I believe that salvation is a gift of God based upon no work which man may do. Long ago I was convinced of this based upon Ephesians 2:8–9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” I humbly accepted this when I was young, with great wonder at the kindness of God. Another well known verse that helped shape my beliefs was John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” In the same vein, I had the short statement of Paul to the Philippian jailor memorized: “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). At that early age, these verses constituted the extent of my understanding of the doctrine of salvation. I would often run them through my mind and ponder their significance. “God is so gracious,” I would say to myself. “He requires nothing for us to be saved. Nothing, that is, but faith.”

Faith alone! The great battle cry of the Reformation. As I grew in my understanding of this salvation, I added many verses and passages to my “soteriological repertoire.” Among the more significant of these were the shocking statements made in Romans 9 and John 6. These verses gave me my first exposure to the doctrines known as “election,” “sovereign grace,” or “Calvinism.” I was again humbled by what these doctrines taught. Not only does God not require anything but faith for salvation, but He is the one who is solely responsible for salvation, having predestined people before the foundation of the world. Wow! As I wondered upon such marvelous yet confusing doctrines, there was a question that continually resurfaced. If God does not require any works for salvation, and if He is in control of the process to such an extent that He predestined all of this to occur, why does He require that one thing? As Bono says in “Though I don’t know why, I know I’ve got to believe.” Why does God require something so seemingly trifle as faith?

Don’t confuse my question. I am not asking if faith is a work. That is a different issue. I am speaking of faith as a requirement. Why, if God has worked everything out to such an extent that He is the one within people who is sovereignly and irresistibly calling them to a new life in Christ, does He initiate His plans with a human response of faith? It just seemed rather trivial to me. Not that I thought faith was unimportant, just as I don’t think that love, hope, or service are unimportant. But I thought that it was a little odd for God to require anything at all.

I accepted it, living with the tension for the time. At this time, my ordo salutis (order of salvation) looked like this:

Of all the components here, the only one before justification that is the responsibility of man is faith/repentance. All of the others are brought about and accomplished solely by God. The final goal is glorification, while the primary instrument of bringing this about is faith. God predestines people before the foundation of the world, and at some point in time He calls them to respond in faith. In response to this faith, God regenerates them and they enter into a justified standing. God accomplishes everything but the final instrumental link—faith. Later I made the discovery that there are other possible models of the ordo salutis and that there is a poswesible solution to my dilemma.

Many (if not most) Reformed theologians subscribe to an ordo salutis that places regeneration before faith. Their model, using the same components, looks like this:

The reason most Reformed theologians come to this conclusion is not necessarily because they have the same difficulties that I expressed above. Their reasons are much more complex and philosophical. It is my purpose in this here to briefly evaluate the Reformed ordo salutis with respect to regeneration preceding faith.

First, I will state their position, giving it biblical and philosophical defense. Second, I will deal with problems that arise from the position. Finally, I will evaluate the position.

Statement of the Position

As stated above, most Reformed theologians believe that regeneration necessarily precedes faith. They would not, however, make the sequence a temporal one, but logical. Temporally, it may be stated that all of the events in the ordo salutus stated above happen at the same time. But Reformed theologians would see a necessary logical order in these components of salvation. John MacArthur put it this way: “From the standpoint of reason, regeneration logically must initiate faith and repentance. But the saving transaction is a single, instantaneous event.” Regeneration is seen as a sovereign act of God by which He causes a person who is spiritually dead to become spiritually alive. We sometimes call this “monergism.” This act is not in anyway dependent upon man. Reformed theologian Anthony Hoekema puts it this way: “Regeneration must be understood, not as an act in which God and man work together, but as the work of God alone.”

Why do Reformed theologians insist upon an ordo salutis in which regeneration precedes faith? There are two primary reasons. First is because of their strong stance on total depravity. Second is because certain Scriptures seem to support the view.

First we shall deal with regeneration’s relationship to total depravity. According to Scripture, man is unable to do any good whatsoever. Jeremiah 17:9 states, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” Jeremiah also states that just as a leopard cannot change its spots, neither can man change his evil heart (Jer. 13:23). Paul also states in Romans 3:10–11, “There is none righteous, not even one. There is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God.” There are two primary Scriptures that would be used to defend this belief:

Eph.2: 1–3
“But you were dead in you trespasses and sins in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).”

1 Cor. 2:14
“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 (emphasis added).”

The convincing argument is then made that if man is in such a position that he is evil (Jer. 17:9), does not ever seek to do good (Rom. 3:10–11), and that he cannot change his position (Jer. 13:23), how can anyone expect him to do the greatest good and accept the Gospel? Furthermore, man is spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1). A dead person cannot respond to the Gospel any more than a blind person can respond to light. As Best puts it, “What is good news to a dead man? As light cannot restore sight to a blind man, so the light of the gospel cannot give spiritual light to one who is spiritually blind.”

Finally, a non-spiritual person cannot receive the things of God (1 Cor. 2:14). How can anyone be expected to receive the Gospel, which is spiritual, in an unconverted state? The person must first become spiritual—the person must first be regenerated. Sproul sums up the logic, “If original sin involves moral ability, as Augustine and the magisterial Reformers insisted, then faith can occur only as the result of regeneration, and regeneration can occur only as a result of effectual or irresistible grace.” A good illustration to describe this way of thinking is physical birth. As a baby cries out only after it is born, so also believers cry out in faith only after God has regenerated them.

There are also many other Scriptures that seem to explicitly teach that regeneration comes before faith.

Acts 16:14
“A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond [regenerated her] to the things spoken by Paul” (emphasis added).

Lydia, here, is portrayed as a woman who had her heart opened to receive the Gospel before she received it.

John 1:12–13
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born [regenerated], not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (emphasis added).

The will of man is here shown to be uninvolved in the regenerating process of God.

Rom. 9:16
“So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs [or strives], but on God who has mercy” (emphasis added).

Again, the will of man is taken out of the picture in the saving process of God.

Problems with the Position

The problems connected with believing that regeneration preceds faith are primarily biblical. Even Erickson, a moderate Calvinist who does not subscribe to the Reformed ordo, states, “It must be acknowledged that, from a logical standpoint, the usual Calvinistic position makes good sense. If we sinful humans are unable to believe and respond to God’s gospel without some special working of his within us, how can anyone, even the elect, believe unless first rendered capable of belief through regeneration? To say that conversion is prior to regeneration would seem to be a denial of total depravity.” Erickson and others, however, do oppose the Reformed ordo. Bruce Demarest, another moderate Calvinist, supports the opposite position that regeneration is initiated by faith, “God grants new spiritual life by virtue of the individual’s conscious decision to repent of sins and appropriate the provisions of Christ’s atonement.” Those who, like Erickson and Demarest, affirm this would even state that regeneration is entirely a work of God, and that man cannot, by nature, respond to the Gospel. Therefore, some initial, or preparatory, work of God is necessary to make man able to respond to the Gospel. Erickson and Demarest believe that this preparatory work is God’s effectual calling, not regeneration. In response to this calling, man initiates faith and conversion, and then he is regenerated.

In this scheme, the effectual calling can be likened to the Arminian understanding of prevenient grace. Prevenient grace is the way that Arminians can hold both to total depravity and human choice. Even they recognize that man, left in his natural condition, must be made alive in some sense in order to have the ability to respond to the Gospel. The only difference between Erickson and Demarest’s scheme is that the spiritual awakening brought about by the calling is always effectual whereas previenient grace is not.

Nevertheless, the reason why those Calvinists who stand with Erickson and Demarest as well as Arminians would stand opposed to the Reformed ordo is because certain Scriptures seem to suggest that faith is a necessary component for regeneration. Norman Geisler, in his book Chosen But Free, emphatically denounces the Reformed position stating, “As anyone familiar with Scripture can attest, verses allegedly supporting the contention that regeneration preceds faith are in short supply.” He then goes on, “It is the uniform pattern of Scripture to place faith logically prior to salvation as a condition for receiving it.” Among the passages he sites are:

(1) Rom. 5:1
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Faith is here stated to be the source of justification. But most Reformed theologians place justification after faith as well (see chart). They do not equate regeneration with justification. Geisler seems to have misunderstood the Reformed position at this point.

(2) Luke 13:3
“I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

But this does not speak to the issue of regeneration. Geisler’s statement, “Here repentance is the condition for avoiding judgment,” would also be affirmed by those who hold the Reformed position, for they would state that repentance logically preceds justification which results in salvation. Therefore, this verse presents no conflict with the Reformed ordo. Again, Geisler seem to have misunderstood the Reformed position.

(3) 2 Peter 3:9
“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

This, again, cannot be used to suggest either ordo. It is difficult to see why one would use such a verse to support their position. The verse could have as well stated, “God wills all to be regenerated.” This would not prove that regeneration comes before faith!

(4) John 3:16
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

This verse does teach that belief in Christ is the instrumental act in salvation, but it says nothing about when the act of regeneration occurs in the process.

(5) Acts 16:31
“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.”

The order here is presented as faith first, then salvation. An initial, unbiased reading of this verse would suggest to anyone that faith is a condition of salvation. Of all the verses put forth above, only the last presents some merit in suggesting that faith precedes salvation, but not regeneration. I will explain below.

Evaluation of the Reformed Position

If one is to adhere faithfully to the doctrine of total depravity, understanding that man is unable to come to God on his own, he or she must insist that there must be some initial act of God by which He enables a person to accept the Gospel in faith. The Reformed position explained in this study, in my view, is the most consistent and biblically defendable position. The option that God’s effectual calling is that which enables a person to come to faith and thereby be regenerated is attractive but difficult to substantiate. The Scriptures do not anywhere indicate that faith comes before regeneration. In fact, one may state that salvation in the general all-encompassing sense (predestination, atonement, calling, regeneration, faith, and justification) is completed after faith, and therefore remain faithful to the plain reading of the text that suggests faith is before regeneration. For he or she would not then be suggesting that faith is before regeneration, but that faith logically occurs before the savific process is complete. In other words, the word salvation would be used to describe the entire complete package with all of the ordo (excluding sanctification and glorification) included. This would be a good way to explain the last Scripture (Acts 16:31) stated above and remain consistent to the Reformed position.

But Scripture nowhere suggests that faith initiates regeneration in the restricted since. Grudem’s statement is helpful at this point:

“The reason that evangelicals often think that regeneration comes after saving faith is that they see the results . . . after people come to faith, and they think that regeneration must therefore have come after saving faith. Yet here we must decide on the basis of what Scripture tells us, because regeneration itself is not something we see or know about directly: ‘The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit’ (John 3:8).”

Previously I mentioned my dilemma concerning God’s requirement of faith and nothing else for salvation. This study has helped me to get a better handle on the issues that are involved. I have come to the conclusion that I am in agreement with the Reformed camp concerning the ordo salutis. I believe that regeneration is a sovereign act of God by which He places a new life within a person so that the person naturally responds in faith. At the same time, I am not entirely dogmatic about this. I hope that as I continue to study Scripture, I will gain more insight.

Charles Wesley painted the picture beautifully of the Reformed ordo salutis in one stanza of the great hymn “And Can It Be.” (Though, I know, he was must certainly speaking about prevenient grace.)

Long my imprisoned spirit lay [alienation from God]

Fast bound in sin and nature’s night [total depravity].

Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray: [regeneration (Reformed) or prevenient grace (Arminian)]

I woke—the dungeon flamed with light! [enlightening]

My chains fell off, my heart was free, [salvation]

I rose, went forth, and followed Thee. [faith]


C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. He can be contacted at [email protected]

    391 replies to "Does Regeneration Precede Faith?"

    • cherylu

      Just a couple of thoughts off the top here Michael.

      How about this one, but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20:31

      These things written—that you might believe.

      Believing–you might have life in His name.

      I don’t see how that can be read any other way then that faith comes before life.

      Also, I have always wondered how it can be that since sin causes us to be dead, then how can we be made alive again while still in our sins? That is utterly illogical to me.

    • Jesse G

      Excellent, Michael!

    • Susan

      Cheryl, I think that the passage Michael sighted from John might shed light on your last question:

      3:5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born of water and spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 3:6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 3:7 Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must all be born from above.’ 3:8 The wind blows wherever it will, and you hear the sound it makes, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

      In our sin we are in the flesh, but God’s Spirit arrives on the scene bringing new spiritual birth from above..

      Sproul says this: Regeneration is the act of God alone, in which He renews the human heart, making it alive when it was dead. In regeneration, God acts at the origin and deepest point of the human person. This means that there is no preparation, no preceding disposition in the sinner that requests or…

    • Susan

      …contributes to the new life given by God.

      Michael, BTW….you used the word ‘proceeds’ in a couple of places, which didn’t really work. I think you might want to switch to ‘precedes’.

    • Susan

      Michael, also you never gave a definition of regeneration. I gave Sproul’s definition above. He also says this:

      “Regenration is the gift of God’s grace. It is the immediate, supernatural work of the Holy Spirit wrought in us. It’s effect is to quicken us to spiritual life from spiritual death. It changes the disposition of our souls, inclining our hearts to God. The fruit of regeneration is faith. Regeneration precedes faith.

      Great article, Michael!

    • Arminian

      Regeneration preceding faith is an incredibly weak Calvinist position IMO. The passages Michael quoted in favor of the opposing position are not particularly good ones for it. But there is a massive amount of evidence in Scripture for faith preceding regeneration. Cherylu mentioned just one, a passage that indicates that spiritual life is by faith. There are tons of texts that say this in Jn and the NT. Michael mentioned Jn 1:12-13 in favor of regeneration before faith, but that passage proves faith prior to regeneration because becoming God’s children and being born of him are parallel, referring to the same thing. But v. 12 makes it clear that faith precedes becoming a child of God. As v. 13 explains v. 12, being born of God must also come after faith. That the text says regeneration is not of man’s will does not contradict this. It is God alone who regenerates in response to human faith just as he justifies in response to faith. See next post . . .

    • Arminian

      There’s so much to say. Since I be,ieve Michael gave such poor backing for the view he disagrees with (faith preceding regeneration), let me simply direct to the Society of Evangelical Arminians topical link for regeneration: http://evangelicalarminians.org/taxonomy/term/11. it has tons of great articles on it supporting faith preceding regeneration. We have a lot of articles by ben Henshaw of Arminian Perspectives. Here is a link to the topic at his site: http://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/category/regeneration/.

      Michael, I wonder if you will change your mind if you look at these links. There’s some first rate stuff there.

    • Susan

      vs 13 ‘who were born, not of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man (not of human choice it seems), but of God.’

      Seems quite possible that the order of things stated doesn’t necessarily mean that that is the order of salvation. Verse 13 seems to be an aside as it begins with the words ‘who were born’.

      This new birth takes place by the action of the Holy Spirit giving life to those who were ‘dead in trespasses and sin’ Eph 2:1

    • SPP

      CMP,

      I had seen your video from your website in which you discussed this issue. I disagreed, both then and now, but appreciate your thoughts on it. I simply find that faith coming before regeneration to be the more plain, natural reading from Scripture, though I do understand it may not make as much “sense” to others.

      Either way, all because of God’s grace.

      Keep It up, brother.

      • Maurice Harting

        The nature of birth (be it physical or spiritual) is that it comes to the baby from outside his or her decision … that is why Jesus used the birthing analogy! Furthermore terms like election and chosen also refer to decisions made by others for the person elected and chosen.

        When one is elected to be President it was not a work done by the President, but a work done by the electorate, likewise when one is born it is not the product of the will of the baby, but of the parents and God, who formed the baby in the mother’s womb.

        You MUST be born again, and Nicodemus asked the same stupid question most Arminians ask today: “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” and Jesus responded, like us Reformed folk respond: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You[d] must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

        Salvation is God’s work in the heart of sinful man and that is why we are born from above, born of God, born again, born of the Spirit, who gives life where there is only death because of sin of the sinner.

        Praise God!!!

    • cherylu

      Susan,

      I am not at all sure I followed your train of thought above. In John 3 Jesus goes on to say: And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. John 3:14-15

      That is again stating that belief comes before life as it does in the John 20 verse I talked about above.

      But the way you guys look at, it seems that either those very blunt statments are not the order it really comes in, or you guys must be talking about two separate kinds of life here. A life you have to have before you can have faith, and then eternal life that comes as the result of faith.

      I don’t see the Bible talking about two kinds of life here, only one. I believe that when we are given life, it is eternal life–period.

      And I notice Michael has only one life mentioned in his chart too. And it is life given before faith. I just don’t see that in the Bible.

    • cherylu

      As I was reading through your OP again, Michael, I see that you do believe the life that is given in regeneration is not the same as eternal life. Am I correct?

      I found myself being quite confused at times as I read this, both the first and second times through.

    • Jim

      Re: John 1:12, 13

      All men are born a slave of sin. A slave cannot serve two masters. You must be set free from sin before you can be enslaved by God (Rom. 6:22). Once enslaved to God, He can adopt you as a son. God doesn’t adopt another man’s slave. You need to become a son to become an heir, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. (This is one of a man’s many needs before Jesus Christ saves him.)

      When Jesus became High Priest, He began baptizing men with the Holy Spirit (as John the Baptist foretold), baptizing men into His Body and baptizing men into his death (Rom. 6:3). A man is united to the likeness of Christ’s death (Rom. 6:5), and he dies to sin (Rom. 6:2). Being made free from sin he becomes a slave of righteousness, a slave of God (Rom. 6:18, 22). Then God can rightfully adopt him as a son. And because He is a Son, God sends the Spirit of His Son into the man’s heart (Gal. 6:6), giving him eternal life (1Jn. 5:11, 12) in the new birth.

      Cont…

    • Jim

      Now, John says that as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become a son, even to those who believe on His name (Jn. 1:12). A slave of sin does not have the right to become a son. Jesus gave the slave the right to become a son when He baptized him into His death and freed him from his old master. The man becomes a son by adoption, then by birth. (Why adopt a son who is already yours by birth as Reformed Doctrine purports?) Once he is a son by adoption, God sends Jesus into the dead man’s heart. Jesus gives the man His life (Col. 3:4), newness of life (Rom. 6:5), eternal life (1Jn 5:11, 12). He is regenerated from His death with Christ, by Jesus Christ. And when he is “made alive with Jesus Christ, by grace he has been saved” (Eph. 2:5). He is saved by regeneration (Titus 3:5). The man is saved by His (Jesus’) life (Rom. 5:10).

    • Jim

      Susan,
      Now, John says that as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become a son, even to those who believe on His name (Jn. 1:12). A slave of sin does not have the right to become a son. Jesus gave the slave the right to become a son when He baptized him into His death and freed him from his old master. The man becomes a son by adoption, then by birth. (Why adopt a son who is already yours by birth as Reformed Doctrine purports?) Once he is a son by adoption, God sends Jesus into the dead man’s heart. Jesus gives the man His life (Col. 3:4), newness of life (Rom. 6:5), eternal life (1Jn 5:11, 12). He is regenerated from His death with Christ, by Jesus Christ. And when he is “made alive with Jesus Christ, by grace he has been saved” (Eph. 2:5). He is saved by regeneration (Titus 3:5). The man is saved by His (Jesus’) life (Rom. 5:10).

      Jesus came to save men, and give them eternal life. And when he indwells a man’s heart He does save a man and give him eternal life.

      John demonstrates that receiving Christ/ believing in Christ precedes the right to become a son, and the being born of God. Faith precedes both eternal life and salvation which were given in the new birth. Historically faith preceded the new birth by a couple thousand years.

    • Paige-Patric Samuels

      Mike you have presented a difficult situation, based upon what you are saying that the ordo salutus expostulated by the Reformers, with a slight difference from yourself is sola griade. Romans 3:21-25. Not it is the faith of Jesus Christ, also mentioned i verse 22, that righteousness of God gratuitously justifies us and delivers us through the propitiatory shelter which God purposed in the blood of Christ. True, this evangel of our Salvation is our faith for our faith (Rom 1:17) When justification, both of God and a sinners are in view, it is the faith of Christ that is pre-eminent (Gal 2:16). god’s righteousness is set forth in the evangel of God which Paul now brings. It is revealed through the faith of Jesus Christ, In his death and resurrection . We are have been reckoned righteous because of faith. Our faith is a gift from God , and it continues as a result of His spirit which He gives us(Ep 2:8-10; Gal 5:22,23)

    • Jim

      Jesus came to save men, and give them eternal life. And when he indwells a man’s heart He does save a man and give him eternal life.

      John demonstrates that receiving Christ/ believing in Christ precedes the right to become a son, and the being born of God. Faith precedes both eternal life and salvation which were given in the new birth. Historically faith preceded the new birth by a couple thousand years.

      (I apologize for multiple posts, but the subject is important and hard to minimize)

    • Alex Guggenheim

      The opposing view, I will agree, is poorly represented. But I must also say that this fails to recognize and appreciate other approaches on the theological globe. That aside a couple of quick retorts:
      1 Cor 2:14 – While the natural man being spiritually unable is enabled by the ministry of the Holy Spirit, this does not necessitate the distinctive act of regeneration.
      Acts 16:14 – “the Lord opened her heart to respond [regenerated her] to the things spoken by Paul” (emphasis added).” Opening the heart is enlightenment, not regeneration, your hermeneutic here is both exegetically and theologically strained.
      John1:12-13 – “who were born [regenerated], not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (emphasis added).” This is a stunner, again strained hermeneutics. This is a retort to those who proposed that their Jewishness, works or religion entitled them to salvation and is an act of eisegesis to impose the intention of regeneration’s timing…

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    • C Michael Patton

      I appreciate those of you who recognize the secondary nature of this doctrine.

      I hope that most of you realize that for most all of Protestants (including Roman Caltholics to some degree) we all recognize that there must be some sort of life given before faith in order for faith to be possible. The only real difference is that the life given in regeneration makes fait assured. For others, the life is made possible. Therefore, many of your arguments against this are the same arguments that would have to be used against the Arminians Ordo as well!

      Unless you want to go the Pelagian route…

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      “I have come to the conclusion that I am in agreement with the Reformed camp concerning the ordo salutis.”

      Me too.

      “At the same time, I am not entirely dogmatic about this.”

      Me too!

      Humbly, and by His Grace Alone:

      Monergism.

    • Arminian

      CMP said: “I hope that most of you realize that for most all of Protestants . . . we all recognize that there must be some sort of life given before faith in order for faith to be possible.”

      **** That’s not really true Michael. You’re framing the issue in a skewed way I think. It is true that some older Arminians used to talk in that way, but that has largely (though not completely) ceased. The issue is really about biblical regeneration, the Bible’s concept. Regarding that, Arminians have been agreed that faith precedes regeneration. One can characterize being enabled to believe as a sort of giving of life, but the Bible does not do that in any way. For that reason, *most* modern Arminians seem to have abandoned that confusing, varying use of the term regeneration for the purely biblical one. So I think most modern Arminians would argue that while one can characterize God’s enabling, resistant grace as partially regenerating, that is not biblical usage.

    • C Michael Patton

      Thanks so much.

      I did not say that Arminians believe that regeneration procedes faith. But that a life must be given. Maybe they would not call it “life” in the context of such a debate/issue, but it is life nonetheless. Previenient grace restores life to the will. It make a spiritually dead man do what he could not otherwise do.

      Again, its the hair-bredth that Wesley spoke of. The question then becomes does this life bring about faith or merely the possibility of faith? That is where we will depart.

      Although, like I said in the OP, even some moderate Calvinists will agree that the call (i.e. previenient call) excites the will which irrististable grace will then grant regeneration to.

    • Susan

      Alex brings up an interesting point. Not being a theologian I had always thought of it as the enlightenment of the Spirit. The Spirit draws a person, enlightens their understanding and convicts them of sin. That is my understanding of the roll of the Spirit in salvation. Since Michael didn’t include a definition of regeneration I had to surmise it as I read this article, but I was wondering if regeneration was akin to enlightenment. No matter how you define it, or what words you choose, salvation is a work of God from beginning to end.

    • Arminian

      CMP said: “many of your arguments against this are the same arguments that would have to be used against the Arminians Ordo as well”

      I don’t think that is true at all in light of my previous post (February 25, 2011 at 9:56 am). The argument is over the biblical concept of regeneration, and the fact that some Arminians could think of prevenient grace as partially regenerating in a certain sense does not figure into the question of whether faith precedes regeneration in the biblical sense. This is probably the type of difference Arminius himself got at when he said, “even true and living faith in Christ precedes regeneration strictly taken” (Works Vol.2 pg. 233, Wesleyan Heritage Collection). So it is surprising to me that you think that pointing out that Jn 1:12-13 makes clear that faith precedes becoming God’s child/being born of God, or that the NT consistently presents spiritual life coming by faith, would somehow argue against prevenient grace. You have the Arminian ordo…

    • Erico Rempel

      Some people think that a dead man cannot hear to the voice of the Son of God. What about John 5:25?

      “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.”

      I believe God opens the heart and produces faith. But regeneration and salvation come as a consequence of faith. Just as stated in John 1:12.

    • Arminian

      Continued: You have the Arnminian ordo wrong. It is not life-faith-regeneration, but prevenient grace-faith-regeneration.

      I see you have now responded by saying: “I did not say that Arminians believe that regeneration procedes faith. But that a life must be given. Maybe they would not call it “life” in the context of such a debate/issue, but it is life nonetheless. Previenient grace restores life to the will. It make a spiritually dead man do what he could not otherwise do.”

      However, do you not see that you are the one charcaterizing that as life. The Bible does not do that, and most Arminians don’t. Morever, even the Arminaisn that have characterized that as a type of life do not mean it in the biblical sense of regeneration, so the arguments against regeneration preceding faith biblically by Arminians don’t counter that admittedly confusing and unhelpful usage of the terminology by some older Arminians.

    • Susan

      Cheryl, I wasn’t disputing that belief comes before life. It must. Even the demons believe and shudder. I was only saying that what the Spirit supplies in v 13 could easily be necessary before the belief and eternal life at secured…as the sentence is structured I think that vs. 13 is an overarching condition of belief. At any rate, vs 13 certainly makes it clear that we are born NOT of our own will, but of God.

    • Arminian

      I should add that even if some Arminians have used the terminology in the way of seeing it as partial regeneration in the biblical sense, most Arminaisn would disagree with that view.

      CMP said: “Previenient grace restores life to the will. It make a spiritually dead man do what he could not otherwise do.”

      **** That is not the Arminian view. That is not how the Bible uses spiritual life. Enabling (not making) a spiritually dead man do what he could not otherwise do is not making him spiritually alive. The Bible explicitly states many times that spiritual life comes by faith, which places faith logically prior to regeneration/the impartation/beginning of spiritual life. You seem to be relying on a unbiblical notion of “spiritually dead “. You might want to see this post at Arminian Perspectives and the links for further info it gives at the end: http://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2008/05/15/what-can-the-dead-in-sin-do/.

    • cherylu

      Susan,

      You said, Cheryl, I wasn’t disputing that belief comes before life. It must. Even the demons believe and shudder. I was only saying that what the Spirit supplies in v 13 could easily be necessary before the belief and eternal life at secured…as the sentence is structured I think that vs. 13 is an overarching condition of belief. At any rate, vs 13 certainly makes it clear that we are born NOT of our own will, but of God.

      But that doesn’t make sense I don’t think. After all, what verse 13 talks about is being born. If you are born, do you not have life?

    • C Michael Patton

      Arminian,

      “Enabling (not making) a spiritually dead man do what he could not otherwise do is not making him spiritually alive.”

      I think you are getting to into the terms rather than the concepts. At this point, it is just a matter of semantics, which we need to be careful with in theology. It is a restoration of ability that was not previously present. Call it “life” to the will. Call it “regeneration” to the will. Call it “exciting” the will. Or just call it a “restoration of ability.” It all supports what I am saying in my opinion.

    • Arminian

      Cherylu said: “But that doesn’t make sense I don’t think. After all, what verse 13 talks about is being born. If you are born, do you not have life?”

      Yes, and even more to the point, one cannot be born of God and yet not be his child.

    • Susan

      I see what you are saying Cheryl, but I still say that regardless of the order of things, we are born not of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. We can’t will our way to new birth. If the Holy Spirit doesn’t initiate the whole process within a person, they they will never experience spiritual birth.

    • Arminian

      CMP said: “Call it “life” to the will. Call it “regeneration” to the will. Call it “exciting” the will. Or just call it a “restoration of ability.” It all supports what I am saying in my opinion.”

      How can it when the dispute is over the biblical concepots and terms? You choosing to call it a restoration of life does not address how the Bible views it. On that score, the texts I have cited clearly (I believe) present regeneration/life as coming by faith.

    • C Michael Patton

      Regenation is a pretty simple concept from a broad theological basis. I think Susan is right. I really should have defined it first.

      Regeneration is the restoration of a broken (dead) relationship through the vitalization of the “spirit.” We cannot understand it unless we understanding spiritual death. Spiritual death happened in the Garden when there was a breach in our relationship with God brought about by disobedience. It does not mean that spirit ceases to exist (as I am an advocate of conditional unity, believing in the essential unity of the material and immaterial—see Erickson and Hoekema), but that the spiritual relationship between God and man died. Hense, spiritual life died. Regeneration is the ultimate token of the restoration of a “dead” spirit.

      Hence the passage in 1 Cor about our inability to come to God without life in the Spirit. Really, that is the only passage I need to be convinced of the argument of the OP.

    • cherylu

      Michael,

      What you just said in comment # 30 would make sense to me and could be called only a matter of semantics except for one thing. Regeneration has been described by your fellow Calvinists as being given a new nature. And that is precisely the way I have always undertood the meaning of regeneration. A new nature given by God. A new nature that is God’s very nature and is therefore eternal. And as far as I can tell, the Bible only shows that to come after faith.

      So I can’t see it as simply semantics. Unless you mean something totally different then what those other Calvinists are saying.

    • C Michael Patton

      Arminian,

      “How can it when the dispute is over the biblical concepots and terms?”

      Once again, we are not meeting in discussion. I don’t care about terms…What I said was that I do care so much about terms, it is the concepts they represent.

      Again, call it “life” or “restored ability”, it is the same for my present argument.

    • cherylu

      Michael,

      Your definition of regeneration that you just gave certainly entails a whole lot more then just a giving life to the will it seems to me. Hence, way more then the semanitcs you were claiming.

      You said it is restoration of the broken relationship between man and God. But again, you have this broken relationship restored before the sin issue is dealt with in a man through justification. How can that be? The relationship was broken because of sin, does not sin have to be dealt with before the restoration can take place??

    • C Michael Patton

      Cheryl, there is not one “Reformed/Calvinist” way of looking at these things or defining the terms.

      However, please rest assured, that we are all in the same semantic domain in this very minor issue. When we say we have received a new “nature” we are not talking about a constitution that was not previously present. To be spiritually dead does not mean you don’t have an immaterial aspect to constitution. It means that it is “dead to God.” The relationship is dead. To be regenerated is simply to be made alive to God.

      Semantics again will cause us to push words like “nature” and “life” in ways that are too technical and can serve to distract from the concepts involved.

      Many among Calvinist exegetes don’t like the use of the word “nature” at all, believing it to be an unfortunate translation from the NIV. I was taught in seminary to use the words “new man/old man” meaning “old way of life/new way of life” in place of nature.

      I think that this is wise and…

    • C Michael Patton

      Cheryl,

      “Your definition of regeneration that you just gave certainly entails a whole lot more then just a giving life to the will it seems to me. Hence, way more then the semanitcs you were claiming.”

      The semantics has to do with “life” and “restored ability” on the Arminian side. I did not in any sense mean to imply that this whole issue is one of semantics…only how the current discussion on what previenient grace does and the terms used. Either way, unless you are a pelagian, you must believe in some sort of generation/power/life/ability being given to the sinner in order to believe. Do you at least believe that?

    • Robert

      Hello Michael, ( 1)

      Let’s take your comments here as springboards to point out some things.

      You wrote:

      “I hope that most of you realize that for most all of Protestants . . . .we all recognize that there must be some sort of life given before faith in order for faith to be possible.”

      The mistake here is seen in the phrase “we all recognize that there must be some sort of life given before faith in order for faith to be possible.” This is already begging the question towards the claim that regeneration must precede faith.

      Now I don’t know you personally Michael and I don’t know how much you evangelize, but I do a lot of evangelism. So I have seen many people converted to the faith, resistant to the faith, you name it I have seen it. Based upon my experience and what I know the bible teaches, my confidence is in the WORK OF THE SPIRIT when I evangelize (and note I am not a charismatic).

      It is the Holy Spirit working in a person who enables a faith response.

      Robert

    • C Michael Patton

      Good word Robert. No matter what, we all need to know that some sort of “enabling” must take place before a person can believe. Call it regeneration or life or exciting or whatever. Let’s all agree there.

    • cherylu

      Michael,

      I never said the Spirit doesn’t have to work in a man in order for him to be saved. I did say I don’t believe that is regeneration, if you want to call it a new nature or a new man. Is not the new man the very life of Christ living in a person?

      And again, how do we become a new man in relationship to God before the sin issue is dealt with??

    • Susan

      Cheryl, the sin issue was dealt with on the cross. The Spirit comes to us and enlightens, convicts and draws us in spite of our sin…because in our sinfulness we are blind to the truth.

    • C Michael Patton

      Cheryl, the only reason, in my opinion, that you can be a new man is because God has applied the blood of Christ to your account and have been forgiven. The cross makes all of this possible.

      BTW: This is one of the reasons why I think children who die in the womb can be saved. God simply gives them life. They don’t ever respond in faith because faith is simply a response to their new life that they don’t have the ability yet to exercise. I think that if you make faith the linchpin, you are going to have a lot of trouble dealing with infants such as these (and there are A LOT of them 🙁 )

    • C Michael Patton

      Robert,

      Appreciate what you are saying, but please read the rules. One post at a time. There is no reason to have 1000 character limits if we post one after the other!

      Sorry, I am obviously involved in this thread so I can’t help but notice.

    • matt bell

      dear friends, brothers and sisters,
      Grace and peace to you.

      If I could interject a verse (amongst the others that have been presented) regarding regeneration preceeding salvific belief would be John 10:25-26. talking with the Jewish crowds “I told you (regarding the fact I am the Christ) and you do not believe. The works I do in my Fathers name bear witness about me, BUT you do not believe BECAUSE you are not part of my flock”. he goes on to describe HIS sheep will hear his voice and follow.

      I hope this provides some more solidifcation to the biblical arguement of a new nature being given first to a goat before he can become a sheep and follow.
      I love you all.

    • Jim

      Michael,
      Where in the Bible do you find another kind of life, other than the life we receive when Jesus Christ comes to dwell in our hearts?

      “He who does not have the SON OF GOD does not have LIFE” (1Jn5:11, 12). “If any man have not the Spirit of CHRIST, HE DOES NOT BELONG TO HIM” (Rom. 8:9). God’s plan hidden from generations that was finally revealed was CHRIST IN YOU (Col. 1:27). CHRIST IS OUR LIFE (Col. 3:4). A man is MADE ALIVE WITH JESUS CHRIST” (Eph. 2:5). JESUS CHRIST DWELLS IN OUR HEARTS (Eph. 3:17).

      Reformed Doctrine is in error, redefining regeneration to be an enabling work, rather than the saving work of God (Titus 3:5; Eph. 2:5). Regeneration occurs when Jesus Christ comes to dwell in a man’s heart to give him God’s gifts of eternal life and salvation. Faith precedes Christ coming to dwell in a heart (Eph. 3:17), eternal life, and salvation (Rom. 10:13, Acts 16:31; Eph. 2:8…)

      If you insist that regeneration is an enabling work and not the saving work, then when was Cornelius “born again”? Was it before Acts 10, when the angel said that his prayers and alms had arisen before the Lord as a memorial? Or was it after Peter preached words to him where by he could be saved (Acts 11:14)?

    • C Michael Patton

      Jim, I think you need to say “justifying work” not “saving work” to keep us from shooting past each other. Salvation is past (justification), present (sanctification), and future (glorification) in a very broad sense.

      There is the life from the death aspect of our salvation (regenration) which amounts to a restored relationship with God and there is the “eternal life” aspect of salvation which refers to our everlasting life with God. We are talking about the first here. Concepts are what are important here, not so much terms.

    • cherylu

      Michael,

      Cheryl, the only reason, in my opinion, that you can be a new man is because God has applied the blood of Christ to your account and have been forgiven. The cross makes all of this possible.

      You also said that regeneration is the restoring of relationship between man and God. But is the relationship restored without justification? I dont think it is. Romans 5:1 says, Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: Now that sounds like restored relationship to me. Obviously forgiveness and justifcation are very closely tied together. But justification comes after faith in Romans. And it does in your chart above also.

      <

    • Susan

      Michael, I wish you would have posted this last week. I spoke with Norm Geisler on Saturday. I could have asked him if he understood the reformed position correctly 😉

      I also had a nice little chat with Paul Copan about the new addition to his family. Last time I saw these two men at a seminar I had lunch with them. Delightful.

    • cherylu

      Is anyone else having a problem with the edit feature here today? Also the html tags seem to only be working part of the time. Don’t know what the deal is.

    • Virginia Brasov

      Question?
      Is true that REVELATION precede regeneration?
      I am convinced that regeneration precede Faith?
      I myself ,strongly believe that before regeneration must be REVELATION,but I am open to hear other opinion,likewise justified by Scripture .Thanks!
      Virginia Brasov

    • jim

      Matt bell:

      Greetings brother! It is true that in John 10 25-26 that Christ is telling some that they do not believe because they are not of his flock. Now see verses 14 -16 before

      I am the good shepherd.(P) I know my own and(Q) my own know me, 15(R) just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and(S) I lay down my life for the sheep. 16And(T) I have other sheep that are not of this fold.(U) I must bring them also, and(V) they will listen to my voice. So there will be(W) one flock,(X) one shepherd.

      Is it possible that Jesus in verses 25-26 is simply referring to those Jews who do not believe who he is.(Judisam) In verses 14-16 he says there are(2) folds(flocks) one could be those jews and the other flock the gentiles whom he will call and they will listen to his voice. Just a thought! Can anyone explain the two flock(fold) meaning?

    • cherylu

      Matt,

      I think there must be another way of understanding those verses in John 10 then the way you do.

      Going back to John 1:12 again, it says that the ones that receive Him and believe on His name are the ones that He gives the right to become children of God. The children of God would be the ones that are part of his flock, the sheep, right? Notice that to become one of those children believing on His name is a prerequisite.

      (By the way the words believe and receive are both in the active voice there. That implies the person was active in the receiving as well as the believing, does it not?)

    • Jim

      Michael,

      Justification is not the saving work. Justification comes before the eternal life given in regeneration. Remember, the promise was THE JUST SHALL LIVE by faith. Romans 5 clearly laid this out for us. A man is an enemy. He is reconciled to God after he places his trust in Jesus, when he is baptized into Christ’s death (Rom. 5:10). (Remember, the “old things pass away before the new comes”). He is justified in Christ’s blood (5:9). Through death with Christ a man goes from “many transgressions to justification” (5:16); he is give a gift of righteousness (5:17); he is acquitted (5:18); made righteous (by the blood of Jesus Christ which cleanses him of all sin). He was introduced to God’s grace by faith (Rom. 5:2), and grace reigns through righteousness into eternal life (5:21). Eternal life is our present possession now when Jesus Christ comes to live in our hearts. The scriptures declare when we are made alive with Jesus Christ, by grace WE HAVE BEEN SAVED (Eph. 2:5). (Salvation now a done deal). “And if Christ be in you, THE BODY IS DEAD, because of sin, and the spirit is LIFE because of righteousness” (Rom 8:10)

    • Joseph

      Good Morning Michael. I am a friend of LR and have watched your service from a far for quite some time. For the most part, I am “warmed” by your direction of thought. Truly the battle between logical and chronological order is very much alive and well but I am encouraged by the fact that, (as you well know), hermeneutics precedes theological formulation; a reminder that will serve all who attempt to answer this and all similar musings.

      If I may suggest something for all to consider. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the overarching action and event in-which all that is said to be connected with salvation in time (calling, regeneration, faith, and justification, etc.) is contained and accomplished. In my humble opinion, we have missed this and its importance to the discussion. If one believes that the new birth is wholly the work of God and that the whole of that work is actualized by the Spirit’s baptism, then it can be said that “all” occur simultaneously. Give it a…

    • Jim

      Micheal (cont…)
      You look to Rom. 8:30, but Paul gives a lot of detail that fits between these few words in chapters 5, 6, 7. After Christ’s CALL to repentance (Matt. 9:13), there is conversion, and Jesus Christ baptizing men into His death. “He who is dead is JUSTIFIED from sin” (Rom. 6:7). There is no more condemnation, we are acquitted, and set free from slavery to sin, enslaved to righteousness, enslaved to God, sanctification (6:22), adoption, becoming an heir, and sharing in the promise made to Abraham and His Seed—the Holy Spirit— Jesus Christ comes to live in our hearts giving us eternal life (6:23), we are made a priest because we now have eternal life, and hopefully we will bear fruit. Ultimately we wait to be GLORIFIED.

    • Chris

      Jesus clearly taught in john 5:44 that the pharisees could not believe in Him (have faith) because they sought the glory that comes from men rather than the glory that comes from God. How on earth is faith possible for one who is dead in sins and seeks the glory that comes from men and not God? Furthermore Paul states in Romans 2:28-29 that a person is a Jew inwardly and circumcision is of the heart- by the Spirit, not the letter. His praise is not from men but from God. So circumsion of the heart happens first, then ones praise comes from God and not men thereby enabling them to believe in Christ. One dead in sins cannot possibly have saving faith because his heart does not care about the glory of God in Christ. This is not “enlightening”, this is regeneration. Also, an example from real life would be the conversion of the great missionary to the Indians- David Brainerd. In his own account of his conversion he stated that he could not find out what “faith” was. After a series of…

    • matt bell

      Hey Jim

      I do not believe that John 10:25-26 is meant to be a 2 fold/flock meaning here even though he is speaking to a Jewish crowd. In fact in Ephesians 2:16, Paul is adamant that the cross tore down the dividing wall of hostility and made the 2 now 1 body. Now if we stay in the same book of John (as I think Michael P would prefer we do 🙂 ) then I would take you to John 6:35-40. Jesus states, All the Father has given to me will come to me, and I think the key in this text is the multiple use of the word FOR. The Father gives them to Christ. Furthermore I would continue down to vs 44 of the same Chapter and see that “No one can come to me unless he who sent me, draws him…” then in vs 45 “Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me…” He speaks as though those that truly do believe on Christ for life, have already been given ears to hear and hearts and minds to learn and that these new ears, hearts and minds finds it’s root in vs 37.

    • matt bell

      Hi Cherylu
      I see your referrence to John 1:12 but in the following vs 13, it says “who were born not of the will of man but born of God.” John writes as though vs 12 comes to fruition only because of vs 13. I believe that is the case because there is a comma after vs 12 as it leads into vs 13 and vs 13 is not a separate sentence to be taken on it’s own but is meant to point to a preceeding verse, and I think that it’s vs 12. I also point to the order of Jesus statement in John 3 vs 3 and vs 4. He says, Unless you are born again (or born from above) you cannot see/enter the kingdom of God.” I believe that he means, you must be born of the Spirit first (Regenerated) before you can enter (display saving faith). I take that stance because in the same context of John 3 he says “that which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. Flesh begets Flesh which produces nothing spiritual. Spirit begets spiritual things which God produces. Hope this…

    • cherylu

      Matt,

      Even if men were active in receiving and believing, it is still the will of God that caused them to be born again. He is the one that planned it and speaks of Jesus as “crucified before the foundation of the world. He (Jesus) is the one that died to make it possible, He is the one that said He is not willing that any should perish. Of course they are born of the will of God. They are born of the will of God even if they have an active part in it. And if they don’t have an active part in it, verse 12 makes no sense whatsoever. At least that is how it looks to me.

    • Brandon E.

      I definitely believe that salvation is initiated by God. No one can come to faith apart from the Holy Spirit first working within them–the “enabling” you’ve described.

      However, I agree with those who’ve implied that to call this enabling “regeneration” falls short of the biblical meaning of the word.

      Pre-fall, Adam and Eve’s human spirits were in a sense “alive” or “living,” (i.e., functioning, not dead in sin); thus they could have a relationship with God.

      However, they did not truly possess “life” (Gk: zoe), because they did not have God in Christ as eternal life within them. Hence, they were not born of God to be children of God (John 1:12-13) in the NT sense, and neither were they partakers of the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4) or a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17).

      I believe that “regeneration” in the Bible refers to this life-union with Christ (Col. 3:4), rather than the mere recovery of the ability to respond to God lost in Adam’s fall.

    • Lannie

      One thing I think we all agree God is the one who initiates. No one thinks man makes the first move. I think we extrapolate the use of the word “dead” in Eph. 2 too far. Consider the words from the same passage refering to those dead in their sin: followed, live, disobedient, gratifying, cravings, desires, thoughts. These words make the opposite case than reformed Christians seem to make about the pasivity of death. To me, this verse seems to refer more to being condemned to death rather than the passive imobility that seems to be emphasised in this internal discussion. Consider “The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.” The result ultimately will be death of the active pursuit of sin. The gift is Jesus and the eternal life residing in him. The gift is received by trusting in it. In the next chapter Rom 4. God makes it clear faith isn’t meritorious. You can’t boast about it. We don’t have to explain away faith. It’s nothing to be…

    • Jim

      Michael, Matt and Christ,

      There are only two births. How many different kinds of life are there? Is the life given in the new birth eternal life?

      If you say no, then can you give me any verses which speak of a life that is not given to us by the indwelling of Jesus Christ?

      If you say that men were receiving “new spiritual life” by regeneration in the OT to enable men to believe, and they were also receiving God’s gift of eternal life when they believed, then what kind of life was John and Jesus talking about in these texts:

      “In Him was LIFE” Jn 1:4
      “I am the… LIFE” Jn 14:6; 11:25
      “For as the Father has LIFE in Himself. so He has given the Son to have LIFE in Himself” (5:26)
      “I am the bread of LIFE… if any man eat of this bread (Jn 6:40, 48, 51)
      “I am come that they might have LIFE” Jn 10:10

      “Except you eat of the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have NO LIFE in you” Jn 6:53

      In Jn 6:53, what kind of LIFE did men not have yet, if men were already believing in Christ? (your assumption: some were believing and following therefore they had been regenerated to enable belief and after believing they had received eternal life)?

    • Alex Guggenheim

      Question?
      Is true that REVELATION precede regeneration?
      I am convinced that regeneration precede Faith?
      I myself ,strongly believe that before regeneration must be REVELATION,but I am open to hear other opinion,likewise justified by Scripture .Thanks!
      Virginia Brasov
      ___________
      Virginia,

      The word you want to use here is “illumination” and not “revelation”. I know what you mean by the use in your question but as a theological category they have distinct meanings and “illumination” is the word that refers to being enlightened as to the meaning of something that has been disclosed whereas “revelation” refers to new information being disclosed. Revelation is the data or information and illumination is the understanding or enlightenment of its meaning.

      To answer your question, though, yes illumination must occur and one must believe the gospel to which they have been illuminated before they are regenerated.

    • cherylu

      Michael or any other Calvinist,

      There is another thought that is running around in my mind. Michael said somewhere up above that, Regeneration is the restoration of a broken (dead) relationship through the vitalization of the “spirit.

      Then I think of the verse that says, And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6

      Is it possible for that person that is regenerated before faith to please God if faith is required to do so? If not, how can he be in a revitalized relationship with God?

      Or does this verse only refer to those seeking God that have already repented, been converted, and justifed as per Michael’s chart above?

      Thoughts, anyone?

    • Jim

      Matt Bell, in reply to #10

      John is telling men that they first receive the right to become a son when they believe/receive Christ. A man must first be set free from slavery to sin, before he can become a slave under another master, let alone an adopted son. God frees the slave by union to Christ’s death, then He enslaves him (Rom. 6:22), then he adopts Him. This is the one who is then “born of God” when God sends the Spirit of His Son into a man’s heart (Gal. 4:6). Belief, receive the right to become a son, then the new birth.

      “That which is born of the FLESH is FLESH, that which is born of the SPIRIT is SPIRIT”

      Paul says, “You are not in the FLESH, but in the SPIRIT —IF— indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. BUT IF ANY MAN HAVE NOT THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST HE IS NONE OF HIS.” (Rom. 8:9)

      How can you say any man “is spirit” if they do not have the Spirit dwelling in them? How can they be regenerated if they do not have THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST?

      Note:
      “The one who confesses the Son has the Father also” (1John 2:23)
      “The one who abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son” (1Jn 2:9)
      “If any man loves Me…We (the Father and the Son) will come to him and make our abode with Him” (Jn 14:23)
      “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ…If the Spirit of Him who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you” (Rom. 8:11)

    • Arminian

      CMP said: “I don’t care about terms…What I said was that I do care so much about terms, it is the concepts they represent.

      Again, call it “life” or “restored ability”, it is the same for my present argument” and “There is the life from the death aspect of our salvation (regenration) which amounts to a restored relationship with God and there is the “eternal life” aspect of salvation which refers to our everlasting life with God. We are talking about the first here. Concepts are what are important here, not so much terms.”

      But what I am pointing out is that Scripture does not talk about regeneration as the ability to begin to have faith. Regeneration does inherently mean being given life. So it is you creating an alleged problem for Arminian theology that does not really exist by saying enabling people to believe is life, from which you make the argument that therefore the passages invoked that show life comes by faith stand against Arminian theology. Do you see the problem?

    • Arminian

      Continuing to CMP:

      Do you see the problem? You are essentially creating a problem that does not exist and begging the question. You equate enabling people to believe with life, and therefore with regeneration, but then say it does not matter if it is life or not. The concept is what is important. But you equate it with regeneration by calling it life!

      I am talking about biblical regeneration and biblical spiritual life. On that score, the texts that have been pointed to (and many more could be adduced) indicate that what the Bible calls regeneration and equivalent terms comes by faith and is therefore logically preceded by faith.

    • Jim

      Kudos Brandon!

      Lannie, I agree with you (#13). Early reformers accepted the interpretation of Eph. 2:5 that was handed down a thousand years earlier. They did not see the need that a man has to be put to death with Christ. A man must die with Christ (via Christ baptizing him into His death), to be set free from slavery to sin (Rom. 6:2-6). Also note: “ You have been released from the Law, having died to that which you were bound…You were made to die through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him…” (Rom. 7:6, 4). When we are “baptized into Christ’s death” (Rom. 6:3), “united to the likeness of Christ’s death” (Rom. 6:5); “conformed to His death” (Phil 3:10); That is the real “spiritual death”. We have to die before we can be joined to Christ. Men were not baptized into Christ’s death before Christ died and became our High Priest. It is Jesus Christ the High Priest who baptizes men into the likeness of His death.

      We died to sin. At that point Eph. 2:1 literally states: “And you BEING DEAD, the trespasses and the sins of you”. Prior to that, you lived and walked in the lusts of your flesh. But Christ “crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts” (Gal. 5:24). It was when we were “dead with Christ” that we were made alive with Christ (the new birth), raised and seated with Christ in the heavenly

    • C Michael Patton

      I must judge that 1 Tim 6:4 has to come into play here for me. I am sorry but that is the direction of my involvement here.

    • cherylu

      Michael,

      Is it not the meaning of the words–the concept behind them that we are talking about here and disagreeing on? Regeneration to you doesn’t seem to be the same concept as regeneration to many of the rest of us. Isn’t that where the disagreement is? And from there the understanding of when regeneration happens?

      Maybe I am misunderstanding the point of your last comment?

    • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Michael Patton, g1antfan. g1antfan said: RT @CMichaelPatton: Does regeneration precede faith? http://bit.ly/gJqMeS […]

    • Jim

      To all non-Calvinists,

      Please note the following quote. There are some important facts in here, and if they are true, (I believe they are) then the damage to Reformed Doctrine is beyond repair.

      From John Piper’s sermon, “Receive with Meekness the Implanted Word” (1/6/08) (This message was later put in print in his book “Finally Alive”.

      “The second objective historical event that had to happen for us to be born again with eternal life was the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…so the point is that by the new birth, God means for us to have not just new life, but eternal life… Our new life in the new birth will last forever.”

      Eternal life given by the new birth, after the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. That is when Jesus Christ began dwelling in the hearts of men. If there was no regeneration before the resurrection, then there is no TOTAL INABILITY as defined by Reformed proponents! “Bondage of the Will” is a tradition of men!

      OT men could have faith, and through that faith they could please God (Heb. 11;6), but they could never save themselves. Jesus Christ came to save men, and give them eternal life. God saves men when He sends Jesus Christ to dwell in their hearts to give them eternal life. OT prophets wrote of the salvation that would come (1Pet. 1:10). OT believers were saved through their faith the same way as NT believers.

    • HarleyVol

      When God says that he is going to give hearts of flesh for hearts of stone, it kinda implies that before he does his work we have stony hearts. Stony hearts can’t believe – why does it freak you out that God works in us first? Regeneration must come first or there is no ability to exercise faith.

    • cherylu

      Harley,

      Have you been reading this thread? People are not saying that God doesn’t work in us first. What we are saying is that we don’t believe that work is properly defined as regeneration or that what happens before faith entails all that Michaeal says it does.

    • Jim

      Harvey,

      When did God first give the prophecy that he was going to give men “hearts of flesh for hearts of stone”?

      Speaking of that passage, Wayne Grudem states, “The sovereign work of God in regeneration was PREDICTED in the PROPHECY of Ezekiel. Through him, GOD PROMISED A TIME IN THE FUTURE when He would give new spiritual life to His people”.

      Ezekiel predicted,
      “A new heart I WILL GIVE (future), and a new spirit I WILL PUT WITHIN YOU…I WILL PUT MY SPIRIT WITHIN YOU” (Ez. 36:26-27)

      If this prophecy refers to the new birth (and not the literal resurrection of the dead prior to the millenium), then no man prior to Ezekiel had received this promised work of God. No man had yet to receive a new heart. No man had been regenerated (YET).

      There was a particular point in history when God began placing His Spirit into every believers heart. If the placing of the Spirit within men is regeneration, may I remind you that Paul says we receive the promise of the Spirit through faith (Gal. 3:14)

    • HarleyVol

      cherylu,
      I confess I haven’t read the entire multitude of comments. Please forgive me – I’m trying to write a paper- for just skimming. If that work is not regeneration, then what else would you call it.

      Jim,
      Until you get my name right I’m not talking to you:)

    • Steve Martin

      Faith is a gift, the Bible clearly says so.

      Jesus clearly says they He (God) chooses us, snd that we don’t choose Him.

      But so many can’t let go of their own salvation project. That cannot abide God being a real God and asserting Himself.

      They make God into a beggar who pleads for us to do something BEFORE He can do something.

    • Dan

      Even with the idea Prevenient grace, questions still stand regarding man’s capability of believing and where that desire to believe comes from. Prev. Grace does not answer the issue at hand.

      More specifically:

      1. Why do some believe and others not?

      2. What is inside them that makes them WANT to believe? Faith is no mere arbitrary decision (and I don’t know of any Arminian who says so) and thus there precedes a DESIRE to believe.

      3, Where does that desire come from? (Not from the nature or Will of man according to Scripture)

      4. Why do some not have ‘that desire’ and others apparently dont according to your theology?

      Without talking about “Nature” and “desires” I would have never seen my past contradiction of “faith preceding regeneration”.

      Nevermind the explicit contradiction of man doing something that the Scriptures say we cannot do. (Eph. 2:1, Rom 3; John 3, etc.

      May God give grace to you all in seeing these truths, for your joy and…

    • John from Down Under

      HODGE must be either very busy or held by restraints!

    • Jim

      Harley (sorry) and others,
      Reformed “regeneration” is a concept built around isolated phrases, and sometimes verses that have been lifted from their contexts and given an interpretation that fits the doctrine. For instance, the often quoted passage in Romans 3:10-18 actually comes from 2 Psalms (14, 53). They describe a fool. “The fool says in his heart there is no God.” A fool who does not believe that God exists will have no fear of God, and no faith in God. Without faith, he does not have righteousness credited to his account, and therefore “there are none righteous”.

      A fool will not seek God. Yet in contrast Paul preached that God created men…”that they should seek God” (Acts 17:27). Back in Romans 1 Paul tells us that God made certain things evident to men: His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature HAVE BEEN CLEARLY SEEN, BEING UNDERSTOOD THROUGH WHAT HAS BEEN MADE, so they are without excuse (Rom. 1:19, 20). Who doesn’t have any excuse? The people who God’s wrath will come upon: those “who suppress truth in unrighteousness” (R1:18). These men “knew God but they didn’t honor Him or give Him thanks. Their foolish hearts were darkened…they BECAME FOOLS. And Paul describes the fools in Romans 3.

      I believe I can take each verse attributed to Reformed Theology and demonstrate from its context that it was improperly interpreted, or it violates other clear teaching in the Scripture.

    • cherylu

      Harley,

      “What else we would call it” has been discussed conderably in this thread too. Sorry, but I don’t have the time or energy to repeat what has already been said and then have to cover the same ground all over again.

      And Steve Martin,

      How do you account for the active tenses of the verbs in places like John 1:12 if we don’t have to “do” anything–even receive and believe? They don’t fit at all with just sitting and everything happening to us with no response from us.

    • Lannie

      Let’s remember, brothers and sisters, that neither Calvinists or Arminians are completely right. A third way, at least, that doesn’t accept either extreme is always an option. One thing I’ll add from Eze 11. “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God. (Now look at the qualification in verse 21) But as for those whose hearts are devoted to their vile images and detestable idols, I will bring down on their own heads what they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD.” Something about their devoted heart condition to idols exempts them from the heart transplant. God initiates and makes the transplant, but there is a people who will stay devoted to their own way. Why would we resist seeing this part of the story as well. Grace and peace, friends.

    • Jim

      Steve Martin (#29),

      “Faith is a gift, the Bible clearly says so.”

      Actually, the Bible states, “By grace we have been saved, through faith, it is the gift of God…” Grammatically the Greek does not make faith the gift. Grudem states,
      “The word translated “this” is the neuter pronoun touto, which refers not to “faith” or to “grace” specifically in the previous clause (for they are both feminine nouns in Greek, and would require feminine pronouns), but to the entire idea expressed in the prededing phrase, the idea that you have been saved through faith” (Grudem’s Systematic pg 730).

      But the Bible specifically calls eternal life a gift (Rom. 6:23); the Holy Spirit a gift (Acts 2:38; 10:45), and perhaps Jesus Christ a gift (Jn 3:16). Now, back to the context of Eph. 2:8. Paul just previously proclaimed that a person who had been made alive with Jesus Christ had been saved (Eph. 2:5-“made alive with Jesus Christ, by grace YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED).

      God’s Gift= Jesus Christ=Holy Spirit= Eternal Life= Salvation

      Jesus Christ coming to live in the heart of a man gives him eternal life and it saves Him. Faith precedes Jesus dwelling in a mans heart (Eph. 3:17), faith precedes eternal life, and faith precedes salvation (saved through faith). Faith is not the gift given to us by God.

      Do you have another passage that teaches “faith is a gift”?

    • cherylu

      I’ve been wondering where Hodge is too. And how about Michael T? Don’t think we have heard from him for weeks. He used to be very involved in these discussions too.

      Jim,

      On a rather humorous note, unless I read it totally wrong, I once saw someone that was contending that verse in Acts about people being created and put in nations to seek the Lord and perhaps find him as saying that God put them in nations so that they couldn’t find him! Now there is a case of verses being “twisted” if I ever saw one!

    • John from Down Under

      Jimmy – you’re firing an all cylinders with your Calvinist-proof vest on. 🙂

      If you don’t collapse from debate fatigue once you’re finished here, channel some of this energy over here where Johnny Mac says that the recent uprisings in the middle-east are all “in violation of a biblical command – to submit to the powers that be because they’re ordained of God” He’s been criticized of cold-hearted Calvinism (the sovereignty factor), but biblically it’s hard to argue with this view.

    • C Michael Patton

      One last word here: Charles Wesley (a pretty strong voice in the Arminian position!) said “Thine eye diffused a quickening ray.”

      Quicken: “To become alive; receive life.”

      According to him, this “quickening” happens before faith in order to facilitate it! 🙂

    • cherylu

      Hi Michael,

      I have a hunch this is one we will probably always have to agree to disagree on. It’s obvious we aren’t convincing you and I guess you know you haven’t convinced us either.

      Doesn’t mean you aren’t my brother in the Lord though. And I am glad for that.

    • Jim

      Michael,
      You certainly stimulated a great discussion today! I was wondering if you would do another blog and identify whether you believe the life given in regeneration is eternal life or a different kind of life? I know the founding documents (Canons and Westminster) both make a differentiation between the life given in regeneration and eternal life. If this view is correct then I had some questions which nobody tackled in post #14, that I would appreciate hearing a Calvinist’s perspective on.

      On the other hand the Bible tells us there are two births. John Piper has gone on record saying that we are given eternal life in regeneration…our new life in the new birth will last forever (see post #24). This is the view I personally hold. If eternal life is given in regeneration, then I believe that one fact is very problematic for Reformed proponents. And if John Piper is correct in saying, the historical event of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead had to happen for us to be born again with eternal life, then what does that fact do to Calvinism?

    • cherylu

      Jim,

      For the record, John Piper also says regeneration comes before faith. Just read that this afternoon. Don’t have a link for you now though.

    • Jim

      Cherylu,
      First I want to say I appreciate your input in these discussions. You have very perceptive contributions.

      This sermon of John Piper’s was one in a series on the New Birth. Prior to this series I studied many of Piper’s sermons to see what he had to say about Bible passages which taught about eternal life and salvation. I may be wrong, but he seemed to have the clear view that eternal life and salvation were something that men received at the end of their lives. Therefore there were odd ideas, like the gospel was for believers, because unregenerate men would not believe, and so the gospel (the power of God to salvation) was a tool of God to bring regenerate men to salvation at the end of their life. (See a multi-part sermon on Rom. 1:16).

      So this series was quite unique, since he identified the life of regeneration as eternal, and regeneration is the work of God to save man. Of course the Bible places faith before both eternal life and salvation. So it was very interesting to see how he danced around trying to explain where faith fits into the process. But once he identified that Jesus Christ had to rise from the dead before there was any new life to have then I knew he was straining at gnats, while swallowing the camel. If there was no regeneration prior to the resurrection then there should be absolutely no faith in the OT according to the essential Reformed assumptions! But of course we know the testimony of the Scripture details the lives of faithful and godly OT believers. So men can believe without regeneration!

    • Jim

      Cherylu
      As an after thought I wanted to point to the Scriptures. Peter says that were born again through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1Pet. 1:3).

      Nobody has told men how men could be “born again THROUGH THE RESURRECTION” before the resurrection ever took place!

      That’s as bad as the view that God has to save somebody with regeneration (Titus 3:5) so that they will be enableds to believe.

    • Steve Martin

      Ok, Jim…then faith is a work that we do.

      Square that with the rest of Scripture. You have just relagated God to a little god.

      Cherylu,

      We do respond..after He has called and chosen us, through His Word.

      Jesus tells Peter, “Blessed are you Simon Peter, for flesh and blood have not revealed this (that Jesus was the son of God ) to you, BUT MY FATHER IN HEAVEN.” my emphasis of course.

      Ratcheting up faith on our own is just one work…but it is one work too many.

    • HarleyVol

      Jim,
      The doctrine of the Trinity is not explicitly defined in Scripture either but is deduced from various passages, so I am not persuaded by your argument in #32.
      Regeneration can be seen in Deut 30:6- “And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.” It is taught throughout the Bible that”God, being rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.” God initiates salvation by regeneration.
      Paul, Christ and the other NT writers use OT passages frequently- Paul’s purpose in citing these verses is clearly to substantiate the accusation of v. 9, and, in particular, his claim that sin is universal. They not only use the passages, they expand and explain them. So again I don’t think your point is made.
      Peace

    • Virginia Brasov

      Yes ,ILLUMINATION is the best word !And I am glad that you agree with this fact that ILLUMINATION precedes REGENERATION
      Thanks for answering my question MR.Alex Guggenheim
      Virginia B.

      Alex Guggenheim says:
      February 25, 2011 at 2:15 pm
      Like or Dislike: 1 0

    • Steve Martin

      Here’s a good audio (pastor’s class) that is relevant here:

      http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/class-on-galatians-and-christian-freedom/

      .

    • Jim

      Steve Martin,
      Here are some passages that contrast works and faith. Somewhere in the OT people began believing, or they were taught, that keeping the Law (their works) was their source of eternal life. By keeping the Law they could be just, and it was the just who would live. But Habakuk revealed the just would live by faith. Works of the Law could not bring life. But life would come to the just through faith (men would be justified in Christ’s blood—something a man could never do.) In contrast:

      “…through FAITH, not of WORKS lest any man should boast.” (Eph. 2:8).

      “Now to the one that works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor but what is due. But to the one WHO DOES NOT WORK, BUT BELIEVES IN HIM who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness” (Rom. 4:4, 5)

      “The Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by FAITH; but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that Law. Why, because they did not pursue it BY FAITH, but as though it were BY WORKS” (Rom 9:30-32).

    • Jim

      Steve Martin, cont…
      What is necessary for a man to come to faith? Paul says “whoever will call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call upon Him whom they have not believed? And how shall they BELIEVE in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?” (Rom. 10:14, 15)

      God sendspreacher preachesman hearsman believesman calls God saves by regeneration (Titus 3:5)

      Is God active between the hearing of the gospel and the believing? You bet! God sent the “seed sower” and He sends those who water. It is His Word which is planted in the heart. His Word is supernatural, living and powerful, and it accomplishes the purposes of the one who sent it. On the other hand, the Devil tries to steal away the Word so that men may not believe to be saved (Luke 8:12). Just like the seed planted in the ground is doing things that can’t be seen, so is God’s Word. His Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. God brings forth the increase (1Cor. 3), and He brings harvesters into His field to help bring in the harvest. There is no room for boasting for the sower, the one who watered, the reaper, or the believer: because God does an incredible work upon the believer to cleanse him, and more, to prepare him to become a temple of the Holy God.

    • Jim

      HarleyVol (#45),

      “And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.” (Deut. 30:6)

      I see two problems with the passage that you referenced. First the passage in Deut. 30:6 is still a future work: I will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your offspring…” It was still future from Moses writing the passage. Who lived before Moses was used to communicate this truth? Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Issac, Jacob, and most of Moses’ life. If this passage is speaking of regeneration, then these men were unregenerate. Still doesn’t fit your doctrinal profile.

      Second, if regeneration is the circumcision of the heart in the above passage, then the regeneration comes to men who lived sometime after Moses, so that they will love the Lord with all their heart and soul THAT THEY MAY LIVE. I thought that regeneration was the giving of the life. Or, does God circumcise the heart, and then the man loves the Lord with all his heart and soul THAT THEY MAY BE REGENERATED?

      I really do not think that is a good passage to support what you are trying to say.

    • Carrie

      To those here who disagree with regeneration preceeding faith, I ask, what makes someone turn to Christ in the first place?

      What brings about someone saying “yes” to the Gospel call?

    • Arminian

      CMP said: “One last word here: Charles Wesley (a pretty strong voice in the Arminian position!) said “Thine eye diffused a quickening ray.”

      Quicken: “To become alive; receive life.”

      According to him, this “quickening” happens before faith in order to facilitate it!”

      **** That issue has already been addressed. Just because some Arminians have spoken of enabling grace as a sort of enlivening does not mean that they equate it with biblical regeneration, and even if they did, that would not be the normal Arminian position. The point to see is that what the Bible refers to as regeneration (and equivalent terms) the Bible presents as coming after faith, as the passages mentioned attest, like John 1:12-13 and the many passages saying that spiritual life comes by faith.

    • […] – Michael Patton asks if regeneration proceeds faith. […]

    • Carrie Hunter

      I see Arm, so you are appealing to John 1:12-13 to support some sort of chronological order that buttresses your view. Which with a hundred or so comments thus far, I am sure someone has already pointed out a contrary understanding of that passage.

      I certainly don’t see some sort of chornology in that passage. I understand it to merely describe what Christians are. “People born of God”. It could just as easily be argued from that passage that people are Christians because they are born of God.

      Continued in next comment

    • Carrie Hunter

      And yes, many passages do speak to the spiritual life coming by faith but that doesn’t mean the initial steps in coming to Christ isn’t the result of the Holy Spirit making what is dead, living.

      There is no need to force an either/or understanding on passages that speak to spiritual life being the result of faith, because, well, because it is.

      Spiritual growth in a believers life is the result of the spirit working in their life as well as how faithful they are in responding to him. Which the initial steps in coming to Christ are but an example of.

      I hold to the view that we are regenerated prior to coming to Jesus otherwise we would never want Him. And we are regenerated (in a sense) daily by the power of the Holy Spirit.

      There is no it’s either this or that here. It is a both and. If you wish to be true to Scripture that is.

    • Carrie Hunter

      Finally it is worth making the distinctions of what it means to be “dead” or dead in our sins.

      Prior to our conversion we are dead in sin. We lack any moral ability to believe the Gospel. However, we most certainly do posses the natural faculties to believe.

      What that means is, because we bare the image of God, we have the mental abilty to assent to the facts of the Gospel. However due to our sinful bent, we can not and will not turn to God because we lack the moral ability to do so.

      The lack of moral ability leads to our lack of desire to love God; our lack of desire of Godly things; our lack of desire of the spiritual life.

      So while we are fully capable (due to our natural ability – image of God) of believing the truth of the Gospel we suppress that truth in our wickedness (due to our moral inability – fallen state)

    • Arminian

      Carrie,

      I pointed out earlieer in the thread how John 1:12-13 is definitive in showing faith preceding regeneration. A contrary view was brought forward, but it just does not square with the actual details of the text, which clearly has becoming children of God taking place by faith, and becoming born of God parallel/equivalent to becoming children of God, making regeneration by faith.

    • Arminian

      Carrie said: “And yes, many passages do speak to the spiritual life coming by faith but that doesn’t mean the initial steps in coming to Christ isn’t the result of the Holy Spirit making what is dead, living.

      There is no need to force an either/or understanding on passages that speak to spiritual life being the result of faith, because, well, because it is.”

      **** But you don’t have any biblical evidence for making the distinction. Tons pf passages say that we receive spiritual life by faith. Your position seems to be creating a distinction Scripture does not attest to in order to uphold your doctrinal position rather than drawing it from the text. Teher is not one passage of Scripture that suggests that regeneration comes after faith. The position is mostly arrived at by the type of reasoning you use here, that spiritual deadness must mean we have to have spiritual life beofre we believe. But , see the next post . . .

    • Arminian

      Continued from last post:

      But that position does not match what the Bible says about spiritual deadness/death. Rather, it reasons simplistically with a strict parallel between physical deadness and spirtual deadness. But that is not how the Bible uses the figure. We should draw our understanding of such figures from the Bible and not by imposing our own thoughts of how the figure should apply.

      I gave this link earlier in the thread. It addresses this issue and has more links to how this fugure is actually used in the Bible:

      http://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2008/05/15/what-can-the-dead-in-sin-do/

    • Steve Martin

      Carrie,

      You are absolutely right.

      “We love because He first loved us.”

      We are born rejecting God. “No man can come to me, except the Father draw him” (gospel of John)

      So many people just refuse to believe the Bible on this, and they elevate the self, the expense of God.

      Not good.

    • Carrie

      Hi Arm,

      I read the post at that link:

      This stood out:

      Now it is important to remember that Arminians do not deny the need for God’s gracious enabling before a sinner can believe and embrace the gospel. Without divine initiative and enabling no one would ever come to God in faith. We are confident, however, that God is powerful enough to overcome our depravity and there is no need for the priority of regeneration since there is no strict parallel between the inability of a physical corpse and the inability of those dead in sin. We can therefore accept the Biblical teaching of depravity and God’s prevenient grace without needing to turn the Bible on its ear in an effort to put spiritual life before faith.

      I would say, what is the divine initiative and enabling you are speaking to? What is the power God is using to overcome our depravity?

      Regeneration preceding faith is just one way of explaining that. If the problem you are having with the language used, OK…

    • Carrie

      If however the problem is with understanding the Holy Spirit quickens our hearts, or replaces our heart of stone with a heart of flesh, or that God gives us the moral ability to accept him where before we would reject Him due to our depravity then… well…

      I don’t understand why.

      Also in one of your replies to me, you acted as though I was using the “dead men can do nothing” approach to this argument.

      I made a point to make it very clear that there is a difference between having a natural ability to believe the Gospel and a moral one. In my saying that, in no way did it allude to the “dead men can’t speak” or whatever the argument is….

    • Carrie

      Hi Steve,

      I was speaking to my friend about this, and he and I agreed that the language used by most Calvinists when discussing this issue, can be problematic.

      However all throughout Scripture we see where our mind is set to unrighteousness. Our hearts are at enmity with God.

      Prior to our conversion, we hate God. We do.

      Romans 8:7 speaks to the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God. John 3:19 – People love darkness in place of light. Romans 1 – the entire chapter really … people rejecting God while they know the truth that is plain to see.

      I just don’t see any way around believing that prior to God doing a work on our heart, we simply hate Him and will not under any circumstance (apart from His spirit working) come to him.

      Again if its a problem with the words “regeneration preceding faith” not being found in that order in Scripture, ok. Fine.

      Is the concept there however? Absolutely.

    • Arminian

      Carrie said: “I would say, what is the divine initiative and enabling you are speaking to? What is the power God is using to overcome our depravity?

      **** His grace. Arminians call this prevenient grace. It is referred to in various ways in Scripture. But it is never called regeneration nor the giving of spiritual life. That is always presented as coming by faith.

      carrie said: “Regeneration preceding faith is just one way of explaining that. If the problem you are having with the language used, OK”

      **** No, it’s not just language. The problem is that it is not the way Scripture explains it in language or concept.

    • Arminian

      Carrie said: If however the problem is with understanding the Holy Spirit quickens our hearts, or replaces our heart of stone with a heart of flesh, or that God gives us the moral ability to accept him where before we would reject Him due to our depravity then… well…

      I don’t understand why.”

      *** It is simple: because Scripture does not indicate that the giving of spiritual life must be before faith, but rather indicates quite clearly that such lofe is given by faith. There is a big difference between replacing our heart of stone with a heart of flesh and giving us the moral ability to accept him. The former is regeneration, the giving of spiritual life, wheras the other is a supernatural work of God that enables belief but does not irresistibly cause it. Mostly all the passages that Calvinists use to say that regneration must come first just as easily support such a prevenient working of God’s grace. But, Scripture clearly indicates the giving of spiritual life is by faith.

    • Arminian

      Carrie said: “Also in one of your replies to me, you acted as though I was using the “dead men can do nothing” approach to this argument.

      I made a point to make it very clear that there is a difference between having a natural ability to believe the Gospel and a moral one. In my saying that, in no way did it allude to the “dead men can’t speak” or whatever the argument is….”

      **** Ok, fair enough.

    • Arminian

      Steve said: “So many people just refuse to believe the Bible on this, and they elevate the self, the expense of God.”

      **** That’s just crazy talk. I could easily ask, why don’t you believe John 1:12-13 about this or any number of other passages showing that faith precedes regneration/the giving of spiritual life? (And there’s much more by the way; I only have so much time and the comments here do not allow for lengthy or in depth treatment. I have just been picking a couple things to focus on. That’s partly why I have given links in the thread.) Such comments are not too helpful for the discussion.

    • cherylu

      Carrie,

      Here is a verse that just came to my mind that seems to me is a perfect example of what is being talked about here: Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? Romans 2:4 Look at the lexical meaning of that word lead. It seems to me it fits the picture very well.

    • Carrie

      So Cheryl you are saying it is God’s kindness and Arm you are saying it is God’s grace … that those are the things that cause us to turn our affections towards him and away from ourselves?

    • Steve Martin

      This explains the whole matter very well (I believe).

      It’s worth a ten or 15 minute listen.

      http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/2011/02/26/i-believe-that-i-cannot-believe/

      .

    • Steve Martin

      Arm.,

      You might think it’s crazy talk, but the Bible is quite clear, Jesus is quite clear, we have NO FAITH in God by ourselves. It comes to us from outside of ourselves.

      Just because you don’t happen to like it doesn’t mean it is crazy.

    • Matthew James

      I’m not sure if anyone mentioned this or not, but as I have read the scriptures and wrestled with this topic I have always wondered if perhaps we should not separate REGENERATION & CONVERSION at all, either logically or temporally.

      Why not say that when one is regenerated s/he is given a repenting/believing heart?

      Instead of thinking of it like God implants a new heart and then it beats, why not think of it as God implanting a heart that is actually, currently, and presently beating with faith and repentance?

      I don’t think you can have eternal life without faith, and I don’t think that you can have faith without eternal life. I would prefer to say that eternal life IS the life of faith (as far as it concerns us) and that regeneration is the impartation of a repentING/believING heart instead of a heart that then repents/believes.

      Hope that makes sense.

      Matt

    • Arminian

      I was not saying htat your position holding that regeneration precedes faith is crazy, though I think it is clearly unbiblical. I was talking about your claim that people who don’t agree with you are simply refusing to believe the Bible and are elevating self. That is just counterproductive commenting and a particularly egregious form of begging the question. I truly believe that the Bible is clear that faith logically precedes regeneration. Should I delcare that you simply refuse to submit to the word of God? That just wouldn’t be helpful for a discussion in which people disagree about what the Bible teaches on the subject.

    • Steve Martin

      Arm.,

      Thanks for that. I see your point, and I appreciate it. But I still believe that the Bible is very clear that we cannot do anything at all to move closer to God until He calls us to do so.

    • Arminian

      Carrie said: “So Cheryl you are saying it is God’s kindness and Arm you are saying it is God’s grace … that those are the things that cause us to turn our affections towards him and away from ourselves?”

      Well, sort of. I am saying that it is God’s grace that enables us to believe. I think I said that quite clearly. It is the standard Arminian view, typically referred to as prevenient grace. That is not at odds with Cherylu pointing to God’s kindness as leading us to repentance. God’s enabling grace can come in various ways, as kindness, drawing, opening of the heart, convicting, etc. You can sum it all up as preregenerating grace. But it does not irresistibly “cause us to turn our affections towards him and away from ourselves”. It is a resisitlbe cause. So it resistibly causes us to turn our affections towards him and away from ourselves. it influences us toward doing so, leads us toward doing so, enables us to do so.

    • Carrie

      So Arm, how does this grace reach us? Is it infused in our minds or hearts? Or what exactly?

    • Arminian

      Carrie said: “how does this grace reach us? Is it infused in our minds or hearts? Or what exactly?”

      By God’s power and will. By the Holy Spirit. Scripture doesn’t give a lot of detail about exactly how this grace reaches us. The Bible is not a systematic theology textbook. But Scripture does tell us that we believe by grace and speaks of the need for God to draws us, etc. So there are probably various ways it reaches us. It comes to us through the word, the Spirit’s action upon our minds and will, his conviction of our hearts, opening our hearts, etc.

      Honestly, the question seems odd to me. How does God do anything that he does? How does he speak things into existence or perform miracles? How does God regenerate us? What exactly does he do?

    • Dan Salter

      Please visit http://www.truthwhys.com/news/faith-electionism/
      This article names the position of Erickson and Demarest as faith electionism and expands it a bit. Worth the read.

    • Carrie

      I don’t think the question seems odd. I am not getting overly profound and asking how or why God does things. I am asking you a direct question about your own system.

      Ultimately, I was trying to understand how you saw this grace of God being “delivered” to a person. You are saying through the Holy Spirit. You at least believe that in order for a person to be inclined to God, the Holy Spirit does some sort of work on their heart/mind.

      You aren’t calling it regeneration. You called it pre-generation (I think anyway) in one of your earlier comments. But you at least believe it is necessary for our hearts to be opened in some sense by the Holy Spirit, prior to our receiving the Gospel. (I think that is what you believe anyway)

      A final thought regarding “grace” and “kindness” in my next comment….

    • Carrie

      I don’t believe grace and kindness are some sort of substances that God uses as sort of an intermediate means of reaching us.

      I believe grace and kindness are but two characteristics of God.

      So in the context of this discussion, it is because God is gracious and it is because God is kind, that the Holy Spirit does a work on a person’s heart.

      Otherwise we have this “grace” and “kindness” floating around waiting to be “infused” into us.

      I see this as being problematic.

    • Arminian

      Carrie said: “You at least believe that in order for a person to be inclined to God, the Holy Spirit does some sort of work on their heart/mind.”

      Of course. I have said that from the beginning. That is the Arminiasn view. It seems strange for you to state it as if it is a concession from me. The Holy Spirit must do a supernatural work in a prson’s heart to enable them to believe. He must draw them, open their heart, enlighten their mind. But this is not what Scripture calls regeneration or equivalent terms. It is not the giving of spiritual life. We should let the Bible define our doctrine (something I know you agree with).

      I don’t call it pre-regeneration. I called it pre-regenerating grace. That simply means that God gives aid for us to believe prior to regeneration.

    • Arminian

      Carrie: “I don’t believe grace and kindness are some sort of substances that God uses as sort of an intermediate means of reaching us.”

      **** Good, I agree and was worried that you did from your comments and almost mentioned that seeming to be a problem wiht your view of the matter.

      Carrie said: “I believe grace and kindness are but two characteristics of God.”

      *** That is true, but it is not all they are. Those words are also also routinely used of gracious and kind acts of God. So God’s grace in drawing us toward himself and enabling us to believe when we could not do so on our own is an expression of grace and kindness.

    • Arminian

      Carrie said: “So in the context of this discussion, it is because God is gracious and it is because God is kind, that the Holy Spirit does a work on a person’s heart.

      **** Yes indeed. But as I mentioned above, his act of working in the person’s heart enabling belief is an expression of grace and kindness, and can be called grace or kindness.

      Carrie said: “Otherwise we have this “grace” and “kindness” floating around waiting to be “infused” into us.
      I see this as being problematic.”

      *** Well, that does not apply to my view, as I have made clear. But this sort of thinking ought not be allowed to trump what Scripture says about faith preceding regeneration in texts like John 1:12-13 (though I realize you would view such passages differently).

    • Steve Martin

      Arm.,

      You totally misread John 1:12-13.

      Look at what it says.

      13 “who were born, NOT of blood NOR of the will of the flesh NOR of the will of man, BUT OF GOD.”

      My emphasis of course. The words are clear. We don’t do anything. God does it all.

    • cherylu

      Steve Martin,

      You totally misread John 1:12.

      Look at what it says.

      But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, ESV

      We had to believe and receive before we could become children/be born.

      (Sorry Steve, I just couldn’t resist!)

      Here’s how the net Bible translates it. (Remember that Dan Wallace who is a Calvinist was on the translation team of the Net Bible.)

      1:12 But to all who have received him – those who believe in his name – he has given the right to become God’s children 1:13 – children not born by human parents or by human desire or a husband’s decision, but by God.

      It is even noted in the footnotes of the Net Bible that the phrase translated “the will of the flesh” refers to sexual desire and the phrase, “the will of man” adds force to that. If that is true, these verses do not speak at all against an active role of our will in new birth the way you…

    • Steve Martin

      13 says how 12 is possible. The second is key when it comes to how faith is born.

    • cherylu

      Steve,

      I would take it you didn’t think much of the notes in the Net Bible about the meaning of verse 13? That the “will of man and desire of man” phrases refer to sexual desire? That puts a totally different light on the passage and in effect contrasts being born of God to being born as a human baby. It doesn’t say that we have no will in our new birth at all in that case.

      Besides your understanding would have faith being born as a result of new birth (v 13) so that faith can bring about new birth. (v 12) A wee bit circular it seems to me!

    • Carrie

      Arm to be fair, I don’t know what you stated from the onset of this entire discussion. I entered in at comment 100 or so and did not read all the comments leading up to it. So my line of questioning was focused on what you and I had discussed from the time I entered the conversation.

      The reason for my asking the questions was to narrow things down to the actual point. The point being, it is absolutely necessary for God to do a work on the heart of a lost person before they can possibly turn to Him in faith and repentance.

      What this work of God is called has been debated in the comment section here and, well, for hundreds of years leading up to it.

      The Calvinist’s concern in this matter is pointing to God as being the initial cause of salvation. That the term “regeneration preceding faith” could use some qualifying and adjustment, is a given. But the concept of God being the initial cause of salvation, God being the primary agent in our saving faith, is the most important point…

    • Arminian

      Cherylu,

      Right on about the sense of John 1:13. That is the view of most scholars of the verse, even many Calvinist commentators such as D.A. Carson and F.F. Bruce. I have been wanting to point that out, but there is only so much space and time. Thanks for doing so. John 1:12-13 is really pretty definitive on the question of the order of faith and regeneration, showing that faith precedes regeneration.

      (But even apart from the sense you point out, taking it as Steve wants to does not place regeneration before faith. The human will would not nbe accomplishing regneration. It is still God who alone does it. I believe both you asnd I poiinted this out earlier. So the Calvinist view does not really have any traction any way you slice it.)

    • Carrie

      …. to be made in this particular discussion.

      It is important that the Arminian view not be misreprsented by the zealous Calvinist seeking to provie their system is correct. And it is equally as important that the Calvinist view not be misrepresented by the Arminian in seeking to support their own system.

      Which, regardless of how either side wishes to shout they aren’t thinking systematically, that they are being biblical, there are rival systems at work here.

      It is a discussion over systems. But that is a digression…

      Thank you for taking the time to add clarity on your view Arm. I appreciate it.

    • cherylu

      Arminian,

      And thank you for answering Carrie’s questions. I wasn’t sure how to express it so I was hoping you would.

    • Steve Martin

      I didn’t read the Net Bible, I just used my RSV. For me (anyway) it is clear. There is no coming to faith unless God gives it to us. There are a great many passages that state just that and many are Jesus saying it himself.

      You don’t believe that and that is ok. I (and others here) just want you to nhear the other side.

      Thanks, Arminian!

    • cherylu

      Steve,

      I quoted the verses directly from the Net Bible above. Did you not read that? If you did, you would see the point that I was trying to make spelled out there very clearly. You didn’t have to go the notes to see it. If you didn’t even read it, no wonder you responded as you did.

      But I must say, if you are not reading the comments we wrote, (and I may be wrong, but that is how it appears at the moment from what you just said), how are you going to expect to understand the position we are taking??

      And what we have been arguing here is that regeneration does not come before faith

    • Steve Martin

      Right, cherylu.

      Nothing at all comes before faith, and faith is not something which we do, but a gift.

      I’m glad we agree.

      So many Christians believe that they can make a “decision for Jesus”, or “accept Jesus” of their own “free will”. That view is just un-biblical.

    • SPP

      Matt,

      Good word.

      Separating for order of sequence is a good exercise, but they occur simultaneous and we shouldn’t lose sight of that.

    • Lannie

      I wanted to share a few scriptures that came to mind when reading the statement “Faith is not something we do., but it’s a gift.”

      I don’t want to draw any conclusions but share a few scriptures about faith:
      Matthew 8:10, 26 “When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” “He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.” Matthew 13:58 “And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.” I don’t ask you to believe a certain thing about faith. But let’s ask ourselves does saying God did not give faith in these situations adequately explain what the Holy Spirit is telling us about faith in these few samples? Grace and peace.

    • cherylu

      Steve Martin,

      Regarding your last comment, #44. I think I need to clarify that I do believe we have a choice in the matter. We do need to respond to God or to resist His grace. In other words, I do believe that we have a “will” in the matter. That doesn’t mean that I don’t believe God works in us to enable us to believe and to draw us to Himself.

    • Arminian

      Carrie said: “The Calvinist’s concern in this matter is pointing to God as being the initial cause of salvation. That the term “regeneration preceding faith” could use some qualifying and adjustment, is a given. But the concept of God being the initial cause of salvation, God being the primary agent in our saving faith, is the most important point…”

      Yes, that is a concern of both Arminians and Calvinists. Both Arminians and Calvinists use many of the same Scriptures to say that God must take the initiative in our salvation and must do a supernatural work of grace in a person to enable them to believe the gospel. We then disagree over what that work is. Calvinists say regeneration, which is irresistible. But Arminians point to all sorts of Scriptures that indicate that faith precedes regeneration (like John 1:12-13 and the many passages tha tsay life comes by faith) and so say it is prevenient grace, which enables all who hear the gospel to believe.

    • david gibbs

      Useful post a usua. John 6: 44 says that no man can come to Chst except the father “draws him. This “drawing” preceeds faith, regenerartion ect and is soley an act of grace on the father’s part to the sinner ( call it prevenient grace) . It is this “drawing” that stats the salvation process. The sinner now has a heart that can respond to the gosple and make a decision to commit/ or not commit to Christ. If he accepts and believes in Jesus the sinner is now in a possition to have a relationship with the Father.
      Jesus said “I am the Way, The Truth and the Light no man comes to the Father except by the Son”.

    • Pr Daniel Ashanda

      faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God.before a person believes he must have heard the word which regenerates that person and forces him to believe in that word of God thus believing in Christ who is the word according to the Bible. John 1:1-2.

    • Arminian

      Daniel Ashanda said: “faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God.before a person believes he must have heard the word which regenerates that person and forces him to believe in that word of God thus believing in Christ who is the word according to the Bible. John 1:1-2.”

      The problem here is that Scripture does not teach that the word regenerates in and of itself. That is clear from the fact that not all who hear the word get regenerated. Rather, God regenerates us in response to our faith in the word. So we get passages like John 1:12-13 teaching that we are regenerated by faith and many passages teaching similarly that we receive spiritual life by faith. Of course, the word elcits faith resistibly. And that is why faith comes by hearing the word. If your/the Calvinist view were right, we would expect the passage you quoted to say that faith comes by regeneration. But it says that it comes by hearing the word.

    • Hodge

      I haven’t read all of the comments, so maybe someone brought this up, but if we are to read the Scriptural statements concerning the order of salvation as chronological, as opposed to simultaneous and logically ordered, then we’re also going to have to say that grace does not precede faith either. If that’s true, then where is prevenient grace? It supposedly is the same grace that continues on after one believes, but if it is only received through faith (by the logic being used), then faith must precede grace and we are back to Pelagius.

    • cherylu

      Hodge,

      I don’t think your reasoning works, at least it doesn’t for me.

      Life is spoken of as coming after faith in the verses we have been discussing. Assuming regeneration=life that seems pretty clear cut.

      However, grace is much more wide ranging, for lack of a better term. Yes we are saved by grace through faith. But doesn’t God’s grace cover a lot more then that? Doesn’t His grace include His leading, drawing enabling, convicting, etc?

      Unless you are going to say that the only thing in the Bible that can be referred to as grace is the actual act of God in saving us through faith, your argument falls apart.

      Definition of grace: Theology .
      a. the freely given, unmerited favor and love of god.
      b. the influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them.
      c. a virtue or excellence of divine origin: the Christian graces.
      d. Also called state of grace. the condition of being in God’s favor or one of the elect.

      (Fom an…

    • Hodge

      “Doesn’t His grace include His leading, drawing enabling, convicting, etc?”

      Cheryl,

      Yes, it does. I’m not objecting to that at all. What I’m saying though is that if we are going to force the texts as speaking of the order of salvation in chronological sequence, which I strongly suggest it is not, then we are going to end up throwing grace on the wrong end of faith as well, and the Arminian no longer has an argument either. The truth is that these are things that surround a faith relationship with God. They are things that have to do with faith, but are the texts really telling us the metaphysics of when they occur in relation to faith? I don’t think they are. So we are left with the argument of orthodox Christianity that is based upon man’s inability to come to Christ in his spiritual condition. That could be answered by the Arminian or Calvinist, although I still think the Arminian has to answer in what way man is still not making a pelagian-like decision by not…

    • Hodge

      “Life is spoken of as coming after faith in the verses we have been discussing. Assuming regeneration=life that seems pretty clear cut.”

      That’s the problem though. The assumption isn’t correct. Most of the verses you quoted above have to do with having an active life in Christ, not just a rebirth. Saying that I now have life because I had a heart valve put into me doesn’t mean I was just born after the heart valve was put into me. It refers to the life that is lived on the other side of the heart valve, not when I received it or was given life in the first place. Whenever you have the term “regeneration” in Scripture, it refers to something that God causes us to have and that must precede our seeing/understanding God’s kingdom, which we, as Calvinists, interpret to mean that one must first see the object of his faith before he exercises faith in it or for it. So the terms are not synonymous; but even if they were, we’re back to forcing the texts into a chronological…

    • Hodge

      sequence they were never meant to serve.

    • cherylu

      Well, they certainly appear to us to be in chronological sequence. In fact any reading of the verses that says life comes through or by faith would have to assume that faith is there prior to faith.

      So…it would seem that we can not see chronologiccal order in Scripture, but you can say there has to be a chronological order there that is contrary to what the verses themselves read in any normal way would suggest?

      Is chronological order only valid then when it is done by a Calvinist and not when done by an Arminian? That would be how this looks to me.

      For the record, I probably won’t be back in this convo tonight. I have to leave the house in just a bit.

    • Jim

      The Bible teaches “Faith before Grace: “We have our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand” (Rom 5:2). We are either under the Law, or under grace (Rom. 6:14). Every man is born under jurisdiction of the Law (Rom. 7:1). This is a relationship much like a woman who is bound to her husband. She can’t be joined to another until her husband dies. In the same way, we can’t be joined to Christ while we are bound to the Law. After a person places their trust in Jesus Christ, Jesus the High Priest baptizes him into His body (1Cor.12:13) and into his death (rom. 6:3). And so Paul says, “Therefore my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead…now we have been released from the Law having died to that which we were bound” (Rom. 7:4, 6).

      We are made to die with Christ to be set free from slavery to sin and the Law (Rom. 6, 7), before we are made alive with Christ.

    • Hodge

      Jim,

      Why do I need to trust in Jesus when I can do good on my own? What purpose is the gospel when I can obey God and live? You’ve fallen into the error of pelagianism and have made the gospel only possibly necessary rather than absolutely necessary. All of Christianity rejects your claim. There is none that does good, no not one. It is God in His grace who grants repentance before repentance is made. It is God in His grace who gifts faith to us. Grace must logically precede faith; but your misreading of the text as chronological has found your theology in heretical waters.
      Acts 15:11 says we’re saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus. So in your chronological order, we would not be saved until we are given grace after we are given faith, and therefore, not saved by faith until rewarded by that grace. This becomes absurd. We are saved by grace as we are regenerated through faith as an instantaneous event, not an unfolding chronology. All components are necessary at once.

    • Hodge

      “So…it would seem that we can not see chronologiccal order in Scripture, but you can say there has to be a chronological order there that is contrary to what the verses themselves read in any normal way would suggest?”

      Cheryl,

      The Scripture only seems to be giving a chronology because you have traditionally read it that way. There is nothing in the text to suggest a time frame.
      And please understand, I’m not positing a different chronology opposed to the text. I’m positing that there isn’t a chronological unfolding, but a logical sequence. Please understand the difference. I believe it all happens in the twinkling of an eye.

    • Jim

      Hodge,
      I need to trust in Jesus because I cannot save myself.

      I cannot set myself free from slavery to sin or from jurisdiction of the Law. I can’t make myself die to the Law so that I can be joined to Christ. I can’t justify myself in His blood. I can’t cleanse myself from sin. I cannot remove the defilement of sin. I cannot make myself holy. I cannot prepare my heart to become a temple of the Living God. I cannot give myself eternal life. I cannot make God send the Spirit of His Son into my heart. I cannot make myself a priest of God. I cannot even qualify myself to become a priest under the old or new covenants. I cannot baptize myself into Christ’s death: I cannot crucify myself with Christ, unite myself to the likeness of His death, bury myself in baptism, or circumcise the body of flesh in order to remove it (nor can I clothe myself with Christ in baptism). These are some of the things that the Bible says God does to me after I place my trust in His Son, before He sends His Son into my heart to make me alive with Jesus Christ (regenerate me), give me eternal life and save me.

      Paul tells us that a man only needs to have a preacher to hear the Word, and then believe in the Word so that he will call upon the name of the Lord to be saved. When a person calls upon the name of the Lord, God does all of the things listed above.

      BTW- Rom.3 quotes two Psalms, 14&53. The fool who says in his heart “there is no God” will not seek God, nor fear God, and without faith it will be impossible for him to please God, and there will not be any imputed righteousness. Therefore no fool can do any good and no fool will be righteous. Romans1 tells us how a man becomes a fool.

    • cherylu

      Hodge,

      So what do you do with the whole Romans 10 discussion? You know, the if you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth and whoever calls on the Lord will be saved kind of thing? All of that didn’t happen in the twinkling of an eye.

      Or are you going to try and tell us that the person that calls on the Lord was already saved before he called? That, as you would say, becomes absurd since Paul says he will be saved if he calls.

    • Danny

      “Is faith an action…to act…in order to be saved?” A questioned asked by me of unschooled man, yet has practical, even be said logical way of looking….regeneration…then…faith. He said, can a dead person cry out a word when he is already dead…?
      then….he said, same dead man in spirit…can not cried out for help…in oder to be saved.”

    • Jim

      And Hodge,

      HE SAVED US BY…
      “After the kindness and love of God our Savior toward men appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have don, but according to His mercy HE SAVED US BY THE WASHING OF REGENERATION, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus3:4,5).

      “Now to him that worketh not, but believeth… therefore it is by faith, that it might be by grace” (Rom. 4:5, 16)

      “For by grace YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED THROUGH FAITH, not by works…” (Eph. 2:8)

      “MADE ALIVE WITH JESUS CHRIST (REGENERATION) BYGRACE YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED” (Eph. 2:5)

      That didn’t say, “made alive with Jesus Christ to enable you to believe.” We are saved when God sends the Spirit of His Son into our hearts (Gal. 4:6) (Christ dwells in our hearts THROUGH FAITH- Eph. 3:17), to give us the gift of eternal life (Rom. 6:23; 1John 5:11, 12). Faith precedes eternal life, and an act of man precedes salvation (Rom. 10:13) (even the Westminster Confession says this). The Last Adam (the incarnate Christ) became the life giving Spirit” (1Cor. 15:45). Jesus was made perfect through His suffering…And being made perfect, He BECAME THE SOURCE OF ETERNAL SALVATION” (Heb. 2:10, 5:9)

    • Arminian

      I actually agree with Hodge that there is not a chronological order (roughly) but a logical order. But this is a neutral point. One can demonstrate this by asking if there is ever a timne that onbe is believing that one is not born again or vice versa. Obviously not. as soon as we believe, God regenerates us. As soon as we believe he makes us his child. It’s the same with justification. As soon as we believe God justifies us. Regeneration and justification by faith. The question is which logically precedes the other, faith or regeneration. I.e., which one leads to the other. It’s the difference between saying:

      as soon as we believe, God regenerates us

      vs.

      as soon as God regenerates us, we believe

      I believe Scripture is clear that faith precedes regeneration logically (and notice I used that qualification “logically” at times in the preceding discussion), as testified by passages like John 1;12-13 and passages that show spiritual life comes by faith.

    • Arminian

      I mentioned that Hodge’s point that we are dealing with logical priority rather than strictly chronological priority is a relativeley neutral point. But let me add that there are probably a number of Calvinists who see it as chronological priority, and actually think that God might regenerate someone and they might not believe for some time. That is obviously untenable, that there are people born of God who do not believe in him and are not his children walking around. The more sophisticated Calvinists agree that it is an issue of logical priority. However, this then preswnts another problem for them. For it is clear that people do seek God before they believe, sometimes for a long period of time, even years. Yet they claim that no one seeks God who is not regenerated. The Arminian doctrine of prevenient grace handles this nicely no one seeks God on their own. But God can work in people’s hearts and enable them to seek him. But the “logical priority” Calvinist has no recourse…

    • Arminian

      Continuing: unless he grants what essentially amounts to prevenient grace, and gives up the store to the Arminian!

      Some might want to invoke common grace. However, their position is that common grace is not enough to bring people to seek God, for no one seeks God. Considering my last post, this is quite a quandary for Calvinists on every front. That’s partly why I’m an Arminian, it matches what the Bible actually says!

    • cherylu

      Arminian,

      Are you saying that you don’t believe then that there is any outward, for lack of a better word, response necessary from us? That if faith is in our heart we are automatically saved without any active “receiving” or “calling on the name of the Lord” or anything like that?

      I don’t think that is correct both from the way I uderstand the Bible myself and what I have been taught all of my life in churches of seven different denominational or independent varieties. It also doesn’t square with my personal experience. I believed fully that Jesus was God, the one and only Savior and Lord, and that I was a sinner and needed Him long before I made any actual move to actually embrace Him as all of those things for myself.

    • Arminian

      Cherylu,

      No, I would say that biblical faith entails embracing Christ as all of those things for yourself. Biblical faith is trust. When we trust in Christ, also referred to as receiveing him and as believing on his name in John 1:12, then God regenerates us / makes us his child. However, could you say that someone can receive him / believe on his name and yet not be justified, regenerated, saved? I don’t think so. Once we receive him / believe in him (in the biblical sense), he justifies and regenerates us.

    • Jim

      Great point Cherylu!

      Faith precedes regeneration/eternal life/salvation/JesusChrist dwelling in me. And historically, men had faith long before God sent His Son to save men, and give them eternal life, and long before God began sending the Spirit of His Son into men’s hearts.

      God has always been active in the life of a man prior to his coming to faith, the activity however is not called regeneration.

      Arminian,
      Would you dispute that an act of faith, calling on the name of the Lord, precedes being saved?

      “How shall they call on the one they have not believed in?” (Rom. 10:14). Techically, the believing comes before the calling on the name of the Lord.

      I think the real problem a Calvinist has is getting their description of the “spiritually dead man” to hear the gospel. At one moment he can’t perceive or understand anyting, the next moment he is saved by regeneration.
      When was the time for hearing the preaching of the gospel?

      Calvinists,
      Do men need to “perceive”, “hear”, or “understand” the gospel before he is saved by regeneration?

    • Arminian

      J asked:”Would you dispute that an act of faith, calling on the name of the Lord, precedes being saved?”

      No. But they are roughly the same time (note my use of “roughly” a few posts ago). If God answers such a plea immediately, which he certainly does, then the asking and the saving happen at roughly the same time. One could say that technically, even with logical priority there may be a technical negligibly small chronological priority. But it is not like someone asks God t osave them and then there is some sort of waiting period or what have you. One could look at it precisely and say there is a negligible chronological priority, or look at it generally and say they are rougly concurrent (like pressing the button that turns on the light). But the important point is the logical priority. faith leads to regeneration and salvation because God responds to our faith by regenerating us and saving us. But there is no substantial time differentiation between faith and God’s response

    • Jim

      Arminian,
      Looks like I was writing while you were posting! Do you believe that God always gives the promised Holy Spirit when a person is regenerated? In other words, when a person is born of the Spirit, is he always given the indwelling presence of the Spirit?

      I would say yes with these two verses in mind.
      “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His” (Rom. 8:9). “He who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1John 5:12).

      Jesus comes to dwell in our hearts THROUGH FAITH, and we receive the promise of the Holy Spiirt THROUGH FAITH (Eph. 3:17; Gal. 3:14). Therefore, faith logically and chronologically precedes regeneration.

    • Calvin

      Could you quote one Calvinist, current or historical, that actually says that man is “saved by regeneration”?

    • Jim

      Arminian,
      Cross posting again! I do agree with you (#20), after God began giving the promised Holy Spirit (i.e. sending the Spirit of His Son into a man’s heart), regeneration occurs immediately when one calls upon the name of the Lord.

      But, I believe, that there was a long period of human history when men placed their faith in God without receiving the Gift of God’s Son sent into their hearts to dwell (they weren’t saved by regeneration in their lifetime; they died looking forward to the promise). …And yes I do believe that these men were eventually saved.

      “Therefore, having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear” (Acts 2:33).

    • Arminian

      Jim asked: “Do you believe that God always gives the promised Holy Spirit when a person is regenerated? In other words, when a person is born of the Spirit, is he always given the indwelling presence of the Spirit?”

      Of course! I think that is absolutely clear in Scripture as God’s normal/standard procedure. Indeed, I believe that the giving of the Spirit basically/practically is regeneration. God implants his Spirit within us and the Spirit naturally/automatically communicates the life of God to us, the divine nature to us (in the sense that 2 Peter 1:4 says that we partake of the divine nature), the prssence of the Father and the Son to us, and so much more. We are incredibly blessed! How great it is t oknow the Lord!! All of this a free gift given to us by faith!!! What a God we serve!!!! praise his name!!!!!

    • Arminian

      Jim said: “But, I believe, that there was a long period of human history when men placed their faith in God without receiving the Gift of God’s Son sent into their hearts to dwell (they weren’t saved by regeneration in their lifetime; they died looking forward to the promise). …And yes I do believe that these men were eventually saved.”

      I completely agree. In the OT, the Holy Spirit was with believers. In the New, he comes to dwell within us, giving us an even greater experience of God than could be had normally under the Old Covenant. The promise of the giving of the Spirit in the New Covenant to believers was essentially the promise of regeneration, a point confirmed by John 3, which speaks of regeneration while alluding to one of the major promises of the giving of the Spirit (essentially equating it with regeneration).

    • Jim

      Arminian,
      Then do you see these three critical points in refuting Calvinism:

      1. Somewhere, someone re-defined the work of God in regeneration saying that regeneration was a work of God to change a man to enable him to believe, rather than the work of God to save a man.

      Regeneration occurs when God sends the Spirit of His Son Jesus Christ into our hearts, giving us eternal life, thus regenerating and saving us.

      2. If there is no regeneration prior to the giving of the Spirit in Acts 2, then many Reformed assumptions are in error– there is no “bondage of the will” (it is a man made tradition); there is no “Total Inability”, rather there is ‘defilement from sin’ and other issues that man cannot save himself from.

      3. If faith comes before regeneration, then there is no TULIP. The whole TULIP is founded upon unbiblical assumptions, erroneous interpretations of God’s Word, and unbiblical definitions.

    • Hodge

      Arminian,

      I’m glad you see my point as neutral, as it is just that. The texts don’t solve the chronology for us. However, your use of John 1:12-13 to prove that point is a bit surprising, as the point there is that the right of sonship is given to those who believe/receive Him, but their being born is not of the will of man, but of God. If their receiving Him was the catalyst through which they received their birth, then it was of the will of man and God, not God in contrast to man. I still think, therefore, that this is a misreading of chronology back into a text that doesn’t give us one. The logical priority here is the will of God as opposed to man’s will, not the sonship as a result (something the text does not say) of our receiving Him. However, I do agree that sonship is given in reception.

      The claim that Calvinists have a hard time with men seeking God before regeneration is not anything I have ever heard before. I have no problem with it at all.

    • Hodge

      Men who seek God are doing so because God is working in their lives up to the point of regeneration (as per Augustine’s Confessions). The point we are making is that no none pleases God without faith, so their lives are not pleasing to Him and they do not and would not seek Him before that without His work in their lives for them to do so. This isn’t an enabling grace. It’s God moving us to a point He has chosen upon which He will cause us to be born again in the giving of faith through grace. Again, this is instantaneous, only we try to solve the chronology through experience, which is inadequate, or the logic of the biblical texts.

      So no problem there.

    • Arminian

      Jim,

      I basically agree with your # 1.

      But I disagree with your # 2. I (and the Arminian view) believe that we are totally unable to believe in Christ on our own, but that we need God’s grace to be able to do so. This is called prevenient grace by Arminians. Some call it pre-regenerating grace. We see it is Scripture in things like God drawing unbelievers towards Christ or convicting the world of its sin or opening unbelievers’ hearts to the gospel, none of which irrresitibly causes them to believe, but enables them to believe.

      Unfortunately, I also disagree with your # 3, as much I would like to agree. Although regeneration first is the standard Calvinist position, some Calvinists agree that faith comes first as the OP stated and as is so clear in Scripture. The real issue behind it is probably whether God’s grace is resistible or not. calvinsust could accept that faith precedes regeneration, but then hold that God irresistibly causes faith in those he really wants to save.

    • Hodge

      Jim,

      You miss the point yet again. If you can make a good decision to obey the gospel command, then why can you not obey all lesser commands? Your view is inconsistent and why pelagianism was rejected. It undermines the gospel because it says that man can in fact be pleasing to God apart from being in a salvific relationship with God already. God must initiate the relationship through His grace, or no man can exercise faith, since that is an act that pleases God. You are positing that man can please God on his own accord, in his own strength and power, so why is man a slave to sin? and how is he a slave to sin if he can choose something that evidences freedom from sin? The point of Romans is that we are all the fool, both Jew and Gentile. No one, therefore, is good, no not one. None can come to Christ. None can exercise faith and please God in that way. This is the whole point of Rom 1-3.

    • Hodge

      “1. Somewhere, someone re-defined the work of God in regeneration saying that regeneration was a work of God to change a man to enable him to believe, rather than the work of God to save a man.”

      Yeah, Ezekiel and Jeremiah changed it (Ezek 11:17-20; Jer 24:7).

      “Regeneration occurs when God sends the Spirit of His Son Jesus Christ into our hearts, giving us eternal life, thus regenerating and saving us.”

      Who disagrees?

      2. “If there is no regeneration prior to the giving of the Spirit in Acts 2, then many Reformed assumptions are in error– there is no “bondage of the will” (it is a man made tradition); there is no “Total Inability”, rather there is ‘defilement from sin’ and other issues that man cannot save himself from.”

      Too bad the assumption is false, Dear Pelagius. Isa 66:1-2 indicates that all who tremble at God’s Word (something I believe obviously given by God) are indwelt by the Spirit of God as His temple.

    • Arminian

      Hodge,

      The substance of your comments on John 1:12-13 have been addressed in prior discussion, so I won’t address them again right now. I think you are missing key points that have been stated and undo the view you are presenting.

    • Hodge

      I haven’t seen the discussion. If you can point it out to me, I’d be much obliged. I seriously doubt it undoes it, however, since it is a recurring theme within the Gospel of John. Only when taken out of context could one regard it as otherwise; but I’m willing to look at your arguments.

    • Arminian

      Hodge said: “The point we are making is that no none pleases God without faith, so their lives are not pleasing to Him and they do not and would not seek Him before that without His work in their lives for them to do so.”

      But don’t Calvinists regularly cite Rom 3:11 as proof that regeneration precedes faith? No one seeks for God. The explanation you give is basically the Arminian view, that God enables people to seek him. The text as Paul uses it seems to mean that no one seeks for God on his own. You say it is not an enabling grace, but it certainly enables people to seek for God. And your explanation removes that as a proof text for the Calvinist view, which is a very common one. describing it as you do does not rescue it from being enabling, nor does it provide for any logical connection between where God brings people in seeking him and their reception of the gospel, since regeneration itself is sufficient for causing someone to believe the gospel.

    • Jim

      Hodge,
      1. If you had followed this discussion from the beginning you would have seen the interaction relating to the new birth and Ezekiel 11:19 is a prophecy of a work that God will do in the future. “I will (future) put a new spirit within you, I will take the stony heart out of their flesh and give them a heart fo flesh”.
      OT believers who were speaking for God were directly prompted by the Spirit of God, who often came upon them, and on a rare occassion was said to be in them. But I would ask you, What is the “new Spirit” that Ezekiel’s prophecy is referring to?

      2. When did Jesus Christ begin to dwell in men’s hearts? Doesn’t the Bible say that Jesus Christ dwells in our hearts THROUGH FAITH -Eph. 3:17? And, don’t we receive the promise of the Holy Spirit THROUGH FAITH- Gal 3:14?
      Didn’t men have faith in the gospels? God had not sent the Spirit of His Son into their hearts yet.

      Men can believe before they are saved by receiving the Spirit in…

    • Hodge

      “But don’t Calvinists regularly cite Rom 3:11 as proof that regeneration precedes faith? No one seeks for God. The explanation you give is basically the Arminian view, that God enables people to seek him.”

      I can’t speak for the Calvinists that you have encountered, but this is a text cited to display TD, and therefore, the ultimate need for regeneration in making a faith decision, not whether God can work in a person’s life so that they ask questions about God, or end up at a church service, or read the Bible, etc. I see them on a divine hook, not as being “repaired” in some way so that they choose to seek God on their own accord. In other words, no one seeks God. God causes one to seek Him, even though on their part it is still a God-dishonoring seeking of the self (they’re usually looking to fulfill themselves in some way since God has made known to them their lack of fulfillment, etc.). My point then is that God is working with them to seek Him, not enabling them to do so.

    • Hodge

      Jim,

      Your confusing the points I’m addressing. Your point 1. was that regeneration was redefined to mean that God enabled men to believe/obey Him. My point to you is that is what Ezekiel describes. My point had nothing to do with whether OT believers were regenerated.

    • Hodge

      “Didn’t men have faith in the gospels? God had not sent the Spirit of His Son into their hearts yet.”

      Your confusing indwelling with the Spirit’s work, and you’re also positing that the special sending of the Spirit for the work of ecclesiastical ministry was the first coming of the Spirit into men. Where does it say this? The sending of the Spirit has the idea that it is being done for the purpose of a specific work. What is new is the covenant to which the Spirit will now oversee in men’s lives, not His indwelling and regeneration.
      What you are essentially doing is arguing against the text that states that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. You think He has a point in time, i.e., post-pentacost, when His Spirit indwells people. I think He regenerates and indwells all believers of all time based on the work of Christ that is not bound by time. So you seem to be confusing the reception of the Spirit for special purposes with the larger work of the Spirit in the…

    • Hodge

      “When did Jesus Christ begin to dwell in men’s hearts? Doesn’t the Bible say that Jesus Christ dwells in our hearts THROUGH FAITH -Eph. 3:17? And, don’t we receive the promise of the Holy Spirit THROUGH FAITH- Gal 3:14?”

      Yes, through faith. What was faith’s object in the OT according to the NT? Christ and the gospel. Hence, those who believed Moses would continue to believe Christ because it is the same faith with the same object, even if not understood as fully or in the same way. Notice also that it is “through” faith, not after faith.

    • Hodge

      I do have a question for Arminian, however. I want to know how you would address Jim’s semi to full blown Pelagianism. If apart from faith no one can please God, as the Scripture says, and grace is simply another word for favor, in this case God’s favor, how can God have favor upon someone before he has faith? How can grace precede faith chronologically, as prevenient grace requires? Or does it require it? It would seem, according to what you have said, that it explains why men pursue God long before they have faith, so is this not a conundrum for your position?

    • Jim

      Hodge,
      It isn’t appropriate to lift a verse out of its context and apply any interpretation to it that you desire. The passage in Ez.11:17-20 says that God will gather the children of Israel from the lands that they had been scattered . (Had that happened before this prophecy? No.) “They shall come thither…and I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; I will take the stony heart…” God is giving a prophecy of something that he will do in the future to those who come thither.

      Do you deny…
      That the Day of Pentecost was the beginning of the church, the Body of Christ? And at that point every believer, from that time forward, becomes a priest under the New Covenant. That Jesus is High Priest under the New Covenant, and He baptizes believers into His Body. That Jesus baptizes men with the Holy Spirit. And on that day Paul preached, “Repent and you will receive the promise of the Holy Spirit”. On that day Jesus Christ began indwelling men.

    • cherylu

      Hodge,

      I don’t believe you have answered my questions in comment # 12 on this page. If you have, would you tell me in what comment they are because I have missed them if they are there.

      And regarding your Gal 3:14 argument. No it doesn’t say we receive the Spirit after faith. It does say “through faith”.

      But my question is, how in the world can any one receive something through anything that isn’t there prior to us receving something through it?? If I receive a letter through the mail, an entitiy known as “the mail” has to be there before I can receive the letter. If I get the flu through contact with Jane Doe, Jane Doe had to be spreading the flu virus first for me to get it, etc, etc. They can not logically happen simultaneously. Pretty much instantaneously, yes. But simultanesously, no. The thing that something came “through” has to be in place before anything can be received “through” it.

    • Arminian

      Yes, Cherylu , it is well recognized by theologians of all stripes that if something is through/by means of something else, then it is logically consequent to it. I.e., the end is logically preceded by the means through which it is accomplished.

    • cherylu

      Arminian,

      BTW, thank you for answering my question earlier and clarifying what you meant. I appreciate that.

    • Hodge

      Cheryl,

      You’re still thinking in chronological terms. I receive a taste of sugar through my eating the doughnut. Which chronologically comes first in your mind?

    • Hodge

      Jim,

      Sigh. I can fully acknowledge that the prophecy of Ezekiel points to the future. Again, that’s not my point. My point is that the Ezekiel text presents God having to give His people a heart of flesh after removing the stony heart SO THAT they can obey what He commands.
      Now, I can argue that God promises this because it His normal mode of saving His people, and has been throughout the OT; but this is not my point. My point in quoting this passage is in addressing your number 1., not your number 2. So it has nothing to do with OT saints and everything to do with the nature of regeneration. God gathers His people, causes them to put away their idols, gives them a new spirit and a heart of flesh rather than stone SO THAT they can obey what He commands.

    • Hodge

      “Do you deny…
      That the Day of Pentecost was the beginning of the church, the Body of Christ? And at that point every believer, from that time forward, becomes a priest under the New Covenant. That Jesus is High Priest under the New Covenant, and He baptizes believers into His Body. That Jesus baptizes men with the Holy Spirit. And on that day Paul preached, “Repent and you will receive the promise of the Holy Spirit”. ”

      No, I deny the non sequitur at the end. There is nothing here that evidences the indwelling of the Spirit as exclusive to NT believers.

    • cherylu

      Hodge,

      Of course I am still thinking in chronological terms as I believe the text speaks of chronology. BTW, did you notice Ariminian’s comment about theologians of all stripes recognizing the means for something having to precede the consequent? That is exactly what I am saying.

      “I receive a taste of sugar through my eating the doughnut. Which chronologically comes first in your mind?”

      I know you are trying to get me to say they happen at the same time. However eating is a process, it is not an instantaneous event like you say all of the elements of salvation are including regeneration and faith. And in the case of eating the donut, the eating has to have at least started before you are going to receive the taste of sugar. The bite of donut has to be put in your mouth before your taste buds can recognize the sweet taste. So, unless my logic is way off here, the eating still comes first, does it not? If I am wrong, please show me where.

    • Arminian

      Hodge said: If apart from faith no one can please God, as the Scripture says, and grace is simply another word for favor, in this case God’s favor, how can God have favor upon someone before he has faith? How can grace precede faith chronologically, as prevenient grace requires? Or does it require it? It would seem, according to what you have said, that it explains why men pursue God long before they have faith, so is this not a conundrum for your position?”

      Prevenient grace does precede faith chronologically. But this is not a concuncdrum for my position, for my position holds that the grace of regeneration, justification, salvation, etc. comes by faith and so is preceded by faith. Since, as you point out, grace refers to God’s favor (and I would add, unmerited), then there is no problem in recognizing different operations of God’s grace. Prevenient grace is aid God gives us to seek him and believe in him, made necerssary by total depravity. See next post for more . . .

    • Arminian

      Continuing: But the grace of regeneration is a different specific expression of favor, the grace of granting the believer spiritual life. And the grace of justification is still another specific expression of God’s favor, also iven to the believer. As we consider the specific cases of regeneration and justification, we find that Scripture teaches that they are received by faith.

      Finally, your question of how God could have favor on someone before faith seems odd. Grace is unmerited favor. Now faith is non-meritorious and so does not earn God’s favor. So it is grace when God gives a free gift in response to faith. However, since grace is unmerited favor, faith does not have to be present in a person for God to give him grace. The Calvinist version of common grace would agree. But Scripture makes clear that God gives the grace of regeneration, justification, salvation, etc. to those who believe (i.e. by faith).

    • Arminian

      Cherylu said: “did you notice Ariminian’s comment about theologians of all stripes recognizing the means for something having to precede the consequent?”

      Yes, indeed it’s true. But remember, that specifically regards logical priority at the least. But logical priority is really the issue. Perhaps I should add that it can be the case that there is no logical priority between means and end, but this is very rare and does not apply in this situation, and that is, the only time there is no distinction in logical priority between means and end is when they are one and the same. In this case, it would be so if believing and regeneration were the same thing. But that is clearly not the case. One is logically prior to the other, leading to the other. And it is faith that logically precedesw regeneration according to John 1:12-13 and a whole host of other passages including but not limited to the many say that spiritual life comes by faith.

    • Arminian

      Cherylu said: “So, unless my logic is way off here, the eating still comes first, does it not?”

      Yes indeed, you are right, it does, at least logically. One may get the taste of sugar at the same time one is eating, but it is the eating (or more technically biting/chewing, which is really what is meant by “eating” in this case) that logically leads to the tasting. But do you see Cherylu how someone would say these occur at roughly the same time, though technically the eating starts chronologically incredibly slightly before the tasting. So we can say they happen roughly concurrently. But the important thing in terms of priority is logical priority. Which leads to the other? The means leads to the end. “By” or “through” faith always means faith logically precedes that which is by it. Justification by faith is a classic example.

    • Jim

      Hodge,
      Concerning Ez. 11:17-20: Do you perfectly obey what God commands, now that you have been regenerated? In contrast, do you believe that God will make it so that we will never sin again some day? What will the difference be? What about us still gives us the propensity to sin? What will be changed about us? I personally think that my heart is still deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. I’m inclined to think that I still have a new heart coming. Perhaps before the millennium, when the enemy is in the pit, (which would happen to be the time when the children of Israel are to be raised from the dead and drawn from all over the world to their promised land). I still contend that this passage was looking forward to something new that God would do, not teaching about something that God had been doing since Abel.

      Which side of “man exercising the faith which he received in regeneration” do you place receiving the Holy Spirit on? Do you believe God gives the indwelling of the Spirit to regenerate and enable the expression of faith, or, is the Holy Spirit given after faith has been placed into Jesus Christ?

    • Jim

      Calvin said, (pg.4 #23)
      “Could you quote one Calvinist, current or historical, that actually says that man is “saved by regeneration”?

      I prefer the Scriptures myself. “We shall be saved by His life” (Rom. 5:10); “He saved us by the washing of regeneration” (Titus 3:5); “Made alive with Jesus Christ (regeneration), by grace you have been saved (Eph. 2:5)

      Hodge said, (pg. 4:#48)
      “There is nothing here that evidences the indwelling of the Spirit as exclusive to NT believers.”

      Then what did Jesus and John mean in this passage: “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive: for the Sprit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:38-39)

      Paul preached, “Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and HAVING RECEIVED FROM THE FATHER THE PROMISE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, HE HAS POURED FORTH THIS WHICH YOU BOTH SEE AND HEAR” (Acts. 2:33)

    • cherylu

      Arminian,

      I do see what you mean.

      But back to Hodge’s point that they come instantaneoulsy. Even if they do come instantaeously (or almost instantaneously), that certainly gives no grounds whatsoever to turn around in the next breath and say that “logically” regeneration has to come first. Not in light of all the Scriputure evidence that it is faith that comes first–logically. It seems to me he has some verses that could be interpreted that way while there are others that say the complete opposite in a way that can’t be ignored. It seems that a good share of the assertion Calvinists make about this comes from their interpretation of what it means to be “spiritually dead” and how that has to be dealt with to be overcome before anything else can take place.

    • Arminian

      Yes, Cherylu, I very much agree. But I want to calrify that when you say that Hodge has some verses that could be interpreted his way , it is that he has some verses that could be interpreted his way or the Arminian way. I.e., they could reasonably be taken to go along with either view. But then there are many that completely support the Arminian view (faith logically precedes regeneration) and contradict the Calvinist view (regeneration logically precedes faith).

    • Arminian

      Hodge said: “I can’t speak for the Calvinists that you have encountered, but this is a text cited to display TD, and therefore, the ultimate need for regeneration in making a faith decision, not whether God can work in a person’s life so that they ask questions about God, or end up at a church service, or read the Bible, etc. I see them on a divine hook, not as being “repaired” in some way so that they choose to seek God on their own accord. In other words, no one seeks God. God causes one to seek Him, even though on their part it is still a God-dishonoring seeking of the self (they’re usually looking to fulfill themselves in some way since God has made known to them their lack of fulfillment, etc.). My point then is that God is working with them to seek Him, not enabling them to do so.”

      I will have to aswer in the next postfor space reasons . . .

    • Arminian

      But if not seeking God displays total depravity, which includes the inability to believe in Christ on own one’s own, and the need for regeneration, then seeking God would seem to show people doing what total depravity prevents them from doing. The fact that people do seek God before being regenerated shows that regeneration is not needed for people to do that which total depravity prevents them from doing on their own, but only God’s grace/aid. Your response really seems to be just playing around with the wording in such a way that tries to make it sound like it is compatible with your theology even though it isn’t (not that you are trying to be deceptive or anything like that). Many unregenerate people do seek for God. Saying that this is God working with them to seek him but not enabling them to do so does not seem to make sense. If they seek God, then they are able to seek him.

      See continuation in the next post . . .

    • Arminian

      Continuing last post:

      But if they can’t seek him on their own, which Arminians and Calvinists agree on, then they can seek him with God’s aid. But since regeneration has not taken place yet, the Arminian doctrine of prevenient grace explains this quite nicely whereas the Calvinist doctrine that regeneration is necessary for people to seek for God has no real explanation. In the Arminian view, people can’t seek God on their own, but they can do so with his help. Neither can they believe on their own, but they can do so with God’s help. he is powerfully enough to enable unbelievers to believe the gospel.

    • Hodge

      Jim,

      Again, you’re confusing the sending and indwelling of the Spirit with regeneration. Christ tells the disciples that they are already clean, yet the Spirit has not yet been given at Pentacost. We are told that Christ makes us clean. How are the disciples clean then? Because they are still washed by the Spirit. They have the Spirit. They just don’t have the Spirit doing the work that He will do in the church yet. This explains why He indwells believers in the OT, NT (pre-pentacost), and rest of the age of the church.

      Arminian,

      I think we have different definitions of seeking. I also think that your claim before that common grace doesn’t explain it, and your claim now that your view is like common grace, doesn’t accord. I believe people seek God, i.e., move toward a position of receiving Christ, not because they are God-seekers, but because they are being moved by God Himself. I don’t believe regeneration is the first work of God in a person’s life toward His…

    • Hodge

      salvation. I believe that it begins with God’s election and continues through the course of world and his individual life. This is God working, not the human individual. The individual himself is only seeking himself, not God. As such, Paul is talking about what humans do on their own. He is referring to the fact that left to ourselves, no one seeks God. This is the state of TD, and why God must do the work that causes one to seek Him. The assumption that many people seek God, however you are defining that, may not accord with what I mean by that. So regeneration is needed for the individual to actually seek God in salvation, rather than himself. To explain it another way. God is seeking Himself through the individual before regeneration, and man is seeking himself before regeneration; but it looks like man is seeking God (and that is what he is doing from the divine purpose, even if different from the human). It is not until regeneration that the human purposes to seek God as well.

    • Jim

      Arminian,
      “But if they can’t seek him on their own, which Arminians and Calvinists agree on, then they can seek him with God’s aid. But since regeneration has not taken place yet, the Arminian doctrine of prevenient grace explains this quite nicely whereas the Calvinist doctrine that regeneration is necessary for people to seek for God has no real explanation. In the Arminian view, people can’t seek God on their own, but they can do so with his help”

      Can you establish this belief with the Scriptures? I understand Paul to say that God created men to seek Him (Acts 17:27 and context).

      Do Paul’s declarations fit into your theology: “For by faith we have our access into this grace in which we stand” (Rom. 5:2) Also, Paul seems to indicate that a man is either under the Law, or under grace (Rom. 6:13). How was a man set free from jurisdiction of the Law (Rom. 7:1-6) prior to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ?

    • Hodge

      So to sum up, I think you are seeing this as God helping man to seek Him. However, I am saying that God is moving the man toward him, not helping him to seek Him. His purposes are warped and don’t just need help, but total renewal.

      “prevenient grace explains this nicely”

      Well, so does Pelagianism that sees man not being able to seek God as a matter of revelatory ignorance, but since revelation is given, enables him to know and seek God; but that’s an extrabiblical idea. We need to go with what the Bible says, not what explains something nicely.
      I can equally say that God always has grace toward His elect, but the favor of a salvific relationship is not granted until He gifts faith to the individual.

      But I want to discuss this idea that grace is unmerited favor, given as a reward to faith, and faith does not merit it. This is playing with words. A reward of faith is merited. That’s what a reward is. One gets X if he does Y. If he does not do Y, he does not get X. So Y…

    • Hodge

      Unless we say with Eph 2:8-9 that all of it, grace, faith, and salvation, is a gift from God and not produced from ourselves, we are going to end up with grace as merited. But my point wasn’t whether different modes of grace might come before or after salvation. My point was that “seeking God” by a prevenient grace that helps the man to do so (in other words, he is responding faithfully to it) is pleasing to God. Yet, the Bible says that apart from faith no man can please God. How, then, can man do what is pleasing to God before he has faith? The Calvinist system has this as solely a work of God that man is not doing. Arminian theology has man as doing this with the help of God, but he is still doing it. This, to me, seems very problematic for your position.

    • Hodge

      Jim,

      I’m going to try this Ezekiel thing one more time. The text has nothing to do with perfectly obeying God. The sole point I am making is that God must regenerate the individual SO THAT he or she is able to obey His commands. It’s not talking about perfection. It’s talking about the need to be remade in order to obey what is commanded. It gives us a definition of regeneration which you previously claimed was redefined. It wasn’t redefined by us. We’re getting our definitions from texts like this one.

    • Hodge

      Cheryl,

      My point is that tasting the sugar in a doughnut is not a different event than eating the doughnut. It’s the same event. You are eating the doughnut. Not bringing it to your mouth. You are biting down on it and tasting it and swallowing it. The sugar is tasted through it all. Likewise, grace is tasted through it all. It is in faith, by faith, through faith, with faith, etc. I don’t believe that Paul is giving the order of salvation here, but is talking about how one is saved. That’s why in some places it says we are saved BY faith and others that we are saved BY grace and still others that we are saved BY Christ’s death. Which is the means to our salvation? All of it. I think Paul is saying that grace is not through being a Jew, but through faith. That’s it. Nothing more. We extrapolate to our own destruction. This is a metaphysical event that we want explained to us through our experience of that event, and that is a dangerous road to take. The question should instead…

    • Hodge

      be, “Why does God have to gift us grace, faith, and salvation that is not produced in any way by us, if we can just believe on our own?” Does it correspond to what he just said about our being dead in sin? Does that mean that God must graciously make us alive through faith?

      BTW, the preposition “through” is still being thought of in chronological terms. If I receive a package through the mail, the mail is the means through which I received it; but the means through which I received it is made known to me when I received it. Or if I say, I ended the bug’s life through my squashing it. The two are simultaneous, even though one logically is accomplished in the other. I believe the gift of faith is a gracious act. So it is through the giving of faith that we are receiving grace. It’s not two events, one bringing about the other, but the same one.

    • Jim

      Hodge,

      Does regeneration=salvation in your understanding? Or is regeneration the agent that brings an instantaneous change in a man which instantaneously brings forth faith and the corresponding act of calling upon the name of the Lord? Or is salvation is subsequent to regeneration?

      In your understanding, when the Bible says that ‘a natural man cannot perceive the things of God,’ can he “hear” or “understand” the gospel? Or does he need to be given “ears to hear” by God’s act of regeneration before he can perceive and hear the gospel?

      BTW, you missed these questions about the Spirit:
      Which side of “a man exercising the faith which he received in regeneration” do you place receiving the Holy Spirit on? Do you believe God gives the indwelling of the Spirit to regenerate and enable the expression of faith, or, is the Holy Spirit given after faith has been placed into Jesus Christ?

    • Hodge

      Jim,

      The giving of the Spirit for the purpose of sanctification is upon or following faith. I do not confuse the giving of the Spirit for sanctification with the work of the Spirit in regeneration.

      Regeneration is the beginning of salvation. It comes at the moment of faith. It is gifted through it. By that, I mean to say that an individual is made alive by the gracious giving of faith all at one moment. So . . .

      The natural man can “hear” and “understand” the gospel, but he cannot obey it. He rejects it on his own. God must enliven him upon the hearing of the gospel, and through it, gifts him faith in the regeneration of his self in Christ.

    • Steve Martin

      “The natural man can “hear” and “understand” the gospel, but he cannot obey it. He rejects it on his own. God must enliven him upon the hearing of the gospel, and through it, gifts him faith in the regeneration of his self in Christ.”

      AMEN!!!

    • Jim

      “Regeneration is the beginning of salvation. It comes at the moment of faith. It is gifted through it. By that, I mean to say that an individual is made alive by the gracious giving of faith all at one moment. So . . .”

      Excuse my need for further clarification. The first “it” in the second sentence refers to salvation?

      If I was to divide a “second” (1/60th of a minute) into a billion bits, Are you saying that God is placing regeneration and faith and salvation in the very same ‘bit’ of time? So in the first bit of the second, the individual is unregenerate, but in the 2nd bit he is a regenerated/saved individual?

      Is this the norm and are there any exceptions to this “rule”?

    • Hodge

      Jim,

      “it” refers to regeneration. In other words, regeneration is a part of the same act as the gifting of faith. God pulls the individual to Himself through the preaching of the Word. This is the moment of regeneration, faith, grace, and salvation. I don’t divide it chronologically, even in bits, so I’m not going to force upon the Bible what it does not intend to say. It only intends to say that all of this is done by God, and apart from it, we are left dead in our sins.

      Why would there be exceptions? This is what needs to happen. Otherwise, in your system, we have man meriting salvation through his obedience to the gospel command. He has obeyed and pleased God in his act of faith. God has granted him a gift in return. So please tell us how your faith is still “not of yourself.”

    • Jim

      Hodge,
      I have always been told the following: that the unregenerate cannot perceive the things of God, or hear. He needs to become a spiritual man through the new birth before he can perceive any spiritual things, and he needs to be given “ears to hear” before he will even hear the gospel. And the unregenerate will not have any spiritual desires until he is given a new heart. And all the things in Rom. 3- none who understands, none who seeks God, none who does good, no fear of God before their eyes.

      Would you clarify for me all of the things that the unregenerate man cannot or will not do, according to your understanding?

    • Hodge

      It depends upon what you mean by “perceive” and “hear.” Obviously, the unregenerate man can hear and understand the gospel. He does not obey it. He does not perceive the truthfulness AND absolute desirability of the gospel. He sees it either as offensive, silly, or something that is not as desirable as a different route to pursue. Unregenerate man has plenty of spiritual desires. He doesn’t have any correct spiritual desires that would lead him to glorify God in the truth in terms of those desires that belong to him. So no one understands the value of God’s rule in his life, no one seeks God’s rule in his life, none does good, no fear of God is before their eyes, all are murderers and exalt the self. So what can the unregenerate man do? Damn himself. That is all.

    • Hodge

      You still haven’t answered my question, Jim. Why must God gift a faith to us that is not of us if we are capable of exercising faith on our own?

    • Jim

      (Already discussed on page 2…)
      Actually, the Bible states,
      “By grace we have been saved, through faith, it is the gift of God…” Grammatically the Greek does not make faith the gift. Wayne Grudem states, “The word translated “this” is the neuter pronoun touto, which refers not to “faith” or to “grace” specifically in the previous clause (for they are both feminine nouns in Greek, and would require feminine pronouns), but to the entire idea expressed in the preceding phrase, the idea that you have been saved through faith” (Grudem’s Systematic pg 730).

      But the Bible specifically calls eternal life a gift (Rom. 6:23); the Holy Spirit a gift (Acts 2:38; 10:45), and perhaps Jesus Christ a gift (Jn 3:16). Now, back to the context of Eph. 2:8. Paul just previously proclaimed that a person who had been made alive with Jesus Christ had been saved (Eph. 2:5-“made alive with Jesus Christ, by grace YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED).

      God’s Gift= Jesus Christ=Holy Spirit= Eternal Life= Salvation

      Jesus Christ coming to live in the heart of a man gives him eternal life, and both saves and regenerates a man. Faith precedes Jesus dwelling in a man’s heart (Eph. 3:17), faith precedes eternal life, and faith precedes salvation (Rom. 10:13; Acts 16:31). We are saved through faith. Faith is not the gift given to us by God.

      Do you have another passage that teaches “faith is a gift”?

    • Arminian

      H said: “I also think that your claim before that common grace doesn’t explain it, and your claim now that your view is like common grace, doesn’t accord.”

      I don’t think I said my view was like common grace. But in any case, if I did that would accord because I think I mentioned the *Calvinist* view of common grace, which inherently cannot bring people to seek God, since the Calvinist view is that people must be regenerated first.

    • Arminian

      H said: “I believe people seek God . . . not because they are God-seekers, but because they are being moved by God Himself. . . The individual himself is only seeking himself, not God. . . . The assumption that many people seek God, however you are defining that, may not accord with what I mean by that. So regeneration is needed for the individual to actually seek God in salvation, rather than himself. To explain it another way. God is seeking Himself through the individual before regeneration, and man is seeking himself before regeneration; but it looks like man is seeking God (and that is what he is doing from the divine purpose, even if different from the human). It is not until regeneration that the human purposes to seek God as well.”

      Again you seem to be playing with words and essentially speaking contradictorily. You practically say that people seek God before regeneration, but they don’t really. And then, incredibly, you characterize it as God really seeking *himself* cont.

    • Arminian

      Continuing last post:

      And then, incredibly, you characterize it as God really seeking *himself* through the unregenerate and imply that the unregenerate are not really seeking God but themselves. It appears like linguistic gymnastics to try and get around the obvious problem this is for your theology.

      H said: “Paul is talking about what humans do on their own. He is referring to the fact that left to ourselves, no one seeks God.”

      This is the Arminian position as well. That is why when God’s grace is necessary to enable the unregenerate person to seek God and believe, to which God responds by regenerating / making him his child.

    • Arminian

      H said: So to sum up, I think you are seeing this as God helping man to seek Him. However, I am saying that God is moving the man toward him, not helping him to seek Him. His purposes are warped and don’t just need help, but total renewal.”

      You just don’t have any Scripture to back you up though, whereas I have plenty of Scripture attesting to God giving us his Spirit by faith, giving us spiritual life/regeneration by faith, making us his children by faith, etc., etc. Any passages indicating we can’t initiate with God support prevenient grace just as readily as the need for regeneration. Moreover, God is powerful enough to aid someone to believe without totally renewing them.

    • Arminian

      I said: “prevenient grace explains this nicely”

      H said: “We need to go with what the Bible says, not what explains something nicely.”

      What I was saying was what the Bible teaches. The fact that it explains the issue nicely is in this case due to it being what the Bible teaches. Nice try, though, to brush off the fact that Arminianism’s explanation fits nicely with what the Bible says (whereas Calvinism’s explanation does not).

    • Arminian

      H said: But I want to discuss this idea that grace is unmerited favor, given as a reward to faith, and faith does not merit it. This is playing with words. A reward of faith is merited. That’s what a reward is. One gets X if he does Y. If he does not do Y, he does not get X. So Y…

      Well, I did not use the word reward, you did. However, Scripture does use it at times, so that’s ok. But when speaking of reward for God’s salvation in response to faith, it speaks of unmerited reward. That is very clear from Scripture. Faith is not meritorious because it does not earn anything. As Rom 4:4-5 says, “Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.” See next post for continuation . . .

    • Arminian

      Continuing: Or as we are told in Heb 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” God clearly rewards those who seek him. Are you seriously suggesting that this means we merit God’s favor by seeking him? That would clearly be unbiblical. This speaks of unmerited reward, reward that is unmerited because it is granted for free in response to faith, which receives a free gift, rather than works. It is ironic that you charge me with playing word games here. Do you mean to tell us that receiving a free gift is really meriting it? That runs contrary to any normal use of language.

    • Arminian

      H said: “Unless we say with Eph 2:8-9 that all of it, grace, faith, and salvation, is a gift from God and not produced from ourselves, we are going to end up with grace as merited.”

      Well, that is an improper use of Eph 2:8-9 according to its Greek grammar (since Dan Wallace is connected to this site, see his Greek grammar on the passage) but that doesn’t matter since I and most Arminians view faith as a gift, but like most gifts, not an irresistible one, not one we have no choice about. It is a gift in that God enables us to believe. That doesn’t make grace merited any more than accepting a gift from a friend merits that free gift.

    • Arminian

      H said: “But my point wasn’t whether different modes of grace might come before or after salvation. My point was that “seeking God” by a prevenient grace that helps the man to do so (in other words, he is responding faithfully to it) is pleasing to God. Yet, the Bible says that apart from faith no man can please God. How, then, can man do what is pleasing to God before he has faith?”

      But seeking God when still unbelieving is not fully pleasing to God in the sense spoken of in the passage you allude to. Where does Scripture say that it is? Are you claiming that “good” things that unbelievers do are fully pleasing to God? This line of argumentation presents quite a problem for your own position.

    • Arminian

      H said: “The Calvinist system has this as solely a work of God that man is not doing. Arminian theology has man as doing this with the help of God, but he is still doing it. This, to me, seems very problematic for your position.”

      I don’t think so at all. Rather, I think it shows up the falsehood of your position. It engages you in denying what is obviously true. You claim that that many things that unbelievers do they don’t do.

    • Arminian

      H said: “BTW, the preposition “through” is still being thought of in chronological terms. If I receive a package through the mail, the mail is the means through which I received it; but the means through which I received it is made known to me when I received it.”

      You really shoot yourself in the foot with this argument and the following one. Your own argument refutes your position, though I have maintained that it is an issue of logical order not chronological (though pointing out that there is probably a technical, negligible chronological order involved). The sending of something in the mail precedes its reception. It doesn’t matter when you are award of it. The means still logically precedes the end. And this example illustrates that.

    • Arminian

      H said: Or if I say, I ended the bug’s life through my squashing it. The two are simultaneous, even though one logically is accomplished in the other.”

      But the logical order is what is important, as I have maintained, and I believe Cherylu has come to see. And the means logically precedes the end. Your squashing of the bug logically precedes the end of its life. The squashing is what leads to death. They do happen roughly concurrently (though technically, the squashing begins chronologically slightly before the dying), but the means leads to the end. Salvation, justification, spiritual life are all through faith, which means that faith logically precedes them and leads to them.

    • Jim

      ( Hodge, Already discussed on page 2…)
      Actually, the Bible states, “By grace we have been saved, THROUGH FAITH, it is the gift of God…” Grammatically the Greek does not make faith the gift. Wayne Grudem states, “The word translated “this” is the neuter pronoun touto, which refers not to “faith” or to “grace” specifically in the previous clause (for they are both feminine nouns in Greek, and would require feminine pronouns), but to the entire idea expressed in the preceding phrase, the idea that you have been saved through faith” (Grudem’s Systematic pg 730).

      But the Bible specifically calls eternal life a gift (Rom. 6:23); the Holy Spirit a gift (Acts 2:38; 10:45), and perhaps Jesus Christ a gift (Jn 3:16). Now, back to the context of Eph. 2:8. Paul just previously proclaimed that a person who had been made alive with Jesus Christ had been saved (Eph. 2:5-“made alive with Jesus Christ, by grace YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED)!

      God’s Gift= Jesus Christ=Holy Spirit= Eternal Life= Salvation

      Jesus Christ coming to live in the heart of a man gives him eternal life, and both saves and regenerates a man. Faith precedes Jesus dwelling in a man’s heart (Eph. 3:17), faith precedes eternal life, and faith precedes salvation (Rom. 10:13; Acts 16:31). We are saved through faith. Faith is not the gift given to us by God.

      Do you have another passage that teaches “faith is a gift”?

    • Jim

      Hodge,

      Look carefully at Paul’s declaration in Eph. 2:5

      “Made alive with Jesus Christ, by grace YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED.”

      Note this is past tense. WE HAVE BEEN SAVED when we have been made alive with Jesus Christ. Reformed proponents say “made alive with Christ” = regeneration. And as you said, regeneration and salvation are simultaneous occurances.
      Fortunately, Paul tells us specifically what comes prior to being made alive with Jesus Christ/regenerated/saved. “Whosoever will call upon the name of the Lord SHALL BE SAVED” (Rom. 10:13). Calling upon the name of the Lord precedes being saved/regenerated/made alive with Jesus Christ!!! And believing precedes calling upon the Lord: “How shall they call upon Him whom they have not believed?” Therefore, Biblically a man is believing and calling upon the name of the Lord before they are regenerated!

      Outside of doctrinal presuppositions, do you have a biblical basis for placing regeneration prior to faith?

    • Arminian

      Jim and Hodge have been debating a passage in Ezekiel. I agree with Hodge that it promises regeneration. However, this and other texts like it are very problematic for the Calvinist position and support the Arminian position that faith precedes regeneration as the means by which it comes in that it receives God’s free gift of regeneration. For The Old Testament promise of regeneration in such OT texts is for the New Covenant community. And one only becomes a member of the New Covenant, and therefore enjoys its promises and blessing, by faith! The OT promises regeneration to those in the New Covenant. But one only enters the New Covenant by faith. Therefore, one receives regeneration by faith.

      I have long found Calvinist appeal to these types of passages strange. They actually undermine the Calvinist position and bolster the Arminian one, not least the one that stands behind Jesus’ discussion of new birth in John 3.

    • Hodge

      “God clearly rewards those who seek him. Are you seriously suggesting that this means we merit God’s favor by seeking him? That would clearly be unbiblical. ”

      Yes, it would, which is why the faith must be unmerited as well. It must be gifted instead of something we produce. If it isn’t then we set up a contradiction in the Bible. We gain X when we have Y. X is not merited. Therefore, Y must not be something we perform to get X. Otherwise, X is merited by Y, since not all are given Y, but only those who have X.

      “It appears like linguistic gymnastics to try and get around the obvious problem this is for your theology.”

      No, I think you just don’t understand my theology. That’s OK, but let me explain it by asking this: Did Joseph’s brothers work toward bringing about the deliverance of Egypt/Israel in their throwing him into a pit? Yes, they did. Did they purpose to do that? No, they did not. It was God working through them that did it, yet they were doing it.

    • Hodge

      So I’m trying to make a biblical distinction here. Men seek God in the sense that their thoughts and actions lead to their moment of faith/regeneration/entrance into salvation; but they do not purpose to seek God. It is God who is doing it. So there is a distinction between what men are doing and what men are purposing to do. I think the Romans text is talking about what men do in and of themselves. They do not seek God (purposely). So perhaps we should use the terminology that God leads them to Himself more than they are seeking him because that seems confusing to you.

      “The sending of something in the mail precedes its reception.”

      Yes, that was a bad example. I’m the king of bad analogies, so I was thinking more of grace and faith as coming from God and my receiving it in a moment; but we can lose that analogy. 😉

    • Hodge

      “Well, that is an improper use of Eph 2:8-9 according to its Greek grammar (since Dan Wallace is connected to this site, see his Greek grammar on the passage) but that doesn’t matter since I and most Arminians view faith as a gift, but like most gifts, not an irresistible one, not one we have no choice about.”

      I’m glad it doesn’t matter because both you and Jim are wrong here. I’m not saying that only faith is the antecedent of touto. My point is that it is neuter and the neuter, when not having a specific antecedent, refers back to the entire phrase. So the whole point I am making is that ALL of it is the gift: the grace, the faith, and the salvation we are given. None of it is from ourselves. Grace is a gift. Faith is a gift. Salvation is a gift. And it’s all the one gift, in the one package, as I’ve been arguing. Both Grudem and Dan verify this as the best option, so I’m not sure what you’re talking about, unless you though I was saying pisteos is the sole antecedent.

    • Hodge

      Jim,

      “Note this is past tense. WE HAVE BEEN SAVED when we have been made alive with Jesus Christ. Reformed proponents say “made alive with Christ” = regeneration. And as you said, regeneration and salvation are simultaneous occurances.”

      Actually, it’s a present stative with a perfect passive participle, not a “past tense,” but it’s neither here nor there because you are still trying to get a chronological order out of bunch of statements that are not meant to be in chronological order. I believe salvation begins at the point of regeneration, not that they are simultaneous terms. I would hope my salvation continues on a lot longer than my regeneration. So yes, at what point to we receive salvation? At the point of faith/grace/regeneration. It’s all at once and to us, through the means of faith. We can’t see grace or regeneration, so Paul is giving us what we can see and do as that which describes the means of the rest. This doesn’t mean it comes first in the order.

    • Hodge

      “And one only becomes a member of the New Covenant, and therefore enjoys its promises and blessing, by faith! The OT promises regeneration to those in the New Covenant. But one only enters the New Covenant by faith. Therefore, one receives regeneration by faith.”

      Except that according to the NT the OT saints also received salvation through faith. The text seems clear, and ironically, it actually does give us a logical order. God regenerates SO THAT His people are able to obey His commands. The person who posits a faith that does not have regeneration as its logical precedent is saying that the gospel command can be obeyed before regeneration is given. So the greatest command of all–the one that actually saves as opposed to any other command–the hardest one to obey–can be obeyed pre-regeneration. That’s not what I would take from this.

    • Hodge

      I’m getting busy with other things at the moment (I have to test out of a Theological German course next week and am in the middle of writing a book on inerrancy), so I’m going to have to bow out. Thanks for the discussion, Gentlemen.

    • Jim

      Arminian (#42),
      “The OT promises regeneration to those in the New Covenant.”

      This is the key point. Regeneration is a NT work of God. There was no regeneration in the OT. This is the nail in the coffin for Reformed Theology. The false assumption of Reformed theologians is no man can have faith unless they have been regenerated. The Reformed theological system logically (not Biblically) is built upon this wrong assumption. The testimony of the Scriptures refutes this assumption. Hebrews 11, explicitly states, “Without faith it is impossible to please God”. NOT—“Without regeneration it is impossible to have faith to please God”. The Old Testament contrasts men of faith with fools. Fools say in their hearts there is no God. These fools will not have faith in God, and without faith they will not please God. Unregenerate men in Hebrews 11 did have faith, and through their faith they did please God. They did look forward to the promises that would be given in the New Covenant, and through faith they too would be saved/regenerated by Jesus Christ.

      Jesus said, “Even so MUST the Son of Man be lifted up; that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life”. Eternal life is the life of the New Birth, given to us when the risen Lord Jesus Christ comes to dwell in our hearts to save us.

    • Jim

      Hodge,

      “God regenerates SO THAT His people are able to obey His commands” (#47).

      This is a major contention of your doctrine. Can you actually support this statement from the Scriptures?

      You also stated, “I believe salvation begins at the point of regeneration”, (post #46)

      Do men need to call upon the name of the Lord before they are saved? Or does God save them so they will be enabled to call upon the name of the Lord? Tell me from your perspective, when was the Philippian jailor regenerated? Before or after he asks Paul, “Sirs what must I do to be saved?” Paul tells him to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. Was he saved/regenerated before he asks his question, before he knows what to do—“believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved”? Or was he saved/regenerated after he called upon the name of the Lord?

      IMO, you have to ignore the detail that God has given us in His Word to hold on to your view. And you also have to make many assumptions that are not taught in the Word of God.

    • Jim

      Hodge, (reply to #46)
      To keep it simple, there is a point of time when a person is unsaved and unregenerate. At the point of time that God sends the Spirit of His son into a man’s heart (Gal. 4:6), he is saved: he has just been “made alive with Jesus Christ, by grace he has been saved (Eph. 2:5). He continues in the state of being saved as long as Jesus remains in his heart. Jesus has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us, therefore Jesus Christ saves us and is our guarantee for the remaining aspects of salvation. Jesus Christ coming to live inside of a man gives him the life of the New Birth.

      The Bible details many things which transpire prior to the New Birth. God sends preachers to proclaim His truth. These are sowers. The seed is sown in the hearts of men. It is not typical to see seed produce a harvest the day it is first sown. Jesus says there are some who do not understand the word and the evil one comes to steal away what has been sown in his heart (Matt. 13:19). Luke tells us why the enemy steals the seed, “so he will not believe to be saved” (Luke 8:12). 1Cor. 3 tells us of men who help to water, while God is causing the increase. God also sends reapers. God gives His gifts to those who receive it in faith. God has promised to save those who call upon the name of the Lord. They are saved when God sends the gift of His Son into their heart, giving them eternal life in the New Birth.

      There are many more details giving in the Word, that you must ignore to hold to doctrinal presuppositons.

    • Arminian

      H said: Except that according to the NT the OT saints also received salvation through faith.”

      That is irrelevant. The promises we are talking about are OT promises of regeneration to the New Covenant community! So one does not receive that promise unless part of the New Covenant. The New Covenant is entered by faith. Therefore, faith precedes regeneration because it brings one to be part of those who receive the promise of regeneration.

    • Arminian

      H said: The text seems clear, and ironically, it actually does give us a logical order. God regenerates SO THAT His people are able to obey His commands. The person who posits a faith that does not have regeneration as its logical precedent is saying that the gospel command can be obeyed before regeneration is given. So the greatest command of all–the one that actually saves as opposed to any other command–the hardest one to obey–can be obeyed pre-regeneration. That’s not what I would take from this.”

      But you undermine your own argument in your very statement of it! You say that “God regenerates SO THAT *His people* are able to obey His commands” asterisks my emphasis). However, unbelievers are not his people. Regeneration is for those who are his people, those who are in the New Covenant. And the commands in view are the New Covenant commands. I don’t think you have reckoned with details of these types of texts and how they ironically show that faith precedes regeneration.

    • Arminian

      H said: “Yes, it would, which is why the faith must be unmerited as well. It must be gifted instead of something we produce. If it isn’t then we set up a contradiction in the Bible. We gain X when we have Y. X is not merited. Therefore, Y must not be something we perform to get X. Otherwise, X is merited by Y, since not all are given Y, but only those who have X.”

      Faith/receiving a free gift is inherently non-meritorious. But then, although that is enough for it to be non-meritorious, it is something that is gifted in that we cannot do it on our own, but God must enable us to do it. So it is also not something we “produce” or “perform” in a meritorious way (in the same way receiving a free gift is not producing or performing reception in a meritorious way). But it is something we “do” — “and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus” (Acts 16:30-31; NASB). See continuation in next post . . .

    • Arminian

      Continuing from last post: Your reasoning contradicts Paul’s: “Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness” (Rom 4:4-5; ).

      H said: Did Joseph’s brothers work toward bringing about the deliverance of Egypt/Israel in their throwing him into a pit? Yes, they did. Did they purpose to do that? No, they did not. It was God working through them that did it, yet they were doing it.”

      That does not seem to explain very much for this discussion. God can use our actions to accomplish things we did not intend. It does not change the biblical truth that God responds to our faith by justifying us, regenerating us, saving us, etc.

    • Arminian

      H said: “So I’m trying to make a biblical distinction here. Men seek God in the sense that their thoughts and actions lead to their moment of faith/regeneration/entrance into salvation; but they do not purpose to seek God. It is God who is doing it. So there is a distinction between what men are doing and what men are purposing to do.”

      But unbelievers do purpose to seek God. If you deny that, it seems you are just denying the obvious to uphold your theology. But I believe God is also doing it in that he resistibly influences them to do it.

      H said: “I think the Romans text is talking about what men do in and of themselves.”

      I agree. Hence, prevenient grace can enable people to seek God and not conflict with this text not the doctrine of total depravity.

    • Arminian

      H said: “They do not seek God (purposely). So perhaps we should use the terminology that God leads them to Himself more than they are seeking him because that seems confusing to you.”

      I think it is more that your theology can’t really accommodate the obvious fact that many people seek God before they get regenerated. It is because God is leading them to do so, but that does not mean they are not doing it nor that God is irresistibly causing them to do it.

    • C Michael Patton

      Folks, there are rules. No multiple posts. One at a time. Otherwise, what good is character limits?

    • Arminian

      H said: I’m glad it doesn’t matter because both you and Jim are wrong here. I’m not saying that only faith is the antecedent of touto. My point is that it is neuter and the neuter, when not having a specific antecedent, refers back to the entire phrase. So the whole point I am making is that ALL of it is the gift: the grace, the faith, and the salvation we are given. None of it is from ourselves. Grace is a gift. Faith is a gift. Salvation is a gift. And it’s all the one gift, in the one package, as I’ve been arguing. Both Grudem and Dan verify this as the best option, so I’m not sure what you’re talking about, unless you though I was saying pisteos is the sole antecedent.”

      Dan Wallace does *not* say that is the best option (at least in his grammar), but also lists another that the more advanced Greek resources take, that kai touto is adverbial and modifies the verb “saved”! I agree with them.

      See coninuation in next post . . .

    • Arminian

      CMP said: “Folks, there are rules. No multiple posts. One at a time.”

      Oh, sorry. I was not quite sure how that was supposed to work. I was going to post more reponses to Hodge. But I’ll stop now and perhaps just space out the responses. Sorry again!

    • Hodge

      I need to stay out of the conversation now, but do want to clarify one thing:

      “Dan Wallace does *not* say that is the best option (at least in his grammar), but also lists another that the more advanced Greek resources take, that kai touto is adverbial and modifies the verb “saved”! I agree with them.”

      I’m sorry, but this is false. Maybe I have an old version, but Dan specifically says that the option I cited is “more plausible” than the other two options mentioned; and then he continues to say that the adverbial option (the fourth option mentioned) has surprisingly made little impact on much of the exegetical literature. BDAG and BDF simply assume it, but as Dan cites, there are only four examples of an adverbial use in the NT as opposed to fourteen or fifteen out of the 22 times this occurs are conceptual, as I have taken it. The adverbial use does not make sense here. It would be extremely forced. OK, I’m out.

    • Arminian

      Ok, your charge that my comments were false is certainly false, and this is easy to set straight. It is true that Dan specifically says that the option I cited is “more plausible” than two other options mentioned; and then he continues to say that the adverbial option (the fourth option mentioned) has surprisingly made little impact on much of the exegetical literature. He mentions that BDAG and BDF assume it, which must be taken as the considered judgment of these two of the most advanced and authoritative Greek resources. But Wallace does not say he favors the option you take, and his conclusion says that syntactical considerations tend toward the conceptual referent option *or* the adverbial option. He does not state that he favors the cocneptual referent option. It is very surprising that you asserted my comments were false. They were exactly as I said they were. Anyone looking at Wallace’s grammar would see that.

    • Hodge

      Arminian,

      Sorry about that. My bad. I misread your comments. I thought you were citing Dan as agreeing with you. Dan’s comments seem to sway in my direction, not the adverbial direction. BAGD and BDF are just two resources. They’re not the most authoritative, unless you’re talking to a second year Greek student. They are just scholars trying to place verses in categories. As Dan says, they give no argument as to why they categorize it this way, and it seems obvious to me that they do so because they can’t explain why a neuter is used that does not modify another neuter in the context. The majority of its use is conceptual and that makes the most sense here. The adverbial use is flat out odd, and shows that it is forced here. So I apologize for saying that your use of Dan was false. It’s your argument that’s bad, not your references. 😉

    • Hodge

      BTW, I should say that I think most exegetes don’t bring the adverbial use up because I think it is fabricated. I don’t think it’s a real use. If you look at the four instances, Rom 13:11; 1 Cor 6:6, 8; 3 John 5, each is really conceptual. We are getting an adverbial feel semantically from emotive force of the context, but in reality, kai touto still refers back to the entire phrase preceding; so even if taken adverbially, it is not without antecedent, and cannot be used to escape the fact that Eph 2:8-9 speaks of grace, faith, and salvation as all the one gift. But I would further protest that is would forced here.

    • Arminian

      No problem Hodge. Now without question, BDAG is the most authoritative lexicon among NT scholars. This does not mean it is unquestionable, but that it is the top scholarly NT Greek lexicon. And BDF is one of the most widely rgarded grammars. Moises Silva recommended it as the top NT Greek grammar resource. Tyhe fact that these resources do not discuss the issue in their citation of Eph 2:8 is more likely because they consider it clear, attesting to the strength of it as an occurrence in their. And if you know these resources, they are concise grammatical reference works and are not given to much discussion or actual argumentation. And you will have to excuse me if I follow these top scholarly Greek authorites, including Wallace, that there is an adverial usage of kai touto (whether or not it is the usage in Eph 2:8) over your judgment. Also, let me point out that in Wallace’s note 55 he indicates that he does not think Paul thought faith a gift, contradicting your take on the grammar.

    • Arminian

      If taken adverbially, kai touto modifies the verb, not the phrase.

      Also, even if it refers to the whole phrase, this would not make each element a gift in way you claim. For one thing, Wallace speaks of this option as touto referring to the concept of a grace-by-faith salvation. But putting it that way makes salvation the head concept and the gift, and “by grace through faith” the reason and means by which it is obtained. In such a case, the means to obtaining the gift are not a gift in the same way as the gift being obtained. They may be called a gift in the sense that Arminianism views faith as a gift, that people are enabled to do the means to obtaining the gift. A simple illustration should demonstrate this, which I wil give in one more post, hopefully not transgressing Michael’s reminder.

    • Arminian

      Illustration: If I say that I gave you a gift of $10 by unmerited favor (i.e., because of my unearned favor toward you ) through you accepting the money from me, and that this freely-given-through-acceptance gift was not from yourself, that simply would not mean that each element was a gift not of yourself. It would mean that the $10 was a gift not from yourself, and that it was given out of unmerited favor and through your acceptance without any suggestion that your acceptance of it was somehow irresistibly caused. The “each element a gift in a package” explanation has become popular among Calvinists, but it does not really work.

      BTW, Wallace’s indication that he does not think Paul thought of faith as a gift suggests your understandinf of the conceptual option is wrong if Wallace favors that option, or that he favors the adverbial option. either way, your view of it is not likely, even if it is a cocneptual referrant.

    • cherylu
    • Calvin

      The $10 would be the object of belief in that example. Someone would have to have faith/belief that if they stretched out their hand, that you would place a crisp $10 bill in their hands. This faith/belief would be something that comes from them and may be predicated on any number of factors- they way you look, smell, sound…

      So say two twin brothers, Robert and Ben, were there and heard you say that you will give $10 to any and all people, simply just stretch out the hand and you will give them $10. Robert thinks to himself that you look like you have the money, you smell like you have showered recently and you sound convincing enough so out goes his hand. You quickly place a crisp $10 bill in his hand and he smiles. Ben thinks that you’re crazy; no one in these times would just “give” $10 to someone, so he refuses to stretch out his hand and consequently he does not get the $10.

      Maybe Robert would wait till you leave, but say he doesn’t and just looks at his twin brother in…

    • Calvin

      amazement. “Man you are dumb; why not just take the money? You are a fool, no wonder you had to repeat first grade.”

      Since the belief/faith originates solely inside them without you doing anything, it becomes a meritorious work. This is why Arminianism is such a man centered view. They pretend to give lip service to the bible when claiming that they view faith as a gift, but as your example clearly showed it really is not a gift at all. It is something that is native to corrupt man and you have something clean come from something unclean. You make a mockery of the bible and Christ’s words.

    • Ron

      “your example clearly showed it really is not a gift at all”

      How, exactly, did you just demonstrate that the $10 wasn’t a gift at all?

      I must have missed that.

    • Calvin

      If you missed it, then might I suggest that you read it again.

    • Calvin

      While reading ask yourslef if the $10 is in view OR the faith/belief.

    • Arminian

      Re: Calvin’s (the poster here) comments, this is what some Calvinists are forced to resort to, denying that a free gift is a free gift and claiming that accepting a free gift is actually earning it. They turn things on their head and redefine basic concepts to practically their opposite.

    • Ron

      You said that his $10 example “clearly [shows] it really is not a gift at all”. But all you did was show that people can accept or reject a gift, and that certain factors influence that decision.

      You in no way showed that the $10 (or its analog) was therefore “not a gift”, or that it was something that the twins earned through work.

      This line of argument will bear you no fruit.

      But keep going.

    • Lannie

      This discussion is more complicated than needed. God, when a man puts his faith in you is that a meritorious act? No. Rom 3:27 ” Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith.” Chapters 3 and 4 exaustively says faith is needed and it doesn’t come with merit. It’s trusting someone who’s true. If you trust a bridge that’s unsafe that faith won’t save you. The merit is in the object of faith. All Calvinist and Arminians could put down their swords on this question. Faith doesn’t fit in the category of merit. No mental gymnastics are needed. Rather: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” This is true, and it’s not merit.

    • Hodge

      Arminian,

      I’m sorry, but you are trying to force way too many things into the grammar. Salvation is the head concept, but that does not negate the means as also a part of the head concept as the gift. But in any case, the adverbial use here is just a stretch that seeks to justify your theology. It’s not how most exegetes take it.

      BDF and BAGD/BDAG are the top grammar and lexicon because there isn’t anything else to rival them, not because they’re the best they could be. Both BAGD and BDF were written in the fifties, before linguistics were really applied to language study, and everything was thrown under categories that were largely ad hoc when the other categories didn’t fit. So they’re not really the most authoritative in the sense that they should be taken as innocent before proven guilty. Instead, they ought to be held suspect until proven right. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself why BDAG had to be completely rewritten and reworked (with the acknowledgment that…

    • Hodge

      tons of work still needs to be done). So your citing them as ending the debate, to me, is something that is amateurish (and I don’t mean that in an insulting way). I just mean that it displays a reliance on others in the field because the work can’t be evaluated by you. If you can, why cite to me an authority without an argument from the texts? The data is trumps all experts. And Dan is the one who brings up the fact that both authorities discuss it without argument. I don’t think he’s saying that to say that we should assume it as a given.

      I’m not aware where Dan makes the claim you say he makes. FN 55 in my copy discusses a ms issue. Do I have an earlier copy? I wasn’t aware of a revision, but maybe there is one.

    • Hodge

      “But putting it that way makes salvation the head concept and the gift, and “by grace through faith” the reason and means by which it is obtained.”

      Then why did Paul not state the phrase differently? Why use a neuter? He could have used a nominal form of salvation and modified it directly. He doesn’t do that. He does this because he wished to say that it was all gifted to us AND NOT OF OURSELVES, which I take it is the element that causes you to reject the most likely interpretation. The faith wouldn’t be of us, enabled or not, but from God alone. Hence, in this context, no prevenient grace to wake the dead men in v. 1. It is all gifted to us because it all must be gifted. I seriously doubt Paul is attempting to say otherwise and forgot to mention the prevenient grace needed to have faith here. So what do we get when reading just this passage? A salvation, grace, a faith, that is gifted to us and is not of ourselves. That’s the most common use of the grammar and likely meaning.

    • Hodge

      “This discussion is more complicated than needed. God, when a man puts his faith in you is that a meritorious act? No.”

      And everyone agrees. The problem is that faith does merit something because those who don’t have it don’t receive what those who do have receive. So the very reason faith does not merit anything to us is because it’s not our faith. It’s given to us rather than produced by us. So the question isn’t whether we have merited something through faith, but why when meriting the application of salvation to ourselves through the exercising of faith it isn’t something we have merited.

    • Hodge

      OK, I really need to bow out now. I just wanted to clarify the grammatical issue, with which I’m sure Arminian still does not agree, but so be it. Thanks again.

    • Arminian

      Hodge, I did not cite those grammatical authorities as ending debate, but as support, which seems to threaten you. It also seems odd that you suggest that I can’t assess the data; I can, but it is almost like you’re trying to score debate points with that uncalled for implciation. It’s also bizarre for you to suggest that the adverbial option is a stretch to justify my theology when it is the view of 2 of the weightiest scholarly Greek authorities, and Wallace lists it as one of the likeliest options. Are you sure you’re not stretching to try and preserve your theology? Moreover, I have said that I would not have a problem with Eph 2:8 calling faith a gift. It is a matter of being true to the text.

      And I should have said Wallace’s note 53, which also argues for the very view of faith being non-meritorious I have been and is at odds with the view you have been articulating.

    • Hodge

      Just when I think I’m out, they pull me back in. 🙂

      Arminian,

      You are using “the weightiest scholarly Greek authorities” (now they’re getting even bigger than before) as a conversation stopper. Let’s see some evidence rather than citing crusty old sources that need to take their place in history as relics of mid-twentieth century scholarship or be completely redone. If you cite them as a starting point, no problem; but if as an authoritative decree on grammar and lexicography, then no thanks.
      I disagree that you have no problem with it. There is a huge problem if faith is gifted in the same way grace and salvation are because it displays that it is NOT OF YOURSELVES. Faith, in the Arminian system, is of enabled man, is it not? It is man’s reception of the gift, no? He may be enabled by prevenient grace, but he is still doing it.
      I see now Dan’s FN 53. I disagree that faith is not meritorious because it is reception. It is the gift, not the reception of the gift, so I…

    • Arminian

      Hodge, you basically ignore what I pointed out for how reference to the phrase would work. You actually seem to object to my point, which is relatively objective and practuically undeniable from a grammatical point of view that a conceptual referrant to the phrase woulod make salvation the head concept and the gift, and “by grace through faith” the reason and means by which it is obtained. Notice that these are prepositional phrases modifying the verb. I even gave you a concrete example that shows how this works.

      Asking why Paul was not clearer is a pretty weak argument. You beg the question, assuming that your view of the grammar (which I again point out is wrong in its view of the implications the grammar would have even if the referrant is conceptual) is the clear and obvious one when there is serious scholarly question. It is typically a weak argument to assume how an author *should* have expressed himself.

      & BDAG has been thoroughly revised recently undermining your commts

    • Hodge

      would reject that notion, as it confuses reception with the gift itself. If the conceptual interpretation is accurate, it refers to faith as a part of the gift, not just its reception. The fact that faith is not meritorious on our part, again, is because we aren’t the one’s producing it, not because it doesn’t actually merit something. It merits the pleasure of God, does it not? It credits to us righteousness, does it not? I see no reconciliation of these concepts unless Eph 2:8 is taken as it most likely is to be taken, i.e., as conceptual, communicating that faith is gifted as a part of the whole package of salvation.

    • Arminian

      I said that they are 2 of the wieghtiest (meaning they are among the weightiest), which you granted at one point. But now you try to minimize them as much as you can because they stand as Greek authorities against your view. Now they are “crusty old sources that need to take their place in history as relics of mid-twentieth century scholarship .” That’s pretty outrageous, as these sources are cited frequently by current works of scholarship and BDAG is part of basic scholarly education. But is may show how desperate you are at this point. Someone cites Greek grammatical/lexical authorites, standard reference works, and you just challenge them as having any real value. And I did not cite them as ending debate, but as I said, as support, But you challenege even my own knowlegde of my own motives. That also should be a red flag to how deserate you might be getting when there is solid scholarly evidence against your view.

    • Hodge

      Arminian,

      “You have been arguing through posturing, and this from yourself”

      Is “this” not including the posturing? Of course it is. It includes the means through which you have been arguing. “This” refers to it all. What is from yourself is arguing through posturing. I’m sorry, but your understanding of the grammar seeks to parse too much to get what you want. You cannot divorce the means from the head simply upon that basis, and then say that touto only really refers to the head. That is absurd. This is like saying that in Romans 10:6, touto only refers to the one ascending as the head and therefore does not include the prepositional phrase “into heaven,” as part of the “this.” But touto doesn’t refer to an ascension anywhere, but one into heaven. The fact that you have prepositional phrases mean nothing. The point of the passage is that the gift of God is the faith-graced salvation that is not of ourselves, not salvation that comes through a non-gifted grace and…

    • Arminian

      For anyone interested, here is that note from Wallace:

      “On an exegetical level, I am inclined to agree with Lincoln that “in Paul’s thinking faith can never be viewed as a meritorious work because in connection with justification he always contrasts faith with works of the law (cf. Gal 2:16; 3:2-5, 9, 10; Rom 3:27, 28)” (A. T. Lincoln, Ephesians [WBC] 111). If faith is not meritorious, but is instead the reception of the gift of salvation, then it is not a gift per se. Such a view does not preclude the notion that for faith to save, the Spirit of God must initiate the conversion process.”

    • Hodge

      Arminian,

      What is desperate is for you to attack me for questioning your line of reasoning and using sources without argumentation. Scholarly education, real scholarly education, doesn’t use sources as points in argumentation. You didn’t use them in support of a grammatical argument, where you cited data. You didn’t give an argument of this nature at all. So citing them to make a theological point that you don’t support with further grammatical argumentation, and then scolding me for calling you out on it, is a bit odd. I have high respect for all of these works, but they are to be held in suspect (and I do this with everything they say, not just when it has to do with my theology). I don’t trust grammars and lexicons anymore, as I have come to realize that many of them are in error, either in methodology or in their assumptions of the evidence. That doesn’t mean they’re not good starting points, but no one should end there.

    • Hodge

      Now you’re citing Dan on a theological conclusion he’s making rather than a grammatical point. This is why I don’t trust this line of reasoning. Dan is concluding that since he is inclined to agree with Lincoln concerning faith as non-meritorious (something with which we all, as Prots, agree), then it must be that faith is reception of the gift instead of the gift (something I reject because it does not necessarily follow and is not what the passage would be saying in the conceptual view). If only salvation were in view, it would have been stated differently. I don’t see that as a bad argument when this use of touto fits Paul’s line of argumentation perfectly, and in your use, prevenient grace must be added to the text in order to come to Paul’s conclusions.

    • Arminian

      H said: “You have been arguing through posturing, and this from yourself”

      The problem with example is that unlike the one I gave, it does not match the details of Eph 2:8. You have the means being done by the same person doing the main verb. But very criticaly, in Eph 2:8, the main verb is done by God, but the means referred to by “through faith” is somethnig we do. Almost everyone agrees that faith is somethi,g we do. Whether you think that God irresistibly causes it or not, God does not believe for us. He does not believe in Chris, but we do. So you just are not attending to the details of the text and the grammatical construction. Your example from Rom 10:6 also misses the point. Apart from what I just pointed out, it does not match the specifics of the prpositional phrases idnetifying the reason and means by which it the head concept is obtained.

    • Hodge

      Arminian,

      Perhaps you’re blinded to your own assumptions, so let me point them out for you. 😉

      1. You are interpreting the text based on your assumption that different actors are at play. The first, God giving us salvation. The second, we who exercise faith. I don’t believe that it is Paul’s intention to differentiate based upon whether we participate in grace, faith or salvation. This argument, therefore, is a stretch, and claiming that I’m not paying attention to the details because of it, is in fact, more posture than proof.

      2. You are differentiating between the head and the means simply because you want to say that the head is modified by touto rather than the means; but this is begging the question. If the head is solely modified and the means not referenced by touto, then this is not a conceptual use, but the adverbial use. My point is that it is the conceptual use, and therefore, modifies the whole thing, each and every element as one package. So it’s not

    • Steve Martin

      Hodge,

      Sometimes the clay is baked.

    • Hodge

      a faith received salvation. That is a speculation based upon the idea that faith cannot be the gift but reception of the gift as something that does not gain merit. I reject that idea. Faith doesn’t merit precisely because it is a gift.

      So all you are doing is arguing grammar based upon your theological assumptions. Let go of these assumptions, look at all of the other uses of touto and kai touto, and see if it does not refer to the entirety of what is said rather than just the head concept.

    • Arminian

      it is a stretch to observe that God is the one who saves and we believe and that God does not believe for us? Perhaps it is you who are blinded to your own presuppositions for your own theological stance, which causes you to cast off any data or evidence that stands against your interpretation.

      H said: “If the head is solely modified and the means not referenced by touto, then this is not a conceptual use, but the adverbial use.”

      Not true. the whole phrase can be referred to as a whole, but then it is left to be seen how the dynamics of the phrase works. I gave an example of this. Your objections cannot eliminate the fact that the prepositional phrases idnentify the reason and means by which the head concept is obtained. You say I differentiate between the head amdn means because of the result I wnat to get. But perhaps it is more likely that you are ignoring the objective distinction because it contradicts your treasured theology of the verse.

    • Hodge

      “Not true. the whole phrase can be referred to as a whole, but then it is left to be seen how the dynamics of the phrase works.”

      Which in this case would be adverbial. Please show me how the conceptual view differs from the adverbial in this passage.

    • Hodge

      “But perhaps it is more likely that you are ignoring the objective distinction because it contradicts your treasured theology of the verse.”

      I haven’t ignored the distinction at all. I’ve been agreeing with it. I deny that it is to be taken the way you are taking it. If Paul wanted to refer to our being saved as a gift, he would have likely used the masc demonstr., and the means would have remained in tact. It would say exactly what you are trying to get out of it. He didn’t, however, because he wanted to show that it is all a gift, not just our salvation, but also the means.

    • Arminian

      The conceptual refers to the phrase as a whole, and the adverbial specifically modifes the verb. It does not matter if they practically come to the same basic sense. There are plenty of examples of diffferent grammatical constructions yeilding the same basic semantic sense. often there may be a slight difference in emphasis, at other times virtually no difference. Similar senses cannot legitimately count against different constructions. In this case, the concetpual referrant would lay greater stress on the concept of a grace by faith salvation, whereas the advernial sense would lay greater stress on the saving action of God and/or our state of salvation.

    • Jim

      John Calvin on Ephesians 2:8 (Commentaries on Galatians and Ephesians)
      For by grace are ye saved. This is an inference from the former statements. Having treated of election and of effectual calling, he arrives at this general conclusion, that they had obtained salvation by faith alone. First, he asserts, that the salvation of the Ephesians was entirely the work, the gracious work of God. But then they had obtained this grace by faith. On one side, we must look at God; and, on the other, at man. God declares, that he owes us nothing; so that salvation is not a reward or recompense, but unmixed grace. The next question is, in what way do men receive that salvation which is offered to them by the hand of God? The answer is, by faith; and hence he concludes that nothing connected with it is our own. If, on the part of God, it is grace alone, and if we bring nothing but faith, which strips us of all commendation, it follows that salvation does not come from us.

      Ought we not then to be silent about free-will, and good intentions, and fancied preparations, and merits, and satisfactions? There is none of these which does not claim a share of praise in the salvation of men; so that the praise of grace would not, as Paul shews, remain undiminished. When, on the part of man, the act of receiving salvation is made to consist in faith alone, all other means, on which men are accustomed to rely, are discarded. Faith, then, brings a man empty to God, that he may be filled with the blessings of Christ. And so he adds, not of yourselves; that claiming nothing for themselves, they may acknowledge God alone as the author of their salvation.

    • Jim

      John Calvin on Eph. 2:9

      “Not of works. Instead of what he had said, that their salvation is of grace, he now affirms, that “it is the gift of God. Instead of what he had said, “Not of yourselves,” he now says, “Not of works.” Hence we see, that the apostle leaves nothing to men in procuring salvation. In these three phrases, — not of yourselves, — it is the gift of God, — not of works, — he embraces the substance of his long argument in the Epistles to the Romans and to the Galatians, that righteousness comes to us from the mercy of God alone, — is offered to us in Christ by the gospel, — and is received by faith alone, without the merit of works.”

      Source
      http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom41.iv.iii.iii.html

    • Arminian

      H said: “If Paul wanted to refer to our being saved as a gift, he would have likely used the masc demonstr., and the means would have remained in tact.”

      It is presumptious to think you know how Paul should have said what he wanted to say. The fact is that in various instances (even in which people agree on what Paul means) Paul could have communicated his meaning in a clearer that this or that reader thinks would be clearer. What we have to do is assess what he has actually said and the possible meanings of the constructions he uses.

    • Hodge

      “In this case, the concetpual referrant would lay greater stress on the concept of a grace by faith salvation, whereas the advernial sense would lay greater stress on the saving action of God and/or our state of salvation.”

      Thanks Arminian. I don’t agree, of course, but appreciate you answering the question. I think the elements presented would lay stress on the former regardless of whether it was adverbial or conceptual as you have described it. That’s why interpreting a text in all of its context is so important.

      “It is presumptious to think you know how Paul should have said what he wanted to say.”

      Perhaps, but it’s a presumption based upon what is most common in Greek grammar as opposed to an odd construction that likely conveys something different than what he intended to much of his audience. If we commonly use English grammar a particular way and then one departs from it by using a less common construction, I would think the scholarly thing to do is to ask, Why?

    • Hodge

      In any case, it’s getting late, and I’ve stayed in this conversation too long, so we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one. I’m really out this time. 🙂 Thanks again.

    • Jim

      Hodge,
      In light of John Calvin’s comments on Eph. 2:8, 9, (quoted on the previous page), why is it so important to you to claim that faith is the gift? Does the Bible teach this anywhere else?

      Jesus said,
      “I am the door, if any man enter in he shall be saved” (John 10:10)
      “Preach the gospel, he that believeth shall be saved” (Mark 16:16).
      “The devil steals the Word, lest they believe and be saved” (Luke 8:12).

      Doesn’t Paul tell us,
      “It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1Cor. 1:21). (Isn’t that chronology—God saves those who believe).
      “The gospel is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes (Rom. 1:16). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

      Peter said,
      “We obtain as the outcome of OUR FAITH the salvation of our souls” (1Peter 1:9).

      HOW DOES THE BIBLE SAY WE ARE SAVED? “We shall be saved by His life” (Rom. 5:10). (“He who has the Son has the life” 1Jn. 5:12; “Christ is our life” Col. 3:4) “Made alive with Jesus Christ, by grace we have been saved” (Eph. 2:5). “He saved us by the washing of regeneration… (Titus 3:5).

    • Jim

      John Calvin (from the quote on the preceding page– he didn’t make faith the gift)
      “The next question is, in what way do men receive that salvation which is offered to them by the hand of God? The answer is, by faith; and hence he concludes that nothing connected with it is our own. If, on the part of God, it is grace alone, and if we bring nothing but faith, which strips us of all commendation, it follows that salvation does not come from us.”

      John Piper stated, “And so when we hear the gospel we will never respond positively unless God performs the miracle of regeneration. Repentance and faith are our work, but we will not repent and believe unless God does His work to overcome our hard and rebellious hearts. This divine work is called regeneration. Our work is called conversion. (John Piper, Desiring God, pg. 49).

      Wayne Grudem stated, in BOLD, “I must decide to depend upon Jesus to save me personally… In order to be saved I must decide to depend on Jesus to save me” (Grudem’s Systematic Theology pg. 710).

      Did you note these phrases: “Repentance and faith are our work”… “Conversion is our work”… “I must decide to depend upon Jesus to save me personally”

      Why are these kinds of phrases only OK coming from a Calvinist?

    • Arminian

      H said: “I don’t agree . . . I think the elements presented would lay stress on the former regardless of whether it was adverbial or conceptual as you have described it.”

      Then it seems like you don’t agree becaue it is inconvenient for your theology rather than because of objective Greek grammar. It should be obvious that a conceptual referent would highlight the concept while an adverbial usage would highlight the verbal or state.

      H said: “based upon what is most common in Greek grammar as opposed to an odd construction that likely conveys something different than what he intended to much of his audience”

      That is begging the question about his audience’s understanding. It is not an odd construction, but a well recognized one, as its attestation by the grammars shows (yet more: Smyth’s grammar, sec. 1246; Robertson, pp. 704-05). But you questioned if it is even a legtimate one! For the conceptual referent option, Robertson says it is the concept of salvation.

    • Arminian

      Oh and elsewhere, in his Word Pictures, Robertson says that the conceptual option has the referent as “the act of being saved by grace conditioned on faith on our part,” pretty much exactly as I have explained it and you have objected to!

    • Arminian

      Let me restate that the conceptual referent option does not support a reference to every specific aspect of the preceding phrase, but to the concept described by the phrase as a whole, which is salvation by grace through faith, with salvation as the gift, grace as its basis, and faith as the means by which the gift/salvation is received. Moreover, Hodge has repeatedly said that if Paul wanted to modify the verb (you are saved) he should have used a clearer construction. But the same point could be made against his position. If Paul wanted to indicate that each element of the preceding phrase is a gift and “not of yourselves”, then he could have done so by clearly stating it. The two most likely grammatical options for the referent in Eph 2:8 simply do not support the Calvinist view. I’ll cite yet another scholar on this in the next post.

    • Arminian

      Oh, and another scholar who says that the conceptual option is just as I have described it: Hoehner’s commentary on Ephesians, pp. 343-44: “in the present context, touto refers back to 2:4-8a and more specifically 2:8a, the concept of salvation by grace through faith. . . . “is not of yourselves,” express that salvation does not have its origin or source (ek) with humans. . . . In the present passage, the gift of God does not refer to “faith” but rather it refers to [the] whole concept of salvation. . . . In conclusion, the “gift” is that which is outside of ourselves and is to be received. Therefore, the gift of salvation has its origin in God, its basis is grace, and it is received by means of faith.”

    • […] and Eve who were serving as our federal representative before God you just might be a pelagian. cf. http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2011/02/regeneration-prcede-faith/ […]

    • Lucian

      Does Regeneration Precede Faith?

      No.

    • B. Lucescu

      I’m kind of late to this party but here’s my 2 cents; Read Acts 8:4-24, the story of “Simon the Magician” from Samaria, it seems that he believed and got baptized when he heard the gospel:

      Acts 8:12-13  But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed.

      But it appears (judging by Peter’s statement) that he was not yet born again, although seemingly capable of understanding his condition and his immediate need for prayer. (see verses 20-24)

    • sola deo gloria

      I think the misunderstanding on the Arminian side is the differentiation made between natural born children of God and adopted children. Christ is the “only begotten Son of God.” In contrast, we received the, “Spirit of adoption” Ro 8:15.

      A child must be born first to be adopted. And a mother does not adopt her child after giving birth. not to mention, no one adopts a dead person, which we all agree is man’s spiritual condition.

      1 John 5:1 “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God” ESV (Also, this is the clearest translation considering the greek tensing in the sentence structure)

      That should be enough.

      But John 1:12-13:
      The right to become children of God is granted to those who “believe” (that is adopted children of God Rom 8:15). THe word believe is in the active tense meaning that the exercising of a person’s will is leading to becoming children of God.
      does this then conflict with the next verse? The next verse says that the were born (in the Aortist tense which is past tense) not of human decision…

    • sola deo gloria

      As Paul would say… “Certainly not!”

      The verb ‘born’ is the in aortist passive. Meaning that the person is not involved in the process, or, that the person is only receiving the action and not in anyway associated with its reception.

      The difference between the active and passive is such:
      Active: I drove to the store.
      Passive: I was driven to the store.

      So we see that they cannot be referring to the same event b/c person cannot be driven to the store and drive to the store at the same time. So a person cannot be doing something actively leading to the rebirth and be a passive agent at the same time.

      Please consider this reading for download:
      http://www.archive.org/details/articlesofsynodo00syno
      It is a translation from States General who held the Synod.

      After reading I was surprised by the odious origin in which arminian doctrine has its roots. 10+ years of Arminius and followers disturbing the peace, dividing the church, and refusing to test their…

    • sola deo gloria

      … heterodox doctrine with Scripture.
      After 6 months and over 150 meetings, going line by line through both sides. The orthodox view, (calvin was dead before the term calvinism was applied) was upheld and the the arminian view was declared as heresy. Then, one of the arminians was beheaded for his role in the prolonged and cowardice conduct that harmed the church, and the rest put in prison for life. One of the men, instead of serving his prison time, decided to escape from prison and flee. He must not have taken the Pauline model of glorying in being a “Prisoner for Christ.”

      Lo, “a bad tree does not bear good fruit” Matt 7:18
      Article of the Synod (Ch 3; article 11-12) (Scott, pg 108)
      “But when God performs His good pleasure in His elect, or works in them true conversion, He not only provides that the gospel should be outwardly preached to them, and that their mind should be powerfully illuminated by the Holy Spirit, that they may rightly understand, and judge what the…

    • sola deo gloria

      “… Things of the Spirit of God; but He also, by the efficacy of the same regenerating Spirit, pentetrates into the innermost recesses of man, opens his closed heart, softens the obdurate heart, circumcises his uncircumcised heart, infuses new qualities into his will, makes that which had been dead alive, that which was evil good, that which had been unwilling willing… and leads and strengthens it, that, as a good tree , it may be able to bring forth good works. (12) And this regeneration, which is so much declared in Scripture, a new creation, a resurrection from the dead, a giving of life, which God without us (that is, without our concurrence, worketh in us. And this is by no means effected by the doctrine alone sounding without, by moral suasion, or by such a mode of working, that after the operation of God (as far as he is concerned) it should remain in the power of man, to be regenerated or not regenerated, converted or not converted;

    • sola deo gloria

      … But it is manifestly an operation supernatural, at the same time most perful, and most sweet, wonderful, secret, and ineffable in its power, according to the Scripture (which is inspired by the same Author of this operation) not less than, or inferior to, creation, or the resurrection of the dead: so that all those, in whose hearts God works in this admirable manner, are, certainly, infallibly, and efficaciously regenerated, and in fact believe. And thus their will, being now renewed, is not only influenced and moved by God, but being acted on by God, itself acts and moves. We wherefore, the man himself, through this grace received, is rightly said to believed and repent

      (14) Thus, therefore, faith is the gift of God; not in that it is offered to the will of man by God, but that the thing itself is conferred on him, inspired, infused into him. Not even that God only confers the power of believing, but from thence expects the consent, or the act of believing: but…

    • sola deo gloria

      that he, who worketh both to will and to do, worketh in man both to will to believe, and to believe itself, and thus works all things in all.

      (15) This grace God owes no one. For what can be owe to him who is able to give nothing first, that he may be recompensed [4]. Nay, what can he owe to him, who has noting of his own by sin and a lie?

      Verse substantiation:
      [1]: Deut. 30:6. Psa 110:3. Jer 31:33 Jer 32:39, Ezekiel 11:19, Ezekiel 36:25-26. Zech 12:10. Matt 11:25-26. John 1:12-13. John 3:3-6. John 6:44-45. John 6:62-65. Eph 2:4-5. Phil 1:13. Col 1:12-13. 1 Thess 2:13-14. Titus 3:4-6. 1 Peter 1:3. 1 Peter 2:9-10.
      [2] John 5:21-25 Rom 6:4-6. Rom 8:2. 2 Cor 5:17-18. Gal 6:15. Eph 1:19-20. Eph 2:6-10. Col 2:12-13. Col 3:1
      [3] Jer 31:18-19. Acts 3:19. Acts 5:31-32. Rom 8:13. 2 Timothy 25-26. 1 Peter 1:22.
      [4] Rom 11:35

    • sola deo gloria

      Message from the moderator: Please read blog rules regarding spamming comments. One comment should be sufficient. Thanks.

      one last thing. If a person reads Rom 9 and holds the exact objections that Paul anticipates his view of election and reprobation will produce, there is a pretty good chance your on the wrong side

      I’m not saying that I don’t love my arminian brothers. I love them, and in fact attend a church that is mostly arminian. The only reason I go there is because of the fellowship with them.

      However, my view of the arminian doctrine is another story. The doctrinal system has been judged unbiblical, the authors of the doctrine known to be morally questionable, unwilling to tolerate and coexist with the orthodox beliefs, and were unwilling to stand on scripture alone; not clearly presenting themselves and their beliefs in writing till forced to do so.

      Today this system is responsible for millions of false conversions, church weakening, unbiblical growth, a broader reliance on man, belittlement of sin and depravity for humanism that does anything to get a ‘confession’ of faith

    • Arminian

      “Sola deo gloria”‘s comments are ridled with errors, and I don’t have space to address them all. His distinction between natural spiritual birth and adoption is invalidated when one considers that his view would still have people being born of God and yet not his children. Moreover, as he himself pointed out(!), there is no need for a naturally born child to be adopted. His handling of Greek is totally mistaken. No Greek legitimate scholar would say that the passive voice means the person has nothing to do with the process. Take his car ride example. According to his logic, being driven to the store means one had nothing to do with it, did not ask for the ride, did not agree to go on the ride, etc. Apparently he thinks anyone who gets a ride was just thrown into the car without any say and driven. The Arminian view is not that we lake ourselves God’s children or born again, but that God alone makes us his children in responde to our faith. That’s what we see in John 1:12-13.

    • sola deo gloria

      thats not what the Synod of Dort saw in John 1:12-13 in 1619. My comments are straight from their decision. The decision that declared arminianism heresy and unbiblical after 6 months and 150+ meetings.

      1 John 5:1: Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God.

      Furthermore, John 3:8: “The wind [pnuema] blows where it wishes…”

      In other words, the Spirit is sovereign in dispensing the new birth. He moves where “He wishes.” Not as you would like it to say, “Where men act appropriately.”

      John 3:6: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh…”

      In other words, no action of the flesh will ever bring forth spirit. but only brings forth flesh. Not as you would like it to say, “Obedience of the flesh brings forth spirit.”

      John 6:63: “It is the Spirit that give life, the flesh profits nothing…”

      ‘profits nothing’ does not equal a little something, or a fraction of something.

      A bad does not bear good fruit

    • Arminian

      The Synod of Dort was not an ecumenical council nor one with wide-ranging authority. It was a regional conference and was truly a Kangaroo court. You might want to check into its history and how it was rigged against the truth. Thankfully, some of the Calvinists who attended were persuaded to become Arminians despite all the political corruption associated with it. You should search on Dort at the Society of Evangelical Arminians (actallu here is a link to such search results: http://www.google.com/custom?hl=en&domains=evangelicalarminians.org&q=dort&btnG=Search&sitesearch=evangelicalarminians.org).

      1 John 5:1 does not support regeneration as preceding faith, but if anything, faith preceding regeneration (Calvinist James White admits that it seems so in English, but then he mishandles Greek to try and argue against the plain meaning).

      Jn 3:8 The Spirit regenerates who he wishes, those who believe!

      We believe by God’s resistible grace, not by the flesh. I am mostly out of…

    • sola deo gloria

      of course you would think its ‘kangaroo,’ but that is simply because what you believe is being rejected. 6 months and over 150+ meeting. Further, it took over 10 years to finally get the remonstrants to come to a any type of meeting. If a person is standing on Scripture, they have no problem coming into the light. Compare their actions to Luther in 1517.

      How can a man be born not of human will (John 1:13), and then immediately you conclude, they are born because of human will? hopelessly contradictory.

      Here is a new one for you to think about.

      John 8:47: “He who is of God hears God’s words, therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.

      “of God” = “ek tou theou” or “out of the God”

      Matt 1:5: “And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse”

      “of Rachab” = “ek tEs Rachab”; “of Ruth” = “ek tEs Ruth”

      Same in John 18:37: “out of the truth” ek tEs alEtheias
      James 1:18

    • Arminian

      Are you kidding? But you’re impartial? By your own logic, of course you would ignore the synod of Dort’s injustice and think it wonderful since it champions your doctrine and denounces doctrine you oppose. I would just encourage people to look into the history.

      I have answerred your question about John 1:13 more than once in this thread. You just seem to be out of touch with the discussion and typical scholarly exegesis of that text.

      Your final point about “of God” is simply irrelevant. It does not support the Calvinistic/your position nor oppose the Arminian view. We are born *of God* by faith in accordance with God’s amazing grace.

    • sola deo gloria

      I’m sorry, but you have not appropriately answered any of the texts that I have brought forth.

      God’s saving grace is not resistible. Take John 6:44. is it not the same ‘him’ that is raised up as is drawn? You would have to twist and bend to say that they are different people. But you’ve done it with all the other texts, why not try it again?

      How do you understand God’s sovereignty in Eph 1:11?

      How do you understand Isaiah 46:9-11?
      Isaiah 55:11?
      Daniel 4:34-35?
      Jeremiah 10:23?

      Proverbs 16:4?

      God’s will is never resisted, do you remember what Job said in Job 42:2?

      How do you understand Acts 13:48?
      What about 2 Tim 1:9? Isn’t ‘foreseen faith’ disqualified when he writes, ‘not because of anything we have done?’

      So you think everyone got the same grace, but you made the difference in the end b/c of your decision?

      Read 1 Cor 1:29-30
      Read 1 Cor 4:7
      Read 2 Cor 3:5

      Your position has more holes than swiss cheese

    • cherylu

      sola dei gloria,

      Just a quick note here. You throw out 12 sections of scripture in your last comment alone and expect someone to answer them in one comment? (That is the rule here–remember?)

      And originally you used up seven comments to get your point across. Of course, Arminian or anyone else is not going to be able to answer all of your questions–at least to your satisfaction.

      Have you read the 300 plus comments already made here? This subject has already been discussed at length.

    • sola deo gloria

      I do not necessarily need anyone to answer or comment on the passages. They are straightforward, hardly needing interpretation. These passages are the sort that anyone who is subservient to Scripture would need only to read them to understand and accept what is being said.

      But, if someone would like to reply to them, I do believe that its possible in the limited word count.
      As far as the seven comments, I thought it would be nice if people could actually read what the Synod of Dort itself declared when it went line by line evaluating the same controversy.

      This debate was already settled in 1619, when the semi-pelagians were shut down once again. (see the Council of Orange in 529). A bad tree does not bear good fruit.

      However, I realize that it is not spiritually healthy for me to enter into such debates. But in my frailty, it is difficult for me to be restrained.

      What can I say, I am a sinner.

    • cherylu

      I’m sorry Sola, but what you read as so straight forward isn’t seen in the same way by everyone that reads the Bible. It certainly isn’t when you take it and put it alongside many other verses and teachings of the Bible. Then we start to see a lot of problems because it seems you have to contort the “straight forward” meaning of those verses to make them fit in with the “straight forward” meaning you see in the ones you list. That is why the conflict arises.

      And very frankly, how in the world do you expect a person to reply to 12 passages of Scripture in l000 characters or less? This short comment that I have made has already used up close to 700 characters. See the problem?

    • sola deo gloria

      Its straight forward when you read it and say it means what it says. There are no contradictions in the Bible.

      Its only becoming ‘contorted’ when a person has traditions that they are forcing the text to conform to.

      For example. Take just one of the texts, Eph 1:11.
      Notice that all things work for the purpose of God, according to His will. Is there anything that is taking place outside of His will? No, the text explicitly says ‘all things.’
      So one says, ‘what about the Jews that resisted the Holy Spirit in Acts 7? what about those who aren’t saved?’

      The text explicitly says ‘all things,’ why is a person questioning God? God’s will was seen in their resistance. 1 Peter 2:8. No one has some kind of moral integrity by which they can instruct God. Or that they should see a more morally sound way to treat violently rebellious sinners.

      The idea of moral integrity is an oxymoron when applied to human beings. Like saying, “I feel up and scraped my knee.”
      Romans 9:21-23. Proverbs 16:4

    • sola deo gloria

      But I don’t intend to re-share the same things I’ve already said. Just desire to encourage you to think critically about these texts.

      Think about this one also: John 17:2-3
      Notice, ‘authority over all flesh.’ For what reason does He have this? He says, ‘that He may give eternal life to as many as [God] had given Him.’ What is He giving so that they may have eternal life? He is giving knowledge of Himself and the Father and what they have done in redemption. This knowledge is expressly stated as a gift. It is not a human decision pieced together by a individual given all the apparent evidences and feelings.

      Move to John 17:19: For who’s sake did He sanctify Himself? For ‘their’ sake. Lets follow the pronouns, ‘their’ refers back to 17:2, those ‘given.’ What does it mean to sanctify Himself? not to become more righteous, He is God in the flesh. He means to consecrate for the purpose of God. He refers to His crucifixion being for ‘their’ sake = particular…

    • sola deo gloria

      … But tradition cries out! John 3:16! But what about john 3:16!?

      Lets think critically. Look at how John uses the term ‘world.’ See John 12:19. Did the world really come to Jerusalem? Boy, it must have been crowded. All the Indians rowing up with canoes, Chinese people arriving, etc. What about John 18:20. Did Jesus really speak openly to the world? Really the whole world in 3.5 years?

      Look at John 3:16-17. The use of the ‘world’ in the 17 expresses God’s purpose. “But that the world through Him might be saved.” John 6:39. How did Jesus see God’s purpose? “This is the will… that of all He has given Me I should loose nothing.”

      Move to John 6:51: “which I shall give for the life of the world.”

      So for who does He mean by ‘world?’ it can mean the system of the world, as a unit in space. or those ‘given’ in verse 39. But either way we read it, we know expressly that Christ is sanctifying Himself for those given to Him. the elect. John 17:2. John 17:19
      Think about it. May God continue blessing you, now and forever.

    • Arminian

      Of course the Bible does not contradict itself! That is why Calvinism is false, because it contradicts the plain meaning of so many passages of the word of God. Jn 1:12-13 is just one of them, which clearly reveals faith as prior to regeneration, something I believe I have demonstrated in the lengthy discussion here and you seem to have ignored.

      You have come in and used what has been called the “machine gun hermeneutic” (see http://evangelicalarminians.org/Glynn.the-machine-gun-hermeneutic), a faulty method of arguing that begs the question at issue by simply listing or quoting a bunch of verses of Scripture without attending to their context, etc. You list a bunch of passages and claim I should be able to address how your use of them is wrong and give the right interpretation of them in one 1000 character (not even word) post, yet you took 3 posts just to respond to someone who pointed out how unreasonable that is. I could throw a list of verses at you, but that’s not helpful

    • sola deo gloria

      I guess we will have to agree to disagree. Your statement of calvinism being false is ridiculous.

      Your interpretation of John 1:12 is immediately contradicted by very the next verse, John 1:13. If a man is still in the flesh, because he has not been regenerated, his decision to believe is in the flesh. But the verse clearly states, “nor of the will of the flesh” or “Not by human decision” (NIV). But then you say, it was because of your decision to believe. Your view is also contradicted by John 3:6. John 6:63.

      This is why arminianism was declared an incorrect view of scripture in 1619.
      I have only one last question. So God gave everyone the same grace, but at the very end He left it up to you? Then, you, seeing the glory of Christ, and your need for a savior, believed and repented? So you make yourself different from the unsaved?

      1 Cor 1:29-30
      1 Cor 4:7: “For who makes you differ from another?”
      2 Cor 3:5
      Col 1:12-13

      Faith is a gift: John 17:2-3. Phil 1:29. Eph 1:19. Rom 12:3.
      Repentance is a gift: Acts 5:31. 2 Tim 2:24-26

      God bless you, and thank you for this interesting discussion.

    • Arminian

      Yes, I think we will have to agree to disagree.

      I have addressed your argument about Jn 1:12-13 earlier in this thread. You shoudl read my comments.

      You again utilize the machine gun hermeneutic here, which is really a fallacious way to make an argument. You generally take those verses out of context and assume a certain, faulty understanding of them. I would encourage you to look at good, solid, scholarly exegetical materian on these passages.

      Arminianism was declared an incorrect view of Scripture by a kangaroodort with an incorrect view of Scripture, not because of truth; rather it was error.

      Faith is a gift, but one we have to receive like most gifts.

      May God bless you and lead you in his truth.

    • sola deo gloria

      Ad hominem slanders are a much worse form of fallacious argumentation than some idea you made up called ‘machine gun hermeneutics.’

      But it was a “kangaroo court:” ad hominem

      I’ve read the history of that Synod, as released by the authority of the States General, translated from Latin by Thomas Scott (1831). It only becomes clear from reading the history that the arminians are the morally questionable characters. after 10+ years of dodging and evading instead of standing on Scripture. It appears that it is you who has mischaracterized and twisted that Synod for your own use. Its like a criminal being found guilty and telling all the inmates ‘I didn’t do it!’

      ‘But he uses ‘machine gun hermeneutics:’ red herring & ad hominem

      The reason it feels like a ‘machine gun’ is because of the volume of Scripture that is available to flood against you.

      Further, your view of faith as a gift that we must accept is truly bizarre. So a thought accepts a thought? isn’t the thought that accepts christ simply faith? But now to maintain your view, you created a pre-faith that must accept the real faith that we express to be saved. I have never heard of such a thing. Isn’t it just easier to say that the trust we express is worked in us by God?

      Immanuel.

    • cherylu

      Sola,

      I don’t have the time to get into any discussion on your machine gun attack here–and I agree–that is what it is. As Arminian said, we could throw a whole bunch of verses on the table too.

      And you really should go and read what has already been written here rather then expect someone to spend hours rewriting it.

      But the most ridiculous thing I am seeing is you accusing Arminian of ad hominem attack. For crying out loud, go back and read that first seven comment volley you unleashed and see what you find there. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

      And to top it all off, you spoke of an Arminian that was beheaded and got on the case of another one that escaped from prison because “he evidently didn’t take Paul’s example of being a prisoner for Christ.” And then stated that “a bad tree produces bad fruit”.

      So I guess it is honorable to behead someone for a religious matter and throw someone in jail, but escaping is dishonorable? Frankly…

    • sola deo gloria

      Cheryl,
      I simply offered a history lesson on the Synod as reported by the people who lived it, read the download I offered for yourself. That is not ad hominem, that is reality. Its calling a spade black.

      I realize it is a different time now, then back then. Do you understand that? They didn’t live worshipping religious tolerance saying, ‘whatever people feel you know, its a free country.’ They were not religious liberals. Christ was everything. Christ was the only thing. They stood up for the Christ of the Bible and took it seriously (over 6 mnth, 150+ meetings). They worried about the youth because Arminius was a professor at Lyden.

      The first seven comments I wrote where directly quoted from the Synod’s declarations.

      They church extended the arminians offers of toleration over and over again. But guess what? the arminians continually slandered the orthodox view, publicly, privately, and especially in sermons. It was because of their continual disturbance and unwillingness to come to mediation that caused all the problems. A person was beheaded and person in prison… its a work of the time. Do you know how many protestants died in the 30 year war after the reformation. The Catholics killed baptists by drowning them in water. Put your mind in context.

      Immanuel.

    • sola deo gloria

      And btw, i purposely separated “A bad tree bears bad fruit” from that person who escaped prison. Connecting it therefore with the next section as an intro to the Synod’s findings.

    • Ron

      Ad hominem slanders are a much worse form of fallacious argumentation than some idea you made up

      A few sentences later:

      It only becomes clear from reading the history that the arminians are the morally questionable characters.

      Haha 🙂

    • sola deo gloria

      Ron,
      I’m referring to the arminians, or, remonstrants who lived during the time of the Synod of Dort. Not every arminian. The judgment of ‘morally questionable’ was delivered in writing by the States General who penned the report. They described their actions in space and time. I explained why they where morally questionable. But it is not their morality that discounts their doctrine, and I never said that. I was only providing the reality that Arminian was so clearly twisting in order to discount the Synod’s ruling.

      The only fact that discounts their doctrine is the court decision that deemed the theology as heresy in 1619. I don’t care if the defendant is Stalin or a nobel peace winner, all that matters is the court decision. Biblical calvinism supported, arminianism rejected.

      And btw Cheryl, the reason why arminians don’t throw any verses on the ‘table’ is because the supporting verses don’t exist in context. If they did, the Bible would be errant.

      Read the download i posted.

    • Ron

      But it is not their morality that discounts their doctrine, and I never said that. I was only providing the reality that Arminian was so clearly twisting

      I’m sorry to have to say this, but you are being dishonest. Before Arminian became involved you said the following:

      The doctrinal system has been judged unbiblical, the authors of the doctrine known to be morally questionable . .

      The obvious implication here is that we should not adopt the Arminian position on regeneration because of some negative character traits possessed by certain Arminians in the past. You therefore blatantly commit ad hominem. Whether or not you choose to admit as much is unimportant to me.

      Silly statements like, “the reason why arminians don’t throw any verses on the table is because the supporting verses don’t exist in context. If they did, the Bible would be errant” are exactly why I’ve said that the “new Calvinism” is often just the “new fundamentalism”.

    • sola deo gloria

      Ok, I played the hypocrite. I’ll admit it. Its this bizarre idea of ‘machine gun’ hermeneutics that got to me.

      Its not my fault that the Bible is full of God’s sovereignty Arminian. I swear, to some people Jesus seems to be the only Lord that can’t make anyone do anything. Psalms 24:1.

      Jesus said “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me…” John 6:37. How could Christ be so sure? Because God is sovereign over all things. Eph 1:11.

      I am accepting of the people who are arminian, I’ve already stated that, and I fellowship with several. But it is the doctrine itself that has a foul stench. Like the bad leaven established though the Council of Trent, which was full of ‘will-worship’ and man-centered romance

    • Ron

      Like the bad leaven established though the Council of Trent, which was full of ‘will-worship’ and man-centered romance

      In other words, you’re not gaga over the bad romance.

      /couldn’t resist

    • cherylu

      You know Sola, you not only made an ad hominem attack way back there in your seven comment opening salvo–the one you finally admitted to in your last comment after completely denying it to start with– but you have also pretty much accused everyone that disagrees with you of not being “subservient” to Scripture. That is a great way to show Arminians that you are accepting of them as people, don’t you think?

      The first Arminians were morally questionable, Arminians today aren’t subservient to Scripture. And to top it all off you basically called all of us liars when you said that we have no verses to “throw on the table”. If you had set out to come up with the worst possible plan to convince us all of the truth of your position, I am not sure you could of done a whole lot better job then what you have managed to do here in the last few days!

    • sola deo gloria

      Yes, I likely could have formulated a better strategy. But i encourage you, don’t look at the man, look at the Scriptures 🙂

    • cherylu

      Sola,

      OK, so we are not to look to the man, huh?? But isn’t that just what you did when you said part of the reason for rejecting Arminianism was because of the men that believed it?

      This conversation is not very productive and I am out of here. You dug yourself in way too deep to be able to get out anytime soon.

    • sola deo gloria

      I do realize that I’m still a bit in my Calvinist ‘cage-stage.’ But about the remonstrants, I wanted to share what the State General had to say about the men they had to endure for over a decade. And I’m glad I did, because Arminian started to share some bizarre ideas about a ‘kangaroo’ court. After reading the report itself, his view was almost too funny to take seriously.

      The reasons why this soteriology should reject it is clear. the Synod rejected it over a 6 month process with over 150 meetings. And ultimately because the Scriptures i provided are alone enough to disprove it multiple times over. You shouldn’t accept arminianism because it has been disproved ad nauseam.

    • Arminian

      Again, one would almost think you were kidding. You think we should simply accept the account sanctioned by those basically in charge of the merely national synod of one country? Earlier in the thread I gave you a link to various articles about the synod where you can get the truth about the corrupt, politically charged proceedings rather than simply accepting the biased take of the people in charge of it (http://www.google.com/custom?hl=en&domains=evangelicalarminians.org&q=dort&btnG=Search&sitesearch=evangelicalarminians.org). It does seem to have truly been truly a kangaroo court and deserves the name kangaroodort.

      On the machine gun hermeneutic you have used, I would urge anyone interested to look at the link I gave and see if it does not characterize the way you have argued here. It is almost like the guy had you in mind when hge wrote it! Here ios the link: http://evangelicalarminians.org/Glynn.the-machine-gun-hermeneutic.

    • sola deo gloria

      I would rather argue that way than like you; not answering any of the texts, but rather dodging them. But i really want to make you comfortable, so I’ll try to go at a pace suitable for you (1 Peter 2:2)

      Please respond to these texts and how it fits with arminian theology:

      2 Tim 2:25-26

      John 10:14-15. With John 10:26-27

      John 17:2. With John 17:19.

      Surely this is not too hard for you.

    • Arminian

      Well at least you admit that you use the (faulty) machine gun hermeneutic.
      Not answering any of the texts? You jump into this thread after post after post of detailed (for the venue) attention to certain texts relevant to the topic of the OP (the order of faith and regen.), ignore my comments on them, throw out a bunch of texts not necessarily related to the topic of the OP, and demand I interact with many texts in the space of 1000 characters. And now you demand I address new texts, suggesting that I have been dodging your texts, when you have not addressed my comments about the texts we have already been discussing. How about interacting with the mass of comments about the texts we have already been discussing? Or are you dodging those comments because you have no answer to them? I assume you jumped in on the end of the thread and have not bothered to look at what has already been said. Fine, but you should not expect people to repeat everything or get into new stuff with you

    • sola deo gloria

      I have read through the comments. But all I see over and over again are excellent points made by ‘steve martin’ and ‘hodge,’ among others. And then you coming in with baseless argumentation, opinion based reasoning, and lack of any clear biblical exegesis. You do the same thing over and over again, and its difficult to read. You only talk about John 1:12, but your view of John 1:12 is immediately contradicted by the very next verse John 1:13. But you fail to see this error.

      I particularly liked steve martin’s reply,

      “Hodge,
      Sometimes the clay is baked.” lol

      Here is the connection, your whole view of regeneration is based on the idea that anyone can be regenerated. Can anyone be regenerated? When they make a decision? Decisional regeneration? …is that what Jesus is saying in John 6:65? (John 6:37). when He says, “No one is ABLE… UNLESS…” I guess thats a rational conclusion in some distant galaxy.

      But again you dodge. Just look at one text to see if your idea of the whole being able to be regenerated is sound… (cont… only slightly)

    • sola deo gloria

      (Cont from last post)… If I accept your idea of decisional regeneration, then I must also accept the idea that anyone can be regenerated because the power to do so is in themselves.

      Lets just look at one text critically:

      John 10:14-15. With John 10:26-27.
      Jesus knows His sheep and His sheep know Him, He even says and I lay down my life for the sheep. But then He goes to this Jew and says, “But you do not believe, because you are not My sheep…” This person doesn’t believe because He is not His sheep. John 6:37. John 6:65. John 8:43. John 8:47.

      So Jesus says, “I know My sheep,” is the whole world His sheep, obviously this guy wasn’t. What about Matt 7:23. Jesus says He doesn’t know these people either. Are they His sheep, obviously not. Can goats be regenerated by decision? obviously not, because they don’t ‘Hear [His] voice,’ Why do they not hear, because they are not able. Who is able, “No one able unless it is granted to Him by the father. Sovereign grace accepted, free-will regeneration rejected, just connect the dots.

    • Arminian

      I addressed John 1:13 more than once, and my whole argument involved both Jn 1:12 and 13, and the undeniable parallel between them. But you don’t respond to my points. rather you cite an insulting remark made by another Calvinist, which seems to fit your style of interaction. But it doesn’t commend your theology; rather, it appears like bad fruit from bad theology.

      The types of passages you bring up in John as supporting Calvinism and opposinhg Arminian theology have been addressed compellingly and at length in the this incredible article: http://evangelicalarminians.org/node/282, showing that they are best understood as fully compatible with Arminian theology. Calivnists who have read it have often been impressed by the author’s work and just have not had much by way of response. Calvinists misinterpret those passages and miss their real context in the Gospel of John. Arminians agree that no one can come to Jesus unless God draws them. But Jesus tells us he draws all (Jn 12:32)

    • Ron

      Arminian, “all” doesn’t actually mean all (except, of course, when it’s used in Ephesians 1:11 😀 See sdg’s post here: http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2011/02/regeneration-prcede-faith/comment-page-7/#comment-50689)

    • sola deo gloria

      This form of exegesis reminds me of a kindergardener trying scribble between the lines.

      you quoted a text John 12:32. Lets think critically. John 12:19. Really the whole world? must have been crowded in jerusalem, Indians rowing up in canoes, Eskimos coming over sand dunes with sleds and sled dogs… ABSURD!

      John 12:32. “Draw” = Hekuso (G1670) = literally drag. Lets see where else this is used, before we jump the gun as you have done.
      John 6:44. “Draw” = Helkuse (G1670). Is the ‘him’ drawn (dragged) the same as the ‘him’ raised up? is the first ‘auton’ the same person as the second ‘auton’ in this verse? Can you prove that its not? All who are drawn in the form Jesus is referring with ‘helkuse’ / ‘helkuso’ are also raised up. Unless you can convince someone that the ‘him’ is a different ‘him’ in John 6:44.

      draw (drag) ALL people? head for head? this falls on its face immediately in another way. What about the thousand years that north and south America didn’t even exist in the minds of western civilization? The gospel was not there, even today many die without it. They were drawn too? While the world was still considered flat? Think seriously about this. Now you are trying to push natural theology. that I can find the God of the Bible by looking at a tree or some other created thing without the revelation in the Word. ABSURD!

    • sola deo gloria

      Ron,

      I do appreciate your impartiality. But would you let your child play with matches? or run with a pair of scissors? You should not do the like with this man.

      The sovereignty of God and the will of God in salvation are completely different things.
      Taking this logic and a person may begin to worship a god that wears a lucky rabbit’s foot around his neck, crosses his fingers, blows on the cosmic dice, and prays to lady luck.

      God’s sovereignty is expressly stated as ‘all’ encompassing (Isaiah 46:9-11. Daniel 4:34-35. Psalms 115:3. Jer 10:23)

    • Ron

      What are you blathering on about now? Thank you for admitting that your understanding of words in a passage has literally nothing to do with the actual words in context, but instead is determined by some other theological presuppositions.

      You should not do the like with this man.

      You’re a silly little kid who recently stumbled upon Calvinism (and bought it hook, line, and sinker, after listening to either John Piper or James White, I bet) who has already admitted to being dishonest and hypocritical (and only after I went through the trouble of demonstrating it). You bring nothing new or original to the table. Your thinking is sloppy and simplistic. Your little lists of proof-texts at the end of every assertion you make are an embarrassment.

      You are not a person that needs or deserves to be taken seriously. My humorous little one-liners are apparently all that is needed to demonstrate that. The fact that you think so highly of yourself is literally incredible.

    • sola deo gloria

      I’m sorry you see scripture as embarrassing. For some reason I thought the point of commenting was to discuss Scripture, or in other words, using texts to demonstrate a point. Not your idea of man being the measure all things (really, literally ‘all?’)

      Your problem is only partially concerned with me. The rest is in the inability to accept what the Bible actually says. Follow your theology to open theism where it, in all consistency, ends up.

      Your inability to take Scripture seriously is what is embarrassing. You trying to help Arminian is like the blind leading the blind, you both fall in a ditch! Woe to me for trying to help you out. Your both heavier then i thought.

    • Ron

      This was hardly the devastating response I expected after such a dire warning! 🙂

      I’m sorry you see scripture as embarrassing.

      I said no such thing. You either lack basic comprehension skills or are intentionally misrepresenting me. Which one is it? Based on your past behavior, I’d say that latter, but I’m open to correction on this point.

      For some reason I thought the point of commenting was to discuss Scripture

      My point of commenting was to point out your hypocritical behavior. I can’t speak for anyone else.

      The rest is in the inability to accept what the Bible actually says.

      No you don’t accept what Bible actually says. Wasn’t that helpful?

      Your inability to take Scripture seriously is what is embarrassing

      Kindly show where I have not taken Scripture seriously. Please stop lying!

      You trying to help Arminian

      Pointing out your hypocrisy is hardly “trying to help Arminian”.

      Next.

    • sola deo gloria

      Your little lists of proof-texts at the end of every assertion you make are an embarrassment.

      nope, wasn’t my comprehension skills.

      And btw, now who is throwing ad hominem slanders? I didn’t deny that the nature of a human being is an wildly unpredictable thing, heinous in all its logic and ways. But now your own hypocrisy also makes the point.

    • Ron

      I said that your lists are an embarrassment, not that Scripture is an embarrassment. If you can’t understand such a basic distinction, how can you hope to do justice to more complex issues of biblical interpretation?

      About ad hominem, you are mistaken on two points:

      1. I would only be hypocritical if I said something like “You shouldn’t use ad hominems!” And then continued to use them myself. As it stands, I did no such thing. I merely pointed out your hypocrisy for doing just that.

      2. The informal ad hominem fallacy occurs when someone says or implies that because of some personal trait about a person, his conclusions are therefore incorrect. I’ve done no such thing. I have pointed out negative things about you, to be sure, but have nowhere said or implied that because of that, your views on regeneration are incorrect. Truthfully, I waver back and forth on the issue of monergistic regeneration.

      Hope that helps!

    • cherylu

      (Still lurking here.)

      Sola, believe me when I say I have seen interactions with Ron before and this is NOT his usual way of interacting. He was trying to make a point, points several of us have been trying to make about your way of interacting here. What he has said to you in the last couple of comments have been more a less an example, it seems to me, of the way you have interacted here since you came with your seven gun salute a few days ago. As I told you last night, you’ve gotten yourself so far dug in that it will take a long time to dig yourself back out again. Are you aware that folks have been banned from this blog in the past for such behavior?

      It is obvious that you won’t accept any one else’s interpretation of anything that doesn’t match yours. Making snide remarks doesn’t make points.

      And even though I don’t have the time or energy to spend in this “debate” at the moment, I do still have an interest here. I spent a considerable amount of time here earlier.

    • Ron

      Alright, cherylu has brought me back to Earth 🙂 I sort of allowed myself to be drawn into a juvenile exchange– as much as I like to think myself above that. I’ve made my point, but I’m still mad that nobody commented on my hilarious Lady Gaga joke.

      Blessings all, I’m out for now.

    • cherylu

      Moderators,

      We need you!

    • sola deo gloria

      Ok, I will not disturb any longer with the Scriptural proof that supports Calvinism and destroys arminianism.

      To all that are reading this, if you are not in Christ, you will be found lacking before God. You are a wicked sinner, vile and repulsive, awaiting judgment before God. Look at yourself. Can you deny this video? Repent and believe the Gospel!

      Grace to you all! (But more grace then I could show :))

    • cherylu

      Sola,

      You know, most of the folks that write articles on this blog (I’m not speaking of the commenters) are Calvinists. So you are definitely in the majority here in that respect. There have been many, many discussions on Calvinism/Arminianism here in the past that many of us have taken part in.

      That is standard procedure around here. It is the way this was done that was the problem here recently. Are you familiar with the old saying, “Like a bull in a china closet?” That is kind of the way that your interaction has felt–smash bang, crash! 🙂

    • sola deo gloria

      Sorry, I just love the Doctrines of Grace!

      Even if I don’t come across as the most gracious! I know that I am a work in progress (Eph 2:10)

      Bye now 🙂

    • Mickey

      Michael,

      I’m late to the game on this, but I enjoyed your article. Sola, keep it up brother. Amazing how the Word is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of man, isn’t it?

      Sola Fide

    • Arminian

      Mickey,

      I wonder if you missed some of the comments on the post. The doctrine of regeneration preceding faith is an especially weak one IMO. And I believe some of the comments have really brought this out.

    • Mickey

      My Arminian Friend…

      Please read John chapter 3, “You must be born again.” Those who are born again (regenerated) are given the gift of faith and repenatance. As John the Baptist said, ““A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.” John 3:27

      Scripture trumps blog comments every time.

      Solus Christus

      Mick

    • Arminian

      Mickey,

      Iti s ironic that you point to John 3, where it is made clear that we become born again by faith! We receive the life that the Spirit gives by faith. John 3:27 is certainly true, but it doesn’t support regeneration preceding faith.

      Moreover, I agree that Scripture trumps blog comments. But when blog comments are faithful to Scripture and show how Scripture teaches that faith precedes regeneratiion, as in this thread, well then, I am going to have to believe the Bible and the blog comments that are faithful to it rather than blog comments that are contrary to the Bible. Just saying . . .

      God bless, brother.

    • Mickey

      Arminian

      “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Jn 3:7-8

      Are not the “whosoever” in John 3:15 & 16 those who have been born again as Jesus spoke of in verses 7 & 8? Do not marvel my friend but objectively believe the Word. “For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.” (John 5:21) You see, a person must have life before he can act. John 5: 24-25, “…the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.” Because of that life that Jesus gives, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life.” John 5:24

      Please understand that I believe whole heartedly in evangelism. For, “…we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.” 2 Cor 5:20

      Sola…

    • Arminian

      John 3:7-8 is completely true; you simply assume an unnatural meaning for it. The Holy Spirit regenerates whoever he wills. But the question is, who does he will to regenerate? John 3 makes clear it is those who believe. (BTW, it is completely question-begging to assume that “whoever he wills” means unconditionally; indeed, that would be a very unusual meaning for such a phrase.)

      The whosoever of John 3:15-16 are not the ones who had been born again, but the ones who become born again by believing. The text has it that those who believe may have eternal life, not that those who have eternal life may believe. 3:15 gives the illustration that just as Israelites looked to the serpent symbol and therefore lived, so those who look to Jesus/believe in him will receive spiritual life. You turn the text on its head! This is why I said it is ironic that you mentioned John 3. It actually teaches the faith precedes regeneration; spiritual life comes by faith, a major theme in John. Im…

    • Mickey

      Arminian

      Congratualtions on your new life through faith! Glory to you!

      I received my faith from my new life, (both as a gift), to the glory of God alone! Sola Gratia!

      I did not imagine that I could change your mind, nor do I wish to. Revelation comes from God. I beg of you to stay open to God’s sovereignty. If God gives his sovereignty away to you (and others), then by definition, he is no longer sovereign is he?

      My prayer for you is, ” that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

      Grace and peace to you through the Lord Jesus Christ…

      Mick

    • Mickey

      I enjoyed Michael’s blog, but felt he made a slight mistake with this sentence, “An initial, unbiased reading of this verse would suggest to anyone that faith is a condition of salvation.”

      I suppose it could be said that “…faith is a condition of conversion.” Conversion being the regenerated man’s exercise of the gift of faith and repentance. But in that respect it would be God’s condition, not man’s.

      Perhaps Spurgeon said it best, “‘Repentance’ is a grace. Some people preach it as a condition of salvation. Condition of nonsense! There are no conditions of salvation. God gives the salvation himself…” (“Repentance Unto Life,” September 23, 1855)

    • Arminian

      M said: “Congratualtions on your new life through faith! Glory to you!”

      *** Interesting that you see life through faith as giving glory to man and not God when Scripture repeatedly affirms spiritual life by/through faith explicitly, as in John 3:15-16, which we have been discussing. You see, as Scripture makes clear, faith precludes boasting (Rom 3:25-28; Rom 4:4-45).

      You beg me to stay open to God’s sovereignty? I completely embrace and believe in God’s sovereignty as Scripture teaches it. Allowing us to have a choice in a matter is not him giving his sovereignty away, but it is actually his sovereign choice; he can do as he pleases. The problem is that you seem to be advocating a notion of God’s soveriengty at odds with Scripture and that would deny God the right to give life by faith just as he justifies by faith. I would beg you to stay open to God’s word rather than turning its text on its head, as with John 3 (see my previous post for demonstration of this).

      God…

    • Mickey

      Armini

      Thanks for your concern. May God be glorified.

      I do not doubt your regeneration or faith, I just have faith that your new life occurred before hand. My goal is simply to glorify God. If I have not I beg your forgiveness.

      What are your thoughts on penal substitution?

      Toujours Pret

      Mick

    • Arminian

      All glory and honor to God!

      I ascribe to penal substitution as a major aspect of the atonement, as do most Arminians including Arminius himself.

      God bless!

    • Jeff Ayers

      After reading the article and subsequent posts on the issue of “regeneration preceding faith” allow me some observations:

      1. The Bible NEVER states that regeneration precedes faith.
      2. The Bible is explicit when stating all who are quickened (made alive) and receive eternal life is by faith
      3. Only a man made system such as Reformed 5 point TULIP Calvinism requires and necessiates a need for “regeneration preceding faith”
      4. If regeneration precedes faith then you have a person who is quickened (made alive spiritually) but is not justified, sanctified (positionally) saved, given eternal life, Have Christ in them, have their sins forgiven, and they are not seated in heavenly places, crucifed with Christ, buried with Christ or risen with Christ.

      You have something that the Bible never speaks of.

      what a tangled theological web we weave, when at first we practive theology without scriptural support and become deceived.

    • Steve Martin

      A few of you may like this class. It’s related to the topic at hand and about halfway through Pastor Mark gets into it:

      http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/2011/08/18/a-different-take-on-baptism-other-than-the-symbolic-view/

      .

    • C Michael Patton

      The bible never say lots of stuff:

      Trinity
      Hypostatic union
      What books belong in the bible
      Free will
      The bible does not even say Bible!

      We are talking about theological concepts taught in the Bible.

    • Jeff Ayers

      CMP

      if you would have read my entire post you would have seen that i was not looking for a magical phrase of “regeneration precedes faith”… I am fully aware of those examples and many more… I ever realize the bible does not say “Faith precedes regeneration”.

      My 4 points and comments taken as a whole are simply posing this question:

      Why does the Bible have scores of verses that SEQUENTIALLY (ordo salutis?) have faith prior to salvation (regenerative-justification type “salvation”); and dozens more that imply this order–But none of the verses mentioned in the posts or elsewhere in the scriptures even give a clear implication that an unsaved person is made alive spiritually without a pre-requisite of faith, belief or trust?

      Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

      Paul sums up the issue well.

      BTW–i love the way you make me think –thank you and God for your ministry!!

    • Nelson Banuchi

      Pattonquotes a line in Wesley’s hymn and interprets as follows:

      “Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray: [regeneration (Reformed) or prevenient grace (Arminian)]”

      Regeneration is not synonymous with prevenient grace (or grace per se); neither is divine illumination or enlightenment itself the act of regeneration, although it may lead to regeneration.

      Patton seems to confuse prevenient grace as the act of God regenerating (rather than viewing the former as the origin or cause of the latter), thus advocating obtaining salvation before obtaining salvation.

      Furthermore, under Calvinism’s erroneous theological presuppositions, Patton wrongly equates the Arminian understanding of “prevenient grace” with the Calvinist notion of regeneration.

      It seems to me that Arminius taught that prevenient grace is not the act of regeneration per se but regenerative; that there is “an intermediate stage between being unregenerate and regenerate. The intermediate stage is when the human being is not so much free to respond to the gospel…but freed to respond…” (Roger Olson, “Arminian Theology”, p.164).

    • Nelson Banuchi

      Sola de Gloria said (March 28, 2011 at 3:38 am), “If a person reads Rom 9 and holds the exact objections that Paul anticipates his view of election and reprobation will produce, there is a pretty good chance your on the wrong side .”

      Nelson: Are you saying if someone correctly understands the “exact objections” Paul is answering in Romans 9, “there is a pretty good chance your on the wrong side,” that is, that Paul got it wrong so, the reader would have ir wrong?

      Sola: “However, my view of the arminian doctrine is another story. The doctrinal system has been judged unbiblical, the authors of the doctrine known to be morally questionable, unwilling to tolerate and coexist with the orthodox beliefs, and were unwilling to stand on scripture alone; not clearly presenting themselves and their beliefs in writing till forced to do so.”

      Nelson: I’d like to know (a) whether you get your informatiom from exclusively Calvinistic writings or, also from Arminian writings, and (b) specifically, which writings?

      Sola: “Today this system is responsible for millions of false conversions, church weakening, unbiblical growth, a broader reliance on man, belittlement of sin and depravity for humanism that does anything to get a ‘confession’ of faith.”

      Nelson: Where do you get this information? Where are your statictical information?

    • […] Does Regeneration Precede Faith? […]

    • zeek

      YES

    • SDG

      I just wanted to mention the book I read that gave information about the events leading up to the Synod of Dort and the character of the remonstrants. It is:

      “The articles of the Synod of Dort, and its Rejection of Errors: With the History of Events Which Made way for that Synod, as Published by the Authority of the States-General; and the Documents Confirming its Decision”

      It is by Thomas Scott. You can search it on amazon. It was published by the authority of the States-General.

    • Nick Schoeneberger

      Michael, since you quoted Geisler’s book, I hope you have read James White’s refutation of it, “The Potter’s Freedom.” Geisler’s book was shown to be an embarrassment appealing to emotion and not the usual scholarly quality of Geisler’s many other works. The exegesis seems spotty at best and he turns the text on its head over and over. Worth a read (or two) and I think a response if you find yourself agreeing with anything Geisler had to say in “Chosen but Free.”

    • […] DOES REGENERATION PRECEDE FAITH? […]

    • Aguinaldo Angeles

      Hi Brother Michael,
      I personally believed that salvation is totally by grace and can be receive by faith and repentance alone. What differs me from you is that you believed that Regeneration or quickening, the giving of life preceded Faith.
      My first question is, what is the difference between Faith and Believe?
      Second, What can you say about Jesus statement in John 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: Here it was clearly stated by Jesus Christ Himself that believing preceded making one alive.
      Third,How about John’s purpose of selecting 8 miracles. John 20:30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
      John 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. Here it is clearly understand that John’s intention of selecting these miracle was for the purpose that the reader might believe so that they might have life.
      Lastly, In your diagram above, we can know and tell the time when each event took place, for example: ELECTION was before the world begun, Jesus Death was when He was crucified, Calling is when the person hear the gospel of His salvation, CONVERSION is when the person responded in faith and Repent, JUSTIFICATION is received after man responded, and so on. And we can give each event a verse from the Bible to support it. My question is when does this REGENERATION take place? Can you give a verse to prove it?

      Thanks

      Your brother in Christ,
      Aguinaldo ANgeles

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