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"Christians who fall away never were saved to begin with" (1 John 2:19)

Updated: Mar 11, 2021

By Luke Lancaster

Some Protestant-Christians will say that when Christians are saved, that this is a grace that will never be undone. That would mean that no Christian can go to Hell. To combat this statement, Catholics will point out that there are many Christians who lose their faith or fall into serious sins. Realizing the truth of this, Protestants will then attempt to argue that such Christians were never Christians to begin with. That way, they can keep their doctrine of eternal security or once-saved-always-saved. To prove this point, they will frequently turn to 1 John 2:19. Let's analyze this text.

1 John 2:19

In this passage, St. John writes about anti-Christs who had left the Christian community but were never truly of them. Protestants will say that this passage indicates that Christians who fall away from the faith or fall into serious sin never really were saved to begin with. However, this is a faulty line of reasoning.

First off, the people who never were of them were "anti-Christs." Now, that doesn't sound like a normal Christian who falls away. Rather, these "anti-Christs" were false teachers, claiming that Jesus was not the Messiah or the Son of God (1 Jn. 2:22). Such false teachers were acting as if they were good teachers but really were not. They were not sent to teach but were a group who came from another place, and they acted like they were saved. Operating by stealth, they pretended to play the game.

Somebody who denies that Jesus is the Christ or denies the Father and the Son are not Christians at all. This text is about a particular group who truly had not ever been saved. How could somebody get baptized and live a good life when they did not accept such a basic doctrine as the Father and the Son?

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