Am I becoming a Calvinist?
Is this a good or bad thing?
It was (and to some degree still is) that I would
refuse (repeat REFUSE) to debate over the issue of whether the deal is: 'Once
saved always saved', or 'You can lose your salvation' because I had not made
up my mind.
Calvinists go for the first one it seems, I was
inclined towards the second, but refused to be commited either way.
How did the Calvinists explain 'falling away',
which described by the second group also as 'losing your salvation'. The
only way to explain the second group's beliefs is that there are those who
confess that Jesus is lord (second, and only visible, part of Romans 10:9)
that then 'lost faith', they turned away. The first group explained them
as people who were never saved in the first place. This always seemed to
me as a cop-out (I hate those). They were making claims they couldn't
prove. They were making assumptions about people which no-one could ever
know was true to prove themselves, assuming that they never really
believed. This seemed to me as a flimsy support. But then
losing salvation is losing the promise it seems. The promise of eternal
But then over one issue, looking at it from both
side's views, each side had a flimsy (read stupid) basis on something (I am
not known for subtlety when it comes to people having views obviously
contradicted by the Bible - the Bible calls the stupid [Proverbs etc] so I have
no qualms about thinking they are stupid-but I won't insult them). The
issue was the people who 'fell away'. I shall critique the views I have
heard in my life:
"Those who fell away, lost their
I interpret this exclamation in the following
a) They were saved before they
fell away and now are not saved.
b) Salvation is a gift from God,
they lost this gift rejecting it (But they did have it while they were still
c) Salvation is a promise to the
faithful. By losing their salvation they have lost their promise to them
My interpretations (I shall write what I
think, using some of my philosophical thought processes):
a) The term 'saved' by itself
sounds eternal. By saying that they have lost salvation, this salvation is
in some way not eternal. This implication as I see it is not right.
For salvation is the gift of eternal life. So the result of the gift
from God lasts for eternity. This leads to question
b) Can you lose gifts from
God? This question here by itself I would instinctively say no to.
But is this answer right? God is merciful, God is kind, God NEVER breaks
His promises. He promised the gift of eternal life to the faithful.
The gift comes with a promise, so then you cannot lose this gift from
God. You cannot lose any gifts from God (I seem to have stepped into the
Calvinist camp here through my logic, let's see how this continues - I am
observing my logic like you as an external observer). (I have just
searched for the common saying "the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away" and
have not found it in the KJV) The previous statement may not be quite
true, but I have so far logically concluded it is, if it isn't I'd still
conclude thus far that "You can't lose this gift (eternal life) from God".
So now, through my logic (which may be flawed) I have definitely stepped into
the Calvinist camp. I am now thinking: "God promises eternal life to those
who confess with their mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in their heart God raised
Him from the dead (Ro 10:9). So those with faith get the promise of
eternal life, if they lose their faith, then the 2nd Group say they were saved
but they lose their salvation. For them to be correct God has to break His
promise, so Group 2 are wrong." But now I think "Is God really breaking
His promise?" - They no longer have faith so they no longer deserve
salvation, as faith is a definite 'prerequisite' (for want of a better word) for
salvation (not to confuse this statement as equating faith with works),
countless bible verses, but Ro4:16 says "the promise comes by faith" and Ro3:28
"For we maintain that man is justified by faith apart from observing the
law". So they have no faith, so it seems that they don't deserve
salavtion. This then leads to the first point of Group
c) Answered in
Those who fall away were never saved in the
first place. They did not have the faith, it just appeared to us that they
To continue from answer (b)
Answer (b) above finished with
"They had faith, and were saved, but now they've lost faith, so they don't
deserve salvation, therefore they are no longer saved."
Well this point and the conclusion of
(b) agree that both of these people are doomed, but they
disagree on the initial state of these people. So the question here is
"Were they initially saved or not?" Group 1 say no, Group 2 say yes.
A clear disagreement here. This appears to be the fundamental difference
between the two groups, all other differences arise from this. So then who
is right? It here now that I shall throw a few more Bible verses into the
V1 - 1Jn5:4 "For everyone who is born of God will
overcome the world."
V2 - James 1:12 "Blessed is the man who perseverese
under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of
life that God has promised to those who love Him."
V3 - Gal3:11 "The righteous live by
V4 - Heb 10:38 "But my righteous one lives by
faith, if he shrinks back I will not be pleased with him."
V5 - Ro 12:3 "..in accordance with the faith God
has given you."
V6 - 1Co12:8-9 "To one there is
V7 - 1Jn5:18 "We know that anyone born
of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and
the evil one cannot harm him."
These should do, but I can't remember
another passage I think you pointed out to me in which it talks about those
who have faith and the results of them having it, and it implies clearly that if
you have genuine faith, you won't lose it - that if you 'lose your faith' you
really never had faith in the first place. If you remember
this passgae could you please remind me of it.
V1 and V7 says that those with faith in God (born
of Him) will not be overcome by the world (lose faith etc) and will be kept
safe. V2 says that he who does not lose his faith will receive eternal
life. V3 says you are righteous if you live by faith, if you lose faith
you were not righteous, and to get to heaven you need to be righteous. V5
and V6 say that our faith is A GIFT FROM GOD. From this I ask that if you
'lose your faith' has God given you faith, then taken it away? Then I'd
V4 could be used to support Group 2, but in light
of the other verses it doesn't.
So I conclude that God gives us our faith, and we
do not lose that faith. (What is that passage? It is probably the easiest
passage to base this all on.)
So it seems Group 1 is right, they were not
initially saved, they did not have true faith.
But there is another 'sect' of people within Group
1 who I have heard say:
Those who fall away are still
Well this is comforting to us if we have Christian
friends who have 'fallen away'. We can lean on this and say that they are
still going to heaven. What a dangerous thought!
Believing this could lead us to not try hard to bring them back (direct
violation of the Bible - don't remember exactly where) But as I have been
convinced, they did not have faith to begin with, so I conclude that the people
who say "Those who fall away are still saved", an extreme of "once saved always
saved" are wrong. They are assuming by external observations that strongly
suggested to them that the person who 'fell away' was saved initially.
This is a dangerous assumption, and I believe they are wrong. All the
verses above oppose this belief.
So it seems that saying that those who 'fall away'
did not have faith or were not saved initially is not a cop-out as it seemed
So I seem to have now concluded that the Calvinists
(If the above makes no sense it is
because everything was just laid out as I thought of it)