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How not to talk about assurance of salvation

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Active
I've been reflecting on the number of threads devoted to the question of whether or not a person can lose their salvation. My observation is that the debate springs from a very significant issue in the church, but the debate does little to address the heart of the problem.

As I see it, the big issue pastorally and theologically is the one addressed in Jesus' Parable of the Sower and in the letter of 1 John, and the early chapters of Hebrews - What are we to think of people who leave the fellowship of believers?

This is an issue that personal for me - some of those who had a huge positive influence on my faith as a younger Christian no longer walk with Jesus Christ.

There are two prominent ideas that are very unhelpful:
  • The first is the evangelistic approach that makes an offer along the lines "If you pray this prayer and mean it with all your heart, you are assured of eternal salvation". That's poor theology and disastrous discipleship. I wonder if it has more to do with notching up converts than building the kingdom of God.
  • Or it's possible to fall off the other side of the fence and live in perpetual doubt of our salvation. That can lead us in the direction of legalism, an unhealthy tendency to show our worth to God.
I don't think that finding a definitive answer to the vexed question of can I lose my salvation helps too much. I am more and more convinced that the answer lies in looking to the person of Jesus Christ and trusting in his grace and faithfulness.
 
Active
Assurance of salvation comes with many things, one of which is obedience, and also walking the walk.

Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus. - 1 Timothy 3​

God has so ordained it that those who wish to have confidence concerning their salvation must be walking it out, they must be running the race.

You may very well be born again, but if you are living in a low state of grace, as the old writers used to say, you aren't going to have confidence concerning such, you aren't going to have boldness, and you aren't going to be of any real use to anyone else.

If Christ is truly in you, you have the power to overcome sin and the flesh in your life. Not perfectly or in every way, but, in practical and everyday ways. Running after God and seeing him working in your life as you do so gives one great confidence in the faith.

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. - Philippians 2​

This is what the baptism of the Holy Spirit is concerned with. It it concerned with power and boldness for the purpose of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You can't boldly proclaim the faith if you are walking in a state of confusion and uncertainty. If the Spirit of God is in you, and upon you, and flowing out from you, you are going to know it experimentally, and there is little room for doubt about whether you belong to God or not. That's going to be the last thought on your mind.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." - Acts 1​

Blessings,

Travis
 
Active
he first is the evangelistic approach that makes an offer along the lines "If you pray this prayer and mean it with all your heart, you are assured of eternal salvation". That's poor theology and disastrous discipleship. I wonder if it has more to do with notching up converts than building the kingdom of God.
"If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9

Biblically, the "sinners prayer" is sound. The catch is the "mean it with all your heart" part of it. Many people come forward for altar call and say the words, but they don't believe in their heart what they have said. They think they are saved though, because they fulfilled the "declare with your mouth" portion of it. I believe the churches could do a better job in follow-up and counseling after the altar call to make sure that those who responded truly understand what that prayer meant and what it means to be a Christian.
 
Active
Altar calls are unbiblical in and of themselves.
Asking someone to come forward and confess they are a sinner and accept Jesus Christ as their savior is unbiblical?? Now I have heard everything on the Internet!!
 
Active
Not that it's incredibly related to the topic at hand, but show me a single place in the New Testament where anyone gave an altar call.

Blessings

Travis
 
Active

RJ

I am more and more convinced that the answer lies in looking to the person of Jesus Christ and trusting in his grace and faithfulness.
Jesus said he would never lose whoever God gives him!
 
Active

RJ

Not that it's incredibly related to the topic at hand, but show me a single place in the New Testament where anyone gave an altar call.

Blessings

Travis
So, the Bible does not mention the trinity nor does the doctrine exist anywhere in the New Testament, but that does not make it untrue!
 
Active
So, the Bible does not mention the trinity nor does the doctrine exist anywhere in the New Testament, but that does not make it untrue!
I didn't say the words altar call. I said an altar call. The trinity is on nearly every page of scripture, whatever name you want to give it. There are no altar calls in the New Testament. It's a recent invention. And it's unbiblical.
 
Active
OK. paper clips are never mentioned in the bible, are therefore unbiblical, but I don't have a quarrel with them.
My concern is not with altar calls as such, but "cheap grace".
The sinners prayer is an excellent first step, as long as it is recognised as a first step in a life of discipleship. As soon as it is thought of as a ticket to heaven we are in trouble.
 
Active
In response to @JohnP I would prefer it if we were more careful in explaining the consequences of following Christ before the altar call.
 
Active
I didn't say the words altar call. I said an altar call. The trinity is on nearly every page of scripture, whatever name you want to give it. There are no altar calls in the New Testament. It's a recent invention. And it's unbiblical.
The only response I'm even going to dignify this with is, that asking others to follow Jesus is on nearly every page of scripture, and calling them down to the altar to do so is just another way of doing it, and you are trying to strain gnats. Have a blessed day!
 
Active
The only response I'm even going to dignify this with is, that asking others to follow Jesus is on nearly every page of scripture, and calling them down to the altar to do so is just another way of doing it, and you are trying to strain gnats. Have a blessed day!
I'm not upset with you.

When people use the type of language you are using, that is outright mocking and condescending, it's usually a smokescreen. A smokescreen for the fact that they are standing on thin air with whatever idea or thing they are holding onto.

There was no altar call for 1800 years of Christianity. Finney wrongly introduced it and others followed suit. It's not biblical, and it's led to a lot of problems.

I'm sorry for distracting from the original topic, but when I get a reaction this strong to something as simple as what I said, it tells me there's something quite wrong that needs to be addressed.

Blessings,

Travis
 
Active
In response to @JohnP I would prefer it if we were more careful in explaining the consequences of following Christ before the altar call.
That's why it is usually done after the service, after what it means to be a follower of Christ has been explained. I'll leave it at that, as I didn't mean to hijack this thread by turning it into a debate about the method of bringing others to Christ. I kind of got the impression that the OP was regarding OSAS, with the implication that if you're not following Jesus you never really were, you just thought you were because you recited a prayer.
 
Active
I'm not upset with you.

When people use the type of language you are using, that is outright mocking and condescending, it's usually a smokescreen. A smokescreen for the fact that they are standing on thin air with whatever idea or thing they are holding onto.

There was no altar call for 1800 years of Christianity. Finney wrongly introduced it and others followed suit. It's not biblical, and it's led to a lot of problems.

I'm sorry for distracting from the original topic, but when I get a reaction this strong to something as simple as what I said, it tells me there's something quite wrong that needs to be addressed.

Blessings,

Travis
Sorry, brother, I'm not upset with you! Nothing but love coming through this keyboard. All is good! I admit that I was taken aback by your stance, but it certainly doesn't mean that I hold anything against you. I've been around these forums for a long time, and I don't generally let things here get to me, and I'm not really into debating. When I said have a blessed day, that was from my heart, not meant to be sarcastic. I'll say it again, have a blessed day! :D
 
Active

RJ

I didn't say the words altar call. I said an altar call. The trinity is on nearly every page of scripture, whatever name you want to give it. There are no altar calls in the New Testament. It's a recent invention. And it's unbiblical.
Sorry Travis,whether you can find an " altar Call" in the Bible is not the point, it is a valid occurrence. I guess all those millions that answered the altar call of Billy Graham didn't happen and where meaningless?!
 
Active
Sorry Travis,whether you can find an " altar Call" in the Bible is not the point, it is a valid occurrence. I guess all those millions that answered the altar call of Billy Graham didn't happen and where meaningless?!
Good point RJ, one I would love to address some day in the future. It's so often the things we assume to be true, without even a second thought, that catch us by surprise.

Billy Graham is one of the main people who has furthered this nonesense of altar calls.

I'll leave that for another day though.

Blessings,

Travis
 
Active
Back to the OP?
My main thought is that the once saved always saved debate is a dead end. However it is answered the reality and pain of people abandoning their profession of faith in Christ remains.
 
Active

RJ

Good point RJ, one I would love to address some day in the future. It's so often the things we assume to be true, without even a second thought, that catch us by surprise.

Billy Graham is one of the main people who has furthered this nonesense of altar calls.

I'll leave that for another day though.

Blessings,

Travis
So, are you saying a person can't be saved during an altar call?
 
Active

RJ

Back to the OP?
My main thought is that the once saved always saved debate is a dead end. However it is answered the reality and pain of people abandoning their profession of faith in Christ remains.
What then is your interpretation of this please: 1 John 2:19 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.
 
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