Arminian Today

A Jesus-Centered Arminian Blog

Are There False Converts in Arminianism?

On a follow-up post from the previous post, I wanted to address the issue of false conversions.  I first heard of this term when I first became familiar with Ray Comfort.  Comfort preached hard about false converts and how so many people in the visible church were not truly saved.  He said that false conversions are the result of a faulty gospel message.  I looked around and I agreed.  So many people in the Church seemed to have been through a ritual whether prayer or baptism or church membership but their lives were marked with sin and lack of faith in God.  They showed no zeal for the Lord, no passion for God, no hunger in prayer or for God’s Word, and lived in rebellion against God.  They said they loved Jesus but they showed through their lives that they really hated God (Titus 1:16).

I do believe there are many in the Church, whether Arminians or Calvinists, who do not know Christ as Lord.  They believe they are saved.  They would confess that they are saved but their lives show that they are lost (1 John 2:3-6).  Their life of sin shows that they are still in rebellion against God (1 John 3:6-9).

The key difference I would have with Ray Comfort would be over apostasy.  Brother Ray would say that a true child of God is saved forever and if a person falls away from the faith, they were never saved to begin with.  His teaching is that true children of God will persevere in the faith.  Those who do not prove they were not regenerated by the Spirit (1 John 2:19).  He would point to people such as Judas as proof or the false disciples of John 6:60-71.  Another example could be Simon in Acts 8:18-24.

The Arminian reply is that while there are false converts, this does not negate the fact that there are warning passages given to believers.  The entire book of Hebrews would be a case in point.  Hebrews 2:1-4; 3:6-19; 4:1-20; 5:8-9; 6:4-20; 10:19-39; 11:13-16; 12:1-29 – all these warn believers.  One must stretch to prove that the writer is not writing to believers in Christ.  Of course there are many more than the book of Hebrews but my point is that we must do something with the warning passages.  I believe they are there to warn us of a real possibility of personal apostasy so that we might avoid this (1 Corinthians 10:1-12).  1 John 2:24-25 (NKJV) says:

24 Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life.

Eternal life is found in Christ Jesus.  None dispute this point.  I would argue that the gift of eternal life is given to us in Christ Jesus and only in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:23).  To be outside of Christ is to be lost (John 15:1-11).  Jesus is our salvation from beginning to end (1 Corinthians 15:1-2).  Our salvation and our security are found in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:38-39).

So the final verdict would be that yes there are certainly those among us Arminians who are not saved.  I don’t doubt that.  This is true of all Christendom.  Yet I would also preach that true Christians must be on guard and must remain focused on Christ alone for our salvation.  I would preach that our eyes must remain fixed on Christ alone to save us (Hebrews 12:1-2) and not our good works nor our own wisdom.  Christ is our life (Colossians 3:1-4).  Remain in Jesus by faith (1 Peter 1:5) and make your calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10-11).  Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58).

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