Popular Theology

I attended our mid-week Bible study this week and the discussion was on one of the more controversial passages in the New Testament. The passage wasn't so controversial except that it doesn't fit so well with the popular theology of the Baptist church namely the "once saved always saved" doctrine. The passage was Hebrews 6:4-8

If you just read it it sounds as if a person falls away in this manner that he cannot be saved again. This poses a problem with the belief that once you are saved you are always saved. The problem isn't that you can't be re-saved. The problem according to popular Baptist teaching is that once you are saved you can't be lost again.

The Conclusion is Proof One of the arguments had to do with one of the conclusions that it is impossible to be renewed to repentance. Since you can't be saved a second time this is proof of "once saved always saved" that is that you can't be lost and re-saved. This common reasoning demonstrates how conclusion can be used as evidence in the proof.

Characteristic of the Saved Another question has to do with what it means to be saved. Do the previous qualities refer to unique qualities of a Christian? Does the hypothetical repentance refer to a salvation experience. Are these characteristics that refer to believers?

Even if we assume that there is an issue with logic. As a believer certain works and qualities follow our conversion. Does the absence of them mean we are not saved. Does the presence of them in someone else mean that they are saved. It's like using the logic that if everyone that wears red socks is a man then all men wear red socks.

The best we can do in this case is seemingly saved but Matthew warns that not everyone that confesses preaches does miracles will enter the kingdom. As in Matthew these are not the spiritual qualities that are demonstrated in the life of a believer. These are not evidences of salvation as the fruits of the Spirit are.

By Grace through repentance Another defense mentions the word for repentance that this Greek word is used in the context of salvation. The problem is that the use of that word in this passage may not refer to salvation. That is an assumption and it may not be the only one. Another problem is repentance alone does not save us and the two words have distinct meanings.

Believers Another common argument is that the passage is talking about believers because Verses 1 and 8 address the believers directly. This argument assumes that the description refers to one of those believers. However vv 4-6 are just that interjection and the author clearly refers to "those who" both literally and in context.

For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come and then have fallen away it is impossible to renew them again to repentance since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.

Although I might be classified with one denomination or another one church or another I think it is more important to be honest in our study whether it has to do with religion computers or medicine. Our desire should be to know the truth. We need to study to learn rather than study to justify a preconceived idea or package of truths. That is honest study.

This passage in Hebrews is a warning. Instead of explaining it away we need to heed it. That is why it is written. Were these people that had followed along in the church for a while learned what the cost was and then decided not to follow? They didn't just backslide. They knowingly rejected Christ. They had all the facts and experiences and made their decision.

There are several passages in the scripture that warn us to be sure that we are in the truth and not deceiving ourselves. One warning refers to those who twist scripture to their own destruction. Another common quote notes that God is not mocked; that whatever a man sows he also reaps.

In every denomination people passionately defend their belief system because it makes them feel more secure. We need to have a passionate desire to know what God has to say. After all it is our faith in Him that saves us not our faith in our belief system. You can't be more secure than when you are living off of every word of God. There may be nutrients in His word that you've probably never heard of or fully understood. Don't miss them. Don't settle with the milk of "once saved always saved".

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