Addressing Dominic’s Response to the Purpose of Regeneration in Calvinism

Below is an answer offered by “Dominic” to my post on the purpose of regeneration in the Calvinist scheme, with my response to his answer interspersed.  He also touches on my post concerning the Arminian ordo.  I was originally going to leave my response in his combox, but since it became very long, and since it deals with a primary Calvinist proof text for the priority of regeneration, I decided to make a post out of it instead.  You can read his response at his site here.  His post is blocked in yellow quotes and my response appears in between.

Ben at Arminian Perspectives has recently posted a brief article asking, ‘What Purpose Does Regeneration Serve in Calvinism?’ Briefly put, since “God can (and does) turn the will wherever he wants […] why must God regenerate a sinner in order to create faith in him? Why can’t God just control the will from unbelief to belief without regard to regeneration?” I think that’s a fair, reasonable question on the surface of it, Ben, so let me respond as a Calvinist.

The answer to your question isn’t so difficult if you consider what faith is. Faith is not merely an abstract awareness of some or other facts about God and Christ. It is an intimate knowledge about these things, communicated directly by the Spirit. That is Paul’s main point in 1 Corinthians 2, where he ends with that remarkable statement, “But we have the mind of Christ” (v 16b).

Faith, as pertains to receiving the truth of the gospel and the gift of salvation, is simple trust in the work of Christ, and does not require intimate knowledge of all of the “things of God” (Rom. 4:4, 5)

What does that mean? Why is it that we have-that we need-the mind of Christ? Because “who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him?” (v 11) And what is it that we know? “A secret and hidden wisdom of God” (v 7) which “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined” (v 9). If the heart of man has not imagined these things, then how can we know about them? Because “these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit” (v 10). We have knowledge of them precisely because we have “the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.”

Note “that we might understand…”  See below for more on that.

This is the mind of Christ; and this is why the natural person, the person who has not received the Spirit of God, “does not accept the things of the Spirit of God”-why they are “folly” to him, and why “he is not able to understand them”: because “they are spiritually discerned” (v 14). If one does not have the Spirit, one cannot understand the things of God, because these things require direct communication by the Spirit to the believer. They are things of God’s own mind, which (whether by his decree or by their very nature) cannot be grasped by anyone not availed of that mind. Thus we must be indwelled by the Spirit, having “the mind of Christ”, in order to understand the spiritual truths which comprise Christianity. Without the mind of Christ, according to Paul, faith is impossible.

I will address Dominic’s understanding of 1 Cor. 2 below.

Now, certainly God may incline a spiritually dead person to believe certain Christian propositions for a time-but since faith entails a knowledge which can only be communicated by the indwelling Spirit, and can only be understood by someone with that Spirit, it remains that if a person believes Christian propositions like “Christ died for the sins of the world”, yet does not have the Spirit of Christ, then he does not have faith.

I believe this is false as explained below and according to the simple definition of faith as it pertains to receiving the gospel cited above in Rom. 4.  Paul makes this clear again in 1 Cor. 2:1-5, where he reminds them that the message he preached was the simple message of “Jesus Christ, and him crucified”.  He moves from this simple declaration received by faith (vs. 4) to speaking of “a message of wisdom among the mature”.  More on that below.  So Dominic admits that God could turn the will to believe “certain Christian propositions for a time” but does not include the simple gospel message in those “propositions”.

Since faith, by definition, requires the indwelling of the Spirit, not even God can direct a man to faith without first giving him that Spirit. He can incline an unregenerate heart to believe the propositions which are also believed in faith, certainly-but that belief does not constitute faith.

I admit to being confused by this and I certainly disagree with his “definition” of faith (i.e. the simple faith that receives Christ) as requiring the indwelling Spirit.  It seems that he is saying that God can turn the will to belief but that belief doesn’t constitute faith.  And I am still left to wonder what these “propositions” entail.

It’s merely an imitation of faith, having no real substance; no real apprehension.

Oh!  So God can turn the heart to a false faith but not a real faith.

It cannot be any more than what that unregenerate heart can muster from its own depths-and there is nothing good, nothing like the intimate knowledge of God required for salvation, down there.

If the unregenerate can muster it on their own, then why the need for God to turn the will towards this false faith?  How is false faith any different than unbelief?  And is he suggesting that one needs to be “good” before he can believe?  So the message of salvation is not for sinners but for those that God has made good enough to receive it by faith?  Only the good can receive Christ by faith?

It really goes without saying that this renders Arminianism untenable. In your previous post, ‘The Arminian and Calvinist Ordo Salutis: A Brief Comparative Study’, you listed prevenient grace as the only item prior to faith. In your view, prevenient grace is required for totally depraved man to be able to libertarianly choose to have faith-but onlyprevenient grace. Then, following logically on from that faith, you would say that the person is then joined with Christ, justified, and only then regenerated. But according to 1 Corinthians 2, prevenient grace would have to entail nothing less than the full indwelling of the Spirit of God in order to make faith possible. Nothing less than that suffices to convince the “natural man” of spiritual truths. Nothing less than the mind of Christ is needed for a person to understand Christianity so as to have faith at all.

This is simply false based on a misunderstanding of 1 Cor. 2 (which seems to be the source of all of Dominic’s confusion on the issue).  Paul is not speaking of understanding the gospel and accepting it (since they are infants in Christ), but the deeper revelations of the Spirit that can be received only by the mature (vss. 6, 7; cf. “solid food” of 3:2).  Paul is addressing the Corinthians as immature Christians who cannot receive the deep things of God because they are still infants in Christ.  They are not without the Spirit in that they do not have the Spirit dwelling in them.  Rather, they are not yielding to the Spirit.  They are letting their carnal passions get the best of them so that they cannot move forward to spiritual maturity.

He is comparing the world’s lack of understanding with their own lack of spiritual discernment (vs. 14) since they are acting “worldly”.  Basically, he is telling them that they are acting like those who do not have the Spirit since they refuse to yield to the Spirit in  moving on to maturity and a stronger knowledge of God, though they do in fact have the Spirit, being infants in Christ.  It is a “message of wisdom among the mature” that they cannot receive due to their spiritual immaturity.  Paul is not saying that those without the indwelling Spirit cannot receive the truth of the gospel (see my comments above concerning 1 Cor. 2:1-5).  If the truth of the gospel were the subject then Paul would be saying that only mature Christians could receive the truth of the gospel (vs. 6), which is plainly absurd.

Their jealousy and quarreling proves that they are not mature enough to receive “the message of wisdom among the mature” (2:6, cf. 3:3, 4).  It proves that they are not ready for solid food (“the message of wisdom” that Paul wants to share with them) since they are still “worldly”.  But Paul still acknowledges that they are babes in Christ, though worldly, which makes Dominic’s interpretation impossible.  It is the difference between spiritual (mature) Christians and unspiritual (immature) Christians (2:14, 15).  It is the difference between those with spiritual discernment (mature) and those without it (immature).

The spiritual man (in this context) is the believer who does not allow his fleshly passions to prevent him from maturing in Christ and gaining wisdom that is “spiritually discerned”.  The unspiritual man is the believer who has received the gospel but has allowed his fleshy passions (e.g. jealousy and quarreling) to prevent him from gaining wisdom that is “spiritually discerned”.  While he has the Spirit, he is not allowing the Spirit to control his mind that he “might understand the things freely given us by God.”

Compare what Paul says in 1 Cor. 2 with Eph. 1: 15-17,

For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.  I keep asking that the God of the Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. (emphasis mine)

So Paul envisions believers who can be without the “Spirit of wisdom and revelation.”  Does this mean that they do not have the Spirit dwelling within them?  Of course not.  Paul is speaking of a deeper level of spiritual wisdom.  This deeper level is what the Corinthians could not attain due to their yielding to worldly passions (see also Phil. 1:9-10; Col. 1:9).  Rather, they had allowed their favoritism, jealousy, and quarreling to render them “ineffective” and “unproductive” in the “knowledge of …Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:8)

The interpretation Dominic suggests also runs contrary to what Paul says in Galatians 3:3, 5,

I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law or by believing what you heard? (emphasis mine)

Does God give you His Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?“(emphasis mine)

Paul is plainly telling the Galatians that the Holy Spirit is received by faith (also see Gal. 3:14).  So it is really the Calvinist that must explain how one can be regenerated prior to receiving the Holy Spirit, and Dominic’s statement that, “Since faith, by definition, requires the indwelling of the Spirit, not even God can direct a man to faith without first givinghim that Spirit” is seen to be at odds with Paul, who says that the Spirit is received by faith.  And regarding the supposed need for the indwelling mind of Christ to believe, I wonder what Dominic makes of the fact that Paul tells the Ephesians that Christ dwells in their hearts “through faith”? (Eph. 3:16, 17)

As John puts it, a man must be reborn of the Spirit before he can “see” the kingdom of God (John 3:3,8).

But this being the case, it is evident that once a man has the mind of Christ, he will be convinced of and understand the truths of Christianity (not in a flash, of course; not all at once-but inevitably). Once a man is reborn of the Spirit, he willsee the kingdom of God. So if the Arminian wishes to go so far as to say that prevenient grace does indeed entail the indwelling of the Spirit in some sense, then he goes too far because either prevenient grace is not given to everyone (in which case, it’s hard to see the distinction between Arminianism and Calvinism here); or everyone is a Christian and is saved (which is plainly false on both scriptural and merely empirical grounds).

For a treatment of John 3:3 and why I find that it actually supports the Arminian contention that faith precedes regeneration, see here.

Furthermore, the question remains: what, in your ordo salutus, is regeneration, if prevenient grace is a sufficient condition of saving faith?

Regeneration is the beginning of new life in Christ.  It is the commencement of eternal life.  It is the moment one becomes a child of God (born of God).

The only theological system which accommodates Paul’s teachings regarding the nature and requirements of spiritual belief is Calvinism. Those teachings are accurately reflected in the monogerstic view which Calvinism takes of regeneration, wherein God must sovereingly work by giving his Spirit to those whom he has elected to salvation. He knows who will believe because he knows to whom he will give his Spirit. By contrast, the Arminian scheme renders 1 Corinthians 2 incoherent, since God’s knowledge of whom he will save is based on those people’s own choosing-yet they cannot choose without God first having given them his Spirit.

Actually, the Arminian view understands 1 Cor. 2 in its proper context, dealing with spiritual discernment and maturity in believers, rather than the subject of receiving the gospel in simple faith.  And it needs to be noted again that Dominic’s view of 1 Cor. 2 would render Galatians 3:3, 5, and 14  incoherent.

While I disagree with Dominic, I appreciate his criticism of the Arminian ordo from his own perspective and the gracious tone by which he leveled that criticism.  I would be interested to hear his take on what I described in my post as theologically absurd features of the Calvinist ordo with regards to the priority of regeneration.

Go to the follow-up post: “Responding to Dominic’s Second Rebuttal on Regeneration Preceding Faith”

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7 Responses

  1. Hello Ben,

    To add to your points, I went to Dominic’s site to see his necessitarian response and was not surprised at all by the response. Dominic regularly assumes what needs to be proved, begs the question in order to support his false necessitarian beliefs. Like many necessatarians he also intentionally redefines key terms so that they no longer have the proper meaning but have a necessitarian meaning foisted upon them.

    Dominic’s presentation has some major errors in it including a strange conception of faith as a form of knowledge directly revealed by the Spirit (rather than the action of choosing to trust) and one of the most blatant cases of begging the question that I have ever seen on the part of a necessatarian. You could also call this the fallacy of truth by stipulation (i.e., a person stipulates a certain definition of something with the intention of then using this contrived definition to “prove” his view, cults do this a lot with the bible as do necessatarians).

    Look at his definition of FAITH:

    “The answer to your question isn’t so difficult if you consider what faith is. Faith is not merely an abstract awareness of some or other facts about God and Christ. It is an intimate knowledge about these things, communicated directly by the Spirit.”

    Now it is true that our faith is based upon, grounded in what the Spirit has revealed, but faith itself is the action of trusting or placing our confidence in something or someone. If you define faith as some sort of secret knowledge given only to the spiritual elite you start sounding like a Gnostic rather than a Christian.

    “That is Paul’s main point in 1 Corinthians 2, where he ends with that remarkable statement, “But we have the mind of Christ” (v 16b).”

    So Dominic derives his definition of faith from 1 Corinthians 2. That already shows the problem, 1 Cor. 2 is not concerned with the nature of faith, but is concerned with the fact that the Spirit revealed things to the apostle Paul and does so with other Christians as well. Why was Paul talking about the Spirit revealing truths to him to the Corinthians in chapter 2? Well if you interpret the book of 1 Corinthians you find that there were apparently some folks at Corinth who thought they were more spiritual and more enlightened then other Christians. They also thought they were more enlightened and spiritual than the apostle Paul. So one of the things Paul argues against this spiritual elite is that He has the Spirit and so He has access to the truths of God. That is what he is talking about in 1 Cor. 2: he is not having a discussion of the nature of faith, nor does he define faith there as: “It is an intimate knowledge about these things, communicated directly by the Spirit”. Another error that Dominic makes besides ignoring the context is that he is confusing REVELATION with FAITH. Faith is an action that humans do: revelation is something God gives, that the Holy spirit gives to people. Revelation given by the Spirit is what we ought to be trusting in, acting upon as believers, but this revelation is not ITSELF FAITH!

    Notice how Dominic describes what he is mistakenly calling “faith”:

    “And what is it that we know? “A secret and hidden wisdom of God” (v 7) which “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined” (v 9). If the heart of man has not imagined these things, then how can we know about them? Because “these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit” (v 10). We have knowledge of them precisely because we have “the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.””

    Can everybody else see this? Clearly Dominic is talking about REVELATION given by the Spirit. On the other hand, the apostle Paul is not talking about faith in 1 Cor. 2 but about REVELATION.

    Dominic then appeals to a principle often appealed to by necessatarians to argue that the nonbeliever is incapable of having a faith response before being regenerated:

    “If one does not have the Spirit, one cannot understand the things of God, because these things require direct communication by the Spirit to the believer. They are things of God’s own mind, which (whether by his decree or by their very nature) cannot be grasped by anyone not availed of that mind.”

    The Arminian believes that the prevenient grace of God which involves the work of the Spirit who enables faith does in fact give understanding of spiritual truths to a nonbeliever who has not yet been indwelled by the Spirit. But note Dominic’s contrived and invented assumption: only believers can receive “direct communication by the Spirit” [Dominic adds “to the believer”].

    Now comes the key example of begging the question, truth by stipulation on the part of Dominic:

    “Thus we must be indwelled by the Spirit, having “the mind of Christ”, in order to understand the spiritual truths which comprise Christianity. Without the mind of Christ, according to Paul, faith is impossible.”

    Do ya’ll set it? According to Dominic WE MUST BE INDWELLED BY THE SPIRIT, in order to UNDERSTAND THE SPIRITUAL TRUTHS WHICH COMPRISE CHRISTIANITY. And who is indwelled by the Spirit? Only Christians (cf. Romans 8”9). So according to Dominic only those indwelled by the Spirit (i.e., Christians) can UNDERSTAND THE SPIRITUAL TRUTHS THAT COMPRISE CHRISTIANITY. Well that is nifty and oh so convenient, by defining things that way, Dominic ensures that the nonbeliever could never ever have any understanding of the “the truths that comprise Christianity” because only the Christian is indwelled by the Spirit and so only the Christian can understand “the truths that comprise Christianity.” Pretty nifty how truth by stipulation works.

    Notice Dominic says that: “Without the mind of Christ, according to Paul, faith is impossible.”

    Where did Paul say that **in** 1 Cor. 2? (he doesn’t) Where does he even mention the word faith **in** 1 Cor. 2? (he doesn’t) And where does Paul say **in** 1 Cor. 2 that without the mind of Christ/which Dominic takes to mean being indwelled by the Spirit, that FAITH IS IMPOSSIBLE? (he doesn’t). Well if none of these things is present in the text of 1 Cor. 2 then what is going on? Dominic is defining terms to support his necessitarian beliefs and then reading them into the text of 1 Cor. 2. Again, if we properly were exegeting 1 Cor. 2 we would find the discussion is not about faith nor is it about nonbelievers being incapable of a faith response, none of this is there **in** the text at all. Instead it is read into/eisegeted by Dominic.
    The fact is that nonbelievers do receive understanding from the Spirit before they believe: it’s called prevenient grace. It is also something many of us have probably experienced ourselves and know to be true. Has anyone here had the experience of becoming a Christian and finding that it was a process that involved hearing the gospel, understanding more and more about the bible and Jesus and salvation (all these things being revealed by the Spirit to us) and yet we were not yet saved. We were experiencing the prevenient grace of God, the Spirit was working in us and yet we had not yet made the choice to trust in Christ alone for salvation. I experienced this myself and have talked to lots of people who have had the same experience, BEFORE THEY WERE SAVED, before they were indwelt by the Spirit.

    Even Dominic has to admit this and directly contradicts himself when he writes: ““Now, certainly God may incline a spiritually dead person to believe certain Christian propositions for a time”. What? Isn’t Dominic the same guy that told us earlier that unless you are indwelt by the Spirit you can’t “understand the spiritual truths that comprise Christianity”? If the person who is not indwelt with the Spirit cannot understand the “spiritual truths that comprise Christianity”, then how can this same person have God incline him “to believe certain Christian propositions for a time”. That is totally contradictory to what Dominic claims about the necessity of being indwelt by the Spirit in order to understand Christian spiritual truths!

    Dominic continues with: “but since faith entails a knowledge which can only be communicated by the indwelling Spirit, and can only be understood by someone with that Spirit, it remains that if a person believes Christian propositions like “Christ died for the sins of the world”, yet does not have the Spirit of Christ, then he does not have faith.”

    There it is again, the Dominic principle: unless a person is indwelt by the Spirit then they cannot have faith. Does the bible say this? No, this is Dominic’s contrived attempt to define things in such a way that his necessitarian beliefs will follow.

    Consider another little gem by Dominic:

    “Since faith, by definition, requires the indwelling of the Spirit, not even God can direct a man to faith without first giving him that Spirit.”

    Wait a minute, BY WHOSE DEFINITION, does faith require the indwelling of the Spirit? DOMINICS!!!!!!! Does the bible ever state this principle? NO.

    There is another major problem with Dominic’s reasoning here. I thought that the indwelling of the Spirit was an experience that only New covenant believers/Christians experience? I thought that one of the contrasts between OT saints like Abraham and NT saints like the apostle Paul is that only the latter saints experienced the indwelling of the Holy Spirit? And I thought that began in Acts 2. Now if these things are true, then saints previous to the New Testament era HAD FAITH WITHOUT BEING INDWELT BY THE HOLY SPIRIT. Oops, there goes the Dominic principle: refuted by the experience of all of the believers in the OT who did in fact have faith and yet did not experience the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

    “He can incline an unregenerate heart to believe the propositions which are also believed in faith, certainly—but that belief does not constitute faith. It’s merely an imitation of faith, having no real substance; no real apprehension.”

    Now we get semantic word games on top of truth by stipulation and a false definition of faith (confusing faith with revelation). So God could incline an unregenerate heart to believe the propositions which are also believed in faith (say the gospel for example! Believe that Jesus is God, that Jesus rose from the dead, that Jesus is the way of salvation, etc. etc.) and yet the person could understand those things and believe them, THE PROPOSITIONS THAT ARE ALSO BELIEVED IN FAITH, but that does not constitute faith! So there is the true faith that God inclines the elect to have, but he also inclines nonbelievers to believe the same propositions that the believers believe which are considered faith, but when believed by the nonbelievers are considered “merely an imitation of faith”? If you are going to start playing semantic games like this, then anything goes, anything can result. This is not the bible this is a necessitarian desperately trying to support his view with all sorts of convenient assumptions and word games.

    I have said before that the necessitarian beliefs make God into a moral monster, a sadist who plays games with humans as if they were mere things to be played with rather than genuine persons created in the image of God. Here we see it again. Say Dominic is correct that God inclines some non-believers to believe certain propositions that believers believe to be true in faith, but the nonbeliever is given only an imitation of faith. What would God be doing to this person? He would lead them to believe Christian beliefs, though the nonbeliever did not really have genuine faith, so this nonbeliever could think that he was saved, think that he believed what he needed to believe in order to be saved, be convinced he was a believer when in reality he was not! What kind of person would toy with humans in this way? That is not the God of the bible but a moral sadist, the god that results from necessitarian beliefs.

    “It really goes without saying that this renders Arminianism untenable. In your previous post, ‘The Arminian and Calvinist Ordo Salutis: A Brief Comparative Study’, you listed prevenient grace as the only item prior to faith. In your view, prevenient grace is required for totally depraved man to be able to libertarianly choose to have faith—but only prevenient grace. Then, following logically on from that faith, you would say that the person is then joined with Christ, justified, and only then regenerated. But according to 1 Corinthians 2, prevenient grace would have to entail nothing less than the full indwelling of the Spirit of God in order to make faith possible.”

    Look at that last line here in particular. According to Dominic’s principle (i.e., faith is not possible unless you have been indwelt by the Spirit first), supposedly derived from 1 Cor. 2. “nothing less than the full indwelling of the Spirit of God in order to make faith possible.” Arminians believe the Holy Spirit is perfectly capable of enabling a faith response in a person by working in that person and revealing things to that person, WITHOUT HAVING TO INDWELL THE PERSON. First the Spirit works in the sinner (i.e., prevenient grace that enables a faith response). Then if the person trusts in Christ alone for salvation, the person is then indwelt by the Spirit.

    “Nothing less than that suffices to convince the “natural man” of spiritual truths. Nothing less than the mind of Christ is needed for a person to understand Christianity so as to have faith at all.”

    Doesn’t the Holy Spirit have the “mind of Christ”? And isn’t the Holy Spirit perfectly capable “to convince the ‘natural man’ of spiritual truths”, of revealing Christ and the way of salvation as well as convicting people of sin, etc. etc. WITHOUT INDWELLING THE PERSON?

    “So if the Arminian wishes to go so far as to say that prevenient grace does indeed entail the indwelling of the Spirit in some sense,”

    But why should we believe that? You invented this principle, you arbitrarily stipulated that a person cannot understand the truths of Christianity unless they are indwelt by the Spirit first. Frankly I don’t think that Dominic does much evangelism of actual people. If he did so, he would sometimes find people who do understand the truths of Christianity and yet they have not yet (and may never) become Christians. This claim that people cannot understand the truths of Christianity unless indwelt by the Spirit is simply false, and if you had actual experience in evangelizing you would know that.

    “Furthermore, the question remains: what, in your ordo salutus, is regeneration, if prevenient grace is a sufficient condition of saving faith?”

    Simple, we are regenerated when we receive new life, when we receive the Spirit, when we are indwelt by the Spirit. Our faith does not produce or cause regeneration (only God is able to give the Spirit and He gives the Spirit when He wants to; note in the book of Acts the normal way was faith then immediately regeneration, but in the case of the Samaritans they had faith and did not receive the Spirit immediately, were not indwelt by the Spirit until later, COME TO THINK OF IT DOMINIC THAT IS ANOTHER CLEAR COUNTER EXAMPLE TO YOUR FAITH REQUIRES FIRST THE INDWELLING SPIRIT PRINCIPLE!!!).

    “By contrast, the Arminian scheme renders 1 Corinthians 2 incoherent, since God’s knowledge of whom he will save is based on those people’s own choosing—yet they cannot choose without God first having given them his Spirit.”

    This is laughable. Dominic has attempted to proof text from 1 Cor. 2 to prove the contrived principle that he has invented (that a person cannot have faith unless indwelt by the Spirit first). But 1 Cor. 2 properly interpreted was the apostle Paul’s writing to correct the “super spirituals” at Corinth (those who questioned his credentials and thought themselves to be spiritually superior to Paul): it was not a discussion of the nature of faith nor the presenting of the principle that one must be indwelt by the Spirit first in order to have faith. 1 Cor. 2 is perfectly coherent without resorting to Dominic’s proof-texting.

    Robert

  2. Since faith, by definition, requires the indwelling of the Spirit, not even God can direct a man to faith without first giving him that Spirit. He can incline an unregenerate heart to believe the propositions which are also believed in faith, certainly-but that belief does not constitute faith.

    Faith in general simply means trust in. In the above context Dominic means faith in God. But what of the disciples before the resurrection? What of Mary before the incarnation? What of the ancients?

    One could argue there is some movement of God’s Spirit on men, but that is prevenient grace, not what Dominic is getting at.

    So we make guess that Dominic means saving faith in Christ in his comments, yet we still have the problems of the ancients whose faith, while not actuated till the resurrection, still was a saving faith.

    I think some of the problem would be aided if your order was adjusted to show the duration of events. That is they are not points in time, rather events over time. While they may start at different times, they may also end at different times.

    And is it possible that for some the order is different? What of those who seek God as best they can but haven’t heard Christ, yet on their death recognise him for who they were looking for?

  3. Hi Ben, I think you’re quite mistaken about this. I’ve replied once more, but I’m afraid this will be my final response: ‘The purpose of regeneration revisited’.

    Regards,
    Bnonn

  4. Dominic,

    I will respond when I get the chance.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  5. Good stuff Ben. Your defense of Arminianism always impresses me.

  6. Thanks Roy. It is nice to know I am making sense to someone.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  7. Great post, Ben! Great comment Robert!!!!

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