Piper on New Birth
"I just thought I should point out that John Piper hasn't been inconsistent on this issue. He believes that regeneration precedes faith, but teaches that faith is an instantaneous response. There isn't a lag between regeneration and faith. Faith is the immediate response, much like turning on a light switch or lighting a match.
In this 1981 sermon, he says, "Why do I say to you that no one can come to me without the Father's enablement? I say it to explain why there are some who do not believe. Those do not believe because it has not been given to them by my Father. He has not drawn them like he has drawn the others. Therefore it follows that saving faith does not precede and cause the new birth. But rather God the Father, by the agency of his Holy Spirit, regenerates freely whomever he pleases and by this draws a person to the Son enabling him to believe in the Son and be saved."
And in this 2008 sermon, "We can say, first, that regeneration is the cause of faith. That's plain in 1 John 5:1: 'Everyone who believes [that is, has faith] that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God.' Having been born of God results in our believing. Our believing is the immediate evidence of God's begetting.""
Yes, brother Shelton, I am familiar with these citings, and others like them, from Brother Piper. I knew he made statements like this. The question is, did he ever make any statements that seem to contradict such as you cite? Notice these citations from Piper. (emphasis mine - SG)
"Another reason for this series is that there are others that I want to help be born again. I want to show them what must happen to them. And I, with your prayers, would like to be a means of many being born again in these weeks. The new birth, we will see, is not a work of man. You don’t make the new birth happen, and I don’t make the new birth happen. God makes it happen. It happens to us, not by us."
"Being Born Again Happens Through the Gospel"
"But it always happens through the word of God. Listen to1 Peter 1:23 and 25:
“Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God. . . . And this word is the good news that was preached to you.”
So even though God is the one who begets his children, the seed by which he does it is the word of God, the gospel that we preach. So pray with me that one of the great effects of this series will be that miracle. And bring your friends and family who need to hear about the necessity of the new birth."
"Would those of you who are born again, and have the Holy Spirit in you, and love God and care about lost people, pray with me that the effect of these messages will be to awaken the spiritually dead..."
"When There Is Fire, There Is Heat"
"The way this happens (as we have seen in the first seven messages in this series) is that the Spirit of God supernaturally gives us new spiritual life by connecting us with Jesus Christ through faith. The new spiritual life that we receive in the new birth is not separate from union with Jesus, and it is not separate from faith. When God in the riches of his mercy and the greatness of his love and the sovereignty of his grace chooses to regenerate us, he gives us new life by uniting us to Christ. “God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son” (1 John 5:11). Our first experience of this is the faith in Jesus that this life brings. There is no separation of time here. When we are born gain, we believe. And when we believe, we know we have been born again. When there is fire, there is heat. When there is new birth, there is faith."
"How Are We Born Again?"
"So we have spent seven messages on two questions: What is the new birth? and Why do we need to be born again? Now we are turning to the third question: How are we born again? or What is the way we are born again? Here I am asking the question from God’s side and from our side. What is the way God does it? And what is the way we do it? How does God regenerate us? How do we take part in it?"
"God’s Part in the New Birth—And Ours"
"You might think I would say that we don’t take part in it, because we are spiritually dead. But the dead do take part in their resurrection. Here is an example of what I mean. When Jesus stood before the grave of Lazarus who had been dead for four days, Lazarus had no part in imparting his new life. He was dead. Jesus, not Lazarus, created the new life. In John 11:43, Jesus says to the dead Lazarus, “Lazarus, come out.” And the next verse says, “The man who had died came out.” So Lazarus takes part in this resurrection. He comes out. Christ causes it. Lazarus does it. Christ brings about the resurrection. Lazarus acts out the resurrection. The instant Christ commands Lazarus to rise, Lazarus does the rising. The instant God gives new life, we do the living.
So that’s why I am asking two questions and not just one question when I ask How are we born again? Or, What’s the way we are born again? I mean: What does God do in our new birth? How are we born again from God’s side? And I mean: What do we do in our new birth? How are we born again from our side? And it’s the first question I am asking today: How are we born again from God’s side? What is the way God regenerates us?"
"How Does God Regenerate Us?"
"The answer is given in at least three ways in 1 Peter 1:3-25..."
"The seed that comes through the word of God is imperishable, and therefore the life that it generates and sustains is imperishable."
From the T4G Conference (2006)
"We affirm that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is God’s means of bringing salvation to His people, that sinners are commanded to believe the Gospel, and that the church is commissioned to preach and teach the Gospel to all nations.
We deny that evangelsim can be reduced to any program, technique, or marketing approach. We further deny that salvation can be separated from repentence toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ."
"We affirm that salvation comes to those who truly beleive and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
We deny that there is salvation in any other name, or that saving faith can take any form other than conscious belief in the Lord Jesus Christ and His saving acts."
"We affirm that sinners are justified only through faith in Christ, and that justification by faith alone is essential and central to the Gospel.
We deny that any teaching that minimizes, denies, or confuses justification by faith alone can be considered true to the Gospel. We further deny that any teaching that separates regeneration and faith is a true rendering of the Gospel."
"We affirm that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to believers by God’s decree alone, and that this righteousness, imputed to the believer through faith alone, is the only righteousness that saves.
We deny that such righteousness is earned or deserved in any manner, is infused within the believer to any degree, or is realized in the believer through anything other than faith alone."
"Together for the Gospel (T4G) began as a friendship between four pastors.
The four long-time friends, Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, C. J. Mahaney, and Albert Mohler, also asked their friends Thabiti Anyabwile, John MacArthur, John Piper, and R. C. Sproul to join them for these conferences, since each of these men has been contributing so valuably to the church today."
"The Gospel is the joyous declaration that God is redeeming the world through Christ (Matt 1:21; Luke 1:68; Eph 1:7; Col 1:20), and that he calls everyone everywhere to repent from sin and trust Jesus Christ for salvation (Mark 1:15; Acts 2:38; 17:30).
Each of us has sinned against God (Rom 3:23), breaking his law and rebelling against his rule, and the penalty for our sin is death and hell (Rom 6:23). But because he loves us, God sent his Son Jesus (John 3:16; Eph 2:4; 1 John 4:10) to live for his people's sake the perfect, obedient life God requires (Rom 8:4; 1 Cor 1:30; Heb 4:15) and to die in their place for their sin (Isa 53:5; Mat 20:28; 26:28; Mark 10:45; 14:24; Luke 22:20; John 11:50-51; Rom 3:24-25; 4:25; 1 Cor 15:3; 2 Cor 5:21; Eph 5:2; Heb 10:14; 1 Pet 3:18). On the third day, He rose bodily from the grave (Mat 28:6) and now reigns in heaven (Luke 22:69; 24:51; Heb 8:1), offering forgiveness (Eph 1:7), righteousness (Rom 5:19), resurrection (Rom 8:11), and eternal blessedness in God's presence (Rev 22:4) to everyone who repents of sin and trusts solely in Him for salvation."
Now, brother Shelton, it is due to all these statements, either made directly by Piper or endorsed by him, as contradicting the other statements that put regeneration before faith.
So, I am not wrong in my statement to the Arminian about Piper (and others too) who contradict themselves on the matter of faith and its relation to regeneration or the new birth.