Let Freedom Ring – Part 6

Sometimes we have been led to believe things about the Word of God that just doesn’t hold up under close examination. The separate roles for men and women is one of those things that sound like it would be true, but no actual basis for this teaching is found in the Bible.

Once saved, always saved, or sometimes known as the security of the believer, is a belief that has been dear to the hearts of Baptists for a long time.  A friend recently told me that she could not be a member of a church that did not believe that.

For years I have been struggling with that belief, and this gave me the perfect opportunity to check out what it meant.  It has its roots in Calvinism.  I am not Calvinist, as I’ve said many times before. Baptists have always had a closeness to Calvinism, and perhaps half do today and it is growing.

Edward Fudge was at our CBE Houston Conference A New Creation. A New Tradition in Houston in April.  Fudge wrote the book Hell A Final Word and the movie Hell and Mr. Fudge has been made into a movie showing this year. Listen to what he has to say in his book Hell A Final Word.

There is a form of Calvinism which says that before creation, God programmed everything that would ever happen, then sat back to watch the show. In this view of matters, the final destiny of every individual was settled before any human existed, whether heaven or hell, and there is simply nothing anyone can do to change that.”

Once saved, always saved means, in Calvinism, that a person is created to go either to heaven or hell, and that if they had been created to go to heaven, it can never be taken away from them. In other words, once they were saved they were always saved.  Conversely, if they had been created to go to hell – well, you get the picture.

My supervisor at Baptist General Convention of Texas once told me that SBC missionaries were adopting this belief in large numbers.  I couldn’t believe it.  Why be a missionary if it is already determined who will feel the irresistible draw toward God, and accept Christ?

In the comments section of Discipleship versus Culture, a non-believer wrote and challenged me on accepting the authority of the Bible.  In particular was the discussion of man being the head of women in marriage.  Yes, I accept the authority of the Bible, but as I told him, I don’t accept translations that make men little gods, in the image of Christ, so they can have headship over their wives.

Just so you all know, there are lots of beliefs that Baptists have that I cannot accept. Once I learned that once saved, always saved is Calvinist and means that people are born destined for heaven, and others are born destined for hell, I could not accept this oft repeated Baptist phrase.

I also cannot accept the teaching of Baptists that the wife is under the authority of the husband, and that she cannot have authority  over a man.

If you are questioning pat phrases about the role of men and women in the church because that is what you have been taught, stop by and read the comments, and learn about equality.  Just because you have always believed that something is true, does not mean that it is.  


About bwebaptistwomenforequality

Shirley Taylor writes with humor and common sense, challenging the church body to reclaim equality for Christian women.
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11 Responses to Let Freedom Ring – Part 6

  1. EricW says:

    Why be a missionary if it is already determined who will feel the irresistible draw toward God, and accept Christ?

    They are missionaries because they had been predestined to be missionaries. 🙂

    Because those who have been (pre)determined/predestined to accept Christ are among those who had been predetermined to believe when they heard the Gospel when it was preached or presented to them by those who had been predetermined to go and preach it to them, who themselves had been predetermined to believe when they heard the Gospel when it was preached or presented to them by those who had been predetermined to go and preach it to them, who themselves….

    Arminians are like those who look at a bunch of runners at the start of a race and think that any of them might finish or win.

    Calvinists are like those who stand at the finish line after the race is over and think back on how step-by-step each winner or finisher got there and each loser or non-finisher did not.

    God is at all times at the beginning and the running and the end of the race, simultaneously knowing that all may enter and run and win or finish while also knowing who indeed does enter and run and win and finish, and who will not and do not; and permitting or giving to all who enter and run and win and finish what they need to enter and run and win and finish, and not permitting or giving to all who don’t what they would need to do so.

    It seems to me that the “once saved, always saved” (whether that accurately represents “Calvinism” or is a simplistic version of it) vs. free will/indeterminacy question is perhaps simply two different perspectives on the same thing. Since we as finite beings can’t hold two contrary thoughts at the same time, they appear to us to be opposed to each other and irreconcilable. Hence we choose one or the other when it may be that neither are fully true but both are equally true and incomplete halves of what is a complete and fully true circle.


  2. Temperance says:

    I have seen this too, headship and predestination teachings designed to make its listeners feel guilty for not agreeing with it. I saw the connection, but you are the first one I have seen put it into words. I tend to fall somewhere in the middle when it comes to the Calvinist/Armenian debate. There is scripture that seems to support both sides. I believe God gives us free will, yet if we can lose our salvation easily, then it depends on our works and not on God’s grace. I would never question someone’s faith for believing one way or the other. There are just some things we will never completely understand while we live in our human bodies. I think it’s important for our own peace of mind to accept that.
    Back to the connection between headship and predestination – I have to wonder if the SBC can present a God that controls our every move, we will be more likely to accept leaders who do the same?


  3. Michelle says:

    Thank you for illustrating this. I’d not thought of the theology/alternate gospel of gender roles as tied to Calvinism, but now that you mention it, it seems almost too obvious to mention! Men are predestined to be like this, and women like that. I’ve not ever seen gender laid out in the Bible but was surrounded by folks who seemed to be using “Men Are from Mars, Women are from Venus” as their concordance. Whereas all I could find is that we’re Christlike, or we’re not: for females and males. And Christ with all those peskily “feminine” attributes (caring, showing emotion, empathetic, good at communicating, places importance on relationships, etc.).

    As for Arminianism vs Calvinism, I’ve always thought it doesn’t matter a hill of beans what we think about how God worked/works/is working out God’s plan. It’s happening, and let’s participate best we can, as human beings.


  4. Temperance says:

    I read somewhere once that saying God predestined everything we do is the same as saying that God is the author of evil. I think thats an interesting argument


  5. Barney says:

    In our limited ‘free will’ we can indeed decide to do good or to do bad. However, our love for God biases our free will to do good.


  6. Mary says:

    I was always taught that “once saved, always saved” simply means that we don’t lose our salvation every time we mess up- that God gives grace for imperfect people to make mistakes, even after salvation, and that if a person is truly saved then they may fall away, mess up, etc. but they will always come back to Jesus. Meaning if a person professes faith and then rejects it and never returns to it, their “salvation was probably not genuine”, as opposed to “they lost their salvation”. The foreknowledge/predestination thing is kind of a semantic argument, IMO- because God is omniscient, it is impossible to surprise Him, therefore he must know the oucome of every possible choice we could, will, or do make. I do think that He gives us free will, though- He doesn’t decide for me the many day-to-day decisions I make. I think He does know what I’ll choose before I choose it, though, since He exists outside of the bounds of linear time- so could that mean He controls everything, or merely knows all possible choices and the outcomes of each one? I don’t know that it really matters…


    • Welcome! We are glad that you joined us in this conversation. You expressed it very well what we were taught that “once saved, always saved.” We said it, I believed it, and that settled it. However, “if they were truly saved” they could not lose their salvation always bothered me. It seemed a cop-out. Well, if they back-slid, then they “must not have been truly saved.” The fact that Baptists are the only denomination that sees this in the Bible should also have been a warning. I guess Presbyterians do because they believe in predestination, which is also Calvinism. What they are saying is that God created some humans to go to heaven, and then created some humans to go to hell. He predetermined where you would go at your birth. That is not free will. It is also not the act of a loving God. We often say the same thing that you say that God knows every decision that we will make. That, too, justifies Calvinism. That is also not free will. It simply means that we are play-acting out what was predetermined for us. Why can’t God allow us free will? Did he create you to go to heaven or hell? Those are serious questions that we must answer.


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