Evangelicals, am I understanding this OSAS dilemma correctly?


#1

Evangelicals and others:

I am helping someone trying to reroot himself in his Catholicism while contemplating marriage to an Evangelical. I am trying to understand her view on sinfullness if her salvation is already complete. Hence once saved always saved.

First here’s some quick background with not too much detail due to the subject matter:

They are currently struggling with something we Catholics would consider mortal sin, sex outside of marriage. When they fail he (the Catholic) wants to go to Confession, reconcile it and try harder next time to remain in a more prayerful and thereby chaste, state. She seems to be letting it get to her so much that they fail more often. She is a wonderful girl and considers their actions to be very sinful and wants to overcome this but is really struggling.

Here is where my question comes in. I advised him that she might be struggling more in some ways because this terribly sinful behavior is something a person “born again” would not do because she has “been saved.”

Does she think her orginal “saved” was not real because she is now doing actions that are outside of Salvation?

I hear the old story about…“Well what about the guy who gets saved and then goes out and lives a sinful life?” The answer I get is that, “he wasn’t really saved.” Is that what is shaking her so much?

I told him that Evangelicals believe that works are a result of faith while Catholics hold that works are in conjunction with faith, hence faith AND works. Am I understanding her dilemma correctly that since she is sinning (bad works) that she wonders if she doesn’t have faith or salvation to begin with?

He said that might be the case from things she has said. I told him the Church teaches that we will not know our state of salvation until we are dead so he should “work it out with fear and trembling” and help her do the same.

Maybe I should have posted this on an Evangelical site, but I do not know which branch she might be so I thought I would post here to see if I could get a general consensus. Am I on the right track with how she might be thinking or I am :confused: or :whacky: ?


#2

I want to take the word Evangelicals out of the subject line but my edit feature is missing. I want to get opinions from all sides not just Evangelicals. Is that possible to do?


#3

Used to be Evangelical, now Catholic, but here’s my .02.

It’s very possible that she believes just what you’ve posted here, “how can I be saved when I sin like this?” But I kind of doubt she’s questioning her salvation. What’s bothering her may be her seeming powerlessness against this sin. She may be asking herself why she keeps right on doing what she’s been told is wrong.

You mention the young man failing, going to confession and trying harder afterward. This could be a spiritual pattern for ultimate success, but it could also be a way of relieving his conscience about behavior that isn’t going to stop anytime soon.

Isn’t that really the problem they both have? They don’t want to stop? I’m not sure you’re dealing with huge theological issues here, more like basic human appetites that Christians do have the power to control through the Holy Spirit, if they want to. Here’s the catch, you have to want to.


#4

[quote=midgetface]Evangelicals and others:

I am helping someone trying to reroot himself in his Catholicism while contemplating marriage to an Evangelical. I am trying to understand her view on sinfullness if her salvation is already complete. Hence once saved always saved.

First here’s some quick background with not too much detail due to the subject matter:

They are currently struggling with something we Catholics would consider mortal sin, sex outside of marriage. When they fail he (the Catholic) wants to go to Confession, reconcile it and try harder next time to remain in a more prayerful and thereby chaste, state. She seems to be letting it get to her so much that they fail more often. She is a wonderful girl and considers their actions to be very sinful and wants to overcome this but is really struggling.

Here is where my question comes in. I advised him that she might be struggling more in some ways because this terribly sinful behavior is something a person “born again” would not do because she has “been saved.”

Does she think her orginal “saved” was not real because she is now doing actions that are outside of Salvation?

I hear the old story about…“Well what about the guy who gets saved and then goes out and lives a sinful life?” The answer I get is that, “he wasn’t really saved.” Is that what is shaking her so much?

I told him that Evangelicals believe that works are a result of faith while Catholics hold that works are in conjunction with faith, hence faith AND works. Am I understanding her dilemma correctly that since she is sinning (bad works) that she wonders if she doesn’t have faith or salvation to begin with?

He said that might be the case from things she has said. I told him the Church teaches that we will not know our state of salvation until we are dead so he should “work it out with fear and trembling” and help her do the same.

Maybe I should have posted this on an Evangelical site, but I do not know which branch she might be so I thought I would post here to see if I could get a general consensus. Am I on the right track with how she might be thinking or I am :confused: or :whacky: ?
[/quote]

The doctrine of ‘once-saved-always saved’, properly called ‘eternal security’ is rooted in Calvinism. From this point of view, it is God who is the actor in salvation, as humans are by nature at enmity with God and would never act to choose Him of their own ‘free will’. Nor would humans, of their own free will, choose to remain in God’s grace–human will is utterly depraved and would seek to enthrone itself in God’s place, were God not to intervene. This does not suggest that Christians may not be plagued with what are known as ‘besetting sins’–Calvinists generally reject any notion of perfectionism and believe that all humans continue to sin throughout their lives. That one Christian repeats a single sin over-and-over, whilst another commits a dozen different sinful acts, it amounts to the same thing.

Calvinists recognize the possiblity of a ‘false profession’ and even that one might be self-deceived into such a false profession. However they tend to be more inclined to encourage those who are laboring under temptation than accusative of such souls. The fact that the young lady feels guilt and remorse about her situation would suggest she MAY be among the Elect, as Calvinists would understand it. Much of this would depend less upon whether she is plagued by one particular besetting sin as by whether or not her life reflects spiritual growth generally. In the spiritual realm as in natural life, birth brings growth, and if the young lady is indeed reflecting true spiritual growth, then she can rest upon God to bring about in her life what is needful. If the young lady finds that she is under inner compulsion to continue to pray, to read her Bible, to attend Church, to become a better person in her dealings with others, etcetera, and if she has indeed sincerely professed Christ as her Savior and Lord–then she likely as not is of the Elect. This would be pretty close to how this issue would be addressed among Calvinists.

By the way–not all Evangelicals accept OSAS. Half or so do NOT accept it. Their theological position is known as Arminianism, which puts more emphasis upon human free will and human participation/cooperation in God’s salvation of humanity. Hopefully this hasn’t caused your eyes to glaze over.


#5

Fr. John Corapi, S.O.L.T. has a great talk on the arrogance of the OSAS position. You can get his talks on DVD or watch them on EWTN. Very, telling stuff…


#6

My background is OSAS.

Although the original post was dated last October, I’ll speak in the present tense.

First, a correction: many, many OSAS believers reject the predestination/election side of Calvinism. They believe in OSAS not because of God’s eternal predestination, but because of a concept of the conversion/salvation event itself: the believer receives a new life which can never die. The girl in question might be a Calvinist, or might not.

Next: I think that midgetface’s analysis of her state of mind may be accurate. Because the OSAS teachers shift between two positions, it creates a tension in the student’s mind. On the one hand, they say a real Christian won’t live in sin; on the other hand, they say a real Christian cannot lose his salvation no matter what he does, (and they immediately cite King David). So if a real Christian becomes enmeshed in mortal sin, he has no clear answer to his dilemma (except to quit it, but that just restates the original problem).

Copulating sexually isn’t easy. It’s not like biting your fingernails. “Oh darn, here I go again.” It takes a bit of planning and getting situated. A couple who wants to stay clean needs to nip the problem in the bud long before they are alone and in the heat of passion. Avoid the situations where it’s possible, avoid using sexuality for entertainment (commonly called “necking”), and things will change radically.


#7

Yes, I think you are indeed understanding the dilemma the young lady is in. There are (as mentioned) 2 schools of thought, one is OSAS, the other is not, however regardless, she feels that she should not be even tempted.(I know, not real sensible, but it happens). If she feels this way, she is probably very depressed & anxious.
Everybody has made excellent points here.
I think that the best advice is to stay out of temptation’s path as much as possible. Since both these people are Christians, it seems to me that finding a prayer group would be good for them, or a small # of friends/family that would pray with them. Keeping close to God is the best insurance I know against falling into any sin.
By the way, I think that it is great that you are helping these young people. This is the kind of friendship that they both need right now!!


#8

Thank you to all of you for your very thoughtful responses. I knew I would be getting clear help here. I like the ideas of prayer groups and family or friends to help them. It was so accurate that people in that space use sexuality for entertainment. I’ve never heard it described that way. I like it.

In understanding her dilemma it will help me to keep the focus where it needs to be. This thread is helping me understand her perspective better. From what people are saying I think I only need to focus on helping them overcome the sinful behavior. I am reading in this that it wouldn’t be helpful to her right now to address the conflict that OSAS (eternal security) might have added to the mix. I think that would be dropping a hammer on her foot to help her take her mind off her headache.

I had a feeling to go in that direction but got a check that the feeling was just a feeling and not the Holy Spirit. Since I don’t know enough about the subject, even its proper name, I have no business treading there until I do. I think Fr. John Corapi is great so I really want to check out his stuff. Then when The Spirit moves in her to talk about it I will be educated enough to help. I would like to understand it better to find common ground. We often have talks about our similarities and differences.

If anyone has other references that are not as expensive as the DVDs that would be great too. I only have so much money I can throw at this problem. Are there any subtle questions I might ask her that would tell me if she follows predestination or not? Does it help to know that? I think she has some Pentacostal teaching and she “got saved” at an Assembly of God church. The church she is now attending I don’t think is either one.

Also, I have given the impression that they are young. I am in my mid 30s and they are older than I am. But then again I don’t know if I am young or not. :smiley:


#9

[quote=midgetface]It was so accurate that people in that space use sexuality for entertainment. I’ve never heard it described that way.
[/quote]

Not only people in that space, but ordinary American dating does this. I refer not to"recreational sex," which is fornication with no pretense of commitment, but to common practices like necking. Although it isn’t fornication, it is sexual in nature and is done for entertainment. (Hey, it’s fun!)

Since they’ve already crossed the line of fornication, more fornication is now as inevitable as an eastern sunrise unless they cut themselves clear of such things as necking.

I am reading in this that it wouldn’t be helpful to her right now to address the conflict that OSAS (eternal security) might have added to the mix.

Probably true. Sexual appetite doesn’t respond well to theological argument.

Are there any subtle questions I might ask her that would tell me if she follows predestination or not? Does it help to know that?

It probably isn’t important to know, but go ahead and ask anyway. As long as there is no penalty, I’ve never known a Calvinist who wasn’t proud to confess it.


#10

**Hi Debbie,

I want to commend you in trying to help this couple. Obviously, both parties are trying to do what’s right and then dealing with it when they’ve done wrong. I think it was good advice given that they avoid situations that could lead to sex, like the two being alone together somewhere, with things then inevitably getting out of control. Also, it takes two to tango, but often it is the woman who is saddled with having to put on the brakes, with the man being the aggressor/accelerator. Again, avoiding situations is the key.

As for OSAS, the Assemblies of God are on the Arminian side of Calvinism, believing that you can lose your salvation, but you say she is not attending there now. In any event, both of them would be dealing with the guilt of their sin. Of course, if she thinks she can lose her salvation over it, as he probably does (in terms of mortal sin), they would both have a great deal of guilt to overcome. He may do that in confession with his priest. She would do it in confession to God per 1 John 1:9 based on her faith.

I don’t know if that helps any, but that’s my 2 cents.

Peace**


#11

Maybe she needs a new boy friend. It is usually the boy who leads the girl astray, so she needs a more morally sound boyfriend


#12

:eek:
Are you saying that because the man is a Catholic Christian? The girl could choose to say no, yet she didn’t. Now because of the “theology” she’s entrenched in, she probably thinks she isn’t even “saved.”

I’ve seen the scenario too many times, and the unfortunate thing is that most people just give up on Christianity entirely in the end. They figure if they were never “saved” in the first place, then why bother?

In Pax Christi
Andrew


#13

**Yeah, she might think that, especially if she thinks she can lose her salvation by sinning, as if she got it in the first place by NOT sinning. **

Well, it is usually others viewing her behavior that conclude she was probably never saved in the first place, which is not necessarily a valid conclusion. Her guilt may cause her to feel she is unworthy to still be saved and therefore she may feel like she needs to repent and get saved all over again. That may be a big reason why some believe in OSAS. We are all going to sin again, perhaps on a daily, if not hourly, basis. So the idea that one gets saved and then lost and then saved and then lost all in one day, for example, does not speak much for the saving and keeping power of God.

Hebrews 7:25. Wherefore he [Jesus] is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

**2 Tim. 1:12 — “… I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”

Jude 24. Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
25. To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.**


#14

ok BUDDY.

geocities.com/militantis/solascriptura.html
read that and come to the fullness of truth.


#15

Well, in the 2 years since I first started this thread a lot happened. HE put on the brakes and was committed to chastity. She would swing back and forth between agreeing with it to tempting to cross the line again.

He started going to Confession more often until it became every other week. He recommitted to being a solid Catholic. Even though he was willing to live in a mixed marriage, she decided that she could only marry a man who shared her same beliefs. She couldn’t even define what those beliefs were, just what her particular pastor told her. They broke up in the summer of '06, about a year after I first posted this thread.

He is still committed to chastity and has been spending time with a woman who is examining the Catholic Church. She is still struggling with her beliefs and is currently single. Every guy she has dated has to pass her pastor’s ok. Only one is a member of their church so he got the ok. Nothing has sparked though. She is really struggling with everything in her life. Please pray for her.


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