Jul 31, 2011

Decisional Regeneration?


I dislike my Calvinist brothers decrying "decisional regeneration." I think they go to extremes in opposing Arminianism. Those Calvinists who decry "decisional regeneration" are either Hyper Calvinists or are borderline Hyperists. I also dislike those Calvinists who constantly say that one must be born again, or have spiritual life, before he can believe, repent, or be converted, and ride this message like a "hobby horse."

In this posting I want to affirm that true Calvinism does not divorce conversion from regeneration, does not separate an act of the will, in choosing Christ, from the experience of salvation, but believe that in regeneration the will acts, being moved upon by the power of God and his grace. Here are scriptures that overthrow the Calvinist extremist's objections.

Scriptures that put "asking" and "believing" before regeneration (or the obtaining of spiritual life).

"He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever." (Psalm 21: 4)

"But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." (John 20: 31)

"And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." (John 5: 40)

Clearly asking, believing, choosing, and coming to Christ are all put before life and salvation in these verses.

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." (Matt. 7: 7)

Can it not be said of the wicked who refuse to believe in Christ that they were not saved because they did not ask to be saved?

"Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water." (John 4: 10)

Does one not receive the water of life by petition? By a choice?

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed." (James 1: 5, 6)

"ye have not, because ye ask not." (James 4: 2)

If one lacks salvation, is it not because he has not asked for it of the Lord? If he lacks that wisdom which is unto salvation, is it not because he did not ask and believe?

"If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" (Luke 11: 13)

Is this not the case with all the damned? That they did not ask the Lord to give them the Holy Spirit?

"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." (Rev. 3: 20)

Is opening the heart's door for Christ and life to enter not a result of a choice to open the heart?

"And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." (Matt. 21: 22)

Can this not be said to every lost soul? If not, why not? Is life and salvation not part of the "all things"?

How can we divorce "asking" and "choosing" from what it means to "call upon" the Lord?

Decisional regeneration? Can we have regeneration apart from a decision? Apart from a change of the will?


Anonymous said...

Why must you label everyone who disagrees with you as some type of Calvinist? It makes you sound ignorant... and willfully so. Surely you know that not everyone who is not Pellagian or Semi-Pellagian is some version of Calvinist.

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Anon:

Your accusation has no substance in fact.