A Charge to Keep I Have
If I My Trust Betray
I Shall Forever Die!

"Theology of Despair"

By Bob Wilkin

For about 8 years I was involved in a religious boy’s club. We played basketball, baseball, and tackle football. And we received religious instruction. My parents didn’t realize it, but this instruction was highly legalistic.

I remember one song we used to sing often at camp. It is called A Charge to Keep I Have.

Recently I was listening to an MP3 recording of a message given at the Evangelical Theological Society annual meeting and the speaker, a Wesleyan, mentioned this song and a fourth verse that I don’t remember singing. The speaker pointed out proudly that this fourth verse accurately expresses what Free Methodists believe.

Here is the fourth verse:

Help me to watch and pray,
And on Thyself rely,
Assured, if I my trust betray,
I shall forever die.

Those last two lines shock me: “Assured, if I my trust betray, I shall forever die.”

The speaker said that if unless we keep the trust which God has committed to us, we shall forever die. While all Arminians believe it, I found it amazing that anyone would revel in this theology of despair. Whereas Free Grace people revel in assurance of our eternal security by faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, some actually rejoice in their assurance that if they betray their trust they shall forever die.

I’m glad that the Lord delivered me from that way of thinking.

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