Does Regeneration Precede Faith?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Jerry Shugart, Dec 1, 2011.

  1. Jerry Shugart

    Jerry Shugart
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    The Calvinists teach that "regeneration" precedes "faith" so let us examine the following verse which is speaking about "regeneration":

    "...even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).
    (Ephesians 2:5).

    In his commentary on this verse Calvinist R.C. Sproul says: "The key phrase in Paul's Letter to the Ephesians is this: '...even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace have you been saved)' (Eph. 2:5). Here Paul locates the time when regeneration occurs. It takes place 'when we were dead' " [emphasis added] (Sproul, Regeneration Precedes Faith).

    Now let us look more closely at the verse:

    "...even when we were dead in sins, hath made us alive together with (syzōopoieō) Christ, (by grace ye are saved)"
    (Eph.2:5).

    Here the Greek word syzōopoieō is translated "hath made us alive together."

    The Greek word syzōopoieō is made up of two words, zōopoieō and syn.

    The word zōopoieō means to "make alive, give life" (Thayer's Greek English Lexicon).

    The word syn means "with, besides, accompany...a primary preposition denoting union" (Thayer's Greek English Lexicon).

    So when a person is regenerated he is made alive together with Christ or placed in union with Him. The following verse desribes that union we have with the Lord Jesus and it also describes the life we enjoy when we are made alive together with Him:

    "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son" (1 Jn.5:11).


    That life which we are made alive "together" with Him is described as "eternal life" and no one receives eternal life until he believes:

    "Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life"
    (1 Tim.1:16).

    That is the same "life" spoken of by the Apostle John in the following verses:

    "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name"
    (Jn.20:30-31).

    So when we understand what is said at Ephesians 2:5 we can know that no one is regenerated or made alive together with Christ until faith is exercised. Therefore the Calvinist are in error when they teach that regeneration precedes faith.
     
  2. plain_n_simple

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    Now that makes sense to me.
     
  3. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    .


    HP: I would also agree. It is a false distinction to separate regeneration from salvation, or to make faith and repentance necessitated by regeneration. God calls on man to have faith and repent. God does not do it for man or necessitate it in any way, neither are faith and repentance the end of regeneration. Repentance and faith precede regeneration. As far as I understood it, your post appeared to excellent Jerry.
     
  4. lakeside

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    Martin Luther wrote in his Short Catechism that baptism "works the forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and grants eternal life to all who believe." His recognition that the Bible teaches baptismal regeneration has been preserved by Lutherans and a few other Protestant denominations. Even some Baptists recognize that the biblical evidence demands the historic Christian teaching of baptismal regeneration. Notable individuals who recognized that Scripture teaches baptismal regeneration include Baptist theologians George R. Beasley-Murray and Dale Moody.

    Nevertheless, many Protestants have abandoned this biblical teaching, substituting man-made theories on regeneration. There are two main views held by those who deny the scriptural teaching that one is born again through baptism: the "Evangelical" view, common among Baptists, and the "Calvinist" view, common among Presbyterians.

    Evangelicals claim that one is born again at the first moment of faith in Christ. According to this theory, faith in Christ produces regeneration. The Calvinist position is the reverse: Regeneration precedes and produces faith in Christ. Calvinists (some of whom also call themselves Evangelicals) suppose that God "secretly" regenerates people, without their being aware of it, and thiscauses them to place their faith in Christ.

    To defend these theories, Evangelicals and Calvinists attempt to explain away the many unambiguous verses in the Bible that plainly teach baptismal regeneration. One strategy is to say that the water in John 3:5 refers not to baptism but to the amniotic fluid present at childbirth. The absurd
    implication of this view is that Jesus would have been saying, "You must be born of amniotic fluid and the Spirit." A check of the respected Protestant Greek lexicon, Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, fails to turn up any instances in ancient, Septuagint or New Testament Greek where "water" (Greek: hudor) referred to "amniotic fluid" (VIII:314–333).

    Evangelicals and Calvinists try to deal with the other verses where new life is attributed to baptism either by ignoring them or by arguing that it is not actually water baptism that is being spoken of. The problem for them is that water is explicitly mentioned or implied in each of these verses.

    In Acts 2:38, people are exhorted to take an action: "Be baptized . . . in the name of Jesus Christ," which does not refer to an internal baptism that is administered to people by themselves, but the external baptism administered to them by others.

    We are told that at Paul’s conversion, "he rose and was baptized, and took food and was strengthened. For several days he was with the disciples at Damascus" (Acts 9:18–19). This was a water baptism. In Romans 6 and Colossians 2, Paul reminds his readers of their water baptisms, and he neither says nor implies anything about some sort of "invisible spiritual baptism."

    In 1 Peter 3, water is mentioned twice, paralleling baptism with the flood, where eight were "saved through water," and noting that "baptism now saves you" by the power of Christ rather than by the physical action of water "removing . . . dirt from the body."

    The anti-baptismal regeneration position is indefensible. It has no biblical basis whatsoever. So the answer to the question, "Are Catholics born again?" is yes! Since all Catholics have been baptized, all Catholics have been born again. Catholics should ask Protestants, "Are you born again—the way the Bible understands that concept?" If the Evangelical has not been properly water baptized, he has not been born again "the Bible way," regardless of what he may think.
     
  5. Winman

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    You cannot be spiritually alive until all your sins are forgiven, the wages of sin is death. And we know we are justified by faith, therefore faith must precede regeneration (born again, spiritual life).

    The scriptures say over and over again we must believe to have life, they never say we must have life to believe, NOT ONCE.

    Jn 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

    Does this verse say that "whosoever liveth should not perish but believe"?

    There is no scripture to support regeneration before faith, there are MANY scriptures that teach faith precedes regeneration.
     
  6. Jerome

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    This Particular Baptist valued Scripture over the Reformed party line:

    "Regeneration must precede faith. This, though assumed as a certain fact, may be justly doubted: for the page of inspiration does not warrant our supposing, that any one is born of God, before he believes in Jesus Christ" —Abraham Booth, "Glad Tidings to Perishing Sinners"
     
  7. lakeside

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    Winman, John 3:16 - justification is ongoing, not a one-time event. God so loved (past) the world, that He gave (past) His only Son, that whoever believes (ongoing) in Him may have eternal life. The word “believes” is “pisteuo” in Greek which necessarily includes obedience throughout one’s life. This is proved by 1 Peter 2:7-8 which also uses “pisteuo” (to obey) and “apitheo” (to disobey). The same word “pisteuo” is used in many other verses about “believing in Christ” such as John 3:36; 5:24; Rom. 4:24; 10:9-10; cf. Rom. 1:5,16; 6:17; 16:26; 1 John 5:13 (often used by Protestants to support their “faith alone” theology). To “believe” means to “obey” throughout one’s life; it is not a one-time acceptance of Jesus as Savior.
     
  8. webdog

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    ,,
    Justification is an event, sanctification is ongoing. You are misapplying the fact "believes" is not a continuous action, but an action that has begun and will remain, what eternal life is (a single beginning point with everlasting continuance},,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
     
    #8 webdog, Dec 1, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 1, 2011
  9. plain_n_simple

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    This is like straining at a knat. I have been reading TULIP and John Calvinism for the past two days and I have to say this guy had a bible in one hand and a crack pipe in the other staying up all night bug eyed and writing whatever. Sorry.
     
  10. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: Two points that most likely are for another thread. I will make my comments brief here. Sanctification has more than one sense, and requires a point in time as much as salvation does. You can no more 'grow' into sanctification than one can grow into salvation. Both salvation and sanctification require faith.

    Secondly, we have received the earnest of eternal life in this present world, and that by faith, not sight. Salvation and eternal life is thought of in three senses. We have been saved and have received the earnest of eternal life, we are being saved, and we will be saved and receive eternal life in its final realization IF we remain faithful unto the end.
     
  11. convicted1

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    To answer the thread title in one word, NOPE.
     
  12. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Well it happend that way to me & Im not changing my story even if you guys dont agree. :godisgood:
     
  13. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    Let it be clearly remembered Convicted1, that if you lived in the time of Augustine or Calvin and answered in that fashion, you well may have been banished, having to voluntarily flee for your life, of face the fate of men like Servetus, being burned at the stake.

    Isn't it great we do not face such a fate in America? Thank God for freedom and may God bless America and our soldiers giving their lives for the cause of freedom even as we speak!
     
  14. The Biblicist

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    The truth is that regeneration and conversion are simeltaneous in time and one does not occur without the other. This grammatically demonstrated in 1 Jn 5:1 where the Aorist tense verb "born" and the present tense participle "believeth" occur together. The KJV translates the Aorist tense verb "IS born" showing identical action with "beleveth."

    However, the logical order is regeneration is the cause of faith, like the bullet is the cause of the hole in the proverbial illustration of sequence versus time analogy.

    The Old Testament prophet put their relationship to each other in this way "Turn us and we shall be turned." God is the One doing the turning but they are the ones experiencing being turned.

    The Lost man's heart HATES light and LOVES darkness. In regeneration God changes the heart's LOVE For darkness to HATE of darkness - this is our experience of turning from the love of sin to hate of sin or repentance. In regeneration God changes our HATE for light to LOVE for light - this is our experience coming from unbelief to faith.

    Just as repentance and faith are inseparable graces but in a precise logical order so also is regeneration and conversion inseparable graces but in a precise logical order.

    Regeneration produces SPIRITUAL LIFE or quickening whereas conversion produces JUDICIAL LIFE or justification. We become a child (tekna) of God by regeneration but a LEGAL son (huious) of God by justification.
     
  15. Jerry Shugart

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    Biblicist, of course believing and being born of God are simultaneous. However, the logical order is a different matter. It is the believing that brings about the new birth so logically faith precedes regeneration.

    We can see that principle in the following verses:

    "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God" (Jn.1:12-13; NASB).

    Of course the consequences of being "born of God" is becoming a child of God and John tells us exactly how people become children of God:

    "To them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name."

    The Lord gives no one the right to become the "children of God" and therefore "born of God" until they believe.

    I started this thread especially with you in mind so I was disappointed when you failed to address the points which I made in my initial post. Would you please address those points?

    Thanks!
     
    #15 Jerry Shugart, Dec 2, 2011
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  16. The Biblicist

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    Why then in 1 John 5:1 is the word "born" Aorist tense and "beleiveth" Present tense if LOGICALLY belief precedes faith??? Which LOGICALLY occurs first according to action? Aorist PAST TENSE completed action or a PRESENT TENSE contiunous action?

    You have it backwards? "were born" is Aorist Tense (v. 13) but "beleive" is Present Tense (v. 12). Hence, verse 13 is explanatory of verse 12 not the reverse as you have it placing verse 12 last in order.


    You haven't addressed my points but ignored them.
     
  17. Jerry Shugart

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    This does not prove that being "born of God" happened prior to faith. Greek expert Daniel Wallace writes:

    "With respect to 'aspect,' the present tense is 'internal' (that is, it portrays the action from the inside of the event, without special regard to beginning or end), but it makes no comment as to fulfillment (or completion). The present tense's portrayal of an even 'focuses on its devolpment or progress and sees the occurance in regard to its eternal make-up, without beginning or end in view.' " (Wallace Daniel B., Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996], 514).

    So just because the word "believeth" is in the "present" tense we cannot assume that the new birth happened prior to faith.

    The verses of which you speak are in regard to believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (1 Jn.5:1-5).

    And here we see that it is "believing" these facts which result in the new life:

    "Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (Jn.20:30-31).

    Again, you wrongly assume that because the "present" tense is used then that proves that being born of God happens PRIOR to faith.

    But you fail to address the fact that no one becomes a child of God and thus born of God" unless "faith" happens frst:

    "To them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name."

    Now that I have answered your points please address the points which I made in my initial post on this thread.

    Thanks!
     
  18. The Biblicist

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    The quotation by Wallace has nothing to do with what I said. I was not speaking about any ABSTRACT use of the present tense in regard to the inside versus the outside of any event.

    Wallace is speaking of the present tense in abstract use or isolated use. The present tense in and by itself does not convey when a stated action begun or when it ends. All it portrays is that the action is incomplete and ongoing. Thus "believeth" is an ongoing action. However, the Aorist tense "born" is a previously completed action. Hence, logically new birth action has been completed while believing is ongoing action. In relationship to each other the Aorist tense at minimum conveys that it LOGICALLY completed its action previous to the present tense as past tense precedes present tense. In some cases it would demand CHRONOLOGICALLY that the action of the Aorist was completed BEFORE the action of the present tense began.



    I was speaking about the use of the present tense IN CONNECTION WITH completed action verbs! In connection with completed action verbs the present tense emphasis is incompleted action.

    What is true in 1 Jn. 5:1 is true in John 1:12-13. So try again!
     
    #18 The Biblicist, Dec 2, 2011
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  19. Jerry Shugart

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    Nothing said at 1 John 5:1 demands that being "born of God" is completed before a person comes to faith.

    That is what you say but it is only an assertion since the "present" tense does not indicate when the action of believing had its beginning.

    Let us look at the verses you cite to attempt to prove your case:

    "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....Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1 Jn.5:1,5).

    These verses are in regard to believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. And the Apostles John makes it clear that it is believing those facts which bring new life:

    "Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (Jn.20:30-31).

    No one is "born of God" and receives this new life until they believe.
     
  20. The Biblicist

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    You obviously do not understand the quote you give by Wallace or the difference between complete and incompleted action terms. Wallace did not repudiate a single thing I pointed out in 1 Jn. 5:1. He only denied that the present tense IN AND OF ITSELF defines a beginning or ending point of an action. Instead it only demands incompleted on going action.

    However, in 1 Jn. 5:1 it is found in connection with an Aorist tense verb "born" which demands completed action. Hence, at the very minimum the Aorist tense completed action LOGICALLY precedes any term that is present in tense and conveys incompleted action.



    "Whosoever believeth [incomplete ongoing action] that Jesus is the Christ is born [already completed action] of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him....Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1 Jn.5:1,5).

    We are justified by faith not regenerated by faith. Justification by faith obtains LEGAL declaration or the sentence of ETERNAL LIFE in reverse of the previous legal declaration or sentence of DEATH.

    Spiritual eternal life comes by regeneration IN your own PERSON, whereas "justification of life" or eternal life by faith occurs IN heaven according to your POSITION in Christ legally.
     

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