Sep 7, 2017

On The Justification Regeneration Ordo Debate

One of the blogs I read is by Steve Hays, a voluminous writer who often has good articles and who defends Calvinism. However, he is a Hyper Calvinist in his placing regeneration before conversion and justification. I have constantly written against those Calvinists who put regeneration before justification and have shown how the first Reformers, John Calvin et als, did not do so. Hays recently had a post titled "Repentance, remission, and justification" (see here) and I wish to quote some things Hays said and respond to them. Hays said (his words in black and the Catholic in red - emphasis mine):

"A recent exchange I had with a Catholic apologist (indeed, a sedevacantist!):

Here St. Paul says that washing of regeneration (i.e. internal change within the believer done by the Holy Spirit) is how God justifies the sinner. This means that justification involves an ontological change within the believer, not merely a legal declaration. This also refutes the Protestant claim that sanctification is separated from justification and happens after it - to the contrary, in Titus 3:4-7 St. Paul says that sanctification is the basis for justification.

It has been my contention that it is the Catholics who put regeneration before justification and that the Protestants have put justification before regeneration. See my posting Justification precedes Regeneration for instance. Those Calvinists therefore who put regeneration before faith and justification are in league with the Pelagian Catholics and have deviated from Calvin and the first Reformers.

Hays wrote this in response:

i) At most, your conclusion only follows if the relationship between v6 and v7 is chronological, where justification is the effect of spiritual renewal. But more likely Paul is saying that inheriting eternal life is the combined effect of spiritual renewal and justification by grace.

ii) And even if there's a chronological sequence, that's entirely consistent with Calvinism: justification is contingent on faith while faith is contingent on regeneration.

Notice how Hays agrees with the Catholic on the point! He says regeneration precedes justification! Further, he claims that "Calvinism" has such an ordo salutis! Yet, the truth is, it is the Hyper Calvinist who puts regeneration before justification and is in league with the Pelagians!

Wrote the Catholic:

"This is also why Paul says in Romans 6:16 that obedience leads to righteousness - exactly as the Catholic Church teaches."

"But Reformed theology insists that regeneration (i.e. the internal change done by the Holy Spirit within the believer) comes after justification."

Responded Hays:

"I have no idea where you came up with that. In Reformed theology, justification is a consequence of faith while faith is a consequence of regeneration. So you've got the causal sequence out of order.

ii) I don't know where you get the idea that in Reformed theology, sanctification is the result of justification. Rather, sanctification is an outgrowth of regeneration. Justification is categorically different from regeneration or sanctification in Reformed theology. Justification is an ascribed status whereas sanctification is a process of moral and spiritual transformation."

Hays is wrong when he says that the Reformers put regeneration before justification! It is not the Calvinists who put regeneration before justification but it is the Hyper Calvinists who are in league with the Pelagian Catholics!