Mar 11, 2009

Faith = Faith Faculty?

Abraham Kuyper, a father of Hyper Calvinism on the new birth, wrote:

"Hence without regeneration the sinner is utterly unprofitable. What is the use of an ear except it hear, or of an eye except it see? Therefore the Holy Ghost testifies: "The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made even both of them." And since in the world of spiritual things deaf ears and blind eyes do not avail anything, the Church of Christ confesses that every operation of saving grace must be preceded by a quickening of the sinner, by an opening of blind eyes, an unstopping of deaf ears-in short, by the implanting of the faculty of faith." (page 305)

See here

Kuper also wrote this:

"Before we examine the work of the Holy Spirit in this important matter, we must first define the use of words.

The word "regeneration" is used in a limited sense, and in a more extended sense.

It is used in the limited sense when it denotes exclusively God's act of quickening, which is the first divine act whereby God translates us from death into life, from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His dear Son. In this sense regeneration is the starting-point. God comes to one born in iniquity and dead in trespasses and sins, and plants the principle of a new spiritual life in his soul. Hence he is born again."

This is truly an unscriptural and highly speculative "hybrid" idea about the "definition" of "faith"! Where in all of scripture is the ability to believe, what Kuyper and the Hyper Calvinists call the "faculty of faith," called "faith"? (See the rest of his treatise where he calls faith the "principle of faith") By this way of "defining" (or redefining) the meaning of plain words one can also say that a man repents, turns to the Lord, believes, confesses Christ, etc., if he simply is given, by a direct invisible work of God, the "ability" or "faculty" for such activity! Truly this is a man-made doctrine, a "cunningly devised fable."

It is this kind of dishonest handling of the word of God that is warned against in scripture. (II Cor. 4: 2) It is certainly not "holding fast the form of sound words." (II Tim. 1: 13)

This is a clear case of "watering down" or "diluting" ('corrupt') the meaning of the word "faith" to make it mean "ability to have faith," another clear violation of scripture. (II Cor. 2: 17) But, such a redefining of the meaning of words is often necessary by the heretics! It is a kind of "taking away" or "adding to" the word of God.

Notice how Kuyper refers to the "hearing ear" and the "seeing eye." Hyper Calvinists of all kinds are heard to argue that "regeneration" is that event which gives a soul the spiritual ability to hear and see, but not the activity of seeing and hearing itself. Thus, an infant in the womb, according to them, may believe, repent, and have faith, and spiritual ears and eyes, or be converted! And, not because they actually do believe or repent, or spiritually hear and see, or are converted, but only that they have the ability to do them!

Kuyper believed that since infants were capable of having the "principles of corruption" or "degeneration," then they could also have the "principles of incorruption," or "regeneration." But, this is not scriptural and is a case of diluting the meaning of what it means to be saved, converted, born again, or regenerated.


Bruce Oyen said...

You have made good points here, Stephen. And while reading your post, it reminded me of two other theological positions that like to make qualifying statements about normally well-understood Biblical terms such as "faith" and "believe". One of these is the Campbellite or Church Of Christ position. Campbellites read things into, say, Acts 16:31 to make the verse support their theology. So, the verse does not simply mean what it says, i. e. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." To them, to believe implies getting baptized and doing whatever else they think one must do to be saved. Another theological position that seems to find it difficult to just take at face value direct Scriptural statements about how to be saved is that of "Lordship salvation." one of its main contemporary advocates refers to self-denying faith as being necessary to be saved, instead of simply referring to putting one's faith in Christ to be saved. Compare this quote from chapter 4 of John MacArthur's book, "Hard To Believe," (the title itself is misleading) with John 3:16 and Acts 16:31, 32: "We can't know Jesus as the Messiah until we surrender to Him. I couldn't know Him as my Savior until I gave up my life to Him. Then I knew. Parading an infinite numbr of miracles in front of me wouldn't have proved anything. Miracles are beside the point. You will never know whether Jesus can save your soul from hell, give you new life, re-create your soul, plant His holy Spirit there, forgive your sin, and send you to heaven until you give your life totally to Him. That is self-denial, cross-bearing, and following Him in obedience." Is this what John 3:16 and Acts 16:31, 32 mean? Not at all, because what MacArthur has done here is put the focus on what a sinner can do for Christ, not on what Christ can do for a sinner.

Bruce Oyen said...

I'd like to make this comment about the following statement from MacArthur's quote given above. He said, "You will never know whether Jesus can save your soul from hell, give you new life, re-create your soul, plant His holy Spirit there, forgive your sin, and send you to heaven until you give your life totally to Him." This absolutely false, Stephen, for anyone can know this from the many promises about this in the Word of God. And those promises direct our faith to Christ, not to ourselves, as MacArthur wants us to think. Just as the serpent-bitten Israelites were to look to the uplifted serpent for healing, and not to themselves, so, too, those in our day wanting salvation are to look to the uplifted Savior, not to themselves.