The Nazarene Church and Perseverance, pt. 2

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The origin of the Nazarene church is the Pentecostal Holiness and Methodist revival movements of the late 19th and early 20th century. Where does one begin in pointing out the dangers of these movements? The Bearded Puritan will address one: synergism. Synergism is the belief that there is human cooperation with God in salvation. All Christians affirm synergism to some degree in SANCTIFICATION but not all Christians affirm synergism in REGENERATION, or being born again/saved…the beginning of the Christian life if you will. Nazarenes are among those that affirm synergism in regeneration. What does this entail? Well, they would affirm that Jesus Christ did all the work to justify sinners, just as The Bearded Puritan would affirm. But the reception of this gift (i.e. the work of Christ) is by God’s offer and man’s free choice of receiving that gift. They would not say man gets any glory. They would say that man does cooperate freely. The Bearded Puritan is a monergist, standing in line with the likes of John Calvin and Saint Augustine rather than John Wesley and Jacob Arminius. With this in mind, the logical conclusion then seems to be if one cooperates to “get into Christ” (i.e. receive the benefits of his work), then one can negatively cooperate and “get out of Christ”.

Lets turn to the Scriptures. Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” God begins. God completes. Doesn’t sound like synergism. Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” That’s God initiating. Not our doing. Of course some may respond with, “You have to unwrap a gift see! We are cooperating!” The Bearded Puritan’s response would be, doesn’t that give you something to boast about? By the synergist’s logic, a dead man cooperates in bringing himself to life.

The problem isn’t so much the view of whether or not one may lose their salvation. The problem is the view of how one came to “possess” salvation. If one assists in the coming in a positive manner, then why can’t one “assist” in a negative manner in the rejecting of that salvation? The Bearded Puritan would posit a question to the synergist, yes that’s you Mr. and Mrs. Nazarene, Did you want to become a Christian before you became one? Maybe you were an exception to the case. Maybe you did long for Christ even when your heart was dead and enthralled with sin.

The root of the problem really is the root, the beginning, where it all started with you becoming a Christian. Does one contribute in coming to Christ? Then sure one can forfeit Christ. If one doesn’t contribute, and it’s completely a work of God that he promises to complete, what is there to fear?

The Nazarene Church and Perseverance, pt. 1

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A year and a half ago The Bearded Puritan accepted a position at a church in Georgia.  Upon arriving he came in contact with several people of the Nazarene denomination, which he was very unfamiliar with.  After a few months of talking and interacting with people occasionally from this church a question that always came up, specifically from the students that attended the Nazarene church, was the issue of eternal security.  The topic would frequently make its way into small group discussions or counseling sessions when students were confessing sin they have in their lives and seeking forgiveness.  This issue has monumental repercussions if we don’t rebuke this teaching.  Confession of sin every once in a while will become a task to ensure they are still getting into heaven instead of genuine repentance towards God.

To examine this issue appropriately The Bearded Puritan will attempt to address the problem at its root.  Most people who feel they have lost their salvation feel that way because they think they have lost the approval of God because of the sin in their lives.  TBP believes that this is due to a lack of biblical knowledge and not knowing the promises of God.  Scripture clearly states in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  Christ did not die for some version of us that he expects to be perfect in all that we do.  Christ clearly calls us to righteousness but as the passage we just read says, Christ died for us while we were still sinners, knowing that we would have faults and failures.

Jude 1:24 also offers insight to this issue when it says, “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy.”  Only Christ is able to sustain us in our walk, which is the purpose of his sacrifice on the cross.  Before the cross we needed to be cleansed continuously by sacrifices and offerings to God in order to maintain right standing, but when Christ became the ultimate sacrifice he paid the debt once and for all and sealed us for eternity when we trust in him.  Romans 8:30 says, “And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”  In response to this scripture TBP would ask those who don’t believe in an eternal security how they could ever undo something that Christ has called, justified, and glorified.  God through the Holy Spirit is the seal of our salvation (Ephesians 1). Continue reading

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