Dear Fred,

"First, would you say that your position would be something like, God did his part to provide salvation to men through Christ, but now it is up to men to avail themselves of this salvation? Thus any appropriation of salvation must come by the faith of the sinner, correct?"

To receive salvation, a man must be drawn and called by God (for salvation is of God, not of us), and then answer His call and receive His grace. If any man will hear God and receive His word, he will be granted faith in Christ and repentance to life.

"The really burden of proof, however, is for you Josh, to show us, from the text of scripture, why you believe men have the ability to cooperate with God in salvation."

Certainly, John 5:25 says,

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live."

As you can see, there is regeneration does not precede hearing the call of God, but those that hear will live. How can they hear while they are dead? If God's call can even reach those who are physically dead, then why not those that are spiritually dead as well? Does God compel them to hear, I don't think so; for while it is God who opens the ears and the heart, man can resist him and shut himself off to God's word.

"But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear." Zechariah 7:11

"Really? Are there any principles of hermenuetics you utilize when you study the Bible? Could you show me how this two passages are even remotely similar? And on top of that how does Romans 11 confirm your understanding of these two unrelated passages? I look forward to your response."

They don't have to be similar, simply about the same subject, salvation specifically. I have, by the way, already seen the article you wrote me about at Alpha and Omega ministries (believe it or not, I am somewhat of a fan of James White's work on the KJV only controversy). But back to the subject. Many contend that the phrase "in Me" does not necessarily mean saved. But I cannot think of an example from scripture where a person can be 'in Christ' and not be saved. But if being 'in Christ' is 'not necessarily being saved', then why would Christ command us to remain in that in order to bear fruit? 'Abide,' indicates continuation, and a person who abides in Him will bear fruit. If a person were not really saved, then abiding anywhere or in anything would do no good at all. To put it simply, you cannot remain in what you were never in, and it does no good to remain in where you should not be. That is why I believe that this is a reference to conditional salvation.

"I acutally wrote out a lenghthy exegetical essay about John 3:16 which I can email as an attachment to you if you wish, or to anyone else for that matter. You are correct in pointing out that it is not mentioning election or predestination, but the one thing you fail to take notice from this passage is that it emphatically establishes that those who believe can not loose their salvation. The text literally states that the believing ones will not perish. The purpose of God giving the son was so that those believing will not perish. There is a grammatical hina clause in this verse, and the hina clause expresses purposeful results. The aim of the action in the main verb. It explains why X does Y. This hina clause, along with the phrase "should not perish" establishes the fact that there is no loss of this eternal life. The result of the father giving the son was that every believing one will never, without a doubt, perish. There is no way you can get around the force of the grammar in this passage Josh. Unless of course you do what the JWs do, and physically change the text."

You have leveled the accusation against me that I don't take into account the original language. You say this without even knowing or asking, and have made a hasty conclusion; for nothing could be farther from the truth. Perhaps your deductions of me are as far-fetched as your conclusions about eternal security.
To go back to the original language, 'believes' in John 3:16 is present active tense, indicating a presently occuring event. So those who "are believing" in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. The question is then, can a person lose their faith? I believe so, consider 1 Timothy 5:11-12, which speaks of younger women who are supported by the church, but begin to turn against Christ, it says,

"But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith."

People sometimes ask me, "well, what was their first faith?" Not to be condescending, but one does not have condemnation for casting off a false faith.

"First off, I think several othes who have been posting to you have offered up their understanding of these various texts. The issue is that you do not like their interpretation, but it is your burden to show us why we are wrong with that interpretation. Several of these folks offered up some solid exegesis, but you do not interact with that exegesis. Below, I will send you to a link that will give you an extensive understanding of John 15 and the article will show you why Jesus is not teaching conditional security."

Concerning Romans 11, it is clearly speaking of salvation for individuals. The example of the root and branches is used to illustrate Israel's fall and the Gentiles obtaining mercy through their fall. Even John Calvin could not escape the conclusion that this was a reference to individual salvation. He simply concluded that it was something that God said to push believers to obedience, but would never really do.

"That is what John summed up in his epistle that they went out from us, because they were not of us (1 John 2:19). These people were not Christian to begin with. If they had been, their would had been perseverance on their part."

What John was saying was that those who were not of God departed from out of the church, not from following God.

"Huh? you have yet to show us that you have any competence in handling the word of God. You are pulling verses out of context, cross-referencing unrelated passages, and not even considering the original language."

Fred, if your goal is to tease and infuriate me till I give up or get flustered, you are targeting the wrong individual, and your method of persuasion is, to put mildly, somewhat ineffective. A soft word says much more than a sarcastic one; and even if your allegations had a hint of truth to them, I can't think of anyone I have ever persuaded of anything by insulting them.

IRT (in regards to Revelation 22:19):
"Why should I even bother responding? This is basically a non-answer. Come on Josh, you're a student in electrical engineering. You can do better than that. You replied further that "taking away or adding to this prophecy" is to be understood as taking away from the Revelation specifically. But the transgression to get your part taken away from the book of life is defined as just that, adding to or taking away from the prophecy of the Revelation. So, if we use your logic, as long as a person doesn't add or take away from the Revelation, their salvation is secure. Would that not be accurate to say? To answer your question once again, "why does God give us this warning?" To weed out false professors from true possessors. The true believers will never do this."

If you don't like the simple answer, I'll give you a more elaborate one. Though it is not specifically stated that God will take one's part from the book of life for adding to His word, I believe He is simply emphasizing different parts of the punishment for each offense. As an example from the same book, the seven churches were each promised a different reward for overcoming. Ephesus in particular was promised that they would not be hurt by the second death. Let's hope for our sakes that He meant that for all who believe (I'm sure He did). So in the same way, I think God saw it fitting to emphasize the punishment that best fit the crime in Revelation 22:19 (If you add to My word, I will add plagues to you, if you take away from my word, I will take your part from the book of life...). Secondly, no. One's salvation is not secured by just not committing a particular sin. It does not follow that just because I show a condition, that I believe that is the only condition; you simply jumped to conclusions about me again. I'll elaborate on your third point below.

"Again, you totally miss Paul's thoughts here. He is speaking about the influence of false doctrine. Someone was spreading false leaven among the Galatian church (5:9). This is another area where you seem to have no room in your system. You do not see that Christians can come under the influence of errant doctrine, yet still be saved. Thus, in your system, if an immature believer happens to come under the influence of false teaching, he looses his salvation?"

You're on a roll, aren't you? No, I do not believe that a small doctrinal error is damnable, this is evidenced by the fact that I do consider Calvinists to be Christians, albeit errant on a secondary point. But the Galatians were a bit different you see, Paul said that they had been taken by another gospel, and noted in Galatians 1:8,

"But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed."

It's kind of funny talking to a Calvinist about this, because the charge that I believe in works righteousness is often leveled falsely against me. But the Galatian believers were moved from the true gospel into a false on, and some who had known God embraced it.

"Moreover, if Paul is saying the Galatians lost their salvation, what does he mean when he writes in 5:10 that he has confidence in them that they will have no other mind? It seems like to me that Paul is contradicting your beliefs, because he had confidence in their assurance and that there is no loosing one's salvation being taught here."

"Of course not all of the believers were taken in by this, it was not to these that Paul wrote,
For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith."

But to those who had embraced this false gospel, he proclaimed that Christ had become of no effect to them, and that they had fallen from grace; and contrasted them with those who still waited for righteousness by faith, that is to say, the ones who had not gone after the false gospel. So he was confident that those who had not fallen from grace would heed his words in one accord.

IRT: (Concerning 2 Peter 2:20)
"At any rate, Peter distinguishes between false teachers and the people in verse 1. These false prophets were present among the people of Israel, and will be present in the church. They were not first of the people and became false teachers; they have always been false teachers who came in among the people. That is what Peter means when he says they secretly bring in heresies. This is something from the outside being brought it. Nothing in Peter's description of these false teachers suggests that they were partakers of the divine nature of Christ. They were corrupt from the beginning."

Not really, the false prophets often (I would say usually) came from the holy people of Israel. Peter's description of them shows that they were believers at one time, for how can one "escape the pollutions of the world by knowing the Lord Jesus Christ," and not be saved? As most of you are so fond of pointing out to me, the spiritually dead can do nothing to be subject to God's law. So how then did they rid themselves (even for a time) of the world's pollutions -- much less by the knowledge of Christ?

Concerning Hebrews 4:2, you only assumed that I believed that the people of 4:2 were saved, I never claimed as much, but simply implied that they were our example, that we should not act as they did.

"I believe the warning passages weed out false believers from true ones. Your position has no room for the fact that there are many individuals claiming they are Christians, but in actuality, they are not truly saved."

Where did I ever state that? I think you just assumed that, because I believe there are many who go to church and claim Christ who are not (and never have been) saved. This does not exclude the fact that others fall away from Him. Now about the warnings in scripture, if it is impossible for a thing to happen to us, then why are we warned of it? You seem to think that this is to 'weed out' the true believers from the false, that not one true believer will be lost, and that the scriptures do not imply conditional salvation. Here is where I have a problem, if a conditional statement is made (such as in Revelation 22:19), then that is a condition that is set. It would not matter if the fulfillment or violation of that condition ever occured, it is still a condition. So I cannot see why you fault me for believing in conditional salvation.

Secondly, I do believe that God's word clearly states that some will not remain in God's grace, but will fall away. Matthew 24:12 says,
"And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold."

Yep, 'love' in this passage is agape love. And we read in 1 Corinthians 16:22,
"If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha."

So I believe that it is a Biblical fact that many will fall away in the latter times.

Thirdly, if the warnings in scripture are given by God with the intention that we receive them and believe them, (such as: If I do not abide in Christ, then I will be 'cut off,' or that my name will be 'removed from the book of life'), then why do you fault me for taking them quite literally? If it was God's purpose that believers actually believe His warnings, then am I not serving God's purpose by teaching the same and believing it to be so? And are you not defying God's purpose by stating effectively that such could never happen, therefore making His warning of no effect? Just a thought.

"By the way, you haven't answered my question about Dan Corner of Evangelical Outreach. Are you a fan of his?"

Oh gee, let's see, I don't feel particularly inclined to answer a question that begins with the words "You haven't been deceived by the lies of...?" So I hope you'll forgive my obstination in answering such an inquiry. But since you've put a bit more politeness into your tone, I will say that I have read some of Dan Corner's work, but it was long after I knew about eternal security. His articles on eternal security are usually pretty good, but haven't really tell me anything new. My favorite thing that he wrote was his critique of Gail Riplinger's book on KJV onlyism (Riplinger claims one of her books was written by God Himself).

In Christ,