I would like to thank my friend Ruben Birle who drew my attention to the teaching of dr. Charles Stanley on the issue of eternal security. An internet search reveals that Stanley holds some degree of Arminian views in his soteriology (salvation theology), and was involved with the John 3:16 Conference, which was specifically against Reformation Theology.
In the video below he answers the question: “How can a person be saved, backslide into a life of sin, and still be saved for all eternity?”
My critique follows below.
I strongly believe in the eternal security of the saved, specifically the ones who have truly been born-again. Salvation belongs to our God not to us, and God is the One Who completes His work toward our glorification, a process in which we fully participate. The issue in this video comes down to whether the ones living in sin are saved or not.
The views expressed in this clip are not biblical because the entire discussion hinges on the term “life of sin.” The term is present in the question and Stanley references it multiple times in the video.
It starts off with identifying the person who receives the gift of salvation but “lives pretty much like everyone else” (0:38). He calls this backsliding, but it is much more serious. These persons are not even saved because they have not experienced the new birth which is evident as that radical change in their life when they exhibit the fruit of the Spirit. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). So how can an unsaved person have eternal security?
Is it possible for a saved person then to live a “life of sin” since this is what the video is addressing? This answer is a resounding no! Therefore that person does not have eternal security. They are lost until they experience the new birth made possible by the Holy Spirit (John 3).
The Bible is firm about any “saved” person who lives a “life of sin.” These individuals are not saved. Dr Stanley says that it is possible to experience salvation AND live a “life of sin” and just lose your reward, but not your salvation. Wrong! The biblical evidence against dr Stanley’s false teaching in insurmountable!
1 John 3:6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him…
1 John 3:9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God
1 John 1:6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.
Ephesians 5:3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.
2 John 9 Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God
…and many, many more verses…
Despite what the Bible really teaches, Dr Stanley persists on the idea that one can be “saved,” then live a “life of sin” and still have eternal security, with the stipulation that he will lose his reward. This, my friends is false teaching! Anyone who continues to live in sin has never been born again!