Last summer while teaching through 1 John, I wrote the following chart to help understand how some of the most popular broad theological categories understand some of the various aspects of salvation, particularly in regards to Assurance of Salvation.

I wrote this assuming genuine believers by faith alone in Christ alone in each of the three representative categories, so my aim here was not to demonstrate how one type of theology cannot result in genuine conversion, but rather to demonstrate how each system of thought affects how believers understand and relate to their salvation.

Further, I genuinely attempted to create no straw men or demonize one category. Having lived in at least two of these categories and discussed the issue with those who have lived in the third, I think this is a fair representation.

I post it here by Janet’s request 🙂


Three understandings of salvation and how they logically work themselves out Pelagian/ Arminian/ Radical Free Will Semi-Pelagian/Decisionism/ “Once Saved, Always Saved” Augustinian/ Reformed/ Perseverance of the Saints
1. Can I Lose my Salvation? Yes No Hypothetically, not Actually
2. Can I Have Assurance of Salvation? No Absolutely Sometimes
3. What is Salvation? Repeatable Event Decision w/ Mechanical Effects Divinely Initiated
4. What is the Basis of My Salvation? Self-Maintenance Sincerity of Decision Present Faith
5. What is the Basis of My Assurance? No Sin Historical Experience Fruit
6. How do I understand Sanctification? Same as Justification Preferable, but ultimately unnecessary Inevitable
7. How do I relate to God’s Commands? Critical Optional Pleasurable