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Dec 11, 2008

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Stephen M. Garrett

Dear Peter:

Amen. Good thoughts.

"...the biblically bankrupt idea of being "born-again before faith"--as the exclusive, biblical, orthodox Christian faith..."

Amen!

Blessings,

Stephen

Byroniac

Stephen, what you amen I must in good conscience reject. Salvation includes both regeneration and conversion together, and often simultaneously. What is called hybrid Calvinism by some is not really such best I can tell.

On the other hand, I admit I am mystified why people prefer to believe that Christ died to make all saveable without saving anyone in particular, wants to save all but is powerless to do so unless people choose to cooperate, and cannot differentiate in His love towards people (and cannot exercise sovereignty in mercy and grace). True believers get a lot of theology messed up in their heads (I have too), but in our hearts we acknowledge the sovereignty of God and God's goodness in mercy and grace to us who never deserved it. But it amazes me, like when I read Dr. Allen's review of Calvinism, that he seems to prefer man's decision as the key factor in salvation and not the will of God.

We must be free to express our opinions or not. If so, then by extension we are free to openly persuade, even in organizational form such as the Founders, with, yes, even the intent of converting to our views. And why not? There are plenty of attempts to "convert" in the other direction, and it happens any time someone with an opposing view to ours argues his or her point of view. And that's fine, and the way it should be.

Stephen M. Garrett

Dear Byroniac:

You said:

"Salvation includes both regeneration and conversion together, and often simultaneously."

Only "often"? How often? Not always? Is a man "saved" who has been regenerated but not converted?

Blessings,

Stephen

Byroniac

I could not say. I believe John 3:8 speaks of regeneration when it says, "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." It is a hidden, spiritual reality which is invisible to our eyes. I believe regeneration and conversion cannot be separated; one leads naturally (or supernaturally) to the other as a necessary consequence. "Born-again before faith" in my mind separates what is not meant to be separated in the components of salvation. And I think Jesus implies regeneration when He speaks of conversion in Matthew 18:3, but no time line is given between the two occurring. Sorry, I know this does not answer your question, but I believe that everyone who is regenerated will also be converted without fail, if both do not happen simultaneously. I believe that regeneration is the transformation God does to your spirit, whereas conversion is the outworking of that spiritual reality in your mind, beliefs, and actions.

Stephen M. Garrett

Dear Byroniac:

Do you believe that sinners are regenerated or begotten by the preaching of the gospel? Or, are they regenerated and begotten apart from the gospel, and then later converted by the gospel, as the Hardshell Baptists teach?

Blessings

Byroniac

OK, I recognize a "gotcha" question when I see it sometimes. I think most times people are regenerated and converted upon hearing the Word of God preached. But Christ in John 3 mentions the new birth by the Spirit, not apart from means but no means are spoken of there, so I can't say it's impossible. That sounds like a "hyper-Calvinist" answer, I know, though.

peter lumpkins

Byron,

Have you ever heard the old saying "if it quacks like a duck, and...."? :^)

With that, I am...

Peter

P.S. sorry, I just could not resist...

Byroniac

Perhaps that puts me too close to the Hyper-Calvinist side of the fence for my comfort or anyone else's. Truth be told, I'm very uncomfortable with the idea of regeneration outside of or apart from the Word of God. No surprise here, I imagine, but I would make reference to the quickening of John the Baptist in the womb as the only example known to me where one could perhaps argue the case. But perhaps the "exception proves the rule" even if I'm right in my view of it.

RazorsKiss

Hey, you found Mr. Garrett's hobby horse :D

If you check his website, you'll find that a sizeable portion of his posts are concerning this very subject :D

Stephen M. Garrett


Dear Byroniac:

First, to be regenerated or begotten of God = salvation. Titus 3: 5 "saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewing..."

The scriptures teach regeneration and new birth by means of the application of gospel truth to the heart and soul. (See I Peter 1: 23; James 1:18; I Cor. 4: 15; etc.) To say that one must be born again before he can believe is to take the means of truth and faith out of the equation.

The Lord first convicts of sin by the Spirit and word, then he creates faith and gives repentance (at least in the case of the elect who are under conviction), and then they are at the same time regenerated (or converted), forgiven, justified, sanctified, etc.

About John the Baptist and his supposed regeneration in his mother's womb.

You must do two things to prove the Hyperist view that regeneration occurs apart from the application of truth and the reception of it, from the case of John the Baptist.

First, you must prove that what he experienced in the womb was "regeneration" or the "new birth." This you have not done. How will you do it?

Second, you must show that his supposed regeneration occurred apart from a conscious faith. This you will not be able to do, any more than the first.

Did John not first "hear" the "salutation" of Mary? Was her salutation not the gospel? Did he not leap for joy when hearing the gospel? Granted, all this was miraculous, but still, where is the word absent in his supposed regeneration?

Blessings,

Stephen

Stephen M. Garrett

Dear Razorskiss:

I don't have "hobby horses."

I have several blogs, some devotional, some apologetic, and some, like the Baptist Gadfly, mainly concern issues dealing with Hyper Calvinism. However, I do write also on other subjects.

But, hey, thanks for the acknowledgement!

For the love of Christ,

Stephen

Timotheos

Stephen,

I'm curious to know where Scripture states that regeneration, conversion, forgiveness, justification, sanctification, etc. (?) occur at the same time.

I'm also curious to know who actually believes or teaches that there are regenerated but not yet saved people running around "out there?"

I look forward to your answers.

Timotheos

Byroniac

First, a small quibble: you did not quote to the end of Titus 3:5, which ends in the KJV with, "...by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;"

I would think that the conviction of sin itself requires faith to believe, because the negative aspect of the gospel is believed before the positive aspect is believed according to what you have written.

But I would cite such passages as John 10:26, "But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you." To me this seems to imply that God's elect sheep are born again in order to believe. But I could be mistaken here.

Luke 1:15 states plainly that John the Baptist will be filled with the Holy Ghost even from the womb. If this is not regeneration or the new birth, what is it? If "filled" in 1:15 is not at a point in time, is John the Baptist filled with the Spirit from the moment of conception? Or if this is not regeneration or new birth, when did it occur in his life (as far as I know, no conversion is ever recorded) and how is this different?

You are correct; I cannot show that this regeneration occurred apart from a conscious faith. How can a conscious faith exist in the womb is the question I would ask. But you are probably going to tell me that he was not regenerated until later, right?

Yes, John first heard the salutation of Mary in 1:41, but it does not actually say that. It actually says Elisabeth heard, and the babe leapt for joy (presumably he heard also as well somehow; I will grant that implicitly but not explicitly). As for her salutation being the Gospel, it does not give the content of her salutation. To call her salutation the gospel is to at best rely on implicit context rather than actual statement. It is certainly connected with the Gospel, because we have again in verse 44 that she heard and the babe leaped for joy. But if you will notice, the "Word" (gospel) and John's hearing are never explicitly linked, though Elisabeth hears, and even engages in prophecy by the Holy Spirit.

I am interested in what you make of this.

Stephen M. Garrett

Dear Timotheos:

First you ask me to show you where the various terms are used to describe an aspect of what happens when one is saved, implying that they do not all happen concurrently, and then you follow that up with a statement that suggests they do occur together!

But, yes, there are lots of Hyperists who actually teach that lots of people are regenerated but not converted. Many Pedos believe it. Men like Shedd, Hodge, Berkhof, etc. They teach that infants are regenerated apart from faith. They separate regeneration and converion.

Wayne Gruden does it. See my post here

Byroniac is wanting to make John the Baptist a regenerated but not a converted person. He wants to separate these two things, does he not.

If you will check out John Hendryx at www.monergism.com, you will see who he divides up these experiences.

In I Cor. 1: 30 a person who is "in Christ," finds every blessing at that time, such as Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption.

Spurgeon spoke of regeneration as the hub of a wheel and the spokes all the terms mentioned in the bible as connected with that experience. They all were together and moved concurrently.

Paul, in Hebrews 6: 9 speaks of salvation and the things "that accompany salvation." I think this verse really answers your question.

In love,

Stephen

Stephen M. Garrett

Dear Byroniac:

I will not address quibbles. They are not worth the time in the context of weightier matters.

You said: "I would think that the conviction of sin itself requires faith to believe..."

Conviction of sin does involve some belief, but not necessarily of gospel truth. Much conviction stems from the work of the law in the hearts of sinners. Even those produced by the gospel do not always end in genuine conversion. We have lots of examples of this in scripture.

The ablest Baptist writers have always put conviction of sin as a preparation for regeneration. Only those who are Hyperist or have leanings that way will argue that conviction of sin is an evidence of regeneration.

"You believe not because you are not of my sheep" is not equated to mean "you believe not because you are not regenerated." Rather, it means, in my view, "you believe not because you are not of the elect."

Notice that the sheep were sheep before they were called, before they heard the voice of the Shepherd, and before they were "brought." We cannot therefore, equate "sheep" with "regenerated."

As far as John the Baptist and his supposed "regeneration" in his mother's womb, I find no evidence for this view. To build a whole scheme of regeneration based upon this miraculous event of the Baptist's being "filled with the Spirit," is just reading too much into the passage and would, if true, present all kinds of absurdities and contradictions with other scriptures.

In my book on Hardshellism, I have two chapters on infant regeneration with citations from our Baptist forefathers, particularly from John Spilsbury.

John "leaped for joy" because he head some good news. You may say that is only "implicitly" taught, but it is clear to me, in any case.

Perhaps John is just like Jeremiah and was sanctified from birth to be a prophet. His conversion or regeneration would come later when he would embrace the gospel.

God bless and thanks for you gentle spirit manifested in honest discussion.

Stephen

Byroniac

I see your point concerning John 10:26. Thanks. That makes sense.

Honestly, though, I'm not sure what else to do with the phrase "filled with the Spirit" than to say that it would probably be itself evidence of regeneration or proof that it had already occurred. If this is not regeneration itself, are there any other examples of unregenerate people in the Scripture who were filled with the Spirit? is this different from the Spirit coming upon people in order to accomplish God's will? Is there proof of either case (filling or coming) upon people who proved unregenerate, or at least were at the time?

I want to make a disclaimer: I want to agree with you concerning John the Baptist, as it would make me much more comfortable, but even if John was regenerated in the womb, would that necessarily require "absurdities and contradictions" with other Scriptures, and not simply an exception to the rule (for the purposes of John's special and elevated status as a prophet?). And is it possible that John was both regenerated and converted simultaneously in the womb since no record of his conversion is in Scripture (other than here possibly)?

peter lumpkins

Stephen, Byron,& Timotheos

Thanks for the good natured discussion. That surely beats the heck out of so much tension we've experienced of late.

Of course, it is no surprise I see things more in line with Stephen on this subject. The Scriptures usually employed, as he has shown, have a tendency to be squeezed for more milk than they naturally bear.

That is, from my view, unless someone were looking for regeneration--regeneration as in a fully embodied spiritual resurrection from the dead, which is what I am hearing from the guys who embrace this view--the passages offered simply do not produce such.

Moreover, it seems to me, as B.H. Carroll put it, this remains a "philosophical impossibility" for this to be. Now don't get up in a tizzy over the "P" term. I don't think he meant it quite like it sounds on the surface; that is, he was not placing "P" in any way, form or fashion over Scripture.

My simple question is, if we are spiritually dead corpses and cannot spiritually respond whatsoever to any spiritual stimuli, and cannot "see" the Kingdom, much less believe the King until we are fully regenerated--that is, raised from the dead spiritually--what possible role do any means, including but not limited to gospel preaching, play in my believing on Christ to new life?

Indeed, if I am raised to spiritual resurrection life and thus fully possess spiritual resurrection life, what life is it that I am supposed to receive through the instrument of my faith? One even could question the benefit of belief, it seems to me.

Grace. With that, I am...

Peter

Stephen M. Garrett

Dear Peter:

You asked: "what possible role do any means, including but not limited to gospel preaching, play in my believing on Christ to new life?"

I cannot wait to hear all the Calvinists who read your blog, and who believe in the born again before faith error, answer this question! I have been asking it and cannot get one of them to answer it! Good luck!

I have asked them to tell me how the gospel is a means in regeneration if regeneration must occur before the gospel can be believed. I have asked them to tell me why "begotten by the gospel" (I Cor. 4: 15) does not mean "begotten by believing the gospel?"

I asked this question in the Founders blog and got no replies from these brethren. Why do they have such difficulty answering this simple question. Bob Ross can answer it. I can too as a 5 pt. Calvinist.

I also asked them to explain Gal. 3: 26 where Paul says "you are all the children of God (begotten?) by faith in Christ Jesus."

I do not see why putting faith before regeneration, as do most scriptures, does violence to the basic principles of Calvinism. Also, there is really no gap in time. The moment a sinner believes and repents of sin, that very moment he is regenerated, renewed, and transformed. He is justified, pardoned, forgiven, and reconciled to God.

Faith first joins us to Christ, and being joined to, or in him, we have every blessing.

Anyway, I can't wait, as I said, to hear your questions, and mine too, answered by the "born again before faith" advocates.

Yours for the truth,

Stephen

Todd Burus

Peter and Stephen,
Thank you for the nice discussion on this post. I want to do my best to state what I believe the Bible says about the question you guys have raised.

First, as a comment, you (Stephen) ask about Galatians 3.26 and how a Calvinist deals with that? But as I see it, Galatians 3.26 deals with adoption and adoption, like justification, is believed by Calvinists (and I imagine most of us here) to be by faith, so I'm not sure what you are looking for here.

As for the question directed to Calvinists (or at least ones that hold T) of "What possible role do any means, including but not limited to gospel preaching, play in my believing on Christ to new life?," I don't know that this question is really coherent in the way you think it is to Calvinist thought. To approach the question in this manner is to search for a utilitarian justification for the gospel means, but I do not think we have to (or should) do this. That's like asking "What possible role do any means, including but not limited to professing faith, play in my being justified?" There is no utilitarian reasoning for this, it is just simply the means decreed by God for it to occur. It is the same with the gospel means, it does not serve a utilitarian function apart from being what has been decreed by God.

Now, I know an objection you guys may make to the above is that my analogy is incorrect because professing faith is necessary since God cannot abridge our free will. But I ask you, Why is this? Is God not capable of abridging our free will? I do not think we would say that. Then it must be simply that he won't. But where does this come from? Does it say so in the Bible (if it does I would be curious to see where), or is this a philosophical argument? Irregardless, I think as far as non-Calvinists can honestly take this is that God has decreed the professing of faith as the singular means to justification, and so it is simply that Calvinists, in holding the gospel means as the singular means necessary to faith, are just taking the extent of what God has decreed one dimension further.

peter lumpkins

Stephen,

Well, my brother, I am with you. I'd like to know an answer as well.

I recall, in the early 80s, sitting in my upstairs apartment--B-7, Seminary Village--having a conversation with my Pastor, Bro. Bill, on being born again. We were having a lively conversation and I will never forget the words he said to me.

Stopping me in mid-sentence at one point, with his mouth dropped wide open and eyes intensely locked to mine, he said:

Pete, do you know what you are? You are a HARDSHELL! I cannot believe this. You are a HARDSHELL Baptist, just like some Baptists I know back home."

I hadn't a clue at that time what a hardshell was. I did know who R.C. Sproul was; I knew also John Gerstner for I had listened many times over to about every cassette teaching tape they had on philosophy, theology, and apologetics.

For my part, it was the years of systematic, week-by-week exegetical, exposition of the Scripture that completely dried up that hyper-like pond in me.

Grace, Stephen. With that, I am...

Peter

Timotheos

Stephen,

Thanks for the reply. Had I imagined asking more than one question in the same comment would have lead you to deduce implications foreign to the interest of the questions, I would have been a bit more careful. Please excuse the obvious confusion engendered on your part by my imprecise question(s).

The first question was simply a request for clear biblical data in support of your view that salvation in all of its aspects and operations takes place at exactly the same moment in time; the second question was a request for something like a very brief annotated bibliography of men who ostensibly hold the so-called "I'm-born-again-but-not-saved" view.

As to the first question, neither of the passages noted give a clear explanation of the operations of God in the various aspects of His salvation, regeneration in particular. "Things that accompany salvation" in Hebrews 6:9 are, contextually, the resultant "crop" which genuine salvation produces, not salvation itself. In any event, this passage certainly is not giving any kind of description of the operations of God in salvation. Some would even understand the Hebrews 6 passage to teach a position directly opposite to yours - that it is possible to "taste" and "see" and to "share in" aspects of salvation but not actually be saved.

As to the second question, I remain unpersuaded by the instances you cite. Grudem certainly does not deny the necessity of means, nor would he divide the operations of God in salvation into distinct, non-dependent and unrelated categories. Though I know certain subgroups of Calvinists deny any kind of instrumentality (including preaching the gospel!) in the salvation (or regeneration) of men, it does not of necessity follow that those who view John 3, for example, as teaching the necessity of new birth before one can see or enter the kingdom, are erroneous, hyper, "hybrid" or unorthodox in their view.

I frankly do not understand the contention that is generated by certain men who are unable to abide any understanding of the function and place of regeneration but their own. Disagreement on how one understands Scripture is one thing; condemnation, mockery and vilification of a brother who so differs is something altogether different and itself worthy of condemnation. I cannot see Paul, for instance, condoning such behavior in his own teachings about the Household, nor (I think) should we.

There is always more to be said on such subjects, but I suspect the blog host would not be pleased with any longer of a comment.

Timotheos

peter lumpkins

Todd,

Thanks. I'll allow Stephen to deal with Gal. 3:26 since it is his point.

As for your response to my question, Todd, I have to say--and please don't take this wrongly--I haven't a clue how any of what you just wrote possesses the least relevance to the very simple question I posed.

To bring up a quest for "a utilitarian justification for the gospel means" completely clouds a very straight forward question:

"If the new birth--a spiritual resurrection from the dead--is necessary in order to spiritually respond to spiritual stimuli--what specific role does any stimuli possess?"

Now, Todd, that's a simple straight-forward question. It is not a quest to discern philosophical justification or any such abstract speculation.

I simply want to know, in light of such, what, say the Apostle means by it "pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe (1 Cor. 1:21) or "[the gospel of Christ] is the power of God unto salvation" (Rom. 1:16). If the Holy Spirit does not employ means to birth us, what role do the means play? Very simple question.

With that, I am...

Peter

Timotheos

Peter,

Might I ask for a point of clarity in your question to Todd? What do you mean by "spiritual stimuli?" What are those stimuli? Thanks.

Timotheos

peter lumpkins

Timotheos,

I suppose you can fill in the blank with virtually any "evangelistic" means your heart may afford:
--Jesus film
--SS
--Gospel tracts
--VBS
--Roman Road
--Sinner's prayer :^)
--Now you try!__________

With that, I am...

Peter

Todd Burus

Peter,
You say, "I simply want to know, in light of such, what, say the Apostle means by it "pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe (1 Cor. 1:21) or "[the gospel of Christ] is the power of God unto salvation" (Rom. 1:16). If the Holy Spirit does not employ means to birth us, what role do the means play?" Here is how I believe what I said addresses your question.

I do believe that the Spirit uses means to birth us, and that those means are the gospel means. However, the way in which I take you are posing this question is that you feel it must be that the gospel means is the means to birth precisely by those means convincing the hearer to believe. Therefore the Spirit uses the gospel means to convince the hearer who then believes and thus the Spirit effects regeneration. This is what I am saying is a utilitarian justification for the gospel means. The gospel means are necessary here precisely because they are the instrument which causes convincing and leads to faith and then regeneration.

What I am arguing is that the gospel means are not utilitarian in that they do not work by convincing. Instead they are simply the decreed means by which the Holy Spirit appears and works regeneration itself. It is not that the Spirit cannot work regeneration when it wants, it could, but it is that it does not because God has decreed that the work of regeneration cannot occur without the preaching of the Gospel. Thus, when the Gospel is proclaimed the Spirit may appear (it has the means to work) and may effect regeneration in the heart of someone present, who now has a will which is desirous of God and thus exercises faith in him.

This is also why you can't be regenerated and not exercising faith, because it is the working of regeneration which changes your heart, changes your desires, and thus moves you to God. So, when the criticism is leveled that Calvinists believe a person could be regenerated on Thursday and yet not saved (come to faith) until Sunday, this is simply off base because there is a fundamental misunderstanding of what the work of regeneration actually does.

I hope this clarifies my position some.

William Marshall

Bro. Pete or Stephen,

I just have a quick question: what do you do with Paul's language in Ephesians 2:5 and Colossians 2:13 that speaks of God making us alive when we were dead in our sins. I know these texts are brought up a lot concerning this issue, so I was wondering your thoughts (and a brief answer will do). Thanks,

wm

Todd Burus

William et al.,
Just to jump the gun on their responses, the typical explanation I hear from non-Calvinists on these passages (and 1 Peter 1.3 among others) is that God made us alive because of our faith! However, I am curious, if this is the explanation they choose to go with, how this does not qualify as the "reading too much into the passage" that Calvinists are often accused of?

peter lumpkins

Todd,

Honestly, Todd, you are making this much more complicated than it needs to be.

First, you assume my question is framed with the following: "the way in which I take you are posing this question is that you feel it must be that the gospel means is the means to birth precisely by those means convincing the hearer to believe. Therefore the Spirit uses the gospel means to convince the hearer who then believes and thus the Spirit effects regeneration. " Your assumption is mistaken.

I am not stating what I think is or should be about means at all. Rather, I am asking a question about the role of means in the regeneration-precedes-faith (RPF) doctrine. But even if you were right about my assumption, what does that have to do with your particular answer?

Now, Todd, you wrote a lot of words about "what you're arguing", but you hardly addressed my simple question. A short answer I'd prefer henceforth.

But, allow me to wade through this:

"gospel means...do not work by convincing. Instead they are simply the decreed means by which the Holy Spirit appears and works regeneration itself."

I am not suggesting gospel means convince (at least at this question stage) To the contrary, in my understanding of RPF, convincing anyone of anything spiritually beneficial is absolutely impossible. They are dead to spiritual stimuli in toto.

"Decreed means" means exactly what? And, do these "decreed means" possess a "decreed role"? If so, what is it?

"It is not that the Spirit cannot work regeneration when it [sic] wants, it [sic] could, but it is that it [sic] does not because God has decreed that the work of regeneration cannot occur without the preaching of the Gospel."

Though I don't want to press this, but you seem to have one too many "cannots" in this statement. Anyways, if I am reading you correctly, Todd, you are suggesting a simultaneous work of the Holy Spirit with gospel witness. O.K. No problem there.

What does the Holy Spirit do with this gospel witness? Does He convince? Reprove? Rebuke? But how can we understand anything at all pertaining to any of the words of the gospel witness if we are still dead in our depraved state?

Unless, we are breathed into by the Holy Spirit, and raised from the dead spiritually, there is nothing the gospel can say that will have any effect on us.

"Thus, when the Gospel is proclaimed the Spirit may appear (it has the means to work) and may effect regeneration in the heart of someone present, who now has a will which is desirous of God and thus exercises faith in him.

Let me see if I break this down properly:

a) Gospel is preached, accompanied by the Holy Spirit
b) regeneration is effected (His discretion) in people's heart
c)consequently, faith arises (in the regenerate). Are you suggesting contra to what I assumed above, that regeneration is not simultaneous with the gospel means?

"This is also why you can't be regenerated and not exercising faith, because it is the working of regeneration which changes your heart, changes your desires, and thus moves you to God"

But I thought you just said, "the Spirit...effect[s] regeneration...in...someone...who now has a will which is desirous of God and thus exercises faith in him." Is it simultaneous or is it not simultaneous?

"So, when the criticism is leveled that Calvinists believe a person could be regenerated on Thursday and yet not saved (come to faith) until Sunday, this is simply off base because there is a fundamental misunderstanding of what the work of regeneration actually does."

First, it is unnecessary to suggest a Thursday to Sunday time-span scenarios. But for the record, our RPF theologians include infants to Adult time spans, with infants being born again but not exercising faith until adulthood. Thus how it is "a fundamental misunderstanding of what the work of regeneration actually does" is a point not well-taken.

Secondly, if there is any time-span between regeneration to faith to justification, the theoretical possibility exists that you have an animal that some have called a "born-again unbeliever"--a patent absurdity, biblically speaking.

Besides all this--supposing everything youy have said is absolutely correct--Todd, you must have come to this conclusion exegetically from explicit texts that undeniably teach regeneration-precedes-faith. I'd really like just one, explicit text which addresses this. Just one. No dissertation.

I would like to play more but can't right now. I will be back this evening.

With that, I am...

Peter

peter lumpkins

William,

Sorry, brother. Have to go play "Let's Christmas shop" with my hunny. But, if Stephen has not engaged the texts, I promise I'll get back.

Grace. With that, I am...

Peter

Stephen M. Garrett

Dear Peter:

Sorry I have not been around today! I am home now and will try to address some of these questions from the commenters.

But, before I have supper and dig into the task, let me ask you - did I not tell you that you would have a hard time getting answers to our questions?

These Hypers (or borderline Hypers) cannot see how they have taken the gospel, as a means, out of the work of regeneration.

Blessings,

Stephen

Todd Burus

Peter,
My statement about your assumption wasn't meant to imply your personal position but was to say what I think is wrong with the problem you argue RPF people are stuck with.

You show my point again later when you say, "What does the Holy Spirit do with this gospel witness? Does He convince? Reprove? Rebuke? But how can we understand anything at all pertaining to any of the words of the gospel witness if we are still dead in our depraved state?" I do not believe the Holy Spirit does anything with the gospel witness. I believe that the Holy Spirit does its work independent of the gospel witness, however it cannot do this work apart from (read: in the absence of) the proclamation of the gospel because this is what God has decreed.

As far as simultaneity, I stand by what I said earlier, which I think was consistent throughout, though I see that I can make it more explicit. The best illustration I know comes from John Piper, where he says that the relationship between regeneration and faith is like the relationship between opening our eyes and seeing. What is perceived appears simultaneous because the moment eyes open, vision occurs; but at the most dissected level it is clear that the opening had to proceed the seeing and that the seeing does not occur without the opening. Similarly, the nanosecond the blindness of the heart is corrected (by regeneration) the light of the Gospel shines in and faith erupts at the sight of our Lord (cf. 2 Corinthians 4.4-6). However, nothing can happen until the blindness is gone.

As far as exegeting, this seems like the same burden that was laid upon you in comments #26 and #27, particularly since I would point to those texts as saying that it is God who "cause[s] us to be born again" through regeneration to faith much more naturally than the standard non-Calvinist interpretation of God "cause[s] us to be born again" through regeneration because of our faith (which makes it seem like we are actually causing ourselves to be born again).

I would also point to Romans 8.30 which says "and those whom he called (effectually, i.e. regenerated) he also justified (by faith)." I would also use Titus 3.5 which says, "he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit," which once again points out God's sovereign power to regenerate us but curiously leaves off any qualifications for needing to be preceded by faith. Thus, short of showing a verse which says faith causes regeneration, it seems like it is God who initiates things.

Stephen M. Garrett

Dear Timotheos:

You said:

“I'm curious to know where Scripture states that regeneration, conversion, forgiveness, justification, sanctification, etc. (?) occur at the same time.”

If you do not believe this, then you must believe that they do not occur at the same time, correct? I might ask you - why do you believe the terms that describe the salvation experience do not occur concurrently?

Can a man be born again and not justified? Can a man be justified and not forgiven? Can one be adopted but not begotten? Can one be quickened and yet be unbelieving and impenitent?

I think the verse I cited in Hebrews 6: 9 answered your question. You do not seem to think so. Why not? Does it not say that there are things that “accompany” salvation? What does “accompany” mean to you?

You said:

“...this passage (Heb. 6: 9) certainly is not giving any kind of description of the operations of God in salvation.”

Who said it gave a “description”? I said the verse affirmed that salvation is accompanied by all the other things that we normally connect with the salvation experience.

Why do you want to put these things into a neat chronological order? Especially when they cannot be so put?

You said:

“I'm also curious to know who actually believes or teaches that there are regenerated but not yet saved people running around "out there?"

Did I not cite Grudem? Others too? Why then this question? Are you wanting me to make you a long list? What purpose would that serve? Among those who put regeneration before faith are a large segment who put a gap in time between regeneration and conversion. Some even affirm, like the Hardshells, that many die with only regeneration, without being converted (infants and idiots, for example). So, why do you deny that these people exist? Are you living in denial?

You said:

“The first question was simply a request for clear biblical data in support of your view that salvation in all of its aspects and operations takes place at exactly the same moment in time; the second question was a request for something like a very brief annotated bibliography of men who ostensibly hold the so-called "I'm-born-again-but-not-saved" view.”

Certainly there is future salvation. But, when Paul is speaking of salvation in Hebrews 6: 9, he is speaking of the conversion experience, is he not? And, what accompanies salvation? What goes with it? What is it that cannot be separated from it?

Again, you want a list! Go to my blog and you will see many names! Men like John Hendryx, Brian Schwertley, W. E. Best, William Perkins, W. T. Shedd, Louis Berkhof, Wayne Grudem, and nearly all Hardshells (they are still around).

Also, consider the fact that some of the Calvinists of the “born again before faith” stripe, love to cite J. P. Boyce, as though he agreed with them. Both Bob Ross and myself have often had to correct them on this, however. But, if one wants to cite Boyce, in the section where he seems to put regeneration before faith and conversion, gives examples where there is “an appreciable gap” between regeneration and conversion.

So, if you think Boyce is upholding the idea that one can be born again but not regenerated, then he certainly put regeneration, in many cases, a long time after regeneration.

Besides, I should turn the question back on you. Where, in the Bible, are the terms we have used, for the salvation experience, made separate events, divided by time? Where is there a clearly designated chain of links with all the links put in neat order? In fact, why should we adopt the chain link, or domino, analogy? Or, a step by step or stages paradigm?

You said:

“Grudem certainly does not deny the necessity of means, nor would he divide the operations of God in salvation into distinct, non-dependent and unrelated categories.”

He most certainly does! Did you read my post on him and this issue? Did you listen to his sermon on “regeneration” from which I cited him? Did he not have a “gap in time” between regeneration and conversion? Does he not tell us that he does not know when he was regenerated? That he thinks it was when he was a little child?

Again, I repeat - if one is born again prior to his being able to hear, understand, and believe the gospel, then the gospel cannot be a means in the birth. It is that simple. And, the fact that few want to challenge this reasoning, shows it to be insurmountable.

Are we begotten by the gospel or not? If so, are we begotten by it when we disbelieve it? Or, are be begotten by it because we have been brought to believe it? How can the gospel be an instrument in producing the new birth unless it is the means of creating both faith and life? You want to make it a means in giving faith, but not life. You want to make it a means in salvation, but not in initial salvation, in regeneration or new birth.

You said:

“...it does not of necessity follow that those who view John 3, for example, as teaching the necessity of new birth before one can see or enter the kingdom, are erroneous, hyper, "hybrid" or unorthodox in their view.”

If you will check my blog, I have written against the erroneous interpretation that the “born again before faith” crowd uses regarding these verses. When I was a Hardshell pastor, I heard this argument used quite often.

Let me ask you this - does a man “see” and “enter” the “kingdom” the very moment he is born again? And, - was the gospel a means in both the giving of sight and in bringing objects to the eye to be seen? Or only the latter?

To say that one must be given the ability to see before he sees is to fail to comprehend that, in the scriptures, faith itself is pictured as the Christian’s “eye,” or his “ability to see.” If this is so, then your question would be a tautology, of sorts, and read like this - “one must have ability to see (faith) in order to see (have faith).” Don’t you “see”?

Besides, the “seeing” is equated with “entering.” When do we enter the kingdom and enjoy full salvation? Is it not when we die or when Christ returns? Did not Peter refer to this “entering” and “seeing” the eternal kingdom in II Peter 1: 11?

So, the “seeing” and “entering” the kingdom is the full enjoyment or realization of it. This is future and is the reason we still pray - “thy kingdom come.” It is an eshatological “seeing” and “entering.” Christ is simply telling Nicodemas that he cannot be finally saved, have eternal life and immortality, unless he is born again, or converted.

Also, is there no "seeing" IN the very act of regeneration itself? Can't it be made an essential part of it, rather than that which is only post hoc?

I hope this helps. With that I am,

Your brother in Christ,

Stephen

Stephen M. Garrett

Dear Todd:
You said:

”I see it, Galatians 3: 26 deals with adoption and adoption, like justification, is believed by Calvinists (and I imagine most of us here) to be by faith, so I'm not sure what you are looking for here.”
Why cannot it not deal with “begetting”? Can a man be “begotten” and not “adopted”? If a man is first begotten, then later brought to faith, and then adopted, don’t you see the mess you have created by this hair-splitting?

How do we become “sons” of God? Is it not chiefly put to the “begetting”? Also, where is the word “adoption” used as a word to describe regeneration or conversion? Does it not deal mainly with the adoption of the body in the resurrection? Yes, we receive the “spirit of adoption,” but what does that mean? In James 1: 18 we are said to be “begotten with the word of truth.” We become sons of God by the means of the truth. How so? How can the application of truth to the mind regenerate the mind if the mind must first be regenerated before the truth can be applied? That is just not logical. To put such logic in a bird would make the bird fly backwards.

I am trying to get you to see that it is false to say that men are born again BEFORE they believe. It is more proper to say - men are born again WHEN they believe. One violates no principle of language or logic to say this of things that go or occur together, or simultaneously. It is an error to say that one believes before he is born again, and it is wrong to say one is born again before he believes. The safest and scriptural was is best expressed as I have stated it. But, this said, when two things are mentioned, one must be mentioned first. And, they are not always mentioned in an order that implies anything concrete. For instance, election to salvation is prior to salvation (or calling). But, in some scriptures, calling is mentioned before election. Should we read anything into this order? Also, there is no question that faith is predominantly mentioned as preceding, not only justification and adoption, and conversion, but also before regeneration or new birth.

Children of God “by faith” simply means by the means of the gospel, by the means of believing it. When the Lord births his elect, he brings them to hear his word and this word, by the working of the Spirit’s power, is made the instrument in their regeneration and coming to faith or coming to Christ.

You said:

“God cannot abridge our free will.”

Why bring that up? I don’t believe in “free will” in the Arminian, Pelagian, Libertarian sense. It has nothing to do with whether the gospel is a means in the new birth.

You then said to Peter (I hope Peter does not mind me jumping in here):
”I do believe that the Spirit uses means to birth us, and that those means are the gospel means. However, the way in which I take you are posing this question is that you feel it must be that the gospel means is the means to birth precisely by those means convincing the hearer to believe.”

And:

”Therefore the Spirit uses the gospel means to convince the hearer who then believes and thus the Spirit effects regeneration.”
”The gospel means are necessary here precisely because they are the instrument which causes convincing and leads to faith and then regeneration.”
”Instead they (gospel means) are simply the decreed means by which the Holy Spirit appears and works regeneration itself.”
”“...you can't be regenerated and not exercising faith...”

Okay, if you really believe all these things, then why do we have any problem? But, if you say that one is born again before faith, then you take the means out of the birthing.

You then said:

...the criticism is leveled that Calvinists believe a person could be regenerated on Thursday and yet not saved (come to faith) until Sunday, this is simply off base because there is a fundamental misunderstanding of what the work of regeneration actually does.”

Let me cite John Hendryx of www.monergism.com, a leading spokesman for the “born again before faith” error. He wrote:

”Regeneration is described as a spiritual new birth.

1. This is affirmed in the following New Testament passages: John 1:12-13; 3:3-8; I Corinthians 4:15; Philemon 10; James 1:18; I Peter 1:3,23; I John 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1,4,18.

2. The embryonic stage of regeneration is what is called "quickening", and it is the work of the Holy Spirit alone.

3. The final stage of regeneration is delivery or birth, and it is the work of the Holy Spirit in dependence upon the Word as a means. Consequently, the spiritual knowledge conferred by illumination is the spiritual content or revelation (holy Scripture).”

See here

Why would Hendryx want to divide up the new birth into stages? Is it not because he realizes that to say that one is regenerated before faith is to take the gospel, as a means, out of the experience? Is that not why he put the first stage of regeneration to be without means?

You said:

“...the relationship between regeneration and faith is like the relationship between opening our eyes and seeing.”

If “regeneration” is the “opening of the eyes,” then how was the gospel a means it that first experience? Would Hendryx’s multi-stage model be better for you? (Though unscriptural) Yes, I acknowledge that you make the gospel and faith as means in “seeing,” but will you make it a means God uses to give the eyes, or ability to see, also?

You said:

“...at the most dissected level it is clear that the opening had to proceed the seeing and that the seeing does not occur without the opening.”

“Dissect” is a good word for what the neo “Reformed” brethren are doing when they carve up the work of regeneration into tightly knit stages. It is what “hair-splitting” theologians have done, and they certainly have not “cleared things up,” but only “muddied the waters.”

If you will check my replies to Timotheos, you will find your answer to this question.

You said:

“Similarly, the nanosecond the blindness of the heart is corrected (by regeneration) the light of the Gospel shines in and faith erupts at the sight of our Lord (cf.2 Corinthians 4: 4-6). However, nothing can happen until the blindness is gone.”

Well, Wayne Grudem, says it might be several seconds later, and others have said that there is sometimes “an appreciable gap” in time between the time when one is regenerated and when he is converted. In fact, this is the standard belief in most Presbyterian churches.

About the passage you refer to about the light of the gospel entering the heart and it being regenerated thereby. Is the gospel not the means of regenerating the heart? How can it enter into the man and cause his regeneration without his believing it? Also, the light entering, in itself, is not regeneration, for as A. A. Alexander said, the scriptures put the effect with the cause in describing regeneration or the new birth. But, the Hyperist wants to make “regeneration” or “begetting” to be a very narrowly defined entity, vague and nondescript, and as being defined by the “cause” only, that is, a “act of God.” However, “regeneration” cannot be defined as being what God experiences, but what we experience. God’s act initiates it, but our acting is integrally involved in the actual experience. The cause and the effect together equals regeneration. And, by the way, this is the view of B. H. Carroll and J. P. Boyce, as well as the founder of Princeton seminary.

Yours in love,

Stephen

Todd Burus

Bro. Pete or Stephen,
I just have a quick question: what do you do with Paul's language in Ephesians 2: 5 and Colossians 2: 13 that speaks of God making us alive when we were dead in our sins. I know these texts are brought up a lot concerning this issue, so I was wondering your thoughts (and a brief answer will do).

Stephen M. Garrett

Dear WM:

Sorry for the html errors.

I cannot answer your question on these passages until you are more specific. But, I have written several posts recently on this passage and how it relates to the question of whether regeneration precedes justification, or vice versa, logically speaking.

Blessings,

Stephen

Timotheos

Stephen,

I think that my response to you will no doubt try the patience of the blog host, as I see it will be necessary to qualify and restate nearly everything I am NOT saying as well as what I am saying. I am already wearied by the staccato-style questioning of your last comment, and the thought of re-plowing the same furrows that have been plowed elsewhere and with others, and the intractable nature of these kinds of dialogues in my past experience, leaves me reticent.

My response would probably be tedious and lengthy, and I will have to weigh whether I think the effort will, in the end, obtain the goal of Paul's charge in I Timothy 1:5. Out of respect for Peter, the conversation would at least have to be moved to another cyber-venue.

I will sleep on it and see what difference a night's sleep will make.

Timotheos

Todd Burus

Stephen,
Thank you for your lengthy response.

First, I do believe that you have missed what I was getting at with Peter about the gospel means, which I had hoped I clarified by comment #31. You said: "Is the gospel not the means of regenerating the heart?" No, I do not believe so. I believe it is the Spirit alone who regenerates the heart. What I believe the gospel means is a the means for enabling the presence of the Holy Spirit to do the work of regeneration. This is the whole of the utilitarian point I was trying to make.

Second, I do understand that some regeneration before faith people believe that a quickening occurs and then at some later point (seconds or longer) faith happens. You also note that most of these are Presbyterians. However, this difference between myself and Piper with the Presbyterians likely gets to another difference we have (being Baptists) and that is having to do with paedobaptism. Therefore, I would break with my conservative Presby brothers on this because I do not agree with them on the importance or working of paedobaptism as a covenant sign for unbelieving children.

Third, talking of the eyes-seeing illustration, you said: "About the passage you refer to about the light of the gospel entering the heart and it being regenerated thereby. Is the gospel not the means of regenerating the heart? How can it enter into the man and cause his regeneration without his believing it? Also, the light entering, in itself, is not regeneration, for as A. A. Alexander said, the scriptures put the effect with the cause in describing regeneration or the new birth." Well, as I have stated, I do not believe it is actually the gospel that does the regenerating, it is the Spirit. Also, I did not claim that the light entering was regeneration. What I claimed was that the eye opening was regeneration, which corresponds to the heart of stone being turned to flesh or the blindness of the unbeliever being removed so that the light may shine into the heart.

Finally, which is where you started, I do not agree that Galatians 3.26 could be referring to anything except adoption. For one, this passage is talking about a legal status of moving from slaves to heirs (a thought which continues into Galatians 4, which is clearly about adoption) and not with spiritual status of moving from death to life (which would be the necessary context for the regeneration you claim to see here).

Also, you say it is "hair-splitting" to say that adoption is the result of faith, but if so the I would say that the Apostle John was a hair-splitter since he says, "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1.12-13). It is those who have "believed," who "did receive him," that have been adopted, i.e. faith precedes adoption.

Stephen M. Garrett

Dear Todd:

You should study the bible doctrine concerning "adoption" more thoroughly. See this good article here

How can we Christians be said to be "waiting for the adoption" if we are already adopted? (Rom. 8: 23)

Also, doesn't Paul define adoption as pertaining only to the body?

If you put adoption for the soul, and for what occurs immediately at the point of faith, what did adoption do for the soul that regeneration did not do?

Blessings,

Stephen

Stephen M. Garrett

Dear Todd:

A slight rephrasing.

"define adoption as pertaining only to the body and fullness of the glorified and resurrected state"

Stephen

peter lumpkins

All,

Thanks for the conversation. A couple of things.

1)Try to keep the comments to reasonable length. I realize I myself get wordy. However, that does not give anyone liberty to ignore my encouragement to at least attempt to be more concise.

2) Please be careful with any html codes in your comments. Presently the platform which I am using for commenting allows for open ended tags. In other words, if you fail to close an "italics" tag, the entire thread after your comment will be in "italics." That drives me nuts!!

With that, I am...

Peter

peter lumpkins

William,

Thanks. As for both statements, William, I am unsure precisely what you mean by "do with Paul's language." Neither statement advocates a RPF doctrine. Indeed, in Eph. 2:5, the Apostle Paul mentions "by grace you have been saved" and in v. 9 he explicitly indicates what this means: "by grace are ye saved through faith..."

With that, I am...

Peter

peter lumpkins

Todd,

I asked a simple question to which you have written several paragraphs through which I have to wade to get an answer.  If you'd just give a short brief answer, I'd appreciate it. 

You stated you thought you'd been consistent throughout.  I ask all to compare what you wrote in comment #25 and your followup to me in comment #31:

TODD Comment #25: 

"I do believe that the Spirit uses means to birth us, and that those means are the gospel means."

"the gospel means...are simply the decreed means by which the Holy Spirit appears and works regeneration itself...God has decreed that the work of regeneration cannot occur without the preaching of the Gospel. Thus, when the Gospel is proclaimed the Spirit may appear (it has the means to work) and may effect regeneration...

TODD Comment #31: 

"I do not believe the Holy Spirit does anything with the gospel witness. I believe that the Holy Spirit does its work independent of the gospel witness"

"however [the Holy Spirit] cannot do this work apart from (read: in the absence of) the proclamation of the gospel because this is what God has decreed.

I'm sorry, Todd.  This simply makes no sense whatsoever.  On the one hand you say the Holy Spirit uses the decreed Gospel preaching to birth us, then turn right around and say the Holy Spirit does not do anything with the gospel, but works independently of it. 

Then, you say the Holy Spirit cannot birth us apart from or in absence of Gospel preaching because this is what God decrees.  I have not one clue what this means.  My encouragement to you is to rethink how to get your thinking across.

Now, you mentioned, Todd that " as far as exegeting, this seems like the same burden that was laid upon you in comments #26 and #27..."  Here is the deal:  I asked a simple question to which I'm given confusing, lengthy paragraphs through which I have to wade to figure out an answer.  I am probably through with this exchange after this.  It's tiring.

Nor, my friend, is the burden of proof upon me to prove a negative by offering counter-evidence
; that is, I'm denying that, in Scripture, regeneration precedes faith.  Now, if you'd like to offer evidence that I am wrong, fine.  But that it not my burden, it's yours.

Now, you gave a few verses.  For example, you gave Romans 8:30 as proof.  But Romans 8:30 says absolutely nothing about "effectually, i.e. regenerated."  Do the lexicons make this plain?  Does the context demand this interpretation?  We don't know.  You didn't give any evidence.  Rather you merely asserted you interpreted definition apart from argumentation.  I would challenge anyone to linguistically demonstrate what you interpreted "calling" as meaning "effectually, i.e. regenerated."

You cite Titus 3:5.  And, while it does say something about regeneration, it says absolutely nothing about "God's sovereign power to regenerate us."  It doesn't mention how we came to be regenerate, just as you pointed out it mentioned nothing about faith.

Now, here's the money quote for which I have longed to glean:
 
"Thus, short of showing a verse which says faith causes regeneration, it seems like it is God who initiates things" (comment #31). 

On this, Todd, we could not agree more.  No one I know has ever, ever said or believed differently.  The first quickening, convicting, stimulation we have is downward from God through the Holy Spirit.  I do not conjure it up, make it up, fabricate it, or whatever.  It is divine. It is initiated solely by God alone (but not necessarily apart from means). 

But, as your rehearsal of Scripture goes, and which you flatly conceded at the end of this, all the Scripture passages you cite point only and at most to God who initiates things.

With that, I am...

Peter
Todd Burus

Stephen,
With all due respect, I believe you should study the doctrine of adoption more thoroughly (I do not appreciate your disagreement becoming condescension).

Romans 8.14-17 tells us repeatedly that we "are sons of God," that we "have received the Spirit of Adoption," and that "the Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God." What you point to in Romans 8.23 is the consummation on earth of what has already been accomplished in heaven.

Paul refers to adoption as a legal status (see Galatians 4.1-7) and it is a legal status that has already been obtained (v.7, "So you are no longer a slave, but a son"). What we are waiting for in the resurrected state is our inheritance with Christ, but still in this temporal state we experience adoption through God's discipline (Hebrews 12.5-11) and through the inner testimony of the Holy Spirit crying out to him "Abba! Father!" (Romans 8.15-16), among other things.

As far as "adoption for the soul," I'm not quite sure where you are going or what you are talking about there. Again, adoption is about a change in legal status, our legal status, from being slaves of the world to being children of God. This is a direct corollary to human adoption and is an act which is completed upon our having faith (Galatians 3.26).

Todd Burus

Peter,
How simple of an answer to the question "Why does (x^5)+(y^5)=(z^5) have no whole number values of x, y, and z for which it is true?" As a mathematician by trade, I understand that simple questions don't always have simple answers (the above question takes about 30 pages to explain). Interesting.

As for the means thing, I think if you were reading this without your conclusions in mind to begin with it may make more sense. Clearly we are at another impasse.

You have never considered my question (though, knowing your style, you will deny answering it on some grounds or another), why is it that faith is necessary for salvation? Simple enough, right? I think in trying to explain this you may come to understand what my issue is with your understanding of why the gospel means are necessary for faith.

Stephen M. Garrett

Dear Todd:

It was not condenscending to state that I thought you needed to study the doctrine of adoption more closely.

Paul says we are "waiting for the adoption," not "waiting for the rest of adoption," and he defines it by saying "to wit, the redemption of our bodies."

The passages in Galatians do not say that we have been made sons by adoption, but by birth, and the Spirit we receive is the "Spirit of adoption." You are equating the receiving of the Spirit of adoption with being adopted.

Why did you not answer my question? How does adoption, at the moment of faith, make me more legally a child of God than I was made by birth?

Did you read the article by Huckabee?

Blessings,

Stephen

peter lumpkins

Todd,

You write "How simple of an answer to the question "Why does (x^5)+(y^5)=(z^5) have no whole number values of x, y, and z for which it is true?"

My brother, you could not have spoken more accurately than your question reveals, in my view, precisely why the "impasse" as you call it, exists between Calvinists such as yourself and not only me, but the larger part of Southern Baptists.

To make a comparative analogy between a simple gospel question on the one hand with a mathematical formula on the other reveals quite nicely the issue for us.

Instead of answering a simple question, with an understandable answer that actually makes sense, you merely suggest the profound complication of such a request.

Even more golden, your analogy may very well be indicative of the perpetual whining coming from many Founders Calvinists that

"they don't understand me; they mischaracterize me; they caricature me."

You, my brother Todd, have given me a belly-busting stitch that will last me through Christmas.

With that, I am...

Peter

P.S. Please do not write that Stephen is being condescending again. He is not being personal with you. No need to get personal with him...

Todd Burus

Stephen,
Because by regeneration you are not necessarily entitled to the inheritance of a son, but it is by adoption this occurs. Regeneration is not a birthing by God. He does not give birth to us, hence the "re-" in "regeneration." We were dead (Ephesians 2.1) and then made back alive by God (1 Peter 1.3), but being made alive does not give us any right to be heirs with Christ; this comes by adoption.

Plus, if we were born of God as sons (as it seems you are saying?) then that would contradict John 3.16. I feel you are missing the whole "now-not yet" tension within adoption.

No, I didn't read the article by Huckabee because I read the article by Sproul, the sermon by Piper, and the book on the Puritans' views on adoption ("Heirs with Christ" by Joel R. Beeke). Thank you though.

Todd Burus

Peter,
Surprisingly you avoided my simple question about faith. Plus, it feels like a double standard on the condescension. Stephen has no idea how thoroughly I have studied adoption, so to insinuate that we disagree because I'm just not well read enough on the issue is condescension (maybe this is why you missed that with Dr. Allen as well).

Also, I don't understand why you think your simple question must have a simple answer. I was just illustrating for you that we can't anticipate simple answers because we asked a simple question. Nice ad hominem argument though.

Stephen M. Garrett

Dear Todd:

You said:

"Regeneration is not a birthing by God."

Is that so? Well, not to be condenscending, but I say you need to study this also a bit further.

Blessings,

Stephen

peter lumpkins

Todd,

I'll give you the last word on that exchange and allow the readers to decide.


On another note, I asked you to drop the whiny pouting about condescension and just state your point.

Why you cannot respect a simple request from the bloghost is fantastic, Todd. I don't know if it's your age or an incorrigible resistance to being corrected about anything whatsoever, especially if it comes from, gulp....a non-Calvinist.

I suggest you take a hot bath and think about tomorrow's sermon.

With that, I am...

Peter

peter lumpkins

All,

This thread has been enriching, even if it has had its moments. The interesting thing is, to my recall, I've never really had a lengthy discussion on the regeneration-precedes-faith doctrine on on open thread. I honestly didn't realize this until this thread took that twist.

I probably will have some more in the future about this. The verses brought to the table attempting to establish this doctrine are, for me, amazing.

Even Todd clearly conceded that no verses explicitly taught that a believer is born-again-before-faith, nonetheless the Scriptures point only and at most to God who initiates things, a truth I excitedly embrace!

Grace to all.

With that, I am...

Peter

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