Portrait Of Preservation

We now come to the XIV chapter of Boettner’s book: The Perseverance Of The Saints:

“The doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints is stated in the Westminster Confession in the following words:

‘They whom God hath accepted in His Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by His Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace; but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved’ [Chapter XVII, Section 1.]

Or in other words we believe that those who once become true Christians cannot totally fall away and be lost — that while they may fall into sin temporarily, they will eventually return and be saved.

This doctrine does not stand alone but is a necessary part of the Calvinistic system of theology. The doctrines of Election and Efficacious Grace logically imply the certain salvation of those who receive these blessings. If God has chosen men absolutely and unconditionally to eternal life, and if His Spirit effectively applies to them the benefits of redemption, the inescapable conclusion is that these persons shall be saved. And, historically, this doctrine has been held by all Calvinists, and denied by practically all Arminians” (p. 182).

The biblical doctrine of the perseverance of the saints has also been called the preservation of the saints since God is the One preserving them and causing them to persevere in faith:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, He according to His great mercy having regenerated us to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and unfading, having been kept in Heaven for you the ones in the power of God being guarded through faith to a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time; in which you exult; yet a little while, if need be, grieving in manifold trials, so that the proving of your faith, much more precious than perishing gold, but having been proved through fire, may be found to praise and honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ; whom having not seen, you love; in whom not yet seeing, but believing, you exult with joy unspeakable and being glorified, obtaining the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:3-9).

The Calvinist doctrine of “perseverance of the saints” MUST be distinguished from the biblical doctrine of the same name. For the common fashionable Calvinist teaching is NOT a perseverance in true biblical faith that believes Jesus Christ met ALL of the conditions for salvation, but rather a perseverance in unbelief regarding Christ’s exclusive role as Savior. One strikingly conspicuous instance of this persistent unbelief is the Calvinists’ stubborn adherence to the demonic doctrine of salvation conditioned on the sinner’s “spiritually-enabled” efforts:

“Admitting, however, that the Augustinian doctrine that Christ died specially for his own people does account for the general offer of the gospel, how can it be reconciled with those passages which, in one form or another, teach that He died for all men? In answer to this question, it may be remarked in the first place that Augustinians do not deny that Christ died for all men. What they deny is that He died equally, and with the same design, for all men. He died for all, that He might arrest the immediate execution of the penalty of the law upon the whole of our apostate race; that He might secure for men the innumerable blessings attending their state on earth, which, in one important sense, is a state of probation; and that He might lay the foundation for the offer of pardon and reconciliation with God, on condition of faith and repentance. … There is another class of passages with which it is said that the Augustinian doctrine cannot be reconciled; such, namely, as speak of those perishing for whom Christ died. In reference to these passages it may be remarked, first, that there is a sense, as before stated, in which Christ did die for all men. His death had the effect of justifying the offer of salvation to every man; and of course was designed to have that effect” (Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, Vol. 2, pp. 558, 560).

Paraphrasing the WCF Boettner had said:

“Or in other words we believe that those who once become true Christians cannot totally fall away and be lost — that while they may fall into sin temporarily, they will eventually return and be saved” (p. 182).

The Bible clearly shows that true (regenerate) Christians can “fall away” to some degree, or “fall into” certain (even heinous) sins (e.g., David’s treatment of Bathsheba and Uriah). And the Bible just as clearly shows that it is impossible for a true Christian to sin certain sins, because there are certain sins that expose a person’s lostness. Examples:

Regenerate persons cannot sin the sin of saying there is no God (Psalm 14:1).

Regenerate persons cannot sin the sin of praying to a god that cannot save (Isaiah 45:20).

Regenerate persons cannot sin the sin of bringing forth corrupt fruit (Matthew 7:18).

Regenerate persons cannot sin the sin of denying Christ before men (Matthew 10:33).

Regenerate persons cannot sin the sin of following a stranger (John 10:5).

Regenerate persons cannot sin the sin of being ignorant of God’s righteousness (Romans 10:3).

Regenerate persons cannot sin the sin of being unsubmitted to the righteousness of God (Romans 10:3).

Regenerate persons cannot sin the sin of preaching a false gospel (Galatians 1:8-9).

Regenerate persons cannot sin the sin of denying that Jesus is the Christ (1 John 2:22).

Regenerate persons cannot sin the sin of denying the Son (1 John 2:23).

Regenerate persons cannot sin the sin of abiding not in the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9).

Regenerate persons cannot sin the sin of speaking peace to one who brings a false gospel (2 John 11).

All of the above verses are DENIED by the typical (and don’t forget the all-important “fashionable”) Calvinist. Your typical fashionable Calvinist believes that he himself is regenerate while saying there is no such God that causes the non-elect to sin in order that He may justly punish them (cf. Psalm 14:1); he denies that such a God as this (the God of Scripture) exists. MANY of these Calvinists will NOT even say that those who worship the “god” of Open Theism are lost. They WILL say that the Open Theist “god” who struggles with his creation and is ignorant of the future is NOT the God of Isaiah (cf. Isaiah chapters 40-48), BUT nevertheless those who worship this “god” are their extremely muddled brothers blinded by their philosophical constructs and theological traditions. A salient case in point is Bruce A. Ware’s preface in his book written NOT against the flesh-and-blood “ISTS,” but only against the bare-boned “ISMS”:

“Readers will find this book unkind to open theism. I hope that in no respect and in no place is it unkind to open theists. It is the views of this movement and its advocates that I oppose, not the individuals who advocate them. Some people do not make this distinction, and when they do not, the church is harmed. If, for the sake of warm and affirming personal relations with brothers and sisters in Christ, we tolerate views that are contrary to Scripture and detrimental to the health of the church, we show great disregard and lack of love for the broader membership of the church and we become, by our passivity, negligence, and/or lack of courage, complicit in the advocacy of these errant teachings” (God’s Lesser Glory: The diminished God of Open Theism, Bruce A. Ware).

The irony is that Ware IS COMPLICIT in speaking peace when there is no peace to haters of the true and living God who erect ignorant idols to worship (cf. 2 John 9-11). Yet another example of the Calvinist doctrine of “perseverance of the saints” which teaches that many of the “saints” persevere in speaking peace when there is no peace like the false prophets did in Jeremiah’s and Ezekiel’s day (Ezekiel 13: 9-15; Jeremiah 6:13-15, 23:17). Next Page (30)

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