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#44842 - Mon Jul 12, 2010 10:39 PM Regeneration Study  
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As most of you are aware from a recent thread I started on Regeneration, I have been looking into a number of issues concerning this issue.

Although in the past I have read a fair amount of material on the subject as well as been a participant on threads of that nature on the subject.
I thought it might be beneficial on my part to do a Bible study on the issue, using a number of methods to do so.

Other than what you have seen so far from the other thread,
I thought I would start off with a brief description of 3 basic positions on the subject of Regeneration.
I thought I would share a bit of what I have been doing in the last few hours. It is by no means complete and I may end up changing a lot of it, because of either error or finding a better way to think about the matter. But it is one of the ways I find to be beneficial in my studies.
I don’t normally share things like this, before I have finished, but thought it might be helpful to so in this case.
Besides the boards have been quite slow lately. wink

With that in mind, I am submitting it for your benefit and/or criticism if you deem it necessary.

Regeneration: Prior or after Faith?

The debate over whether or not regeneration occurs prior to or after faith has been going on for centuries.
There are basically three positions for those who call themselves “Protestants”. (This does not include the full Pelagian view)

*Arminians (semi-Pelagians) - Believes that the fall did not cause man to not be able to choose whether or not they will come to Christ or not. Thus they believe that regeneration occurs after faith.

*Arminians (Wesleyan prevenient grace)- Believes that because of the fall man died both physically and spiritually and as a result must have something happen inside of them to allow them to have faith (prevenient grace). This grace can be resisted, but it does allow the person to overcome their spiritual death (total depravity), in such a way that the can respond in faith. In this belief, faith must occur before someone is regenerated.

*Reformed (Calvinists) - Like those who believe in Wesleyan prevenient grace, Reformed believers believe that at the fall man died both physically and spiritually (total depravity). They also agree that something must occur in man before they will respond in faith. Yet unlike the former, they believe that that something is regeneration which can not be resisted. Therefore believe that regeneration comes before faith can occur.

Arminians of the semi-Pelagian variety do not believe that man died spiritually (Though some say that man did die spiritually)and therefore is able on their own whether or not they want to believe on Christ for salvation.
Although many might agree that the fall affected the way man behaved both in their disposition towards God and how they lived. It in no way makes man unable to choose Christ for salvation. It could be said that they believe that they are sick in trespasses and sins. Though they may believe that the Holy Spirit can help in making the decision for Christ easier; the person must respond to this themselves.
In this way, the Holy Spirit acts similar to medicine to a sick patient.

There are a number of reasons why I believe semi-Pelagian view must be rejected. But Scripture is clear (see Eph. 2:5) that at the fall man did indeed die spiritually.
With that in mind, although I will not go into detail, let us examine the other two.

To do that let us bring up John 6:37 which is a very relevant verse in the matter.
Here is what John Wesley in his Bible commentary say concerning the verse that I believe speaks very strongly about the prevenient grace view.

Verse 37
“[37] All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" “All that the Father giveth me — All that feel themselves lost, and follow the drawings of the Father, he in a peculiar manner giveth to the Son: will come to me - By faith. And him that thus cometh to me, I will in nowise cast out - I will give him pardon, holiness, and heaven, if he endure to the end-to rejoice in his light.”

John Wesley is correct that those who feel themselves lost and are drawn by the Father will be given to the Son. But Wesley words this in a way that is not found in text, nor it’s context.
First of all the context tells us in previous verses that if anyone that comes to Jesus will have eternal life. Then in verse 36 Jesus says “But I said unto you, That ye have also seen me, and believeth not.” So with that in mind, verse 37 gives the reason why they did not believe; which is because only those that the Father gives to Jesus will believe.
The words “giveth” and “shall” in verse 37 are very definite; meaning in this context that if the Father gives someone to Jesus, they definitely will come to Jesus. This does not allow as some would have us believe that if the Father gives someone to Jesus they “might” come to Him.
So while Wesley correctly gives the credit to the Father for drawing people to Christ before they come to Jesus. He does not equate this drawing with regeneration; instead he equates it with the doctrine of “prevenient grace” which is a grace that makes it possible for someone to come to Jesus, but in the end denies that it is irresistible, despite the fact the verse and the context speak against the notion of anybody resisting the drawing.
While there are a lot more Scripture passages that we could consider in a study like this, I believe there is very good reason to believe that the Reformed position is the biblical model of regeneration.


Tom

Last edited by Tom; Mon Jul 12, 2010 10:54 PM.
#44845 - Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:52 AM Re: Regeneration Study [Re: Tom]  
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Tom,

I think it would be helpful and honest if you would be kind enough to provide the source material for what you have provided thus far in this thread. wink


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#44848 - Tue Jul 13, 2010 11:42 AM Re: Regeneration Study [Re: Pilgrim]  
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The only source material I have is Wesley's Commentary, which I mentioned.
The rest is just from notes I have taken over the years.

I agree though that it might be best if did show that I wasn't just making this stuff up as I go.
Your point is well taken and the kind of suggestion/critique I was looking for.

Tom

#44975 - Fri Aug 06, 2010 7:53 PM Re: Regeneration Study [Re: Tom]  
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For those who have participated in this thread, I thought I would let you know that I recieved a reply and a lengthy one at that.
The bottom line is that he does believe that faith occurs before regeneration. However, he does not deny that something needs to occur before faith can occur.
He calls this "the call"; which he says is "irresistable grace".
He holds to all 5 points of Calvinism, but when I referred to Reformed Confessions, it was obvious to say the least that he is not a fan of Reformed Confessions. As a matter of fact, he said some pretty unflattering things about a few Reformers in what seemed like another excuse for not putting credence to them.

Tom






Last edited by Tom; Fri Aug 06, 2010 8:02 PM.
#44978 - Sun Aug 08, 2010 6:24 PM Re: Regeneration Study [Re: Tom]  
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Well then Tom we have a paradox here if he holds to all five points of Calvinism but also holds to faith before regeneration he is a not a monergist but holds to some type of synergism. So he sounds like one confused person and certainly not someone I'd listen to regarding theology.


Peter

If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself. Augustine of Hippo
#44980 - Sun Aug 08, 2010 6:59 PM Re: Regeneration Study [Re: Tom]  
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Tom,

This man is redefining the essense of an accepted term, "irresistible grace" in order to give some credence to his error; non-Calvnist doctrine.

Here are some excellent articles by some notable men, all of which are consistently Calvinist in their theology, i.e., they are in agreement with the Canons of Dordt, aka: The Five Points of Calvinism.

- Irresistible Grace by John Murray
- Irresistible Grace by Rev. Gordon Girod
- Efficacious Grace by Loraine Boettner
- The Five Points of Calvinism by W.J. Seaton

As you will clearly read, "Irresistible Grace" includes regeneration which enables the sinner to respond to the outward call of the gospel and the creation of faith by which the born again sinner embraces Christ. I have to wonder what he does with the other four points? Is he perhaps one of those who claims to be a Calvinist but in reality is semi-Pelagian/Arminian such as Norman Geisler? scratchchin


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#44982 - Sun Aug 08, 2010 11:59 PM Re: Regeneration Study [Re: Pilgrim]  
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Hey, I know it is hard to tell in a format such as this, but it would seem that you think I am some how in danger of being duped by this pastor.

I am in the process of looking at what he said further, when I get a chance. (Things are a little too busy at the moment.)
I really didn’t intend to do this but I think in fairness to this Pastor I would make certain you completely understood him. I am going to include the relevant portions of his e-mail.

From what I see from his e-mail on first reading without actually studied it intently.
I would definitely say that he does hold to the 5 points of Calvinism. But that he holds to them despite disagreeing with most Calvinists on regeneration.
As I told you in my last post however, disagreeing with most Calvinists is definitely not a problem with him.


“Second point, I did say that in John 3:3 the argument about “seeing” the kingdom based upon the Greek word horao is unconvincing. They argue, that horao means perceiving instead of seeing the kingdom. Some Reformed theologians use this text to teach that you cannot see (that is understand i.e. believe the Kingdom) without having first been born again. This they then use as their chief text in arguing that regeneration precedes faith. But the parallel text in 3:5 says that they cannot enter the kingdom of God, without having been born from above. This means that seeing and entering have to do with experiencing the Kingdom. Jesus is simply saying that without being born from above, no one will enter into God’s kingdom. The chronology of God’s saving grace is not the point of John 3 at all! The point is who enters the Kingdom and who goes to Hell.

Third, I am not denying, that God has to perform a prior act of grace in the life of a spiritually dead sinner which enables him to believe and repent. The question is, what does SCRIPTURE give as that divine act? The Bible uses the terms “called/calling” and “illumination” and not the word regeneration. The prior work that God does in the life of the elect, which enables them to believe is an effectual calling to salvation. This is irresistible grace. It is a calling to salvation that Jesus likens with a dragging (Greek helkuo is also in the passive voice) in John 6:44 “No one can come to me except the Father draw (literal drag) him. This drawing, dragging is an effectual calling to salvation.

Fourth, both faith and repentance are gifts from God to his elect. If they are both gifts from God, brought about in the life of His elect through His divine Power and according to his sovereign choice, then how can any reformed theology say that faith is a work of man and not a work of grace? To place faith (a gift from God to his elect) prior to regeneration does not make me an Armenian! Faith is a gift from God:

NIV Philippians 1:29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him,

NAS 2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:

NAS Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

Arguing from the passive tense is absolutely meaningful, if you are trying to prove that it is a work of grace. But it is absolutely meaningless, if you are trying to argue, which of all the works of grace comes first. For all God’s acts of grace are passive, i.e. God performs upon his elect; they are receiving this action from God and not performing this action).

Fifth, when God calls one of his elect to saving faith, he does so by granting him faith and repentance, and this unto life. Life here can only mean regeneration to new life, because beforehand we were already dead in our trespasses and sins.
Acts 11:17-18 17 If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God's way?" 18 When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, "Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life."

Here, life is the result of repentance and does not come prior to repentance. All over in scripture we see the same chronology: faith, repentance, new birth. Even in Ephesians chapter 1:3-14, where the sovereignty of God in salvation is so clear, we read:

NAS Ephesians 1:13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation-- having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,

The sealing work of the Holy Spirit clearly takes place after hearing and believing.

Sixth, we read in James 1:18 that we are born again through the word. That means that it is through faith in God’s word (for faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God) that we are born again:

James 1:18 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

Our new birth is through our believing the gospel. Look at 2Thes:

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 13 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14 He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Here we once again have calling and election placed together. We are saved through the work of the Spirit (in giving us eyes to see, ears to hear and an understanding heart) so that “through our belief in the truth” we are saved. We were elected unto salvation through believing the gospel. Salvation is the result of faith.

The bottom line Tom is this: Reformed theologians are absolutely right in arguing that God must do SOMETHING to save spiritually dead sinners. It is also logical, that God must make men alive so that they can believe and repent. But I simply don’t see any single verse teaching that regeneration is that prior work of grace, which enables faith and repentance. In fact, I see clearly in Scripture a chronology that places new birth and life after faith and repentance. I believe that the Bible calls what God does for his elect, that enables them to believe and repent, illumination (e.g. 2Cor. 4:6) or calling (e.g. 1Cor. 1:22-24). Scripture speaks of God giving eyes to see and ears to hear and a heart that understands (e.g. Deut. 29:4 The Hebrew word for heart often means mind. This is why the translators of the NIV translate this verse with mind). Faith and repentance are given as gifts of God only to his elect, resulting in them believing and repenting unto life.

I hope that this helps you at least understand my position better. I am not saying that man does anything (as an Armenian would). I am also not denying that God has to enable spiritually dead sinners to respond to the gospel with faith and repentance. I am simply stressing, that Scripture calls this prior work of grace mostly “calling” (a word found always with election or choosing). I am also stressing, that the chronology found in Scripture is faith and repentance unto life, not life unto faith and repentance. “


Tom

#44983 - Mon Aug 09, 2010 6:13 AM Re: Regeneration Study [Re: Tom]  
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Originally Posted by Tom

Hey, I know it is hard to tell in a format such as this, but it would seem that you think I am some how in danger of being duped by this pastor.

nope Such a thought never entered my mind.

Your understanding of this man's position is correct, at least in part. He does deny that faith and repentance are the fruit of regeneration but occur prior to regeneration. In this, he is in error. He is guilty of eisogesis in his understanding of all the texts he uses to support that regeneration follows faith. The texts he is referencing are speaking about the new life that springs FROM regeneration and NOT regeneration itself as if regeneration was restricted to the imparting of faith. The Bible and all the Reformers and Puritans understood, and I believe rightly, that regeneration is the imparting of new life that affects the entire person; mind, emotions, will and body. Believing is the natural expression of a person's mindset and affections as it reaches out to the object which it loves, trusts and depends, i.e., God and Christ. Although this radical transformation, the recreation of the soul is a one-time act of the Holy Spirit, its effects continue and increase, i.e., one's faith/believing gets stronger and one's repentance becomes deeper and more frequent as the sin within is perceived.

Arminians/semi-Pelagians use the same argument this man uses against Calvinism, more specifically against the doctrine of Total Depravity. They argue that it is silly to believe that a dead man is given new life enabling him to believe and then have a second new life afterward. They are seeing "life" occurring after faith, which they too consider to be 'regeneration'.

Lastly, his argument re: John 3:3 on "seeing" is anything but convincing. It really doesn't matter what the "seeing" is because the point is that the new birth must occur first before anything that is related to the kingdom of God/Christ can be even understood. There are far too many texts which speak of regeneration as being the life from which faith and repentance flow to argue otherwise. There are but a few texts which use the actual word regeneration, but likewise, the word Trinity doesn't appear in Scripture either. The essence of regeneration is what is to be understood from the various phrases used in Scripture to describe it, e.g., "new birth", first "resurrection", "made alive", "born of God", et al. John 1:12,13 should be clear enough on this point that faith follows being "born of God", which is exactly what Jesus is teaching Nicodemus in more detail.

So, historic Calvinism teaches that there is a radical transformation of the soul (mind, emotions and will) from which faith flow in regeneration. The entire predisposition of a sinner must be changed else repentance and faith simply cannot exist, never mind be exercised (believe). The links to the articles I supplied were to help you grasp better what Calvinism teaches concerning "Irresistible Grace" and where regeneration fits in with it vs. what this man is positing... in error, obviously.

And finally, IF you do not own a copy of [i]The Five Points of Calvinism: Defined, Defended, Documented[/i], by Steele and Thomas (P&R Publishing) then BUY IT! You will find this little work indispensable for your own understanding as well as being a very valuable resource. You can also find it online here: Google Books. grin


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#44986 - Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:11 PM Re: Regeneration Study [Re: Pilgrim]  
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Though I have read books on the doctrines of grace as well as read many articles on them as well; it certainly doesn't hurt to read more.

What you said is basically my understanding on the matter, however as I said before this pastor is not a big fan of the Reformers and he could care less if he is agreement with any of them on this issue. Reading between the lines, I would think that calling myself a Reformed Baptist would be an oxymoron to him.
I wonder if he has actually read what Baptists like Spurgeon or Pink believes on the subject.

Although obviously I am in agreement with Reformed exegesis on the matter, I know beyond a doubt that if I am going to answer his e-mail, I better take my time (which at the moment I am in short supply of).
If I quote Reformers on the issue, I will be accused of parroting Reformed thought; rather than Scripture itself.

Although I believe that what Scripture says on a given matter, is the most important. If my understanding of Scripture was different than what other Calvinists believed. I would suspect that the problem is probably with me rather than them.
I have a hard time understanding how someone who holds to all five points of Calvinism could disagree with them on this particular matter.

That being said, his belief seems to be that the words "calling" or "illumination" are the words that the Bible uses when it speaks of irresistibly drawing people to Christ.
In this respect, although he is in error he seems to use these words in the same manner we would use "regeneration".
I am not sure I would go this far, but part of me thinks if I make too big a deal about this, I could possibly be making a mountain out of a mole hill.
It also appears (again I need to read what he said a little deeper) that he believes that God soveriegnly gives us salvation from start to finish. This is something that although Arminians will say other wise, logically their words prove otherwise. What I am speaking to here of course is monergism vs. synergism.
Also the issue is over "ordo salutis" (sp?) not whether we receive salvation through faith alone by grace alone.

I intend to write him back, but when I do it will be from Scripture.

I thought I would mention that the Pastor that I have been talking about has written a book on the doctrines of grace called ‘The Bond of Peace’; which has been endorsed by Pastor Erwin Lutzer. He contend that rather than divide Christians the doctrines of grace “are intended to unite us as a people of God by humbling us and causing us to worship and give praise to God alone for our salvation.”

Tom

#44990 - Wed Aug 11, 2010 7:26 PM Regeneration Study - Another E-mail [Re: Tom]  
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Hi

I just recieved another e-mail from this pastor and thought it might it made his position a little clearer.
Again I plan on looking at it in more detale as I find the time to do so.

{quote]Hallo Tom,



The issue is simply one of timing. I am in agreement, that God has to enable his elect to believe, I just find in Scripture not one single verse that teaches, that Regeneration is that initial work of grace enabling faith and repentance. Since John 3 is not answering the question of chronology and is talking about who gets to enter the kingdom, John 3 cannot be used as a proof text for regeneration coming before God’s gifts of faith and repentance to his elect. This is for me not a grave issue, as long as one knows that apart from God granting faith and repentance, no one can believe or repent. All the doctrines of grace are gifts from God. The question we are faced with is simply one of chronology. In my former email I simply sought to make a biblical case for illumination and calling as that work of grace, that precedes all the others and regeneration and the sealing of the Holy Spirit as the result of illumination and calling. I have never found one single text that places regeneration before faith and repentance, but I have found a number, that teach that the new birth comes about through the Word of truth. That means that God’s Word has to play some role in our being regenerated and not the other way around. But as I said, the big issue is not which of God’s works of Grace in the life of his elect comes first, but that salvation from first to last is the result of God’s sovereign bringing about of his plan to save an elect people for his own glory. I do not have a problem with regeneration preceding faith and repentance, because I am in agreement with reformed theologians, that God has to do something in the life of his elect to enable them to respond to the gospel call with faith and repentance. I simply can’t find any single text that clearly teaches this. If I could, I would gladly accept this as truth. I am not trying to be stubborn and I do not like being at odds with my reformed brethren on this issue.



I don’t feel the need to convince you otherwise on this issue. If you find some passages that you feel are compelling, feel free to forward them on to me.



May the Lord strengthen us both through the doctrines of his grace, that has so wonderful saved us.[/quote]

Tom

#44994 - Thu Aug 12, 2010 4:41 PM Re: Regeneration Study [Re: Pilgrim]  
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I found a bit of time to look at what you said a little closer and while I definitely agree with you that regeneration must occur before faith can occur. When I looked at the Scripture you provided to show this i.e. John 1:12-13; I must be missing something because it isn't obvious to me from these verses.

Perhaps if you walk me through them I will see what I am missing.

Tom

#44996 - Thu Aug 12, 2010 6:11 PM Re: Regeneration Study [Re: Tom]  
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Tom,

The text reads:

John 1:12-13 (ASV) But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, [even] to them that believe on his name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

My contention is, which is in total agreement with the Reformed Confessions and Catechisms, the Puritans and all historic Calvinists, that the "receiving" of Christ is synonymous with believing (faith) and the being "born of God" is synonymous with regeneration (new birth, born from above, etc.). The text clearly says that those who believed on Christ did so because they were born of God thus putting faith consequent to regeneration. grin

Does that help?

Additionally, if one holds to the biblical doctrine of Total Depravity as it is enumerated in the Canons of Dordt, man being "spiritually dead" having inherited a corruption of nature and whose disposition is only toward sin, then it stands that unless the whole man is given spiritual life, i.e., a new disposition, he will never nor is he able to exercise faith. Why? Because unlike modern semi-Pelagianism and the old Arminianism, the Reformed Faith holds that the will is not an independent element of man but is rather totally dependent upon that which influences it; the mind and the affections. Therefore, a simply "something" to enable man to respond in faith MUST BE effectual upon man's entire being; mind, emotions, will. That "something", therefore of necessity must be regeneration, to impart life to that which is dead... the whole man. Arminians contended at the Synod of Dordt that all that was needed was "prevenient grace" which somehow could overcome the depravity of soul yet without actually entailing the giving of spiritual life. This ALL of the Reformed churches throughout history have utterly rejected as spurious and indefensible from Scripture.

It would therefore be very interesting to find out what this "something must happen" your friend has maintained which enables a spiritually dead, morally bankrupt, God-hating sinner to believe and which is not a recreation of the soul, aka: regeneration. shrug


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#45004 - Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:33 PM Re: Regeneration Study [Re: Pilgrim]  
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Actually that does help, thank you. yep

You also stated: "Additionally, if one holds to the biblical doctrine of Total Depravity as it is enumerated in the Canons of Dordt, man being "spiritually dead" having inherited a corruption of nature and whose disposition is only toward sin, then it stands that unless the whole man is given spiritual life, i.e., a new disposition, he will never nor is he able to exercise faith. Why? Because unlike modern semi-Pelagianism and the old Arminianism, the Reformed Faith holds that the will is not an independent element of man but is rather totally dependent upon that which influences it; the mind and the affections. Therefore, a simply "something" to enable man to respond in faith MUST BE effectual upon man's entire being; mind, emotions, will. That "something", therefore of necessity must be regeneration, to impart life to that which is dead... the whole man. Arminians contended at the Synod of Dordt that all that was needed was "prevenient grace" which somehow could overcome the depravity of soul yet without actually entailing the giving of spiritual life. This ALL of the Reformed churches throughout history have utterly rejected as spurious and indefensible from Scripture.

It would therefore be very interesting to find out what this "something must happen" your friend has maintained which enables a spiritually dead, morally bankrupt, God-hating sinner to believe and which is not a recreation of the soul, aka: regeneration."

As I indicated in another post which you can find at: http://www.the-highway.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/posts/44990.html he uses the words "illumination and calling" as the work of grace that irresistibly draws the elect to Christ.

This as far as I can see is not in any way similar to Arminianism; in fact from what I gather (I e-mailed him for clarification on this) the major difference is the words he uses for the grace that enables the sinner to come to Christ. He does not believe in Arminian prevenient grace, because what he seems to be saying in more in line with Reformed thought, in that it is irresistible. His understanding of the word “regeneration” seems to be his main problem.

Tom

#45005 - Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:51 PM Re: Regeneration Study [Re: Tom]  
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Pilgrim Offline
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Pilgrim  Offline

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Joined: Apr 2001
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NH, USA
Originally Posted by Tom

As I indicated in another post...he uses the words "illumination and calling" as the work of grace that irresistibly draws the elect to Christ.

This as far as I can see is not in any way similar to Arminianism; in fact from what I gather (I e-mailed him for clarification on this) the major difference is the words he uses for the grace that enables the sinner to come to Christ. He does not believe in Arminian prevenient grace, because what he seems to be saying in more in line with Reformed thought, in that it is irresistible. His understanding of the word “regeneration” seems to be his main problem.

And that is where I am having great difficulty reconciling his "illumination and calling" with the doctrine of Total Depravity. How can one be "illuminated" (given understanding of spiritual things?) if the intellect is utterly opposed to it because it is spiritually dead, i.e., a natural dominating rejection of it; the gospel)? And/or how can a spiritually dead sinner hear the "call" (that inward call of the Holy Spirit, aka: drawing due to the first work of the Spirit, i.e., conviction of sin) if the affections are predisposed to hating God and Christ? Thus, in either case, the will is in bondage in itself and without it being delivered from that bondage, no movement toward God can happen. Thus again, regeneration is absolutely necessary, as has been consistently maintained and taught by all Calvinists and which is what stands as the Confessional teaching of the Reformed Faith. Sorry, but his "illumination and calling" are much too similar to Arminianism's "prevenient grace" which somehow overcomes man's depravity without the actual imparting of new life (regeneration), which they too maintain follows faith. nope


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#45006 - Fri Aug 13, 2010 9:55 PM Re: Regeneration Study [Re: Pilgrim]  
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Tom Offline
Needs to get a Life
Tom  Offline
Needs to get a Life

Joined: Apr 2001
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Kelowna, British Columbia, Can...
I understand what you are saying.
However, somehow I believe he is using the words “calling” and “illumination” in the same way as we would use “regeneration”, not the same way “prevenient grace” is used.

As you correctly said 'illumination' means giving understanding of spiritual things. It takes a lot more than just being given spiritual understanding of spiritual things to overcome our depravity.
It would appear that he is saying that "illumination" and "calling" which he says is irresistible is what draws (he actually used the term “drag” in one e-mail) someone to Christ.
Reading between the lines I would say he believes these accomplish the same things as we believe regeneration accomplishes. Yet if my understanding of him is correct; my question would be why would regeneration be needed? (Does that question make sense?)
This is of course redefining terms, but at this point he indicates that he believes this is what Scripture teaches; he could care less what others teach. (I think this is a dangerous thing to believe; it seems to smack of Sectarianism.)

Hopefully if he answers my last e-mail, I will find out for sure.

Tom

Last edited by Tom; Fri Aug 13, 2010 10:00 PM.
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