John 5:24: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
According to Merriam-Webster online dictionary, one of the definitions of “poll” is as follows:
a: a questioning or canvassing of persons selected at random or by quota to obtain information or opinions to be analyzed
b: a record of the information so obtained
Joshua Harris, well-known author and former pastor, recently announced that he was leaving his wife and that he was no longer a Christian.
Let me start out by saying that I have no idea whether Joshua Harris ever believed the gospel, or even heard the gospel presented faithfully. I have conspicuously avoided delving into Harris’ beliefs, because that isn’t the point of this article.
What I would like to focus on is the reactions of some well-known “Christian leaders.” Almost all of the reactions I have read are condemning of Harris, either suggesting, or expressly stating, that Harris does not have eternal life, and never believed in Jesus in the first place. Following is a sample:
Franklin Graham (from “Hallells” article entitled “Franklin Graham Comments on Joshua Harris & Hillsong’s Marty Sampson Walking Away from the Faith”)
They weren’t real Christians. They were young. Their faith wasn’t very strong. They might have been atheists. They hate God. And they just wanted publicity.
Michael Farris (Op-Ed Contributor to “The Christian Post,” in an article entitled “A letter to Josh Harris”)
We knew each other very well for many years. And I loved you like a younger brother. And still do…
Jesus says about people like you that in the last judgment, He will say, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”
You know that this means you never actually knew Him.
Dr.R. Albert Mohler, Jr. (president of “The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary”, from his blog albertmohler.com)
Can believers lose their faith? Can one ultimately fall away if one was genuinely regenerated? The answer is no…
There may be even some who sin by repudiating Christianity, but if they ever were genuinely Christian, they will return by repentance at some point, and that is a gospel promise. If persons do continue in their repudiation of Christianity, then we have to remember the text in 1 John 2:19, where they were told that, “They went out from us, because they were not of us,” which is to say they were never truly Christians. They were pretend believers.
Jesus also speaks of this in Matthew 13 in the parable of the four soils. There are those who show signs of life, but they eventually go away. Jesus makes very clear they were never true Christians.
John Piper (from article in “The Christian Post” entitled “John Piper on Joshua Harris: ‘I could commit apostasy this afternoon and go to hell’ if not for God”)
“It shouldn’t call into question the doctrine of eternal security to say, ‘yes, I could commit apostasy this afternoon and go to hell.’ I wonder if that’s a jarring juxtaposition for you.
“Nothing you do originates the decisive act or impulse that saves you,” he continued. “Nothing you feel, nothing you think, nothing you will, nothing you do, originates the act of the soul or the act of the body that causes God to elect you, predestine you, call you, keep you, or glorify you. All of it is a free gift. So, nobody should have the mindset, ‘I can keep this from happening.’ I can’t. No, you can’t, God can.”
“You are secure in Christ, but your security is totally in the hands of God,” he continued. “If God is faithful to you, you will make it. If you don’t make it, He didn’t cause you to make it. So, that’s foundational to what I believe and think.”…
Piper added, “The evidence that that has happened is, ‘are you pressing on?’”
The Bible promises that anyone who believed in Jesus as Savior has eternal life that can never be lost or forfeited. The Bible does not promise that our assurance can’t be undermined, or that all Christians will have enduring faith.
Of the men quoted above, we have written articles that document that at least three of them (Graham, Mohler, and Piper) preach false gospels of Calvinism/Lordship “salvation.” However, we can’t know whether any of them has ever believed in Christ alone as Savior. We do know that the false gospels that they teach keep people lost and serve to undermine the assurance of those who do possess eternal life.
When we, or anyone else, put ourselves in the place of determining who does, or who does not have eternal life, we are playing god.
We featured a great article a few years back on this topic. Please see link here: Why We Can’t Judge Whether or Not Someone Possesses Eternal Life
If you are a Christian, please pray for Joshua Harris, and also for his human judges.
And, if you would like to know how to have eternal life, click here: The Gospel