Monthly Archives: August 2010

Donn Piatt on public education

From “the sage of Mac-O-Chee“, Donn Piatt:

True education means that development of the intellectual qualities which facilitate thought. Popular education is a mere exercise of memory. To store away facts without the power to assimilate them is the grand elevating process that is to lift our youth by platoons to the same plane.

Memory, however necessary it is to secure information, is not the mind. On the contrary, when made monstrous by over use and stimulation, it eventually destroys the intellectual facilities it meant to aid.

The impatient child of genius who doubts or disputes the fact given to him to swallow is plucked and expelled while the dull plodding fellow who pigeon holes away a vast store of facts he cannot comprehend is graduated.

The student of books who learns to attribute intellectual motives to human action, finds himself alone and at a loss when dealing with the masses.

A mother’s love and a father’s care train good citizens and give stability to the government. We are enthusiastic over common schools and public institutions and firmly determined to make the pedagogue do the duty of the parent.

The popular superstition that tells us that teaching a child from books elevates its nature, and is all that is called for in the way of training, is curing itself through the most costly of learning, that of experience.

The mind is the most subtle, delicate, and important part of us and yet we turn this over to the stupid pedagogue who is capable of teaching precisely in proportion as he is incapable of other pursuits.

The common schools are worst than Godless; they are idolatrous, for the false god worshipped is memory.

For years I’ve struggled to eloquently express my deep frustration with the educational system in our country. Little did I know that men like Donn Piatt explored this issue nearly a century earlier in an era where home-based schooling was the norm and widespread state-funded and sponsored public schooling was still a new and hotly debated concept.


On presuppositionalism

Here is an exchange I had recently with a brother in Christ on the topic of presuppositionalism and it’s possible pitfalls when it comes to being a basis for apologetics and evangelization:


when the presuppositionalist claims there is no common ground, how duz the classical apologist respond?

Because one of my seminary buddies (he’s in seminary, I’m not) said that all we can do is deliver the Gospel and if God wants to save He will. Then my buddy quotes something from Romans 10 about how faith comes from the Gospel.

My response:

I think your friend needs to take a few courses or read a few good books on epistemology. Specifically, I would recommend Alvin Plantinga’s work as it is widely recognized as some of the best epistemological work in that area. I think Plantinga still comes down in the presupposionalist camp, but his exploration of the topic shows that there is a lot more there than Van Til (the father of presuppositionalism) thought.

As for faith, I don’t think it is accurate or logically valid to say that faith is given to us by something/someone else. I would contend that the Biblical view of faith is “to trust” and that it ultimately falls under the category of epistemology or how you know what you know. Faith is not an object and therefore cannot be given or taken away from anyone. Here is a piece I wrote on the dynamics of faith.

As for the common ground. Not all presupposionalists take that view. Some (like myself) will use presuppositionalism to point out that different sets of presuppositions lead one to different conclusions so that a philosophical naturalist and a theist will approach the subject of the resurrection differently. In that case presuppositionalism is used more as a line of argument in a cumulative case for the rationality of Christianity.

In that respect I find great value in presuppositionalism. However the other side, what you elude to, is the view that since we start off in different epistemological camps and since man cannot change his own mind (which entails the negation of limited freedom in any meaningful sense which is quite beyond the scope of this post), there is no use even attempting to change someone else’s mind through reason and evidence.

It is that view of presuppositionalism that I find quite unfortunate in the Christian community as it necessarily undercuts any sort of evangelism as it essentially requires the other person to come without any objections.

Since our culture is becoming increasingly hostile to Christianity I also believe the second view of presuppositionalism is not only unwise and unhelpful but downright dangerous and detrimental to the Christian church as the clear message it sends to non-believers is “we will not engage you, you must just accept what we say on blind faith”.

I believe that persuasion is the center piece of evangelism. Therefore I think anything that hinders or nullifies our ability to persuade others (in an intellectually honest fashion) is unhelpful and wrong.


Blaise Pascal on religion

Men despise religion; they hate it and fear it is true. To remedy this, we must begin by showing that religion is not contrary to reason; that it is venerable, to inspire respect for it; then we must make it lovable, to make good men hope it is true; finally, we must prove it is true. Venerable, because it has perfect knowledge of man; lovable because it promises the true good.

Blaise Pascal, Pensées, Section III: Of the Necessity of the Wager, #187


Donn Piatt on political parties

From “the sage of Mac-O-Chee1”, Donn Piatt:

Recognizing as I do that Democracy is the organized ignorance of the country and the Republican party the organized greed, I could not belong to one or the other.

American politics has crystallized into two hostile camps that differ from each other only in name and possession of offices.

Ask a Democrat why he’s a Democrat and he will tell you it is because he is not a Republican and a Republican, asked the same question will give the same answer reversed. The ludicrous part of this lies in the fact that neither party dares avow opinions because such avowal may loose them votes!

A man can be a Republican and hold any political opinions he pleases, provided he stands by the camp and votes the ticket. This is like the condition of the Democratic organization.

Instead of views being promulgated as a test of party fealty, they are avoid or concealed. Success depends on the number of votes obtained and as opinions are apt to offend, they are hidden or ignored. Nothing is so amusing as a platform, as it is called, solemnly proclaimed at intervals.

It is the nature of human beings to lose in an organization itself, the purpose for which it was organized. This obtains in politics as in religion.

It is worth pointing out a few things here. First that Donn was largely responsible for establishing a strong Democratic party in western Ohio. And second that Donn was also one of the primary founders of the Republican party. President Abraham Lincoln was among his friends, Donn campaigned hard for Abraham Lincoln.

So Donn’s comment about not belonging to a political party is not to say he was not political or did not join with a political party when He believed it served him. Donn’s political involvement truly centered around the issues. It’s probably why his political career was so very short. Donn only served one term in the Ohio state senate.

While I don’t agree with Donn’s entire quote above. For example his views on economics are downright deplorable, some of which you can see above in his swipe at the Republican party. I think Donn is spot-on when it comes to how dreadfully few politicians are true statesmen in his word, the difference being a focus on the issues (statesmen) rather than the votes (politicians).

  1. Further reading here. []

Is laissez-faire evil or is the SBC just out of touch with reality?

There’s really nothing conservative — and certainly nothing evangelical — about a laissez-faire view of a lack of government regulation,” Moore says, “because we, as Christians, believe in sin.

I ran across this gem in an article on This reminds me of the comment Frank Turek made out of frustration in a recent interview:

Money, Greed and God. How do those things go together, and why should we even be worried about them? And what does this have to do with apologetics? Well, in a few minutes, friends, you’re going to see that it has everything to do with apologetics. You know, you need money to do apologetics. You’re listening right now to a radio program that takes money to run. When you go buy an apologetics book, you need to pay for it. Somebody has gotten resources together – some of them immaterial resources, some of them material resources – they’ve put them together and they’ve marketed this piece to that you would buy it. That takes money. It takes money to preach the gospel across the world. It takes money to send missionaries overseas. It takes money to put on a TV program. It takes money to run an institute like the Discovery Institute. It takes money to run a seminary like Southern Evangelical Seminary or a ministry like Money is essential to what we do. Well, you say “well, gee, you know, we’re Christians, we can’t really be concerned about money”. NONSENSE!

My friend Wintery Knight is right. Christians desperately need to learn more about economics and stop following the ephemeral fashions of the world such as environmentalism and starry-eyed socialism. We need to learn that not only is capitalism compatible with Christianity, but that it is actually one of the most Biblical economic systems ever devised. It is actually no small wonder that capitalism was invented in the area of the world that was populated predominantly by Christians.

History suggests that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom –Milton Freeman


A secular case for government involvement in the institution of marriage

There is a secular case to be made for government involvement in the institution of marriage. Marriage is the only institution wherein a new life may be created. No, the generation of new life is not an automatic given nor are those who choose, for whatever reason, not to generate new life to be considered less in any way than those of us who do. But the fact is that without children, marriage would really devolve into little more than a contract or partnership.

Now one of the problems that clouds the whole debate on marriage is that most people tend to think that the issue is only a positive one. That is, that the issue is about the creation of a marriage and the state’s recognition thereof. That is sadly not the case, if that were all there were to it then the state would really have no reason to create and maintain such a registry at all. No, the real debate is on the unfortunate and often unavoidable issues that arise at the end or dissolution of a marriage. Who gets what and, more importantly, what about the children?

You see, marriage exists to proactively protects the rights of the children. Among these rights are the right to know and have a relationship with both of their parents, which means their mother and father. Marriage in this respect, serves to attach mothers and fathers to children and to each other. Can this be done outside of a legal marriage? Perhaps, but statistics show that without the commitment that comes along with marriage men are far less likely to remain in a family unit and children are far more likely to be hurt in all kinda of ways, including physically, emotionally, mentally, developmentally, etc.

When it comes to homosexual unions, the issue of children’s rights becomes even more sticky, and it is the rights of the children that are often overlooked altogether. You see, while people are busy talking about the rights of the gay and lesbian couple few people seem to be concerned with the rights of the children that are inherently and necessarily violated.

These rights are inherently violated because a homosexual union cannot biologically bring about new life, therefore they must either adopt which has historically been seen as an exception to the rule, but homosexual marriage would make it the rule and biological parentage the exception. In other words, the state would move from recognizing parentage based on biological fact to assigning parentage based on subjective standards. Something that has been done in countries like Canada that have already implemented homosexual marriage, and something that is being considered in homosexual-friendly states like Massachusetts.

Children’s rights are also necessarily violated because if marriage is not kept to the natural, historical, and biological definition, the state is required to intervene in the affairs of married couples even more than it does currently. Currently the state only intervenes when there is a dispute. That means that the only role the state has in regards to marriage is to resolve disputes if they arise. Ideally, most marriages will not require much, if any, intervention. However if marriage is redefined, the state must go from being a passive spectator that only intervenes when a dispute arises to intervening in many areas now, especially when children are involved, to cover over the biological gaps opened up when we separate from a biologically-based definition of marriage.

Sure, governments also interact with the institution terms of offering tax breaks (or supposed tax breaks) to encourage the formation and sustaining of healthy marriages. However that is really out of a selfish motive as biologically-based marriages are historically self-sustaining, requiring little in the way of government services or interference and also capable of producing well adjusted offspring by themselves. By contrast, on average, single parents (mostly mothers thanks to our sexually permissive culture) and homosexual unions require much in the way of government assistance, services, and general interference (ie. to strip/assign parentage in the case of homosexual marriages). If for nothing else than out of a commitment to limited government, the idea of homosexual marriage ought to be rejected.

So while families may not necessarily be defined by legal marriage but they are most certainly modeled on them if they wish to be anything short of a train wreck and an unnecessary drag on society.


I, Pencil – A simple lesson in capitalism

In an interview I recently came across (audio here), the author of “Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem”, Jay Wesley Richards, mentioned a relatively short article titled I, Pencil.

After tracking down the 1958 article by Economist Leonard Reed, hosted in full here at the Foundation for Economic Education, I discovered it indeed did offer one of the most elegant and simplest refutations of centralized economic planning ever written. What’s more, it is almost in a form I can read to my children to teach.

So take a minute and read the relatively short article. It is well worth it. And when you are done, here is an excellent How It’s Made video that helps illustrate the simple point Leonard made over 50 years ago.


On the myth of overpopulation

Where it came from

What the myth is

What the real problem is

The truth is that “overpopulation” is merely a myth. The population bomb was just a fairy tale. Aldus Huxley was wrong. The sky is not falling and the government does not need to take any drastic measures. However overpopulation continues to be a popular myth. Why? Because it often fits and in hand with social and enviromental agendas which require some sort of emergency to encourage people to want to undergo drastic social and political change.

The REAL problem, however, is under-population, broken families, poverty, etc. caused by poor social programs and solutions.

Bonus: What did John Lennon think about over-population?


Avoid foolish debates

But avoid foolish debates, genealogies, quarrels, and disputes about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. Reject a divisive person after a first and second warning, knowing that such a person is perverted and sins, being self-condemned. -Titus 3:9-11

Every now and then, and especially in the course of slaughtering an individual or church’s sacred cows, I run into a well meaning Christian who decides to use this passage as an excuse to prematurely end our conversation (or prevent it from occurring).

Here is a typical parting shot1):

I have never seen or heard you clear up anything in the body of Christ. Instead you most often stir up divisions and arguments. Paul makes it clear in Romans 16:17, and Titus 2:9-11 exactly how I am to respond to someone who does exactly what you seem to find joy in doing everyday. So in obedience to my savior, goodbye Wes.

Here is another one:

I added that cause I wanted you to know that I do, love you, care for you, respect you: it is very easily separated. A person will not except change from a person who he does not respect. So you will not take correction from me, you have not in the past so I can not expect it in the future.

I am teaching Titus in Sunday School and these verses come to my mind:
Titus 3: 9-11.

I am not cutting you off, I am not mad, I will say hi, will talk with you but make any effort of correction will not unless you ask.

Now, personal feelings aside (and the snippets cited above contain quite a bit of emotional/historical baggage), the question needs to be asked: What exactly are “foolish debates” that are mentioned in Titus 3:1-9 and how should they be understood today? This question is quite vital since, if misunderstood and misapplied, it can quite readily lead to a complete breakdown in any and all debate and, as an extension, any and all discussion, discourse, or, indeed, disagreement altogether. So it is very important that we get this issue right at the outset.2

First we need to examine the text itself:

But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. -Titus 3:9-11

To begin to understand what Paul was writing about here it is helpful to understand the context. I highly encourage you to take a minute to read all of Titus. It’s only 3 chapters and the section quoted above comes right before the final greeting (Titus 3:12-15). So to get a good understanding of what Paul is talking about, we need to go back a bit as Titus 3:9-11 is likely a culmination of his letter’s primary train of thought rather than an independent, self-contained, section that is able to adequately stand on it’s own.

In chapter 1 we read:

For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons. This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work. -Titus 1:10-16

A few things need to be noted here. The first is that Paul is addressing an existing problem and the second is that this problem is between believers and unbelievers “liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons” and the third is that the way we are to tell them apart is by “their good works”. We can also deduce that the particular group Paul is addressing here are “especially those of the circumcision party”, meaning Jewish converts.

This kicks off what Paul focuses on for the rest of his letter, the presence and practice of good works. In fact, if one were so inclined, a word study in Titus on the phrase “good works” will undoubtedly yield much in the way of fruitful insights which are beyond the scope of this short post.

In chapter 2 Paul further develops his exhortation for believers to practice good works, namely what those good works look like and how they should set believers apart from the world around them. Likewise, in the beginning of chapter 3 we are given opposites of good works, the “evil deeds” we are supposed to look out for.

So it is reasonable to conclude that Titus 3:9-11, since it is Paul’s conclusion to his letter, is a reference to the beginning, Titus 1:10-16 and that the “foolish debates” are the “Jewish myths” mentioned in chapter 1. But what is more, these “foolish debates” are foolish, not because either party deems them to be so, but because the result of these debates is an “upsetting of whole families”. And this upsetting is not merely agitation or physiological discomfort. This upsetting is a damaging of others’ faith through false (lying) doctrine that is designed to draw others away from Christ. So the divisive persons here are primarily guilty of drawing others away from Christ and secondarily, from each other (as members of the Body of Christ).

In a post titled, Unity s ‘first tier’ doctrine, Alan Knox points out that:

According to Paul, a person who divides from brothers and sisters should be warned twice. If the person still remains divisive, then the church should separate from him. In other words, “divisiveness” is a reason supposing that someone is NOT a brother or sister in Christ.

He goes on to conclude:

In Scripture, there are very, very few reasons given for one believer to separate from another believer. This separation is the same as refusing to recognize someone as a brother or sister in Christ. Thus, “divisiveness” is a first-tier doctrine that is placed on the same level as teaching a false gospel, practicing gross immorality, and refusing to work to support yourself and others (yes, this is a ‘first tier’ doctrine also).

I believe Alan is spot-on here. Sadly, in an effort to quash what some pastors see as a threat they are quick to throw around passages such as Titus 3:9-11. What they often fail to realize is that in using this passage to quell what they perceive as division and discord, they actually end up coming dangerously close to participating in the same sort of divisive behavior Paul wrote to Titus about. That is, they seek to divide between brothers and sisters in Christ by calling into question (either intentionally or by implication) the salvation of the one they’ve (often unilaterally) deemed to be “divisive”.

So the next time you are tempted to apply Titus 3:9-11 to someone, take a step back and ask yourself whether they have earned such a label according to Paul’s previous exhortations. Do they have a history of immorality? Do they seek to draw others away from “sound doctrine”3? Do their arguments contain much speculation4? Do you have a real reason to question their salvation (apart from the present disagreement)? Do you really think they are headed to hell5? Is the other party, once warned, unwilling to continue a productive discourse on the issue at hand6?

The charge inherent in Titus 3:9-11 is not something to be taken or thrown about lightly.

  1. I use the phrase “parting shot” here because after citing this passage no other contact is made. Thus, the pattern seems to be 1. identify someone’s speech as undesirable, 2. claim the offending party is in violation of Titus 3:9-11, 3. have no further contact with them, cutting off any and all hope of further discourse (which includes reconciliation []
  2. It is also important to settle this question in our own souls because if we leave this question unexamined it could lead to some serious personal spiritual damage. []
  3. This does not include personal theological preference, ie. Calvinism, but sound doctrine as is found in 1 Corinthians 15 []
  4. For a good example of “Jewish myths” that likely existed in Paul’s time, look into Kabbalah. []
  5. and do you want them to go there? []
  6. If they are, then you need to seriously consider whether it is you who are being divisive in this instance. []

Subversive preaching: “Examine yourself”

A friend on Facebook posted the video above which gave rise to the following conversation:


I find such sermons where the underlying premise is “though you think you are saved, you MAY not be” to be absolutely deplorable and ultimately severely spiritually damaging. May God have mercy on all preachers who think they are doing any good in preaching such sermons and may God also fortify those unfortunate enough to sit through such horrible sermons to either ignore them or be strengthened enough to withstand the undue and needless spiritual consternation they cause.

What amuses me in all of this, though, is that such sermons are often preached by Calvinists, who also purport to hold to “once saved always saved”. Assurance of salvation indeed!


Wes…..there is an epidemic of easy-believism in this country. Just say a quick prayer and bam, you are saved. Man cannot declare someone’s salvation, only God can do that. Unfortanetly, this is the way of the world. You are right, for the false convert, sitting through such a sermon must be “absolutely deplorable”. Wes, the Truth is not meant for comfort and to make one “feel good”. It is God’s Truth, and just because it may make someone feel it is “absolutely deplorable” does not change anything. Yes, once saved, always saved, but you actually have to be saved to claim this. As many who think they are, are not.


The point is that it has nothing to do with feelings in the first place. Sure, there is easy-believism in the form of making people feel good about themselves, but on the opposite end of the spectrum you have the preachers like Paul Washer who seem to think people should be emotional train-wrecks 24/7 and never content with their life or their walk with Christ.

The bottom line is if someone accepts the simple message of Christ’s life, death, and atonement for their sins per 1 Corinthians 15 then they are saved and can know it with certainty. Period. End of story. Any further preaching whose aim is primarily to introduce doubt in their lives as to their salvation is, quite simply, wrong (and quite possibly demonic). Now, we may want to more clearly define what it means to believe in the first place (and that is not merely mental acknowledgement/affirmation of a set of propositions) but we by no means need to preach sermons where we may inadvertently destroy someone’s faith because we are hell-bent on removing the tares from the wheat.

Also, “easy-believism ” is not really a problem. Failure to understand what one is believing/committing to is.

The Gospel is simple and easily to believe (with the drawing and assistance of the Holy Spirit that is) and it would be wrong for us to start throwing in additional unnecessary barriers to belief (beyond the limited and simple ones Jesus Himself established).

The problem is not that people are readily believing what is preached. The problem is that what is preached is not an entirely accurate portrayal of what it means to be a Christian.


Actually Wes thats not how it works. What you just stated is in fact the false gospel that is damning many to hell. You cant just simply “believe” and be saved. There is no way I can detail this in a fb comment, but simply yes you must believe the gospel BUT then you must beg God to grant you repentance and salvation and IF you get saved you receive the Holy Spirit and are regenerated. Then you are called into a life of pursuing Holiness and Christ like charactor i.e. a covenant with God to keep his law. No one can not by any means earn salvation through works but good fruit or works is evidence of true salvation and the only proof. Washer preaches the way he does because the majority of this country are deceived and not saved. The TRUE Saints rejoice and delight in reproof and his teaching, if it bothers you maybe it is because one doesnt have the Holy Spirit therefore is not a child of God and doesnt appreciate the discipline of God.


God does not grant us repentance.

We repent before God. We may be drawn and aided by the inner working of the holy spirit, but to say that God “grants us repentance” is to destroy what repentance, by definition, is.

But you do elucidate one of the biggest problems we face here and that is not that people believe the Gospel but that the gospel is being changed (either knowingly or unknowingly) by Calvinists such as Washer through their understanding of election into “if you are elect, then God will change you, otherwise you are one of the reprobate and therefore screwed from all eternity”. Unfortunately such a gospel is really no gospel at all (and not really worth preaching either since it neither provides hope nor is it anything anyone can do anything about).

What is truly sad in all of this is that in an effort to preserve a man-made theological system we are quite wiling to do mortal damage to the faith of our brothers.

At this point my salvation was questioned. A tactic I’ve come to discover is par for the course, especially when debating with hyper-Calvinists.


Wes….I’m not saying anything of the sort. Only God knows your heart, but everything you speak of screams “easy-believism”. If I offended you I am sorry, that was not my intent. I cannot believe anyone who is truly saved can speak of Paul Washer in the tone that you do. I’m done responding Wes. Again I am sorry if I offended you, but I can speak of no other but the truth. Please, if you cannot tolerate what I post here on fb, please delete me. For it will not offend me in any way shape or form.


I hate to take a short detour from the present thread’s topic to address this for a second:
“I cannot believe anyone who is truly saved can speak of Paul Washer in the tone that you do.”

That smacks of “I am of Paul”. Brother, that is a VERY dangerous and spiritually damaging road to walk down. I don’t think Paul Washer has absolutely nothing good to say, he does. But neither do I think he is right in regards to everything he says or does or, and more importantly, is he above reproach. Remember, the Bereans were commended for following up on Paul, the least we can do is the same for anyone who purports to be a teacher.

Back to this whole mythical specter of “easy believe-ism”. I simply don’t see it. The message of the Bible is clear, concise, and accessible by all. The fact that we reject it is only an indication of our hard hearts, but the present conversation has NOTHING to do with order salutis. Even though we are from different sides of the theological fence we ought to be able to agree that after one is saved they are, indeed, saved. In that respect, and based on the testimony of Paul’s wife above, I find absolutely no biblical reason to say that she was not saved before her emotional breakdown some many years later. Further, I would cite the emphasis on emotion in this case is actually what is detrimental to a person’s spiritual well-being. And it is quite likely what exacerbated the issue in question far more than any lostness (mostly because the lostness was merely a perceived one and not due to any objective Biblical definition of lostness).

So for offending/hurting anyone’s feelings. Brother, I simply don’t understand what you are talking about. Just because I disagree with you does not have any bearing on my emotional state. Further, my emotional state has no bearing on the facts or what needs to be said or expressed. What you seem to be alluding to smacks of some sort of hyper-sensitivity that I do not possess. And hopefully you don’t either. So if it is all the same to you, why don;t we agree to stay on topic, discussing it in a Christ-like fashion, and forgo worrying about eachother’s feelings?


Wes, why do you think you are a Christian?

From here the conversation turns to be about me rather than the initial topic. This is, as I noted above, a common tactic popular among Reformed adherents. But it also serves to elucidate the subversive nature of this vein of teaching.

Where does it come from? Both Augustine and Calvin taught a view of the church where, in their view, there existed a global visible church and a local invisible church. Under this view all local congregations contained both reprobate as well as elect persons. It is from this view that men like Paul Washer either knowingly or unknowingly subvert the faith of millions by constantly calling into question their salvation.

By contrast, the Bible teaches us that we can be certain of our salvation.

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. -1 John 5:13

Let no one, including (and especially) preachers, tell you differently.