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