Mar 10, 2010

Piper's Double Speak

I have previously written about how I believe that John Piper says contradictory things about the relationship of faith to the new birth. Let me give some further examples of it.

"Our Part in the New Birth: Faith"

"The question in this tenth message on the new birth is: What is our part? What do we do in the act of new birth? How do we participate in bringing it about? Let me give you the answer first that I see in the Bible, and then we will go back and show where it’s found.

Your part in the act of new birth is faith—faith in the crucified and risen Son of God, Jesus Christ, as the Savior and Lord and Treasure of your life. What you do in the act of new birth is believe on Christ. The way you participate in bringing the new birth about is by receiving Christ for who he really is, the supremely valuable Savior, Lord, and Treasure of the universe."

"The Simultaneity of the New Birth and Faith

The answer continues like this: Your act of believing and God’s act of begetting are simultaneous. You do the one and he does the other at the same instant. And—this is very important—his doing is the decisive cause of your doing. His begetting is the decisive cause of your believing."

Yes, it is his "doing" that causes our believing and our birth, but the question is this - is this "doing" an act of begetting? His begetting is the cause of our "living" also, but who would affirm that one is begotten before he is born or is alive? One cannot say that a person is begotten or born before he actually experiences life and faith.

Piper says further:

"...the new birth is “by obedience to the truth.” That is, the new birth is by faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s why I say our part in the new birth is believing. In believing we are acting out the new birth."

"There are three clues in this text that God’s action in new birth is the cause of our action in the new birth. That is, his begetting causes our believing."

"The new birth does not take the place of faith; the new birth includes faith. The new birth is the birth of faith."

("What Man Does in the New Birth")

See here

It seems to me that Piper is trying to have it both ways. He says that sinners are born again by faith and that believing is by beng born again. But at least he is to be praised for affirming that regeneration includes being made a believer.

Born Again Before N.T.

Here is what the London Baptist Confession of 1689 says on the matter of believers, before the New Covenant was officially begun, being saved or born again.

"Although the price of redemption was not actually paid by Christ until after His incarnation yet the virtue, efficacy, and benefit arising from His payment were communicated to the elect in all ages from the beginning of the world through those promises, types, and sacrifices in which He was revealed and signified as the seed which should bruise the serpent's head, and also the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, for He is the same yesterday, and today, and forever." (This is from point # 6 in chapter 8 under title "Christ the Mediator")

Notice also what Jesus said to Peter, during his earthly ministry, and before the New Covenant formally came into force.

"He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 16: 15-17)

Those who deny that Peter was born again at the time of this incident are forced to affirm that this revelation, given to Peter, as the Christ and Son of God, was not a saving or regeneration experience. This is absurd. All, or nearly all, recognize this revelation as equal to the new birth. Also, note what John said about those who believe Jesus is the Christ.

"Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him." (I John 5: 1)

If Peter, by divine revelation, believed that Jesus was the Christ, in Matthew 16, then he was born again, before the death of Christ, according to the apostle John. I rest my case.

Mar 9, 2010

Born Again in O.T.?

Some of my brethren take the view, as C. I. Scofield, that no one was born again till after the death of Christ, or not until Pentecost. It is a minority view. Can it be proven that some were born again before the death of Christ? Yes. Notice the words of John.

"He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1: 11-13)

Clearly the reference to those who "received" Christ and who "believed" on his name are those to whom Jesus presented himself during his earthly ministry, before his death on the cross. What does John say about them? He says they were "born of God," therefore people were born again before the death of Christ. To affirm that John is saying that the people who received Christ, and believed on his name, during Christ's ministry, were not born again till after his death, is to miss the point of John. John affirms that they who received him were born of God, at the point they received him, and not years after they believed!

"Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him." (I John 5: 1)

Did John not affirm that some received Christ and believed on his name while he was here in the flesh, and before his death? Certainly! Were they not then born again?