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Is backsliding possible?
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Post Is backsliding possible? Aaron Scott
On another thread, it was asked, "Is Backsliding Possible?" This is one way to cut to the heart of the difference between Arminianism and Calvinism, I think.

If a person CAN backslide--i.e., be truly saved, then be lost--then Arminianism is at least partially right (I cannot recall if Arminianism would claim that the backslidden Christian could then repent and be re-saved).

If a person CANNOT backslide, then the part of Calvinism is true (the OSAS).

I feel confident that the Bible indicates that a person CAN fall away, be lost, backslide, etc. What I am NOT confident about is whether I can make a case that such a person could then come back to the Lord. (NOTE: I am making a distinction between a person sinning and repenting...and a person actually falling away from God, then getting saved again).

Your thoughts?
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10/25/19 10:48 am


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Post Dave Dorsey
I agree with your basic premises.

I can see how someone could make an orthodox case, from Scripture, for falling away from the faith and losing one's salvation (though I don't affirm that personally).

But I cannot fathom where anyone finds support in Scripture for being saved, losing salvation, getting resaved, losing salvation, getting resaved, etc.
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10/25/19 11:15 am


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Post Da Sheik
Here's the issue as I see it:

At what point is a person "backslidden"? If you cuss? Maybe drink one too many glasses of wine? Harbor unforgiveness for a few days? Covet your neighbor's wife or his car or his ministry? Do you lose your salvation immediately after doing one of these things or are you given a grace period? If so, how many days?

The "I lose my salvation every time I willfully sin" position has a fatal flaw. Not only does it completely nullify justification by faith, but it leaves no room for discipline and/or rewards. How can God rightfully chasten His children if they don't belong to Him the moment they sin?

I thought I would appeal to logic on this rather than to quote a bunch of proof texts. I want you to think through the ramifications of all of it. Do I believe a person can be saved and yet out of fellowship? I sure do. My wife and I have a permanent relationship but we are not always in fellowship. The same with my kids. We don't always get along, but they don't cease to be my sons and daughters.
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10/25/19 12:38 pm


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Post Da Sheik
By the way, Romans 1 links disobedient children, whispering, pride, and envy right along with murder and fornication. I think we take a sliding scale approach to sin. If a child talks back to his mom & dad is he in danger of hellfire? What about the dear old saint that loves to gossip under the guise of a "prayer request"? What if I felt envy when I read that my brother has 1000 members and I only have 50? I'm either saved by grace through faith or by works, but not both. Acts Enthusiast
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10/25/19 12:46 pm


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Post sheepdogandy
One is saved as long as they believe.

Forsake faith, lose salvation.
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10/25/19 2:51 pm


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Post Dave Dorsey
sheepdogandy wrote:
One is saved as long as they believe.

Forsake faith, lose salvation.

Can this process be repeated?

Believe again, regain salvation? Forsake again, re-lose salvation?
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10/25/19 3:00 pm


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Post UncleJD
I don't think backsliding and unbelief are the same.

“‘Return, O backsliding children,’ says the Lord; ‘for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.'”

The scripture is pretty clear that God loves and calls the backslider to repentance, I don't think that is the same as the unconverted. Maybe I'm wrong, but I rejected the cycle of "saved, lost, saved, lost, saved" years ago, it doesn't seem to fit scripture at all.
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10/25/19 3:42 pm


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Post Dave Dorsey
UncleJD wrote:
I don't think backsliding and unbelief are the same.

“‘Return, O backsliding children,’ says the Lord; ‘for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.'”

Great observation.
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10/25/19 4:05 pm


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Post Cojak
Dave Dorsey wrote:
...

Believe again, regain salvation? Forsake again, re-lose salvation?
Come on DD, as a preacher's kid I was saved in every revival. and was told I backslide a lot and was going to hell if I didn't 'pray thru again. So I did, again and again etc... Now I am smiling Smile . Since I became a parent I know my sons will always be my sons. I have cried as I got them out of jail, as I got them sober or down from some stupid high, never once did I come close to disowning them.
I read that my Heavenly father loves me once I was born into his family, he loved me as a son. All that said, I STILL do not know in my heart if my church taught me wrong or if I was just a prodigal?
I am enjoying the input. But I do want to stay close to Him to cover all bases. Silly? maybe, but that is me. I know HIS decisions are above my paygrade. Shocked
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10/25/19 6:24 pm


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Post Dave Dorsey
I'm not sure how this thread got locked, but I have unlocked it. Sorry about that. Now 67% friendlier!
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10/27/19 9:19 am


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Post diakoneo
Dave Dorsey wrote:
I'm not sure how this thread got locked, but I have unlocked it. Sorry about that.


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10/27/19 9:49 am


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Post Dave Dorsey
Lolll. Forgive me and let me be an admin once again! Now 67% friendlier!
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10/27/19 9:51 am


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Post For clarification.....are you or someone suggesting.... caseyleejones
that someone falls away.....wants to come back and repents but God rejects?

Bear with me here....and maybe nobody is saying that God will reject a truly repentent person.....

THANKS
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10/27/19 10:39 am


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Post Re: For clarification.....are you or someone suggesting.... Dave Dorsey
caseyleejones wrote:
that someone falls away.....wants to come back and repents but God rejects?

Bear with me here....and maybe nobody is saying that God will reject a truly repentent person.....

Speaking just for myself: I no longer affirm that the truly penitent and regenerate fall away (and interpret verses about falling away as pertaining to those who walked with/participated in the visible church but never truly became regenerate).

However, I affirmed this view for many years, and when I did I did not believe that anyone who came back would be rejected, but rather that they would simply never desire to come back. Hebrews 6:4-6 says:

For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

When I held this view, this verse seemed to make it clear that repentance will never be desired or expressed by someone in this category. I understand this verse slightly differently now, but that interpretation is not germane to your question.
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10/27/19 10:58 am


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Post Dave Dorsey
There are also two elements to biblical repentance, and both are required. The first is regret over wrongdoing, and the second is faith to be forgiven. We sometimes focus on only the first element, but both are required.

For example, it is undeniable that Judas was "repentant" for what he did. It is undeniable that he recognized his sin. In Matthew 27:4, he tells the chief priests, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood." He throws their money back at them, and in his guilt and despair, he hangs himself and dies. No one can dispute that Judas regretted his sin. No one can dispute that Judas despaired over what he had done. However, what he lacked was faith that he could be forgiven. Therefore, his repentance was incomplete and invalid.

We can also draw light from the competing narratives of Saul and David. When Saul is confronted with his sin, he immediately acknowledges it and seeks pardon. In 1 Samuel 15:24-25 he tells Samuel, "I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. Now therefore, please pardon my sin and return with me that I may bow before the Lord." And in verse 30, "I have sinned; yet honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me, that I may bow before the Lord your God."

Saul absolutely acknowledges his iniquity. He understands it has consequences, and he wants to be spared from those consequences. But he wants to be spared the temporal consequences, without thought to the eternal ones. He is sorrowful and repentant, but without faith to be forgiven for his transgression against God.

Compare this to David's response in Psalm 51, after he is confronted with his sin. Like the others, he acknowledges his sin: "Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight." And like Saul, he seeks pardon. But unlike the others, he has faith that God can make him clean again:

7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.

In regard to those who fall away, in this view, I think it is likely they may experience sorrow or regret over what they have done, and sorrow over having fallen away from the God who made them. But what they will always lack is the saving faith to be made whole once again.
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10/27/19 11:10 am


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Post Re: For clarification.....are you or someone suggesting.... caseyleejones
Dave Dorsey wrote:
caseyleejones wrote:
that someone falls away.....wants to come back and repents but God rejects?

Bear with me here....and maybe nobody is saying that God will reject a truly repentent person.....

Speaking just for myself: I no longer affirm that the truly penitent and regenerate fall away (and interpret verses about falling away as pertaining to those who walked with/participated in the visible church but never truly became regenerate).

However, I affirmed this view for many years, and when I did I did not believe that anyone who came back would be rejected, but rather that they would simply never desire to come back. Hebrews 6:4-6 says:

For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

When I held this view, this verse seemed to make it clear that repentance will never be desired or expressed by someone in this category. I understand this verse slightly differently now, but that interpretation is not germane to your question.


That is my take. I remember old time preachers would tell people there is a point that you reject God that there will come a time you want to repent and He will say know. It put many people into bondage.

But yeah, the desire to repent will not be there....that's my interpretation....
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10/27/19 2:19 pm


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Post Re: For clarification.....are you or someone suggesting.... Dave Dorsey
caseyleejones wrote:
That is my take. I remember old time preachers would tell people there is a point that you reject God that there will come a time you want to repent and He will say know. It put many people into bondage.

But yeah, the desire to repent will not be there....that's my interpretation....

The old time take you reference is probably drawn from Hebrews 12:17: "For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears."

The immediate context makes this passage a questionable selection for this conversation to begin with, and even if the text were relevant to seeking repentance after falling away from faith, it's clear that Esau either could not or would not bring himself to repent. Not, as those old timers would suggest, that he desperately wanted forgiveness but was rejected by God.
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10/27/19 3:59 pm


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Post Return to me yet again... Aaron Scott
I cannot imagine how much WORSE backsliding could be than for, as in Jeremiah, the Father to beg his wayward "wife," who had committed adultery with many lovers, to come back yet again.

If that is not backsliding, if that is not what we call falling away, then WHAT IS?

I think the answer would be this: Falling away is such that God no longer pursues you.

Is that place one can be? I don't know. But if so, it is hell on earth. It means that God has said, "Go your way; I no longer care what you do, and I don't even want to hear about it."

A divorced friend of mine once held on to every piece of information he heard about his ex. But at some point, he hardened himself (sadly) and her name is no longer even mentioned, despite all the good years they had together....
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10/28/19 7:29 am


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Post Re: For clarification.....are you or someone suggesting.... caseyleejones
Dave Dorsey wrote:
caseyleejones wrote:
That is my take. I remember old time preachers would tell people there is a point that you reject God that there will come a time you want to repent and He will say know. It put many people into bondage.

But yeah, the desire to repent will not be there....that's my interpretation....

The old time take you reference is probably drawn from Hebrews 12:17: "For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears."

The immediate context makes this passage a questionable selection for this conversation to begin with, and even if the text were relevant to seeking repentance after falling away from faith, it's clear that Esau either could not or would not bring himself to repent. Not, as those old timers would suggest, that he desperately wanted forgiveness but was rejected by God.


Actually it came from Genesis where God said he would not always strive with man but his days would be 120 years. So preachers would stand up and make that a doctrine that He would not always strive with you but eventually give you up like an angry god.
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10/28/19 7:48 am


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Post Re: For clarification.....are you or someone suggesting.... Dave Dorsey
caseyleejones wrote:
Actually it came from Genesis where God said he would not always strive with man but his days would be 120 years. So preachers would stand up and make that a doctrine that He would not always strive with you but eventually give you up like an angry god.

Shocked Shocked

That's a yikes from me, dawg.
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10/28/19 12:10 pm


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