Perseverance does not mean uninterrupted progress at the same or an ever increasing rate. In ordinary affairs we speak of a man persevering who falls, blunders, receives set-backs, but who recovers and struggles on. This is why Calvinists use and prefer the term perseverance rather than the Arminian deceptive phrase “eternal security.” The latter in itself gives no hint of struggle; the former does. -- Gordon H. Clark
The following is a comment I sent by e-mail to an online friend. I highly recommend Gordon H. Clark's book, What Is the Christian Life? In this book he discusses the reasons why there is a tendency for giving people false assurance based on walking an aisle or making a one time "decision." He also discusses the eternal insecurity of the Arminian view, which really can give no assurance. Clark also devastates the idea proposed by the late Louis Berkhof that someone can have a "temporary" faith that lasts a lifetime. Clark further repudiates Berkhof's view in his book, What Is Saving Faith?
Here's his view of the doctrine of perseverance:
Perseverance does not mean uninterrupted progress at the same or an ever increasing rate. In ordinary affairs we speak of a man persevering who falls, blunders, receives set-backs, but who recovers and struggles on. This is why Calvinists use and prefer the term perseverance rather than the Arminian deceptive phrase “eternal security.” The latter in itself gives no hint of struggle; the former does.
If the Old Testament is so clear on this matter, it is really not necessary to quote the New Testament also. But as such an omission would surely be misunderstood by the Arminians, and since in any case we wish to know what the New Testament says, here are some verses.
John 10:28, 29: “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”
It must be a most elementary student and immature Christian who is unfamiliar with John 10:28-29. And it must be a most confused mentality that cannot understand it correctly. “They shall never perish.” Could anything be easier or plainer? Who are the “they”? They are Christ’s sheep; Christ knows them all by name; he gives them eternal life, a life that is everlasting. Clearly a life that lasts only a year or two is not eternal. “They shall never perish” is written with a double negative, and double negatives in Greek do not make an affirmative, but an emphatic negative. As if that were not enough Christ adds, “Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” Relative to this phrase I either read or heard an Arminian say that although no man can pluck a Christian out of God’s hand, the word man means “no other man;” but the man himself can pluck himself out of God’s hand. I have no documentation for this, and it may not be typical of all Wesleyans. But at any rate, the word in the New Testament is tis, anyone, including the man himself as well as Satan. Then to pile emphasis upon emphasis Jesus continues, “My Father is greater than all, and no one is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”
To escape such utterly unambiguous verses the Arminians are forced to invent utterly ridiculous misinterpretations, for otherwise they would have to repudiate their beloved free will and become Calvinists – a disaster not to be contemplated.
Clark's book, What Is the Christian Life? (E-Book), is well worth the $5.00 investment. Believe me. I'm posting an edited version of this on the blog, too.Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. 34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house. (Acts 16:29-34 KJV)
Sincerely in Christ,