Help - new Catholic and "Once Saved Always Saved"



I have a friend who is Southern Baptist (SB) and we have monthly discussions regarding the differences between his SB and my Catholic beliefs. Unfortunately, I seem to see a pattern emerging and I could use some help as I’ve only been Catholic since Easter.

When we recently discussed the SB doctrine of “once saved, always saved” I asked the obvious questions such as “what if one commits murder, or even blasphemy?” His response was that “…this person was never really saved to begin with; else he/she would not have committed those sins.” Honestly, I found his argument to be rather convenient, if not circular.

I have tried to quote what I consider to be relevant scripture such as James 5:19-20, but to no avail. His final retort was “…and what bible are you reading from?” (The implication here was to take a slap at my Catholic Bible and not an honest question) This seems to be the end result regarding just about any topic over which we have differing points of view.

The last thing I want to do is make anyone angry regarding their faith, but being unable to have logical discourse is frustrating to me. Just as an aside… I am located in south Alabama, and this is the prevailing attitude here in the Bible belt. I even get this from my Southern Baptist family members at times.

Thanks in advance!


i guess i would try to get on the same page by asking him what bible he is reading from. then compare the translations.

if he is reading from the original king james version, he has a translation based upon manuscripts from the 9th-12th centuries (and the holes in those manuscripts made up from the latin vulgate… a catholic translation).

maybe you should both find a more modern translation that uses older manuscripts which would make the translation more reliable. most southern baptists would be okay with looking at an NIV (new international version) or NASB (new american standard bible) or even an ESV (english standard version). i am partial to the ESV and the NRSV (new revised standard version… oxford annotated edition of course :thumbsup: ).

after you agree upon the version, look at scholars from both sides of the issue. what do they say? you will find the majority of scholars go against osas. then compare the scholars and the passages from the agreed upon translation and discuss.

remember, ultimately you are not capable of changing some one’s mind.



I am using the Saint Joseph Edition of the New American Bible and he is using the original King James version (1611?). I will ask if he is open to a newer translation of the KJ and I will look at the versions that you mentioned. Then, we can take it from there.

Thanks for your great advice!


The response is, “Then, since you must admit we are all sinners, no one can be sure he is saved. So tell me, if you are saved, and commit a serious sin, are you not them damned – once damned always damned seems a logical counterpoint to once saved always saved.”


tmac 1956,
Catholic Answers has a good article on this topic here:

As noted in the article, there are many scriptural references supporting the Catholic viewpoint on this issue…many written by Paul himself. And it won’t matter what version of the bible you’re using…Paul’s writings will be in all of them.

Many of Paul’s statements are noted in the article…if you still need help picking them out, let me know. I can give more specific references later on.



2 Peter 2:20 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.

2 Peter 3:16 (Referring to Paul) He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures,** to their own destruction.**

Matthew 10:5-8 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”

Mark 6:7 (Jesus Sends Out the Twelve) Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.

Matthew 26:24 (Referring to Judas) “The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

Mark 14:21 (Referring to judas) “The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

Judas was “saved”, was baptized into the Lord, was given power from on high to heal and cast out demons. He was not of the house of satan at that time, as a house divided against itself cannot stand. Judas lost his salvation. If this happened to one of the Twelve, can it not also happen to us?

Christ’s peace.


OP: Remind your brother in Christ that he has never seen the “entire” bible, only the edited version. See what he thinks about that, since Catholics even have more scripture than he does.

Christ’s peace.


See the end of Jimmy Akin’s talk here for all kinds of Scripture on falling from the faith after having been in it.

Also I find the whole “they were never saved to begin with” especially peculiar to those who claim they have assurance of salvation. After all, there are those who claim “I am assured of salvation” who then fall away, and his remaining brethren will say “he was never saved to begin with”, while they then still claim to be assured of salvation, just like the first guy used to do!


i think the hebrews 6 passage is the most damning to the osas argument. it talks about those who have experienced the light (or have been in the faith) who fall away. it says it is impossible to bring them back to repentance.


James 5:19-20 is good but I find that Philippians 2: 12 is clearer still. And protestants tend to think of Paul as the apostle of preference for their protestant defense.
It throws them for a loop when you show them in Paul’s own words that we cannot presume of our salvation, but work daily and at every moment of the day.
As Paul puts it " …work out our salvation with fear and trembling."

My source is Douay-Rheims (confraternity). KJV is incomplete no matter how old the version.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum.


There you have my whole point. If OSAS is correct, and a person once saved cannot lose salvation, then there is no such thing as sin (no penalty = no sin.)

But if OSAS is correct, and one can lose salvation through sin, then we run into ODAD (once damned, always damned.)


To the OP,

Ask your friend to read the parable of the Prodigal Son. Notice the young man would have been saved, for he received his inheritance. Then notice that the son falls into sin and repents. The father in the story confirms this because he states how the son was dead, but has returned to life again. The son had life, he lost his life, and he is alive again.

It’s a very hard parable for a OSAS to refute.


It’s good that you ask others for help in this, since it will be something that comes up over and over again. Remember, though, that you’re answering better than you think. If your friend can only criticize your Bible, it means he has no real reply to what you said.

I would guess that he’s resistant to learning anything that goes against his beliefs. Still, some people who are resistant eventually change. Many of the most resistent make the best Catholics when they do come home.

Pray before your discussion, keep them in as loving a tone as possible, and good luck!


Here is what i am seeing them as saying correct me if im wrong, for i very well may be. They think that once you are baptised into the Faith that you receive that Grace from God. That is correct but they dont believe that you can fall from grace. They dont believe you can lose Grace, but the bible tells us differently. I think thats what they mean. and where we differ. Just because Jesus knows what we are going to do, doesnt mean that the outcome was still not our choices. Does that make sense.


2 Peter, chapter 2 tells of those who “know” Christ. The term for “know” (I believe it’s “gnosis”) means a complete knowledge of. It can only come from someone who has “been saved”.

20 For if they, having escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of (our) Lord and savior Jesus Christ, again become entangled and overcome by them, their last condition is worse than their first.*** 21 ****** For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment handed down to them.****** 22 *** What is expressed in the true proverb has happened to them, “The dog returns to its own vomit,” and "A bathed sow returns to wallowing in the mire."


With people like this, always use the KJV. Trust me: you won’t have a problem. When there is a divergence, go to the RSV, which is a trot off the Greek, and although it was an ecumenical effort, if you don’t use the Catholic Edition, you can pass it off as Protestant. Best option: go straight to the Greek, if you are able.


Your post just reminded me of the greatest fall from grace ever: Satan. He was an Angel, who stood in God’s presence. Pure and Holy. However, he lost his grace by his own action. And one third of the Angels fell with him. Imagine that! Again, if this can happen to the purest ones who are in God’s presence, how much easier for it to happen to us sinners?

Christ’s peace.


As far as I can tell, OSAS is directly refuted by St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 5. This is the situation where one of the members of the Church is sleeping with his mother (or step-mother). It’s clear that he is “saved” because he is described as a member of the Church (“one among you”) and because the Corinthians are celebrating his sin. They are celebrating because they believe that nothing one does can affect one’s salvation. St. Paul’s response? Throw him out of the Church so that he may be saved in the future.

What the Corinthians were doing is the only logical result of OSAS. If you can’t lose your salvation, you can do anything you want and it doesn’t matter. As far as the OP’s friend’s compromise position is concerned (“he wasn’t saved to begin with”), you have to ask: How many sins and of what severity can I commit before I have to start questioning whether or not I am saved? The Bible doesn’t really tell us. It’s easy to say that the serial killer wasn’t really saved, but what about the guy who cheated on his taxes? Maybe he also swore a lot, or drank to excess every night. No one who embraces this compromise can ever say they are assured of their salvation because they don’t know where the line is.

Catholics are much more certain than any honest OSAS believer can ever be. Jesus provided us with a sacrament to address our sins and to reconcile us with God. If I wonder whether I “am saved,” I go to confession.



I suggest that you check out John Martignoni’s website and get a copy of his CD or download (for FREE) “Once Saved, Always Saved.” John does a fabulous job of debunking this fateful teaching that may lead many of our non-Catholic brethren down the wrong path. His link is

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