Perseverance of the saints maintains that none who are truly saved can be condemned for their sins or finally fall away from the faith. In Theology, salvation can mean three related things being saved from or Liberation from something such as Suffering or the punishment of Sin is a term used mainly in a religious context to describe an act that violates a moral Rule, or the state of having committed such a violation The doctrine appears in two different forms: (1) the traditional Calvinist doctrine found in the Reformed Christian confessions of faith, and (2) the non-traditional doctrine found in some Baptist and other evangelical churches. Calvinism (sometimes called the Reformed tradition, the Reformed faith, or Reformed theology) is a theological system and an approach to the Reformed Christian confessions of faith are documents of the faith of various Reformed churches. Baptist is a term describing individuals belonging to a Baptist church or a Baptist denomination. Evangelicalism is a theological movement tradition and system of beliefs most closely associated with Protestant Christianity, which identifies with the Gospel In a sense, both can describe Christian believers as "once saved, always saved", but the two forms attach a different meaning to the word saved — namely, whether or not it necessarily involves sanctification, the process of becoming holy by rejecting sin and obeying God's commands. The word sanctification (see -ification) refers to the act or Process Sin is a term used mainly in a religious context to describe an act that violates a moral Rule, or the state of having committed such a violation Because of this difference, traditional Calvinist Christians tend to prefer the historical term "perseverance of the saints", which is one of the five points of Calvinism, and advocates of the non-traditional doctrine usually prefer the less technical terms "eternal security", "unconditional assurance", and "once saved, always saved" to characterize their teaching. Calvinism (sometimes called the Reformed tradition, the Reformed faith, or Reformed theology) is a theological system and an approach to the
The two views are similar and often confused, and though they reach the same end (namely, eternal security in salvation), they reach it by different paths. Non-traditionalists seek to moderate the perceived harshness of Calvinism as it is found in the Reformed confessions and to emphasize that salvation is not conditioned on performing good works. Traditional Calvinists maintain that the non-traditional doctrine ignores certain key Bible passages and would be rejected by Calvin and the Reformed churches, which have both firmly advocated the necessity of good works and with which non-traditionalists seek to align themselves historically to some degree. Etymology According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word bible is from Latin biblia, traced from the same word through Medieval Latin and Late Latin John Calvin (or Jean Calvin) (10 July 1509 – 27 May 1564 was a French Protestant theologian during the Protestant Reformation and The Reformed churches are a group of Christian Protestant Denominations formally characterized by a similar Calvinist system of doctrine historically Other Christians such as Catholics, Orthodox and Arminian Protestants reject both versions of the doctrine. Catholic is an Adjective derived from the Greek adjective '' / 'katholikos' meaning "whole" or "complete". Arminianism is a school of soteriological thought within Protestant Christianity based on the theological ideas of the Dutch Protestantism refers to the forms of Christian faith and practice that originated in the 16th century Protestant Reformation.
The Reformed tradition has consistently seen the doctrine of perseverance as a natural consequence to its general scheme of predestination in which God has chosen some men and women unto salvation and has cleared them of their guilty status by atoning for their sins through Jesus's sacrifice. Predestination (also linked with Foreknowledge) is a religious concept which involves the relationship between God and His creation Predestination (also linked with Foreknowledge) is a religious concept which involves the relationship between God and His creation The atonement is a doctrine found within both Christianity and Judaism. Jesus of Nazareth (7–2 BC / BCE —26–36 AD / CE) Sacrifice (from a Middle English verb meaning "to make sacred" from Old French, from Latin sacrificium: sacr, "sacred" According to these Calvinists, God has irresistibly drawn the elect to put their faith in himself for salvation by regenerating their hearts and convincing them of their need. Irresistible Grace (or efficacious grace) is a Doctrine in Christian theology particularly associated with Calvinism, which teaches that the Faith is a Belief in the trustworthiness of an Idea. Formal usage of the word "faith" is usually reserved for concepts of Religion, as in Therefore, they continue, since God has made satisfaction for the sins of the elect, they can no longer be condemned for them, and through the help of the Holy Spirit, they must necessarily persevere as Christians and in the end be saved. In mainstream Christianity, the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost is one of the three entities of the Holy Trinity which make up the single substance
Traditional Calvinists also believe that all who are born again and justified before God necessarily and inexorably proceed to sanctification. In Christian theology, justification is God 's act of declaring or making a sinner righteous before God The word sanctification (see -ification) refers to the act or Process Indeed, failure to proceed to sanctification in their view is evidence that the person in question was not truly saved to begin with. Proponents of this doctrine distinguish between an action and the consequences of an action, and suggest that after God has regenerated someone, the person's will cannot reverse its course. Will, or willpower is a philosophical concept that is defined in several different ways It is argued that God has changed that person in ways that are outside of his or her own ability to alter fundamentally, and he or she will therefore persevere in the faith.
On a practical level, Calvinists do not claim to know who is elect and who is not, and the only guide they have are the verbal testimony and good works (or "fruit") of each individual. Any who "fall away" (that is, do not persevere unto death) must not have been truly converted to begin with, though Calvinists don't claim to know with certainty who did and who did not persevere.
The non-traditional doctrine has been espoused by Charles Stanley, Norman Geisler, Zane C. Hodges, Bill Bright, and others. There have been several people called Charles Stanley: Charles H Norman L Geisler (born 1932 is a Christian Apologist and the co-founder of Southern Evangelical Seminary outside Charlotte North Carolina. Zane C Hodges (born in 1933 in Texas is an American Christian pastor and Bible scholar William R "Bill" Bright ( October 19, 1921 – July 19, 2003) was an American evangelist. This view, like the traditional Calvinist view, emphasizes that people are saved purely by an act of divine grace that does not depend at all on the deeds of the individual, and for that reason, advocates insist that nothing the person can do can affect his or her salvation. In Christianity, divine Grace refers to the sovereign favour of God for humankind — especially in regard to Salvation — irrespective of actions The non-traditional doctrine views the person's character and life after receiving the gift of salvation as independent from the gift itself, which is the main point of differentiation from the traditional view, or, in other words, it asserts that justification (that is, being declared righteous before God on account of Christ) does not necessarily result in sanctification (that is, a progressively more righteous life).
The doctrine sees the work of salvation as wholly monergistic, which is to say that God alone performs it and man has no part in the process beyond receiving it, and therefore, proponents argue that man cannot undo what they believe God has done. By comparison, in traditional Calvinism, people, who are otherwise unable to follow God, are enabled by regeneration to cooperate with him, and so the traditionalists see themselves as mediating between the total monergism of the non-traditional view and the synergism of the Wesleyan, Arminian, and Roman Catholic views in which even unregenerate man can choose to cooperate with God in salvation. Methodism is a movement within Protestant Christianity represented by a number of denominations and organizations
The traditional doctrine teaches that a person is secure in salvation because he or she was predestined by God, whereas in the non-traditional view, a person is secure because he or she has believed the Gospel message (Dave Hunt, What Love is This, p. 481).
Proponents of the non-traditional view sometimes label themselves as moderate Calvinists, by which they usually mean they drop at least one of the five points of Calvinism (most often, the third and most controversial point of limited atonement) and make some other modifications to the Calvinistic system. Calvinism (sometimes called the Reformed tradition, the Reformed faith, or Reformed theology) is a theological system and an approach to the Limited atonement (or definite atonement or particular redemption) is a Doctrine in Christian theology which is particularly associated with In this context, the modification they advocate is that a person's status before God does not necessarily influence his or her life, a belief which is sometimes referred to as carnal Christianity.
Traditional Calvinism has uniformly asserted that "no man is a Christian who does not feel some special love for righteousness" (Institutes 3.6) and has rejected carnal Christianity as a form of antinomianism. Institutes of the Christian Religion is John Calvin 's seminal work on Protestant Systematic theology. For the term in politics describing socialist movements see Autonomism Antinomianism (from the Greek ἀντί, "against" Thus, these Calvinists claim that moderates deviate too widely from Calvin's own theology and the accepted Reformed tradition to rightly be called "Calvinists. " Arminianism has rejected the non-traditional Calvinist view for the opposite reason: namely, that the view denies the classical Arminian doctrine that true Christians can lose their salvation by denouncing their faith (see conditional preservation of the saints). The term Conditional Preservation of the Saints is used to describe the belief that a Christian's salvation can be lost
The traditional doctrine is one of the five points of Calvinism that were defined at the Synod of Dordrecht during the Quinquarticular Controversy with the Arminian Remonstrants, who objected to the general predestinarian scheme of Calvinism. Arminiusjpg|thumb|200px| Jacobus Arminius (1560-1609 who gave his name to Arminianism. Calvinism (sometimes called the Reformed tradition, the Reformed faith, or Reformed theology) is a theological system and an approach to the The Synod of Dort was a National Synod held in Dordrecht in 1618[[ 619|/19]] by the Dutch Reformed Church, in order to settle a serious controversy Arminiusjpg|thumb|200px| Jacobus Arminius (1560-1609 who gave his name to Arminianism. Arminianism is a school of soteriological thought within Protestant Christianity based on the theological ideas of the Dutch Remonstrants, the name given to those Dutch Protestants who after the death of Arminius, maintained the views associated with his name and in 1610 presented to the Wesleyanism agrees with Arminianism that true Christians can fall away, but they disagree over whether or not such fallen Christians can return again to salvation (Wesleyans believe they can, and Arminians deny that they can).
The traditional doctrine of perseverance is articulated in the Canons of Dordrecht (chapter 5), the Westminster Confession of Faith (Chapter XVII), the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith (Chapter 17), and may also be found in other Reformed Confessions. The Canons of Dort, or Canons of Dordrecht, formally titled The Decision of the Synod of Dort on the Five Main Points of Doctrine in Dispute in the The Westminster Confession of Faith is a Reformed Confession of faith, in the Calvinist theological tradition Nonetheless, the doctrine is most often mentioned in connection with other salvific schemes and is not a major locus of Reformed systematic theology (for instance, it does not even get a subheading in the three volume Systematic Theology by Hodge). Systematic theology is a discipline of Christian theology that attempts to formulate an orderly rational and coherent account of the Christian faith and beliefs It is, however, seen by many as the necessary consequence of Calvinism and of trusting in the promises of God.
Traditional Calvinism voiced its opposition to carnal Christianity and the non-traditional doctrine in the recent controversy over "Lordship salvation". Lordship Salvation is a teaching in Christian theology that maintains good works are a necessary consequence of being declared righteous before God.
In addition to fitting neatly in the over-arching Calvinist soteriology, traditionalists and non-traditionalists alike find specific support for the doctrine in various passages from the Bible (all quotations are from the ESV):
Some Calvinists admit that their interpretation is not without difficulties. One apparent consequence is that not all who "have shared in the Holy Spirit" (Acts 10:44-48) are necessarily regenerate. The Acts of the Apostles is a book of the Bible, which now stands fifth in the New Testament. This is a consequence Calvinists are willing to accept since the Bible also says that King Saul had the "Spirit of God" in some sense and even prophesied by it (1 Samuel 19:23-24; 11:6; etc. Saul (שאול המלך (or Sha'ul) ( Arabic: طالوت,Tālūt ( (reigned 1047 - 1007 BCE is identified in the Books of Samuel, 1 Chronicles Prophecy, generally describes the disclosing of Information that is not known to the Prophet by any ordinary means The Books of Samuel ( Hebrew: Sefer Sh'muel ספר שמואל are part of the Tanakh (part of Judaism 's Hebrew Bible) and also of ) but was not a follower of God. Calvin says, "God indeed favors none but the elect alone with the Spirit of regeneration, and that by this they are distinguished from the reprobate. . . . But I cannot admit that all this is any reason why he should not grant the reprobate also some taste of his grace, why he should not irradiate their minds with some sparks of his light, why he should not give them some perception of his goodness, and in some sort engrave his word on their hearts" (Commentary on Hebrews 6:4).
Some challenge the Calvinist doctrine based on their interpretation of the admonishments in the book of Hebrews, including Hebrews 2:1-4; 3:6,12-14; 4:12-13; 12:25-29, but especially Hebrews 6:4-12 and 10:26-39. The former passage says of those "who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come" that, when they "fall away," they cannot be "restored to repentance. " The latter passage says that if one continues in sin, "no sacrifice for sins" remains for that person but "only a fearful expectation of judgment" (vv. 26b-27a). The author of Hebrews predicts grave punishment for one who has "has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace" (v. 29).
The debate over these passages centers around the identity of the persons in question, and while opponents of perseverance identify the persons as Christian believers, Calvinists suggest several other options:
Some other passages put forth against the Calvinist doctrine include:
In general, proponents of the doctrine of perseverance interpret such passages, which that encourage the church community to persevere in the faith but seem to indicate that some members of the community might fall away, as hortatory rather than objective in character. That is, they view the prophets and apostles as writing "from the human perspective," in which the members of the elect are unknowable and all should "work out [their] own salvation" (Philippians 2:12) and "make [their] calling and election sure" (2 Peter 1:10), rather than "from the divine perspective," in which those who will persevere, according to Calvinism, are well known. The Twelve Apostles (Greek apostolos, "someone sent out" e The primary objection to this approach is that it might equally be said that these difficult passages bear the objective meaning while the passages urged to support this doctrine of perseverance are hortatory in a positive sense, revealing God's perpetual grace towards believers.
The primary objection lodged against the doctrine is that such teaching will lead to license. That is, objectors contend that if people know they can never lose their salvation they will feel free to sin without fear of eternal consequences.
Traditional Calvinists contend that this charge is justly leveled against the non-tradition doctrine, which doesn't see sanctification as a necessary component of salvation, and in the controversy over Lordship salvation, traditional Calvinists argued against the proponents of the non-traditional doctrine. Lordship Salvation is a teaching in Christian theology that maintains good works are a necessary consequence of being declared righteous before God. Traditional Calvinists, and many other non-Calvinist evangelicals, posit that a truly converted heart will necessarily follow after God and live in accordance with his precepts, though perfection is not achievable, struggles with sin will continue, and some temporary "backsliding" may occur.
The central tenet of the Arminian view is that believers are preserved from all external forces that might attempt to separate them from God, and further that God will not change His mind about their salvation, but that these same believers can themselves willingly repudiate their faith (either by a statement to that effect, or by continued sinful activity combined with an unwillingness to repent). The term Conditional Preservation of the Saints is used to describe the belief that a Christian's salvation can be lost Thus, their salvation is conditional on remaining faithful.
Traditional Calvinists do not dispute that salvation requires faithfulness, and the point of difference between these Calvinists and Arminians is over whether God allows true Christians to fall away. Non-traditional Calvinists agree with traditional Calvinists that salvation cannot be lost but with the Arminians that true Christians can backslide or fall away. However, the non-traditional Calvinists and the Arminians do not define repudiation in the same way: the former sees backslidden believers as merely "carnal," hindering their sanctification process, whereas the latter sees them as having fallen from the saving grace they once possessed.
Calvinists, in common with most other Protestant groups, rely on sola scriptura, a doctrine which sees the authority of tradition as derivative and secondary, rather than on par, with that of the Bible, whereas the Roman Catholic interpretation of the Bible rests on the teaching of the Magisterium. Protestantism refers to the forms of Christian faith and practice that originated in the 16th century Protestant Reformation. Sola scriptura ( Latin ablative, "by scripture alone" is the assertion that the Bible as God's written word is self-authenticating Etymology According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word bible is from Latin biblia, traced from the same word through Medieval Latin and Late Latin Magisterium is a "teaching authority especially of the Roman Catholic Church" Thus, Catholics often argue against the doctrine of perseverance because it seems to originate outside the received tradition of the Church. During the Counter-Reformation, Jansenist Catholics put forth an alternate understanding of the accepted tradition and especially of St. Augustine's doctrines of original sin and predestination, but the Jansenist interpretation of the scriptures and tradition, which naturally results in a doctrine of perseverance similar to the Calvinist's, was ultimately rejected by the Church. The Counter-Reformation (also Catholic Reformation denotes the period of Catholic revival from the pontificate of Pope Pius IV in 1560 to the close of the Jansenism was a branch of Catholic Gallican thought which arose in the frame of the Counter-Reformation and the aftermath of the Council of Trent Original sin is according to a doctrine in Catholic theology, humanity's state of Sin resulting from the Fall of Man. Predestination (also linked with Foreknowledge) is a religious concept which involves the relationship between God and His creation
The twenty-second Canon of the Decree Concerning Justification of the Council of Trent (Sixth Session, 13 January 1547) has this to say regarding perseverance: "If anyone says that the one justified either can without the special help of God persevere in the justice received, or that with that help he cannot, let him be anathema. The Council of Trent was the 19th Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church. Events 532 - Nika riots in Constantinople. 888 - Odo Count of Paris becomes King of the Franks " The Catholic Encyclopedia describes the doctrine as synergistic (rather than monergistic): "[T]he power of perseverance is neither in the human will alone nor in God's grace solely, but in the combination of both, i. The Catholic Encyclopedia, also referred to today as the Old Catholic Encyclopedia, is an English-language Encyclopedia published by The Encyclopedia e. , Divine grace aiding human will, and human will co-operating with Divine grace. "
The Catholic view differs from that of the Calvinists less than it may first appear, for Calvinists claim that they do not reduce man to a volitionless puppet and can thus agree that, after regeneration, divine grace aids human will and human will cooperates with that grace (compare Phil. 2:12b-13). The point of distinction is in whether God permits men to "fall away. " Roman Catholics affirm that they can, and Calvinists, as described above, deny that they can if they are truly regenerate because, it is claimed, God keeps them from it.
Like both Calvinist camps, confessional Lutherans view the work of salvation as monergistic in that "the natural [that is, corrupted and divinely unrenewed] powers of man cannot do anything or help towards salvation" (Formula of Concord: Solid Declaration, art. ii, par. 71), and Lutherans go further along the same lines as the non-traditional Calvinists to say that the recipient of saving grace need not cooperate with it. Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the teachings of the sixteenth-century German reformer Martin Luther Monergism is the name for the belief held by some in Christian theology that through the preaching of the word the Holy Spirit alone can act to effectually bring about Formula of Concord ( 1577) ( Latin: Formula concordiae, " Harmony Concord " also the " Bergic Book " is an authoritative Hence, Lutherans believe that a true Christian (that is, a genuine recipient of saving grace) can lose his or her salvation, "[b]ut the cause is not as though God were unwilling to grant grace for perseverance to those in whom He has begun the good work. . . [but that these persons] wilfully turn away. . . " (Formula of Concord: Solid Declaration, art. xi, par. 42).