Perseverance of the Saints vs. Eternal Security

Those familiar with the Calvinist acrostic, TULIP, are most likely familiar with the “P” which stands for “perseverance of the saints.” This doctrine has to do with the idea that those God saves He will continue to keep in the way of salvation until glorification. When people first hear of this doctrine they often mistake is with the common Evangelical doctrine of “once-saved-always-saved /eternal security.” However, these two teachings are not the same.

One of the books I’m currently reading did a good job of contrasting the two doctrines and I wanted to share that:

“The Baptist concept of ‘once saved, always saved’ is only half the coin, and with only half the coin, it seems to me, it can become a dangerous doctrine.”

Dr. Sisk said nothing, but his face said elaborate, so I continued.

“The doctrine of perseverance, according to the Calvinist, has two sides — security and perseverance. Yet one cannot exist without the other. The Baptist doctrine of eternal security (once saved, always saved), overlooks or neglects the necessity of perseverance as the proof of true salvation. Thus, by telling a person of eternal security without telling him of the reality of perseverance as the proof of salvation, one could produce the same results as the ‘carnal Christian’ doctrine — people who think they are saved, but who are not. The doctrine of eternal security without the other side of the coin becomes a license to sin for those who have merely professed faith in Christ, but who have never truly been saved. The Calvinist doctrine of perseverance gives both comfort to the believer (he is eternally secure) and reality to his profession (he realizes the proof of his salvation is a perseverance in the Christian life).”

The book I’m reading is a theological novel titled: A Journey In Grace by Richard P. Belcher. It’s a great little read about a young man in Baptist seminary who begins a quest to discovery what Calvinism is after being asked if he was a Calvinist in an interview to preach at a church. You can read more about the book, and other books in the same series, at the link above.

I hope you all are having a wonderful Lord’s Day!

In Christ,

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7 thoughts on “Perseverance of the Saints vs. Eternal Security

  1. It’s interesting that the said “the Baptist doctrine” of eternal security, a sad commentary on how the vast majority of Baptist churches today have shifted away from their confessional, Reformed heritage. The Baptists of the 17th century would certainly have rebuked anyone for holding to such a teaching as “eternal security.”

    • In the book he talks about “Eternal security” being the only point of Calvinism that Baptist have somewhat held onto over-time, though it is a very watered-down, empty version of the original doctrine from which it came.

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Hollie. I love the doctrine of perseverance of the saints, because in my prior belief system, I didn’t even have eternal security to hope on but lived in fear that I wouldn’t reach the “deeper life” requirement.

    That series looks very interesting. Thanks for the link.

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