After reading a copy of the “Youth for Christ Magazine” I would like to discuss with you some problems and questions sent into the youth counselor editor for advice. One problem was, “Many times in discussion with other Christians, the question of eternal security comes up. Would you please explain it, and give “Youth for Christ’s opinion of it?” The advice of Youth for Christ follows: “Satan delights in side-tracking Christians on disputed issues about the Bible. While many folk solidly behind YFC take one view on this subject, others take exactly the opposite view. God honors most those who busy themselves on the one big issue-winning men to Christ and leading them into a life of victory over sin and growth in the knowledge and delight of a wonderful Lord. As you study your Bible, you will find yourself your own position on this as well as other disputed passages. But don’t make them issues. It takes a lifetime to invest oneself in the cardinal issues of the Word. Whatever his position on the matter of eternal security, the man who is genuinely born again, whose heart and life are fully yielded to the Lord, who walks openly and honestly before Him every day of his life, is a man who has great spiritual security!”
That is the article as it appears in the magazine. But I cannot believe that you approve of its import and content. However, let me discuss and evaluate this article with you. We may differ in our thinking, but rather than hide our differences, lest we become offended at one another, let us discuss these differences in a brotherly way, with a spirit of meekness.
First, the inquirer asks that the doctrine of eternal security be explained. This is not done, not so much as an attempt being made to explain it. Why not? Is it the editorial policy of the magazine that it cannot furnish doctrinal knowledge? That its duty is not to “declare . . . all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27)? If an earnest young believer asked you, “What is the doctrine of eternal security?” Would you refuse, or fail to exactly comply with his request? The request was for bread, but a stone was given. Again Arminius withholds the doctrine of the preservation of the saints. The statement that “Satan delights in side-tracking Christians on disputed issues about the Bible” has bad implications. It implies that the doctrine of the eternal preservation of the saints is only a “side-issue,” and that it is of the devil that we place any emphasis on that issue. This means that for “Fundamentalist” to maintain that the eternal security of the elect is a fundamental doctrine of Scripture is to be inspired of the devil! This contention, however, is the pet prolific of Modernism against every single foundation stone of the Christian Faith. The perseverance of the saints is not “sidetrack.” It is part of the one track of truth which runs through Scripture.
“God honors most those who busy themselves on the one big issue-winning men to Christ.” This is belittling of the perseverance of the saints, making it of very minor significance among the essentials of the faith. The statement, further, insinuates that the chief end of man is to win souls for Christ, where as the Scriptures teach that chief end of man, objectively is to glorify God! and, subjectively, the chief end of man is that he belongs to his faithful Savior Jesus Christ. The one great issue of life is for God’s sake, not for man’s sake; for God’s glory, not for man’s welfare. The very salvation of souls is for the glory of God. The eternal security of the saints is for God’s glory, not merely for their safety. But this statement implies that God honors most that a great majority of people who deny the infallible preservation of the saints, but who speak so much of “winning souls to Christ,” such as the “Pillar of Fire” movement, Pentecostals, Holiness sect, Nazarenes, Volunteers of America, etc. This is also the principle of Modernism that life’s greatest work is for the advancement of mankind. God honors most the seeking of the greatest good of the greatest number, regardless of the truth of Scripture!
Then to speak of leading men “into a life of victory over sin” without the eternal preservation of the saints is like an attempt to win the battle against the devil, sin and death itself by man’s own puny power. Modernism has always had the effrontery to claim that this is possible. But the “victory” referred to is an abstraction. It is something only vaguely here today, and completely gone tomorrow. It suggests a “victory” (?) dependent upon man. It has nothing to do with the already accomplished victory eternally secured in our Lord Jesus Christ: “there is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.” The rubic in YFC magazine would have victory without security in Christ. But the victory of the Christian cannot be such a shaky, tottering thing! “He that hath begun a good work in you shall perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ.”
It is said to be our great aim in life to “delight in a wonderful Lord.” It is the chief end of man to fully enjoy God for ever, and to have the only comfort that we belong to Jesus. And Jesus is “Wonderful,” – that is His name. And He is Lord. That name, in Jude 4, means “Despot.” He is the only Despot, a benevolent Despot of absolute sovereignty. But if He cannot or does not save His people to the end, how is He so wonderful! When you pray to your Savior, do you ever think of Him as the high and mighty Ruler of the universe? as the LORD? I know you do. When you fly in an airliner above the clouds and the mountains, with your baby in your lap, and you lift up your heart in prayer through the Lord Jesus, do thoughts flood your mind as to whether He can or will keep you safe and secure? I know thoughts of peace flood your soul! If you should happen to think of a “crash” do you commit your souls unto Him with fear and dread that perhaps He may not be able to get you through to Glory, or that you may not make it? No, thoughts of peace guard your mind Christ Jesus. Why? Because He is Lord, really Lord! Once He saves you, He always saves you. He “doth deliver” and He “will yet deliver” (II Corinthians 1:10). The lord of the doctrine of the “falling away of saints” is not wonderful; he is horrible. He is a liar from the beginning.
“As you study your Bible, you will find for yourself your own position on this as well as other disputed passages.” This implies that the Bible is not the inerrant infallible Word of God which teaches that what God has revealed therein in the truth, but that the Bible is inspired only where it may happen to speak to you. It denies: “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” It also implies that your opinion on this subject is as good as another’s; that it is simply a matter of deciding for yourself what you shall believe regardless of what God has clearly revealed in His Word. It implies that Scripture puts the matter in your (and my) hands to pick and choose what to believe and what not to believe. Nothing is said about the Holy Spirit leading into all the truth them that ask Him. It matters very little what Scripture intends; what you may find for yourself and adopt as your own position will be satisfactory. Here the truth of the preservation of the saints is put aside in favor of man’s finding for himself what he thinks he discovers in Scripture. What God’s Word teaches on the subject is not important. It is what you think it teaches that matters! But this great truth is either the doctrine of the Word of God, or it is not. If it is, “your own position on this” amounts to nothing, unless it agrees with the position of Holy Writ. If it is not, then it is not for us to find a certain “position” or theory to hold regarding it: but we must rather wholeheartedly and entirely respect it! Modernism has always forwarded a “your opinion is as good as any” philosophy. It has always suggested a “do it yourself” method of interpretation of Scripture. But Scripture is not of any private interpretation. It must be understood in the light of the doctrine that the Spirit has given to the true Church; and in the light of the main current, thrust and teaching of all Scripture.
It is claimed that the “other disputed passages” are not to be “made issues.” This not only implies that the Holy Spirit leads one believer to confess and love the truth of the preservation of the saints, yet leads another believer to reject, misrepresent and agitate against this truth; but also implies that this point is not only very debatable, but quite non-essential. It implies that because some denominations dispute, for example, the doctrine of eternal punishment, that therefore we are not to make that tenet an issue. Carry out this principle, and when we find that some deny the infallibility of Scripture, some the doctrine of regeneration, others deny the Lord’s Supper, and the majority dispute the doctrines of election and reprobation, we have no issues left for which to stand. What are we to do? Take all the disputed doctrines, sweep them in a pile, and eject them out the back door! We would have no Bible left! We would certainly have not atonement, no Christ (only “another Jesus”) and no triune Jehovah! Do not make this doctrine an issue? It is not even dignified or regarded as a doctrine. The Modernist has always so cleverly denied God’s Word. Make it no issue? But God’s Word has already made it an issue. If not, we have lost our Gospel.
I have much more to say of this quotation. But just a word about “the cardinal issues of the Word.” Remove the disputed doctrines, and what is left that may be called “the Word?” What is cardinal? The Lutheran’s justification by faith? The Presbyterian’s perseverance of the saints? The Reformed doctrine of Predestination? The baptist’s baptism? May any of these be regarded as of “no issue?” Isn’t that the Devil “side-tracking” the main lines of Scripture? And what of the fundamental principle of all Scripture? Which is:-the absolute sovereignty of God! We need not make that an issue. God has already done so. What our calling is is to maintain the antithesis of God’s truth over against the Devil’s lie! And it does take a lifetime to do that! The Christian cannot for a moment deny his faith. I have tried to make you think. Now I shall give you time to think.