Feb 8, 2009

Demarist on Faith & Regeneration

I find these statements by Dr. Demarist of Denver Seminary statements worth citing. Dr. Demarist seems to be a Calvinist and is correct on the relationship of faith to regeneration within the system of Calvinism.

"Furthermore, faith does not appear to be an effect or fruit of regeneration, as many Calvinists maintain. Rather, clear biblical texts suggests that the act of faith logically precedes regeneration. John 1: 12-13 indicates that receiving Christ in faith results in the new birth and inclusion in the family of God. According to John 7: 37-39, faith precedes the gift of the Spirit in regenerating and sanctifying power. First John 6:1 (sic 5:1 - SG), however, states faith and love are signs that persons have been born of God. Most Scriptures represent saving faith as a condition of God's regenerating work. The notion that God regenerates prior to the sinner's response of penitent faith (chronologically or logically) appears to be biblically unwarranted. The spiritual dynamic that prompts and empowers sinners to convert resides not in regeneration but in the power of the Spirit's effectual calling. Special calling stops short of effecting the complete transformation of life commonly represented by the term regeneration." (Pages 264, 265)

"Moreover, faith is implicit in repentance, and repentance in faith within the unity of the act of conversion. Hence it is impossible to sever repentance from the faith that saves. Calvin correctly observed that "repentance and faith are so linked together that they can not be separated." (Page 268)

"Eugene Peterson's contemporary translation of the NT (The Message) is refreshing and enlightening. Hear his translation of John 1: 12: "whoever did want him (Jesus), who believed he was who he claimed and would do what he said, he made to be...their child-of-God selves." Consider also his rendering of John 5: 24: "Anyone here who believes what i am saying right now and aligns himself with the Father, who has in fact put me in charge, has at this very moment the real, lasting life and is no longer condemned to be an outsider."
(Page 269)

"In any case, in the discussion of free will and salvation we must avoid two errors of extremes: (1) that alleged human free will is a cause or ground of salvation, and (2) that one is saved by grace apart from an authentic, personal response." (page 86)

See here

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