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2008.12.18

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Malcolm Yarnell

Stop the presses! News Flash: B.H. Carroll is blogging! (Will his beard interfere with his typing?)

Is John L. Dagg far behind? Will we soon thereafter hear from E.Y. Mullins, who brought together the first Baptist Faith and Message for Southern Baptists? What of Herschel Hobbs, who led in the 1963 revision? And Adrian Rogers, who led in the 2000 revision? What would the leading Confessors of Southern Baptist theology say to the idea of regeneration prior to faith and repentance?

Stephen M. Garrett

Dear Peter:

Have you noticed how my questions never get answered? I have asked:

1) If we are "begotten by the gospel" (I Cor. 4: 15), does this not mean "by believing" it?

2) How is the gospel a means in regeneration if one must be regenerated before the gospel can be heard or believed?

From the discussion of the past few days I have been asked several questions. I have replied to everyone. But, few of my questions have been addressed. Why is this?

You could not get an answer to your simple question either!

Does this not "speak volumes"?

Merry Christmas and God bless,

Stephen

Stephen M. Garrett

Dear Peter:

P.S. Why do the born again before faith brethren not put a man to debate this exhaustively with Bob Ross, myself, or others who deny the aberrant or hybrid view? James White seems not to want to touch this topic in a public debate. Will any leading Baptist apologist stand in for him?

Blessings,

Stephen

scott shaffer

Stephen,

It seems to me that the point of this post and yesterday's, as well as one purpose of Peter's blog is to demonstrate that Founders is incorrect in their assertion that the roots of the SBC are firmly entrenched in Calvinistic soil. Peter has ably demonstrated with quotes from primary sources that the theology of the SBC Founders was a mixed bag of Calvinistic and non-Calvinistic soteriology.

As far as debating the ordo salutis, you might have more success at one of the Reformed sites such as Triablogue or Reformation Theology.

David R. Brumbelow

I love these quotes, especially the last couple of paragraphs.
Keep the B. H. Carroll quotes coming. He has always been one of my heroes.
David R. Brumbelow

volfan007

Scott,

The "ordo salutis?" I wish people would speak English! My goodness.

David

scott shaffer

David,

If it wasn't for high brow theology I would never get a chance to try out my junior high Latin! I wonder if there is a Tennessee version of this?

volfan007

Scott,

In Tennessee, we'd say which one comes first in salvation. If you said, "Ordo Salutis," around here...somebody would probably ask you if that was the name of that man who moved in from Greece, or Italy, or somewhere.

David

:)

scott shaffer

David,

That's funny. I remember asking an SBC pastor (I may have already mentioned this in a comment here) where his church stood on Arminian versus Calvinistic theology. He responded that they believed that salvation was entirely of God and that if he mentioned "Arminian", the average person in the pew would say, "Arm and Hammer who"? The moral of the story? Know your audience and speak plainly and clearly.

Gordo Salutis signing off.

Timotheos

Stephen,

Let me illustrate why I think no one is interested in debating these intramural concerns with you or your co-belligerent, Bob Ross.

You throw out these sophomoric taunts: "Have you noticed how my questions never get answered? I have asked:..." etc. as if you had created the unsolvable, if not humiliating, conundrum for those you pejoratively refer to as "hybrids," and then congratulate yourself by supposing that the "silence of the hybrids" is undeniably their inability to answer. Consider the possibility that there are much better things to do than engage in such grammar school dialectic.

Consider this also: is it not highly ironic that I Corinthians 4:15 ( a text decidedly NOT concerned with the theological relationship between the Spirit's modus operandi in regeneration and men's faith) is employed by you specifically as a point of division - a point which Paul is categorically, in the strongest of terms, condemning in this very letter? Why would someone do such a thing? Not, ostensibly, for love of the truth, for the text in question is not being used in accord with the truth.

It seems to me, Stephen, that you (and Mr. Ross) are theological provocateurs, apparently intent on introducing controversy and division among brothers in a household over which neither of you are head nor master.

Whoever your imaginary, error-prone opponents are, my brother, they are not those who believe that, in salvation, God must first open the heart before it can heed what is spoken, that the Spirit must blow where He will before one can see or enter the Kingdom. Call that aberrant as you will, but you do so for reasons which appear to be incongruent with the intentions of the Lord of the Household.

Timotheos

volfan007

Timotheos,


So, you say what you do to Stephen about him and Bob Ross, and yet what about Rev. White and his debates? I believe that he's famous for those, is he not? What about the Founders? You left them out of your rebuking about divisiveness.

David

Stephen M. Garrett

Dear Timotheus:

Your comments really deserve little attention. Any unbiased reader can see how you simply make personal attacks, without foundation, ad hominem arguments, etc.

Why didn't you just answer the questions? That alone should show all your "colors."

Blessings,

Stephen

Stephen M. Garrett

Dear Scott:

I think Peter is a fair person and is not at war with the Founders organization. I do see him as attempting to answer some of the accusations and assertions of many associated with the Founders. What is wrong with that?

It is true that the Baptists have always had Calvinists and Moderate Calvinists (but very few full-fledged Arminians). I also agree that the confessions of the Baptists have been Calvinistic.

However, I also see how Hyper Calvinism has also had a long history among the Baptists. It is an age-long battle.

I support Calvinism in the SBC, but more of the kind of Calvinism that Spurgeon would be advancing, were he here today. I do not see Spurgeon being a Founders supporter, at least not an avid one.

Spurgeon, I believe, would be opposed to the idea that men were born again apart from the means of the gospel and of faith.

I consider myself free to agree, or disagree, with any group. That is part of my liberty in Christ. I am tied to no creed.

I hope this addresses your questions and issues.

For the cause of truth, I am,

Stephen

volfan007

Peter,

I think that you're having major troubles with your blog. I dont know. It might just be me, but half the time that I click on comments they dont come up. The other half of the time, it takes a long time for the comments to come up. Somethings either wrong with this blog, or somethings wrong with my computer, or internet connection. But, it doesnt do this on any other blog but yours.

David

scott shaffer

Stephen,

1. I never said there was anything wrong with what Peter is doing. In fact, I support it even though my soteriology is Calvinistic.

2. I'm not speaking for the Founders folks, but I think many of them would take issue with the notion that men are saved apart from "the means of the gospel and of faith".

3. I'm glad you aren't tied to any creed! This is an interesting issue by itself. It is my opinion that much of the current disagreements in the SBC are due to the lack of a creed/statement of faith that member churches must subscribe to. My understanding is that the 2000 BF&M inserted words to the effect that it was a tool for doctrinal accountability, yet SBC churches aren't required to affirm the BF&M. I'd be really interested in hearing Peter's take on this issue.

4. I wonder if the day will come when SBC Calvinists and non-Calvinists will truly welcome one another and stop debating this? This isn't a criticism of the current debate. This issue appears to be the issue de jour.

scott shaffer

Peter,

I'm having the same problems David is having.

Stephen M. Garrett

Dear Scott:

I am glad we are in agreement on several points.

I agree that the Founders organization will affirm a belief in gospel means in regeneration, for this is the historic Baptist teaching. The only ones to disagree with this, historically, are the "anti-means" or Hardshell Baptists, which group at one time represented a large faction of Baptists. However, as one who at one time rejected any means in regeneration, as a Hardshell, and as one who came to see how the Bible taught regeneration through means, I see the affirmation that the new birth is complete before faith as diametrically opposed to their statements regarding means.

Again, I have asked - if the gospel is a means in the new birth, how can it be so except it be believed? And, to say the birth is necessary before one can believe the gospel is to take the means out of it. And, the fact that no one wants to answer my questions shows that this is so. Just show me how the gospel can be a means in the new birth while affirming, at the same time, that one must be born before they can hear, understand, or believe the gospel.

Do you not think it strange that no one has ever attempted to answer my questions? I have been asking it for months now and I only get criticized for asking it! No one has come forward to answer my questions. Not the Founders organization, James White, or any other proponent of the "born again before faith" view.

Also, it can be healthy to debate this issue. What is unhealthy is to refuse to debate it and to substitute genuine, honest, civil, debate with rancor and personal attacks.

One can read all my comments here, elsewhere, or in my own blogs, and see that I have not made the kind of personal attacks against any, certainly not after the manner of many who promote the "born again before faith" view, even some in this blog.

Again, which is better for promoting evangelism to the dead alien, unregenerate, sinners? Which group does more to promote evangelism?

If I believe a person is regenerated by God, directly, immediately, and without means of the truth, then why preach for that purpose?

I hope I have answered you in the same spirit you have written and have addressed your points.

God bless and take care.

Stephen

Stephen M. Garrett

Dear Peter:

It is a little ironic to me how I can used the favorite term of the "born again before faith" folks, or the Hyperists, the Latin term "ordo salutis," and find people making uncomplimentary comments about folks who use it. I don't hear anyone complain if Tom Ascol, James White, or others like them, use the term. But, let those of us who use the term in reply mention it and we are accused of being "high brow" types!

What ever happened to learning a new term? Did the folks who revealed a dislike for it not know what it meant? Are they afraid to learn a new theological term? Can they not in a few seconds look up the meaning of the term?

Would they object to their banks using "per diem" for business transactions?

Some of these decriers of Latin terms need to be consistent and attack all who use it, don't you think? Without singling me out? Some of them surely should learn what "ad hominem" means!

God bless,

Stephen

scott shaffer

Stephen,

Thanks for the cordial response.

You wrote, Again, which is better for promoting evangelism to the dead alien, unregenerate, sinners? Which group does more to promote evangelism?

If I believe a person is regenerated by God, directly, immediately, and without means of the truth, then why preach for that purpose?

Quite honestly, I don't think these rhetorical questions shed any light on the discussion. For instance, I could ask which doctrine leads to more holy living - that you can lose your salvation or that you will persevere to the end (once saved always saved, if you prefer)? Or, does a works based salvation promote more evangelism (JW's or Mormons for example) promote more eveangelism or a grace based salvation? Or, what view promotes more prayer by the saints, God's omniscience or Open Theism? My point is, determine what scripture says and means, and then let the chips fall where they may.

johnMark

Stephen,

Are you talking about when Volfan said this?

The "ordo salutis?" I wish people would speak English! My goodness.

Also, if you continue to throw around terms like "hyperist" for regular ole Calvinism I'm sure less and less folks will be very fond of engaging you.

But what does a GA living guy like me know...

Mark

Stephen M. Garrett

Dear John Mark:

I did not invent the term "hyperist." I have in my library an old book called "The Old Baptist Test," published in the 1860's by a Hardshell Baptist, one of the few who retained a belief in gospel means against many of his brethren who began to deny means. He constantly referred to them as "hyperists."

So, the fact that you are ignorant of the this age-old term, does not mean anything.

You can attack minute things like this but can't get into the meat of passages dealing with regeneration, faith, and means?

You think your type of dialogue with me is helping your brand of Calvinism?

Blessings,

Stephen

Stephen M. Garrett

Dear Scott:

The issue of which better promotes the spread of the gospel, the hyperist view of "born again before faith," or the view that faith is a means or constituent part of regeneration, is a pertinent question. Just look at the history of the anti mission movement in the 19th century! Those who were dogmatic that one is born again before faith were the ones who began to oppose offers to all indiscriminately, and who were against missions and evangelism.

I think the Founders are not as evangelistic as those Calvinists who believe the gospel is a means.

This was not said as proof in itself, only a lessor consideration. It is a factor to consider, for we are to judge a tree by its fruits, as you seem to acknowledge.

I also used the term "evangelism" for the preaching of the gospel, not for preaching the peculiar doctrines of the cults. You should not assume I would uphold the cults form of evangelism. I said this in context of the Souther Baptists.

God bless,

Stephen

Stephen M. Garrett

Dear John Mark:

Can you define "regular ole Calvinism"?

Blessings,

Stephen

scott shaffer

Stephen,

The issue of which better promotes the spread of the gospel, the hyperist view of "born again before faith," or the view that faith is a means or constituent part of regeneration, is a pertinent question.

We'll just have to disagree here. In my opinion, when this enters into the equation it falls into "the ends justify the means" category (no pun intended).

Grace,

Scott

johnMark

Stephen,

When I said "regular ole Calvinism" I was referring to the Calvinist belief that regeneration precedes faith. This is just Calvinism and there is no reason to attach the extended label hyperist. Calvinist baptists, as I understand it, hold to or agree with the 1689 confession. Who, if I understand your hyperist statements, would not fall into the category of hyperist.

Whether I'm ignorant or not of the origin of the word, I *thought* I understood what you were saying. Are you using this term as a term of endearment?

Mark

Timotheos

David,

Since my comment was directed to the issues Stephen was raising, I did not think to address the other men specifically. There would no doubt be plenty to address on both sides of the "aisle," and my being pointed with one does not mean I roundly endorse in others what I have "rebuked" elsewhere (if indeed it was a rebuke).

Stephen,

I assume by the normal use of the expression "show all my colors" you believe me to be deceptive and/or presently hiding my "true colors," all of which seems to fall a bit short of your exhortations to me. What do you suspect me of hiding?

I made a cursory observation about your understanding of I Corinthians 4:15 as one example of why I would call you a provocateur. You may disagree with my observation, but I hope you understand from my point of view that when you employ a passage like this in defense of a position the passage does not support, or use such a passage to combat a supposed error it does not have in view, needless, and often uncharitable, provocation among brothers is the result.

It is not possible to address every person who does this on the blogs, but you have as much as demanded it by your high-minded assertions that no answer can be given to your interpretation of a passage like I Corinthians 4:15. You have not, in my view, rightly divided that particular passage (not to mention others), which makes less tenable your charges of error on the part of all whom you consider "hybrid."

If my comments are not worth your consideration, so be it. If you are one of Christ's disciples, I can, and will, call you brother. I do not think, in the end, that you and some (if not many) "hybrids" are really that far apart in the full consideration of salvation in its modes of operation, its means and its ends - at least that is my considered opinion over many years in ministry.

Timotheos

Timotheos

Stephen,

You stated, "I think the Founders are not as evangelistic as those Calvinists who believe the gospel is a means."

Do you know of any Founders that actually do not believe in the necessity of the gospel being preached before one can be saved? Are there Founders types who actually disavow preaching the gospel as the necessary means to salvation? I am asking in all sincerity. I cannot think of any, but perhaps I am just ignorant of the fact.

Timotheos

Stephen M. Garrett

Dear Timotheos:

I have already answered this with the questios I asked and my statement regarding the inconsistency. Remember? I said that these brethren "say," out of one side of their apologetic mouths, that one is "regenerated and begotten by the gospel," but then say, out of the other side of their mouths, that one must be born again BEFORE he can believe the gospel.

Either I am mentally and spiritually blind, or this is a glaring contradiction.

So, as I said, I answered your question.

Concerning who is more evangelistic. I argued that those who believe that the gospel and faith are instruments in regeneration and new birth, have shown, both logically and behaviorally, to be more willing to witness earnestly to those who show all signs of being degenerate.

Besides trying to prove this by deductive logic, one would have to prove it by statistics. And, in order to even do this, one would have to define "evangelism" (which I have done in this thread).

Blessings,

Stephen

Stephen M. Garrett

Dear JM:

"Regular ole Calvinism" you equate with the "born again before faith view." Well, that few is not so "ole"! I could flood you with citations, even from those Calvinists who hold to the above view, who confess that this was a later innovation in historic Calvinism! As I have proven, it was not the teaching of Calvin himself!

The 1689 Confession does not teach the born again before faith view! Bob Ross and I, in the blogs we write in, and in our other writings, have demonstrated this fact.

Also, in further proof of this, all one has to do is cite from the works of those first Particular Baptists, to see that they believed that a man was not to be judged as born again till he was made a believer and had repented of his sins. They viewed conversion as the same as regeneration. Again, all who know the history of this issue will acknowledge this fact.

You were ignorant of the historic use of this word. You tried to imply that I invented it!

Yours for the truth,

Stephen

Stephen M. Garrett

JM:

P.S.

Your definition of "regular ole Calvinism" should be called "regular ole Pedo Baptist Presbyterian Calvinism."

Stephen

Stephen M. Garrett

Dear Timotheos:

You are still showing your "colors" (flags, banners, or even your true intentions-take it in whatever way you desire) BY NOT ANSWERING THE QUESTIONS!

JUST ANSWER THE QUESTIONS!

God bless,

Stephen

Stephen M. Garrett

Dear All Interested:

Here is the testimony from leading Calvinists regarding how the first "Reformers" and "Calvinists" view regeneration and conversion as the same experience.

A. A. Hodge on Regeneration

"Regeneration (from Lat. re-, again + generare, beget) is a theological term used to express the initial stage of the change experienced by one who enters upon the Christian life."

"The Reformers separated justification by itself as something wrought on, not in, the sinner, and employed regeneration to express the whole process of inner renovation in all its stages. In the development of Protestant theology the term has been still further narrowed: first, to express the opening stage of this subjective work as distinguished from its continuance in sanctification; and then, since the seventeenth century, to express the initial divine act in this opening stage itself, as distinguished from the broader term conversion, which includes, along with the act of God, revivifying man, also the act of man in turning to God."

("Regeneration" by A.A. Hodge; revised by B.B. Warfield)

See here

Also, note what A. A. Alexander, the spiritual father of the famous Princeton "Hodges" (A. A. Hodge being named after him), said about "regeneration."

"Evangelical repentance, conversion and regeneration, are substantially the same."

("A Practical View of Regeneration: Part I" - Published in The Biblical Repertory and Princeton Review, volume 8, 1836)

See here

This is just a "sampling" of things regarding what we have been discussing about what is the historic teaching of the confessions and of the first Reformers and leading Calvinists.

It was men like Perkins and Kuyper who had much to do with promoting the "regeneration before faith" view. My blog has lots of material on these things.

God bless,

Stephen

johnMark

Stephen,

LOL..you're a riot. I never said nor tried to imply that you invented the term. You started with the word "invented" and then used it again. I was looking for your definition to make sure I understood.

So you don't believe the 1689 teaches regeneration precedes faith. I'm not sure we have much more to talk about in this area since we are at such a vast disagreement. I've even mentioned that the more moderate Calvinist Curt Daniel in his massive work on Calvinism agrees that regeneration precedes faith. Even Arminian Roger Olson understands the Calvinist position this way if I understand his position on monergism.

Maybe this will help. How would you define monergism? Do you hold to monergism or synergism?

Thanks,

Mark

peter

All,

Not sure what is going on with the comment thread. Presently, I am running a beta version thread. So,

a) I will close this thread. If some would like to continue theconversation, elsewhere will be an option
b) I am going back to typad's main comment platform.

With that, I am...

Peter

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