This review appeared in the Jul-Sep 2013 vol. 170 no. 3 issue of Biblotheca Sacra, DTS’s quarterly academic journal.Subscribe Today
Shall Never Perish ForeverGrace Gospel Press, Duluth, MN October 8, 2012
In this book Rokser, pastor of Duluth Bible Church, presents a thorough defense of the doctrine of eternal security. He begins by discussing seven reasons why believing in eternal security is important. They are these: (1) “To deny eternal security diminishes the ‘good news’ of the gospel.” (2) “To deny eternal security is to garble the gospel of grace.” (3) “To deny eternal security annihilates the absolute assurance of eternal salvation.” (4) “To deny eternal security is to disregard the direct statements of Scripture.” (5) “To deny eternal security means you will lack the right foundation for genuine spiritual growth.” (6) “To deny eternal security means that the fear of hell, instead of the love of Christ, becomes the major motivator to live a fruitful Christian life.” (7) “To deny eternal security means you will never be certain that the Rapture will involve you; therefore you have no blessed hope personally” (pp. 22–30).
Then in chapters 9–14 he discusses several works by each of the persons of the Godhead. In pointing out how eternal security is related to the doctrine of grace, he writes, “If a person could lose his salvation, he would have to do something to keep it. And if he has to do something to keep it (live a holy life, not sin, confess all known sin, etc.), he then is ultimately relying on his own works to get to heaven—not on Jesus Christ and His finished work alone” (p. 73).
Eternal security is based, Rokser notes, not on man’s faithfulness, holy life, perseverance, or works, but on the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. “If we are faithless, He remains faithful” (2 Tim. 2:13). The Bible, he says, does not teach that all believers will persevere to the end, as Calvinists teach. Meanwhile, Arminians teach that if a person does not persevere to the end, he loses his salvation. Yet the Bible gives several examples of saved people who did not persevere to the end (e.g., Lot, Saul, Solomon, Demas, Alexander, and Hymenaeus).
In other chapters Rokser discusses the subject of assurance. First he considers eight reasons why people lack assurance of salvation and eight reasons why people object to the doctrine of eternal security. Unfortunately a number of Christians miss out on spiritual blessings because of carnal living. They lose future rewards (crowns) and fellowship with God, the joy and fruit of the Holy Spirit, direction and purpose in life, testimony to others, spiritual insight and eternal perspective, and doctrinal stability.
In chapters 23–31 Rokser discusses verses that some think teach that salvation can be lost. These are Matthew 6:14–15; 8:11–12; 10:32–33; 12:31–32; 24:13; John 6:66; 15:6; Romans 8:13; 1 Corinthians 6:9–11; 9:24–27; 15:2; Galatians 5:4; 5:19–21; Ephesians 5:1–7; Colossians 1:23; Hebrews 3:6, 14; 5:9; 6:4–6; 10:26–30; 12:14; 2 Peter 2:20; 1 John 2:3; 3:9, 15; 5:16–17; Revelation 3:5; 22:17–19, and others.
This is an outstanding work on this important subject. It will encourage those who have been believers for years, and it will strengthen the faith of new believers.
—Roy B. Zuck