• Soteriology – Are Some Types of People “UnSavable?”

Soteriology – Are Some Types of People “UnSavable?”

I was just asking this on another blog. I will copy and paste most of my comment from there to here.

I’ve been wondering about this for months now.

There are some Christians, who, unfortunately, make holding “correct doctrine” a necessary component of receiving salvation, though I do not recall the Bible anywhere teaching this.

At most, the Bible says belief of Jesus as the Christ and acceptance of Jesus as Savior is the barometer of saving faith, and not whether or not one agrees with or believes in things such as Gender Complementarianism, Transubstantiation, the Pre-Trib Rapture, a literal Hell, an allegorical Hell, Old Age of the Earth, Young Earth Creationism, and so on.

There is the OSAS (once saved always saved) Vs. Conditional Security debate: some Christians believe once a person accepts Christ as Savior, she can never have her salvation taken away or revoked, while other Christians believe it is possible for someone who accepted Christ to have her salvation nullifed or cancelled because of personal sin.

I’ve done a lot of reading about Sociopaths and Psychopaths, and I’ve watched documentaries about them.

I had to study sociopaths and psychopaths back in an Abnormal Psych class years ago, too.

I don’t know how any Christian of any denomination or theological bent can explain how it is some people who appear to be un-savable can never-the-less be saved.

Except, perhaps, for Calvinists, who would say it’s possible God fore-saved some sociopaths / psychopaths, so yes, even sociopaths and psychopaths can or will be saved, in their Calvinist theme of things.

That aside, from what I have learned about sociopaths and psychopaths – they are incapable of feeling remorse or empathy, because their brains are biologically different from that of most people.

Any acceptance they might give of the Gospel would have to be purely of the intellectual variety, because they don’t respond to emotion and emotional pleas, and they are incapable of having empathy.

Which means, if you tell a sociopath or psychopath that Jesus died for them on the cross for their sins, they are not going to feel “sorry” for that, there will be no sadness or concern over the mental and physical suffering Jesus endured, they are not going to weep, and then throw themselves on an altar begging God to forgive them.

It looks to me as though Sociopaths or Psychopaths are capable of accepting the Gospel only purely on intellectual grounds.

However, the Bible seems to say that pure intellectual assent and intellectual agreement will not result in salvation – at least this is my understanding.

From James 2:19,20 (link):

19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?

Following are links to a few essays by Christians on this subject. I don’t know if I agree or disagree with any of the following content; one of my points in posting this is to demonstrate that Christians cannot even agree on this subject, as is true of so many other subjects:

Saving Faith vs. Intellectual Assent

Our Intellectual Assent Is Not Enough

If Faith Is Intellectual Assent, Then What Is Believing in the Heart in Romans 10:9-10?

The Mere Intellectual Assent Fallacy

What Is Saving Faith? by R Sproul

What is easy believism? by Matt Slick of CARM

Curing the Intellectual Assent Problem | Stand to Reason

What Is The Difference Between Emotional and Intellectual Faith?

My other point in all this is to note that for some Christians, it’s opined that intellectual assent only is not enough, that one necessary component of being able to receive salvation is that the person must also “feel sorrow” for their sins.

But how does that work for people with brain damage, or differently constructed brains, such as psychopaths and sociopaths, who are, from what I’ve read, biologically incapable of feeling sorrow, empathy, and many other sensations and emotions?

I guess they are up the Creek without a paddle, with no hope? If that is so, what does that say about Christianity, God Himself, or Christian understanding of God?


You may be reading the Bible wrong. Pete Enns says the Bible itself shows a better way – RNS

Christians Cannot Agree on Christianity – Not Even the Essentials of The Faith – So Why Base All Life Choices on the Faith or the Bible?

Only Slim Majority of Americans Believe in God of Bible, Numbers Decline Among Gen X, Millennials (pew study)

America Godless? Number of People with No Religion Soars (2019)

On Atheists Respecting Christians Who Believe the Bible, a Caveat

 A Critique of Kevin DeYoung’s Critique of Smith’s ‘The Bible Made Impossible,’ A Book About Evangelicals and Biblicism

One thought on “• Soteriology – Are Some Types of People “UnSavable?”

  1. I think you’re trying to pound a square peg into a round hole, or adding epicycles to epicycles. The conjecture of Christian salvation is the wrong paradigm, wrong in the sense that it does not fit the circumstances as we now see them to be. Better paradigms have appeared. If you don’t let this paradigm go, this sort of question will remain forever an unanswerable mystery to you.

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