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Roselove

Early church eternal security

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I have a question about eternal security and the early church. 
I have been wondering about this for quite some time, but i just can't find a straight- forward answer. 
I've read many websites, forums, old texts, greek terminology in the Bible, etc. and i just can't find anything that is pro-eternal security, from anywhere in the earliest church age. What my pastor and one of the teachers at my church told me, was that the reason it looked like people didn't believe in eternal security in the early church, was because it didn't fit the Catholic doctrine, which was who was domineering at the time. But, via my research, i have seen that there appears to be no evidence, that anyone taught eternal security before the Catholic church, either. 
Why is this? Can you please help me understand? I just find it hard to believe in it because of this and the fact that in the original greek verb tenses of a lot of the verses used to justify eternal security, actually appear not to. With all of this in mind, plus the verses that seem to say you can indeed, forfeit your salvation, i am just having a hard time understanding this. 
I know also, that it didn't seem to be a thing until the reformation movement with calvinists and stuff. So I'm pretty sure the doctrine was based on the belief of predestination. 
I would really appreciate your feedback. 
Thanks! 

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37 minutes ago, 1611mac said:

Something simple to think about....  If something is known to be true and it is accepted fact then it usually doesn't get written about (and thus there is no "controversy" untill later when some apostate starts pushing false doctrine.   So silence on ANY subject MAY simply mean that it was generally accepted as truth.

I read this...thought about it...read it again...contemplated it...read it again...and mulled it over...and I believe this is a valid point. 

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48 minutes ago, 1611mac said:

Something simple to think about....  If something is known to be true and it is accepted fact then it usually doesn't get written about (and thus there is no "controversy" untill later when some apostate starts pushing false doctrine.   So silence on ANY subject MAY simply mean that it was generally accepted as truth.

Although I agree that there is truth in this theory, I believe it can only be used to support a stronger argument.  Just because something is not mentioned, it does not necessarily follow that it is commonly believed.

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2 minutes ago, Brother Stafford said:

Although I agree that there is truth in this theory, I believe it can only be used to support a stronger argument.  Just because something is not mentioned, it does not necessarily follow that it is commonly believed.

And that is the reason I said in capitol letters "MAY" -  Silence itself cannot prove anything can it?

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1 hour ago, Brother Stafford said:

Although I agree that there is truth in this theory, I believe it can only be used to support a stronger argument.  Just because something is not mentioned, it does not necessarily follow that it is commonly believed.

Do you feel it was a common belief, back then? 

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5 hours ago, Roselove said:

Do you feel it was a common belief, back then? 

I know it may sound cliché but, don't trust feelings or emotions only trust what you can prove. From scripture I can prove what was taught to the first churches, I've already done that above. My faith rests in Christ's promise of eternal life. I know my faith in Jesus Christ is not limited to my generation. The age of the church has existed since the Apostles began establishing churches, in over 2000 years of generations. All these generations before me had the same faith, if they had it, given to me by God. I know by my faith, I teach eternal security. I trust God's word that He doesn't change or alter from generation to generation. Since I by faith in God teach eternal security I know eternal security was taught by the early churches of the same faith I have. I have the evidence of the faith in eternal security by the recorded lives and death of the martyrs. I understand the early churches didn't have the KJV but, it is obvious they communicated to one another and shared the letters of Paul. So, they did receive the same information and assurance of eternal live we have today. There is no speculation here, it is recorded in my KJV.

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On 3/14/2017 at 11:19 PM, Roselove said:

I don't understand why there would be no writings that i can find anywhere at all, talking about being eternally secure. I just find that a bit, odd. 

There are early writings; there are many of them in the King James Bible and the fragments that make up the texts from which the KJV was derived.  

  • John 3:16
  • John 6:37
  • John 10:27-29
  • 2 Corinthians 1:22
  • 1 John 5:13
  • And most clearly: Romans 8:38-39

Correct me if I am wrong, but you don't seem to be considering the KJV, and its sources, valid historical writings.  

Edited by Brother Stafford

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9 hours ago, Brother Stafford said:

There are early writings; there are many of them in the King James Bible and the fragments that make up the texts from which the KJV was derived.  

Correct me if I am wrong, but you don't seem to be considering the KJV, and its sources, valid historical writings.  

I believe you're correct. Is Roselove's dilemma with the Bible's inerrant truth? I just read 2 Cor. 1 this morning and also... 2Co 1:9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:

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It is true that there appears to be no KNOWN affirmation of a doctrine of "Eternal Security" in the early Church writings. (Here I would restrict it to the Ante-Nicene pre-4th Century).

But, there are doubtless countless writings we no longer have access to.

To this I would say several things:

The early Church had much larger fish to fry quite frankly.

It was busy fleshing out doctrines such as the Deity of Jesus Christ, the Humanity of Jesus Christ, the Divinity of the Holy Spirit, the personhood of the Spirit, the Nature of the Trinity, the incarnation etc...

I would argue that genuine saved believers had some pretty strange ideas we would consider all but heretical in this day and age.  And we can expect too much from them sometimes.  We are the beneficiaries of 2,000 years of Christian thought.  They were often the beneficiaries of a few books of the New Testament perhaps a gospel or two and some letters of Paul.  It was not really until  Chalcedon (if I remember correctly) that everyone even agreed upon the Scriptural Cannon.  The early Church Fathers had no such benefits........and they were dealing with much "bigger" issues.

That being said, when they do make round-about mention of it.....they indeed do not seem to support any such thing as "Once-saved always saved" or "Eternal Security" etc....

This is not surprising really.  Such an idea would be foreign to the world they inhabited at the time.  Christianity would be the only faith that had such a doctrine (and still is).  It's very counter-intuitive.  And yes, there are numerous Scriptures which demand a "faithfulness to the end" to ensure salvation.  But, the specific historical and social context of such writings is informative....They were under persecution in a way that we are not.  They were likely referring to holding fast and not denying their faith in the face of persecution as much as saying "don't lose your Salvation". 

To be clear, I am Skeptical about Eternal Security myself. 

And I do think that Early Church writing is of value on any Doctrinal topic......Yes, I do care what they said and what they taught.

But, I would be cautious about allowing what we have on that specific issue to inform your decision making much. 

I use an informal sort of sliding scale of how much weight I place on the Church Fathers on different topics.  I am likely to have more faith in their take on say.....the Incarnation or the Trinity than I would on their precise Soteriology. 

Here.....it really is best to search the Scriptures with diligence and much prayer for your answers. 
 

Edited by Heir of Salvation

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Okay, so I've seen some people say that I don't believe the Bible is all true. That is 100% incorrect. I do absolutely believe everything it says. The confusion that i was having, was what was the Bible actually saying. I was reading about the verb tenses in the greek which I DIDNT know were not from Textus receptus manuscripts. I understand this, now. Also i know people who don't beleive osas, and they showed me a bunch of verses that they say "prove" that it's incorrect. I was just trying to get clarification. I have no idea why I'm being accused of not believing the Bible, i was just trying to figure out what i had been told and was studying, if I was understanding it, right. 

Edited by Roselove

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Simplest ppint to look at is what the Lord calls it - it is "eternal life" and "everlasting life" that God calls it. How can something be everlasting if it doesn't last forever?

How can something be eternal if it can end?

I know this is a simplistic argument, but that doesn't make it an irrelevant argument.

This "simple point" must be answered by those who oppose "eternal" eternal life.

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5 minutes ago, DaveW said:

Simplest ppint to look at is what the Lord calls it - it is "eternal life" and "everlasting life" that God calls it. How can something be everlasting if it doesn't last forever?

How can something be eternal if it can end?

I know this is a simplistic argument, but that doesn't make it an irrelevant argument.

This "simple point" must be answered by those who oppose "eternal" eternal life.

I get it. I know what the eternal means, what was confusing to me, though, was for instance, like in John 3:16, they were saying that in the Greek for believeth, was implying a continuance of beleiving, which they were trying to say meant that if you stopped believing, you would not inherit wternal life, after death. 

I'm much more open-minded to osas, now. I have been given information that makes sense to me. I was just needing some mentoring, on this matter. That's why i find it quite saddening, that people were accusing me of not believing the Bible, i felt like they were saying I was trying to be a heretic or something. I was just trying to get help.

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Another possibly over simplification is this: Whose salvation is it? The answer of course is that it the The Lord's salvation. It is not mine to lose once I have received it. Although "the Greek" can be helpful at times, once we start listening to what others say "the Greek" means, we are getting out of the plain meaning of Scripture. Here is one "for instance" that has no human addition to it:

 John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 
 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 
 39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 
 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

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Roselove,

I apologize for allowing that thought to enter in. Sometimes thoughts are best kept to ourselves until more information is available. In other words I inserted my foot into my mouth. Keep seeking after God in Spirit and in Truth and the answers will come. If not now then, in the life to come. Psalms 69:6b

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1 hour ago, 1Timothy115 said:

Roselove,

I apologize for allowing that thought to enter in. Sometimes thoughts are best kept to ourselves until more information is available. In other words I inserted my foot into my mouth. Keep seeking after God in Spirit and in Truth and the answers will come. If not now then, in the life to come. Psalms 69:6b

I accept your apology, thank you for saying this

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8 hours ago, DaveW said:

Simplest ppint to look at is what the Lord calls it - it is "eternal life" and "everlasting life" that God calls it. How can something be everlasting if it doesn't last forever?

How can something be eternal if it can end?

I know this is a simplistic argument, but that doesn't make it an irrelevant argument.

This "simple point" must be answered by those who oppose "eternal" eternal life.

It can be both "everlasting" but also conditional.

It can be "eternal" but receipt of it can be conditional.

No one "opposes" "eternal" life....

They oppose non-conditionality.

Even you don't believe eternal life is granted unconditionally.  You believe that faith in Christ is necessary for receiving that gift to begin with.  The difference is that you view it as a Once-only proposition.

Those who disagree would contend that those who do not continue in the faith will not receive life eternal....

"Eternality" is not even the issue........it's conditionality that is at issue.

The point of the opposing argument is that "eternal" life is granted upon certain conditions.

This "simple point" must be answered by those who oppose "eternal" eternal life.

They don't oppose "Eternal" life...

they oppose a one-time-walk forward during the fifteenth verse of "Just as I am"- then live like the Devil-and believe whatever you want-and discontinue in belief at all-and still be a recipient of Eternal Life- even if you fall away from belief and begin practicing Buddhism.........................kind of Conditionality.................

 

Every verse in the Bible assures BELIEVERS of Eternal Life....No verse assures the "I once believed but have abandoned the Faith".

That's the question....Whether those who genuinely once believed can fall away into disbelief:

 

Luke8:13
 
 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
 
Heb. 6:4
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,

 Heb 6:5

And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

 Heb 6:6

If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

 

Edited by Heir of Salvation

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Nice double-talk, but if it can be lost it is not eternal in that instance, and cannot therefore be called eternal until the end.....

In ANY instance........

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Perhaps I'm too simple-minded in my understanding, reading, and study...

If the Lord Jesus Christ said that no man can pluck us from his (or the Father's hand), then "no man" would include ourselves (John 10:25-30).

That, together with the fact that if someone "goes out from us", it is proof that "they were not of us". If someone leaves the faith, they were never truly in the faith (1 John 2:19).

 

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11 minutes ago, No Nicolaitans said:

Perhaps I'm too simple-minded in my understanding, reading, and study...

If the Lord Jesus Christ said that no man can pluck us from his (or the Father's hand), then "no man" would include ourselves (John 10:25-30).

That, together with the fact that if someone "goes out from us", it is proof that "they were not of us". If someone leaves the faith, they were never truly in the faith (1 John 2:19).

 

No one can "pluck" them from the father's hand....

But, who would describe an errant sheep who willingly "leaves" the fold and walks away as having been "plucked"????

You "pluck" an apple off of a tree.

If it's over-ripe, and falls to the ground (of it's own accord).  You do not describe it as having been "plucked".

No one can "pluck" Christ's sheep from the fold...........

That says nothing about whether a sheep can walk away.

And that action cannot reasonably be described as "having been 'plucked' ".

I don't think that verse proves your point....especially in context:

Consider the preceding verse:

Jhn 10:27

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

That is a CONDITION for being a sheep....his sheep "follow" him. (Or that is at least a faithful and fair way to understand the passage).

Conceivably, those who do NOT continue to follow him...are no longer classified as "sheep".

 Jhn 10:28

And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

If OSAS is true (and it may very well be) this passage doesn't, I think, prove the point.

 

 

 

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47 minutes ago, DaveW said:

Nice double-talk, but if it can be lost it is not eternal in that instance, and cannot therefore be called eternal until the end.....

In ANY instance........

You seriously just accused me of "double-talk"????

Really?

Because I presented fair arguments....and even conceded numerous points in favour of the OSAS position?

Points I didn't HAVE to concede.

Such as explaining that while it's indeed true  (and it is) that the ancient Fathers don't seem to support an OSAS position....that that should not be of significant concern to Roselove and that the Scriptures themselves should be consulted........

Let's see....

Please see if you can explain in any real detail and without sounding preposterous how I engaged in "double-talk"...

You are acting like precisely what Roselove is complaining about........

Someone genuinely asking questions...and seeking to hear contrary arguments held up with Scripture...

And you just condemn and insult and falsely accuse and scream "heresy".

I may be mistaken.

OSAS may be true...

But I've not engaged in "double-talk".

I presented my argument as fairly and reasonably as possible with my KJV verses quoted:

You responded as you did because.....

Your arguments simply aren't as good as mine......so you defaulted to insult and false accusation.

And you know it.

By the way "double-speak"....is preferable to "double-talk"...if that's what you want to accuse me of...just sayin'

 

Edited by Heir of Salvation

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27 minutes ago, Heir of Salvation said:

No one can "pluck" them from the father's hand....

But, who would describe an errant sheep who willingly "leaves" the fold and walks away as having been "plucked"????

You "pluck" an apple off of a tree.

If it's over-ripe, and falls to the ground (of it's own accord).  You do not describe it as having been "plucked".

No one can "pluck" Christ's sheep from the fold...........

That says nothing about whether a sheep can walk away.

And that action cannot reasonably be described as "having been 'plucked' ".

I don't think that verse proves your point....especially in context:

Consider the preceding verse:

Jhn 10:27

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

That is a CONDITION for being a sheep....his sheep "follow" him. (Or that is at least a faithful and fair way to understand the passage).

Conceivably, those who do NOT continue to follow him...are no longer classified as "sheep".

 Jhn 10:28

And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

If OSAS is true (and it may very well be) this passage doesn't, I think, prove the point.

 

 

 

Hence my inclusion of the verses from 1 John.

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12 minutes ago, No Nicolaitans said:

Hence my inclusion of the verses from 1 John.

Maybe...

But preface it with vs. 17 only two verses earlier.................

and it could take on a whole new meaning:

1Jo 2:17

And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

That could help to preface vs. 19............since it provides context.

It creates a condition....for who Christ's sheep are...

and mind you John is warning us about heretics who deny Christ...they, I would argue are those who are spoken of.  Genuine "anti-Christs" who deny Christ has come in the flesh.

 

 

 

Edited by Heir of Salvation

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1 minute ago, Heir of Salvation said:

Maybe...

But preface it with vs. 17 only two verses earlier.................

and it could take on a whole new meaning:

1Jo 2:17

And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

That could help to preface vs. 19............since it provides context.

 

 

 

I think that I agree to an extent (verse 18 appears to start a new line of thought); however, if 18 doesn't start a new line of thought, verse 17 lends even more credence and cements the fact...

No one (including ourselves) can pluck us from his hand. Yet, if one willingly walks away, they certainly weren't "plucked", yet 1 John is clear that if one walks away, they weren't truly saved...in my understanding.

As to verse 17...what is the will of God? I'm not asking you to answer...just giving food for thought. :)

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16 minutes ago, No Nicolaitans said:

I think that I agree to an extent (verse 18 appears to start a new line of thought); however, if 18 doesn't start a new line of thought, verse 17 lends even more credence and cements the fact...

No one (including ourselves) can pluck us from his hand. Yet, if one willingly walks away, they certainly weren't "plucked", yet 1 John is clear that if one walks away, they weren't truly saved...in my understanding.

As to verse 17...what is the will of God? I'm not asking you to answer...just giving food for thought. :)

I don't think your assessment is very far off...

I said before that I am "skeptical" about OSAS, not that I'm dyed-in-the-wool against it.

I'm being treated by some as though I am....but that's another matter.

John provides us the answer though, I think in vs. 22 and I think my initial assessment is correct:

He identifies those "anti-Christs" those who (were not of us)...in vs. 22

Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

I am not yet convinced that those who can walk away are those who were never truly believers....

That argument is dangerously close to a "No true Scotsman" fallacy.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

I don't think all OSAS believers who use that verse are guilty of it, because they believe in an a-priori impossibility of falling away (such as yourself I would guess).

But, I think the context is, frankly....the entire book, not just a few preceding verses...and those spoken of who are "anti-Christ"...who never were "of us"...are, and always were, genuine non-believers....wolves in sheep's clothing...not those who may have genuinely believed and have abandoned the faith.

The non-OSAS position (the only reasonable one) provides that a person who may have GENUINELY believed at some point can walk away....I think John is indeed speaking of those who CLEARLY never did...

And he's warning us against wolves who never believed...

Frankly, I believe he's warning against Docetism which already infected the faith by then.

See I John 4:2

Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

I think that's a better way to understand the passage.

Thank you for your insight :)

 

Edited by Heir of Salvation

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2 minutes ago, Heir of Salvation said:

I don't think your assessment is very far off...

I said before that I am "skeptical" about OSAS, not that I'm dyed-in-the-wool against it.

I'm being treated by some as though I am....but that's another matter.

John provides us the answer though, I think in vs. 22 and I think my initial assessment is correct:

He identifies those "anti-Christs" those who (were not of us)...in vs. 22

Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

I am not yet convinced that those who can walk away are those who were never truly believers....

That argument is dangerously close to a "No true Scotsman" fallacy.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

I don't think all OSAS believers who use that verse are guilty of it, because they believe in an a-priori impossibility of falling away (such as yourself I would guess).

But, I think the context is, frankly....the entire book, not just a few preceding verses...and those spoken of who are "anti-Christ"...who never were "of us"...are, and always were, genuine non-believers....wolves in sheep's clothing...not those who may have genuinely believed and have abandoned the faith.

I think that's a better way to understand the passage.

Thank you for your insight :)

 

I agree with your "whole book" reference. Thank you for the kind exchange. I need to attend to other things...plus I despise pecking out one letter at a time on my phone...

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3 minutes ago, No Nicolaitans said:

I agree with your "whole book" reference. Thank you for the kind exchange. I need to attend to other things...plus I despise pecking out one letter at a time on my phone...

I enjoyed sharpening iron with you...

God bless you brother :)

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