Oct 23, 2008

Another Homily with Steve Camp

Recently Steve Camp wrote:

"Here is a great article, and indirectly, a brief review of the new ESV Study Bible (ESVSB) from our good friends at Monergism.com. What I appreciate about this piece, is that it focuses in on an important theological truth in salvation, that regeneration precedes faith. Now, did the ESVSB get it right on this important doctrinal issue? Read the following to find out and let me know your thoughts..."

I then responded by writing:

"Brother Steve:

I will ask you the questions I have asked of James White. He never answered. I hope you will.

1. Do you believe sinners are begotten by the gospel?

2. If so, does not "begotten by the gospel" not mean "begotten by faith in the gospel"?

Since you are friends with James, and knowing I have challenged him to debate this issue, why don't you get him to accept the challenge? Regeneration is not put before faith in scripture.

As far as the passage in I John 5: 1, that is the worst heremeneutics I have seen. I wrote on this recently in Hardshell Proof Texts at



I also intend to elaborate on I John 5: 1 in light of what bro. White has written, over the next few days.

The passage does not say that men are born again before the initial act of believing, because the simple initial act of believing is not under consideration, as White admits. John puts faith in the present tense for the ongoing life of faith. THUS, he is saying that begetting precedes the life of faith, but that is a lot different from saying that the begetting precedes the initial act of believing or receiving Christ.

In John 5: 40, does "life" come after coming to Christ or before?

You misread Eph. 2 on what it means to come to life. How can you deny that Paul is explaining to them their conversion? Why would he be explaining to them some mystic subconscious experience that may have happened years before coming to faith?

You promote monergism's web site; do you accept their dividing of regeneration from the new birth, making the birth to have three distinct stages?

Looking to hear from you, I am,

Yours for the cause of Christ,"


Brother Camp then responded, writing:


Thanks for your comment.

Two things initially for you:

1. Where does the phrase "begotten by the gospel" appear in Scripture?

2. The regenerating ministry of the Holy Spirit is clearly taught in Scripture (John 3:1-8; 1 Cor. 12:3; Titus 3:4-7).

3. You seem to be struggling here not with being born of the Spirit (regeneration) but with the depravity of man. I believe when you settle that issue, this other will be clear to you.

Grace and peace,


Then I wrote in response:

"Begotten by the gospel is in I Cor. 4: 15. You may also see James 1: 18 and I Peter 1: 23.

Yes, the Spirit regenerates and when he regenerates he does it through the medium of truth and faith. (Eph. 2: 8)

I believe in total depravity. I don't believe a man can create his own faith nor draw himself to God. I believe that when one is drawn, he comes to Christ (believes) and is instantaneously born again. God creates the faith IN regeneration.

Paul explains that coming to life, in Eph. 1: 19-2:10 is coming to faith and repentance.

God bless


Then I followed the above with this one.

Dear Steve:

Here is what Hendryx, of monergism.com, wrote on the "new birth."

Again, do you agree or not?

If not, why do you promote his view?

Hendryx wrote:

I. Regeneration is described as a spiritual new birth.

1. This is affirmed in the following New Testament passages: John 1:12-13; 3:3-8; I Corinthians 4:15; Philemon 10; James 1:18; I Peter 1:3,23; I John 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1,4,18.

2. The embryonic stage of regeneration is what is called "quickening", and it is the work of the Holy Spirit alone.

3. The final stage of regeneration is delivery or birth, and it is the work of the Holy Spirit in dependence upon the Word as a means. Consequently, the spiritual knowledge conferred by illumination is the spiritual content or revelation (holy Scripture).

4. J I Packer says, "Infants do not induce, or cooperate in, their own procreation and birth; no more can those who are 'dead in trespasses and sins' prompt the quickening operation of God's Spirit within them."


Do you agree or not?



Steve Camp
then responded:


J I Packer says, "Infants do not induce, or cooperate in, their own procreation and birth; no more can those who are 'dead in trespasses and sins' prompt the quickening operation of God's Spirit within them."

I agree. Great quote - thank you for sharing it with us.

I then responded by writing:

Dear Steve:

I guess you pick and choose what questions and parts of citations you want to respond to and which to ignore. I don't see how one can have a meaningful dialogue in such a manner as this.



then responded, saying:


I also appreciate this definition that JH gave: "Regeneration is described as a spiritual new birth."

I wholly agree. Excellent. Thank you again for these thoughts here. Well done.


Then I responded:

Dear Steve:

Do you agree with Hendryx that there are at least two "stages" to the "new birth"? Do you agree with him when he says "quickening" is "regeneration" but not the birth? And, when he says that the first "stage," or "quickening," is done without the means of gospel truth, but the final "birth," the second "stage," is through means?

Again, blessings


I then added this comment:

Dear Steve:

"...for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel." (I Cor. 4: 15 KJV) The only difference is in the use of the word "by" (by me) instead of "through," but do you not think they mean the same thing?

"...for in Christ Jesus, through the good news, I -- I did beget you." (Young's Literal Translation)

"...for in Christ Jesus I have engendered you by the gospel." (Wycliffe New Testament)

Also, James 1: 18 says we are "begotten with (by means of) the word of truth."

I Peter 1: 23 "born again...by the word of God."

It seems Steve that you agree with the Hardshells that the gospel is not a means in regeneration and new birth.




Next, Camp responded:

The Holy Spirit uses the preaching of the Word of Christ (Roms. 10) in the salvation of the elect - no question. That is not the issue here.

The Father has chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world; these promises were granted to us in Christ Jesus by grace in times past eternal; Jesus redeemed His own on the cross - not just provided a way to believe unto eternal life; and the Spirit of God renews and regenerates us. No many may confess Christ as Lord without the Spirit of God being in him (1 Cor. 12:3).

From God's perspective, regeneration always precedes faith - as does election, predestination and foreknowledge (Roms. 8:29-31). From our perspective we call all men to repentance, we call them to follow Christ as Lord of their lives, to believe solely in Him, etc.

This is good news!

There is a mystery here.


Then I responded to him and to a commenter named "Brian," saying:

Dear Steve:

Good morning!

My question for you this morning is this - "how is your view on regeneration and means different from the Hardshells?"

Yes, I know you affirm the instrumentality of the word and faith for "salvation," but so does the Hardshell. He, however, like you, will not make this "salvation" to be regeneration. You, like him, will make this "salvation" a salvation that follows regeneration. But, such a view has a man regenerated who is not yet saved!

Does your regenerated infant have to believe to be "saved"? Or, is his being "regenerated" enough?

Do all the elect have to be "saved" as well as "regenerated"?

Steve, I don't see how you can accuse me of building "straw men," taking a look at your responses, particularly the last. How do I deny that it is the Spirit who regenerates when I affirm that the Spirit does it through the gospel?


The "calling" that precedes the justification is not equated with regeneration. Your reading would be thus - "whom he regenerated, them he justified."

The meaning is rather this - "whom he called (to life, faith, repentance, and salvation, effectually through his word and Spirit), them he regenerated, saved, justified, sanctified, etc."

No problem here!

It is absurd to say that regeneration precedes faith but justification and sanctification follow it.



Then, my friend Ian sent me this comment in am email.


I have replied to Brian's remarks that John 3.3 teaches regeneration precedes faith by bringing into question his interpretation of "see" in the verse. Too often I have heard persons make this claim and it cannot go unchallenged and I do not want others misled.


Camp's evasion of your question whether he endorses Hendrix bifurcation of regeneration and dismissal of the passages you provided demonstrating regeneration is through the word is sad. If he truly believes the word is the instrument, then why should he evade the question and dismiss the verses?

With regards,

Surely all can see how Steve Camp, like James White, do not care to really engage on this issue. Any comments?

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