Dec 3, 2008

Walvoord A Hyperist?

When I was a young Christian I spent a lot of time reading books on eschatology. I was taught Amillenialism but could not see that it was taught in scripture. I could not adopt the allegorizing hermeneutics of the Amillenialists. I read many books on the subject and I will remember reading the works of John Walvoord. I enjoyed his books. Since then I have discovered that he was a Dispensationalist. I do not of course adopt that system, although some things in the system I can affirm.

I was recently surprised to learn that Walvoord was a Hyper Calvinist. I was surprised. I had always thought of him as an Arminian. But, from the following citations, one would have to conclude that he was a Hyperist for he clearly denied the use of means in salvation. Have I read him wrong? Has he written anything elsewhere that contradicts or explains these remarks?

He wrote:

"Regeneration Not Accomplished By Means"

"Reformed theology opposed to means. Reformed theology has definitely opposed introduction of any means in accomplishing the divine act of regeneration. The question of whether means are used to effect regeneration is determined largely by the attitude taken toward efficacious grace. Pelagian and Arminian theologians, holding as they do to the cooperation of the human will and the partial ability of the will through common grace or natural powers, recognize to some extent the presence of means in the work of regeneration. If the total depravity of man be recognized, and the doctrine of efficacious grace believed, it naturally follows that regeneration is accomplished apart from means."

"All other means are likewise excluded in the work of regeneration. While regeneration is often preceded by various antecedents such as the work of common grace and accompanying influences, these must be sharply distrinquished from regeneration. Even the work of efficacious grace, though simultaneous with regeneration, and indispensible to it, does not in itself effect regeneration. Efficacious grace only makes regeneration possible and certain. Regeneration in its very nature is instantaneous, and immediate act of God, and in the nature of an instantaneous act, no means are possible. The fact that regeneration is consistently revealed as an act of God and Scriptural revelation of the doctrine of efficacious grace are sufficient evidence for excluding the possibility of the use of means in effecting regeneration."

"Regeneration Not Experimental"

"Experience follows regeneration. In Christian testimony, much has been said of the experience of regeneration. If regeneration is instantaneous and an act of divine will, if follows that regeneration in itself is not experimental. It may be conceded freely that abundant experimental phenomena follow the act of new birth. The experiences of a normal Spirit-filled Christian may immediately ensue upon the new birth. This fact does not alter the nonexperimental character of regeneration. If it be admitted that regeneration is an instantaneous act of God, it is logically impossible for it to be experimental, in that experience involves time and sequence of experience. It may be concluded, therefore, that no sensation attends the act of new birth, all experience proceeding rather from the accomplished regeneration and springing from the new life as its source. In the nature of the case, we cannot experience what is not true, and regeneration must be entirely wrought before experience can be found. While the regenerated soul may become immediately conscious of new life, the act of regeneration itself is not subject to experience or analysis, being the supernatural instantaneous act of God. The new life may be a source of experience, but the act of regeneration itself is not experienced."

"Regeneration inseparable from salvation. The nonexperimental nature of regeneration has also, unfortunately, opened the door for the teaching of infant regeneration as held by the Lutheran Church. It is argued that, if regeneration is not experimental, there is no valid reason why infants cannot be regenerated. Shedd surprisingly approves the idea of infant regeneration on the ground that regeneration is not experimental in the following statement: "Regeneration is a work of God in the human soul that is below consciousness. There is no internal sensation caused by it. No man was ever conscious of that instantaneous act of the Holy Spirit by which he was made a new creature in Christ Jesus. And since the work is that of God alone, there is no necessity that man should be conscious of it. This fact places the infant and the adult upon the same footing, and makes infant regeneration as possible as that of adults. Infant regeneration is taught in Scripture. Luke 1: 15, "He shall be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb.' Luke 18: 1, 15, 16, "Suffer little children to come unto me; for fo such is the kingdom of God.' Acts 2: 39, 'The promise is unto your children.' I Corinthians 7: 14, 'Now are your children holy.' Infant regeneration is also taught symbolically. (a) By infant circumcision in the Old Testament; (b) By infant baptism in the New Testament.'"

"Eternal life received by faith. The important fact, never to be forgotten in the doctrine of regeneration, is that the believer in christ has received eternal life. This fact must be kept free from all confusion of thought arising from the concept of regeneration which makes it merely an antecedent of salvation, or a preliminary quickening to enable the soul to believe. It is rather the very heart of salvation. It reaches the essential problem of the lack of eternal life without which no soul can spend eternity in the presence of God. Regeneration supplies eternal life as justification and sanctification deal with the problem of sin specifically. It is a smashing blow to all philosophies which hold that man has inherent capacities of saving himself. Regeneration is wholly of God. No possible human effort however noble can supply eternal life. The proper doctrine of regeneration gives to God all glory and power due His name, and at the same time it displays His abundant provision for a race dead in sin."

See here

Well, what do you think? Is regeneration that which is not experienced? Is it instantaneous? Always? If it is, does this rule out it being experienced? Notice how he cites no scripture but uses "logic." It is without means because it is instantaneous and not experimental? It is without means because it is an act of God?

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