Nov 10, 2009

OSAS Negative (Gentry)

The following is my prepared negative for the debate. I did of course add material to this presentation and responded to the scriptures and passages cited by my opponent.

Ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters in Christ:

I am happy to be here to defend the gospel against a perversion of it.

My opponent's proposition directly contradicts the Apostle John's words in I John 3: 9 and I John 5: 18.

"Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." (I John 3: 9)

"We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not." (5: 18)

(Chart # 29) I would now like for us to accurately define "sin." There are several different Greek words used in the New Testament for what we in English call "sin." Let us begin by defining the Greek word "hamartia."

Hamartia means "tragic flaw," or "fatal mistake," or missing the mark, or not achieving aim.

It means to abandon faith, that is, a failing to give credit to God, a departure from God's fail safe system of salvation and tragically replacing it with one's own system.

For instance, "Committeth sin" in I John 3: 4 has the definite article ("ho") and refers to a specific sin. "The sin" or "this sin."

Sin is a "falling short," and no born again believer "falls short" of salvation.

The big sin in John's epistle is the denial that Jesus is the Christ or Messiah and attempting to please God by one's own system and failing at it.

"Each one doing THE sin, also the lawlessness does, and THE sin is the lawlessness."

John is identifying a particular sin, the sin of denying the Messiahship of Jesus Christ. Moreover, the Greek word "anomia" means lawlessness, a common New Testament term indicating a disregard for God.

"The one who practices the sin of denying the Messiahship of Jesus Christ and his system of salvation is lawless, because this denial is lawlessness."

Now let me read to you the questions I have given to John. (Chart #24)

1. When does a sinner become one of Christ's sheep?
2. Do any of Christ's sheep fail to follow the voice of the shepherd?
3. What does "cannot sin" mean in I John 3: 9?
4. Is a sinner who believes without a good and honest heart saved?
5. What thing separates a Christian from the love of God?
6. If a Christian loses salvation, how can it be said that "all things work together for his good"?

Before I get to the particular verses cited by my opponent, let me introduce a few negative arguments that bear directly on the passages cited by my opponent.

Negative Argument #1 - (Chart # 2)

Perseverance is the absolute and certain result and proof of genuine conversion. Failure to persevere, or falling away, proves that there was no genuine conversion.

"But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end." (Hebrews 3: 6 KJV)

"For we are (or 'have been') made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end." (vs. 14)

These words do not imply that genuine converts can fail to persevere and lose salvation. In fact, they prove just the opposite! They only affirm that perseverence is a proof of genuine conversion.

They state in propositional or syllogistic form, that we are presently saved, or that we have been saved in the past, if in the future, we remain loyal to Christ. Or, that conversion is real only if it is followed by perseverance. Perseverance is the proof of initial salvation. Falling away is proof of false conversion.

The wording of the above verses is not - "and you will be saved in the future if you in the future persevere." It is rather - "you have been, and now are, really saved, if in the future you hold fast to Christ."


1. Christian was saved in the past if he perseveres in the future.
2. Christian did not persevere in the future.
3. Christian was not saved in the past.

Present or past salvation cannot be based upon acts that come after salvation. Events after salvation can only prove or demonstrate the reality of what was assumed.

If one does not persevere (hold fast), then he was not made a partaker of Christ. If he perseveres, he was (in fact) previously made a partaker of Christ.

Argument #2 - Parable of the Soils - Chart # 19

Believers Who Fall Away - (Luke 8: 13, 18)

"They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away."

"Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have."

Verse 13 is part of Christ's explanation of the parable of the soils (or sower and the seed), dealing with the shallow ground hearer. The second is a summation of the entire parable. It tells us what is the chief lesson in the parable. "Take heed how you hear" means "take heed how you receive and respond to the sowing of the seed to your heart."

In discussions about salvation, this parable is extremely important. In fact, Jesus said that if one did not understand this parable, then he could not understand the other parables. (Mark 4: 13) Several major issues in soteriology come into intense discussion in the parable.

Is The Shallow Ground Hearer Saved? - Chart # 20

Even though this shallow ground hearer is said to have "believed," yet he is never said to have been "saved." How do we know that the shallow ground hearer was never actually "saved"? Let me give you the reasons.

First, his heart condition is contrasted with that of the "good ground" hearer, who's heart was "good" and "honest." Thus, his heart was not "good," being like the soil to which it corresponds, being "shallow" or "rocky," lacking sufficient depth.

Such soil represents a sinner not properly prepared in heart. People who "believe" and "rejoice" at the preaching of the gospel without a prepared heart, and without a good and honest heart, and without having "root" in themselves, do not experience real salvation.

Second, the terms descriptive of him indicate his lack of salvation. He is "shallow," and "rootless," and without "patience" (perseverence). His "believing" is, therefore, "shallow." His "believing" is not "rooted," either in himself, or in truth, or in Christ. His "shallowness" is exhibited in the words describing him and his faith, such as "for a while believe," and "for a while endure." He is temporary, quick to start, and quick to tire.

Third, the things he is said to lack indicate he is not saved. Already it has been observed how he lacked goodness and honesty of heart, not being "good soil." Also, how he lacked "depth" or "root in himself," and how he was deficient in "stick-to-itiveness." The shallow or stony soil "lacked moisture," or the Holy Spirit.

Fourth (Chart # 21), the "engrafted word" is to be received "with meekness" (James 1: 21) but the shallow ground hearer receives the word not so. Can one be saved who receives the word without meekness?

Fifth, the shallow ground hearer represents that precipitate or hasty disciple, one who does not "count the cost," the kind whom Jesus warned against. (See Luke 14: 27-33 & Matt. 8: 18-20)

Sixth, truly saved people, like the Bereans, have "received the word with all readiness of mind," (Acts 17: 11) being prepared in heart (soil) for the reception of the word. Can people savingly receive the word without readiness of mind? Is he saved if he receives it without readiness of mind?

Seventh, true believers "receive" the word with deep "joy," not with superficial joy.

"For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance...And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost." (I Thess. 1: 5, 6 KJV)

Can one be saved who does not receive the word in this manner?

Eighth (Chart # 22), shallow ground hearers receive the word as the word of men. (I Thess. 2: 13)

Not only do true believers receive the word with joy, but with soul affliction, or with conviction of sins, and also receive it "with power." It is not human emotional joy, but joy "of the Holy Ghost." The shallow ground hearer receives the word as the word of men, without deep "assurance."

Ninth, the shallow ground hearer did not have a penitent heart to accompany his believing, for the soil was not ploughed or "broken up" by the work of the Holy Spirit in conviction.

Tenth, none of these shallow ground hearers produce "fruit," for they soon die before growing to sufficient maturity, as a plant, to produce fruit.

Finally, the shallow ground hearer was a "simple believer." (Proverbs 14: 15)

"The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going."

Will this kind of "believing" save anyone? Are there any examples of these kind of believers in the New Testament? Does not the shallow ground believer describe him?

Now, if it has been established that the shallow ground hearer was never really converted, then what does it mean for him to "fall away"? My opponent will argue that such terms as "depart," "fall," "apostatise," etc., can never be used to refer to pretenders or unsaved believers, but can only be said of those who have been truly saved. But, clearly this is false for the two reasons I have already given. First, I have clearly shown how the shallow ground believer was not saved, and yet he "fell away." Secondly, I cited Luke 8: 18 where Christ spoke of seeming believers, and how they lose only what they "seem to have." Thus, they fall away not from actual salvation, but from seeming salvation, and from their prior confession.

One can see why those who make this argument are keen on insisting that the shallow ground hearer was actually saved. They are forced, logically, to make him a genuine born again Christian for he "fell away," and to them only genuinely saved people "fall away." On the other hand, if I have proven that the shallow ground hearer was never truly converted, then the argument that the words "fall away" can only refer to the genuinely saved, is false.

Now let me get more particularly into the passages cited by my opponent.

Argument #3 - Perseverance a Gift

"And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them." (Ezekiel 36: 27 KJV)

"His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven. If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips." (Psalm 89: 29-34 KJV)

"Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand." (Romans 14: 4 NKJV)

"LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us." (Isaish 26: 12 KJV)

"For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?" (I Cor. 4: 7 KJV)

"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1: 6 KJV)

"And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death." (Revelation 12: 11 KJV)

"For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." (I John 5: 4 KJV)

"The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety (victory) is of the LORD." (Proverbs 21: 31 KJV)

"But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Corinthians 15: 57 KJV)

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