Hays writes:

Over at Arminian Invectives, Ben Henshaw has a running series on “unconditional eternal security.” Oddly enough, he has that filed under “perseverance.”

Problem is, Calvinism doesn’t subscribe to “unconditional eternal security.” There are some antinomian fundamentalists who take that position (e.g. Zane Hodges, Charles Ryrie, Randall Gleason), but that’s in studied contrast to the Reformed doctrine of perseverance.

I don’t know where Henshaw came up with the notion that perseverance of the saints is interchangeable with unconditional eternity security. I have noticed that some muddled Arminians detach adjectives from the TULIP acronym and misapply them to other Reformed doctrines. For instance, it’s not uncommon for Arminians to detached “irresistible” from “grace,” where it stands for monergistic regeneration, and then misuse “irresistible” as a general designation for Reformed soteriology.

Perhaps Henshaw is laboring under the misconception that if Reformed election is unconditional, then perseverance is unconditional. If so, his usage is idiosyncratic at best and illogical at worst.

In Calvinism, “eternal security” is conditional, not unconditional. It’s contingent on the “perseverance” of the saints. In fact, that’s why it’s traditionally dubbed the “perseverance of the saints.” Subtle, I know.

In Calvinism, “eternal security” is contingent on sanctification, contingent on faith. Good works are a condition of salvation.

Of course, there’s a condition behind the condition. If “eternal security” is conditional on perseverance, then perseverance is conditional on God’s preservation of the elect. And that’s a sure thing.

Perhaps Henshaw is laboring under the misconception that if something is conditional, it must be uncertain.


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