Apologetics for the Masses - Issue #118

Bible Christian Society

General Comments

Sorry for no newsletter the past couple of weeks. I wasn’t really expecting to start my job at the Diocese as soon as I did and it has thrown me a little off track for the last few weeks, but things are starting to get put back in order. Although, for the next couple of months or so, while I’m still transitioning into my new job, I’ll probably get the newsletter out every other week rather than every week.

For all of you praying for little Breigh Gallagher (See “General Comments in Issue #115), please keep praying for her, for her parents and her grandmother. Here is an update from her grandmother:

”Dear prayer partners,

I have been waiting some time now to ask for your urgent prayers for my grand child, ten yrs. old Breigh Gallagher. Many of you have followed our family for the last 10 months. The disease that Breigh is battling is almost indescribable. It is Pan Scaloric Morphea. All of us have prayed and hoped that this day June 1st would not have to be the day we say good-bye to my son Eddie, his wife Amy, and little Breigh for quite a long time. They have made the final arrangement to enter Duke Medical Center for Breigh’s bone marrow transplant. I am struggling with my emotions as I write this note. My heart is broken and I know that I am to give thanks to Lord for every thing……..but this is hard. On the 24th of May it will be the one year anniversary of Ed passing. I want to smile again and feel like the heaviness is going to lift. I have been touching to Breigh the relic of Pope John Paul II daily. Knowing the love he had for the youth, I am asking for a miracle or the grace to love and support the kids. Say a prayer for us. There have been so many people to thank for the fund raising and support. I thank all. May God Bless you all.

Elaine Gallagher


Okay, this is the last part of Chapter 5 on Once Saved Always Saved. After this issue, I’m going to take a break from the book for a few weeks and do some back and forth with a non-Catholic or two. Should be fun.



Even More Scripture
Rev 2:4-5, “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.  Remember then from what you have fallen, repent and do the works you did at first.  If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent."

Jesus is, first of all, talking to “the church at Ephesus.”  The “church” is made up of believers, the saved.  He tells those that have been saved that if they do not repent and “do the works” they had initially done, then He will come and remove their lampstand.

Question: Does having your lampstand removed by Christ mean that you are still saved?  If so,  how so?  If not, then here is yet another example of Scripture debunking the doctrine of once saved always saved.  

Also, please note that in order to maintain their salvation, in order to abide in Jesus, what does Jesus tell the Ephesians?  Does He say, “Your salvation is not dependent on anything you do?”  No.  He tells them that in order to keep their lampstand from being removed, they have to do get back to doing the works they had done at the time of their initial conversion.  Wait a minute!  Is Jesus saying that works play a role in maintaining one’s salvation?  That sounds pretty Catholic to me.  

Rev 22:18-19, “I warn every one who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if any one adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if any one takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”

The very clear threat here is that one can lose their salvation – which is what “lose his share in the tree of life” means – if they take away from the words of this book.  Well, if once saved always saved is true, then Jesus cannot take away anyone’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city.  He must just be blowin’ smoke, as they say.  It’s an empty threat if once saved always saved is true.  

Now, if someone tries to say, “Jesus is not talking to the saved, but to the unsaved,” then simply ask the question: “Do the unsaved have any share in the tree of life or in the holy city?”  The answer, obviously, is no.  It is only someone who is saved (or in a state of grace as Catholics would say), that can be said to have “a share” in the tree of life and in the holy city.  Jesus cannot take away the unsaved person’s share in the tree of life because the unsaved person has no share in the tree of life.  Which means Jesus is definitely talking to the saved here.   

Question: If one does not have a share in the tree of life or in the holy city (the Heavenly Jerusalem) can one be described as being saved?  If so, in what way?  If not, then either Jesus is issuing empty threats, or once saved always saved is not true.

Rom 11:17-22: Paul is talking about how salvation has come to the Gentiles, while many of the Jews have rejected it – and he uses the analogy of an olive tree.  Verse 17, “But if some of the branches were broken off [the Jews], and you, a wild olive shoot [the Gentiles], were grafted in their place to share the richness of the olive tree [Jesus Christ], do not boast over the branches…That is true.  They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast only through faith.  So do not become proud, but stand in awe.  For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will He spare you.”  

Did you catch that threat?  If the natural branches were broken off, you could be, too.  Verse 22, “Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in His kindness; otherwise you, too, will be cut off.”

You will not be broken off from the olive tree (Christ) “provided” or “if” (KJV) you continue in His kindness.  And what happens if you do not continue in His kindness?  "You, too, will be cut off."  Is this the language of eternal security?  Is Paul here reassuring his readers that they have nothing to fear since they’ve already been grafted into the olive tree?  Absolutely not.

Let’s continue with verse 23, “And even the others, if they do not persist in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again.”  Perfect example of being in, being out, and then being in again – kind of like the way the Catholic Church teaches it.  And, perfect example of Scripture showing us very plainly that once you are grafted in, once you are “saved”, you had better not become presumptive about it and start believing you can’t be cut off.  Because you can be.

1 Corinthians 15:1-2, “Now I would remind you, brethren, in what terms I preached to you the gospel, which you received, in which you stand, by which you are saved, if you hold it fast – unless you believed in vain.”

There’s that troublesome word “if” again.  “If” the Corinthians hold fast to the gospel they are saved.  The very clear implication being that if they do not hold fast to the gospel, they will not be saved.  And, before any one says, “If they don’t hold it fast, then that means they weren’t really saved in the first place,” please note that Paul mentions the gospel “in which you stand.”  

Can an unsaved person be described as standing in the gospel?  No.  Unsaved people do not stand in the gospel, which is why they are unsaved.  Paul is referring here to the saved; to those currently standing in the gospel; to those who currently hold to the gospel.

Hebrews 4:1-3 and 11, “Therefore, while the promise of entering His rest remains, let us fear lest any of you be judged to have failed to reach it.  For good news came to us just as to them; but the message which they heard did not benefit them, because it did not meet with faith in the hearers.  For we who have believed enter that rest…Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, that no one fall by the same sort of disobedience.”

What is this talk about "the promise of entering His rest?"  Haven’t they already entered it?  There is no longer a promise of entering it if OSAS is true.  The promise has been fulfilled.  They’ve made it.  Their ticket to Heaven is already punched.  And how could any of them be judged as having "failed to reach it," if they’ve already reached it?  If the prize has already been won?

Question: If the writer of this letter, and the Hebrews being addressed here have already believed (“For we who have believed), which means in OSAS theology that there is no longer any doubt as to their salvation, then why does verse 11 urge them to “strive” (“labor” in the KJV) to enter God’s rest?  If they already believe, then they don’t need to labor, or strive, in order to enter into God’s rest, they’ve already made it.  If they are faux believers – they think they’re saved but they’re really not – then no amount of labor, or striving, will do a thing for them.  According to OSAS theology, works have no impact on your salvation whatsoever, it is by faith alone that we are saved.  All of which is to say, this passage from Hebrews make no sense if OSAS is true.   

Hebrews 6:4-6, “For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the Word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they then commit apostasy…”  

Question: Would it be a believer, or an unbeliever, who would be described with the following terms: 1) repentance; 2) enlightened; 3) tasted the heavenly gift; 4) a partaker of the Holy Spirit; 5) tasted the goodness of the Word of God?  

There is no question that these terms can only be used to describe a true believer, not an unbeliever and certainly not a faux believer.  These words describe someone who has been saved.  Yet, it very clearly states that it is possible for someone described in these terms to commit apostasy.  And surely no one would say that someone who commits apostasy – someone who denies Christ – will end up in Heaven?  

One more verse, among the many given in this chapter, that slams the door on the doctrine of once saved always saved.

Did Paul Have Eternal Security?
Phil 3:10-13,  “…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.  Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own.  Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead…”  Is that the language of eternal security?  

1 Cor 9:26-27, “Well, I do not run aimlessly, I do not box as one beating the air; but I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”  

How could Paul be “disqualified” from the race if he has already won the prize?  If he has already been saved?  

The Book of Life
Rev 20:15, “…and if any one’s name was not found written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”  If your name is not in the Book of Life you end up in Hell.  Under once saved always saved theology, your name is written in the Book of Life at the moment you accept Christ into your heart as your personal Lord and Savior and it can never be removed.

Does Scripture support that view?  Ps 69:28, David is pleading with God to punish David’s enemies.  He says, “Let them be blotted out of the book of the living…”  Was David being facetious in his request of God?  After all, wouldn’t David know that once one’s name is in the Book of Life it can never be removed?  Why would David ask God to do something that he knew cannot be done?  His plea makes no sense.

Rev 3:1-5, “I know your works; you have the name of being alive, and you are dead.  Awake, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God…Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy.  He who conquers shall be clad thus in white garments, and I will not blot his name out of the book of life…”  

The very clear implication being that Jesus can indeed blot a person’s name out of the Book of Life.  That flies in the face of OSAS theology, but it is indeed what Scripture says.  Once saved, always saved?  I don’t think so.

To close, I do not know of one Protestant doctrine that runs so completely counter to as much of Scripture as does the doctrine of once saved always saved.  Just look back through this chapter at all the Scripture verses that so clearly refute this doctrine, and keep in mind that there are still dozens upon dozens more Scripture verses that I could have used to contradict this doctrine!

This doctrine of once saved always saved is so dangerous to the souls of those who believe in it.  It can very easily result in spiritual sloth, as those who believe in it can give themselves the excuse, “Well, it doesn’t really matter as far as my salvation is concerned,” if they slowly start falling away from prayer, from church attendance, from doing good works, from walking on the narrow path, from forgiving others, from loving others, and from picking up their cross daily.  I have heard this doctrine as an excuse to even defend adultery.  The adulterer’s pastor told the adulterer’s wife, when she complained that the adulterer should no longer serve as a deacon at the church, “Well, it hasn’t affected his salvation.”  

One last thing: Every believer in once saved always saved that I have ever met, also believes that there are those out there who think they are saved, but really are not – the faux believers, as I call them.  So, ask anyone who believes in OSAS these questions (this is from an actual conversation):

Question: Are there people who think they’re saved, but they really aren’t?

Answer: Yes, there are.

Question: Are you saved? 

Answer: Yes, I am. 

Question: How do you know you’re not one of those people who think they’re saved, but they really aren’t?

Answer: I know in my heart that I am saved. 

Question: Wouldn’t someone who thinks they’re saved, but really aren’t saved, say the same thing?

Answer: I suppose so.

Question: Then how do you know you’re really saved? 

Answer: I just know. 

Question: How do you know?

Answer: I just do.

The whole point of this line of questioning is that, if it is possible to think you’re saved, but not really be saved, then no one can have eternal security – no one can know for sure that they are saved – because anyone who thinks they’re saved could actually be one of those who think they are but really aren’t.  As you ask these questions, I guarantee you will not be able to keep from smiling as the folks you’re talking to can do nothing but go ‘round and ‘round in a circle of illogic.  

In Conclusion

Comments are welcomed and appreciated and all are read and considered, even though I do not have the time to respond to them.

I hope all of you have a great weekend.

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Apologetics for the Masses