Perseverance of the Saints in Islam and Calvinism
Updated: Feb 9, 2020
The Calvinistic doctrine of perseverance of the saints (the 'P' in TULIP) is the one that is most confusing to some because there are a range of common definitions for it. The range of definitions is based on how much or how many good works the person defining it believes are required to prove that a person has been predestined by God to believe. This could also be called "evidence of salvation." The beliefs in Islam mesh with some definitions of perseverance of the saints, depending on which person is defining it. In the context of this post, definition number 1 is what is often paired up with the doctrine called "once saved always saved," a doctrine on salvation that is 100% true. Definition number 2 is what will be compared to Islam's beliefs.
Perseverance of the Saints: a person who truly believes will not stop believing and they have a 100% chance of going to Heaven when they die. There are no good works or deeds required to prove that this person truly believes. (Voluntary Faith Alone)
Perseverance of the Saints: a person who is predestined by God to truly believe will not stop believing and they have a 100% chance of going to Heaven when they die. The true believer will do good works/deeds in addition to their faith, and will persevere in both their faith and good works/deeds until the end of their life. Examples of these are study of the believer's most trusted religious sources, repenting of sin, prayer, attending of religious services, etc. (Forced Faith + Works/Deeds)
The Calvinist and Islamic View of Perseverance of the Saints
It is important to know how Calvinism can deceive people into believing that they preach salvation by faith alone, when they actually don't. Calvinism is a combination of love bombing and emotional abuse. They start by preaching a form of the gospel, move on to predestination, and end with works. When a person gets roped into this, it causes them to do things like praying, going to Church, repenting of sin, and other things as an attempt to convince themselves that they have been predestined.
The following video can be found here.
(Calvinism) The Westminster Confession of Faith Ch.11 Sec.2: "Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and his righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification: yet is not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love."
This is just a repackaging of Martin Luther's statement "We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone." This logical contradiction is what fools people into believing their false gospel.
(Calvinism) The Westminster Confession of Faith Ch.15 Sec.6: “As every man is bound to make private confession of his sins to God, praying for the pardon thereof upon which, and the forsaking of them, he shall find mercy;”
(Calvinism) The Westminster Confession of Faith Ch.15 Sec.3: “Although repentance be not to be rested in, as any satisfaction for sin, or any cause of the pardon thereof, which is the act of God's free grace in Christ; yet it is of such necessity to all sinners, that none may expect pardon without it.”
They say we should not trust in our forsaking of sins, but God will not forgive us unless we do? If something is required to attain God's favor, then it is something that you have to trust in.
(Calvinism) The Westminster Confession of Faith Ch.16 Sec.2: “These good works, done in obedience to God's commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith: and by them believers manifest their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, edify their brethren, adorn the profession of the Gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and glorify God, whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto; that, having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end eternal life.”
Here we go. They say that a person's works are evidence of their faith and that doing these works strengthen so-called believers' assurance. If a person has to do works to prove to themselves that they have faith in Christ, they don't have any faith in Christ. That person is not saved at all because they are actually fully trusting in their works for their salvation, and not in believing on Christ for the free gift of eternal life. Calvinism gives no assurance.
If Calvinism preaches Faith + Works, but says that a person's works are the evidence of their faith to "strengthen their assurance," then their Faith + Works false gospel message becomes Works + Works, a full works based salvation. This message being preached by them is a lie.
Islam preaches the same message without trying to convince people that it is by faith alone. In the Quran, it is not uncommon to see the phrase "believes and does good deeds" or a form of it in any chapter. This is because Islam is a religion that, although it has the same doctrines as Calvinism, it just flat out says what its teachings are instead of implying it for fear of offending people.
(Islam) Quran 2:81-82 Abdel Haleem Translation: "81 Truly those who do evil and are surrounded by their sins will be the inhabitants of the Fire, there to remain, 82 while those who believe and do good deeds will be the inhabitants of the Garden, there to remain.
(Islam) Quran 4:65-66 Abdel Haleem Translation: "65 By your Lord, they will not be true believers until they let you decide between them in all matters of dispute, and find no resistance in their souls to your decisions, accepting them totally– – 66 if We had ordered, ‘Lay down your lives’ or ‘Leave your homes,’ they would not have done so, except for a few–– it would have been far better for them and stronger confirmation of their faith, if they had done as they were told,"
(Islam) Quran 8:1-4 Abdel Haleem Translation: "1 They ask you [Prophet] about [distributing] the battle gains. Say, ‘That is a matter for God and His Messenger, so be mindful of God and make things right between you. Obey God and His Messenger if you are true believers: 2 true believers are those whose hearts tremble with awe when God is mentioned, whose faith increases when His revelations are recited to them, who put their trust in their Lord, 3 who keep up the prayer and give to others out of what We provide for them. 4 Those are the ones who truly believe. They have high standing with their Lord, forgiveness, and generous provision.’"
(Islam) Quran 24:62 Abdel Haleem Translation: "62 The true believers are those who believe in God and His Messenger, who, when they are gathered with him on a communal matter, do not depart until they have asked his permission–– those who ask your permission [Prophet] are the ones who truly believe in God and His Messenger. When they ask your permission to attend to their private affairs, allow whoever you see fit and ask God to forgive them. God is most forgiving and merciful."
(Islam) Sahih Muslim 6724 The Book of Al-Qadr: "One of you may do the deeds of the people of Paradise until there is nothing between him and it but a cubit, then the Decree overtakes him and he does the deeds of the people of the Fire and enters it. And one of you may do the deeds of the people of the Fire until there is nothing between him and it but a cubit, then the Decree overtakes him and he does the deeds of the people of Paradise, and enters it."
We see the same group dynamic shown in these Quran verses in many churches today. The idea of "don't question Muhammad" is the same thing that you will see when some so-called Christians say "don't question our pastor." The Bible tells us to "prove all things" because people will ask questions.
Refuting Calvinism and Islam's View of Perseverance of the Saints
The first thing that needs to be proved is that salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone, without works, repenting of sin, or anything. It is simply by believing in Jesus. Other good articles regarding this post are Easy Believism is True and Lordship Salvation Debunked.
We see many examples of people in the Bible who were believers, but lived a sinful life and still made it to Heaven. They didn't make it to Heaven because of how good they were. They made it because they accepted the free gift of eternal life that God offers everybody.
Romans 4 is the go-to chapter when talking about how salvation has always been by faith, by simply believing the promises that God has made to us. It tells us about how both Abraham and David were justified by their faith and were labeled/counted as righteous because of that faith. We are saved by believing in God's grace that He offers to all and not believing in our own works and deeds.
(True Christianity) Romans 4:1-8 King James Version: "1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? 2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. 3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. 4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin."
We also see in Romans 11 the explicit separation between God's grace and our works.
(True Christianity) Romans 11:5-6 King James Version: "5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work."
In Jonah 3, we see that God defined turning from one's evil way as a work. This turning from their evil way was required to prevent an earthly punishment in this life, but regarding salvation, we only need to believe on Christ alone.
(True Christianity) Jonah 3:4-10 King James Version: "4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. 5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. 6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: 8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. 9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? 10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not."
(True Christianity) Acts 16:30-32 King James Version: "30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house."
(True Christianity) John 3:16-18 King James Version: "16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
(True Christianity) John 6:47 King James Version: "[Jesus speaking] Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life."
(True Christianity) John 5:24 King James Version: "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."
One of the best examples of this was the thief on the cross who was crucified next to Jesus, when he asked Jesus to remember him and he was saved the instant that he believed.
(True Christianity) Luke 23:42-43 King James Version: "42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.
Jesus knew that the thief could not do any works after his salvation, but that didn't matter to Jesus. What mattered was that he believed that Jesus is the Son of God and believed in the free gift of eternal life. That's all that was required.
This post is part of the series The Hard Truth About Calvinism and Islam under The Five Points of Calvinism in Islam
Calvinism and Islam Compared: Total Depravity
Calvinism and Islam Compared: Unconditional Election
Calvinism and Islam Compared: Limited Atonement