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Originally published in "The Lord's Coming Herald & Wesleyan Bible Prophecy Advocate," Summer Edition, 2014

A Doctrinal Corrective To Calvinistic Antinomianism

Modern American evangelical Christianity is filled with antinomianism, or lawlessness, because of this false teaching called “once saved always saved.” And as goes the church so goes the whole society as well. If we are concerned about the contemporary lawlessness in American society, and indeed around the world, then we need to face up to this issue.

Wesleyans believe that Calvinistic theology leads logically speaking to either universalism on the one hand or antinomianism or the other. Universalism is the idea that everybody will ultimately be saved in the final analysis, because God is to good and to merciful to allow anyone to suffer everlastingly in hell. Antinomianism is the theological belief that one can be the chosen or elect of God without obedience to divine revelation. In basic practical terms this means that we can still live in sin and call ourselves Christians.

Antinomianism is also expressed in the modern popular Christian Zionist idea that non-Christian racial Jews are somehow God’s chosen people based on some supposed unconditional promise God made concerning the land of Palestine in the Old Testament.

A better understanding of the nature of man helps to dispense with the dualism and to dissolve those polarizing dichotomist tendencies that are philosophically inherent within the humanistic predestinarian system of thought we loosely call Calvinistic theology.

In all fairness it should be made clear that John Calvin was a covenant theologian. This means he would have had nothing to do with modern dispensationalism in its aberrational thinking concerning biblical salvation history slash eschatology, or end-time Bible prophecy. Some of the strongest opponents of popular dispensational teaching today are from within the Reformed or Calvinistic tradition. This needs to be said for the record so we do not naively think that dispensationalism is merely a Wesleyan versus a Calvinist issue of debate.

Here is our paradigm on the nature of man that will bring us to a better long-term solution.

First, we need to understand that every human being that is ever conceived in the womb and born into this world appears on the scene with their names already written down in God’s book of life. God is the author and giver of all human life. The psalmist noted that all of the physical members of his body were already written down in God’s book from the moment of conception. “My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth, Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there were none of them” (Psalm 139:15-16).

Jesus make it clear in Matthew 18:10 (compare with Hebrews 1:14) that little children are pre-justified before God, that is, that their names are already written down in His book of life. “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That their angels do always behold the face of my father which is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10). “Are they [i.e., the angels] not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? (Hebrews 1:14).

From the above correlation of verses we see that the angels minister salvation for little children in the presence of God until their first conscious sins. At that time their names are removed from the book of life. “And the Lord said unto Moses, whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book” (Exodus 32:33). Names not there already can’t be blotted out.

Modern Antinomians teach that once we are saved our names can never be erased from the Lamb’s book of life. This is simply not true. Sin always separates from God and takes our name out of His book of life. But thank God. We can be saved and kept from sin (I John 5:18). That is the point.

 

Related Article Links

Understanding Antinomianism
The Gospel Of Antinomianism