Dec 4, 2008

Steve Hays' False Statement

Steve Hays, a "triablogger," has just posted this bit of information. He says that "non-Reformed Baptists who maintain three very Catholic dogmas," one of which is the view that has "belief/conversion before regeneration," are "Catholics."

See here

It is amazing that our Baptist forefathers, the ones who wrote and explained the confessions, did not know that they were Catholics in soteriology!

Our Baptist forefathers taught that a man could not be considered regenerated or born again until he had believed and repented! They believed that a man who was regenerated was a believer, and that he was born again at the point of faith. They did not believe there was such a character as a regenerated unbeliever. Do Catholics believe this?

If Hays can call the "born again before faith" a non-Catholic dogma, then I can call it Hyper Calvinism!

Actually, Hays does not represent the historic Baptist position. It affirmed that there was no order, but that one went together with the other. The scriptures do not put faith and regeneration in the order Hays wants to impose upon it. If anything, faith is predominantly put before faith.

Both Boyce and Carroll affirmed that the new birth was not an accomplished fact until the creation of faith. Were they Catholics also?

These did not, technically speaking, put "faith" either "before" or "after," but at the same time as regeneration and salvation.


johnMark said...


How about your false statement that Steve said the statement in question? Steve was quoting someone. See the link in the post?

This link.

The quote also doesn't say that the ones holding to such positions are actually Catholic. It's more of a charge of similarity in belief not that it actually makes one Catholic.

Let me ask though. Do non-Reformed Baptists agree with Roman Catholics on free-will, the atonement and the order of salvation? Is the statement in question by the Roman Catholic true or false?



Stephen Garrett said...

Dear JohnMark:

Does Steve not agree with the statement? If so, I will be happy to retract.

Whether non-Reformed Baptists agree with Roman Catholics on free-will is beside the point. It also depends on how we are defining these terms.

My point is that it is a false statement to say that one is Catholic if he does not put the new birth before faith.



GeneMBridges said...


You're quoting only one side of Boyce and Carroll.

1. To say that "regeneration cannot be complete without faith" is not the same as saying that "regeneration does not take logical priority to faith."

2. No Calvinist, whether myself or Steve would deny that the phrase "regeneration before faith," leads to people being regenerated without coming faith.

3. B. H. Carroll (founder and first president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas): "The true scriptural position [concerning regeneration] is this: There is, first of all, a direct influence of the Holy Spirit on the passive spirit of the sinner, quickening him or making him sensitive to the preaching of the Word. In this the sinner is passive. But he is not a subject of the new birth without contrition, repentance and faith. In exercising these he is active. Yet even his contrition is but a response to the Spirit's conviction, and the exercise of his repentance is but a response to the Spirit's conviction, and the exercise of his repentance and faith are but responses to the antecedent spiritual graces of repentance and faith." Carroll goes on to state that "repentance and faith are fruits of regeneration" (An Interpretation of the English Bible, Volume 4, p. 287).

Which logically comes first, Stephen, the tree or the fruit?
That's ALL that we mean when we say "Regeneration precedes faith." - Yet you continue to ignore that qualification, and you do so repeatedly. Why?

4. Boyce was a student of Charles Hodge. (I know, Paedobaptist heretic...whatever). Hodge discussed the language of regeneration:

Are you suggesting Boyce did not believe this?

Here's what Boyce actually writes about regeneration's relationship to faith:

V. The relation of regeneration to conversion will, therefore, appear to be one of invariable antecedence.

Wherever the appropriate truth is at the time present its relation is almost that of producing cause, for the prepared heart at once receives the truth. Hence, as this is so generally the case, they have been usually regarded as contemporaneous and by some even as identical. But that regeneration is the invariable antecedent is seen,

1. From the fact that the heart is the soil in which the seed, the word of God, is sown, and that seed only brings forth fruit in the good soil. The heart is made good soil by regeneration.

2. Regeneration (as in infants) may exist without faith and repentance, but the latter cannot exist without the former. Therefore, regeneration precedes.

3. Logically the enabling act of God must, in a creature, precede the act of the creature thus enabled. But this logical antecedence involves actual antecedence, or the best conceptions of our mind deceive us and are not reliable. For this logical antecedence exists only because the mind observes plainly a perceived dependence of the existence of the one on the other. But such dependence demands, if not causal, at least antecedent existence. Here it is only antecedent.

VI. There is not only antecedence, but in some cases an appreciable interval.

1. This is true even of conversion regarded as a mere turning to God. Between it and regeneration must intervene in some cases some period of time until the knowledge of God's existence and nature is given, before the heart turns, or even is turned towards that God.

(1.) This must be true of all infants and of all persons otherwise incapable of responsibility, as for example idiots.

(2.) There is no reason why it should not be true of some heathen. The missionaries of the cross have been sought by men, who knew nothing of Christianity, but whose hearts, unsatisfied with the religion of their fathers, were restlessly seeking for what their soul was crying out.

2. It is still more manifestly true of full Christian conversion.

(1.) The Scriptures teach this in many examples of persons pious, holy, and fearing God, yet unacquainted with the full truth which secures union with Christ.

Ethiopian Eunuch: Acts 8:26-40.

Paul: Acts, chapter 9, 22 and 26. Galatians, chapters 1st and 2d.

Cornelius the Centurion: Acts 10:2.

Lydia: Acts 16:14.

(2.) The experience of ministers in all ages with persons seeking and attaining salvation confirms this idea. The attainment of conversion may be marked by stages. The sinner is at first totally indifferent. The word produces on him no effect. Then (1.) There is an evident willingness to give serious attention to the truth of God. God has opened the heart as he did that of Lydia. (2.) There is conviction of sin, sense of its vileness, and of its dangerous effects. (3.) The soul, oppressed by these, strives to do something by which to attain salvation, but finds all in vain. (4.) At last accepting the truth of God's word it rests in trust of a personal Saviour.

VII. The term conversion is not technically applied to any change, except that which follows upon regeneration, and consists in the Godward turning of one heretofore turned entirely away from God. The return of men who have backslidden, or fallen into grievous sin, is also called "a return to God," and such a return is possibly what is called "conversion" in Peter's case. Luke 22:32. But conversion is theologically used exclusively of the first act.

Please take the time to explain how you can derive:

1. That Boyce did not believed: a there was no order and that regeneration was not an accomplished fact until the creation of faith.

The only way you can say this is to equivocate by failing to, as Boyce did distinguish between the terms "Regeneration" and "regenerated."

Finally, Steve Hays is not beholden to "the historic Baptist position." Steve Hays is not a Baptist.

Indeed, I might add here another Catholic-like element to some of the folks critical of this position - trips down Historical Theology Road. HTR is not our rule of faith. It is, however, a mighty large part of the Romanist rule of faith.

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Gene:

I am going to be kinder to you than Ascol was to me. I am posting all your comments, lengthy citations and all.

I don't have time to respond now, but will later.

Bob Ross has already answered all this. I will post the link to this engagement between him and you later also.

I already announced my intention to write more on Boyce and hopefully will do so soon.

I have already cited Boyce where Boyce, after giving the speculations you cited, said that, after all, the Bible does not speak of regeneration as complete without conversion.

But, again, more later.



Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Gene:

I am still busy and do not have time this evening but for this additional comment.

Boyce concluded all his discussion and speculations by saying:

"From the Scriptural teaching we see that the whole work of Regeneration and Conversion is included under the one term regeneration."

Now, did Boyce contradict himself? How can he say, in all that you cited, that regeneration precedes faith, and then say at the conclusion, that the Sciptures "include" conversion in regeneration?

I have a couple of ideas about Boyce and his writing. I exclude affirming that he expressly contradicted himself. He could have

1) Wrote a half-hearted apologetic that would be acceptable to those, like you, who existed in his day, who insisted on regeneration before faith, and on a very narrow definition of "regeneration," but who believed that all the regenerated would come to faith. He probably wrote this to also give some credance to the Old Hardshell and Regular Baptists, and many Presbyterian writers, who split of the "new birth" into stages, and who insisted that though regeneration was without means, the birth was not.

2) He wrote like Gill did, who also made similar statements as did Boyce, but who also, after speculating about regeneration preceding faith, concluded by saying - this is not how the Bible presents it, however. See my long series on "Hardshells and John Gill" in my book (separate link on Hardshellism) where I show this.

But, more on this to come.

Perhaps Carroll also was willing to allow that perhaps, there was nothing gravely wrong with the several stage view of regeneration. But, if we can take his summary statement at face value, then none should take the part you cited as more than speculation.

Besides, in the examples that Boyce gave, of a supposed regeneration before conversion, did you notice how Boyce said that in some cases there is an appreciable gap in time before regeneration and conversion? But, if you are right, and there is no chronological order, only a logical order, then Boyce would be wrong, correct? Your view says that there is no gap in time in any case, correct?

But, again more to come. I plan on addressing all these supposed examples of regeneration before conversion in the next several chapters in my present series "Hardshell Proof Texts."

Gene, I am not going to even admit that the Bible teaches that there is, logically speaking, such a creature as a regenerated unbeliever.

Also, will you tell me how the word of God can be a means in regeneration unless it is believed? Will you tell me how the gospel is a means in regeneration if one must be regenerated before he can believe?

Again, it is late, but I will be answering your errors in greater depth, the Lord willing, in the coming days.



Ian D. Elsasser said...


Bob Ross has given a response to Mr. Bridges use of Carroll in an article titled "B. C. Carroll distorted" on The Calvinist Flyswatter. It is a nice follow up to this discussion.

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Ian:

Yes, I plan on posting these links today or tomorrow. I have been very busy with work the past few days.