Saturday, September 22, 2007

Tom Ascol Equivocates On Regeneration Issue

In the below comment, Brother Bob Ross asks a good question. Why did Tom Ascol equivocate when asked a simple question about whether regeneration occurs before faith? After all, Brother Tom has been teaching this for years, and Founders Ministries (yes, they really believe what they are doing is a ministry) has published journal article after journal article on the subject.

As far back as 1993 The Flounders published Ernest Reisinger's article, "Lordship and Regeneration," that favorably quoted baby baptizer R.C. Sproul as saying, "regeneration precedes faith as the necessary condition for faith." (Founders Journal, Summer 1993).

I could go on and on but why bother? Brother Tom's remarks are strange though, aren't they? It's almost like some blog has been shining the light on his heresy and hypocrisy and Southern Baptists are waking up to the Flounders' foolishness. :-)

Charles
=====================

ASCOL EQUIVOCATES WHEN ASKED QUESTION ON "REGENERATION" ISSUE

Bob to Charles:

Tom Ascol of the Flounders was on WNYG call-in radio yesterday (09/20/07) at "Iron Sharpens Iron" and was put on the grill by a caller in regard to the Flounders' teaching that "regeneration" (new birth) takes place prior to believing the Gospel.
[http://www.sharpens.blogspot.com/ at about 49:47 into the broadcast].

The caller apparently had a clear and CORRECT understanding of the Hybrid Calvinism teaching that "regeneration precedes faith," or "born again before faith," and he put the question very clearly to Tom Ascol.

However, despite the fact that Ascol has this teaching on his website that "the sinner is given a new heart, being brought from spiritual death to spiritual life" --BEFORE REPENTANCE AND FAITH, Tom proceeded to put such a spin on his reply to the inquirer that he very craftily avoided exposing the real core of his view on the new birth -- which is that sinners are "born again before faith."

Ascol further clouded his reply by referring to the "gospel" and "means," but he never specifically dealt with what the inquirer had asked, namely, does regeneration (new birth) precede faith? -- which is plainly what is taught on the Flounders' website and by all Hybrid Calvinists, such as R. C. Sproul, Tom Nettles, Thomas Schreiner, and others of like mind.

I wonder, Charles, why was Ascol so equivocating in his answer? Why didn't he simply fess up and say, "Yes, we believe that a sinner is born again before faith?"

21 Comments:

At Monday, September 24, 2007 1:11:00 PM, Anonymous paul said...

Ascol did say that there are no regenerate unbelievers walking around, and that although there are some who affirm this position, Ascol himself does not hold it. Are you sure that he has affirmed a temporal separation of regeneration and faith rather than a logical distinction between simultaneous events?

 
At Monday, September 24, 2007 7:27:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

REPLY TO PAUL -- DAGG vs ASCOL

Bob to Paul:

"Ascol did say that there are no regenerate unbelievers walking around" but Ascol did not distinctly address the question which was asked by caller.

Also, according to "Reformed" theology advocated by pedobaptist writes such Shedd, Berkhof, Frame, etc., there are multitudes of "regenerate unbelievers" who were allegedly "regenerated in infancy" who are indeed "walking around," and many of these "Reformed" writers have the approbation of Tom Ascol -- such as R. C. Sproul, for example. This "separation" between regeneration and faith was hatched by the pedobaptists to justify their heresy that "covenant children" born to believers inherit regeneration and are "born again" either before birth or shortly thereafter.

The "separation" is distinctly made by the Flounders on their website:
The Lordship teaching puts the order of salvation as follows: 1) Regeneration, 2) Faith (which includes repentance) http://www.founders.org/FJ13/article1.html

Yet, the Flounders claim a connection of sorts to John L. Dagg who taught the very opposite of the Flounders' view.

Dagg states:

But, in his own time and manner, God, the Holy Spirit, makes the word effectual in producing a new affection in the soul: and, when the first movement of love to God exists, the first throb of spiritual life commences.

Faith is necessary to the Christian character; and must therefore PRECEDE regeneration, when this is understood in its widest sense. Even in the restricted sense, in which it denotes the beginning of the spiritual life, faith, in the sense in which James uses the term, may PRECEDE.

-Manual of Theology, page 279.

The idea of a "temporal" and "logical" distinction is simply a Hybrid Calvinist device employed to delude the naive mind to swallow the idea that one is "born again before faith."

Perhaps Ascol realizes the deficiency of this fallacy from reading the Flyswatter, and therefore did not employ this deceptive device.

 
At Tuesday, September 25, 2007 10:02:00 PM, Blogger "The Captain" said...

Interesting discussion.
Jeff

 
At Wednesday, September 26, 2007 11:39:00 AM, Anonymous paul said...

You are unfair in smearing Ascol with beliefs that he has explicitly denied holding. He may approve of some of the teaching of the Reformed authors that you cite, but that by no means implies that he agrees with everything, particularly when he states that, although some hold that there can be regenerated unbelievers, he does not.

I read the context of your quote from Dagg, and it does not seem to support your use of it. When Dagg says "regeneration in the fuller sense" he means "the whole formation of the Christian character". This definition of terms is found in the previous paragraph. Regeneration in the restricted sense is "the first production of divine love in the heart". In the second sentence, when he refers to "faith, in the sense that James uses the term", he means a dead, non-saving faith, as can be seen in Daggs very next sentence: "But a faith which exists before the beginning of spiritual life, cannot be a living faith."

Thus, Dagg does indeed believe that the Holy Spirit must produce divine love in the heart if it is to have faith. In other words, regeneration in the narrow sense is the work of God to supernaturally and instantly produce living faith and affection toward God in a rebellious human heart. The discussion that follows to the end of the chapter is an argument that living faith and love for God must proceed from a direct, supernatural work of the Holy Spirit over and against ordinary providence.

What would be your positive definition of regeneration and its relationship to faith? I am open to instruction if you can do it in a respectful way.

 
At Thursday, September 27, 2007 12:01:00 AM, Blogger Charles said...

paul, Hello!

You wrote, You are unfair in smearing Ascol with beliefs that he has explicitly denied holding. He may approve of some of the teaching of the Reformed authors that you cite, but that by no means implies that he agrees with everything, particularly when he states that, although some hold that there can be regenerated unbelievers, he does not.

It's not unfair. Ascol saying what he does is like saying that you believe in the White House but you don't believe its color is white. Makes no sense.

Charles

 
At Thursday, September 27, 2007 1:09:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

REPLY TO PAUL ON
DR. DAGG ON REGENERATION


The Flyswatter posted the following from Dr. John L. Dagg awhile back, and it is sufficient to reply to Paul's misunderstanding on Dr. Dagg's view:

Dr. Dagg lived back in the 19th century days of Boyce and Broadus. Here is what Dr. Dagg said on the SPIRIT'S USE OF THE WORD OF GOD AS THE MEANS in regeneration:

>>
We know, from the Holy Scriptures, that God employs his truth in the regeneration of the soul. "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth."[James 1:18] Love to God necessarily implies knowledge of God, and this knowledge it is the province of truth to impart. . . .

What accompanying influence the Holy Spirit uses, to render the word effectual, we cannot explain: but Paul refers to it, when he says, "Our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost."[1 Thess. 1:6]--"but in the demonstration of the Spirit, and with power."[1 Cor. 2:4]

The term regeneration is sometimes used in a comprehensive sense, as including the whole formation of the Christian character. At other times it is used for the first production of divine love in the heart. In the latter sense, the work is instantaneous. There is a moment known only to God, when the first holy affection exists in the soul. Truth may enter gradually, and may excite strong affections in the mind, and may for a time increase the hatred of God which naturally reigns in the heart. So Paul says, "Sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence."[Rom. 7:8] But, in his own time and manner, God, the Holy Spirit, makes the word effectual in producing a new affection in the soul: and, when the first movement of love to God exists, the first throb of spiritual life commences.

Faith is necessary to the Christian character; and must therefore precede regeneration, when this is understood in its widest sense. Even in the restricted sense, in which it denotes the beginning of the spiritual life, faith, in the sense in which James[2:17] uses the term, may precede.
>>

He then goes on to discuss the difference between that "spiritual" faith and the "faith" which exists beforehand, which is sometimes called "natural" or "historical faith."

Later on, he says --

>>
This change, by which true love to God is produced, results from the direct influence of the Holy Spirit, accompanying his word, and making it effectual. It was this direct influence which rendered the word so effectual on the day of Pentecost,[Acts 2] which opened Lydia's heart [Acts 16], so that she attended to the things that were spoken by Paul;--which gave the increase when Paul planted, and Apollos watered [1 Cor. 3]--and which has ever brought the word to the heart, in demonstration of the Spirit, and with power [1 Cor. 2:14] . . .

By the will of God, the truth has its regenerating and sanctifying power; for he works in us to will and to do, according to his pleasure [Phil. 2:13] It belongs to the Holy Spirit, in the economy of grace, to produce divine life in the soul, as he brooded over the face of the waters, at creation, reducing the chaotic mass to order, and filling it with life. HE IS PLEASED TO WORK WITH MEANS; AND HE EMPLOYS THE TRUTH AS HIS INSTRUMENT OF OPERATION. This instrument he wields at his pleasure, and he renders it effectual by his divine power: "My word shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."[Isaiah 55:11]
>>

It seems to me that Dr. Dagg TAUGHT that spiritual faith actually "precedes" in the so-called "ordo salutis." He never says that "regeneration precedes" spiritual faith.

Please note what he says:
"Love to God necessarily implies knowledge of God, and this knowledge it is the province of truth to impart."

Therefore, with Dr. Dagg, when "the FIRST holy affection exists in the soul," this love "NECESSARILY implies knowledge of God," which implies faith.

At no time does Dr. Dagg ever identify any pre-faith influence of the Holy Spirit as constituting regeneration or the new birth.

Note that he says, "Even in the restricted sense, in which IT DENOTES THE BEGINNING of spiritual life, FAITH, in the sense in which James [2:17] uses the term, may PRECEDE" (Manual of Theology, page 279).

Dr. Dagg is obviously of the same mind as Dr. B. H. Carroll, who said --

>>
(1) Every one born of God has the right be called a child of God.

(2) But no one has the right until he believes in Jesus.

(3) Therefore the new birth is NOT COMPLETED WITHOUT FAITH."
>>

Page 287 of Volume 10, Part I on The Gospels, An Interpretation of the English Bible.

If you will read Dr. Dagg more carefully, I think you will see that he never has a person "born again before faith," as taught by the Flounders and the pedobaptist writers whom they follow, such as Berkhof, Shedd, and Sproul.

 
At Thursday, September 27, 2007 1:19:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

SMEARING ASCOL?

paul said...
You are unfair in smearing Ascol with beliefs that he has explicitly denied holding.

Please refer to any source where Tom Ascol has ever denied that he believes that "regeneration precedes faith."

This view is prominently taught on the Flounders' website, as we have previously demonstrated on this blog.

 
At Thursday, September 27, 2007 11:21:00 AM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

FURTHER EVIDENCE OF ASCOL'S "BORN AGAIN
BEFORE FAITH"

HERETICAL VIEW


paul said...
You are unfair in smearing Ascol with beliefs that he has explicitly denied holding.

Not only does Ascol's web site teach exactly what was have alleged, but I wonder, Paul, if you failed to read the Flyswatter when we commented on the "Amazing Grace" DVD which Tom Ascol squandered $20,000 to mail the DVD to thousands of Southern Baptist Florida Baptist pastors?

That DVD teaches the heresy of "regeneration precedes faith" (or, "born again before faith"), and there is no doubt that the so-called non-creedal "Reformed" view was the view expounded, as there were five Presbyterians, including R. C. Sproul, who are quoted on that DVD. [See the Flyswatter, Monday, July 2, 2007, Founders Fizzle While Florida Burns].

On that DVD, disc #1, at 1:32:22, under the theme of "Born Again," the Narrator, Eric Holmberg, spins the Hybrid Calvinist Presbyterian palabber about being "born again before faith."

In the light of Ascol's promotion of this Hybrid Calvinist DVD -- which advocates the pedobaptist teaching about "regeneration" -- to thousands of preachers, how can you accuse us of "smearing" Ascol?

 
At Thursday, September 27, 2007 12:03:00 PM, Anonymous paul said...

Speaking of Boyce.... I was just reading through Boyce's Abstract of Systematic Theology in the chapter on regeneration and conversion. It seems he held regeneration to be the "invariable antecedent" to conversion. Furthermore, he goes on to assert that "there is not only antecedence, but in some cases an appreciable interval" and includes as examples infants, idiots, and heathen.

Am I missing something, or is that what you call "hybrid Calvinism"?

 
At Thursday, September 27, 2007 12:07:00 PM, Anonymous paul said...

It's not unfair. Ascol saying what he does is like saying that you believe in the White House but you don't believe its color is white. Makes no sense.

I don't see what you are getting at.

Please refer to any source where Tom Ascol has ever denied that he believes that "regeneration precedes faith."

That wasn't what I was talking about.

 
At Friday, September 28, 2007 6:03:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Roaa said...

CONCERNING BOYCE

paul said...
Speaking of Boyce.... I was just reading through Boyce's Abstract of Systematic Theology in the chapter on regeneration and conversion.

Actually, James P. Boyce is not a very good source for the Hybrid Calvinists, despite their frequent reference to him.

If you will read what Dr. Boyce says in the first paragraph on page 375 of his Abstract of Systematic Theology (Christian Gospel Foundation reprint of 1887 edition), you will see that Boyce cannot be lumped with the "no means" Reformed theologians such as Shedd, the Hodges, and Berkhof on this matter. He refers to the Word as "part" and "in connection with" the "work of God" in production of the "result."

Boyce was educated at Princeton Seminary under the Presbyterian scholars, particularly Charles Hodge, and some of his remarks might be interpreted by some as being at least consistent with Hodge's view. If Boyce indeed held that view, I would suspect he imbibed it from his Princeton Pedobaptist teachers, or had it further developed in his thinking under them.

However, I do not really find any explicit denial by Boyce of the "use of the Word" in the act of regeneration, but in that statement on page 375, he indicates there are passages of Scripture which "sufficiently teach the USE of the word in regeneration" (page 375). He cites some of these verses in the next few paragraphs.

That God does a pre-faith work or activity in the heart, we certainly believe, and Boyce teaches this. But that this early work constitutes the New Birth is "too much too soon," NOR DO WE FIND BOYCE TEACING THAT.

Rather, Boyce seems to have two inseparable distinctions (regeneration, conversion) and he places BOTH under ONE HEAD AS CONSTITUTING THE NEW BIRTH (Abstract of Theology, pages 373, 374:

He says: "They are unquestionably so intimately associated that it is difficult to separate them and point out the distinctions between them. The SCRIPTURES connect the TWO under THE ONE IDEA of the NEW BIRTH, and teach that not only is regeneration an absolute essential in each conversion, but that in every intelligent responsible soul conversion invariably ACCOMPANIES regeneration."

So, with Boyce, it could not be said that the sinner has the "NEW BIRTH" BEFORE he has experienced repentance and faith, which according to Boyce constitute conversion. If we follow that line of Boyce's thought, consider the following:

(1) "Regeneration" and (2) "conversion" are "TWO under the ONE idea" of the "NEW BIRTH." Thus, it could not be said that one has been BORN AGAIN, or has experienced the NEW BIRTH, unless he has repentance and faith which constitute "conversion," could we?

(1) Regeneration and Conversion (repentance and faith) are two under one idea.
(2) The one idea is called the "NEW BIRTH."
(3) Therefore, a sinner has experienced the "NEW BIRTH" when he has repentance and faith.

It seems to me that Boyce is simply teaching that (1) the Gospel is preached, and (2) the power which regenerates is the power of the Holy Spirit, and (3) whenever He regenerates repentance from sin and faith in Christ are immediately produced, and (4) these combined elements constitute the NEW BIRTH.

Furthermore, he emphasizes the inherent role of MEANS in this work, for he says "The FIRST STEP here is to make known to man the GOSPEL" (page 367). If that is the FIRST STEP, then you cannot have the NEW BIRTH without the means of the GOSPEL being used as the instrumentality by the Holy Spirit.

This certainly conflicts with the Pedo view, wherein "regeneration" is imagined to be a "DIRECT OPERATION" in the case of both (1) babies and (2) adults -- apart from, without, and exclusive of the use of the Word as a necessary inherent means and instrumentality, and without repentance and faith being the simultaneous, immediate, necessary production by the WORD and of the SPIRIT.

One of the best theologians on this subject is Augustus H. Strong in his Systematic Theology.

 
At Saturday, September 29, 2007 12:20:00 AM, Anonymous Paul said...

Bob:

Thanks for the helpful comments on Boyce. The distinction of regeneration from new birth is an interesting one. Is that typical? It appears to correspond to Dagg's distinction between the narrow and fuller senses of regeneration.

I don't have A.H. Strong's Systematic Theology handy, but I do have Bruce Demarest's summary from his book The Cross and Salvation. According to Demarest, "A.H. Strong viewed regeneration and conversion as chronologically simultaneous events, although logically the former precedes the latter."

The New Hampshire Confession of 1833 seems to place these events in the same order: regeneration is accomplished by the Holy Spirit in connection with divine truth, the evidences of which are faith, repentance, and newness of life.

So from this small survey, I could say, "Regeneration precedes faith" and certainly be in good Baptist company (with Dagg, Boyce, Strong, and the NH1833, at least). There may be some differences in terminology, but the concepts are (perhaps surprisingly) consistent.

 
At Saturday, September 29, 2007 4:07:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

MISUNDERSTANDING

paul said...
So from this small survey, I could say, "Regeneration precedes faith" and certainly be in good Baptist company (with Dagg, Boyce, Strong, and the NH1833, at least).

I disagree with your conclusion on each of these you have named, and have discussed each of them on this blog, demonstrating that they did not hold to "born again before faith."

If you will go to the Archives for March-May of last year, you will find these. For example, on Strong, read "The Blunders of Gene Bridges."
http://calvinistflyswatter.blogspot.com/2006_05_01_archive.html


Among other material given, Strong says:

>>
The Scriptural view is that regeneration, so far as it secures an activity of man, is accomplished through the instrumentality of the truth. . . .

Here we perceive the link between the efficiency of God and the activity of man. Only as the sinner’s mind is brought into contact with the truth, does God complete his regenerating work. . . .

Conviction of sin is an ordinary, if not an invariable, antecedent of regeneration. It results from the contemplation of truth. It is often accompanied by fear, remorse and cries for mercy. But these desires and fears are not signs of regeneration. They are selfish. They are quite consistent with manifest and dreadful enmity to God.

They have a hopeful aspect, simply because they are evidence that the Holy Spirit is striving with the soul. But this work of the Spirit is not yet regeneration.
>>

 
At Saturday, September 29, 2007 5:01:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

CARROLL ON REGENERATION

B. H. CARROLL, Sermons, page 177:

>>
Conviction, repentance and faith are the CONSTITUENT ELEMENTS OF REGENERATION.
>>

Carroll uses the following illustration to teach what constitutes the new birth:

"I would prefer to write the word 'regeneration' above a horizontal line with 'conviction,'
'repentance' 'faith,' directly underneath, so that three names under the line are exactly equal in length to the one above the line. Then, above the line is the mysterious, inscrutable, divine side, while below the line is the explicable human side of the same -- one fact. Thus considered, conviction, repentance, and faith are the constituent elements of regeneration; that is, they are the elements within our range of vision" (Sermons, page 177).

While affirming that the Spirit exerts a preliminary influence on the sinner, Carroll says, "But I do not call this influence regeneration" (page 178).

There you have a specific denial by B. H. Carroll of the Hybrid Calvinist idea that the preliminary influence of the Spirit is "pre-faith regeneration." He further says, "No son without faith" (page 185).

Carroll believed that the Spirit uses "the instrumentality of the Word in the new birth" (page 187.

He says (page 187):

>>
Brother preacher . . . Preach the Word. Sinner, it tells you what to do: Hear the Word, repent, accept Christ. Yes, that is simple and easy. The Word of God is preached to men and they hear that Word and they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and whosoever believeth in Him is born of God.
>>

It is no marvel that Southwestern Theological Seminary, founded by Carroll, has been known over the years for its sending forth graduates who are noted for their evangelistic, soul winning, and missionary endeavors.

 
At Tuesday, October 02, 2007 3:07:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

NEW HAMPSHIRE CONFESSION

paul said:
The New Hampshire Confession of 1833 seems to place these events in the same order: regeneration is accomplished by the Holy Spirit in connection with divine truth, the evidences of which are faith, repentance, and newness of life.

Please notice in the actual Article 7 that the NHC does not teach "born again before faith."

The NHC says regeneration is "EFFECTEd" -- therefore, it is an "effect" and not a "cause." [NHC, Chapter 7].

It is the "effect" of the Holy Spirit's power "in connection with divine truth" [the Word of God] which secures obedience to the gospel.

This operation of the Spirit by the Word or Gospel secures the sinner's voluntary obedience to the gospel -- the evidence of such Spirit-secured obedience to the gospel simultaneously appears in the holy fruits of repentance and faith.

When that operation of the Spirit in connection with the Word is done, the "regeneration" mentioned in the NHC has been "EFFECTED" and the dead sinner has therefore been born again. (1 John 5:4, 1).

"Obedience" to the Gospel involves repentance and faith, according to Romans 10:13-17. Without securing that, regeneration has not yet been "effected."

Therefore, it is not "logical" to talk about the New Birth "preceding" faith, for faith is a vital element in the Spirit's use of the Word in begetting the dead sinner as a "new, living creation in Christ" -- which constitutes the New Birth.

The sinner is "born OF the Spirit," "BY the Word of God," and that is both a "logical" and a "temporal" work only when all of the elements of the New Birth are complete (1 Peter 1:23).

 
At Friday, October 05, 2007 10:09:00 AM, Blogger Mark said...

Concerning Boyce, just check out p. 379 in his Abstract: "[conversion] is the result regeneration." Hardly ambiguous there. One more dead guy (Southern Baptist at that) for the "born again before faith" side!

 
At Friday, October 05, 2007 4:18:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

CONVERSION?

Mark said...
Concerning Boyce, just check out p. 379 in his Abstract: "[conversion] is the result regeneration." Hardly ambiguous there.

We can hardly concede Boyce to the Hybrids on the basis of a mere patched snippet.

Overall, we understand Boyce to teach that Conversion is the "result" in the sense that the efficient or actual power which produces repentance and faith by means of the Word is the effectual power of the Spirit of God. In other words, repentance and faith [the constituent elements of conversion] result from the Spirit's application of the Word.

Boyce defines
"regeneration" as
the "work of God" and "conversion" as the "act of man turning towards God" (page 374), and says "the whole work of Regeneration and Conversion is included under the ONE term regeneration" (page 374).

In fact, Boyce's concept on "Regeneration and Conversion" is stated as follows:

"They are unquestionably so intimately associated that it is difficult to separate them and point out the distinctions between them. The Scriptures connect the TWO UNDER ONE IDEA OF THE NEW BIRTH" (page 373).

Leave it to the Hybrids to make them TWO separate ideas.

 
At Saturday, October 06, 2007 1:22:00 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Well, Bob, patched snippet it may be, but you ignored the patched snippet completely, which snippet clearly said conversion is the result of regeneration (Boyce 379). If you really want to examine the entire context, we can look to Boyce pp. 373-74, where he said concerning regeneration and conversion that they were "difficult to separate" and that they were "often confounded," yet went on to say that "The Scripture teaching is that God operates immediately upon the heart to produce the required change, by which it is fitted to receive the truth, and mediately through the word in its reception of that truth" (Boyce 375). It seems he was saying regeneration ("the required change") preceded everything else, including faith ("reception of the truth"), don't you think?
Further, commenting on 1 Pet 1:23, Boyce asserted, "By the use of the compound of gennao, [Peter] shows that all the work of the Spirit, including both the new heart and the leading of it to conscious faith, is properly to be spoken of by the same term as a mere change of heart" (Boyce 375). So although he used the word "regneration" for "the entire operation," do you not see that Boyce said "both the new heart and the leading of it to conscious faith" detailed a definite order?
The evidence is mounting, my friend, that by your definition, James P. Boyce was a "Hybrid Calvinist." Born again before faith, from the pioneer of Southern Baptist theological education!

 
At Sunday, October 07, 2007 3:47:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

MORE ON BOYCE

Mark said...

It seems he [Boyce]was saying regeneration ("the required change") preceded everything else, including faith ("reception of the truth"), don't you think?

Bob's answer:
Boyce does not say that any particular pre-faith work by the Word and Spirit constitutes the New Birth, does he? I would hope that we all believe that there is a pre-faith work by the Word and Spirit, but such work is "not yet" the new birth.

Mark:

So although he [Boyce] used the word "regeneration" for "the entire operation," do you not see that Boyce said "both the new heart and the leading of it to conscious faith" detailed a definite order?

Bob's answer:
Once again, Boyce does not say that this constitutes the New Birth, does he? I surmise that there must be some "order" to the preliminary influences of the Word and Spirit in an unsaved person, but they are "not yet" the new birth. "He that believes has life," not "he who has been convicted, etc."

Mark:

The evidence is mounting, my friend, that by your definition, James P. Boyce was a "Hybrid Calvinist." Born again before faith, from the pioneer of Southern Baptist theological education!

Bob's answer:
I have several theology books near me here in my office, but only the pedobaptist writers allege that a sinner is born again before faith - such as Shedd, Berkhof, and Sproul.

The Baptist writers all teach that there is preliminary work by the Spirit before faith, but I do not find a single one who takes the pedobaptist position -- and that includes James P. Boyce.

The basic error of Hybrid Calvinists seems to be that they fail to see that there is work done by the Spirit in the sinner before he is finally brought to faith and the new birth.

As B. H. CARROLL said,

"the new birth is NOT COMPLETED WITHOUT FAITH."

BOYCE:

The Scriptures CONNECT the two" [regeneration, conversion (repentance, faith)] "under the ONE IDEA of the NEW BIRTH . . . conversion INVARIABLY accompanies regeneration" (pages 373, 374).

It is clear, Mark, you can't find Boyce endorsing the "one idea" of Hybrids that a sinner is "born again before faith."

Do you, Mark, think that you were born again before faith in Christ was produced in you by the Word and Spirit?

 
At Wednesday, October 10, 2007 8:57:00 AM, Blogger Mark said...

Bob:

Your quote of Boyce above ("conversion invariably accompanies regeneration") could not be more in support of the very position to which you seem so opposed. Boyce was clearly saying that when God regenerates a person, that person's conversion (that is, his voluntary repentance and faith) is secured. Conversion is the inevitable result of regeneration. I am amazed that you interpret Boyce any other way, unless you are saying that "regeneration" is some preliminary work of the Spirit that may or may not lead to conversion?!? Boyce (and Manly, Mercer, Mell, et al) did not use the phrase "born again before faith"--this is your own pejorative description. It really seems yours is a classic case of doing an "end run" around what the author actually says to hear what you want to hear. One does not have to be a pedobaptist to believe in effectual calling. In fact, the key, at least for Boyce, seemed to have been in his doctrine of depravity. He talked about the "death of the soul" resulting from the fall, and the "necessity of regeneration in each man" (Boyce 240-47). For him, this meant that no one would exercise faith in Christ for salvation unless God first opened his heart, and those whose hearts God does open, will surely believe in Christ for salvation.

As to your last question, I will not capitulate to your "born again before faith" jargon. This is a confusing, even derogatory phrase that has an underlying disdain for the Scriptural teaching that God is sovereign and absolutely free in bestowing His grace on whom He will. I believe that God, in His mercy, opened my blind eyes to the truth of the Gospel, and gave me a new heart with new affections, and this is why I chose to repent and believe. You see, Bob, to HIM goes all the glory.

 
At Wednesday, October 10, 2007 3:05:00 PM, Anonymous Bob L. Ross said...

TO MARK

Mark said...
As to your last question, I will not capitulate to your "born again before faith" jargon.

"Jargon," is it?

As I understand it, "regeneration" is the "new birth," and the new birth is to be "born again."

Thus, if "regeneration precedes faith," then the new birth precedes faith, and therefore to be born again precedes faith. That is "born again before faith."

This is exactly what the pedobaptists who invented this theory -- such as post-17th century pedos, later taught by Shedd, Berkhof, Frame etc. -- teach, using the alleged
"regenerartion" of their infants as the basis for the argument.

Mark:
I believe that God, in His mercy, opened my blind eyes to the truth of the Gospel, and gave me a new heart with new affections, and this is why I chose to repent and believe.

But, Mark, when were you born again -- before you believed, or when you believed that Gospel which you say was revealed to you?

No Bible believer disputes any pre-new birth influences or work which God does in the heart of a sinner, but we do dispute that these influences constitute the new birth before faith is produced by the Word and Spirit.

As for Boyce, I think my understanding of him is correct, and that your understanding is slanted to defend the pedobaptist "born again before faith" heresy.

 

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