Can it be that salvation is conditional?

Arlen Chitwood boldly asserts that free grace is limited to one aspect of a person’s being, ones spirit. He explains, “The salvation of the soul, unlike the salvation of the spirit, is conditional” (p. 13, Salvation of the Soul, emphasis is Chitwood’s).

I have inquired of many, especially among those who promulgate the “Word of the Kingdom,” as to where such an idea is taught in scriptures. Where does it say that salvation (in this case “soul salvation”) is conditional upon how one lives, not upon the finished work of Christ at Calvary. Thus far, no one has presented such a scripture.

If you can find one, please comment

© 2010, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

42 thoughts on “Can it be that salvation is conditional?

  1. Soul salvation has nothing to do with eternal verities whatsoever! Christ’s finished work at Calvary redeems the triune man. Soul salvation is about the Kingdom. Obtaining or losing a place in the Kingdom.

  2. This sounds reasonable until you realize two points: (1) Chitwood teaches that the soul is not saved the way the spirit is saved (through unconditional grace); (2) he never explains how the soul is ever actually saved.

    If the soul (and body, for that matter) are not now saved, how is it (and the body) ever saved?

    According to Chitwood, “The salvation of the soul is dependent on the life one lives after his spirit has been saved” (p. 13, Salvation of the Soul).

    So, the spirit is saved by Christ’s finished work at Calvary, but the soul is not? It is saved by how “one lives after his spirit has been saved”?

    Also, the challenge is to provide a scripture that teaches that “soul salvation” is conditional. You have not done that.

  3. James 1:21 is written to believers…
    “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. Being a doer (an obedient believer) constitutes, in my understanding, the saving of the soul. The particular salvation in this passage is not addressing eternal life which is positional, but reward for perseverence and obedience as a believer. This is just one of many verses that deal with reward for the faithful believer in the Kingdom.

  4. Jay, Chitwood says that when a person believes in Jesus, only the spirit is saved. The soul is “unredeemed.” The question is not whether there are rewards, but whether the soul is EVER saved unconditionally by grace. Can Chitwood complete the following: As the spirit is saved unconditionally by grace, so the soul is… conditionally saved by works? Really, folks, is anyone listening to what I’m saying?

  5. James wrote, ” Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your soul.” James 1:21 The word “engrafted” means implanted. This is something only a believer can do. The thought is we are to allow the word to germinate, or produce fruit, or help us grow up as believers. Since James makes reference to the saving of the soul being dependent upon receiving with meekness the engrafted word, the thought is the soul can be lost.

    The soul is viewed in the gospels as the life we live. Jesus said, “”For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul.” Mt. 16:26 Jesus is speaking in context about reward. vs 27. This is supported by Paul in 1 Cor.3:14-15

    Peter wrote about “receiving the end of your faith.” 1 Peter 1:9 What is receiving the “end of your faith”? “The salvation of your souls.” That is distinct from the spirit. The word is “soul”. The thought is that the salvation of the soul is directly related to how we live or walk as a believer. And every believer knows this will be judged. Hebrews 1:14 speaks concerning “them who shall be heirs of salvation.” Meaning that the soul is directly linked to reward. Heirs earn what is given to them.

    Paul supports the thought in Colossians 3:23-25. ” And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive [ the reward of the inheritance ], for ye serve the Lord Christ. BUT he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of person.”

    Hebrews 10:38-39 has the believer in view. The just shall [ live ] by faith. But many will draw back for whatever reason. And the writer of Hebrews said that will mean he won’t have “pleasure” in these believers. The point. We are not of them that draw back unto perdition. The word perdition has to be understood as loss or destruction. And every believer knows it is possible that we can “suffer loss” at the judgment seat of Christ. 1 Cor.3:15

    The writer of Hebrews goes on to qualify what not drawing back unto perdition means. It will be the saving of the soul. Heb.10:39 There’s some verses in Galatians 6:7-9 that shows what it means to sow to the Spirit. Gal.6:7 is often used in evangelistic meetings, but the context has the believer in view. If the believer sows to the flesh we will reap corruption or death. This points to death now and death to things before the judgment seat of Christ.

    But notice what it will mean to sow to the Spirit. “.. he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” Gal.6:8 Then notice that Paul says this is in relation to “well doing.” vs 9 And this reaping will be in “due season.” Due season points to the judgment seat of Christ. But there is a condition to one who sows to the Spirit and reaping “life everlasting.” The believer can not faint. Gal.6:9 Here’s the issue. Is everlasting life the same as life everlasting? If it is, then why the distinct difference in the phrasing of this?

    We know what John 3:16 promises. “Everlasting life.” But life everlasting points to the next age to come. It also is eternal, in that the reward, crowns, and inheritance will always be part of the believer’s experience throughout eternity. Life everlasting is the salvation of the soul.

  6. Is there a reason why no “kingdom seeker” will answer the question? I’ve posed this question several times, and no one has offered a reply. Can it be that they do believe — as Chitwood emphatically states — that soul salvation is conditional, not by free grace?

  7. I don’t recollect that you ever have.

    The question is: is the soul EVER saved unconditionally by grace?

    What is your reply?

  8. No, apparently no “kingdom believer” will answer the question. I suspect that if one were to truly answer the question, they would have to admit that they believe the soul is saved conditionally, which would mean that they do not believe in salvation by grace. In their system, grace only starts a process that is ultimately completed by works.

    Again, is the soul EVER saved UNCONDITIONALLY by grace through faith?

    Don’t argue, just answer the question.

    I will leave comments open for one more week, then I will close them for this thread.

  9. The soul of ALL believers is saved by grace through faith UNCONDITIONALLY and will never enter Hades in this Earth (Hell) or Tartaros (Hell) or the Lake of Fire. Neither will their body.

    I have told you this in the past whether you remember it or not. I don’t know how to answer your question any clearer than this answer: This is my answer and I am speaking for myself, Arlen Banks. If this does not satisfy you then nothing will.

  10. Arlen Chitwood: “The salvation of the soul, unlike the salvation of the spirit, is conditional.”

    Arlen Banks: “The soul of ALL believers is saved by grace through faith UNCONDITIONALLY and will never enter Hades in this Earth (Hell) or Tartaros (Hell) or the Lake of Fire. Neither will their body.

    The “Word of the Kingdom” (so-called) has caused grief in many quarters. Advocates of it declare that anyone who does not accept teaching is a false believer. This attitude is arrogant in the extreme.

    That “kingdom seekers” are so utterly divided as to what the teaching is makes the “Word of the Kingdom” (so-called) foolish and contemptible.

    Might the advocates of this teaching at least have the decency to agree on its basic details?

    NB: Chitwood does omit “conditional” in his 2011 revision of Salvation of the Soul, but why? Did he change his mind? Did the scriptures change their meaning? Or did he finally tire of my drawing this to people’s attention?

  11. Mark,

    You made a very interesting comment in your last post by saying “Might the advocates of this teaching at least have the decency to agree on its basic details?”

    Why is that a problem? Should a Christian who believes in eternal security have the decency to agree with someone who believes that you can lose your salvation and be cast into the Lake of Fire forever? I don’t think that “decency” has anything to do with the subject of doctrinal differences inside of a group’s view or outside of a group’s view.

    I pose this question to you: Do you have the decency to agree with the Arminian or the Catholic or the Calvinist? The Arminian teaches that a Christian can lose their salvation and be cast into the Lake of Fire forever! Do you have the “decency” to agree with that? Is the Arminian view not worse than even the most extreme Word of The Kingdom groups? Your statement is Hypocritical and contentious to other Christians. A difference in opinion has nothing to do with decency.

    Arlen Banks

  12. Arlen,

    Don’t you see that you fundamentally disagree with Chitwood on an essential point of doctrine? Do you not understand that he condemns anyone who does not teach the Bible as he understands it? Bluntly, according to Chitwood’s writings, you are a false teacher.

    Yet you promote his work and even pretend to agree with him.

    I do appreciate your reply, though. If you answered the question previously, I must have missed it (I searched through our correspondence and could not find your answer).

    Essentially, you do not teach what is the subject of this website.

    As regards your other questions, I recommend that you join the dialog at my other blog, But to answer your question, quickly, I have not aligned myself with any particular system of theology. I am neither an Arminianist, nor a Calvinist, nor a Lutheran, nor a Catholic. If you are looking for a title, I have none to offer.


  13. I am not at a disagreement with Chitwood at all and, I do not pretend to agree with him either. You choose not to see that the salvation of the soul, of a believer, is synonymous with the inheritance of the believer (a Christian). This is Chitwood’s point and my own as well. This is the part that is cast into the Lake of Fire (the inheritance) metaphorically speaking, not the literal soul or body. This is what I take from Chitwood’s writings and that is why I promote him. I do not promote Chitwood without reason or research as you seem to consistently portray me. I have asked him many questions about a great number of things, past, present and future.

    I will say this, there are groups that have taken this doctrine and over analyzed it to the point that some of their interpretations are speculation only. Also, I am not popular with all of the Word of the Kingdom folks because of my interpretation of this subject and that is the way I like it. But, I have not been condemned by any of them. I speak with Chitwood on a regular basis and he has never said that he has all the answers and, I have never heard him condemn any group. He, like myself may not agree with many groups and even say that they are wrong in their teaching of the salvation of the soul and the Millennium but that is not condemnation; that is mearly pointing out their false teachings on this subject.

    As I said before even the most “extreme” Word of the Kingdom group’s teachings are nothing compared to the Arminian teaching that is popular all through out this world. Hundreds of thousands of Christians sit under the teaching that they can die in their sin and “burn in a devil’s Hell” even though they have been saved by grace! That is a false teaching worth bringing out in the publics eye! If that was your mission I would stand behind you one hundred percent.

  14. Arlen Chitwood: “The salvation of the soul, unlike the salvation of the spirit, is conditional.”

    Arlen Banks: “The soul of ALL believers is saved by grace through faith UNCONDITIONALLY and will never enter Hades in this Earth (Hell) or Tartaros (Hell) or the Lake of Fire. Neither will their body.”

    These two statements do not agree. That’s all there is to it.

  15. Arlen Chitwood: Salvation of the soul for the Millennium/receiving your inheritance, or not receiving your inheritance, (CONDITIONAL).

    Arlen Banks: Salvation of the soul from Hell and the Lake of Fire, (UNCONDITIONAL).

    We are both right and are saying the same thing. I agree with Chitwood’s statement and I’ll guarantee that he will agree with mine also.

    Neither can be accomplished without God’s Grace. I have my way of saying things and Chitwood has his way of saying things.

    As for my mentioning the Arminian teaching before, let me make myself clear without sounding contentious to the Calvinists and the others who teach eternal security: If you are teaching that all Christians will make up the Bride of Christ you are teaching falsely also. All Christians are saved eternally and will be in the Millennium but, not all Christians will be the Bride (rule and reign beside Christ).

  16. “I agree with Chitwood’s statement and I’ll guarantee that he will agree with mine also.”

    You guarantee that Chitwood agrees with you? Prove it. I am calling upon you — publicly — to fulfill your word. I need proof that Chitwood agrees with you. Since you guarantee that he does, you are obligated to prove your statement.

  17. What does Chitwood say about the salvation of the soul? Indeed, inheritance is a component of his teaching, but he goes on to say some other things.

    1. The spirit is saved eternally by grace through faith; the soul is not. Evidence —

    “Once the salvation of the spirit has been effected, making it possible for the indwelling Spirit of God to impart spiritual truth into and control an individual’s life through his own spirit, then man’s unredeemed soul occupies the center of attention. The salvation of the soul, unlike the salvation of the spirit, is conditional. The salvation of the soul is dependent on the life one lives after his spirit has been saved. It is dependent on the individual allowing the Spirit of God to impart spiritual truth into and control his life through his own spirit.” — page 13, Salvation of the Soul, 5th printing

    2. The soul of a believer is NOT presently saved. Evidence —

    “The unredeemed soul housed in an unredeemed body is to be kept under subjection through the instrumentality of man’s redeemed spirit.” — page 15

    3. Neither is the body of a believer presently saved. Evidence —

    “Within this unredeemed body lie two opposing entities, each seeking dominion — a redeemed spirit, and an unredeemed soul.” — page 8

    Chitwood is not talking about inheritance: he’s talking about eternal salvation. His comments on page 13 directly contrast the salvation of the spirit (saved) with that of the soul (unsaved) within the context of eternal salvation.

    It’s possible that Chitwood did not mean to write what he wrote, but that’s not a conclusion I’m willing to draw.

    The fact that Chitwood NEVER explains how the soul is ultimately saved is equally disturbing.

  18. I don’t know how Mr. Banks can say the soul will not be punished IN the Lake of Fire. Scripture says this must be true. “He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.” This is in Revelations chapter 2, verse 11. Later in Revelations it says this – “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” This is in Revelations chapter 21, verse 8. It says “IN” the lake of fire. That’s what the Bible says and I seem to remember that Arlen Chitwood teaches the same thing but I can’t remember exactly where.

  19. In, out, above, beyond, through, around… is any of this supposed to make sense? Where in those passages does it say Christian — I see the terms, “unbelieving,” “sorcerers,” and “idolaters,” but not Christian.

    And while we are on this topic, what does Arlen Banks mean that a person’s inheritance, “metaphorically speaking,” will be cast into the lake of fire? Frankly, I’m trying to figure out how the soul, which Banks says is unconditionally saved, needs to be saved from the lake of fire, when even that won’t literally suffer it. So the soul, which is already saved unconditionally, will be saved from something that won’t literally happen to it? What does this mean?

  20. Mark,

    I never said the soul of a believer had to be saved from the Lake of Fire.

    I am not obligated at all. I made a hypothetical statement, that I know to be true and, I don’t have to prove it. I will not for any reason try to get Chitwood to explain anything at your web site. I understand him just fine and that is good enough for me. You see Mark you write about things you have read only and you have drawn your conclusions. I take what you write about Chitwood and others and I ask him/them directly in a verbal form, not in letters. Almost everything that you have wrote about at KE I have asked people face to face about it and I got the real story. My findings so far have satisfied me.

  21. I have explained the subject at hand to the best of my ability. I have used simple language, and it is being over anylyzed.

    “Part” (inheritance) of the non-overcomer will be cast into the Lake of Fire, not the soul or body of the non-overcomer. This is a metaphor that is letting self-serving Christians know that when they lose there “part” (inheritance) they will never get it back because the Lake of Fire is eternal. The inheritance is not literaly cast into the Lake of Fire because they never had it to begin with: It is a METAPHOR.

    When the Lord speaks of a believer losing their soul it is synonymous with the inheritance for the Millennium. Anything less than the fullness of life in the Millennium is considered death; but it does not mean literal death as we know it, in this present age. Rev 2:11 is a metaphor for LOSS, not literal death as we know it. The Lord uses metaphors like “the outer darkness”, “Gehenna”, “the hurt of the second death” Rev 2:11, and the lake of fire in Rev 21. All of these describe different aspects of the same thing: The consequence of living for SELF, which leads to the loss of their (INHERITANCE/PART). With that said, I agree with Chitwood’s statement of the salvation of the soul being conditional and, being presently unredeemed. But, the soul is unconditionally saved from Hell and the Lake of fire.

    Mr. Wilson, If a believer were to be cast into the Lake of Fire, that believer would have to take the Holy Spirit with them and that is an impossibility. I will not support that doctrine and those who know me know that.

  22. Arlen,

    Regardless of what you think Chitwood believes, what he has written is plain. The spirit of a believer is saved by grace unconditionally, the soul is not. As Chitwood writes, the salvation of the soul is “unlike” the salvation of the spirit.

    Look, if you are so intimate with Chitwood, ask him how the soul is EVER saved. He never writes about it. (If you think I’m wrong, just provide a quotation from one of his dozens of books — w/ page number and title.)

  23. Mark,

    You’ve heard nothing that I’ve said have you? About anything. I’m not sure why you are not understanding me so let me make myself perfectly clear, I don’t “think” anything, I know your wrong and I don’t have to prove it. Also, I have had this conversation more than once with Chitwood and I see know need to keep pestering him about it.

    As for a quote from his books it will probably not be found. You have read his work far more than I have. Arlen knows that I don’t spend much time with anyone’s commentary including his. But I have read the Salvation of The Soul once and I have looked at the verse that you quote and provide many times. At first I saw it like you do but after seeing his point I see it as I have explained so many times now.

    One more thing: If Chitwood truly believed as you say I would not promote his work on my radio broadcast, nor my web site. Any Word of the Kingdom believer who knows me, knows that that is a fact! I do not support Christians being cast into the Lake of Fire IN NO WAY SHAPE OR FASHION. I will not have any dealings with that! I have been consistent with that sense you have known of me.

    Now let me be clear once more because I may have gave you the wrong impression. I am not taking up for, or trying to prove Chitwood right, I am explaining why I agree with Chitwood. As I said before, I have my way of explaining things and he has his way. I point out things that he doesn’t and he points out things that I don’t.

  24. Frankly, Arlen, your opinion about Chitwood’s writings is of no importance. No matter how passionately you believe you understand the man’s writings, that does not have any bearing on the orthodoxy of his teachings. If Chitwood meant to say something other than what he wrote, he should simply say it. (It is interesting that he now omits the word “conditional” from his book.)

    The ugly truth is, Arlen, that you cannot guarantee that Chitwood agrees with you. Simply saying he does, does not make it so.

  25. Mark,

    I am not giving you my opinion and, you’re right about one thing, my saying so does not make it so, for you. Frankly, I doubt that you would change your mind if I did give you proof.

    I am satisfied KNOWING for myself.

  26. I didn’t see the word “Christian” in any of those passages you cited. In fact, I didn’t even see the word “believer.” Where does it say that Christians will suffer the hurt of the second death?

    By the way, Arlen Chitwood writes about Christians suffering the hurt of the second death here:

    He writes: “The second death for the nonovercomer is having a ‘part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone’ (Rev. 21:8); and having a part in the lake of fire is explained through God’s dealings with the unsaved in the previous chapter as being ‘cast into the lake of fire’ (20:15).”

    Chitwood later revised this pamphlet to explain that he does not mean the non-overcoming Christian will literally be cast into the lake of fire. Coincidently, he added this thought after I queried him about it. His revision, however, does not do much to improve the thought, for if nothing “literally” happens, what’s the big deal?

    Do you understand that if nothing really happens, the whole matter is nonsensical?

  27. I will be in a conference with Mr. Chitwood at the end of May if any of you would like for me to ask him any questions… I am only kidding. Well, not about the being in a conference with him, that part is true.

    I am new to most of these teachings, but seem to draw my own conclusion and that is this… I am saved by grace through faith alone, period. Believe and Receive. I must be an obedient, overcoming believer to gain reward, inheritance (abundant entrance) into the kingdom. I do believe that Outer Darkness of for the disobedient believer. Beyond that I am just a worship leader not a Theologian… I have enjoyed reading this thread.

  28. I believe that scripture teaches salvation of the soul
    and that it is conditional. Although those that are in Christ are complete, Col.2:10; Phil.2:12 instructs the working out of your own salvation. The word must be rightly divided and salvation is no exception. We are redeemed in part, Eph.4:30, but never the lest we are redeemed. Salvation of the spirit pretains to the cross. Salvation of the soul pretains to the crowns. The former refers to the suffering of Christ and the latter to the suffering of the believer,Rm.8:17; Salvation of the soul is about the work of the believer’s growth from being a child of God to becoming a son of God, obtaining his inheiritance. Scripture referance: Gal.4:1-7; 1.Cor.3:1-15; Rm.13:11; Ja.1:21; 1.Pet.1:3-9;

  29. “Salvation of the soul pretains to the crowns.”

    That’s a nice sentiment, but Chitwood says that while the spirit is saved (by grace unconditionally) he also says the soul is not saved. I get that you want to talk about gaining and losing ones reward, but before we have that conversation, we must establish (a) if the soul is saved the moment one believes and (b) if the soul is saved eternally unconditionally. My issue is that Chitwood never asserts that the soul is now saved, and saved unconditionally. In fact, he asserts quite the oposite: that the soul is saved in a manner quite “unlike” the spirit. This is the germain issue.

  30. Better way for me to spend my time?? As in, leading worship or reading this thread? It seems Mark that you have spent just as much time on this thread as I have lol.

  31. Frankly, Jay, I’m sick of people telling me they’re “new” to the Word of the Kingdom, and yet defend it as gospel truth. If you’re really new to Chitwood’s teachings, you would do well to read this blog on subjects about race hatred, conditional salvation and divided personalities. You will discover that you’ve entertained, as “truth,” a heresy. If you’re not new to Chitwood’s teachings — and actually posses a real knowledge of it — answer these questions: are blacks cursed? is salvation conditional? are Christians unsaved?

    You really think you’re spending your time wisely, listening to the teachings of a man who actually teaches that blacks are cursed?

  32. I follow the teaching of God’s Word. I really have not read after Chitwood very much, only heard him speak a couple of times including this past weekend. I have read some great commentaries written by Zane Hodges and some others on free grace. I believe that we are striving as believers for the prize of the “up-call”. REWARD! I am really more about reward or loss of reward which is clearly taught in scripture. Check out (2 Tim. 2:10-13) I believe the Salvation “to be attained” is not eternal life, but another salvation. REWARD and REIGNING with Christ. I have heard some things about what you mentioned as far as a “cursed ethnic group” and I really do not know anything more than that about it. Personally, I do not hold to that teaching. If you are asking me if I am follower of Chitwood, I will tell you that he has many good things to say, but I probably do not agree with him on everything. If we agree with everything everyone has said or taught, then we probably have quit studying ourselves. The Word of the Kingdom is nothing new… it is taught throughout scripture, Old and New Testaments. In my opinion, all scripture points the the Reigning King Jesus in His coming Kingdom and, my status in His Kingdom will be determined by how I live here on this earth in the time that God has given me. One great Commentator, John Phillips, put it this way, “Performance down here will determine Position up there.”

    I do not wish to argue with anger or bitterness. I love my Lord Jesus and hope that discussions can be done decently and in order.



  33. If u look at the head numberr of god it is 3 like the father the son the holy spirit the same is the salvation spirit and soul they are they head number of god just like everything has 3 parts just like there’s 3 different kinds of clouds 3 layers of the earth father the son the holy spirit the 3 wise men so shall it be the spirit the salvation an the soul which would alternately beginning of the spirit the middle salvation the e
    End result ultimately as a result of being saved the spirit it’s evident that in the end afterlife we shall have eternal life witch is conciderd a eternal flame that shall ever die out,thats were god says we shall be all in all an all in one where the sole will reach its final inherited resting lplace
    just as in the beginning god rested on the seventh day .

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