Summary: My personal experience of what I believe the doctrine of eternal security is false.
Why I Believe Eternal Security Is False
I am a little different from most Christians, I’ve found. I didn’t come to Christ in a Church meeting; I didn’t seek God after reading a Christian book or tract; I wasn’t led to the Lord by an individual. I came to the Lord after reading the Bible in hopes of discovering a purpose for my life. That spring and summer when I came to know the Lord I immersed myself in this life saving Book. I read the New Testament over and over (7 times)– pouring over the Scriptures every day. I didn’t know it at the time, because at first I wasn’t attending a Church, but I was forming a theology – a knowledge of God. Eventually the Spirit of the Lord led me very clearly to the Church of the Nazarene. In the years of being a Nazarene and 35 years of being one of her pastors, I often have said “I am not a Nazarene because I believe like they do. I am a Nazarene because they believe like I do.” I read the Bible, came to Christ and later was filled with the Holy Spirit before I ever knew what that meant. If I heard the word ‘sanctification’ or salvation I certainly didn’t understand it until after I experienced it.
I say all that to say I believe my theology was from God, Himself, as He revealed Himself through the Scripture and through the Holy Spirit. Later the studies and the theology classes came.
One point of great contention among Christians in general is the doctrine of the atonement. We Nazarenes believe that you are a free moral agent and are given the power to make choices. Part of life’s purpose is to teach us to make good choices. With the power of choice also comes responsibility. Consequently, we believe you can reject God and lose your salvation. The Nazarene Manual says it like this:
VII. Prevenient Grace
7. We believe that the human race’s creation in Godlikeness included ability to choose between right and wrong, and that thus human beings were made morally responsible; that through the fall of Adam they became depraved so that they cannot now turn and
prepare themselves by their own natural strength and works to faith and calling upon God. But we also believe that the grace of God through Jesus Christ is freely bestowed upon all people, enabling all who will to turn from sin to righteousness, believe on Jesus Christ for pardon and cleansing from sin, and follow good works pleasing and acceptable in His sight. We believe that all persons, though in the possession of the experience of regeneration and entire sanctification, may fall from grace and apostatize and, unless they repent of their sins, be hopelessly and eternally lost.” (italics mine)
In other words, we don’t believe once you are saved you are always saved. I believe that because I believe what God desires with us is a loving relationship. The Bible uses the illustration of a bride and groom. We are His bride. In a marriage relationship or any love relationship – the love has to be mutual. One individual can not make a relationship no matter how much they desire it. I have heard people use the illustration of a father and son to support eternal security, but even in that illustration a son or daughter can reject a parent (or vice versa) and the relationship of love destroyed. Love can not be forced. A necessary element is free choice. Forced love is ugly(rape). That is why God must allow us freedom to choose.