THE MYTH OF ORIGINAL SIN
Original Sin... Fact or Fable Many Christians today, including most Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians and Catholics unblushingly subscribe to the view that the sin of Adam was transferred to all future generations, tainting even the unborn. However, I have to wonder how many of those that profess to believe in Original Sin have given any thought to the fact that sin is not a substance with physical properties that, like a virus, can be transmitted from person to person. Much to the contrary, sin is a conscious, willful act performed by an individual (in thought, word or deed) that transgresses God's law. As John wrote ”... sin is the transgression of the law." (1 John: 3:4). Think about it - sin can not even exist unless a sinner makes an bad choice and follows through with it. If sin is transferable, there is absolutely no reason why virtue, goodness, and righteousness cannot also be physically transmitted. Besides which, the doctrine of ‘original sin’ makes a hash of the justice of God which is the cornerstone of our faith. Luckily the Bible knows nothing of this absurdity, which came solely from man’s skewed ideas.
Original Sin Or Epigenetics Since there are innumerable passages of Scripture that clearly and unambiguously tell us that no person can bear the guilt (or innocence) of another - that everyone will answer for their own sins and misdeeds, and that our eternal destiny is determined by our conduct, not by inheritance, we can not simply accept that we are sinners because Adam sinned. But, on the other hand, what we cannot ignore is that Paul does make a direct connection between the sin of Adam and the fallen condition of the entire race. In Romans 5 Paul seems to be saying that something happened to all humanity because of Adam’s sin. Which begs the question… What exactly was it that Adam passed down to his descendants?
Filthy Rags Isaiah 64:6 has long been used as a ‘proof-text’ for two totally distinct yet equally unfounded beliefs. Calvinism uses it to establish the idea that everything the natural man does is wicked... even good deeds. This helps to set up the dogma of "total inability"... the engine which drives the entire Calvinist doctrine of salvation. The Evangelical uses it to show that good works, obedience, virtue are all useless, which sets the stage for the doctrine of "accepting Christ" through a once-for-all act of faith. the problem being that every seems to ignore both the textual and historical context. To say nothing of the fact that the Bible often speaks of “righteous” people.
None That Seeketh? Romans 3:11-18 is often quoted to bolster the claims of universal depravity - that no one ever seeks after God. However, if you were to examine the source of Paul’s quotes, you would realize that the Psalms in question often spoke of God’s protection and favor towards the virtuous people of the day. The million dollar question then is why Paul presented one side of the coin, but ignored the verses that speak of God's support and favor for those who feared Him. The answer is very simple - He was quoting very specific verses that strongly illustrated the message he was trying to convey.
HOW MANY WILL BE SAVED?
Universalism Christian universalists believe that Christ's death on the cross provides atonement for sin and redemption for all humanity. This regardless of whether people have, in their lifetimes, repented of their sins, trusted in Christ for salvation etc. While one can understand why a message that softens the edge of the Gospel message elicits a favorable response from people, what we need to ask ourselves whether Christian universalism is Biblical or whether it can be assigned to the wishful thinking category
How Will Those Who Never Learn the Gospel Be Judged? What will be the ultimate fate of those who never have the opportunity of hearing the gospel of Christ? This is a question with which every sensitive soul struggles. While Christians are not the “judges” of man’s final disposition, there are Bible principles that are worthy of serious consideration. (Includes Is “ignorance bliss” with regard to sin?.. Not according to the Scriptures)
DID GOD DECIDE WHO WOULD BE SAVED?
The problem with Calvinism is that regardless of how much you esteem and love the Father - how much you study, live according to, or even defend His word - no matter how righteously you conduct your life and how many times you pray or help the widow and the orphan you have absolutely NO idea whether any of this is going to count at all. You might think you are among the saved elect when, in reality, you are not. In other words, it is entirely possible that you are just as lost as the atheist down the road. The doctrine of 'once saved, always saved,' is only a theoretical guarantee of eternal security simply because you cannot possibly know whether you were saved in the first place.
Doctrines of Grace or Calvinism If, as claimed, Calvinism is a very "high view" of Scripture, then it is no wonder that God first proclaimed his message of salvation to peasants tending their sheep. Once the ‘highly educated' got a hold of the extremely straightforward and uncomplicated message of salvation, they turned it into highly complex bewildering ideas presented with a deluge of words, intricate arguments and endless repetition. The resulting potpourri of baffling complexities and contradictions bears little resemblance to the original message and certainly find no basis in the Scriptures. I have often wondered if the angels who delivered the message are even now scratching their heads in perplexity wondering what happened to the 'glad tidings' they were sent to announce.
Calvinism not only flies in the face of common sense, but everything we know about our God. It ascribes "logical clearness" where there is none, "keen intellect and systematizing genius" to people that were wrong about almost everything else, and attributes a "deep knowledge of Scripture" to a new convert.
Calvinism and The Book of Romans if Paul was affirming the Calvinistic doctrine of Unconditional Election in Romans 9, then he was a complete idiot, because he contradicted his own doctrine repeatedly throughout the book of Romans. Romans 9 is a favorite of Calvinists because when certain verses in this chapter are detached from their context, they seem to support the Calvinistic idea of the unconditional election of certain individuals. However, when these same verses are interpreted within the context of the entire book of Romans, it becomes obvious that the Calvinistic interpretation stands in direct contradiction to the entire letter, not to mention the rest of the Bible.
What a Sovereign God Cannot Do It is a fallacy to imagine that for God to be in control of His universe He must therefore foreordain and initiate everything. In other words, He causes sin, then punishes the sinner. Seriously? There is neither logical nor Biblical reason why a sovereign God by His own sovereign design could not allow creatures made in His image the freedom of genuine moral choice. In fact, there are compelling reasons why He would do so.
The Question We should Be Asking Is NOT Can We Lose Our Salvation, But ...
IS ANY LIVING CHRISTIAN COMPLETELY SAVED?
The Two Phase Atonement The New Testament sometimes says that salvation is an accomplished reality, and at other times says it is still in the future. This seeming contradiction is not limited to salvation alone but also occurs with confusing regularity in statements about other topics of crucial importance... justification, redemption, glorification, and adoption. Check it for yourself. So what is the answer? Can we be assured we have salvation now, or is it something we have to strive and hope for. Have we already been adopted as sons, or are we eagerly waiting for this adoption? Are we righteous now, or is it yet a distant hope? For those who are actually interested in what the Bible says on the subject, as opposed to what parents, pastors, friends, or denomination may believe and teach, the answer to all of the above questions is .. BOTH. However, in order to understand when we are fully and finally saved we have to undertake an in-depth study of the Old Testament ritual of Yom Kippur and how it relates to our salvation.
OSAS - The Doctrine of Eternal Security - Perhaps one of the most common and most perilous of teachings in the modern church is the doctrine of Eternal Security, also known as Once Saved Always Saved or OSAS. This doctrine holds that at the moment a person makes the once and for all decision to "accept" Christ as Savior, He pays for all of their sins: past, present, and future, thus they remain saved irrespective of how they conduct their lives thereafter, how much they backslide, or even if they actually disown Christ. The tragic result of this extremely lethal doctrine is that all too many Christians blissfully sail through life under the dangerous delusion that they are permanently and eternally saved on the basis that they once made a confession of faith, walked an aisle, prayed a prayer. Although they may not have actually murdered someone, many of them live pretty much as the world does. What a terribly tragic state we have talked ourselves into.
If this doctrine of Eternal Security is true, then one is forced to the conclusion that both Jesus and Paul were talking through their hats when they prophesied that people would abandon or fall away from the faith in the final days. One also has to wonder why Scripture is replete with warnings about persevering in the faith and not falling from Grace. Scripture also makes it very clear that NO LIVING CHRISTIAN can claim to be finally saved... [See Article Immediately Above].
A “Deposit” “Guaranteeing” Our Inheritance? Sadly, the NIV and several other popular translations have a completely biased Calvinistic bent. This is made clear by their rendering of three verses in which the Hebrew arrhabōn has been translated deposit when it actually means earnest, which is a very different concept. However, what is even worse is that, in some cases, they translated arrhabōn into the English deposit, then added the word guarantee.. Unknowingly, countless people have relied on these translations, believing that Scripture actually speaks of a guarantee when, in fact, it does no such thing. There is a world of difference between ‘guarantee’ and ‘earnest’.
The Assurance of Salvation Anyone who read 1 John 5:13 as a stand-alone completely misses the whole point that John was trying to make. Reading the entire book of 1 John, or at least the last chapter, will bring a person to a very different conclusion… ‘Assurance of Salvation’ is very different from ‘Unconditional Eternal Security’
The Carnal Christian The church of Corinth is commonly cited as proof that even the most carnally minded individuals are saved and on their way to heaven. The confusion arises because Paul calls the Corinthians carnal, yet still addresses them as saints and speaks to them of the resurrection and spiritual gifts, etc. However a close examination of the context shows the Corinthians were not guilty of sins that would keep them out of Heaven, but were selfishly not displaying any love for one another. This Epistle was largely written to deal with practical problems in a young church. They were being warned about the slippery slope to unrighteousness.
IS THE SINNER’S PRAYER ALL IT TAKES?
Our sense of safety can’t come from simply saying a prayer.
Is The Sinner’s Prayer Effective? I fear we’ve inoculated a whole generation of people who got a partial injection of Christianity and are now resistant to the real thing. They prayed the sinner’s prayer, got their "fire insurance," and then disappeared, never to be seen again. When confronted with the Gospel anew they shrug, "Been there, done that. Now leave me alone. I have a life to live."
WHAT ABOUT THE JEWS?
"Two Covenant" Theory of the Atonement: A Biblical Analysis. Many Christian and Jewish groups accept a teaching today, first taught by Franz Rosenzweig earlier this century, that there are two separate but equal covenants or ways to God.