Monday, March 01, 2010

White Lightnin' Again on 1 John 5:1


Ever notice how some fellows get "hung up" on certain verses and try to make them say what they were never intended to say? Alexander Campbell and the Campbellites did that on verses like Acts 2:28, Mark 16:16, John 3:5, and a few others they use for insisting on their view about baptism.

James White seems to have the same penchant on 1 John 5:1. We have answered James "brewings" before, and since he is trying to mix the Pedobaptist Hybrid Calvinist concoction of "born again before faith" in that verse again, I'll just repeat what we said on this in the past.

[Note: After posting this item, James has this comment on his website of March 2, 2010: "There seems to be some very strong resistance to any concept of God being the one who raises dead sinners to life."

James does what he has frequently done: misrepresents the issue and adds to the record of Scripture. We offer "very strong resistance" to this clear case of eisegesis. The real issue is this -- does God raise dead sinners to life apart from the attending power of the Word of God in the raising?

Jesus raised Lazarus by the power of His Word. James has Lazarus raised to life beforehand. He says, "Jesus changed Lazarus' condition first . . . What was once dead is now alive, and can now hear the voice of his beloved Lord, 'Come forth.'" (The Potter's Freedom, Calvary Press 2000 edition).

This eisegesis means that the "voice" [Word] of Christ was not the instrumental means of the raising of Lazarus, and is a distortion of the Scripture and the Miracle. This is the theory of the new birth which we call HYBRID Calvinism and is a departure from creedal Calvinism on Effectual Calling.

See this link for Spurgeon, Gill, and Pink in contrast to James White. It is obvious from these brief quotes from Spurgeon, Gill, and Pink that James White holds a view on Lazarus which is in direct contrast to that of these Calvinists.

It seems that James' sole purpose in referring to Lazarus is an effort to support his "logical" apparatus to sustain his Pelagian-like view that "command implies ability," and that this necessitates his theory on the new birth that "life precedes faith." He must have Lazarus alive before he hears the Word of Christ, for this is the Pedobaptist Reformed "ordo pollutus" view of the new birth which James is determined to prove. ]


It is argued by Hybrid Calvinist James White in his books that I John 5:1 teaches that there is "pre-faith" New Birth, or Regeneration, to the effect that the new birth precedes believing.

On the other side are some who contend for the idea that faith precedes the new birth. Both these views, we believe, are in conflict with our orthodox Confessions of Faith and of course with what we understand is taught in Scripture.

We understand that Faith and the New Birth are SIMULTANEOUS and cannot be separated, for the New Birth is the efficient work of the Spirit's use of the Word in creating faith. If there is no faith, there is no new birth.

First John 5:1 reads: "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him."

The most evident truth of this verse is that faith and the New Birth are COEXISTENT, where there is one there is the other.

They are somewhat like life itself: where there is life, there is breath; and where there is breath, there is life. Since the person who believes in Christ is born of God, or retrospectively has been born of God, then conversely the person who does not believe is not and has not been born of God.

The believer is born of God.
The unbeliever is not born of God.
There is no "middle ground," no "in-between" state, no "half-dead, half-alive" condition, so far as this passage is concerned.

Believing is simply presented here as the "living proof" or evidence that one is, or has been, born of God. Conversely, no faith in Christ equals no new birth. It is just as simple as that.

The verse does not deal at all with an alleged "sequence" or "order" of actions, or "ordo salutis" [i. e. "ordo pollutus"] as is advocated by James White [and some others of the Reformed camp who follow Francis Turretin, the Pedobaptist of the 17th century who, according to W. G. T. Shedd, introduced this notion].

That is not even the obvious intention of the writer, John, for he is not trying to convince his readers about what some zealous pedobaptist analysts call the "ordo salutis," a device conceived to allegedly present the "order" of the elements involved in the New Birth.

John, of all the New Testament writers, emphasizes the important necessity of faith in regard to salvation (John 20:31), that one who believes has life and the one who does not believe does not have life. The instant of faith is the same instant of life.

John does not specifically deal in this verse (5:1) with the matter of the "means," or "how" this faith comes about, or is experienced. From other passages, however, we know that "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17). Faith presupposes an object of faith, and that is presented thru the Word of God.

We also know that faith not only comes by hearing the Word of God, but that Word is made effectual by the accompanying efficient "power" of the Holy Spirit (John 1:12, 13;1 Thessalonians 1:5; John 6:45, 63). This is why and how faith is created, by the Word and the Spirit, and when faith is actually produced or born in a person then that person has experienced the New Birth, or regeneration. Until that faith in Christ is existent, the New Birth has not taken place -- -- otherwise you have a regenerated unbeliever. Faith is not some type of "gift" that has no object, or that comes via an alleged "direct operation" of the Spirit before and apart from the accompaniment of the means necessary to create faith. Whatever preliminary, preparatory, or prevenient work the Holy Spirit may do does not constitute the New Birth.

John does not say, "Whoever is convicted is born of God," or "whosoever has been enlightened has been born of God," or "whosoever is concerned is born of God," or "whosoever is sensible of his sins is born of God" -- no, he simply says "whosoever believes is born of God." One is not born until faith is born in him by God's Word and power.

James White follows Pedobaptists and tries to justify his faulty interpretation by comparing 1 John 5:1 to 1 John 2:29 where John says that "every one that doeth righteousness is born of him." But James fails to note the fact that the very first act of righteousness that a person does is to believe in Christ. "And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ" (1 John 3:22).

This is what Paul told the jailer to do in Acts 16:31. This is the work of God, that you believe on Him whom He hath sent (John 6:29). The very first commandment is summed up as love for God, and faith incorporates that love, for "faith worketh by love" (Galatians 5:6). Love is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5), and love has as its object the Lord Jesus, and the one who loves Christ is born of God (1 John 4:7). How could one be "born again" and not have love for and faith in Christ created in him by the power of the Word of God and Holy Spirit?

The idea that James White tries to prove is that in the New Birth there is an order whereby one who HAS NOT YET BELIEVED "has been born of God," and then after being supposedly born of God he is thereby given "ability" to perform the act of faith in Christ. He claims that "birth precedes . . . faith" (The Potter's Freedom, page 288).

What kind of "new birth" is it that lacks love for Christ and faith in Christ? We are nowhere taught in Scripture that such a birth devoid of love and faith precedes faith. Actually, may we not say that faith itself has a "birth," being born by the Word and power of the Holy Spirit?


B. H. Carroll, Founder of Southwestern Baptist Thelogical Seminary, Ft. Worth, Texas, stated:

(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).


Now, here is Spurgeon's Immaculate Syllogism, which is based on 1 John 5:4. This is on page 142 of Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 17, 1971, Sermon #979, "Faith and Regeneration."

1. "Whatsoever is BORN OF GOD overcometh the world."

2. But FAITH overcomes the world.

3. Therefore, the man who has FAITH is REGENERATE.

The Hybrid Calvinist Pedobaptist who has been so influential upon the "Flounders," Iain Murray, in one of his latest books, admits that Spurgeon taught that regeneration and faith are "SIMULTANEOUS," and that "faith 'occurs at the same time as the new birth" (The Old Evangelicism, pages 63, 65).

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At Monday, April 26, 2010 1:13:00 AM, Blogger Skarlet said...

Good thoughts! But, though most agree that Faith and Regeneration are, in time, simultaneous, the real question that comes up is this: Which logically precedes the other? If faith conditional upon regeneration (IE the regeneration causes the faith) or is the regeneration condition upon the faith (IE those who believe will be born again)? Or, if neither causes each other, what causes both? Does God cause both (more similar to the "regeneration causes faith" view) or does man determine the condition (more similar to the "faith logically precedes regeneration" view)?


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