Chitwood omits “conditional” salvation in revision of book

Note, Sept. 4, 2011 — Chitwood offers an older version of Salvation of the Soul, which includes his claim that “soul salvation” is conditional (press here — PDF file). You can also download the text at KingdomExclusion.com (press here — All Chitwood’s Writings).

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Without explanation, Arlen Chitwood has omitted a controversial passage from the latest revision of Salvation of the Soul. In previous editions, Chitwood stated, “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” (p. 13, emphasis Chitwood’s). The latest edition, offered at LampBroadcast.org, omits the term “conditional.”

It is not evident whether this represents a shift in Chitwood’s thinking about salvation. He has not replied to several inquiries sent to him.

While much of what Chitwood has to say about Christian maturity is edifying, the division of salvation into three aspects — salvation of the spirit, the soul and the body — is problematic. Chiefly, Chitwood contends that the soul and body of a believer are yet unsaved. He does not offer a plausible explanation for why the blood of Christ should have no effect on believer’s soul or body. Also, by dividing salvation into three parts, he creates different modes of salvation, so that salvation by grace through faith applies only to the spirit — the soul and body are saved by works.

Further complicating matters is that Chitwood never explains how the soul is ultimately saved.

Traditional, evangelical theology recognizes past, present and future aspects of salvation, but not different modes. Evangelicals contend the blood of Christ redeems the entire person.

Despite the omission of the term “conditional,” Chitwood still teaches that the salvation of the soul is by works. The revised passage reads —

And salvation now (in relation to the soul, not the spirit) becomes dependent on the actions of the individual. Salvation now becomes dependent on the life one lives after his spirit has been saved. Salvation now becomes 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

Similarly, Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Jacksonville, Florida, maintains that the salvation of the soul is “determined by works” (source). Chitwood is a regular speaker there and a great influence.

Chitwood attempts to resolve the issue by arguing that the salvation of the soul pertains only to achieving or not achieving rewards in the millennial kingdom. This sounds plausible until one considers that the soul of a believer, in Chitwood’s scheme of salvation, is not presently saved by the blood of Jesus, and, apparently, not ever.

© 2011, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

6 thoughts on “Chitwood omits “conditional” salvation in revision of book

  1. He probably took it out because he’s changed his mind again. I’ve dealt with the church of “whatever I believe today” and you can’t talk sense into these people. It makes your head spin. When a friend gave me his book I was supposed to get all excited but I couldn’t make heads or tails of it. Of course I wasn’t looking with a spiritual eye so I couldn’t see it. That’s clever. So I’m glad someone is paying attention to this cite. Looks like Arlen finally noticed something wrong with his teaching. It’s a good start. But not good enough.

  2. I would like to know why Chitwood omitted the word “conditional” from Salvation of the Soul. As mentioned in the article, he has not responded to inquiries. The omission is, however, evidence of the evolving nature of the “Word of the Kingdom.” Chitwood once commented that it has taken him years to arrive at his current position. Implicit in that statement is the idea of change.

    It’s important for a theologian to be flexible, but on the essentials of Christian faith, there should not be confusion.

  3. You shouldn’t make much of a revision. It’s probably just for clarification. Soul salvation is conditional, based upon how one lives Christianity. Eternal salavtion is unconditional, but how you obtain the salvation of your soul is conditional. You will lose this salvation in the kingdom if you do not work for it.

  4. Bruce —

    I don’t think you understand my objection. If “soul salvation” merely pertains to receiving rewards, that’s not problematic. I, too, believe there are rewards and loss. The issue is here is quite different.

    Answer this one question:

    When a person believes in Jesus Christ, is a person’s soul saved by grace through faith?

    Chitwood says, no. The soul is not saved as the spirit is saved. The soul is saved later, by works, and conditionally. Notice, I am not talking about receiving rewards or places in the kingdom, or losing rewards, or being punished.

    Is the soul EVER saved UNCONDITIONALLY by grace through faith?

  5. The soul is the mind, will, and emotions. It is separate and distinct from one’s spirit.

    The spirit is that part of man which is regenerated by the Holy Spirit upon salvation from sin and eternal death. Prior to salvation a man’s spirit is dead, but the Holy Spirit breathes Life into it so as to have spiritual communion with it – that thing Adam lost at The Fall. [he and Eve “died,” but of course they were still alive physically, and in their souls-mind, will, and emotions].

    The soul is that part of man which, upon spiritual salvation, needs to grow up in the Lord – be “sanctified.” This is known as the “salvation of the soul.” It is plainly in the Scriptures, but has not been taught in most churches of our day.

    1 Thessalonians 5:23
    And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Obviously our bodies are not yet in their final state, nor are our souls. Our souls are being “saved” by the washing of the Word, and through obedience to the commands of Christ.

    Another verse differentiating the soul and the spirit:

    Hebrews 4:12
    For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

    Hope that helps.

  6. Actually, 1 Thess. 5:23 speaks of the sanctification of the spirit, soul and body — a person’s whole being. 1 Cor. 5:5 speaks of a man’s spirit needing to be saved.

    Also, nowhere do you demonstrate that the soul is the mind, will, and emotions. Actually, what I mean is you have not demonstrated that the Bible says the soul is the mind, will, and emotions. I can find numerous pagan works that do make this claim.

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