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Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by ReformedBaptist, Sep 11, 2008.
My pastor sent this over to me. I thought it was interesting.
And the reality is that these who would feel as though Christians are the fault of it all would soon object with "You're not supposed to judge people" when they are the ones doing all the judging.
I don't worry about the doctrines of grace anymore. If a person sees them in Scripture, then glory to God and good to the person.
I always appreciate unbelievers telling Christians how they should interpret the Bible.
I Cor. 2:14
But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.
Exactly. Which is why this story is a bad one if you want to promote Calvinism.
According to Calvinism, the unregenerate cannot understand spiritual things, nor does he want to. Yet in this story we have an unregenerate man ("well known for his lostness and sinful lifestyle") telling a preacher how well Calvin handles the doctrines of grace. How can he possibly understand doctrines of scripture if he is unable to understand spiritual things??
Quite a contradiction.
The moral of this story is that the unregenerate understand scripture better than the "sons of the kingdom". Which of course is impossible from the Calvinistic point of view.
Indifference could be a first step to false teaching. I still think the doctrines matter and are worth fighting for.
We must present them. That's it.
Have you learned nothing here on BB? :laugh:
But a man can be regenerate and not know it, because the time of his conversion from his sinful lifestyle and "lostness" has not come. Regeneration and conversion are two different events in a child of God's life, and may occur at the same time, or may occur apart, regeneration being the first event.
Peter was told by the Master:"But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." Luke 22:32
Peter was a regenerate man, and so was every one of the 12 apostles but they have not been total in their conversion. Peter will in the future cut off someone's ear, deny his master, and go fishing after his Master's death, because he has not fully believed what his Master had told them: that He will rise again.
In fact, none of the apostles believed that. They were all hiding, remember ?
This man in Spurgeon's sermon may be regenerate, and not know it, and I believe there are many who are God's people who are regenerate but unconverted from their errors. On the other hand, Mr. Church may be thinking he is regenerate and converted but in reality may be the lost one in that conversation.
Wow. I have never heard of such a thing as someone being regenerate and not knowing it. I don't think the Scripture you shared supports the view.
That makes no sense to me. A regenerate person who has no concept of spiritual things? That is not biblical.
I will have to go record here and say I agree with ReformedBaptist and Amy on this one.
"These things I have written that you may know that you have eternal life."
Remember when we were much younger and we used to sing :"If you're saved and you know it ___ ___ ____.If you're saved and you know it..." etc.?
If one has become saved = regenerate = born from above they are a new creature.These folks are no longer at enmity with God.These people are no longer living in the world of 1 Cor.2:14;but verse 15.
Of course you guys don't understand what I'm saying.
Only Primitive Baptists, so far, I have found, among the aggrupation called Baptists understand that regeneration does not necessarily mean understanding and accepting Christian doctrine immediately, and that conversion does not necessarily mean the convert gets converted to the right doctrines either.
The so-called infidel is probably regenerate because he recognizes the voice of the Son and has a spirit that agrees with that of the pastor he read and discerns the spirit of the pastor whom he speaks with.
But he is untaught, and if God sends him a teacher from him he would most likely convert and embrace the Doctrine of Grace instead of simply giving his assent to it.
He is much like the Jews whom Paul wanted to go to because though they had the zeal for God, such a zeal is not according to knowledge, which is really the reason the preacher goes out, to teach (not cause the eternal salvation of those he teaches) gospel doctrine.
I was an atheist denouncing the existence of God for quite a while, and espousing armed conflict but the reason I became an atheist was because of the hypocrisies of Roman Catholicism in which I was raised, and the inconsistencies of religion that I saw in Protestantism and the "born-again" Christianity that was sweeping my country at that time.
And the reason I focused on these hypocrisies and inconsistencies was because I was searching for the "true church" and it was only years later that the Creator and Savior brought the life and immortality in me to light in a small, dusty town through the preaching of a salivating, gyrating, screaming, pulpit-pounding, Bible thumping Baptist pastor.
So, I understand now, from my own experience, that at that time, when I started searching for the "true church" that I may have been regenerated at that point, but not yet converted.
And if you look at your own selves you might see a similarity.
For What It's Worth In Connection with this Topic
I think much confusion of mind, and the consequent errors of statement, often result from giving the same meaning to these two terms, and it is my purpose to point out what I believe are some very important distinctions.
Conversion, while often used otherwise, should be used with reference to a change of mind, views, intentions or purposes; while regeneration is a creative work and means to quicken, "born again," or give spiritual life.
Men may be converted from one error to another; or from error to truth; or from truth to error; for the process is only mental and is generally accomplished by persuasive arguments or evidence, or what they may accept as evidence, which they may receive from others, or from their own meditations or reasonings.
But regeneration is a divine work which is accomplished by the direct power of the spirit of Almighty God upon the soul when it is wholly destitute of the least spark of spiritual life. The soul or spirit of man is entirely passive in this miraculous work, and no earthly hand or influence can possibly aid or assist in the least.
So while there may be earthly means used in conversion, nothing short of heavenly-means of the divine power can possibly regenerate. Men in their vanity and blinded zeal are compassing sea and land making proselytes, but are entirely powerless to give a single one of their converts a new heart or spiritual life. Exhortations, persuasions and arguments may very often affect and change the mind, but such feeble means cannot change any one from nature to grace, for this is a radical change. A change of mind or intentions is very far different from giving life to the dead.
Conversion may in some respects be considered a moral act; but regeneration never. Exhortations to morality and right living are certainly commendable; but regeneration is not a duty, for men are not commanded to be "born again."
Men may justly, and certainly should thank others who have converted them from errors; but they should always be very careful to give all the praise and glory to their most merciful God for the gift of eternal life, if He has through His mercy and pity made them partakers of His grace, and called them out of nature's darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter ii. 9), which enables them to so plainly see and keenly feel themselves to be sinners.
Men with all their combined zeal and moneyed efforts cannot in the least aid or assist the gracious Lord in the genesis of spiritual life. Our nation surely would be far better off if all this vain and boasted work of converting, and so-called saving, the whole world was directed into better channels. Men should not undertake that which positively is not within their ability, for their labors are only destined to failure.
The work of regeneration is confined exclusively to Almighty God, but conversion is far from being confined to man. Men may aid others to acquire a correct knowledge of many things that may come within their power and abilities, and this is certainly in many respects very commendable; but they positively cannot aid the least in that spiritual life-giving work which is so far above and beyond all earthly power.
They may teach the head or cultivate the intellect; but they absolutely cannot change the heart. They may even teach gospel truth in the letter, but they cannot convey the life and spirit of it. And it is surely an awful delusion that giving of a head-knowledge of Jesus Christ is the means of making people His children. If all of any one's knowledge of the blessed Savior is but historical or head-information, where have they any valid claim of a better faith than the devils? James ii. 19; Mark i. 24.
It is most surely through the work of free and sovereign grace alone in regeneration that any one has a saving, feeling or heart knowledge of that glorious and blessed Redeemer. God only has the power to impart such knowledge. Saving faith is His work. John vi. 29; Eph. i. 19; Phil. i. 29; 1 Peter i. 21. The devils never possessed the least particle of this knowledge.
One may be unregenerate and still understnd the philosophy of the Christian Religion. I think we tend to confuse spiritual discernment with knowledge. They are two separate ideas.
I knew theology quite well long before I realized Jesus as my personal Saviour.
And so did Nicodemus.
I am beginning to wonder at the vehemence of opposition to the idea that one may be 'born again', a quickened spirit, a child of God, and not even know it, that your knowing about it all depends on the plan and will of God for you on earth (as opposed to His plans for you for heaven).
Jesus Himself said it:
"The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." John 3:8.
You don't know when you were born again, or how, but it is so. In the human sphere, nobody knows when he was born, but as he grew he became conscious of the world around him. So it is with the spiritual side, we don't know when we are born again, or if we are born again, but as we move through this life, certain truths become evident to us which are evident only to those with spiritual life.
In the example of this man called "infidel", which philosophy of the Christian religion did he understand ? That Jesus Christ was the Savior ? I think not. Look again. The argument was on the Sovereignty of God in salvation, not on the Saviorhood of Christ, since this latter is not simply a philosophy but an unargued doctrine among all stripes of Christendom, and even atheists know this. This infidel in this story knew it. His spirit discerned that God alone is sovereign in all matters, even in the matter of eternal salvation.
This "infidel" in this story (which we do not even know if true) has taken sides in the debate on whether God alone, without and apart from man and means, is sovereign in the fallen creature's salvation, having planned it and undertaken it to the benefit of the fallen creature and to HIs glory versus the idea that man must do his part which is to repent and to obey and to invoke and find in himself faith to believe and thus be saved.
And the side he took was the side of the Sovereignty of God alone over all from creation to salvation. Now, man may be wise, but this kind of wise comes from heaven only because the Scripture plainly says, "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." - 1 Corinthians 2:14.
Jesus asked His apostles who men said they were, and only Peter gave an answer which Jesus qualified as from the Father Himself.
Forgive me for saying this, but one of the reasons I have been infrequently posting is because I have seen the ugly hydra-headed monster called pride appear in the posts of many here (including my own) disguised as humility or ignorance, such as now, when even my own Calvinist brethren refuse to acknowledge that the depths of one's spiritual knowledge or understanding of one's theology is not necessarily the measure of one's regeneration, neither is the profession of one's rejection of the things of God necessarily proof of one's being unregenerate or one's staying unregenerate until the end of one's time on earth.
On this board there has been a tendency to measure one's salvation against one's mental assent to the things of God and knowledge thereof, and one's obedience to the word of God, and faithfulness to its precepts, forgetting that the Scriptures themselves provide us with many documented stories of individuals who for all intents and purposes measure up to the standards of spirituality according to men, but failed miserably, even to their eternal destruction, when measured up to the standards of Almighty God Himself, which standard is Himself, His will, and His mercy.
Pinoy, are you saying that a person can believe in Christ and not know they believe?
Because in the very chapter that you talk about Nicodemus, Jesus says this:
Jhn 3:14 "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
Jhn 3:15 "that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
Jhn 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Jhn 3:17 "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
Jhn 3:18 "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
What you are saying is that a person can be born again (not condemned) without believing in Christ. Jesus says that is impossible. Until you believe, you are condemned. You cannot be born again and condemned at the same time.
Yes Amy, that is his and other primitive baptists belief.
In their view, one can be "eternally" saved though having 'never' believed or even heard the gospel. In fact one could be in another religion and even hate Jesus and yet in death still come into glory because they are saved. However, believing applies to their temporal salvation in the flesh (if I'm not mistaken Pinoy - please correct me here ). I have never understood what that means even with them explaining it so you will have to defer to him for the answers.
Someone asked me about the Doctrines of grace yesterday. I told the person that I don't even bother with them anymore.
I've worked them out and have filed them away. They are there.
And when I read them in Scripture, I'm reminded of how wonderful they are.
Is this what you are saying - That you will declare them (in common conversation) to those who are truly interested and not trying to find fault or argument. As well as preach them froim the text you are bringing as it revels it and as doctrine necessitates.
Some might disagree with you on this, but I think it is a wise way to show maturity and grace regarding those things that need maturity and grace to study for themselves.