The Glorious Doctrine of Irresistible Grace

3052 reads

There are 12 Comments

JohnBrian's picture

Quote:
Those who proclaim the gospel preach in a graveyard.

A great way to start an article on the subject!

Then I read to the end and realized that I have both the paper and the Kindle copy of the book from which the quote is taken.

CanJAmerican - my blog
CanJAmerican - my twitter
whitejumaycan - my youtube

James K's picture

I couldn't but notice the lack of scripture in the article.  Those who teach regeneration as prior to faith have too much to overcome.  It is all logically deduced if you accept other matters first.  No thanks.

I know many calvinists mean well, but this is really weak.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Ron Bean's picture

Someone once said that they would rather have a God who can save anyone than a God who can only save the willing.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Mike Harding's picture

One can still hold to the effectual call and attribute the initial awakening in the sinner to the illumination of the mind by the Holy Spirit whereby the sinner now sees the certainty, applicability, and significance of the gospel message, and then the illumined sinner responds in repentant faith, succeeded immediately with a new nature imparted by God.

Pastor Mike Harding

Larry's picture

Moderator

I couldn't but notice the lack of scripture in the article.

For those who don't realize it, this isn't really an article. As it notes, it is an excerpt from a book which is free for download this month. And in the chapter from which this is taken, there is a considerable amount of Scripture referenced. Here's is a paragraph that precedes the excerpt:

In his teaching on the subject of saving grace, Calvin merely followed the doctrine set forth in the Scriptures. The doctrine of efficacious grace is necessary because of the state of fallen man. Man is born dead in sin (cf. Rom. 5:12; Eph. 2:1; Col. 2:13), with his mind and heart corrupted (Gen. 6:5;Jer. 17:9; Rom. 8:7-8; 1 Cor. 2:14). He is a slave to sin (Rom. 6:20; Titus 3:3) and therefore unable to repent and come to God (Jer. 13:23; Matt. 7:18; John 6:44, 65). Because of this, man must be born again (John 3:5-7). Those whom God elected and for whom Christ died are brought to life by the Holy Spirit (John 1:12-13; 3:3-8; 5:21; Eph. 2:1, 5; Titus 3:5). God gives them faith and repentance (Acts 5:31; 11:18; 13:48; Eph. 2:8-9; Phil. 1:29; 2 Tim. 2:25-26), and they are justified.

I took the liberty of bolding the verses so that they wouldn't be missed. Whether or not they are properly used is, I suppose, a matter of debate. But at least there is no "lack of Scripture."

I also imagine this article was not intended to be an exposition of the idea per se, but rather has a different purpose and a different audience. Given the nature of the book, it is likely expected that readers would be well familiar with the scriptural support for such an idea, whether they agreed with it or not.

 

JohnBrian's picture

Mike Harding wrote:
...the initial awakening in the sinner to the illumination of the mind by the Holy Spirit
a very good definition of the term "regeneration'" as it is used by Calvinists.

CanJAmerican - my blog
CanJAmerican - my twitter
whitejumaycan - my youtube

Steve Davis's picture

JohnBrian wrote:

Mike Harding wrote:
...the initial awakening in the sinner to the illumination of the mind by the Holy Spirit
a very good definition of the term "regeneration'" as it is used by Calvinists.

 

I wonder if that's what Mike meant and if it is really a "very good definition" by whoever uses it. Not sure Calvin would agree. In perusing the Institutes I came across this heading. CHAPTER 3. REGENERATION BY FAITH. OF REPENTANCE. This "very good" definition seems to indicate Repentance To Faith or Born Again To Believe. I understand the logic of regeneration preceding faith. Exegetically is another question. That God does the initial awakening as Mike says is without question in my mind. As a "very good" definition of regeneration, not convinced, nor unconvincable.

Steve Davis

 

Mike Harding's picture

Illumination as I defined it might be viewed by some as the regeneration of the mind.  My definition of regeneration, however, is the impartation of the new nature.  In the example I laid out the ordo is illumination, repentant faith, regeneration.

Pastor Mike Harding

JohnBrian's picture

Sorry to take so long to get back to this thread.

Mike Harding wrote:
Illumination as I defined it might be viewed by some as the regeneration of the mind. My definition of regeneration, however, is the impartation of the new nature. In the example I laid out the ordo is illumination, repentant faith, regeneration.

In this ordo you are using the word regeneration as a synonym for salvation. The Calvinist uses the word differently and posits the following ordo: regeneration, belief (incorporating repentance and faith), salvation.

Since we are spiritually dead, we need more than light shined into our eyes, we need to be brought to life.

However, the Calvinist statement regeneration precedes faith tends to confuse folks as many view the terms regeneration and salvation as synonymous. Calvinism affirms that regeneration IS a new birth, but IS NOT completed salvation.

One writer shows his confusion by stating:

We must remember here that when [Calvinism] talks about regeneration, it is not talking about anything less than THE new birth. In [Calvinism], "regeneration" is not merely God drawing people to Christ – so that they can believe and then, at that point, be saved. No. In [Calvinism], regeneration is completed salvation. So when [Calvinism] says that regeneration precedes faith, it means salvation precedes faith. It means the new birth precedes faith.

While agreeing with him that regeneration is the new birth, or more technically, the restoration of spiritual life lost in Adam, Calvinists would disagree that salvation precedes faith.

Here is the difference, as I understand it, between the synergistic and monergistic views.

Synergism posits that faith; sourced in man; exercised in belief; causes salvation. Some insist that repentance is required, while others insist that it is not.

Monergism posits that repentance and faith are gifts given by God; actuating in belief; causing salvation.

In Acts 11, Peter explains to the “apostles and brethren who were in Judea” that “Gentiles had also received the word of God.,” Their response was to glorify God because he “has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.” (Acts 11:18)

In 2 Peter 1:1, he addresses his letter to “those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

In 2 Thessalonians 3:2 Paul says that “not all have faith.”

These verses establish that repentance and faith are gifts, and they are not given to every individual. They are received prior to actuation and thus are given at regeneration. God gives these gifts solely to the elect, at the time of his choosing, and they always actuate in belief.

Looking at the resurrection of Lazarus we can see parallels of his physical resurrection to spiritual resurrection.

Physical

Life is restored – the word of God is spoken to him: “Lazarus, come forth” (v.43) and the command not only restores life to him, but also reverses the decomposition and removes the sickness that caused his death.

Spiritual

Romans 10:14-15 – the Word must be heard as it is the means the Holy Spirit uses to regenerate the elect.

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!”

Physical

Lazarus exits the tomb – being restored to life actuates in him leaving the tomb. In one sense, the command was irresistible, in that dead Lazarus had no say in his being brought back to life and he could not disobey the “come forth” command – he wasn’t given life so that he could decide whether or not he wanted to stay in the tomb. In another sense, his strongest desire, once life was restored, was to leave the tomb. There was a perfect coordination of the command and his desire. Notice also that Jesus did not go into the tomb to bring him out; leaving was something Lazarus did on his own, because he was restored to life.

Spiritual

Once regenerated (spiritual life restored) the gifts actuate in belief. Now that the elect has been brought back to spiritual life (lost in Adam), he believes. Regeneration unstops his ears; removes the blindness from his eyes; replaces his stony heart with a fleshly heart; enabling him to believe. Life is not restored so that man can decide whether or not he wants to actuate the gifts. He acts on his strongest desire now that life is restored.

In both cases regeneration necessarily precedes activity. In other words, those dead, whether physically or spiritually, are inactive. They must have life restored prior to any action on their part.

Other threads on SI on the topic:

The regeneration debate

Which came first -- Regeneration or Faith?

What is first - repentance or belief?

Regeneration Precedes Faith

CanJAmerican - my blog
CanJAmerican - my twitter
whitejumaycan - my youtube