Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Conditional election or apostasy?

On the one hand:

“Arminians believe that it is necessary for the redeemed to persevere in saving faith in order to attain to eternal life in the age to come [final salvation]. We maintain that true believers who have experienced genuine regeneration can yet fall away from the faith and perish everlastingly. We take Jesus’ words in Matt. 10:22 both literally and seriously: ‘The one who endures till the end shall be saved’. We maintain that it is the believer’s responsibility to continue in saving faith, while acknowledging dependence on God’s grace and power to do so.”

“These verses [Heb 10:28-29] pose great difficulty for Calvinism and have endured some of the most unfortunate acts of exegetical torture by those who have desperately tried to keep their doctrines from suffering shipwreck on the plain implications of these verses.”

On the other hand:

“I subscribe to the same statement of faith as the Society of Evangelical Arminians (SEA)”:

7. We believe that God’s saving grace is resistible, that election unto salvation is conditional on faith in Christ, and that persevering in faith is necessary for final salvation.

Ben has backed himself into an ironclad conundrum. On the one hand, he subscribes to conditional election. On this view, God not only foresees who the faithful will be, but has elected the faithful on the basis of foreseen faith.

But in that event, the faithful cannot be faithless. Since they were foreknown to be faithful, and elected on the basis of their faith, they are no longer free to do otherwise. If their faith is not only foreseen, but God has chosen them on the basis of their faith, then apostasy is not a live option for them. They cannot still be free to do otherwise.

If, therefore, Ben, as well as all the other members of SEA, are committed to conditional election, then–by his own admission–Arminians don’t take the words of Jesus seriously. Arminians must engage in exegetical torture to desperately keep their dogma of unconditional election from suffering shipwreck on the plain implications of Scripture vis-à-vis apostasy.

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