Decisional Regeneration: Stated and Refuted

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by ReformedBaptist, Sep 6, 2008.

  1. ReformedBaptist

    ReformedBaptist
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    http://www.the-highway.com/Decisional_Regeneration.html

    Some quotes:

    "Decisional Regeneration" differs from Baptismal Regeneration only in the fact that it attaches the certainty of the new birth to a different act. This doctrine, just as Baptismal Regeneration, sees the new birth as the result of a mechanical process that can be performed by man.

    The practice of "Decisional Regeneration" in the Church must be exposed in order to save men from the damning delusion that because they have "decided" or "signed a card," they are going to heaven and are no longer under the wrath of God.

    We have kept quiet too long, somehow feeling that if we opposed these unbiblical practices we might be hindering the good work of evangelism, believing that among the multitudes of "decisions" there are some genuine conversions. But with every passing week thousands are being counseled into a false hope! Men are directed to walk aisles when they should be pointed to Christ alone.

    Amen!

    RB
     
  2. Lukasaurus

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    What if they make a decision to trust Christ alone?

    Anyway, while I agree with the obvious principle, that signing a card, or praying a prayer or whatever, won't save anyone, I would disagree with the underlying doctrines that condemn every man to the following verse:

    Lam 3:26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.

    A man can be saved by believing the gospel. He is a sinner, his sin debt has been paid for by Christ's blood on the cross, and he accepts Jesus Christ as his Saviour. (EDIT: I just read the article, and I agree that counseling a sinner does not need to follow these steps ABC like some practiced presentation, but they still need to know them).

    If you call that a "decisional regeneration" then I would have to gracefully disagree with what you have said.
     
    #2 Lukasaurus, Sep 6, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 6, 2008
  3. ReformedBaptist

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    Where do you see the above statements (which aren't mine, but I agree with them) negating the responsibility of people to obey the Gospel?
     
  4. skypair

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    I disagree. Decisional Regeneration is just that -- regeneration based on a decision, NOT a mechanical act. The "mechanical act," if you will, comes after the DECISION has already been made. It follows the exact model of Rom 10:10 -- "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness [of God]; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation [of the life of Christ]." (Parentheses added for those who still can't see it yet.)

    There are 2 things going on when anyone is saved: 1) they are reconciled to God through Christ and 2) they are given power to live the life of Christ by the gift of the Spirit. Rom 5:10 -- "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."

    And BTW, the first words of that verse are "while we were enemies." That is, you were NOT yet reconciled to God -- you were NOT yet indwelt/regenerated with the Spirit -- you were not yet considered by God or the Bible to be "elect!"

    I promise, I won't MAKE anyone sign any cards -- just DECIDE and then be baptized in obedience to the gospel.

    Good topic, BTW. Maybe we can put this and several other issues "to bed," as they say! :praying:

    skypair
     
    #4 skypair, Sep 7, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2008
  5. John of Japan

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    I'm probably going to draw some real negative vibes here. I may even get sucked into a debate I don't really want on doctrines I don't care about. But I've always thought this was a very strange term: decisional regeneration. I've never seen it in a systematic theology. It seems to say:

    (1) That there is someone who doesn't believe that the Holy Spirit regenerates, but that somehow the decision itself regnerates, and I've never known anyone like that--even among the very people this term is used to criticize. So I am always left with the impression: what a strange term!

    (2) That in salvation there is no decision involved by the person being saved. This is opposed to what I believe the Biblical view is, that the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment, then enables the person to choose and to believe. It also just seems to fly in the face of the very meaning of the term "believe."

    And every time I hear this term, I'm reminded of: "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." (Josh. 24:15).

    And: "For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD" (Prov. 1:29). And other verses. Seems like those who use this term could come up with a better one.

    John MacArthur says on p. 180 of The Gospel According to Jesus (mine is signed; eat your heart out): "Salvation is a choice each person must make, but it is not just a momentary decision in the sense we often think of it. It is a once-for-all verdict with ongoing implications and eternal consequences--the ultimate decision." So salvation is a decision, right?
     
  6. Tom Butler

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    I believe this part of your post is the crux of the issue:

    Although I don't think you're a Calvinist, I believe every Calvinist will agree with you.
     
  7. ReformedBaptist

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    No, I don't believe it is. Salvation is an act of God. This does not negate a person coming to Jesus, believing on Him, repenting of their sins, et. But salvation is of the Lord.

    Edited in: And I guess skypair will be the first one to affirm decisional regeneration for you.

    RB
     
  8. skypair

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    There is NOT a direct line between decision and regeneration. Your decision goes before the "counsels of God" and He decides, as He did with Simon Magus in His rejection, whether you come with the correct motive to be regenerated.

    Does that not show you that we don't decide to be regenerated, RB? That your postulate is full of holes?

    skypair
     
  9. ReformedBaptist

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    Your statement here is refuting that you agree with what has been called and explained as decisional regeneration?

    My decision goes before the counsel of God? My decision goes before the decree of God? You've got to be kidding. I wasn't even born when God decreed. In fact, nothing was created at all when God decreed.

    RB
     
  10. Lukasaurus

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    Which decree was that RB? The "one all encompassing eternal decree" that is never mentioned in scripture anywhere?

    Job 28:26 When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder:

    We have some stuff about rain,

    Psa 2:7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

    We have a decree to David about the Messiah

    Psa 148:6 He hath also stablished them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass.

    We have a decree about the Heavens and Earth's boundaries (Psalm 148:5)

    Pro 8:29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:

    We have a decree about the seas, which was made when he created the earth.

    Dan 4:24 This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the most High, which is come upon my lord the king:

    We have a decree about Nebudchanezzar

    Zep 2:2 Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD'S anger come upon you.

    We have a decree about the final judgment


    I don't see the all encompassing singular eternal decree of God anywhere in scripture.

    Isa 10:1 Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed;
     
  11. John of Japan

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    I would think so. But non-Calvinists should agree, too. The necessity of the Holy Spirit's fullness for witnessing and His work in the sinner's life are inescapable, Biblically. But the difference is that I believe the sinner can then reject Christ of his own free will. The Holy Spirit is a gentleman, if you don't mind me using that symbolism.
     
  12. ReformedBaptist

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    And just what do you suppose is outside the sovereign will of God?

    You need to move beyond a keyword search brother. Look for the concept. If you keyword "trinity" in the KJV, the statement would be correct, "No where in the Scriptures does the word trinity appear." This is true. How then do you prove that the doctrine of the trinity is a biblical doctrine? You look for the concept or idea and arrive at it systematically and logically.

    Proverbs 19:21 There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.

    Isaiah 46:9-11 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.

    Psalm 115:3 But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.

    Psalm 135:5-6 For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.

    Romans 9:19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted His will?

    Nothing escapes God’s decree
    Daniel 4:34-35 And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned to me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honored him that liveth forever, whose dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

    Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

    Romans 11:36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen.

    Ephesians 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
     
  13. ReformedBaptist

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    In addition to the above comment, it can also be said that God's Decree extends to:

    1. Good and evil events. Isa 45:7; Amos 3:6; Job 1:21

    2. Sinful acts. Gen 50:20; 2 Sam 16:10-11; Job 1:21

    3. Free acts of men. Prov 16:1; 16:9; 21:1

    4. Chance occurances. 1 Kings 22:34; Job 5:6; Job 36:32; Prov 16:33

    5. Details of our lives. Job 14:5; Psalm 139:16; Matt 10:29; James 4:15

    6. Affairs of the nations. 2 Kings 5:1; Psalm 75; Prov 21:31; Dan 2:21

    7. Final destruction of the wicked. 1 Sam 2:25; Prov 16:4; Rom 9:17; 1 Peter 2:8; Jude 4

    Source: A Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith.

    Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him? Isaiah 40:13
     
    #13 ReformedBaptist, Sep 7, 2008
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  14. Lukasaurus

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    The counsel of the Lord shall stand. How is this an eternal decree?

    The previous verse helps context

    Pro 19:20 Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.

    Counsel, as in, advice, guidance. This doesn't support your overlord theory.

    Apparently whatsoever he pleases is something along the lines of damning millions of souls to hell by not choosing to regenerate them, according to your theology.

    Like the previous verse, this in no way implies a singular eternal sovereign decree. Used of itself, this verse implies that God just does whatever he wants, whenever he wants.

    These men seemed to

    Act 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

    You haven't even shown any decree of God yet. You have referred to His counsel, His will, but no all sovereign eternal singular decree.

    Yes, true, but once again, it seems as though you are promoting a God that just does what He wants, without regard for His Holy Holy Holy nature.

    No singular eternal sovereign decree here.

    When you read this verse, this is what you see. "We have obtained an inheritance because we are predestinated according to his eternal sovereign decree".

    It's not anywhere in the passage, chapter, book or Bible. There is no singular eternal sovereign decree of God.

    I'm not arguing that God has a will. Of course He does. But I do not believe for a second that God's will is contained in some singular eternal sovereign decree.

    I think it was Pink that said something along the lines of - God knows everything that is going to happen because he ordained it to happen. That's a mighty big paraphrase there, and I can find the actual quote later if you want (It might have been calvin...) but basically, he limited the Sovereign God by saying that His omnipotence was only because He had a really good memory, because he knew everything He said He was going to do.

    That's stupid. If I say, I go to the shop, and intend to go to the shop, then I go to the shop, that's not power. That's just me saying I am going to do something, and then doing it.

    God is omniscient. He knows everything.

    I'm not going to argue here anymore.

    God bless.
     
  15. Allan

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    I must say that in reading the link it was at best, a poor understaning of regeneration in first (IMO) as well as an even poorer understanding (though no surprise) of the biblcal view that regeneration IS salvation and not a prelude to it.

    No one on this side of this debate ever states (nor insinuates) that man regenerates himself though that is the common mud flung. The term "decisional regeneration" is a moniker that is made-up by our Calvinistic/Reformer friends once again to proclaim anothers view that is contrary to theirs but unfortunately misses what they actaully believe by miles. - yet again.

    I would love to engage you on this RB as I have been trying to get someone to debate it for almost a year now - as seen here.

    When a person studies what regeneration is instread of following a prescribed reading and theological presuppositions, regarding what regenerationis, and what it does, and HOW it does this (most important point) there is only one biblical conclusion one can come to - Regeneration IS Salvation. It is the 'very act' of God which makes a person saved at that moment.

    There are differing views on your side (to smaller or greater degrees) that regeneration sactifies, and or justifies, and and or brings one into a relationship with Christ Jesus, or that it 'just' brings them into unity with God. I have personally spoken with people that have held different portions of the above.
    So in short the person regenerate is given:
    1. a new nature
    2. (some state this) the Holy Spirit though not yet indwelling them
    3. their relation to God has been reconciled
    4. And are now IN Christ.

    I will place this here from the link I provided about what I see:
    Lastly - all of the above can been seen in Titus 3:5 whereby Paul equates salvation to regeneration. Reneneration in this passage is seen to be the sanctification (washing of regeneration) and justification (renewing of the Holy Spirit) of a person and it is by these acts of regeneration that we ARE saved and not TO BE Saved.
     
    #15 Allan, Sep 7, 2008
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  16. Allan

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    Amen JoJ. I agree ! :thumbs:
     
  17. Tom Butler

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    This is different from the argument I hear from most non-Cals. You place the HS's enabling after conviction of sin, righteousness and judgment, as opposed to the typical view that we are enabled from birth. I'm involved in the Cal/non-Cal debate here, just pointing out what I see as a subtle distinction between your view and most non-Cals.

    Most non-Cals will talk about Holy Spirit conviction, few talk about Holy Spirit enabling. That's all I was pointing out.
     
  18. Allan

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    I realize this is to John - but if I may clarify something...

    It is not that man is 'enabled from birth' to believe but that we from birth have the capcity to believe. However due to our sin nature man does not nor will not seek after God on his own nor will he of himself understand anything spiritual. Thus man can and does believe but only as far as he is able of himself via his sin nature.

    Yet it is not man but God who seeks and reveals and thus enables man to respond via His work in that mans life by the convicting of sin, righteousness, and the Judgement to come. The 'enabling' I believe that John of Japan is referencing is that 'after' the work of the SPirit of God upon His life that man 'then' is now able to willing and knowingly reject or accept God's truths through faith.

    That is my assuption of John view and will obviously allow him to answer it becaus I could be wrong :)

    IOW- Man is only 'enabled' when God moves upon man by grace through revelation and conviction. The capcity to believe is there from birth but man is not 'enabled' to believe savingly because of the restictions his sin nature forces upon him (man is blinded to God and true righteousness by his sin nature, therefore man is bound to his sin). Thus that capcity to believe only extend as far as man of and by himself can go. That is why we need God to first seek us out and reveal and convict us that we might believe and be saved through a work not of ourselves nor obtained by ourselves but through God who is mighty to save whosoever will...
     
    #18 Allan, Sep 8, 2008
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  19. John of Japan

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    Right. I'm not like most non-Cals. And I'm not like the Cals in most areas. I think the Holy Spirit and His work has been severaly neglected by both sides.

    But I hope this will get back to the OP instead of becoming just another C/A debate out of a hundred. I'd really like RB or someone to explain to me how salvation is not a decision or give me a quote from someone who actually believes that a decision is the regenerating power. The link he gave didn't answer either question, but simply parroted the party line.
     
  20. John of Japan

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    Pretty good explanation, Allen! This is what I believe. :thumbs:
     

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