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Eternal Security Of The Believer Essay

1389 words - 6 pages

Of all the past and present theological debates within Orthodox Christianity, few have managed to claim the perpetual debate as has the discussion surrounding the eternal security of the believer. For many generations, faithful Christians have stood on opposite sides of this issue, decrying the view of those standing opposite them. Broadly, some view the Bible as teaching that a man who has experienced a genuine conversion can, by his own will, turn from the faith and forfeit his salvation. The opposing view counters that this same man cannot, under any circumstances, forfeit his salvation after having experienced a genuine conversion. Admittedly, this is a gross generalization of the variety of views, but it suffices to demonstrate the historical conflict around the issue of eternal security. In his book The Race Set Before Us , Dr. Tom Schreiner seeks to address this theological debate, particularly the way in which we deal with warning passages, by looking only to Scripture, apart from any personal presuppositions.
Schreiner does an excellent job of explaining the four major viewpoints commonly held today – loss-of-salvation view, loss-of-rewards view, tests-of-genuineness view, and hypothetical loss-of salvation view – and provides an accurate representation of supporting evidence for each view. He then succinctly reveals the major flaws within each view, and provides the biblical basis for his own view; namely, God’s means-of-salvation view. To support his view, Schreiner uses chapter 2 to stress the importance of understanding salvation in the framework of already-but-not-yet, and chapter 3 is utilized to examine the nature of saving faith as seen throughout Scripture. Schreiner does an excellent job of using Scripture to interact with the traditional views of eternal security, as well as to support his understanding of a holistic understanding of the security of the believer – past, present, and future.
Although I am now fully convinced that Scripture teaches the eternal security of the believer, the “5-point” Arminian tradition in which I was raised is still something I find worming its way into my thought process from time to time. There are questions (particularly some traditional Arminian proof-texts) to which I have found the classic Reformed understanding somewhat lacking. One of the most powerful strengths I see in this work is the fact that Schreiner argues that almost everyone thus far has wrongly approached the issue of eternal security and the warning passages. One of the major theses in the book is that the four most popular views of dealing with the warning passages throughout Scripture are all fundamentally flawed because they begin with their presuppositions formed by their systematic theology. That is, they do not form their view by looking at the warning passages, “Rather, they read the warning passages in view of their prior assumptions concerning the possibility of falling away and perishing under God’s...

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