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Pilgrim
Pilgrim
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Regeneration and Conversion #15176
Tue Jun 08, 2004 12:49 PM
Tue Jun 08, 2004 12:49 PM

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Please some clarification or correction required:
A debate occured within our church by a prominent member,I shall explain.It was pointed out that a Child could not be converted but could be regenerate.I did not agree and am somewhat confused by the statement.I ask you my dear freinds as I know the subject will return.I believe if someone anyone, man, woman or child is regenerate then they will by virtue be saved converted cannot see how it can be otherwise.So why can a child be regenerate yet not converted.I look forward to your words of enlightenment brothers and sisters.
Yours in Christ

Re: Regeneration and Conversion #15177
Tue Jun 08, 2004 1:33 PM
Tue Jun 08, 2004 1:33 PM
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As with so many things, it seems, there is controversy and disagreement concerning what the Bible teaches. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/rolleyes2.gif" alt="" /> And, I am quite certain that this subject is no exception.

So, with that in mind, I will express my personal beliefs concerning the relationship between regeneration and conversion:
  • The primary purpose of regeneration is to endow spiritual life to a person's soul to the end that they will be reconciled to God in Christ Jesus.
  • Regeneration creates all the elements which are necessary for a person to apprehend Christ unto reconciliation with God.
  • Regeneration is a secret (non-experiential) and sovereign work of the Holy Spirit.
  • Regeneration, in and of itself does not save. It is simply the means by which a person is enabled to be reconciled to God in Christ, through faith.
  • Regeneration precedes conversion; conversion necessitates a prior regeneration.
  • Faith is the fruit of regeneration and is immediately expressed after such regeneration takes place.
  • Faith is not expressed identically; i.e., in the same manner in infants/children and adults, and should not be required that it should. Faith does not necessarily involve the cognitive apprehension of propositional truths, as faith is the first the expression of the heart; i.e., an attraction and dependency upon God, which is first and foremost an activity of the heart. (see below re: Conversion)
  • In person's who are in possession of the ability to express themselves intellectually, this faith will be expressed verbally.
  • Conversion is that act of man whereby the inclinations of the heart which have been created in the soul in regeneration are expressed intellectually and actually; i.e., fruit meet for repentance.
Infants/children who are regenerated are infallible united to Christ by faith and reconciled to God immediately at the time of regeneration. Should these particular individuals grow to years of maturity, that new life will be infallibly expressed intellectually in word and deed. No "conversion" per se will be evident, nor should it be required as it has already transpired imperceptibly to man. Since regeneration in infants and and those who are lacking the intellectual ability to heed an outward call and express the faith given and created in the soul is imperceptible to the human eye, no presumption of its existence nor salvation can be properly presumed.

Surely, more could be said, but hopefully those brief "articles" express my person belief concerning this matter.

In His Grace.


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Re: Regeneration and Conversion [Re: Pilgrim] #15178
Tue Jun 08, 2004 2:42 PM
Tue Jun 08, 2004 2:42 PM

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Pilgrim said:
Infants/children who are regenerated are infallible united to Christ by faith and reconciled to God immediately at the time of regeneration. Should these particular individuals grow to years of maturity, that new life will be infallibly expressed intellectually in word and deed. No "conversion" per se will be evident, nor should it be required as it has already transpired imperceptibly to man. Since regeneration in infants and and those who are lacking the intellectual ability to heed an outward call and express the faith given and created in the soul is imperceptible to the human eye, no presumption of its existence nor salvation can be properly presumed.

I am gratefull for your words,particularlly the above section.My main concern is God saves whom he pleases and I take great dislike to it being suggested unless we can tell/see evidence the presumption is by some there then is no conversion.I believe from my understanding the reformed faith shows hope where there appears to be none.Trusting in Gods grace is far more concrete than mans will or understanding.Also I strongly believe children are very important to the Lord. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/rantoff.gif" alt="" />
Thanks again Yours in Christ.

Re: Regeneration and Conversion #15179
Wed Jun 09, 2004 3:27 AM
Wed Jun 09, 2004 3:27 AM
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Kelowna, British Columbia, Can...
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Grace Alone

I couldn't agree with Pilgrim more on what he said.
There is one part that I have found that Pilgrim said that is an in house debate among Reformed Christians however.

"Faith is the fruit of regeneration and is immediately expressed after such regeneration takes place."

What I am talking about of course is the part where it says "immediately expressed after".
Many Reformed believers, believe in what is called an elongated view. Unfortunately, I don't have enough understanding of that view to give a proper description of it.
I do know there are a few on this forum who hold to it, perhaps one of them might want to give one?

I say that not because I want to create controversy, I just thought it might interest you.

Tom

Re: Regeneration and Conversion [Re: Pilgrim] #15180
Fri Jun 11, 2004 6:32 PM
Fri Jun 11, 2004 6:32 PM
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Quote
Pilgrim said:
[*]Conversion is that act of man whereby the inclinations of the heart which have been created in the soul in regeneration are expressed intellectually and actually; i.e., fruit meet for repentance.


After thinking about it a while, I think I don't have a good grasp on exactly what is implied in "conversion". Is faith included in conversion? Or is faith considered before conversion but necessarily and immediately leading to it? I don't think faith could be after conversion. Pilgrim could you clear up a little more what you mean by "expressed intellectually and actually". Mainly the "actually" part, not the "intellectually" part. Thanks.

John

Re: Regeneration and Conversion [Re: Tom] #15181
Fri Jun 11, 2004 6:39 PM
Fri Jun 11, 2004 6:39 PM
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Quote
Tom said:
What I am talking about of course is the part where it says "immediately expressed after".
Many Reformed believers, believe in what is called an elongated view. Unfortunately, I don't have enough understanding of that view to give a proper description of it.
I do know there are a few on this forum who hold to it, perhaps one of them might want to give one?
Tom



I'm wondering about this "elongated view" also. Could someone explain it more. I especially would be interested in the views of someone who holds it. What is the reason for believing that faith does not immediately follow regeneration? Are there any examples from Scripture that might support this. If faith does not immediately follow regeneration what are the implications. I mean can we have people who are regenerated for say 1 year before their faith is expressed. That seems a little strange. I supposed most who hold this view would say that even though faith does not immediately follow, it still follows "soon", but "soon" seems kind of subjective. If the view is true, what would a person's life be like between the regeneration and faith stage? For me, even though I don't know much about this idea, it seems to have a lot of problems in my mind.

Also, any pertinent scripture supporting the "immediately expressed after" view would be nice.

John

Re: Regeneration and Conversion [Re: john] #15182
Fri Jun 11, 2004 9:58 PM
Fri Jun 11, 2004 9:58 PM
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Quote
John queries:
. . . could you clear up a little more what you mean by "expressed intellectually and actually". Mainly the "actually" part, not the "intellectually" part.

John,

I'll give it a shot! <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> That statement of mine wasn't very clear I admit, and please forgive my attempt at brevity and unfortunately the cause of your confusion, no doubt. What I meant was that the outward call of the Gospel, whether by preaching/teaching or reading is made "real", i.e., it is not only the truth of it is grasped intellectually, but it is also embraced with the heart. Those things which are given intellectual assent as being true are also those things which "move" one to act; the new disposition created in regeneration finds those truths most desirable and dependable.... so much so that the person "turns" from those things which once moved the will to these new truths and most importantly the strong attraction to the Lord Christ.

As to "actually", what I meant by that is that which goes beyond the intellectual as explained above for conversion is a "movement" of one's mind, affections and will, expressed in a living faith, aka: Fiducia. Thus one forsakes sin and embraces the person of the Lord Jesus Christ; resting, trusting and depending upon Him, first and foremost and also in His vicarious substitutionary atonement. Conversion is therefore "synergistic", i.e., it is the irresistible and immutable work of the Spirit and the irresistible acts of repentance and faith by the regenerated sinner which unites him/her to Christ through faith. Thus conversion consists of the acts of repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Christ.

Contrary to regeneration, which is the secret and sovereign work of the Holy Spirit of which a person is unaware, conversion is in most all cases that which a person experiences since it requires repentance and faith expressed. In those who are very young, conversion may not be something "dramatic" (a Damascus Road experience, ala: Pauline conversion), and thus it may be something which the person cannot recall the exact day of its happening. However, the fruit of a true conversion will always be evidenced both to the person and others. For example, a person who was converted at a very early age may not recall the day that he/she experienced that conviction of sin and irresistible attraction to Christ. But when asked about Christ and his/her own heart, later on in years, their testimony will always be that of one who mourns over the blackness of their heart and the loveliness of Christ, to one degree or another.

Again, sorry for the brevity of my previous remarks and surely even what I have included here is but a tittle of what could be and has been written by many.

In His Grace,


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Re: Regeneration and Conversion [Re: Pilgrim] #15183
Mon Jun 14, 2004 8:26 AM
Mon Jun 14, 2004 8:26 AM
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Thanks Pilgrim. That explanation helped a lot. I have a few more questions I might ask later when I can gather my thoughts, but things have been a little hectic for me the last month and I haven't had as much time to spend here as I would like. Hopefully things will settle down after a few more weeks.

John

Re: Regeneration and Conversion #15184
Mon Jun 21, 2004 5:58 PM
Mon Jun 21, 2004 5:58 PM

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While I agree with much (not all) of what Pilgrim wrote, lemme put it another way...

With the rise of sin, the demise of the imagio dei (known as "the fall") put a natural "enmity" between God and man. HE is our enemy! We are His enemies! And, most important for this discussion, made us spiritually dead.

At the quickening (regeneration), the imagio dei is restored. Then, with that original intended-spiritual-state, resurrected -- the *Nouveax Imagio Dei* (shall we say) or "New Creation" (as Paul, in the NIV, puts it) -- necessarily produces the spiritual fruit of faith and repentance, because we were created for the express purpose of communing with, and worshipping God.

The question is, can the rise of faith and repentance be chronologically delayed in real terms in the human psyche?

I think so. And if we believe infants can be regenerate, and our definition of faith stands. The Scripture says: So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Rom. 10:17(NKJV)

Faith, as classically expressed by Reformed theologian Louis Berkof, has three elements, viz.: An intellectual element (noticia), which is the understanding of truth; an emotional element (assensus), which is the conviction and affirmation of truth; and a volitional element (fiducia), which is the determination of the will to obey truth.

Repentance (as expresed by CNM) is the super-natural shunning of allegiances to and desires for: sin, self, and the Devil (and is also a necessary fruit of the restored Imagio Dei).

Re: Regeneration and Conversion #15185
Mon Jun 21, 2004 6:19 PM
Mon Jun 21, 2004 6:19 PM
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CorpseNoMore,

The major problem, which I see in your view, i.e., conversion can be delayed for an indeterminate period of time after regeneration, is that the requisite "faith" which apprehends justification in Christ is unavailable to any but who are physically able to comprehend the Gospel and respond to it. Thus, unborn infants, mentally deficient individuals, those who are senile or suffering from Alzheimer's, etc., are de facto reprobate should they die in their respective states.

I would be interested in hearing how you might deal with this problem.

Secondly, given that the new birth (spiritual birth) from which springs spiritual life is akin to its physical counterpart (cf. Jh 3), I am forced to conclude that as physical birth immediately produces life with its signs, e.g., breathing, heartbeat, sight, etc., likewise when spiritual birth (aka: regeneration) occurs, all the indicators of real spiritual life are present, e.g., faith (albeit not necessarily expressed in the unborn, etc.), affection for God and goodness, conviction of sin, etc. As I stated before, the explicit purpose of regeneration is the creation of the new nature in the soul so as to unite/reconcile the individual to God in Christ Jesus. It is basically antithetical to the very nature of regeneration to hold that a person can be regenerate and yet live in enmity against God for xxxx amount of time; rejecting Christ and salvation by living a life of deliberate sinfulness.

In His Grace,


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