A Progressive Position: Statement of Position on Apostasy

by Jay Guin

What would cause a saved person to no longer be saved  — to fall away or become an apostate? There are three ways a saved person can fall away  —

  • A Christian falls away when he no longer has faith. “Faith” means faith in Jesus.
  • A Christian falls away when he is no longer penitent. Equivalently, a Christian falls away when he no longer submits to Jesus as Lord. Equivalently, a Christian falls away when he willfully continues to sin.
  • A Christian falls away when he seeks to be justified other than by faith in Jesus.

Books could be written on each of these three, and we’ll not attempt a complete exposition of any of the three. But we will attempt to explain our thinking in more detail and anticipate some objections likely to be raised.

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40 Comments on “A Progressive Position: Statement of Position on Apostasy”

  1. Dusty Chris Says:

    Could another be “If a Christian denies the existence and power of the Holy Spirit or blasphemes the Holy Spirit?” Just asking…

  2. laymond Says:

    Mt: 12:37: For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
    Jms: 2:21: Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
    Jms :2:24: Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
    25: Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Abraham was already saved before Issac was born when he believed God.

    Romans 4:2-4 “For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.”

  4. Hank Says:

    I am confused as to why so many brethren feel compelled to suggest that a child of God can never fall away? Don’t get me wrong, I wish such was so….but the Bible does seem to suggest that a faithful person can drift away and lose his/her faith. The line may be unclear, but is it not true that a Christian may indeed at some point forfeit his/her salvation?

    Thanks

  5. laymond Says:

    Anon, your comments only strengthen my belief that most “Christians” place the letters of Paul above the word of others who was with Jesus, working along side of him, even above the gospel in many instances.
    Why would you quote the letters of Paul, and just dismiss the word of James, Jesus’ brother?


  6. Aren’t they really saying the same thing?

    That Abraham believed, and acted on his belief?

    That acting on belief – obedience – is not earning justification, but accepting it through trace?

    That not acting on it is not belief at all, but lip-service?

  7. Anonymous Says:

    laymond, how many loving parents would be able to go through with tying their son up as he stood there looking at them laying them on an alter of wood to stab them to death with a knife. Or was Paul using Abrahams example of how we should try to do what God asks us to do instead of what we want to do no matter how hard or painful it sometimes is.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Correction meant to say James. All this talk laymond makes about Paul makes the name stick in your head.

    Or was James using Abrahams example of how we should try to do what God asks us to do instead of what we want to do no matter how hard or painful it sometimes is.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    If people were to put their focus on Jesus instead of being so busy looking at other peoples sins perhaps Jesus would be taught more.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    laymond, when we read James’ example of Abraham doing as God asked him to doesn’t Abraha’s act show us that Abraham was already with God. Abrahams act shows us evidence that he was a great man of God.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Can we boast demanding that the good things we have done make us worthy. Or is the bar set by Jesus who never sinned. I choose to tell God I need Jesus.

  12. Randall Says:

    Hank,
    Why are you confused that so many teach this doctrine? Have you ever studied it? If not, you might want to get a book and check out the scriptural support for the doctrine. If you have only heard the issue addressed in the CofC you have likely never been exposed to a fair hearing of the issue. May God lead you in your study of this issue.
    Randall

  13. laymond Says:

    Randall, why don’t you give Hank a few scriptures to check out? In stead of telling him he is on his own.

  14. Randall Says:

    I prefer to not do the typical “I’ll give you my scripture and you give me yours” routine as it generally accomplishes nothing – it frequently generates more heat than light. (Sometimes third parties even jump in and hijack the conversation.) If one is interested and has access to a bible and the internet one will seek it out. If one isn’t all that interested then ….
    Peace,
    Randall


  15. […] « A Progressive Position: Statement of Position on Apostasy […]

  16. Jr Says:

    Hank, you are right on. It is impossible for a man to lose salvation. Either Christ died for someone’s sins or He didn’t. When one claims that others can “lose salvation” he is saying that Christ didn’t die for all of someones sins. The Cross becomes ineffectual.

    In addition, one would have to completely dismiss John 10:28-29, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”

    Unless, of course, Jesus was lying. Someone CAN snatch them out of His hand.

    And, were we not sealed until we acquire possession of our inheritance or not? “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” (Eph 1:13-14)

    It is the same man-centered reasoning whereas we think we have anything to do with getting our salvation in the first place. We have de-godded God and put man in the role of Ruler.

  17. paden Says:

    ok this will be rather simple but befor i answere any of the postions on this blog let me go ahead and say i am a 15year old boy and i am a member of the church of Christ.ok as to wether or not we can lose our salvation is rather simple.every book in the newtestament teaches that we can.but i would like to disagree as to saying there is only 3 ways. i believe there are definatly many and i think the way you do fall away is to simple live in sin.now that is not to say you cant be forgiven.but let me through 2 scriptures out to be considered.the first is galatians 5:4 wich uses the exact wording fallen from grace and the reason given here is the church at galatia was going back and practicing the old law wich we are no longer under. the second passage is revaltion 3:5. we see here the wording i will not blot his name out of the book of life.well how did someones name get into the book of life in the first place.they had to be saved and we see here they can be removed.so it is very evident to me a child of God can fall from grace.some who argues the point rely suprises me because in reality they are saying this. once im saved i can go partying go to the bar and club and have sex with whoever and i will still go to heaven.it is also saying i could as well become a homosexual and everying will be okay.even though tha bible says homosexuals will not enter the kingdom of heaven

  18. paden Says:

    oh read the first comment of mine but i didnt respond on somethings from the comment befor.the person stated this first.to say you can lose salvation is to say Jesus didnt die for all our sins.well when we are babtized we recieve remision of sins.but after that if you sin and live in sin then you arent automaticaly forgiven.you must have a change of heart and repent.now to the second statment about john i will say this.you are right in that no man can take you out of Jesus’s arms but what about yourself.can you not take yourself out by living in sin.

  19. Anonymous Says:

    paden-now to the second statment about john i will say this.you are right in that no man can take you out of Jesus’s arms but what about yourself.can you not take yourself out by living in sin.

    paden, is the person themself not mankind?

  20. paden Says:

    are you serius.its talking about other people not being able to take you out of Christs arms.you your self can.being both human has no point

  21. Anonymous Says:

    It also says God is greater than all. If someone can snatch themself from God that would make them greater than God.

  22. paden Says:

    how would that make them greater than God when they put themselves there in the first place.they must be greater than God to go in to hugh.no that has nothing to do with it.and look at the other 2 verses i already gave.if what you were saying is true then your making the bible contradict itself.

  23. Anonymous Says:

    They are putting themself out of God’s hand, He said He is greater than all that no one can snatch him from His hand, greater than all includes the person themself.

  24. paden Says:

    yes greater than all includes every one but your reasoning doesnt make since.you have to be obiedient and folo the scriptures and obey the gospel to get into heaven.its your choice.God created a free moral agiencie.we have the choice to obey and get into his hand and we have the ability to disobey and get out of his hand.it is your choice.and you by making wrong choices can take yourself out.now think a second.you do whats necceasery for salvation and God saves you not yourself.you do whats wrong and God will remove you but its because of you and no one else.

  25. Anonymous Says:

    A person who can walk away from God never had real faith, real faith is Rock solid.

  26. RPC Says:

    Paden, I realize from the other blog that you claim to 15 – if true, it’s good to have a lad like yourself joining these conversations. However, the conclusions you have drawn are faulty at best and very closely resemble the same attitude of the Pharisees of Jesus day.

    On the surface what you say could be considered a good, fair statement, but digging deeper and knowing you seemingly supported Johnny Robertson, a radical ultra conservative – (your statements from the other blog)…I know very well where you are drawing your statements.

    You state one can disobey and become lost or even an apostate – please share which sins would cause such a one to become lost or an apostate. Would one sin? How about 5 sins? And, which sins? Name one person other than Jesus who has perfect obedience. What wrong choices take one out of Gods hand?

    Must one have perfect obedience to every law to be saved and stay saved?

    Must one have a perfect understanding of EVERY doctrine and EVERY scripture to be saved and stay saved?

    How much doctrine did you know when Jesus saved you?

    Do you know EVERYTHING in scripture perfectly now?

    My advise to you would be to stir clear of the ultra-hyper radical conservatives….you will never live up to their teachings, nor will they. You will end up drowning in your self-righteousness and neglecting the righteousness found in Christ.

  27. paden Says:

    ok let me see if can clear this up.i never said that one sin or any number of sins will take you out of Gods hand.i said to live in sin.would you honestly argue that one who is a christian who goes to a club every night and cusses like a sailor and maybe even becomes an athiest would still go to heaven.absolutly not. the fact is it is possable to lose your salvation.now if you want to argue what would cause that to happen then its sin.and to live in sin or turn your back on God.look i got a brother who was a christian but now hes an athiest.now i in no way believe he will go to heaven if he dies.and as much as i wish i could and every one else who has fallen away would go to heaven.they simplie wont.now if your a chrisitan and striving to live a christian life and praying and studying every day then if you sin and you have a change of heart and are trying to life a faithful life then no you arent automaticaly condemed to hell.it all depends on your heart.look the what sin it is doesnt matter.sin is sin and thats that.

    now do i know everything no.am i still studying yes.

    and what you say about my reasoning.look i sont look at one side of the argument and leave it there.i have watched several debates on these topics and they were highly inteligent men.and i always saw what the church of Christ presented to be acruate and the other to be false.such topics as babtism,premalinialism,instrumental music,once saved always saved,evolution,tithing,authoritie are all very clear to me. and to be hinest the people who made this blog could not stand up to someone who knows there bible in the church of Christ because more inteligent men couldnt.

    you know why i believe the church of Christ is right.its because they ask what does the bible say and let that be there guide.if they areshown wrong then they change. but know one can show them wrong.they may think they can but i would like to see them try.

  28. paden Says:

    revalaation 3:5 if your name can be blotted out of the book of life then you can loe your salvation but you cant get in there with out being saved first.

  29. RPC Says:

    Paden, is there a difference between one who turns from the faith and “practices” a sinful life and the one who slips or falls into a sin? I am not advocating “once saved always saved” if thats what you think. I am merely saying that some who are within the conservative Church of Christ seem to promote a salvation by their works/deeds?

  30. paden Says:

    um know we dont say that your saved by your deeds.this is something ive nevr heard in the church of Christ but i hear it from other denominations. like baptismal regeneration.the church of Christ doesnt teach that.we teach that you are saved by grace but you have to be baptized to obtain that grace for salvation.now on the other hand after you become a christian we see in james chapter 2 that we show are faith bye our works.its one thing to practice it and another to say it.

  31. Anonymous Says:

    God knows every hair on every person’s head, God wants every person to be saved, He knows every person’s name before they were born, I believe every person when conceived is in the book of life, those who are His are saved and remain in the book of life those who aren’t are blotted out when they die.

  32. paden Says:

    well i agree every one at birth is in the book of life. thats because they arent at the age of acountability.but unless you obey the gospel and the plan of salvation you cannot go to heaven and you can fall from grace.and yes God wants every one to be saved but that doesnt mean he will save anybody for no reason.we have to be submissive to his authoritie for him to save us.

  33. Jay Guin Says:

    Chris,

    It’s very difficult to read your comments. Please capitalize words in the conventional style and add a space after your sentences.

  34. paden Says:

    are you talking to me jay. my name is paden


  35. […] saved by something other than grace (i.e. works). You can read a summary of their view by clicking here and by using this table of contents you can read about their position in more detail (look for the […]


  36. […] to my earlier post in this series regarding when a Christian falls away. Todd Deaver and I wrote at GraceConversation, There are three ways a saved person can fall away […]


  37. […] it is, as Todd Deaver and I wrote it at GraceConversation – What would cause a saved person to no longer be saved  – to fall away or become an […]


  38. […] as I taught at GraceConversation, there are three ways to fall away […]


  39. […] it is, as Todd Deaver and I wrote it at GraceConversation – What would cause a saved person to no longer be saved  – to fall away or become an […]

  40. proxy list Says:

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