Dec 5, 2008

I Want The Proof

I want the proof where the Bible writers clearly distinguished between what some modern Calvinists call "regeneration" and "conversion." I want them to go to the Bible and show where any writer made a clear distinction between the two. Can they do it? I trow not!

Yes, the "hair-splitting" theologians have put asunder what God has joined together, but the inspired writers did not. In all of the apostolic teaching on salvation, the new birth, regeneration, and conversion, they did not distinguish these things, putting one ahead of the other in a strict "ordo salutis." I defy any Hyperist to come forward and show us where Christ or the apostles made these things distinct and separate!

Even those who, like the Hardshells and other Hyperists, separate regeneration from conversion, almost universally admit that 1) the Bible writers did not distinguish them, making each term to refer to a distinct event, and 2) the older Calvinistic writers prior to the 17th century, did not do so; The oldest confessions do not distinguish regeneration and conversion.

You watch any Hyperist or Hybrid Calvinist on his "proof texts" for his "regeneration before faith" proposition, and see if he does not read a distinction into the passage rather than deriving the distinction from the passage. They certainly do this in Ephesians. In Ephesians, however, Paul is not explaining a sub-conscious experience to the Ephesians, or an experience that occurred before they heard and believed the gospel, but was explaining their "conversion" to Christ, why it was that they believed and repented. He lays the reason to something prior, yes, but that thing is not regeneration, but election. Regeneration occurred when they became believers in Jesus.

Yes, I know, the Hyperist says that John 6: 44 teaches that one is regenerated before faith because "drawing" = "regeneration" and "coming to Christ" = conversion. But, this is error by equivocation. Drawing does not mean regeneration.

"Coming to Christ" = regeneration, salvation, forgiveness, and justification. The "drawing" is the influence of God through the word. But, if this is so, then God's influence cannot be equated with regeneration.

The Hyperist really has difficulty with all those passages that put faith before salvation, before conversion, and that equate conversion with birth. He cannot make anything that comes after faith a part of regeneration, because of his proposition that he has taken to the Bible, that affirms that faith and conversion must come after the birth has taken place, and so he makes any benefit after faith to be unconnected with regeneration ("Reformed" Hyperists today like James White) and with eternal salvation (Traditional Hardshell view).

7 comments:

Billy Birch said...

Stephen,

Would you please leave a link here or e-mail me a link at remonstrants@hotmail.com on your rebuttal of the quasi-hyper-Calvinist interpretation of regeneration preceding faith in John 3?

I tried following the link at the Reformed Mafia combox, but nothing happened . . .

And, can I have your permission to quote you on your study and conclusions of John 3 and 1 John 5:1, if I quote you by name and link directly to your work? I'm putting together two more blogposts this Monday and Tuesday on this subject, and I think your help would be scholarly and very beneficial to all who read it.

If for any reason it makes you uncomfortable to do so, please say so. You will not offend me in the least. I will understand.

God bless,

Billy

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Billy:

Go here for John 3;

See here

Let me know if you get linked to the right page.

Blessings,

Stephen

Ian D. Elsasser said...

Billy:

You are welcome to use my last two Comments on Steve Camp's blog under "Regeneration Precedes Faith: The ESVSB Gets This Correct", if they have any value to your discussion. They are also the last two comments in the Combox.

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Billy:

I generally like following your comments. They are generally insiteful and to the point. I will check it out although I may have already seen it.

Also, you can quote me any time without permission. Just give the standard credit.

God bless,

Stephen

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Ian:

Sorry, I said "Dear Billy" when I meant "Dear Ian." Just shows I am human, hey? lol

Blessings,

Stephen

jntskip said...

Thanks for this post.
I often have wondered the same thing about the hyper's assertion on this issue.

Billy Birch said...

Stephen & Ian,

Like an egghead I forgot to come back to the combox for the link! But Stephen, I will be using your comments and study on my 1 John 5:1 piece for tomorrow.

God bless you guys.

Billy