Monday, April 17, 2006

John Calvin vs. "Born Again Before Faith"

The doctrine that an unbeliever is born again before placing saving faith in Jesus Christ is a heresy held by almost all of today’s Reformed Calvinists. As Bob Ross has decisively proven, this heresy is not taught in any of the historic Baptist confessions. It is likewise not found in the Baptist Faith and Message, the confession of the Southern Baptist Convention. In fact, the BF&M teaches exactly the opposite of "born again before faith."

"Born again before faith" theology is not only rejected by Southern Baptists, it was rejected by John Calvin himself! In the book Theology of the Reformers (Broadman, 1988), Dr. Timothy George, the five-point Calvinist dean of the Beeson School of Divinity, says that John Calvin taught that faith precedes regeneration, which is exactly what the BF&M teaches and what Southern Baptists believe.

"This being placed into Christ (insitio in Christo) occurs in regeneration which, Calvin was careful to point out, follows from faith as the result: Since faith receives Christ, it leads us to the possession of all His benefits. Repentance too, which is part of regeneration, is the consequence of faith." (225-226)

While not accepting his theology in toto, Southern Baptists would certainly agree with John Calvin that regeneration occurs after faith and is the result of saving faith in Jesus Christ. This was the teaching of the real founders of the SBC and as far as I can tell has been the theology of every President of the SBC since the formation of the Convention.

Given the great weight of witnesses: John Calvin, the historic Baptist confessions, the Baptist Faith and Message, the Presidents of the SBC–why then does Dr. Al Mohler have professors at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary which teach just the opposite? Why does he have men like Dr. R. C. Sproul, a baby-baptizing Presbyterian and one of the chief proponents of the "born again before faith" heresy, as a guest speaker at the seminary?

If "born again before faith" theology is diametrically opposed to what Southern Baptists believe and what the Baptist Faith and Message teaches, why are seminary professors teaching it at Southern Baptist seminaries?

Charles
(To email a copy of this article to a pastor or friend, click on the envelope icon at the end of this article).

(April 17, 2006 UPDATE: Please read Bob Ross' comments in which he carefully sets forth the origins of the "born again before faith" view. Someone might ask if all this talk about doctrine really matters. Yes, it matters.)

32 Comments:

At Monday, April 17, 2006 12:31:00 PM, Blogger Eye said...

Charles,

As always, an excellent and informative article! Keep up the great work.

In Him,

Eye

 
At Monday, April 17, 2006 2:07:00 PM, Blogger ScriptureSearcher2 said...

The truthful comments by the prolific Gene Bridges need to be proliferated around the world.



Thanks for doing your
part to achieve this feat.


Your help is appreciated, Charles.

 
At Monday, April 17, 2006 2:28:00 PM, Blogger ScriptureSearcher2 said...

All truthful comments need to be proliferated around the world, even if some are made by people we do not
like.

Many thanks!

 
At Monday, April 17, 2006 2:45:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

CHARLES SAID . . .

John Calvin vs. "Born Again Before Faith"

BOB'S COMMENT:

EXCELLENT item, Charles!

The only addition you could make to it would be to refer to the fact that both W. G. T. Shedd and Louis Berkhof, the pedo-regenerationist theologians who are prominent promoters of "born again before faith," BOTH admit to differing with John Calvin, the Puritans, and the Calvinist Confessions of Faith.

In my opinion, MOST of the present-day advocacy of "born again before faith" derives either directly or indirectly from these two theologians, especially Berkhof, since his Systematic Theology is published and promoted by the Banner of Truth, the company which was served so faithfully by the late Ernest Reisinger and the Founders Ministries. This volume is also used in Reformed seminaries, and was probably used where R. C. Sproul was trained. It is also the book which Jim Eliff of the Founders evidently considers accurate on "regeneration," as he favorably quotes Berkhof in his critical treatise on "Revival and the Unregenerate Church Member."

For instance, see Berkhof on pages 466, 470, 476. Systematic Theology; Shedd, Vol. 2, pages 492, 493.

Shedd admits that Calvin taught as you have explained in your article, and he says of the Puritans, "The divines of the seventeenth century very generally do not distinguish between regeneration and conversion, but employ the two as SYNONYMS." He mentions two by name, John Owen and Stephen Charnock, and notes that the Westminster Confession "does not use the term regeneration."

Shedd says the Confession teaches that "effectual calling" comprises the "entire work of the Holy Spirit in the application of redemption." Shedd disagrees with that view.

It was Shedd's opinion that this view of those Calvinists "led to CONFUSION of ideas and views" (page 493), and he says he adopted a view which makes a "distinction between regeneration and conversion" -- which today is part of that which accounts for the idea that one is "born again before faith."

Berkhof follows Shedd in differing with Calvin, the 17th century Puritans, the Canons of Dort, and the Westminster Confession. Berkhof explains that "the ordo salutis was not as fully developed as it is today" (page 468), and it is this perfidious "ordo salutis" mcguffin which has been the virtual "shibboleth" in the Reformed seminaries and other circles which advocate "regeneration precedes faith," or "born again before faith." R. C. Sproul said he first heard of this idea while in a Reformed Seminary.

Your quoting Dr. Timothy George is quite significant to our contention, for we have been affirming that the present form of "Hybrid Calvinism" is not the CREEDAL CALVINISM of the past, and is virtual heresy when it teaches that sinners are really "born again" before they believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and this in effect is "another gospel."

The little oft-repeated diversionary tactic of saying that this Is "logical, not chronological," as some vainly attempt as an escape hatch for their error, is superficial and nothing more than a ruse. The "born again before faith" idea is neither logical nor chronological, but it is ILLOGICAL.

Thanks, Charles, for your good article! -- Bob L. Ross

 
At Monday, April 17, 2006 2:48:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

Scripturesearcher2, Hello!

You said, The truthful comments by the prolific Gene Bridges need to be proliferated around the world

I don't recall Gene commenting on why he calls himself a Calvinist when he disagrees with John Calvin himself on the ordo salutis!

Charles

 
At Monday, April 17, 2006 3:03:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

Bob, Hello!

You said, MOST of the present-day advocacy of "born again before faith" derives either directly or indirectly from these two theologians, especially Berkhof,

Superb post, Bob!

"Dr." James White, our friend and brother Scott, the Flounders, Steve Camp, Gene Bridges, Dr. Tom Schreiner --- these guys are not Calvinists, they are Berkhofites!

Charles

 
At Monday, April 17, 2006 4:05:00 PM, Blogger Eye said...

Berkhofites,

Try saying that five time in a row as fast as you can... :)

Bob and Charles,

I've been discussing this very issue on another blog. Pre-faith seems to be a trump card in the Hybrid - Calvinistic Systematic Theological deck of cards -- or so they think, but I offer them Cornelius.

There isn't even the slightest whiff of a pre-faith or secret regeneration in the text and God even has the audacity to affirm to the careful reader that Cornelius was a lost man in Acts 11:14, all the while he was:

Praying to God...

Giving alms to the poor...

Having God answer his prayers...

Having God send an angel to him...

Having God send the Apostle to his house...

He was still a lost man when Peter came under his roof and began to share the simple gospel message...

And then that glorious moment occurred when we see the Scriptures confirm the inward 'quickening' of the Spirit because we read the Holy Spirit came upon or fell on Cornelius and those of his household that believed. The outward manifestation of the Holy Spirit of God confirms the inward quickening of the believer in that passage as a result of the 'power of the gospel' and the preaching of the Word.

Keep up the good work guys!

In Him,

Eye

 
At Monday, April 17, 2006 5:31:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

Eye said...
Berkhofites,

I offer them Cornelius.

BOB'S COMMENT:

Don't be too anxious to "offer" up Cornelius.

Robert Haldane, a Creedal Calvinist, along with John Gill, also a Creedal Calvinist, show in the commentaries on Romans that Cornelius had ALREADY HEARD THE WORD, and therefore was probably saved, and was simply lacking assurance that as a GENTILE he was accepted of God.

See Acts 11:36, 37 where Peter reveals that Cornelius "knew" the Gospel. He evidently simply needed assurance that a believing Gentile was included in salvation.

Even Peter himself needed to be persuaded of Gentile acceptance by the Lord, as this event reveals.

The word "saved" in Acts 11:14 is not necessarily referring to initial salvation, but is sometimes used in the broad sense or ultimate sense, such as Acts 15:11, 4:12; Romans 5:9, 10; 1 Timothy 4:16. "Saved" has three tenses: past (have been), present (am being), and future (shall yet be).

For Haldane, see --
http://www.godrules.net/library/haldane/31haldane6.htm

The following shows that Haldane taught the necessity of the Word in regeneration.

Haldane on Romans 1:16: Copied from the above website:

>>The Gospel is power in the hand of God, as opposed to our natural impotence and utter inability to obtain salvation by anything we can do, Romans 5:6; and also in opposition to the law, which cannot save, being ‘weak through the flesh,’ Romans 8:3. It has been observed that the article the, before power, is not in the original. The article, however, is not necessary. The Apostle does not mean power as an attribute, for the Gospel is no attribute of God. It is is power, as it is the means which God employs to accomplish a certain end.

It is said, the Gospel is God’s power unto salvation, all other means of salvation are excluded. To every one that believeth. — This power of God unto salvation is applied through faith, without which God will neither justify nor save any man, because it is the appointed means of His people’s union with Jesus Christ. >>

Haldane on Romans 10:14:

>>His doctrine is, that the Gospel must be communicated to the minds of men through the external instrumentality of the word, as well as by the internal agency of the Spirit. Men are not only saved through Christ, but they are saved through the knowledge of Christ, communicated through the Gospel.<<

>>Ver. 17. — So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. According, then, to this complaint of the Prophet, it is evident that faith comes by hearing, which the Apostle is asserting; and this is the consequence to be deduced from it. The word in the preceding verse, quoted from Isaiah, and rendered ‘report,’ is the same which in this verse is rendered hearing. Faith, then, never comes but by hearing, that is, by the word of God. The Apostles communicated their testimony by the living voice, and by their writings. Both are comprehended in what is called hearing. All this showed the necessity of preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles, on which Paul had been insisting, according to which there is no such thing as saving faith among heathens who have not heard of Christ. Hearing by the word of God. — This makes the last observation still stronger. The hearing cannot extend to Dr. Macknight’s scheme of salvation to the heathens, who supposes that they may have faith without the knowledge of the Gospel; for, consistently with this passage, faith must come, not from the revelation of the works of God, but from that of His word.<<

 
At Monday, April 17, 2006 9:35:00 PM, Blogger Eye said...

Bob said: Robert Haldane, a Creedal Calvinist, along with John Gill, also a Creedal Calvinist, show in the commentaries on Romans that Cornelius had ALREADY HEARD THE WORD, and therefore was probably saved, and was simply lacking assurance that as a GENTILE he was accepted of God.

Eye's response: Thank you Brother Bob for the additional information. I think we would both agree that just because one hears or is aware of the message does not mean that person automatically places faith in Jesus. My only point with regard to Cornelius is there is no evidence in the text to a 'pre-faith regeneration' prior to the clear evidence of his and his household's salvation.

Couple of other tidbits I throw out in consideration that Cornelius was lost in the first part of chapter 10 are:

o The angel did not tell Cornelius to 'fear not' -- I believe the Scriptures affirm angels telling 'believers' to 'fear not' when they encounter them...

o I find it difficult to believe a 'saved' man would worship Peter. Naaman the Syrian leper knew immediately upon his conversion that it was not okay to worship his false gods -- 'In this thing the LORD pardon thy servant, [that] when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon thy servant in this thing.'

o And of course Acts 11:14 is very clear -- 'Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.

In Him,

Eye

 
At Monday, April 17, 2006 10:09:00 PM, Blogger ScriptureSearcher2 said...

Perhaps we have here yet another instance, and there have been so many in history, of "sound and fury signifying nothing" WORTHY of so much heat while producing so very little light.


Lots of humor but little
or no light!


I can get my smiles from
the daily newspaper comics!


Regeneration and faith - faith and regeneration! Both are gracious gifts of our sovereign God! Don't all
agree with this statement?


The regenerate (twice born) have true faith and those who have God's gift of genuine faith are truly regenerate (born again) - so
why all the wasted words?


It reminds me of the ancient
Jewish discussions regarding the
exact number of angels that could stand on the head of a pin. Silly!


Satan must smile when God's
children, and my brothers in Christ, behave in such a
silly manner!


Silly - and shame on us for
allowing Satan to detour, sidetrack and even derail us in such a silly (STUPID) manner!!

 
At Monday, April 17, 2006 10:24:00 PM, Blogger ScriptureSearcher2 said...

All who are truly twice born (regenerate) have genuine faith - both the new birth and faith are gracious gifts of our sovereign God.



So why waste so many words that signify nothing WORTHY of knowing ~ generating lots of heat but producing no light?



It reminds me of those old Jewish discussions aka arguments regarding the number of angels that could stand on the head of a pin -SILLY


AND MAYBE STUPID!

 
At Tuesday, April 18, 2006 10:47:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

BACK TO THE COMICS, PLEASE!

ScriptureSearcher2 said...
Lots of humor but little
or no light!

I can get my smiles from
the daily newspaper comics!

Silly - and shame on us for
allowing Satan to detour, sidetrack and even derail us in such a silly (STUPID) manner!!


By all means, SS2, GET BACK TO THE COMICS and escape Satan's detour, sidetracking, and derailing into the Silly Pond!

How on earth did you handcar manage to get onto this detour and wind up in the slough?

-- Bob Ross

 
At Tuesday, April 18, 2006 12:08:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

scripturesearcher2, Hello!

You said, It reminds me of those old Jewish discussions aka arguments regarding the number of angels that could stand on the head of a pin -SILLY


AND MAYBE STUPID!


Almost as silly and stupid as believing that a person is born again before they place faith in Christ--a theology which makes the Word of God to none effect!

Charles

 
At Tuesday, April 18, 2006 6:48:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

SPURGEON PRESSED FOR "DECISIONS"!

BOB TO CHARLES:

Charles, I am sure you have noticed that the Hybrid Calvinists are generally opposed to any type of evangelism which puts "pressure" upon lost sinners to come to Christ. Many of them oppose public invitations, personsal one-on-one soul winning, what they call "decisionism," and other supposedly nefariouis efforts to make converts to Christ by believing.

The Reformed especially eschew invitations, for ater all, they were supposedly "regenerated" as babies, and it would be uncomely for them to make a public profession of faith in Christ as if to say, "I was not regenerated as a baby after all."

Thus, Pedobaptists such as Iain Murray of the Banner of Truth Trust attack public invitations and allege that they promote false professions by "unregenerates." Murray admits that some of the "elect" may somehow escape deception, but not very often.

Murray seems oblivious to the fact that he and other Pedobaptists baptize UNREGENERATE BABIES by the thousands every year, and add them to church rolls and classify these unbelieving babes as "regenerate" members!

It is obvious that the Reformed are very uncomfortable under a public invitation to receive Christ by faith, for they are probably wrestling with the fact that they have perhaps never been born again. They grew up in Reformed churches and were never born again.

D. L. Moody had several thousand professions by such "regenerated" Pedobaptists in England when he preached there in the 1800s, and so did Billy Graham, despite the opposition of Pedobaptist Hybrid Calvinists such a John Kennedy to Moody and Martyn Lloyd Jones to Graham.

So the Hybrid Calvinists, such as SCOTT MORGAN, JAMES WHITE, THE FOUNDERS, and GENE BRIDGES "THINK THEY LIKE SPURGEON?"

Well, if so, let them go forth and take Spurgeon for their model in urging lost sinners to come to Christ.Did you ever know of any of them preaching this way to the lost, or even publishing such appeals on their websites, or making such appeals to men with whom they are debating? Do the Hybrids ever preach the Gospel to lost sinners? Or do they just wait for sinners to get "born again before faith"?

The following is from Spurgeon's great sermon, "An Urgent Request for an Immediate Answer" (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 37, #2231).

SPURGEON:

May I ask that everyone here will say "Yes," or "No," to the invitation to give himself up to Christ?

If you will do so, say, "I will."

If you will not do so, say deliberately, "I will not."

I wish I could get hold of an undecided man, and taking his hand, could say to him, "Now, you must tell me which it will be."

I can imagine some of you would say, "Oh, give me time to consider!" and I would reply, "You have had time to consider. Your hair is getting grey." In spite of all our entreaties, people say, "Oh, but I do not like to decide so suddenly!" If I asked you whether you would be honest, I hope that you would not take many minutes to answer that. Why, then, should you hesitate so long in giving your adherence to Christ? . . .

The question is, Will you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? The absence of an affirmative answer means, "No, I will not." I am sure that it does in every case. No argument can be raised about that.

But if you will answer me, "No, I will not have Christ; I will not believe on him; I will not become a Christian; I will not leave my old ways; I mean to go on in them;" well, I thank you for the answer, pained as I am, because now we can talk it over. . . .

If you say, "No, I am not a Christian, and I do not want to be;" so far you are honest, and I want you now to think it over. Would you like to die in this frame of mind? You may die where you are sitting. Are you wise to come to this determination? Do you think that this is a resolution which you can justify before the judgment-bar of God? . . .

I pray you, think of it, and I hope that you will alter your decision as many another man has done when he has calmly considered the magnitude of the issues at stake, and the awful result which must come of rejecting him who is now the Savior, but who will one day sit as the Judge.

But we are the more determined to press you for some decision, because an ill answer will set us free to go to others. . . .

O sirs, if you; that hear the gospel will not have my Master, we will go and bring in the publicans and harlots, and they shall enter the kingdom of heaven before you! Sons of pious parents, children of Sabbath-schools, if you believe not, you shall be cast into "outer darkness," where shall be "weeping and gnashing of teeth," while the people whom you despise, infidels and profligates, the very scum of society, shall accept the Savior, and live.
. . .

In this very place, I once urged those who were undecided to go home, and write down, either the word "Saved," or "Lost," and sign their name to the paper. One man, when he got into his house, asked for pen and paper; and when his wife enquired why he wanted it, he said he was going to do what the parson said, and write down "Lost." She refused to fetch him the paper if he was going to do that. So he got it himself, and put down a capital L, when his little girl climbed up in the chair behind him, and said, "No, father, you shan't do that, I'd rather die than you should do that"; and the child's tears fell on his hand as she spoke.

What my sermon had failed to do, those tears accomplished; the strong man was bowed, and yielded himself to Christ; and when they got up from their knees in that little room, he took the pen, and changing the L into an S, wrote "Saved."

I want to press you for some kind of answer, because, like Eliezer, I have promised my Master to make search for you, and an ill answer will clear me of my oath. If I can get "No," from you as your answer, and am certain that you will not go with me to my Master's Son, I shall be clear. It was so with Abraham's servant; he and his master agreed to that at the first. . . . .

My dear friend, you are in peril of eternal death. While you are hesitating, life is ebbing. During the past few months, how many of our dear friends have been taken away by influenza, and other causes! This congregation has suffered from sickness, in family after family, as I never knew it suffer before. May you not be taken?

I charge you, therefore, do not act as though you had plenty of time. Possibly you have not another week to live. The clock, as it ticks, seems to me to say, "Now, now, now, now, now, now;" and for some of you there is an alarm in the clock, which, when it runs down, utters this warning, "Now or never, now or never, now or never."

After all, the matter that we have in hand is not one that requires great debate. . . . This is a thing so simple that it requires no argument. Who will choose to be damned? Who will refuse eternal life? Surely these are questions that should be decided at once.

Waiting and trifling have done you no good hitherto . . .the difficulties in the way of your accepting Christ do not get any less. If you look at the matter rightly, you will see that there are no great difficulties in the way, nor were there ever such obstacles as your imagination pictures.

O friends, you have waited until you can get "a convenient season" to become a Christian, and after all your delay, the way is not any clearer! Twenty years ago some of you were as near decision for Christ as you are now. Nay, you seemed nearer. I then thought, "Oh, some of them will soon believe in Jesus, and yield their hearts to him!"

But you said then that it was not quite time. Is it time now? Is the day without difficulty any nearer? Is the season any more suitable? . . .

Sometimes, if men come to Christ at the very first invitation, it is a sweet and easy coming. See how dear young children often yield themselves to Christ, and how peaceful is their entrance into the rest of faith!

But when people wait, when they postpone believing, when they violate conscience, when they tread down all the uprising of holy thoughts within them, it becomes much harder for them to trust in Christ than it would have been when he was first preached to them.
. . . .

"Well," says one, "I am glad you have spoken to us; I will think it over."

No, friend, I do not mean that. I do not want you to think it over. You have had enough of thinking; I pray that God's Spirit may lead you to an IMMEDIATE DECISION..

"Well, suppose that we consider it during the week," you say.

No, that will not suit either my Master or myself. I want the answer now. I am like a messenger carrying a letter, on which is written, "The bearer will wait for a reply." . . .

If I say to you, "Go home, and think it over all the week," I shall be giving you a week in which to remain in rebellion against God; and I have no right to do that. I shall be giving you a week in which you are to continue an unbeliever; and he that is an unbeliever is in peril of eternal ruin, for "he that believeth not shall be damned."

Worse than all, the week may lead to many other weeks; to months, perhaps, and years; perchance to a whole eternity of woe. I cannot give you five minutes.

God the Holy Ghost speaks by me now to souls whom God hath chosen from before the foundation of the world, and he says, "Today, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts." The Holy Ghost says "Today, even today."

"Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?"

The question comes to you, Will ye be Christ's? . . .

Oh I wish some of you would thus respond to my appeal this day! This thing is also from the Lord: it was he who gave me this message; it was he who brought you to hear it. Surely you will not be found fighting against God.

Your heart is open to him; he sees the faintest desire that you have toward him. Breathe out your wish now, and say, "My heart is before thee: take it."

"Take my poor heart, and let it be
For ever closed to all but thee!
Seal thou my breast, and let me wear
That pledge of love for ever there."


He will not be slow to accept that which is offered to him. He will take you now, and he will keep you for ever.

"How is it to be done?" says one.

The plan is very simple. Jesus Christ took upon himself the sins of all who ever will trust him. Come and rest upon his atoning sacrifice. Give yourself up to him wholly and unreservedly, and he will save you.

Take him to be your Savior by the simple act of faith. The pith of the matter is that I, being lost, give myself over to Christ to save me.

I believe that the act of faith was very well set forth in the statement of a poor imbecile. They said that he was an idiot; but I think that he had more real sense than many a man who boasts of his intellect. Some one said to him "John, have you got a soul?

"No," he said, "I ain't got no soul."

"Why, John, how is that?"

He replied, "I had a soul once, but I lost it, and Jesus Christ found it, so I have just let him keep it."

There is the whole philosophy of salvation. You have lost your soul; Christ has found it. Let him keep it. God bless you! Amen.

LETTER FROM MR. SPURGEON.

DEAR READER, - This sermon is an urgent appeal to the undecided; and if you are in that condition, I would by this letter press the suit home in the most personal manner. . . . To be saved at the last, our wisdom is to be saved at once. . . . I beseech you, dear reader, to do this, for you cannot tell how soon the hour of life may end. It has been life to me to hear of souls saved by God's grace through these sermons, and I am praying the Lord to give me a deep and long draught of this heart-reviving joy, by causing me to hear that this discourse is made to thousands the means of life from the dead. . . .Nov. 14, 1891, C. H. SPURGEON.

 
At Tuesday, April 18, 2006 6:56:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

eye said . . .
Eye's response: Thank you Brother Bob for the additional information. I think we would both agree that just because one hears or is aware of the message does not mean that person automatically places faith in Jesus.

BOB TO eye:

That is true, but I just wanted to call your attention to the fact that Cornelius "knew" the Gospel (THAT WORD . . . YE KNOW, Acts 10:37), and therefore there is no basis for saying he was born again APART from hearing the Word.

As for "evidence" that he was a believer, there are more "marks" of sainthood on Cornelius than on most folks in our churches today! -- Bob L. Ross

 
At Tuesday, April 18, 2006 9:02:00 PM, Blogger Eye said...

Brother Bob,

Well said!

In Him,

Eye

 
At Wednesday, April 19, 2006 7:53:00 AM, Anonymous scripture searcher said...

In your understanding, are the following statements correct?



...Regeneration and saving faith, saving faith and regeneration ~ both are gracious gifts of our sovereign God...




...all who are regenerate (twice born) have true saving faith and all who
have true saving faith are twice born (regenerate).



...many believe that BOTH happen at the SAME TIME ...



... that the TIME of God's bestowal of His gracious gifts of regeneration and saving faith are the same and inseparable - that you cannot have the one without the other.



What sayest thou?

 
At Wednesday, April 19, 2006 5:58:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT
scripture searcher said...

In your understanding, are the following statements correct? . . .

BOB:

I never like to comment on excerpts lifted from contexts before I see the contexts.

So I will pass on these snippets until seeing the contexts. - Bob

 
At Wednesday, April 19, 2006 11:34:00 PM, Anonymous Scripture Searcher said...

Bob, these are not snippets lifted from some larger context....

They are simple statements with slight variations but the same basic point....

In your opinion, are these
statements dealing with the new birth (regeneration) and saving faith correct?

No tricks - merely asking your approval (agreement) or disapproval (disagreement) with these simple statements.

What sayest thou?

 
At Thursday, April 20, 2006 12:14:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

BOB: I ALREADY SAID IT

Scripture Searcher said...
Bob, these are not snippets lifted from some larger context....

What sayest thou?


Bob: Ditto . . . my first reply.

 
At Thursday, April 20, 2006 4:49:00 AM, Anonymous John the missionary said...

Charles and Bob,

You guys are doing a great work. Good research on Calvin, Charles. I wonder what the Founders will say now? They are not even real Calvinists!

Bob, thank you for the Spurgeon material. I am not a Calvinist but I don't see any Calvinists today who were like him. Some of my Calvinist friends at the IMB always mention Spurgeon when they are nothing like him!

You guys have "turned the light" on Southern but what about the other seminaries? What is happening with them?

Keep the light on!

John the missionary

 
At Thursday, April 20, 2006 9:08:00 AM, Anonymous Josh said...

Bob:

I am starting to wonder if your evasiveness to Scripture Searcher's question is because your can't find a quote from "your boy" in which it is addressed in a particular sermon.

Are Faith and Regeneration both gracious gifts from God who bestows them on His Elect in His due time or not?

Yes or No? If No, then please explain.

 
At Thursday, April 20, 2006 9:53:00 AM, Blogger ScriptureSearcher2 said...

I am sorry that you refuse, for whatever your reason, to
answer my simple question regarding my simple statements on the subject of the new birth (regeneration) and saving faith (the faith that saves).

Surely you are not fearful of stating your personal agreement or disagreement.


FEAR does not seem to be a part of your character and personality.

And all I requested was your opinion.

 
At Thursday, April 20, 2006 2:51:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

JUST FOLLOWING JESUS' EXAMPLE

ScriptureSearcher2 said...

I am sorry that you refuse, for whatever your reason, to
answer my simple question . . . And all I requested was your opinion.


Have you ever read in the Bible, SS2, how Jesus handled questions which were obviously not designed purely for "information" sake, but rather were designed to "catch" Him?

I am just following Jesus' example.

Now, you can answer my question: What are the contexts of the items you quoted?

Are you AFRAID to tell, like the Pharisees responded to Jesus when they said, "We cannot tell"-- Mark 11:33.? -- Bob

 
At Thursday, April 20, 2006 2:54:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

SEE REPLY TO SS2

Josh said...

Bob:

I am starting to wonder if your evasiveness to Scripture Searcher's question is because your can't find a quote from "your boy" in which it is addressed in a particular sermon.


See my reply to SS2. -- Bob

 
At Thursday, April 20, 2006 4:30:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

john the missionary - whoever you claim are your friends on the field that are calvinist are truly not your friends. your comments on this blog state your feelings of them and it isn't friendship!

well we calvinist are the pharisees to the two "boys".

well I will turn the table and say it may be you who are the pharisee and in the face of truth you run because your god is so small and in need of humanity and our God is in Control of All things at all times with no need of human help but giving us the privilege of being used in his work according to his plan and design of how he states according to his Word.

 
At Thursday, April 20, 2006 4:35:00 PM, Blogger ScriptureSearcher2 said...

I suppose my pursuit of your
answer to my simple question
is in vain and there is no need to continue TRYING to obtain a simple YES or NO,I AGREE or I DISAGREE - reply
from you, Bob or Charles or
whoever assists with this blog space. How sad.


No trick was ever intended in my questions!


I regret that you are so
afraid of my setting some
sort of "trap" that you refuse to answer in this
public forum.

No trick was ever intended and I was never trying to prepare a trap! That was NEVER in my mind!

Charles Rosson AKA
Scripture Searcher2
Heaven-Bound3@Juno.Com
1-479-750-3636

 
At Thursday, April 20, 2006 9:18:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

NO HELP WANTED!

Anonymous said...

. . . God is in Control of All things at all times with no need of human help but giving us the privilege of being used in his work according to his plan and design of how he states according to his Word.

Anybody besides me remember that ole country song by the late Bill Carlisle, "No Help Wanted!"

Yet it seems that Anonymous is willing to pitch in and lend a hand, anyway! -- Bob L. Ross

 
At Thursday, April 20, 2006 9:25:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

NO TRICK INTENDED -- NO CONTEXT PROVIDED

ScriptureSearcher2 said...

No trick was ever intended and I was never trying to prepare a trap! That was NEVER in my mind!

Then why don't you give us the CONTEXTS from which you have snipped these comments? If you have no "trick" or "trap" in mind, it will do no "harm" to provide the contexts, will it? -- Bob Ross

 
At Friday, April 21, 2006 1:27:00 AM, Blogger ScriptureSearcher2 said...

NO TRICKS OR TRAPS!!!! AS I HAVE CLEARLY STATED.


THESE ARE THOUGHTS OF MINE THAT HAVE COME FROM 53 YEARS OF BIBLE STUDY AND MINISTRY ACROSS THE NATION AND AROUND THE WORLD.


NEVER IN MY ENTIRE LIFE OF 72 YEARS HAVE I MET OR HEARD
OF ANY PREACHER SUFFERING FROM SUCH PARANOIA.


PARANOIA IS THAT MENTAL DISORDER CHARACTERIZED BY DELUSIONS THAT ARE ASCRIBED TO THE SUPPOSED HOSTILITY OF OTHERS.


I HAVE NO HOSTILITY TOWARD YOU! I NEVER, NOT FOR A MOMENT, TRIED TO TRICK OR TRAP YOU OR ANYONE ELSE! AND FOR YOU TO THINK THAT WAS MY MOTIVE PROVES TO ME HOW SEVERELY PARANOID YOU ARE. YOU ARE DELUSIONAL AND I CANNOT UNDERSTAND WHY.


I SIMPLY ASKED YOUR OPINION AND YOU HAVE REPEATEDLY REFUSED TO GIVE IT THINKING I WAS OUT TO TRICK OR TRAP YOU! GOD FORBID!


THANKS FOR NOTHING. YOU HAVE MY PITY AND PRAYERS.

 
At Friday, April 21, 2006 9:33:00 AM, Anonymous josh said...

Bob,

I came across this paragraph in one of Spurgeon’s sermons for context purposes. It seems to me that what is of most importance is to believe that both regeneration and faith are gifts of God given/applied to his elect. Would you agree with that assertion?

“And now we must say, that regeneration consists in this. God the Holy Spirit, in a supernatural manner—mark, by the word supernatural I mean just what it strictly means; supernatural, more than natural—works upon the hearts of men, and they by the operations of the divine Spirit become regenerate men; but without the Spirit they never can be regenerated. And unless God the Holy Spirit, who "worketh in us to will and to do," should operate upon the will and the conscience, regeneration is an absolute impossibility, and therefore so is salvation. "What!" says one, "do you mean to say that God absolutely interposes in the salvation of every man to make him regenerate?" I do indeed; in the salvation of every person there is an actual putting forth of the divine power, whereby the dead sinner is quickened, the unwilling sinner is made willing, the desperately hard sinner has his conscience made tender; and he who rejected God and despised Christ, is brought to cast himself down at the feet of Jesus. This is called fanatical doctrine, mayhap; that we can not help; it is scriptural doctrine, that is enough for us. "Except a man be born of the Spirit he can not see the kingdom of God; that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." If you like it not, quarrel with my Master, not with me; I do but simply declare his own revelation, that there must be in your heart something more than you can ever work there. There must be a divine operation; call it a miraculous operation, if you please; it is in some sense so. There must be a divine interposition, a divine working, a divine influence, or else, do what you may, without that you perish, and are undone; "for except a man be born again, be can not see the kingdom of God." The change is radical; it gives us new natures, makes us love what we hated and hate what we loved, sets us in a new road; makes our habits different, our thoughts different, makes us different in private, and different in public. So that being in Christ it is fulfilled: "If any man be in Christ he is a new creature; old things are passed away, behold all things are become new."


Delivered on Sabbath Morning, May 3, 1857, by the
REV. C. H. Spurgeon
at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.

 
At Friday, April 21, 2006 7:04:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

SPURGEON on "MEANS" IN
THE NEW BIRTH


josh said...
Bob,

I came across this paragraph in one of Spurgeon’s sermons for context purposes. It seems to me that what is of most importance is to believe that both regeneration and faith are gifts of God given/applied to his elect. Would you agree with that assertion?


One perhaps can never get the whole of Spurgeon's view on this subject from one sermon alone.

There are many things to be learned from reading a very wide selection of his sermonic materials. All must be considered if we are to get a complete understanding of his view without thinking, as some have unfortunately alleged, that he is "inconsistent."

For instance, in this same volume of sermons, Spurgeon says the following which emphasizes the necessity of "union with Christ" by faith:

>>
Without faith it is impossible to be saved, and to please God, because without faith there is no union to Christ.

Now, union to Christ, is indispensable to our salvation. . . .Union to Christ is, after all, the great point in salvation.

Let me tell you a story to illustrate this: the stupendous falls of Niagara have been spoken of in every part of the world; but while they are marvellous to hear of, and wonderful as a spectacle, they have been very destructive to human life, when by accident any have been carried down the cataract.

Some years ago, two men, a bargeman and a collier, were in a boat, and found themselves unable to manage it, it being carried so swiftly down the current that they must both inevitably be borne down and dashed to pieces. Persons on the shore saw them, but were unable to do much for their rescue.

At last, however, one man was saved by floating a rope to him, which he grasped. The same instant that the rope came into his hand a log floated by the other man. The thoughtless and confused bargeman instead of seizing the rope laid hold on the log. It was a fatal mistake; they were both in imminent peril, but the one was drawn to shore because he had a connection with the people on the land, whilst the other, clinging to the log, was borne irresistibly along, and never heard of afterwards.

Do you not see that here is a practical illustration? Faith is a connection with Christ. Christ is on the shore, so to speak, holding the rope of faith, and if we lay hold of it with the hand of our confidence, he pulls us to shore; but our good works having no connection with Christ, are drifted along down the gulf of fell despair. . . .

And now in conclusion, THE QUESTION, the vital question. Dear hearer, have you faith? Dost thou believe on the Lord Jesus Christ with all thy heart? If so, thou mayest hope to be saved. Ay, thou mayest conclude with absolute certainty that thou shalt never see perdition. Have you faith? (NPSP, Faith, Volume 3, pages 5, 6).
>>

I was reading a sermon by Spurgeon this morning, and here is what he said:

>>
"Regeneration, in the Scriptures, is always put side by side with faith, as anybody can see who will read the Scripture without prejudice, seeking to know the truth that is there revealed." (Spurgeon, #3121, page 584).
>>

Here is another quote from the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 40, sermon #2386, page 530:

>>
There are philosophical difficulties about this matter of simple faith and salvation by it, and of the Spirit’s work and the necessity for it; but, practically, there is no difficulty at all, for the man who believes in Christ Jesus is born again, and every man who is born again believes in the Lord Jesus Christ. The two things come together, live together, and are perfected together.
>>

In my own experience of reading Spurgeon since I first saw his name in 1953 at the age of 18 and began to read after him, here is a little summary of what I understand him to teach on the New Birth:

1. One must be born again to be saved.

2. All efficient power in the New Birth is of the Holy Spirit as He blesses to the Word to the creation of faith.

3. The Holy Spirit uses "means," which is the Word as the "Seed" and "Sword" in His work within the sinner, who MUST hear the Word of God.

4. The Word is "implanted" by the Spirit in the sinner and this germinates the first manifestations of faith and life in the sinner.

5. When the Spirit's preliminary "quickening" work by means of the Word has brought the sinner to saving faith in Christ, the sinner has been born again.

6. All of this work is "simultaneous," not in any discernible "order."

Spurgeon says in a sermon, "The Necessity of Regeneration:"

>>
“Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” — John 3:7.

We need not wonder that there are some mysteries in our holy faith, for there are mysteries everywhere. . . .

I am not going to attempt to explain the mystery of the new birth; that is altogether beyond my powers, I can only explain its results. But there is one point upon which I want to fix your attention, and that is that if you are ever to be saved, you must experience this new birth. . . .

But what is it to be born again? I have already said that I cannot tell you how the Spirit of God operates upon the unregenerate, making them to be new creatures in Christ Jesus. I know that he usually operates through the Word, through the proclamation of the truth of the gospel.

So far as we know, he works upon the mind according to the laws of mind by first illuminating the understanding; he then controls the judgment, influences the will, and changes the affections; but over and above all that we can describe there is a marvelous power which he exerts, which must remain amongst the inscrutable mysteries of this finite state, even if we can ever comprehend it. . . . A new nature is created within him, although the old nature is not entirely eradicated. . . . That is a wonderful sentence in Peter’s second Epistle, “that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature.”

In his first Epistle, he writes concerning “being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” This living seed is sown within our hearts, and there it begins to grow, “first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.” The new birth is the implanting of that living seed within the soul; it is the creation within us of that new, divine, immortal life. We must have that life or we cannot see or enter the kingdom of God.
>>

In another sermon, Spurgeon similary says:

>>
It may be, that during a sermon two men are listening to the same truth; one of them hears as attentively as the other and remembers as much of it; the other is melted to tears or moved with solemn thoughts; but the one though equally attentive, sees nothing in the sermon, except, maybe, certain important truths well set forth; as for the other, his heart is broken within him and his soul is melted.

Ask me how it is that the same truth has an effect upon the one, and not upon his fellow: I reply, because the mysterious Spirit of the living God goes with the truth to one heart and not to the other. The one only feels the force of truth, and that may be strong enough to make him tremble, like Felix; but the other feels the Spirit going with the truth, and that renews the man, regenerates him, and causes him to pass into that gracious condition which is called the state of salvation. This change takes place instantaneously. It is as miraculous a change as any miracle of which we read in Scripture. It is supremely supernatural. (NPSP, Volume 4, page 18).
>>

In still another sermon, he says;

>>
Salvation is not begun in the soul by the means of grace apart from the Holy Spirit. No man in the world is at liberty to neglect the means that God has appointed. If a house be builded for prayer, that man must expect no blessing who neglects to tread its floor. If a pulpit be erected for the ministration of the Word, no man must expect (although we do sometimes get more than we expect) to be saved except by the hearing of the Word.

If the Bible be printed in our own native language, and we can read it, he who neglecteth Holy Scripture. and ceaseth from its study, has lost one great and grand opportunity of being blessed. There are many means of grace, and let us speak as highly of them as ever we can; we would be far from depreciating them; they are of the highest value; blessed are the people who have them; happy is the nation which is blessed with the means of grace. But my brethren, no man was ever saved by the means of grace apart from the Holy Spirit

You may hear the sermons of the man whom God delighteth to honor; ye may select from all your puritanical divines the writings of the man whom God did bless with a double portion of his Holy Spirit; ye may attend every meeting for prayer; ye may turn over the leaves of this blessed book; but in all this, there is no life for the soul apart from the breath of the Divine Spirit. Use these means, we exhort you to use them, and use them diligently: but recollect that in none of these means is there anything that can benefit you unless God the Holy Spirit shall own and crown them. (NPSP, Volume 4, pages 106, 107).
>>

-- Bob L. Ross

 

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