I was shocked when I began reading a book by D. James Kennedy and he defended the doctrine of Eternal Security. As a result, I will write a bit more on this subject.
Everyone who supports false doctrines only do so by engaging in faulty reasoning, because they so strongly want that doctrine to be true that their brain causes them to either misread or block out, at least to a certain extent, what a passage of Scripture is actually saying.
D. Kennedy is no exception. He did it in his defense of E.S. So I will present some of the points that he brought up and show how he wrongly views them.
Is it possible for a person to accept Christ, be baptized, join a church, then live forty or fifty years in sin, serving the devil rather than God, and then die and go to Heaven? I have never seen such a scenario revealed in Scripture.
Then does the Bible say that a person can become saved, serve God for a lifetime, commit one terrible sin, then die and go to Hell? No, I’ve never seen that in Scripture either. (Solving Bible Mysteries, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2000, page 5)
Here, right from the start he makes wrong assumptions. Notice the first paragraph; I was expecting him to say something very different, I was expecting him to say, “is it possible for a person to accept Christ, be baptized, join the church, then live forty or fifty years serving God and then turn his or her back on God?” No, he made a ridiculous statement, he asks the question is it possible for a person to do everything right toward the Christian life and yet be serving the devil, of course the answer is no.
Those against ES never make such a stupid claim, but such is actually part of ES, because according to ES, if you in fact repent of your sins, get baptized, join the church, and serve God for 50 years, then turn your back on it all, then it means you were never actually saved. Has there been any examples of this? Yes, many.
How is this eternal security? According to the ES doctrine, there is no way for you to actually know whether you are truly saved until you actually die and make it to heaven. Nonsense!
Likewise, his second statement is nonsense. No one teaches that committing one sin will send you to hell, unless that sin is turning your back completely on God. Let us continue examining D.J.K., argument. He brings up the doctrine called “the perseverance of the saints” which claims that no human can remain in the faith by their own efforts, they can only remain Christians by God sustaining them, in which case there must be ES, or God is not sustaining you. LOL.
The Bible is very clear that we are enabled by God to continue and to persevere unto the end. Jesus Himself said, “He that endureth to the end shall be saved” (Matt. 10:22).
D.J.K. is making the verse say what it does not say. Jesus did NOT say, “he that is saved, will endure to the end.” But DJK is totally misusing the verse, because Jesus is not speaking about spiritually enduring to the end of your life, he is speaking about enduring tribulation, those who endure through the Great Tribulation will have achieved complete victory over this world because the beast and false prophet will be destroyed and Christ will be ruling.
One side believes that Christians must persevere in their own strength, their own will. The other side — the view I espouse — believes that God alone enables us by His Spirit to continue on and persevere unto the end. . . . And that is the great hope we have — not only that we have been saved, but that we are being kept and upheld by the power and grace of our Almighty God. (Ibid, page 6, 7)
He quotes: “kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5). But notice that the full emphasis of his argument rests solely on first part of the statement, “kept by the power of God.” His argument does NOT then continue on and include “through faith unto salvation.” Our perseverance requires two things, the power of God, and our faith, which is an act of our will. We must choose to continue following God every day.
Think of it like this: Suppose that when you are born in the flesh that you are given a warehouse full of food that will never spoil, and this food will sustain you for your entire life! Can you then starve to death, ever? YES, you can, all you have to do is not eat the food. Eating the food is an act of your will. God is not going to force-feed you physically, but he will force-feed you spiritually– WRONG! He will NOT.
When you are born again God’s power is available to keep you, but you must continue to feed your spirit by prayer, reading the Bible, and following the teachings in the Bible. These things are an act of your will, but it does NOT equate to persevering in your own strength. That is a false statement. Taking action to keep your relationship with God strong, IS NOT trying to live in your own strength. FALSE! FALSE! FALSE!
He goes on to quote the typical passages that are used to blindly support ES, which takes them at full face value, but reasons away the passages that speak against ES.
If it is your heart’s desire to follow Christ, He will give you the grace to persevere until that day when you stand before Him, faultless at the judgment bar. . . . we — mere flesh-and-blood Christians — were able to persevere through life. That accomplishment will not be the result of any power or determination of our own. (Ibid, page 13)
His first statement here is correct, if but his second is false, and is a contradiction to the first. He first says, “If it is your hearts’ desire” which is a decision, or “determination” of your will. He then goes on to say that it does NOT depend on “any power or determination of your own.” This is a very clear contradiction. I am really shocked that such a great thinker and defender of the Faith as D. James Kennedy would make such clearly false and contradictory statements.
Once you begin walking the road that leads to heaven, you can be sure that you will indeed make it to your destination, as the road only leads to heaven, but you must intentionally put one foot in front of the other and follow that road. No one has the power to force you off the road, but you can be enticed to believe lies and thereby step off the road. God does not remove your ability to step off the road if you so choose to do so.
Others who teach on this subject make the claim that no one who is genuinely born again would ever choose to turn their back on God, but then also believe that Satan and 1/3rd of the angels in heaven knew God face-to-face and yet turned their backs on Him. You can see that they engage in FAULTY REASONING.