Does God want all to be saved? A response to Dr. Kruger.

Dr. Kruger is the President and Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS). His interests in the formation of the NT canon and the early history of the church align with my interests in these areas. In a recent post on his blog (Canon Fodder), he writes about the question: does God really want all to be saved (link). It is a very short treatment, answering the question from a Reformed perspective.

By way of background, it is clear in Scripture that God’s desire is for all to be saved and none to perish (1 Tim 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9; Deut 30:19; Ezek 18:23,32; 33:11).

In the Reformed view, those who will be saved and those who will perish are rooted in the unchangeable and unconditional decree (or choice) of God. It is by God’s design that some (known as the elect) are granted mercy and an efficacious, irresistible grace so that they are saved. And it is by design that others (known as the reprobate) do not receive this same mercy and grace insuring that they perish. Continue reading

Grace for All: What is Hebrews all about anyway?

This post is a part of a series that is examining each essay in the recently published book Grace for All. 

This is the final essay in the book Grace for All, and the second entry by Grant R. Osborne, the author. In this essay, Osborne notes that there are numerous questions about the book of Hebrews. We don’t know who the author was, who specifically it was written to, and where the original recipients were located. The warning passages in this book are also a topic of great debate (see some thoughts on that here).

This essay focuses on the main theme of the book, concluding:

The writer [of Hebrews] argues against a static Christianity that is content to dwell in the assurance of final inheritance. Such a faith is not faith at all; it inevitably stagnates into immaturity (5:13-14; 6:1) and leaves itself open to apostasy (6:4).

Continue reading

Grace for All: Is Faith just a Moment in Time Decision?

This post is a part of a series that is examining each essay in the recently published book Grace for All. 

Is saving faith the “act of a moment” or is it instead an attitude of a lifetime? That is the question that noted Arminian Steve Witzki tackles in his essay in Grace for All. Witzki relies on Robert Shank’s work Life in the Son, which presents a Classical Arminian view of eternal security.

There are three primary yet different views on eternal security and apostasy (see this link). In this essay, Wtizki presents these views under the headings the Moderate Calvinist view, the Classical Arminian view, and the Reformed Calvinist view.

The Moderate Calvinist view (as well as the Free Grace Movement) hold that a true believer can fall away from the faith (commit apostasy) and still be saved (possess eternal life).  The latter two views both hold that an enduring faith is required to be saved. An apostate would not possess eternal life. The Classical Arminian view is that an apostate has forfeited their salvation. The Reformed Calvinist view holds that the apostate was not ever really saved.

I don’t particularly like these labels, since the Arminian view, while advocating enduring faith, encompasses both the idea that one can forfeit salvation and the idea that one was never truly saved.


However, Witzki doesn’t focus on the differences between the latter two views noting that they are very similar. Instead, the essay targets the flaws in the Moderate Calvinist view (including Joseph Dillow and Charles Stanley).

Many believe that saving faith is the act of a moment – … They believe that one grand and holy moment of decision ushers one into an irrevocable state of grace in which he is unconditionally secure.

However others …

are persuaded that saving faith is not the act of a moment, but the attitude of a life; the initial decision must be perpetually implemented throughout the life of the believer

The question presented in Shank’s book and quoted in Witzki’s essay contrasts these two views asking who is right? Continue reading