"Does regeneration precede or follow faith?" I'm writing a paper on this

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by zrs6v4, Dec 8, 2010.

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  1. zrs6v4

    zrs6v4
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    As the thread title says, I am currently writing a paper on the question for a class I am taking. I know the debate over salvation is old to some, but I would like to refresh on the topic as I have not argued it in depth for awhile. I realize side topics will arise, but my paper is specifically on regeneration in the order of salvation.

    To be open and honest, when I was born again I would not have argued in favor of Calvinism and changed so I have been arguing in favor of it for the last two years. The biggest stumbling block for me was always the regeneration part because it isn't as clear.

    I have since decided to try to accurately tackle what the Bible means when it speaks of being born again (or regenerate, quickened, or born of the Spirit). I plan on trying to take an open-minded fresh look at this topic to be as Biblically accurate as possible.

    I want to say that I am firm on the doctrines of grace, and do not believe, as of now that regeneration is "NOT" a must in order to still adhere to God's sovereign election and grace. This is because there is still clear evidence of the effectual call or inner call to the elect. My objective is to discover whether or not many Calvinist's confuse regeneration with the work of God's Spirit who calls, teaches, and draws. Logically in their view it makes sense, but my goal is to see Scripture's explanation.

    I realize at first glance I will be making so called "enemies" in debate from both ends so I will do my best to clarify my view in the discussion.

    So to open it up, please state clearly and "ONLY" The order in which you see salvation happening and define regeneration in your Biblical view.

    Here are my options that I see thus far:

    1. (Reformed) Election, Effectual Calling, Regeneration, Repentance/Faith, [Justification, Indwelling/Sealing, Adoption], Sanctification, Glorification

    2. Election, Effectual Calling (including complete work of the Spirit much like Calvinists define born again), Faith/Repentance, [Justification, Indwelling/Sealing of Spirit, Adoption....= Regeneration], Sanctification, Glorification

    Thus in my mind the two options offer either 1. that Regeneration is the complete work of being made new by the work of God or 2. It is a specific work of the Holy Spirit to make someone alive spiritually that they may see.

    Your turn... Please be kind, on topic, and realize your preconceived notions so that by God's grace we can arrive at a Biblical view with careful reasoning.
     
    #1 zrs6v4, Dec 8, 2010
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  2. BobinKy

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    zrs6v4...

    I am a retired businessman--not a seminary student, professor, and even a minister. However, I will give you my thoughts on your first post.

    I think you need to define the various theological concepts (e.g., regeneration, faith, election, effectual calling, sanctification, glorification, etc.).

    Do you plan on including the Arminian or Wesleyan (Methodist) approach to these theological concepts, which may differ from the reformed (your first option) and whatever umbrella you call the second option. I have found Thomas Oden's Systematic Theology (3 volumes) to be accessible for those of us without ThD after our name.

    Of course, you will also want to check Wayne Grudem's book (reformed perspective), as well as the other standard Baptist systematic theologies.

    You also should prepare a reference list (bibliography) of the sources you plan to consult for your paper. Doing this early in your research may save you time at the completion of the paper.

    I know you may be thinking of writing to please your professor. However, such an important paper, if researched and well written, can be a document you keep for the rest of your life, and possibly preach from (if that is your calling).

    I hope this helps.

    ...Bob
     
  3. Jim1999

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    First off, you need to define regeneration, the word. It only appears twice in the NT: Mt 19:28 which refers to he future restoration of everything; and, Titus 3:5 which refers to the change in an individual. There are other verses which use relative terms relating to the "new birth" John 3:3, 7; 1 Peter 1:3, 23.

    With just these compare regeneration in relation to "grace through faith" which is the biblical order of election. Man makes a choice out of election and predestination and we call this the regenerative action of man; the radical and permanent change in a person's outlook performed by the Holy Spirit.

    Trust this helps. Yes, I am a firm calvinist, but differ to Grudem on the permissive will of God and man's free will.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  4. zrs6v4

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    Thanks Bob (In KY).

    -Bob what part of KY are you from? This is the most important question here :)

    -Are you suggesting I define them in my paper? If so I do plan on having a section I write based on a word study of various words used to describe the event of regeneration.

    - My two order of salvation lists are the ones I am pondering. I do plan on doing a general list of the most common orders of salvation from reformed and non reformed perspectives. This is why I decided to have a discussion on this here. I have never heard anyone argue my second option. I am not so much after harmonizing my view to the professors likings or to equal with a popular system, although it may happen. My goal is more a a personal Biblical search while refuting the systems that do not agree. If Calvinism or common non-Cal positions do not agree with my Inductive research, I will show the error.

    - Right now I have 5 book sources:
    1. Grudem's Systematic Theology (Reformed)
    2. Erickson's Systematic Theology (Not Reformed I don't think)
    3. Finally Alive (John Piper)
    4. Chosen by God (Sproul)
    5. ESV Study Bible for passages
    6 Online Study tools including numerous commentaries, vines, Greek/English parallels, and so forth
    7. Oh, almost forgot, and an NASB Bible :)

    Thanks Bob-
     
  5. zrs6v4

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    Jim, Thanks for the input. I have been using ESWORD, and have been researching various words: Born, Born again, Life, spiritual life, New Covenant, Regeneration, quicken, etc.. My goal is also to focus in on what affects the Bible shows that the Spirit has on Regenerate people. There is a lot I have listed to think about to contextualize and accurately see what Regeneration is when it is spoken of. I have the passages listed about and many more to look at such including OT passages (Exekiel 36-37, Jeremiah 31, etc...)

    This is interesting, and exactly why I wanted to hear peoples thoughts in how the Spirit works. More importantly how can we jump from the passages speaking of regeneration to concluding the defined word of being made alive before faith or in the sense of a single event? To me I worry that many assumptions are made in harmony with logic. I do want to say that by grace through faith is Biblical and I tried to make that clear in my opening post.

    The question I ask myself is, what if the Calvinist perspective of regeneration is actually the work of the Spirit in the "Internal or Effectual Call" and what if Regeneration or Born again is supposed to be defined as the complete process of the work of God. Thus we are made alive, In Christ, by the will and complete work of God. This always and clearly includes the changed inner man and the sovereign work of God to open our eyes within through the Gospel.
     
  6. BobinKy

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    What? No King James Bible on the eve of the 400th anniversary!

    . . .

    I live in central Kentucky--but my roots and dreams are the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Kentucky.

    Go Wildcats!

    ...Bob
     
  7. kyredneck

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  8. percho

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    Jim, What are the odds of the two in bold meaning the same?

    BTW to answer the OP the faith came before the regeneration.
     
    #8 percho, Dec 8, 2010
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  9. webdog

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    ZR, I believe the biblical position is faith and regeneration happening simultaneously, not one preceding the other. The moment we are in Christ we pass from death to life.

    There have been many threads on here on this over the past 5 years, I would search the archives.
     
  10. zrs6v4

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    I have family in Kentucky.

    P.S. Everyone in Kentucky is a Wildcats fan. There isn't much else to do... JK :)
     
  11. Iconoclast

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    Forget Grudem.....read berkof,hodge or boyce...here is some boyce;
    [QUOTE1. From the fact that the heart is the soil in which the seed, the word of God, is sown, and that seed only brings forth fruit in the good soil. The heart is made good soil by regeneration.

    2. Regeneration (as in infants) may exist without faith and repentance, but the latter cannot exist without the former. Therefore, regeneration precedes.

    3. Logically the enabling act of God must, in a creature, precede the act of the creature thus enabled. But this logical antecedence involves actual antecedence, or the best conceptions of our mind deceive us and are not reliable. For this logical antecedence exists only because the mind observes plainly a perceived dependence of the existence of the one on the other. But such dependence demands, if not causal, at least antecedent existence. Here it is only antecedent.

    VI. There is not only antecedence, but in some cases an appreciable interval.

    1. This is true even of conversion regarded as a mere turning to God. Between it and regeneration must intervene in some cases some period of time until the knowledge of God's existence and nature is given, before the heart turns, or even is turned towards that God.

    (1.) This must be true of all infants and of all persons otherwise incapable of responsibility, as for example idiots.

    (2.) There is no reason why it should not be true of some heathen. The missionaries of the cross have been sought by men, who knew nothing of Christianity, but whose hearts, unsatisfied with the religion of their fathers, were restlessly seeking for what their soul was crying out.

    2. It is still more manifestly true of full Christian conversion.

    (1.) The Scriptures teach this in many examples of persons pious, holy, and fearing God, yet unacquainted with the full truth which secures union with Christ.

    Ethiopian Eunuch: Acts 8:26-40.

    Paul: Acts, chapter 9, 22 and 26. Galatians, chapters 1st and 2d.

    Cornelius the Centurion: Acts 10:2.

    Lydia: Acts 16:14.

    (2.) The experience of ministers in all ages with persons seeking and attaining salvation confirms this idea. The attainment of conversion
    ][/QUOTE]
     
  12. zrs6v4

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    One is speaking of end time regeneration and the other is present. See also John 5 very similar language. There is a present resurrection happening and a future.
     
  13. jbh28

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    Yes and I'm trying to remember what was that team that beat them this past Saturday....:D
     
  14. zrs6v4

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    Ok so do you hold that regeneration is a word that describes the act of salvation, the completed event? This is to say that regeneration is when one is justified, sealed with the Spirit, and Adoption. This of course is after faith on your list. Thanks.

    I do like to look up old threads and read, but it just isn't the same as interaction, nor as fun. If everyone just looked up old archives then nobody would open new threads hah.
     
  15. glfredrick

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    You are about to pass into the nether regions of the "lapsarian" theological positons (ordo salutas or "order of God's decrees")

    Note before you dive in that though each of the various positions stipulate this, then that, many of the points that are laid out are concurrent, but examined as if they are along a line that happens in time for discussion sake.

    Here are a few links that may help guide you.

    The chart in the first link will be very helpful for your study.

    http://www.theopedia.com/Order_of_God's_decrees
    http://www.theopedia.com/Supralapsarianism
    http://www.theopedia.com/Infralapsarianism
    http://www.theopedia.com/Sublapsarianism
     
  16. quantumfaith

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    Charles Spurgeon recognized the folly of saying that the sinner must be regenerated before he can believe:

    "If I am to preach the faith in Christ to a man who is regenerated, then the man, being regenerated, is saved already, and it is an unnecessary and ridiculous thing for me to preach Christ to him, and bid him to believe in order to be saved when he is saved already, being regenerate. Am I only to preach faith to those who have it? Absurd, indeed! Is not this waiting till the man is cured and then bringing him the medicine? This is preaching Christ to the righteous and not to sinners." [Sermon entitled The Warrant of Faith].
     
  17. Tom Butler

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    I can see the two happening close together and maybe even simultaneously. But even if there is not a chronological order, I think there is a logical order, because one is the result of the other.

    My view, of course is that regeneration results in faith. I also hold that repentance is a gift (2 Tim 2:25) and faith is a gift (Phil 1:29), so it is entirely possible that regeneration, repentance and faith could come at the same time, or in quick succession.
     
  18. webdog

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    Regeneration is the new birth. It is passing from spiritual death (separation) to spiritual life (union). I believe it is synonymous with salvation, justification...the completed event. All of these only occur one way...by being in Christ.

    My suggestion was simply for the fact you can probably find any Scripture supporting each position in a central location.
     
  19. glfredrick

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    We do get in trouble when we attempt to apply very human-finite logic to the infinite problems of God, don't we?

    Take the number of the elect, for instance. Not once in the Scriptures are we given a number to work with, just that they are... Yet, we decide that that means some given number, and we then formulate theologies based on our reaction to those numbers. :tonofbricks:

    In the area of "salvation" regeneration is but one of the component parts of the process. We use a logical order and define the points in a similar way, but in fact, many are concurrent and/or instantaneous.
     
  20. webdog

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    I think logical as opposed to chronological is a matter of semantics and actually is relative depending on the "logic" used, not to mention any such logic is finite.

    I don't buy the notion one has to result in the other. Looking at things in a linear aspect is always flawed.
     
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