Trend #2 – Sadly Left Unchallenged

As stated, two preaching-teaching trends seem to be repeatedly showing up in our day. They are found in local church ministries and subtly appear in online Bible studies, magazine articles, books, or podcasts.

Some congregations may not recognize what is unadmittable being taught. Nevertheless, the groundwork for extreme theological-ideological positions is being laid.

Theological Trend #2: A Denial Of Our Security In Christ.

There seems to be a willingness and even a wantingness to conclude that someone is not a Christian if they are not living as they ought — and, indeed, may not be living as Christ would have us live.

Of course, being a Christian is more than making a profession.

However, this is kind of strawman statement that is used to obscure what is actually being said.  This is where the duplicity and nuanced double-talk shows up.  The existent theological position on eternal security is unexpressed and/or wittingly left unclear.

When it is subtly intimated that one can lose their salvation, or that one’s faith is suspect because he/she is not living for Christ, what IS seemingly being suggested is typically papered over.  

Even the preacher-teacher knows that what he is saying sounds like what he actually believes. Therefore, even though overly unchallenged as he speaks (or when actually challenged), he calls up that obvious truth upon which we all agree. . . . 

 “Well, we all know that one can be professing and not possessing.” 

“We would all agree that there must be some fruit in one’s life if one is truly a Christian.”

 “I am not saying that you can lose your salvation, but when there is no fruit, no life of faith . . . .” 

While he claims that he is not saying what he is saying, he sure sounds like he is saying just that.

Who can disagree with “no,” or “some fruit,” or the reality of professors?  “No” and “some fruit” are the weasel words that leave the real question unanswered. 

And “Yes,” we all know that you can profess and not possess, but that is not the point. That is a diversion!    

But what about inconsistent, sporadic, or a very erratic pattern/trajectory?  

The real question is — “Can a person who has truly professed Christ as their Saviour lose their standing in Christ even if they live a very inconsistent “believer’s” life that we might believe is a reflection of those who are lost?”

It may take “twenty more questions,” (and maybe by someone who holds to and knows the biblical position on eternal security)  to get at what the preacher-teacher actually believes.

^

“Assurance of salvation” affects the way we live life as a believer — confidently or with great uncertainty. Uncertainty breeds all sorts of troubles.  

Go to work every day with the feeling that you are about to lose your job.  

Experience a marriage that feels like your spouse is going to walk out on you one day.

OR fall into some sin, or fight a sin that so easily besets you!

^

Instead of seeking to encourage those who struggle in their faith, some pastors-teachers seem to find their intentional focus on such uncertainty. It is intentional because their theological-ideology pushes them into that ditch.

Of course, there is good reason to challenge some who are living inconsistent lives about their faith, and to periodically preach a message on being in the faith. But again, such is used as part of the “papering job” to cover what is really believed and being covertly taught — THAT . . . . at the end, some might not make it if they do not persevere to the end. Oh, they are saying that without saying that!

I suggest we might ask these individuals about perseverance. . . . 

  • Saul — who consulted a witch before he died
  • Moses — who floundered at the end and was forbidden by God Himself to enter the promised land
  • Solomon — who seemingly lost his wisdom when it came to obeying God’s commandments
  • Samson — who did more in his death than his life
  • Lot — one of the most immoral characters of the Bible
  • Peter and the other disciples — who walked with Jesus (24/7/365/3 years, and saw and heard what we have but a small record of, and denied their Lord
  • The Corinthians — one of the most carnal churches we have a record of in the Bible
  • Uzziah — who died of leprosy
  • Many of the other godly kings of Israel — who did not wholly follow the Lord
  • David — and it’s far more than only Bathsheba.
  • The many preachers-Bible teachers, who into the middle 20th century, supported chattel slavery, owned and sold slaves, and/or were truly racist all their lives and ministry [1]
  • Disgraced preachers-teachers of today — who do not claim that they were lost during their sinful escapades and now have found Christ.

What about those levels of inconsistency?
Let’s talk about those sins and their “trajectory” in life.   

√ Which sins do we want to identify as indicators of lostness when it comes to those who claim Christ as their Saviour? Which “inconsistencies” and sins do we want to use as our markers for unsettling God’s people about their faith in Christ?

√ Can a person who has called on His name (Acts 9:14; Romans 10:12, 13, 14), has been born-again from above (as Jesus says to Nicodemus — a believer?), or who is justified (Romans 8:35) — also be a person who can lose the “eternal life” they were given (John 10)

√ Can a Christian be a person who will not persevere?

Rather than repeatedly shaking the faith of God’s people, let’s strengthen them and individually deal with those questionable cases as they arise.  

Rather than quickly and easily concluding that some must not be a believer because someone is struggling in their Christian life — and even significantly struggling — Let’s talk to them about the love of Christ . . . . . 

“Come unto me all ye who labor and are heavy laden.” — Matthew 11:28

“that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me — John 17:23

When someone has called on Christ, in their earliest years, as teenagers, or beyond, and have sought to follow Christ over years (and even decades), but are now facing some real spiritual battles, do not glibly assert — “Well, you are probably not a believer” — as your diagnosis. Such a simplistic diagnosis disregards the nature of the spiritual battle all of God’s people face DAILY. [2]

Their need is not salvation, but the call is to move on to maturity, not find some more comfortable resort by which to explain their worldly walk, such as, “Well, maybe I’m not really saved.” 

“No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Spirit.”

We well understand that you can repeat the words — “Jesus is the Lord” without the Spirit’s work in your heart. The obvious point is that it takes the work of the Spirit of God to say that and mean it in your heart.  

However, when you have said — Jesus Is Lord — and it is from your heart, you mean it. It is because the Spirit has done a work in your heart. That supernatural work the Spirit will not repent of, or the Godhead will disavow. God did not adopt you, place you in Christ, forgive your sin, promise you life and life eternal, and seal you with the Spirit — only to take it away at some point in time.

There is a great deal of duplicity and dexterity when it comes to being theologically honest with God’s people. These trends [3] are more subtle and, at times, reflect a level of artifice in order to avoid questions about what is being taught by the ministry.  While the typical layman-woman may not fully grasp or understand what is being taught in their church, the groundwork is being laid for the acceptance of a dangerous twisting of what the Scriptures teach about our security in Christ.

♦♦♦♦♦

I am so grateful for the works and words of men like D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, whose works and words are still available today.  He provide great clarity, argument, and insight on this doctrine!

Link: D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Eternal Security . . . .

“If this doctrine (Eternal Security) isn’t true, well then if you ever find yourself in glory, the glory will have to go to you for holding on.

The position would be this — that you like a number of other people, have been given the same gift of salvation and eternal life — They foolish didn’t hold on it, but that you did.  And therefore the glory goes to you for holding on.

But that’s a blank contradiction of the teaching of the Scriptures everywhere. . . . Man has nothing to boast of at all.  And when you and I arrive in heaven — my dear friends — we realize that we are there not because we held on while others gave up — but because He held on to us. . . . and we’ll give Him all the praise, the honor, and the glory.”     [4]



1. Check out the works of Robert Louis Dabney, the oft-quoted preacher and reformed theologian of the 1800-1900s.  

Oft quoted by John Mac Arthur, John Piper, Joe Rigney (President of BC&S), and their oft conference speaker, Doug Wilson.

Reformed White Supremacist
(Reformed, not as in “changed,” but as in theology)

In his time, Robert Lewis Dabney (1820–1898) was considered one of the greatest teachers of theology in the United States. Revered theologians such as Hodge, Shedd, Warfield, Bavinck, and Barth viewed him with appreciation and respect. Dabney was a thoroughly Reformed, five-point Calvinist who believed in the supremacy of God in all things. However, his view of God’s sovereignty, a true and beautiful doctrine, tragically became interwoven with his racism, as he consistently used the doctrine of “providence” to reinforce his white supremacy.

Read on for more of the horrid position Dabney held on race.
https://biblioskolex.wordpress.com/2021/12/16/love-your-enemies-john-piper-and-robert-lewis-dabney-part-2/

2. I might suggest that this trend seemingly travels with those who have adopted Trend #1, as well as a theological ideology that embraces the edges extreme ditches of Calvinism. 

This trend dates back to and includes John Mac Arthur and his position on “Lordship Salvation.”

3. That is Paul’s argument in Hebrews 6. As Paul states, let us move on to maturity-perfection! For it is impossible for those who have been enlightened and partakers of the Holy Spirit . . . . that if they have fallen away as you might believe, it is impossible to renew themselves unto repentance for Christ would have to be crucified anew!

4. Link To Lloyd-Jones’ Full Message

External Link To Lloyd-Jones Full Message

https://jameslau88.com/2020/05/10/the-doctrine-of-being-saved-eternally-by-martyn-lloyd-jones/

♦♦♦♦♦

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Eternal Security . . . .

“If this doctrine (Eternal Security) isn’t true, well then if you ever find yourself in glory, the glory will have to go to you for holding on.

The position would be this — that you like a number of other people, have been given the same gift of salvation and eternal life — They foolish didn’t hold on it, but that you did.  And therefore the glory goes to you for holding on.

But that’s a blank contradiction of the teaching of the Scriptures everywhere. . . . Man has nothing to boast of at all.  And when you and I arrive in heaven — my dear friends — we realize that we are there not because we held on while others gave up — but because He held on to us. . . . and we’ll give Him all the praise, the honor, and the glory.”     

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