Steve Morrison's Fourth Rebuttal
Due to space, I'll just discuss three points, and on the third an expert in perseverance helped me.
Once...-always-... Patrick says he denies once-transformed-always-transformed, yet Patrick's Third Affirmative, paragraph 3 says, "[Acts 8:22 and 1 John 1:9] do not state that a once born again Christian needs to be born again again. The scriptures teach he doesn't need to be rebaptized."
Not born again again means once-born-again-always-born-again
No water rebaptism means once-baptized-always-baptized (I think we agree on both of these)
A consequence of Patrick's belief is that "un-transformed" (and un-regenerated?) people in Hell are still born again of God!
Patrick, if you deny once-transformed-always-transformed, then it would seem sinners do not have to get born again to be saved, on subsequent times, or if they have a rapidly fluctuating transformation/un-transformation cycle.
How can your view be consistent with 1 John 3:9? "No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him, he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God." (NIV). See also 1 John 2:29. "cannot go on sinning" not a result of staying transformed, but a result of "is born of God". Future action is evidence of present state.
Ephesians 1:4 does not merely mean Christians must be holy. It states we were chosen. You asked for proof that a person cannot break the seal themselves. Ephesians 1:13-14 says the seal is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance. Who can separate us from the love of God? Romans 8:35 says nobody, implying not even us.
Either...Or??? Let's look again at the two cases: Patrick's gross sin case, and my French fry case. While French fries is just one example, my point equally applies to other willful sins, such as watching too much TV, listening to music that glorifies wickedness, spending too much time playing video games, etc. In Patrick's theology a single one of these sends one to Hell, unless they repent. And Pat does not deny in his view a French fry could send someone to Hell. His only response is attacking cheap grace and falsely trying to link my view to cheap grace.
Gross sin case: I concur that Patrick's side of the key issue is epitomized by his quote: "It's hard to imagine, but 'once saved always saved' advocates believe it is possible for a truly 'born again' Christian to [do various extremely terrible, wicked sins], and still be in a saved relationship with God the whole time he is committing the acts." While I agree with Patrick that those who do not repent, be it from homosexuality, murder, etc. in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 are eternally lost, I was somewhat baffled why after all these papers Patrick states I don't.
French fry case: Let me repeat part of Patrick's quote, with one substitution: "It's hard to imagine, but 'once saved always saved' advocates believe it is possible for a truly 'born again' Christian to willfully disobey and eat French fries, and still be in a saved relationship with God the whole time he is committing the acts."
But if you affirm the second case [Patrick has not], does that mean you must affirm the first also?
- certainly not. There's a Biblical way, denying the first and affirming the second. Christians have termed this 'perseverance', though the original writer used 'remained'. I don't think I can give a more succinct definition than his: "They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us." 1 John 2:19 (NIV).
Perseverance: For the rest of this, I enlisted the help of an expert on perseverance: the beloved Apostle John. 1 John 1:8-2:1 shows even as children of God we are not without sin. Those who are born again will still sin, but they will repent and persevere in the faith. Perseverance affirms, not denies, the essential truth that true Christians will walk in the light (1 John 1:6-7;2:3-6,9-11). We have an assurance of anointing (1 John 2:20), and it remains in us (1 John 2:27). But we also are responsible to see that what we have heard remains in us, that we remain in the Son and in the Father (1 John 2:24,27f). For someone who committed such gross sins as Patrick mentioned, one doubts they were ever saved. Perseverance says that those who believe, even if they are cleaned-up from some sins for a while, but return permanently to their sins, are going to Hell. Absent from John is anything saying works or obedience make us stay saved. But, frequently in John is a different concept that some might have confused with this: "We is how we know we are children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. ..." (1 John 5:2-4a NIV). By understanding perseverance, we can agree to reject Patrick's gross sin case, and still affirm a French fry does not send you to Hell.
After all these papers, Patrick still tries to paint me as affirming cheap grace and his gross sin case. I was at a loss at to why. But perhaps now I might see; Patrick genuinely misunderstands. I surmise that Patrick is asking "what is the standard of righteousness required to stay saved?" Cheap grace and perseverance both give none. Patrick's "any-willful-sin" standard looks OK for gross sins, but I proved his standard ludicrous for every single willful sin. (Do you want fries with that?)
Perseverance does have a standard for staying saved, but Patrick fails to grasp it, because it's not righteousness-based. But John gives both the standard and evidence of it.
The standard: knowing God (1 John 2:3a,4a; 2:13a,c; 14:a; 3:1:b; 3:6; 4:7,8), being in the light (1 John 2:9), having their sins forgiven (1 John 2:12), overcoming the evil one (1 John 2:13b,14c), living through God (1 John 4:9); God and His Word lives in us (1 John 1:4b;3:24;4:12,13,15,16b), living in God (1 John 3:24;4:13,15,16b), fellowship with God (1 John 1:6), being born of God (2:29; 3:9a,c; 4:7;5:4,18), children of God (1 John 3:1,10;5:19,21), the love of God in him (1 John 2:5,15;3:17b), having the Son (1 John 5:12), anointing from the Holy One (1 John 2:20,27), the Spirit God gave us (1 John 3:24c).
Evidence of possessing the standard is obeying God's commands (1 John 2:3-4;5:3-5), walking as Jesus (1 John 2:6), love not hating our brother (1 John 2:9-11;3:15,17,23b;4:7-8,20-21), not loving the world (1 John 2:15-16), believing in Jesus who came in the flesh (1 John 3:23a;4:2;5:1,10,13), not keep on sinning (1 John 3:6;5:18), doing what is right (1 John 2:29), overcoming the world (1 John 5:4-5), do what is right pleases Him (1 John 3:10;3:22b). Notice that 1 John 3:11-24 and the 36 other times John uses the word "know" do NOT tell how to get saved; rather how to know we're saved.
1 John 3:6 (also 3:10;5:18) differentiate both the standard (God making you His child) and its evidence: "No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him." (NIV)
That being said, and being confident of God's grace and able to know I have eternal life (1 John 5:13-14), I could go and have some French fries. But on second thought, since I love God and want to please Him - hold the fries.
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by Steven M. Morrison, PhD.