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Discussion Forum : General Topics : early church fathers on lost of salvation

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graceamazed
Member



Joined: 2008/11/3
Posts: 77
Tennessee

 Re:

Quote:
I am of the opinion (and this is liable to any amount of correction) that Perseverance vs. Reprobation is, like Election vs. Freewill, a paradox that we'll never fully understand this side of eternity.



I agree. I do not believe this great debate will ever be resolved this side of eternity and in the end I think we'll find that the Lord was neither fully Calvinist nor Arminian. There have been too many great men of God in both camps for me to fully reject one in favor of the other (though I do definately hold closer to one systematic understanding than the other).


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Buck Yates

 2009/1/31 14:44Profile
ccchhhrrriiisss
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Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4476


 Re:

Hi wayneman…

Quote:

Doctrine means "teaching," so it's fair to say the teaching that a believer can become reprobate qualifies as a doctrine. It's also fair to say that the doctrine of reprobation is based on these three passages, but that's not to suggest that proponents of this doctrine are simply isolating and stringing verses together out of context to support their position. On the contrary, these passages seem to state explicitly that it is possible to lose one's salvation. The bottom line is "no man can come to me except my Father in heaven draws him." If we have once walked with God, then backslid, then return to Christ in repentance, it is the Father who has drawn us back, and "he who comes to Me I will in no wise cast out." Backsliders who seek repentance don't need to fear that the Lord will slam the door in their faces (take it from one who knows!).

I am of the opinion (and this is liable to any amount of correction) that Perseverance vs. Reprobation is, like Election vs. Freewill, a paradox that we'll never fully understand this side of eternity.



When I said that I don’t think that this was a “doctrine,” I meant that I don’t see it being TAUGHT by anyone in the early church. The apostles did not teach something that was not completely set in stone by the Scriptures (pure truth) – except for the anecdote of Peter and the circumcision. Can we say with any certainty that the early Church preached ONE idea over the other (in regards to “eternal security”)? Do we see them teach [i]both[/i]?

I certainly agree with the essence of what you’re saying in your post. This issue is FAR from established as an “undeniable truth” in the Scriptures. While some point to a few verses that lead them to believe one way or the other, there is no definitive reference that leads us to believe that the matter is certainly established. However, we have (and know) the Scriptures as a whole.

Can someone who has truly called upon…and followed after…the Lord in truth – can such a person be tempted to turn back to their old life? I believe that the answer is YES. Why? The Scriptures warn believers about either returning to…or running ahead of…the things of this world. In addition, I think that we can state with certainty that we are all TEMPTED by the things of this world. What happens if we were to give in to those temptations…and continually walk into those things? Are we so brave as to claim that we are still followers of Christ when we are actually following after the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life?

That being said: I don’t think that it is wise for a believer to go about preaching with any sort of certainty one way or the other. Why? Most of the time, this ends up becoming the teaching of a man…and an extra biblical “doctrine. “ Why can’t we just say what the Scriptures say regarding the matter…and leave it at that?

Instead, we find churches that draw up their own doctrinal views and include them within the “we believe” section of their denomination or local congregation…restricting active participation within the congregation to those who wholeheartedly profess an appreciation for such beliefs. This isn’t just true of matters regarding the concept of “eternal security,” but of many other issues too. Doctrines are embraced, propagated and taught in a way as to “indoctrinate” believers toward a particular perspective…rather than to allow a believer to make up his/her mind through much prayer and study.

Rather than teaching a doctrine that says we can be secure in our salvation no matter what (even, perhaps, while living in sin), can’t we simply warn believers about walking away from or running ahead of the faith? I have met people living in gross, blatant and unrepentant sin – yet lay claim to a “doctrine” that says that they are saved. They claim that their faith in Christ was real…so they can’t lose it…even if they have returned to walking in the sins of this world. I just think that this is just counterproductive to the teachings of Christ in the New Testament.

:-(


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Christopher

 2009/1/31 15:08Profile
bible4life
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Joined: 2009/1/21
Posts: 1558
Locport, Illinois

 Re:

thank you for all of your responses, thanks for quotes for the church fathers too.


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John Beechy

 2009/1/31 15:18Profile
hmmhmm
Member



Joined: 2006/1/31
Posts: 4991
Sweden

 Re:

My intent for posting the quotes and participate here is not to flame up another cal vs arm discussion, the original poster asked a question and i tried to give him answers and some of my very little wisdom concerning seeking answers and some of the dangers i my self have encountered. I think i even pointed out if he wanted to read good writings that hold the opposite view. Some that i have been blessed by are Edwards, Spurgeon, Withfield ect.

But also id like to mention there are difference between calvinist and calvinist, see i have been very blessed by both Matthew Henry and J.C Ryles commentary's on scripture, and as far as i can understand their belifs would be placed under reformed and calvinist. And the very interesting thing and the thing i believe to be one of the reason God so has horned them with the light they had and that is seen in their writings is when they come to a very "arminian" passage of scripture they dont explain it away but are very true to what is written, unlike many others they are faithful to scripture. I read in ryles commentary some things that would make some call him a blasphemer since he has inserted some things that i think is very close to a believer losing his salvation, in passages that speak about decipleship and the cost of following Christ and the consequence of not taking it serius, and i have found the same in Matthew Henrys commentary. So it is not so much that we hold fast to one doctrine and we will hold it so no one could even bend it out from our cold dead hands.

Either we say i dont know how it fits together as of yet, and both Ryle and Henry i think had this humility to treat scripture with sincerity fear and honesty.

Indeed this goes both ways since many arminians do the very same thing. But i hope we can all accept that no doctrine or system is perfect and can fully explain all mysteries in scripture.

And arminians have just as many bible verses and passages that are difficult for them to explain that calvinistic have. In this i find Henry and Ryle examples to follow in how they honestly treated scripture in so much they could insert something in their commentary upon the Holy Scriptures that went against the "rules" of the doctrine they held.

To the original posters question, i here post some more quotes from the early church on this topic, and i refer to my first posts warnings once again.


Let us therefore repent with the whole heart, so that none of us perish by the way.

second clement c.150


if you do not guard yourself againt anger you and your house will lose all hope of salvation

Hermas c.150


I hold further, that those of you who have confessed and known this man to be Christ, yet who have gone back for some reason to the legal dispensation, andhave denied that this man is Christ, and have not repented before death - you will by no means be saved

Justin Martyr c.160


Those who do not obey Him, being disinherited by Him, have ceased to be His sons.

Irenaeus c.180


The world returned to sin...and so it is destined to fire. So is the man who after baptism renews his sins.

Tertullian c.197


Being a beliving man, if you seek to live as the gentiles do, the joys of the world remove you from the grace of Christ

Commodianus c.240




these are just a few, these are from Bercots dictionary of early christian beliefs.

It is a must have in the christian library and you can find it for less then 20 dollars. In it you will find quotes and the early church fathers writings on nearly every subject that pertains to christianity. It is not scripture but a very interesting book that will show us what the first generations of christians believed, Christians that spoke greek, read scripture in greek and lived in the same time period as Christ.

No doubt a very challenging and interesting book to glean from. But without the spirit showing us from scripture it is worth nothing i say again.

God bless


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CHRISTIAN

 2009/2/1 7:53Profile
Lysa
Member



Joined: 2008/10/25
Posts: 3385
East TN (for now)

 Re:

Quote:

TaylorOtwell wrote:
I'll just be brief, read John 6:37. There is your church father quote. Also, I would ask anyone to please explain how Jesus was a complete failure at fulfilling the Father's will that he should lose none of those given to him by the Father. Away with such blasphemous ideas.


Blasphemous ideas? :-D

Read Luke 10, when Christ sent out the seventy two by two. Judas was in that bunch was he not?

Did Jesus not speak to Judas as well as the others, "[i]behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.[/i] (Luke 10.19-20)

Jesus withheld nothing from him that he gave the others. He had been given the power to tread on scorpians and the spirits had been subject unto him and yet he betrayed Jesus. {edit: it may not seem so to you, but it seems clear to me.


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Lisa

 2009/2/1 8:08Profile
tjservant
Member



Joined: 2006/8/25
Posts: 1658
Indiana USA

 Re:

Quote:
But also id like to mention there are difference between calvinist and calvinist, see i have been very blessed by both Matthew Henry and J.C Ryles commentary's on scripture, and as far as i can understand their belifs would be placed under reformed and calvinist. And the very interesting thing and the thing i believe to be one of the reason God so has horned them with the light they had and that is seen in their writings is when they come to a very "arminian" passage of scripture they dont explain it away but are very true to what is written, unlike many others they are faithful to scripture. I read in ryles commentary some things that would make some call him a blasphemer since he has inserted some things that i think is very close to a believer losing his salvation, in passages that speak about decipleship and the cost of following Christ and the consequence of not taking it serius, and i have found the same in Matthew Henrys commentary. So it is not so much that we hold fast to one doctrine and we will hold it so no one could even bend it out from our cold dead hands.



Quote:
Either we say i dont know how it fits together as of yet, and both Ryle and Henry i think had this humility to treat scripture with sincerity fear and honesty.



Very good post brother hmmhmm. I’m glad to see you recognize that there is indeed a Calvinism that is accepting to the mysteries of God. C.H. Spurgeon often mentioned the fact that he didn’t know exactly how it all worked out in regards to God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility. I believe this acceptance and willingness to admit that we don’t have it all figured out is why so many Calvinists admire the writings of A.W. Tozer. He held a very high view of the sovereignty of God but never denied the responsibility of the believer.

Another point to remember is that ‘once saved always saved’ means different things to different people. If you ask me if I believe in OSAS I would ask you what you mean by it. Only after hearing your explanation would I be able to agree with you or not. I do not believe it as explained by several people I know. As a matter of fact, I have met very few people in person that I agree with on the subject. I disagree with the majority of its modern day explanations, as ccchhhrrriiisss pointed out, it is often taught in a way as to promote sinful and un-Godly behavior. This is where the old teachings of perseverance of the saints, that was taught by the authors, preachers, and teacher of old (like the ones hmmhmm mentioned), and the modern teachings of OSAS clash. An in depth study will reveal there to be more of a difference than is often realized.


As for responding to the original thread question:


There are many websites and people dedicated to dealing with the issue of eternal security. Many websites and authors believe in it…many do not. It is not uncommon for someone to publish a book of cherry picked statements claiming to end the debate once and for all. There are hundreds of books claiming the early fathers believed this or did not believe that. They were facing countless heresies and forming their own understandings. The doctrine of the trinity had also not been fully developed and articulated at this time.


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TJ

 2009/2/1 10:31Profile
theopenlife
Member



Joined: 2007/1/30
Posts: 926


 Re:

Being stripped of their context it is difficult to judge the original usage of these quotes. Most appealed to me as warnings against apostasy, which is the failure to "make one's calling and election sure."

For instance,

"The world returned to sin...and so it is destined to fire. So is the man who after baptism renews his sins."

I agree, a man who goes entirely back to the world after baptism should expect damnation for trusting in his baptism, rather than Christ for his salvation. He was never saved.

"Those who do not obey Him, being disinherited by Him, have ceased to be His sons."

This is patent contradiction to Hebrews 12:6-8, "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons." Clearly, if you do not receive and endure God's corrective disciplines, than you WERE NEVER a son. You are yet a bastard son of the devil, and no son of God.

"If you do not guard yourself against anger you and your house will lose all hope of salvation."

Am I to believe that my family's salvation now relies on my temper, rather than on God's covenant with them as individuals in Christ!! But we could take it another way, to say that if we continue on in rage then we shall lose hope that we ever experiences regeneration and sanctification which belong to every person born again.


Let's remember that the "fathers" were basing their ideas off of scripture just like us, and we have more of it than most of them did. Also, we know the canon, and they pulled from mixed sources.

 2009/2/1 11:07Profile
hmmhmm
Member



Joined: 2006/1/31
Posts: 4991
Sweden

 Re:

i agree quoting can take something completley out of context, the best thing is to read the early church writings for one self to get a a view of the whole content and so on. Purpose and to whom it is written and so on.

And again it is possible to take quotes out as previus posters have mentioned and make it into something extreme or cult.

I have seen the watchtower quote early church fathers, seen catholics quote them to show their heretical doctrines to be the "true" ones, an example is i saw a catholic take a quote and make it so that our salvation hangs on the obedience to the pope and the church.

So it is a danger in doing so, i just posted short quotes that deal somwhat with the issue at hand.

But when one read the early church fathers i think many of them believed it was possible to know Christ in truth and go back.

Right or wrong their writing is not scripture, but from many of them that is what i get when reading them.

But I have been wrong once or twice before :-)


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CHRISTIAN

 2009/2/1 11:55Profile
TaylorOtwell
Member



Joined: 2006/6/19
Posts: 927
Arkansas

 Re:

Lysa,

Judas was never a believer. He was the son of perdition destined to betray the Christ as prophesied in the Old Testament. Jesus said "yet one of your is a devil..." (John 6:70)

And, yes, it is a blasphemous idea to say that, although Christ said it was the Father's will that he lose [b]none[/b] of those given to Him by the Father, He actually failed in this task.

With care in Christ,
Taylor


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Taylor Otwell

 2009/2/1 15:21Profile
bible4life
Member



Joined: 2009/1/21
Posts: 1558
Locport, Illinois

 Re:

Open for life thank you for those powerful insights. Hmmm i agree it is just their thoughts and not scripture and it looks from what i see that they believed you could lose salvation. Taylor i agree completely with what your saying about judas, he was a devil the wholetime, he was a goat with the sheep.


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John Beechy

 2009/2/1 22:38Profile





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