On numerous occasions people have asked our opinion of the book, Once Saved, Always Saved? authored by David Pawson. Let me begin by saying some very fine points and solid arguments were made by David Pawson against eternal security. On the other hand, the various errors sprinkled throughout it convey the message that Calvinism is not that bad; that we are forgiven at water baptism, that one can be sexually immoral like the unnamed man in 1 Cor. 5:1-5 and have salvation; etc. This last point alone places his book on a par with books endorsing once saved always saved by promoting a license for immorality. Here are the details:
■1. David Pawson thinks the unrepentant man guilty of fornication (incest) in 1 Cor. 5 was still saved! David Pawson wrote of him:
If he is not stopped, he will reach the point of no return and lose his salvation .... If the church does not resort to this extreme form of discipline this ‘brother’ will be lost for all eternity. (p. 56, 1984 ed.)
We know the sexually immoral man of 1 Cor. 5 was spiritually dead at that time and in need of salvation since he was wicked (v. 13). Click here to read much more on this, 1 Cor. 5:1-5 Does NOT Support Eternal Security.
David Pawson somehow thinks that sexually immoral man was a brother (p. 55), but cites no scripture for proof and wrongly concludes from that word he is a believer. In Acts 13:38-41 Paul called unbelieving Jews brothers (or brethren), but also said they were in a perishable condition. On that point alone, David Pawson’s book is ruined. Like the eternal security proponents, he too is actually teaching a license for immorality, by declaring the man of 1 Cor. 5:1-5 as saved. Though common, that misidentification of the 1 Cor. 5:1-5 man is a horrendous doctrinal error with deadly implications.
■2. David Pawson believes in baptismal regeneration and refers to it multiple times (pp. 88, 115, 123). Here is one of his statements about baptism:
They shared with the apostles a belief in the efficacy of the sacrament to wash sins away .... (p. 87).
In part, David Pawson goes outside the Bible to the so-called Church Fathers, who contradicted themselves and Scripture, for his proof of this doctrine. See David Bercot. That in itself is wrong since we are to get all of our doctrines from the Scriptures alone (2 Tim. 3:16,17). The Bible Is Final Authority. Also, click here to read about the errors of those who think one is forgiven at baptism. Read Are You Saved At Baptism?
■3. David Pawson does not document many of his quotes. He makes stirring statements, but no source is cited. On page 95 two examples are found — one about Luther and another about John Calvin. Did they really state those things? If so, are they quoted out of context or accurately cited? There is no documentation to find out.
■4. David Pawson wrongly called Dwight L. Moody an Arminian (p. 100). While it is true that Moody rejected the first four points of Calvinism, he was a staunch proponent of eternal security. Hence, Moody was a one point Calvinist — not an Arminian.
■5. David Pawson called Augustine a scholar (p. 91). The truth is, Augustine believed one was saved by water apart from faith and also promoted Mary worship. Since Augustine also believed in eternal security, David Pawson is countering his own efforts by calling this eternal security teacher a scholar. Augustine prayed to Mary for salvation! He was heretical.
■6. David Pawson taught:
Atonement is provided for accidental falls but none for wilful and deliberate disobedience (p. 24, emphasis mine).
David Pawson lumps all wilful and deliberate sins together and teaches there is no forgiveness. Such teaching has caused many to be terrified, not thinking there is any hope for them. If all wilful and deliberate sins were the same, then neither David nor the prodigal could have ever gotten forgiven, but both did. The deliberate sin of Heb. 10:26 is described in v. 29 and is related to Heb. 6:4-6. That type of sin was eternal sin, which those Hebrew Christians committed to return to the synagogues. Hence, their sin was eternal, deliberate and wilful. It was unlike all other sins that have gotten forgiven in the past. GOD BLESS YOU.
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