Jul 30, 2009

Campbell vs. Rice on the Ordo

The following are excerpts from the Campbell-Rice debate concerning the "ordo salutis," on the relationship of faith to regeneration, and on the use of means.

Campbell said:

"Mr. Rice has not yet explained to us his views of faith. He has a regeneration without it; indeed, in all cases, I presume, a regeneration anterior to faith. Faith, as I perceive, is the effect of regeneration, not the cause, according to his theory. An holy principle is immediately infused, and then faith is a holy act of a holy soul, regenerated by immediate contact with the Divine Spirit. Hence his adult and infant regeneration are, if I understand him, alike physical, or without the Word of God. Faith or regeneration must be prior—a simultaneous existence is not supposable. With me, faith is first, and repentance, or a change of heart, next in the order of things—in the order of nature and causation. If regeneration be the cause of faith, anterior to faith, without faith, then again, of what use are all human instrumentalities, preaching, Bibles, &c.? I wonder, except to save appearances, why any one should be taught to read the Bible, or go to meeting, until he is born again. If regeneration is not within the control of any mortal instrumentality—if no means are to be used with reference to it, I ask, then, how do men make faith void, and the gospel of none effect? If the Bible be not a moral instrument in this matter, what kind of instrument is it?" (Campbell's Fifth Address)

And again:

"I shall fill out my time with a few remarks on his definition of regeneration. He has at last given us a definition of this important word. But he has not yet answered the great question—whether is regeneration the cause or the effect of faith? Is regeneration the cause of faith or prior to faith; or is faith the effect of regeneration, or subsequent to it? Are they simultaneous? What connection between them? Is there any connection; and if any, what is it? I have brought up the subject in every form I can conceive of, to elicit from him such an expression as will facilitate our clear and satisfactory decision of this much and long litigated case." (Campbell's Sixth Address)

Rice, in his sixth reply, said:

"Just here I will very briefly answer the gentleman's question concerning faith and regeneration, though I am under no obligation to do it. A dead man does not perform the acts which flow from life. He is first alive, and then he acts (try that one on the story of the coming to life of the dead dry bones - SG). Those who are spiritually dead, do not put forth the acts of spiritual life. They are first quickened, then they exercise true faith and love. Spiritual acts flow from spiritual life. This I take to be the doctrine of God's Word."

(All highlighting and emphasis is mine - SG)

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