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Featured Faith Precedes Regeneration - Note What Spurgeon Said

Discussion in 'Calvinism & Arminianism Debate' started by MrW, Dec 14, 2022.

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  1. MrW

    MrW Well-Known Member

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    Regeneration is the sovereign act of God whereby He imparts His very life and His very nature to the believing sinner (John 1:12-13; Titus 3:5). Man’s first birth is natural; his second birth is spiritual and supernatural. His first birth makes him a member of a fallen race; his second birth makes him a member of a redeemed race. His first birth gives him a depraved nature (Eph. 2:3); his second birth makes him partaker of the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4). The moment a person is born again he receives a new life (John 6:47; 1 John 5:12) and a new position as a child of God (John 1:12; 1 John 3:1-2). In short, he is a new creature in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17).

    It's impossible to be saved and not be regenerated. It's impossible to be regenerated and not be saved. Every born again person is saved. It is a Biblical absurdity to suggest that a person is saved and regenerated and at some later point of time becomes a believer in Christ. Faith and regeneration take place simultaneously. They both take place at the same instant of time. One is the response of a lost, sinful man to the gospel; the other is the supernatural work of God.

    Today there are those of a Reformed persuasion who teach that regeneration precedes faith. They would say that a person must be born again before he believes. They would say that a person must have God’s LIFE before he can believe on Christ. C. D. Cole states it this way: "The Calvinist says that life must precede faith, and is logically the cause of faith. Faith did not cause the new birth, the new birth caused faith." [From a tract entitled Which Comes First In Conversion--Life or Faith? By C.D.Cole, published by Chapel Library, Venice, Florida].

    Why do such men teach this? "Extreme Calvinists put the new birth before faith, since they believe that spiritually dead humans cannot exercise faith and, therefore, need to be born again before they can believe" [C. Gordon Olson, Beyond Calvinism and Arminianism, p. 39]. The doctrine of man’s total depravity has been carried to the extreme by some Calvinists resulting in a wrong understanding of man’s inability. They believe that the sinner is dead in sin and therefore he is like a corpse, totally unable to do anything. They believe he first must be regenerated and have life and only then will he be able to believe the gospel. But the Scripture teaches that he must believe in order to have life (John 20:31).

    The Philippian jailer once asked, "What must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30). If Paul had been an extreme Calvinist he might have said, "You can do nothing to be saved, absolutely nothing. You are dead in sin and a dead man can do nothing. If God doesn't regenerate you, then you are doomed." How different was the answer Paul gave: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31).

    The common Calvinist argument is this: "The depraved sinner is said to be DEAD (Eph. 2:1). Since he is dead it is impossible for him to believe. A dead corpse cannot do anything." But Paul in Ephesians 2:1 is speaking of spiritual death and to compare spiritual death with physical death is problematic. A person who is physically dead cannot speak, cannot breathe, cannot laugh, cannot walk, etc. But a spiritually dead person can do all of these things. It's wrong to say that a spiritually dead person can do nothing. Even the Calvinist would have to admit that he can reject Jesus Christ, he can pray, he can read the Bible, he can sin and he can even do good works in a vain effort to try to earn his salvation. He has ability to do all of these things.

    Wherein lies the inability of the depraved sinner? He can't because he won't. An example of this is found in Genesis 37:4--Joseph's brothers "could not speak peaceably unto him." They were unable to speak peaceably unto him. What kind of inability was this? Were their mouths being held shut by some outside force so that they could not talk? Were they carried hundreds of miles away from Joseph so that it was impossible to talk to him? No, they could not because they would not. They did not want to speak to him in this way because of the depravity of their sinful and jealous hearts. Why can't men believe? Why don't men come to Christ? "And ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life" (John 5:40). Or literally, "And ye are not willing to come unto Me that ye may have life" (William Kelly's translation). Their inability to come to Christ was due to their refusal to come to Him that they might have life. [Important note: The extreme Calvinist, if consistent with his belief, should re-write John 5:40 in this way: "And ye will not have life that ye may come to me." This is because Calvinism teaches that a dead sinner cannot come to Christ or believe in Him unless he first has life]. For a more detailed study on the willingness of God to save depraved men, see God's Willingness and Man's Unwillingness.
     
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  2. MrW

    MrW Well-Known Member

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    We agree that no one can believe on Christ apart from God’s great and gracious working in the heart which involves both enabling and enlightenment (John 6:44,65; Matthew 11:27; 16:16-17; Acts 16:14). It is interesting that God sometimes commands a person to do what in himself he is totally unable to do. One example involves the man with the withered hand (Mark 3:1-5). Christ gave him the command, "Stretch forth thine hand!" How could he do this if he suffered from paralysis? Christ commanded, the man obeyed and God enabled! Christ enabled him to do the impossible! So also the sinner is commanded to believe on Christ. If the sinner fails to obey this command then he is guilty of disobeying the gospel (2 Thess. 1:8). He will never be able to use this excuse: "Lord, the reason I did not believe on Christ was because I was totally depraved and unable to believe." No, if God commands, then man is responsible to obey. "But now [God] commandeth all men everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30).

    Does regeneration precede faith? Actually they both take place in the same moment of time. The moment a person believes on the Lord Jesus Christ he is regenerated (born again). The moment he receives Christ by faith he also receives God’s gift of eternal life. It all happens in an instant of time. Yet logically as we think about this great transaction, we must put an order to it. Does the Bible indicate that a person must be regenerated so that he can believe or does the Bible teach that a person must believe in order to be regenerated? Do we need life in order to believe or do we need to believe in order to have life?

    The Bible clearly teaches this: believe and thou shalt live! "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life" (John 6:47). "That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:15). The extreme Calvinist says, "live and thou shalt believe!" Please notice that John 1:12 does not say this: "But as many as have been regenerated, to them gave He the power to believe on His Name, even to those who have become the children of God." Notice also that John 20:31 says, "believing ye might have life." It does not say, "having life ye might believe."

    In his helpless and hopeless condition the sinner is told to LOOK to the Lord Jesus Christ AND LIVE (John 3:14-16; Numbers 21). [We sing the hymn, Look and Live. The extreme Calvinist should rename the hymn: Live and Look.] The extreme Calvinist teaches that a person must have life in order to believe. The Lord Jesus taught that a person must believe (come to Christ) in order to have life (John 5:40). Remember, to "come to Christ" is synonymous with "believing on Him" (see John 6:35,37,40). Why do people not believe on Christ? Is it because they have not been regenerated or because they refuse to come to Christ by faith (John 5:40; 2 Thess. 2:10,12)?

    R. C. Sproul believes that regeneration precedes faith. But in spite of his doctrine, he once wrote the following: "Once Luther grasped the teaching of Paul in Romans, he was reborn" (R. C. Sproul, The Holiness of God, 1993 edition, p. 144). He must have written these words in haste because to be consistent with his theology he should have said it this way: "Once Luther was reborn, he grasped the teaching of Paul in Romans."

    If regeneration precedes faith, then this would make faith unnecessary since the person would already be saved. If a person is regenerated, then he is born of God, a member of God’s family and a possessor of eternal life. If you are a member of God’s family and a possessor of eternal life, then you are already saved. So what need is there for faith?
     
  3. MrW

    MrW Well-Known Member

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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].



    Concerning regeneration preceding faith, some Calvinists take this to a ridiculous extreme. Though it seems unthinkable, they actually teach that a person can be regenerated by God and then not come to faith in Christ until years later.

    The Reformation Study Bible (formerly called The Geneva Study Bible) claims to be a clear statement of Reformed theology. On page 1664 there is an article on Regeneration. It is a shocking statement relating to infant salvation: "Infants can be born again, although the faith that they exercise cannot be as visible as that of adults." I wrote to R.C. Sproul (General Editor) to ask for clarification of this statement. I received a written response from Sproul’s assistant, V.A. Voorhis (dated 1/6/2000) in which he made the following statement which is even more shocking:

    When the RSB speaks in the notes of John 3 of "infants being born again," it is speaking of the work of quickening God does in them which inclines their will to Him. In Protestantism, regeneration always precedes faith and if God quickens them, the person will surely come . . .Often, regeneration and our subsequent faith happen apparently simultaneously but logically, regeneration must precede faith. An infant’s faith may not come until years after God has worked by His Holy Spirit to regenerate him or her [emphasis ours]. Two Biblical examples of infants who were born again are seen in Psalm 22:9-10 and Luke 1:15.


    According to this teaching a child can be born again or regenerated as an infant and not come to faith in Christ until years later! This may or may not have been the teaching of the Reformers, but it certainly is not the teaching of the Word of God. Rev. Curtis Crenshaw writes that "John the Baptist was even regenerated while in his mother's womb" [Curtis I. Crenshaw, Lordship Salvation, p. 34] Born again in the womb!

    For a moment, let’s assume that what the extreme Calvinists are saying is true. If regeneration precedes faith, then what must a sinner do to be regenerated? The extreme Calvinists have never satisfactorily answered this. Shedd’s answer is typical. Because the sinner cannot believe, he is instructed to perform the following duties: (1) Read and hear the divine Word. (2) Give serious application of the mind to the truth. (3) Pray for the gift of the Holy Spirit for conviction and regeneration. [W.G.T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, Vol. II, pages 472, 512, 513].

    Roy Aldrich’s response to this is penetrating: "A doctrine of total depravity that excludes the possibility of faith must also exclude the possibilities of hearing the Word, giving serious application to divine truth and praying for the Holy Spirit for conviction and regeneration. The extreme Calvinist deals with a rather lively spiritual corpse after all." [Roy L. Aldrich, "The Gift of God," Biblio-theca Sacra, July 1965, pages 248-253].

    The problem with this position is that it perverts the gospel. The sinner is told that the condition of salvation is prayer instead of faith. How contrary to Acts 16:31 where the sinner is not told to pray for conviction and regeneration. The sinner is simply told to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

    The following comments were written by Douglas K. Kutilek and are used with his permission:
    While the unsaved man is described by Paul as "dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1), I believe that this is a metaphor that is vastly overstressed by some of the Calvinistic writers of my acquaintance. Their typical justification for their "regeneration before faith" view (albeit, immediately before, which results inevitably and immediately in saving faith) is that "a dead man cannot respond to anything--he cannot hear, see, feel, think, touch, taste, act, OR BELIEVE. and therefore, God MUST regenerate him/make him alive before he can believe."

    I see what to me is an insuperable problem with this view--these very Calvinists have no problem with a man being convicted of sin before regeneration, in some cases conviction enduring for many days, months, even years--yet how can a "dead" man (as they understand the term) anymore come under conviction, feel guilt, sense a drawing to Christ, than he can believe? To be consistent, they would have to also teach regeneration before conviction--but then there would be no need for conviction!

    Paul uses a metaphor when he says that the sinner is "dead"--man is separated from God by his sin, guilt, etc., and is corrupted and tainted in all parts of his being by sin--his body, emotions, intellect, will, etc. are all corrupted. This is not to say that he is as evil in all his thoughts and acts as he might in practice be, nor that unregenerate man is incapable of acts of love, self-sacrifice, kindness, morality, etc. But like Adam, he is separated from God by sin, and is not capable of reconciling himself/restoring himself to God's favor, and unaided by God, cannot believe either.

    Before regeneration, there must be the work of the Holy Spirit in conviction (the Father's essential drawing is carried out through the agency of the Holy Spirit). Saving faith is not the gift of God (I agree with A.T. Robertson, and John Calvin on Ephesians 2:8,9, that it is salvation, not faith, which is described as "the gift of God" there; cf. Romans 6:23, where the same thing is taught--see also What is the "Gift of God in Ephesians 2:8? ); rather, it is the response of a sinner, enlightened and convicted by the Holy Spirit who employs the message of the Gospel as His tool, to the offer of the Gospel. This work of the Holy Spirit is essential to and prior to the sinner coming to the place where he may respond in faith--believe--the Gospel. That saving faith necessarily precedes regeneration seems to me to be absolutely required by John 1:12 where faith clearly precedes regeneration.
    --Douglas K. Kutilek

    C. H. Mackintosh, highly esteemed brethren writer, made a similar observation (from his comments on the Great Commission of Luke 24:44-49 in his miscellaneous writings):
    Our divine Master called upon sinners to repent and believe the gospel. Some would have us to believe that it is a mistake to call upon persons dead in trespasses and sins to do anything. "How," it is argued, "can those who are dead repent? They are incapable of any spiritual movement. They must first get the power ere they can either repent or believe."

    What is our reply to all this? A very simple one indeed--our Lord knows better than all the theologians in the world what ought to be preached. He knows all about man's condition--his guilt, his misery, his spiritual death, his utter helplessness, his total inability to think a single right thought, to utter a single right word, to do a single right act; and yet He called upon men to repent. This is quite enough for us. It is no part of our business to seek to reconcile seeming differences. It may seem to us difficult to reconcile man's utter powerlessness with his responsibility; but "God is His own interpreter, and He will make it plain." It is our happy privilege, and our bounden duty, to believe what He says, and do what He tells us. This is true wisdom, and it yields solid peace. ... Our Lord preached repentance, and He commanded His apostles to preach it; and they did so constantly.


    George Zeller [3/00; revised 11/02]
     
  4. MrW

    MrW Well-Known Member

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    Part 4:

    Additional Comments
    Bob L. Ross of Pilgrim Publications [P.O. Box 66, Pasadena, TX 77501] has written a series of helpful articles regarding regeneration and faith. Ross is one of the foremost authorities on the life, ministry and teachings of Charles Spurgeon.

    In Ross' article Regeneration: Strong vs. Berkhof, he shows the contrast between Augustus Strong and Louis Berkhof on the doctrine of regeneration. Berkhof held to the view that regeneration precedes faith and that regeneration could take place apart from the preaching of the Word. The danger in this is that it could lead to a deadening of evangelistic fervor ("If people can be regenerated apart from the truth, then there is no need to share the truth with them. God will save them apart from the truth, and apart from preaching the gospel"). Strong held the more Biblical position that regeneration and faith took place at the same time. This was also Spurgeon's position.

    Berkhof denied the use of the truth, or the Word, as an instrument in the new birth. Berkhof's idea is that the Holy Spirit "implants life" which "enables" the sinner to respond to the Gospel and that this life may not at the time be manifest in repentance and faith. Strong, on the other hand taught that human agency is involved in the miracle of regeneration and that man is not merely passive. Strong taught that regeneration, calling, conversion (repentance and faith), and justification are not chronologically separated, but occur "at the same instant." Strong says, "The Spirit uses the word as His instrument; but the Spirit Himself is the cause of regeneration." The truth is viewed as "the sword of the Spirit" which "must be wielded by the Holy Spirit himself. "Only as the sinner's mind is brought into contact with the truth, does God complete His regenerating work."

    Berkhof taught that regeneration and conversion are two distinct works and may therefore have a chronological time sequence. In other words, one may be regenerated at one time and be converted (repent and believe) at some later time. "The new life is often implanted in the hearts of children long before they are able to hear the call of the gospel" (Berkhof). This is similar to the statement quoted above in the Reformation Study Bible which said that infants can be regenerated as babies, and not come to faith in Christ until years later! In contrast to this, Strong taught that regeneration (God's side) and conversion (man's side) took place at the same time with no time gap in between. Strong gives the illustration of a wheel: "Regeneration and conversion are not chronologically separate. Which of the spokes of a wheel start first?"

    Ross, at the end of the article, mentioned that in the 1800's there were certain Baptists who became known as "Primitive Baptists" (sometimes nicknamed "Hardshells"). This position was regarded as "hyper-Calvinism" because these people opposed various methods of evangelism and were opposed to missions because they held a view similar to Berkhof, that regeneration was by the Holy Spirit apart from the use of truth as a "means."

    Another article by Ross is entitled Regeneration in Relation to Faith in Calvinist Theology. Ross points out that error on the subject of regeneration in relation to faith led to the anti-missionary, anti-means dogma of the Hardshells or Primitive Baptists in the 19th century onward. Ross then shows that John Calvin taught that you cannot have regeneration apart from faith. Ross also shows that the Canons of Dort, the Westminster Confession and Stephen Charnock all taught that you cannot have regeneration apart from faith and also that the Holy Spirit uses God's Word as the means to regenerate people and never apart from the Word. These Confessions recognize that there is a "pre-faith work of the Spirit," that is, that the Spirit of God works mightily in the hearts of men prior to the time when they put their trust in Christ. Ross explains further:

    Neither of these Confessions categorizes the pre-faith work of the Holy Spirit as "regeneration," so those today who choose to broaden the term to cover the pre-faith work of the Spirit do not represent the view of the Confessions of Faith. They should not, therefore, be quoted by the critics of Calvinism as "representative" of the Calvinist view, creating the impression that Calvinism teaches "regeneration" before, without, or apart from faith, which is the core of Hardshellism.

    Ross then recommends the work of Stephen Charnock (1628-1680) entitled The Word, the Instrument of Regeneration.

    Another article written compiled by Ross is entitled C.H.Spurgeon on Regeneration. It is a collection of quotations by Spurgeon relating of the subject at hand. Spurgeon believed that regeneration and faith took place simultaneously. It was unthinkable to Spurgeon that a person could be regenerated and then at some later time believe on Christ. Spurgeon taught that every unregenerate man was condemned (John 3:18) and that every man who is not condemned is a saved man. That a person could be regenerated but not saved or that a person could be regenerated and not a believer in Christ were ideas unthinkable to Spurgeon. They are also Biblical absurdities.

    -Middletown Bible Church
     
  5. DaveXR650

    DaveXR650 Well-Known Member

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    This is a good thread. It's so long though that it's hard to take it all in.
    To start off, this is a common argument that many Calvinists use - that our inability is moral not physical, so that won't work as an argument against spiritual inability.
     
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  6. canadyjd

    canadyjd Well-Known Member

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    Well, I see regeneration logically precedes faith, though it may actually occur at the same instant.

    I do not equate regeneration with salvation, but as a supernatural act of God Holy Spirit that enables the person to believe the gospel of Jesus Christ and Him crucified and, by doing so they enter into a right relationship with God that is commonly called “salvation”.

    So, the gospel is preached… God Holy Spirit regenerates the person while the gospel is being preached which enables the person to respond to the gospel with faith in Christ.

    peace to you
     
  7. AustinC

    AustinC Well-Known Member

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    I see nothing amiss in the quotes from any who call themselves Reformed or Calvinist. How can a man hear God's voice speaking to eternal life if there is no preacher calling out the dead man's sin and desperate need for reconciliation? God uses that call as His call to quickening. Many, may hear that word preached, but only those whom God calls out from that message will respond in faith.
    It's clear that @MrW does not understand. To him it just cannot be that God causes before man is effected.

    I heard a preacher on SiriusXM this evening who went on and in about man doing this and man doing that. He open wondered how this world could survive since men were not living up to the standard of holiness that they ought to live. It was a message that never even considered what God could do. For that preacher, God was just an observer of what we did or didn't do as Christians. If we failed, the world would fail.
    I wondered out loud if that preacher had ever read the prophets to see what God had to say about what is happening and how this will all turn out. I wondered who would ever listen to such a biblically illiterate preacher. Then I realized that the man couldn't be in SuriusXM without someone footing the bill for him to hock his humanism. I realized that the vast number of confessing Christians in evangelicalism are illiterate Christians who know very little about God's word, but find the words of that humanist preacher quite "tickling" to their ears.
     
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  8. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    The Issue under Consideration is CONVERSION.

    This from: http://www.ntslibrary.com/PDF Books II/Simmons - A Systematic Study of Bible Doctrine.pdf

    Turning from the divine of salvation
    Chapter 20 The Doctrine of Election
    Chapter 21 The Doctrine of The Atonement
    Chapter 22 The Outward and Inward Calls
    Chapter 23 The New Birth


    to the human side of salvation,
    we are brought to a consideration of CONVERSION.

    We note:

    I. CONVERSION DEFINED

    1. CONVERSION PROPER
    By conversion proper, we mean the technical
    and theological sense in which the term is commonly used.

    In this sense it has been defined as follows:
    "Conversion is that voluntary change in the mind of the sinner,
    in which he turns, on the one hand, from sin,
    and on the other hand, to Christ.

    The former or negative element in conversion,
    namely, the turning from sin, we denominate repentance.

    The latter or positive element in conversion,
    namely, the turning to Christ, we denominate faith."

    And again: "Conversion is the human side
    or aspect of that fundamental spiritual change which,
    as viewed from the Divine side, we call Regeneration."
    -A. H. Strong, in Systematic Theology, p. 460.

    We may go further than Strong goes in the last quotation,
    and say that Regeneration, or the New Birth,
    in its broadest sense, includes Conversion.

    It is thus presented in such passages as Jas. 1:18;
    "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth,
    that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures."


    and I Pet. 1:23; "Being born again,
    not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible,
    by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever."

    where the Word of God is distinctly represented
    as the instrument of the Holy Spirit in Regeneration.


    If the new birth meant only the impartation of life,
    then there would be no need of the instrumentality of the Word.

    So we may say that Regeneration
    has both a divine and a human side.


    The divine side we may call Quickening,

    "And you hath he quickened,
    who were dead in trespasses and sins;" Ephesians 2:1

    and the human side we may call Conversion.
     
  9. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    2. CONVERSION IN ITS GENERAL SENSE

    "From the fact that the word 'Conversion' means simply a 'turning',
    every turning of the Christian from sin, subsequent to the first,
    may, in a subordinate sense, be denominated a Conversion
    (Luke 22:32).

    Since Regeneration is not complete Sanctification,
    and the change of governing disposition is not identical
    with complete purification of the nature,
    such subsequent turnings from sin
    are necessary consequences and evidences of the first
    (Cf. John 13:10).

    But they do not, like the first,
    imply a change in the governing disposition;

    they are rather new manifestations
    of the disposition already changed.

    For this reason, Conversion proper, like the Regeneration
    of which it is the obverse side, can occur but once."
    -A. H. Strong, in Systematic Theology, p. 461.

    In this chapter we have reference to the technical
    and theological sense of Conversion
    as given in the first instance above.
     
  10. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    II. THE LOGICAL ORDER OF QUICKENING AND CONVERSION

    As stated above, Quickening and Conversion
    seem to be the Divine and human sides of Regeneration
    or the New Birth.

    It is our purpose at this time, therefore
    to consider the question as to which is logically first,


    The Divine side or the human side,
    in Regeneration.


    To propose this question is to answer it
    for all that are capable of logical thinking.

    The Divine side is most certainly logically prior to the human side.

    In consideration of this position let us note:

    1. PROOF STATED

    (1) Conversion Involves Turning From Sin,
    and Man By Nature Is Unable To Do This.

    Man by nature is able to reform his life to some extent.

    He can turn from some forms of sin.

    But he is unable by nature to change
    the governing disposition of his nature.

    This is proved by Jer. 13: 23, which reads:

    "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?
    Then may ye also do good that are accustomed to do evil."


    The sinner is accustomed to do evil.

    Therefore it is impossible for him to turn from evil (or sin)
    until his governing disposition is changed.


    This is just as impossible as it is for the blackest Negro
    to make himself white,
    or the leopard to divest himself of his spotted robe.
     
  11. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    (2) Conversion is Pleasing to God,
    and the Natural Man Cannot Please God.

    No one can doubt the first part of the above statement.

    The last part is proved by Rom. 8:8, which says:
    "They that are in the flesh cannot please God."

    This includes all to whom God has not given a new nature.

    (3) Conversion is a Good Thing,
    and no Good Thing Can Proceed from the Natural Heart.

    Paul said that there was no good thing in his fleshly nature
    (Rom. 7:18).

    This is the only nature man has until God gives him a new one.

    And since no good can come out of that
    in which no good exists,
    Conversion cannot proceed from the fleshly nature.


    Therefore the giving of the New Nature, or Quickening,
    must come before Conversion.

    To affirm otherwise is to deny total depravity,
    which means that sin
    has permeated every part of man's being
    and poisoned every faculty,
    leaving no good thing in the natural man.

    (4) Conversion Involves Subjecting Oneself
    to the Will or Law of God,
    and This is Impossible to the Natural Man.

    That such is impossible to the natural man
    is established by Rom. 8:7, in which we read:

    "The mind of the flesh is enmity against God;
    for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be."


    (5) Conversion Involves Receiving Christ
    as One's Personal Saviour, which is a Spiritual Thing,
    and the Natural Man Cannot Receive Spiritual Things.

    This latter truth is declared in 1 Cor. 2:14, as follows:

    "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged."

    If the truth of Christ's saving power through faith
    is not a thing of the Spirit of God,
    that is, a thing that man can understand
    only through the revelation of the Spirit
    then what truth is a thing of the Spirit of God?


    (6) Conversion is a Spiritual Resurrection,
    and in a Resurrection, the Impartation of Life
    Must Always Precede the Manifestation of Life
    in the Coming Forth.

    Conversion is represented as a spiritual resurrection
    in Eph. 2:4-6, which says:

    "God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sin, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved); and hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus."

    The raising up here represents Conversion.

    So the question we are considering is as to which is first,
    the Quickening or the Raising Up.


    There can be no reasonable doubt
    that the Quickening is first in a logical sense.


    (7) Conversion Involves Coming to Christ,
    and the Act of the Father in Giving Men to Christ
    Precedes Their Coming to Christ.

    In John 6:37 we read as follows:

    "All that the Father giveth me shall come unto me."

    This passage certainly places the Father's Act
    of giving men to Christ logically prior to their coming to Christ.

    This Act of the Father is a Discriminative, Effective Act,
    for all that are given come and all men do not come.

    Thus this act of giving could not allude
    to the mere giving of the opportunity of coming to Christ
    nor could it allude to the so-called
    "gracious ability" which is supposed by its advocates
    to be bestowed upon all men.

    This Act can refer to nothing short
    of the actual giving of men over
    into the immediate possession of Christ
    by Quickening them into life.

    Men come to Christ in Conversion.

    Thus Quickening must precede Conversion.

    (8) Conversion Involves Coming to Christ,
    and no Man Can Come to Christ
    Except God Give Him the Ability to do so.

    In John 6:65 we read:

    "No man can come unto me,
    except it be given unto him of my Father."


    This passage, as the one just noticed,
    does not refer to the mere giving
    of the opportunity to come to Christ,
    nor to the impartation of so-called "gracious ability"
    for the same reasons stated above in comment on John 6:37.

    John 6:37 we read as follows:

    "All that the Father giveth me shall come unto me."

    This latter passage, like the former one,
    refers to a Discriminative Act.

    The context makes this clear in the case of John 6:65.

    In John 6:65 we read:

    "No man can come unto me,
    except it be given unto him of my Father."


    The words of this passage were spoken
    in view of and as an explanation of the fact
    that some believe not.

    Neither of these latter passages can refer
    to any kind of mere assistance
    that God might be supposed to bestow on the natural man,
    for Repentance and Faith cannot proceed
    from the natural heart, as we have shown.

    Both passages can refer to nothing short
    of the Quickening Power of God,
    in which men are enabled to come to Christ.
     
  12. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    This is to misunderstand what Spurgeon is saying. He was opposing the Hyper-Calvinism of his day, which taught that appeals to trust in Christ should only be made to "sensible sinners," that is, only to those who are already actively seeking Christ.
    What Spurgeon (and I) believe is that only God can open the hearts of dead sinners, but that He is pleased to do so primarily through the preaching of His word (1 Corinthians 1:21). When the Gospel is preached, read or proclaimed in some other way, then God opens the heart of the sinner to receive it.
    This is what happened to Cornelius and Lydia. Neither of them had ever heard of the Lord Jesus, but when Peter and Paul preached, God opened their hearts to trust in Him for salvation.(Acts of the Apostles 10:44; 16:14). That Cornelius was not saved beforehand is shown by Acts of the Apostles 11:13-14). If you want to know what Spurgeon really believed about preaching and regeneration, read Spurgeon vs Hyper-Calvinism by Iain Murray (Banner of Truth, 1995. ISBN 0-85151-692-0) where his beliefs are set out in detail with numerous quotations and samples of his preaching.
     
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  13. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    Again, this is a rebuke to Hyper-Calvinism, with which I would agree absolutely. It in no way at all is an attack on Calvinism.
     
  14. DaveXR650

    DaveXR650 Well-Known Member

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    "The power to grasp Christ does not lie in our nature - in it's own strength or goodness. Our state is that of death, and death cannot grasp life. God the Holy Spirit must breath life into us before we can rise from the grave of our natural depravity and lay hold upon Christ, who is our life. It is not in unrenowned human nature even to see the kingdom of God, much less to enter it."
    Charles Spurgeon from sermon "Grace for Grace" pg 495 The Essential Works of Charles Spurgeon

    Same book, page 1179 is his paper "Regeneration and the Holy Spirit". He explains quite well both truths: the necessity of a prior work of the Holy Spirit, and the necessity of man to repent and believe. He ends the sermon with a warning for all:
    "If you, my reader, will not believe till you can understand all mysteries, you will never be saved at all; and if you allow
    self-invented difficulties to keep you from accepting pardon through our Lord and Savior, you will perish in a condemnation
    that will be richly deserved. Do not commit spiritual suicide through a passion for discussing metaphysical subtleties".

    Everybody tries to use Spurgeon because he was probably the greatest preacher of all times. But he was a Calvinist - a 5 pointer too. Everyone should read Spurgeon because if you do you will discover that Calvinists are not the three headed monsters you thought they were - and also, some Calvinists need to read him and maybe reevaluate how they are handling some of these things.
     
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  15. Marooncat79

    Marooncat79 Well-Known Member
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    MAJOR PROBLEM

    Man is a fallen sinful linear thinking personality trying to understand a Personal Holy Infinite God
     
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  16. MrW

    MrW Well-Known Member

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    I think everyone likes Spurgeon. "Prince of Preachers".
     
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  17. DaveXR650

    DaveXR650 Well-Known Member

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    I know a guy who named his dog "Spurgeon"!
     
  18. AustinC

    AustinC Well-Known Member

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    Ever been to Spurgeon Bay, Wisconsin...no, wait, strike that. That was Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Nevermind. Carry on then...
     
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  19. Brightfame52

    Brightfame52 Well-Known Member

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    Faith is the fruit of regeneration, its in fact a fruit of the Spirit Gal 5:22

    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

    Also its noted that faith /belief of the Truth results and follows Sanctification of the Spirit, which is another way of saying regeneration 2 Thess 2:13

    13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
     
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  20. Eternally Grateful

    Eternally Grateful Active Member

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    if one would actually look, they would see it is not very difficult

    we are dead BECAUSE OF SIN - "the wage of sin is death"

    which means, we can not be made alive until the sin issue is resolved.

    The payment and forgiveness of sin, or answer to the sin problem is redemption. which leads to justification (A judicial term which means declaired righteous or innocent)

    so justification MUST precede regeneration. Otherwise, you have a person who is dead because of sin, made alive IN SIN.
     
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