Oct 8, 2008

Chpt. 83 - Hardshell Proof Texts V

"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out...No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life...And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. " (John 6: 37, 44-47, 65 KJV)

There are really two versions of Hyperism that need to be corrected, as pertaining to the above verses, and whether or not they teach the "born again before faith" or "regenerated without faith" view.

The general Hardshell version correctly identifies the "coming to Christ" as = regeneration, salvation, or the new birth. They do not generally view the "drawing" as itself "regeneration."

It is the modern "Reformed" version that makes the "drawing" = "regeneration," thus disallowing that "coming" to Christ = regeneration.

The "Reformed" version says the "drawing" = "regeneration" or the "new birth," while the "coming" = "conversion" (and thus make it something separate and distinct from "regeneration").

The Hardshell view, though correctly making the "coming" = "regeneration," nevertheless errs in making this "coming to Christ" something apart from the gospel, and apart from cognitive faith, and apart from a conscious experience, or from conversion.

The questions to be addressed in this chapter, therefore, will be the following.

1. Is a man "regenerated" who has not "come to Christ"?

2. What does it mean to "come to Christ"?

3. Is the reception of "life" before or after the "coming"?

4. Can a man be said to have been effectually "drawn" who has not "come"?

5. How does God "draw" the sinner to Christ?

6. What is meant by "unless it be given to him of my Father" (vs. 65)?

Archibald Alexander wrote:

"Sometimes regeneration is considered distinctly from the acts and exercises of the mind which proceed from it, but in the Holy Scriptures the cause and effect are included; and we shall therefore treat the subject in this practical and popular form."


The "Reformed" view does not define "regeneration" as do the scriptures, if Alexander is correct, for the neo "Reformed" view says that "regeneration" is defined by cause alone; That is, "regeneration" is strictly an act of God. It is not, strictly speaking, and according to the neo "Reformed" view, defined by the effect, by what the sinner actually experiences or does as a result of the divine causation. By this definition, "regeneration" or the "new birth" is not something one experiences, but simply the cause of that experience.

The Arminian, of course, believes the "drawing" to be a pre regeneration work, and so does the Hardshell, the difference being that the Arminian does not believe the "drawing" is, in any sense, irresistable, nor what occurs apart from gospel means, whereas the Hardshells believe both.

The teaching of Christ in John 5 & 6 clearly shows this order: Drawing (or calling) by the Spirit and word of God, coming to Christ (or faith), reception of spiritual life.

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

It is clear. Life is the result of having come to Christ, of having "received him" and "believed on his name." (John 1: 12 KJV)

So the equation is simple - Drawing, coming, life. Or, drawing + coming = life. Cause + effect = regeneration. The Hardshell and neo Reformed "ordo salutis" both have a different equation, one that reads like this - Drawing, Life, Coming. Thus, Jesus' words should have been stated differently, as - "you will not have life that you might come unto me," rather than as it is.

Notice how the "drawing" of the Father, that which effects the sinner's coming to Christ for life and salvation, involves the Father "teaching" and the sinner "hearing" (paying attention to, or heeding) it. It also includes "learning" truth from the Father.

No man can come to Christ who has not been first taught who is Christ. This is in keeping with what Paul wrote, when he said:

"How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10: 14, 17 KJV)

To come to Christ, one must be "drawn" by the teaching of the Father, that teaching done through his Spirit and word.

One should not define "regeneration" or the "new birth" as being restricted to the cause alone, but should include the instantaneous effect; likewise, one should also define the experience not only in terms of "passivity," but also in terms of "activity." The dead coming to life is that which the dead does or experiences, although it be of God's causation. God does not come to life. The child being born is not inactive.

What do we mean when we affirm that the sinner is "passive" in regeneration? Likewise, what do we mean when we affirm, or deny, that the sinner is "active" in new birth?

What it means to "come to Christ" has already been dealt with in a previous separate chapter (19), wherein it was shown how "coming to Christ" meant "believing on Christ." Thus, it cannot be something done apart from knowledge or cognition, or without the means of truth knowledge.

I will discuss some of these inconsistencies in greater depth in that upcoming series titled "Paradigm Problems." I will also address the historic debate among Baptists as respects whether salvation is "unconditional" or "conditional," and what is denoted by those words.

The verse about the Father drawing is simply intended to show that this work must be initiated by God himself. God must take the proverbial first step in the matter. Jesus' intention in saying that one must be "drawn" before he can "come" is simply to connect cause with effect, as if he said - "no man can be resurrected unless the Father call him forth from death."

But, the calling forth in itself is not resurrection, for the calling is what God experiences, while the effect of the calling is what the sinner experiences. The "Reformed" view, then, that makes the "drawing" to equal "regeneration," makes "regeneration" to be what God experiences, not what the sinner experiences.

The "Reformed" view, which is probably shared by some Hardshells, which equates "drawing" with the new birth, also interprets the "giving" of verse 65 as being "regenerated." But, this is nonsense. Of course, all Calvinists agree, that no sinner can come to Christ unless the Father first draw and give power and grace. But, this act of God, which brings about the resulting experience in the sinner, is not, in itself, nor by itself alone, what is "regeneration."

The "coming" to Christ, and to "life," is what is regeneration or the new birth. The acts of the Father in drawing and giving are the causes of the experience, not the experience itself.

The "giving" of verse 65 is the giving of power to come, while the "giving" of verse 37 is of the elect themselves, in their persons. The elect are they who were "given" by the Father to Christ, and this prior to their being saved. The elect, in their being saved, begotten, or regenerated, are "given" power and grace that effects it all.

Thus, I see nothing in these verses to uphold Hardshellism, the idea that men are born again before and without believing in Christ, or coming to him in evangelic faith, nor do I see any validity to the neo "Reformed" claim that these verses teach that one must be born again before they can come to Christ. Such a view, as I have stated, errs in not making the coming itself to be the new birth. And, as I said, at least the Hardshells make the "coming," rather than the "drawing," to be "regeneration." Their error is to make the "coming to Christ" something other than what it clearly is, a conscious coming to Christ with the heart and mind, an embracing of him by faith.

No comments: