Can you lose your salvation? What’s a parent to do?
It’s a theological question for scholars and a source of fear for some believers. Others worry, not for their own salvation, but for the eternal future of someone they love. Historically, Calvinists, who teach a limited atonement believe that, if God calls a person to salvation, they cannot be cast aside — and they can’t cast themselves out, either unless they engage in deliberate and conscious apostasy. Arminians, who teach an atonement for all based on a free-will decision to receive the gift of salvation must also believe in a free-will rejection of salvation, even if once claimed. The Molinist view is complex (as are most Molinist views), asserting that, while Christians are able to fall away, they won’t because God’s middle knowledge allows Him to prevent such action.
For parents of children raised in the Christian faith, children who appeared to be solid in their beliefs before college, the young adult years are terrifying. College and adult experiences so often seem to pull people away from the faith, and parents who “checked all the boxes” often feel like they missed something when their children make choices or statements that counter their previous assertions of salvation. The temptation is to pressure grown children to return to their childhood faith, but the pressure is often tantamount to nagging, which only serves to drive them farther away from the Lord. It’s also easy to worry; what happens if grown children don’t ever talk about faith again? The sense of loss and failure can be overwhelming. There’s also a feeling of being judged by others whose children have become pastors or missionaries.
How do I know? I have three children, all of whom were raised in church. As parents, we checked all the boxes: kids’ choir from pre-k through high school, missionary trips, Sunday school, AWANA, Bible verse memory (thank you G.T. and the Halo Express), VBS — all the things. As of this writing, one daughter is deconstructing/reconstructing her faith and her life. The other two have let their faith take a back seat to the here and now. They haven’t “lost” their faith, but they aren’t actively living it out in a way that I can see, either. Does that “inaction” mean anything? Some scholars think so. Others don’t. But I’m a mom who tried to do all the “right” things, and sometimes I need a word of…