Robert N. Wilkin
There have not been many books written on assurance of salvation. Assurance of Salvation (hereafter AOS) is a revised version of Hoskinson’s 2005 doctoral dissertation at Bob Jones University.1 Most of AOS fails to examine NT texts dealing with assurance of salvation, with Hoskinson focusing primarily on “a New Testament Theology of Hope.”2 However, hope in the NT rarely refers to assurance of everlasting life. Therefore, in this review I will focus primarily on chapter 2, “Contemporary Views on Assurance.”3
II. TWO ASSURANCE VIEWS WHICH HOSKINSON REJECTS: FREE GRACE AND ARMINIAN
Hoskinson coins expressions for what he considers to be the three main views of assurance of salvation today. He calls them “the present only view”4 (i.e., Arminian), “the time of conversion view”5 (i.e., Free Grace), and “the composite view”6 (i.e., Reformed Lordship Salvation).
A. The Present Only View (Arminian)
Hoskinson’s discussion of the present only view is a bit misleading. He suggests that Arminians are sure they are saved now, but are unsure that they will remain saved: “adherents of this position affirm the possibility of assurance of only present salvation, denying that believers can have assurance of final salvation.”7 He also says that they teach that, “All believers may enjoy a present assurance of their present salvation” and that “While assurance of present salvation is possible, assurance of final salvation is not.”8
This is misleading because Arminians, like Calvinists, cannot be sure that they are saved now or that they will be saved at the end of their lives. (And most Calvinists, like Hoskinson, believe it is impossible to be sure of “final salvation.”) Present certainty would mean that an Arminian was sure he was currently doing enough good works and avoiding enough bad works to qualify for salvation if he died. Since there is no Biblical passage explaining how to quantify one’s good and bad deeds, no Arminian can be sure he had done enough to be presently saved. All the Arminian can do is have some level of confidence that he has a chance.
Of course, since Hoskinson does not believe that assurance is certainty, he can speak of Arminians having present assurance of their salvation.
It should be noted that while Hoskinson often distinguishes between “present salvation” and “future salvation,” for Free Grace people, there is no distinction. When someone believes in Christ for everlasting life, his salvation is final (e.g., John 3:16-18; 5:24; 11:26). Once saved, always saved. Present salvation is final salvation. There is no other kind.
However, for Arminians there is a present provisional salvation and a possible future final salvation. Even many Calvinists like Hoskinson speak of final salvation and distinguish it from present salvation.9
B. The Time of Conversion View (Free Grace)
This is Hoskinson’s name for the Free Grace view, or at least the view of many Free Grace people.10 This is the idea that at least at the time a person is born again, he is sure he has everlasting life.
Hoskinson correctly notes that in this view, God’s promise of everlasting life to the believer is the sole means of assurance. And he rightly says this view teaches that assurance is of the essence of saving faith.11
Though elsewhere Hoskinson is quite irenic toward views with which he disagrees (e.g., see his discussion of the present only view), here he is a bit more confrontational. He writes, “Supporters so meld saving faith with assurance that, in their minds, one who lacks the latter does not apprehend the former. Worse yet, one who professes faith in Christ without a sense of confidence has not truly believed in Christ.”12
The Free Grace view does not say that if a person lacks assurance, then he is unsaved. Hoskinson misrepresents our view in the first sentence just cited. Instead, we teach that at the moment of faith in Christ, a person is sure of his salvation, but that later loss of assurance is possible. Hence, someone who lacks assurance now might have believed in Christ for everlasting life in the past. However, if a person has never believed Jesus’ promise of everlasting life to the believer, that is, if he has never been sure of his eternal destiny, then he has not yet been born again.
III. HOSKINSON’S ASSURANCE VIEW: REFORMED LORDSHIP SALVATION
Hoskinson calls the third view, the one he favors, the “Composite View.” He suggests that it is a combination of views one and two. While he doesn’t directly call the composite view the Lordship Salvation view, he refers to Lordship Salvation often while explaining and defending his view. For example,
Because of the current debate over Lordship Salvation and its integral connection with the doctrine of assurance, it is not surprising that much of the contemporary literature on assurance flows from this controversy. MacArthur’s first book on the subject emphasizes the necessity of good works for assurance of salvation.13
The evidence Hoskinson gives for seeing the Reformed Lordship Salvation view as a composite of the Arminian and Free Grace views is weak.
The Free Grace view of assurance was not widely held until the Marrow Controversy in the eighteenth century.
The Reformed view preceded the Arminian view historically. Arminius was a Calvinist, trained at the Geneva Academy under Theodore Beza. But while there, he began to feel that the system needed changes, leading to the development of Arminian theology.14
The Reformed view of assurance existed before the Arminian and Free Grace views. Hence, the Reformed view of assurance cannot be a composite of them, since it came earlier.
Hoskinson says the Reformed view “affirms the primacy of the objective means of assurance, as does the Time of Conversion View.”15 But that is misleading. The Free Grace view is not that God’s Word is primary in assurance, but that it is all we need for certainty of our salvation.16
By contrast, the Reformed view says that God’s Word is one of three sources and that it is insufficient by itself to grant assurance.17 Indeed, even all three sources together (the Word, the inner witness of the Holy Spirit, and the works the Holy Spirit produces) are insufficient to gain certainty. The Reformed view offers varying degrees of confidence, but not certainty.
Hoskinson’s comparison of the Reformed and Arminian views is more accurate. He says both “leave room for the subjective means as a secondary source for assurance.”18 Both teach “that those who apostatize will not enjoy final salvation.”19 By apostatize, he does not simply mean a doctrinal falling away. Both Calvinists and Arminians say that in order to gain what they call final salvation one must persevere in both faith and good works. Falling away morally or doctrinally sends one to Hades and ultimately the lake of fire.
The Reformed and Arminian views of assurance of everlasting life are so similar that we might call them the same view.
It would be more accurate to say that there are two major views of assurance today: the Calvinist/Arminian view (some level of confidence, but not certainty) and the Free Grace view (certainty, not some level of confidence).
In fact, we might even list different types of Calvinist-Arminian views of assurance. For example, in his 2017 book Knowing and Growing in Assurance of Faith, Joel Beeke actually lists eleven views of assurance which he considers false (two of which, numbers 3 and 9, are decidedly Calvinistic views, and several others are held by some Calvinists; for example, number 4 is held by some charismatic Calvinists):
- “Automatic assurance teaches that if you believe, assurance is automatic.” 20
- “External assurance is usually assurance that is based on what others say about a person—such as an evangelist, a pastor, or a priest.”21
- “Hyper-Calvinistic assurance is assurance that goes beyond Calvin’s teaching…One form places the promises of God and faith in the background and the marks of grace and mystical experiences…in the foreground. Another form of Hyper-Calvinism embraces antinomianism…which downplays obedience to the Ten Commandments as well as sanctifying marks and fruits of grace and instead relies primarily on spiritual, mystical experiences for assurance.”22
- “Emotional assurance gets its assurance out of a frenzied kind of feeling which has no objective basis in the Scriptures. Closely associated with this is ‘charismatic assurance’ based on a kind of second blessing, such as speaking in tongues. Nowhere does Scripture commend such emotion-based assurance.”23
- “Minimalistic assurance is assurance that easily excuses sin and a lifestyle that doesn’t aim to please God. It thrives on excuses and avoids bringing the soul to the bar of God’s Word.”24
- “Legalistic assurance says that if I can only do certain good deeds in my own strength I can be assured that I am saved. This kind of assurance usually substitutes a man-made list of do’s and don’ts for God’s commandments in order to reduce things to a manageable level, thus promoting a sort of man-centered holiness.”25
- “Temperamental assurance is based on innate self-confidence. Some people are very self-confident by nature and they are naturally going to have much more confidence about their state.”26
- “Presumptuous assurance says, ‘I am saved, and I am sure of it, so it doesn’t matter how I live. I can do what I want; it doesn’t matter all that much if I sin, for my sins are forgiven; I am a son of God.’”27
- “Hyper-covenantal assurance is a form of presumptuous assurance that bases its presumption on membership in the church as a covenant community…Most commonly, this assurance is strongly promoted in those Reformed and Presbyterian churches that embrace some form of ‘presumptive regeneration,’ ‘dormant regeneration,’ or ‘covenantal regeneration’—that is, that the children of believers are deemed to have been regenerated in infancy, so believing parents are to rear them with the conviction that they are already saved, and hence do not need to tell them that they need new hearts (cf. John 3:3-8).”28
- “Promise-only assurance is assurance much like presumptuous assurance, only its focus is exclusively on the gospel promises of Christ as the all-in-all of assurance. Ministers who embrace this view often preach like this to their people: ‘If you believe in Christ and trust in His promises only for salvation, you can be sure that you are saved. Then you don’t need to examine your own soul and conscience for the marks and fruits of grace. Don’t look at anything inside yourself; look only to Jesus.’”29
- “Unexamined assurance refuses to allow itself to be inspected or examined to see whether it is real or not, contrary to 2 Corinthians 13:5.”30
While four of those views are essentially the same view (1, 8, 10, and 11),31 Beeke does provide about nine different views, not counting his own (views 3 and 4 are each subdivided into two separate views).
Beeke calls his own view “True Assurance” and indicates that, “The essence of assurance is living in Christ.”32 “Do I have some measure of saving faith? Do I entrust my life with all my sins into the hands of Christ? Do I trust in the promises of God?”33 “Assurance comes through diligent pursuit of godliness (2 Pet. 1:5-10) and prayer (Phil. 4:6, 7)…Even if you lack assurance, keep exercising love, faith, and obedience toward God.”34
Beeke’s Knowing and Growing in Assurance of Faith came out seven years after Hoskinson’s Assurance of Salvation. So, in one sense it is unfair to expect that Hoskinson could discuss all the views Beeke does. However, Beeke wrote his dissertation in 198835 and his book The Quest for Full Assurance in 1999.36 While he does not lay out all eleven views, the roots of four of those views are found in his 1999 work.37
Besides, Hoskinson certainly should have been able to examine the literature and find examples of many of Beeke’s eleven views, just as Beeke himself did.
IV. HOSKINSON’S FOCUS ON HOPE IS MISGUIDED
Four of the six chapters in this book have the word hope in their title: “Abraham and Hope” (Chap. 3), “Hope in the New Testament Historical Books” (Chap. 4), “Hope in Paul’s Writings” (Chap. 5), and “Hope in the General Epistles” (Chap. 6). Clearly Hoskinson believes that hope (elpis in Greek) is a NT synonym for assurance of everlasting life.
But it is not.
The word hope in the NT is used in two major ways: 1) an expectation or desire for something to occur and 2) an eager anticipation of something that is known will occur in the future.
The first of those uses concerns things which are not certain. For example, “I hope to see you on my journey” (Rom 15:24); “He who plows should plow in hope” (1 Cor 9:10); “These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly” (1 Tim 3:14).
The second of these uses concerns things which are certain, but which are yet future. For example, “in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began” (Titus 1:2);38 “Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13); “Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 1:13).
There are very few uses of elpis (and the verb elpizō) that refer to anything akin to assurance of everlasting life. Even Titus 1:2 is looking at the fuller experience of eternal life that awaits us. 1 Peter 1:13 is similar. Titus 2:13 concerns assurance of the rapture.
But Hoskinson does not point out that hope in the NT sometimes refers to that which is certain, but future. Since for him assurance of everlasting life is not certain, whatever hope is cannot be certain either. In addition, Hoskinson does not focus on the few uses of hope which refer to something future yet certain that is related to our certainty of everlasting life (e.g., resurrection, glorification, and rapture).
For instance, when discussing John 5:45 (“Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust [or hope, from elpizō]), Hoskinson says, “Truly believing Moses demands truly believing Christ.”39 And how does one truly believe Christ? Hoskinson says that “those who have set their hope in Christ ensure that they have exercised saving faith.” He implies, but does not say here, that the way in which one ensures he has truly believed in Christ is by examining his works. See the section below on practical ramifications of his view for clear evidence that Hoskinson believes that one must examine his works to find evidence that he truly believes in Christ.
What Hoskinson should have done was examine all the uses of the words believe (pisteuō) and faith (pistis) in the NT. To believe in Christ is to be assured or persuaded or convinced that He indeed guarantees everlasting life to all who believe in Him for it (cf. John 3:16; 5:24; 6:47; 11:25-27; Acts 16:31; Gal 2:16; Eph 2:8-9; 1 Tim 1:16).
Hoskinson suggests we should be hope-so Christians. I hope I gain final salvation. I hope I don’t end up being eternally condemned.40
But the Bible says we should be know-so Christians (e.g., John 11:25-27; 2 Tim 1:12; 1 John 5:13). I know I have everlasting life that can never be lost. I know I will never be condemned. I am sure I will never come into judgment regarding my eternal destiny. I am certain that I am secure in Christ.
V. HOSKINSON VIEWS ASSURANCE AS LESS THAN CERTAINTY
If assurance can grow, as Hoskinson says or implies throughout the book,41 including being the second point in his appendix (“A Believer’s Assurance Grows over Time”), then it clearly is not certainty. If a person is certain, there can be no increase in certainty. Either one is certain or uncertain.
Hoskinson writes, “a believer’s assurance is dynamic, not static. In other words, one’s confidence concerning his standing before God may actually grow as time passes.”42 He ends his discussion on the growth of assurance over time by favorably citing Schreiner and Caneday:
While we are traveling on our faith journey—or, perhaps better, while we are running the marathon to obtain the prize—assurance is not a fixed entity. On the whole, it should grow and increase. Our growth in assurance is like a spiral, not in a direct and straight line upwards, but overall there is more certainty about our status with God as we run the race. At times we may regress in our assurance, but the general pattern is one of progress and advancement.43
Hoskinson’s view is that everlasting life is a prize to be won by continuing to run the race of the Christian life. Assurance, which in the composite view is not an aid in running the race, but instead a result of how well one is doing in the race, never reaches the point of certainty. It can’t, because perseverance to the end of the race is the condition of gaining the prize, which the composite view believes in everlasting life. Earlier, in the same book that Hoskinson quotes from, Schreiner and Caneday give more explanation about winning the prize: “Warnings and admonitions call for faith that endures to receive the prize. The prize is salvation, eternal life.”44 They add, “If one abandons the race one will not receive the prize.”45 While Schreiner and Caneday are Calvinists—like Hoskinson they believe that everlasting life is “final salvation.” They all believe that no one has “final salvation” yet. No one can lose what he does not have. Hence, they believe that the eternal destiny of believers is in doubt until the day they die.
When discussing the Arminian view of assurance, he says, “In spite of its view on [the necessity of] perseverance [to retain one’s salvation], however, this school of thought does not deny the possibility of any assurance for the believer.”46 The reason Hoskinson does not disparage the Arminian view of assurance is because it is essentially the same as his view. The composite view is essentially the same as the present only view.
Hoskinson’s book is opposed to the idea that one can be sure that he is eternally secure prior to death. As we will see in the next section (practical ramifications), if people were sure they were eternally secure now and forever, then in his view the warning passages in Scripture would not do their work. Believers would fail to persevere in faith and good works and would miss out on what Hoskinson calls final salvation. They would end up in the lake of fire because they were misled by Free Grace people.47
VI. PRACTICAL RAMIFICATIONS OF HOSKINSON’S VIEW
The expression assurance of salvation means many things for Hoskinson and those who share his composite view. It can refer to assurance of present salvation. That is, I am confident that I have everlasting life right now, but I know I might fail to persevere and if so, I would never get final salvation. Or, it can refer to assurance of final salvation. That is, I can have some level of confidence that I will finally be saved in the future. Often, however, he uses the expression in a general way that seems to include both assurance of present and final salvation. Most references to assurance of salvation in AOS do not mention whether the salvation in view is present or final.
But since assurance of salvation is not all or nothing for Hoskinson, one’s assurance of final salvation can be wide ranging from weak to moderate to strong to full assurance.
Assurance of final salvation requires both the objective promises of God and subjective factors such as feelings and perseverance in faith and good works. Even full assurance is not certainty. After discussing the objective side of assurance—in which he speaks of God’s character, His promises (“specifically those that emphasize the divine initiative in the salvific process”),48 and “the work of God in Christ (e.g., election, justification, propitiation),” Hoskinson writes,
On the subjective side, theologians must carefully teach that a faith that saves is a faith that endures, all the while maintaining sola fide [by faith alone]. One whose faith truly rests on Christ will finally persevere in faith and obedience. Maintaining a biblical emphasis on this secondary yet necessary means of assurance will help believers see biblical exhortations and warnings as God’s method for sanctifying them. As they persevere and grow in character, their hope will grow as well (Ro 5:3-5). Consequently, theologians must instruct believers to expect such growth in their confidence, rather than reducing assurance of salvation to a point-in-time decision that may not necessarily resolve the issue.49
He concludes by looking back at the objective means of assurance, which he considers primary (though not enough):
In the end, the character, promises, and work of God in Christ are the primary basis for the believer’s assurance of final salvation. Looking to Christ in faith gives believers the full assurance of their future hope and impels them to pursue Him in holiness.50
Practically speaking, Hoskinson’s view means that a Christian cannot know where he will spend eternity until he dies. He may have varying degrees of confidence or hope that he will gain final salvation. But since only those who persevere in faith and good works will gain this final salvation, no one can be sure.
Passages dealing with eternal rewards are understood by Hoskinson to refer to final salvation.51 Hence in his view there are no eternal rewards. Final salvation is itself a reward (or prize) for our perseverance in faith and good works.52
There is little difference between Hoskinson’s view and the Arminian view (the present only view). Admittedly, unlike Arminians, Hoskinson does not say that a believer can lose his salvation. But when he says, “biblical exhortations and warnings” are the “secondary yet necessary means of assurance,” he shows that the difference is one of semantics.
Hoskinson never explains how his view impacts evangelism. Presumably he tells people that all who truly believe in Jesus as their Savior will be saved now and will one day gain final salvation if they prove they truly believe by persevering in faith and good works. That seems to be a reasonable conclusion from his closing words in the penultimate paragraph in the conclusion, cited above: “theologians must instruct believers to expect such growth in their confidence, rather than reducing assurance of salvation to a point-in-time decision that may not necessarily resolve the issue.”53
When summarizing the three views, he gives a strong indication of what he would say when he evangelized someone. Hoskinson explains his view of saving faith in this way by quoting favorably from Bruce Demarest, “Saving faith includes ‘knowledge of Christ’s person and saving work,’ ‘emotional assent of the heart to the realities they signify,’ and ‘wholehearted trust and commitment to Christ, evidenced by obedience and good works.’”54 He adds, this time favorably citing Wayne Grudem, “‘Only those who persevere until the end are truly born again.’”55 Concerning apostasy, quoting MacArthur, he says that “‘Those who turn away completely…demonstrate that they never had true faith.’”56 Finally, concerning the means of assurance, he cites Schreiner and Caneday, “‘Our assurance in faith depends on a three-legged stool: (1) God’s promises (2) the fruit of the Spirit in our lives and (3) the [inner] witness of the Holy Spirit.’”57 Surely all of those points would come out when Hoskinson evangelized someone, for he is seeking to lead people to what he calls true saving faith.
While I am glad to have another book on assurance, I am disappointed that it is not presenting an accurate view of the NT teaching on assurance. It is good, of course, that he cites leading Free Grace people such as Zane Hodges, Jody Dillow, R. T. Kendall, Michael Eaton, Charles Stanley, Charles Ryrie, and me. However, I wish he had given more detailed quotes, especially showing our explanations for our interpretations of various passages.
AOS is easy to follow. However, it is not well organized. Hoskinson bites off entire sections of the NT in Chaps. 4-6. It would have been more reader-friendly if he had chosen ten or so key texts and covered each text in detail, one chapter per text. In that way he could have explained why Free Grace people take a given text in a certain way. And he could defend his understanding of those texts.
It is unfortunate that AOS lacks both a Scripture index and a subject index.
Drawing from Hoskinson’s own concluding paragraphs, we can summarize AOS in two sentences: Assurance of salvation is the flexible and ever-changing less than certain degree of confidence one has that he will gain the prize of final salvation when he dies. In order to have some degree of assurance of salvation, one must believe the revelation of God’s character and work in His Word and one must steadily grow in personal character and holy conduct, ultimately persevering in faith and good works until death.
The problem with Hoskinson’s work is that he is wrong on both points. First, assurance of salvation is certainty regarding my eternal destiny. It is not some degree of confidence. Second, the basis of assurance of salvation is solely in the promises in God’s Word that the one who believes in Jesus has everlasting life and will never be condemned.
I recommend this work for well-grounded believers only. Free Grace pastors and theologians probably should read it. But it is not a book for new believers or for believers who are not yet well established in the faith.
1 Matthew C. Hoskinson, Assurance of Salvation: Implications of a New Testament Theology of Hope (Greenville, SC: Bob Jones University Press, 2010).
2 That is the subtitle of the book (minus the words Implications of).
3 Since he discusses the contemporary views in his conclusion (pp. 196-213) and in his appendix (pp. 214-18), those sections will receive primary attention as well.
4 Hoskinson, Assurance, 52-57, 70-72, 196-200, 205-208, 211-12, 214-18, passim.
5 Ibid., 57-63, 70-72, 196-200, 205-207, 209, 211-12, 214-18, passim.
6 Ibid., 63-72, 196-200, 205-207, 210-12, 214-18, passim.
7 Ibid., 52.
8 Ibid., 55.
9 For example, see Hoskinson, Assurance, 52, 53, 54, 63, 64, 67, 69, 71, 93, 104, 107, 116, 138, 148, 151, 157, 158, 161, 200, 202, 203, 208, 211, 213, 218. He also uses the synonymous expression ultimate salvation (e.g., pp. 149, 150, 156).
10 Not all Free Grace people agree that assurance is of the essence of saving faith. Indeed, outside of GES circles, the prevailing Free Grace view seems to be that assurance is not of the essence of saving faith.
11 Hoskinson rejects the Free Grace understanding of assurance being of the essence of saving faith, that when one believes in Christ for everlasting life (1 Tim 1:16), then he is certain that he has that life now and forever. However, he is willing to accept the expression assurance is of the essence of saving faith if we define assurance as he does, as some degree of confidence that I’m saved now and that I’ll make it into Christ’s kingdom (cf. Hoskinson, Assurance, 31-39). If at the moment of faith, a person had no confidence at all that he was saved in the present, let alone confidence that he will be finally saved in the future, then Hoskinson would say that he had not yet truly believed in Christ. He writes, “Identifying a lack of confidence as one extreme and self-confidence as the other, Calvin charts a ‘middle course’ expounded in Philippians 2:12-13: ‘Work out [your] own salvation with fear and trembling, because it is God that worketh in [you] to will and perform’” (39).
12 Hoskinson, Assurance, 59.
13 Ibid., 9-10. On pages 64 and 180, Hoskinson directly indicates that MacArthur holds to the composite view: “Representing the Composite View, John F. MacArthur, Jr. states…” (p. 170). Hoskinson cites MacArthur repeatedly in this book, citing from three of his books. Hoskinson also refers to Lordship Salvation on page 70. Throughout the book he favorably cites other leading Lordship Salvation advocates as well, including D. A. Carson, Thomas Schreiner, Ardel Caneday, Michael Horton, and Wayne Grudem.
14 See https://www.christianitytoday.com/history/people/theologians/jacobarminius.html. Accessed July 23, 2019.
15 Hoskinson, Assurance, 63.
16 See Bob Wilkin, “Certainty: The Definition of Assurance” (https://faithalone.org/magazine/y2004/04D1.html); Zane C. Hodges, “Assurance: Of the Essence of Saving Faith” (https://faithalone.org/journal/1997i/Hodges.html); and Zane C. Hodges, “We Believe in: Assurance of Salvation” (https://faithalone.org/journal/1990ii/Hodges.html).
17 See Hoskinson, Assurance, 199. See also Joel R. Beeke, Knowing and Growing in Assurance of Faith (London: Christian Focus Publications, 2017), 75-87. In his conclusion of a chapter on “Assurance from God’s Promises,” Beeke writes, “subjective evidence, though necessary, must always be regarded as secondary, for it is often mixed with human convictions and feelings even when it gazes upon the work of God” (87, emphasis added).
18 Hoskinson, Assurance, 63.
19 Ibid., 64.
20 Beeke, Knowing and Growing, 60.
21 Ibid., 61.
22 Ibid., 62.
25 Ibid., 63.
28 Ibid., 64.
29 Ibid., 64-65.
30 Ibid., 65.
31 View 8 is a caricature of the Free Grace view. The other three views (1, 10, and 11) are the Free Grace view, though Beeke is less than charitable in the way he phrases his explanations.
32 Beeke, Knowing and Growing, 66.
33 Ibid., 68.
34 Ibid., 71.
35 Joel R. Beeke, “Personal Assurance of Faith: English Puritanism and the Dutch ‘Nadere Reformatie’: From Westminster to Alexander Comrie (1640-1760)” (Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Dissertation Services, 1990).
36 Joel R. Beeke, The Quest for Full Assurance (Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1999).
37 Beeke’s views 3, 4, 10, and 11 are essentially found in The Quest for Full Assurance, 280-84.
38 While believers already have everlasting life (John 3:16; 5:24; 6:47), Paul is talking here of the fullness of everlasting life that the believer will have when Christ returns. Then we will put off our mortal bodies and gain glorified bodies. We will never sin again. Nor will we ever suffer pain, aging, or death again.
39 Hoskinson, Assurance, 124.
40 Hoskinson chastises Free Grace people, mentioning Hodges, me, and Keathley for “so meld[ing] saving faith with assurance that, in their minds, one who lacks the latter does not apprehend the former. Worse yet, one who professes faith in Christ without a sense of confidence has not truly believed Christ” (p. 59). He fails to point out that Free Grace people say that assurance can be lost. Our point is that in order to be born again one must believe the promise of everlasting life. When a person believes in Christ for everlasting life, he is sure. But if his certainty later departs, he remains eternally secure. Hoskinson counters that assurance is indeed possessed by true believers most of the time and that if it is lost, “his confidence in God’s promises will return” (p. 59). But he is not talking about certainty. He is talking about some degree of confidence, that is, hope-so, not know-so, Christianity.
41 Hoskinson, Assurance, 63-72, 99-100, 104-107, 167-68, 195, 196-213.
42 Ibid., 216.
43 Ibid., 217-18, note 4. The citation is from Thomas Schreiner and Ardel Caneday, The Race Set Before Us: A Biblical Theology of Perseverance and Assurance (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2001), 276, emphasis added.
44 Schreiner and Caneday, The Race, 40.
46 Hoskinson, Assurance, 52.
47 See note 40.
48 Amazingly, Hoskinson does not mention the promise of everlasting life to whoever believes in the Lord Jesus Christ (e.g., John 3:16; 5:24; 6:47; 11:25-27; 20:31; Acts 16:31; Gal 2:16; Eph 2:8-9; Rev 22:17) in his summary of the objective means of assurance.
49 Hoskinson, Assurance, 213, emphasis added.
51 Ibid., 39 (Phil 2:12), 157-59 (Col 1:21-23), 188-89 (Heb 3:6), 189-90 (Heb 10:23), 193-95 (Heb 3:14).
52 Ibid., 217-18, note 4.
53 Ibid., 213.
54 Ibid., 198. From Bruce A. Demarest, The Cross and Salvation: The Doctrine of Salvation (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1997), 259-60.
55 Ibid. From Wayne Grudem, “Perseverance of the Saints,” in Still Sovereign: Contemporary Perspectives on Election, Foreknowledge, and Grace, ed. Thomas R. Schreiner and Bruce A. Ware (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2000), 182.
56 Ibid. From John F. MacArthur, “Perseverance of the Saints,” Master’s Seminary Journal (Spring 1993): 23.
57 Ibid., 199. From Schreiner and Caneday, The Race, 276.