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Andrew Barker

Carl Petersen: "So God regenerates man so that he can freely choos eto have faith. It is a mystery how free choice and predestination come together but the bible seems to teach both."

This is just typical of the Reformed Calvinist approach to any theology which doesn't agree with their own.

1. Quote Westminister as though it carried any real weight or worse, treat it as scripture!
2. Make a statement which has no scriptural basis. ie regeneration proceeds faith
3. Set up a 'mystery' or paradox which doesn't exist except in the pages of Reformed theology eg free will/choice vs predestination
4. Assume that Calvinism/Reformed theology is 'biblical'
5. Blame the rest of us for not seeing it their way

PS you still haven't answered my question regarding how an unregenerate man can make a choice. I maintain that if you want to go with God choosing according to his good pleasure, then man does not have a choice other than to go along with what God has already predetermined. Hobson's choice I think they call it!


Julie, your continued condescension and elitism is disappointing. And again you demonstrate you have no clue what the majority of the people who reject Calvinism in the SBC actually believe. Here's a hint: rejecting Calvinism doesn't necessarily = synergism or Arminianism.

Andrew Barker

Julie: Perhaps your disappointment at Mary's ad hominem statements could be assuaged somewhat by offering us your "grammatical hermenuetic" on Eph 2:8-9?

Andrew Barker

I just hate it when I see sloppy grammar and words spelled incorrectly or used wrongly and even more so ..... when I'm guilty of it myself! I wish this system had an edit button ;-)

Paul Neil

I read regularly but rarely comment. This comment section is quite interesting.

My comment is this, can you choose without the ability to choose otherwise? I dare say no, because choice by definition denotes more than one possibility. In order to make a choice I must be be able to go in a different direction. Meanings of words cannot, or should not change because we are dealing with salvation. How can we communicate the gospel or teach the Gods Word effectively if words cease to mean what they mean?

I don't meant to offend, but if choice means choice as we all know it, the quote from the Westminster confession is found wanting, I think. Can the man who has been regenerated (prior to faith) choose not to believe? Does the man have any choice as far as being regenerated or not, in this reformed belief system?

The word that comes to mind is manipulation, with its Sunday Best on.



“I'm glad you see this as clearly, because faith is never seen as a gift in the Bible, except in the list of spiritual gifts in 1 Cor. So what is apparently 'clear' to one person is anything but clear to another!”

Clarity of sight does seem to be distributed less than universally, but I see what John Stott sees (BST series, The Message of Ephesians, p 83), along with Calvin, Hodge, Sproul, et al. These authors are doubtless familiar to you. Perhaps this kind of clarity of sight is why they are predestinarians. I read in John 3 that unless a man is first born again, he cannot see the kingdom of heaven. Thus, without regeneration no one can see, perceive, understand, act towards, believe, exercise faith, concerning those essential matters of the kingdom of heaven, most centrally Jesus as the King. By the way, this is a passage where regeneration is placed prior to faith. When Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:14 (NASB95) 14 “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” that regeneration is the very thing he needs to understand the message of the gospel, which seems clear to me to be of the essence of the things of the Spirit.


“You mentioned grammar, but gave no example. If you look at the grammar you will find that both grace and faith are written in the feminine form. Saved is in the masculine. This is your first problem in that the pronoun is neuter. . . . I could say more, but sometimes I think less is more than enough. I don't think the majority of scholars will support the inference that faith is grammatically the gift in these verses. Neither can you offer any other verse in support of this 'major' doctrine. It is I'm afraid just another example of the way Reformed theology runs into problems and has to manipulate verses so that they fit in line with the theology. It is essentially eisegesis at its best.”

I have no problem with your Greek analysis. It is natural to take the neuter pronoun as referring to the whole clause, “for by grace are you saved through faith,” as the antecedent. But two comments. 1) You may be right about the majority of scholars – Stott will not grant it grammatically even as he asserts it theologically – but there are some who historically have argued on the basis of the Greek that faith is the proper antecedent, and not by citing some obscure example from extra-biblical sources. See Charles Hodge for his analysis in his commentary on Ephesians. 2) What seems clear to me concerning the clause in question is that if “for by grace you have been saved through faith,” is not of myself, but a gift from God, then I am entitled to infer that the parts are also a gift. The parts make up the whole. All that is salvation, salvation by grace through faith, is a gift. All the parts make up the whole. If the whole is a gift, also then the parts.
And finally, it also seems clear to me that Eph 2:1-10 is a clear ordo salutis passage, in which Paul moves from the state of being spiritually unregenerate, vs 1-3, then to regeneration, vs 4-5, (seated with Christ as well – vs 6-7), and then on to the instrumentality of faith, vs 8-9, while finishing and summing up his salvation theme by emphasizing the idea that God has done it all by saying we are his workmanship.


Dear Peter,

I thought that I sent you a post that answered the question of grammar that Andrew posed to me, but since only the 1st section got posted, perhaps I didn't. Can I send that to you again?

Obviously this query need not be posted. Thanks, I just wanted a chance to answer Andrew, regarding Eph 2:8-9.

In His grace.....Julie

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