This question has long been the subject of debate in religious circles.  However, there is no reason that the answer cannot be easily ascertained from a diligent study of the Holy Scriptures.  Near the end of his letter James wrote, “Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth…” (James 5:19a KJV).  The NKJV reads, “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth…”  The word err is defined by the Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus to mean, “be wrong, be in error, be mistaken, blunder, fumble, be incorrect, miscalculate, get it wrong; sin, lapse; informal slip up, screw up, foul up, goof, make a boo-boo, drop the ball, bark up the wrong tree.” 

We can conclude from James’ statement:  (a) That a brother may sin; (b) A brother may err or wander; (c) He may err or wander from the truth.  The entire epistle of James contains numerous warnings that those to whom he was writing were ever in danger of forsaking the truth, and of falling into the sins which were so very prevalent during their time and situation.  Why is it that men sin and fall?  It is simply because they err or wander away from the truth! When we consider the plain teaching of these facts in the Scriptures, it is utterly amazing that men who claim to believe the Bible would teach that it is impossible for a child of God to sin and fall away so as to finally be lost in hell for an eternity!

Sam Morris, a Baptist preacher of bygone days, in a tract written a number of years ago wrote:

“We take the position that a Christian’s sins do not damn his soul. The way a Christian lives, what he says, his character, his conduct, or his attitude toward other people have nothing whatever to do with the salvation of his soul…All the prayers a man may pray, all the Bibles he may read, all the churches he may belong to, all the services he may attend, all the sermons he may practice, all the debts he may pay, all the ordinances he may observe, all the laws he may keep, all the benevolent acts he may perform will not make his soul one whit safer; and all the sins he may commit from idolatry to murder will not make his soul in any more danger…Salvation is settled once and for all when we believe…The way I live has nothing whatsoever to do with the salvation of my soul” (Sam Morris, “Do A Christian’s Sins Damn His Soul”?).

It is amazing that one who claims to be a student of the Bible would ever make such foolish statements! This false doctrine is refuted hundreds of times in both Testaments. One illustration from each Testament should be enough to demonstrate this fact.

I Chronicles 28:9: “And thou, Solomon, my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve Him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek Him, He will be found of thee; but if thou forsake Him, He will cast thee off for ever.”

Galatians 5:2-4: “Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye receive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing.  Yea, I testify again to every man that receiveth circumcision, that he is debtor to do the whole law.  Ye are severed from Christ, ye who would be justified by the law; ye are fallen away from grace” (ASV).

The Scriptures not only teach the possibility of apostasy, they also give us numerous examples of it happening.   Here is one of those examples: “But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase more unto ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some” (II Tim. 2:16-18).

A person would have to completely ignore the plain teaching of the Holy Scriptures to teach such a dangerous and destructive doctrine.

Paul M. Wilmoth January 18, 1944  –  April 5, 2021