Learn From My Church Experience
I attended for a while a small conservative church that did teach OSAS.
They knew I did not agree with either OSAS or pre-trib rapture
, but were very welcoming to me.... Their brand of OSAS was what I call "high-bar OSAS", ie if one was not living holy or appeared to fall away, then they never were saved to begin with
I noticed several things about this teaching. It was breathtakingly stunning how adept at twisting scripture one can be to defend these beliefs. Also how many, many scriptures must be twisted. It also boggled my mind how plain scriptures proving them wrong didn't phase them in their beliefs. As you said, pride must play a big part in not changing. I also wonder how much hunger for Truth there is.
I also wondered if this covers them in the sins they do have. Also change would involve losing the friendship of other close, lifelong pastor friends, and disturbing the congregation. My few conversations were almost entirely with the pastor on these topics because the people were not so knowledgeable of scripture, and would merely quote 1 or 2 verses to defend their set beliefs.
Examples of OSAS Scripture Twisting
- Demas did not apostatize, he simply did not want to partake in Paul's persecutions, so left him to have a calmer life. His "love of the world" was merely a desire for a calm life, not an abandonment of God for the world! The pastor even said he would have done the same as Demas!
- The church in Ephesus was not in danger of "losing" their salvation, because they were told to "repent". This meant they never HAD repented, thus were never saved to begin with!
- In the parable of the sower, only the seed in the good ground was truly saved. The other seed merely "tasted" salvation, but proof of their lack of true salvation was that they fell away from what faith they "appeared to have".
- In the parable of the 10 virgins, the 5 that had no extra oil were simply false believers in the church.
- In verses on needing to hold fast during testing or being faithful to the end, the teaching was that true believers simply would hold fast.
- In the parable of the unfruitful branches being cut off, these were again, merely false believers in the church.
I asked him if then these many warnings in the Bible were simply written for the benefit of unbelievers and hypocrites? He said they are for true believers and that true believers will obey them. (To me that is like telling a person in the mountains not to fall in the ocean when he drives to the grocery store or like a lying mother who threatens to call the cops if Jr. doesn't eat his peas! God doesn't make idle threats, lie or give useless admonitions!)
Other times a question would simply not be answered, but he would counter with a verse that he thought supported his beliefs, thus simply ignoring verses contrary to his OSAS! This occurred when I mentioned the verse in Revelation where Jesus said he personally would blot names from the book of Life.
OSAS Deceitful Techniques
Human reasoning was also used vs scripture, eg. "God knows a person's heart, thus he wouldn't logically save someone he knows doesn't mean business and would thus later fall away". Or "God is powerful and if someone could fall away, then God isn't powerful enough to save".
He would also proclaim a line of reasoning with a scripture quote taken out of context and then say "let God be true and every man a liar!" The people would then reply with a volley of Amens. Thus if you disagree with HIM you are disagreeing with God, and people's own reasoning and discernment was effectively shut down.
Another technique I found disturbing, and was very subtle was this: He would preach a message that sounded like a believer could indeed fall from the faith, using for example Solomon's fall and Paul's efforts to not become a castaway himself. He said "we often think we are more saved that Paul!" I agreed with this statement, but when I later questioned him, instead of validating his implied message that we too can become castaway, he simply restated his OSAS beliefs. I noticed that the congregation was silent at this type of contradictory sermon. I felt it was his way of getting off the hook with God in some of these convicting passages, without having to openly change doctrine or explain the contradiction.
He would also try hard to preach such that lukewarm believers would wake up and repent. And I agreed with these efforts! However I saw that they would obviously not do this because they were believing they were secure in their salvation! If they were to somehow believe they had never been saved to begin with, then what did that say of all the years they had been coming to church after a salvation experience in the past, and all the things God had truly done for them in the past?
He would also preach that one can know that they are saved by the witness of the Holy Spirit in them, yet say that people you thought were saved had simply fooled you, when you later saw them fall away. I told him once that I was the only one who could take his admonitions to heart because I was the only one who believed the consequences applied to me as a saved person! He simply replied that I was misunderstanding his doctrine. So OSAS does do a great disservice to believers,
even ones who are not antinomian. After all, " God will see you through to the end". The danger of falling away is not real to them.
Another alarming result of twisting scripture that I saw, was that because it really doesn't make sense, the people tend to get frustrated and feel they cant understand scripture themselves. Thus they read scripture passively and nominally, and put their trust in the preacher's interpretation. They think that because he is the authority, that he is right. Because their reading doesn't match with his teaching, they think they simply cant understand scripture rightly. Thus they must simply trust the expert. I think this then results in people having faith in the preacher more than in God, a very dangerous and sad situation. They, of course don't realize this. The church had a heavy emphasis on needing to go to church to hear the teaching.
I finally realized I had to be true to my own convictions of what God is teaching in scripture so I left this church.
I still pray for them. It is very difficult and "tricky" to attend for only those things you agree on.
Churches want you to conform to them, and try hard to change you. So I now have no church fellowship, once again. Your website has been a real encouragement
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