Sunday, February 19, 2006

Chuck Smith on Eternal Security

Calvary Magazine
Interesting website for Calvary Magazine.

Chuck Speaks on Calvinism
There's an article there on Chuck's view of Calvinism. (Fall 2005 issue).

Chuck says "We" when He means "I"
I wonder about Chuck's use of the words "we" and "our" in describing Calvary Chapel. They do not seem to me to be the correct words. Perhaps the words that Chuck Smith should use are "I" and "My" because, in fact, that's all that he is talking about.

What is a Calvary Distinctive Other Than Smith's Opinion?
Calvary Chapel distinctives are Chuck Smith's views. They are shared by those who follow after Smith, but that says nothing more than the people who follow the Great Leader believe what he believes. If they don't believe what he believes they would not be following him. Smith could write, "I and the people who follow after me"...

Smith is Wrong on the History of Arminianism
Smith is historically incorrect when he states that the Arminian position denies Eternal Security. A reading of the Five Articles of the Remonstrants shows that they took no position on the subject of Eternal Security. The Remonstrants had people on both sides and like Calvary saw Scripture supporting both sides. To use a Calvary word, the official historical Arminian position was "balanced."

It was the Calvinists who took an unequivocal position in favor of Eternal Security.

Article Five from the Remonstrants
That those who are incorporated into Christ by true faith, and have thereby become partakers of his life-giving Spirit, as a result have full power to strive against Satan, sin, the world, and their own flesh, and to win the victory; it being well understood that it is ever through the assisting grace of the Holy Spirit; and that Jesus Christ assists them through his Spirit in all temptations, extends to them his hand, and if only they are ready for the conflict, desire his help, and are not inactive, keeps them from falling, so that they, by no deceit or power of Satan, can be misled nor plucked out of Christ’s hands, according to the Word of Christ, John 10:28: “Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” But whether they are capable, through negligence, of forsaking again the first beginning of their life in Christ, of again returning to this present evil world, of turning away from the holy doctrine which was delivered them, of losing a good conscience, of neglecting grace, that must be more particularly determined out of the Holy Scripture, before we ourselves can teach it with the full confidence of our mind.

How is Smith's view any different than the positions of the Remonstrants (Arminians)?

Smith is Wrong Again
Smith says in his column that is was taking hard stands on these issues that has emptied the Methodist church. To the contrary. It was the lack of taking stands on matters of truth that have emptied these churches. Churches, like Calvary Chapel, which take dogmatic stands, are filling up. The more complex ideas are simplified and made into bite sized pieces by places like Calvary Chapel the more they grow.

Smith Does Not Believe in the Law of Non-Contradiction
Smith goes on to say that there are Scriptures on both sides of the subject of Eternal Security. Since God is the God of truth, does God hold to two contrary positions? Clearly for Smith a thing can be a thing and not a thing at the same time. The Law of non-contradiction means little to him.

Smith's position is Arminian
Chuck Smith's answer to the eternal security position demonstrates that he is not in the middle, but firmly in the Arminian camp. In the article, Smith writes:
I tell people that, of course, I believe in eternal security. As long as I abide in Christ, I’m eternally secure. As long as I abide in Him, He’s going to keep me from falling and present me faultless before His glorious presence. I believe that and I experience God’s security.

That's a classic Arminian response but I'm sure that it impresses people to think that Chuck has solved the problem that theologians have grappled with for a long time.

The eternal security question is whether a person can fall from grace. The advocate of eternal security says that it is impossible to fall from grace. Smith says that it is possible to fall from grace. Therefore Smith does not believe in eternal security. It is double speak for him to say that he does.

I am not a Calvinist. I do not believe in Eternal Security.

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