The Instigator
GOP
Pro (for)
Winning
8 Points
The Contender
gordonjames
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points

A Christian Cannot Lose His Salvation

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Post Voting Period
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after 4 votes the winner is...
GOP
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/4/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,843 times Debate No: 36340
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (28)
Votes (4)

 

GOP

Pro

Greetings, everyone. I pray and hope that we will be having a wonderful debate.

I will be arguing for the doctrine of Eternal Security (once saved, forever saved). Con, on the other hand, will be arguing that salvation can be lost.

Rules:

1. You must be a professing Christian.
2. No trolling or profanity.
3. I have made this debate impossible to accept. If you wish to debate this topic, then add a comment. If you find a way to accept this, then you lose the entire debate.
4. The first round is for acceptance.
5. Your arguments must be based on the Protestant Canon. The Protestant Canon includes 66 books (1). This means that you cannot bring up anything along the lines of the Apocrypha or the Book of Mormon.

Without further ado, let us cheefully begin this debate. Have fun!

Sources:

1. http://carm.org...
gordonjames

Con

Hello friend.

I look forward to the debate, I'll start in round 2 after you give your opening points.

This is a little bit of a devils advocate position for me.

Here is what I believe

1. In as much as it depends on the finished work of Jesus on the cross, I am safe. [1]

2. In as much as it depends on the choice and calling of God, I am safe [2]

3. If it in any way depends on my choice or my works, I have reason to pray for grace.

4. Grace is good [4]

[1] Heb 9:24-28

24 For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, 28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.

[2] 2 Tim 1:8-10 NASB

8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, 10 but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,

[3] - saved for the debate

[4] Eph 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Debate Round No. 1
GOP

Pro

I would like to thank gordonjames for accepting this debate. I would like the viewers to note that he broke rule #3. However, please do not penalize him for it. We have agreed to continue the debate anyway.

Opening arguments

Firstly, John 10:27-28 says, "27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." The word "never" means not now, or in the time to come (1). If that is the case, then we can safely say that salvation cannot be lost. If the verse said something along the lines of "they shall never perish if they remain faithful", then the opposing view could have been substantiated. However, "There is only the clear declaration that they shall never perish" (2).

Secondly, 1 John 2:19 tells us, "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us." To substantiate my point more, let us cross-reference this point with what some of the verses from John 10:

Here, John 10:1 says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber." Moreover, John 10:4-5 explains, "
4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. 5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers." Furthermore, On John 10:9, Jesus says, "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." From these Scriptural connections, we can see that such people were never saved in the first place. People can appear to be Christian and be in the sheepfold, but then we notice that they did not enter the pen properly. As already indicated by Jesus, the proper way to belong to the sheepfold is not by climbing up, but it is by going through the door. Additionally, it must also be noted that as they were not saved (since they did not enter the door), it must come to mind that they would not follow Jesus' voice like His sheep do (after all, they are strangers). We must notice that verse 5 says that a stranger "will flee from him", which is similar to what 1 John 2:19 said. Once again, the aforementioned verse tells us, "They went out from us, but they were not of us;" This is similar to John 10:5, which, again, says that a stranger will flee from Him. Of course, we must still keep in mind that strangers cannot belong to the metaphorical sheepfold, because, well, they are strangers. Simply put, "Our eternal security is a result of God keeping us, not us maintaining our own salvation" (3).

Thirdly, it is written that God cannot lie (see Titus 1:2). Hebrews 13:5 says, "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." So, if one believes that it is possible to lose his salvation, then he would make God a liar. As we can see here, one is either saved permanently or not saved at all. For example, the founder of GodAndScience.org says that he contacted unbelievers claiming to be former Christians. Upon making more inquiries of their claims, he found out that they never understood what faith meant (4). In turn, this leaves us room to corroborate the argument that people who "used to be Christian" were never saved in the first place. If they were saved for a while, then how would that be in harmony with Hebrews 13:5? Did God say, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee if you remain faithful"? The correct explanation would be that the Lord was never with them, which does not contradict the verse.

Fourthly, I would like to say that faith is from God, not man.
Ephesians 2:8 (one of the verses that my opponent brought up) says, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:" If it were possible for one to lose his salvation, then one would be saying that faith is from man. However, this is not in agreement with what Ephesians said. If one is saved through faith (which, again, belongs to God) then how does he lose his salvation? We can also cross-reference this with what Jesus said concerning His sheep. Since it has already been established that it is Jesus who takes care of the sheep, we can logically conclude that Ephesians 2:8 talked about believers being taken care of by God. A famous pastor named Curtis Hutson described this with the analogy of peach preserves. Here is what he wrote:

"
The other morning I opened a jar of peach preserves. I don't know how long those peaches have been in that jar. But the jar had been sealed some time ago, and the peaches were preserved. When I took out the preserves and ate them with a good hot biscuit, they were as good as they were the day they were placed in the jar.

But wait a minute! The peaches had nothing to do with it. They were not fresh and good because they had persevered. They were good and fresh because they had been preserved.

The Bible makes it plain that the believer is kept. He does not keep himself" (5). 1 Peter 1:4-5 states:

"
4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." So, I would like to ask you, Con, is the keeping of salvation dependent on man's ability? If that was the case, then the doctrine you are arguing for could have been in harmony with the Scriptures. Then again, the Bible verses say that it is God who keeps the believer, not the believer himself.

Lastly, I would like to mention Romans 8:38-39, which says, "38
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." So, what Paul basically wrote here is that nothing can separate a believer from God's love. Since he literally meant nothing, it is safe to conclude that not even sins can cause the believer to lose his salvation. Those that appear to be Christian (but never were saved to begin with) are out of the equation here. Why? Well, they are already separated in the first place. After all, Jesus described them as "strangers", correct? In the process, He admitted that He does not know them, no?

Conclusion

Once again, I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate. I believe that I have made my points with thorough explanations. In order to not make any straw-man arguments, I will avoid talking about any potential objections that Con may have until next round.

References


1. http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
2. http://carm.org...
3. http://www.gotquestions.org...
4. http://www.godandscience.org...
5. http://www.jesus-is-savior.com...

Note: All Bible verses are from the KJV.









gordonjames

Con

Thanks again to PRO for the great topic.
I look forward to a great debate.

I want to present a framework for my arguments and then move on to a point by point response to PRO’s points from round 2.

1. Lets define some terms.

Christian - one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ [1]

Lose - 1a : to bring to destruction [2]
4b : to fail to keep control of or allegiance of

Salvation - 1a : deliverance from the power and effects of sin [3]
2. Here are some situations that challenge PRO’s position.
A) - A person professes belief and faith in Jesus but later claims to have changed.
An example is Charles Templeton who was an evangelist and friend of Billy Graham [4][5]
B) - A person who makes a profession of faith but commits terrible actions.
I can not verify the accuracy, but the volume of incidents indicates that this happens [6]
3. Some scriptures for PRO to consider.

Blotting names out of God’s book
A) - Moses speaks of God removing names from His book - Exodus 32:32 - But now, if You will, forgive their sin—and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!”
B) - God speaks of blotting names out of His book. - Exodus 32:33 - The Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.
C) - David speaks of this “blotting out from God’s book of life” for his advisories in psalm 69:27-28 - And may they not come into Your righteousness. 28 May they be blotted out of the book of life And may they not be recorded with the righteous.

God’s character as seen through Ezekiel
D) - God tells Ezekiel that he is a watchman for the house of Israel. Ezekiel learns that if a righteous man turns from righteousness, he will die in his sin and his righteous deeds will not be remembered.
Ezekiel 3:20-21
20 Again, when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I place an obstacle before him, he will die; since you have not warned him, he shall die in his sin, and his righteous deeds which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. 21 However, if you have warned the righteous man that the righteous should not sin and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; and you have delivered yourself.”

E) - Check out Ezekiel 18:24-26

Jesus’ words of warning
F) - Matthew 7:21-23
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

G) - Letters to churches in Revelation
Rev 2:3-5 -
Rev 2:10
Rev 2:25-26
Rev 3:2-3
Rev 3:11-12
Rev 3:15-16

Warnings about actions in the parables
H) Matthew 18:32-35

Pro will have to explain all these scriptures for his position to be considered.

4. My position
A) We do not need to be afraid of making a mistake and losing salvation by some accident.
B) God does remove our freedom to choose because we once decided to follow Jesus.
C) Like the prodigal son, God is always willing to take us back.


Let me respond to PRO’s round 2

1. John 10:27-28 - This is a classic case of quoting verses out of context.
The bigger picture of John 10:22-39 is that religious people are asking “If You are the Christ, tell us plainly” - to this Jesus says “ you do not believe because you are not of My sheep.” Then Jesus clarifies that salvation includes following Jesus. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.”
There are two important points here.
True sheep keep on following Jesus
Safety is from outside attack, not from turning away or falling away or abandoning Christ.

2. PRO’s point 2 was a little hard to follow.
In quoting “they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us” reminds me of those hard situations where people are told “they were probably never really saved”
I agree with PRO in saying “Our eternal security is a result of God keeping us, not us maintaining our own salvation.” - This is not the same as saying “A Christian Cannot Lose His Salvation.”

3. PRO states “ if one believes that it is possible to lose his salvation, then . . . ”
I’m not sure how to respond to this characterization of either God or an opponent.

Pro quotes “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” This does not directly apply to this debate. The challenge to the ideal “A Christian Cannot Lose His Salvation” is not that God will drop them by accident, but that they will reject Jesus or abandon being His disciple.

4. PRO rightly states that faith is a gift of God.
My contention is that some people reject salvation. The Christian way is too hard for them. They did not count the cost and then give up on Jesus.
Look at Hebrews 12:14-17 - 17 For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.

Hebrews warns of falling away. Look at Hebrews 2:1-3 - 1 For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. . . . how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?

PRO closes with 1 Peter 1.
I would like to respond with God’s words through Peter in 2 Peter 2:17-21
for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. 20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them.
Here Peter says “it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away ”


I don’t want people to live in fear of losing their salvation as though it happens easily or accidentally.
I want people to know God’s character, that he is always ready to forgive and welcome us back.

God allows us choice, and the sad fact is that some turn away from following Jesus. If they persist in this rebellion then the warning of Hebrews 10:26-31 is for them - “26 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries.

God allows us great freedom, here are bad things we can do
1. Fall from grace - Gal. 5:1-4,13
2. Be led away with error - 2 Pet. 3:17
3. Err from the truth - James 5:19-20
4. Weak brother may perish - 1 Cor. 8:11
5. Fall into condemnation - James 5:12
6. Be moved away from the hope - Col. 1:21-23
7. Deny the Lord who bought them - 2 Pet. 2:1
8. Depart from the living God - Heb. 3:12
9. Can be a castaway - 1 Cor. 9:27
10. Can become accursed children - 2 Pet. 2:14



[1] http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[2] http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[3] http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[5] http://www.reclaimingthemind.org...
[6] http://notachristian.org...
Debate Round No. 2
GOP

Pro

I would like to thank gordonjames for his reply.

The Situations

Firstly did Charles Templeton believe in any of the essential doctrines (1)? If he denied even one of them, then he was not saved to begin with. However, there is no proof that Charles believed in any of the said doctrines, so I ask Con to substantiate that example in the next round. It must also be considered that people who make a profession of faith can still commit terrible actions, whether they believe in all the essential doctrines or not. We must keep in mind that a profession can either be false or true. For false professions, we can refer to the case of Roman Catholics (they, as a whole, believe in faith and works for salvation, so they are outside the Christian faith [2]). (Keep in mind Con's sixth source contains many cases which revolve around Roman Catholic authorities). Now, those who truly profess faith in Jesus can also commit terrible actions (such as Saul, David, Peter and Paul).

"Some scriptures for PRO to consider"

It must be noted that the said instances of "blotting out" were references to physical life (the book of life in this case was the record of the living), as opposed to an eternal one (3). Pro erroneously makes a mistake by referring to Psalm 69. If Con says that the book was a reference to eternal life, then he would be incorrectly assuming that David's enemies were believers. To support this even further, David wrote, "let them not come into thy righteousness." If their names were written in the Lamb's book of life, then they would have already come into His righteousness. Likewise, those verses from Exodus also refer to physical life being taken away. God refused when Moses asked for his life to be taken away; God did promise to take the lives of those who sinned against Him (see Exod. 32:30-35, Deut. 2:14-16) [4]. Since it has been established that these refer to physical life, then I would like to ask Con why he thinks Ezekiel 3:20-21 refers to eternal death. In fact, the word for saved in these verses actually means things along the lines of "delivered", "snatched away", and "rescued" (5). I would also like to say that Ezekiel 18:24-26 refers to death in the physical sense as well for iniquities. Moreover, it must come to mind that cases of God taking away lives for sins are mentioned in the New Testament, such as the death of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-10 and the man unrepentantly having sexual relations with his father's wife (1 Cor. 5:1-5). (This furthers my "physical death" point.) Moving on, Con brings up Matthew 7:21-23. This, however, helps my case instead of Con's, because Jesus said "I never knew you". Here, Jesus made the clear implication that such people were never saved to begin with, because, well, He did not know them at any point.

-As for Rev. 2:3-5, this is connected to the case of the aforementioned man who had relations with his mother. He did not repent, and as a result, the Lord took his life away.
-For verse 10, notice how it says, "Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer:" The Lord tells us not to be afraid of anything that we are going to suffer, and that includes the maintaining of salvation. However, if one were able to lose his salvation, then that opens up the tendency for fear. However, that would not be consistent with the Lord's message about not fearing. If someone is once saved and forever saved, then that person literally has nothing to fear.
- Rev. 2:25-26, 3:2-3, 3:11-12 are in harmony with Ephesians 4:30, which says that "ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." Considering this, we know that the person does all these overcoming, repenting and keeping of the other mighty works because he is sealed unto the day of redemption. If we are sealed unto the day of redemption, then that means we are forever saved. If that is not true, then would we really be sealed unto the said day?
Furthermore, Rev 3:15-16 must be talking about those who never were saved to begin with. One is either saved, or not saved. These verses talk about the middle ground, or the "lukewarm" position, which, again, is unbelief in essence (because, again, one is either saved or not saved). Additionally, Con brings up warning about actions from Matthew 18:32-35, but this is non-sequitur. If the verses talked about the loss of salvation, then this could not have been non-sequitur. Unfortunately, these verses are about having compassion upon others. Therefore, I ask Con to elaborate on this for the next round.

Refuting Refutations

1. Con says, "Safety is from outside attack, not from turning away or falling away or abandoning Christ." If that was the case, then he misses the part where Jesus said, "no one will snatch them out of My hand." Here, "no one" means not even we could snatch ourselves out of His hand (6). So, the only conclusion left behind here is that people are either never saved to begin with, or were saved at one point and will be that way forever.

2. As previously established, the point is that if God is the one keeping us, then we would not even be able to take ourselves out of His hand. However, the doctrine that you're arguing for makes the implication that one maintains his own salvation (7). After all, he is the one striving to remain in the faith with his own efforts, right? (This is given that the Eternal Security doctrine says that not even the believers could take themselves out of His hand. The doctrine you are arguing for implies that the believer could do the aforementioned action. The believer, therefore, would be striving to stay in the faith and not become an unbeliever.) Simply put, the point is that the believer has an option to abandon Christ. Of course, it is not the SAME as saying that (please do notice that I never said it was the same), but we must notice that points like these are furthering the evidence that salvation cannot be lost (so that the doctrine you are arguing for could be negated).

3. The idea here is that the believer would not be snatched out of His hand, and that He is SEALED unto the day of redemption. What Con must see here is that the believer cannot even leave the Lord's hand, LET ALONE be forsaken or left behind by the Lord.

4. Now, Con makes the presumption that Esau was saved. However, in order to for Con's position to be supported, he must argue that Esau was saved to begin with. How do you know this?

We must also notice that Con arbitrarily presumed that the "drifting away" was a reference to drifting away from faith. This is talking about drifting away from the Truth despite the knowledge. Having knowledge or "enlightenment" is not always the same as being saved (8). The same book reveals how people were fallen away in chapter 6, which in turn supports my interpretation of Hebrews 2. One can go to church and get a lot of knowledge, and witness the Holy Spirit's work in believers. Yet, despite the knowledge, one can reject. So, this is not the same as losing one's salvation (9).

Remember that the same argument about "knowledge" applies to 2 Peter 2:17-21, too. I have provided an explanation for Hebrews 10:26-31 above as well.

Conclusion

I am waiting for my opponent to post his next argument. I pray that we will both learn something through these exchanges of words. God bless.

References

1. http://carm.org...
2. http://carm.org...
3. http://books.google.com...
4. Ibid.
5. https://bible.org...
6. http://www.learnthebible.org...
7. http://carm.org...
8. http://carm.org...
9. Ibid.

gordonjames

Con

1. Although PRO did not formally challenge my definition of Christian from Round 2, his question in round 3 shows that he does not accept the definition in Webster’s Online Dictionary- Christian - one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ. [1]

PRO’s first question essentially asks “was Charles Templeton a Christian?”
1) He professed to be a Christian. (Meeting the dictionary definition)
2) His life and words gave every evidence of solid faith. (Meeting a more strict definition)
3) He was active and effective in evangelism. [2]
As much as we can know, Templeton was saved.
If you push your view of eternal security too far - believers will have a different worry.
They will have to worry if they were really saved in the first place.


2. Pro says “‘blotting out’ were references to physical life ”. This is often a position of people who have first decided to affirm the “once saved - always saved” position and then (without good evidence) claim it is refers to physical life. Not only is this a minority position among Christians worldwide, but it is also a minority position among scholars. [3]


3. Pro claims “-As for Rev. 2:3-5, this is connected to the case of the aforementioned man who had relations with his mother. He did not repent, and as a result, the Lord took his life away.”
- This is a hard position to defend, and not really part of the debate. Since the first incident happened in Corinth (1 Cor. 5:1-5) and Rev 2:3-5 is a letter from Jesus to the church at Ephesus.
- Most bible scholars believe that this incident is linked to 2 Cor 2:5-11. [4]

4. PRO states “Rev 3:15-16 must be talking about those who never were saved to begin with”
This is a bias that comes from your position. It becomes a circular argument.

If you define saved or Christian as “those who make it to the end” you have done two things.
1) You have redefined a word differently from the dictionary definition. This makes your thesis statement meaningless as we are not using the same language. This also makes the debate one of semantics rather than substance.
2) You have made the debate pointless by definition. You cannot redefine words to make your point.

Jesus’ letters to the churches warn the churches that deeds must follow faith. Jesus tells them “I know your deeds”. There are warnings and encouragements. Like in Rev 3:11-12 “hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 He who overcomes . . . “ where Jesus warns them to “hold fast”, and gives a conditional promise “He who overcomes”. Neither statement make sense if all who claim belief are eternally secure with no option of falling or turning away.

5. Let me elaborate on Mt 18 - This teaching begins with an exchange between Peter and Jesus.
“Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus *said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
23 “For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.

Jesus tells Peter that he must forgive others. The parable is of a wicked slave. forgiven much, who will not forgive others. The conclusion is that the master tells the wicked servant “33 Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’ 34 And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him.”

Handed over to the torturers” is a picture of hell. The wicked servant had been forgiven a huge debt, but would not forgive others. Jesus warns that “35 My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”

6. PRO states “One is either saved, or not saved.”
I disagree. There is a process (past, present and future aspects) of salvation. That is why scripture talks about “being saved” as a past event, as a present process and as a future culmination of God’s work.[5] See Romans 13:11 (KJ21) “that now it is high time to awaken out of sleep; for now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed.


Pro states “Here, "no one" means not even we could snatch ourselves out of His hand”
- this is a bold assertion. It does not make sense. It is unsubstantiated.

Pro states “the doctrine that you're arguing for makes the implication that one maintains his own salvation”
- Not so. I am saying that God does not take away our freedom of choice. Look at 2 Peter 2
“even denying the Master who bought them” in v1 gives the impression that they once belonged to Jesus.
The focus of the chapter is about those “forsaking the right way, they have gone astray” v15
Look at v 20-21 “ For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them.” - This is clearly about people who escaped defilement by knowledge of Jesus but then turn away.

PRO claims I am arguing doctrine I am simply exploring scripture. See Hebrews 10:26-27 “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries.”
Scripture tells that willful sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth has terrible consequences of “judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries.”


PRO opposes that "drifting away" was a reference to drifting away from faith.”
- Hebrews 2 tells us to pay attention “so that we do not drift away.” and then warns “how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?It is clearly talking about salvation and the message of Jesus.


In 1 Timothy 4 “the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons” in verse 1. See the conditional promise “ Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.”

Jesus teaches about falling away in Luke 8. Not how he says some believe and then fall away (v 13), and that others bring no fruit to maturity (v 14)
“13 Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away.”

Although I am Baptist, I find the following a good source. [6], [7]


[1] http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://www.bbc.edu...
[4] http://www.biblegateway.com...
- click on “show resources” and RSB 1 Cor 5:3–5
[5] http://www.ewtn.com...
[6] http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org...
[7] http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org...
Debate Round No. 3
GOP

Pro

1. Con would be right in saying that I do not accept the said definition. Are we supposed to take the dictionary definition for granted and disregard what the Bible says? (This is especially considering that we are talking in Scriptural terms.) Con implies that someone whoprofesses belief in Christ's teachings is automatically a Christian. If that's the case, then Con should read Matthew 15:8-9, which says, "8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." Here, we see the implication that these people profess belief in Jesus' teachings, but in actuality, they worship Him in vain. If Con uses the dictionary definition, then he would erroneously be categorizing these false believers as Christian. So, once again, we can see that a profession of faith does not always have to legitimate. Simply put, it is fine that my opponent brought up a dictionary definition, but he was supposed to think about its accuracy in terms of Scripture.

We must also notice that Con did not answer the question, "Did Charles Templeton believe in any of the essential doctrines?" He also said that Templeton's life and words gave every evidence of solid faith, and that he was active in evangelism. To this, I bring up 2 Corinthians 11:15, which says, "Therefore it is no great thing if his [Satan's] ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works." (I am not saying Templeton was unsaved; he could have been a mere backslider. I am just bringing up points that question his faith.) So far, its validity seems to be a bit empty, and the burden of proof for that still remains on Con. Going back to the point, Templeton could have been a spiritually blind man who led other spiritually blind people (Matthew 15:14). Here, we can see that Con's claim about his life and words do not mean much based on 2 Corinthians 11, nor does it mean much if he was active and effective WHILE BEING blind.

2. Now, Con did not actually refute the content of what I said about the "blotting out" part. He also makes an appeal to popularity, as well as an appeal to authority. So, I repeat, were David's enemies believers? If that was the case, then perhaps you could have been right.

3. This man was said to be a believer, though. Therefore, it can be safely presumed that he used to repent in his previous times. He then became unrepentant about his sexual relations with his father's wife. This can be cross-referenced with Rev. 2:5, which says, "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent." This can apply to that man, who was supposed to do the first works (like repenting). True, verse 4 talks about forsaking the love one had at first, but that's not the same as forsaking faith. For example, a believer can initially be very enthusiastic with fervent prayer. Then, he can get lazier and less enthusiastic (and in the worst case, eventually unrepentant). In this sense, he would be forsaking the love he had at first, but does this mean he abandoned the faith?

4. Con makes a straw-man argument here. He quotes only one part of what I said, changing the whole meaning of what I wrote. So, I will repeat the essential part here:
Is there a middle ground/a lukewarm position in an eternal sense? Is it possible for one to be not saved and to be not unsaved at the same time?

Indeed, I have redefined a word differently from the dictionary definition. Again, however, it must considered that the definition is not in harmony with what Scripture says (therefore justifying my redefinition and usage of semantics). If a Christian is someone who professes to believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ, then Con's argument is unfortunately pregnant with the incorrect notion that false apostles/deceitful workers disguising as apostles of Christ (see 2 Corinthians 11:13) are also Christian (since a profession can be either false or true [1]).

Rev 3:11-12

Verse 11 can be related to James 1:12, which says, "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him." It must be noted that God promises it to those who love Him. "The emphasis of the passage (James 1:1-12) is perseverance under trial. The main point of the verse is that the believer will be blessed by persevering under trial" (2). Plus, the Greek word for crown is a reference to rewards, not salvation (3). From James 1:12, we can also conclude that Rev. 3:12 talks about the perseverance, because the man who endures temptation would CERTAINLY get the crown of life when he is tried as James wrote (for the endurance has to do with overcoming).

5. Notice that Matthew 18:23 (KJV) says, "Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants." Since it is settling accounts with servants/believers, we know that they would only get judged for their rewards instead of salvation (4). Since that is the case, it is safe to say that the "handed over to the torturers" part must be the disciplining of believers for their sins (5). If this refers to salvation being lost, then how could such people be referred to as servants anymore?

6. In an earthly sense, there is a process of salvation. However, Con should have seen that I was talking about it in an eternal sense. If one dies and goes to heaven, then that means he believed in Jesus and got saved. If one goes to hell, then he did not believe in Him. There is nothing else here. If someone is about to be saved, but then dies, then he would go to hell (because he was ultimately unsaved).

Con needs to remember what "no one" means. No one means not anyone (6), and not anyone means not even us.

Peter denied Jesus three times at one point (see John 18:15-27). Did that make him an unbeliever? Moreover, we must think about the Prodigal Son (see Luke 15:11-31) if we are talking about those going astray. Considering this, the said "forsaking" does not prove that they lost their salvation. Con must prove that they lost their salvation to support his position on this. Furthermore, verses 20-21 talk about the knowledge. Knowledge of the Lord does not mean necessarily mean saved. Like I said previously, one can go to a godly church and listen to mighty sermons, read a lot of Scripture, witness the Holy Spirit's work in people, and still be entangled by the worldly defilements. So, it would have been better for them to not have known the right way instead of rejecting the information from church. Con still ignores the fact that my "knowledge" argument applies to Hebrews 10:26-27.

True, Hebrews 2 talks about salvation and His message. However, Con still fails to prove that it's about drifting away from faith. I repeat, the same book talks about knowledge. Considering this, we can still ask the same question, "How will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?" regarding those who were never saved in the first place.

Finally, I think 1 Timothy 4 and Luke 8 can be answered with Hebrews 6:4-6. Verse 4 says that people just tasted the heavenly gift, meaning that it is temporary faith (7). Since it is temporary, it must come as no surprise that they fall away from the "faith", or that they "believe" for a while, not bringing any fruit to maturity.

Conclusion

Once again, I would like to thank Con for accepting this debate. I want to thank him for debating with me until the end. Please vote fairly, everyone.

Sources:

1. http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
2. http://www.godandscience.org...
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid.
5. http://www.gotquestions.org...
6. http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
7. http://carm.org...
gordonjames

Con

As it is the last round I would like to state my position clearly.

1. We are saved by grace (God’s kindness that we don’t deserve)
Through faith (Complete trust or confidence)
This faith is a gift from God. [Eph 2:8]

NOTE - Belief in a set of precepts is not enough.
James 2:19 (NASB)
You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.

2. Discussions of eternal security often hit these common pitfalls including:

a) Defining salvation narrowly as those (known only to God) who make it to the end.
In this position, anyone who falls away is dismissed with the phrase “they were never really saved to begin with.” by the narrow definition of this position.
One (of many) problems with this position is that the definition is not biblical. It also leaves people wondering if they are really “saved to begin with.” This fear seems to be in exact contradiction of the supposed goal of this position (that believers know they are secure)

b) Defining salvation too broadly as everyone who claims to be a Christian.
In this position, many who show little evidence of Christian character, faith and works are considered to be Christian. This is also a position against the clear teaching of scripture. In time, some of these so called believers go from claiming a Christian position to some other position. The main problem with this is that Christianity is not about affirming some doctrinal position or intellectual assent to a set of beliefs.

c) Forgetting that salvation is primarily a work of God leads to many errors.
It is about being “in Christ”
- Rom 8:1 “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Being “in Christ” includes the presence of the Holy Spirit
- Rom 8:9 “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.”
This includes God’s choosing, sometimes called election, and it includes us abiding in Him.
1 John 4:1313 By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.


3. God offers freedom of choice.
From the garden of Eden [Gen 2:15-17] to final judgment [Rev 20:7-9] this is God’s way.
Why would God, on this one issue, remove the freedom to choose?
I do not believe that salvation is a fragile thing.
I simply see no evidence that God removes the freedom to choose or even rebel.

4. You can trust God.
“He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. ” [2 Tim 1:12]
The people who step out of that secure position are those who no longer entrust themselves to Him. They are the ones who persist in running from God’s grace. My experience is that many who run from God are brought back.


2 Tim 1:8-12 (NASB)
8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, 10 but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. 12 For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.


Thanks to Pro for the great topic.
Great to debate with friends.


I hope you stop reading now, . . . . (VOTE CON)
but for those who want to see my response to PRO’s round 4 thoughts I will persevere.

Pro R4P1 - “Con would be right in saying that I do not accept the said definition”
The time for PRO to present a definition or respond to my definition is before the final round. I must presume on the voters to accept the common dictionary definition rather than allowing PRO to define the word differently.
Christian - one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ.
The time for PRO to offer a definition would be in round 1, 2 or 3.

Pro R4P1 - “Con did not answer the question, "Did Charles Templeton believe in any of the essential doctrines?"”
In case I was not clear enough, Charles Templeton believed and taught all “the essential doctrines” as referenced by PRO.

Pro R4P2 - “ were David's enemies believers?”
David was not a believer in Jesus. His enemies were not believers in Jesus.
I was simply pointing out that both the New Testament and the Old Testament speak of God’s book of life. Both NT and OT talk about the results of not having your name in the book of life. The Bible talks about removing names from the book. [1] PRO tries to say that these refer to physical life (as though God killed the body right then) but these people lived on. I leave it to the readers to look at these scriptures and decide if it is referring to physical life or to something eternal and spiritual. [2] In Genesis 6/7 it is clearly physical. After Exodus it is clearly not physical.


Pro R4P3 - Pro references 1 Cor. 5:1-5 (round 3) - I did not use this as an argument for my position so I am not sure why Pro has brought this up. Let me give 2 comments on this scripture.
a) Most scholars think 2 Cor 2:1-11 refers to this same situation. He repented and the people were told to affirm their love for him as well.
b) Trying to link 1 Cor 5:1-5 about a particular sin of a particular man with Rev 2:5 is sloppy scholarship. Rev 2:5 is Jesus’ words to the church in Ephesus (Not Corinth).

Pro R4P4 - “Is there a middle ground/a lukewarm position in an eternal sense? Is it possible for one to be not saved and to be not unsaved at the same time?”
I need clarification. I’m not sure what you are trying to say, and there are no more rounds to help me understand your position.

Pro references http://www.godandscience.org... in saying that “ the Greek word for crown is a reference to rewards, not salvation”. This is a mistake. The Greek word for crown actually refers to (surprise) a crown. It is the job of the reader to interpret what the writer meant. The quote cited by PRO says
“The Greek word for crown, stephanos, according to Thayer, has the meaning "metaphorically the eternal blessedness which will be given as a prize to the genuine servants of God and Christ: the crown (wreath) which is the reward of the righteousness.”
Anyone can redefine a word to “metaphorically” mean something that supports their preconceived position.

Pro R4P5 - “ it is safe to say that the "handed over to the torturers" part must be the disciplining of believers for their sins (5). If this refers to salvation being lost, then how could such people be referred to as servants anymore?”

You are making a circular argument here. You can only say “we know that they would only get judged for their rewards instead of salvation” if you have presumed your version of eternal security. The words of Jesus make clear that this is NOT discipline. He (the wicked servant) now had responsibility for the entire debt. “And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him.” [Mt 18:34 NASB]

Pro R4P6 - Again the circular argument and redefinition of Christian from the natural and common meaning of the word. If you wanted to use such an unusual definition, you should have at least presented it in round 1, 2, or 3.


Debate Round No. 4
28 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by CatholicTraditionalist 3 years ago
CatholicTraditionalist
Check out this webpage. It uses the protestant King James Version Bible to make the case that a Christian can lose his salvation.

http://www.mostholyfamilymonastery.com...
Posted by leonardlewis4 3 years ago
leonardlewis4
Jesus (and later, Paul, et al...) often spoke in terms of positional vs practical... For instance, (John 3:36) "He who believes in the Son has eternal life..."

"...has eternal life" (present tense). How is it that a person could possess eternal life and then lose it? If they are in possession of eternal life, by definition, they will never lose it"as Jesus also said, (John 11:26) "...and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die".

If Jesus had said, "later, I will give you eternal life, if you are still faithful", then we'd have something to worry about. In that case, we'd better hope we whip up some extraordinary faith and that our "righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees" (Matthew 5:20).

The real question is, who keeps us unto the day of salvation?
1. Do we keep ourselves?
2. Are we kept solely by the power of the Holy Spirit?
3. Do we work together with the Holy Spirit to accomplish the perseverance of our faith?

Option 1 is precluded by essential Christian doctrine. So this essentially comes down to the monergism (option 2) vs synergism (option 3) debate.

I happen to believe that the whole of Scripture teaches monergism (option 2)"that salvation is a work of the LORD, and the LORD alone. To argue against this would suggest (in varying degrees) something like, "Well, God wanted to save Jojo, but Jojo just slipped through His fingers."
Posted by snamor 3 years ago
snamor
secret_strategem

The apostle John must be guilty of the "no true scottsman" fallacy also...

1 John 2:19 "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us."

Notice that those who were once "with them" had left them thus revealing their true allegience. It was not evident initially but their leaving made it clear that "they were really not saved to begin with".
Posted by secret_strategem 3 years ago
secret_strategem
gordonjames I believe this is what is called the "No True Scotsman Fallacy"
"a) Defining salvation narrowly as those (known only to God) who make it to the end.
In this position, anyone who falls away is dismissed with the phrase "they were never really saved to begin with." by the narrow definition of this position.
One (of many) problems with this position is that the definition is not biblical. It also leaves people wondering if they are really "saved to begin with." This fear seems to be in exact contradiction of the supposed goal of this position (that believers know they are secure)"
Posted by SitaraForGod 3 years ago
SitaraForGod
I raise a few questions to the "you can lose your salvation" crowd. 1. How can we lose our salvation when we are sealed unto the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30)? 2. How can we lose our salvation when He will finish a good work in us until the day that Jesus Christ returns (Philippians 1:6)? 3. How can we lose our salvation if we are saved by grace through faith, not of ourselves, also not of works, lest we should boast (Ephesians 2:8-10)? 4. This is a logic question: if we cannot earn salvation on our own, how can we lose it on our own?
Posted by GOP 3 years ago
GOP
I agree that faith is a gift of God, as Ephesians 2:8-9 says.
I agree that faith is also something that grows/develops as we learn more.

My point is just that "believing the right things" come into play when it comes to believing essential doctrines like the resurrection. If someone claims to believe in Jesus, but rejects the resurrection, then it's sad to say, but his faith would be in vain then.
Posted by gordonjames 3 years ago
gordonjames
Hey GOP

I love the discussion.

I would say that faith is a gift of God. [Eph 2:8-9]

I would also say Faith is something that grows or develops as we learn more about Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Faith also seems to grow and develop as we act out obedience and in faith and we find that He is faithful.

Eph 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Posted by GOP 3 years ago
GOP
Gracias, sir.
Posted by secret_strategem 3 years ago
secret_strategem
This debate is so awesome.
Posted by GOP 3 years ago
GOP
Then you're pretty much saying that believing is a work, when that is faith?

My belief is that one is saved by grace through faith. It's just that peoples' faiths are in vain if the essentials are denied. Didn't Jesus say that there were people who worship Him in vain through man-made traditions? Like, Mormons believe that there are three gods and need good works to be saved.

If people claim to walk with Jesus, but they deny the important beliefs from Scripture (keep in mind that these essentials have a declared penalty associated WITH them), then they have faith in vain. Moreover, if they claim the same thing, but believe that Jesus is not God, then they are going to be in trouble, too.

My point is that a TRUE believer walking with Jesus would believe in all of these essentials.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by leonardlewis4 3 years ago
leonardlewis4
GOPgordonjamesTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro simply made the case he said he would make and Con did not sufficiently refute any of Pro's points--neither did Con present convincing arguments for his own case. I'm not sure Con was even convinced of his own arguments. Pro's argument from Romans 8:38-39 was never addressed by Con. Con did attempt to refute Pro's argument from 1 Peter 1:4-5, but he did not provide sufficient warrant for his own position--namely, that 2 Peter 2:17-21 is talking about someone who was once saved. "Knowing the way of righteousness" is never regarded as an absolute mark of salvation. A person can assent to that kind of knowledge without ever truly repenting and calling upon the name of the LORD for salvation. S&G to Pro for clear arguments and better formatting. Con overused bullet points, which made reading his posts more difficult. There was no natural flow to the organization of his thoughts/arguments.
Vote Placed by dj21 3 years ago
dj21
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Reasons for voting decision: Though I am no longer a professing Christian, in large part because of issues like this where there is no shortage of genuine support to be found for both sides in scripture, leaving the believer (regardless of which side they choose to believe) with cognitive dissonance that must be pacified. The issue of this debate was one I studied at great length while still a Christian, and I think both sides good cases. Both sides are right (in terms of scriptural support). The Bible clearly supports both sides, imho. The question comes down to "free will." If one accepts the "Reformed", Calvinistic perspective that all of life is God's movie, then salvation cannot be lost. If one leans towards a more Catholic or Armenien perspective where we choose to accept the sacrifice of Jesus, then you also have the freedom to reject your earlier decision. I have. It comes comes down to one's philosophical premise, not Biblical support, because there is Biblical support for both positions.
Vote Placed by snamor 3 years ago
snamor
GOPgordonjamesTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro stayed on topic communicating his arguments clearly. Although am very familiar with the topic, I found Con often difficult to follow. I didn't think I would agree with either before the debate based on challenge and comments. Often once saved always saved sometimes leans toward antinomianism. Pro did not make this error. Pro may be surprised to learn that his position is very close to Calvinism's 5th point. Being reformed, I identified this and that is why I agreed with Pro after the debate and not before the debate. Thanks to both participants. Blessings,
Vote Placed by DeFool 3 years ago
DeFool
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Reasons for voting decision: S&G to GOP, for a very well written presentation. The entirety of arguments were essentially a duel between scriptural arcana, with both sides appealing to the authority of the bible, and their own familiarity with the topic.