Biblical Scholar Brian Abasciano Refutes the Popular Calvinist Argument That the Language of 1 John 5:1 Means That Regeneration Precedes Faith

Update: Unfortunately, the PDF link to Abasciano’s article no longer works.  The Journal does not want to allow public access to the article.  It won’t even allow the author of the article to post his own article, which seems absurd.  Hopefully, things will change and the article will become available again soon.  In the meantime, If anyone wants a copy of the PDF article, I can send it to them via email. Just let me know in the comments section. You don’t need to leave your email address in the actual comment, since it should already be in the system for me to view when you leave a comment. That way nobody else will see your email address.

This scholarly treatment of the passage and the language of 1 John 5:1 is long overdue. In light of this article, I don’t see how Calvinists can continue to reference this erroneous argument. You can down load the article from SEA:

Brian J. Abasciano, “Does Regeneration Precede Faith?  The Use of 1 John 5:1 as a Proof Text.”

Here is the author’s abstract:

A number of scholars have appealed to the Greek tenses of 1 John 5:1 as definitive proof that the verse teaches that regeneration precedes faith. But this argument is untenable. The purposes of the present article are (1) to draw attention to the falsity of the argument and to explain why it is invalid, and (2) to counter the contention that the underlying concern of the grammatical argument (i.e., that 1 John 5:1 implies that regeneration precedes faith) can be rescued by appeal to a pattern in 1 John of indicating the results of regeneration. It is questionable whether the tenses in 1 John 5:1 suggest any chronological or causal relationship between faith and regeneration since some grammarians deny that Greek tenses grammaticalize time, and more importantly, one of the tenses in the passage occurs in a substantival participle, which can be devoid of time significance.  If the tenses are temporally related, as seems most probable, then Greek grammar suggests either that believing and being begotten of God are portrayed as contemporaneous, or perhaps more likely, that believing logically precedes being begotten of God. Invocation of statements elsewhere in 1 John indicating the results of regeneration does not rescue 1 John 5:1 as a proof text for regeneration preceding faith because of, inter alia, the distinctive and crucial role of faith in the epistle and Johannine theology.

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2 Responses

  1. Please forward to me a copy. thanks.

  2. I wouldn’t mind a copy either.

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