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Where Calvinists should critique Arminians

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by David Ekstrom, Jul 29, 2005.

  1. David Ekstrom

    David Ekstrom New Member

    Jan 6, 2003
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    Calvinists love to jab Arminians over the loss of salvation. In particular, they love to boast in the assurance of salvation. I think Scott McKnight (an Arminian) was right in his claim that the typical Christian in the pew is an Arminian except for eternal security. Doesn't that smack of self-centeredness?
    I think that Calvinists would do better if they emphasized the nature of regeneration. The same truth is taught in Paul under the metaphor of quickening. By its very nature, regeneration (and quickening) imply that that which was not alive became alive. An agent cannot be the cause of its own existence. I did not cause my birth. I am not the source of my own life. Hence, regeneration must precede conversion. Otherwise, why in the world did Jesus say what He did in John 3? And why was Nicodemus confused by it? And why did Jesus respond to Nicodemus' question as He did? The metaphor of "born again" is meaningless from an Arminian perspective, it seems to me. It causes more confusion than clariy. Eph. 2 seems completely at odds with the notion that a person has the freedom to choose salvation at will.
  2. OldRegular

    OldRegular Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2004
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    Like my post on election the following has been posted previously but here it is again.


    The initial event in salvation is regeneration, the theological term synonymous with rebirth or being born again. Regeneration is solely the work of God the Holy Spirit whereby those who are spiritually dead in trespass and sin are made spiritual alive and are brought into union with Jesus Christ. Whereas the unregenerate person has no disposition, interest, or desire for the things of God the regenerate person is a new creation and is now receptive to the ‘effectual call’ of the Holy Spirit.

    Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, came to Jesus Christ by night to question Him.

    John 3:3, KJV
    3. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

    Various forms of expression are employed in the Scriptures, to denote the change that occurs at the new birth or regeneration:

    1. It is taking away the heart of stone, and giving a heart of flesh, a new heart.

    Ezekiel 36:26, KJV
    26. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

    2. It is putting the law in the heart.

    Hebrews 8:10, KJV
    10. For this [is] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

    3. It is quickening or making alive.

    John 6:63, KJV
    63. It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life.

    John 5:21, KJV
    21. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth [them]; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.

    4. It is a resurrection from the spiritual death.

    John 5:25, KJV
    25. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

    John Dagg, a Southern Baptist leader of the 19th Century, notes [Manual of Theology, pages 277ff]: “So great is the change produced, that the subject of it is called a new creature as if proceeding, like Adam, directly from the creating hand of God; and he is said to be renewed, as being restored to the image of God, in which man was originally formed.”

    2 Corinthians 5:17, KJV
    17. Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

    Dagg further notes:

    “The change is moral. The body is unchanged; and the identity of the mind is not destroyed. The individual is conscious of being the same person that he was before; but a new direction is given to the active powers of the mind, and new affections are brought into exercise. The love of God is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost. No love to God had previously existed there; for the carnal heart is enmity against God. Love is the fulfilling of the law, the principle of all holy obedience; and when love is produced in the heart, the law of God is written there. As a new principle of action, inciting to a new mode of life, it renders the man a new creature. The production of love in the heart by the Holy Spirit, is the regeneration, or the new birth; for he that loveth, is born of God.”

    “The mode in which the Holy Spirit effects this change, is beyond our understanding. All God's ways are unsearchable; and we might as well attempt to explain how he created the world, as how he new-creates the soul. With reference to this subject, the Saviour said, The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.[John 3:8, KJV] We know, from the Holy Scriptures, that God employs his truth in the regeneration of the soul. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.[James 1:18, KJV] Love to God necessarily implies knowledge of God, and this knowledge it is the province of truth to impart. But knowledge is not always connected with love. The devils know, but do not love; and wicked men delight not to retain the knowledge of God, because their knowledge of him is not connected with love. The mere presentation of the truth to the mind, is not all that is needed, in producing love to God in the heart.”

    God through the richness of His grace has granted to His elect spiritual life so that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in [His] kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.