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Steven Anderson's Twisted Eternal Security
See also Eternal Security, Yes and No.
Steven Anderson, pastor of [Un]Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona, teaches a horribly damning and twisted view of eternal security. Besides his utterly hypocritical stance, Anderson encourages utter debauchery and outright "superfluity of naughtiness" (James 1:21 KJV) as he declares no restraint on sin for anyone who has ever been supposedly saved.
To illustrate his hypocrisy (Luke 12:1), note the beginning of his message on “Eternal Security” dated 7-23-06. Here Anderson declares the doctrine of eternal security as the most important doctrine, and he says,
If you're not right on this, you're not right on salvation and you're not going to heaven. (1:19f, www.youtube.com/watch?v=aE__9xqTNhY found also at http://hardpreaching.com/072306p.mp3)
So, at the very beginning he declares damnation upon anyone who doesn't believe what he is about to preach about eternal security. Yet, in utter hypocrisy not too much later he says salvation is not conditional upon whether a person believes or not. But, then again, soon thereafter, he pronounces damnation upon someone who doesn't believe saying, “anyone who doesn't believe that God gave us eternal life is not saved.”
You can hear his duplicity within the first 10 minutes of his sermon. Nothing is cut out below. The quotes all go together. After reading 1 John 5:11 Anderson speaks of his view of eternal security. Pay close attention to what he says about believing and not believing.
Ok, so, really you could break that statement down in verse 11. He says look, there's only two kinds of people in this world, my friend. There are those who believe the record in 1 John 5:11, and there are those who call God a liar. They don't believe it.
Now look. Break it down. That God has given to us. Now look. That's saying that God gave it to us. He didn't make us earn it. He didn't make us work for it. The Bible says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith it is the gift of God.” Ya see. Give gift. It's the gift of God, “not of works lest any man should boast.” So he says, number one you gotta believe that God has given to us eternal life. (6:15f)
So, here Anderson claims, “you gotta believe.” He declares, “there's only two kinds of people in this world, . . . those who believe . . . and . . . those who . . . don't believe.” Yet, he continues saying,
Notice something else. It's past tense. It doesn't mean, well when I get ta, you know when I die some day I'm gonna find out whether I have eternal life. No, he says, look, he already gave it to you. He has given to us eternal life. That's past tense. That means you're already saved-da. See that d on the end of saved. It's my favor letter in the word saved, cause it means it's over. It means it's done. It's not something, well I hope so. I'm trying to get my way to heaven. No, I'm saved. It's done. And, now I have been given eternal life. What's the next thing? It's eternal life. Not I've been given temporary life. Not I've been given conditional life, conditional upon how I live, or what I believe. He says, No, I've been given eternal life. That means it can never end, everlasting, eternal. And he says, and this life is in his Son.
Now he says it is “Not . . . conditional upon . . . what I believe.” That's a complete contradiction of “you gotta believe” and “If you're not right on this, you're not right on salvation and you're not going to heaven.”
His contradicting continues,
So, look, he's saying, look, people that are saved they just believe that God gave them eternal life.
That completely contradicts it is “Not . . . conditional upon . . . what I believe.” Now he says, “people that are saved they . . . believe.”
His contradicting continues,
He just gave it to them, and that it was gonna last forever, and it's through Jesus Christ. Isn't that simple. Doesn't God break it down so simply for us. And he says, that if you don't believe that God gave us eternal life, if you believe that God gave us life that we could lose somehow, like we could be saved and then lose it. Or, if he gave us a life that's eternal, but we're saying, no I don't believe that. I believe that if I commit suicide, He'll take it away from me. I believe that if I commit murder He'll take it away from me. I believe that if I get out of church, He'll take it away from me. He says you're calling God a liar. You do not have the witness in yourself. You do not believe on Jesus Christ. Now that's what the Bible teaches. I'm sorry if that offends you. But, anyone who doesn't believe that God gave us eternal life is not saved according to this verse.
So, according to Anderson, it is “Not . . . conditional upon . . . what I believe,” but “anyone who doesn't believe that God gave us eternal life is not saved.” That is double-speak!
You say, why? Well, I'll tell you why. People who don't believe in eternal life, people who believe you can be saved and then you can do something someway to become unsaved again after you've been saved, they're putting it off of Jesus Christ to get you to heaven. They're putting it on you. Cause now it's your responsibility to make sure that you either, keep on believing what you're suppose to believe, or keep on going to church, or keep living a good life.
Here Anderson says “People who don't believe in eternal life” think “it's your responsibility to make sure that you . . . keep on believing what you're suppose to believe.” Isn't that what he believes? He says,
If you're not right on this, you're not right on salvation and you're not going to heaven. (1:19f)
you gotta believe (6:51f).
people that are saved they just believe that God gave them eternal life (7:45f).
How does that not equal, “it's your responsibility to make sure that you . . . keep on believing what you're suppose to believe”? It does, but Anderson is too spiritually dead to realize it (Jude 12).
Now, the very text Anderson deals with in his sermon, 1 John 5:10-12, clearly teaches that faith is required in order to have eternal life. 1 John 5:10-12 reads,
He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record,1 that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. (KJV)
Verse 11 clearly states “this life is in his Son” (verse 11). The “this life” refers to the “eternal life” (verse 11). In other words, eternal life is in His Son. “He that hath the Son hath the life” (verse 12). And who has the Son? “He that believeth” (verse 10). 1 John 5:10-12 makes it quite clear eternal life is conditioned on whether someone believes “on the Son of God” or not, and that is who has eternal life.
2 John 9 puts it this way,
Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. (KJV)
2 John 9 declares who has eternal life, who has God, who has the Son, and who doesn't. Those who abide in the doctrine of Christ have the Son. That equals, they have eternal life. Those who do not abide (remain) in the doctrine of Christ do not have the Son (God). Thus, they do not have eternal life.
And what is the doctrine of Christ? It is the teaching (doctrine) of the Word of God. The Son is the Word (John 1:1, 14; Revelation 19:13), and so those who remain (abide) in the doctrine of the Bible (the Word) have the Son. They have eternal life. Those who do not “hath not God,” and thus have not the Son (God); and thus do not have eternal life.
In that same sermon Anderson continues,
And inevitably I've never ran into anybody who believed that you could do anything to lose your salvation or that you could forfeit your salvation willingly. I've never met one that didn't inevitably say this statement, “Well, you can't just live however you want. You can't just do whatever you want.” See what I mean. They're bringing in works salvation. They're saying you have to live a certain way to get to go to heaven. He's says, no, God has given to us eternal life. (ends at 9:25)
Obviously according to Anderson, to say, “you can't just live however you want” = “works salvation.” In other words, Anderson believes you can live however you want, you can be wicked, and still go to heaven!
There are a whole host of Scriptures, Old Testament and New Testament, that reveal “you can't just live however you want” (e.g. Psalm 11:5-6; 50:16-23; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; Isaiah 48:22; 57:21; 65:11-15; Matthew 12:36-37; 24:45-51; Mark 9:43-47; 1 Timothy 6:9; Revelation 21:8; 22:14-15; etc.). As it is written,
The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. (Psalm 9:17 KJV)
Clearly, you “forget God” you will be “turned into hell”!
Galatians 5:17 says,
For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. (KJV)
Why such a fight between the flesh and the Spirit, “so that ye cannot do the things that ye would”?2 Because, in that very same chapter just a few verses later Paul clearly states,
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21 KJV)
In other words, you can't “do such things” and inherit eternal life (the kingdom of God), as Paul reiterates in Galatians 6:7-8. To the Romans Paul put it this way: speaking of the righteous judgment of God,
Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: (Romans 2:6-10 KJV)
Faith “worketh good” (James 2:14-26). This is why Paul can write such a declaration on who gets “eternal life” (Romans 2:7) and who gets “indignation and wrath” (i.e. hell, Romans 2:8). Those who believe God's Word (the Son), “seek for glory and honour and immortality” and “worketh good.” Why? Because that is what faith produces, as it is written,
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness (Romans 10:10a KJV).
That well describes every last person who truly believes the Bible. They “worketh good” (righteousness) and “seek for glory and honour and immortality.” In other words, they seek for eternal life (immortality). “This life is in his Son” (1 John 5:11). They seek life (John 14:6). They seek the Son (Isaiah 55:6).
Conversely, those who do not believe, “do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness” (Romans 2:8). The Bible is not unclear: “the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9 KJV).
III. More Hypocrisy
But Anderson perverts this concept (1 Corinthians 6:9) into a “works salvation.” Yet, in utter hypocrisy (Matthew 23:28) he himself teaches a “damnable” (2 Peter 2:1) works salvation. In this same sermon not too much later he says,
Now, what does it mean to foreknow somebody? It means that, before the world began, before God ever even created Adam and Eve, He could look into the future. Right? And He foreknew everything that's gonna happen. Well, He foreknew exactly who was going to be saved and who's not gonna to be saved. I mean, that's pretty simple, right? Because He knows everything. He knew exactly how many hairs I was gonna have on my head, and He knew exactly that I was gonna get saved. He knew I was gonna get saved as a six year old boy. He knew that you were gonna get saved whenever you got saved. He knows. Does that mean that He decided who went to heaven and who went to hell? No, that's the decision that He gives you. He says, “Whosoever will may come, and take of the water of life freely.” He says, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” He leaves it up to you, but He foreknew that. (12:57f)
“He leaves it up to you” = human works salvation. When Anderson says, “Does that mean that He decided who went to heaven and who went to hell? No, that's the decision that He gives you,” he completely rejects the truths of Proverbs 16:9; 17:11; 20:24; Isaiah 45:7; 46:10; Jeremiah 10:23; 13:23; Lamentations 3:37-38; Amos 3:6; Romans 9:11-23; 11:36; Colossians 1:17; Ephesians 1:4-6, 11; Hebrews 1:3; Jude 4; Revelation 13:8; etc.. Anderson places the merit (Romans 4:4) and boast (Ephesians 2:9) of a person's salvation squarely on the sinners “decision” as “He leaves it up to you” as Anderson claims. But, Scripture speaks to the contrary:
So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. (Romans 9:16; see also John 1:13 not “the will of man”)
Romans 9 is not unclear. God makes “vessels of wrath” (Romans 9:22) and “vessels of mercy” (Romans 9:23).
Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. (Romans 9:18)
Salvation is completely the work of God, not man. Even the faith through which it comes is a gift (Ephesians 2:8-9). No man can take credit for believing or his “decision” to turn to Christ, as it is written,
For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, . . . (Titus 3:3-5)
Deciding (“decision”) to turn to Christ is a work of righteousness. We were dead (Ephesians 2:1-3). He made us alive (Ephesians 2:4-5). We did not decide (“decision”) to make ourselves alive.
Furthermore, Anderson's idea of foreknowledge is a common false doctrine that is nowhere found in holy writ (Proverbs 30:5-6). There is not a single verse that teaches foreknowledge is God looking into the future and finding out who gets saved and who doesn't, especially with the idea that “that's the decision . . . He leaves . . . up to you” as Anderson claims. Romans 11:36 says,
For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: (KJV)
There is nothing outside of “all things.” Man's decisions, all of them, are “of him, and through him, and to him.” As it is written,
O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. (Jeremiah 10:23)
Foreknowledge is a simple concept that means just what it says. It is “to know beforehand.” But this knowledge dictates salvation, because the salvation of God is directly linked to whether or not God knows the person or not. God knows those whom He saves (e.g. Jeremiah 1:5; Galatians 4:9), and those who are lost He does not know (Matthew 7:23; 25:12; Luke 13:25-27).3 So, God knowing beforehand = salvation beforehand (e.g. Ephesians 1:4) which dictates the exact opposite of Anderson's claim. God “saved us . . . before the world began” (2 Timothy 1:9). That was/is God's decision, not ours.
IV. More Debauchery
Finally, to further illustrate just how far off Anderson is on his perverted unbiblical view of eternal security, note what he says in this same sermon.
Let me give you several reasons why you cannot lose your salvation. Straight from the Bible. I'm gonna show you why you cannot lose your salvation. Why once you've been saved, there is nothing in the world that you could do to be unsaved. I'm gonna tell you something. If I wanted to go to hell, if I just said I'm gonna set my mind to go to hell, I could not go to hell. I mean if I just said, “What do I have to do to go to hell? I'll do anything to go.” I could not go to hell. Because the moment I go to hell, then God's a liar. Cause God said I've been given eternal life. And if God said, “Steve this will last forever. I'm gonna give it to you.” The moment it doesn't last forever, the moment God lied. Cause God said it would last forever. He said it's eternal. If it ends He's a liar. And there's no way that I could go to hell if I wanted to. I will never see what hell's like. I'll never feel the flames of hell, praise God. And I, there's no way I could. (10:50-11:33f)
Later (18:30f) Anderson speaks of killing a hundred people and killing oneself by taking a gun and blowing the brains out! Anderson has a soon coming fearful eternal surprise (2 Peter 2:17). He will be tormented forever for his wicked teaching.
For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. (Matthew 12:37 KJV).
1 “record” (KJV; “testimony” NKJV) in the Greek this is μαρτυρία (marturia) which is from the same root word as “witness” & “record” in verse 10 (KJV), which are both translated from the same exact Greek word, μαρτυρίαν (marturian). 1 John 5:10-11 could be translated,
He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself. He who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the witness which God has witnessed concerning His Son.
The verb “witnessed” (μεμαρτύρηκεν [memarturêken]) is a perfect active verb akin to the nouns, “witness” (vs. 10 KJV) μαρτυρίαν (marturian); and “record” (vs. 10 KJV) μαρτυρίαν (marturian); and “record” (vs. 11 KJV) μαρτυρία (marturia).
2 Galatians 5:17 NKJV “so that you do not do the things that you wish.”
3 The Greek verb to foreknow is found in 1 Peter 1:20 (προεγνωσμένου) where the KJV translates it, “foreordained” and it is speaking of Christ. This same verb is also found in Acts 26:5; Romans 8:29; 11:2; 2 Peter 3:17. The noun “foreknowledge” (KJV) is found only in (KJV English & Greek) Acts 2:23 (προγνώσει) & 1 Peter 1:2 (πρόγνωσιν).
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