“In my first year in the pastorate, I told a young woman who was committing fornication that if she didn’t repent and turn to Jesus, she would go to hell.”
So says John Piper in his July 2016 article, “The Legacy of One-Point Calvinism and Casual Churchianity.” Piper says that he grew up among many professing Christians who misunderstood the idea of “once saved, always saved,” and applied the teaching as a license to sin.
In the circles where I grew up (evangelical, conservative and Pentecostal), many folks marginalized and questioned the faith and theology of those who believed in the traditional teaching of “eternal security.” Why? For the very reason that Piper is pointing out. In my tribe, Christians understood “eternal security” to be code for “I can live how I want.”
I’ve learned over the years that many who teach “once saved, always saved” do so not only out of conviction over the sovereignty of God, but also out of centuries of emotion–emotional reaction to the misguided works-righteousness so evident in many Roman Catholic churches.
Said another way, non-Wesleyans would cry out, “Flee from works alone!” And the Wesleyans would cry out, “Work out your salvation!”
Well, since Wesley is a personal hero of mine, I get excited to share Piper’s call to purity. Furthermore, I would suggest that the contemporary Church’s glib relationship with purity has everything to do with our increasing boredom with a powerless Christianity.
Read “Casual Churchianity” here.