The Teachings of

Zane Hodges, Joseph Dillow, Robert Wilkin
(The Grace Evangelical Society)

and the extreme teachings of J. D. Faust

Assurance of Salvation and Continuance in the Faith

Hodges and Dillow teach that you undermine a person’s assurance of salvation if you tell him that continuance in the faith is an evidence of genuine salvation.  Their argument goes something like this:  "Since you do not know if you will continue in the faith until the end of your life, then you can never have assurance of salvation.  Since there is always the possibility that you will depart from the faith, you can never know for sure that you are saved." 

For a detailed discussion of Hodges and Dillow and their teaching on assurance see Hodges, Dillow, Wilkin (GES), and Faust---Their Teaching on Assurance of Salvation.

An illustration of security is given to us in Acts 27. In this case the issue is not eternal security but the security and safety of Paul and the others who were with him in the ship in the midst of a terrible storm.

Notice that God’s sure promise is given in a twofold way:

1. NONE WILL BE LOST: "And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship" (Acts 27:22).

This reminds us of God’s promise to the believer that none shall be lost: "And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day" (John 6:39).

2. ALL WILL BE SAVED: "Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee" (Acts 27:24).

This reminds us of God’s promise to the believer that all will be saved: "And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:40).

In spite of God’s promise to these crewmen, Paul told them something very amazing. He gave them a very strong warning that if they did not remain in the ship they would perish: "Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved" (Acts 27:31). This warning was necessary because in verse 30 we see that the crewmen were about to abandon ship and if they had done this the results would have been disastrous. These men responded in the right way to Paul’s warning. They all remained in the ship and they were all saved: "And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land" (Acts 27:44).

Every true believer is on the "ship of faith." He is safe and secure on this ship and God promises him a safe journey even through dangerous waters. And yet, often believers are given strong warnings to "stay in the ship" (that is, to continue in the faith and not to abandon the faith). Some of these warnings and exhortations are as follows:

ACTS 14:22— "continue in the faith" (compare Col. 1:23)

ACTS 13:43— "continue in the grace of God"

Compare also Hebrews 3:6,12,14; 1 Cor. 15:2— "HOLD FAST!"

Hodges and Dillow strongly object to telling a person that if he does not continue in the faith then he cannot be saved. They say that this undermines assurance of salvation. Their teaching is that a person is saved whether he continues in the faith or not. He can abandon the faith and still be saved.

Going back to the illustration found in Acts 27: Hodges and Dillow would apparently object to Paul’s warning that if the crewmen did not stay in the ship they could not be saved. They might say, "But did not God promise that they would be saved? Would not they be saved whether they stayed in the ship or not?" No, had they abandoned ship their lives would have been lost. God used Paul’s warning as a means of keeping these crewmen safe, just as God uses the very strong warnings in the New Testament as a means of keeping His true believers safe and on the ship of faith.

To say that God keeps believers safe even if they abandon the faith is contrary to 1 Peter 1:5— "Who are kept by the power of God THROUGH FAITH unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." How does God keep us? God keeps us THROUGH FAITH, not apart from faith. Christ intercedes for His own that their faith will not fail (Luke 22:32). Hodges and Dillow teach that the true believer can have eternal security apart from faith!

It may seem contradictory that God can promise us eternal safety and yet at the same time issue strong warnings that if we abandon the faith we are not safe! But keep in mind that God uses these warnings as a means of keeping us on the ship of faith. The teaching of Hodges and Dillow is that the believer can abandon ship and fall overboard and still be safe.

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