Critiquing Life in The Son
by Robert Shank

Dan Corner

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Life In The Son


Robert Shank Gets The 
Skull and Crossbones Award

Robert Shank authored the book, Life in The Son. In that book, there are many points that he and I agree on. However, there are also some very serious differences too. It is the purpose of this to reveal some of these serious differences. The following are actual quotes from Robert Shank's book, Life In The Son, which are in error. Some are more grave than others. An explanation will be cited after the quotes to elaborate when needed. (All citations are from the 1989 edition of Life in The Son. All emphasis is my own):


Life In The Son, Robert Shank and Habitual Sinning

■ (1) Robert Shank dangerously taught a Christian has to sin habitually to lose his salvation and singular acts will not cause this:

 

. . . spiritual death is the inevitable consequence of habitual sinning as a deliberate pattern of behavior (p. 144).

 

. . . men are not immediately deprived of grace by a single act of sin .... (p. 135).


COMMENT: Not all sins are the same in their seriousness before God. There is sin that leads to death and sin that doesn’t lead to death (1 John 5:16,17). Sometimes, certain sins committed just once can and will cause loss of salvation, according to Scripture. Who can correctly deny the following proof? If a Christian disowns Jesus, Jesus in turn will disown him (Mt. 10:33). Such would cause loss of salvation. That can be done with a singular act and can happen quickly, as was the case with the disciples when/after Jesus was arrested (Mt. 26:31-34). Furthermore, Adam and Eve both lost their salvation by a singular act of sin. It was not habitual sinning for them. They both died spiritually quickly after their sin. Also, if a saint takes the mark of the beast, that singular act will cause loss of salvation (Rev. 14:9-12). Finally, for any person to teach that singular acts of adultery, murder, theft, drunkenness, etc. don’t cause loss of salvation is to unscripturally change the Biblical identity of an adulterer, a murderer, etc. Such people are always on the road to hell (1 Cor. 6:9,10; Rev. 21:8; etc.).


Clearly, one act of adultery makes a person a Bible-defined adulterer (Lev. 20:10). It doesn’t have to be habitual acts of adultery. If it was habitual acts, then how many acts would it take—3, 5, 67? When does one cross the line with adultery, murder, theft, etc. for it to become habitual sin? Robert Shank doesn't tell us. Remember this: A license for immorality is being believed when one thinks he can commit non-habitual acts of adultery, drunkenness, theft, etc. and remain saved. It doesn’t matter if such deception comes from one who rejects eternal security or one who believes it. Lamentably, Robert Shank, who opposes eternal security, has done this!

Robert Shank and Communion

■ (2) Sadly, Robert Shank taught we derive spiritual life from communion:

 

Let us recognize the union of Vine and branches to be what it is—the living union of Christ and all true believers, who derive life from Him as they eat His flesh and drink His blood, so simply and beautifully portrayed in the Holy Supper which Jesus had instituted .... (p. 46).


COMMENT: Robert Shank made a very serious mistake by elevating communion to a salvation issue. If what he stated was true, then no one could have spiritual life before partaking of communion or retain salvation afterwards without it, but the Scriptures show otherwise.


The dying repentant thief, Cornelius and his whole household and others gained spiritual life at the point of a trusting and submitting faith and without having communion. This, in itself, proves that when Robert Shank, a Catholic or anyone else refers John 6:53 to communion, he is making a very serious misinterpretation regarding salvation itself.

Robert Shank Contradicts Jude

■ (3) Robert Shank (and many others) reject what Jude and Peter both taught about the spiritual identity of those who change grace into a license for immorality. Robert Shank in Life In The Son taught influential eternal security teacher of the past, Lewis Sperry Chafer and others were sincere, godly men whose motives were honest and noble (p. 67). Robert Shank stated this about Chafer:

 

It would be completely contrary to fact to assume that Dr. Chafer viewed sin lightly. No one acquainted with his works and his own godly life would assume so (p. 133).

 

. . . “once in grace, always in grace” has been championed with fervor by millions of sincere Christians and devout Bible scholars (p. 31).


COMMENT: Can one be godly and teach the heresy of eternal security, which has people convinced who are on the road to hell that they are on the road to heaven? Is it possible to be a devout Bible scholar and teach such a deception, which is opposed to the Christian gospel (1 Cor. 15:2) and which Christians are to contend against (Jude 3,4)?


Contrast Robert Shank with Jude who described the ones who change grace into a license for immorality. See also 2 Peter 2. (Robert Shank also endorsed Spurgeon's statement on p. 282, without an explanation about his false teachings of eternal security and his affirmation of the other points of Calvinism. In this indirect way, people like Robert Shank have helped to spread eternal security over the years.) Robert Shank could exalt Chafer, even after he quotes him in Life In The Son as saying the following!

 

Through the present priestly advocacy of Christ in Heaven there is absolute safety and security for the Father’s child even while he is sinning (p. 133).


On that basis alone, Robert Shank's praise for Chafer remains a mystery and a stumblingblock to others.

Robert Shank and Eternal Sin

■ (4) Robert Shank unscripturally expands upon the definition of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Such could be understood to mean one can't return to God and salvation through repentance:

 

Men who reject that witness, including all who apostatize, are guilty of blaspheming the Holy Spirit as were the Pharisees who ridiculed Christ's ministry of deliverance (p. 320).


COMMENT: Jesus never taught that about blaspheming the Holy Spirit. See Mark 3:22-30. Blaspheming the Holy Spirit is committed by saying Jesus had a demon and by the power of the devil he performed his miracles (Mk. 3:22-30). People who defect from the faith (backsliders) can later return to God (Luke 15:24,32; Rom. 11:19-23; James 5:19,20), which would be impossible if they committed the eternal sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Such an exception seems to be referred to in Heb. 6:4-6.

Robert Shank and What God Is Looking For

■ (5) Robert Shank in Life In The Son taught God is not looking for perfection among men:

 

God is patient and understanding. He is not looking for perfection among men (p. 214).


COMMENT: Carefully read the following Biblical passage which mentions perfection twice and observe the error in Life In The Son on this:

 

We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is for your perfection. This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority—the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down. Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. (2 Cor 13:9-11)

Robert Shank and Prayer For Dog's Sins

■ (6) Robert Shank wrote his young son’s prayer for his dog not to sin was a good prayer:

 

“And dear God, please bless Tippy, and help him not to make any sins.” Thus did our three year-year-old son, in his evening prayer, entreat for his puppy. It was a good prayer (p. 131).


COMMENT: Is praying for a dog not to sin a good prayer? If Robert Shank meant that type of prayer should be prayed for people, why didn’t he state such? This too could be easily is understood.

Robert Shank Called Christians Sinners

■ (7) Robert Shank taught Christians are sinners, which can be dangerously misleading:

 

To assume that grace is immediately withdrawn from the Christian who sins is to deny the essence and meaning of grace. If grace is not for sinners, it is not grace (p. 135).


COMMENT: The term sinner is used dozens of times in the Bible and always clearly refers to an unsaved person, with only one exception, which is not as clear as the others. That one exception is how Paul refers to himself before he got born again as the chief of sinners (1 Tim. 1:13-15). [We have a whole chapter detailing this information in our book, The Myth of Eternal Security. A sinner, according to the Bible, is a person who is either one who has never been born again or a former Christian who committed a sin that leads to death and has consequently died spiritually (1 Peter 4:18; Luke 15:4-7; Rom. 8:13; James 1:14-16; 5:19,20; etc.). (There is sin that does not lead to death, 1 John 5:16,17.)]

Conclusions

The above shows Life In The Sin can mislead souls in various ways, though it is opposed to eternal security. Unfortunately, Robert Shank's Life In The Son has some very serious doctrinal errors throughout it. Therefore, for the sake of truth, Evangelical Outreach cannot and will not endorse Robert Shank's Life In The Son. (At one time in the past we did, but never again. In part, the above are some of the reasons.) The truth is, The Believer's Conditional Security is more sound and has much more material related to eternal security than Robert Shank's Life In The Son or any other book on this subject. Not only is it over twice the size of Life In The Son, but the subject index is over six times larger. Eternal security can be a vast and complicated issue. Robert Shank's Life In The Son, besides all of the above doctrinal errors, neglects many vital and relevant sub-topics. If you have read Life In The Son compare it for yourself to The Believer's Conditional Security. To order The Believer's Conditional Security, click Evangelical Books. The Believer's Conditional Security also has a track record of spiritually blessing many and bringing not just a few to repentance, according to actual personal testimonies. Click here to read some of the testimonies. (More life-changing testimonies.) (Our smaller supplementing book, which is over 200 pages in length entitled, The Myth of Eternal Security, has also proven to be a spiritual blessing for people.)



Life In The Son


Skull and Crossbones Awards of False Prophets and False Teachers


Holiness Preaching


Eternal Security Is A Doctrine Of Demons


Eternal Security and Imputed Righteousness


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