Summary: Examining two controversal topics.
Predestination and Eternal Security
The once-saved-always-saved issue is a hot topic of debate in today’s church. On one
side, people can make a profession of faith and then have a false sense of security even
though they have no relationship with Jesus Christ at all. On the Calvinist side, people
have the attitude that if God wants it done, He will do it or make me do it. I once talked
with a man claiming to be a Christian who was trying to justify his pornography habit. He
stated that he didn’t think that he was accountable for his addiction. If God wanted him to
change, God would change him. Until that time, he was free to sin at every urge that God
permitted to tempt him.
I have also heard many people say that God will send people to the church if He wants
them to be saved. All we have to do is look around to see if this is true. The churches that
thrive outside their four walls are reaching people and are on fire when they come
together each week. Churches that only minister to themselves and those ’God sends’
have little impact on the culture around them and are often cold inside the walls of the
church. Jesus taught that we are to go into the highways and hedges to find those who
will come - go out into the all world. In Mark 16:15, Jesus issues the great commission to
go out and reach the world, not wait for God to send the world to us. A church hiding
behind the walls is in disobedience and by their own actions, limit God’s blessing that He
longs to invest in them. Numbers does not indicate spiritual maturity. I know large
churches that are cold as ice and small ministries that are on fire and impacting the world
The most popular doctrine of predestination is Calvinism. Calvinism takes its name from
John Calvin who wrote 5 points
Total Depravity of Man - all are born sinners
Unconditional Election - God has already chosen who will go to Heaven and Hell
Limited Atonement - Jesus died only to redeem those who were pre-chosen
Irresistible Grace - Man is saved by the will of God without choice
Perseverance of the Saints - Those predestined cannot be lost
I will state up front that I do not believe in Calvinism. One proof against it is its fruit.
Jesus said that we would know teaching by the fruit. Generally speaking, Calvinist
churches are only reaching people who are already believers. Obviously there are
exceptions to this, but as a whole, evangelism is not a part of this movement. The
believers they reach become like-minded and if they were outreach minded, they abandon
the idea. I was once under a pastor who was a Calvinist. We built a church in a heavily
populated unchurched community and it was an ideal location. The members present
when the church was built were the same members present 8 years later. I have a friend
who still attends. They are the same today as they were 20 years ago. Where is the fruit?
Where are the changed lives, the spiritual growth and the disciples who should now be
disciplers? The whole purpose of the church is to reach the lost, then equip and encourage
people for their personal ministries. True discipleship produces more discipleship. In
other words, I should be equipping people to become teachers, preachers and ministers
who will go out and reproduce themselves. A minister is anyone who is following God’s
call and doing what He has equipped them to do. Each person should grow to the point
where they are not dependent on someone teaching them. We still are commanded to
come together, but growth is limited if we are only growing in church.
Look at the passage most Calvinist’s use:
29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of
His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these
He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
What is the focus of this passage? It is to conform to the image of Christ. We are
predestined to conform to His image. This passage tells us that every Christian is
included in this destiny God has ordained. However, we don’t see every Christian
conforming to Christ. Under the Calvinist viewpoint, this would be a false statement in
my opinion. Who didn’t God foreknow? Even the unbeliever was foreknown. God
foretold of the sinners who would try and crucify Jesus. God foreknew the wicked kings
of Israel. God foreknew the wicked kings that would defeat Israel in judgment. God