Monday, December 08, 2008

B. H. Carroll distorted


Ian Elsasser wrote:
Gene Bridges visited Stephen Garrett's blog commenting that Boyce and Carroll teach that regeneration precedes faith. He says that it is a logical priority not chronological (same old, same old).

We have already seen that Wayne Grudem, who in his Systematic Theology contends for the logical priority of regeneration before faith, has admitted that this entails a chronological priority.

Gene should come clean and admit that he believes that, from his standpoint, "logic" dictates regeneration precedes faith and that this entails "chronological" precedence.

With regards,


Hello, Ian!

If we were not familiar with the craft of the Hybrid Calvinists such as Gene Bridges in the use of "quotations," we might wonder why he stops the quotation from B. H. Carroll at the point where he quotes Carroll as saying "repentance and faith are fruits of regeneration"? (An Interpretation of the English Bible, Volume 4, p. 287).

That is the very same device employed by Flounder Bill Ascol, Tom's brother, who likewise quoted Carroll and left-off quoting at the same spot. It is likely that Bridges borrowed this from Bill Ascol. This type of "quoting" is a very nice little piece of craftiness . . . if you can get away with it; but we have learned to watch the Hybrids carefully when they start "quoting" someone whom they would like to array in their camp on "born again before faith." For some reason, they might fail to give the complete picture.

Unfortunately for the likes of Bridges and Bill Ascol, Dr. Carroll immediately explains what he means so as to exclude the type of "misunderstanding" such as entertained by the "born again before faith" advocates, Bridges and Ascol. Dr. Carroll says:

When we say repentance and faith are fruits of regeneration we simply mean that in each case the Spirit grace above originates and works out the respective human exercise below. The following scriptures prove that repentance is a grace as well as a human exercise: Acts 5:31; 11:18. That faith also is a grace, is seen from I Corinthians 2:4_5; 3:5; 2 Peter 1:1.

The Holy Spirit then is the agent in regeneration and the instrumental means of regeneration is the Word of God, or the preaching of Christ crucified, yet the power of the Spirit does not reside in the word as inspired by him, but the agency is positive and active in the use of the word.

This is illustrated by the use of the ax and the sword. We say that an ax is adapted to cutting down trees, and not that it has power to cut down a tree apart from its intelligent use by the woodsman; and we say that the sword is adapted to cut or thrust, not that it has in itself the power to kill apart from its intelligent wielding by the swordsman. So, though the Word of God is represented as 'quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight, but all things are naked and open unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do,' yet this Word is but the Spirit's sword, powerful only when wielded by him."
(An Interpretation of the English Bible, Volume 10, pages 287, 288).

Wonder why Bridges did not quote that explanation of what Dr. Carroll meant by saying repentance and faith are "fruits of regeneration"? Wonder why Bill Ascol did not quote that explanation from Dr. Carroll? Do you suppose these fellows might have a "problem" with Dr. Carroll's explanation in relation to their "born again before faith" heresy?

Earlier, Dr. Carroll had said the following. (Please notice that he denies that the pre-faith work of the Holy Spirit constitutes the New Birth):

Some theologians hold that in the new birth the subject is passive and the Spirit's power is immediate, i.e., the direct impact of Spirit on spirit. Others held that in the new birth the subject is active and that the Spirit employs the word of God as a means, but I say that there is an element of truth in both positions. Antecedent to all human effort a direct power of the Holy Spirit quickens the soul or makes it sensitive to impressions by the word. For example, "The Lord opened the heart of Lydia that she should attend to the words spoken by Paul." Now if this first touch of the Spirit is what we mean by the new birth, the first position is undoubtedly correct. But while insisting on the necessity and reality of this initial and direct power of the Spirit, if one should hold that this is not what the Scriptures call the new birth he would be able to support his view by many scriptures. This appears from the fact that when one is born into the kingdom of God he is fully a child of God. But if the subject of the hew birth is passive only – if regeneration is completed without the use of means and before the subject is penitent or believing, then we have a child of God who is yet in his sins, impenitent, without faith, and hence without Christ, which is philosophically impossible.

Moreover, it is contrary to Scripture, as witness --

James 1:18: "Having willed it, he begat us (apekuesen) by the word of truth."

I Peter 1:23 : "Having been begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of the living God. But this is the word which was announced to you."

Gal. 3:26: "For ye are all the children of God through faith in Christ Jesus."

Romans 10:17: "So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God."

Moreover, in John 3:9-18, when Nicodemus asks, "How can these things come to be," that is, what is the instrumental means of the new birth, Jesus explains by telling that Christ must be lifted up as an object of faith, as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness.
Again, John 1:12, 13: "But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."

This teaching may be put into a syllogism, thus:

Every one born of God has the right to be called a child of God.

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

Therefore the new birth is not completed without faith.

The true scriptural position then is this:

There is, first of all, a direct influence of the Holy Spirit on the passive spirit of the sinner, quickening him or making him sensitive to the preaching of the Word. In this the sinner is passive. But he is not a subject of the new birth without contrition, repentance and faith. In exercising these he is active.
(An Interpretation of the English Bible, Volume 10, pages 286, 287).

So, Dr. Carroll affirmed that there is pre-faith influence by the Holy Spirit, but he did not equate this influence as being regeneration or the New Birth.

Why do Bridges and Ascol try to evade this fact by cutting-off the quotation?

Whether or not one holds the exact view as Dr. Carroll, it is certainly beyond any doubt that he did not believe and teach that one is born again prior to faith.-- Bob L. Ross


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