Question / Comment - Can someone have their spirit saved but not their soul? Do you agree with a partial rapture?

Their Question:

Hi

I would like to ask you a question on a teaching the church I attend promotes that I am not comfortable with.

In the attached PDF file and the website below are what this teaching is.
For them, there are different kind of salvations, thus different kind of Christians and eventually there will be a partial rapture.

They teach that when Jesus speaks to his disciples, he does no longer speak to the world but today to Christians.
The parable of the 10 virgins for them teaches that those who are indeed waiting for God's return and separated from sin and the world, their spirit will be saved but not their soul. They will be taken in the rapture. The Christians who are leaving for themselves are worldly minded have already their spirit saved but they will loose their soul and will miss the rapture and go through the tribulation.

I could see there was something that troubled me but could not put the finger on what it was. Now my question is, is this teaching correct ? or is it another lie ? a distortion of the gospel ?

This is the first church I attend and I hear those things.

Will you take time to read this and help me see what to think about this ?

Another website on this subject is http://www.3levelsofsalvation.com/?hop=mcivr

I believe this teaching originated from Watchman Nee http://www.watchmannee.org/scriptural-teachings.html

I honestly am a little lost with this teaching and am reluctant to accept it but need to make sure I have good reasons to reject it and be able to back up with reasons.

I hope to receive some help from you.


JPN Reply:

Hi,

Seems like the teaching of your church is a real mixture in my opinion anyway and you are right in feeling discomfort. Likewise for that website you gave. I watched the two videos on the website (but didn't have access rights for the articles) and some of the video is correct (though it didn't talk about a partial rapture at all). Although it went way off when it said that the transformation of our body is progressive from the moment of salvation and is seen in the believer's ability to live beyond sickness and poverty! Yuck. Obviously yet another prosperity teacher so don't subscribe to that!

It is true that the Bible speaks of Salvation in three tenses - past, present and future. It is true that this aspects relate to the three parts of man - spirit, soul and body. But there is only one salvation which encompasses these three aspects. There are not three separate salvations! The conclusion that this leads to different kinds of Christian and a partial rapture (because some have received more 'salvations' that others, or were 'holier' than others) is NOT true. At the end of the day all of this teaching still boils down to a lack of understanding concerning grace. And quite often a feeling of self-righteousness amongst those claiming such a thing. The truth is that our 'glorification' (the fulfilment of our salvation when we receive a body like His body and are forever separated from the presence of sin) is as much a part of the grace of God as our initial justification. That's why Romans shows that the whole process from our call to our glorification IS FROM HIM:

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
(Romans 8:29-34)

People who believe in a partial rapture split the body of Christ based on their current level of holiness and sanctification. Which is ridiculous really. However 'holy' a person is today (and holiness is important) still doesn't start to compare with the holiness of God and we ALL require the grace of God to be right in his sight. The Bible says that Jesus is our justification and He is our sanctification. Therefore all true Christians are perfect in His sight and will be included in the rapture.

For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are,
so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, "LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD."
(1 Corinthians 1:26-31)

You can be sure that when Jesus returns He is coming for His bride. Not part of the bride. He is coming for His body. Not just an arm. The passages that speak specifically about the rapture/our glorification speak of ALL Christians being changed in that day. It tells us to comfort one another with the thought. (1 Thes 4:13-17, 1 Cor 15:51-52) It presents no thought that only some (those holy enough) will be raptured. It says ALL because all true believers are already overcomers!

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
(1 John 5:4-5)

The parable of the Virgins is NOT about the church/bride at all. The church is the BRIDE of Christ. The virgins were the bridesmaids that helped and attended the wedding - not the bride herself. It is likely that it relates to the separation of Jews/professing believers at the end of the Tribulation when Jesus returns for the wedding feast. In the parable the unwise virgins don't have any oil (Holy Spirit) and Jesus says to them 'I do not know you'. It is crystal clear that these professors were not saved and Jesus didn't know them as He said! And rest assured He
knows His sheep and His bride! (John 10:27)

There is more that could be said concerning the partial rapture theory but if interested have a look at some of these websites:

http://www.gotquestions.org/partial-rapture.html
http://www.stempublishing.com/authors/knapp/Rapture.html
http://www.bereanwatchmen.com/j.r.hall/the-partial-rapture-theory-debunked.html

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Right. All of the above was written before I read the pdf you sent through. So the above was written in response to your email and the website. I've now had a look at the pdf you sent (haven't read it all but I get the picture! I also had a look at the authors website and browsed an article or two. So here are my thoughts on that...

Have you see the old Clint Eastwood western 'the good, the bad and the ugly'? Reading this stuff reminded me of that title. As I started reading the pdf there were things in there that I thought were good. I would agree that there are the past/present/future aspects of salvation taught in the Bible (as mentioned above) and it can be useful to think of them as relating to the spirit, soul and body. I liked some of the illustrations he used from the Old testament. But as I read on, things started to turn 'bad' in my opinion. It is one thing to speak of the three 'aspects' of salvation. It is entirely different to separate them and say they are three different salvations. Once a person is 'saved' that involves everything but each in it's own time! As noted above the process of calling, justifying and glorifying (new body and being 'like Jesus in a perfected state which includes the entire person) is all from God and is all part of 'salvation'. Yet he writes:

Let it be forever stated: Redeemed man has come into a position from which he can never be removed. (TRUE) But this same redeemed man, in this position, is directly responsible to his Creator; and, at a future date, he will either inherit as a joint-heir with his Lord or suffer loss in the presence of his Lord. (ALL BORN AGAIN BELIEVERS ARE SONS AND ARE HEIRS THOUGH DIFFERENT REWARDS ARE GIVEN) The former will be realized through the salvation of his soul, or the latter will, instead, be realized through the loss of his soul. (SEEING HE USES SOUL/LIFE INTERCHANGEABLY, HOW CAN SOMEONE BE SAVED AND ETERNALLY SECURE AS HE RIGHTLY STATES AND ALSO LOSE THEIR LIFE?)


He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy
, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
(Titus 3:5-7)

Note that being made an heir is linked to being justified by His grace. It is all part of God's salvation. It is not something that is only available to the elite who have their 'souls saved' as well as their spirits.
See here for more:
http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/doctrine/GES04.htm

Having read a bit of this book, I find it quite troubling actually. He later splits the body of Christ and says only a part of that body is actually the bride. He writes:

The Church to which Christ referred in Matt. 16:18, synonymous with the bride — created in Christ from eternity — is presently being built in the previous manner. (True) It is presently being removed from the body, called out of the larger body of Christians, and built into a bride. (No its not! All believers have been baptized into one body 1 Cor 12:13 and are 'in Christ'. This is His Church and the Church is the Lord's bride - Eph 5:25-27)
All of the saved are "called" (or, "called out" in relation to the world) and form the body, but only the "called out" (from among the saved) — those taken out of the body — will form the bride of Christ. The bride is a selection out of a selection (a removal from the body of those previously removed from the world) (No again - where exactly did Jesus or Paul teach that not all Christians are part of the bride???)

So we've had the good and the bad. The ugly in my opinion is some of the teachings on his website - specifically the articles saying that Christians can experience the second death (even though they are saved) and associated theories about Outer darkness etc. He tries to say that the lake of fire for a Christian is a metaphor but 'the second death' is no metaphor. A person experiences it or they don't. There is no way out for one who does experience it. It is a eternal spiritual death/separation which cannot occur for one 'in Christ'.

He makes a lot (far more than the Bible does actually) about splitting salvation into whether it is salvation of the spirit or salvation or the soul... and dividing everything into the spirit, soul and body. A starting verse quoted for this is:

1Th 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

What a pity it is that he does NOT quote one verse later to see whether all aspects of a Christians being (spirit, soul and body) will ACTUALLY BE PRESERVED, BLAMELESS at the coming of the Lord. He says that our souls have to be saved after our salvation and many will not receive this salvation and will lose their souls/life (although I haven't seen how anyone can actually know whether they have this 'salvation' or not!) Well if he would quote ONE VERSE LATER WE WOULD READ:

1Th 5:24 Faithful is He who calls you, and He (the Lord) also will bring it to pass.

Yes, at the return of the Lord the spirits, souls and bodies of ALL CHRISTIANS will be complete and BLAMELESS and HE will bring it to pass.

Rewards for our obedience in this life? You bet. Will some have nothing to show for this life down here? Apparently according to 1 Cor 3:15. They will lose the rewards given for service that could have been theirs. But they do not lose their soul or life! Nor do they get cast into outer darkness or miss the kingdom age. For more info on this, have a read of these:

http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/doctrine/faust.htm

http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/doctrine/hodgesgn.htm

http://bible.org/article/%E2%80%9Couter-darkness%E2%80%9D-heaven%E2%80%99s-suburb-or-hell

 

Arrrgh boy. Do you get much of this stuff in your church? Is it new or have they been teaching it for a while?

Personally, if it was me and they were saying the things that I've read on the website and book, I wouldn't be able to stand it. It would frustrate me to the point of anger I reckon. And if it carried on then I don't think I would be staying.


Well, I've written far more than normal! Let me know how you are getting on and whether this has been of any help.


Their Reply:

Hi

I have read your email and the links you provided. I now have more than I need (and even hoped and asked for)

Some things I found very helpful!

In the article fro, Berean Watchmen Ministries the reference to 1 Cor 15:51

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed and I would say 1 Thess 4:17

After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

In both these verses it does not say some of us will be caught in the air, or the overcomers will be changed No It is for all born again believers who will be alive when Christ comes to take us in the rapture

The thought I had in mind as soon as i started to read your email is that those Christians who hold these views are committing the same mistake the eldest son did in the parable of the prodigal son. To them it sounds unfair that some Christians that are worldly and remain immature will share the same benefits than them who were "always faithful". I wonder if their reaction will be the same as the oldest son when they see that they were mistaken and that all believers share the same future and blessings.

I particularly liked the link on bible.org about the outer darkness as I have the same view of the author regarding parables

"The first thing to understand about parables is that you can’t make them ‘walk on all fours.’ Every detail doesn’t necessarily correspond to some eschatological event. Parables typically have one main idea that answers some question or problem given in the preceding context. So, little details like the one where the guy is at the banquet don’t necessarily mean that he made it into heaven and then was removed. This is just rejection imagery."

I believe this is the main cause of the problem. I too see that a parable has a point to make, a general message easy to grasp and we should not try to find a meaning to every details and some hidden meanings that only a few can see. trying to do otherwise opens the door to all fancy theories.

You found much more things than I have heard. I do not know for the moment whether some people in my church believe this (and to what extent ?) But I will ask them.

As I read they are not loud on this but it still comes from time to time and what makes me most uncomfortable is the "pride in disguise" I tend to see.
Thanks!
JPN Reply:

Thanks for the reply.

Glad to see that the email was useful and that the links have given you a clearer grasp on truth. The trouble with teachings like this is that they are a real mixture of truth and error in my opinion. It is true that there are different rewards and our service down here will be tested and rewarded accordingly. But this does not mean that some Christians aren't part of the bride, or won't participate in the Messianic Kingdom, or 'lose their soul', or experience the second death. That is a very very wide step in the wrong direction. And when you start going down that path it leads further and further from the truth.

You don't need to write any more unless you want to. I just wanted to see how you were getting on and I'm pleased that you have a good grasp on these matters.

God Bless