T – Total Depravity
U – Unconditional Election
L – Limited Atonement
I – Irresistible Grace
P – Perseverance of the Saints
These five heresies form the basis of Calvinist doctrine. Right now I just want to focus on perseverance of the saints. Why? Because knocking out eternal security logically takes out four of the five points. If P falls, then U naturally falls as well, because if God elects unconditionally, then that person cannot choose to leave the faith which God has implanted. If U falls, then L falls as well. I falls as well because if one can resist after salvation, it’s not irresistible. So, eternal security. Let’s first deal with the typical Calvinist prooftext.
John 10:28 “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
Oooohhh. They can’t be snatched, right…but can they jump? This verse speaks only of someone else taking away your salvation, not you yourself walking away from the foot of the cross. So, nothing too scary for the Orthodox here.
Now, for the texts which very clearly speak against the heresy of eternal security, which was ultimately borne from the heresy of justification by faith alone.
Galatians 5:4 “You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.”
So, people fell from grace. Wasn’t that supposed to be irresistible? Guess not.
James 5:19-20 “My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”
So, someone can leave the faith (apostatize) and lose his salvation, thus necessitating being brought back.
Some more scriptures, then we’ll get to my favorite.
Mark 4:16 “And in a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; (they believe for a while) and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away.
Revelation 2:4-5 “‘But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. ‘Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you, and will remove your lampstand out of its place-unless you repent.”
Revelation 2:10 “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
Note that perseverance until death is conditional, not guaranteed.
Time for my favorite!
1 Corinthians 9:27 ” But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”
So, Paul himself says he can be disqualified. What does this mean? Well, one need only look at the Greek word behind “disqualified”.
It’s the Greek word “adókimos”. It is translated as “reprobate” EVERY SINGLE TIME it is used except for Hebrews 6:8 (which is speaking about land, not people) and the passage I just cited. So, that sheds some light on what the word actually means. When speaking about people, it means apostate. Paul himself said he had the potential to become an apostate. That seals up the case. That settles tonight’s refutation of the heresies of Calvinism.