Oct 25, 2008

Camp & Asking for Salvation

Ask For Regeneration?

"Never in the history of the world has an unregenerate sinner asked God for regeneration."

("The Notion of Preparatory Grace in the Puritans" by Martyn McGeown)


"Is that so?"

I wrote the above in a short entry a month or so ago. I am republishing it again so that I might use it to introduce the point again and enlarge upon it.

I continually see the neo-Reformed crowd, the folks who promote neo-Hardshellism and Hyper Calvinism, vehemently decry the idea that an unregenerate or "dead" sinner can, or should be called upon to, "ask" the Lord for the grace of regeneration. These same folks denounce the idea that the sinner's will is at all involved in the experience of the new birth. These believe that to say that the sinner "asks" for regeneration, or initital salvation, is to deny "total depravity" and affirm "Arminianism."

Rather, these folks believe that any sinner who sincerely "asks" God to save him is a person who has already been "regenerated" or "born again," for only the already regenerated "ask" God for deliverance from their sins. Their idea is that the heart must be first changed by "regeneration" before the person will desire or ask for God to save him. Again, I ask, is this so? Is this what the bible teaches? If it is, then is it wrong to advise dead sinners to call upon the Lord to renew and regenerate their hearts?

A couple days ago, Steve Camp at


cited some authors and I responded with these comments pertaining to a portion of a citation from an author named Winslow.

Dear Steve (Camp):

"Winslow said:

"What is your demand? Is it the Spirit to seal, to sanctify, to comfort you? Then draw near and ask the gift. "For if you who are evil know how to give good things to your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?" Is it pardon? Then ask it." (emphasis mine)

I thought neo "Reformed" folks decried affirming that sinners ask for regeneration and salvation? In fact, one "Reformed" writer said there was not a single text in the bible that says the unregenerate "ask" for salvation.

But, is the above scripture, cited by Winslow, not proof that sinners ask God to regenerate, birth, save, justify, cleanse, them?

Certainly the "asking" and the "choice" to "ask" is of God's gracious work, spriinging from his eternal decree, on behalf of the elect, but still, does he not "make them willing," make them choose and ask?

I would love to hear you explain this to us in this forum, if you are one who also decries the idea of dead sinner's calling out to God and petitioning him to regenerate him.

Will the Lord "give the Holy Spirit," in every respect, even in regeneration, to those who "ask" him?



It was a sad commentary on the neo Reformed crowd for Steve Camp (and others , like James White) to not answer my simple questions.

Notice how "asking" is involved in being saved in these passages. I believe that the word "seek" involves the petitioning of the will.

"But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul." (Deuteronomy 4: 29 KJV)

A person "finds God" when he is saved, born again, or regenerated.

"And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29: 13 KJV)

"...your heart shall live that seek God." (Psalm 69: 32 KJV)

"He asked you for life, and you gave it to him— length of days, for ever and ever." (Psalm 21: 4 NIV)

"This is what the LORD says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, 'We will not walk in it.'" (Jeremiah 6: 16 NIV)

"Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you," says the LORD Almighty. "But you ask, 'How are we to return?'" (Malachi 3: 7 NIV)

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him?" (Matthew 7: 7-11 NIV)

"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" (Luke 11: 13 NIV)

"Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water." (John 4: 10 NIV)

"Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" (John 6: 28 NIV)

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." (James 1: 5, 6 NIV)

"You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures." (James 4: 2, 3 NIV)

I could also cite passages that show how the will or choice of the sinner is involved in regeneration, but will save that for another posting.

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