Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Questions on Regeneration

The following is from December, 2008, and from my Baptist Gadfly blog. (See Here For The Original Posting) I attempted to answer questions about the born again before faith error.

Dear Sir

"I just ran across your comments in your bio. Am attaching an illustration of salvation as I understand it. It is proper to say "believe ..and you will be saved". It seems to me to be un-Biblical to say believe and you will be regenerated. It is Biblical to say repent and you will be saved. Unbiblical to say repent and you will be regenerated."

Dear Cap:

The "hermeneutic" propositions you give are not to be found in the Bible. Where does the Bible give these premises? Did you look at all the places in the Bible where "saved" is used and come to this conclusion? Or, did you come to believe your propositions on the "ordo salutis" and then take them to the Bible? There is no scripture that commands men to believe for the new birth?

I am going to suppose that when you say "it is PROPER to say," or not to "say," that you include what we as evangelists are to "say" to the dead alien sinners? To the totally depraved and unregenerate sinners?

If what you say is true, then are you guilty of affirming that only the regenerated are commanded to believe and repent for "salvation"?

You are also guilty of affirming the non-Biblical premise that says "every aspect of salvation, except regeneration, is commanded of men to obtain by faith."

Thus, with these unbiblical man-made premises in your head, you go to the Bible, and "hook or crook," make them "square with" your premises.

Thus, if you read a passage where a person is said to be "saved" or receive a blessing for "believing" and for "repenting," you conclude that it cannot be connected with "regeneration" or the "new birth," and you therefore make it something, regardless of context, to do with a post regeneration experience, in sanctification, justification, or perseverence.

Your faulty premises also make you to affirm that no one is commanded to be regenerated and renewed, or to do anything to be regenerated, and yet the scriptures are replete with such commands.

I believe it is "biblical" to say "believe and live"! And, "repent and live," or words of similar import. Let me give you some examples.

"Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?" (Ezekiel 18: 31 KJV)

"Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked." (Deuteronomy 10: 16 KJV)

"Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings." (Jeremiah 4: 4 KJV)

"For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!" (Ezekiel 18: 32 NIV)

"When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life." (Acts 11: 18 KJV)

"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." (John 1: 12 KJV)

"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord." (Acts 3:19 KJV)

"For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3: 26 KJV)

"This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" (Galatians 3: 2 KJV)

"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,." (Ephesians 1: 13 KJV)

"And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." (John 5: 40 KJV)

You then asked me about some wording in some confessions.

You asked:

"As to the new birth not preceding repentance and faith, how do you understand the New Hampshire confession chapter "Of grace in regeneration, where the proper evidence of the new birth appears in the holy fruits of repentance and faith and newness of life?"

Are you saying that these brethren advocated the idea that men were "regenerated" who lacked faith and repentance?

Can a man be said to be regenereted who is dead? Well, the confession says that "life" itself is a "fruit" of regeneration, meaning what is a constituent part of it. As one cannot be said to be "regenerated" who lacks the fruit of a "new life," then also one cannot be said to be "regenerated" who lacks the fruit of "faith" and of "repentance."

Besides, "repentance" is all the same as "regeneration" or "conversion." These terms, as Jonathan Edwards taught, were all virtually words denoting the same experience of grace.

Regarding the London confession see my entry here

You then write:

"Or article 4a of the BFM as the "new birth..to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ?"

On this see my entry here

You then cite the "third article of the Arminian Remonstrance." I am not familar with this document but would assume it is not affirming that one can be born again who is in unbelief.

You then write:

"Not knowing you, I am not trying to argue, just to see how you would deal with these sources if you have the time.

I attended NOBTS in the late 1980s and the Greek professor ,who appeared to be Pelagian, admitted that John 1:13 was ep exegetical to verse 12, i.e. explains that those who believe are those who have been born of God."

John 1:10-13 destroys the "born again before faith" view. I have written on this passage numerous times, but see here.

Am I blind or does the apostle not say that Christ is received and believed in prior to becoming the children of God? What is said in verse 13 only states that the believing and receiving were all the same as their being begotten. "They receive/believe to become the children of God" compared with "they were begotten to become the children of God."

Some of the "born again before faith" group will attempt to say that the "becoming sons (children) of God" by faith, in verse 12, is the already regenerated person becoming a child of God by adoption. But, this cannot be the case. For, had John "adoption" in mind, he would not have used the Greek word "teknon" "children," which he did, but would have used the word "huios" (adolescent "sons") instead. So, we become the children of God by receiving Christ, which receiving is equated with believing and with being begotten.

Yours in Christ,


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