Regeneration Precedes Faith

In post 7 of the thread titled http://sharperiron.org/forum/thread-does-regeneration-precede-faith]Does Regeneration Precede Faith? I wrote:

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I intend to write an article for my blog on the subject of regeneration preceding faith. I will start a new thread on SI to discuss my article as well as post a link to that article here.

I have titled my article http://canjamerican.blogspot.com/2010/02/regeneration-precedes-faith.html Regeneration Precedes Faith . This paragraph explains my purpose:

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My purpose in writing this article is to show that regeneration, as it is understood by Calvinists, must precede faith. To that end, we will first look at the Canons of Dordt, specifically the section presenting man's spiritual depravity. Following that, we will see from the writing and preaching of selected Calvinists that they affirm the idea of regeneration preceding faith. This article will conclude with a look at the story of the raising of Lazarus from John 11. In my opinion, it is one of the best illustrations of regeneration preceding faith.

I do not moderate comments on my blog so feel free to post comments there or here, whether you agree or disagree.

Here are links to archived SI discussions on the same subject.

http://20.sharperiron.org/showthread.php?t=7755]What is first – repentance or belief?

http://20.sharperiron.org/showthread.php?t=1738]Which came first -- Regeneration or Faith?

http://20.sharperiron.org/showthread.php?t=2844]"That Spurgeon's sermons teach that regeneration precedes and gives rise to faith is impossible to deny."

The link in the first post has changed to http://sharperiron.org/spurgeons-sermons-teach-regeneration-precedes-and...this but Mike Riley’s link has expired.

If you would like to have a PDF of my article you may email me.

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Jack Hampton's picture

Pastork wrote:
Hope this has been helpful in the discussion.

Pastork, what you say did not even address the main issue. Let us look at the verse in question and the one which follows it:

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Eph.2:8-9).

Here the "gift" is said to be "not of works." Are we supposed to believe that Paul is here refuting the idea that "faith" can be had by doing works? Of course that is not the error which Paul is trying to correct. There is nothing in the Scriptures that even hints that anyone was ever teaching a false doctrine that "faith" can be obtained by doing works. That is because that makes no sense at all!

The error which he is correcting is the idea that "salvation" can be obtained by "works." That has been a false teaching since the beginning so it was this idea that Paul was refuting when he said that the "gift" was "not of works."

It makes no sense whatsoever to argue that Paul was saying that "faith" is not of works because no one in their right mind would ever argue that "faith" can be obtained by doing "works" of one kind or another. So when you say that you believe that the "gift" is faith then you must argue that Paul was refuting the idea that "faith" can be obtained by doing "works."

Is that what you think?

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Jack, you're having the same conversations with yourself in a loop. Already asked and answered more than once. Picking on a new target in the conversation will not change your error.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Jack Hampton's picture

[quote=Chip Van Emmerik ]Jack, you're having the same conversations with yourself in a loop. Already asked and answered more than once.[/quopte ]
Chip, the so-called answers I have received are all laughable!!!

I was hoping that I might finally get an intelligent answer for a change.

We are supposed to believe that Paul was saying that "faith" is not of works as if someone was actually making the argument that one can obtain faith by doing works!

However, it makes perfect sense to you. For some reason that does not surprise me.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Jack Hampton ][quote=Chip Van Emmerik wrote:
Jack, you're having the same conversations with yourself in a loop. Already asked and answered more than once.[/quopte ]
Chip, the so-called answers I have received are all laughable!!!

I was hoping that I might finally get an intelligent answer for a change.

I suppose this is another example of your humble interaction here on SI.

Your disrespect and disregard for the answers you are receiving does nothing to undermine the validity of the opposition you are receiving.

Jack Hampton wrote:
We are supposed to believe that Paul was saying that "faith" is not of works as if someone was actually making the argument that one can obtain faith by doing works!

You are the only one arguing the faith/works relationship. It is your straw man in the argument to be beaten at your leisure. If you go back to the post where I illustrated the block diagram, you will see the grammatical understanding I have of the verse. As I said there, the grammatical structure could be construed either way, but neither way argues that faith does not come by works. Which loops the discussion back to understanding being colored by presuppositions. You just keep making the same ridiculous assertions, apparently hoping that with repetition they might eventually become accurate and orthodox.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Kevin Miller's picture

JohnBrian wrote:
Kevin wrote:
If a person does feel convicted about their sins, does that mean they have already been regenerated, even though they may not yet have taken any steps to deal with their conviction?

C. Matthew McMahon, from an article titled http://www.apuritansmind.com/christianwalk/McMahonHSRegenSanct.htm The Holy Spirit, Regeneration, and Sanctification .

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When dealing with the work of the Spirit, there is also a preparatory work that He may do upon the soul of an individual in the work of conviction and instruction before He changes their heart. Extent, duration and the result of such work differ in degrees between men, for they are constitutionally different in makeup.


I was wondering about the "prepatory work" that McMahon mentioned. I looked at the article and saw this paragraph:
It may be said and commented that even though there is a conviction of sin, and that men are made enlightened to the reality of the person, office and work of Christ, that they may not be saved. Felix trembled before Paul, and many were made partakers of the Holy Spirit and of the blessings of the age to come as recorded in Hebrew 6, but these were, in fact, still lost (Acts 24:25; Hebrews 6:1-8).

So McMahon here is saying that conviction and illumination happen before regeneration, right? If they were illuminated, but were, in fact, still lost, that means God must illuminate people while they are remaining dead, right?

JohnBrian's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:
So McMahon here is saying that conviction and illumination happen before regeneration, right? If they were illuminated, but were, in fact, still lost, that means God must illuminate people while they are remaining dead, right?
I had not actually thought about the work of conviction and illumination. Reading McMahon's article I think that he is saying that both of those come before regeneration, as part of the process of leading individuals to salvation.

He speaks of

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The illuminating work of the Holy Spirit may be said to be the groundwork of all His other operations.

and

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a preparatory work that He may do upon the soul of an individual in the work of conviction and instruction before He changes their heart.

In referencing the story of the Philippian Jailor, he speaks of 3 stages

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first, as a careless sinner, then as a convinced sinner, and then a converted man.

The conviction and illumination may take some time, and might be different for every believer. There is a point in the conversion process when the Holy Spirit takes away the blindness and the individual expresses faith. Lazarus, in his tomb, was dead, and in the moment after the command of Jesus, he would have realized he was alive, and obeyed the command to leave his tomb.

In post 14, I linked to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsPzSKI6jvY ]this video of John Piper , in which he visually shows regeneration causing faith.

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JohnBrian's picture

I came across an article by Sproul titled http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/sproul01.html Regeneration Precedes Faith . He uses the term "regenerating grace" in contrast to "prevenient grace."

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The reason we do not cooperate with regenerating grace before it acts upon us and in us is because we can- not. We cannot because we are spiritually dead. We can no more assist the Holy Spirit in the quickening of our souls to spiritual life than Lazarus could help Jesus raise him for the dead.

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Alex Guggenheim's picture

Caleb S wrote:
http://blogmatics.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/does-regeneration-precede-...

I found it interesting. It seems that more and more the Calvinistic ordo salutus is winning the day.

I read the paper and while the author properly identified the grammatical parts he makes both assertions (as does Piper) and conclusions that are not warranted by either the grammar or context and makes an elementary error in his hermeneutic with regard to context and with respect to the use of the present tense of "believes" and the perfect of "have been born".

I will have more time this weekend to deal with the flaws of the paper but they are much more evident than you may imagine. The arguments sound good but the author makes some critically erring assumptions from the intent of the grammar, its construct and the context.

James K's picture

As to the original post, this quote helps sum up some things:

"we will first look at the Canons of Dordt"

As long as Dordt is the authority, of course the regeneration preceding faith side will win. I am just amazed at the sheer number of scriptures that are overlooked to maintain the position. I always thought sola scriptura was a valuable idea.

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.

Caleb S's picture

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
Caleb S wrote:
http://blogmatics.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/does-regeneration-precede-...

I found it interesting. It seems that more and more the Calvinistic ordo salutus is winning the day.

I read the paper and while the author properly identified the grammatical parts he makes both assertions (as does Piper) and conclusions that are not warranted by either the grammar or context and makes an elementary error in his hermeneutic with regard to context and with respect to the use of the present tense of "believes" and the perfect of "have been born".

I will have more time this weekend to deal with the flaws of the paper but they are much more evident than you may imagine. The arguments sound good but the author makes some critically erring assumptions from the intent of the grammar, its construct and the context.


I said what I did because I have seen no legitimate responses to (1) that article, (2) Snoeberger's journal article.
I've read Erickson's Systematic Theology on the issue, but his arguments are already address by the DTS journal.

If they have made elementary errors, then it should be fairly easy to demonstrate, as opposed to asserting. I look forward to reading your critique. As I am convinced "faith" finds its ultimate source in God's grace, the issue over the logical place of regeneration does not affect me as much. However, if regeneration does precede faith, then that only serves to strengthen the argument. Again, I look forward to reading your critique. However, I have not had much time, lately, to interact on this forum or any other.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Caleb,

I am halfway through. I can edit and publish the first half if you wish which is almost exclusively a response to the Snoeberger paper or I can finish the second half which treats Barrett's paper and then publish the entire response. let me know what you would like but the entire response will not be ready until Monday more than likely. My weekend responsibilities are upon me and I will be taxed greatly until Sunday afternoon.

Alex

Paul S's picture

Without citing the references, in sort, It is my understanding, a sanctification takes place before the repentance, and repentance in order to have the faith, and the faith in turn does precede the regeneration. It is that being set apart by God which precedes faith which is confused with the regeneration which is wholly of God, and not caused by our faith, that faith which in fact precedes the regeneration.

The only true God is, who is, the only self evident truth not contingent on any thing else.

"[There is] no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD." -- Proverbs 21:30.

Caleb S's picture

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
Caleb,

I am halfway through. I can edit and publish the first half if you wish which is almost exclusively a response to the Snoeberger paper or I can finish the second half which treats Barrett's paper and then publish the entire response. let me know what you would like but the entire response will not be ready until Monday more than likely. My weekend responsibilities are upon me and I will be taxed greatly until Sunday afternoon.

Alex


Feel free to do whatever you like. Those articles are not small, and I can imagine how much work it takes. I know what it is like to be busy: there right now! Monday, or whenever, I will definitely read it and think it over for a while.

JohnBrian's picture

Paul S wrote:
It is that being set apart by God which precedes faith which is confused with the regeneration which is wholly of God, and not caused by our faith, that faith which in fact precedes the regeneration.
Are you using the term regeneration as synonymous with salvation?

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JohnBrian's picture

Jonathan Parnell from Desiring God:

http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/faith-is-the-embracing-not-the-emb... ]Faith Is the Embracing, Not the Embraced

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Spirit-granted faith is the means that brings us into the glorious reality of union with Jesus. Faith is not the end and it is not our hope. Faith is the embracing, not the thing that is itself embraced.

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Paul S's picture

JohnBrian wrote:
Paul S wrote:
It is that being set apart by God which precedes faith which is confused with the regeneration which is wholly of God, and not caused by our faith, that faith which in fact precedes the regeneration.
Are you using the term regeneration as synonymous with salvation?

Yes, in that I understand regeneration to explicitly refer to the new birth (John 1:12, 13. John 3:3. 2 Corinthians 5:17.)

The only true God is, who is, the only self evident truth not contingent on any thing else.

"[There is] no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD." -- Proverbs 21:30.

JohnBrian's picture

Paul S wrote:
Yes, in that I understand regeneration to explicitly refer to the new birth (John 1:12, 13. John 3:3. 2 Corinthians 5:17.)
As I established in my article (which I link to in post 1) Calvinists do not use the terms synonymously. That appears to be why Calvinists are routinely critiqued for affirming the notion of regeneration before faith.

Calvinists DO NOT affirm the notion that conversion precedes faith, because an affirmation of that makes no sense. If one is converted before faith, then faith is unnecessary!

p.s. post 4 has a downloadable pdf of my blog article

p.p.s post 21 has a Spurgeon quote where he differentiates between the terms regeneration and conversion.

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Paul S's picture

JohnBrian wrote:
Paul S wrote:
Yes, in that I understand regeneration to explicitly refer to the new birth (John 1:12, 13. John 3:3. 2 Corinthians 5:17.)
As I established in my article (which I link to in post 1) Calvinists do not use the terms synonymously. That appears to be why Calvinists are routinely critiqued for affirming the notion of regeneration before faith.

Calvinists DO NOT affirm the notion that conversion precedes faith, because an affirmation of that makes no sense. If one is converted before faith, then faith is unnecessary!

p.s. post 4 has a downloadable pdf of my blog article

p.p.s post 21 has a Spurgeon quote where he differentiates between the terms regeneration and conversion.

I think it is fair to say I do not agree with the Calvinist interpretation and use of the term regeneration as for a cause for faith. Had the argument been repentance precedes faith, as Paul wrote Timothy, ". . . if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; . . . ." (2 Timothy 2:25.) God causing the change of mind or view resulting in faith, with that I would agree.

I think your post #2 gives an example of what I disagree on:

JohnBrian wrote:
In my article I quote from both Spurgeon and Piper regarding 1 John 5:1. The Spurgeon quote is in the previous post. Here is what Piper wrote:

Piper wrote:
That’s plain in 1 John 5:1: “Everyone who believes [that is, has faith ] that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God.” Having been born of God results in our believing. Our believing is the immediate evidence of God’s begetting.
So in this post it says the very thing I do not agree as a correct understanding.

It is simply that I find the Calvinist supposition of a kind of regeneration before and in order to have faith untenable. The reason for faith is recognized truth (John 17:17; Romans 10:17), not some supposed regeneration.

Thank you for explaining the Calvinist view. I find it untenable on this issue, the use of the term regeneration to explain the spiritually dead coming to faith. I believe the new birth is the spiritual regeneration of the spiritually dead. And faith in God's truth precedes that regeneration. (John 1:12, 13.) As I understand regeneration (born of God) it is the conversion.

The only true God is, who is, the only self evident truth not contingent on any thing else.

"[There is] no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD." -- Proverbs 21:30.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Caleb,

Due to the restraints of posting in forum I will not be able to match the breadth of either paper but I will address what I believe to be missteps, a couple that I categorized as elementar, in the approach to regeneration as being necessitated before one believes the Gospel, an in particular to Barrett’s appeal to 1 John as the coup de grace. This first post I will deal with Snoeberger’s argument with an initial reference to Barrett, then in my second post I will approach Barrett’s argument.
http://blogmatics.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/does-regeneration-precede-... ]Does Regeneration Precede Faith in 1 John? Matthew Barrett
http://www.dbts.edu/journals/2002/Snoeberger.pdf ]THE LOGICAL PRIORITY OF REGENERATION TO SAVING FAITH
IN A THEOLOGICAL ORDO SALUTIS by Mark A. Snoeberger
Barrett beings his paper with a classic Calvinistic proof text technique and an unsubstantiated premise:

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We begin by considering 1 John 5:1, which John Piper calls ―the clearest text in the New Testament on the relationship between faith and the new birth,1

What a fantastic way to begin, by simply announcing by way of John Piper (btw I know there are a lot of Piper fans here and with all due respect, John Piper may speak your language of spirituality but as an exegete he has repeatedly demonstrated that he is very pedestrian and his exegetical miscarriages have produced, too often, still born teachings of which he mildly, at best, has repented. So citing John Piper as a source isn’t exactly an exegetical foundation that doesn’t already have issues) that here we have “the clearest text in the New Testament on the relationship between faith and the new birth”.

Mind providing an argument for this or am I to understand that I am simply to accept this without argument? Mr. Barrett, this isn’t how we make theological discovery or argument, by simply elevating a text over all others without argument so as to begin by reigning supreme and making your argument in the context of a superior seat. Possibly you are expecting me to read Piper's publication on the matter and accepting it before reading yours, I don't know but you certainly are demanding from your readers an unqualified assertion.

If you want to argue the merits of the exegesis of 1 John 5:1, go ahead, but you aren’t going to qualify it, without argument , as the “clearest text in the New Testament on the relationship between faith and the new birth” while the reasonable eyes and watchful minds pay attention.

• So what texts stand in the way of this one and all others in 1 John that Barrett alludes to as the supreme location of Scripture on the matter?

How about what Snoeberger cites?

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The argument that faith precedes regeneration exists in three lines:
(1) passages expressing faith or repentance unto salvation,
(2) passages expressing belief and repentance unto life, and
(3) passages expressing employment of the Word unto regeneration

And then he lists them in their categories (btw, these passages sure do add up quickly and one might observe, from the on start, that it is going to be a curious thing to learn just how NONE of these passages that speak so plainly are really putting faith before regeneration) :
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Passages Expressing Faith or Repentance unto Salvation
Acts 16:31 Romans 10:9, Romans 10:13, Ephesians 2:5, 8, 2 Thessalonians 2:13
Passages Expressing Faith or Repentance unto Life
John 3:15–16,,John 5:24–25, John 5:40, John 6:40, John 11:25, John 20:31, Acts 11:18
1 Timothy 1:16

Here are the some very consistently used passages that function as what Snoeberger and Barrett would consider texts which represent the antithesis of their assertion that regeneration precedes faith. Snoeberger properly identifies them and gives them some treatment, but he seems to suffer under it as a necessary nuisance to his overall position. Obviously that is a description based on my opinion but it is founded in his part of his treatment of the texts in the following ways:

Snoeberger states about these texts regarding faith preceding regeneration that they are “unwarranted for two reasons”.

First he deals with Acts 2:21, 16:31, and Romans 10:9, 13 which refer to being saved as a future event in relationship to believing. In other words, both logically and chronologically they position believing before being saved which is why being saved, in these passages, is in the future tense. Now, look at his argument and tell me if this justifies such a robust and dogmatic response that regeneration precedes faith and remember this is the negative of his argument, that is the premise of his assertion is in part, based on what he claims are weaknesses in the texts used by those asserting otherwise (here he is addressing the future tense of the verb “saved” bold mine):

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The fact that the verbs …are cast in the
future tense in Acts 2:21, 16:31, and Romans 10:9, 13 does not demand
that they are cast in future time. It is plausible to identify the use
of the future tense here as Stanley Porter’s “timeless future,”49 in which
absolute time is undetermined, yielding only a vague association. Note for instance, one of Porter’s examples: In Romans 6:5, 8 Paul indicates
that we shall be in the likeness of his resurrection and shall live, even
though context clearly indicates that we already are raised and are alive
(vv. 4, 11). As Porter notes, the future tense does not indicate future
time; rather, “the syntactical evidence can be used in fact to argue just
the opposite, that Paul sees the ‘resurrection’ of the believer already
present once he is ‘planted’ or ‘dead’ to Christ.”50 If this is the case in
the passages in view in this study, then there is no temporal

Not to be disrespectful but I want to ask, much like the television commercial of late….REALLY? REALLY? What do I mean by really? I mean to ask if Snoeberger really is this lacking of an argument that he invokes “plausibility” which is a very passive and clearly weak appeal upon which, in part, his declarative doctrine rests.

But worse is the attempt to justify ignoring the logical and temporal order of these passages by calling on the use of the future in both a present and future context claimed from another passage that is not the equivalent contextual use! Porter is right; the future can include the present, at times, but not always and in the passages cited referring to faith and being saved, there is no exegetical or contextual justification for attempting to say this is a case, whereas in the passages where it is used that way, it clearly stands out to the reader. And is Snoeberger really suggesting we view all related passages this way when the future is used? Really? All of the normative future uses of all the antithetical texts are now conveniently relegated to the “timeless future”? Wow!

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Secondly, in dealing with the opposing texts Snoeberger performs a rather interesting feat. He states about being saved:

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If “being saved” (all five passages in view use the passive voice of
σώζω) is sometimes viewed as an eschatological event, it cannot be
reduced to mean “being regenerated.” Instead, the Scripture-writers
seem to use the verb broadly, as a generic or “package” term.

And I agree, in fact let me add to this. While as a package term it cannot be reduced to mean “being regenerated” are you, Mark Snoeberger, about to suggest it does not include being regenerated? Let’s see where this leads.

And the answer to this is found in Snoeberger fairly assessing that all references to salvation, in their varying terms, sometimes means to emphasize a certain aspect of the “soteriological process” (a process eh?). That is, as Snoeberger says:

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sometimes the verb references the early phases of the soteriological process…sometimes its end in glorification…and still other times the entire salvation process.
Yet he adds:
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Thus it is impossible to find a consistent placement of “salvation” in a biblical ordo salutis.
So then, if this is the case (I disagree but Snoeberger asserts this, not me) then what is the argument for regeneration before faith if it is being conceded it is “impossible” to find a consistent placement? This is a startling claim in light of this dogmatic exercise.

Then Snoeberger attempts to treat a common syllogism which states:

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A: Faith results in salvation broadly defined.
B: Regeneration is an aspect of salvation broadly defined.
C: Faith results in regeneration.
Interestingly he does not argue the syllogism, rather he argues that other soteriological elements do not fit the syllogism, hence regeneration cannot. He says:
Quote:
The implication is that since “salvation” follows faith, every aspect of
salvation must likewise follow faith. But this is theologically untenable.
For instance, election does not follow faith; the efficacious call does
not follow faith—and surely no one could deny that these are both
aspects of salvation. There is no reason why regeneration cannot be
listed with these. With this in mind it is easy to spot the failure of the
syllogism above: it does not preclude the possibility that some aspects
of salvation precede faith. It only states that many benefits of salvation
are realized after one believes.
Well there is a reason why regeneration cannot be listed with these, because they aren’t listed in the Bible as being so. You simply do not get to add to a list of things stated as being done in eternity past, such as election, and get to add to it other elements of salvation in order to make an argument!

The final element of Snoeberger’s argument against the antithetical passages to which I will respond come with his treatment of “passages expressing faith or repentance unto life”. Snoeberger asserts:

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It is impossible to deal with each of these texts individually, nor, in
fact, is the list exhaustive. However, a detailed exegetical study for each
is unnecessary for two reasons: (1) the “life” described in these verses is
not a strict synonym for regeneration, and (2) the point of the passages is not to announce logical priority within an ordo salutis.

First, while strict synonyms have a role to play they are not always required. For example, if I say I had my leg cut off, I also am saying I had my foot cut off. Foot and leg are not synonyms but by saying one thing I am also saying the other.

Demanding as a prescription that of “strict synonyms” is a precipitous theological expectation which Snoeberger should know does not serve Reformed Theology or Calvinism well at all. In fact, may I remind him of a statement within one of his arguments he makes, later in his paper, in discussing faith?

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Admittedly, no precise synonym for faith appears in this verse; however, a class of activities that includes faith is mentioned: acts of the human will.

But further, let me ask a very critical question to Snoeberger or anyone else wishing to argue that because of “imprecision” all passages cited that speak of “believe and you will have life”, do not include regeneration. Are you really, really suggesting that where terms such as “life”, which is possessed after one believes (per the cited passages), in no way, ever, should be viewed as including regeneration? Are you really making this argument? If so, begin the exegetical task of proving such an assertion. Do your homework and demonstrate this very exotic claim.

And if you are not arguing this then you have a problem with your argument and your initial premise.

I won’t labor here though because I want to deal with the follwing point. Here Snoeberger says, “the point of the passages is not to announce logical priority within an ordo salutis” (the passages he is talking about are the ones that speak of "repentance or faith unto life"). Well, I do not necessarily agree but for the sake of argument let's say this is true.

This still does not remove the fact that if the passages contain a logical ordo salutis, we certainly are obligated to identify it. Hence, such an argument is impotent, especially in light of Snoeberger’s own words in defense of using 1 John as evidence for his view of ordo salutis where he quotes Brookes to make a point:

Quote:
While A. E. Brookes concedes that John’s purpose in this verse is not specifically to prove an ordo salutis, he adds, “Incidentally, the tenses make it clear that the Divine Begetting is the antecedent, not the consequent of the believing.”

So, if the point of the passages that appear to reject Snoeberger’s position aren’t “to announce logical priority within an ordo salutis”, we may not invoke such passages as arguments…but… when the purpose of his passages are also admittedly not “to prove an ordo salutis ” it’s fine for him to make his appeal with them? Eh?

P.S. Snoeberger makes an assertion about faith as being defined in this manner:

Quote:
The term faith scarcely needs defining. Nearly all evangelicals affirm
that saving faith includes three elements: (1) intellectual knowledge
of, (2) emotional assent to, and (3) unreserved, volitional trust in
the accomplished redemptive work of Christ as revealed in the Scriptures.
31
I unreservedly take issue with the claim that faith requires an “emotional assent” and that emotional assent is in view with “nearly all evangelicals”. Now it should be noted that he does qualify his definition of faith with the footnote stating that:
Quote:
but these elements are common in nearly all evangelical definitions and
explanations of faith apart from the Dallas school
Even with Dallas not in view, I certainly challenge his view that “emotional assent” being necessary for faith is affirmed as an undeniable and indivisible element of faith and that this is common in nearly all evangelical definitions. I am wondering of Snoeberger has fully considered the implications of such a claim.

So, now having dealt with the portion of Snoeberger’s paper which I give appropriate credit to for having given treatment to opposing texts, I wish to move onto Barrett’s arguments for regeneration before faith.

JohnBrian's picture

Alex from post 54 wrote:
In other words, both logically and chronologically they position believing before being saved which is why being saved, in these passages, is in the future tense.
I think you have just affirmed the entire point of my article.

You seem to be directly equating the word regeneration with the word salvation, in that believing precedes salvation. No Calvinist (that I know) would argue that salvation precedes faith.

From http://canjamerican.blogspot.com/2010/02/regeneration-precedes-faith.html my article :

http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/regeneration_kuype... Abraham Kuyper shows that "the word 'regeneration' is used in [both ] a limited sense, and in a more extended sense." He writes:

Quote:
It is used in the limited sense when it denotes exclusively God's act of quickening, which is the first divine act whereby God translates us from death into life, from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His dear Son. In this sense regeneration is the starting point.

http://www.graceonlinelibrary.org/etc/printer-friendly.asp?ID=603 ]A.A. Hodge explains the narrowing of the word's usage to refer to the opening stage of salvation:

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In the development of Protestant theology the term has been still further narrowed: first, to express the opening stage of this subjective work as distinguished from its continuance in sanctification; and then, since the seventeenth century, to express the initial divine act in this opening stage itself, as distinguished from the broader term conversion, which includes, along with the act of God, revivifying man, also the act of man in turning to God.

In http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/regenerhodge.html Regeneration , Chapter 29 of Hodge's http://www.amazon.com/Outlines-Theology-Hodge/dp/0851511600 ]Outlines of Theology (Kindle edition is only .99), he uses a question and answer format:

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Question 11
What is the difference between regeneration and conversion?

Answer
The term conversion is often used in a wide sense as including both the change of nature and the exercise of that nature as changed. When distinguished from regeneration, however, conversion signifies the first exercise of the new disposition implanted in regeneration, i.e., in freely turning unto God.

Regeneration is God's act; conversion is ours. Regeneration is the implantation of a gracious principle; conversion is the exercise of that principle. Regeneration is never a matter of direct consciousness to the subject of it; conversion always is such to the agent of it. Regeneration is a single act, complete in itself; and never repeated; conversion, as the beginning of holy living, is the commencement of a series, constant, endless, and progressive.

James P. Boyce was the first president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Louisville, KY). In http://reformedreader.org/rbb/boyce/aos/chapter32.htm Regeneration and Conversion , Chapter 32 of his http://www.amazon.com/Abstract-Systematic-Theology-James-Boyce/dp/097857... ]Abstract of Systematic Theology (also .99 for Kindle!), he writes:

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At the outset of a discussion of these two subjects we are met by the question, whether they are not one and the same thing. They are unquestionably so intimately associated that it is difficult to separate them and point out the distinctions between them. The Scriptures connect the two under the one idea of the new birth, and teach that not only is regeneration an absolute essential in each conversion, but that in every intelligent responsible soul conversion invariably accompanies regeneration. It is not strange, therefore, that they are often confounded. Yet, after all, the Scriptures also teach that regeneration is the work of God, changing the heart of man by his sovereign will, while conversion is the act of man turning towards God with the new inclination thus given to his heart.

I have yet to see an objection to regeneration-preceding-faith which argues that Calvinists should not use the term regeneration in the way it is described by the above writers!

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Caleb S's picture

Alex Guggenheim wrote:

So, now having dealt with the portion of Snoeberger’s paper which I give appropriate credit to for having given treatment to opposing texts, I wish to move onto Barrett’s arguments for regeneration before faith.

I hope to have some time in the future to interact. Questions do come to mind. I am seeking to better follow what you are communicating and what you believe.

You clearly take issue with "emotional assent". Are you "merely" questioning the validity of his largely-encompassing statement, as applicable to "nearly all evangelicals"?

Are you also going further and relating your own position on the matter?

(not on the evangelical level, but on a personal level) Are you "personally" holding that emotional assent is not a matter of the definition of faith in the Bible?

Is that how you see the teaching of Scripture?

Also, how would you define "emotions"?

Would you agree that "faith" is more than just volition and cognitive knowledge?

Certainly, you are not required to answer this barrage of questions; I am just seeking to better understand you position, so as to be better able to assess it. Thanks.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

JohnBrian wrote:
Alex from post 54 wrote:
In other words, both logically and chronologically they position believing before being saved which is why being saved, in these passages, is in the future tense.
I think you have just affirmed the entire point of my article.

You seem to be directly equating the word regeneration with the word salvation, in that believing precedes salvation. No Calvinist (that I know) would argue that salvation precedes faith.

John,

Your quote is out of context. I was responding to an assertion by Snoeberger and my response was not attempting equate regeneration (an element of salvation) and salvation (the comprehensive term or what Snoeberger called the "package-term"). So no, I would not be affirming your position.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Caleb S wrote:

You clearly take issue with "emotional assent". Are you "merely" questioning the validity of his largely-encompassing statement, as applicable to "nearly all evangelicals"?

Are you also going further and relating your own position on the matter?
(not on the evangelical level, but on a personal level) Are you "personally" holding that emotional assent is not a matter of the definition of faith in the Bible?

Is that how you see the teaching of Scripture?

First, yes I question the validity of his statement as largely-encompassing for "nearly all evangelicals" (even with Dallas Theological Seminary in mind). Secondly, yes I am also going further and relating my own position on the matter, one that I believe can be found in rather substantial volume within Evangelical theology.

I will reply to the latter portion of the post in the next few days.

Kevin Miller's picture

JohnBrian wrote:
James P. Boyce was the first president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Louisville, KY). In http://reformedreader.org/rbb/boyce/aos/chapter32.htm Regeneration and Conversion , Chapter 32 of his http://www.amazon.com/Abstract-Systematic-Theology-James-Boyce/dp/097857... ]Abstract of Systematic Theology (also .99 for Kindle!), he writes:
Quote:
At the outset of a discussion of these two subjects we are met by the question, whether they are not one and the same thing. They are unquestionably so intimately associated that it is difficult to separate them and point out the distinctions between them. The Scriptures connect the two under the one idea of the new birth, and teach that not only is regeneration an absolute essential in each conversion, but that in every intelligent responsible soul conversion invariably accompanies regeneration. It is not strange, therefore, that they are often confounded. Yet, after all, the Scriptures also teach that regeneration is the work of God, changing the heart of man by his sovereign will, while conversion is the act of man turning towards God with the new inclination thus given to his heart.

I have yet to see an objection to regeneration-preceding-faith which argues that Calvinists should not use the term regeneration in the way it is described by the above writers!


I come at this discussion without having much previous knowledge of the way Calvinists use terminology. The way I've looked at regeneration and conversion is pretty much the way Boyce describes when he says "They are unquestionably so intimately associated that it is difficult to separate them and point out the distinctions between them. The Scriptures connect the two under the one idea of the new birth." I mean, doesn't regeneration itself carry with it the idea of a "new birth"? If a person has experienced the "new birth," then they are a member of the family of God and have eternal life. In my eyes, that is salvation. Yet Calvinists try to make this narrow distinction to the word regeneration that most people do not carry with them when they use the word regeneration. So if I have any objection to regeneration-preceding-faith it is that such a claim requires a definition of regeneration which most average Christiains do not identify with.
And I'm not saying such a definition is necessarily wrong. After all, I use a more narrow definition of the word "miracle" than other people may use when discussing whether God still does miracles today. I'm still trying to decide, though, whether the way Calvinists use regeneration makes sense based on the Scriptures I know which use the word regeneration.

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