Author: Stephen R. Lewis


Perseverance:
It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over

Stephen R. Lewis

President

Rocky Mountain Bible College & Seminary
Denver, CO

Introduction

To quote Charles Dickens:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.1

This quote captures the times in which we find ourselves concerning the state of theology in our world and even in the Free-Grace Movement. We certainly find fault with the system developed by the Roman Catholic (RC) Church. One may believe that the Protestant Church has completely corrected RC theology and brought us back to biblical accuracy. It is further thought, by many, that Luther and the other Reformers reclaimed the theology of the NT writers. Upon closer examination, it appears that they made it back to 80+% of NT teachings, but not all the way.

Although the watchwords of the Reformation were sola gracia (also spelled sola gratia), sola fide, sola Christi, and sola

Scriptura, the Reformers did not completely break away from Roman Catholic (RC) theology. For example, following Calvin’s death there was a meeting at Dort to answer the followers of Jacobus Arminius in their declaration called the Remonstrants. We have come to call that response TULIP.

This paper is attempting to address the fifth point of TULIP—Perseverance of the Saints and its similarity to the RC view of the same issue. The Reformed view has a system that gives no assurance. One never knows until they die. And the RC system has hope (although false) after death. To the RC, at least, it ain’t over till it’s over! The Free-Grace Movement has struggled to embrace TULIP (sometimes by re-defining the 5 points so that we can agree with them). We ought to proceed very carefully and allow the Text of the Bible to determine our belief; and not allow any system to determine our belief—no matter how close it may come or not to truth.

The doctrine of perseverance is the logical ou...

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