Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Arminians Cannot Logically Adopt Perseverance

If grace is resistible and election is conditional, then there remains no basis for the perseverance of the saints. To maintain such, one would have to posit a transition in God's governance of the believer such that God initiates salvation according to Arminian principles (freedom and grace), but after rebirth continues salvation according to Calvinistic principles (determinism). Though a biblical mechanism for such a shift could be posited on the basis of texts like Philippians 1:6, or John 6:39, there is no way to harmonize such a conception with the book of Hebrews or other passages warning that all is lost if one ceases to persevere in faith.

There is no need to. From God's perspective (either looking back from the end or seeing all at once), of everyone who is finally and eternally saved it can be said that they will have made it because of God's efforts to preserve them. For everyone who made a turn to God, even who came to know him intimately, but at some point ceased to believe in Christ and walked away from him, it can be said that they will have fallen irretrievably because of their own freedom to believe or not believe. That God loses none of those he foreknew does not mean he will not lose some of those he knew along the way.

If it is intrinsic to God's will that mankind be free (as any Arminian would attest), then on what basis would a shift to Calvinistic precepts for the saved be justified? It seems to me, any such basis would have to be established by ignoring some scripture on its face in order to emphasize other passages of scripture. What would drive that? Emotion? Comfort? Make no mistake, any such an effort thoroughly undermines the Arminian conceptions of soteriology in the first place. If one knows God's grace is resistible, then one cannot posit a perseverance that is not.