False Prophets And Carnal Christians

Q. My friend is a member of (a major Denomination) and her brother-in-law is the preacher of that church. Recently we were discussing the issue of Eternal Salvation and she pointed me to 2 Peter 2:20, “For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.”

While I realize this verse is discussing false prophets should my argument be that this verse is talking about non-believers? Isn’t it possible for a false prophet to be saved and just simply become a false prophet through deception? Her comment to me was that if a person returns to their sin and doesn’t turn back to God before they die, remaining in that sin always then surely they have lost their salvation. Is it true that a person that remains in their sin probably wasn’t saved in the first place or are they saved carnal Christians? Thanks so much, your website is a true blessing to myself and my family. Such wonderful knowledge and incredibly inspiring.

A. Take your friend to those verses that clearly promise OSAS. Ephesians 1:13-14 (repeated in 2 Cor. 1:21-22 in case we didn’t catch it the first time) is the clearest but there are others. Then ask her to reconcile them with her interpretation of 2nd Peter. Guess what? She won’t be able to. That means that either God lied to us or man has misunderstood something. Ask her which she thinks is more likely the case. Can anyone misunderstand Ephesians 1:13-14? No, it’s just too clear. So we must have misunderstood 2nd Peter.

When I read Peter’s chapter-long tirade against these false prophets I think of some preachers I’ve seen on television. These men cannot possibly have ever been saved, they’re just too evil. Have her read 2 Cor. 11:13-15 with you and ask her if it doesn’t look like Peter and Paul were talking about the same people.

And as far as carnal Christians are concerned, we’re all carnal Christians. There’s not a single one of us who could hang on to our own salvation. If it’s possible to keep it, we could have earned it. God didn’t just give us a fresh start and some supernatural help, He did the whole thing. Because He had to.

Here’s a link to some other OSAS verses


When you’ve done these things, you have my permission to gently rebuke her for taking a passage out of context in order to support a denominational view even when it contradicts several clear promises in God’s word.

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