And Its Relationship To
The Doctrine of Eternal Security
By Jeff Paton
In this article I wish to examine some questions about the implications brought forth by many who hold to a doctrine of Unconditional Eternal Security. In response to my opposition against the doctrine I have been sternly called “un-saved” “unregenerate” and a “lost heretic.” These are serious accusations that deserve a greater look. Surely, someone would never level such harsh charges unless they had undeniable scriptural grounds in which to do so… Right?
You will observe that when we come to this relationship between Eternal Security and salvation, the holders of that doctrine are all over the place in their beliefs and inconsistencies. We will meet up with all kinds of people who claim this Eternal Security to be theirs, yet no one person or preacher speaks for all Eternal Security proponents. We have the whole spectrum; those that make their pet doctrine to be greater than the Gospel of Jesus Christ, all the way down to those who use the term “Eternal Security,” yet don’t believe it. All of them should be looked at, because they all start with an erroneous premise: Eternal Security. Because of this, I find them to be fair targets of scrutiny and criticism.
There are those, such as Charles Stanley who boldly proclaim that “Eternal Security is the Gospel!” With such a basis in which to base one’s feelings about my opposition to the doctrine, I can see where the name-calling would so easily come in. Is Eternal Security the Gospel? That is a serious claim that demands justification!
I have yet to see anywhere in Scripture where “Eternal Security” is part of a Gospel presentation. We see in Acts that the people were to “repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…” Acts 2:38. Paul says, “if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” Romans 10:9. And John’s appeal to us that “If we confess or sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9. In all of the teachings of Scripture, I do not find a single time where faith or confession of any doctrine of security has any bearing whatsoever on the salvation of an individual. If we add any certain belief, such as “one cannot fall away from the faith once they are saved” as an essential part of the “Gospel,” then I have to question whether this amendment to God’s plan is really any Gospel at all! It may be men’s “gospel,” but it is certainly not God’s Gospel!
ETERNAL SECURITY IS THE GOSPEL!
If Eternal Security is the Gospel, then none of these people in the Scriptures were ever saved! You see, “Eternal Security” was not invented until the mid 1800’s in America! If we mean the presumption that an individual that was predestined to heaven could not ever lose their salvation (Calvinian Fatalism), then the question remains… the Early Church nor the Bible ever holds up this belief as being part of the “Gospel.” So, what are we to do with all those unsaved people in Scripture who did not believe in Eternal Security, but repented of their sins and cast their hopes of salvation solely upon the blood of Christ on their behalf? Honestly, can you look Jesus Christ in the eye and say that He was ‘so’ wrong about the Gospel because He didn’t add “Eternal Security” to the Scriptures as being essential, as you do?
Eternal Securists are quick to say that a believer can never lose their salvation due to sin, yet rush to judgment to say of the Legalist that they “were never saved in the first place.” Yet those that fall into the deepest rebellion against God are told that they are “safe and secure from all alarm!” But isn’t Legalism is just another sin? Why wouldn’t that be covered under the umbrella of this doctrine? They teach that a believer can sin with impunity, (technically called “license”; which is sin,) and have Eternal Security, but most Eternal Securists deny the person who is working to secure their own salvation after getting saved, (technically called “legalism”; which is sin,) the very same promise of Eternal Security. I thought that allone’s sins were forever taken care of when we get saved. Apparently only the sins of those that agree with Eternal Security are covered! An inconsistent doctrine indeed!
Now, if Eternal Security is the Gospel, then why do Eternal Security Churches pronounce people “saved” immediately after after confessing the “Sinner’s Prayer” and not only after they confess a belief in Eternal Security? If Eternal Security is the Gospel, then those that only believe in their hearts and trust Jesus for their salvation are not yet saved, for they have not accepted THE Gospel of Eternal Security! They are not saved, for their faith is only in Christ, and not in the “Gospel”of Eternal Security! You see, if Eternal Security has anything to do with the Gospel, then those that don’t believe it do not by default “have” the Gospel, and thereby do not have salvation! Though they are told that they are saved after a “Sinner’s Prayer,” they are quickly ushered into the “Counseling Room” and informed that now that they are “saved,” they are secure forever! But this defies what we are boldly told; that Eternal Security is the Gospel! The Gospel then ceases to be a simple faith/belief/trust on the death, resurrection, and atonement of Jesus Christ on our behalf, but Jesus plus Eternal Security that is the Gospel! Astonishingly, such believers in Eternal Security are quick to accuse others of adding to the Gospel!
ETERNAL SECURITY IS NOT THE GOSPEL, BUT ESSENTIAL TO IT!
Let’s look at a different type of Eternal Securest who is not so unbiblical as to say that Eternal Security is THE Gospel, but believes that this doctrine is so closely connected to salvation that a denial of it is in essence a rejection of the Gospel. We now come to a different dilemma, that which states that by one act of faith in Jesus Christ, we are irrevocably and forever “Eternally Secure.” Doing so makes the Gospel the work of Jesus Christ, and Eternal Security the sure benefit of all who come to that belief in Jesus. This sounds good, but would not the one who will never believe in Eternal Security be the benefactor of Eternal Security whether they believed in it or not? If when one is “saved,” they are automatically “Eternally Secure” as it is claimed, then why would someone ever claim that a non-Eternal Security proponent is not saved, or was never saved in the first place? If the Eternal Security believer can sin with impunity and never lose their salvation, then how could even practicing gross Legalism ever jeopardize the believer’s “Eternal Security”? It is illogical to say that every believer is Eternally Secure, then to start accusing non Eternal Securist’s of not being “secure!”
There are those that believe that all are “Eternally Secure” whether they realize it, or like it or not. But why would the Eternal Securest become offended, or ever use the charge of “heresy” against those that disagree with them, since it would then be a non-salvation issue? Would the teaching of the Non-Eternal Securist threaten or impede the application of God’s Eternal Security in any way? Wow! What power the Non-Eternal Securist must have if they can thwart the Eternal Security of God, not only in themselves, but in others! If it is not a salvation issue, then are there no better things for an Eternal Security believer to do with their time than oppose a fellow believer who is already Eternally Secure? Strange, they should be reaching people with the Gospel and not tearing down a brother in Christ as they do!
So, why all the inordinate emphasis on Eternal Security if knowledge of it is admittedly not an essential doctrine to the safety and security of one’s salvation? Why all the vitriol and hatred? Why not accept the Non-Eternal Securist fully as a brother and just pity them for not believing in Eternal Security? I know the reason; it is because their salient questions and observations from Scripture trouble those that believe in this heathen form of security! They are either convicted, greatly troubled by the truth, or living in sin that they know that they will go to Hell for if Eternal Security is not true! It has to be true, or they are lost and in trouble! If this was not so, why would an honest examination of their doctrine upset them so much?
IF SOMEONE LIVES A LIFE OF SIN, IT IS OBVIOUS THAT THEY WERE NEVER SAVED IN THE FIRST PLACE! ETERNAL SECURITY DOES NOT TEACH THAT PEOPLE CAN LIVE IN SIN!
I know that most Eternal Securists would say “If someone lived a life of open sin like that, they’re not really saved.” They believe that they are being completely consistent with what they call “the true doctrine of Eternal Security.” Yet they appeal to David in his sin of murder and adultery as being an example of Eternal Security, since David was declared “a man after God’s own heart.” My question is, how could they ever question the Eternal Security of another like they do? Most of these people they judge as “never saved” do not commit anywhere near the gravity of sin and depravity that we see in David. In fact, it is illogical to say that if someone sins a certain amount that they give evidence that they were never saved, for this implies that there must be limits to this Eternal Security! If Eternal Security cannot save the most willfully vile homosexual, or satanic worshiping, mass murdering fiend of all time, then there really is no Eternal Security. Eternal Security by design must excuse the vilest sinner that even now rejects and curses Jesus Christ, or it is limited, ineffectual, and thereby no Eternal Security at all! The issue at hand is that if there are limits to sin in the mind of the Eternal Securist concerning whether someone is really saved, then exactly where is the line when someone becomes “unsaved”… or conveniently and retroactively declared to be “never saved in the first place?” While denying that they draw a line, they stand in judgment of other people’s salvation by the line they draw in their own heads. The irony of the Eternal Security advocate is that this line of unacceptability never includes them! If they become a homosexual pedophile, they will claim that they are yet “Eternally Secure,” but set that line of “never really saved” on those they believe are worse than them… like those horrible Legalistic Believers who say that we must shun sin, and don’t believe in Eternal Security! “Oh those lost Legalists! Always harping that sin still separates! Claiming that God says that the wages of sin is still death! The audacity of refusing to believe God’s Eternal Security! Can you believe that they say that David was lost in his sin and was only “a man after God’s own heart” in his repentance?… How dare they!”
I BELIEVE IN ETERNAL SECURITY…
OF THE BELIEVER
Then there is the pseudo-Eternal Securist. These are the people that don’t believe in the standard concept of Eternal Security, but in order to find acceptance from others, or to gain more membership in their Churches, claim emphatically that “We believe in the Eternal Security of the Believer!” Yet what they really mean is, one is onlysecure as long as they are presently believing. Now, I don’t disagree with the idea that one must have an up to date faith, a present tense belief in order to be saved; that is Biblical! But what I object to is the verbal deceptiveness some use to draw people into their Churches! Why lower your standards of honesty by stating a truth in a way that you know the receiver will predictably take in a different way than you mean, just to deceive them? Why not just tell them the truth? People who use this tactic know that what they say may be “technically correct,” yet they also know that the person asking what they believe is receiving the message that you agree with their traditional form of Eternal Security. This is nothing less than the Mormon cult tactic of using the same Evangelical language as Christianity, making you believe that they are orthodox Christians, yet meaning something entirely different by their definitions of those words. They can “sound” orthodox while maintaining their heretical views at the same time. My appeal to those that do this is to stop doing it! We don’t need to use the tactics of the cults and politicians to promote Christian truth. If you are ashamed of your doctrine, just become a true Eternal Securist!
Eternal Security is not Biblical, and we do not need to treat it with such respect as to compromise with it in any way to tickle people’s ears! To deceive people by using the idea of Eternal Security as a focal-point, is by implication an admission that it is an essential doctrine, when it is no Biblical doctrine at all! I wish that people would give God’s Word as much credit as they do man’s doctrine! What a refreshing change that would be! Tell them the truth, that Eternal Security is not the Gospel! You do them no favors by leaving them with the slightest impression that it has any relation whatsoever to their salvation.
THERE IS NO RELATIONSHIP OF THE HEATHEN DOCTRINE OF ETERNAL SECURITY TO SCRIPTURAL SALVATION
I have never met an Eternal Securist who was not either inconsistent in their application of their own doctrine, or that through an effort of rigid consistency, did not fall into endorsing rank antinomianism, or end up distorting the true Gospel of God in the process of asserting their doctrine. This is what happens when someone adds something foreign to the Scriptures, even to the extent of contorting the Gospel, which inevitably affects the Scriptural idea of salvation.
For me, since I know that Eternal Security has no hope of Scriptural proof, I emphatically declare that it cannot be the Gospel! In observing the facts of Church history, we have proof that Eternal Security has its roots firmly in heathen origins, and we know that for such a claim that it is a “key” Gospel doctrine, it has an embarrassing and astonishingly late entrance onto the scene of Christianity. Because of this, I do not see it as possibly having any bearing or connection to the Gospel, or Christianity whatsoever. For me, reaching people who are encouraged by this false doctrine to remain unrepentant of their sin, compels me to try to rescue them from that heresy they conveniently use for an excuse. I see my actions in opposing Eternal Security to be reaching people for Christ, not engaging in some idle scrap with other Christians over something that does not matter! Because I see the danger that is inherent to this doctrine, I will not play games with it or seek the acceptance of people by soft-peddling it with pleasant ambiguities, or evading the truth. I will follow Christ, who tells us to seek and save the lost. To this, I would add my personal mission to do all I can to preemptively prevent the devil’s greatest masterpiece (Eternal Security) from claiming yet another victim!
Now I freely admit that I wrote this article with the overriding assumption that Eternal Security is not true, and that it is a heathen doctrine that is not worthy of a Christians consideration. I have written extensively on the subject of Eternal Security in other places, and to make another detailed refutation here would be redundant. For those that have not examined the doctrine to see if is true, I offer you the complete web page here.