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Defective Views of Salvation

By W.E. Nunnally

Introduction

Not all teachings that deviate from the historic, orthodox teachings of the Christian church are labeled as heresy, nor should they be. Some teachings fall into the category of the silly or the absurd, and we can simply ignore them. Others are merely factually or historically incorrect. Still others are legitimate false doctrines.While these false doctrinesare dangerous, some are not deadly because they do not involve any of the cardinal doctrines.

In practically every Protestant statement of faith, the doctrine of salvation is categorized as one of the cardinal doctrines of Christianity. This is true in the Assemblies of God as well. The official Assemblies of God Web site states “Salvation, the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, Divine Healing, and the Second Coming of Christ are considered Cardinal Doctrines which are essential to the church’s core mission of reaching the world for Christ.”1 Categorizing modifications to the doctrine of salvation as heresy has clear parallels with the way the church has treated such aberrations in the past.

We are on firm scriptural ground in zealously guarding the purity of the doctrine of salvation because it is the only doctrine in the Bible for which an anathema (curse) is given to those who attempt to pervert (metastrepsai) it (Galatians 1:6–9). In this passage, Paul declared “eternally condemned” (NIV) or “accursed” (NASB)2 the person or angel who distorts the OrdoSalutis (the way of salvation) as revealed in Scripture (stated twice for emphasis, verses 8,9). The apostle considered the OrdoSalutis of such foundational importance that to change it even slightly would compromise the entirety of the gospel. The result would be the creation of “a different gospel” (verse 6). Despite this dire warning against doctrinal deviation, the doctrine of salvation has suffered more heretical attacks than any other biblical doctrine. This article surveys some popular heresies associated with the doctrine of salvation and offers sound biblical teaching as an antidote to each.

Universalism

In this context, Universalism teaches that all people are the children of God, in right standing with God, and are saved. Another version of Universalism teaches that all people will get a second chance to recognize Jesus as Lord after death and before the final judgment.

Society has long proclaimed the idea that the only criterion for judgment is whether we are goodor not. We regularly hear the media claim, “One person’s faith is no more right than the next person.”3 The mantra, “All paths lead to God,” has practically achieved proverbial status.

While people usually promote Universalism as the superior result of mankind’s theological evolution from the primitive belief in a judgmental god to a more enlightened view of God who is exclusively motivated by love, there is nothing new or evolutionary about it. In fact, Universalism is almost as old as Christianity itself.

The basic tenets of Universalism probably originated within second-century Gnosticism. This teaching appeared full-blown in the writings of Clement of Alexandria (c. A.D. 150–c. A.D. 215), Origen of Alexandria/Caesarea (c. A.D. 185–c. A.D. 254), and Gregory of Nyssa (c. A.D. 335–c. A.D. 395). Of these, Origen went furthest by teaching that even Satan and his demons would eventually be purgated, reconciled to God in the world to come, and restored to their place in heaven.

At one time or another most people have probably wished that Universalism were true. Whether the flashpoint came at the graveside of a loved one whose personal relationship with God was ambiguous, in a conversation with a close friend who was a sincere follower of another faith, or when someone is trying to decide whether to marry a person he or she loves passionately but whose spiritual status was unclear, most people have hoped that God in His mercy would expand the parameters of His kingdom to include these good, kind, loving, moral people.

Scripture, however, is unequivocal on this point. The points used in the Romans Road are still true: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23); and “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23, emphasis added). The inclusives of John 3:16 are still true. God does love the entire world, and He gave His Son for the “whosoevers” of the world. But John 3:18 is also still true: “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (NASB).

If all people are right with God and all are going to heaven, much of the language used in the Bible becomes unintelligible if not irrelevant. No distinction between the righteous and the wicked would exist, no separation of the wheat from the tares (Matthew 13:37–43), the good fish from the bad fish (Matthew 13:47–50), or the sheep from the goats (Matthew 25:31–34,41), and no final judgment (Job 21:30; Ecclesiastes 3:17; Ezekiel 18:20–28; Daniel 7:9,10; Matthew 3:12; 16:27; Acts 10:42; 17:31; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 2 Timothy 4:1–8; 1 Peter 4:5,6; 2 Peter 2:4–9; 3:7–12; Jude 14,15; Revelation 20:11–15).

Society as a whole, including a segment who call themselves Christians, has embraced an edited version of the gospel. For them, the “gate” is not “small,” it is “wide”; the “way” is not “narrow,” it is “broad” (compare Matthew 7:13,14). The pressure of political correctness and the emphasis on pluralism, diversity, and tolerance have recast the message of the church as too exclusive. In today’s world, it is arrogant to say that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one can come to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). Likewise, the world immediately labels anyone a bigot who states that there is no salvation in any name other than Jesus (Acts 4:12). Nevertheless, those who proclaim the gospel today must resist the pressure to compromise — to make the way of salvation more palatable to the ears of our postmodern contemporaries.

As believers, we need to deflect criticism of our message back onto Jesus, who is the Source of the exclusiveness of Christianity. We need to remind our audience that it was neither first-century nor 21st-century Christians who first said that Jesus is the only way to heaven. Jesus himself is the origin of that teaching.

The exclusivist teachings of Jesus in the New Testament are no different from the exclusive claims of Yahweh in the Old Testament (compare Isaiah 43:10,11; 45:5,6). Most detractors fail to lodge the same complaints against the Hebrew prophets, the Hebrew Bible, the God of the Old Testament, or the Jewish people. Today, it seems that no one opposes the exclusivist claims of Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Islamic groups. This is not true for orthodox Christians. Therefore, when others criticize our narrow-minded exclusivism, we need to place the responsibility squarely on Jesus’ shoulders, telling detractors that we did not make these claims and that they must take their complaints to Him. Next, we must remind them that Jesus voluntarily laid down His life for them and in so doing, earned the right to draw the parameters wherever He chooses.

Limited Atonement

People who hold to the limited atonement interpretation of the doctrine of salvation believe the atoning death of Jesus is only for the benefit of certain persons. According to them, Jesus did not die for all people, only for the preselected few whom God knew would respond appropriately to the gospel. People who promote limited atonement speak of the economy of Jesus’ sacrifice. They explain that it would be wasteful to make His blood available to those who would refuse to respond appropriately to the gospel.

Although most adherents to this version of salvation are in Reformed circles, it is appropriate to discuss limited atonement. The number of Pentecostal pastors who accept a version of Calvinism increases every year, especially among younger pastors. Many may not be aware of the debate within Reformed scholarship whether John Calvin even taught this theological position that has come to bear his name. Fewer are aware that the limited scope of salvation promoted by this doctrine derives primarily from the teachings of Augustine. Augustine believed that the number of the elect could only equal the number of the angels who fell from heaven in Lucifer’s revolt.

Pastors need to consider the negative ramifications this view of salvation can have on personal evangelism and missions. Most important, those who accept limited atonement as a foundational element in their theology must not only proof text their own position (Mark 10:45; Romans 5:8; 8:32; Ephesians 5:2,25), but they must also remain unaware of, dismiss, or subvert many Scriptures that run contrary to this position.

Both Testaments clearly relate the will of God concerning the scope of salvation. Moses wrote that Abraham’s descendants were to be a blessing to “all peoples on earth” (Genesis 12:3). Ezekiel recognized that it is not God’s plan that any perish. Instead, He desires that all come to repentance (Ezekiel 18:23,32; 33:11; compare 2 Peter 3:9). Isaiah understood the role of ancient Israel as being “a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6; compare 42:6). In fact, the usually more ethnocentric, particularistic Old Testament ends: “ ‘Great is the Lord — even beyond the borders of Israel’ ” (Malachi 1:5). Even in Old Testament revelation, the emphasis is on expansion, not limitation (compare Matthew 13:31,32).

More frequently and clearly, the New Testament holds this same emphasis. John the Baptist set the tone by describing the salvific ministry of Jesus, “Who takes away the sin of the world” (kosmos,John 1:29). Jesus invited every segment of society to enter into relationship with Him (Matthew 9:10). He rebuked those who would narrow the scope of the kingdom of God (Matthew 9:12; 23:13). He invited “all you who are weary and burdened” to come to Him to find rest (Matthew 11:28). He said that He had come “to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). This includes all of fallen humanity (Romans 3:23). This is because, as John reminds us, “God so loved the world (kosmos) that He gave his one and only Son” (John 3:16), who is given the title ho sotertoukosmou, “the Savior of the world” (John 4:42, emphasis added). Concerning His death (many incorrectly apply these words to worship), Jesus said, “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth [a euphemistic reference to His crucifixion], will draw all men to myself” (John 12:32, emphasis added).

When Jesus describes our mission, His words sound much like the language of the Old Testament. Jesus is the Light of the World (John 8:12; 9:5), so we are also to be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). We are to bring the good news of forgiveness and salvation to “all creation” (Mark 16:15) or “all nations” (Matthew 28:19). If we follow the logic of Reformed theology, God is less concerned about the economy of effort put forth by His fatigable human messengers than He is about the economy of His saving act in all His omnipotence.

In the proclamation and correspondence of the Early Church, the teachings of the Old Testament and Jesus are applied and clarified to an even greater extent. Paul preached that God “commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). He preached the message of salvation in Arabia and Judea, and to any Gentiles who might listen, saying repent, turn to God, and perform deeds appropriate to repentance (Acts 26:17,18,20). These three things are impossible for all but the elect according to Reformed soteriology.

Paul’s message is no different in his writings. Paul told the churches in Rome, “Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6), words reminiscent of Ezekiel’s “the wicked” and Jesus’ “the lost” and “sinners.” To the church in Corinth, Paul wrote twice that Jesus died “for all” (2 Corinthians 5:14,15), and that “God was reconciling the world (kosmos) to himself in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:19). God’s love motivated His act of reconciliation for all people, not just a preselected segment of mankind (Titus 3:4–7).

Paul’s instructions to Timothy are equally enlightening. He reminds Timothy that “God our Savior … wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3,4, emphasis added). In the next sentence, he declares that “Christ Jesus … gave himself as a ransom for all” (verses 5,6, emphasis added). Later in the same letter, Paul spoke again of God, “Who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe” (1 Timothy 4:10). Paul’s juxtaposition of these two groups, all men and believers (a term not synonymous with but rather a subset of the larger group), effectively dismantles a favorite argument used by Calvinists. This argument involves redefining words such as world and all to mean everyone (in the world) who is a Christian/was preselected for salvation. Consistent with his instruction to Timothy, Paul reminds Titus that “the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared [probably a reference to Jesus’ incarnation] to all men” (Titus 2:11, emphasis added).

Like the Old Testament writers — and like John the Baptist, Jesus, and Paul — the remainder of the New Testament speaks only of a salvation that is available to all people. The writer of Hebrews speaks of Jesus, who tasted “death for everyone” (2:9). Like Ezekiel, Peter noted that God is “not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9, emphasis added).4

John also addressed this issue. He reused the title “Savior of the world” that appeared in his Gospel (1 John 4:14; compare John 4:42). Even more helpful, John describes Jesus as “the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).5 This passage poses the same problem for Reformed commentators as does Paul’s juxtaposition of the same two groups (compare the discussion of 1 Timothy 4:10 above). Here it is clear that a believing community is contrasted to the rest of the world, and John said that Jesus died for both.6

Perseverance of the Saints/Eternal Security/Once Saved, Always Saved

Another defective view of salvation is perseverance of the saints, eternal security, or more popularly called once saved, always saved. This doctrine teaches that once a person accepts Christ he cannot lose his salvation. Like limited atonement, Augustine popularized the doctrine of perseverance of the saints/eternal security. The Roman Catholic Church then adopted this doctrine. Later Protestant leaders such as John Calvin transmitted this teaching into Protestantism.

The Arminian/Wesleyan/Holiness/Pentecostal tradition rejected this version of salvation as biblically defective. The official Assemblies of GodWeb site states, “It is possible for a person once saved to turn from God and be lost again.”7 Today, however, the doctrine of PS/ES is prevalent. Therefore, we must examine it along with the other aberrational teachings on salvation.

Within Calvinistic beliefs, there are those who hold to eternal security yet do not believe that eternal security gives license to sin: “Our understanding of the doctrine of perseverance allows no room for indolence or laxity. It is questionable whether anyone who reasons, ‘Now that I am a Christian, I can live as I please,’ has really been converted and regenerated. Genuine faith issues, instead, in the fruit of the Sprit.”8

Those who believe in eternal security use several Scriptures to support their view. Only the most frequently used can be discussed here. (For a more complete treatment, see my article, “Do the Scriptures Teach Eternal Security?” in the Fall 2008 issue of Enrichment). PS/ES proponents often use John 5:24 to support their view: “Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life.” They insist this means the believer eternally has life. The syntax, however, makes it clear that the life is eternal, not one’s possession of it.

PS/ES proponents also appeal to John 6:37, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away,” and John 10:27,28, “no one can snatch them out of my hand” (compare Romans 8:35–39). Neither of these texts, however, rule out the possibility that a person can exercise free will and choose to depart. We need to understand these Scriptures in light of John 15:1 through 16:1 where Jesus speaks of the distinct possibility of apostasy.

Some proponents also appeal to Paul’s words in Philippians 1:6: Paul was “confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” What Paul was sure of, however, was the Philippians’ desire to press on to maturity, the believer’s only real security (1:1–11; compare 2:12; 3:19).

A final favorite verse of PS/ES proponents is Hebrews 7:25, “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” The word “completely” is taken to refer to those being saved, but the second half of the passage and numerous other texts in Hebrews (verses 3,21,24; 6:20) require that the phrase be understood as referring to Jesus and the length of His saving ministry.

In contrast to the PS/ES position that believers forfeit the freedom to choose at salvation, the Scriptures teach that those who trust in and obey Jesus are even more free after salvation than before (John 8:36; Galatians 5:1,13). Furthermore, the possibility of apostasy is underscored by phrases such as “fallen away from grace” (Galatians 5:4); “turns away” (Hebrews 3:12); and “fall away” (Hebrews 6:6), whereas the phrases “security of the believer”; “eternal security”; and “once saved, always saved,” never appear in Scripture.

In the Old Testament, God dealt with the Israelites almost exclusively through conditionalcovenants. God continually warned them to fulfill their covenantal obligations or their relationship with Him would be nullified (compare Exodus 32:33; Leviticus 22:3; Numbers 15:27–31; Deuteronomy 29:18–21; 1 Kings 9:6,7; 2 Kings 17:22,23; 24:20; 1 Chronicles 28:9; 2 Chronicles 7:19–22; 15:2; 24:20; Psalm 69:28; Isaiah 1:2–4; 59:2; Jeremiah 2:19; 5:3,6,7; 8:5,12; 15:1,6,7; 16:5; Ezekiel 3:20; 18:12,13; 33:12). Grace was available in the Old Testament (Exodus 34:6; Numbers 6:25; Jeremiah 3:12), but as in the New Testament, grace was never an excuse to continue in sin and never lessened the demands of the covenant (compare John 1:16,17; Romans 6:1,2; 8:7–11; Luke 12:48; compare also Romans 1:31, “faithless” or “covenant-breakers,” KJV).

John the Baptist and Jesus continued this same Old Testament emphasis: “Every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matthew 3:10; 7:19). Jesus also taught that He will grant salvation only to those who endure to the end (Matthew 10:22; 24:13). He said that some would respond to the Word and produce fruit, but various things would destroy others (Matthew 13:3–23). He warned that false messiahs “will deceive many” (Matthew 24:5) and during persecution, “many will turn away” (Matthew 24:10).

The teachings of Paul complement those of Jesus. He constantly warned leaders and churches that apostasy is a distinct danger (Acts 20:29,30; Romans 11:21,22; 1 Corinthians 9:27; 15:1,2; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 1:6; 4:1–11; 5:4; Philippians 3:17–20; Colossians 1:21–23; 1 Timothy 4:1; 5:8; 2 Timothy 4:3,4). The Book of Hebrews warns against apostasy and exhorts believers to remain firm to the end (2:1,3; 3:6,12,14; 4:1,11; 6:4–6; 10:26,27,35; 12:15).

James wrote, “If one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death” (5:19,20). Peter described false teachers who will “secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them — bringing swift destruction on themselves” (2 Peter 2:1). He also wrote, “If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: ‘A dog returns to its vomit,’ and, ‘A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud’ ” (2 Peter 2:20–22).

John describes a sin that “leads to [spiritual, not physical, compare 1 John 3:14] death” that cannot be forgiven (1 John 5:16). Eternal life is promised only to those who overcome and remain faithful until the end (Revelation 2:10,25,26), but loss of eternal life to those who do not (Revelation 2:5; 3:11,16). To the end of the Book of Revelation, John continued to warn believers concerning the forfeiture of their salvation (Revelation 22:19).

Both Testaments warn that a believer can voluntary forfeit his status with God. That believers have the option to continue in obedience or turn from Him is evident because many chose the latter and suffered eternal separation from God (Genesis 4:3–16 [compare Jude 11]; 22:8–19; 24:1,2,13; 31:7,8; Exodus 32:32,33; 1 Samuel 10:1–7, 9–11; 13:8–15; 16:14; 31; John 6:66 [compare verse 67]; 1 Corinthians 5:1–13; 1 Timothy 1:19; 2 Timothy 1:15; 2:17,18; 4:9,10; Titus 1:12–16; 2 Peter 2:1; Revelation 2:6,15 [compare Acts 6:5]).

Jesus-plus Gospels

From the first century to the 21st century, the gospel has suffered from fallen man’s attempts to add steps to the OrdoSalutis. The Early Church witnessed the first of these attempts. The Book of Acts records a movement within the Early Church to add circumcision and observance of the entire Law of Moses to salvation (Acts 15:1,5). Judaizers claimed that Gentiles had to convert to Judaism before God would grant them salvation. Believers convened the first church council in Jerusalem to settle this divisive issue. After everyone had opportunity to speak, apostolic testimony (verse 14), the Word of God (verses 15–18), and the guidance of the Holy Spirit (verse 28) prevailed, and believers did not add these two requirements to the OrdoSalutis.

Victory was short-lived, however. Beginning with the Book of Galatians, which was written soon after the Jerusalem Council, Paul began waging a relentless battle throughout his entire ministry with Judaizers who persisted in their attempts to change the way of salvation (compare Romans 2 through 4; 1 Corinthians 7:18–20; 2 Corinthians 11:4–22; Galatians 2:11–14; 5:6–11; Ephesians 2:11; Philippians 3:2,3; Colossians 2:11; and Titus 1:10). This contentious issue survived beyond the deaths of Paul and the apostles. Christian leaders such as Ignatius of Antioch continued to address this issue in the second century (Epistle to the Magnesians 8:1; 10:3).

Throughout the centuries, the OrdoSalutis has remained under continual attack. In the Middle Ages requirements for salvation included sprinkling, membership in right standing in the proper church, regular observance of Communion, and regular attendance at confession. After the Protestant Reformation, many groups began to teach water baptism as a necessary step for salvation.

More recently people expressed a similar emphasis within Pentecostal circles. In 1916, many pastors and churches left the newly formed Assemblies of God for a movement called New Light. Based on personal revelation rather than on the clear teaching of Scripture, followers of New Light teachings claimed that true salvation required the additional steps of water baptism “in Jesus’ name only” (rather than the trinitarian formula found in Matthew 28:19) and the baptism in the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues. The United Pentecostal Church, the Apostolic Church, and Jesus’ Name Only Pentecostal groups still maintain this form of the OrdoSalutis today.

In addition to these aberrant movements, people made similar claims in the most recent revival cycle. On many occasions preachers exhorted their audience, “Don’t dare miss what God is doing in this generation,” and “If you don’t get on board with this, you’ll be left behind.” Many longtime believers returned from meetings claiming to have been truly born again because they had experienced some sort of manifestation attested nowhere in Scripture, especially with respect to the OrdoSalutis. My intention is not to denigrate the many wonderful experiences people have had in some places. I only offer this observation as evidence to show how easy it is for well-meaning and sincere people to fall into the age-old trap of adding to the simple, straightforward way of salvation given in the Bible.

The teaching and practice called generational curse is also a Jesus-plus gospel. This teaching requires additional steps beyond repentance and submission to the lordship of Jesus for one to be in right standing with God.9 Generational curse requires people to list the sins of previous generations, repent for those sins, renounce them, and pray special prayers to break the curses that cling to them because of their ancestors sins. According to Scripture, however, the moment we accept Jesus He nails our debts to the Cross and all demonic bondage is broken (Colossians 2:8–15). Not only does Jesus declare us “free” when we come to Him for salvation, but He also proclaims us “free indeed” (truly free or completely free, John 8:36). Therefore, the teaching of generational curse is by apostolic definition a “heresy” (Galatians 1:6–9), because it adds steps to the biblical OrdoSalutis that have no foundation in the teaching/practice of the apostles or the Early Church.

What then is the simple, straightforward OrdoSalutis that appears in Scripture? It is nothing more or less than this: repentance of one’s sins and trusting Jesus as Forgiver and Master. Only Jesus’ blood sacrifice on the Cross can make forgiveness and reconciliation with God possible (Matthew 26:28; John 3:16; Acts 20:28; Romans 3:24,25; 5:9; Ephesians 1:7; 2:13–16; Colossians 1:14,20,22; Titus 2:14; Hebrews 9:14,26,28; 13:12,20; 1 Peter 1:2,18–21; 1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5; 5:9; 7:14). Repentance, trust, and submission to His lordship appropriate the effects of His sacrifice to believers (John 3:16; Acts 3:19; 5:31; 10:43; 13:38,39; 16:31; 17:30; 20:21; Romans 10:9,10; 1 John 1:9). According to Scripture, Jesus’ sacrifice is sufficient to provide for our salvation. Faith (trusting and obeying Him) alone is required to apply it to the believer’s life (John 3:16; Acts 11:17; 15:9,11; Romans 1:16,17; 3:27,28; 4:5,16; 5:1; 10:3–13; Galatians 3:1,2; Ephesians 2:8,9).

Conclusion

Salvation is crucial to a right relationship with God. It is at the heart of the good news, evangelism, and the health of the Church. It is no surprise, then, that salvation is the focus of all apostolic proclamation in Scripture. Nor is it surprising that the apostles reserved the strongest denunciations for those who attempted to alter, add to, or complicate the doctrine of salvation. In contrast, throughout the Book of Acts and the Epistles, the leaders of the Early Church consistently proclaimed the same gospel. Today, pastors must follow their example and resist every temptation to compromise the gospel. This means church leaders must know the Word of God, proclaim it in its purity and power, and earnestly and boldly, yet humbly, resist teachers and teachings that pervert it (1 Timothy 1:3,4; 4:1–6,16,20; 2 Timothy 1:13,14; 2:15,25,26; 3:13,14,16,17; 4:1–5; Titus 1:9–11,13,14; 2:1,7,10; Jude 3).

W.E. NUNNALLY, Ph.D., professor of Early Judaism and Christian Origins, Evangel University, Springfield, Missouri.

Notes

1. General Council of the Assemblies of God, “Sixteen Fundamental Truths of the Assemblies of God,” General Council of the Assemblies of God, (http://www.ag.org/top/Beliefs/Statement_of_Fundamental_Truths/sft_full.cfm#9 [accessed November 20, 2007], emphasis added.

2. Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission (www.Lockman.org).

3. For example, The Practice, ABC, Oct. 20, 2002.

4. “Not purposing” or intending (the author here employs ellipsis, so the verb supplied is parallel withpurposing).

5. “But also for [the sins of (here the author employs ellipsis)] the whole world.”

6. Although this is merely a brief survey of the biblical evidence that mitigates against limited atonement, the reader needs to know that there is no lack of good material on both sides of the subject in print and on the Internet.

7. General Council of the Assemblies of God, “Security of the Believer (Backsliding),” General Council of the Assemblies of God, (http://www.ag.org/top/Beliefs/gendoct_09_security.cfm [accessed November 20, 2007].

8. Millard Erickson, Christian Theology, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1998), 1007.

9. Wave E. Nunnally, “The Sins of Generational Curse,” Enrichment 12, no. 4 (Fall 2007): 114–120.

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