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Backsliding



In each instance this term is used when Israel turned away from the true and living God to worship the heathen nature gods and idols, usually referred to as Baals.

The term backsliding does not appear in the NT, but the idea is implied (Mark 4:16, 17; Luke 9:62; Gal 3:1-5; 1 Tim 5:15; 2 Tim 4:10 and Rev 2:4; 3:17). The NT concept of turning away or backsliding carries with it the idea that those who once made profession of the Christian faith have turned aside or have reverted to a life of sin and spiritual indifference. There are two main views with regard to backsliding. Generally the Arminian position is that a backslider has actually fallen from grace and is no longer saved, while those of Calvin’s persuasion take the position that the person is still in grace—he is still saved—but has temporarily lost his fellowship with God and fellow believers. A third or intermediate position would be that the person in question who sins has actually never been saved. See Apostasy.

Bibliography

T. Rees, “Backsliding,” ISBE (1939), 376; V. H. Kooy, “Backsliding,” IDB, I (1962), 339; W. T. Purkiser, Exploring the Christian Faith (1960), 305ff.