Once saved, always saved? No.

Luke 8:13: Those on rocky ground are the ones who, when they hear, receive the word with joy, but they have no root; they believe only for a time and fall away in time of trial.

1 Corinthians 9:27: I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.

  1. The Orthodox Lutheran

    You are right on. I would like to welcome you to read my blog and invite any Orthodox that you know to view it as well.

    God bless,

  2. Bryan

    I was “raised” with the doctrine of “Once Saved, Always Saved”, but I now believe that it is probably one of the most dangerous deceptions to ever find its way into the church.
    Here are my current views:



  3. me

    Dear in Christ Bryan,

    Christ is Risen! Indeed, He is Risen!

    Thanks for your comment! I’m not really the best to talk to about this, since I grew up in the Catholic Church, and even as a Protestant in the ’90s kind of leapfrogged over the Magisterial Reformation (Luther, Calvin, et al.) right into the Quakers and Anabaptists, one of the latter of whom once posited that the question should be, “How ought a Christian to live?” It’s pretty easy to find ex-Protestants in the Orthodox Church in the United States and Britain though, on the internet.

    As your page makes clear to me, there’s alot more complicated debate about Once Saved Always Saved in Protestantism than I was aware. Your Scriptural argumentation looks good to me – I didn’t remember St. James actually unambiguously said, “Ye see then that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” Clearly Luther didn’t know how to ‘jive’ this with his reading of Romans et al.; no wonder he called James “a letter of straw” and almost deleted it from his bible!

    What this tells me as an Orthodox, though, is that this debate is hardly new: “Nothing new under the sun.” OTOH, its recent incarnation *is* nothing more than a relatively recent innovation in doctrine: “all kinds of strange teaching…tickling ears,” even, as you say, “another gospel.”

    The question is, What is faith? What does it mean to believe? Is it merely a “form of words” with “your hand on the radio,” then go back to whatever you were doing before? Talk about an empty “work”! Faith is life, ALL of life, THE REST OF your life. The hand-on-the-radio moment is just the beginning. The Apostles and the Early Church wouldn’t even baptize (after Acts) until a would-be convert – a catechumen – had made sufficient moral progress that the doctrines became more than mere words for them. Now, many catechumens were martyred for the Faith without being baptized and chrismated (confirmed) or sharing the Body and Blood of the Lord (John 6), but Orthodoxy has always considered that they died Christians, ie, “saved,” Saints even. They gave their lives for Christ… and so must we all, even if nobody’s killing us. Not to “earn our salvation,” but to live it out, to make it real, to continue faithful.

    Looked at another way, faith is a relationship. If we want to say spouses haven’t cheated, we say they’ve been “faithful to each other.” If they have cheated, they’ve been “unfaithful.” Saying “I do” is only the start of the marriage. Ask your spouse what they’d think if, after you said “I do,” you went right back to your Little Black Book and kept disappearing on Friday nights?!!! o/Orthodox Christian faith has always required “faithfulness,” not just to the god in your head, but to the True God in His Church, His Body in this world, the privileged locus of His Uncreated Divine Energies – The Orthodox Church. Heresy and delusion (Slavonic prelest) are old problems in Christianity. What about Judas Iscariot? What about Simon Magus? We’re not talking niggling schools of esoteric religious philosophy here, or archangels dancing on the head of a pin, but the empirical experience of the vision of God’s Energies, the Light of Mt. Tabor, our accordance therewith – or the absence of same. Put another and classically Orthodox way, it’s about cooperation with Grace, synergy (Greek synergeia, working with or working together). Ironically, OSAS may stem in part from the Catholic idea of humans being able to turn God’s favor (Grace) on and off as with a spigot; it’s just that the “sacraments” of “securists” don’t involve pouring water or union with the Pope of Rome, just the words.

    So, *what* one believes is as important as *that* one believes, as is *how* one believes, ie, how one *lives.* And for billions over 2,000 years, The Orthodox Church has been a proven, reliable guide: its Mysteries (sacraments), asceticism, prayer and worship, counsel, study, even culture in many ways. (By no means rely on ME, I’m still new at this!)

    OSAS as “one of the most dangerous deceptions to ever find its way into” Christianity? In the sense that it may let people relax and not seek to do God’s work, cease sinning, etc., you may be right. But again, from an Orthodox perspective, ANY deception is dangerous, anything that can mislead probably will mislead. I encourage you to look at this essay by the late Fr. John Romanides, on his medical model of Christianity, and Orthodox Church councils as like licensing boards trying to limit “quacks.” His writing is a little quirky, but profound. And actually it illustrates the Orthodox approach to the lifelong ‘treatment’ of the “disease” – it’s not just a pill at the beginning, like OSAS suggests. It’s wise.

    Happy Easter!
    Leo Peter

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